jen kalb's Profile

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Source in Brooklyn for italian plum tomatoes for canning

Closing the loop on this request, I asked at Coluccio's (because they sell the processing equipment) and the gentleman recommended the fellow at Circus, as well as Three Guys and the vegetable store just off 18th Street on 68 or 69 (west of the avenue, n. side of street. I checked at the latter and they did have boxes for I think $12 and $14 but I was running out of weekend and did not have time to buy. I probed about the place psnative recommended but he was more positive about the greenhouse guy on 6th Ave just next to the BQE, who he said sells his own stuff from Jersey (maybe). the following weekend I ran by this guy but he said the season was over and his last tomatoes looked tired. So I missed the curve this year for a major project.

All the tomatoes I saw in boxes were quite small - hopefully if I look next year will find some promising fruit.

about 5 hours ago
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

I had never heard or thought of any prosecco that was not white before it came up on its thread, but as a little research revealed, its evident that that the makers and marketers are capitalizing on the name (without as you note violating the labeling laws) to sell related products.

about 6 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

I see and read their ratings and discussions in my wine shops - I am not familiar with their philosophy and palate as I was with the Wine Spectator of old. I cant quarrel with your greater expertise - certainly not with your knowledge of what you like and are looking for, including what you would prefer to drink when you travel.
But that does not mean that wine in a local trattoria is an afterthought. It could be different taste as I suggested - or it could be that they are serving to a local clientele unpretentious wines that fit their pricepoint. They may be unambitious, but in a country where wine drinking is embedded in daily life that would be one fairly natural outlook.

about 14 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Loved the report! Sorry you had a less satisfying experience at Del Fagioli - our experiences there were at lunch time and without crowds and we loved the pappa pomodoro which was well integrated and the whole scene. Soups like this and ribollita are of the essence of tuscan cooking and it was too bad you had a bad specimen. We do a large proportion of our dining in tourist towns at lunch times - many of the complaints about places we have liked very much over the years are about dinners, and I have to wonder whether the dinner crowds of tourists (not to blame you for going there?) have resulted in a lesser experience in the evening.

Looking forward to more of your reports!

about 15 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

(long) Florence Trip Report

Even though it may be that a lot of the winemaking in Tuscany has been retooled over the years to conform to the big bold profile that Parker/Wine Enthusiast and other US wine writers like, my impression is that the wines for the local market reflect more traditional tastes. And a restaurant catering to the locals mainly will stock the wines the owners and their local patrons like. visiting these places its maybe time to check out the wines that have developed over centuries to accompany their food. Maybe ask the owner for his recommendation and taste something that Wine Enthusiast may not have rated. Having said that I acknowledge that tasting the "best" wines of the region with meals is a valid goal for a trip to wine country and a good wine list is a plus.

about 15 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

who knows how these wines, made by prosecco producers, are being sold and referred to in Venice drinking establishments, especially serving to foreign tourists, regardless of the wine laws and labelling requirements? They are unlikely to be of interest to the OP anyway along with alot of the plonk one can drink there.

about 17 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Florence & Rome in September

ha, I figured your list is the classics while the others will provide more of the buzzy/new dimension sought by some. I see too you have updated!

you are right

about 17 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Octopus that tastes like chicken

maybe it was canned frozen or processed in some way? Its not like all the octopus eaten in the tourist focussed restaurants on that coast is caught just offshore. Scungilli (like conch) out of the can in the US can be pretty flabby and tasteless.

We are all wondering what restaurant you ate that octopus at!

about 19 hours ago
jen kalb in Italy

Italy-Bound -- In Search of Salumi, Cheese, Wine, Liqueur

there certainly seems to be plenty of sparkling rose wine made in the veneto and some of it is called "prosecco" label commercially. Interesting.
Here is one (not made with the prosecco grape http://www.wine.com/v6/Bisol-Jeio-Pro...
Here's an example of such a wine blending prosecco with some raboso. http://www.siemawines.com/product-por...

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Less expensive in Venice?

great to hear your report!
look out for the tiny baby grey shrimp (schie) and scampi (which are not shrimp but more like a mini-lobster, both delicious). The seafood appetizers are pricy because they cusually contain an assortment of unusual seafood you will not be able to eat elsewhere.

If you trust your nose, follow it but in a city like Venice with so many tourist traps recommendations are definitely worth it. Have you tried any risotto or pasta yet? Serving sizes in Italy are calibrating to people eating 2 or three courses. Two courses each is enough for my husband and me.

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Less expensive in Venice?

Wondering where you ate your expensive lunch and how it was? If you eat the local lagoon seafood (recommended) or whole fish (good but pricy) you will pay. If you arent a wine person, its usually cheapest to buy by the carafe or half carafe (order un mezzo litro bianco (or rosso)). Some of the snootier places dont offer but will provide if you ask

For less expensive places look at some of the recommendations by PBSF on this thread
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9847...

If it were me Id go for Anice Stellato, although it might cost you a little more than your target.

If you really want to spend less, there are some good pizzerie in Venice - Nono Resorto, Il Refolo, Ae Oche, Dai Tosi are some to look into.

Look forward to hearing what happens!

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Florence & Rome in September

ps here are some offsite resources to get some ideas about the current local faves, mostly Rome centric but some with national scope, and many needing the help of google translate or similar.

http://www.puntarellarossa.it/
http://tavoleromane.wordpress.com/gli...
http://theromedigest.com/
http://www.parlafood.com/
http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/
http://www.scattidigusto.it/

Its great when some of the Romans posting here, or recent visitors comment on the newer gems.

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Florence & Rome in September

@Jan Brody, I would really have to say it depends. Neither of these destinations can in any way be compared to NY in terms of the pace of change, buzz factor, diversity of cuisines, etc. The italian food scene is much more traditional than NYC and the same good names come up over and over again (with some important additions and deletions but again not nearly as fast as NY, LA etc).

"Best" is subjective but assuming that a foreign tourist is more interested in experiencing italian food culture it makes sense to recommend the baseline places. They may be the "best" places from a touristic standpoint since they will provide very good samples of the traditional cooking in very pleasing, welcoming environments.

Some of the newer places, that riff on the traditional dishes are more relevant if the traveller can has actually tasted the traditional dishes and can appreciate the skill with which, say a stew has been turned into a meatball. A local like some of the very good posters here is going to appreciate this more than newcomer to the local scene.

Some places cook in a mediterranean or international rather than the local style.

But a list of "best" is going to be subjective and until the traveller says what type of cooking they are interested in - lets say very good local cooking at a reasonable price, the most creative cooking in town, buzzier or younger places,michelin star dining, a wine oriented meal or places to eat with a cautious non-foodie aunt with a hearing problem, and maybe do a bit of review of prior threads, they are unlikely to get the perfect response.

A little research in recent threads and use of search (especially if there are specific criteria can really help a poster to get more targetted advice.

1 day ago
jen kalb in Italy

Florence Dinner Party Catering

Maybe Zeb gastronomie/bistro

Sep 15, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

greenpoint recs

I get what you are saying about not being excited about polish places, but although can be a dowdy environment they are certainly toddler friendly. We had a very nice lunch last month at Lomzynianka - the very simple veal balls in creamy dill sauce as well as the bigos were excellent, the mashed potato accompanying both were about as good as unadorned potatoes get (I am not a potato freak) and the accompanying salad plate was decent. Pierogies and such are about as toddler friendly as it gets. No alcohol, but fruit juices.
http://www.lomzynianka.com/

Peter Pan for doughnuts just down the street.

Sep 15, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Lookign for quick lunch place between Roman Forum and Piazza Barberini

I think mfant's advice is good. She gave you a bus stop location which is near the forum and specific buses that will take you to Barberini in a few minutes. Its a main destination so it will be marked as a destination on the bus stop signs and on the buses that go there. you will need bus tickets buy from a newstand. (or maybe there is a new arrangement now?) most romans do not use tickets because they have passes. That is, if the tour ends at that end of the Forum. (near Piazza Venezia ) It may end at the Colosseum instead in which case no point to walk all the way back for transport.

Taxis in rome are either at taxi stands or you call them - its most definitely not like NYC in this regard - it might be easier to go to a stand. There is one at Piazza Venezia - maybe the same location as the bus stop MFant recommended. There is also a taxi stand on the other side of the Colosseum from the Forum.

In any case, I think you need to get a map and do some online research and get oriented to Rome and the transport there. Its pretty easy with a little information. Transport is offtopic for Chowhound though.

Sep 15, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

salty I can relate to. Its hard to take non-adventurous eaters out of whatever stripe. And not the best way to enjoy a restaurant.

Sep 15, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs
1

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

so how was it for the red sauce eaters? did they get it?

Sep 14, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

2014 Myanmar Baptist Church Fun Fair - October 4

Sep 14, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

well maybe if its made correctly it would be better. Folks here are enjoying it IMO in a weird way. It does have a distinct flavor which your friend may like - maybe yours would be more cakey.

Hope you try.

Sep 14, 2014
jen kalb in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Chestnut Cake

I attempted to make the Chestnut Cake today - I had a can of chestnut puree in the pantry and a jar or glaceed chestnuts Id made in the frig - thought there would be synergy.

Well. This recipe is very simple, calling for creaming 2 c of chestnut puree with softened butter then adding 3 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks - then 1/2 C flour and some baking powder. Well, I got the eggs in and tasted, and it was totally meh - I realized that I had used the unsweetened rather than sweetened puree called for. So I tried to compensate - added some corn syrup and 1/2 C sugar. Its cooked in a loaf pan supposedly for 20-25 min. Well after 25 min it was still rather liquid so I baked another 20 min. at that point it had firmed and browned somewhat so I took it out. 1/2 hr later it had collapsed a bit and I could see it was still wet inside so stuck it back in theoven. half our later I removed it tested dry enough with a toothpick. Let it cool a bit - would not come out in one piece from the pan.

The cake has a somewhat pudding like consistency. Tastes good enough and its getting consumed, with ice cream and other add-ons.

Leaving aside my major mistake, this recipe seems to be based on the tuscan chestnut cake castagnaccio. Its a very thin, flat and gummy cake usually flavored with rosemary leaves. Prescribing a loaf cake for this recipe, rather than a flat pan, and a 20 min baking time for this recipe seems like a major mistake given the ingredient list. Was hoping for something unlike castagnaccio so Im unlikely to try again using the correct chestnut paste..

Aggressive housekeeping

I agree with you in general but it seems to me the rules of the game are changing - some of the rules have seemed arbitrarily applied and counterproductive to discussion on occasion - if moderation in one area is lightening, as it seems to be, in order to increase traffic, it may be that moderation could be lightened in other areas as well. Unless the OP has made a real mistake in where they are commencing discussion, why not just leave it there? There is a big difference between a clueless OP and someone who makes a conscious choice, knowing the alternatives about where to commence a discussion. The first needs help and direction to get to the right place the second, well, lets call them an adult for these purposes.

Sep 14, 2014
jen kalb in Site Talk
1

Aggressive housekeeping

I say let the poster decide where his/her post is most appropriate, likely to be of use or responded to. If its grossly wrong the OP can be pointed to a different board. The Board divisions are arbitrary and on the margins there are always definitional issues; since re-defining board boundaries is unlikely to occur the users need to be free-er to make their own judgments. Or so it seems to me.

Sep 13, 2014
jen kalb in Site Talk

Piemonte in November

Very interesting info. Hoping you will tell us more about your eating and drinking!!

Sep 11, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Has something changed with canning lids?

its unclear how they could overheat if they are in boiling (simmering water) - it wont rise above 212. If Ball says they can still be prepared that way, I would not hesitate. anyway, I do not simmer, I just pour a cup or so of the boiling water from the canner over the lids.

I canned a couple dozen jars of pickles and tomato sauce in the last few weeks using a mix of new and old ball lids and saw no problem with the lids or sealing. Time will tell I guess. I take the rings off for storage.

Sep 11, 2014
jen kalb in Home Cooking

Glass-Hostaria in Rome

post deleted

Sep 10, 2014
jen kalb in Italy

Aggressive housekeeping

not as if it really matters - what matters is that folks who are interested are discussing and hitting the site. Messing with this disrupts the natural flow.

Sep 10, 2014
jen kalb in Site Talk
2

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

its been a while since we have been there too but to overgeneralize, their food can be very tasty and garlicy. Veg dishes and salads are more interesting and tastier than average. Their beet ravioli (?) has not thrilled us - the malfatti has been good and buttery, recommend, but the last time not as tender as I like. Serving size is pretty good (not huge like red sauce places but not small either). They did a very good job with pork ribs on one visit and rabbit, yes. Enjoy the wines and some after dinner drinks!

look forward to hearing about your visit.

Sep 10, 2014
jen kalb in Outer Boroughs

Aggressive housekeeping

It would be nice if, in connection with the general loosening of standards here (:<)) that threads not be moved out of communities that are enjoying their discussion based on a view that they would better fit elsewhere. Overlap is tolerated for example between the vegetarian board and home cooking or regional boards and food sensitivity topics.

But many times threads relating mainly to a local area are moved off regional boards where there is an interested community and languish on the topical boards

This wine thread was moved from the Italy community (where it was being actively discussed and follwed ) to the wine Board. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/988530. Its getting discussed there, but the regional following is lost.

Much better to leave it where it is and create a link to it on the wine board. Or at a minimum leave a marker where it was.

The lack or recogition by TPTB that we do have communities, that fostering them develops more discussion and that people generally only look at a certain number of boards is a continuing dynamic here which tends aways from making the site all that it could be.

None of the boards are tightly curated for content - its ridiculous to think that the only place one would look for a discussion on Brunello is Wine - in fact italian regional wines and wineries are discussed in conjunction with meals and visits to the region. Tolerating more overlap. letting a few more flowers bloom will build site traffic. Moving a post like this especially without a cross reference is a mere editorial judgment - irritates and confuses participants, can move discussion away from the regional specialists who can make the most meaningful contributions, and does not benefit the site.
In the egregious case where a discussion starts on a really wrong board usually site participants will chime in. But letting a few more flowers bloom can only help us.

Cant read my collapsed post

cant use alternate browsers in my office and still waiting for my employer, a major corporation to switch over. This is fine on other platforms. thanks for the explanation..

Sep 10, 2014
jen kalb in Site Talk