Will Owen's Profile

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I hate it when I don't know how to pronounce a food's name in a restaurant

I was thinking maybe it might be a "solution in search of a problem" too, since though I can't speak Italian, French or Spanish I know their spelling/pronunciation rules and can order off a menu. Well, goody goody for me … until I get a Vietnamese or Thai menu, then PLEASE send me that app! I've been lucky so far in that servers have been politely helpful, and heaven knows there's no real shame in not knowing how to pronounce something in a language with which you are totally unacquainted, but it would be nice to skip that moment, especially if I really learned how to say the word so if I liked the dish I could order it unaided in the future. Better yet, if I found a menu on line I could rehearse it up front!

about 1 hour ago
Will Owen in General Topics

Call it something else, but please don't call it a margarita.

All us old poops, gather 'round … I've never wanted to stand in the way of progress, social change, political change (if it's FORWARDS!), but tell me you have a dog of each gender, or use "indifferent" to mean "apathetic," or call even a glass of vodka with a brief spray of vermouth a Martini and you will instantly arouse my Inner Curmudgeon. I've been like that most of my life, but now that I'm old enough to be a real curmudgeon it's become a lot easier.

Unfortunately, even some authentic Mexican places we've been in recently, including some whose actual margaritas are superb, have added such atrocities as banana or pineapple "margaritas" to their menu. Time to get going with the torches and pitchforks …

about 2 hours ago
Will Owen in Spirits
2

Favorite sushi right now? With low price as a consern.

When Papa-in-law was still among us he loved to take us to Frying Fish in Little Tokyo because it was about as cheap as he was, and he liked the fish. So did we. It's been several years, so I don't remember prices (and didn't usually pay anyway), and of course the tariff will have gone up some, but I remember his looking fretful one day when I added one more plate to my $16 pile.

about 3 hours ago
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

Dulan’s On Crenshaw -- Pass the Pork Chop

I'm betting that pork chop and its gravy with those mashed potatoes would make the angels sing. And the greens.

The only thing Roscoe's has charmed me with was their mac'n'cheese, and that's been really good only sometimes. When Mrs. O is out of town week after next I'm going to see what Big Mama's can do, but the best "soul food" I've found so far in Pasadena (fried chicken excepted) came off my stove, and that's just everyday Illinois/Tennessee cooking.

about 3 hours ago
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area
1

Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce

For the record, this American has added a combo of Best Foods and Sriracha to his list of Things to Put On Meat Before Roasting. Very good on both pork and lamb chops. I wasn't aware of a commercial blend, but while I generally make my own I could see packing a jar of this in the picnic basket for hot dogs and/or burgers

Jul 30, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics

Fruit. Cake?

My granddaughter just turned six, and I know she would have been enchanted by this and her mom would have loved to make it. In fact I'm going to send her the link right now.

Jul 25, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics

Fruit. Cake?

I got "404 not found."

Jul 25, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics

Attention Chefs: Can we all agree that bacon is over?

Bacon itself? HELL no!! Bacon craze? Oh, I hope it's over. It was fun and then it was silly and then it got tedious. Like those books that show 187 sexual positions: why? I say three's plenty unless you do it eight times a day and bore easily. Since a household of two with one vegetarian can use only so much bacon anyway, but in nothing to be shared unless friends come over, the bacon-wrapped hot dog and the chocolate-coated stuff (at $20 for five pieces!) at the fair are as loony as I get. And even though I adore the stuff I do not want any in my hamburger, thanks all the same.

Jul 25, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics
2

Pureeing the Myth of Sriracha Sauce

Sorry, I don't go all purist about sauces, I just use what I like for each particular purpose. Huy Fong Sriracha was a welcome discovery because I had no real choices between sambals and those sticky-sweet chili sauces until this came along. I don't think of it as a hot sauce, but as a spicy one; I might put some Yucateca habañero sauce in the eggs I'm going to scramble, but it's Sriracha I'll likely put on the scrambled ones. Sriracha and fish sauce is my go-to marinade for tofu cubes when I'm making Pad Thai or some similar dish, and nobody I've fed it to has complained or left the tofu uneaten on the plate …

Jul 24, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics
1

WHICH FISH SAUCE? Different ones for different purposes? Oyster sauce, too.

Mercy, that's twice what I paid for Red Boat at 99 Ranch in Arcadia, CA. I saw some prices mention in a newspaper article about fish sauce, and expected to be spending a whole lot more.

Squid was one of the brands I'd been using when I first got into this, mostly to do vegetarian dishes, but I like Red Boat for everything. Yes, I know, but the vegetarian Mrs. O has decreed that as far as she's concerned the anchovy is not a fish but a condiment, so we don't have to mess around with no damn vegetarian fish sauce!

Jul 24, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics
1

How good is your flavor imagination?

It's always been pretty good and has just gotten better, even as my tasting ability diminishes. What I like most about it is having the ability to think up a new dish and rough out the recipe with pen and paper, sitting with a glass of wine at the dining table of an evening (it functions as my desk). Thirty or forty years ago I sketched up car designs; now I sketch food. Well, I'm a hell of a lot better cook than I am a mechanic!

Jul 24, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics

Petit Trois, No Reservations, No Phone, No Cash & No tipping...

Though not great, Bistro de la Gare in South Pas is damned good, very casual and very well embedded in its neighborhood. Now that they have a much better chef/owner and have subdued the clamorous interior that the former owner actually liked (!!!) it's great just for a glass of wine and some snails, or one of the variations on the theme of steak frites. No cocktails, dammit, but a nice if smallish wine list.

Jul 24, 2014
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

Turning pimento cheese into pimento mac and cheese?

I want to split the difference between beaten to a paste and discrete shreds, so last batch I made was with Trader Joe's shredded sharp cheddar – very fine shreds – but beaten by hand with my favorite wooden spoon.

I keep forgetting to mention that this is my favorite substance for stuffing celery stalks.

Jul 24, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

questions about ham and olive oil

If anyone gives a hoot I've got a recipe I came up with for Tennessee Straw and Hay, made with country ham instead of prosciutto. Works a whole lot better than maybe it should.

Jul 23, 2014
Will Owen in General Topics

What's your favorite way to cook?

When I'm cooking tight, nothing beats Bach; it's exactly the same as when I'm writing or editing copy. Mathematically precise music that also happens to be lovely somehow runs a comb through my neurons and makes everything clear. On the other hand, when I'm cleaning up, Blondie works pretty well: "The tide is high but I'm holding on …" Yee ha.

Jul 23, 2014
Will Owen in Not About Food

Turning pimento cheese into pimento mac and cheese?

I have to use the diced pimentos because you can barely taste them; Mrs. O is dramatically averse to the flavor of sweet peppers, though the hot ones (even just the hottish ones) are okay by her. For some reason the barely-there flavor of jarred pimentos just makes it right for her. No other preparation containing pimentos does, odd though it might be.

Jul 23, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

Turning pimento cheese into pimento mac and cheese?

Yes. You have the sauce right there; it just needs to melt into the pasta, so simply drain the macaroni and stir it and the cheese together, then put it into a baking dish and run it through a 350º oven for about fifteen-twenty minutes. Topping it with slices of Roma tomato would be good too.

I've never had any problem getting rid of pimento cheese in this house, even if it's just the two of us … and do not believe for one minute those cautions about "Will keep refrigerated for about one week." That is total hooey. One of the reasons it's so popular for picnics in the South is that it can sit out all day without going bad or growing anything, and while it's not quite immortal in the fridge (especially if you've gone and put cream cheese in it) it'll be okay for two weeks if not three. And chances are good that the only deterioration might be a spot of fuzzy mold, which can just be scraped off unless it's the red or orange kind.

Oh, it makes KILLER grilled cheese sandwiches too!

Jul 22, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking
1

poached chicken??

All due respect to Frugal, but the rule I read was that if it's broth you want, start it in cold water, but if you want cooked meat get the water boiling first. That's why a good poached-chicken recipe will recommend bring the cooking liquid to a boil then pouring it over the chicken in its pot.

With the usual-sized packaged breasts I get the stock going at a good simmer, not quite a boil (about 195º), and drop in room-temperature breast halves. Ready for me (almost imperceptibly pinkish) in about ten minutes, done to FDA standards in twelve. Still edible in fifteen, unless you goof and let it start bubbling – it's supposed to just move.

Jul 22, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

Fun With Marinated Artichokes

Oh, my … our next-to-last day in France we were in Nice, staying with some of Mrs. O's relatives. Abel, the husband, took us out on his boat for a day to show us as much of the Cote d'Azure as we could stand, and at midday he hauled packages of these from the cooler. Floating between two small but extremely popular islands teeming with attractive, barely dressed people, eating those delightful sandwiches, then climbing down into the cool water to wash off the vinaigrette residue … Oh, my. Think I'm gonna need one of these.

Jul 22, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

What's your favorite way to cook?

We have one friend, a man in Nashville, with whom I can cook comfortably … and when I'd help in his kitchen his nephew, a chef, would often be there too, and we'd both work under Jerry. When Jerry came out to visit for a few days I was happy to see we could work together in mine. And after thirty-some years I can deal with Mrs. O and maybe a friend or two in the kitchen unless I've got to really focus on something or need to be all over the room, and then I shoo them out.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Not About Food

What's your favorite way to cook?

My favorite way to cook is how I'm cooking tomorrow, which is during the day with nobody else around and MY music (Classical KUSC) playing loud enough to hear it if I want to. I'm poaching a chicken and making French potato salad, all to be served cold Wednesday night to a group of Mrs. O's high-school buds; as it's a girls' school I'm not invited, but that's okay (I get to eat out!). Both dishes are easy to make but require lots of different processes, especially the chicken, since it involves making a broth, boiling and straining it, pouring it (boiling) over the tied-up chicken and then simmering it gently for an hour and some … lots of stuff that's hard for me to concentrate on with people coming in and asking questions. Alone like this if I screw up it's all me, so I intend not to!

I'll also clean as I go for two good reasons: no spare work space, and limited number of pots.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Not About Food

Discrimination in Restaurants - does it influence where you dine?

Nope. We didn't go to Cracker Barrel for the few years they were firing/not hiring gay and lesbian workers, however much I missed the Cousin Hershel's Favorite breakfast platter. And honestly, when I learn of a restaurant that treats its employees like galley slaves I'll avoid it, not simply because I'm against mistreating people but because I don't like the atmosphere in such places. If the boss is a butthole they'll likely take it out on me.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Not About Food
4

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

About three or four years behind. They moved just a few blocks east to a freestanding building on the south side of the street, with plenty of parking they don't share with anyone.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

Oh!! Good to know!

ipse, if real estate values are going up it's most likely that the landlord will decide the rents must do the same. The restaurant owner – I'd think especially in the SGV, where unfortunately we eaters have gotten so used to $10-per-head dinner tabs it's a wonder anyone makes any money – is already on very thin ice. Arguments about whether we're ready to pay the price to start giving the kitchen staff something resembling a living wage are something we can't really address here – you should ask Tony Bourdain about this if you want an earful – but as greedy as the restaurant owner might be he's being asked to choose between losing his profits or losing his customers, who must also be considered a part of the equation.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

"thin" cooked egg yolks.. what could they be doing?

A lot of times when I flip frying eggs instead of turning them with a spatula one or both yolks will break, and they do stay encased in white. Since I like them however they come out if they're to be plated, I don't mind at all.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

"thin" cooked egg yolks.. what could they be doing?

Oh, I do like runny yolks all right, just not running through my fingers! Or into my lap.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking
1

Fun With Marinated Artichokes

Always had to stop there coming back from any trip to Monterey when I lived in Palo Alto.

Jul 21, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

I think physical space is AN important consideration, if not the most important. Their old space in that square with Golden Deli had us tangling elbows with the surrounding tables, and an ungodly mess on the table by halfway through dinner. The current one was a big improvement, especially with the multiple dining areas, but they could still stand to go bigger if possible.

Jul 20, 2014
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

Newport Seafood San Gabriel Location Closing?

Greedy landlords can and do kill lots of businesses, but restaurants are especially vulnerable. Har Lam Kee on Garvey was a big favorite of ours, and I was trying to make a date for there with the rest of our posse when I learned that the next day would be their last. I haven't been by there lately, but if it's boarded up I'm gonna gloat a little.

Jul 20, 2014
Will Owen in Los Angeles Area

Fun With Marinated Artichokes

My stovetop-to-oven mac'n'cheese often has tomatoes, onion and those poblano strips that come frozen and peeled; I can't do bacon for home consumption, but the artichokes would fit in as a good alternative to the chiles. I do think maybe adding a smoked cheese to the mix would be a nice move too. I usually just do a mixture of sharp cheddar and fontina.

Jul 20, 2014
Will Owen in Home Cooking