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Hansel's Profile

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Seville (bitter) oranges?

Anyone know a source for them in Philadelphia? I think this is the season. Thanks!

Jan 25, 2014
Hansel in Philadelphia

Pete Wells doesn't like Han Dynasty

I have enjoyed dinner at Han Dynasty but, honestly, there are not very many Szechuan restaurants in Philly. NYC has had lots of really good Szechuan restaurants going back almost 40 years when I lived there. (Jeez, can't believe it's that long.)

Jan 25, 2014
Hansel in Philadelphia

Special occasion brunch not as pricy as Lacroix

For future reference, we recently had a very pleasant brunch at Talula's Garden at Washington Square. Definitely "refined" enough for older guests, and a nice menu selection.

Haven't myself been to Fork for brunch, but imagine that would be good as well.

Jan 21, 2014
Hansel in Philadelphia
1

Lunch/brunch near airport?

Thanks everyone, for all your practical suggestions. You were right...we were a bit ambitious for such a short layover. The Marriott turned out to be perfect - I mean, not exciting, but pleasant and highly convenient. Allowed us to maximize our time together and a pleasant place to hang out. Didn't realize how it was right there.

Thanks for talking sense...

P.S. Would like to try Tap Room some time, have not been. But brunch in Philly is always so crazy, so not willing to risk a wait on such a tight schedule.

Jan 18, 2014
Hansel in Philadelphia
1

Lunch/brunch near airport?

We're meeting a friend with a layover at the airport. Can anyone recommend a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with decent food in relative proximity to the airport? We'd like to go somewhere that we can get to from the airport and park in less than 15 minutes. Then, we hope to have a couple hours to hang out and eat.

Any ideas appreciated!

Jan 14, 2014
Hansel in Philadelphia

Best Ethiopian

Went to Baklava just this past week for Ethiopian food. We were the only guests on a Thursday night, and I was concerned that the wait might be long, but it was very prompt. Ordered the mixed meat and vegetable platter. It was good - a little spicier than I would like, though. Perhaps this would be a plus for someone else.

I have generally been disappointed in Ethiopian food in Philadelphia, so very interested in others' recommendations. Would also be interested in knowing if anyone local does 100% teff injera.

Dec 09, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Dinner near Camden Yards

We'll be staying one night at a B&B near Camden Yards in a couple weeks. I don't know Baltimore at all! Can you recommend a place for dinner in the area (or walking distance, don't mind long walk)? Ethnic would be good, or anything that is interesting or particularly good. All I've seen are references to the Corner Wine Bistro, which seems to get mixed reviews - any thoughts?

Thanks!

Oct 19, 2013
Hansel in Washington DC & Baltimore

Famous plum torte as muffins?

Thanks for everyone's help and suggestions! I think I will try this weekend. I have always used muffin liners, but I LOVE the idea of a sweet "crust." Thanks for the sugar idea!

Aug 05, 2013
Hansel in Home Cooking

Famous plum torte as muffins?

I love Marian Burros' famous "Plum Torte" recipe, which used to be printed in the New York Times every year. Has anyone ever made it into muffins? I think it would make spectacular muffins, but I've never made a cake recipe into muffins. Is it fairly straightforward - do you just cook them for less time, or do not all cake recipes make good muffins?

I also wondered about making my (sorry to brag) terrific carrot cake recipe into cupcakes.

If anyone has experience with this, please let me know. Thanks!

Aug 03, 2013
Hansel in Home Cooking

Favorite local pastries?

Thanks for these suggestions! I will definitely try the lemon bars next time I'm at RTM.

Sorry to be so out of the know, but I had never heard of Artisan Boulanger, which I see is opening at a new location and people seem quite excited. But this reminds me, does anyone know who makes the pastries at a variety of local coffeeshops, like Milk and Honey and Java Co. in Queen Village, Next Door Cafe up on Washington Square, etc.? They all seem to have the same croissants, which are quite good, as well as (and I really like these, they are very simple but good) little brioche rolls with sugar on top. They obviously all come from the same place, but I'm not sure where. I once asked, and I think they said someone who used to bake for Le Bec Fin, but I'm not sure.

Aug 03, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Favorite local pastries?

Woops! Now I realize why I couldn't find any mention of cannele - It's because I was spelling it wrong. It's canele, and it has indeed been recognized by chowhounds in these pages.

Aug 02, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Favorite local pastries?

Reading the recent thread on cronuts (which I've never had) made me wonder - what are favorite local pastries that people would recommend? I am surprised that there has not been a single mention on chowhound of Market Day cannele, which I think are just fantastic.

Coincidentally, I was looking for a "best blueberry muffin recipe" online recently, and what came up but an old chowhound thread which mentioned the late lamented blueberry muffins from the Pink Rose Bakery. (I was one of the posters.) I do miss them...

Aug 02, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Pita

Hamifgash Restaurant (811 Sansom) has fluffy pita. I like it a lot, though I'm no expert.

Jul 31, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Brunch near Walnut Street Theatre?

I agree that Jones would be good for kids. Never had brunch there, but imagine it would be good.

Another option would be the recently opened cafe at Talula's Garden. (208 W. Washington Square) There are a bunch of tables, but I think you order from one of two counters with chalkboard menus, rather than being waited on. I got there very early one morning before work, and they had just put out a beautiful looking frittata. I had a lemon scone that was outstanding, and I'm not even a big scone fan.

There's also a Pain Quotidien near the Walnut Street Theatre.

Jul 30, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Little Baby's Ice Cream in West Philly

I'd second the Zsa's recommendation. I know you want to get a cone in the neighborhood, so go to little baby's (I've never been.) But if you can make it to the Headhouse Market some Sunday, get a container of Zsa's to take home and share with mom. (They usually have a table at the Sunday market.). I'm a huge fan of the lemon buttermilk, which I think is incredibly refreshing (love that buttermilk tang) - just the thing for a hot summer day. The peanut butter is awesome too. They don't do cones, do have ice cream sandwiches, though I've never tried them. Zsa's is now my favorite ice cream treat.

Jul 27, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

local corn

That's odd - I've gotten good sized ears at Headhouse, and I thought they were very good. (And I'm sometimes a bit suspicious of the Jersey farmer because he always seems to have produce ahead of anyone else.) But I wouldn't call this the peak of the season. Really, for corn, I feel it's just the beginning of the season.

Jul 23, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia
2

local corn

If you don't mind the sweetness (and I didn't think these were too sweet), they were very good - tender, (not stiff cow corn), juicy, tasty. Beautiful ears, too, no wormy bits, but maybe that comes later in the season.

Jul 21, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

local corn

I thought they were both delicious. I know some people complain that the "super sweet" white corn is too sweet, but I really liked these. I did get some corn a few weeks ago (don't remember where) that was not great, but these recent ones were good.

Jul 21, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

local corn

Got some sweet white from the Amish farmer at the Reading Terminal (towards the back of the terminal, the one who sells potholders), and also from the Jersey farmer at the Sunday Headhouse Farmers Market.

Jul 21, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Using sour cherries (split from San Francisco Bay Area board)

Sorry, meant sugar, not dugar. Getting used to new phone

Jul 02, 2013
Hansel in Home Cooking

Using sour cherries (split from San Francisco Bay Area board)

Was it the Marian Burros plum torte? That doesn't have almond in it. But I was just wondering how her recipe would work with sour cherries. Would you have to add more dugar? Any advice?

Jul 02, 2013
Hansel in Home Cooking

Good/great bakeries in Philly?

Here's another vote for Market Day Canele. It's just the one pastry, but what a delight! The best canele I have had anywhere. They are usually at the Saturday Rittenhouse Market and the Sunday Headhouse Square Market, and I believe (though am not positive) that both markets would be open over the 4th of July weekend.

Apr 22, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Best soft tacos?

Thanks for all the helpful replies!

I hadn't really explored the taco scene much in Philly, though it does now occur to me that I had a good soft taco at the Headhouse Market last summer, and I'm now told that was Los Taquitos de Puebla. ( I realize also I did eat at their restaurant a few years ago, can't remember what I got, but it was good.)

I do especially like soft corn tortillas. The really great tortillas I got at the truck in Houston (outside the West Alabama Ice House, in case anyone goes to Houston) were called al pastor, which I thought is generally pork, but we all swore they were beef. Maybe they just had a dark sauce on them. They had nothing but onion, cilantro and lime, and some sauces on the side which I didn't use. (So yes, I think it is the traditional Mexican tacos I am looking for, barryg, not Tex-Mex.) In Austin, I also had some al pastor soft tacos, which, while very good, did not compare, and they were definitely pork with fresh pineapple.

I did buy a little taco cookbook in San Antonio before coming home because I figured I might have to try making my own. And I've already made a stop at the Tortilliera on 9th Street. But I suspect that your suggestions here will be better than my efforts.

Mar 17, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Best soft tacos?

I just got back from Texas - am craving soft tacos after having delicious ones out of a truck in Houston. Any recommendations?

Mar 16, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Best Ethiopian

I haven't been there in a while, but I've had good food at Kaffa Crossing, which is actually a coffee shop.

Mar 14, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

Bulk food/hippie grocery stores in Philadelphia

Well, West Philly will probably get you more old-fashioned hippies. I haven't been to the newly expanded Mariposa Co-op yet, but there's also a year-round Saturday farmer's market in Clark Park and numbers of ethnic groceries, as detailed in posts below.

I think the Passyunk neighborhood is more hipster-y than hippie... That neighborhood is currently fundraising and seeking members to open a South Philly coop, though. Could be a way to get in on the ground and have some say in what is offered.

Although not for bulk foods, I do recommend the farmer's markets. Headhouse starts in May. I think it compares favorably to the markets I used to go to in San Francisco, but that is some 25 years ago, before the Ferry Market opened.

And really, you will want to check out Reading Terminal, which is a mish-mash. I like the Fair Food Project, esp. for meats (pasture raised etc.) and esp. in the winter when there are fewer farmer's markets open.

Rainbow brings back memories...

Mar 14, 2013
Hansel in Philadelphia

So confused about brown rice in rice cooker

Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. I must say, that clay pot meal does look delicious, and there is something appealing about such a traditional, low tech cooking method.

Maximilien probably has the most sensible advice - why not just stick with the cheap cooker that I already am happy with? But I keep thinking that there is perhaps even more wondrous rice out there that I have not yet experienced. Is the emperor wearing any clothes? If I ever take the plunge and get a Zo, I'll report back.

Jan 16, 2013
Hansel in Cookware

So confused about brown rice in rice cooker

OK - I like short grain brown rice, toothsome and not mushy. I actually cook delicious brown rice in my little cheap rice cooker (you just push a button and that's it.) It also cooks pretty fast - 30 to 40 minutes or so for brown. So, what's the problem? My cooker is getting kind of scratched and beat up and starting to cook a bit uneven, so I was thinking of replacing it. I love rice, so I have been tempted to upgrade to a fancy Zojirushi (induction or fuzzy logic) (is there a difference?) But, first of all, the variety of machines is confusing. Secondly, and more troubling, is that I have read that it can take up to 2 hours to cook brown rice in these fancy machines! I really don't have time for that coming home late from work. And then some people complain that the rice is mushy! Can anyone tell me whether (and why) it makes sense to upgrade to a more advanced machine? Many thanks for any thoughts.

Jan 13, 2013
Hansel in Cookware

Good source for non-Chinese dried porchini mushrooms, Valhrona (or Callebaut choc), dried bulk foods

I haven't been there yet, but Mariposa Food Coop in West Philly recently enlarged its space and is open to non-members. Not sure what its selection of bulk foods is like, but perhaps worth a look.

Dec 07, 2012
Hansel in Philadelphia

Restaurant for birthday lunch near Glastonbury, CT?

Thank you for everyone's help. We had the birthday lunch a few weekends ago. I didn't get back to the discussion board to notice the last entry suggesting we might be able to book 2 hopewell specially for a lunch. But we were only about 12 people, so I doubt we would have been enough people.

We booked a private room at Max Fish - nice big room, attractive and very comfortable. They were nice enough to allow us to order off the regular menu rather than restrict us to a special limited menu with a set price. All in all, worked out quite well, and toddlers to octagenarian (including a vegetarian!) were satisfied.

Thanks again!

Oct 07, 2012
Hansel in Southern New England