mels's Profile

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What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

I know it is popular to hate on Starbucks, but $7 it ain't. The brewed coffee is priced competitively with Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, etc. If you order a half skim frappa-mocha-latte with no whip and a douyble shot of espresso, then yes. You’ll pay $7.

about 6 hours ago
mels in Features

CT: Let's Thai one on--share your Thai favorites!

Thanks for the clarification of hours, that would have been a disappointment! Sukothai is solidly mediocre, IMO; I would have abandoned the idea of Thai and just gone a few doors down to Los Serapes instead, were I you!

1 day ago
mels in Southern New England

CT: Let's Thai one on--share your Thai favorites!

WAIT, WHAT? I didn't know King and I had a Manchester location. As an east of the river dweller, this is fantastic news!

1 day ago
mels in Southern New England

Trader Joe's "pumpkinundation" 2014

I just posted in the TJ's Yay/Nay thread that as of this morning my TJs is now stocked with the seasonal "This Pumpkin Walks into a Bar" aka pumpkin flavored cereal bars. There was a huge end cap display of them. I also noticed pumpkin ravioli in the refrigerated case.

1 day ago
mels in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014

I went over to TJs this morning and the pumpkin creep is just starting. The only sign of it was an end cap display of pumpkin flavored cereal bars and some refrigerated pumpkin ravioli. I saw the Cowgirl Bark that was recommended upthread in their "new products" section my local TJs has. I can't eat dairy and unfortunately the Cowgirl Bark contains lots of it. Booo for me.

Big fat YAY: Dark Chocolate Crisps (they also have milk chocolate). They are the shape of Pringles but dark chocolate with puffed rice (think a superior, thin version of Nestles Crunch made with Belgian chocolate). I must pace myself with these.

I also picked up some of the South African potato chips that was posted upthread. Can't wait to try them.

1 day ago
mels in Chains

Substituting ghee for butter in BAKING

Except refined coconut oil doesn't have the butter flavor that ghee does! Ghee tastes like an oilier version of butter while refined coconut oil wouldn't bring any flavor to the party. In many baked goods, I want that butter flavor and am not looking for a neutral fat. I even spread ghee on toast as a butter substitute and it satisfies my longing for butter.

1 day ago
mels in Home Cooking

Substituting ghee for butter in BAKING

As promised, I am reporting back with my results. I made apple cinnamon bars, where you make a sandy/crumbly dough out of ground up nuts, butter, flour and sugar, press it in the bottom of a pan, fill with apple mixture, then sprinkle some of the crumbly dough on top. Instead of the 4T of chilled butter cubed and cut it as called for, I used 3T of ghee, frozen and cut into small pieces. I then added a Tablespoon of water to the dough mixture and it turned out great...same as when I used regular butter. I can't wait to experiment more!

Sep 15, 2014
mels in Home Cooking

Motel / Buffet Scrambled eggs

Hampton Inns use frozen hard boiled eggs. If I eat their breakfast on the early side when breakfast service begins at 6 am, there are usually some partially frozen hard boiled eggs in the container.

Aug 28, 2014
mels in General Topics

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in downtown Hartford

I tried their brisket and it was everything you'd want: tender with a perfect smoke ring. Loved it. It is somewhat Chipotle-style in regards to ordering: you go up to the counter and they pile on whatever you want for meats and sides as you walk down the counter, making their way through the lines efficiently. I believe they are open daily 11-10p so I can see myself bringing home a load of brisket for a quick dinner some nights. This could get dangerous. I still need to try the other meats.

I walked to Bear's so I obviously didn't need to park but as kattyeyes mentioned, parking is an issue as it is everywhere downtown. Arch St Tavern most certainly will tow you if you park in their lot (and their signs tell you as much). There is limited street parking around and a garage across the street. I've been told that the owners are trying to work something out w/the garage owners for validating parking.

Aug 28, 2014
mels in Southern New England

DIrty Family Secrets

When I grill larger supermarket chicken legs, it does take about 40 minutes and they are plenty juicy. I use charcoal and some direct and indirect heat to maximize the smokey flavor, so I am not blasting it on high on a gas grill for 45 minutes. If I get air chilled chicken legs from Whole Foods, they are significantly smaller and take way less time.

Aug 19, 2014
mels in General Topics

What makes you sick or react that you love?

All dairy. I love cheese and yogurt and butter, but we had to part ways. I did an elimination diet with my allergist: removing the most common food allergens from the diet for 3 weeks, then adding them back in one by one. I found that dairy makes me congested and makes my face break out in horrible acne. I have narrowed it down to a casein (milk protein) intolerance. If I have dairy, now I have to face the consequences, so I try and avoid it all together.

Aug 19, 2014
mels in General Topics

Is there a quality lunch spot near I-91 in MA/Pioneer Valley?

I'm looking for a "birthday lunch" spot on a weekday somewhere along I-91. I'll be en route to Connecticut and while I don't mind venturing a few miles off of I-91, I'd rather not veer too far from my main travel route. So what is a birthday lunch, you ask? I don't want my travel partner to have to eat a mediocre sad sandwich on the day of their birth but the place we stop does not need to be fancy...just quality food that tastes good. We both like every cuisine and are just as happy with well executed pub food as we are with delicious Indian food. We aren't picky at all, we just like good quality grub. Any ideas?

Aug 14, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Substituting ghee for butter in BAKING

I am resurrecting this old thread to say thank you, mollyholde! I have a casein (milk protein) intolerance- it does everything from making me congested to making my face break out in cystic acne, so I just avoid dairy all together. I am able to use ghee since the milk protein has been removed and am struggling to figure out how to adapt it to baked goods without conceding defeat and buying those awful vegan Earth Balance fake butter sticks. Coconut oil is fine in some things but honestly, I don't want that underlying coconut flavor in everything I bake. I will try the 60/40 ghee/butter ratio and report back with my results!

Aug 14, 2014
mels in Home Cooking

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ in downtown Hartford

I am admittedly not familiar with the original Bear's in Windsor but I heard that they opened up a second location in downtown Hartford, right next to Arch Street Tavern. Has anyone been yet?

Aug 06, 2014
mels in Southern New England

MEAT DONENESS -- then and now

Mom was the main cook. Then and now, she cooks everything until it is well done and dry as sawdust. Steaks, Thanksgiving turkey, pork...all well done and dry.

Now I usually do medium or medium-rare for steak, burgers, etc.

Aug 05, 2014
mels in General Topics

Musings on the relatively low activity on Southern New England Board

I agree with the others who have noted the geographic area on this board is too wide. I live in Greater Hartford/central CT and 9 times out of 10 when I come to this board, the majority of posts I see are about places I don't live or frequent. The Cape probably drives 50% of the traffic on this board. I'll chime in if there is a discussion about something in my area but those times are few and far between.

Aug 01, 2014
mels in Southern New England

A better idea for Dunkin Donuts

I know people all have their preferences but I really can't stomach DD coffee. I say this as a New Englander who sees a DD on every block. It has a weird (burnt?) taste to me. The word "acrid" comes to mind. I would rather have coffee from the local gas station than DD.

Jul 25, 2014
mels in Food Media & News

Fresh Bratwurst/Knockwurst in Hartford area?

I've been to Noack's, which was great when I worked in Wallingford, but is out of my way these days. I was hoping to find something similar closer to home.

Jul 16, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Fresh Bratwurst/Knockwurst in Hartford area?

Old thread but I used the Chowhound search feature and came to this post. Is Adolf's still the best bet for fresh brats in the Hartford area?

Jul 15, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Wha do you put in your brown baggie?

I am desperately in love with this roasted chickpea and kale salad from Serious Eats. It is so unbelievably good. I've been switching up the herbs lately (yes, I make this a lot) because I have fresh basil and parsley coming out of the wazoo in my garden:
http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/02/ve...

Jul 15, 2014
mels in Home Cooking

Procaccinis - East Hartford, CT

I feel like I get a coupon offer (Groupon or SaveNowCT) to this place in my email every other day. Sounds like a solid "Meh".

Jul 14, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Refreezing meat that defrosted

Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate it!

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Refreezing meat that defrosted

I know chicken can turn fast BUT most grocery stores sell previously frozen chicken to shoppers who then buy it, come home, and re-freeze that chicken. Why aren't we all dropping like flies? If you have ever bought a package of raw chicken at the grocery store and put it in the freezer, you have done the exact thing we are warned against. I tried to Google it but can't find out the scientific reason why we are told not to refreeze raw chicken, yet most of us unknowingly do it.

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Refreezing meat that defrosted

If it has been kept cold, why can't it be re-frozen? I ask this in all seriousness. I know "They" always say not to, but I don't understand why, from a scientific standpoint, this can't be done. At my grocery store, there will be packaged Perdue (thawed) raw chicken breasts in the refrigerator case. They were shipped frozen and the grocery store sells them thawed/unfrozen. Many people take this chicken home, then re-freezes it. How are we all not dying from food poisoning?

Edited to add: if the meat was kept cold and not thawed for long, I would refreeze it.

Jul 09, 2014
mels in General Topics

Onions. Do you "count" them as a vegetable when planning a meal?

I never count the onion as a vegetable, nor do I include tomato sauce (say, marinara on pasta for instance). As much as I like onions, I am guessing most dishes I eat them in wouldn't contain enough to count as "1 serving" of veg like a cup of broccoli would. As for the tomato sauce, I have no rhyme or reason why I don't count it.

Jul 08, 2014
mels in General Topics

Strawberry Season in Connecticut

2014: quart of strawberries is going for $7 at Rose's Berry farm, $6.50/qt at Deercrest Farm. I would still rather pay that much that eat a Driscoll's berry! Strawberries are one of those things that I need to eat in-season/local or not at all...tomatoes also fall into that category for me.

Jul 08, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Fried clams

I love the clams at Flander's Fish market in East Lyme. Their other seafood dishes are pretty good but not the absolute best. However, their clams (both strips and whole bellies) are fantastic. They always seem to get the breading just right and no clumps.

Jun 13, 2014
mels in Southern New England

Anyone ever had garlic turn blue-green while cooking?

The blue garlic phenomenon happened to me once. I cook with a lot of garlic regularly and it scared the hell out of me when all of a sudden my saute pan was filled with bright blue/green garlic. After a quick Google, I decided I would not die from said blue garlic and ate whatever the dish was I was cooking. It hasn't happened since so I don't know how I happened to hit the sulfur/acid/copper trifecta that one time.

Jun 13, 2014
mels in General Topics

Hot Pepper Jelly

Quite honestly, out of all of the stuff I make from scratch, jellies aren't high on my priority list. I'm lazy and will continue to buy the commercial stuff!

Jun 13, 2014
mels in General Topics

Hot Pepper Jelly

Thank you to all who have posted their recommended commercial hot pepper jelly brands. I have found most to be way too sweet with not enough "hot", and I have tried everything from Stonewall Kitchen's $8 jar to a local farm stands homemade stuff. Usually I remedy the bunk jar by adding a little ground cayenne pepper. Once that rehydrates and gets stirred in well, it offsets the overabundance of sugar.

For the record, my favorite hot pepper jelly usage is smeared on a piece of aged cheddar. Sublime.

Jun 11, 2014
mels in General Topics