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Turin: budino

In Torino for three days, and am seriously craving a killer budino. Anyone have a favorite?

Jun 21, 2015
fame da lupo in Italy

Olive oil for cooking

Thanks for the comments -- there's a PPP outlet near my rental, that will certainly receive a visit from me.

May 30, 2015
fame da lupo in France

Olive oil for cooking

Hi all, am renting an apartment in Paris in June and wish to do some cooking while there. I'm looking for a readily available, real olive oil for sauteeing. I read Puget is a good choice -- any thoughts?

May 28, 2015
fame da lupo in France

Asian desserts...why don't I like them?

Exactly. Indian desserts have way, way more in common with Iranian and Turkish desserts (many are nearly identical, with Indians adding cardamom) than they do Chinese, Japanese, etc. Turkish equivalents of Indian desserts: kheer is sutlac, gulab jamun is kemalpasa, burfi is helva. I very much like Indian desserts but that's perhaps because I also really like Turkish ones. Chinese desserts, OTOH, I can take or leave (mostly leave).

Jan 16, 2015
fame da lupo in General Topics

Tony's Excellent Iran Adventure

Odd, my take was that the places and people were beautiful, the food looked amazing, and that the regime was awful. But the latter doesn't cancel out the former. I'd be happy to go to Iran, just as I would to Israel, Cuba, or China.

Tony's Excellent Iran Adventure

I'm confused -- was your OP snark, or sincere?

Study: Milk may not be very good for bones or the body: British Medical Journal

They found a correlation among the population who drank "three or more glasses a day" -- who drinks that much milk?!

Tony's Excellent Iran Adventure

I see -- your post was snark. Useful snark, because it prompted me to watch the episode. Which, by the way, is excellent! Definitely have Iran on the list of places to visit.

French vervain/verbena?

I love vervain tea but I'm having a hard time figuring out which variety of verbena/vervain produces the French tisane/tea. Any help?

Jun 07, 2014
fame da lupo in Gardening

100 things you should eat before you die- sacramento

Before trying those 100 dishes, enjoy a Golden Cadillac at Poor Red's.

May 10, 2014
fame da lupo in California

AB in Mexico

He has some stinkers. The show is inconsistent. But occasionally he makes a great episode. The Punjab and Jerusalem episodes really stick out in my mind. Overall, his switch to CNN gave him more production $ and freedom, and I think the product is at least on par with No Reservations.

San Jose Mercury News: Sustainable farm-raised abalone at the Monterey Abalone Co [Monterey, CA]

Aside from the insane price, seems ideal.

Turkish coffee -- you're probably doing it wrong

AFAIK Mehmet Efendi only sells pre-ground. I love alternating between Turkish and espresso--the two most bold, interesting forms of coffee.

Feb 23, 2014
fame da lupo in Home Cooking

Sugar and coffee snobbery

I don't think adding some sugar is akin to ruining a steak by cooking it well. Rather, I think were such baristas themselves used to adding sugar, they'd notice new notes that they hadn't before.

Feb 21, 2014
fame da lupo in General Topics

Sugar and coffee snobbery

I tried this once at a cafe I liked. I got a withering stare from the barista, who clearly didn't like that I interfered with her work flow. Fair enough. But having the espresso drip onto the sugar and slowly dissolve it is much better than adding it after the fact and stirring. Not only do you never fully blend the sugar, but you cool the espresso too rapidly.

Feb 21, 2014
fame da lupo in General Topics

Turkish coffee -- you're probably doing it wrong

First, I want to share a well-produced video of Turgay Yildizli, a Turk who has won multiple awards in Turkish coffee competitions, showing you his method of making Turkish coffee. It's a winner, and dead easy. No multiple boilings or fussing about of any sort. Forget what your friend's grandma's cousin told you.

You'll need:

1) A scale.
2) Good beans, light-medium roast (Brazilian beans heavy on the chocolate notes are what Turks favor).
3) A Turkish coffee grinder. Sozen is considered the standard, and you can get one shipped from this shop:
4) A cezve/ibrik (the Turkish coffee pot). Make sure yours has the tulip shape you see in the video. Rounded (concave) cezbe/ibrik don't work as well.
5) A demitasse/espresso/Turkish coffee cup.

The best results, as with any coffee, comes from freshly ground beans, and the Sozen hand grinders are very good and efficient at this process. If you want to skip the hand-grinding, note that most commercial grinders can't get the fineness necessary for Turkish. It's no shame to rely on Mehmet Efendi pre-ground coffee--if you go to Eminonu, Istanbul you'll see a line of Turks waiting to pick up freshly roasted, ground beans from the factory. Your Mehmet Efendi purchased from Amazon or others won't be as fresh, but those first few coffees will taste pretty good. If you follow Turgay's method.

Feb 21, 2014
fame da lupo in Home Cooking

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #16/Finale Part 1 - 01/29/14 (Spoilers)

Agreed. Nina has a fantastic and unlikely combination of Caribbean and Italian chops. She's cool and unfazed by drama. I don't really get the dislike some have of her -- Nick is inconsistent and has a boring style and Shirley was so "I found out who Shirley Chung is!!!" that I was somewhat happy to see her go.

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #4 - 10/23/13 (Spoilers)

Paul was its only saving grace. Dramatically better chef than Hosea, and a very understated personality.

Good non-stick fry pans

Good non-stick: cast-iron and carbon steel, as well as stainless steel if you're not scrambling eggs.

Oct 27, 2013
fame da lupo in Cookware

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #4 - 10/23/13 (Spoilers)

Anyone want to chime in and tell me if this season has gotten off to a good/promising start? Considering coming back to TC...

Top Chef NOLA - Ep. #4 - 10/23/13 (Spoilers)

If Tom ever went to Singapore to have chicken rice...

Should home ec classes return to schools?

Won't happen. No one makes money off people who know how to do/fix things themselves.

Moving to Claremont

You're right. While Claremont is a coffee-desert, I stupidly generalized to all of SoCal. Klatch, Augie's (Redlands), and a variety of places in LA are doing great espresso/roasting. I suppose I was disappointed that a bougie town like Claremont wouldn't have an equally pretentious coffee bar serving top-level coffee.

Oct 26, 2013
fame da lupo in Los Angeles Area

Pasta? Italy says "Basta!"

Pasta actually has a relatively favorable glycemic index, given that it comes from durum wheat. The problem is the quantity of the pasta consumed, wherein the majority of dietary calories comes from carbohydrates. There's nothing inherently bad about pasta (vs. something that is inherently bad for you, like white bread).

FETA -- Cheese of the month (July, 2013)

As one who spends every summer in Turkey and has consumed more than my fair share of feta, the advice above is spot on. Find yourself a Middle Eastern grocer, they will likely sell Bulgarian feta. It is the best feta I have eaten within the United States. I've eaten it on both coasts (MA and CA) and it has been delicious and precisely the same thing in both places.

Jul 22, 2013
fame da lupo in Cheese

What is "authentic" Thai coconut curry?

This may be somewhat rambling, I'll do my best to keep it short.

I make great Thai coconut curry at home. I make it like I see it at every American Thai restaurant (only better, in most cases). The end result is a rich, soup-esque dish with whatever I feel like adding as ingredient. I use the "authentic" ingredients (kaffir lime leaves, etc). I have even been to Thailand -- honeymoon, almost exclusively tourist islands. There I found the exact same curries (red, green, Massaman, panang, etc) served and tasting nearly the same as I see here in the States.

But I have doubts: is this type of curry preparation actually typical to the country, or is it something exported to the US, altered to local tastes, and then re-exported back to Thailand for the tourists? Like American Chinese food? I'm aware that Thailand has distinct culinary regions. The one time I went "off-piste" in Thailand was a small town called Trang, where I found nothing like "Thai coconut curry" (instead, I ate other very delicious things, of course).

For example, I've been told that Thai people eat their rice separate from their curry. How, then, would they eat a big bowl of rich coconut curry? Spoon it like a soup, on its own? Seems unlikely, to me.

Anyway, I'm hoping someone who knows Thailand well will give me the lowdown on the issue.

Apr 22, 2013
fame da lupo in General Topics

REAL pho eludes me!

There's another thing going unmentioned. Smell and your sense thereof. When you go to a pho restaurant, you are served an aromatic liquid that is a jolt from what you've been smelling/tasting all day. When you make it at home, simmering it for hours, you've progressively dulled your senses. I'd do as UnfilteredDregs recommends: leave your stock alone, don't hang out in the kitchen, let your nose smell something else for awhile.

Ink tasting menu questions

Update: Ink is currently not doing a tasting menu. MV wants to do a chef's table set-up and is building capital for this venture.

Mar 29, 2013
fame da lupo in Los Angeles Area

Ink tasting menu questions

Well I resolved question 2 (it's $85) but no one seems to answer the phone at Ink so I'm still stumped on question 1. Bueller?

Mar 02, 2013
fame da lupo in Los Angeles Area

Ink tasting menu questions

Hi all,

Got friends coming into town and want to splurge on a fun meal. I have two questions about Ink's tasting menu:

1. Do they allow substitutions? One of our party does not eat pork.
2. What is the price nowadays for the tasting menu?

Thanks much!

Mar 01, 2013
fame da lupo in Los Angeles Area