carnicero's Profile

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Best place for Bastille Day French Dinner

Have you been to Good King since Ansill took over? My wife and I loved it under Paul Lyons. We used to be big fans of Bar Ferdinand but haven't enjoyed it as much under Ansill. (Though we've had plenty of Ansill's food at other places in the past and always liked it.)

1 day ago
carnicero in Philadelphia

HELP in Moorestown-Mt Laurel NJ area

Any type of food you're looking for in particular? Most of what I know of as good and fresh in that area is Asian.

1200 S Church St, Mt Laurel, NJ 08054
very good Taiwanese and Sichuan Chinese food. In addition to the regional specialties on their menu, they have other dishes that will be familiar from American Chinese cuisine, but prepared very well.

-Pho Eden
Springdale Plaza
1900 Greentree Rd #7
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
The usual Viet rice and noodle dishes. Tastes fresh, always quick service.

-Estia Taverna
140 NJ-70
Marlton, NJ 08053
I haven't actually been here, but they are related to Estia in Philadelphia, which I have been to and is good. Greek menu, mostly fish and seafood but some meat and veg dishes also.

400 W ROUTE 38
Moorestown, NJ 08057
At the Moorestown mall. Upper-end nuevo Mexican food. Owned by Jose Garces, branch of his original Distrito in Philly. Only visited this location once; menu was a bit different from the Philly one but food and service very good.

400 Rte 38
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Moorestown Mall, also an outpost for a popular Philly restaurateur (Marc Vetri). Known for their pizza, which I actually was underwhelmed by, but very good wood oven roasted meats and vegetables, plus excellent house-made pastas.

-Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
124 E Kings Hwy
Maple Shade Township, NJ 08052
Better than average bar food. They are a brewpub, but their beer isn't anything special.

Jun 29, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia


The area really isn't bad at all. It's several blocks or more away from the rougher areas of Kensington, and only 2 blocks north of Northern Liberties. There's a taqueria next door (Taco Riendo) that I've been going to for years and never felt unsafe or worried by the neighborhood.

Jun 21, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

Should vermouth be refrigerated after opening?

VacuVin is an option, or you can top off the bottle with CO2 to displace oxygen before re-corking. I've also heard you can extend the shelf life of vermouth by decanting it into smaller bottles to minimize air exposure (for instance, dividing the 1L bottle into several 8-oz mason jars and then refrigerating those.

Jun 14, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Pig Roast Catering for wedding in Central NJ?

We had a farmhouse/barn wedding in central PA and used a caterer from the Baltimore area. Baltimore pit beef is their specialty, and it's excellent, but they do whole pig roasts as well. They offer the classic BBQ sides- salads, beans, slaw, etc., but they hors d'ouevres are very good (although not what I'd call elevated.) The best part is the price- tons of food and great service for the money- and the fact that they travel quite far from Baltimore for events. Not sure how far north in CNJ you're talking about, but give them a call and see what they say.


Jun 10, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

Sriracha Knock Offs

Sriracha is the name of a traditional Thai condiment and thus Huy Fong would likely not have been able to trademark it even if they wanted to. Their registered trademarks are the rooster and bright green cap on the bottle. Some sriracha sauces are the traditional Thai style and not knockoffs of Huy Fong Sriracha. Others, mostly the newer releases are more of a knockoff that play on Huy Fong sriracha's flavor. As far as the knockoffs go, I haven't found one I like and much prefer Huy Fong sriracha. The Thai traditional versions are different than Huy Fong. I like Shark brand for this.

June 2015 Cocktail Companion Cookbook of the Month Voting

Because vodka's target flavor is neutral, and what cocktail bars like Death & Co aim to do is balance flavors, there are no vodka cocktails in the book nor on their menu. Please don't let that deter you from reading the book. Aside from some great recipes, it has what I call "cocktail theory." They explain how to design or alter a recipe based on ingredients on hand; how different base spirits, flavorant ingredients, mixers, bitters, etc. all impact the final product.

May 25, 2015
carnicero in Home Cooking

Bombay Saphire "Star of Bombay" Gin

Sounds delicious, but a cursory search seems to indicate this is only a UK offering for now. Anyone know of US availability?

May 11, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Help! How many jiggers in an ounce, or vice versa?

Some rums are certainly much better than others, and there are a few I'll drink if offered but I rarely ever pick rum out for myself. I think I'm just not a cane spirit fan, as cachaca does even less for me than rum does. I'd rather have bourbon or rye.

When I do drink rum, it tends to be in a cocktail. I'm not averse to a good diaquiri or mai tai. The jungle bird is a great one, too, and I think the campari and lime really balance out the molasses in the rum.

May 06, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

I think I'm turning Japanese I really think so! . . . at least with my Knives.

I started with a Tojiro DP 240mm gyuto and loved it. Still love it. I ended up getting the Tojiro DP 165mm nakiri, as well as a 180mm santoku for my wife. I've considered trying some of their shirogami knives, but not investing in more blades at the moment. I am really pleased with the sharpness, balance, and durability of the Tojiro DP line in VG10 steel.

May 04, 2015
carnicero in Cookware

Should I get a half or quarter beef?

It might come down to finding the right vendor for your bulk meat purchases. We have a butcher's market we like that does bulk orders on beef, pork and lamb.
I bought half a hog recently and had my choice of fresh or cured for most items.
Shoulder: fresh or cured, whole or cut into butt and 2 picnic roasts
Ham: fresh or cured, whole or cut into shank and butt ends and/or center slices
Belly: fresh or bacon
Trim: plain ground or seasoned as sausage, available bulk or stuffed
Loin: 2 end-cut roasts and the rest center cut chops to my specified thickness
and so on and so forth. Great pork, too. Not too lean. My only gripe is that the wet cure for their ham leaves it a bit... squishy... for my tastes. I prefer country ham over city ham, but I think I'm in the minority. For these city ham steaks, I have to press them under a weighted sheet pan to remove excess brine. The larger ham roasts come out just fine being baked or braised.

May 04, 2015
carnicero in General Topics

unique Gin recs?

Bluecoat Barrel rested (limited release, only in PA as far as I'm aware, sorry if you're elsewhere)
Bombay Sapphire East
Tanqueray Marlacca
Death's Door
Half Moon Orchard
There are many more quality and interesting gins out there now, but these are a few that spring immediately to mind.

May 04, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Philly style steaks

You can in fact get paper thin shaved ribeye from H-Mart and likely also Assi. They have various thicknesses available marked as beef for bulgogi, beef for shabu-shabu, etc. Also, how thin the steak is can be a matter of style. Some shops go paper thin and chopped on the grill, some shops (like Steve's Prince of Steaks) use slightly thicker steak, cooked flat on the grill, not chopped to pieces. Not to mention, though top round will do in a pinch for a "steak sandwich," it's really a poor substitute for ribeye. A better substitute would be sirloin.

Help! How many jiggers in an ounce, or vice versa?

I'm more or less the opposite. I love whiskey, tolerate tequila and can rarely stand rum.

Apr 15, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Help! How many jiggers in an ounce, or vice versa?

It's 2:1 (4 whiskey:2 vermouth)

Apr 15, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Help! How many jiggers in an ounce, or vice versa?

Except you just took the ratio from 2:1 to 2.5:1.5.

If the OP wants to make this drink with the equipment on hand, the easiest way is this:
To make 1 (slightly larger) drink:
4 parts (two pours of large side, 3oz ) rye
1 part (one pour from small side .75oz) sweet vermouth
1 part (one pour from small side .75oz) dry vermouth
heavy dash Angostura bitters
Stir well with plenty of ice, then strain into coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Apr 15, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

What Is Your Opinion Of This Manhattan Cocktail Variation?

Glad you enjoyed the drink, but it sounds unbearably sweet to me.

The Manhattan traditionally calls for rye whiskey, not bourbon. Rye tends to be drier and spicier where bourbon tends to be sweeter. Eagle Rare is a bourbon and one that contains a pretty low amount of rye grain in the mash. It's a good whiskey, but lacks the dry spicy character that plays so well off of sweet vermouth to make a Manhattan.

As for adding Frangelico, unless it was the barest dash of liquer it would overpower the whole drink with sugar and hazelnuts. I don't think of hazelnut or sugar as complementing the sweet vermouth/dry whiskey balance, or the bitter/spicy balance of traditional aromatic bitters which should be added.

I "batch" my own house bitters by blending commercially available brands with differing spices and bittering agents, but that mess of "ango/anise/coffee/chocolate/pecan" sounds like a muddy mess of flavors.

For a twist on a Manhattan, consider this drink; Chinese 5-spice Manhattan. First, make a tincture of 5-spice macerated in grain alcohol or high-proof vodka. Then use in this recipe:
2 oz. Rittenhouse Rye 100pf
1 oz. Cocchi vermouth di Torino
1 bar-spoon of 5-spice tincture
Stir well with plenty of ice, strain and serve in chilled coupe
garnish with high-quality preserved cherry

Apr 09, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Chicken stock isn't gelatintous?

I have had some luck, but not much, getting a rich, gelatinous stock from a carcass that was already roasted. Great flavor, but stays liquid when chilled and does not gel. If I am using raw bones, then I can make a gelatinous stock that turns solid in the fridge.

The main thing is using enough bones for the amount of water. A carcass is good or whole chicken is good, but if you fortify it with wings, necks, backbones and/or feet you'll likely get a better gelatin yield. The other concern is time and temperature: you need an extended period of time held at 180-190*F to break down the collagen in the chicken into gelatin. I like to let chicken stock slowly poach at a bare simmer for 6+ hours when I have the time. Again, this isn't necessary for a delicious soup broth, but if you want rich, sticky stock it's going to take some time and patience.

Mar 10, 2015
carnicero in Home Cooking

Jim beam rye?

The price for Old Ovrerholt varies widely, but in my home state of PA it runs about $22. I'd much rather have Rittenhouse 100, even at its new $25 price. This is especially true when considering that in neighboring states, Rittenhouse runs $22-25 and Overholt runs $12-15.

Mar 09, 2015
carnicero in Spirits

Common Korean Ingredients

I'm no big fan of soju; I prefer beer with Korean food for the most part, but I made green tea soju at home mixing 1/2 iced green tea with Jinro Chamisul Soju that we really enjoyed with galbi gui.

Mar 04, 2015
carnicero in Home Cooking

Common Korean Ingredients

+1 for tteokbokki!

Mar 04, 2015
carnicero in Home Cooking

Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken opening in Chinatown...

While yes, they are a franchise and follow the protocol, I do think the chicken can get better with time. It's possible that due to their opening delays and staffing issues, their fry cooks may not have the recipe totally nailed yet. Some of that comes with time and practice managing their order volume and training. The guy I talked to (Manager? Franchisee?) told me that they order the sauce from Korea, so that won't change. However, the cook times and crispness of the chicken are in the hands of the kitchen crew and that can certainly change.

I agree with you that their ordering policy and wait time don't exemplify customer service, but the attitudes of the staff go a long way to make up for it. I've had quick but surly service at other places and been less happy with the resulting meal. Had the staff at Bonchon not been polite and friendly, I wouldn't be likely to go back after the inconvenience of not being able to call in my order and then having to wait extra time for it. Since they were so nice and made me feel like they valued my business, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for opening hiccups.

Mar 03, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken opening in Chinatown...

Even though my excitement had waned in all of the opening delays and false starts, I had a craving last night and tried Bonchon after work. They are not doing take-out orders over the phone yet, they say to control high demand, and are only doing eat-in or walk-in take-out orders.

I was greeted by friendly staff at the door and they gave me a menu and took my order. They said 30 minutes for pickup, and I could wait or they would call my cell phone when it was ready. I opted for the phone call and walked around the corner for BarLy for a late happy hour beer. After about 35 minutes with no call, I walked back to Bonchon. The hostess recognized me and apologized for my food not being ready, then went back in the kitchen to check on it. I ended up waiting 10-15 more minutes, but having a friendly talk with a guy at the counter who I believe was a manager or maybe one of the franchise owners. So, my total wait was 50 minutes rather than 30, but the staff was very gracious and I didn't much mind the delay.

After getting home, we dug into half-and-half wings, the seasoned fries, kimchi, kimchi coleslaw, and pickled radishes. The wings were very good, but maybe not quite as crispy as wings I've enjoyed from Cafe Soho. The spicy sauce was excellent, but the soy garlic was just ok. Sides were all really good. So all in all, I can't say whether or not it lived up to the hype, as I think they are still going through growing pains from opening. The food and service were really good, though, and I'll definitely try them again.

Mar 03, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

Costco Food Finds - 1st Quarter 2015

I usually buy regular Shin Ramyun, not the Black. I get it at H-Mart (Korean grocery chain). Costco's deal on the Shin Black is pretty amazing, as it has bigger cups, more in a pack, and a lower cost than H-Mart, which was pretty good to begin with.

Feb 14, 2015
carnicero in Chains

Moscovado Sugar in Philadelphia?

I've gotten something labeled as "black muscovado sugar" from H-Mart (Korean grocery) over the bridge in Cherry Hill. The Upper Darby and Cheltenham stores probably carry it as well. It's a very dark, fairly moist unrefined sugar, with a bit of a smoky undertaste. I don't know how it compares to standard muscovado that your recipe might call for, but I really enjoy it.

Feb 14, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

Fresh octopus?

I've also read-- and there are so many myths and legends about cooking octopus, who knows if it's true or not-- that frozen octopus is more tender than fresh because of cell damage caused by ice crystals during freezing and thawing.

Jan 29, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia

What are some of your favorite kitchen tricks that you'd be hesitant to admit to foodies?

Nongshim Shin Ramyun is the best!

Bonchon Korean Fried Chicken opening in Chinatown...

I understand how awful city offices can be to deal with- I just think maybe the franchise owner has jumped the gun on his publicity a few too many times. Don't get me wrong, I'm still excited to try it and looking forward to having more convenient chicken. I'm just much less excited about it than I was when I first heard they were coming to town, then heard opening soon, then heard delayed, then heard opening soon... and so on.

Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp Salad

quick pickle those carrots and some julienned daikon in a brine of salt, sugar, rice vinegar and water and you've got a winner.

Jan 26, 2015
carnicero in Recipes

Kensington Quarters

I'm not sure if this is what cwdonald meant, but I do have a problem with the location: parking. I used to live in Fishtown and still frequent the neighborhood. There are a ton of great spots now on Frankford and Girard Avenues, as well as back in the side streets, but there is often absolutely nowhere to park. Street parking is super limited, and the only lot off the top of my head is a tiny PPA lot on Frankford that's usually full.

Jan 26, 2015
carnicero in Philadelphia