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emgroff's Profile

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Is Five Guys Really the Best Fast-Food Chain?

I agree that Five Guys isn't really that good, but I live in PA: no Shake Shack, no Smashburger, no In-n-Out. I love fast-food-style cheeseburgers, so 5G is still the best option for me. Chick-Fil-A, on the other hand, is amaaaazing. Salty fried chicken, tangy pickles, buttery bun. Really, what more could you want? (I guess I wish they were more tolerant. But the chicken! So good!)

Sep 07, 2011
emgroff in Features

All Convenience, No Flavor

That's an amazing lede. The only thing that makes me sad about this review is that you're already married.

Apr 19, 2010
emgroff in Features

Chestnut and Pancetta Stuffing

This was delicious! Don't skip the cinnamon, it work superbly with all the other flavors. This is my new favorite stuffing.

Dec 26, 2009
emgroff in Recipes

Gender Bending in Restaurant Restrooms

If the bathrooms are individual washrooms and there's a line at the ladies', yes, I'll use the men's. I do that all the time, but I make sure to be real quick in case a guy comes along and has to wait. I agree that it really makes sense to have single unisex washrooms to avoid this sort of problem.

As for all these novelty bathroom arrangements, I don't like them. I'm pee-shy, so I don't want translucent walls or unisex multiple-stall arrangements. I want (need) privacy!

Dec 22, 2009
emgroff in Features

Good Bad Hot Cocoa

I find that reconstituting instant cocoa powder with milk instead of water makes the end product infinitely better.

Dec 21, 2009
emgroff in Features

When Five Meats Are Not Enough

I was also curious about the meats, but I couldn't find a description of the Six Meat Pizza, only a ergular (five) Meat Pizza, which has pepperoni, sausage, beef, hickory-smoked bacon and ham. Perhaps the sixth meat is chicken?

Nov 29, 2009
emgroff in Features

How to Host a Turkey-Free Thanksgiving

Helena's advice is good, but since this is the LW's own brother, I think he can be more frank and honest about his Thanksgiving. The brother really was out of line asking to bring a turkey to a vegan Thanksgiving (or even more generally, asking to bring a main dish to a meal hosted by someone else). The LW can politely let him know that he's hurt and offended and that no, there will be no turkey at this meal, and if that's not okay, the brother can feel free to eat elsewhere.

Nov 04, 2009
emgroff in Features

Thanksgiving for Beginners

This is wonderful and makes me wish our apartment wasn't too small to host Thanksgiving. I really like your photos!

Nov 02, 2009
emgroff in Features

Special Moments with Grim Gruel

Classic Supertaster -- thanks for the laughs, James!

Sep 21, 2009
emgroff in Features

Raiders of the Lost Drink

Wow, I really disagree. Maybe if the host is a very close friend, you could say something, but really, if the drinks are running low, that's none of your business.

Sep 02, 2009
emgroff in Features

The Ultimate Greek Salad, Plus 8 Great Greek Recipes

Mmmmmmmm, I love Greek salad!

Jul 29, 2009
emgroff in Features

Camping Karma

If you are camping in a campground, surrounded by other campers in close proximity, please do not "stay up really late, getting loudly drunk." You'll keep everyone up with you. It's fine if you want to stay up late, or get drunk, but please do not do it loudly.

Also, LauraB706 beat me to it, but never store food in your cain bear country. Hang it from a tree away from your tent.

Jul 29, 2009
emgroff in Features

But I Only Have Plastic

Because I rarely carry cash, I make sure to check for the Visa sticker on the door and I ask if I don't see it. Also, a block is a really short distance to walk.

Jul 15, 2009
emgroff in Features

10 Japanese Sweets

Ooo, I think my brother brought me Hi-Chew when he came back from Japan. It was sooo yummy, like way better Starbursts.

Apr 28, 2009
emgroff in Features

10 Coupon-Clipping Resources

Organic Valley (dairy products) and Stonyfield Farm (yogurt) also frequently offer coupons on their websites.

Mar 03, 2009
emgroff in Features

Instant Oatmeal Taste Test

I boil rolled oats on the stove while my coffee brews. It takes five minutes and is sooooo much better than instant oatmeal. I go simple on additions: a pinch of salt and a spoonful of brown sugar.

Jan 22, 2009
emgroff in Features

Ditching an Annoying Guest

Wouldn't this column be so boring if Helena actually gave good advice?

Jan 22, 2009
emgroff in Features

Surprise! I'm at Your Door

I definitely agree that if you want to drop by unannounced, you should call first. But of course, that's not unannounced, now is it?

Jan 14, 2009
emgroff in Features

Stuff I Screwed Up

Helena, you're still wrong about food containers. Yes, it is advisable to use disposable and/or cheap containers when giving food to others in case they don't return them. But you should always make an effort to return containers. Unless the container is clearly part of a gift, it is not being given but instead lent. Example: sometimes I bring soup or cake to work for co-workers. They always return my bowls or plates to me, not only promptly but also clean (yay for great co-workers!).

Jan 06, 2009
emgroff in Features

How to Talk Politics Over Dinner

I agree with what others have said. Some people enjoy discussing politics and can do it without getting loud or irrational. Others aren't interested or disagree or don't like arguing. It's important to know your friends and respect their wishes. I talk politics with some friends and family and not with others, just as I vary all my discussion subjects for different audiences.

Oct 31, 2008
emgroff in Features

10 Beginner Cookbooks

I too have How to Cook Everything and America's Test Kitchen Best Recipes. Both are massive books with recipes for just about everything. They also have a lot of great instructions and illustrations.

BurntEdges, I have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It's just as handy as its meat-inclusive cousin. I just adore Bittman's no nonsense style. Also, he includes a lot of tips for adjustments to makes recipes vegan.

Jul 22, 2008
emgroff in Features

Joyless, Sullen Brown Brick

Ew, SoyJoy. Maybe a year ago, they ran ads on television promoting free bars. They sent me three bars if I promised to give two of them to friends. Alas, they were so entirely disgusting that I threw them all away after just one bite of "Apple Cinnamon." What kind of friend would I be if I had actually passed them on?

Jun 30, 2008
emgroff in Features

Kids Gone Wild

The only time I was ever spanked was after I behaved poorly at a casual restaurant. Management should feel comfortable telling customers, "You need to control your child or we'll have to ask you to leave."

Jun 25, 2008
emgroff in Features

Spice Racks

I just wish these racks held more containers. I guess I could just keep the spices I use most often in them.

Jun 15, 2008
emgroff in Features

Summer 2008 Gift Guide

Though it's expensive, the KitchenAid mixer is awesome. My boyfriend's parents got me one for Christmas and I use it at least once a week for everything from whipping cream to kneading bread. It's the best gift I ever got.

Jun 10, 2008
emgroff in Features

Food Blog Heaven

I am a huge fan of Smitten Kitchen. I love David Lebovitz but cannot read his blog because it makes me cry for living in Connecticut instead of Paris.

May 19, 2008
emgroff in Features

Surprise Guest: Mom

I think every situation is individual, but in general, hosts have no obligation to accomodate extra guests. If Joe's mother was visiting, he probably should have skipped the party and spent the time with her, unless he thought she'd be a great addition.

May 14, 2008
emgroff in Features

Gas Versus Charcoal: Summer's Most Important Decision

I agree with Adam. Grilling is an art. I also think if you're going to use a gas grill, you might as well just stay inside and use your broiler. I love my Weber.

May 12, 2008
emgroff in Features

Eat Your Greens

I'm a huge fan of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, from Mark Bittman. It has such a huge variety and he provides useful information. I like his simple approach to cooking and, most important, his recipes are delicious!

Apr 15, 2008
emgroff in Features


Thanks, Joe! I bake my own bread at home and I did buy a bunch of plastic bread bags from King Arthur Flour that work quite well. But we're trying to reduce waste in our home, so I think I'll switch to that Best twill bag.

Mar 14, 2008
emgroff in Features