BklynBlaise's Profile

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Tamis in Manhattan

Both Sur la Table on Spring St. and Bowery Kitchen (the one in Chelsea Market) carry them, but I had the same experience as you. When I asked for a tamis, they had no idea what I was talking about, but when I explained that they're also referred to as drum sieves or flat sifters, they rang a bell. At Bowery Kitchen, they were hanging overhead by the cash register, and at Sur la Table they were towards the back on one of the racks against the left wall. The BK ones had metal sides, while the SLT ones had bamboo sides. From what I recall, the holes of the BK ones were much finer than the SLT tamis. Each store only had one mesh grade, but BK had various diameters to choose from.

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Sur La Table
75 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

Bowery Kitchen Supply
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Jan 15, 2012
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Nice Green Bo/New Green Bo -- best dishes?

After all these years, I still have a soft spot for Nice/New Green Bo. I'm a fan of their "aromatic beef noodle soup." The thick slabs of braised beef shin that top the bowl are quite delicious. I find their version to be more tender and flavorful than any other Chinatown spot. Make sure to submerge the beef shin into the broth so that the slices warm up (since they're normally served cold) and so that they lend their flavors of sweet soy and warm spices to the broth.

Their soup dumplings tend to be hit or miss, but their pan fried counterpart--"fried tiny buns, w/ pork"--are generally more consistent.

Aug 12, 2011
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

dashi ingredients in cobble hill metro area?

Most health food stores will carry the ingredients you need. I know I've seen kombu and bonito shavings at Park Natural on Court St (right off of Union). The Korean-owned fish market on Court (next to Espositos) may also carry what you need. I wouldn't be surprised if Fish Tales was another source.

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Carroll Gardens Fish Market
359 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Fish Tales
191 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Park Natural Foods
350 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Aug 12, 2011
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Chinatown fruit report - new for the 2011 season [old]

The fruit is often referred to as wampee, or huang pi (yellow skin) in Cantonese. I tried some yesterday in Chinatown and the flavor & fragrance reminded me of a cross between kumquats and pomelos, while the texture of the interior flesh was similar to a soft grape. The skins have a slight bitter aftertaste and I wasn't sure if they should be eaten or discarded. After inquiring, I learned that either is acceptable. The flavor of the skin is like that of a kumquat's--bitter yet sweet at the same time. The seeds inside were a beautiful, vibrant green color and surprisingly large given how little flesh each fruit contains. It seems like the type of fruit that requires patience to eat. I found the tartness refreshing and will definitely explore different uses for the fruit. I suspect it would be a great addition to certain desserts, ceviches...and vodka infusions.

SeriousEats had a short piece on the fruit a whiles back:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/07/as...

Jun 14, 2011
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Bacon Cupcakes

Butter Lane in the East Village makes an Elvis cupcake that's quite delicious. It's a banana cake base with peanut butter frosting and topped with maple (or brown sugar?) glazed bacon bits. Very tasty.

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Butter Lane
123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Apr 20, 2011
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Best Butterscotch Pudding?

Sweet Melissa Patisserie on Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn makes a killer butterscotch pudding.

Jan 14, 2011
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Where to buy healthy ramen noodles??

CherryPR, if you're referring to packaged, dried, ramen noodles (a la Nissin), you're correct--they are bad for you. MSG aside, the noodles themselves are deep fried before drying--often in palm oil or other unhealthy fats.

Luckily, you can get "healthy" ramen noodles at many Chinese supermarkets that are not fried and come without any soup-base packets (MSG laden or otherwise). Most of the brands are from China and come in large packages with roughly 16-20 bundles of unwrapped noodles only.

I recently couldn't find the original brand of healthy ramen that I was introduced to years ago, so I tried a new one called Grassplot that I've been very much enjoying. The packaging is green, gold, and yellow and comes with 18 square bundles of noodles. The only ingredients it lists are "quality flour" and salt...but of course water must have been introduced at some point, too.

The similarly colored packaging of the brand I used to buy had a description on its back that touted itself, both in English and in Chinese, as an healthy alternative to commercial ramen noodles since they weren't fried and didn't contain any additives or saturated fat. These noodles came in round bundles and I believe they were from Lanzhou--home of the hand-pulled noodle.

I picked up the Grassplot brand at Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester St. in Chinatown, but I know the one on 8th Ave in Sunset Park also carries it, as does the large Chinese supermarket on Avenue U (between Homecrest and E. 13th St.) in the Homecrest section of Brooklyn (the name of the store escapes me).

One tip to keep in mind: these noodles cook a lot faster than the regular commercial ramen, so drain them while they're still underdone. The carry-over heat will be enough to finish them to a springy al-dente texture. And if you want a quick and easy healthy soup base...try adding a scoop of miso to the boiling liquid...or a small scoop of Better Than Bouillon.

Hope this helps, and let me know what you think if you find them.

Jan 13, 2011
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

REAL San Marzano canned tomatoes

You can get La Valle brand San Marzano tomatoes at Buon Italia in Chelsea Market for only $2.25 for the 28oz cans. It's my favorite brand and one of the more consistent ones. Buon Italia often has the best prices for various Italian goods.

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Buon Italia
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Jan 13, 2011
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Hung Ry – Awesome New Modern Noodle Restaurant on Bond Street

I just glanced at the photos you posted on your site. The squid appetizer you had does indeed look more like traditional salt-baked squid than what I had. My squid pieces were slightly smaller and the coating, which may have looked similar to your squid at one point, was slightly glistening from some sort of thin dressing (similar to en saor, only w/ pepitas instead of pine nuts). It was so tasty that I didn't mind the moisture it added to the fried coating (I liken it to the bottom layer of salt-baked squid that rests directly on top of shredded iceburg lettuce when you order the dish from places like NY Noodletown--it's not ideal for the coating, but the squid is still damn good).

By the way, Jeffrey Steingarten of Vogue (and of gluttonous, tell-it-like-it-is Iron Chef America fame) came in while I was there. Looks like they may get a write-up in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Nov 30, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Hung Ry – Awesome New Modern Noodle Restaurant on Bond Street

Nice write-up, Lau. I’m glad to see that Hung Ry is getting some well-deserved praise on this site. I had lunch there last month, shortly after they first opened, and fell in love with the place. The menu had some very interesting and unique selections, especially for a hand-pulled noodle joint, but since it was only lunchtime I limited myself to the thick hand-pulled noodles with duck. This dish blew me away and was not what I was expecting. Most Chinese noodle-soup joints use hacked pieces of the ubiquitous roasted ducks that you see hanging in windows throughout Chinatown. The duck at Hung Ry, however, was a cooked-to-order duck breast, sliced and served rare atop the noodles and broth. There was also duck leg that was either braised or slow-roasted, and then shredded and seared. The duck was absolutely delicious—perfectly pink and tender breast with crispy skin, coupled with a pile of well-caramelized shredded duck leg and roasted bell- and jalapeno peppers. My dining companion had the noodles with smoked pork belly and melt-in-your-mouth tender tongue (no pun intended). Overall the dish was good and comforting, but it was nowhere near the rockstar of a dish that the duck turned out to be.

I went last evening to give dinner a try, and the food was still spot-on. This time around I tried the monkfish liver with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and logan berries. This appetizer was recommended by one of the owners whom I spoke to during my first visit. As much as I love monkfish liver, the star component of the dish was the earthy and deeply caramelized mushrooms which sat underneath two generous slabs of monkfish liver torchon. I would easily order this again just for the crispy snap of the mushrooms. I also tried the squid appetizer served with toasted pumpkin seeds and a guajillo chile paste. The squid was very tender, and as Lau describes, somewhat similar to Chinese “salt-baked” squid. The lightly dusted and fried pieces of squid tasted like they were dressed with some sort of slightly acidic sauce or dressing that really lifted the dish, especially when combined with the pepitas for a perfect bite. Lau, when you had this dish, were the squid pieces crispy (a la salt-baked squid)?

For my entrée, I had the hand-pulled noodles with brisket, beef cheeks, and honeycomb tripe. During my first visit one of the owners, Weilan, mentioned that the duck was garnering most of the attention on web posts about the restaurant. This made me nervous to try the other noodle selections on the menu, especially given how much I enjoyed the duck. Luckily, the brisket noodles did not disappoint. There were large and tender slabs of brisket and beef cheeks that were braised with what tasted like soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, and other warm spices that are common to Chinese braises. The broth had a nice bite to it, which I’m assuming came from the mustard oil and what I believe to be flecks of ground Szechuan peppercorns. It would have been nice to have seen more tripe in the soup, but I acknowledge that my love of offal is probably unusual compared to the Nolita crowd's tastes and preferences.

I really hope this place does well. The prices are very reasonable and, thus far, the food has been excellent and the service extremely friendly. I still love my hole-in-the-wall hand-pulled noodle shops in Chinatown, but it’s nice to know that there’s a place to turn to when I want higher quality ingredients, a nicer setting (with functioning bathrooms, thank you very much), and a menu that intrigues without breaking the bank.

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Hung Ry
55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012

Nov 30, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

What's the best delivery dish in Brooklyn Heights?

Teresa's stuffed cabbage is definitely in my rotation, as are the tripe soup and the Polish platter (stuffed cabbage, grilled kielbasa, potato pierogis, and their tasty saurkraut/bigos).

I also enjoy Siggy's grilled artichoke plate and their grilled chicken cutlet hero (served w/ some sort of herbaceous aioli on rosemary bread). I'm not the biggest fan of the dining options in Bklyn Hts., but I do have to say that this sandwich is delicious and addictive. The perfect Plan B!

Nov 19, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

François Payard Bakery (Houston St.)

Fret not, twan55. I picked up a chocolate-almond croissant this morning from FPB and it was quite good. The textures were spot on (crispy on the outside, soft & moist inside) and the flavors of each component really came through. I'd rank them a close second to La Bergamote's croissants.

I've also tried their orange-blossom doughnuts filled w/ vanilla custard/pastry cream. The pastry cream was fantastic, but the texture of the doughnut base was a bit off. It was tough and missing the airy & chewy interior that I normally look for in a good doughnut.

As for their baguettes, I found them depressingly dull. The crust was a pale blond and the overall baguette was lacking in any flavor and personality. I think I'll stick w/ their croissants next time.

ps - I thought the staff was genuinely nice and helpful. No qualms there.

Nov 11, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Where to buy high quality loose leaf black tea?

In Pursuit of Tea (aka: Cha...located at 33 Crosby St, between Broom & Grand St. in Soho) carries a nice selection of loose leaf teas from various parts of Asia. Most of their black teas are from India and China. The staff is very knowledgeable and their selection is sourced from quality tea estates. You can also order online: www.inpursuitoftea.com. They've become my go-to spot for quality teas, especially their oolong selections.

Nov 08, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Roasted chestnuts - where to find - David Chang thanksgiving recipe

Most of the higher-end markets carry roasted and shelled chestnuts in jars. Citarella, Manhattan Fruit Exchange and Kalustyans definitely carry them. For the best price, I usually buy my jarred chestnuts from Sahadis in Bklyn.

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Kalustyan's
123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Manhattan Fruit Exchange
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Nov 05, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

D'Arbo Elderflower Syrup

I would check Eagle Provisions on 5th Ave (near 18th St.) in Greenwood Heights (aka - Park Slope South if you're a broker). I've never looked for the elderflower syrup, but I used to buy my D'Arbo brand jams & preserves there back when I lived in the area. I wouldn't be surprised if the various Union Markets carried them as well (in Park Slope and Cobble Hill).

Nov 05, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Dragon Beard Candy Cart in Chinatown?

I often see the cart on the southern side of Canal St., usually somewhere between Mott and Bowery, on weekdays in the late afternoon/early evening hours. I've seen him there as recently as last week.

Nov 01, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Ice Cream Cake

Sundaes & Cones On E. 10th St (betw. 3rd & 4th Ave.) makes awesome ice cream cakes. For the more traditional flavors, they'll have a few cakes already made and available for purchase. For customized flavors and combinations, they require advanced notice--a day or two, I believe. Their black sesame and tiramisu flavors are out of this world.

http://www.sundaescones.com/home.htm

Sep 02, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

ISO Pasteis de nata or British-style custard tarts

On occasion, DUB Pies carries British-style custard tarts, though they refer to them as Australian/New Zealand-style custard "pies". I used to get them every now and then from their original Carroll Gardens/Red Hook (Brooklyn) location which I believe is now closed. Their Windsor Terrace shop is still open (211 Prospect Park West...on the corner of 16th Street in Bklyn.).

Jul 23, 2010
BklynBlaise in New Jersey

Restaurant Recommendations for Chinese Wedding Banquets in Bklyn. & Queens?

Does anyone have any suggestions for a good Chinese restaurant in either Queens or Brooklyn that specializes in banquet menus for weddings? Quality food & ingredients, and nice decor are prerequisites, and parking would be a great plus. Looking for a place that can accommodate roughly 220 - 250 people (with 10 people per table being the usual standard). A Cantonese banquet menu would be ideal, but other regional Chinese cuisines would be entertained, as well.

If Lau or ScoopG are reading this, please chime in. Your recommendations have always been very helpful and much appreciated. Thanks in advance to everyone.

Jul 23, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Looking to rediscover very good large Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown - but can't remember name or address - HELP!

Based on your description, the two restaurants that come to mind are 1) Pho Tu Do (now called New Pho Tu Do) on Bowery, between Grand and Hester Sts., and 2) Thai Son on Baxter, between Canal and Bayard St. Coincidentally, those are my two favorites for Vietnamese in Manhattan (Thai Son for their pho, and Pho Tu Do for spring rolls and other dishes).

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Thai Son
89 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013

Jun 24, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Chinese Honey Bows?

Mei Li Wah on Bayard Street in Chinatown sells them. They're in a display case on the left side of the counter by the entrance. They were such a special treat when I was a kid...before the calorie counting started. Happy eating!

May 07, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

"King of Casserole" (formerly New South Wind) in Chinatown

Has anyone tried King of Casserole on Division St. in Chinatown? This is the spot where New South Wind used to be located (21 Division St, betw. catherine & Market St.). I hear they've retained a couple of the old favorites from New South Wind, including the cheung-fun (rice noodle rolls w/ scallions, sesame, dried shrimp and ground pork) and the stuffed tofu dish. Wondering if anyone has tried their hand-pulled noodles or other offerings. Thanks in advance.

Mar 31, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Gigante beans - where to buy? (aka gigande, hija)

Buon Italia, inside Chelsea Market (9th Ave, betw. 15th & 16th St.), sells them, and their prices are usually very reasonable across the board. I believe Manhattan Fruit Exchange (also inside Chelsea Market) sells them as well...although Buon Italia will likely be cheaper.

Feb 26, 2010
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Where should I buy wild salmon?

The steelhead salmon I've purchased are actually a species of wild oceanic salmon. Some people refer to steelheads as trout...but they're really a type of salmon.

http://www.gosalmonfishing.com/salmon...

Feb 25, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Beijing Duck

Out of curiosity one evening, I ordered the Peking Duck from Chance Bistro, on Smith Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The skin was nicely crisped, the fat rendered just enough, and the meat was moist and tender. Even the wrappers were good -- freshly made, in-house.

The best Peking/Beijing duck I've had in Manhattan has been at S. Dynasty on Lexington and 48th St. (2nd Fl. - inside the Lexington Radisson Hotel). The food there is well above average, but unfortunately so are the prices. I prefer their duck over Peking Duck House's. The host or waiters usually make the wraps tableside -- before they start, I would suggest that you request they go easy on the plum/hoisin sauce. They tend to have a heavy hand with the stuff -- can easily overpower all else.

Feb 25, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Where should I buy wild salmon?

One of the few fresh wild salmon in season now is steel-head wild salmon, and you can find it at Fish Tales on Court Street, in Cobble Hill. Otherwise, you can get some pretty decent frozen wild sockeye salmon (one of my personal favorites, along with Copper River salmon) at Trader Joe's...which is only a few blocks away from Fish Tales.

Feb 24, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

ISO Sen Yai, really wide rice noodles (Thai, Chinese)

They're often made fresh and sold by the tofu purveyors in Manhattan's Chinatown, and possibly by the one fresh tofu place on 8th Avenue in Sunset Park. I usually purchase mine from the tofu shop on the corner of Bowery and Grand St. It's best to go early in the day when they're freshly made. The fresh rice noodles don't keep well -- they begin to get hard and mealy in less than 24 hours. I recommend cooking them the same day you purchase them. I'm not crazy about the frozen kind -- they lack the silkiness and elasticity of the fresh noodles, and they also tend to tear and crumble after thawing. Hope this helps.

Feb 12, 2010
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Knife-shaved noodles 刀削面 dāo xiāo miàn

Are "knife-cut" noodles the same as "knife-shaved" noodles...a.k.a "knife-peeled" noodles? I've had the sauteed "knife-peeled" noodles at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles on Doyers St. in Manhattan. They were wide and flat ribbons (about an inch wide) with irregular, almost rippled, edges -- from the back and forth shaving motion. The texture was a lot firmer than I was expecting -- almost similar to the sliced rice cakes (leng go) that you see at Shanghai restaurants. Does anyone know if these knife-peeled noodles are 100% wheat flour?

FYI - I wasn't a fan of the way this place sauteed the noodles. They were really bland and wet -- like poorly executed takeout lo-mein noodles. I'll have to try them in soup next time, which I imagine would give them a silkier texture.

Oct 12, 2009
BklynBlaise in Outer Boroughs

Chinatown fruit report [Old]

I believe you may be confusing the names of the fruits. Carambolas are actually star-fruit, which I've seen on Canal Street at one of the stands near Mulberry. However, I've been curious about the fresh pinecone-like fruit you described. All I know about them is that the signs refer to them as "sugar-apples." I'm glad to read that they're good.

Buttertart, how does one determine if the fruit is ripe, and how does one go about eating a sugar-apple? Is the whole thing edible, or do you have to peel it first? What should the texture be like? Thanks in advance and thanks for posting (I've been meaning to ask about the fruit).

Sep 23, 2009
BklynBlaise in Manhattan

Falafel info overload

My favorite spot in Manhattan for falafel is an Israeli owned joint in the West Village called Taim (on Waverly Place, just west of 7th Ave). It's perfectly constructed with lots of different textures and flavors. They use an Israeli style pita (puffy) that I believe they get from some place in Bklyn. They heat the bread over a gas flame for a nice charred flavor, then they spread a layer of hummus before adding their perfectly fried balls of falafel, Israeli salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, & parsley), a vinegar-based cabbage slaw, and tahini. They have various additions (hard boiled eggs, pickles, and pickled peppers) and sauces you can request (some w/ a supplemental charge) including harissa and amba (an Iraqi mango based sauce). This place is great -- I was hooked after my first bite. They put thought into every aspect of the sandwich, from contrasting textures to the order in which all the ingredients are stuffed into the pita. Highly recommended!!!

Aug 24, 2009
BklynBlaise in Manhattan