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Amusing menu gaffes - what's yours? [moved from Boston board]

I suppose if it was really colorful it would be "A taste to please you palette."

Seen on a Turkish, or (maybe Indian) menu

Fresh Donor Kebabs

While I applaud the generosity of the people providing them, I'm not sure I want to ruminate on some of the possibilities those words imply (particularly given how close the place was to a hospital)

Jul 23, 2014
jumpingmonk in Not About Food
2

Are broccoli worms harmful to human health?

It also occurs to me (in retrospect) that, given what the osmetium (that orange forked "tongue" they stick out when bothered) SMELLS like, it probably doesn't TASTE any better.

Jul 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Barbera Lorenzo Olive oil No.2?,4?

Hi,

I had a question about Lorenzo's oil (the olive kind, not the drug or the movie g>)

In the stores I have bumped into three versions of this oil (presumably, three types they bottle) No.1, No.3 and No.5. Since I get a lot of my o.o. from a place that mostly stocks remainders from other stores (perfectly fine for oil, as long as you check labels) I simply assumed that no #2 or #4 had come in (or it had sold out before I got there). But going online, I don't see any there either. So my question is, IS there a #2 or a #4 olive oil in their line?

Jul 10, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Saw some sizable longans yesterday but otherwise fruit looked much as it has previous weeks.

BTW, I know it's going a bit off topic but as this thread is sort of my go to for possible explanations of things I see in Chinatown stores I don't quite understand) I was wondering is someone deeper in to could help me with a minor mystery.

Yesterday, I spent a lot of time flitting from one herb shop/grocery to another, in a search for one that carried a "shiny" brand of black dried soybeans [without going into the intricacies [which are VERY complicated] there are basically two sorts of dried black soybeans that are usually sold in Chinatown, a smaller "shiny" kind and a larger more dull skinned one, which is commoner. I prefer the shiny kind. At one time, the available soybean packages were more or less split half and half [some packers packed shiny, some dull, but finding either wasn't all that hard] Nowadays however nearly ALL black soybeans sold are the dulls, and finding the old shiny kind is all but impossible [I did finally find a store that has some, but it was like the 20th I went to].)

Anyhow while wandering through all these shops, I came across one that, amongst it's offerings had something I have never seen being sold before. They had a bin (with an open sack next to it, full of what, as far as I could tell, were shark vertebrae (or shark and other large fish, my comparative anatomy isn't that good. I assume this is for some use in Traditional Chinese medicine, but what, I am clueless. I am aware that a lot of people take shark cartilage for their joints, but I have never seen anywhere offering it au natural. Plus if what you wanted was the cartilage it would seem odd to use the spinal column, since, besides the teeth, that's the only part of a shark's skeleton that is actually more or less bone. I suppose it may be like that time I saw the bags of empty abalone shells, which someone told me are also used medicinally (actually that made me wonder, since the species they take the shells from is the same one that the fish markets sell for eating, when people buy those little abalones to eat, do they dry off and save the leftover shells to save on their medicine bills? Or do some of the herb conglomerates actually BUY the leftover shells off the public/restaurants (there's a secondary marked for used cooking oil, why not one for discarded abalone shells?) )

Jul 03, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Strawberries have no flavor anymore. Agree or disagree?

And I am sure that some in power, particularly in the Department of Health, would approve, if not encourage or even mandate such a change on the grounds that if eating becomes a pure act of neccecity, the obesity episdemic would probably disappear (if food brings no pleasure why would you eat more than you have to) as well as a consolidation of producers (everything tastes the same, all the edges that win most of the brand loyalty/ variety disappear and food production probably centralizes into the hands of a few major corporations) that would result in an easier time of regulation and control (fewer companies, fewer inspectors needed and more regular inspections)

One thing though, your time period only seems to work if you are working from only one type of strawberry. Since wild strawberries are being brought up, I should point out there are a LOT of species of those and they vary GREATLY in the season they ripen in. Back when I still had my alpines which are cold season(which tasted as strawberry like as any good strawberry I have had) I used to get two crops off one ; one in early March or even late February and one all the way in November/December. I regularly would bring fresh picked strawberries off my plants to Thanksgiving dinner (and I'm in New York). And there are strawberry species that are even MORE cold loving than alpines. A clever farmer with a wide selection could basically supply fresh berries pretty much from the end of the winter freeze to the beginning of the next one.

Jun 27, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

I THINK I saw some at that same stand, but they looked in pretty cruddy condition

Jun 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Agreed, emphasis on WHEN. I have vague memories from my childhood (when Uglis were still a new thing on the market) when the vast majority of them were pretty good. Now however it seems that decent ones are few and far between . And even the GOOD ones now have those thick segment skins and that odd tendency to have those empty cells in one end of the fruit (on some, the empty part actually takes up almost the entirely of each segment, leaving the fruits juiceless and tasteless. I honestly think that, in their relentless desire to increase the acreage they have been allowing inferior stock to be grown and that this inferior stock is now becoming the norm.
Oh, and I should have mentioned that, last Wednesday, I noticed that the fruit seller on the corner of Grand and Forsyth (the one outside of the grocery store on the uptown side) had Lichis of unusually large size (approaching the coveted "apricot" range. )

Jun 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Not really Chinatown related, but My Mom today surprised me by coming home with an orange ugli fruit; first of the season for me. (I have come to the conclusion that while, an ugli does not have to be orange to be ripe those few that actually DO have orange peels tend to be the sweetest of the uglis; taking more of their character from the Tangerine side of their ancestry than the grapefruit side (while the yellows and greens tend to be the reverse). The texture was, as usual not great ( most uglis now seem to have tough skins on the segments and large numbers of hard "hollow" cells in the wedges) but at least this one TASTED alright.

Jun 20, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Why do chinese restaurants insist on having "secret" Chinese menus their English-Speaking customers can't decipher?

Or (For Red Dwarf Fans). "My Gazpacho has gone cold."

Jun 12, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics
2

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Update 6/4

Lian Wu now available at one or two of the fruit carts on Mulberry, as well as at the large fruit stand on Chrystie between Grand and Hester. The latter, I'd say is the more significant, since it appears that the person who runs that stand has gotten his hands on the long slender strain of Lian Wu, which is far less common than the wide one (and in my opinion, usually far sweeter and more flvorful)

Jun 04, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Fresh green ume,2014, NY

I'd say ALL of the H-marts are getting them in. At least I know I was able to get them at the H-mart Branch in Scarsdale. They have also had them at most of the smaller Japanese markets in the same area. I know they have them at Ninjya (Hartsdale) and Daido (White Plains) and presumably they have them at Fuji Mart (Eastchester).

Jun 01, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Done with taste test and so far it looks like the ideal is the same as last year, round fruit, unusually large (about grape sized) are the ideal. Cant comment on long, as there were no long in the bunch I got.

May 29, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

NP. But I really reccomend waiting until I've done my taste tests before buying any. I've only eaten a few so far (basically, the ones that fell off the stalks, so I couldn't match them to a cluster [fruit from the same cluster tends to be the same in qualty) but as with previos years, some are average sour, some are fairly sweet and pleasant, and one or two are so sour they burn! I know taste sort of goes with (relative) size and shape. So just give me a day or two to work out which ones are "good" sizes and shapes this year (the one's you want to buy) and which are "bad".

May 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Somewhere along Canal Street; just above Mott, I think (maybe above Mulberry). (The guy who runs the fruit stand on the corner of Grand and Bowery usually has some too, but I wasn't that far east today.)

May 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Rambutans have shown uo now, as have wong pei. Though the rambutan looks a little pale at the moment (mostly greenish rather than reddish) and the wong pei, sparse (but then again it always does) I haven't eaten much of the wong pei I bought yet, so I'll have to get back vis a vis what size and shape are the "sweet" ones this year.

May 28, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Szechuan Gourmet 98th opening

To be fair, it wasn't as if absolutely EVERYTHING Hunan Balcony made was awful. I personally thought their Zha Jian Mein (or however the spelled it, the dish with the noodles in the meat and soybean paste sauce) was some of the best in the city. Of course I'm referring to the version served by the UES branch the used to be in the 60's; the version the UWS branch dished up should have gotten the chef five hundred lashes. Still I'm glad that Szechuan Gourmet has taken over the UWS spot. They tend to be reliable.

May 24, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Tons, mostly the dark red ones. Oddly for the second year running, a lot of them are siamese twins (two cherries coming off the same stalk, attached to each other).
Also seem to be a lot of little mangoes, the kind that are about apricot sized.

May 23, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Lichis have begun showing up; most of the fruit vendors had some. Look like the pale ones with the pink blush (as opposed to the brown ones). And no, dont ask me if they were "chicken tounge" lichi's; I didn't buy any, and don't rember how those look different from the outside of the fruit.

May 21, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Well how do you think I feel? The Mexican problem is also affecting my acess to key limes (which while not the limes the papers are focused on, come from more or less the same places). And while the odd piece of exotic fruit is nice I don't NEED it every day, the way I do with key limes (I use up two a day in my tea) So far, my supply is reasonably stable due to a combination of buying extra when I can to squeeze and freeze, and having acess to several Bodegas, which seem to be feeling the lime pinch less than the big sellers (I suspect they may be doing a reverse of the Chinatown "cold road"; smugging limes UP from those places in S America that don't produce enough to be viable importers to the US (or be able to afford the varios fees to make the import legal.) Plus probably relying on a network of fellow Latins who may have trees on thier private properties (If a bar in California can be relying on customers to provide them with limes in exchange for cocktails, I see no reason why some of the little latin shops up here could be counting on relatives down south and thier backyard trees to keep thier supply going.) But if the problem persists (the experts keep SAYING the next harvest should correct the problem, but I am not all that convinced at this point) I may have to start getting creative.

May 17, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Quite possibly. Most of the lichis that hit American markets are grown in Mexico (with Florida and California making up most of the balance) so all of the problems with limes you have been reading about in all the papers may apply to them as well. That also means that I would expect the rambutan season to be delayed or skimpy too, since they also are mostly Mexican grown.

May 17, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

What's your favorite somewhat obscure specialty food item?

I don't know if they still carry it (and if they do, please don't buy it out because I need some too) but Kalyustans used to carry in thier honey section a honey collected in the forests at the base of the Himalayas I really liked, especially for Limonada (the lemon juice/fresh mint/honey drink popular in much of the middle east). Can't remember the name, but it come in jars that are almost spherical, with red tops.

It's been a while since I was at Fairway, but i do recall that they carry (or carried) pre wrapped wedges of Cayuga Blue) a raw goats milk cheese I really like. Murrays carrys the cheese as well (as a cut to order wheel) but it's seasonal there, while the wedges are available YEAR ROUND. And in a counterintuative concept, I think the wedges are usually better quality than the wheels Murray's carries. Murray's tends to wind up with wheels that are quite young, and rather surprisingly (given how much they tout their ageing caves) often don't bother to give the wheels any more time. Probably just as well, since it seems that for some reason, when it is not too young it is usually seriosly too old, and has largely spoiled. The wedges, which are selected and packed by Livey Run Dairy themselves tend to be more reliably aged.

May 16, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Do you call hazelnuts filberts?

The K rhymes with "Laugher" the H with "Hot to trot"

May 15, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Do you call hazelnuts filberts?

You have to be British (and rather old fashioned) to usually get those two. Both are pejoratives against people of African decent

May 15, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Oh yeah, all the time. Those Asian type melons are really common in their season (just don't ask me what that season is as I don't care for melon, I don't pay much attention to when it is around.)

May 14, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

May 14, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report 2014

Well, as promised, this begins the 2014 thread for reporting on fruit in Chinatown (Manhattan or Flushing, plus anywere else something odd shows up).
Only problem is I have nothing to report for today. I saw no particualr fruit of note. Of course, since I am still plying the same route I have been for the last frew months. several areas (like east of Allen) are not currently in my purview, and won't be until the beans change again (that elusive strain of rice beans I so actively seek, the ones that have the non-red adzuki's as an admixture [and which are actually capable of flowering and producing pods this far North] has currently been the one in stock by the scoop at some of the manhattan herb shops, so my route has pretty much been tied to being able to get to all of them until such time as the suppliers change again [sooner or later they always do] that's probably going to change soon though; two of them have already switched and the bin at the third is getting quite low, so that will probably flip when they refill it.) One I am no longer tied, I'll try and wander further afield and see if any of the other areas are more fruit rich.
Oh and the Lian wu seller is either no longer there or no longer has lian wu.

May 14, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

Probably. When I post my next message, I'll start one.

Not sure I've ever seen gineps in Chinaotown; they tend to show up more in places where there is a big Latin American population. Then again, almost every other fruit shows up in Chinatown envetually, why not?
BTW, the lian wu seller was on Canal, somewhere between Mulberry and Centre.

May 13, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan

Chinatown Fruit Report- 2013

Two pieces of news

1. The Lian Wu have started showing up again in Chinatown (so far only the large fat kind, the skinnier, reddeer sweeter ones I found last year are still elusive). Ok now that I have a way of consuming them I like Since I find the flavor of the big ones a little weak, I've decided they are better drunk than eaten, and have begun juicing them and mixing them with other odds and ends of fruit, including whatever you call the red goop you find around the seeds of overripe bitter melons (yes, that goop is edible, and quite sweet. Actually, it's probably pretty similar to Gac pulp). Also unusually fertile crop this year. I only bought 2-3 pounds of fruit, and their were seeds chunks in at least 6 of them, and very large ones (lian wu doesn't have normal seeds as we know them, with one plantlet inside. The seeds, when they are there are these sort of tissue lumps that may have one, two, or many embryos in them (bigger ones usually have more) I suspect they are produced parthenogenically (without fertilization) which would be good (if they are, that means they are clones of the mother tree and so would yield fruit that was more or less the same). So my current tree may be getting company.
The other note is that, based on what I saw yesterday, it is currently fresh ume/mei plum season. Actually I got a surprise there as well. The ones I got at H-mart were in the normal unripe state (as they are supposed to be for pickling or making those drinks) However later that day I popped into Ninjya looking for some other thing. They also had some ume's but because they are smaller and have to sometimes take less exacting produce, a few of the ones in thier basket were actually tree RIPE. This allowed me to answer a question I had always wondered about; do ripe ume plums taste good raw as ordinary fruit. The downside is that the answer is a big "no" (they're a little sweeter than raw ones and a lot softer, but are still too sour and bitter to be really pleasant. The upside is that as they were ripe, I can at least hope the pits are mature (as I have mentioned before, because ume are picked so young, the kernels inside the pits are more often than not not developed enough to be viable for those of fresh ones (and preserved ones are usually cooked or filled with salt during preservation, which is a guaranteed seed killer). I know plums don't come true to seed, but as ume's are all flowering plums, if I can get a tree to set, I may at least get some nice blossoms (I just got a sweet pit apricot started, an ume plum is a nice next challenge.)

May 13, 2014
jumpingmonk in Manhattan
1

Confession, I love surimi, who else does?

In a slightly funny turnaround of this (as well as an example of Truth in Menu) has always written certain noodle dishes on the menu as Real Crab Mean Lo Mein/chow fun/mei fun etc. to make it clear that they are NOT using surimi (which is what most places would put in something as unfancy as basic pick-your-protein noodles.)

May 03, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics

Confession, I love surimi, who else does?

Straight surimi is one of my all time favorite "go to" snacks. It's tasty, quick and fairly easy on my stomach (handy when't I've eaten something that disagreed with me earlier in the day and my stomach has gotten to the "I don't want anything put in me ever again" state.
Sometimes I add it to a stir fry or to top a salad, but usually I eat it as is. I have also once or twice used it to make an ersatz version of a "crabby melt" (basically, a tuna melt, but with crab) Though in that case I do do something slightly odd I usually unroll the surimi first (I tend to get the Louis Kemp version which is one of the ones where the sticks are actually sheets rolled up like a jellyroll) it sits on the bread easier that way (plus, it warms quicker and makes an easier to bite sandwich (with less likelyhood of the innards all rolling out after the first bite, which they sometimes do with the sticks.)

May 01, 2014
jumpingmonk in General Topics