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Cheese for the new guy

I like Oloroso sherry with cheese and at most quince paste or a good fig jam but i almost allays eat cheese plain or with some fresh bread or toasted baguette.

1 day ago
Ridge in Cheese

Cheese for the new guy

St. Agur is an easy to like, reliable and relatively easy to find blue cheese. I recommend eating some plain and also spreading some on a fresh baguette.

1 day ago
Ridge in Cheese

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

Alice is neither arrogant nor condescending. Her crime is not being slick, hip, eloquent and telegenic enough for people to digest. Leave the woman alone already.

1 day ago
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area
2

Restaurant Pet Peeves

Recently was at a dinner with a largish group on the east coast. This was an overhyped glitzy Italian restaurant owned by a well known (in the DC area) restauranteur. Food ranged from good to mediocre. Service was abysmal. Apparently there was a minimum per person amount we were supposed to spend. We actually ordered what seemed like a ton of food (everyone had apps, main and dessert) and ordered two bottles of wine. Apparently we still were under this price and at the end of the dinner the waiter informed one of us that we had to order a bottle of champagne to make sure we were over the minimum. It would have been nicer if he told us this earlier in the meal so we could have ordered some more food.

Jul 19, 2014
Ridge in Not About Food

July COTM wood board aged cheeses

Excellent question! Two things:

People seem to be more engaged on online forums when arguing about things. Gets people's adrenaline going.

I don't know about other folks but what I expected to be a leisurely summer has become packed with stuff like visiting relatives and nightmarish expensive home repairs. I haven't really had time to shop or taste cheese except for some Eppoisse on the 4th.

But I will make an effort to taste and report back in the next couple of weeks.

Jul 09, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Edible Bugs?

The chef/owner of Ran Kanom And Ran Kanom Thai noodles used to make a spicy chili condiment with water bugs. It's called Mangda. The water bugs have an intense floral aroma. It was very interesting. I think she stopped making it because not enough people were adventurous enough to try it. Maybe if you ask her she can make you some.

Jul 08, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

July COTM wood board aged cheeses

I have been looking for but can't find a definitive list of wood board aged cheeses. The majority of gourmet cheeses that are not fresh or mass produced is the quick answer. I am still digging for information and will post additional information as I find it.

Jul 01, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

There was lots of good and sometimes heated discussion in this thread and I now encourage everyone who participated in the discussion, no matter what side you were on, to participate in July's Cheese of the month (COTM). This month the featured cheeses are cheeses aged on wooden boards. It will be fun for us all to taste these cheeses together. This month the featured cheeses are cheeses aged on wooden boards. The way it works is that people taste a cheese and then describe it in as much detail as you have the energy to. Where did you get the cheese? How much did it cost? What does it taste like (flavor, mouthfeel)? Do you like it? Why? Would you recommend it? Would you buy it again? You can look at past COTMs here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/967306

Here is a link to this months COTM:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/980970

Jun 30, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

July COTM wood board aged cheeses

The COTM for July is cheese aged on wooden boards. It appears that most cheeses that are not fresh or mass produced are aged on wood boards. So the category is quite large. Cheese aged on wood boards include:

Bonne bouche. This is an excellent goat cheese made in Vermont that is actually sold in a small wooden box:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/03/ea...

Winnimere and other Jasper Hill cheeses:

http://www.jasperhillfarm.com

Comte. We did this cheese in a previous COTM and the longer aged versions were a big hit. I wouldn't mind tasting it again.

Limburger

I will investigate more cheeses aged on wooden boards and post more in the next few days.

Jun 30, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Best halva?

Melanie,

I remember trying the "fairy floss" stuff when I was visiting family in Athens a long time (more than 20 years) ago. I assumed it was like a gourmet cotton candy. It's exactly as you describe, stiffer than cotton candy with a much more dry mouthfeel and interesting nutty taste. I don't know anything about it and had forgotten about it till now.

Jun 30, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Volunteers for cheese of the month co-ordinator (May through October, 2014)

Yes, we will do wood board aged cheeses. Stay tuned, I am gathering information and will post about it in the next 2 days.

Jun 28, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
1

Cheese mixes

cream cheese + dark chocolate covered matzo + peanut butter

goat cheese + caramelized onions and peppers + fresh arugula + toasted bread

Jun 26, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

Of course I can roast eggplant. And I do an excellent job. But the one I had at CP is a realm of its own. It was delicious perfection. That's the beauty of CP. Some may find that boring. Oh roasted eggplant, big deal. But I appreciate the way some of the food there is perfected. Even if it is simple, it tastes spectacular.

Jun 26, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

I would say that some replies make it seem like the food at CP is all easy simple stuff any good cook can make at home. Not so. I am a very good cook and so is my husband. We can never make food, even things like simple roasted eggplant as good as CP. And they make some very unusual things like apricot pit ice cream (delicious).

Forget everything you have read in this thread and remember this: the food is amazing. Forget the hype. Just go. If you appreciate good food you will love it.

Jun 26, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area
1

to chez panisse or to not chez panisse, that is the question

The restaurant is very special. I can't understand how someone who appreciates good food would not like it. It's simple, down to earth, farm to table, well sourced and well prepared food. We go about once or twice a year and it's allways a memorable experience. I went a couple of months ago and was going to post a review but never got around to it. We had an excellent meal. A link that has my reviews of last years meals:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/886741

Jun 23, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area
2

New Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurant Terra Cotta Warrior on Judah St. [San Francisco]

One more thing on this subject. My husband mentioned that at the Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurant he went to in NY he had a dish that was like handcut noodles with cumin lamb and pickled vegetables. Also a hot and tingly lamb face salad. Are these two dishes available at any of the Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurants in the Bay Area?

Jun 22, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

New Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurant Terra Cotta Warrior on Judah St. [San Francisco]

We went yesterday. We were not that familiar with Xi'an/Shaanxi cuisine. Husband went to some Xi'an/Shaanxi restaurants on a business trip to NY and came back raving about them. I looked on Hyperbowlers great Chinese restaurant list (thanks Hyperbowler!) and we decided to give Terra cotta warrior a try. We arrived at around 5:30. Not very crowded but the place was packed by the time we left. I liked the decor of the restaurant, not overstated and more contemporary feeling than most Chinese restaurants. We loved it and will be going back. Based on reports here I told the server we liked very spicy food. Except for the Ma Po Tofu, the food seemed free of the overload of MSG you get at many Chinese restaurants in the US. Husband mentioned the food had a Silk Road feel and I agree. The prices were very affordable especially considering the high quality of the food. Here is what we ate:

Pork with hot pepper burger. Burgers are meh to me. But this burger I LOVED. This was my favorite dish. The pork itself was sweet and contrasted nicely with the sharp spicy jalapeños. The toothsome bread was the perfect vehicle.

The cumin lamb burger. This was good but not as good as the pork one we had. My husband said he had a better version (more crispy lamb) at the restaurant he went to in NY.

Shaanxi Mian-Pi. I have never had a dish like this. We really enjoyed this. The noodles were toothsome and spicy with a satisfying sourness.

Pita Bread Soaked In Lamb Soup. Really homey, comforting and tasty. This soup was permeated with an intense satisfying lamb flavor. The pieces of bread were almost like tiny dumplings and together with the mung bean noodles they added a satisfying texture to the dish. Very different, very good. Great food can make you feel like you are transported to a different location. This dish made us feel like we were transported to some exotic destination on the Silk Road.

Ma Po tofu. We got this because I love Ma Po Tofu and I am always curious to try different versions. This version was very good. The only element it lacked was that there was not enough Sichuan pepper. A bit more Ma La would have knocked it out of the park.

Jun 22, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to find Osaka-style Pressed Sushi?

We went to sushi Sho last night for the first time in a while. It was excellent and the place was not as crowded as it was on Solana. Aki is still making the pressed sushi and the people next to us ordered some.

Jun 21, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

2014 regional Chinese roundup

Can we try to pin this to the top? Not sure if the moderators would do it but it would be nice.

Jun 21, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Seeking kaymak

I will try also! Might not get a chance for a couple of weeks but I will report back.

Jun 19, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Seeking kaymak

You can make it with other milks as well. It's basically a certain way of making clotted cream. My late grandma used to make it with cows milk. I always thought hers tasted like very creamy butter but that was ages ago. I looked up recipes on the web and its not that difficult to make. I would appreciate if you let us know if you make it yourself and how it turns out; maybe I will try also.

Jun 17, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

Replacements for retired favorites?

Many years ago there used to be an amazing and inexpensive Taiwanese street food place at the back of 99 Ranch market in Richmond. They made a great bamboo stuffed with sticky rice and pork floss dish. Unfortunately the place was never that busy and they closed down.

Sometimes we will try to make dishes we can no longer get at home. We occasionally make Unagi Bahn mi that we used to get at Sea Salt in Berkeley.

Jun 16, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

Can I ask where the heck were all you people when we have been doing COTM??? If the next COTM is about cheese aged on wood boards will you participate?

Jun 11, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

A big study into cases of listeria contamination in cheese found the major source was Queso fresco illegally imported from Mexico. Why not focus on that problem instead of making a big stink about wooden boards? In any case they realize their over reaction and are backtracking and it will be forgotten about so it's a non issue at this point.

Jun 11, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

Funny, it looks to me like the FDA is the chicken little in this situation.

Jun 11, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

Robert,
I thought the same thing about Italian cuisine. But I just was in Italy (for the first time since 1988) and ate only at traditional Italian restaurants in Verona, Venice and Rome and at an Italian friends home. I was blown away by how much experimentation and use of non-Italian ingredients was going on. Use of things like ginger, lemongrass, coconut and vanilla (Italian anchovies served with vanilla butter-a revelation) in traditional Italian cuisine-and it was all delicious. And my Italian friend made a very Spanish influenced meal.

Jun 10, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area
1

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

As a scientist I am a strong proponent of science. Too often bureaucracy, egos and dogma trump science in these agencies. In this case the science does not justify these regulations. Can you show me a study that shows that Listeria can effectively colonize wood boards and that this contaminates cheese? If so please point it out to me. There are studies that show that wood inhibits growth of bacterial pathogens:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23...

There is a study of the microbial ecology of these boards (listeria not found):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17...

There is a study that shows if you intentionally contaminate boards with listeria they are out competed:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18...

A study showing most outbreaks of listeria associated with cheese are caused by illegally imported queso fresco from Mexico.

The FDA found one cheesmaker in NY who used wood boards and whose cheese was contaminated with listeria but they never showed cause and effect.

If you intentionally inoculate wood boards with concentrated Listeria the boards can be hard to disinfect:

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1...

None of the science justifies the heavy handed new regulations that ban this age old artisan technique. That's truly sad.

Jun 10, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
5

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

Listeria is a contaminant and if cheese makers maintain clean conditions and a healthy microbial flora in there cheesemaking areas that can avoid it. Good bacteria colonize the wood and would prevent contaminants like listeria from getting a foothold in cheese cultures. It just doesn't make any sense to penalize all cheese makers for the faults a few bad guys. Enforcing regular and rigorous testing by PCR or another method would be more effective.

Jun 10, 2014
Ridge in Cheese

US FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

There is not a shred of scientific evidence that supports the need to do this. By there rational why not ban use of wooden cutting boards altogether. It's perhaps well meaning but it's overkill and I would be surprised if it has any effect at all on listeria infections in humans.

Jun 10, 2014
Ridge in Cheese
1

Kin Khao - Thai-style Thai in SF

I fully agree. I was just responding to what I see as lots of CH posters in many different discussions asserting that in places like Thailand, China, Italy etc. chefs are very dogmatic and strictly follow rules. In this case you can't possibly get Massamam chicken in Thailand but if you read CH there are lots of examples of this kind of thinking.

Jun 10, 2014
Ridge in San Francisco Bay Area
1