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Where to buy genovese basil in SF

Anyone have a reliable source - even a nursery - for genovese basil in the city? I know Maristone grows it, but I can't determine if any stores carry their product.

Thanks!

Nov 18, 2013
Fatty Lumpkin in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Burrito??

I feel like crying after reading the above posts. The sad truth is that you have just moved to an awesome city, but one devoid of great burritos. Anna's and Felipe's have no equal in Philly, and I sometimes wonder if they have an equal anywhere.

I may not be the best judge for you – I prefer to keep my burritos simple: black beans, cheese, rice, guac, salsa, and maybe sour cream. Given those criteria, here is what I have found in the Iladelphia:

Santa Fe (11th and Locust): Good but not great. They do beans and Spanish rice well, and provide the vegetarian with a couple of interesting options. They totally miss, however, when it comes to lettuce, and cheese. The problem, and I have no doubt this will infuriate an Anna’s lover, is that they put too many cold ingredients in the burrito, often resulting in unmelted cheese and tepid burritos. I recommend asking them to hold the lettuce, it can be nasty.

El Fuego (7th and Walnut): This place is probably your best option for a hearty and tasty burrito. They have clean and flavorful rice, thick and fresh guac, and options for salsa. They also make huge burritos, and manage to get the cheese next to the hot ingredients, which helps it melt, though not as much as that wonderful steamer does at Anna’s. Decent shells and lots of tasty looking meats, though I haven’t had them myself. The problem with the burrito here is that I find it to be the second best option, preferring the soft tacos.

MexiCali (cart in University City, restaurant at 40th and Sansom): this place can be good, though I am not sure if all of these creations really qualify as traditional burritos. The more interesting options are good, though the basic black bean and cheese – the metric for any burrito place in my mind – is down right bland. Not great shells, uninspired guac, and zestless rice. Check it out, but make sure to mix it up if you get my drift.

Qdoba (everywhere): This will perhaps cause doubts about my other opinions. I agree this place is rather despicable, both in regards to most of their food and, more importantly, the décor and feel of this fast-food giant. But I have found that when it comes to the basics – the black bean and cheese – they do a decent job. The rice, nothing to write home about, is cooked evenly and has some flavor. The beans, again, are average. But I find the guac passable, and appreciate the level of autonomy they give the customer. Want more cheese, you got it. Three kinds of salsa, no problem. They fail to melt the damn cheese half the time, but they also give you whale size portions.

There are probably some other decent options out there, and I would love to hear about others’ opinions. One final thought: I have honestly spent the last three years in this city trying to find a burrito that can rival Anna’s, and I just don’t think it exists, at least not in this city. But I have found that all of these places, with some judicious ordering, can make a decent burrito. It’s not like walking into Anna’s, where you can have such a tremendous amount of confidence in the burrito – from the server to the shell, and from that guac to the robust black beans – but it can be good. Let us know what you find.

Jan 29, 2007
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Media, PA dining

Margaret Kuo's on State St has recently been renovated, and it looks like the food may have gotten a makeover as well. Though I stand by the Granite Run incarnation as the better of the two, the one in Media is very nearly up to snuff now. The new decor blows the Pecking (at granite run) out of the water. No doubt a fine place to eat in Media.

Dec 14, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Hot Pot in Philly?

Recently I have become hooked on NYC's Grand Szechuan, and their mouth searing Hot Pots. Looking through Philadelphia's Szechuan offerings, I haven't noticed any hot pots on the menu. Does anyone know where to find some in this city of ours? Any comments on quality?

Thanks for the help.

Dec 12, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Vegetarian Pho in Philadelphia

Regardless of how traditional it may be, I have found two place that serve veggie pho. The first is Vientiane at 47th and Baltimore. I haven’t had it there yet – when I go there I can’t help but have the yellow or red curry. The other place that I know will serve pho in a veg broth is Ong’s at 11th and Race. Eating there yesterday, I found the pho clean, reasonably spiced, and well stocked with all the proper pho trimmings, save the meat of course; it was good, though, admittedly, the broth was not as rich as the non-veg pho broths I’ve had.

Turns out vegetarians can join the pho craze as well.

Nov 22, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Indonesian and other Southeast Asian ingredients in Philadelphia

Yep, found candlenuts at Kalustyans - what a hound mecca! I still haven't uncovered candlenuts here in philly, but I'm thinking that this weekend should offer ample opportunities for exploring some of these little "Indonesian bodegas." Appreciate the input, and I'll post if I find them.

I did use macadamia nuts the first time I made this recipe, and candlenuts the second. My palate for Indonesian being what it is, I suppose it’s not surprising that I couldn’t really taste a difference. Though, I was a little disappointed that the candlenuts didn’t seem to make the dish any thicker, which is apparently their primary function – or at least according to James Oseland in “Cradle of Flavor.” Again, thanks for the heads-up.

Nov 10, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Vegetarian Pho in Philadelphia

Does it exist, and is it any good?

Thanks!

Nov 03, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Using MSG in home cooking

Thanks for the awesome responses. I tried it for the first time last night - on some baby bok choy that I unfortunately undercooked by about a minute - and wow, it totally smoothed out and enhanced the flavor. It was a stir fry, so the MSG was going into a dish that already had a good deal of soy sauce. Though I can see why one might not want to over mix the two, it was also clear that they played well together.

Again, thanks for the tips. After my experience last night, it seems pretty clear that adding a little MSG can really boost a dish. With the help of these tips it should be fun to do some culinary experimenting.

Oct 24, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Home Cooking
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Using MSG in home cooking

Hi there,

I've been intrigued by some recent news that I've read and heard about Umami as well as MSG. I don't suffer from any allergy to MSG, so I'm interested in trying to use it in some of my cooking. Does anyone have any advice on how best to incorporate MSG into recipes or foods? I’m curious about quantity, when to add it, what ingredients match best, what doesn’t? Really, any info would be great.

Thanks.

Oct 23, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Home Cooking

The decline of the Italian Hoagie

The one at 12th and walnut is gone.

Oct 23, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Philadelphia

The decline of the Italian Hoagie

Hey now, lay off the wawa hoagies. I agree that compared to a legit Italian hoagie or any other gourmet hoagie, they are wanting. But for what they are, wawa hoagies do a fine job. More importantly, with a wawa hoagie you have unprecedented levels of control, so if the thing is no good you most likely have yourself to blame.

As for finding a good hoagie (I’ll probably get flamed for this, too), why not drive just a bit farther and head to Princeton’s Hoagie Haven. Amazing bread, great fillings, fast, reliable service, and unbeatable tradition. Hell, the last time I was there I had them put a piece of pizza in my hoagie. You wouldn’t believe how good it was.

Oct 17, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Philadelphia

Epazote in CC Philadelphia

Sorry for more "where can I find..." questions, but, ah, does anyone know where I can find some fresh epazote in center city philadelphia? Has anyone found this in the reading terminal market? Thanks.

Oct 17, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Indonesian and other Southeast Asian ingredients in Philadelphia

Thanks to everyone who replied. I was able to find the galangal and fresh turmeric at 11th and Washington, though I have yet to come across anyone who even knows what candlenuts are. I'll be heading over to 16th and Morris once the rain abates.

As for interesting culinary experiences, I recommend just heading over to 11th and Washington and just browsing in the market. Truly a fascinating place, with lots of exciting and inspiring foods.

Thanks again, and I’ll let everyone know if I can track down the candlenuts – I’m sure you’re all dying to hear about it.

Oct 17, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania

Indonesian and other Southeast Asian ingredients in Philadelphia

Does anyone have any first hand experiencing purchasing candlenuts, galangal, or fresh turmeric in Philadelphia? Just got laughed out of an asian grocer in Chinatown. They had never heard of candlenuts.

Lacking firsthand experience, does anyone have any suggestions for where to buy these items? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Fatty Lumpkin

Oct 13, 2006
Fatty Lumpkin in Pennsylvania