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Morris Malken's Profile

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ISO - Your favorite chili powder?

3rd Gebhardts. Great chili powder.

Frozen dumplings?

At 99 Ranch, my preference is the Wei Chuan brand of frozen pork mini buns along with my homemade dipping sauce. For instant noodles, I like the IndoMie brand, especially their "chicken flavor," supplemented with fresh mixed chopped veggies.

Amazing Hole in the Walls near Westside??

That's easy. Abandon Lincoln at Jefferson. Head west on Jefferson to Vista del Mar where the Shack (great Shackburger!) is, turn south to Imperial Highway, where you turn east to your T-intersection at Main Street, El Segundo.

Fab's in Van Nuys -- Finally Open!

I’m joining the naysayers.

Gone is the old comfortable Fab’s Italian Kitchen. It is now called Fab’s Corner Cucina. Gone are the friendly, knowledgeable servers, the family atmosphere, the abundant home-style Italian food. The venue has become a pretentious, cutesy, noisy, dimly lit, corporate-style creation. The food has turned chintzy, lukewarm, under-spiced and a lot more expensive.

Oh well…. saves us a long trip over the hill on the 405 we always took in anticipation of simple affordable Italian food.

Looking forward to the competition mentioned by Carter. Please let us know where/when.

Fab's Italian Kitchen - Van Nuys

Whatever happened to Fab's? Have they reopened elsewhere, or are they totally gone from the scene?

Sisley Italian Restaurant, What to Order???

I’m very curious, foodhappy. Were you intimidated by all the negative posts, or did you persist and go to Sisley anyway? What did you order? How did you like it? Would you go again? I ask because I am faced with a similar opportunity (actually, an invitation) to dine at Sisley in West LA this coming weekend. I have been told to avoid their pizzas and their dinner rolls, and to try their chicken marsala and their Caesar salad. Any help would be appreciated.

best *tomatillo* salsa?

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

1 lb (about a dozen) fresh tomatillos, husked, washed, and cut into quarters.
1 cup chopped white onion.
3 or 4 chopped serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeds and all
Several cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro.
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Put all of this in a blender or food processor and process until minced finely. Add sugar and salt or to taste and let sit refrigerated for a couple of hours.

The salsa will keep refrigerated for several weeks. It can be adjusted for hotness and amount of cilantro.

This is HOT STUFF - Very Hot! I call this my "Salsa Starter," freeze it into ice cubes, and use the cubes as the hot ingredient in my salsas and Mexican dishes.

A variation is to (1) heat in a saucepan until tomatillos are soft, then blend, and (2) leave cilantro out of the mixture, but add the chopped cilantro in after processing.

Jun 01, 2007
Morris Malken in Home Cooking

Cooking baby artichokes for the first time

Artichokes Roman Style

12 small artichokes (or more. I use a package of them from Trader Joe's)
1 large lemon, quartered
1 large red onion cut in eighths (or two small red onions, cut in quarters)
2 heaping tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 tsp “Better Than Bullion,” dissolved in water)
1 generous dash of Bayou Magic or other Cajun/Creole seasoning powder mix
1⁄2 tsp Salt
ground pepper to taste

Remove all the outer leaves until you get to the yellow part. Cut off and discard the top 1/2 inch (not the root end – the other end). Trim stems until only the tender part remains. Slice artichokes in half top to bottom. Let sliced artichokes stand in a large bowl of cold water to which the juice and shells of the lemon have been added. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Arrange all ingredients (except lemon shells and the soaking water) in a deep saucepan. Bring to boil and quickly lower to a gentle simmer. Cover and Simmer for 20 minutes (no more). Serve hot, warm, or cold. This is a great side dish, or a fine appetizer. I put these in the fridge and then nibble on them occasionally right out of the fridge.

Dec 21, 2006
Morris Malken in Home Cooking

Donde esta great pizza?

I stopped in at Valentino's on Aviation Blvd - why are there no streets named like that in Brooklyn? - and took home a large purposely underbaked and unsliced sausage pizza. I asked for thin crust, NY style, and I propped open the take-home box just like you said. Preheated my pizza stone on the Broil setting for 3/4 hour, then slapped half of this huge monster on the stone along with some of my own sliced garlic and JuliAnned (hey, that's what Emeril calls it) homegrown basiligo, plus some oregano flakes, and some olive oil. 3 minutes, no longer! Mannagia! That was so tasty! With a glass of Vin Santo (not really, but red anyway), I almost fell off my chair. What a great experience.

Pupusas in the Southbay?

Yessir - that's Pupuseria Delmy in Wilson Park. I'm there every Saturday morning. Their curtido is KILLER!

Calendar's - Howard Hughes Center

Totally forgettable. Chain food at its worst. Avoid at all costs.

Where do I get a great sitdown tuna melt in Santa Monica at lunchtime?

I always thought of Tuna Melts as sooo pedestrian, you know you can always find a tuna melt at some diner in Laramie or North Platte, until I ran into the sublime sandwich made by the line cooks at Pepy's Galley, 12125 Venice Blvd, Mar Vista. I know, I know, this isn't Santa Monica, but it's kind of next door - worth a trip from SM. Why? Well, they make theirs on sourdough garlic bread. Kind of different and unexpected, but not to be missed, along with their so-so steak fries which truly come alive when dipped into the complimentary house-made salsa.

I once gave Pepy's the credit of having outstanding chilaquiles, but I take it back - they inexplicably changed their recipe some months ago, and they are now only sort of nondescript.

What is New York Pizza?

In making homemade pizza, I was amazed to discover that this, indeed, is one of the secrets to really great tasting pies. I discovered this one day right here on Chowhound when a now-unknown poster from Italy commented:

“The best pizza ‘sauce’ recipe, that which is used by many (if not all) pizza places here in Italy is just canned tomatoes (crushed), salt, pepper, dash of sugar and then oregano or basil. Mix together and spoon on to pizza dough. Do not cook the sauce first. That is the secret.”

Aug 18, 2006
Morris Malken in General Topics

J.R. Seafood Sold to Hop Li

I have never tasted a more delicious version of Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles as I routinely get at Hop Li. My order is almost always for take-out. Strips of cha shu, shrimp, bell peppers, rice noodles, bean sprouts, scallions, jalapeños, julienned leeks, scrambled eggs, and a faint taste of curry. All that mixed up in one dish. The order is so large, I can never finish it. Makes it taste more authentic when I remember to ask for chop sticks, soy sauce, and gai lak.

Pizza SAUCE

I’m with you, Mr Mouther. I NEED lots of sauce on my pizza. When I first started eating pizzas many years ago, they were called tomato pies, and the flavor was predominately tomatoes. The melted cheese showed up as little puddles of white mozzarella surrounded by oceans of sauce. Then I encountered a strange California phenomenon at La Barbera’s in West Los Angeles: pies which consisted of thick layers of melted cheese with nary a speck of sauce, unless you dug under the “soup” of melted cheese to discover a thin “schmear” of sauce, if you were lucky. The phenomenon took hold and turned into a craze. Others followed suit because everyone demanded tons of cheese, and there we have the new standard – a cheese pie with tomatoes relegated to an afterthought – now the national pizza of choice. La Barbera’s is long gone, but their creation persists. Even the vaunted pie at Brooklyn’s DiFara’s is stingy on the sauce.

I’ll have to be honest with you – I have not found a pizza here in SoCal as you describe since the passing of Dominic of Damiano’s fame. I now have to ask up front for extra sauce, and even then I often get grief from the server.

I once tried, with delicious success at that, asking for an upside-down pizza at Patsy D’Amore’s at the east end of the L.A. Famer’s Market on Fairfax. I had to explain what I meant: this is where the pizzaiolo puts the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top. You might give that a try.

Please let us all know if you are successful in your search.

chinese style spare ribs

My favorite Asian ribs recipe comes from SundaySupper.com. I’ve made Dr. Shi’s Fragrant Spareribs a few times and they’ve always been a hit.

Here’s the link: http://www.sundaysupper.com/ribs.htm

Jul 27, 2006
Morris Malken in Home Cooking

lunch in Van Nuys

When I'm in that general vicinity, I never fail to choose Fab's Italian Kitchen on Van Nuys Blvd, a block South of Ventura Blvd. Their lunch menu includes sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, and soups. Although not on the menu, I invariably gobble up a pretty good size order of clams oreganata, then sop up the heavily garlic-infused sauce with their sourdough rolls, and then I go breathe on somebody and watch their reaction.