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mary shaposhnik's Profile

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Nessa, PortChester

I've been twice in the past year, and have been very pleased, even if I can't say I remember exactly what we ate. Both times we ate outside in the little side garden, which was the main draw. It's a nice little courtyard and there are not a whole lot of outdoor places like that to choose from. I do remember really enjoying a lot of the small appetizers and bites, and had a very good pasta. Don't think I've tried the cocktails. All told, though, very good meals and I'll be back.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

Kao Soy has BeerLao too.

And PokPok's khao soi has always been extremely weak. I don't know why they offer it.

But I love both restaurants' gaeng hanglay (the pork belly stew). They are different, but it's a dish with a range of emphases, and I think each of these restaurants highlights a different part of the dish.

Funny, I consider Kao Soy's sticky rice a real weak point. It's not the texture of any sticky rice I've eaten with before.

Thanks for reporting about the wait times.

The best of Connecticut?

Yes, yes, yes on Lao Szechuan. I just found this place in mid-January and it was excellent. Completely worth traveling for. Best food I have had in Connecticut.

Fort Greene Food?

Desert is too strong of a word, for sure, but for 20 years Fort Greene has specialized in stylish restaurants you WANT to love, but that are wildly inconsistent (at best) in food or value. Abistro was my consistent exception to this, but that closed. I do very much like the new restaurant in its spot -- Lulu and Po -- when I want the upper end of price.

Dino, the Italian place on DeKalb, does a reliably nice job of Italian, with the best thing coming off the specials menu.

Graziella's is nothing special to look at but has excellent pizza (I don't eat much of the rest of the menu, and it's been nothing special, but the pizza cook really can turn out top notch pizza).

The little French café on DeKalb by Brooklyn Tech, a few steps down from the street--Café Paulette?--is very good and very French, too.

LaCaye, opposite BAM, has some very tasty chicken stews. Drinks are uniformly weak.

Only ate once at Colonia Verde and was very impressed, but they may still be closed right now repairing from a fire.

Hudson city feedback

Spent the weekend in Hudson, after reading many of the threads on the town here (it can be a hard one to search for, given the regional name too).

Swoon Kitchenbar was very, very good. Excellently prepared duck and fish and desserts. Was a little less impressed by a pasta -- a rabbit tagliatelle -- it was fine, just quite bland. Definitely a place where you need to mélange all the flavors on your plate to get the right effect. Nice service. It wasn't quite as fabulous as I hoped at the price, but was our best meal and I'd go back.

Ca Mea fell completely flat and felt like poor value. Lovely bartender (ate at the bar), but all of our pastas were overcooked and not the least bit special. One with sunflower pesto was downright bothersome. The mushroom one was fine but not standout, but kind of watery, and the beef ragu was completely pedestrian and also in terrible proportion to the pasta. Roasted vegetable antipasti were done very well, however. For a limited menu, and at these prices, I expected a lot more.

Murray's café in Tivoli was lovely lunch spot. Very casual coffee-house vibe, with a menu of sandwiches and chili, but very, VERY well thought out and executed. All had bright, fresh ingredients. Good for vegetarians or for getting more vegetables--most were veggie-based.

Great beer at that book store -- Spotty Dog, maybe? -- and almost-there bar snacks. (For instance, a very tasty bean dip from Bruno's, but served way too cold. Once it was left to get to room temp, it was very good). Great value.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

I went the day after the review, because it was my birthday and I really wanted sai oua for my birthday, and they were completely crushed with the delivery orders. All the tables were full on a Wednesday night (though it's tiny so fills easily) but no line. There was a new waitress who was quite overwhelmed. It was a little bit frustrating that we got our pla goong -- shrimp salad, which is very good -- first, and asked for sticky rice so we could eat it, she said The kitchen was so backed up it would take at least 10 minutes to bring out the sticky rice. So we waited, and eventually got the sticky rice along with the very excellent sai oua. I was going to get something to take away as well, but it would've taken at least another 45 minutes. So, growing pains.

This is the first time I have gone since they got their liquor license, and they had a great menu of good choices of beers. I did not look at the wine but they had that too. This is a very welcome addition.

I will say that after several visits, I am surprised at their sticky rice. It is way too sticky, and does not form a ball very well and sticks to my fingers a lot when eating food with it. This surprises me.

Best Northern Thai Larb?

Dang.

Best Northern Thai Larb?

PokPok does a northern laap (which as you write, is very different than an Isaan laap).

Sides that cut through fat/ richness

If you want simple, sautéed bitter greens -- mustard greens, dandelion greens, or broccoli rabe -- with garlic and lemon would be a good counterpoint.

Dec 22, 2014
mary shaposhnik in Home Cooking

Christmas Baking 2014

Am I off in thinking these might work with a touch of cardamom? The pistachios lead me in that direction.

Otherwise, my most-complimented cookie for the last two decades has been the pecan sandies in the "New Basics" cookbook--a very simple cookie that somehow comes out great.

Just last year I started doing the chocolate peppermint buttercream cookie from this website, and that worked out surprisingly well too.

Dec 12, 2014
mary shaposhnik in Home Cooking
1

Bay Area Burmese Restaurant Roundup 2.0

Since this is a thread that is easy to find, perhaps it's worth noting in the thread that Burmese Kitchen may be closed, or at least will have moved, shortly.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

Very good point, I have NOT tried Uncle Boon's. At some point I flagged it to get there, but it fell off the radar.

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

No, that was Yelp. Yes, I know...

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

My head was in the sand, so I didn't notice this restaurant until I saw these enticing posts from familiar posters. Ate there twice in the last week, and it really is a competitor -- and maybe even a winner.

Had the same dishes most of you did. Gaeng hanglay was really, really good. I also like PokPok's version, perhaps because this is just a curry I love in general, but I think this was more deeply flavored and complex. It was even better as leftovers the next day. However, since PokPok uses more pork belly (and I, too, find it a bit much when made in the traditional way of just using pork belly), it gets a slightly oilier dish, in the good way. Nonetheless, I'm splitting hairs: this was an intensely satisfying dish. The owner explained to me that the accompanying fried chicken leg, which I had never seen before, was her father's idiosyncratic tradition when he made the dish. It was nicely fried, but I wasn't going to take up too much room with it.

The sai oua was wonderful -- THAT was a like a breath of fresh air. Much better than PokPok's. They make it in-house. The nam prik num works magically with it, of course. This nam prik num is not very spicy, which is fine with me because I'm not a spice-chaser and usually find nam prik num (in Thailand, anyway) way too hot for me to eat enough to taste the flavor. This allowed me to savor it more. A definite hit.

Khao soi was the best I've had in NYC, which is faint praise because nobody seems to have tried very hard to make a good version of this (it's a mystery to me why PokPok serves such a lame version, because I know their chef knows better). It's a larger than typical portion, so can be shared. I would like to see it a bit more robustly flavored, I guess. And I was surprised by the presentation a little: some strange tempura-ish tangle on top of the crispy noodles, and very tiny portions of the fixins that I think make the dish. They kindly brought us more of the mustard greens, which I pile on, and the roasted chili paste tasted homemade too--good roasted flavor. But it was odd to have to go sparingly on them (maybe splitting a dish made this more noticeable).

The one disappointment was the nam prik ong, which seemed to be making its NYC debut (am I wrong?). This is a thick pork and tomato ragu dipping sauce. I just found this version to be rather bland, and the lack of spice and aromatics was really noticeable.

Also had the kanom jeeb (shrimp and chicken) dumplings for a kid, perfectly nicely done, just not what I'd find much reason to order.

If I sound a little hesitant, I think I led myself astray reading "just like in Thailand!" posts and thus my first reaction was, "no, this is not just like Thailand." And my second reaction was to realize what a useless comparison that was, since unlike El Jefe, I'm in NYC and not Chiang Mai--and that this was the best northern Thai I've had in NYC, along with the northern laap and a few others at PokPok.

They said it is NOT BYOB--we asked if we could bring some beer, were told no. Hope they get their license soon. Very nice people. The phone seemed busy with takeout.

Please help finalize Chiang Mai destinations (researched!!)

You totally should take up El Jefe on the offer of dining together--more dishes to try, a more fabulous feast! I was really limited in eating around Chiang Mai last year by being effectively a sole diner (my 5 yo didn't really make big dent in most of the meals). Definitely food that works best in a crowd!

You have clearly done your research, and will eat really well. Don't worry too much about micro-managing it -- there is far more great food in that town than anyone can eat on a short visit.

The Friday morning Cin Haw market was GREAT. I never found the donut vendor, but loved the Shan breakfast vendors. There are a few, right in the middle of the market. I would definitely keep this one on the list.

If, when referring to the Sunday night market, you meant that walking street in the center of the old city -- well, in my view, you are missing nothing. I had had good memories of it from 10 years ago, but last winter, I HATED it--crowded, annoying, overflowing with all the same factory tourist goods--no different than the other night bazaar--and could barely wait to get out of there. I went to the same khanom jeen nam ngiaw vendor I had been to before--in the courtyard there--and was really disappointed.

Sorn Chai was really great too. It's a tiny, casual place with a small menu (from what I recall). I think of it very differently than I think of Huen Phen, for example.

I-15 North to Driggs, Idaho

What I learned: Senor Iguanas in Pocatello is a must to avoid. It was profoundly mediocre--really, I'd say dreadful, except it was edible, and not spoiled or anything. We didn't see any more promising leads, but they can't possibly be significantly worse.

Jackson Hole to Riverton to Cody Wy

I just ate at Dornan's last week. The pizza was kind of like Amy's Frozen pizza, though arguably with less flavor -- too doughy, too cheesy, not saucy enough, and too sparing on the toppings. The spinach salad was very fresh and large, but way overdressed. I agree the wine shop is really good for the region. The main draw here -- unquestionably -- is that the top patio has a phenomenal view of the mountains, and is a perfect place to watch sunset. It's just too bad it doesn't have a better menu.

We did eat a very good meal in Jackson itself at the Local, right on the town square. Nice, unadorned vibe, and nice service. The star of the meal was actually the side dishes, which are ordered separately, but at 3 for $12 (for large, share-able portions) were a wonderful deal. Excellent mushrooms, brussels sprouts (we left off the completely unnecessary and misguided bacon vinaigrette) and heirloom tomatoes. Asparagus was nothing remarkable, but was fine. The elk tenderloin main I had was very properly cooked -- the rare side of medium rare -- and an excellent texture, but I found it a remarkably flavorless piece of meat. I think it's the first elk I've had, and I expected it to be more flavorful than beef, and it was not. I also thought it was overwhelmed by the sweetness of the sweet potato/huckleberry puree in which it was served. Other party had a trout that was a nice piece of fish, but a bit too breaded. Nice wines by the bottle, a weak white-by-the-glass selection. Still, while not fantastic, generally quite good.

Taqueria La Picardia in Port Chester

Recently had two absolutely excellent taco meals at this place, just kitty-corner to the Capital Theater (118 Westchester Avenue). Anyone else try it? I've only had tacos, so can't speak to anything else on the menu, but my next visit will be for pozole (just a hunch). The "taco Arabe" was a wonderfully flavored pork taco, and perhaps most notably, their vegetarian taco is completely worth getting even if you are not a vegetarian taco. It's a wonderful mix of sauteed veggies that really work. I'm not saying it will evoke memories of Mexico, but it's very good. Ample size tacos too. Also a friendly, gregarious owner, which is also really nice. And it turns out the Grateful Dead paraphernalia isn't Dia de los Muertos stuff -- he's just an old deadhead.

I liked these better than Los Gemelos, though those are certainly quite nice.

Newbie Tom Kah Gai questions

Agree with klyeoh.

I'm not sure what you meant about fish sauce suggestions. Do you mean brand ideas, or how to use it in the soup? If the former, I think there are many on the board. I usually use Golden Boy (picture of a fat baby on the front). I wouldn't sweat the brand too much. As for using it in the soup, you definitely want it, and to a certain extent you add it to taste, to flesh out the soup.

I'd never use basil in the soup, but I would use some cilantro.

This recipe looks like it won't lead you astray, though I'd add straw mushrooms: http://www.templeofthai.com/recipes/c...

Jul 31, 2014
mary shaposhnik in Home Cooking

Kneaded Bread in Port Chester

They have a rosemary-olive bread -- I can never remember exactly what kind -- that is truly wonderful. Actually, basically all the breads I've had have been very good -- in some ways, the bigger the bread, the better.

One of the things I really like about this place is that it is very inclusive, and doesn't have to fall on any one side of a gentrification divide. It sells stuff that appeal to a lot of people, and at very good prices.

They also have a very welcome lunchtime soup option. The black bean was very tasty.

Now I'm wanting the cheese danish, though.

I-15 North to Driggs, Idaho

I'm reviving this 6 year old post, since I'm traveling the same route. Anyone have good recs? Thanks.

Dish recommendations at Tanoreen!!

Rather than start a new thread, I decided to update an old one. I went back to Tanoreen earlier this week for the first time in years -- indeed, since they were in their old place. Unfortunately, I was quite disappointed, and found many of the dishes were lesser versions of their previous selves.

The good things were the hummus, which was very good, and the eggplant napoleon remained a real treat. The breading on the eggplant was thicker than in the past, which gets very near throwing the dish off balance, but I think it didn't quite cross the line.

But the cauliflower salad was REALLY not up to par--overly large pieces of cauliflower (which means they are mostly mushy interiors, rather than caramelized edges) and it was completely and inexcusaby oversatured in the pomegranate syrup, with very little tahini to balance it. I love pomegranate syrup, but this was way too heavy of a hand. It just made for a too-sweet mush. The dandelion greens were also oddly mushy and lacking a bite (I was desperate for something bitter to cut the caulflower), as if they had been sitting for too long. We also had a fava bean dish that I forget (with cumin, I think?) but liked quite well enough, but it wasn't memorable.

Rawia was still there working the room, and since I always loved her lamb perhaps I might have had better luck with that (I was with a vegetarian), but the food didn't have the expert touch that I associate with her kitchen.

Marco's Brooklyn

I ate there for the first time last week, and had absolutely wonderful food, and less impressive wine. I had the same dish you did -- the tagliatelle with prosciutto -- and it was fantastic. We also absolutely loved a fiddlehead fern app, and most loved the shell beans side dish. This was something of an afterthought, and was quite a humble little mush of beans, but they were phenomenally well prepared--very well infused with aromatics and spices.

We were also underwhelmed by the wine by the glass selections. We each had an okay glass, but we were surprised at the relatively limited range.

Still, it was such an excellent meal, especially at this season, that I will happily go back. I also appreciated the general air of competence and the calm vibe (even if not quiet) of the place.

restaurant with vegan options near BAM

That's pretty close to Bati, the Ethiopian restaurant. Although intermittently the food has been excellent, usually it is just fine -- not great. But it's an attractive space, lovely people, and Ethiopian works well for vegans.

where to buy fresh turmeric root

I have always found frozen whole turmeric roots in stock at the Thai/Indonesian grocery store on the west side of Mulberry Street, between Bayard and Canal (about 3 doors up from Bayard). Same with Bangkok Center Grocery.

Staying in Park Slope- NYC for cheap (adventurous) midwesterners

Yunnan Flavour Garden, in Sunset Park (Brooklyn neighborhood south of Park Slope). Not walking distance, but not far on the R train. Excellent noodles.

best rice cooker for brown rice, no teflon?

I've read some of the older threads, but it's not entirely clear to me which would be best for brown rice, if that matters. And a smaller rather than larger one might be important -- it's a gift for someone who lives alone. Thanks.

Dec 04, 2013
mary shaposhnik in Cookware

Christmas morning? dim sum/jiao zi with kid, nearish TST

So strange, I thought I replied to your "how early" question earlier. Sorry.

Answer: EARLY! Flight lands at 5:30 a.m., probably head back to HKG around 12:30 p.m. Looking around at many of the places mentioned, I do see they are meant more for 11ish.

So if there are any ideas for places that might open early -- either dim sum or simply Beijing-style dumpling houses -- then I'd welcome them. And Central is fine too -- can ride the ferry, ride back.

Thanks! I'm continuing to scout around.

Christmas morning? dim sum/jiao zi with kid, nearish TST

I'm landing in Hong Kong early Christmas morning with my 5 year old, then flying out in late afternoon. My plans may have to be jettisoned depending on how we're doing, but I'd love to spend at least a few hours in the city -- probably just ride the Star Ferry, walk around a bit, maybe the playground in TST to stay outdoors as much as possible.

But we'll be hungry, and it will be early Christmas morning. Where would you recommend for dim sum at that time? And I mention jiaozi because that's what my kid likes most. We'll be on pretty low wattage, so can't be anything too complicated.

Thanks.

tumeric root uses?

Here's a post on a turmeric-based tea, by a very long-time Chowhound contributor:

http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga...

It's also a component of a lot of Thai curry pastes. It freezes very well.

Nov 12, 2013
mary shaposhnik in Home Cooking