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Visiting Chicago, Need Suggestions for Casual Eateries

Coco Pazzo cafe is a good place for lunch, very near Michigan Ave.
http://www.cocopazzocafe.com/

You might also try Cafe Spiaggia
http://www.levyrestaurants.com/Levy/D...

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Chicago Area

Pizza Dough - Old NY Times Recipe

Or try searching the NY Times. Old articles require a subscription to access. But if you posted the date of the article, I'm sure someone here with a subscription could pass along the recipe.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Refrigerator Space Issues--what MUST be Refrigerated?

In a reply above, I provided a link with info regarding freezing maple syrup.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

How dangerous is skipping this step...?

Cathy, Pickling is done in vinegar. There is plenty of acid.

I've made pickled cucumbers (pickles, that is) for a long time. They rest in the fridge for a month in the vinegar, and then they are pickled and ready to eat. I am not claiming they last forever. They last a few months. If one were to process them in a water bath, then they would last a very long time. But that is not what I'm talking about.

Let me quote you from a recipe in "The Good Cook: Preserving," step 6 in the recipe that appears on page 62 and 63, "Pour vinegar -- in this instance, red wine vinegar - over the cucumbers, covering them completely. Cover the jars with their clamp tops [i.e. air tight seals], but do not process the jars described on pages 30-31: The heat would rob the pickes of their crispness. Instead, store the pickles in the refrigerator; they will be pickled and ready to eat in three to four weeks and will keep in excellent condition for six months".

Also see "overnight pickles" in this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickled_...

So, I am not claiming one should never process pickled vegetables. I am claiming that one does not have to process them. If you process them, you can put them in your pantry and they will last years. If you do not process them, you must keep them in the fridge, and they will only last a few months.

Canning and pickling are not the same thing. I'm not sure if you realize that. I am talking about pickling but not canning/processing.

If you could provide a citation or link for your information, that would be helpful in figuring out where our differences are coming from. I have a strong feeling we are talking about different things.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

How dangerous is skipping this step...?

I don't think she has to throw them out. The idea of "processing" is not the same thing as "pickling". You can do both, or you can just pickle vegetables. Pickling vegetables simply means letting them steep in vinegar, with herbs and other flavors. Pickled foods will not last more than 1-2 months, just as "processed" or "canned" goods will not last more than 1-2 months once opened.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Summer squash and paper towels - separated at birth?

Are you kidding? Try a different vendor.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in General Topics

Wild spinach... suggestions?

I bought some recently and mixed a small amount into a salad that contained other kinds of lettuces. That is, I used it as an accent to a dish rather than as the sole green. You could certainly cook it if you wanted to, though.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Clean Plate Club? [moved from General Topics]

Well, there's clearly a difference between a parent who is trying to get his/her young child to eat enough, and a person who doesn't know to stop eating when full.

Jul 27, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Cheap Quality Espresso

There was a thread recently about buying good quality coffee in ethnic (esp Latino) stores. Many of these come preground in a "brick" -- tightly packed and vacuum sealed in the shape of a small brick. These are pretty good for espresso. You might also look for Lavazza, which I think is less costly than Illy.

See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Great Food, Bad Service

"I understand that I'm the culinary loser -- but for some reason I just can't hand my money over to someone who treats me like crap."

I'm with you 100%. I can't understand the view of some that the food is all that matters. I wouldn't take rude treatment from a friend, let alone someone who I am paying for their service.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Best Instant Coffee

But it is far from instant. :)

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in General Topics

Best Beef for Tacos?

Honestly, I think it was you. Bittman made it pretty clear that you can be creative in making a taco, go for just meat and salsa, or add something "crunchy" and cheese.

Regarding the cooking method, you will get nicely carmelized meat if you use any high heat cooking method, and that include a cast iron pan or a broiler. After all, a broiler is simply a grill that is upside down (yes, yes, I know that isn't the same thing...don't jump on me, I'm simply making an analogy....) Basically, you want to cook the skirt stake quickly and with high heat. Pan roasting and broiling are the best methods for this. Finally, put whatever you want on your taco. It's your meal and you shouldn't feel like a slave to a particular restaurant or method.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Great, Cheap and Unique

Regarding pizza, there are a lot of threads on this. There are three styles of pizza in Chicago: stuffed, deep dish, and thin. Stuffed means there is a bottom crust, topped with cheese and optional fillings (I like spinach), topped with another thin layer of dough, and finally topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Deep dish is a thick crust with toppings. Thin is ... regular thin crust pizza.

Most places that do deep dish also do stuffed and thin, and vice versa. There are many places that do thin but not the other two. Within the thin category there are some that resemble east coast pizza and others that have a slightly thicker crust. So, pizza isn't so simple here.

My favorites are Pequod's, Lou Malnattis, and Art of Pizza. If you search for earlier threads you'll get other recs and lively debates.

Then there is the "Chicago style" fast foods, like hot dogs and Italian Beef. These are good, esp if you grew up with them. Again, do a search and you'll get a lively debate on the best of .... My rec is to go to Wiener's Circle for a Chicago style hot dog. They have great fries and it's in a pretty fun neighborhood.

Ethnic food. So you're going to rule out Mexican and Asian cuisines. What else did you have in mind? There are a lot of Eastern European places in town. There are many South and Central American places, including Puerto Rican, but I couldn't tell you one that is great off the top of my head.

There are many great Southern European places also, especially Greek. Greektown is not far from your hotel (though you'd probably want to take a cab). Search for Greek on this board and, again, you'll get a lively debate about which is best. My opinion is that any of the major Greek places on Halsted will serve you an excellent meal. My experience in the Bay Area was that it is severely lacking in Greek food.
See, for example, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

There are many Italian places, but the Bay Area has a great scene also.

Finally, you might want to reconsider Mexican. I lived in the Bay Area for a while and didn't find many great Mexican places. Chicago has both corner Mexican places (which are probably similar to what you might find in the Bay Area) and very innovative, gourmet Mexican places. My favorite is Salpicon. Other's like Rick Bayless' Topolombapo and Frontera Grill. Again, these have been discussed many times on this board, so you'll get a lot of opinions if you search here and on lthforum.com.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Chicago Area

Shea feedback

And you saw a great game today. Thanks for the report.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Outer Boroughs

Panasonic toaster oven?

Here is a recent thread:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Cookware

Refrigerator Space Issues--what MUST be Refrigerated?

Anything that is mostly vinegar (the hot sauce, ketsup) will generally be fine in the pantry. I like your idea of experimenting. You'd certainly know by mold or a terrible smell if something was off.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Vodka Sauce... what's the point?

Vodka is made by first fermenting something (potatoes or grain, for example) into alcohol, distilling it so that it is almost pure alcohol, and then adding water so it is 90 proof (or whatever the goal of the manufacturer is). (For the vodka experts out there, I know I've simplified this.)

The pure alcohol part tastes and smells like alcohol. The water tastes like water. Thus, it is difficult to get vodka to have much of a taste of anything other than alcohol without having the result turn into something that isn't, well, vodka anymore.

Here is a nice, simple website about this:
http://absolutad.com/absolut_about/hi...

The author of that site calls this "The Dilemma of Vodka - Purity vs. Character" because it is difficult to both keep it pure vodka and give it some character.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in General Topics

A little help from the mods

But if the post in question is not listed on My Chow, then I still don't know if (a) it has been deleted, or (b) I've made enough recent posts that the post in question has been replaced by newer posts on My Chow.

Sure, I could search for *all* of my posts using the site search engine. But it would seem to be a lot easier for the mods to have left a message in this instance. The topic was perfectly legit for discussion, just on a different board.

In any case, everything is fine now. The discussion has restarted.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Site Talk

Warm Reds

Take a look at this thread:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Wine

Best Beef for Tacos?

I would do it under the broiler.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Home Cooking

Cleaning stainless steel

good point. None of my stainless steel is brushed.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Cookware

Refrigerator Space Issues--what MUST be Refrigerated?

Here is some info on maple syrup. The upshot is that you should keep it in the fridge or freezer after you open it. If it's a big bottle, you could always freeze part of it.
http://www.maplegrove.com/faq.asp

Most things can be freezed. The bigger question is what can be kept, once opened, in the pantry.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Grain fed versus grain finished beef [moved from General Topics]

Thanks for the NY Times link and for your info. I fixed the link to the earlier thread. Sorry about that.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Grain fed versus grain finished beef [moved from General Topics]

I am not asking about grain fed vs grass fed. So are you saying they would finish on grain to add weight, or are you addressing grass fed vs grain fed overall?

I am asking about grain finished versus grass finished. Read the thread I linked to above if you aren't sure what I mean.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Refrigerator Space Issues--what MUST be Refrigerated?

I'm not sure how we can answer this. There are some foods that should be refrigerated when opened. Do you have any specific foodstuff in mind that you are unsure about? Everything you listed above should be refriderated when opened.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

Okay, so I've read the Omnivore's Dilemma

I'd like to continue this aspect of the discussion. I've started a new thread on the General Topics board:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in San Francisco Bay Area

Hawaii needs its own board - 73% of all responses for the Islands

Maybe Hawaii should have it's own board. But the way to decide isn't by looking at the fraction of the Elsewhere board that has Hawaii posts. Instead, just look at the number of Hawaii posts. If there are 2 a day, it doesn't need its own board. If there are 30 a day, it does. Somewhere in between should be a cutoff.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Site Talk

Grain fed versus grain finished beef [moved from General Topics]

In this thread, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... Morton the Mousse draws a distinction between grain fed beef and grass fed beef that is finished with grain (or with other things, as he nicely described in the thread above).

I am interested in someone could give me some background about why ranchers would finish a grass fed cow with grain. Is it because the grain adds a different flavor dimension to the meat?

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Not About Food

A little help from the mods

A thread on the SF board regarding where to buy grass vs grain fed beef evolved, in part, into a discussion of the difference between grain fed beef and grain finished beef.

The mods correctly removed those posts since they were clearly not appropriate for the SF board.

It would have been nice, though, if instead of simply removing them from the site without comment, they moved those posts to the Not About Food board or General Topics board. Or, even more simply, added a note to the SF thread that said these topics should be discussed in another post. A note would have helped me realize what happened, rather than having to search the thread, then try a different thread, etc. It would have taken 30 seconds of the mods time and have saved me about 5 minutes. That's a 10-fold rate of return!

For hounds that are interested in this topic, I've restarted the discussion here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Site Talk

Cleaning stainless steel

I'm sorry, I didn't notice you said appliances. Did you edit your original post to add that?

In any case, BKF works just as well on appliances as on pots and pans. Everything I wrote above applies to cleaning anything that is stainless steel.

Jul 26, 2006
Darren72 in Cookware