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MacGuffin's Profile

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galangal powder EMERGENCY omg

It's a shame the Penzeys Grand Central Market location closed because they carry it. I think they have free shipping online with a $30 minimum.

Feb 28, 2015
MacGuffin in Manhattan

Lunch 34th& 5th

Xi'an Famous Foods just opened a branch on E. 34th, south side of the street between Fifth and Madison. I haven't been in there yet but it certainly meets both your criteria (I've eaten at other of their locations for years).

Feb 28, 2015
MacGuffin in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

I've never had their plain cheese pie but I have had the mushroom, which I'm going to hazard a guess is the same sauce. I don't find it sweet. Sugar is there to cut the acidity, not make a sweet pie. It's entirely possible that we have different opinions as to what constitutes "sweet." I'm guessing your schedule didn't permit sampling a slice before committing to a pie.

As to your chagrin at not liking your pie, allow me to one-up you with the tale of woe that accompanied my $30 (I'd bold that if I could) pie from a pizzeria constantly cited as the best on the planet. SALT. I have never in my life had to deal with so much salt on a pizza. Worse, I made myself eat it in its entirety of the course of the next several days because I don't like to waste food.

Feb 27, 2015
MacGuffin in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

38th St. is six blocks from Penn Station which, in this weather, is not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump. Does Lazzara's sell slices?

Feb 26, 2015
MacGuffin in Manhattan

Best pizza joint near Penn Station?

Sugar in any kind of tomato sauce is pretty common. Besides, they have at least three different sauces. It's possible that at least one of them doesn't have sugar.

Feb 26, 2015
MacGuffin in Manhattan

Best website to buy tea?

Oh, good! Not just for gyokuro?

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

That does look informative. I'm never averse to expanding my tea smarts.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Very pretty. That's not a scoop, though. You put your leaves in that and pass it around so that people can appreciate them; the lip makes it easy to then put the leaves in the brewing vessel. I have several of them; I use them to weigh my tea and put it in the pot/pitcher. It's coming back to me . . . I believe that's called a "cha-he."

This, e.g., is a tea scoop: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unique-Netsuk... . The Japanese ones are much less "busy."

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Un-impressed with Vitamix

To be fair, maybe it was the corner of the container proper rather than the base? Manufacturing flaw? I do agree, though, that liquid shooting out of the top sounds like user error, especially since no mention was made of the lid's flying off. Incidentally, there was a problem with the lid that shipped with my 7500. It never snapped on properly and liquid was seeping during processing (inner rim looked hinky). It also came off more than once. Vitamix replaced it and the new one is perfect. I had to send the unit, with the container, in for repair not long afterward and included the defective lid so that their quality control people could have a look at it.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in Cookware

Best website to buy tea?

I understand but it's apparently not Japan's. Check out my first link again--I posted it wrong.

FWIW I've always had a soft spot for this pot: http://www.rishi-tea.com/product/Kiku... . It has a sasame filter.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

You do realize that it's a specialty set for gyokuro . . . ? It's not going to be optimal for sencha or fukamushi (in fact, it'll be disaster for the former). On the other hand, an all-purpose Tokoname pot can work for all three.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

This looks kinda blue: http:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Japanease-Tok... . It has the right filter, too.

Maybe hagi-yaki? http://www.ebay.com/itm/o5063-Japanes... Huge but blue.

And a mini: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VALUE-Mini-Ky... . Not blue but extremely small.

It has been my observation over the years that blue doesn't figure very prominently in Japanese teaware. It does exist, though.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Stéphane is a great source, both for education and supplies.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Oh, that's LOVELY stuff. I've ordered it in the past and have been crazy about it. Did you go with the sencha, the gyokuro, or both?

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Yuuki-cha is . . . well, they get mixed reviews. I like the teas I've bought from them a LOT, though, and would highly recommend them but prepared to wait--shipping is expensive and slow. And I do agree that there are smaller kyusu (~8 oz., give or take) to be found and in fact, there's one I'm lusting over now but just can't afford, especially since I have a lovely, rather high-end Tokoname pot that I bought from Hibiki-an years ago that I'm crazy about: http://www.hibiki-an.com/product_info... (mine came in a wooden box, though). Their stuff's not cheap but the shipping's bundled into the price. O-Cha has some really nice teaware, including some specialized for gyokuro that have very low capacity.

A cheaper kyusu is fine--its filter is important. I just don't like the way non-Japanese filters Japanese tea. Are the places you referred to in NYC the stores near St. Mark's Place?

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Rajah is one of my heroes. How can you not love a fanatic? :))

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics
1

Best website to buy tea?

No way, it's very well accepted. I only do it with those two teas, though.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

I guess you can say that Teamail just wasn't my cup of tea. ;) What puzzled me was that I believe Stéphane Erler owns that site. He's the nicest guy in the world, and probably among the least pretentious.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

That's true, as opposed to the highly structured Japanese ceremonies.

https://sevencups.com/learn-about-tea... There are supposed to be podcast on the site as well but they don't seem to be working with any of the browsers I use, at least not at present. :(

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

You're going to like Shan Shui. Forgive me if this is redundant but give your oolongs (and puerhs) a REALLY quick (I'm talking pour, dump) rinse with boiling water first, then cover the pot/gaiwan and let the leaves sit a minute or so to make them more receptive to the actual steeping process. I do this after preheating the dry leaves in a warmed pot. Andrew from Seven Cups passed this along to me and I've been doing it ever since. I know it sounds gross, but I always keep that rinse water and when I'm done brewing, I add the leaves (and maybe some more water) to it for overnight cold tea.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics
1

Best website to buy tea?

"I was on teachat for awhile, but they didn't seem to want to answer my silly questions."

Yeah, that would be the same group I left. Now THEY left a bitter taste in my mouth.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics
1

Best website to buy tea?

I think I was on Teamail and left. With the exception of a really nice lady named Jen (I think she was in Texas), I've never encountered a more affected, obnoxious group of people in my life. As I recall, the straw that broke the camel's back was when someone else in NYC claimed to have a good source for tea. I asked who it was and got a very self-satisfied "oh, that's my secret." Feh.

I've never heard of mouthfuls food.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Read above. Silver Tips Tea is owned by the aforementioned Mrs. Mueller, SIL of Rajah Banerjee, and has already been discussed (and recommended) here.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

I've I'm pretty sure I've ordered some accessories from them in the past and have been very happy with everything.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

Hey, he'd probably be flattered that you're interested in what he served (I would). :)

The time involved in gongfu brewing would work for Japanese greens (again, I'm the Mistress of Short Steeps) but I wouldn't go with gongfu teaware. Kyusu ARE bigger but my guess would be that's for two reasons, 1) that the proportion of leaves to water favors a lot of water and 2) the size of the pot helps to cool the water. Get the smallest size that you feel comfortable with. FWIW some of the Japanese porcelain tea sets you see listed online (usually in beautiful wooden boxes) have rather tiny components. I think, though, that they're intended for very high-end sencha.

You need to get out of gongfu-mode if you're going to brew Japanese tea. :) You really can't treat any green like the Chinese teas that lend themselves to that method (puerhs, blacks, oolongs). You brew fast but HOT--a no-no for greens unless you like bitter spinach.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Un-impressed with Vitamix

Ditto that and I imagine that the blades in the dry container are even duller.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in Cookware

Un-impressed with Vitamix

"My dad has a Ninja and the blades on that thing are scary sharp similar to the factory edge on most knives."

Just looking at PICTURES of those things scares the bejesus out of me.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in Cookware

Best website to buy tea?

You'll think I'm nuts but I LOVE cold puerh. And the beauty of it is (mind you, this only applies to black, not green, puerh) is that you can steep it in boiling water--same proportions I suggested above--and then refrigerate it when it cools down without removing the leaves. It never goes bitter and it's a real treat.

You didn't mention if your green is Chinese or Japanese. Be aware that the latter is somewhat less forgiving than the former. And you might try, just for the hell of it, conventionally brewing with some bottled (not distilled, not mineral) water to see if that makes a difference.

Glass is good! I really like glass for Chinese greens, whites, and yellows because it doesn't hold heat very well, which is what you want. I'm not sure why Tokoname clay handles Japanese greens so well but it does (I don't preheat the pot, though). Are you aware that it's suggested that for some gyokuros, one should use short steeps of room-temperature water? And again, for Japanese greens, get yourself a kyusu. They really are optimal for sencha.

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics
1

Best website to buy tea?

Try cutting it by a gram and again, those short steeps. I rarely let a first steep of any tea, regardless of brewing instructions, go to a minute (that's just my taste, I guess). Then again, it could be your tea. Try this: take the full 4 g, add ½ liter of (not hot!) water, cover, and refrigerate overnight. When I strain it the next day, I press the leaves against the strainer to get the full benefit (my dear friend and fellow Hound liu is undoubtedly gagging now). If it's still bitter, something's up with the tea. Or maybe your water?

Feb 25, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics

Best website to buy tea?

I suggest brewing for less time but then I favor light steeps because I think they're more nuanced. A good trick to get your water temperature right is to boil it, then pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup (the poor man's cooling pitcher). That should give you a good temperature for everything green but gyokuro or very fine Korean greens. Pouring that water into the serving cups, then onto the tea in the pot, will lower the temperature even more. I also preheat my pot for Chinese greens. Pour boiling water into the empty pot, cover for a few minutes, empty, then add tea and cover again for a minute or so. Inhale the wonderful aroma when you remove the lid, then add your water; again, I like to keep it short, especially on the first one.

Feb 24, 2015
MacGuffin in General Topics