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smilyfoodcritic's Profile

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$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Just received the golden gourmet and hot & honey peanuts ......... and they ARE good!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Rubee, how much did you pay for an order consisting of 3 claws in the restaurant?

Stone crabs from other places will have taste A LOT BETTER than the ones I got from Joe's to make me want to spend $13 to $15 per claw again to have it shipped to me.

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

I also got Joe's Stone Crab from Miami FL - Ordered 10 large stone crab claws for over $150 including shipping. However, I was disappointed at what I received .... the claws are certainly meaty but lacks the good flavor I am looking for in quality crab meat. Some tasted almost like overcooked/overboiled. I will NEVER mail-order Joe's stone crab again - they are simply not worth the price & shipping (but I may give stone crab another try by visiting the restaurant.)

Are there any foods you hated as a child - but grew to love?

Bitter melon - an acquired taste that can only be appreciated by adults....

Help me put together a Chow-worthy Easter Basket!

Hubby loves surprises - unfortunately, it is never one of my strengths to surprise people...especially a smarty-pants like DH. We were chatting about Easter last night, which gave me an idea to put together an "adult-version" Easter Basket consisting of nothing but chow-worthy sweet and savory treats for surprising my foodie DH!

Ideas I've come up with so far:
- fleur de sel caramels from Recchiuti
- hot honey peanuts from the peanut roaster

any other suggestions???

(btw, is there such thing as "gourmet" or "artisan" peep? just checking... :)

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Received croissants from Williams Sonoma this week. They are exactly what decent croissants should be - flaky outside, tender inside, buttery and tasty ... almost as good as the ones hubby and I had in Paris. Money well spent!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Soop, what kind of chocolate would you buy and where would you order it from?

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Lindawhit, I just got an email from La Tienda that they are having Bellota Paleta slices on sale at 40% off in case you are interested.....

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Thanks Jumpingmonk - I almost placed an order with Zingerman's yesterday which would consist primarily their bread and other baked goods. Now I am having a second thought........

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Thanks for the advice, jumpingmonk. Yes, I will only spend money where it is well spent. Any suggestions on what Zingerman's carries are worthy of the price and shipping?

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

You bet! :) And I can invest the money I save from needing no wine onto more food.......

What have you given up trying to cook?

If you refer to short-grain rice (e.g. sushi rice), a really good rice cooker may be all you need (e.g. Zojirushi).

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Unfortunately, hubby and I have yet to acquire a taste for wine...........

Do you have a favorite I'm-alone-now-so-nobody-will-know favorite dish?

Taiwanese instant noodles - there is a drawer in my pantry that is designated for holding the many varieties of instant noodles I keep in stock. I have instant noodles whenever I need something quick and comforting - however, I never add hot water (except when I am in UA flight), I like to cook my instant noodles in boiling water instead and add an egg and some vegetables to the broth - delicious!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Thanks for the suggestion, princess0479, i like the idea of giving back too - a portion of my earning has already been donated for a good cause. :)

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

bayoucook, can you see I am having a hard time deciding? :)
What sounds good to me so far include -
stone crab, crawfish, maine lobster $500
truffles $100
croissants from WS $100 (for stuffing my freezer)
wagyu steak $300
cheese (can't decide which kind) $200 (can't decide what to order yet) $200
..... that leaves me with another $1K to spend still....

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

LindaWhit, as a matter of fact, I just ordered the cured meat sampler from LaTienda right before this past Christmas for hubby's best friend's visit. This sampler include 8 oz of Serrano, 4 oz each of Iberico and Bellota. While Bellota and Iberico both taste heavenly (especially eating with hot steamed rice like sushi, the heat from cooked rice softens the meat and melts the fat slightly - heavenly indeed), Serrano is disappointing for some reason - dry and rubbery. So if you ever want to order Jamon Iberico from La Tienda, I would say skip Serrano and invest it on getting more Iberico or even Bellota.

Let's nominate the "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants

You just gave me a good reason to visit TN!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Mail-ordered the extra old Modena balsamic vinegar (25 yrs+) for hubby's birthday 6 years ago - and the taste IS unbelievable!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Thanks mjhals, I am feeling lucky too!

I've heard so much about WS' croissant and it is on my list of "Must-try".

Let's nominate the "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants

Pepper_mil, Lao Sze Chuan does have a Chinese menu available. Mayonnaise sauce shrimp is one of my favorite dishes when I lived in Taiwan, so I am not sure if it is a Szechuan specialty, but I am glad to find it on LSC's menu.

The scope is not limited to outside Asia - I would love to know which restaurants are local favorites when I visit China again.

Let's nominate the "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants

I got an idea reading Gary Soup's post about the pitiful "Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the US" announced by Chinese Restaurant News - that is to create a list of "chow-approved" best Chinese restaurants around the world.

Chinese restaurants are everywhere, but good, needless to say about great, Chinese restaurants are hard to find outside of Asia. So which Chinese restaurants in your area or which you visited before would you nominate to be included in the "Best "Chow-Approved" Chinese Restaurant List"?

Here are the rules:
- Name the Chinese restaurant and specify the city/state it is located
- Include the URL if available
- Briefly describe why the restaurant is worthy of nomination (e.g. what is their specialty? Taste wise? Chef? Service?)
- What are their signature "not-to-miss" dishes (or your personal favorite dishes there)
- Nominate as many Chinese restaurants as you like

Below are my nominations:
- Lao Sze Chuan, in Chicago and Downers Grove in IL
- They specialize in Szechuan dishes which are known for its spiciness and their menu provides more "authentic" options than just the regular American-Chinese dishes
- Some of my personal favorites are their "Chef's Special Dry Chilli Chicken", "Boiled Beef in Spicy Szechuan Sauce", "Crispy Shrimp in Mayonnaise Sauce", but there are many more dishes that are also delicious.

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

mcsheridan, thanks for reminding me of the crawfish season! Do you have a favorite mail-order source for live crawfish?

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Rubee, thanks for sharing the links!!

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Thanks for the suggestions, bayoucook! Do you recommend any specific vendors from whom I can order Maine lobster/oysters/seafood and truffles respectively?

$2500 worth of gourmet pleasure (Help needed!)

Received the bonus and salary increase recently and was (more than) pleasantly surprised (I am fortunate to work for one of the few companies that are doing well in the current economic condition.) So I've decided to allocate a small percentage of my hard-earned bonus to indulge myself in gourmet pleasure - and I would appreciate any suggestions from all of you gourmet aficionado out there to help me come up with a list of gourmet food that is sure to make my investment worthwhile.

Here's my criteria:

- edible (no culinary gadgets or appliances!)
- can be enjoyed in the comfort of my own kitchen (no restaurant recommendations!) and I don't mind food/ingredients that requires some preparation at home, such as steak, lobster, etc.
- can be mail-ordered and delivered to my door-step (foreign food is fine as long as it can be shipped to IL, USA)
- I am interested in food that is either extraordinary or ordinary food that is extraordinarily delicious


Good sushi and pastry near the Palmer House Hilton

Thanks nsxtasy! I am amazed at your knowledge about the food scene in Chicago, and you've really piqued my interest in F&O....

Jan 18, 2009
smilyfoodcritic in Chicago Area

Good sushi and pastry near the Palmer House Hilton

nsxtasy, i also saw your comment about Fox & Obel's being a great gourmet grocery store in another thread. May I ask for your recommendations on what you consider "must-try" gourmet items at Fox & Obel (including but not limited to baked goods)? Thanks a lot!

Jan 18, 2009
smilyfoodcritic in Chicago Area

Good sushi and pastry near the Palmer House Hilton

I've read a few threads about the Palmer House Hilton but didn't find recommendations about Japanese restaurants or bakery. Would appreciate suggestions for places within walking distance from the hotel.

Jan 17, 2009
smilyfoodcritic in Chicago Area

Tokyo Restaurant Recommendations Needed

I will be making a trip to Tokyo in early Feb. The sole purpose of my trip is to experience food culture unique to Japan. Below is a list of things I want to have there and need restaurant recommendations in Tokyo.

- Sushi and Sashimi (I am interested in trying different types of sashimi that are not commonly found in the japanese restaurants in the US)

- Chirashizushi

- Yakitori

- Ramen

- Yakiniku

- Unagi

- kare raisu

- Okonomiyaki

- Donburi

- Bento Box


Jan 08, 2009
smilyfoodcritic in Japan