m

MarkC's Profile

Title Last Reply

Recipe for best pancakes ever (Cafe Luluc)?

Your plan sounds spot on. It would be a lot more ergonomic for a restaurant kitchen to start it in the skillet for the shape and texture, and then flip it onto the flattop. I've never seen a texture like that on a pancake, but that's probably because I've never fried one in butter in a skillet before. I would definitely think cornstarch to crisp up the sides.

about 21 hours ago
MarkC in Home Cooking

Parking in Thai town

Can someone give me the low down on parking in Thai Town? I want to go to Lacha Somtum, but the last time I tried, there was no parking available anywhere, and we ended up at the highly mediocre Sapp's Coffee Shop instead (not to start a debate on that issue), just because that's where we found parking. Can someone advise?

2 days ago
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Recipe for best pancakes ever (Cafe Luluc)?

Hi

I'm always intrigued by these Sherlock Holmes in the kitchen questions, and hope you don't mind if I join in.

First, I've never heard of a cast iron skillet with a domed bottom, and such a utensil seems highly improbable, certainly for making pancakes in a restaurant. For sure the domed and crispy top comes from finishing in a hot oven.

Cakes dome for two reasons. The sides set early because of contact with the metal pan while the center continues rising, and also more structure (ie gluten) in the flour. I bet you'll get the dome just by using the oven method. Probably the pancake is started in a skillet on the flame, and then instead of flipping it, they put it in a hot oven. It's also possible they preheat the skillet in the oven, and do the entire thing in the oven. If so, don't butter the skillet, as the heat will cause it to burn. Use oil instead.

For the crispy top, try putting some cornstarch in the flour, and also use skimmed milk. Finally, don't put too much milk in the batter. Just enough so that it's just pourable, like pudding.

Have fun experimenting!

2 days ago
MarkC in Home Cooking

In town this week for convention

Okay, Chicago hounds, I'm able to focus my search now. I need a good place (same - steak house, Italian, etc) in easy walking distance of the Trump Hotel. Much appreciated.

Sep 08, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

Mac 'n cheese help

Think outside the box. What may be lacking is not cheese flavor, but umami flavor. Anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, Thai fish sauce even? Ale might be a good idea - thinking rarebit.

Sep 06, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

In town this week for convention

Thanks again for advice. There's probably enough steaks and pasta there to keep the conventioneers well fed. We have a car because one of us is driving from Cincinnati. Otherwise, it sounds like a big liability, and will probably just sit in the hotel parking garage all week. I'm from Los Angeles, where everybody drives everywhere!

Sep 05, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

In town this week for convention

Thanks! Turns out we're staying at the Hampton Majestic, but with a car all of those place sound accessible.

Sep 04, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

In town this week for convention

I don't know where everyone is staying, but you can assume it's downtown. You're right, I don't know Chicago, and my only point of reference is the convention center. How is the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant?

Sep 04, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

In town this week for convention

Everyone is staying within easy driving distance of McCormick Place, so you can use that as your reference point, although as I said we will have a car.

We need restaurants to wine and dine clients, so upscale is fine, although not the most expensive restaurants. No Grant Achatz, please.

Sep 04, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

In town this week for convention

I will be in Chicago next week for a convention, and need some recommendations for dinner. We're talking a conservative crowd, so I would say steak houses, BBQ, Italian. The convention is at McCormick Place, but we will have a car, and can travel.

Thanks!

Sep 03, 2014
MarkC in Chicago Area

Pool of water under omelette?

I've heard that salting the eggs can cause weeping. In his youtube video, Gordon Ramsey recommends not salting the egg mixture prior to cooking, and only adding right at the very end. So you might try not salting the egg mixture, and only adding salt to the finished omelet just before eating.

Aug 10, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Best book for improving cooking skills?

For me, Alton Brown is the best when it comes to teaching the science behind cooking, and he is a rich source of original cooking tips. I'm Only Here for the Food is great, but I like his Good Eats volumes even more. He's funny too, which doesn't hurt.

Michael Ruhlmann comes from the same school of thought, and of course the Cooks Illustrated people. Definitely subscribe to their website, and get their Science of Cooking book. Each recipe has a section called "Why this recipe works", which pretty much answers all your questions.

Jacques Pepin is an old master, but I'm not sure he is exactly what you're looking for, and isn't really one for quick tips.

For wonderful food writing, get Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking". She is also funny and warm, with wonderful stories to go with the recipes.

I never read Gordon Ramsay, but a youtube video of his gave me the best way for cooking scrambled eggs of anybody else, and that's the only way I do it now. I should try one of his books.

Jul 30, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Where To Buy Quark?? Kwark?

It runs along Ivar street between Hollywood and Sunset Blvds, but I bet you can find one closer to where you live. If you google farmer's market in los angeles or orange county, you'll find the website. Usually the sellers travel among different farmer's markets, which are held on different days of the week.

Jul 27, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Where To Buy Quark?? Kwark?

Just happens I saw quark today by an artisan cheese seller at the Hollywood Farmer's market. I'm afraid I don't remember the name, but your local farmer's market might be a good place to start.

A final note on the Templars. Until fairly recently, there were only two kinds of cheese widely available in Israel - the aforementioned white cheese, and a second called "yellow cheese" which is derived from German muenster. So the templars had a pronounced impact on the Israeli cheese-making industry.

Jul 27, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Where To Buy Quark?? Kwark?

You might try Israeli grocers. Quark is a popular product in Israel, where it is called "white cheese". Interestingly, it was introduced to what was then Turkish Palestine by Christian fundamentalist Germans who called themselves Templars. You can still see their beautiful old stone houses in Jerusalem and other parts of the country. They were expelled by the British during WWII, but their quark-making tradition lived on.

By the way, it is not at all like labneh, which is very tart. White cheese has a texture like sour cream and a mildly sweet flavor. In Israel it is sold in individual plastic containers like yogurt.

Don't know if there are any Israeli grocers in Downey, but they have in the SFV and possibly elsewhere.

Jul 27, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Aroma Cafe Hollywood - Report

Thanks! We started out liking Cheebo but the last couple of times it wasn't good and now we don't go anymore. Like the Pikey but find it overpriced. Chibiscus is kind of a kick, particularly if you've got kids who are into Asian pop culture.

Jul 23, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Aroma Cafe Hollywood - Report

We moved to the area recently, and this is one of our standbys. We come from Israel, so this is a taste of home for us. If you want to try and Israeli tradition, go on the weekends for Jachnun. It is a Yemenite specialy, a kind of steamed bread served with hardboiled eggs, tomato puree, and hot sauce. Not something you want to eat every day, but worth trying once.

What are your other favorite restaurants in the area?

Jul 22, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

How do I make PERFECT scrambled eggs?

I like this method too. It was a revelation to me when I saw him take out a saucepan, rather than a skillet. Now this is the only way I make them. Good bye to dried out eggs. I like them soft and runny over a piece of good toast, but if you just cook them a little more then they're soft and custardy.

Jun 05, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Sour Cherries

Thanks! I am so there.

Jun 05, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Sour Cherries

Can you recommend a good one?

Jun 04, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Pie cherries in so.cal.

Thanks. If you remind me a year from now, I'll let you know how I make out with the Persian cherries.

Jun 04, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Pie cherries in so.cal.

Oh, go ahead and enjoy your sour grapes, I mean cherries. I guess you've earned them, after all the blizzards and hurricanes you've had to put up with.

Jun 04, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Pie cherries in so.cal.

Currants and gooseberries I can understand, but pie cherries? Come on, cherry pie is almost as American as apple. It's not that there's not enough cold weather, there aren't enough pie makers!

By the way, what part of town do you live in, and do you know the varietal of your neighbor's cherry tree? If he can grow it, maybe I can too.

Jun 04, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Pie cherries in so.cal.

So it is as I feared, no fresh. Not enough cold weather here. Interestingly, there is a nursery in the valley specializing in Persian fruit trees, and there is a Persian sour cherry called alboo which supposedly does not have a chill requirement. I just bought a couple, but will probably have to wait a couple of years for enough cherries to make a pie.

Jun 04, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Pie cherries in so.cal.

I know this isn't supposed to be a regional section, but few people in the LA section seemed to know anything about sour pie cherries, and their availability. So to any angeleno home cooks out there, do you know when and where sour cherries can be found in LA? Surely there are folks in LA who make cherry pie, and you can't do it very well with sweet cherries.

Jun 03, 2014
MarkC in Home Cooking

Fresh figs?

I bought a carton of mission figs at Whole Foods today. They looked beautiful and tasted awful. Dry and tasteless, without any of the strawberry color inside. I threw them all out. Plant a tree or buy from a farmer's market. Figs are too delicate to survive the supply chain.

Jun 03, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Grimaldi's Pizza in El Segundo Review:

It wasn't really a Neapolitan versus a New York crust thing. Actually, I think that a Neapolitan crust should be crispier, because it's thinner A New York crust should be thicker than Neapolitan to hold all the ingredients, but it should also be springy. You should be able to fold a slice of New York pizza. If you'd folded this pizza, I think it would have broken. My guess is that their oven wasn't hot enough to give it that heat shock that good pizza crust needs, and instead it just dried out and crisped up.

May 30, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Grimaldi's Pizza in El Segundo Review:

Cracker-like, maybe. Not springy, excessively crunchy, no chew. A little tough, even. You're right, it's hard to find the right words. It wasn't springy and artfully charred in places, like you expect. Could have been the result of over-cooking. I also didn't get the feeling of pizza passion from any of the wait staff - like any of them knew the first thing about pizza. The meal was tasty, but definitely not the holy grail for pizza questers.

Not in the same league as Settebello, for example, if you want a point of comparison.

May 30, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Grimaldi's Pizza in El Segundo Review:

I tried this place last night. Pizza is good, not great. The crust is definitely nothing special - biscuit-like, do not expect your springy, Neapolitan crust here.

If you do go, ask them not to burn your pizza. My friend's came out, definitely overcooked. I told the waitress I wanted mine less well done, and she ran to the kitchen and snatched it out in the nick of time. They'd planned to leave it for another two minutes, which would have burned it.

May 29, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area

Connie and Teds, a Review

Just tried Connie and Ted's for he first time. Expected to love it based on so many good recommendations, and boy was I disappointed. What a bland, lackluster meal. After looking forward to trying the lobster roll, I didn't even want a second bite. The clam chowder was good - at least there was some chili oil in there to give it some flavor. And the fries were good. Everything else completely forgettable. I don't think it was the quality of the seafood - I just think these guys don't know how to cook. I remember a similar place in NYC called Mary's Fish Camp that was infinitely better.

Emperor's Clothes, in my opinion.

May 25, 2014
MarkC in Los Angeles Area
1