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Williams Sonoma gift card - what would you do?

The scraper blade is awesome!

1 day ago
gildeddawn in General Topics

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015

I got this. I tried it. It is ridiculously good. I should not know about it.

Apr 18, 2015
gildeddawn in Chains

Wien - Dinner recommendations - week of April 20-25

We were there two weeks ago and enjoyed Figlmuller (quite casual, classic Viennese, friendly service) and Ofenloch (less casual, but not terribly formal, more modern takes but plenty of classics, very nice and attentive service). Figlmuller didn't require a reservation on a weeknight, but on a weekend probably would have. We reserved at Ofenloch the same day via our concierge with no trouble, so I don't think we really needed to.

No trouble with smoke anywhere we went, except the ground floor of one cafe.

Apr 14, 2015
gildeddawn in Europe

your favorite Twin Cities Irish breakfast

Kieran's has one, too, but I haven't had it - I know it includes black pudding and white pudding, though.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - April 2015

Oh, my god. That sounds amazing. I'm going to have to find it next time I go - thanks for the heads-up!

Apr 09, 2015
gildeddawn in Chains

Can't taste or smell anything

Hey Danielle - check out the bottom of the thread - unfortunately, for me it took several months to improve, and still, a year later, isn't normal, but is much better. But others have improved a lot more quickly, so don't freak out too much yet. (I know, easier said than done.)

Apr 05, 2015
gildeddawn in Not About Food

Can't taste or smell anything

I'm sorry - it really sucks. If it's gone on for a couple of weeks, it's worth a visit to the ENT - there are other things that it could be aside from nerve damage, and they may be able to help.

If not, though, don't give up hope - mine took forever to start coming back, and I thought it wasn't going to, but then things (very gradually) started to change.

Apr 05, 2015
gildeddawn in Not About Food

Can't taste or smell anything

Hi - I'm here to assuage your burning curiosity. (Sorry for the delay - I was on vacation last week.)

The answer is mixed, but mostly good. Now, a year later, my sense of smell is sort of bizarre. I can smell some things normally - grass, pine, and natural scents are fine, as are Asian cooking smells like soy sauce and ginger, and things like that. Bathroom smells, to put it politely, are still very strange (sort of like wet cardboard?), as are cooking smells like meat roasting or bread baking. Scented soap and shampoo and things (even if they're only lightly scented) smell chemical and pretty awful to me, also, where they didn't before.

As far as taste, I'm happy to report it's almost normal, with the exception of a few things - braised or slow roasted meat does NOT taste the same at all, and, in fact, has an off-putting flavor to me now, almost a little rancid. (Which is a shame, because I used to really love it.) Bacon and other slow-smoked meat isn't very good, either, and mostly just tastes of salt. But, as far as I can tell, almost everything else is normal, including meat cooked quickly, like steak, and meat cured without smoke, like prosciutto.

So, a pretty good outcome, although I certainly wish the rest would come back to normal. A strange experience all around, really.

Grand Szechuan Near Bloomington Mn Cub Foods

Hm. We also ate there on the 21st, and thought it was quite good - Spicy Chengdu Dumplings, Quick Fried Crispy Fish, Country-style Chicken, and Fish-Flavored Broccoli. Service was a bit patchy, but the food seemed on. The Country-style chicken was really heavy on the ma la, but I loved it.

Another bread question

I agree - this method ought to work. Certainly worth a try to see what happens.

Mar 17, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

Asking For Piping Tips Because I Suck At It.


Honestly, I hate to sound unhelpful, but that's the trick. The more you do it, the better you get. Also, make sure you have a bigger tip on your icing bag - the small tips are meant for finer decorating work, and the bigger ones for things like cupcakes.

Mar 16, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

Great strawberry jam?

I feel like it's been an issue in the last several jars. The flavor's great; there just aren't enough strawberries in there.

Great strawberry jam?

Anyone know where to get really good strawberry jam or preserves? Local would be nice, but isn't necessary. I'm buying the Trader Joe's stuff, but the goo-to-actual-fruit ratio seems higher than it used to be. I'd love to find a good jam that's really full of fruit for a not-too-exorbitant price.

Minnesota-made food items for gift basket?

Check out the Heavy Table's local food gift guide for a bunch of ideas (including non-food items): http://heavytable.com/heavy-tables-20...

Also, visiting the Golden Fig would be a great way to get ideas, too.

Are You a Heretic: Do You Find Mozzarella and Provolone Flavorless?

I like Brick for lasagna cheese, if I'm making the non-bechamel style - it's an aged, mozzarella-like cheese with much more flavor. But it's pretty hard to find outside of Wisconsin.

Mar 06, 2015
gildeddawn in Cheese

Pears for salad?

Agreed - lots of different kinds will work. I like D'Anjou, as a rule. They tend to be sweet and juicy, but they're not as firm, if that's a factor.

Mar 03, 2015
gildeddawn in General Topics

Japanese grocery items

I bet we could. Or maybe I just wish it.

Dining Report: Caffe Biaggio

I also like Cafe Biaggio - we had a lovely, quiet, romantic dinner there this summer and thought they did a great job with everything - service, food, ambiance - the whole package. Not as adventurous or brash as Bar La Grassa, nor as unique as Broder's, but really good and classic.

Cakes. Where to begin?

Baker's Joy is also great - but not cheap, either, really. Parchment is the safest for a beginner, who might not get even coverage or might put too much flour on and get more residue than is preferable on the corners. But to each his own.

Feb 07, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

Cakes. Where to begin?

I've found the the heavier a cake is (so, think carrot cake, which usually has lots of oil and moist ingredients like carrot, raisins, etc.), the better it does gluten-free. I'm not much of a gluten-free baker, though, so I'll let others chime in.

As far as pans, the basics you'll want are:
2 8-inch rounds
2 9-inch rounds
1 9x13 rectangle

That's probably good enough to be getting on with. Get some parchment paper as well, and line the bottoms of those pans with it for any cake. Virtually guarantees they won't stick, especially if you grease before and after putting the parchment in.

If you want a nice, smooth icing or frosting, an offset spatula is a cheap and easy way to improve the finished look of your cake. Also great for smoothing the batter in the cake pan.

As for resources, I'd get yourself a copy of Baking Illustrated. It's a great reference and perfect set of base recipes, though I can't remember whether it has carrot cake or tres leches - it's more about basics than specialty cakes.

Feb 04, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

How long does it take to bake meatloaf??

My two pound recipe is 90 minutes at 350 at least. Sometimes 105. I think they tested poorly (or not at all). It happens.

Jan 29, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

Barking at Burch or Did I Pick the Wrong Tree? (Drink Prices)

I agree that I'd expect a call drink to cost roughly the same, or slightly less, than a "signature" cocktail. As far as the debit, it might be worth calling back about it, not so much to recoup the $1.50 as to make a point.

Quieter breakfast spots

Blue Plate restaurants tend to be pretty loud and busy for breakfast on the weekends these days.

Cinnamon Yeast Rolls

This one's my favorite (http://www.food.com/recipe/glazed-cin...) - the only difference from the instructions listed here is that I soften four tablespoons of butter and spread it over the dough before rolling, which makes the whole thing one level stickier and caramellier. (Not a word. Don't care.) Oh, and line the pan with parchment first, as well as skipping the "turn them out onto a rack" step at the end. Parchment will keep them from sticking to the pan, but turning them out still results in a big mess.

Jan 18, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking

Wing-type corkscrew that doesn't fall apart?

I have an OXO that I got this summer and I've been very happy with it so far.

Jan 13, 2015
gildeddawn in Wine

Hola Arepa

Just went for the first time last night, and thought it deserved a thread of its own. (Some mentions in other threads, I know, but I didn't find anything comprehensive.)

We loved it! The food was great - interesting, well thought-out, with complexity of flavor and what seemed like really fresh, high-quality ingredients. We had chips and salsa and guacamole to start, along with the vegetable special small plate, which was roasted yucca and butternut squash with arugula salad and a sauce made with pepitas. The salsas were really nice - lots of variety of flavor and good balance. Serviceable guac, too. The veggie appetizer was great - good acid and savory and sweet and salty balance, plus it was something I'd never had before, which is always nice.

For arepas, we had beef and plantain and black bean and queso fresco. Beef was really savory and complex, and the beans had nice bite, and went great with the pickled cabbage and roasted corn salsa. Also - the yucca fries were a revelation. I've never had them before and they were amazing - so light and crispy on the outside and creamy inside. Perfect frying job, and both the dipping sauces available (chimmichurri and aioli verde) were also excellent.

I also had a drink, and I'm going to go ahead and say it's one of the best cocktails I've ever had - maybe the best? Can't recall the name, but it was pisco, housemade cider, velvet falernum and pear shrub. I like a sweeter cocktail, and it was, but the vinegar bite at the end really made it.

On top of all that, attentive but not overbearing service, and everyone working there seemed happy to be there, from front-of-house to wait staff to bartenders.

Only slight negative was that it's a bit loud and tables are close together (and we had to wait 25 minutes, but it was a Friday night, and frankly, I'm glad they're so popular if it keeps them around).

Just a great experience overall. I can't remember the last time I was so satisfied with every aspect of a restaurant. We will be back.

Soy Sauce: Dark vs. Light

Agreed - for the Chinese classifications, Kikkoman is light.

Jan 09, 2015
gildeddawn in General Topics

what do you put on your cottage cheese?

Homemade applesauce.

Soy Sauce: Dark vs. Light

Dark is much sweeter, and in a recipe calling for sugar already, might be problematic. It's also not as salty as light, so it just doesn't have the same effect. I agree with letsindulge - light subs for dark, not the opposite.

Jan 08, 2015
gildeddawn in General Topics

Help me use my tomatillos

Great chicken tacos:

Carnitas with tomatillo/pork fat salsa:

Jan 05, 2015
gildeddawn in Home Cooking