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Michael K's Profile

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Looking for restaurant suggestions

You need to call Babbo, you can almost never get a reservation through Open Table because they only list a limited amount of seating there. Most restaurants save seats for walkins and if you are dressed well you can get in without a reservation but you may have to wait a while. I love Alta and although it is not fancy the food is more interesting and has more flavor than most restaurants in the city. The site Almost Hungry ( which got bought out by the Daily Meal) gave Alta an A+ and they did not give out many.

Nov 01, 2014
Michael K in Manhattan

Water filter/purifier system. Which is best?

Trusting that flouride is safe is the same as trusting Phillip Morris that cigarettes are safe, or trusting the American Diabetes Association that eating a high carb diet is good for diabetics. Check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3y8uw...

Mar 17, 2013
Michael K in Cookware

Best Octopus in Manhattan?

I agree Le Bernardin's was the best I have ever had. They boil it for 5-6 hours, then it is marinated in preserved lemons over night and then it is charred "a la plancha" and served with Green Olive and Black Garlic Emulsion, Sundried Tomato Sauce Vierge

Dec 16, 2012
Michael K in Manhattan

Absolute Best Pistachios On Earth!

I have had Heart of the Desert pistachios and did not like them nearly as much as Bazzini's which can be mail ordered from Murray's Cheese in NYC or Dean and Deluca. I am not a fan of covering up the true flavor of pistachios with other flavors, I just like mine salted which brings out the true flavor. I have had Iranian Pistachio's from Framaggio Kitchen said to be the best in the world but nothing compares to Bazzini's. The "Wonderful" brand available in most supermarkets is pretty good and I like them better than Heart Of The Desert.

Dec 14, 2012
Michael K in General Topics

Looking to buy good quality smoked salmon ( not cured salmon) in the greater boston area?

I agree that Spence & Co Scottish-Style is the best packaged product I have found. The Lobster Place in NYC Chelsea Market(they will ship anywhere) has very good Scottish and Irish cold smoked salmon but it is not consistent. Sometimes the Scottish is the best and other times the Irish, I have had both be exceptional but at worst they are still good. I often order some of each.

Dec 14, 2012
Michael K in Greater Boston Area

Olive oil (Armando Manni and/or other premium oils)

It was not Sicily it was Sardinia and the oil is Giorgio Zampa! I can no longer find it anywhere on line.

Nov 14, 2012
Michael K in General Topics

Olive oil (Armando Manni and/or other premium oils)

I currently have Mani per me and per mio figlio in my kitchen right now and think they are both up there with the best olive oils I have had and I like the per me the best of the two. I find that all olive oil changes each year just like wines do so the most you could ever say is that at this time this olive oil is the best in the world and because olive oils lose potency with time you could not hoard them like wine. Ed Bher who writes "The Art of Eating" my favorite food magazine, talked about how much better the California olive oil has gotten and about 5 years ago I started ordering from The Olive Press http://www.theolivepress.com. They press their own oil and sell other oils from producers in the area. At that time Ed Bher liked Lunigiana the best but I talked to someone who worked there and they thought the Arbequina was the best. I ordered both and that year the Arbequina was probably the best olive oil I have ever had,the Lunigiana was good but not blow away. I ordered Arbequina most years after that and it has never been as good, but still very good. One year the Master Blend was very good. Years ago I was having a conversation with the food buyer for Dean and Deluca and asked him if they carried an olive oil better than Badia and he went on listing many and at the end of the conversation I asked what he used at home and he replied Badia. Ihsan, the owner of Fromaggio Kitchen( my favorite cheese purveyor http://www.formaggiokitchen.com) turned me on to Cappazanna and it has become one of my favorites but again it varies year to year. Adam the person in charge of mail order at Formaggio who is extremely knowledgeable on food and wine thinks that the French Jean Marie Cornille is the best and I like it quite a bit as well. Tenuto Del Numero Uno from Tuscany has been rated the best by many people and I find it similar to Badia. Eric Ripert from Le Bernardin uses Sita from Greece but I find it too subtle and that is probably why he likes it because it will balance and not stand out too much in his food. Laudimio makes several very good olis and Olio Verde is always considered one of the best.Years ago David Rosengarten recommended a Sicilian oil that he considered the best he had ever had that AG Ferrari used to sell( I can not remember the name
) and it was really good. A lot of people rave about Bariani a California oil but I was not thrilled with it the year I tried it. I met a Top Chef who said that California Olive Ranch Arbequina was his favorite oil but I like the Olive Press Arbequina better. I have had many more excellent olive oils and there are still many more that I want to try.

Nov 14, 2012
Michael K in General Topics

Wagner Cast Iron

I had talked to the owner a couple of years ago and he said that they still made them with polished bottoms and I ordered one on line which never arrived. Later his daughter who rented an apartment from me said that they were no longer available. I had asked her to have her dad contact me but he never did so I never got the full story but I doubt we will ever see them again.

May 10, 2012
Michael K in Cookware

Wagner Cast Iron

I have talked to the owner of the company and he told me that they still make them. They bought the old dyes from Wagner and Griswald. I just ordered one today the 13 1/2" polished. They have Griswald on the site but when you click on it Wagner comes up.

Jan 08, 2010
Michael K in Cookware

Keeping Feta Fresh

I have a difference of opinion on the subject and feel that you would never ever want to put feta in plain water because it leaches all the flavor out. A woman who owned a Middle Eastern store that sells feta taught me how to make brine by boiling salt in water and told me I must do this to retain the Feta's flavor. I have had feta kept in plain water and it has no flavor. Of course if you only leave it in plain water for a short time before you eat all your cheese it would not be that bad.

Nov 06, 2009
Michael K in Cheese

Help me find chowhound risotto recipe posting

I have made the recipe and was afraid that the amount of cheese called for would be overpowering so I held some back but eventually put it all in because it mellows and is fine. I followed the recipe to the letter with the exception of the cooking time which was way too fast for my taste. Many risotto recipes call for 20 min. cooking time(and this calls for less) but almost all the top restaurants in the U.S. and Italy that I have been to make risotto with a texture very similar to the way I make it which takes 30 to 40 min. -it still is al dente but creamy not separate. The risotto was exceptional. I bought my cheese from Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and used top quality butter.

Apr 01, 2009
Michael K in Home Cooking

Do you have a favorite soy sauce?

Eric Ripert's "ON THE LINE" book mentions an organic soy sauce that Charlie Trotter turned them on to that cost $90 a bottle . I searched on line and can not find it. I found this post to no avail in my hunt for it. If you could find it I would bet it would be the best soy sauce.

Dec 25, 2008
Michael K in General Topics

What's cooking in Columbus?

Maisonette was old school and dated and that is why they are no longer in business despite their 5 star rating, but I have had some great meals there on occasion. Jean-Robert at Pigall's is much better (IMHO) and I have had a meal there on par with the top restaurants in N.Y.C. L'Antibes has never delivered a meal that impressed me. The service is very good and the quality of ingredients is good but the food was never inspired and I have always found it boring.

Recipe/Nutrition/Menu Planning Software (for the Mac)

I used to use a program called MacDine and it had an extensive food data base which had nutritional info . You could build a recipe and then divide it into portions of your choice and it would give you the calories fat etc breakdown. I can no longer find it or even any trace of the company who made it. I was searching for it and found this thread

Sep 14, 2008
Michael K in Not About Food

Under cooked potatoes

I am making red skin potato salad and I found at least 5 recipes online that say to boil the potatoes 10 min. It takes at least 30 min to get them done and they are still firm and do not fall apart.. If they are hard in the middle they are not done. This made me remember that most of the store made potato salad and many deli 's potato salad are way undercooked. Am I the only one who feels this way? Are there people who like half cooked potatoes in their potato salad?

Jun 07, 2008
Michael K in Home Cooking

Pizza top 10

I love Two Boots as well. I have been to 8 of the 10 on the list (never been to Nicks or DiFaras) and most of them do not have enough flavor or a crisp enough crust for me. I like Pepe's ,also out of the area but Da Baffetto in Rome is better than any of them, and I like Vincents Pizza Park in Pittsburgh.

May 28, 2008
Michael K in Manhattan

The Best Kaiser Roll

Who makes the best Kaiser roll? I searched the site and no one has addressed this question. I love a good Kaiser roll , it can turn an ordinary sandwich into a great one.
Pincus bakery in Cleveland makes a good Kaiser but I assume somewhere out there is an even better one. I have made them myself and to me a real Kaiser roll is hand folded not stamped.

May 28, 2008
Michael K in General Topics

HORRIFIC Service from The Lobster Place

I order from The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market and have it shipped to Ohio on a regular basis. I used to order from Brown Trading, Citerella, Central Fish, Sea Breese, and Catalina Offshore Products. I have found the quality and service at the Lobster place to be the most consistant and now it is the only place I order from unless I am looking for product they do not have like Trigger Fish or Hog Fish. It is best to order from the owner Ian, or the manager Brendon, and one of the two is almost always there. They supply Jean George with Tuna .

Apr 23, 2008
Michael K in Manhattan

Dinning suggestions in Turks and Caicos?

I have been to Provo three times and hands down Coyaba is my favorite restaurant on the island. The Thai Yellow Tail Snapper, Gnocchi, Shrimp Bisque, Lobster Thermador (if you like old school), and house made Apple Pie are dishes I recommend.

O Soliel is also very good and more successfully contemporary than most restaurants in the Caribbean.

Aqua Bar And Terrace has good food and is more casual and less expensive than most of the very high priced restaurants on the island. Chef Clive does interesting things with Conch like smoked Conch . Conch is usually rubbery and not very good but this is more than edible and worth experiencing.

Smokey's on Da Beach is a local joint with very good deep fried whole Caribbean Red Snapper . This frying technique creates a moist flesh that is not greasy . They serve sides of rice with peas (which are actually beans) , Corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese,and homemade bread. They also have good Piña Coladas.

Da Conch Shack is another place serving local food which is good. The conch fritters are possibly the best that I have had but you still really do not taste Conch, just fried batter with something rubbery in it. . The curried Conch is tender and has good flavor. The curried shrimp and boiled shrimp are both good. They serve whole fried snapper but were out of it when I have been there. Fair warning , do not go if you are not prepared to wait an hour or more for your food, but it is right on the beach and the ocean is beautiful.

Anaconda has been good in the past but I was very disappointed with the food this last trip. I must say that the atmosphere is great dining almost on the beach with a beautiful view of the lights around the bay at night.

Magnolia was not good at all. I call this type of restaurant "Upscale Institutional " ,some people call it Cater food or Hotel food. Institutional food trying to masquerade as fine dining. As soon as I saw the single piece of steamed Broccoli, three slices of steamed Carrots , and a slice of steamed Zucchini all in butter sauce on the side of my plate I knew what to most likely expect. A ton of Black Olive Tapanade straight from a jar was dumped over a small piece of fried Grouper and of course the steamed vegetable side. The Tapanade itself was not good but even if it was , it totally overpowered the fish and had no business being there. Another dish, sesame crusted Tuna was dry and flavorless from first being a bad cut of fish and second having nothing done to it at all like a marinade of at least olive oil before cooking. Then they cut the fish so wide that there was a two and a half inch section of fish that was raw and ice cold in the middle of where it had been seared on the sides. I like my Tuna rare and I like sashimi but this was pathetic, it was not sashimi quality Tuna. Gnocchi in a sage butter sauce had no sage butter sauce and the Gnocchi was not really Gnocchi but deep fried and heavy on the potato but it was actually the only dish that was ok.

Hemingway's food was ok but in the Upscale Institutional vein and I would not recommend it.

Grace's Cottage was extremely expensive and was very Upscale Institutional. They did not have a clue how to put together food that worked, it just looked like trendy food but failed miserably.

Bella Luna is terrible Italian food.

Matsuri Shshi bar was surprisingly very good .

Fresh 1lb. Spiney Lobster tails are $18 a piece at the Fish Plant on the South side of the island and you can buy fish there from the fishermen when their boats come in at around 4;30 P.M.
They will filet the fish for you and I paid $10 for two good size fish , about 4 to 5 lbs filleted. I recommend Yellow tail Snapper , Mutton Snapper , Caribbean Red Snapper,or Grouper.

Bangkok Express is take out Thai food that is not bad.

Las Brisas on Chalk Sound serves Paella to order (45 min to prepare) the owner is from Madrid. It is $55 for the Seafood Rice which serves 2. There is a lot of seafood , Lobster ,shrimp, clams,and calamari. The rice was too mushy for my taste but it was still pretty good. Check out this link for the best Paella you have ever had (use La Preferida Pearl rice)http://www.davidrosengarten.com/conte...

Providenciales (Turks & Caicos) recs?

I have been to Provo three times and hands down Coyaba is my favorite restaurant on the island. The Thai Yellow Tail Snapper, Gnocchi, Shrimp Bisque, Lobster Thermador (if you like old school), and house made Apple Pie are dishes I recommend.

O Soliel is also very good and more successfully contemporary than most restaurants in the Caribbean.

Aqua Bar And Terrace has good food and is more casual and less expensive than most of the very high priced restaurants on the island. Chef Clive does interesting things with Conch like smoked Conch . Conch is usually rubbery and not very good but this is more than edible and worth experiencing.

Smokey's on Da Beach is a local joint with very good deep fried whole Caribbean Red Snapper . This frying technique creates a moist flesh that is not greasy . They serve sides of rice with peas (which are actually beans) , Corn on the cob, homemade macaroni and cheese,and homemade bread. They also have good Piña Coladas.

Da Conch Shack is another place serving local food which is good. The conch fritters are possibly the best that I have had but you still really do not taste Conch, just fried batter with something rubbery in it. . The curried Conch is tender and has good flavor. The curried shrimp and boiled shrimp are both good. They serve whole fried snapper but were out of it when I have been there. Fair warning , do not go if you are not prepared to wait an hour or more for your food, but it is right on the beach and the ocean is beautiful.

Anaconda has been good in the past but I was very disappointed with the food this last trip. I must say that the atmosphere is great dining almost on the beach with a beautiful view of the lights around the bay at night.

Magnolia was not good at all. I call this type of restaurant "Upscale Institutional " ,some people call it Cater food or Hotel food. Institutional food trying to masquerade as fine dining. As soon as I saw the single piece of steamed Broccoli, three slices of steamed Carrots , and a slice of steamed Zucchini all in butter sauce on the side of my plate I knew what to most likely expect. A ton of Black Olive Tapanade straight from a jar was dumped over a small piece of fried Grouper and of course the steamed vegetable side. The Tapanade itself was not good but even if it was , it totally overpowered the fish and had no business being there. Another dish, sesame crusted Tuna was dry and flavorless from first being a bad cut of fish and second having nothing done to it at all like a marinade of at least olive oil before cooking. Then they cut the fish so wide that there was a two and a half inch section of fish that was raw and ice cold in the middle of where it had been seared on the sides. I like my Tuna rare and I like sashimi but this was pathetic, it was not sashimi quality Tuna. Gnocchi in a sage butter sauce had no sage butter sauce and the Gnocchi was not really Gnocchi but deep fried and heavy on the potato but it was actually the only dish that was ok.

Hemingway's food was ok but in the Upscale Institutional vein and I would not recommend it.

Grace's Cottage was extremely expensive and was very Upscale Institutional. They did not have a clue how to put together food that worked, it just looked like trendy food but failed miserably.

Bella Luna is terrible Italian food.

Matsuri Shshi bar was surprisingly very good .

Fresh 1lb. Spiney Lobster tails are $18 a piece at the Fish Plant on the South side of the island and you can buy fish there from the fishermen when their boats come in at around 4;30 P.M.
They will filet the fish for you and I paid $10 for two good size fish , about 4 to 5 lbs filleted. I recommend Yellow tail Snapper , Mutton Snapper , Caribbean Red Snapper,or Grouper.

Bangkok Express is take out Thai food that is not bad.

What's cooking in Columbus?

I have always found L'Antibes boring, even though the food was good quality and the execution flawless. In contrast ,Maisonette (now out of business) was dated old school cuisine , but I have had impressive food there. Jean-Robert at Pigall's can be excellent on the level of top N.Y. restaurants.

David Rosengarten on How To Boil An Egg...

I have been using the same method but have found that I need to cook the eggs for a minute or two after the water reaches a rapid boil or the yolks are not done. Also I discovered today on a whim that if I peel the eggs under cold running water the shell comes off easier because the water gets in and separates it.

Jun 02, 2007
Michael K in Home Cooking