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Unkle Al's Profile

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Indian Center City / U of P

I lived in Nepal in 1969 and went, for the first time, to India in 1971. I stayed there, primarily in New Delhi, with Christmas in Goa and summers in Kashmir, until about 1974 or 1975. I returned in ’86 and most recently in March of this year. There were, of course, the inevitable side trips occasionally to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I don’t typically eat in Indian restaurants in the city because I live in the burbs and we cook Indian at my home or the home of my good friend.

I do like a restaurant in Lansdale called Biryani Bowl. We always have a nice time, the service is great and the food is good to outstanding. Biryani Bowl is not an ordinary Indian restaurant because its’ owner, who is usually on hand, is Hyderabadi and not Punjabi and the menu reflects that in as much as it offers several Hyderabadi specialties.

Indian Center City / U of P

Thank you so much. I looked at the Indeblue menu and, although, at first glance (tacos, pizza, guacamole, blue cheese and mozzarella) it looks a bit contemporary I too think that many of the preparations are pretty traditional.

So, Indeblue is certainly a very good option. But, I am open to other suggestions.

I lived in New Delhi for years and am surprisingly easy to please with Indian food so long as the dishes are traditional and reasonably hot without lots of dairy to suppress the heat.

Thank you for your help.

Jul 14, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Indian Center City / U of P

I am taking visitors, very traditional senior citizens from New Delhi, to dinner. I would appreciate any recommendations for a very traditional Punjabi / North Indian / Pakistani / Delhi type Indian restaurant. I am not interested in any contemporary takes on Indian cuisine. The best location would be center city and the area around U of P. Price is not a big issue but time honored preparations are a necessity.

I love Kabobeesh but it is a little downscale for my guests.

I was thinking of the places near to U of P because they are traditional. Can anyone comment on these or does anyone have other recommendations?

Thank you for any help that you can offer.

Jul 14, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

Special date night out suggestions.

Judging from the dishes you request then Bibou or Le Cheri would be perfect.

Jul 09, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

ISO of any info on TARA in Upper Black Eddy, PA

My sister goes frequently, she lives nearby, and loves it! I was there about a year ago and it was good.

Jul 01, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Best place for Bastille Day French Dinner

It doesn't get much better than this:

http://bistrotlaminette.com/bastille-...

Jul 01, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

ISO of any info on TARA in Upper Black Eddy, PA

Tara in Upper Black Eddy is a very interesting place. The food is pretty good, the service is great and the setting can't be beat. It is not small, it is located in a beautiful stone country house.

Jul 01, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Lobster Meat for Lobster Rolls

If 30% of three pounds is a half pound......I have a bridge to show you!!!

Jun 30, 2015
Unkle Al in General Topics

I am looking for a way to thicken my home made salad dressing

Skip the vinegar and use lemon juice.

Jun 26, 2015
Unkle Al in Home Cooking

Your most used fish cookbook?

I like Jacque Pepin's style of cooking:

Essential Pépin: More Than 700 All-Time Favorites from My Life in Food

A really good aspect to the above named book is that you can watch the show on PBS and then make the dish. He makes everything look so easy and using the book bears out the excellence and simplicity of his cooking.

Jun 20, 2015
Unkle Al in Home Cooking

Was Chef Boayardee ever a quality product?

I am almost seventy years old. My Italian mom and I tried it around 1951 or 1952, I remember it clearly. It was very much unlike the food she prepared herself and to which we were accustomed. We deemed it terrible and I never again ate a prepared red Italian "gravy" again. I have lived in Philly for over fifty years and never get a cheesesteak with sauce.

Jun 19, 2015
Unkle Al in General Topics
1

Hidden, but are they gems?

For years I was partial to Little Marakesh in Dresher. Sadly, the Moroccan owners sold it and it has subsequently closed. The food was really good and they offered the traditional multi course fixed price menu.

Prior to going to Little Marakesh and subsequent to its’ closing I go to Casablanca on route 611 in Warrington. It is really a memorable experience. Casablanca has eight courses for a reasonable price and a belly dancer on the weekends. My sister and her family went on New Years Eve and had a great time.

Jun 11, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

Hidden, but are they gems?

I have eaten at Marrakesh several times over the past forty or forty five years. It was the same eight years ago as it was in 1970! I really liked it a lot in 1970 and I liked just as much as my most recent visit in 2008.

It is a good stop and more interesting than about 95% of the restaurants typically noted on CH.

The reason for my not going more often is that its' location is not convenient and there were a couple of traditional Moroccan restaurants closer to me.

Jun 10, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Help Me Make My Own Chai Blend for Iced Tea

I think that you need to increase the tea component. Typically, I use 1 1/2 tablespoons per liter of boiling water.

Jun 10, 2015
Unkle Al in Home Cooking

How to use up limoncello?

I think that it would not be a big task to make an adjustment to the lemoncello that you already have.

By reading the basic recipe posted by dogboa, depending upon whether the lemoncello is too high in alcohol or too sweet, you can adjust the taste.

Jun 08, 2015
Unkle Al in Home Cooking

Take-out Indian desserts

I would recommend going to a good Indian grocery, I shop at Patel in Montgomeryville, and ask their help.

Generally speaking when I think of Indian Bengali sweets I think of Rasgulla, Rasmalai, gulabjamin and kheer all of which are very delicious. I think that all of these can be bought prepared. Although, I make kheer at home and it is easy but time consuming. Mango desserts are great to make now because the Kent mango just came into season and they are the best we can generally get here in America.

Jun 05, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

Kobi Blocks Cutting Boards

Thank you so much. It is terrific that you are local to this company and I look forward to your report.

May 30, 2015
Unkle Al in Cookware

Boos vs. Boardsmith

I am looking for a 24 X 24 inch cutting board.

Does anyone know anything about, or have any experience with Kobi Blocks cutting boards?

http://www.kobiblocks.com/

I have researched the web and could find nothing on the company. They are based in Chicago and by way of a telephone call I learned that they have been in business for two years.

I will very much appreciate any help you can give to me.

May 29, 2015
Unkle Al in Cookware

Shagun Fine Indian Cuisine, Really?

If I were you I would pass on the new location and stick with the 40th and Chestnut locale.

May 28, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Kobi Blocks Cutting Boards

I am looking for a 24 X 24 inch cutting board.

Does anyone know anything about, or have any experience with, a company called Kobi Blocks?

http://www.kobiblocks.com/

I will very much appreciate any help.

May 28, 2015
Unkle Al in Cookware

Shagun Fine Indian Cuisine, Really?

There is a very traditional restaurant serving terrific Punjabi / Peshawari food in West Philadelphia called Kabobeesh,

Kabobeesh is not a contemporary or Americanized take on Indian/Pakistani food. It has, however, what I think is the best Indian / Pakistani barbecued meats in the city. They use halal meats and cook authentic kabobs and chops over a charcoal grill. I strongly recommend the lamb chop platter.

But, beware, the ambiance is a zero on a scale of ten. And, this is not a restaurant for vegetarians!

I can only vouch for the 40th and Chestnut location.

As I recall Craig LaBan gave this restaurant three bells.

http://kabobeesh.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kabobeesh-phi...

May 23, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

Mangos around Philadelphia

I have been buying the "Haden" variety mango from Patel for the past few weeks. If you allow them to ripen your entire kitchen will be filled with the sweet mango aroma. They have been juicy and pretty delicious. The only drawback to the "Haden" is that they are a little bit stringy.

The variety called "Kent" mango will be coming to Patel's in the next couple of weeks. In my opinion the "Kent" is the best mango we can get in this area. No strings, very custard-like, sweet, juicy and delicious.

May 21, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Estia thoughts? (plus other ideas for NYC hounds)

I have eaten there many times. The food is very good and the ambiance is excellent. It is a large rustic room and very comfortable. When I have been there noise has not been a problem. There are three good locations, one is in a booth on the far side, the second is next to the windows and the third is a small room on your right as you enter. Eating there is a pleasure in every way. The service is quite good too.

I am very partial to the appetizers and I have always ordered and enjoyed the following dishes:

Grilled Octopus

Calimari Stuffed With Feta

Combination Of Three Spreads (I like the feta spread, the roasted eggplant spread and the Greek caviar spread)

Country Salad with cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, feta and olives.

The fresh fish is excellent, I like the Barbouni which is the smallest fish and you can get a couple of them for each person depending upon how many appetizers you order.

May 21, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1

Last minute "fancy" dinner (corny is okay!)

Try Tara in Upper Black Eddy. It is pretty good and very, very nice. The location is about 30 minutes north of Doylestown.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

Apr 30, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

How to store cheese?

For the past couple of years I have been buying, at Whole Foods Market a product, made in France, called Cheese Bags. They work amazingly well:

http://www.formaticum.com/products/ch...

Apr 25, 2015
Unkle Al in Cheese

Birthday dinner in Philadelphia

I would recommend Estia which has terrific fish and a great selection.

http://estiarestaurant.com/pdf/Dinner...

Mar 15, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia

Updates on Mainland Inn?

I returned for a second visit and, again, enjoyed the experience.

First of all, I’ve been twice and do not encourage you to order a cocktail! The alcohol choices are limited to organic liquors that have very distinctive flavors which, for the most part, we did not enjoy on either visit. This is a more important issue than many would think because, for those who like their cocktails, not to be able to enjoy a cocktail is a real downer. I am not really in that category but my friends are cocktail lovers. However, the wine list was good and we had a terrific bottle of a Napa wine.

We had three of the four relishes and they were all very good.

I had the winter vegetable salad and it was delicious. My friends had the chicken liver with onions and schmaltz which was a great, great dish and the oysters.

We then shared the pork dish which consisted of a huge chop, hunks of shoulder, belly, ham and tongue. The meats were accompanied by a bowl of grits, a dish of greens and a charred onion. I thought that this was a real good presentation. I would liken it to the lamb shoulder at Zahav. The pork chop was juicy, cooked pink and Henry the VIII huge. The shoulder was very good too as were the tongue and ham. I thought that the belly was mediocre but I am comparing it to the belly at Fond which is one of the best that I have tasted. The accompaniments were good but not the star of the show.

The desserts, as I mentioned in my last post, were nothing to write home about.

All in all, the food was very good.

The cost for three cocktails, a bottle wine ($60) dinner, tax and tip was $100 per person.

The service was terrific.

We liked it but found the menu very limiting and quite fussy. My friends just told me its “one and done’ for them. I think that my returning in the future will be dependent upon whether my companions value local and organic above all else.

Chicken stock isn't gelatintous?

I generally use raw chicken, I try to get the oldest, in age Not freshness, chickens I can find and go by my rule of thumb: 2 lbs per quart.

Mar 11, 2015
Unkle Al in Home Cooking

Dining for one at/near Mandalay Bay?

Burger Bar is very good, a cocktail, burger bar sliders, fries!!!

Mar 06, 2015
Unkle Al in Las Vegas
1

Updates on Mainland Inn?

I was just trying to mention desserts that were delicious and not often served. I do not know of any restaurants that serve trifle but I did find this on the web:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPh...

I do make a simple version at home using sponge cake, pastry cream, fresh fruit and whipped cream. It is pretty simple, looks great when in a deep glass bowl etc.

Mar 05, 2015
Unkle Al in Philadelphia
1