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Great find!! - California Black Velvet Apricots at Costco.

Mine were good! My neighbour's kids loved them and she said she'd get them more. But she just was not understanding that these are not just plums - so I think the kids are in for a disappointment.

Anyone try Richmond Station's New Menu?

Ask if they're serving a tasting menu, if you like that sort of thing. It wasn't on the menu the last time I went but it was available and great value and we got to try small portions of lots of stuff.

The couple on a date at the table beside us was covertly envying the dishes that just kept coming.

Beckta, Ottawa

Also went to Beckta while in Ottawa. It might just be personal preference, but I had more fun at Atelier.

The food was all simply and competently prepared, but it was perhaps not the most exciting experience. Atmosphere and service were first-rate. Though I was one of the first to arrive, the restaurant was fairly busy by the time I left with couples on dates and out-of-town diners.

I would like to find out how the beluga/black lentils are prepared without their colour leeching out, though. Anyone know?

I've included pics of my favorite dishes.

Enjoyable, but perhaps not my thing.
226 Nepean Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Goulash House Newmarket

Returned a while ago and... hm, the novelty has worn off a bit for me. The food was just OK, though service and atmosphere remained friendly.

Atelier, Ottawa

(heh, posted the 'blini' pic only because it's such a nice pic... there was nothing really special about that particular dish)

Atelier, Ottawa

I went to Atelier on a work trip... The food here was unapologetically molecular - super reduced sauces, nitrogen, liberal use of sous vide and so on.

A tasting menu is all that's available and cutesy names (not a fan, but whatever, the staff seem to enjoy them) tell you almost nothing about what you'll be eating. The dishes are described as they come to the table, however. Nothing was less than interesting/beautiful and a lot of it was really tasty.

Service was personable and they had a half-portion-wine pairing for about half the price if you don't like to drink a lot. On the night we went, we were the only guests, but apparently they can get quite busy.

A beef tartare was delicious with nitrogen frozen cream, sauces and a brushstroke of super-reduced beef broth. I really enjoy tartare and this was one of the best that I've had.

Highly recommended and good value for an admittedly mid-high price ($110 for the tasting menu). Since I'm not often in Ottawa, I'll be sure to return to see what new creations are produced.
540 Rochester Street
Ottawa ON K1S 4M1

Consumer Reports Investigates Exploding Pyrex

Up to you I guess. I don't think it's easy to differentiate glass visually. They could look different and still both be borosilicate or soda lime.

Edit: I guess I should state a source:

"The American-made Pyrex and Anchor Hocking bakeware we tested, made from soda lime glass, shattered at lower temperatures in our tough heat tests than European-made pans, which are made of a more expensive glass, borosilicate. U.S. Pyrex and Anchor Hocking glass bakeware used to be made of borosilicate but no longer are."

In general, I trust Consumer Reports. And Corning spokespeople are being remarkably cagey in their responses.

Dec 09, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware

Consumer Reports Investigates Exploding Pyrex

Glass is great for pastry. If you're using decades pyrex, it's fine. Older stuff is borosilicate.

For new stuff, you can still find borosilicate stuff out there - it's just not made by pyrex.

Nov 28, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware

The Costco Thread - new products, old favourites, interesting items

After reading great reviews, I bought one of these from Costco but I had to return it... It tasted overwhelmingly of celery.

I'm not overly picky but I'll have to stick with liquid stock.

Richmond Station - Tasting Menu

Black Hoof, last month, refolded my seatmate's paper napkin.

I feel a bit bad complaining because it's well-meant. But I think it's misguided and I imagine the servers have better things to do as well. While it irks me, it won't prevent me from returning to either restaurant.

I've had a couple of Michelin starred restaurants refold - though you're right, it may have been spoons. Also, they have clearly different staff serving food and clearing tables, which warms my crazy soul but I realize only very expensive restaurants can do that.

Nuts -- to toast or not...

When lazy, I don't put nuts in the batter, I sprinkle them on top - they get nice and toasted (texture and flavor) without the work.

Brownies work especially well for this. I'd imagine pecan pie (where the nuts float to the surface and get direct heat) might be similar.

A-ok foods (ramen by yours truly)

It's not only the umami, it's the gelatin mouth-feel that comes from the animal bones and cartilage.

I'm not sure there's a great substitute for that. Thickeners (agar, corn starch) are ok but they don't have that 'fatty/sticky' feel to them and are sometimes unsuited to long simmers - corn starch would have to be last minute.

Richmond Station - Tasting Menu

At the really higher end restaurants, though, they have staff dedicated to doing 'non-food' tasks like that and even then, they tend to use tongs. And if they're at all dirty looking, they get replaced.

Lately, though, the mid-range restaurants (paper napkins? just replace them, if you want... these were cloth though) seem to be doing it but missing the crucial part about not mucking in people's mouthwipes.

Richmond Station - Tasting Menu

Hm, tried to add more than one pic and it didn't work.

Richmond Station - Tasting Menu

A couple more pictures, self-indulgent text on my site, (recommend skipping it and just reading this :) )

The tasting menu is not listed on the menu, which is a shame. At $65 (we only saw the price afterward), it's very good value and a lot of fun. The couple beside us was gazing longingly as dish after pretty dish appeared at our table - pretty funny, but also I felt bad for them. Put it on the menu!

- A starter of raw oysters was fine

- Charcuterie was more fun, with most of the meats prepared on-site.

- A tiny cup of gazpacho was bright and tomato-y

- Lobster roll was somewhat of a revelation. I had been considering trying a McDonald's lobster roll - they aren't usually available outside of the Maritimes - but this completely killed that curiosity. Briny lobster flavor dominated a very light creamy sauce. The toasted house-made milk bread was perfect, both on its own and paired with the lobster. I could have eaten a loaf of that. It was the dish of the night!

- Quinoa salad was about as good as a salad can be. Sweet corn kernels and nutty white beans were a perfect contrast to creamy hummus. House-made hickory sticks were a clever vegan substitute for bacon that worked really well. I might steal this with commercial sticks, but it probably won't be as good.

- Rabbit stew didn't do anything for me. It was too lean and 'composed' overall, I think. What's the point of a stew if it's all cooked separately?

- Seared tenderloin with roasted veggies kinda sealed the value proposition. It was perfectly cooked (and they didn't ask how we wanted it).

- Dessert was a bit too restrained for me. Rhubarb sorbet was packed with flavor but just a bit tart for me. Crumbled angel cake didn't add any richness either.

Service was pretty great. They lost track of the courses a bit, so the tenderloin was a bit of a surprise. But they explained each dish and we were well attended to (sigh, refolding napkins, is that a thing now? yuck).

Richmond Station
1 Richmond St W
Mailbox 8
Toronto, ON
M5H 3W4

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

OK, of the proteins in the pad thai, beef is definitely the best. Marinated and tenderized (which, not always a good thing, but given the alternatives) it was spicy and very tasty.

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

Surprisingly, a lot of the fusion pad thai dishes actually use ketchup giving a rather distinctive color...

Tamarind would be pretty distinctive, and I'm sure more authentic for the 'sour-sweet' taste.

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

Whups, just fished it out of the recycling bin. Tues through Sunday 11am to 8pm.

Their fresh rolls had shrimp and chicken, but a friend ordered them without.

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

Oh. Strange, I think it was the last post.

Heh, it's like a who's who of Chowhound.

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

I have their takeout menu in front of me and they have about 4 veg entrees, 3 of which contain egg. I'm sure they'd make stuff without meat though.

Fresh rolls are on the menu and they don't usually include meat, and there seem to be a lot of veggie appetizers (though you might have to ask if the sauces contain meat products).

Cambodian Noodle King (Newmarket)

Since it was only mentioned in passing in other threads (thanks dory and davwud), I thought it should be a new thread.

Great food, inexpensive, friendly family service. A few flaws didn't detract from overall deliciousness.

Pad Thai: non-sweet, no ketchup style (which I much prefer). Noodles are crazy tasty, protein tends to be indifferent (shrimp are unseasoned, chicken slightly tough) but it doesn't detract from the dish because the noodles are SO GOOD. Maybe slightly oily if you're picky. Generous crushed peanuts are appreciated - it's the first place that I feel like I got as much as I wanted. Large portion, almost enough for two (too much for one with medium soup).

Noodle soup: delicious broth (comparable to Swatow in Toronto!) redolent with garlic. No complaints, really. Tried the 'everything' option (everything was great) and have now settled on the tendon soup as my favorite. I added some siracha to the first bowl for spice, but it became too salty - mistake on my part.

Coconut shake: great with spicy food but I was uncomfortably full when I tried all three, so this gets sacrificed to the altar of food that's reheatable.

Full text (rambly) and pix (not really well done) on my website. But eh, I think this here is more to the point.

Cambodian Noodle King
110 Pony Dr., Unit 15,
Newmarket, Ontario
L3Y 7B6

Richmond Station - Yonge and Richmond

But I'm sure you know the Roman goddess had it first :) Sister-wife of Jupiter.

Goulash House Newmarket

Excited to try CNK.

that pig belly got the better of me..

Interesting. I guess it's not a recipe that includes cracklings.

Googled it.... The pic shows the skin removed too

Jul 04, 2013
randomthoughts in Home Cooking

Tramontina clad, Cuisinart MCP or other 2 qt. stainless steel saucepan?

Don't think you can go wrong with almost any clad pan. Rolled lips are useful but not all are created equal. My Henkles pan lips pour much better than my Kitchenaid lips did, though both were rolled. (The KA pans had awful handles too.) So maybe take a bottle of water to the store?

I have KA, Henkles and All-Clad pans (all full clad). Cooking isn't too different on any of them (maybe the AC is a bit more responsive).

I like the pour and the handles on the Henckles the best:

Jul 03, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware

that pig belly got the better of me..

Nope, don't remove it, that's the part that will crisp.

Sounds like your knives need a good sharpening - they do have to be VERY sharp to easily cut through pig skin. Good call on using the snap-off blades - that's a good tip.

Jul 03, 2013
randomthoughts in Home Cooking

Goulash House Newmarket

Went here the other day and enjoyed it greatly.

I thought the 7-layer cake was a bit dry but the other cake dessert was terrific. I'm eager to go back to try other items on the menu. Meat platters aren't my favorite thing, but it seemed the best way to try the most things on the menu. It was executed very well.

Service and atmosphere was also fantastic.

Full review with pix:

Commercial Mixer?

When I was researching the last time, the only difference between the commercial and non-commercial versions of the KA top line mixers were minor alterations required for certification: a heavier duty power cord and cast aluminum attachments.

The KA Q&A section I think has these issues discussed, I think.

Jul 02, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware

CHOW Reviews: 12-Inch Chef's Stainless Steel Fry Pan from Emeril by All-Clad

I think The Good section is misleading.

"If you need a 12-inch fry pan and you like the All-Clad name" and you buy this pan, I kind of think you're too obsessed with brand. After all, what makes All-Clad pans is the CLADDING over ALL the entire pan's surface. That's the feature of regular AC pans and this lacks it.

Smoking can come largely from using unclad pans over gas. When I had an electric stove, bottom-clad pans were fine. But as soon as any heat touches thin stainless steel, it scorches the oil that splashes on it.

Fry pans are especially bad this way because the flared sides are so easily exposed to heat.

I guess I feel the review is too generous. This is a 12" frypan with an 8" cooking surface in the middle.

Jul 02, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware

Consumer Reports Investigates Exploding Pyrex

Wow, cannot believe the number of "you're doing it wrong" posts.

Personally, I try to only use borosilicate glassware for anything hot. I think that claims of soda lime glass having increased physical shock resistance is a misdirect

The difference in shock resistance is marginal and the true reason for switching to soda lime glass is the non-marginal difference in manufacturing price. Borosilicate still has a very good mechanical strength.

Frankly, if I drop glass, I don't mind if it breaks. At least I'll be expecting it.

Borosilicate is superior in every other respect than price - shatter resistance, thermal shock resistance, melting point, etc. When it does break, it tends to do it in large pieces rather than shatter into tiny shards (like tempered soda lime) - much easier to clean, though possibly sharper on the edge.

Anyway, there's a reason why laboratory glass is almost exclusively borosilicate.

There are myriad sources for all of the above but here's a university chem lab's glass shop:

Jul 02, 2013
randomthoughts in Cookware