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Substitute for whitefish in gefilte fish recipe

Gulfilte fish!

2 days ago
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Frozen seaweed salad

I believe that's commonly called "wakame" salad, which may refer to the type of seaweed or the preparation (mainly sesame oil and sugar)--I am not an expert. I've bought it frozen. To eat it, you just thaw it at room temperature--nothing tricky about it.

Apr 11, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

lunch near Marriott Marquis

Absolutely. Lunch = Broad Street.

Apr 11, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta

OK - another fish sauce thread

Good observation. Maybe in my mind Red Boat is the Sting of fish sauce! It's tasty and innocuous, and everyone in the West seems to readily embrace it. It's a pop star among fish sauces.

I suppose I too would like to hear from Vietnamese people with opinions on artisanal fish sauce like Red Boat and the "barrel-aged" one mentioned above. However, I will take what anyone says with a grain of salt (or should that be teaspoon of fish sauce?). I try to keep in mind that just as I am not an authority on American foods (see ketchup and McDonalds analogies above), just because someone is Vietnamese doesn't mean they are fish sauce connoisseurs, and those who hang out on Chow probably have their foodie biases or Westernized palates. What would really be interesting would be to take some surveys of ordinary patrons at the Southeast Asian grocery. Maybe soon we will see a fish sauce sommelier (pesclier?) at the neighborhood pho joint.

Apr 10, 2014
LorenzoGA in General Topics
1

OK - another fish sauce thread

Oh, I'm sure Southeast Asians who grew up with fish sauce are very proud of Red Boat. It's a beautiful product, including the packaging, and it tastes superb. The label is entirely in English. It's a Southeast Asian export that has truly made inroads in the Western market. What's not to be proud of? If I were a Southeast Asian grocer, I'd recommend it, too. It is interesting that a Thai grocer would recommend a Vietnamese product, but not that surprising to me. If Red Boat gets Westerners to like fish sauce, it's a good thing for all Southeast Asians with a stake in the food biz.

Not sure what your point is about ketchup ingredients. I could have used another example of a simple food that someone grew up with becoming imprinted in their brain as "the good stuff." How many of us have found ourselves in some faraway place craving the familiar flavor of a McDonald's burger in all its crappy glory, even though there were other burgers available, maybe even made from fancy or organic ingredients. "The good stuff" is just a matter of what each of us knows and loves, not any objective measure of quality.

Apr 10, 2014
LorenzoGA in General Topics

OK - another fish sauce thread

What do you mean by "the good stuff"? I can't say I'm anything close to an expert, but I've visited the countries that use a lot of fish sauce, and it's a matter of individual taste, just like any other condiment. Suppose someone in Thailand asked about ketchup and getting someone to ship him "the good stuff"? Someone might reply that Heinz and Del Monte are the big name brands but ... etc. Like ketchup, I suppose "the best" to an individual is probably whatever he or she grew up with. To me, fancy ketchup doesn't taste like ketchup--only Heinz is the real thing to my palate.

I like Red Boat, but it occurs to me that it's squarely marketed at the Westerner, with its mild flavor, pretty reddish color, super clarity, and fancy bottle and label using terms almost as if the stuff were wine or fancy olive oil. Like you, I reserve Red Boat for dipping. But I suspect there are people who find Red Boat not fishy or, dare I say, harsh enough for them--again, it's no doubt a matter of personal preference. Red Boat seems milder than what I recall from Southeast Asia, though admittedly in most cases the dipping sauces are a mixture of fish sauce and something else, such as lime juice and chiles, so it's not really a fair way to judge. I doubt Southeast Asians who use loads of the stuff fret over the brand the way Western foodies might. Fish sauce to them is like salt is to us.

Like you, I use Three Crabs or Squid as a general-purpose fish sauce because it's economical and tastes fine to me.

I think you're overthinking it. Then again, I think some people overthink olive oil. Just get a decent brand and enjoy eating rather than fretting.

Apr 09, 2014
LorenzoGA in General Topics

Zhenjiang vinegar

Yeah, I've got a bottle of that brand. The Wikipedia link indicates that "Chinkiang" is not the current (pinyin) romanization of the original Chinese word. It really should be "Zhenjiang."

Apr 01, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Zhenjiang vinegar

I wasn't familiar with the term "Zhenjiang," but that Wikipedia entry suggests that "Zhenjiang" is the more current (pinyin) romanization than the "Chinkiang" that is printed on the popular brand available in the US (see Wikipedia link for pic). So now I see! Sure, I've always got a bottle of that on hand. Anyway ...

A common sauce for noodles and tofu involves Zhenjiang vinegar, chile oil, soy sauce and sesame paste. I guess I use it in that sauce a lot.

Apr 01, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

Aquaculture has probably introduced more variables than we can count in terms of variation in characteristics among varieties of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica).

Mar 30, 2014
LorenzoGA in New Orleans

Where to find "clean" oysters in NOLA?

Shh. We in the Southeast do not want to be reminded that the oysters we know and love are second-rate. I remember the first time I ate a Pacific oyster. I was told a big grin came over my face. Gulf oysters can be muddy and can lack the subtle brininess of Pacific oysters and, for that matter, some Northeast oysters. But they're OUR oysters, so I have to love 'em. And I can't imaging frying up some Kumamotos for a po'boy--it just seems wrong.

Mar 29, 2014
LorenzoGA in New Orleans
2

Please Review: A Weekend in Atlanta

Fair enough. I sort of overlooked the first line. I'm not exactly sure what the Buddha meant--I'm sure he'll enlighten us.

As far as Soto, as you probably know, it's a sore point with Atlanta sushi-philes that we lost him to New York. As I also suspect you know, it's long been been said that Atlanta has an inferiority complex, wanting to think of itself as "the New York of the South." Foodies are not immune to this sentiment. More generally, there is a history of chefs making a name for themselves in Atlanta and then leaving the city for opportunities elsewhere. Blais is in San Diego now--who can blame him? I don't know whether any were quite "run out of town," but they sure ran when opportunity in a more food-oriented city came calling.

Gosh, if you want to dig into the history of restaurant culture in Atlanta, it's a Pandora's Box from what I've heard--a relative wasteland until, what, just 20 years ago or so? I am admittedly a relative newcomer to Atlanta, having lived here a little over 10 years. The whole psyche of this city, including its restaurant scene, is pretty interesting to observe.

Mar 28, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta

Please Review: A Weekend in Atlanta

Maybe you misunderstand. One of the best ways to help focus restaurant recommendations to a person from out of town is to take into account where they are coming from. For example, I wouldn't recommend a person coming from Toronto for a few days seek out Chinese dumplings in Atlanta. I wouldn't recommend a person from Los Angeles seek out Mexican food in Atlanta. Conversely, if I were a visitor, I suspect it would not be worth my limited time to seek out, I dunno, fried chicken or barbecue in Toronto or New York. I think this is a VERY helpful approach for making recommendations to visitors--to ANY city in the world, not just Atlanta. The OP seems to be focusing on sampling cuisine that is at least somewhat characteristic of this region while not wanting to miss any other notable places Atlanta may have to offer in other genres (e.g., Octopus Bar, Clermont Lounge, The Porter). If I'm correct in my understanding, I think he's got a solid list.

Mar 27, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta
1

Please Review: A Weekend in Atlanta

Toronto is a tough act to follow. I still think your original list is solid for someone coming from Toronto. You do want to eat at Miller Union and Empire State South. You may not be wowed by The Spence, but if it's near your hotel, then why not. I can't say JCT would be "better"--it may have more of that "Southern" flavor you're after, though. I haven't been to Abbatoir or 4th & Swift in several years, but I really liked them--especially Abbatoir's offal menu (which nowadays you have to specifically request). As for fine dining, Bacchanalia is the best we've got, but I suspect it may struggle to win you over if you've been to the NY restos you mentioned.

You've obviously done your homework thoroughly, and you can't go wrong with anything on your list--or the Buddha's list.

As for Buford Highway, you're intuition to stay away from Vietnamese and dumplings is correct--adequate but far from world class. But I would say you should hit Gu's Bistro for its stellar Sichuanese cuisine. For fans of Sichuanese, it may be the best Chinese option in Atlanta for them, and probably can hold its own against the best Sichuanese in North America. As for Mexican, I don't have a feel for what you can find in Toronto, but there are plenty of places to grab a perfectly good taco of more or less the quality you can find in, say, California or, for that matter, Mexico City. El Rey Del Taco has many fans, but there are others.

I've always had a soft spot for the Vortex's burgers, and I'm a bit put off by the whole fancy burger craze. Yeah, the H&F/Bocado burgers are good for the thin-patty style, but I prefer, as Jimmy Buffet put it, a huge hunk of meat. In this style, some burger fiends prefer the Earl over the Vortex.

Mar 26, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta

Anything to look for in Aldis?

There are three Aldis in Atlanta that I know of, and all are located in areas of the city that have residents of what you might call very modest means. I bet Athens, being a college town, has a nicer Aldi.

Mar 25, 2014
LorenzoGA in Chains

Crawfish Boil Tricks

Good work. It isn't as though the American South has a monopoly on boiled freshwater crustaceans. Crawfish can be boiled with all kinds of good things and borrow from other regions' culinary traditions.

Mar 25, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking
1

Anything to look for in Aldis?

Lidl is better than Aldi, but Aldi in Europe is better than Aldi in the US, so who knows how it would turn out. The Aldi's near me in the US state of Georgia do not have the nice selection of items that people posting in this thread are reporting of other US Aldis. I think it varies by region.

Mar 24, 2014
LorenzoGA in Chains

sprouting corn before nixtamalizing for tortillas?

Aha. Now that I think of it, I vaguely recall seeing "sprouted grain bread." So there must be people who believe sprouting a grain before grinding it gives it some improved characteristics. So you think the characteristic is nutrition?

From my experience as a homebrewer, I know that sprouting barley is known as "malting." But that's my only brush with the concept of sprouting grain.

Mar 18, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

has anyone made their own sour cream?

Seems to me that what falls under the umbrella of cream that has been soured by bacterial action might vary all over the world. The product labeled "sour cream" in American supermarkets probably has its own characteristic bacterial cultures that are likely different from creme fraiche.

Mar 17, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

sprouting corn before nixtamalizing for tortillas?

I may have missed it, but what do you hope to gain by sprouting the corn?

Mar 17, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Please Review: A Weekend in Atlanta

This definitely reads like a Tour de Young Hip ATL Foodies ;-) Kidding aside, it's a GREAT list. Every one of those places has legions of devotees.

I would vote Fox Bros. over Holy Taco by a mile.

Mar 14, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta
1

Mercado del Pueblo, Buford Hwy, ITP

I have gone in a couple of times in the decade I've lived in Atlanta, and while it's interesting and very Mexican, I haven't found anything especially unique. For whole fish or other seafood, the selection at Your DeKalb Farmers Market is more appealing to me. I use Buford Highway Farmers Market for almost everything, including all manner of ingredients for Mexican dishes. I do wish BHFM's cafeteria were better, though.

Mar 14, 2014
LorenzoGA in Atlanta

Are you afraid of tofu?

Thanks for this. As they say, "everything in moderation." There are many foods that have beneficial substances in them but that can be harmful in excess.

Feb 24, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Are you afraid of tofu?

I used to think the same. Most tofu seems like rubber to me. I have found that softer tofu is better than firmer tofu for all applications except frying. Someone introduced me to high quality "silken tofu" or "extra-soft tofu" that comes in a tube. If you like Chinese, Japanese and Korean-style dishes, try this. Carefully spoon it out into irregular looking chunks, and let these gently simmer in hot water for a few minutes. Then carefully remove from water and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle chile oil (like the kind you use for Chinese dumplings), sesame oil, and good quality soy sauce on top. Then sprinkle some finely slices scallion greens on top. This is simplicity at its best. With this kind of dish, you really can tell if you dislike tofu or just haven't had really high quality tofu prepared properly.

I think what turns people off from tofu are recipes that try to hide tofu in a sauce--where the quality of the tofu is secondary. Really good tofu actually does taste good ... well, to many of us that is.

Feb 24, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Are you afraid of tofu?

Yep. They remain bland and with a slick texture.

Feb 24, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking
1

Cubano question

Here's one for the experts: Would you say a Medianoche is a sub-type of Cuban Sandwich or a separate type?

Feb 19, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

SD: Places to go if your having an affair. .

I left SD over 10 years ago, but I recall many great times at La Fonda. It's hard to imagine the rooms had any downhill left to go--they were a bit skanky. But it was all part of the experience.

Joe was the spitting image of my father-in-law, and somewhere there's a pic of them together.

Feb 16, 2014
LorenzoGA in San Diego

SD: Places to go if your having an affair. .

What happened to La Fonda?

Feb 14, 2014
LorenzoGA in San Diego

Sunday Jazz Brunch-FQ

Speaking as a food tourist, I have to recommend that everyone from out of town do Court of Two Sisters just once. The patio atmosphere makes up for any culinary shortcomings. One's first visit to the city is the ideal time for Court of Two Sisters--before one realizes just how high on the scale of greatness the city's food can be.

Feb 11, 2014
LorenzoGA in New Orleans

What to do with leftover cheese?

You can't get a more "utility cheese" than cheddar or jack (unless you're talking an aged cheddar that doesn't melt well). We don't buy a lot of this kind of cheese, but when we do, they end up mainly in omelettes, quesadillas, nachos, bean-and-cheese burritos, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Good ol' comfort foods. A frittata?--sure, why not.

Feb 11, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking

Costco Ahi tuna...sushi grade?

Of course Costco will tell you it's not "sushi grade," because "sushi grade" is an ill-defined marketing term. If Costco were to have sufficient faith in its tuna to market it as "sushi grade," they would charge a lot more for it. Even Whole Foods will tell you their tuna is not "sushi grade." Like others, I have eaten plenty of very ordinary supermarket tuna and suffered no ill effects. There is a risk of bacterial contamination.

As far as parasites, most parasites in tuna are large enough in size to be quite apparent and can be removed with needle-nose pliers if you see any. Is it foolproof? No. But any fish that has not been frozen can harbor parasites. I have eaten tuna (raw) that was caught just minutes earlier. Fresh as possible, but the possibility exists nonetheless.

If you want to freeze fish to kill parasites, there are schedules you can find that list what temperature and how long. For example, if you have a commercial freezer that goes down to very low temperatures, you can get away with a shorter duration than you could with a home freezer.

Feb 10, 2014
LorenzoGA in Home Cooking
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