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collinsgavornik's Profile

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WTB: whole wheat gemelli pasta

I'm looking for dried whole wheat gemelli and my nearby stores [star market and whole foods] have ignored my request to stock it, even though both carry a brand [DeLallo] that makes it. Has anyone seen it around?

Back story: When I lived in Texas, a local high end grocery chain called Central Market had a store brand whole wheat gemelli that was _the best_ texture and flavor. Women would actually stop each other in the pasta aisle to rave about it, it was that good. I once tried to buy a case from the Texas store and have them ship it up here, but had to go through their gift basket people who estimated it would cost over $100. [I'm obsessed, but I'm not crazy.] For a while I bought the DeLallo brand in bulk through Amazon, but discovered I had a little mouse problem that my landlord still hasn't resolved and I just don't have big enough mouse-proof containers to hide 16lbs of pasta at a time.

Questions using soda stream? ( Want to carbonate my own flavors)

I know this is an old stream, but I just got a soda stream and like everyone else, I want to experiment. I accept that carbonating things other than water can cause explosions, but the person that carbonated tea [unsweetened] just said it tasted bad, not that the thing overpressurized. Has anyone tried carbonating cucumber water? [water in which cucumber slices have been soaking, cucumbers removed] It seems like it could be awesome, but I'm afraid to destroy my kitchen to find out.

Jul 29, 2012
collinsgavornik in Cookware

Bergamot - Mixed Feelings: Talented Chef, Miserly Portions

As someone who worked in a real-live Japanese restaurant for years, I can confidently say that tempura shouldn't have panko crumbs. Those are two different things. Tempura is just fry-batter, ideally light and fluffy, yes, but not breaded with panko like for a katsu. If you've been eating things called tempura _with_ panko, you may need to redirect your indignation there [although anything can happen with fusion, I know].
Chefs call things "tempura ___" because it sounds more refined than "fried ___", but it's really no different than using french cooking terms on a menu...

I've always been very, very happy with Chef Pooler and Bergamont and have always left satisfied, but perhaps that's because I am of the more slender persuasion.

Dwelltime Cambridge -- Anyone been?

Don't get me started on on people who order large lattes, though. Only a toddler needs 16oz of whole milk.

Dwelltime Cambridge -- Anyone been?

Are you being pretentious, or are you implying that they are? Speaking as a former non-chain barista, I'm pretty sure any coffee joint in this country expects its employees to make any coffee drink on the menu at any time of day. Even coffee shops in the North End aren't faux-authentic about when they serve their capps.
And I _love_ a good cappuccino as an afternoon treat, so I'll definitely stop at Dwelltime the next time I walk home from Kendall and give it a shot. [unintended pun, but I'm keeping it]

Should I give the Painted Burro a second chance?

I should mention I'm pretty anti-sweetener in my margaritas and got mine without the agave nectar... I tried my friends and it wasn't cloying at all, but I preferred mine without it.

Should I give the Painted Burro a second chance?

I was very happy with my Painted Burro experience and intend to go back soon. Great meal [veggie tacos and veggie enchiladas split with a veggie friend] and margarita [rocks/salt].... my only quibble is that I would have loved some borracho or charo beans with my tacos, even if I had to get them separately, and saw online that they had "house pickles" and hoped for escabeche, but they were gone from the menu in person.

I would also question the in-house tortillas.... maybe the ones they fried for chips, but the ones they served with the tacos clearly had the stamped marks from a tortilla pressing machine and I've never known a restaurant that is not also a tortillaria to have one in-house. Personally, I'd rather have fresh tortillas for my tacos and store-bought chips, but maybe they couldn't keep up with demand when making them to order. [There's a reason the good restaurants back home in Texas employ abuelita-types to do nothing but make tortillas during service. Those women have teflon fingers.]

First Impressions: Lone Star Taco Bar

My bona fides? I'm from small town west Texas [~40% Latino population] and go home once or twice a year. I lived for several years in Houston and several more in Austin. The only time I've ever had a Michelada with tomato juice was a Budweiser "Chelada" I tried at a party. I admit I've never spent much time along the coast, so maybe the tomato juice is a beachside thing. It seems like that would be sweeter.

First Impressions: Lone Star Taco Bar

In my world, the Michelada doesn't have tomato juice, or at least it shouldn't.... just lime, hot sauce [pepper based, no toms] and some combination of soy/worchestershire/Maggi seasoning + salt & pepper. There are regional variations, though, so they can do their "tomato-lime"... I'll just order a margarita instead...
EXCEPT all of the margaritas have sugar. Margaritas aren't supposed to be sweet; they're supposed to be potent! The orange liqueur should be all the sweet you get, in my book... Maybe just a beer....
Oof! They charge $4.50 for Lone Star... which is like paying $6 for a Narragansett. [Honestly 'Gansett is better, and I know I could be charged with high treason back home for saying so.]
Never mind. The tequila list looks excellent, I'll just drink tequila.

The food menu looks solid. It says the tortillas are made in house, but it doesn't say whether they're corn or flour? Please, please say corn!

I'm willing to give it a shot, and it's been long enough since I've been to the source that I'll give a lot of leeway... Please, Lone Star Taco Bar, don't break my heart.

[Look, I understand that this is not Texas and I wouldn't expect authentic New England chowder there... Except that if a restaurant in Texas called itself "The Minuteman" or some such and had "authentic" New England food, there's no reason it _couldn't_ actually replicate exact recipes from the north in this current restaurant culture. I used to work in a Japanese restaurant in Austin that got day boat scallops from Maine, for crying out loud.... just don't get my hopes up by calling it "Lone Star Taco Bar" and then break my heart okay?]

Down to the Wire CSA pick: Enterprise or Stone Soup?

Their website says the summer shares are from their farm and partner orchards in central Mass, but they partner with other growers all along the eastern seaboard for the winter shares.

Down to the Wire CSA pick: Enterprise or Stone Soup?

I'm looking for a half-share for 2 people and I've got a couple days to decide between two CSAs in my price range with pick-up locations near me: Stone Soup & Enterprise.

Based on nothing but their websites, it _seems_ like Enterprise (25 weeks) has more diversity in their weekly selections and berries/melons/apples, while Stone Soup (20 weeks + 4 week winter share) gives you more basics with a few interesting add-ins and occasional melons.

Feedback from anyone who has joined either of these CSAs in the past will be greatly appreciated.

http://sites.google.com/site/stonesou...
http://www.enterpriseproduce.com/csa/...

Local James Beard discussion

That's not exactly true. This year -- for the first time -- they invited anyone and everyone to write in nominations for their favorite restaurant, wine program, etc as a means of seeing if there were great places not on their radar. [Which is where, yes if Boston folks think they're being underrepresented, they should've nominated those they consider worthy... and maybe they did and the committee passed, who knows?] The decision for who is named a semi-finalist still rests with the JB committee, not the number of votes any one place received.

Looking to buy fresh Shiso leaves in Boston

Like I said, I don't know the Korean variety, BUT
These were not folded, but stacked flat with bands around their stems, maybe 6 to a bundle [which is also how they were packaged at the restaurant when they came from our supplier in Japan] . Looked exactly like Japanese shiso to me with very jagged serrated edges.

In the next bin over were leaves of a similar shape but larger and with more rounded edges, which fits with the Korean variety I just looked up on wikipedia ... where I also just learned that both are varieties of _Perilla frutescens_ and not closely related to sesame at all -- The Korean variety just picked up the name of "wild sesame" at some point, just like the Japanese version got the name "beef steak plant" though it lacks any relation to beef.

Looking to buy fresh Shiso leaves in Boston

There's a [mostly Korean] pan-Asian store called "Lotte Oriental Grocery" on Mass. Ave just west of MIT, not too far from you (walkable from Kendall or Central on the red line or from the #1 bus).

I was there two days ago and saw fresh shiso in their produce case. (i.e. what I recognized as shiso from years of working in a high-end Japanese place -- I don't know anything about Korean shiso) It wasn't labeled in English, but the woman at the register should be able to help you. [It might not hurt to look shiso up online so you can visually ID them yourself.] They were in small bundles bound by a rubber band.

I didn't notice any fresh yuzu, but they do have pre-bottled yuzu juice which may or may not be acceptable.

They also have quail eggs by the dozen. I love those things.

Lotte Oriental Grocery
297 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-4151

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Massachusetts Avenue Restaurant
906 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Looking for a nice bar with cured meat/cheese options in Cambridge

Thanks everyone! We went to Blue Room (3 minute walk from the husband's lab) and had the roasted veggie antipasto with cured meat and the perfect cheese. It was great!... and I was happy to have the veggies in addition to the heavier fare. With three beers (we split the 3rd) our tab came to $39 before tax. The bar area was very cozy and we'll definitely go back.

I still want to try Bin 26, but Blue Room had exactly what I wanted and the location was super convenient.

Annual Trip (at the holidays) please vet my list!

For great bites between meals or a light supper, I highly recommend Mulberry at 3rd and Nueces. It has amazing dinners, too, [ah, the meatballs!] but it's a great spot to have a glass of wine or a nice beer with a few small plates [eg. choose your own cured meats and cheese from a rotating list] in a really comfortable atmosphere.

I moved to Boston a while back, but when I'm in Austin for 2 days next month, my two dinners will be Mulberry and Uchi... and probably Polvos for breakfast. I've never found it dirty, just a little run down. [When I was there 6 months ago, a guy was painting a new mural on the wall and I'm curious to see what it turned into.] Polvos makes their own corn tortillas to order & the salsa bar is always fresh... those are my only real requirements.

My personal pick for BBQ is City Market in Luling, but in town I find Iron Works to be a solid bet.

Dec 01, 2009
collinsgavornik in Austin

Looking for a nice bar with cured meat/cheese options in Cambridge

I'm looking for a place like Tria in Philly or Bin 71 in New York... ideally in Cambridge. Does it exist?

I recently moved here from Austin, TX and my husband and I used to have a standing weeknight date at a wine bar with fantastic artisanal cured meat and cheese options. The bill for 2-3 meats and 2-3 cheeses and a bowl of olives was usually less than $40 [we always got brooklyn lager on tap]. I'm sure with all the great cheeses coming out of this area, someone must serve it with alcohol somewhere.

Maybe it's a matter of lingo, but I've sought out every place in Cambridge that serves charcuterie (Craigie, Garden at the Cellar, a disaster at CBC) and it's always a collection of terrines and pates. Should I be looking for specifically Italian places with antipasto? I'd like to be able to pick which types, but I'd settle for a well-executed composed plate.

It can be a restaurant bar or a bar-bar, as long as it has a good vibe. I'm thinking of trying Green Street or Blue Room next... but I'd love some guidance.

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Blue Room
1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

8/09 Gran Gusto: An Inflexible "No" Kitchen

I was there recently with a vegetarian friends. They held the meat on one of their specialty pizzas and putting meat on only half of another (my husband wanted a _little_ sausage). Didn't ask if we were vegetarian, didn't make us justify our request, just did it.

It's also _possible_ in your case that the server didn't even ask the chef because he didn't want to have to adjust the price, or didn't want to irk his boss (who might have done it, but yelled at him for it anyway).

That said, almost every place I've ever been to that has specialty pizzas has a "no substitution" rule where if you want something else you have to pay per topping starting after the cheese, which is usually a lot more expensive... which is why the "specialties" are "special." I just moved here and maybe it's different, but it's not shocking to me at all.

Please help critique my upcoming Aus itinerary

The Cooper's in Llano is probably the weakest of all the central texas pit BBQ places, [my personal favorite is Luling City Market] but it's okay -- w/authentic pits/butcher paper/white bread -- in a neat little town. The original Cooper's in Mason has lamb ribs and is close to a giant bat cave on a nature preserve (but I think the bats are usually gone until april).

I'd heartily agree with the Vivo's rec. Their patio is a great place for margaritas, the salsa is smokey, and the art inside is fun. A lot of the food is Tex-Mex in theory but with interior/californian ingredients...tasty and not so greasy.

Feb 13, 2009
collinsgavornik in Austin

Restaurant Bar in South or Central to watch sports

Does Uncle Billy's have Sunday Ticket? I know they have tvs...

Sep 16, 2008
collinsgavornik in Austin

Las Manitas Closed Forever?

All right, haters. I'd appreciate it if you'd give me some recommendations.

Where I can get hot, chewy, fresh corn tortillas like theirs? I prefer a place with a counter where I can sit long enough to do a Sunday crossword puzzle without feeling like I'm screwing over the server. I also don't want to stand in line, or wait longer than 10-15 minutes to get my food. If I can watch young guys busting a** at prep stations and grills and abuelitas flipping those heavenly tortillas with teflon fingertips as I walk through the kitchen to the patio, so much the better.

Ideally, this place also serves cinnamon coffee, a variety of frescas to suit my mood, sides of fresh *ripe* fruit, and the people who work there act as a community and don't roll their eyes when your breakfast order for 2 totals $10.

I'm sure they exist, but I live just south of ben white and I've occasionally hit up alternative joints along S.1st and elsewhere for the past 5 years [even more frequently since it looked like my favorite spot was closing] but I've always gone back to LM because it gave me everything I wanted...

I really do want to know, what's the closest substitute? I've got two days before my next Sunday crossword date. I couldn't care less about the drama. I just want those fresh corn tortillas back... and a counter.... Or someone to teach me how to make them like LM's and I'll sit at my own darn counter...

Sep 05, 2008
collinsgavornik in Austin