Mr Taster's Profile

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A highly opinionated old Jewish man is taking me out to Yang Chow (Chinatown)

He says, "It's the best Chinese food in Los Angeles."

What would you order if an old man were taking
you?

Mr Taster

33 minutes ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

OH- and be sure your dutch oven has a metal- NOT PLASTIC- knob! Those resin knobs are not safe at those high temperatures.

Mr Taster

about 2 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

>> there's not a ton of flavor development in the bread.

Yup- I could tell from reading it that there's just not enough time for enough flavor to develop.

To be fair, the Cooks recipe takes the cheat of using vinegar and lager (like Budweiser), which uses yeast that produces flavors similar to bread yeast. Don't use a heavy flavored or distinctive beer, or the bread will taste more like bitter and hops than bread. I use the Trader Joe's Name Tag lager or Simplier Times lager or pilsener. They're cheap (at about 50 cents a can) and just perfect for this recipe.

As for oven spring, I'd suggest preheating the dutch oven to 500 for a full hour, allowing the bread to autolyze for the full 18 hours, and using distilled or spring water for your bread (in order to minimize yeast death-by-chlorine.)

Mr Taster

about 2 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Just a quick look at Pepin's recipe shows that it's quite different.

http://blogs.kqed.org/essentialpepin/...

The secret to the gorgeous no-knead crust is the extra hydrated dough, which creates a lot of steam in an enclosed space when dropped into a 500 degree cast iron pot. White Pepin's dough is also rather wet (66% liquid vs. the no-knead 68% hydration), he attempts to simulate the steam-filled oven by spritzing the preheated oven with water. This is an inferior technique (though better than baking in an entirely dry environment) than baking in a small, enclosed space with very little ability for steam to escape.

Additionally, the long resting time in the almost no-knead bread recipe (8-18 + 2 hour rest, vs. Pepin's 3 + 2 hour rest) develops gluten with a minimal amount of kneading (literally 10-15 turns, about 15 seconds of kneading) through a process called autolysis (where gluten is developed slowly over time, rather than through physical manipulation of the dough.)

Additionally, the long rest has a secondary effect of allowing the yeast to consume more sugar, and therefore poop more flavor-enhancing acids into your dough.

Mr Taster

about 3 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Not to mention that Chowhound was founded on the principal that this was a community of people who go to great lengths to achieve maximum deliciousness.

http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006...

Mr Taster

about 3 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Never tried Pepin's recipe. This is a variation on the no-knead bread recipe, made easier with the parchment sling, and made more flavorful by the addition of beer and common distilled vinegar.

For this recipe to be successful, it is critical that you use a cast iron dutch oven with a heavy, well-fitting lid, because the steam must be trapped in the oven in order to get the gorgeous crust. Also, the internal temp should be closer to 210, not 200 as the website says.

Mr Taster

about 4 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

No torture required. This makes a ridiculously delicious loaf. Not a baguette, but a boule, of gorgeous chewy, yeasty, open crumb, with a deep golden, crackly exterior crust. And it takes about 5 minutes of actual active work to make it.

(The rest is done by the yeast and time, and by your oven.)

https://www.breadtopia.com/cooks-illu...

Mr Taster

about 18 hours ago
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

microwave in the island

You mean like in Hawai'i?

Mr Taster

1 day ago
Mr Taster in Cookware

Hot City Barbeque in Los Banos

Interesting-- I've seen nothing but praise for WG in Los Banos, though I found the Wool Growers in Bakersfield inferior to Noriega Hotel.

We're taking a road trip from LA to Yosemite, then to Monterey, and down the coast back to Los Angeles, so I'm doing some preliminary chow research.

Seems like there's several interesting options in Los Banos. Never knew about LB Wool Growers. Our original plan was to drive up from LA to Yosemite and grab our Basque fix in Bakersfield, but since that's possible in Los Banos, I'm tempted to try something else in Bakersfield.

Mr Taster

2 days ago
Mr Taster in California

Hot City Barbeque in Los Banos

Is this Wool Growers affiliated at all with the restaurant of the same name in Bakersfield?

I don't recall the one in Bakersfield having communal tables-- as far as I know, only Noriega Hotel does it family style.

Mr Taster

2 days ago
Mr Taster in California

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Yup. The drive down Garfield through San Marino is always wide open for me. S. Pas to Banh Mi My Tho is 3.6 miles, or a 9 minute drive. Plus, you have the glories of the rest of the San Gabriel Valley at your disposal, along with good school districts, and cheaper cost of living than Westside.

I think we've thorough destroyed the thesis statement of this post.

Mr Taster

Apr 15, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Re: tortillas in France, that's an excellent point and one that I was trying to make earlier.

France has outstanding food, no question about it. And there is diversity within French cooking, of course. But try to find Shanghainese chow nian gao in France. Or Shandong niu rou juan bing. Or Guatemalan bloody clam ceviche. Or Yucatecan poc chuc. Or Sinaloan grilled zarandeado. Or Texas BBQ brisket. Or Salvadorean pupusas. Or Korean goat stew.

If you're lucky, you'll find a French guy wearing a sombrero and a Mexican blanket soliciting you into a restaurant serving slop that wouldn't fly in LA's worst margarita mills.

Mr Taster

Apr 15, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Any great Thai / Indian restaurants in the Westside?

> I'd say the BEST Japanese restaurants in LA are about the same level as GOOD in Japan.

Urasawa.

Hyperbole has a way of getting you into trouble, m3tan.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

San Gabriel Valley. All the French baguettes you could hope to eat, along with a staggering array of magnificent Chinese and Vietnamese food.

http://www.sgvtribune.com/social-affa...

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

In this country, it is a specialty item. Wonder bread is not.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Thrillist's Top 8 Dim Sum Places in LA?

Have you been to Ocean Star recently? I haven't been there in ages, since I heard post-change of ownership downhill reports many years ago from ipsedixit and the like. I've moved on to Elite, but I do miss the clattering carts.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

Zing! That's it.

m3tan, LA is a big place, and you chose to live in your neighborhood, right? I mean, were you forced at gunpoint to move to the Westside? If so, then you have my sympathies and should probably file a police report.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
2

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

You don't need to tell me that twice. Would love to hear about Alma, though with 4 years of pharmacy school debt now under our belts, Giang Nan is more our price range when dining out.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

You can say "suck". No need to censor yourself.

Chowhound is filled with broadly worded laments like "why is there no great X in Los Angeles" (let alone the whole nation, which is hyperbolic to the extreme, not to mention off topic.) And the answer is, sometimes we don't, but often we do. And when we don't, there are about 23,981 things Los Angeles also does magnificently well, which you can learn to appreciate. Or not, and stay stuck in your mindset of wanting LA to be somewhere it isn't.

The bottom line is that for sheer quality, variety and overall value of food, Los Angeles is an extraordinarily hard city to match.

As for baguettes, if you insist on going to supermarkets, Jon's are pretty wonderful. But more often than not, I go for the baguettes at Papa Cristo/C&K at Pico/Normandie.

Neither of these is on the Westside. But we do have them, so you should consider changing your lament from damning the entire country to something like, "why doesn't LA's Westside have any good X". Or, like TailbackU says, "why do all baguettes suck within a 5 mile radius of me?"

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
3

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

Nice to know you're still around & kicking, Jerome. It's been a while since I've seen you around these parts.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

This premise could apply to the different types of cassia, but not to cassia vs. cinnamon.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

I understand where you're going with this, but your premise simply doesn't apply here.

One is not "better" than the other- they are similar but different, in the way a tangerine and an orange are similar but different. (Although I'd say the differences between cassia and cinnamon are far more apparent.)

It's easy to test for yourself. All you have to do is go to Penzey's with a friend, and have them set you up for a blind sniff test. The one that smells like the cinnamon you know is cassia.

After you do this, report back here and let me know I was right.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

It's very possible to tell the difference between true cinnamon and cassia.

A Cinnabon made with true cinnamon instead of cassia would have a less intense flavor, less sharply "cinnamonny".

From Penzey's website:
Ceylon Cinnamon
Complex and fragrant, with a citrus overtone and rich buff color. Although Ceylon cinnamon is less strong, its hint of citrusy flavor and lack of any bite whatsoever makes it the favorite in both England and Mexico where it is preferred for all uses. Ceylon Cinnamon, ground, from Sri Lanka.

Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon
Vietnamese cinnamon is the strongest, richest, and sweetest cinnamon around. For traditional cinnamon recipes such as gooey cinnamon rolls, the vibrant flavor of Vietnamese cinnamon really shines. It is so strong, that in most recipes it should be cut back by about a third, but it is perfect used full strength in any recipe where cinnamon is the main, delicious flavor. Ground, from Vietnam.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Belcampo Cheeseburger

If you want to pay $25 for a burger, fries and dessert, the Apple Pan is in on the Westside. Upside- it's closer, and you can get a slice of their utterly magnificent banana cream pie with it. Downside: the burger.

What argument am I making here, anyway? Someone please tell me.

Mr Taster

Apr 14, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Thrillist's Top 8 Dim Sum Places in LA?

Your comment, A5 KOBE, is worthy of a hearty and well-deserved LOL.

Mr Taster

Apr 10, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Thrillist's Top 8 Dim Sum Places in LA?

TonyC sometimes gets drawn into the Chinese list pool, too. (Though I've never been able to determine if that is of his own doing, or his editor's.)

Mr Taster

Apr 10, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Thrillist's Top 8 Dim Sum Places in LA?

Oh, Clarissa.

> Simply put, Lunasia is LA’s best dim sum joint.

Her opinion, stated with millenial bravado and total lack of humility or temperance. OK, let's examine the reasons why she feels this way.

> It's beautiful on the inside, the servers all speak fluent English

She has just illustrated that she is influenced by style over substance.

> and most importantly, the food is transcendent.

"Transcendent", the lazy food writer's crutch. It means nothing on its own. What makes the food "transcendent", specifically?

> Unlike most dim sum, the portions at Lunasia are massive

Dim sum is about eating lots of small tastes. WHY is massive portions a positive trait?!

> a single har gow is stuffed with at least three pieces of shrimp inside its gummy, thin, and translucent wrapper.

That sounds disgusting. Massive, overstuffed, gummy. What is going on here?!

> And don’t leave without trying the flaky egg tarts, which're nearly overflowing with delicious custard.

This is the only statement that I'm even slightly on board with.

I just don't get this chick.

Mr Taster

Apr 10, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area
1

Cantalini's Salerno Beach Restaurant

Harbor Room looks highly intriguing... but doesn't look like an old school red sauce Italian place to me!

Mr Taster

Apr 09, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Cantalini's Salerno Beach Restaurant

Any update since 2009, westsidegal? The website looks great-- I'm a sucker for kitschy old school Italian American. I'm so sad that I missed the era of Little Joe's in Chinatown... I arrived in LA right before it closed for good, so never made it inside.

I'd love to hear your recs for others in the area, with better food in the same price range.

http://salernobeach.com/menu/dinner/

Mr Taster

Apr 09, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area

Expensive Lunch at Farmer's Market

I have no idea what "veggie plate" you're referring to. I never recommended a. veggie plate.

Mr Taster

Apr 08, 2014
Mr Taster in Los Angeles Area