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Has anyone tried Beaumont Coffee at Aldi's?

This is only in regard to their whole bean coffee; they had 2; one called something like "Morning Roast" and the other is something like "Donut Store Blend".

Both are described as "100% Arabica" and "Medium Roast".

Both came in metallic bags with air locks.

I tested them side by side, ground them within minutes of each other. The grounds are a medium brown. Not as dark as my usual (Joe Van Gogh Sunrise blend), and used a French press to make 2 pots. First one went in a Thermos. Both steeped 4 minutes.

My wife and I tested them blind (identified by an A or B taped to the bottom of the mug) side by side. The results? We both picked the Donut Shop Blend as being the better of the two, but we agreed it would extremely difficult to tell them apart. They could very well be the exact same beans in different bags. Same price.

The coffee was nothing spectacular, but it was good. I will absolutely drink it as an everyday coffee. Price was less than half that of the boutique stuff and very drinkable. Once we finished the taste test I combined both in the thermos, added a bit of salt and a little sugar and drank it the rest of the day. Very pleased.

Sep 15, 2013
BustedFlush in General Topics

Thoughts on the Coke Freestyle fountain machines?

Went to Firehouse Subs with some folks from work for lunch today, and they had the new Coke Freestyle machine.

To be honest, I'd be much happier with a standard fountain machine. It takes too long to use this contraption for very little benefit.

There was a now-defunct chain called "Camile's" that had a unique Coke machine, much more like a traditional fountain, but it had the ability to do "flavor boosts" of lemon, lime, vanilla and raspberry by selecting a lighted panel above the soda head. That was a better solution in my experience, but I haven't seen one since.

Jan 19, 2012
BustedFlush in General Topics

What comes to mind if you saw "Monk Salad" on a menu?

There was a restaurant in Covington, KY called Walt's Hitching Post ...hard to describe; sort of an upscale Rib and Chops house straight out of 1965. It has been closed for a few years now, but back when I lived in the area we'd go several times a month. The ribs were great, and your meal included a basket of toasted, buttered rye bread Texas toast.

They also had a salad appetizer they called a "Monk Salad" that consisted of thick slices of beefsteak tomato, green pepper rings and raw, white onion rings, stacked in that order, all topped with a tangy garlic-tomato dressing and bleu cheese crumbles. It was great, but I've never seen anything like it elsewhere.

I wanted to find out if it was a common dish in other parts of the country. If Google is any indication, I don't think it is; and in fact, it's origin might be Middle Eastern. I have seen a few references to a Monk Salad (Saltet El Raheb or Batenjan el Raheb) consisting of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. This variation is more chopped like many Middle Eastern salads, but they could be related.

Anyone else heard of a Monk Salad, and if so, what is it like?

Thanks!

Jan 19, 2012
BustedFlush in General Topics

How to cook thinly sliced beef for carne asada?

I have some very thinly sliced top sirloin that I'd like to prepare for carne asada tacos.

Most of the carne asada recipes I see really concentrate on the marinade, and less so on the cooking technique. I'm sure that is because you could use so many different kinds and cuts of meat, from a rib-eye, sirloin, flat iron or skirt steak, and the cooking technique is going to be different.

I'm happy with my marinade, but not so much for the beef.

So given the meat that I have, what is the ideal way to cook it? I am trying to get some crusty edges without completely drying it out. Is that possible given the geometry of this meat?

What I have tried in the past is using cast iron preheated to smoking hot. This method does produce some crust, but what happens is that as soon as the meat hits the metal, it seems like every bit of liquid just explodes from the beef. And the meat has been marinating, so it is fairly wet. The meat tends to boil in a little pool of its own juices, and doesn't brown until that cooks away, and by that time the meat is dry.

To get around that, I thought my propane grill might let the liquid drip through the grates. Indeed this seemed to work a little bit better, but I think there might be room for improvement.

I even thought about going the opposite direction, using lower heat and some butter like a Ducasse steak preparation, but I haven't tried that yet.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Sep 20, 2011
BustedFlush in Home Cooking

What Is America's Worst Restaurant Chain?

WAY off base with White Castle. I can appreciate that the burgers aren't for everyone, but I grew up with them, and absolutely love them - that's OK, diff'rnt strokes.

But White Castle is good to their employees, offering health care and education scholarship programs. They're a private company. They've got way better than average coffee. A lot of them are open 24 hours. They're usually pretty clean; I'm a fan.

Sbarro was bad...very bad, but my kid would eat it.

No, my vote goes to Chili's.

May 14, 2011
BustedFlush in Features

Greensboro Pakse Cafe

I just got back from a trip to Pakse Cafe. The banh mi is REALLY good, night and day better than the one at Pho 9N9. I'm not sure it was worth the drive from Durham, (what can I say, I had a craving) but if you're in the area absolutely check it out.

I too had the roast pork. If I had one complaint, the cilantro was a little stemmy, but it took all of 15 seconds to fix that, and for all I know it's supposed to be that way. The pork was tender, the daikon and carrot really upped the crunch, the jalapeno added just the right heat and the pate just married it all together. But of course, as the OP says, it's really all about the bread, and theirs is right on point.

Bonus points for the strange little electronic monkey that wolf whistles when you walk in the door.

Jan 13, 2011
BustedFlush in Southeast

Semishameful Frozen Gyro Does the Job

Well yeah, anyplace that makes their own meat is obviously in a different category, but the reputation comes from the fact that 99% of they gyros you'll find aren't. At this point, I'd be happy with a place that shaved it off the cone - even if came from Kronos, as long as there's some lamb in it. Most of the places around here use pre-cut frozen strips.

Dec 06, 2010
BustedFlush in Features

Looking for decent Bahn Mi in Raleigh, Durham, NC area.

The bread was all wrong at 9N9, (not crispy, too chewy) plus there was no dressing; made for a very dry sandwich.

Not horrible by any stretch, I'd eat one again, but not even in the same ballpark as what I was hoping for,

Sep 22, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

The Mecca (Raleigh, NC) - Don't Go!

Update - I've been to Mecca twice now, and had a good meal both times.

As I said in the previous review, I wanted to try the lunch menu. Well now I have, and it was good. I had the BBQ, my wife had a steak sandwich. Fries were hot and fresh., service was charming and fast.

It's a neat place, like stepping into a different era.

Sep 20, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

Beyond rubber chicken - quest for best retail (market, farmer's mkt.) chicken options in Triangle?

Castlemaine Farm sells chicken at the Durham and Carrboro Farmer's markets, and even have a chicken CSA program. I really like the way they raise chickens.

I can't say enough good things about Brian and Joann either, super nice people.

I know they were thinking about getting into egg laying chickens too, (turns out they aren't the same kind of chickens) but I haven't talked to them in awhile, so I'm not sure if they are selling eggs.

http://www.castlemainefarm.com/

May 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

Finally hit THE Angus Barn

I agree completely. Angus Barn is a gem.

The last time I went was on my birthday, my parents came in from Columbus, OH and took me out. Our meal was fabulous, they treated my 4 year old daughter like a princess, (including taking her to the kitchen to make her own ice cream sunday) and after our meal we did the whole tour. Our waitress did double duty as our tour guide, and revealed that she was a 'newbie'. You see she'd only been there for three years. (!)

I love the place.

-----
Angus Barn Restaurant
9401 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

Apr 01, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

What have been your best and worst liquor purchases?

Best: Elijah Craig 12. It made me realize that good bourbon didn't stop with Maker's Mark. It's not my favorite bourbon anymore, but it was absolutely pivotal.

Worst: I cheaped out and bough Kamora and Amaretto de Amore instead of Kahlua and Di Saronno. Both are noticeably inferior to their more expensive brethren.

Mar 31, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

NYC Health department starting a ruckus by questioning raw eggs in cocktails

"...which typically sold 150 MarTEAnis a week at $13 each, is serving none...."

Thirteen dollars? Am I the only one who finds that steep?

Feb 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Easy Buffalo Wings

I'm not convinced that broiling can ever do as good a job of crisping the skin as a deep fryer, and there is a lot of flipping going on here.

At the same time, preparing wings for a party is nearly impossible in my fryer because I'm limited to about 6 at a time. Any more is too big a thermal drop.

I wonder if a hybrid approach would work best - get the meat cooked and up to temperature in the oven, and then crisp them up in the fryer?

Feb 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Recipes

Green vs. Yellow Chartreuse

Just realized that I had no idea what Chartreuse was. Thank you Wikipedia. I'd heard of it before, but I figured it for a generic liqueur like Creme de Cacao or something. I was wrong.

After reading about it I'm curious to try it, but don't want to go out and buy a bottle.

I don't imagine it's going to be easy to find at a bar either?

Feb 03, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Tanqueray vs. Hendrick's Gin?

Obvious? I think not. Hendricks tastes like grandma. I mean, before she died and everything, but still....eww. Just no. Do not want.

Tanqueray has never really impressed me, but it has also never triggered my gag reflex like Hendricks, so I guess it's the 'winner' here.

Feb 03, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

You Too Can Be a Terrible Bartender

You might be in a Terrible Bar if:

"Jager Bombs" are the house specialty
They stock more flavored vodkas than whiskey
They can't make a Margarita because the slushy machine is broken.
Sorry, can't make you a daiquiri either, all out of strawberries.

Feb 02, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

ISO good home made pizza

I brown the toppings first because I wasn't sure if the pizza would maintain integrity on the rack without a pan for support, plus this way it leaves the oven fresh off the pizza stones, so the crust is at it's peak.

That's a crazy idea you've got there for the faux oven. I didn't understand the "walIs" on the first read through - you mean position them through the slots of the rack...but don't the rack grids run the wrong direction? I'll have to look, can't remember....It might be easier to use oven bricks to form the walls and back, then something to support the "roof"...it might just work! You'd want as close to a slot shape as possible...hmmm...I have plenty of leftover tiles....and way too much time on my hands. I'm going to have to try this!

Feb 01, 2010
BustedFlush in Home Cooking

Anyone know how to Duplicate White Castles burgers?

They are 100% ground beef. I think the hardest part would be rolling it out as thin and even as they do.

From the texture I'd say that meat has been ground really fine - so you'd want to take store bought ground beef through a few pulses in a food processor.

I doubt it would stay coherent in a pasta roller, so that probably limits your options to hand rolling, maybe roll it out on a plastic lined half sheet pan and freeze it, before cutting it into squares.

The thin patties have 5 holes keep the edges from curling up and also allows them to be cooked without being flipped. They are cooked on a bed of re-hydrated, dehydrated onion if you want to be authentic - fresh would probably be better.

Not sure where you'd get those buns. Most of the recipes I've seen call for the little potato rolls, but those just don't have the right texture.

Jan 30, 2010
BustedFlush in Home Cooking

ISO good home made pizza

I've been working on my technique for awhile; and the best solution I've found is a royal pain in the butt - but it makes really, really good home pizza.

I don't use a pizza stone - the entire bottom of my oven is a layer of unglazed quarry tiles. I used a rack on the lowest setting, and lined it 3x2, they fit exactly and I never take them out.

The top rack goes on the highest setting, right under the broiler.

The oven preheats to as high as it will go. The dial tops out at 500, but my infrared thermometer says the stones hit 512.

I get the crust as thin as I can, and put it on an aluminum pizza pan covered with a sheet of parchment paper. I build the pizza quickly, and as I put it in the oven, I turn the oven off, and the broiler on high. The pizza cheese and toppings get a nice bit of color in about 3 minutes time, at which point I pull the pizza out, turn the oven back to 500, use the parchment paper to transfer the pizza to my peel, and from the peel on to the quarry tiles for another 3 or 4 minutes.

It's a complicated switcheroo, I fully admit that, but the total baking time is under 10 minutes and the results are worth it.

My crust is about 4 cups of bread flour, 1 cup of whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and a good squirt of honey.

Sauce is a can of Cento San Marzanos hit with a stick blender.

And while I love fresh mozzarella, most of the time I just shred the block stuff, sometimes adding provolone. I like the way they melt. I keep toppings relatively simple. I don't pre-cook veggies, I just cut them very thin to reduce water output.

Jan 27, 2010
BustedFlush in Home Cooking

Not-to-be-missed BBQ in and around Raleigh

My favorite is a place in Durham called Hog Heaven. (Just FYI they aren't open Sunday.)

Next would be the BBQ Lodge on Capital Blvd in Raleigh.

Both are pretty much dives, absolutely nothing fancy. If you do make it to Hog Heaven be sure to try the chicken and dumplings - fantabulous.

Jan 20, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

My informal taste test: Makers Mark vs. Old Overholt

Exactly. In the bourbon world it's called a 'wheater'. W.L.Weller and some others use wheat too, for the reasons your guide stated.

Unfortunately, to me it makes for a rather bland whiskey compared to one with more rye like Wild Turkey.

Jan 19, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Around The World Market in Durham, NC

I love that store; although I found the one on Hillsborough first - and it's such a neat store because it looks like a tiny place on the outside, but you turn the corner and it's huge!

That was the first time I had seen jaggery, couldn't figure out what it could possibly be.

Jan 19, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

Kentucky Gentleman bourbon

Bourbon is pretty tightly regulated stuff. So much so that it's sort of like pizza; even when it's bad - still pretty good. There are only a few that aren't at least 4 years old. I thought Kentucky Gentleman was a Heaven Hill brand, but sku is probably right. I'm thinking of Kentucky Deluxe, or Cabin Still, Echo Spring - all those bottom shelfers.

Jan 19, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Gin: Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Beefeater?

A drinker of my own heart.

Plymouth or regular Bombay for Martinis
Boodles or Sapphire for Gin and Tonics

I think Beefeater (or Gilbey's, or Booth's) kicks the tar out of Tanqueray, but I'd drink Tanquaray all day long over Hendrick's. That stuff tastes like...grandma.

Jan 08, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

10 Good Cheap Liquors

I think Old Overholt is terrible compared to Wild Turkey's Rye and Rittenhouse.

I've never heard of that rum, (Flor de Cana) so that's exciting, and I will definitely try that one.

Could not agree more with the Wild Turkey, Lunazul and Beefeater nods.

RE: Elijah Craig 12, first bottle I bought was stellar. The 2nd - not so much, in fact, it's just not good at all.

Jan 06, 2010
BustedFlush in Features

Old Gristmill Authentic American Corn Whiskey

They're both unaged , they're both distilled fermented grain....So what exactly is the difference? The number of times it is distilled?

Jan 05, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Difference between Whisky & Scotch ?

Agreed. Given what I know about them, I would put that branch off of the single malt Scotch family; they're made from barley (like Scotch and Irish) but beyond that I'm not sure how they dry it to stop the malting...wouldn't imagine they have much peat in Japan, but I could be completely wrong about that.

Jan 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits

Looking for a couple of upscale, a couple of downscale or off-the-wall options in the Triangle

For hole in the wall - what about Mecca in downtown Raleigh? It's a block or 2 from the courthouse. The food is above average for diner fare and the place has charm out the wazoo. It's been there over 80 years, so they must be doing something right.

http://foodstalkers.wordpress.com/200...

Jan 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Southeast

Indian tonic water

You tell me! You've got some and I've never heard of it. The label actually says Indian tonic water?

Edit: evidently different:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/560892

Jan 04, 2010
BustedFlush in Spirits