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Any good bagels in NM?

I made it to The Bagel Deli in Rio Rancho last weekend. We bought a dozen which is actually 15 because they give you 3 extras. The crust is pretty good and the bagel has real chew. They were sold out of some of their choices, so we got sesame, garlic, green chili and jalapeno cheddar. The flavors are a bit light but they're OK. So far these are my favorites in Abq/Rio Rancho. It's a bit far for us to drive, so I expect we'll make big purchases to freeze for later.

Sep 27, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

Budai, ABQ: authentic Chinese/Taiwanese, and it's AWESOME

I've been going to Budai since I discovered it on this board sometime in the spring. They're far and away the best Chinese resto I've found in the area. I've been with friends who are from Taiwan and are regulars there, and we get off-the-menu items like chicken feet. If you speak Mandarin, see if you can negotiate.

Off topic question: I read in the Best of Burque poll that Chow's Asian Bistro is rated #1 in Abq. How is this possible?

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Chow's Asian Bistro
10000 Coors Byp NW Ste G217, Albuquerque, NM 87114

Budai
6300 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Sep 14, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

Any good bagels in NM?

That does it! It's a long drive for us, but good bagels at $6 a dozen are worth it. I've been through Einsteins, Wolfe, Smiths, Whole Foods, Sunflower and some smaller places I don't remember. None of them gets the crust or the chew right. Some seem like a dinner roll in a doughnut shape.

Thanks to DebitNM for pointing it out, and finlero for the review.

Sep 14, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

We've been there too. We tried their biscochitos but the Chile Cheese Bread is a bit more than we wanted to pay. I think it's around $9 which is a bit high for a loaf of bread. When we were there they were out of baguettes.

Sep 14, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

Thanks for the heads up! I agree that baguettes and croissants are the standards by which to judge a bakery. We used to drive to Clear Flour in Brookline for their baguettes anciens and gruyere croissants. Now I feel all teary...

Sep 08, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

Thanks for all your recs. We are compiling lists of places to check out. Thank you also for your welcome and the good humor. Passadumkeg I'll be sure not to look for chowder or go to Grants to shop for groceries, lol! If I can find an acceptable bagel, I'll be reasonably happy. Or we'll have to haul back suitcases of bagels when we go east. Hope Einstein turns out a good bagel. I love farmer's markets so I will find the cheese and bread vendors when we do our market tour.

So far we're happy with the restaurants. Thanks to this board, we discovered Mary & Tito's, Budai and Torinos on earlier visits. I found Street Food (next to Flying Star on Central) by accident. I've been to the Whole Foods on Academy and found great produce. We're looking forward to the Friday night dinners at Torinos and exploring Zinc and Savoy.

Thanks all!

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Budai
6300 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Aug 07, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

Thank you very much! We will check out your recommendations. A fabulous cheese department is exactly what I want, and a good ciabatta would help ease the homesickness pangs.

If you know the Boston area, we lived down the street from Kimballs, who are regularly listed as having the best ice cream in an ice cream-mad state. My husband tears up at the mention of mocha chip.

I'm sure we'll love living here once we get settled. Hatch chile is on our list. Sorry if I sounded whiny. The people here have been great - friendly and welcoming.

Aug 07, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

We've just relocated to Abq from Boston and are pining for good bread and cheese. For fellow ex-Bostonians, our meccas are Formaggios, Russos, Iggys and Clear Flour. Where can we find good breads? We've tried Paris and Great Harvest and been disappointed. So far the best we've found are the demi-baguettes from La Brea that Costco sells. We're looking for a good artisanal francese bread with real crust and flavor. Also, we're sell our firstborn for good bagels.

I haven't seen any cheeses I really like. Is there a place where we can get Brie de Meaux, or a gorgonzola dolce?

Thanks much,
Cheryl

Aug 06, 2011
cheryl_h in Southwest

"How is everything?"

I like to be asked how everything is going with my meal, though it's obviously just pro forma for most servers. I seldom bother with any complaint, it's usually not worth the hassle. Though one time I was with a group and everything was so terrible that when the server asked us how everything was, we unanimously burst into laughter. He backed away quickly and we didn't see him again until he presented the check.

Jun 22, 2007
cheryl_h in Not About Food

caesar salad - store bought or home made?

I never buy bagged salads. The bacteria levels are far higher than buying a head of lettuce and cleaning it myself. I've never bought caesar salad dressing either, I dislike the odd flavors from preservatives. Sorry not to be more encouraging.

Jun 18, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Hot Smoked Salmon

I smoked a whole Copper River salmon last week and we're just finishing off the last. As already said, it shouldn't be salty, but you have to live with it. It makes a great pasta sauce or dip as others have noted. One dish I tried last summer, was a strata, a kind of savory bread pudding. The recipe is here:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

I cut back on the potatoes a little. It was amazingly good, the taste of the smoked salmon was a lot stronger than I would have expected from such a small amount.

I've also made chowder. This is one online recipe for a hot-smoked salmon and corn version - you can find others by doing a google search:

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

Jun 18, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

CA transplants in Albuquerque...recs needed please!!

Most of this website is dedicated to Albuquerque. Click on Duke City Dining.

Jun 18, 2007
cheryl_h in Southwest

Seeing a lot of Copper River Sockeye here in Cali. Gimmick?

Consumer Reports did an article on wild vs. farmed salmon last year. They tested for the presence of the pigments fed to farmed salmon and if present, concluded that the salmon was farmed. If absent, the salmon was categorized as wild. The article said that during the summer, virtually all salmon sold as wild was truly wild (no pigment). But from September to May almost NONE of the salmon sold as wild was wild, it was just about all farmed. To the eye it looked exactly the same as wild salmon. This was true of fish bought at fishmongers, upscale supermarkets (Whole Foods) as well as standard supermarkets across the country. The conclusion was that to be sure your salmon was wild, buy only in season. I guess this applies to fish that hasn't been frozen.

Jun 16, 2007
cheryl_h in General Topics

Pickles, preserves, jams -- how do you preserve summer vegetables and fruits?

Last year I slow-roasted a case of plum tomatoes, then canned them in olive oil. We're gradually coming to an end of the 60+lbs. They made good tomato sauces possible during the winter months. I plan to do the same this year.

To slow roast, cut each tomato in half lengthwise. I sprinkle with a little salt, and roast in a low 200 - 250F) oven for around 2 hours. They shrink considerably. At this point they're delectable, like potato chips. I then packed them into canning jars, filled with olive oil and canned.

I also smoke-roasted them in a smoker over hickory at low temps. This makes for fabulous eating out of hand, also great to can and eat later.

Jun 15, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Seeing a lot of Copper River Sockeye here in Cali. Gimmick?

At the Nashua Costco they don't label farmed salmon as having color added, nor have I seen it in some MA stores so I don't think it is a NE law. Whole Foods is the only local store I know of that labels it as color added or not.

Jun 15, 2007
cheryl_h in General Topics

Chinese grocery in Littleton carrying Yi Soon baked goods, BBQ

It was a dollar store in one of its previous incarnations, perhaps a year ago? That didn't last long and it was taken over by the past owner who turned it back into a grocery. The shop is right next to Littleton Common.

Jun 15, 2007
cheryl_h in Greater Boston Area

Chinese grocery in Littleton carrying Yi Soon baked goods, BBQ

The last owner wanted to sell and he had a buyer (the present owner) but there was some problem with the landlord and the lease. So he was forced to keep the store. They sold off most of the old stock at deep discounts. This is from a conversation I had with the past owner around Feb-Mar.

The new owner seems to have better business sense. From what I can tell, they are focussing on fresh foods - the produce, baked goods and bbq, and slowly rebuilding the stuff on the shelves.

Jun 15, 2007
cheryl_h in Greater Boston Area

Chinese grocery in Littleton carrying Yi Soon baked goods, BBQ

There's a newish grocery store in Littleton, called the Littleton Common Market. It's newish because it's been around for a couple of years under different owners. The current store is carrying a good selection of Chinese vegetables and other foods. But the big change is that they are selling baked goods from Yi Soon in Allston, and you can order bbq items (roast duck, roast pork etc.) which are delivered over weekends. I'm not sure where the bbq comes from, but it's bagged in Super 88 bags.

I tried some of the baked treats last Saturday (the only day they come in freshly baked) and they were terrific. Prices seem to be the same as Yi Soon's (around $1.50 - $2 for a bag of cookies, 70c for egg custard tarts, around $1.50 - $2 for large pastries). They had a limited selected when I was there in the afternoon, but they do a lot of business in the morning so they were pretty shopped out. There's an order list so I assume you can place special orders, just as with the bbq items. I plan to order something from the bbq list to see how it compares. Having this available saves me a long drive into Boston.

So far the menus for Yi Soon and the bbq meats are both in Chinese only, and the people in the store that I've met have limited English. I'm going to try to persuade them to translate the menus into English which will help the non-Chinese speakers.

Jun 15, 2007
cheryl_h in Greater Boston Area

large lobsters vs. small lobsters

There is certainly more meat per pound in larger lobsters. And if cooked correctly, there is no difference in taste or texture. I always get the biggest lobsters I can find, the most recent (last New Year) weighing in at over 8 lbs. It was wonderful, even if DH needed a heavy mallet to crack the claws.

Jun 13, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Chinese desserts

Water chestnut pudding is as you describe. The flavor is a bit bland, sweetish. The water chestnuts add a nice crunch.

Jun 12, 2007
cheryl_h in General Topics

Great Yogurt

Mine too. I thought no-one on CH ate Byblos except me.

Jun 12, 2007
cheryl_h in General Topics

What the World Eats [moved from Not About Food]

I found the article very interesting. I wonder if the photos and amounts spent include restaurant meals. If not, that might distort the picture of what people are eating.

Jun 12, 2007
cheryl_h in Food Media & News

ISO: help reducing iciness in ice cream recipe

I agree, I was frustrated by the iciness in my homemade ice creams in spite of tons of fat. The stabilizer works like a charm. You have to get over any squeamishness about the notion of chemicals in your food - the stabilizers I mentioned are all derived from natural products which makes them seem less offensive. A big plus for me is that you can lower the fat content of your ice cream without sacrificing texture.

Jun 12, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

ISO: help reducing iciness in ice cream recipe

Carb Lover found it for me. It's from Icaffe, is a ready-mixed powder and comes by the kilo (!). Here's the link:
https://estore.icaffe.com/e_store.tpl...

Icaffe sells a whole range of gelato supplies which are normally sold to gelateria. I've tried some of their other products and find them generally good.

If the link doesn't work, you can do a google search on neutral stabilizer and icaffe. I got it last year after seeing an episode on Food Network in which Tyler Florence visited an Italian gelato maker. The recipe called for pureed fruit (figs, I think), sugar and neutral stabilizer. I got this product and so far I've used it to make sorbet (plum, lemon, blood orange) and ice cream. I'm still experimenting with it, trying to get the proportions right. The Food Network recipe called for about a tablespoon per quart of gelato which turned out to be all wrong. You get a slimy consistency which never freezes. I've found that about a teaspoon per quart works for me, but it probably depends on how watery your other ingredients are. You can reduce the amount but obviously the effects are reduced too. I added about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp to ice cream last summer and didn't find it made any difference. But the buttermilk ice cream which combined egg yolks with the stabilizer was simply fabulous, and is still smooth and creamy today.

I think you can make up your own stabilizer. The icaffe powder is just dextrose, locust bean gum and guar gum. Other stabilizers include xanthan gum. I think you can buy these from cake-decorating stores, but I've never tried to find them elsewhere.

Jun 11, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Is a rice cooker worth it?

We are also a family of two and we own a humongous rice cooker. For years it sat unused in the basement, then one day I dragged it out and made a big batch of rice. I separated the cooked rice into one-meal portions and froze almost all of it. When we want rice, it's simple to take out a bag and heat it. It's dead easy and makes rice available pretty much on demand.

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Cookware

ISO: help reducing iciness in ice cream recipe

Use a stabilizer. I mentioned this in another thread on buttermilk ice cream, but to repeat myself, Cook's Illustrated tested commercial vanilla ice creams. Their top picks had (1) stabilizer but no custard base and (2) stabilizer and egg-based custard.

After reading this, I amended the ice cream recipe I had planned and instead of 12 egg yolks per quart, I used 4 and 1 rounded teaspoon of stabilizer, a mixture of locust bean gum and guar gum. I also added more buttermilk to make it more tangy. I ended up with almost 2 quarts of ice cream, very rich-tasting and as smooth as any ice cream I've ever tasted. It's over a week since I made it and last night DH commented that this was smoother and silkier than the best premium ice creams. I should add that the ingredients (eggs, cream, buttermilk) come from small farms and are the best I can find.

I know people cringe at the thought of adding guar gum to their homemade mixes. All I can say is that it works. I plan more experiments this summer. Last year I found that the addition of stabilizer smoothed out sorbets and reduced ice crystals very nicely. The great advantage in ice cream is that you can lower fat without any loss of texture or flavor.

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Portion size in a restaurant...do you ask??

I don't tip an uncommunicative server less, I tip a helpful server more, starting from a standard 15 - 20% of the total. The tip reflects the extra service offered by a good server. I agree experience counts. Enthusiasm, knowledge and articulateness also count. Servers who have these qualities deserve something extra, don't you think?

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Not About Food

Portion size in a restaurant...do you ask??

I often ask about portion size, not because I'm afraid of getting too little, I'm more afraid of getting more than I can eat. Often I'm away from home on business so taking leftovers isn't a good option. I abhor waste, so I'd rather ask before ordering. In some restaurants, an order will easily satisfy two smaller appetites. I also ask servers if a dish is very rich or not if I want a light meal.

I find the responses from servers highly variable. Some clearly are confused by the question and give peremptory replies. Others are more helpful. I adjust the tip accordingly

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Not About Food

Bitter Zucchini

I agree with the recommendations to salt before cooking. Slice off a piece of the raw zucchini and eat it. Any bitterness should be apparent. If it is bitter, sprinkle the cut slices with salt and let stand for about 15-20 minutes in a colander. You'll get a fair amount of liquid coming off. Drain, rinse and dry well before cooking.

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking

Dried California Chili Pods

Are these the same as Anaheims? If so, look for recipes calling for New Mexico chiles. I make New Mexico chile sauce which I use for enchiladas and breakfast burritos, anywhere a tasty chile sauce with mild kick would add some zip. I highly recommend dry toasting the chiles in a pan before using. It brings out a smoky depth of flavor. I made two batches of chiles, one with toasted chiles, one without (too much of a hurry) and the difference was very obvious.

Jun 07, 2007
cheryl_h in Home Cooking