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Louis Osteen returns to Pawleys

He's now doing mail-order Lowcountry products: http://www.louisslowcountrylarder.com

about 18 hours ago
mikeh in Southeast

Yank Sing Settlement Labour Dispute [San Francisco]

This is being a bit too harsh on Yank Sing. They could've fought this a bunch more than they did, damage control or not, and the legal organizations involved on the other side of the fight have acknowledged that Yank Sing took a far easier tack with them than they are accustomed to in the industry.

Secondly, I think it's inequitable to excoriate Yank Sing when they had a particular target on their back for being more visible than the typical Bay Area Chinese restaurant (because of the accolades, proportion of "Western" clientele, etc.) to scrutiny. You have to bet a ton of Chinese restaurants are getting away with equal or worse and not exposed to the light of day. So before we say, "omg, what Yank Sing did in the past is terrible, I'm going to eat somewhere else," just be careful that you know for sure what exactly that "somewhere else" is doing.

The business is tough, margins are low, and the competitive landscape is cutthroat. If all my Chinese restaurant brethren are skirting the law on this, well, do I really have a choice if I want to stay afloat? I'd focus on this as being a systematic problem in the Chinese restaurant world, not a Yank Sing-specific beef.

Nov 23, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Never have I been so baffled: Mama's House of Horrors

I too was supremely underwhelmed by Mama's Fish House. It was decent but highly banal. I'd much rather have a fish plate from Paia Fish Market.

Sep 18, 2014
mikeh in Hawaii

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

We're here for the weekend visiting friends. Trust me, we're checking out a whole lot more than just this!

Sep 14, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

Anyone know if they check the name on the ticket for the VIP and/or general admission? Some folks we know won't be able to make it and have VIP tix, but their names are on the ticket and apparently there's a VIP check-in tent organized by last name. Our friends can't recall if they actually check to make sure you're the person on the ticket, or if they're just matching you up to their list w/o looking at your ID...

Sep 11, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Duke's Mayonnaise - where to find it in the Bay Area?

Thanks, but that probably won't help for out here in California. I believe distribution of Duke's is very regional unless a particular storeowner is really trying to bring some in.

Aug 19, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Fine brisket at Memphis Minnie's (SF)

There's much better brisket all over Texas. Even at chains like Rudy's.

Aug 16, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

NC BBQ Map now available

Don't mean to be rude, but what a gimmick and waste of money. $24.99 for a map that appears to have no filtering logic whatsoever. Looks like it just scraped google maps for all restaurants with "bbq" in the name. If someone were to actually rely on that map, they'd end up going to places that weren't even serving wood-smoked bbq 90% of the time.

The two definitive guides in this state (and both are free, btw) of places that do real bbq (actually cooked over wood) is the one linked in this thread by carolinadawg and True Cue NC: http://www.truecue.org/true-cue-nc/

Aug 02, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
2

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

I think we're good with other plans for this particular visit. Have had my eye on Austin for quite a while (with designs of moving there which may come to fruition here soon if all goes well). Uchiko and Barley Swine are also on our lineup. Might as well start with a bang!

Jul 31, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

I'm just giving my perspective as a tourist and as someone who may be moving to Austin in the near future. I think there's a lot of value to getting that approximation and introduction "on one patio", so to speak. Plus, you get to chat with the owners/pitmasters - it's mighty fine seeing a master at his/her craft in the flesh and blood. It'll expose you to places you might never take a roadtrip just to eat at (at least until you've had a chance to try their stuff). And reviews I've seen of previous years is that the quality of product is quite high despite the away game.

Jul 31, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

At least you're standing around eating (or sitting under tents) as opposed to standing around waiting. This is the quickest access to Franklin BBQ you'll get all year (a 20-min line at worst), and you could be chowing down on another top 5-caliber's brisket or beef rib while doing so.

Jul 31, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

Yes, it's impossible to hit up even a majority of the places that are coming without living full-time in Texas and having no other weekend obligations. Some of these places are only open a couple days a week and sell out by 10 a.m. Then you count the gas to get there and back (multiplied by however many trips), and it's exceedingly more expensive and time-consuming.

$80 for an AYCE food festival is not out of line with other festivals serving this volume of food (the Farm-to-Fork local foods event in Raleigh/Durham NC is $100, the Salute to Charleston Chefs event at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival is $135, and don't evne ask what similar events out here in California cost!). I'm actually surprised this would've been priced lower in year's past. And they keep adding joints.

The filtering is also impressive. Here you only have the very best BBQ joints in the state. No pretenders. Not many festivals have the cred. to attract all the top places while cutting the not-so-great. TMBBQ is the gold standard of bbq ratings, and all the joints respect that, so if they say, "hey, come on out," the place is going to represent. That's pretty unique cachet and is worth something.

Again, last year, general admission tickets sold out in one day. This year, the 500 VIP tickets (priced at $145) sold out in 2 minutes flat. Clearly enough people think it's a price worth paying.

Jul 31, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival 2014

http://www.tmbbq.com/events/tmbbq-fes...

Tickets went on sale yesterday for the September 14 event. Apparently the VIP ones sold out in 2 minutes flat.

I'll be visiting your fine city for this. Looking forward to having so much good 'Q in one location!

Jul 30, 2014
mikeh in Austin

Winston-Salem/Greensboro BBQ open on Sundays

Sunday's a tough day for BBQ anywhere in NC. How far are you willing to drive? 25 min. gets you to Lexington, where Smiley's is open on Sundays. They cook over wood - it's not as good as Lexington #1 or the other really elite places but is absolutely acceptable in a pinch and captures the classic style of that part of the state. If I were visiting from out of state, I wouldn't hesitate burning a meal there.

Jul 26, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
1

Pacific Catch and Paul Martin- new in Mountain View- any feedback?

I tried Pacific Catch in San Mateo back in February (a week after a trip to Hawaii since I was craving more poke bowl-style food), and I nearly cried because of how poorly it compared. The fish was not fresh, the portions 1/2 the size and 2x the price of what you get in Hawaii. Won't be going back. Not worth it.

Jun 29, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Eastern NC Barbecue - Blackbeards

This sounds like my Blackbeard's experience from 3-4 years ago on a Sunday. I expected a spread of wonderfully-prepared southern sides. They had only two or three available (limas, field peas, and green beans). I heard them reheating our food in a microwave.

Jun 28, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Olallieberry Picking (and pie at Duarte's)

Doesn't Pie Ranch just serve up a few token pies because their name is Pie Ranch (which derives from the fact that their property is pie-shaped, not because they are devoted to the art of baking pies)? I've heard the pies are actually "imported" from Santa Cruz. It's mainly a place for produce, right?

Jun 19, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Olallieberry Picking (and pie at Duarte's)

I thought Ground Up closed a while ago because of the owner's health issues.

Jun 19, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Olallieberry Picking (and pie at Duarte's)

Duarte's needs a better crust recipe. That stuff is vile and ruins an exceptional filling.

Jun 19, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

Los Comales shut down- where to go for tacos in Durham now?

"Johnson said in an email that the business owed about $185,000 to the state."

They could probably raise a good chunk of that by selling 50% off coupons or something. Didn't "The Barbecue Joint" in Chapel Hill attempt (and briefly succeed) at something similar before being shut down for other reasons?

Jun 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Smokestack BBQ [San Francisco]

"Chopped pork" is actually the dog whistle we North Carolinians use to recognize natives. Classic NC bbq is "chopped pork" as opposed to the pulled pork that you find in other parts of the South. We instantly recognize out-of-staters if they're at a BBQ joint in NC and ask for "pulled pork." So this menu item is named surprisingly well!

I'm still a bit weirded out by consuming beer (or any alcoholic drinks) with BBQ. At most honest-to-goodness southern bbq places (think many of the famous ones in NC or AR or TX), you get your choice of iced teas or various sodas. No booze w/ Q. We're talking about homey, family-gathering places after all.

Chronicle Top 100 2014

Is Bauer going to use a voicebox so that his voice doesn't become recognizable to everyone in the restaurant industry? You know, the same degree of diligent care he's used to protect his visual identity?

Re screened calls, I'm sure Chowhounders are savvy enough to play it straight to get past the screeners!

May 13, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

recommendation for a dinner in Charleston next week

I live in SF but FIG is the place we try going to every time we're in Charleston. No one in SF has access to the same local ingredients as FIG does. At FIG, you're getting softshell blue crabs from up in McClellanville, Carolina gold rice from Wadmalaw Island, ramps from the North Carolina mountains, triggerfish from local waters, or sorghum cake. We simply don't have the analogous ingredients to replicate those flavors here in SF.

But I agree that a cup of she-crab soup, and meat-and-three (pick from a number of southern-style entrees including a few hyperlocal seafood catches and selection of 15 or so veggies, and a slice of buttermilk pie for dessert) for lunch/dinner at Hominy Grill, or some other places that are unabashedly lowcountry in flavor and recipe, should be considered as well and aren't replicated anywhere in the Bay Area (not even close). Hominy will give you the best sense of casual Southern.

It's a tough choice if you're picking just one, but I'd probably make a reservation at Hominy (they take them for dinner) if you only have one meal. But if you have two, go to FIG.

May 07, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
1

Twisted Noodle open in Durham

Care to elaborate? Chef changes? Ownership changes? Different recipes or ingredients? At least as Thai in NC goes, it was pretty spot on 7-8 years ago

Apr 25, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Sweatman's BBQ - Holly Hill, SC

There's a much newer thread discussing Sweatman's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920922

From my own very recent experience, I put it up there in the very top echelon of Carolina bbq. It deserves a seat alongside Lexington #1, Red Bridges, Allen&Son, Skylight Inn, and Scott's Variety Store.

Apr 18, 2014
mikeh in Southeast
1

Fearrington

How was the atmosphere? I know they did a makeover a couple of years back, before which it was pretty classically "upscale plantation-style opulent Southern" with Queen Ann-style furniture, plush carpeting, ornate window draperies and the like.

Apr 12, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Fried Chicken: Pican or Miss Ollie's? [Oakland]

For lunch, yes. For dinner, I think you can get it any day.

Apr 10, 2014
mikeh in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 NC Farm to Fork Picnic tickets on sale

I agree that the price tag continues to give me sticker shock. It would be on the high end of similar events out here in the high-income/high-cost-of-living parts of California (except for a few lavish locally-sourced events in Wine Country where the objective isn't to help develop and/or expose an audience to local/organic/artisan culture). The price disparity over similar events in the Carolinas (TerraVita - $60 for non-alcohol; Lowcountry Local First's Potluck in Charleston at $75) is equally jarring. But I believe this is the largest concentration of Triangle-area purveyors we see all year, so it would certainly be a good opportunity to become re-acquainted with the latest goings-on in the local growers/makers community in the Triangle, about which I care very much.

Just hitting up Carrboro Farmers Market, Weaver Street, and a handful of eateries wouldn't have the same effect, although that's still my strong inclination given we never got a lucid response from the organizers when we pressed this issue with them when they first raised prices.

Apr 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

2014 NC Farm to Fork Picnic tickets on sale

What are folks' impressions of this event? I know there had been some complaints about the quality of food (pre-made dishes, salads) due to the remote siting.

Was planning on hitting up the NC mountains a weekend in June for the peak of rhododendron season and this might be good to tack on. Of course, I was vehemently opposed to the price increase from $60 to $100 a couple of years ago...

Apr 09, 2014
mikeh in Southeast

Sweatman's Bar-B-Que, Holly Hill, SC

Only Friday and Saturdays now. Until 9 p.m. at night (I was there around 7:30 p.m. and they had plenty of skins).

Apr 01, 2014
mikeh in Southeast