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Any decent chains in New England?

Can you consider Tosanini's a chain now that the Harvard Square location is gone?

Mar 28, 2007
rcsimm in All New England Archive

Pizzeria Roma (Durham)

sorry you all hate it. I'll try to be more judicious in my recommendations, and I'll be sure to stay off the soap box...

Mar 28, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Pizzeria Roma (Durham)

I don't want to go overboard on the comparison, because if I do, you'll be disappointed. it doesn't have that oven char on the bottom, and it doesn't have pools of oil on the top. It is not sublime like Regina's. But it is foldy and drippy, qualities that mark good pizza in my we have not encountered in pizza since we moved to Chapel Hill almost two years ago. The crust could probably be thinner. It's probably more akin to a mom-and-pop operation in the suburbs--say Lowell. (that's quite a drop in praise, isn't it?) But give it a try--it's where we'll get our pizza from now on...

And yes, we're from Boston (metro), and I don't think we could live in North Carolina (as much as we love it) without MLB Extra Innings!

Mar 05, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Pizzeria Roma (Durham)

My husband brought home a pizza from this place a couple of days ago, and I wanted to plug it to transplants from the Boston area. It approximated fairly well the good foldy pizza you get at places like Santarpios and Regina. Not a perfect substitute, mind you, but definitely worth visiting if you're missing that style of pizza. We had the tomato and garlic. Our large pizza was enormous and cost $16. It's in one of the new storefronts by the Kroger on 15/501.

Mar 05, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Citrus-Chapel Hill

A small group (5) went to Citrus yesterday for breakfast at 10:15. We were told we would have a 30 minute wait. Fine. 90 minutes later, they were finally clearing a table for us. What was more disappointing than the wait was that the owner/host didn't seem to be concerned that his initial estimate had more than tripled, he never offered us even a cup of coffee while we were waiting. Parties of four kept getting seated right and left; we suggested that we could be squeezed into a four-top and that suggestion was rebuffed: "We'll be seating you shortly." Shortly turned out to be another 40 minutes.

The food was good, generous portions, but nothing came out at the same time. I can't say I'll go back, however. I really feel like the owner dropped the ball with us. However, the restaurant was doing very brisk business so I doubt the loss of business of 5 people is going to make him lose any sleep.

Feb 12, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Chapel Hill Cuban: Abierto

really? it's open? we live just down the street and i had no idea it was open for business. Can't go tonight (jujube), but will check it out soon and report back.

Jan 25, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

NEED help Magnolia Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

I made the Magnolia cupcakes, both in cake form and as cupcakes. I think it's great as written. (My cupcakes turn out a little flat--how about yours?)
As far as the frosting, what do you think is in the canned frosting? frosting is primarily sugar and fat. I'd rather be able to choose butter over shortening and adjust the sugar to my liking than use the stuff out of the can. just my two cents...

Jan 10, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

calling food scientists--question about meat

Thank you both for very informative responses. I don't eat meat, but prepare it once in a blue moon for my long-suffering husband. This explains the terrible result of the belgian beef stew I made last night with steak tips. I knew it was the wrong cut, but I never envisioned how utterly bad it would turn out. Oh well--I guess I owe him a proper stew now...

Jan 09, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

calling food scientists--question about meat

Can someone explain why tender cuts of meat get tough the longer they're cooked and tough cuts of meat get tender?

Jan 09, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Duke Chow In Walking Distance

Speaking of dining on Duke's campus, maybe the Nasher Museum Cafe would be good spot?

Jan 05, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Duke Chow In Walking Distance

well, google maps shows it as 1.1 miles away, but whatever. I'm not certain it's really a "walkable" mile (or two) anyway.

Jan 05, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Duke Chow In Walking Distance

You easily walk to Nosh (3/10ths of a mile west from your intersection, on the north side of erwin). Not out of the world chow, but they have creative sandwiches and the like. Chai is a noodle bar in the same plaza (Erwin Terrace)--I've never been, but I've heard decent things about it.

Locopops is at Hillsborough and 15th--a mile from your intersection, and a must visit.

On West Main (about a mile from your intersection) are Parizade and Verde, for fancier chow.

Jan 05, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

mac and cheese came out grainy. why?

wow! now that's detail! thank you so much for your response--I'm sure it will help me turn out a better baked mac & cheese. (are you a chef, or just an obsessed amateur?)

Jan 05, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Pierogies

Actually, she responded to my email query and agreed that the version in her book is probably more akin to piroshki than the unleavened pierogies we're all familiar with. (although, Bacchus and rworange point out in this thread that baked pierogies are a known variant in Poland. Also, Anna was born to Polish parents, so she probably has some frame of reference for this recipe.)

I've never had a pierogi stuffed with meat, by the way. And the version that appears in her book is in no way a healthful alternative to noodle-dough pierogies. So this isn't a case of someone taking a recipe like, say Bigos stew, and reinventing it for vegetarians.

Jan 04, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Hot and spicy desserts

Have you heard of Toad Sweat hot dessert sauces? they're sweet and spicy. There's vanilla, chocolate, lime, etc., all enhanced with habanero.

my favorite flavor from our local popsicle stand is mango with chile; they also do a very nice black pepper cream.

(pepper is my secret ingredient in so many desserts--gives such a nice warmth, and no one can identify it...)

Jan 04, 2007
rcsimm in General Topics

Mapleview Farms buttermilk

Thanks for investigating, jenniesue. I guess whole milk makes a world of difference!

Jan 04, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

NEWCOMER - BIRTHDAY DINNER IN RALEIGH?

Maybe Frazier's would be a good choice? http://www.fraziersbistro.com/

I've never been, so maybe someone who has could comment. Chef is from Gramercy Tavern...

Zely and Ritz?

Bloomsbury Bistro?

I'm a chapel hill girl, so I don't get to Raleigh that much; sorry to not be more help.

Jan 04, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Cholestrol lowering recipes

You can improve your lipid profile by eating unsaturated fats--olive oil, canola oil, almonds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, omega-3 enriched eggs. This will bring up your HDL (good cholesterol) pretty quickly, as long as you also limit your saturated fat intake (reduce red meat, cheese, butter, etc.) and exercise. (also, watch out for unfiltered coffee--espresso, french press--it contains aromatic oils called terpenes, which may raise your bad cholesterol. This isn't a problem in filtered coffee.)

good luck--it can be done!

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Dirty looks while eating out with kids...

You're right, diners are entitled to quiet, relaxing dinners. But I usually find the ones making the most noise are the adults, boorish businessmen and women usually, getting drunk on the company dime, talking loud enough for me to hear their conversation from 3 tables away. At least babies have an excuse for being loud--they're babies! I'd much rather sit next to a family with babies, toddlers, and kids than a jerk.

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in Not About Food

NEWCOMER - BIRTHDAY DINNER IN RALEIGH?

There isn't a universal expectation for a "birthday dinner." If "birthday dinner" means quiet, romantic, formal, and impeccable service to you, then the DJ pictured on the Underground's web site might be an indication this is not what you're seeking in a "birthday dinner." (not to mention the $1 mystery cans and the $4 crack bombs listed as bar specials). http://www.comeunderground.com/nightl...

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

mac and cheese came out grainy. why?

Scott, you seem knowledgeable in this area. Can you explain why my nice, smooth, delicious cheese sauce becomes separated, oily, and unappetizing in the oven? (mixed with pasta, of course...) Is the heat too high, or is my recipe flawed? or both?? Thanks for any advice!

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Tapas party for four people

You might try piquillo peppers instead of regular old bell peppers. I've only seen them in jars, but they're pretty tasty nonetheless.

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Tapas party for four people

tortilla espanola, for sure. Patatas bravas. Some marcona almonds, and warmed olives (add a sprig of rosemary and some orange peel to infuse the olives). Mix some cabrales with a tiny bit of brandy, serve with baguette slices. crepes stuffed with spinach and red pepper, rolled and sliced, served with a saffron sauce.

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Opening in the Triangle???

That Earth Fare seems too big for a Trader Joes--I'd be surprised (but ecstatic) if they moved in there. I'm not surprised Earth Fare is closing in CH--there was never anyone in that place--they must have been bleeding money for some time...

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Hideaway BBQ in Raleigh

I would say they are VERY well financed. and their booking is top notch--the woman who books (booked?) the Pour House is doing their booking, and they managed to get the Derailers for their second weekend in operation. Bill Kirchen a few weeks later. Stacey Earle in February. Dale Watson on NYE. pretty stellar entertainment. I wish I could recommend the food more highly. but I love the bar staff!

Jan 03, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Mapleview Farms buttermilk

Does anyone know if Mapleview Farm's buttermilk is cultured, or is it old-fashioned? I bought some the other day and it is so delicious; it bears no resemblance to the other stuff that calls itself buttermilk today. Any idea why it's so good?

Jan 01, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Hideaway BBQ in Raleigh

I like everything about the Hideaway, except for the food. I've eaten there twice and I probably won't eat there again. I don't eat meat, though, so take my comments with a grain of salt (my husband is a big bbq fan, though, and he was lukewarm to the place too). I do eat fish, and the catfish I ordered on my second visit wasn't cooked through. When asked what sides I wanted with my meal, I asked if the green beans were fresh. I ordered them when I was told they were, but when they were brought out, it was obvious they were canned. Mashed potatoes are out of a box.

That said, the service is friendly and the music is great. The venue is a little awkward since the stage is surrounded by diners. If you're not eating, you have to take in the music from the narrow bar area.

Jan 01, 2007
rcsimm in General South Archive

Strudel goal, but no plan

I've made a mushroom strudel before. I cooked down a mess of mushrooms and shallots with some thyme, deglazed with some kind of wine, then added some sour cream. Grated a bit of parmesan into it. salt and pepper, then cool. I think you could easily add some potato to this, but I would go with diced instead of mashed.

Those tortes raj1 mentions are awesome, by the way...

Dec 29, 2006
rcsimm in Home Cooking

Magnolia Grill--attire?

Hi all,
husband and I are going to Magnolia Grill tonight. We've never been and are wondering how dressy it is. Husband was planning to wear a suit--do people wear suits to restaurants anymore?

Dec 29, 2006
rcsimm in General South Archive

Deck the Halls with Beer

That anheuser-busch Vanilla Oak beer is dismal. I bought some because my husband loved the Allagash Curieux Tripel (aged in bourbon barrels, ~10%ABV). I didn't expect the a-b to live up to the sublime Allagash, but I also didn't expect it to fail so abundantly.

Dec 29, 2006
rcsimm in Features