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carnicero's Profile

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Cocktail Proportions on the Menu: Hoping This Becomes a Trend

I like it... to a point. One of my favorite things is to try to reconstruct food and cocktail recipes from taste- adjusting technique and proportion through various iterations until I either nail the original, or find a combination I consider to be an improvement.

So, on one hand, I like the idea of looking up a bar's cocktail menu online and getting an idea of whether they know what they're doing. I can also try something that sounds interesting without having been in their house to try it. On the other hand, I really like tasting something and trying to figure it out myself. My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Asheville, NC, and went several times to MG Road, one of the best cocktail lounges I've ever found. They have a lot of original cocktails made with house-original syrups, tinctures, shrubs, etc. So for Valentine's Day for my wife, I recreated, from memory and their brief menu description,their house Indian-spiced cherry shrub and her favorite cocktail on their menu which used it- presented the shrub in a nice bottle with a recipe card. Having their recipe available would have saved me some time, but cost me some fun.

Sep 09, 2014
carnicero in Spirits
1

A Question About Stirring Martinis

A proper hard shake will chill and dilute a cocktail much more (and more quickly) than a long, steady stir. It will also dissolve a portion of air into the cocktail, which changes the texture. As for ice shards, I always double-strain a shaken drink- through a hawthorne strainer on top of the shaker tin, and then through a small fine mesh strainer into the cocktail glass. This rids the drink of ice shards, fruit pulp, herb scraps, etc. that detract from the drink.

As I'm sure has been said upthread, or on many of the other threads that OP has had going about martinis, the general rule is that cocktails with only spirits and other clear ingredients are stirred to keep them crystal-clear and prevent the integration of air. Cocktails with fruit juice, eggs, dairy, etc., are shaken to fully combine and emulsify the ingredients.

A proper 10- to 15-second hard shake with a full tin of ice should integrate everything and get the drink nearly as cold as it can possibly get. A proper stir in a mixing glass 3/4 full of ice, for 30 to 45 seconds, will get the drink thoroughly combined and nearly as cold as it can possibly get. The difference in temp between an 40-second stir and a two minute stir is about 3 degrees Fahrenheit, if I remember the article correctly.

Sep 09, 2014
carnicero in Spirits

Southern Ingredients: What should I pick up when I'm in NC/VA next week

Cardinal Gin and Carriage House Apple Brandy are both very good. The only other NC spirit I had a chance to try on my last trip was Troy & Sons Moonshine, which I didn't care for. No worse than any other "shine" product on the market now, but also no better.

Sep 07, 2014
carnicero in Southeast

Quality DE liquor stores?

Thought I'd report back- Didn't stop at Total Wine in Claymont, but stopped at the one in Wilmington and was seriously disappointed. Also went to Kreston's in Wilmington and fared much better. Their selection was better than average, and the prices were excellent.

Sep 07, 2014
carnicero in Mid-Atlantic

old fashioned cocktails,bourbon or rye whiskey?

It's really a matter of taste- the Old Fashioned can be made with any spirit and they will all have their own unique character. I even different brands of the same spirit will impart different flavors to your final cocktail.

Ideally, try making with bourbon and with rye and compare to see which you like better. Otherwise, figure out which flavor profile sounds better to you and go that way. Bourbons tend to be sweeter and "rounder" or mellower than ryes. Rye tends to be drier and spicier than bourbon. Definitely, though, stay away from "blended whisky," such as Crown Royal, Seagrams, etc., which are only a small part aged whiskey which is cut with large proportions of flavorless neutral alcohol.

Sep 02, 2014
carnicero in Spirits

Good BBQ in Philly or Wilmington?

It's a closed kitchen with a pass-through, so I didn't get a good look at their prep. Seemed pre-sliced and pre-pulled, though, by the texture.

Sep 02, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Wasabi root

How was the frozen root? Did it compare favorably to fresh?

Sep 02, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Good BBQ in Philly or Wilmington?

I went about a year ago and was not impressed. Barbecue was just fair at best, no better than Famous Daves. I usually hit Sweet Lucy's or Fette Sau for barbecue these days, though each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Sep 02, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Quality DE liquor stores?

Just browsed their website; that looks like the kind of place I'm looking for. Thanks.

Sep 01, 2014
carnicero in Mid-Atlantic

Quality DE liquor stores?

I'm familiar with Total Wine and often shop in their Cherry Hill, NJ location. I'll have to pop in and see if their selection and/or prices are very different in DE as opposed to NJ.
Thanks.

Sep 01, 2014
carnicero in Mid-Atlantic

Quality DE liquor stores?

I'll be driving from Philly to Dewey Beach, DE this week via US1, looking for any good liquor stores along the way that might have a better than average bourbon/rye selection, as well as interesting liqueurs or amari. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Sep 01, 2014
carnicero in Mid-Atlantic

Does anyone have a suggestion of how to find bacon rind

Any butcher that carries slab bacon should be able to help- Martin's in RTM as suggested bellow, Cappuccio's Meats in the Italian market both come to mind. If you can't find bacon rind for some reason, you should be able to get raw pork rind (skin). This will serve the same purpose for covering your dish and adding some fat and flavor, though you may need to add some salt to make up for what you're missing without the bacon.

Aug 28, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Looking for a good dinner spot near Union Transfer (Spring Garden Street)

I came here to suggest Sazon, but you beat me to it.

Aug 18, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia
1

Calling all Bucks County Chowhounds

Pho Palace in far Northeast Philly (Somerton, right near County Line Road, so a stone's throw from Bucks County) is decent. They only have banh mi with BBQ pork or BBQ chicken as far as I remember, not the full lineup you'd have at some of the better Viet spots.

Aug 17, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia
1

Good King Tavern

I'm probably responding too late for your visit tonight, but here goes. We have favorites we order every time. Grilled octopus appetizer and duck confit entree are always excellent.

Aug 16, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

What are some good higher proof bourbons that aren't expensive, like Evan Williams?

That may be the new norm for OWA, unfortunately. It is a product of the Sazerac Group/Buffalo Trace Distillery, and the same mash that goes into some of their prestige labels (William LaRue Weller Antique, retail $79, and the Van Winkle line, which Saz is now producing under contract for Julian Van Winkle). Word is that BT/Saz is holding back barrels that could be OWA to get more aged products for the Pappy and BT Antique lines.

Aug 13, 2014
carnicero in Spirits

Cookbook recommendations as gift for amateur home chef?

Ruhlman's Twenty is a great place to start, and his Ratio is a great next step.

For an expansive reference on technique with great illustrations, I'd have to recommend Jacques Pepin's "New Complete Techniques". It includes basic ingredient prep and cooking techniques up to pared garnishes and composed dishes. Really solid.

Aug 12, 2014
carnicero in Home Cooking

What are some good higher proof bourbons that aren't expensive, like Evan Williams?

In my area, Knob Creek Reserve and Booker's go for quite a bit more than OGD 114 or other "budget" bourbons.

I'd suggest in the under $30 range:
Old Grand-dad Bottled-in-Bond (100 proof)
Old Grand Dad 114
Wild Turkey 101
Elijah Craig 12-year (94 proof, if memory serves)
Evan Williams Single Barrel (usually 86 proof,but can vary with different bottlings)
Old Weller Antique 107
Old Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond (can be difficult to find, but 100 proof and usually under $20. Same profucer as Evan Williams and Elijah Craig)
Bulleit - this is under $25 in my area and pretty good. I've heard it can cost more elsewhere.

I'm sure there are plenty more I'm drawing a blank on at the moment, but I often keep several of these bottles at home all the time.

Aug 12, 2014
carnicero in Spirits
1

Cook-Out restaurant?

Unfortunately, I live in PA, and the only Cheerwine is glass bottle 4-packs at Cracker Barrel, and kind of expensive. It's true that in NC and southern VA it's pretty much everywhere.

One of my employees has family near Roanoke and I have him bring back Cheerwine every time he visits. If only Blenheim's ginger ale would work its way that far north, I'd be all set.

Aug 10, 2014
carnicero in Chains

Cook-Out restaurant?

I LOVE Cook-Out. My wife went to college in NC and we go to Cook-Out whenever we go down south to visit. Barbecue sandwich is decent for not being a BBQ restaurant. Burgers are decent and taste fresh, chicken sandwiches are good. Hush puppies are a favorite. The real kicker, though, is Cheerwine in the soda fountain.

Aug 09, 2014
carnicero in Chains

Indian Grocery/Places to buy Ghee in the Phila area

Where are you located? There are I think 3 Indian grocers/cash-and-carries in Bensalem, Bucks County.

Aug 09, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Your ‘Craft’ Whiskey Is Probably From a Factory Distillery in Indiana

I've been aware of "distilleries" marketing whiskey they didn't make for a while. I'm not sure how I feel about it for a few reasons.

Obviously, I think credit is due to whoever actually produced the product. It would be great to know who made what and brands were honest about what hand they have in making the product.

On the other hand, some of the sourced whiskeys out there are really good, a really good value, or both. There's a tremendous amount of variation in final products that all started out as 95% rye grain, 5% rye malt distillate in Lawrenceburg. Where and how long it is aged, and what proof it is cut to for bottling, whether or not it is chill-filtered leaves a lot of leeway for a non-distilling producer to put their mark on a final product.

Jul 28, 2014
carnicero in Spirits

New Korean restaurant opening in Newtown...KO

Yeah, totally slipped my mind that I had commented here.

My wife and I went with my aunt and uncle, who have been regulars at Oishi for years.

The menu is pretty extensive, compared to other Korean restaurants I'm familiar with. Some dishes are pretty traditional and some are in the Asian fusion category. Everything was really tasty, though maybe not exactly what I was expecting, as I frequent a lot of traditional Korean places in Philly.

Our party tried the Korean fried chicken in 3 flavors. It was really good, but I prefer Cafe Soho for this. The spicy sauced wings were the best, followed by yuzu-salt-and-pepper. The honey-sesame wings were good, but my least favorite.
We also had the spicy pork belly bao buns, which were excellent. We rounded out the apps with wok-fried Brussels sprouts, which were crispy and very good, plus a kimchi sampler that included Napa cabbage, daikon radish and cucumbers. The kimchi might be house-made and tasted crisp and fresh.
For entrees, we had 2 of the gopdol bi bim bap dishes and 2 kbbq platters. Entrees were good, but I found the apps snd small plates better.

Service was a little uneven, but that is to be expected with opening week, I think.

Jul 23, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

New Korean restaurant opening in Newtown...KO

I've been waiting for KO to open since they moved Oishi to its new location. We're going this Friday to check it out.

Potential highlights include the Korean Fried Chicken, KO tacos, bao buns, and grilled meats.

Jul 14, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Recently at Han Dynasty

I may have to try the 2nd street location--

My wife and I have been to the Cherry Hill, NJ location of HD and were disappointed by how mild everything was. Our cold spicy rabbit appetizer was delicious, but our entrees were bland (even though I ordered mine at level 10 and they brought extra chili oil to the table).

Jul 13, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Ground my meat: what went wrong?

I've heard that about skirt and hanger steaks, but never really noticed that flavor myself.

Jul 06, 2014
carnicero in Home Cooking

Ground my meat: what went wrong?

I would guess the filet was too lean and it lean-ed out your mix. Also, filet is not a great source of beefy flavor.

All of the other cuts you mention that you've mixed before all tend to have marbling, a fat cap, or both. Filet is usually very minimally marbled and has little cap.

I also have the Kitchenaid grinder, and prefer to chill my equipment beforehand, but I've been pressed for time before and ground with room temp equipment and had not problem (smaller batch, though, as heat from friction and from the motor will increase the more you grind in one session.)

Jul 06, 2014
carnicero in Home Cooking

Eureka or Meyer lemons for Limoncello?

I think a Meyer limoncello would taste good, but not taste like what you expect limoncello to taste like. If you want traditional flavor and a straight-lemon taste, I'd say Eureka. If you're open to something a little different, go for the Meyer.

Jul 05, 2014
carnicero in Spirits
1

Tommy DiNic's... disappointed! What happened?

I'm probably in the minority, but I'd rather have the rabe and garlic closer to raw than way overcooked. I've been to a few sandwich places and had to pull the rabe off because it was cooked down to bitter brownish-green mush.

That said, I've always preferred John's to DiNic's. I think that the popularity explosion has hurt John's less and the quality hasn't slipped.

Jul 01, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia

Country Ham in Philly?

Cappuccio's meats on S. 9th street (Italian Market) carries country ham from Virginia. I've seen it hanging in their window in the fall, not sure if they have it year-round but I think they do. They're wrapped in butcher paper and cloth sacks, so if you want to examine one I guess you'll have to ask to have it opened.

Jun 25, 2014
carnicero in Philadelphia