Bada Bing's Profile

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no onion or garlic-need a different savory flavor base!

Still worth it.

Apr 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

What to serve during a 'Blood Moon' Lunar Eclipse. .

I find that good cheese and crackers complements most celestial phenomena.

Apr 14, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

00 flour in Evanston IL

Depends on what you want to do. The 00 flour in Italy designates a degree of milling fineness, whereas the protein level of the flour is a different matter.

King Arthur sells a 00 that is too low in protein to perform well in wood-fired pizza ovens. I frankly don't even know why King Arthur sells that flour. It will give a cracker-like crust for pizza; I've tried it. KA probably sells it at that protein level because most Americans don't have proper ovens.

My understanding is that 00 higher-protein flours will only perform well for pizza in ovens that top 700 FH.

Look for Caputo flour. Here's a thread from a pizza-obsessive site re: Chicago:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

Apr 12, 2014
Bada Bing in Chicago Area

Report on April 2014 Short Visit

I profited from a few threads, some of which emphasized my ambition to go finally up north to Devon Ave. with my out-of-town guests. (Chicago is a day-trip from south for me, so I also have never been there.)

As it happens, timing didn't work for Devon Ave. But I am happy to report on a few winners and so-sos.

On the so-so end of the spectrum was Cedars Mediterranean lunch in Hyde Park, accessory to our visit to the Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright. Enjoyable lentil soup, very decent food overall but WAY too much. I get sick of being a traveller who cannot take home doggie bags. Very OKAY.

When getting to Devon in the evening seemed out of reach, we tried the River North/Downtown India House. That was pretty upscale and so forth, and even expecting bland fare disappointment, I found it very good food indeed. I've eaten lots of Indian. This place does satisfying, clean, inventive and tasty stuff. I liked it so much that I went to Walgreens after to get ice and a container so I could preserve the leftovers for the next day. Special there were the unusual and assertively individual chat-style appetizers and out-of-the-ordinary entrees. I got their 109 Bhelpuri and their 110 Padpi Chat--great flavors and textures mixed with crispiness, seasonings and chutneys (both vegetarian). I tried my companions' Lamb Palak (with spinach),some aloo gobi and a 222 Hyderabadi Style Chicken Curry, but in those case I had only small but joyful tastes. In every plate, however, there was great freshness and enjoyment. This is among the best Indian places I've been to in the USA.

Our next venture was breakfast at Meli's on Wells in River North. Very fine, because it was great breakfast all around and catered famously to our one vegan and gluten-intolerant companion.

After a trip up north a bit to visit a guitar shop, we finished off with a Wiener's Circle char dog and fries before heading home. Very happy overall. I am grateful to all the Chow-folks and other social media that let us out-of-towners suss out these places and make choices.

Apr 11, 2014
Bada Bing in Chicago Area

I cannot eat "strangers'" food

ttoommyy: I am not of a mind to rag on your preference, but the very point you make here could be taken to confirm rather than refute what NancyChin said. There is no such thing as failsafe eating--home, restaurants, or whatever. If you allow one incident such as you report to seize your imagination and validate a specific food-aversion, then that is what most people, if not you, will call a "problem."

But you're doing fine, it seems. I'm not telling you to change. I AM encouraging you to widen your perspective, though.

Apr 09, 2014
Bada Bing in Not About Food

Updating Devon Indian Restaurants?

In anticipation of Indian dinner tomorrow evening at Devon St (first time), I searched the Board here to see if any particular places are recommended. Oddly, almost no threads seemed to have been updated in the last 2-4 years, and even in the older threads, there is a general lack of contention or promotion of one place over another.

Does that mean they're all "fine"? All "excellent"? Or maybe some other meaning?

Apr 09, 2014
Bada Bing in Chicago Area

First Time at Devon Ave or up north generally

Thanks!

Booze is not an issue. There is only four of us.

Apr 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Chicago Area

First Time at Devon Ave or up north generally

Although I've visited Chicago often, as I live an hour or so away by car in Indiana, I tend to go there and eat at more "central" places whenever meeting up with family and friends who are in town.

Finally, things are playing out that I'll have some time and interested companions to head north and try the fabled Indian or other ethnic outlets there, or maybe even the Thai places like Sticky Rice which I've also never been able to try.

Any advice for a great destination given that we have one shot to take for dinner up north?

p.s., one of our party is vegan and also gluten intolerant, but she never makes much of a fuss and doesn't want people distorting their dining overmuch for her sake. Just FYI.

Apr 08, 2014
Bada Bing in Chicago Area

Best Bagged Tea Brands?

I mostly use loose teas from Golden Moon mail order. But for bagged I like Harney & Sons. Have not tried, but have heard from tea-friends, that this French brand is the absolute best, if pricey:

http://www.mariagefreres.com/

Apr 07, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Brine vs. Marinade for grilled chicken

Rinsing the chicken is worthwhile.

Could you specify what salt you used? Not only would table salt be way too much, but even the two main brands of Kosher salt (Morton and Diamond) measure out differently. It's all about relative coarseness.

It's actually not out of the question in the case of chicken breast meat to brine AND marinate. The two processes do different, although adjacent, things.

Apr 04, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Mashed Potatoes: Food Mill vs. Ricer

I have all these devices. I use the ricer most often, as it's easier to clean. I mash if I want a rustic style. I might get the mill out when I need major quantities. (My mill is tinned aluminum, so it has to be hand-washed.)

Apr 02, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Biba's Table on the Cooking Channel

Siba's?

Apr 01, 2014
Bada Bing in Food Media & News

Slicing Ribeye roast for philly cheese steak

I was thinking "Select" is likely, too.

Mar 28, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Making a beef stock without bones, just a gigantic hunk of beef?

What cut of beef? Utterly boneless?

With a high-collagen cut, like chuck, you stand some chance of getting some mouth feel. Just note that it is not fat that makes stock but instead collagen and marrow from bones. A few shanks, oxtails, or beef bones would be worth seeking out. I do think it helps to have a goodly amount of meat in the stock, too, though. Esp. for Pho. Depends on what you're after.

Mar 24, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

When is pork ham?

I think "fresh ham" must come from the hind leg portion. Ham in that sense designates a primal cut corresponding to round and upper leg in beef.

Ham in the "cured" form can be from any number of portions or even some processed glop. For cured ham in the USA, a "ham in natural juices," preferably spiral-scliced, is the top dog, and will generally come either whole or in shank or "butt" halves.

The other forms of ham with higher degrees of processing (ham with water added, etc.) can derive from any part of the animal, so far as I know. They're just processing for a texture that people are seeking.

Mar 23, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Garlic Press - do you believe in them?

Any method, like a press or mortar, that releases more juices compared to slicing would probably matter a good deal in a rather "fresh" preparation like tzatziki or salad dressing. The difference is surely lessened with longer cooking times.

I have all the devices mentioned here and use them either deliberately for different purposes or just on whim. I actually haven't used my microplane for garlic yet, though, and must give that a try.

When I say I have all the devices, that includes the garlic twister that grampart mentions above. That's a nifty tool for smashing up many cloves of garlic and keeping your hands pretty clean. I'm surprised it's not more widely used.

But, with other people here, I find that stainless steel makes short work of garlic smells on the fingers, so it's not a big issue in any case.

Mar 23, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Recs for a few days?

I wonder if anyone on this board has been to Underbelly lately? I'm visiting in a week and have a reservation. As I started to google around to see what people like there, I noticed a rather large number of recent "meh" reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, etc. An NY Times review from a year ago was much more glowing.

I'm never sure how much to trust those sites mentioned above.

Mar 21, 2014
Bada Bing in Houston

Who still drinks soda?

Immense amounts of Diet Coke. But I am working on dialing it back by diluting with bourbon. So far, so good.

Mar 21, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics
2

Relative always ruins good food

Interesting possibility. Some families do get fetishistic about certain ways of preparing things.

I recall the polite but nonetheless discernible backfiring when I served some upstate New Yorkers a pasta-and-red-sauce dish more the way Italians do than Italian-Americans do. They wanted more sauce, and they were taken aback that I'd finished the pasta by coating it in sauce.

Mar 21, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Bitchin' Kitchen - Are they kidding???

I came to like the show after a period of shocked disbelief. She's cute, and the writing is actually quite funny at times. Plus her recipes actually do work, the few times I've tried them. Not that anything especially technical goes on there.

I came to value the show as a unique hybrid of food tv and comedy.

Mar 21, 2014
Bada Bing in Food Media & News
2

"off the beaten track" chefs and restaurants cookbooks

Paula Wolfert's books are excellent and well regarded, but she's been around long enough that she isn't generally heralded as the hot new thing. She covers pan-Euro-Mediterraenean.

Mar 20, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking

Relative always ruins good food

What does your spouse say about this dynamic?

Mar 20, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Recs for a few days?

With thanks to all, I can say that it looks like we'll have time for three dinner outings. We'll do Underbelly, Hugo's and Indika.

Any menu or other logistical recs. will be welcome. Never been to Houston before, much less to these particular places.

Mar 19, 2014
Bada Bing in Houston

Indian Restaurants: UK vs. US

Yes, you're correct. Thanks.

Mar 19, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Indian Restaurants: UK vs. US

Yes, thanks. I do recall reading that there's better Indian out toward Hammersmith, but I did not have the time to get there.

Mar 18, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

Indian Restaurants: UK vs. US

I've eaten at several London Indian places and countless American ones. My limited experience in the London context leaves me very pleased but not particularly blown away with the food. But it should be noted that I haven't tried the high-end Indian out there nor anything beyond the Brick Lane places and then some other place or two east of Euston station.

On the USA side, I have been to some disappointing places, but I've also had the best Indian food I've experienced. Chicago has great Indian restaurants, there is a place west of Detroit, in Dearborn, called Neehee's which does only vegetarian Indian street foods and dosas, and that is the best Indian I've had in the USA. I happen to be going to Houston soon for the first time and mean to try Indika, which I notice is mentioned upthread here.

Very likely, if I knew the best places to go in the UK and had lots of time, I might give a different response.

Mar 18, 2014
Bada Bing in General Topics

What to freeze homemade broth in?

Sorry I answered "glass" rashly. I didn't know that Ball made anything but canning glass bottles.

Mar 15, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

What to freeze homemade broth in?

Glass. Presumably tempered.

Mar 14, 2014
Bada Bing in Cookware

Excellent Taco Recommendations

Wow. Fried lettuce, and tomatoes. Imagine the splatter. Those workers must smell like tacos at home for days. (I recall from McDonald's day bak in the 70s...)

Mar 10, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking
2

Excellent Taco Recommendations

Deep Fryer?

Mar 10, 2014
Bada Bing in Home Cooking