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July 2012 Openings and Closings

Otto Pizza is advertising open positions for a new restaurant to open on the BU campus at 888 Commonwealth Avenue (likely where Upper Crust used to be).

Casa Romero?

We were here a few months ago and nobody was very impressed. In particular, the signature dish of the pork marinated in oranges and chipotle peppers was a disappointment. It was a thin, dry slab of pork on a plate with sauce poured over the top and a few lackluster oranges for garnish. It wasn't bad, but for $25 we were expecting more. In general everything we had felt kind of tired. Service was lackluster.

The Scoop on Jasmine BIstro, Brighton

You are kind of at the mercy of the (very nice) owner it seems. Sometimes he just says, "Do you want red or white?" and then he just picks a bottle out for you, without mention of price. He does it with food too, particularly appetizers: "Oh, the chef is making a nice such and such for you." You are never quite sure what the check will be, but it's always been extremely reasonable. And, being part Hungarian, it's nice to have a taste of Eastern Europe nearby.

December 2011 Openings and Closings

I'm wondering this too. They were doing a lot of work for a while but I haven't seen any action in a while. I'm also wondering about the flower shop next to CVS that closed. I noticed the greenhouse in the back used to be a cafe.

Food foreigners take back home when they visit America.

I had a friend from Australia who used to ask me to send her Twizzlers Pull and Peels, Gardettos and peanut butter filled M&Ms. In return she would send me Polly Waffles, which was like a marshmallow-filled waffle cone covered in chocolate. Sadly they stopped making them just recently.

Regional foodways you dislike?

I'm originally from Chicago and I couldn't agree more about deep dish pizza. It's so heavy and dense I feel gross after only one piece. And that buttery crust is way too rich. But, like you said, whenever anyone would visit they had to have deep dish.

I also like ketchup on my hot dog. Sorry about it.

Visiting during Taste of Chicago

Everyone likes to complain about the Taste of Chicago. Yes, it's hot and it's crowded and there are a lot of mediocre ribs and pieces of pizza.

But I have friends come into town every year for the 4th who enjoy going and we always have a great time. We usually get a sheet of tickets for each of us, maybe one extra, and stick to the taste portions with an entree thrown in here and there. A lot of the items served are easily grilled and hard to screw up. We always get pierogis, roasted sweet corn on the cob from the Dominick's booth, sweet potato fries from Hashbrowns, beignets, an Original Rainbow Cone, samosas, some tacos and try a few of the new booths. If you don't mind sitting in the grass you can find a seat almost any time except for the few hours leading up to the fireworks.

In addition, there is a tent with higher-quality offerings that changes each day in front of Buckingham Fountain. Last year I had a raviolo with dried garlic chips from Tony Mantuano that was very good.

Penzey's Spices catalog--is it just me?

This makes no sense. The reason most people consume too much salt is because processed foods have an insane amount of sodium. People who cook most of their meals themselves - Penzey's customers, presumably - are the ones who least need to be preached to.

Something to help low back pain when cooking

I wear Crocs. I won't where them anywhere else, but the difference when I'm cooking is unbelievable. I can't tell you how amazing they have been. I can literally cook all day and neither my feet nor back get tired. I made cookies from 6-10pm yesterday and 11am-8pm today and could have kept going without a problem. They are almost too good to be true.

Mexico One Plate at a Time

My parents and I talk about this every time there is an episode on with her. As you said, she seems to be a very friendly, intelligent young woman, but not everyone has good camera presence. The way her and Rick carry on conversations on the show always seems very overacted and stilted. They don't speak naturally. It's almost to the point where we think about turning it off when she is on.

Comments on Cafe Iberico

I agree. Cafe Iberico has always been good to me and whenever I bring people they love it as well. The sangria is amazing.

I've noticed a number of Ina Garten fans here...

I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I know people love the new one, which I don't have yet. I use recipes from Barefoot in Paris all the time, as well as the original Barefoot Contessa book, although the latter seems more geared towards summer to me.

The Paris one is fun because they are "earthy" dishes that have really become staples for me. Also, her love of Paris really comes across in the book.

I almost forgot Barefoot at Home! I received that one as a gift more recently and really enjoy it as well.

That probably wasn't helpful at all. You really can't go wrong.

Cookbook gift recommendation for 11 year old?

I agree with not getting him a cookbook geared towards kids. If he really likes cooking, he'll be flattered that you gave him a cookbook that doesn't talk down to him.

If he really plans on becoming a chef and going to cooking school, maybe he would like one of Michael Ruhlman's books or something like "The Professional Chef" from the CIA.

I also think he would love one of the big "essential" cookbooks, like The Joy of Cooking or "How to Cook Everything." "How to..." has a new 10th Anniversary Edition.

The best Italian cookbook

You definitely can't go wrong with Hazan or Lidia Bastianich, my personal favorite.

I don't have this one, but I would love to get it for Christmas - The Silver Spoon, published by Phaidon. Amazon's description says, "First published in 1950 and revised over time, Italy's bestselling culinary 'bible,' Il Cucchiaio d'argento, is now available in English."

Also, I picked this one up cheap at my local borders on the bargain table - Culinaria Italy: Pasta, Pesto, Passion by Claudia Piras. I liked it so much I ended up buying all of the other Culinaria books they had.

Top Chef Thanksgiving Episode (Maybe Spoilers)

The product placement was just ridiculous this time. This was the first time I thought it seemed like the show was putting the products first. You have an incredible chef like Grant Achatz on, yet they don't use him at all. Instead, they had to make soup so they could showcase Swanson broth (featuring recipes from the Top Chef cookbook - in stores now!), then cook Butterball turkeys in GE Profile microwaves. Of course, let's not forget the ever-present Glad family of products.

Maybe they can just have the chefs start wearing racecar driver jumpsuits laden with logos.

Packaging cookies

I have used Chinese takeout containers that have worked great (an idea from Ina Garten). Do you have a Container Store near you? I'm sure you can find something there.

I know Ina also likes to give them in these bags -

Best Short Ribs in the City?

Osteria's are the best I have had in a long time. That was a little over a month ago.

Pumpkin ice cream or frozen yogurt?

I made this recipe, which came from another poster when I asked for a pumpkin ice cream recipe on this thread -

It turned out wonderful! It was incredibly delicious! I did use half cream and half whole milk.

Pumpkin ice cream or frozen yogurt?

I think a lot of ice cream recipes call for some type of alcohol because it keeps the ice cream a bit softer when you freeze it. You can replace it with some vanilla or another alcohol-based flavoring.

KFC $10 Challenge??

I suppose you can start counting in your own electricity consumption, but once you reach that point, you might as well count all kinds of crazy things (the oil in the plastic bag that your KFC meal comes in contributes to oil depletion which causes gas prices to rise which causes you to pay more at the gas pump next time, the health problems your children have in the future leads to expensive medical bills, etc.)

Best camera for food photography?

I suggest checking out food blogs with photos that you like and asking what they use. 101 Cookbooks, for example, uses a Canon EOS 20D.

Food Detectives - Food Network

I have never thought him arrogant or anything like that. I know some people are annoyed by his relentless provincialism in Cook's Illustrated, but I don't usually read his editor's note anyway. I always thought it was more the chefs on the show who seemed kind of angry and unfriendly.

Food Detectives - Food Network

I was hoping this show would be more like how the New York Times occasionally debunks food myths, like not washing mushrooms, only using wine you would drink in recipes, etc., particularly because so many of the chefs on this channel perpetuate these myths constantly.

But this show is just not enjoyable to watch. It all seems faux-scientific and I constantly find myself thinking that their methods and conclusions are incorrect.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe?

I just wanted everyone to know that I made the Saveur recipe and it was amazing. Everyone loved it. My Dad said it is his new favorite dessert.

I did use half cream and half whole milk.

The best hot chocolate

I absolutely love Godiva's hot chocolate. I always get a few cans of it for Christmas because my family knows I love it so much. It's very rich.

Halloween Antithesis Party

Hahaha, this is a great idea!

Some blog had a kitty litter cake that looked just like a real cat box. It was pretty disgusting, but it is a Halloween party.

Also, on Top Chef, one of the teams had to make a dish that conveyed the idea of a "perplexed" dish, so they made a tofu steak marinated in beef fat with green curry. I'm not sure you could really bring that to a party or that it even fits the theme exactly, but it was clever I thought.

You might want to check this out:

Somebody asked this same question over here - (I've seen ice cream mashed potatoes and they look awesome!)

Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe?

I have seen a lot of recipes for this when I searched for the homemade version. This would be a particularly good idea for when I have extra pumpkin left. And the idea of individual containers is great!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe?

I LOVE eggnog and I LOVE pumpkin, so pumpkin eggnog sounds fantastic to me!

I don't think we have Hood's in Chicago though. Is it only an East Coast thing?

Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe?

You know, I have been using half cream and half whole milk when it calls for all cream in my other ice cream recipes and it has been working out great. I've never had anyone complain!

Homemade marshmallows

I've made them with a hand mixer too, but only because I had to. It ended up being too messy and it took forever. It can be done, though.