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Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs and Avocado Crema

This recipe turned out perfect -- but, thanks to everyone's admonitions about the amount of salt, I too toned it down. I started out with just under a half-pound of dried beans, i.e. with no added salt, and only used 2 tsp, which was an an optimal amount. The avocado crema was a bit too sour on its own, but it paired very nicely with the bean cakes. An excellent dish when company's over for Sunday brunch.

Jul 24, 2009
Kristen84 in Recipes

Public Transit Picnic

As a one-time resident of Staten Island, NY -- which boasts one of the worst commutes in the U.S. (mine was 150 minutes round-trip in the best-case scenario) -- I've shamelessly consumed my fair share of meals on mass transit. For some commuters, that's their only downtime; it certainly was for me. I was quite fortunate in that I could at least wait until I was off the subway and on another, less "intimate" mode of transport where I could have a few square feet of privacy, such as in the open air on a sparsely peopled ferry. The bottom line is that commuters who shuffle from one workplace to the next still need to eat, and unless the local transportation authority bans it (and actually enforces the ban), one can hardly prevent them. (Especially when food is so often available for purchase on train platforms -- even in lovely Berlin, where some platforms sport full-blown bakeries!)

Jul 22, 2008
Kristen84 in Features

Clover- and Siphon-Brewed Coffee

The 1/23/08 New York Times article on upmarket coffeemakers ( reports that there are five Clover machines in New York, two of which are at Café Grumpy (224 W 20th St) in Chelsea. The "Find a Clover" feature at lists only this location as well. Does anyone know where the rest are, and if other New York cafés have procured the machine since then?

Also, any word on whether the Siphon has since debuted in New York ...? Thanks!

Jun 13, 2008
Kristen84 in Manhattan

Warsaw Recommendations

Only three meals in Warsaw -- what a predicament! Fukier, however, is a classic. For the other meals: It's not Polish, but consider Tandoor Palace (ul. Marszalkowska 21/25) -- some of the most wonderful tandoori dishes not only in Poland but, in my opinion, also on the continent. The tandoori paneer is excellent. And by no means should you miss Café Blikle (ul. Nowy Świat 33) for dessert!

But now for some more plebeian recommendations (!): For authentic Polish, pass on the "haute" and head to a bar mleczny, or milk bar (more properly "dairy bar"); these relics of Communist Poland continue to dish out meals of Polish comfort food which, courtesy of state subsidies, should amount to no more than 10 złoty. The quality of the food -- which you are likely to maneuver with plastic cutlery, in motley company -- can be hit-or-miss; it is satisfactory, however, at one of Warsaw's most popular bary mleczne, Universytecki (ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 20, by the statue of Copernicus in front of the Polish Academy of Sciences). And for a quick snack, try a zapiekanka ("Polish pizza") from one of the stalls in front of Warszawa Centralna (the central train station; I believe there are only two there), which serve the best in town -- order it "z dodatkami" for the works.

Vegetarian/Vegan Eats in Amsterdam?

In reply to your mention of Dosa, I have to admit that I was unimpressed the one time I was there, in 2007. Their masala dosa was, to me, atypically bland and the sambar and coconut chutney unmemorable. (Not to mention quite how costly it was for a dosa! But then, this is Amsterdam.) Plus, for a "South Indian" restaurant, the menu sure seemed to favor "Northern" dishes; it would have been nice if the chef had limited himself to the already broad specialty of "South" Indian food and featured more dishes from the latter, which is rare in Amsterdam.

On that note, if anyone should know of another source for South Indian food in Amsterdam, do tell -- it's one of my favorite culinary traditions for its meatless dishes.

May 25, 2008
Kristen84 in Europe

Your favorite out-of-ordinary cheese?

This reminds me of the Sardinian casu marzu (formaggio marcio), which is a pecorino Sardo that has been (overly) fermented by cheese fly larvae -- I would be very curious to hear the opinion of anyone who may have sampled this.

May 12, 2008
Kristen84 in Cheese

Your favorite out-of-ordinary cheese?

Oscypek, a specialty from the Podhale (the Tatra Mountain foothills) in Poland, is one of my favorite cheeses: a hard, smoked cheese made from unpasteurized sheep's milk, wonderful when eaten warm with a side of tart cranberry sauce, as the market stalls sell it (where it also comes as redykolka, its minature, ovoid version). It's also quite attractive in appearance, with raised diamonds on its body from the mold that it's pressed into (a cylinder, optionally tapered on both sides) as it's finished. You can find it in Zakopane, Kraków, etc. As a Dutch resident, I would trade a wheel of Old Amsterdam for a "roll" of Oscypek any day ...

There are countless German cheeses to try as well -- I'm pleased to see how many posters have mentioned some of them! (And here I was afraid that German cheese was underappreciated!) I quite like Handkäse, from Hesse, a sour milk cheese popularly served marinated and "mit Musik" -- diced raw onions -- as well as salt, pepper and caraway seeds to taste. You could also try this preparation on your Limburger cheese where Handkäse isn't available.

May 12, 2008
Kristen84 in Cheese