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Behind the Bar: Secret Bitters at a San Francisco Tavern

My current favorite local bar is actually a dive bar (my favorite kind!). It's called The Tempest, and it is in SOMA. They have a good affordable beer list (according to my avid beer drinking friends. I'm a cheap beer gal myself:) a very chill atmosphere, and best of all, their kitchen (which can only be accessed from the window outside of the bar), called Box Kitchen, serves these little gourmet gems, like stuffed baked potato skins with pork belly and quail eggs, a chicken and waffle sandwich and a seriously delicious burger. I'm a fan, and I always hit it up when I want to go out.

Jan 23, 2014
foodrocks in Features

East Bay BBQ

B side in Emeryville is hands down my favorite East Bay bbq spot. It is pricy for bbq, and you have to actually pay for sides, but I have not had a smoked hot link so good in over 10 years.

Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

Telegraph in Oakland does an awesome 50/50 burger, made with ground beef and ground bacon. The patty is ridiculously juicy, so much so, I don't even pay attention to details like the bun and toppings.

Katy's Dumpling House opens in Naperville

I've been to the Westmont Katy's and the Naperville one. The dumplings at the Westmont location are to die for, especially the pot stickers. They are the closest thing I can find around Chicago to the dumplings I used to eat in Chinatowns all over Australia! Plus, when you walk in and see the soy sauce, black vinegar, and pot of chili oil on the table, you know your meal is going to be good.

The Naperville location is huge, but I found the food to taste just a bit different, and not in a good way. The handmade noodles, another great dish at the Westmont location, were about half as thick at the Naperville location, which was really unexpected. The dumplings were still delicious, but instead of the soy sauce-black vinegar-chili oil combo on the table, there was soy sauce and a sweet and sour type sauce. I asked for some black vinegar and chili oil from the kitchen, which they provided, but it just didn't taste the same.

I think there is just something about eating in the tiny, cramped Westmont location that feels more authentic. Maybe it makes the food taste better, or maybe I am just crazy. But I will be patronizing the Westmont location from now on. Just thinking about their pan fried pork dumplings makes me hungry!

Mar 11, 2009
foodrocks in Chicago Area

Restaurant Week 2009

I went to Farmerie 58 for dinner on the first Friday of restaurant week. I must admit, I was surprised to read on this board that Restaurant Week has been a success for the most part, because I tend to be skeptical of getting good service with a prix fix deal based on past experience. But after reading several great threads about the restaurant and restaurant week, I decided to give it a try.

As nsxtasy pointed out, not all of the restaurants menus represent "a great deal", and indeed, Farmerie 58's RW menu was priced pretty much on par with their regular menu. My bad for not researching the menu prior to making the reservation.

Even though our reservation was quite early, 7:15 I think, we hardly ever got to see our waitress. But it was RW, so to an extent, that was to be expected. The food took forever to arrive and was just alright. Nothing was so delicious that we felt we had to come back and eat it again.

The waitress actually sneered at our wine choice, so when I asked her to suggest another wine within our price range, she asked what we liked, and then suggested three wines. None of the wines had characteristics that we liked, but she ensured us that they would go perfect with our meals (which were all different--between four of us, we ordered the entire RW menu). We picked one and were really disappointed with it. We didn't find out until after we got the bill that she went WELL over our price range in choosing a wine. I understand that alcohol is probably one of the ways restaurants make good money off of RW, but I found this to be unprofessional.

All in all, RW was a big disappointment for me. I hope others had better luck than me!

Mar 02, 2009
foodrocks in Chicago Area

Looking for food lit that discusses two people becoming close friends because of their shared love of cooking or eating food

Doing research for my food podcast, Chicken 'n Waffles. The food lit can be articles, essays, novels, whatever. Just looking for stories of food forming a bond between two people, preferably non-romantic. Thanks for your help!

Jan 18, 2009
foodrocks in Food Media & News

Looking for sandwiches from Africa or Asia

Rockycat, would you please tell me more about the Tunisian sandwich?

Nov 07, 2008
foodrocks in General Topics

Looking for sandwiches from Africa or Asia

This is all really interesting information! Thanks everyone.

Is anyone else as curious as I am about what the heck monkey gland sauce is??!

Nov 07, 2008
foodrocks in General Topics

Looking for sandwiches from Africa or Asia

Thanks guys! Very helpful so far. Would love to hear from anyone about sandwiches in Africa!

Nov 06, 2008
foodrocks in General Topics

Looking for sandwiches from Africa or Asia

Hi guys. Doing research on global sandwiches, and not really finding anything from Africa or Asia (other than the bahn mi). Just wondering if anyone out there knows if sandwiches exist on either of these continents? Names of dishes, recipes, links, anything would be appreciated. Thanks!

Nov 06, 2008
foodrocks in General Topics

Graham Elliot

I ate there last night, actually, and was very underwhelmed. The foie parfait with rice krispie treat was not good at all, and didn't taste like foie. The buffalo chicken had a unique beer foam, but you could hardly taste it, and the chicken itself tasted no different from what you can get at any wing place. The waitress encouraged use to get small plates and share, but these plates were not really enough for more than one person to try.

The steak was good, but I wouldn't call it memorable, and again, small portion size. The pork belly was great, and the root beer bbq sauce was surprisingly not super sweet but more like black licorice, which was interesting. The scallops on the their were delicious, but setting them on top of sweetened oatmeal (which I eat every day for breakfast) sort of ruined it for me.

Desserts were a little better, and I liked the pumpkin brulee best. The cream cheese filling in the molten carrot cake was great, but the cake itself didn't really taste like a carrot cake. The reconstructed Snickers bar was really rich and heavy on the chocolate, which overwhelmed the other flavors for me. The apple fritters were good, but again, nothing special.

I was really confused, because the website for the restaurant describes it as "bistronomic", making fine cuisine accessible in a comfortable atmosphere. The food was overpriced for the taste and portion size, and the atmosphere felt like your typical, trendy new restaurant, not a place I would feel comfortable in. It really looked like they decorated the place with Ikea stuff.

I was sad, because I really wanted to like this place and ended up leaving a bit hungry and confused.

Oct 08, 2008
foodrocks in Chicago Area

CSA Help: I got ___ in my CSA box and need recipes!

Oooo, that last dish sounds awesome. I may have to try it tonight! I took your advice and made a killer soup with italian sausage, Niman Ranch bacon and the kale, they work so well together!

Anyone have any idea what to do with heaps of rosemary and sage, other than pesto?

Jul 08, 2008
foodrocks in Home Cooking

Tribune Dining Section vs. Sun Times Dining Section

Just moved back to Chicago from overseas and trying get to a feel for local food sections. What do you think are the differences between the Trib dining section and the Sun Times dining section? Which do you like better and why? Thanks for your help!

Jul 07, 2008
foodrocks in Chicago Area

CSA Help: I got ___ in my CSA box and need recipes!

I also got spring onions with a large white bulb at the end, no clue what to do with them (was thinking of roasting them). Also have radishes, swiss chard and kale to work with. Definitely going to do a creamed kale with bacon, but would love suggestions for the other two.

Jul 06, 2008
foodrocks in Home Cooking

CSA's - Anyone use Sweet Earth Organic?

I just signed up with Harvest Moon Organics (they were one of the few with spaces left for the summer). It is one of the more expensive ones ($695 for the full share), and I am splitting a full share with my husband and my brother (so roughly $10 per person per week).

Thus far, I have been happy and yet disappointed with my order. My disappointment was actually in the fact that my last two weeks had quite small orders. I understand this is a risk you take with CSAs, and I know that southern Wisconsin (where the farm is located) was affected by the floods, so while I am upset with the size, I can't really hold it against the farm. I can just hope it gets better as the season goes on.

I was pleasantly surprised the last two weeks with the variety of produce, however. Originally, I wanted to go with another CSA that gives a large range of fruit along with veggies, and also has a cheese share. Obviously, that one filled up, but Harvest Moon has included at least one locally made cheese each week, a baked good made using the produce, and some fruit. Not too bad for only expecting some asparagus and spinach. I live in North Center and the pick up is at Southport and Grace, which isn't too far from me. This is definitely a company worth checking out.

Jun 26, 2008
foodrocks in Chicago Area

Potstickers in Chicago!

I just got back from a year and a half in Australia, and I now have an unhealthy addiction to potstickers, thanks to the large Asian influence on Australian cuisine. I used to get them from a place called The Dumpling King, where for $7.80 or something ridiculously cheap like that, you get 15 good-sized dumplings filled with pork and lightly pan-fried to create this chewy-crunchy texture I loved so much. It was served with Chinese black vinegar on the side, which I would mix with soy sauce and this little pot of chili and caramelized onion they had the table, which my Singaporean friend called Sambal Nasi Lemak. The chili-onion jam was what made the dish, it was so intensely flavored and delicious!

Does anyone know where I could get dumplings like that in Chicago? I was thinking of hitting up Chinatown tonight in search of similar dumplings (I would love a place that has a similar Sambal Nasi Lemak, but I understand if I can't find a place that makes it). After some research on Chowhound, it seems like Phoenix and Moon Palace are two popular places for dumplings, as is Ed's Potsticker House (is this place still open?). Any other suggestions? I just want a nice, big plate of dumplings that are chewy and crispy and are possibly served with chili of some sort. I can handle it if the dumplings are merely appetizers, but since I like dumplings to be my main, it would also rock to find a place that does big plates of dumpling. Please help me, Chicago! I am so hungry!

Thank you!

Jun 06, 2008
foodrocks in Chicago Area

Gourmet Magazine's food blog?

So it is entirely possible I may just be out of the loop, but does Gourmet magazine still have a food blog on their website? It was called Choptalk. I am not sure if they got rid of it when they updated the site a few months back, so if anyone knows, please share! Thank you.

Apr 21, 2008
foodrocks in Food Media & News

Looking for US food blogs about agriculture, farming

Does anyone know of any US based food blogs that incorporate agriculture, farming, or even eating locally into their posts? Thank you in advance!

Feb 14, 2008
foodrocks in Food Media & News

Can leftover dulce de leche be stored?

I made a can of dulce de leche from sweetened condensed milk I plan on using for truffles, but it is more than I need for the recipe. I would love to save it and make something with it later (I am currently cooking for a NYE dinner party and don't have time to use it up now). Does anyone know if it can be frozen? Or how long it lasts in the fridge?

Thanks in advance for you help!

Dec 27, 2007
foodrocks in Home Cooking

Advice for aspiring food writers?

I'm not sure where you are based out of, but there are several universities now offering bachelor and masters degrees in food writing and gastronomy (study of food and culture). I know NYU has a food studies program, and I want to say there is another program in Italy.

I am finishing up my Masters in Gastronomy at Uni Adelaide in South Australia, but they also offer the program online, and you do not need a bachelor's degree to enroll. It is a great program covering the history of food writing, all genres of food writing, and past and present issues with food and culture, including GM foods, organic, obesity in children, etc. Just run a Google search of Masters in Gastronomy and that should give you a few options.

Dec 27, 2007
foodrocks in Food Media & News

Question re orange bread made with orange peel

I just read through this thread, and wanted to know if you could point me to the recipe you are asking a question about? It sounds similar to a bread I used to have as a little girl, but I could never find a recipe for it! Thank you.

Nov 28, 2007
foodrocks in Home Cooking

Magazines for Foodies?

I am partial to Gastronomica, which is a journal about food and culture. It has some lengthy articles, but it talks about food in a way that most modern foodie mags ignore, from a more analytical angle. I love how it links food with culture.

Nov 24, 2007
foodrocks in Food Media & News

Questions about Chowhound


I'm not certain if I am posting this in the right area,but I am a Masters student writing a research paper on online food media, and I was wondering if you had any sort of a history of somewhere on the website I could access?

Also, is there anyway to find out the latest statistics of how many hits the site gets a day? I have some earlier statistics from articles written a few years ago, but would love to get a more up to date number.

Thanks for your help!

Nov 04, 2007
foodrocks in Site Talk

Bachelorette Party

I took a large group to Quartino's after my wedding, and it was great. I believe it is in the River north area, so not too far from where you are staying. It is an Italian Tapas place, has pretty good food and is really affordable. I think we had about 20 people, and for constant food and drinks for three solid hours, the final bill was less than $800. They also serve their wine in carafes and quarter carafes, which is handy if you just want to try a wine. I highly suggest their bellinis!

Sep 24, 2007
foodrocks in Chicago Area

Ideas for soft pretzel sandwiches

Smoked polish sausage with mustard and caramelized onions...I've made this before with pretzel bread and I'm drooling just thinking of it!

Aug 05, 2007
foodrocks in Home Cooking

My Wusthof Knife is NEVER sharp enough...please help!

Thanks everyone. I suspect it may be my steel too...I really don't know the differences between all of them, I have a pretty basic circular one (yup, thats about as technical as I can get with that one!), but even the chefs at my culinary school told me to use the steel before and after this wrong? What is the best sort of steel to maintain a 10 inch chef's knife for home use? I only use it for home use, which is at least once a day, so no heavy duty work, but I do cook from scratch nearly every day, so I'd like it to be sharp. I also suspect I need to spend a little time finding a professional sharpener around here, because the knives we use at work hardly ever get sharpened(but when they do, its heavy duty) and have never seen a steel, and they can slice through anything just fine.

Jun 05, 2007
foodrocks in Cookware

What the World Eats [moved from Not About Food]

I own the book these pictures are from (Hungry Planet: What the World Eats) and it is a great read. My favorite part is how they show what a Big Mac costs in every country, and how much of an impact fast food has had on cultures outside of the US.

Jun 04, 2007
foodrocks in Food Media & News

My Wusthof Knife is NEVER sharp enough...please help!

Hey everyone. I splurged last year when my knife set got stolen and purchased a Wusthoff 10 inch chef's knife. I have had this knife professionally sharpened numerous times, and use a steel before and after each use religiously. Could someone please explain to me why my knife if completely dull and won't cut through even an onion a mere three days after being sharpened? Do I need a better steel?

Also, please note that I used to live in Chicago and went to a great place to get it sharpened, and it still happened. Now I am living in Adelaide, South Australia with nothing but a key shop that sometimes sharpens knives, so my options are more limited. I know this knife can work, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Jun 04, 2007
foodrocks in Cookware

Making spinach gratin for a crowd-fresh or frozen?

I will be making a large spinach gratin for around 25 people. The recipe calls for frozen spinach, but I know I can substitute fresh as well. My question is, which will taste better? Or will they pretty much taste the same?
I always assume fresh=better than processed foods, but I know in some cases, this is not always true. Is there a noticeable difference between the two, or can I get away with frozen? This is going to be feeding a group of gastronomy students, so I don't want to offend them, but I also don't want to have to buy 10 pounds of spinach to cook either!
If I do use fresh, do I have to boil the spinach, or can I saute it instead? If I saute it, should I still try to wring the water out?
So many questions, I know, but I really want to make this a kick ass dish. Thanks for your help!

May 20, 2007
foodrocks in Home Cooking

Graduate From Culinary School, Then Be In Debt The Rest Of Your Life

Crazy to think, but totally true. When it came to picking culinary schools, most of the fancy ones were way too expensive($30,000 for two years at least). Considering my first job after school was at a fine dining restaurant that is now quite popular, I only got paid $40 shift pay, meaning they could work me from 11am-1am and I would still only get $40 a night. That equals something like $2.85 an hour. AN HOUR. Meanwhile, the stupid waiters were pulling up to $200 a night in addition to the minimum wage they brought in while I sweat to death in front of a flat top. How is that fair? Or even livable? Why is it that chefs do the hard part and get the shaft when it comes to pay?
I never could figure that one out.

May 08, 2007
foodrocks in Food Media & News