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Can we talk about canned salmon?

As most people probably know, because of the differences in what the fish eat wild salmon is more nutritious than farmed salmon.

My understanding is that only cans labeled as "Wild" or "Alaska" (which prohibits salmon farming) contain wild salmon. (My understanding also is that most commercially available Atlantic salmon (canned included) is farmed.)

I hear you on the gross out factor with canned salmon, but I went full circle on it. I found cleaning out the bones and skin so disgusting that I avoided canned salmon for years, until the pouches came out, which brought me back to packaged salmon. Then one day the cans were on sale (and so about 30% of the price of the pouches), so I decided to try them again. This time I went all Rachel Ray on them (independent of Rachel...) and just dumped an entire can into my mixing bowl, water and all. (I think it was more to minimize my time viewing the disgusting mass of skin, meat, bones, and oily water than any culinary insight.) I proceeded with my usual salmon salad recipe and...

...was stunned that it tasted so much better than the recipe using pouched salmon. I haven't bought another pouch since.

Of course, one's preferred taste and mouth feel is very subjective, and if you don't like the taste (and oiliness) of the skin or the texture of the bones (which, like people above have said, can usually be eliminated by mashing), you'll never like canned salmon. But if your objection is to the sight of the gross looking cylindrical lump that falls out of the can, try a favorite (and quick) recipe with the complete can (I sometimes drain the water if it would add too much moisture) and if you like the taste, your mouth will succeed in putting your eyes in their place...

Jun 13, 2012
JackTheLurker in General Topics

Burger Barn, Flushing

Went to Burger Barn a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th time (hey, I live a 5-minute walk away) since my mixed review above (based on my subpar 1st and quite nice 2nd visits), and each time the meal was excellent.

I’m sure BB will earn the reputation (alongside Joe’s) as Flushing’s best burger, and as an excellent burger regardless of neighborhood. It’s clear my subpar 1st visit was an aberration, since my 2nd-6th visits were consistently quite good-to-excellent.

I had the cheeseburger twice (my 2nd and 3rd cheeseburgers), a double/double (my 2nd), fried sweet potatoes twice, fried pickles, fried onion rings, French fries twice (my 3rd and 4th), and a hot dog.

The problem with the cheeseburger my 1st visit was the 3 oz patty disappeared under the sauce. On my subsequent visits the sauce was applied with a lighter hand, and it (and the quality toppings) complemented the patties quite well, regardless of whether the patty was the cheeseburger’s single 3 ouncer or the double/double’s 2 3 ounce patties. Since one of the best things about BB’s burgers is that the char the cooking puts around the edges of the patties makes for a noticeable taste and mouth feel, the burger makes a big step back if the char is smothered by over saucing.

The fried food was outstanding, a real compliment since fried sides are often orphans in a burger restaurant’s scheme of things. The sweet potatoes, pickles, and onion rings were cooked perfectly. Lightly breaded, generally not oily (more on this next paragraph), and cooked in clean oil, it was deep fat frying the way it should be done.

In the two instances where there was oil on the food, it was because of inadequate drainage rather than improper cooking, as the oil wasn’t in the breading but instead was on top of it. Both these instances were items that are probably cooked completely to order (sweet potatoes and onion rings), as compared to French fries (which are probably started in anticipation of people walking in the door), so perhaps the cook was trying to hurry the delivery of the food. If so (and if BB is reading this), I’d say 30-60 seconds more time to properly drain would be worthwhile, the customer won’t notice it after he gets the food. But I’m nitpicking here, since I’d order those particular orders again.

Since the French fries (and other fried foods) were excellent my last 5 visits, I’ve thought about why the fries were so bad my 1st time at BB. I’m guessing it’s because I arrived soon after the place opened (11 AM), and the deep fat fryer hadn’t got up to its proper temperature. Not an excuse, BB should have someone there at 10:30 to turn it on. But for me, it’s an easily solved problem, I won’t show up at the place before 11:30.

The hot dog was good, but is only a local’s choice. Bottled water is a 20 oz Dasani for $1.

Ambiance is nice, not typical fast food. (After entering, a fast-food-phobe would require a couple of seconds before he started sweating, and during one of my visits a 10-yo laughed at one of the wall decorations.) Counter service is excellent, and my best sources (the counter servers) say the place is a single restaurant (not part of a chain or franchise).

Jan 31, 2010
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Burger Barn, Flushing

Flushing doesn’t have much in the way of even average American food options (other than pizza), so I’ve been to Burger Barn twice since I came across it a couple of weeks ago. It’s another entrant in the “high quality fast food” niche, and it’s likely to succeed at that.

My conclusion is it’s a nice neighborhood burger, and could take its place alongside Joe’s Best Burger (Main Street at Roosevelt Ave) as Flushing’s best burger. (I hesitate to compare it to Joe’s since I haven’t been to Joe’s in awhile, and the patties are different.)

Is BB worth a trip? If you think Joe’s is, maybe; otherwise, no. But if I got my burger fix at BB’s closest (non-fast food) competitors, IHOP 1/2 mile to the east and the diner in the Parson’s Blvd shopping center a mile to the north, I’d travel past those two. (Joe’s is 3/4 mile to the west. Did I mention Flushing doesn’t have much in the way of even average American options?)

BB’s problem is it was inconsistent on my two visits (just a few days apart). The first time if I didn’t live in the nabe I wouldn’t have come back, the second time I would have.

Besides burgers, BB has hot dogs ($2.25) and a chicken burger ($3.50). It also has “exotic” options: a portobello burger ($5.25), sides like sweet potato fries ($2.50) and fried pickles ($1.99), burger toppings like fried egg and guacamole (99c each), corndogs ($1.50), and grilled corn-on-the-cob ($1.99).

Positives are that BB uses quality ingredients, cooks the burgers to order (the time this requires is no more than a couple of minutes longer than the wait on a fast food line), and according to BB makes its fries each day and nothing is frozen.

My first visit I had a slider (1.5 oz patty, 99c), a cheeseburger (3 oz patty, $3.80), and fries ($1.99), and on the second a slider, a double/double (two cheeseburgers (3 oz patty/cheese slice, 3 oz patty/cheese slice) on one bun, $4.99), and fries. (Fountain sodas are $1.99, ordering combos (burger, fries, soda) generally knocks $1 off the price, and there are many other drink options, including bottled water for $1 (no idea whether it’s a half liter or a mini).)

The double/double on my second visit was quite good. The toppings (iceberg lettuce, raw onions, tomato, and BB’s take on Thousand Island dressing) complemented the burger very well (more on the toppings below). The patties were not high-fat/melt-in-the-mouth, but more along the lines of having a dry, beefy flavor (and as a result, the sauce was probably necessary to provide moisture). The thinness of the patties meant they were cooked medium, which I don’t like, but the flavor and the char around the edge of both patties made for a very tasty burger with a nice mouth feel.

The sliders and cheeseburger were less successful. (Cravists will cringe since neither of the two I had were true sliders.) On my first visit the slider came with a pickle circle underneath the patty and the sauce on top. The pickle had quite a crunch to it and tasted far better than the typical fast food pickle (I assume because it had the textural mouth feel that is usually missing). The TI sauce was perfectly fine, and a step up from the slop slopped on Whoppers and Big Macs.

The problem was the toppings overwhelmed the tiny patty to the point of making it invisible. The slider was significantly improved by taking the pickle off, since it still retained some of the pickle’s tanginess and the patty emerged a little. But the sauce still dominated. (The naked pickle did taste good.)

On my second visit the slider didn’t come with a pickle and had noticeably less sauce. I could taste the flavorful patty much better, so overall it was an improvement. I’d say the best BB slider would probably be the second visit’s smaller amount of sauce, and the first visit’s “kiss-of-pickle” (after I interrupted the patty and pickle’s make out session).

The same patty disappearance problem occurred with my first visit’s cheeseburger (which, like my second visit’s double/double, was also topped with raw onions, iceberg, tomato, and the TI sauce). As I was eating it I was thinking this is not the typical fast food burger taste, and when I crunched a raw onion, I realized that I could taste/feel the onions, tomato, and lettuce, all of which had discernable texture (the iceberg wasn’t crunchy, but it wasn’t the typical wilted mess).

Realizing there actually are vegetables on top of your burger isn’t a typical fast food experience.

But again, the small patty was overwhelmed by the toppings. (Based on my second visit, I assume the culprit was the overuse of the sauce, but I don’t know since didn’t have the frame of reference I needed at the time.)

The fries were terrible my first visit and excellent my second. First visit they were very soggy, but I could tell they were a proper cooking away from being at least very good. My second visit I went from a guy who has fries with his ketchup to not using ketchup on his fries.

BB is located on the north side of Northern Boulevard between 146th/147th streets, it’s been open a month, and has parking in the back.

Jan 04, 2010
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

What's your favorite hot sauce?

If you like sriracha, you'll probably also like sambal oelek (I'm assuming (probably incorrectly) you haven't already tried it). Sambal is sriracha without the sugar and garlic, and as important, with texture via its seeds. A flavorful and interesting hot "paste" (the description used by the manufacturer of the sriracha and sambal I use, Huy Fong Foods (the "Rooster" brand)).

Mar 22, 2009
JackTheLurker in General Topics

Domino's Oven Baked Sandwiches

Congratulations for having the time and money to be able to “travel extensively” while being able “to get below the tourist trap and chains layer and find the local jewels”, while knowing “It’s all about the hunt…”

Those of us who don't have the time to "hunt" while we travel would appreciate you revealing the "jewels" you've found.

Mar 21, 2009
JackTheLurker in Chains

Domino's Oven Baked Sandwiches

"Starvation" isn't an option when you travel. You don't travel.

Mar 17, 2009
JackTheLurker in Chains

Domino's Oven Baked Sandwiches

Sounds like these Domino’s cheesesteak sandwiches are really inconsistent from location-to-location. Yours was all bread, for completely different reasons mine was maybe the worst sandwich I’ve ever tried, and “why_itsme” really liked his (here: ).

The worst part of mine was the meat. If a cheesesteak’s meat is going to be of the mystery variety, it should not have meaningful texture in the mouth. The only mouth feel it should provide is greasy, fatty melting meat goodness as it slides down your throat (which is why most grill men chop the meat into small bits).

My cheesesteak meat was in the form of tough, one-inch squares thick enough to require chewing. UGH! I almost threw the sandwich out after one bite, but persevered to get a complete picture since I knew it was unlikely I’d ever try one again.

The next unpleasant surprise came when I bit into another tough item, this one requiring removal from my mouth before I could identify it as a rubbery mushroom. UGH UGH! At that point (3 bites in?) I threw the sandwich out.

The other bad parts of the sandwich were the roll, which looked and felt like it had been left in a panini press too long (it was pressed flat and approached a hard cracker-like consistency), and the fact that the entire roll had been liberally doused with some unidentified oil that bore a strong resemblance to movie popcorn oil. UGH UGH UGH!

The rest of the ingredients were non-descript, I didn’t notice them.

I was very surprised because Domino’s in general (and this location in particular) makes adequate pizza (I’ve eaten dozens of Domino’s pies from multiple locations, and have never been dissatisfied), it’s pretty hard to screw up a basic pizza.

The same should be true of a basic cheesesteak, but this location (149-07 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, NY) found a way.

Mar 17, 2009
JackTheLurker in Chains

Sunnyside - The Fruitless Search For A Decent Slice of Pizza

Not a destination place, but the pizza parlor in Flushing’s Pathmark shopping center (Whitestone Expressway at Farrington Street) is much better than the average neighborhood place. I’ve been there 50+ times and don’t recall being disappointed (it’s a 20 minute walk for me, and there are at least 6 other places much closer that I usually bypass).

It’s a pain to get to w/o a car, but it’s worth a visit if going to a movie at the Whitestone Multiplex (5 minute walk), or maybe a game at Shea (15 minute walk or a 5 minute ride on the Q25 from the Main Street (last) stop on the 7).

I went to Cascarino’s (College Point Boulevard at 14th Avenue, really out of the way, 20 minutes from Main Street on the Q65) once several years ago and thought it was on par with the Pathmark place, but obviously don’t know if that was a representative visit.

Sep 10, 2008
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Corona Heights Pork Store

Passed by yesterday (Friday 3PM), and the CHPS was closed.

Jun 16, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

My Wusthof Knife is NEVER sharp enough...please help!

Many CH threads on knife-sharpening, my conclusion is how you sharpen depends on what you value.

Value your knife as an heirloom, the satisfaction knowing you’re treating a precision tool right, as an opportunity to meditate as you sharpen it? Spend the time to learn and then use sharpening stones, or to find a top-quality professional and then plan around the knife being in the shop.

Value time not spent maintaining cooking tools? Spend 2 minutes using a 2-stage manual (or electric) sharpening device. It’ll use up the knife, but probably not before you stop remembering what a kitchen is, and get the knife quite sharp.

I’m lazy, so I use the Chef’s Choice 460 manual sharpener on the Henckels “Professional” 9” chef knife I’ve had for 20 years. I abuse the knife by cutting chicken bones and frozen vegetable blocks, but I expect it to last at least another 20 years. I also don’t expect my executor to pass it on to anybody, despite the fact that it slices tomatoes quite well.

Jun 05, 2007
JackTheLurker in Cookware


Agree 100%. As the guy who had the first JBB (Main St/Roosevelt Av) post on this board the day it opened in October 2005, and a guy who's eaten probably 50 JBB burgers since then (not much good non-Asian food in Flushing), I just don't see how JBB or 5 Guys (14th Av/132nd St) compare to the best traditional restaurant burgers like Lugers, Donovans etc.

No question JBB and 5 Guys are very good and far better than traditional fast food, but I'd choose a Donovan's burger instead anytime.

5 Guys does have great fries, though, fries that in my mind are on the list of the city's best. (As a side note, an order of fries at 5 Guys can easily be shared by 2-3 people.)

Jun 05, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

New Korean Bon Chon Chicken Restaurant on Northern

In the shopping center at the intersection of NB/Roosevelt Avenue, in the back next to Duane Reade.

There's also another good H on Union Street at 29th Avenue, in the strip of stores that the Post Office and library are located in. (I'm not a great fan of the H on NB between Parsons and Bowne, even though it's much closer to me, I think the other two are much better.)

May 24, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Electric Pressure Cooker?

I don’t agree an electric is safer than a modern stove-top (I have an electric Farberware and a stove-top Fagor).

So, the type I’d get (as a first one) would be based only on the recipes I expected to be cooking.

As stated by previous posters, the electric is great for “set-and-forget” cooking, but is bad if quick-steam-release is required, while the stove-top is great for quick-steam-release, but does require that you pay attention.

If I could only have one, I’d pick the stove-top because I’d rather mind the pot for 20 minutes than shoot steam (and sometimes boiling liquid) across the kitchen. But the recipes I cook often call for adding ingredients at different times, or quick release at the end.

If that wasn’t the case, I’d go with the electric. You can’t beat its convenience, it’s like a crockpot that takes minutes instead of hours.

Mar 26, 2007
JackTheLurker in Cookware

Trader Joe's - Rego Park - Update

I detect some bus phobia... Metropolitan Avenue/Woodhaven Boulevard is easy to get to, even if the Q53 isn't convenient. The Q11, Q23, and Q54 also go by it, and all connect to subways.

I’m not familiar with the new MTA-owned Q53 (last time I took it, 2 years ago, it was run by a private bus line and didn’t stop between Queens Boulevard and Broad Channel), but assuming the Q53 now does stop at Metropolitan/Woodhaven, E Eto is right on, the location’s an easy 20-minute ride from the Woodside 7 stop, and 15 minutes from the E/F/R/V Roosevelt Avenue and 7 74th Street stop. (Only potential downside is it wasn’t a frequent bus 2 years ago, don’t know if that’s changed.)

On the Q11 the location’s a 10-minute ride from the Woodhaven Blvd R/V stop, on the Q23 20 minutes from the E/F Continental Avenue stop, and on the Q54 15 minutes from the M Middle Village stop and ? from the E/J/Z and F stops in Jamaica (haven’t taken the bus that far). The only wild card will be the time spent waiting for the bus (which has always seemed alot more random than the wait for a train).

Despite the wild card, I’d still bet eastern Queens residents (with easy access to the trains and buses mentioned) would almost always arrive alot sooner at Metropolitan/Woodhaven than 14th, and western Queens residents probably wouldn’t notice much difference. And maybe there won’t be a mob scene in Queens (I'm an optimist).

One caveat: the Q23 is a slow route, so people convenient to the 7 might find it faster to take the 7/N to Union Square (I have thought about this…).

Feb 11, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Recommended pressure cooker?

I have a Fagor, which if I had only one pressure cooker would be the one, but I also have a Farberware electric.

As much as I dislike the Farberware's teflon cooking surface, I love the fact that it's "set-and-forget", so I can do other things knowing dinner will be ready in 30 minutes. I only use it for recipes that don't require quick pressure release, though, since its method (manually releasing the steam in short bursts) is a pain.

Feb 07, 2007
JackTheLurker in Cookware

pressure cooker choices

I own a Fagor and am happy with it. If I only had one pressure cooker this would be it.

I also own a Faberware electric, which is better for slow release since it's "set and forget". It's not as good as a stove top cooker for any recipe that requires quick release, though, since quick releasing involves manipulating a valve to release the steam in short bursts, and I've very rarely also ejected boiling liquid by trying to speed the process w/bursts that were too long.

(These are the only two brands I'm familiar with.)

Feb 07, 2007
JackTheLurker in Cookware

Not that the board needs another DiFara thread but…

I agree bmd, my question’s been answered: if the food’s good enough, for most cleanliness barely registers (while, from the other threads, crowds/wait/service do). Sort of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of thing (in the sense that ignoring grunge is easy, ignoring a jerk cutting the line isn’t). I probably view cleanliness as a real issue since I’ve had a pretty bad case of food poisoning, and that clued me into the milder, “24-hour bug” cases I’ve had since.

So, I do think about a restaurant that has worse hygiene than the average dirty-water-dog cart vendor, since that’s about attitude, not resources, and I know what I can see isn’t worse than what I can’t see. It obviously doesn’t keep me from enjoying the food, just meaningfully detracts from that enjoyment. (I do eat dirty-water-dogs, btw, but not from guys who unnecessarily handle the food, since I know a guy who’s spent a few minutes learning his tong/fork will be directly across the street.)

Feb 06, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Not that the board needs another DiFara thread but…

…most DiFara threads (including the long one nearby) primarily debate whether the great pizza is worth the crowds and bad service.

My issue is whether it’s worth the lack of cleanliness. I mean, the place is a pit, it’s 50/50 on passing its health inspections (in fairness, it did pass its most recent one and the failures are borderline), and DeMarco handles alot of bills, food, bills, food, etc… When I’m eating the lack of cleanliness crosses my mind a few times, which definitely detracts from my enjoyment. (I’m no clean freak, either, I’ve worked in several restaurant kitchens.)

Obviously, many (including me) think it is worth it, but, assuming crowds etc. are not an issue, only cleanliness, how much of a taste decline would it take to make people think twice about going? (Not necessarily a question that won’t be seriously asked if his kids take over.)

If I rated DiFara a 10, my favorite coal oven place a 9, the type of high-quality slice place found in only a few neighborhoods a 6, and the good slice place found in many a 5, and DiFara dropped to:

-as low as 8, I’d subway/bus 1-2 hours to it (since it’s different than coal-fired)
-as low as 7, I’d subway/bus maybe 45 minutes to it, but might subway/bus to a cleaner 6
-as low as 6, I’d probably never eat there again, unless I happened to find myself w/in a 15 minute walk
-as low as 5, I’d never eat there again, even if I was in the nabe and no other 5 was convenient (don't know if one is or not)

(Crowds aren’t much of an issue for me since I go when crowds are less likely (weekday, before 5, bad weather), and I won’t go in if it’s crowded (I continue on to Brighton Beach or Coney Island). I also haven’t been there in 2 years, so don’t know if crowds can be avoided anymore.)

Feb 04, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Singas Pizza In Brooklyn - Columbia Street

The only noteworthy thing I've noticed about Singas is they serve personal pizzas cooked to order, so the pizza's straight out of the oven, & better than standard reheated slices. I'll typically call ahead and walk 10 or so minutes to arrive around when the pizza's done, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

I've never noticed any meaningful difference in taste compared to a good neighborhood slice place (I've eaten at 3 of the chain's locations, Elmhurst and the 2 in Flushing).

Jan 06, 2007
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

The Polish Place, Staten Island

Posted on The Polish Place (19 Corson Avenue at Victory Blvd, Staten Island, (718) 442-8909, 5-10 minute walk from the ferry) on another thread, then searched and found this thread.

The Polish Place added a restaurant sometime after the last messages were posted on this thread and the thread that's been linked to. It's a true "sit-down-and-get-waited-upon" restaurant, in the storefront right next to the original store.

Authentic and very good Polish food, very reasonably priced (a filling lunch, main course w/sides maybe $8). Not 100% sure of the restaurant's hours, so if you're traveling maybe call before you go.

Dec 02, 2006
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs

Staten Island--is there hope???

For authentic and really good Polish try The Polish Place (19 Corson Avenue at Victory Blvd, (718) 442-8909), a 5-10 minute walk from the ferry.

Eat-in lunch served (I believe) 11-3, I'd call before you go to check on the hours (they have dinner hours also).

Dec 02, 2006
JackTheLurker in Outer Boroughs