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Takeout pasta dishes - how to avoid overcooked pasta?

Great idea - both to get the pasta packed plain and also to reheat the sauce, if necessary, rather than touching the cooked pasta.

Thank you!

Apr 21, 2015
uwsgrazer in General Topics
1

Takeout pasta dishes - how to avoid overcooked pasta?

"Did you heat it up before eating?"

Nope. Too tired, lazy, or whatever. We tucked right into the pasta :)

Apr 21, 2015
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Takeout pasta dishes - how to avoid overcooked pasta?

I ordered online from seamless.com, so I think I could probably enter in special instructions. But, yeah, whether or not they would follow them I don't know.

Good point about eating leftovers without reheating, which I would be fine with.

The dish actually came with too little pasta for my taste (relative to the amount of sauce), so my preference would be for them to put all the pasta in half the sauce, and for them to pack the remaining sauce (with no pasta added) in a separate container. To me, that would be perfection - I love the sauce and would buy it separately, but as far as I know they don't see it that way.

Apr 19, 2015
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Takeout pasta dishes - how to avoid overcooked pasta?

Okay, thanks everyone for the feedback. We've ordered takeout pasta before. While I realize that it's suboptimal, I think this last experience was particularly trying because of the greater travel time involved and that I was also late in picking up the dish. On top of all that, we didn't eat it right away, either, as mentioned.

I also think this particular sauce was more problematic for pasta. Maybe as someone suggested it was because there seemed to be more liquid than other sauces we've ordered for takeout. (Just to be clear, we don't do takeout pasta on a regular basis!)

Apr 19, 2015
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Takeout pasta dishes - how to avoid overcooked pasta?

We ordered a dish from a "family-style" (i.e., large servings) Italian restaurant last night. We'd had the dish before and knew that we would like it. We also knew that it would be too much food for just the two of us, but we don't mind leftovers (I actually like them a lot).

It worked out well for a Friday night, when you're tired and don't want to cook. But, the pasta was overcooked last night and by today it's even more mushy.

When I placed the order I thought of specifying that the pasta be cooked even more al dente than usual, but I thought they might do that automatically for takeout orders. Going forward, do 'hounds think that would be a good idea? Or is takeout pasta just a plain bad idea? We're not looking for perfection but would just like the pasta to hold up a bit better. Would it have helped to open the tray once I got home? We didn't eat right away (too busy enjoying a glass of wine ...)

Apr 18, 2015
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

I think you're right, about things being off in their packing facilities or something. In addition to all the items already mentioned, it turns out that a tofu container was pierced (at the top, so only noticed when actually used). I think that means one of every single item in the order was damaged in some fashion, with the sole exception of the apples (an orange was rotten (on the outside)).

Thanks for the head's up on vanishing credits. We'll definitely keep that in mind.

Mar 12, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Romantic Steakhouse?

Thanks for the Costata recommendation. We went over the weekend for dinner and very much enjoyed the food and service.

Three of us (no big eaters, and two fairly light ones) shared the Costata. We also ordered the spaghetti and romaine and anchovies salad. I didn't try the pasta but the salad was good and pleasantly lightly seasoned. For sides, the "hen of the woods" mushrooms were outstanding. The creamed spinach was fine, only the red bliss potatoes were a bit disappointing -- okay, just not as flavorful or seasoned as we would have expected.

We liked the wine suggested by the sommelier. I thought he explained his recommendations well and had a nice demeanor.

Noise-level was fine. No issues when we arrived, but it got a bit harder to hear as the room filled up by the time we left, probably after 10 p.m. Still, compared to your typical loud NY restaurant it was nothing.

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

Here's the perspective: Delivered damaged groceries that led to over one hour of clean-up time -- to sort through broken glass and a quart (or whatever) of spilled tomato sauce that was mixed in with a bunch of other groceries; a leaking 1/2 gallon container of orange juice that left a trail from the building entrance to the apartment, a shattered 1-quart container of yogurt that left "mess" to clean out of the box and separate from "good" products, similarly damaged frozen orange juice container that messed up whatever else was stored with it and so on.

I understand that accidents happen, but it's harder for me to grasp how stuff stored in several different boxes all get damaged so badly. Or if it does, that it can happen without someone noticing it before a delivery is made.

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

Thanks for everyone's feedback, very much appreciated. It's helpful to hear that others' experiences are all fine or at most the occasional and understandable mishap or timing issue.

I guess our experience was just a really unfortunate "one-off". I liked the idea of using the credit to order stuff for a sick friend or similar, or just for household, non-perishable goods.

Thanks again

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

I agree, that is excellent service.

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

I too have used FD since their early days. For whatever reason the service doesn't seem as necessary to me these days. Perhaps a combination of Amazon and a more developed strategy for picking up goods "on the way" have compensated.

In any case, it was really SO who I thought could benefit from FD, and that's why I arranged a delivery for him (not his first). Maybe he'll change his tune later, but for now he figures it's just not worth it. He doesn't have a doorman or anyone to take the package, so he needs to be there to accept it (and isn't around so much, like the rest of us).

Yes, I suppose maybe non-perishables could be left in the lobby, but his building has had issues with stuff disappearing (okay, if it's "free", who cares ..). I guess he just figures after this last experience, it's not worth it. But, you're right. if he doesn't want the credit I could just order a bunch of household items for myself. I guess the experience was just kind of disappointing. I thought FD had improved, based on one report from a friend and just the fact that they've been around so long. But SO's experience was really, really so bad, I can kind of see his reluctance to go through that again.

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

That is pretty amazing. Of the one instance that readily comes to mind where they omitted an item -- of course, one that I relied on for people coming over that evening or the next -- they weren't nearly so accommodating. Basically, they credited me for the missing item. I was annoyed at the time, though I completely understood where they were coming from. But it's good to hear that they seem to be trying hard to please these days.

Mar 09, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Fresh Direct - recent delivery a disaster. Others have bad experience?

Our delivery last week was a complete disaster. If the mishap wasn't so bad and inconvenient, it would almost be comical. Out of maybe slightly more than a dozen items ordered (multiple orders of the same item, in instances), I think five were problems:

- the fresh orange juice cap came off, thereby leaving a trail of spilled juice,
- the frozen orange juice container broke and messed up the contents of the bag that held it,
- the 1 quart yogurt container broke, again spilling its contents in the box,
- a glass jar of tomato sauce broke in the box, which required individually inspecting each of the other nine jars for stray glass as well as cleaning off the spilled sauce
- a one gallon jug of spring water somehow leaked and dripped water on the wood floor of the apartment

SO received the package and told me what happened. I e-mailed Fresh Direct. They apologized and said said the transportation manager would respond. He got in touch with SO and agreed to refund us the cost of the damaged items and issue a $100 credit for our next order. As we were only intermittent Fresh Direct customers and didn't plan to use the service again after such an awful experience, the $100 credit is of little use.

Have others had similarly poor experience with Fresh Direct? I was pretty surprised as just how badly they messed up our order. In the past, maybe they omitted an item, which was a nuisance if you were counting on that particular item, but for them to have so much breakage and leakage in one order is pretty amazing.

Mar 08, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Late afternoon dining this Monday (Washington's birthday) Capitol Hill / Union Station

Thank you. Fair point about schlepping stuff in this weather. I guess it's at least in part the stress of finding a taxi, both ways, and the need to leave a time cushion to make sure we don't miss our train ... I'm just trying to keep things relativlely simple, especially if there are decent options near the station. Maybe we'll pick between one of the two Irish pubs you mention. I guess dining at Union Station itself would be another option and would minimize any chances of missing our train!

Romantic Steakhouse?

Thanks - we like classic rock well enough, but I take your point about it being odd in the context of this particular restaurant. But as long as volume is very reasonable that sounds manageable

Feb 14, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Romantic Steakhouse?

considering Costata for a steak birthday dinner. We have an aversion to loud music in restaurants. Actually, loud restaurants in general. How loud is the piped in rock music? Is the restaurant on the loud side in general?

Thanks

Feb 14, 2015
uwsgrazer in Manhattan

Late afternoon dining this Monday (Washington's birthday) Capitol Hill / Union Station

We plan to visit the Library of Congress Monday early afternoon. Our Amtrak train from Union Station won't depart until around 4 pm. Is there a good spot between the Library of Cingress and Union Station to have a late lunch or bite to eat? We were thinking of Pete's Diner, but that apparently closes at 3 pm. We'd prefer something "special" to DC (e.g., not a Starbucks or other chain) and are open to either more of a full lunch menu or a coffee shop with sandwiches etc. I was thinking of the Tune Inn, but I'm guessing that's too far out of the way. We'll have some smallish luggage so would prefer to find a place at least kind of on the way between the library and the station.

Thanks!

Gumphof for Thanksgiving meal?

No, I wasn't relying on this one bottle to be it. Basically, I'm planning to provide the wine for the Thanksgiving meal. The original group size rose by several people, and I was concerned that I would not have enough wine. But, the headcount just dropped back down again, so I'm less concerned about running out of wine. Note: I will be traveling to the dinner by train (as opposed to car) and will have to transport all the wine by hand. That was part of the motivation to make use of a wine that was already at the destination. Also, the dinner is on the more informal side, and no one is a wine connoisseur or anything

I think we should have enough wine, without having to open the Schiava, which I assume you're suggesting may be better left out.

I bought the bottle over the summer after reading a Wall Street Journal article on wines from Alto Adige (not sure if a WSJ subscription will be required to open the link below). As to storage, it's basically just been "sitting around" in a house or apartment, so whatever temperature those places were (low 70s?)

http://online.wsj.com/news/article_em...

Nov 25, 2014
uwsgrazer in Wine

Gumphof for Thanksgiving meal?

Yes, you're right. I don't actually have the wine bottle with me now and posted in haste, in my efforts to try to figure out things! Thanks for the clarification.

Nov 25, 2014
uwsgrazer in Wine

Gumphof for Thanksgiving meal?

I believe this wine may also go by the name Vernatsch, if that helps. It's produced in northern Italy, in the Alto Adige region.

Nov 25, 2014
uwsgrazer in Wine

How to avoid mold on bread?

Wow, I had no idea. I feel as if there have been times when I've seen "spots" on bread that was definitely within its "sell by" date and had been stored in what I would think were acceptable conditions. After careful scrutiny, I kind of assumed that the spots were just flour or something (perhaps I cut off that section of the bread before using the rest). I guess in hindsight maybe it was mold. I'm kind of amazed how sensitive something as basic and straightforward as bread seems to be!

Nov 23, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Gumphof for Thanksgiving meal?

I know, my understanding is that this wine is perhaps best served in summer months, but I'm wondering, as it seems to have some of the qualities of other reds that are recommended to serve at Thanksgiving. Or perhaps I'm wrong on this front. Regardless, is this a wine that would pair well with a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, various sides, etc.?

Long story short, I happen to have a bottle from the summer that is already located where the Thanksgiving meal in question will be held. So while I might not actively look to bring this wine, I figure if it's already there and could work, we might want to use it

Nov 23, 2014
uwsgrazer in Wine

How to avoid mold on bread?

Thank you, very helpful information.

I'm a bit confused, though, on why McGee wrote, "Once a little mold forms on bread, you must throw it all out."

At times, I have just cut away the bad part. As far as I know, there have been no adverse consequences as a result of this.

Am I missing something, is it really necessary to toss an entire loaf of bread when the mold seems to be limited to only a certain section of the bread? Okay, I realize that maybe there's mold not evident to the naked eye, but that could always happen. I mean, if the bread has been sitting around for weeks and there's mold, that might be another story, but if it's been around only a few days and mold has started to form, do people toss everything?

Nov 23, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

Preference for Napa or Savoy Cabbage?

I haven't eaten both cabbage types, at least not knowingly so, but I'm kind of surprised that Savoy cabbage is so difficult to find in Boston. I live in NYC (Manhattan) and buy Savoy cabbage at Fairway here. Come to think of it, I actually bought the last head at a grocery chain (Morton Williams). Sorry, I don't really have any suggestions for you, I guess I'm just addressing your comment about Savoy cabbage perhaps being more available in the UK and Europe.

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

I live in New York City. The temperatures varies, but I think it was probably on the cool side when I last had the mold issue so ~70 degrees or so would be my best guess. Nope, not particularly humid at all.

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

In this case, the bread that went bad was commercial sliced bread (Bread Alone, so not cheap). Good reminder, I've done what you've suggested, in the past. If I know that I plan to, say, bring sandwiches for lunch the next two days, that works well. I just find my meal planning isn't always so easy to determine, at times.

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

Yeah, I definitely keep bread in the fridge, but even then I've had mold issues. Still, I find that it's better than keeping it out. In this instance, though, I just bought the bread yesterday (very nice Italian semolina bread) and would prefer to not have it dry out in the fridge. I just don't want to find the (partial) loaf all moldy when I open it. Originally, that would have been tonight, but now it looks as if we may go out, so perhaps I should throw it in the freezer ...

Thanks for the head's up on the Cook's piece, I'll try to get my hands on it

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

Yeah, I've thought of that, but I live in an apartment where freezer space is at a premium. That said, I already have so much bread stashed in there. I can't even keep track of it all; the only good thing is that it's reasonably expendable, when I need to free up space to store other, higher priority (more expensive) food.

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

Whew, thanks for all the replies. I kind of thought it was something about *me* that led the bread to go bad so quickly! I'm somewhat relieved to see that it's a more common problem than I realized.

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics

How to avoid mold on bread?

While I don't necessarily know exactly how bread gets moldy, I realize that keeping bread dry should help to avoid mold. But, I still find at times that to my dismay a lovely loaf of bread can end up with spots of mold on its exterior -- even after only a couple of days of purchase and careful handling (e.g., taking care to not touch the unused bread, keeping moisture out, etc.).

I'm almost at the point of looking at my bread with trepidation, for fear of finding little gray / white furry spots sprouting. Gross. Help, please!

Nov 22, 2014
uwsgrazer in General Topics