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Dinner Stop on Way to OBX from DC?

Hi! We're driving to Duck (OBX) from DC tonight, and would love a recommendation for a good place to stop for dinner along the way. Our route - which I assume is the usual route for this trip? We've never done it before, just following Google's instructions - takes us along the outskirts of Richmond, through Newport News and Norfolk. Something on the quicker/cheaper side would be great, not looking for anything fancy. Just yummy. Thanks in advance!

Jun 20, 2013
Aloo0628 in Mid-Atlantic

Homemade Marshmallows: Flavor Suggestions + Roasting Question

In celebration of the weather (finally!) warming up a bit, I'm having people over to hang out around our firepit and plan to whip up a batch of homemade marshmallows. I want to do something more interesting than the usual vanilla bean variety, and have two questions for you fine folks:

1. I am thinking of making them espresso-flavored using a few tablespoons of instant espresso per a recipe I found online. But I worry that the espresso flavoring might burn unattractively when the marshmallows are roasted. Thoughts?

2. Any other fun flavor suggestions? Am toying with chocolate and peppermint too, and don't really want to do fruit flavored b/c people will want to make s'mores.


Mar 05, 2013
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

CI's master fruit cobbler recipes

Intrigued by the cookie dough topping idea! Can't wait to give this a shot - thanks!

Sep 10, 2012
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Caramel Ice Cream

This. Tastes. AMAZING. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe!!

Sep 09, 2012
Aloo0628 in Recipes

3 Reasons Not to Start a Food Biz

Overall a great article that makes a lot of important points that I think a lot of new businesses don't consider, but really really should. I did want to point out one discrepancy with regard to your point about Whole Foods only demonstrating interest in local products in the Northern Cali market - I know our local DC area Whole Foodses do the same thing, and I believe the ones in the Atlanta area do as well (my uncle used to have a product on the shelves there). But anyhow, thanks for this piece - definitely useful food for thought for budding artisan food entrepreneurs!

Jan 25, 2012
Aloo0628 in Features

Good Outdoor, Al Fresco, and/or Patio Dining Experiences?

Goodness! I shouldn't be surprised that Austin has so many outdoor gems, but this really is quite a response. Thank you everyone! And I hope this thread will stay alive as the restaurant scene in Austin keeps growing and changing! :-)

Nov 02, 2009
Aloo0628 in Austin

Recreating Teaism's apricot tea cake

I am currently obsessed with the apricot tea cakes from Teaism. They consist of a layer of thick, jammy apricot spread that has the perfect sweet/tangy balance, sandwiched between two layers of buttery, crumbly shortbread. I bake a lot and would love to come up with a homemade version of these, but have never really made a shortbread before. If anyone has any tips - or even better, recipes! - that would help me come up with a homemade approximation of this delicious treat, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share!

And if you haven't tasted one of these yet, get thee to a Teaism, pronto!

Nov 02, 2009
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Good Outdoor, Al Fresco, and/or Patio Dining Experiences?

Ooh yeah the newish Russell's location on Kerbey Lane! I drove by it the other day and thought the patio looked really nice, but it was closed. Is there food any good, or should I stick to coffee/baked goods there?

Feb 17, 2009
Aloo0628 in Austin

Good Outdoor, Al Fresco, and/or Patio Dining Experiences?

The weather in Austin is so lovely for most of the year, I thought it would be useful for the CH community to compile a list of places(restaurants, bars, coffee shops) with outdoor seating. The food should, of course, be good (if not great!), but the focus here is really on the outdoor experience. If you are so inclined, details about the outdoor setting (casual, classy? plastic chairs? covered? live music? heat lamps?) and why you particularly like the place, as well as tips on the food, would be greatly appreciated!

I'll start:

-Vivo: Beautiful patio with lush landscaping and waterfall. Known for their puffy tacos; my meal was forgettable, however - so not bad, not great.

-El Chile: Casual covered outdoor patio; plastic chairs, each draped with a Mexican blanket (which I appreciated when the night got breezy). Solid Tex-Mex fare.

-Shady Grove: Large and largely uncovered patio area with lovely oak trees; nice and shady ;-) If I remember right, they have live music outside at times as well. Decent burgers and American food with a southwest twist.

-Maudie's Milagro in Westlake: Lovely second-floor covered wooden deck seating with wood-burning fireplace (I doubt they light it in the summer months.) Decent Tex-Mex.

-Bess Bistro: Haven't actually eaten on the patio, but met a friend at the bar and saw the patio on the way in. Wooden deck, heat lamps, strings of tiny white lights - the effect was very pleasant. Hope to go back soon and experience it fully.

I know there are tons more out there, so please, fellow 'hounds - fill in the blanks! :-)

Feb 14, 2009
Aloo0628 in Austin

Feedback on Kurant Events Catering Company, please?

I'm planning a graduation party for August, and Kurant Events is my front runner to cater the event.

It's going to be an outdoor, relatively casual graduation dinner party for about 50-60 people. There will be 15 or so kids in attendance, ranging from ages 2-16.

Anyone have any feedback based on prior experience w/ Kurant - good, bad, or otherwise?

Also, if there are any other caterers that you really love or would highly recommend for this kind of event, I'd love to hear about them.


Jul 09, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Mini Cheesecakes: Can I use a Graham Cracker Round instead of a Nilla Wafer?

I want to make a batch of mini cheesecakes, but I don't have Nilla Wafers (and would rather try something a bit more interesting anyhow) - I have some cinnamon graham crackers that I'd like to use instead.

Every recipe I've found for mini cheesecakes has called for either a Nilla Wafer - whole - or a graham crumb crust to be pressed into the bottom of the cup for a crust. But I'm wondering: Can I cut the graham crackers into rounds and use them, whole, to make crusts the way one would a Nilla wafer? Or do I have to use go to the trouble of making little crumb crusts?


Jun 23, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Crust Recipe - How do I get that Buttery Goodness?

I visited Chicago a couple weeks ago and simply cannot shake this craving for that seriously buttery and delicious crust that I tasted at Lou Manalti's. I've done many searches - Google and Chowhound alike - and every recipe I've found is basically a combination of yeast, water, AP flour, cornmeal, olive oil, and sometimes vegetable oil as well. So I wonder - where does that delicious buttery flavor come from? And what's the best way that I can replicate it at home? I found a recipe that also called for shortening, which I thought was interesting/promising, but I'm hoping my fellow 'Hounds can help me out here with some insight. :-)

Apr 07, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Deep Dish Debate

I'm SO glad this thread is going on right now, b/c I'm coming to Chicago this weekend and good pizza is at the top of my priority list. And I'm really happy that you guys clarified the deep dish v. stuffed distinction - that Wiki page was extremely helpful as well, so thanks to chicgail for posting that!

Based on what I've read of this thread, I'm planning to go to Lou's, Due or Uno's, and possibly Gino's if we're not pizza-ed out. I'm prioritizing deep dish over stuffed b/c deep dish seems to be the original Chicago treat, and I make a pretty good stuffed pizza at home anyhow. If anyone thinks that I should alter this plan in any way to get a better Chicago pizza experience, please let me know!

A question: is there a difference in quality between locations of these restaurants? I saw the discussion of how the Uno's franchises are not as good as the originals, and I noticed that Lou's has quite a few locations. Is there one in particular that I should go to, and/or are there any that I should be sure to avoid? Again, I'm planning to visit Lou's, Uno's or Due, and possibly Gino's

Another question: can someone explain the Uno's/Due relationship to me? I tried googling Due but all that kept coming up was the Uno's website, and I didn't see any sort of link to Due on their site. Are they the same restaurant?


Mar 19, 2008
Aloo0628 in Chicago Area

Anybody tried cupcakes at Bountiful Bakery on Bee Caves?

I'm sorry you had such a negative experience with Lucy's! Both times I've had their cupcakes, the cake was extremely moist and flavorful, and the frosting was creamy yet much lighter than most crisco based frostings I've had. This was back in January; I can't imagine that they've changed their recipes since then, but who knows?

Feb 22, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Anybody tried cupcakes at Bountiful Bakery on Bee Caves?

To clarify: I did not say that the cupcakes at Bountiful were good when eaten at room temp; simply that they were better than when eaten ice cold. Overall, I still think that there are better cupcakes in Austin, ergo my recommendation of Lucy's.

Feb 20, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Anybody tried cupcakes at Bountiful Bakery on Bee Caves?

I agree, the baked goods at Bountiful - cupcakes included - are okay at best. If you want to try a cupcake, I definitely recommend letting it reach room temperature (they are served very cold) before eating it; that definitely improves the texture and flavor of the cake. The icing is a bit too sweet, too thick, and too crisco-ish.

However, I do think it's worth mentioning the tasty sandwiches at Bountiful. I'm a sucker for a yummy pressed sandwich with simple ingredients, and they have a fun sandwich menu.

Also, a percentage of their proceeds benefit children living with cancer as the owner lost her own daughter to the awful disease. While this obviously has nothing to do with the quality of food, it is the sort of factor I like to keep in mind when choosing local businesses to support.

If you are looking for a good cupcake in that area, or even just in Austin, I recommend Lucy's Cakes. While I've only ever seen two types of cupcakes in their bake case, both are (in my opinion) delicious - but the chocolate one really takes the cake. Tee hee. Both have extremely moist and flavorful cake with a light yet creamy frosting that is not overly reminiscent of the form of fat used to make it.

Feb 16, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Hey Cupcake near campus

I can't speak for Hey Cupcake, but if you're looking for a good cupcake in Austin, check out Lucy's Cakes on Bee Caves. The chocolate w/ fudge frosting is, I think, especially tasty. :-)

Feb 16, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Question

I'm using real vanilla beans for the first time, and I'm really excited! But I want to make sure that I use them in a way that will really show them off. (I'm already planning to use the dried, empty pods to make vanilla sugar.)

I'd like to make vanilla bean whipped cream. I plan to combine it with some fresh strawberries and use it to fill a basic white cake. I've read that the best way to get the flavor out of the bean is to steep it in milk, cream, etc. So this is my plan, and I'm hoping that you more experienced Chowhounds can comment on it and let me know if it will work or if there is some fatal flaw that I am not foreseeing...

1. Slice bean lengthwise, scrape out all goodies.
2. Add goodies and pod to small pot of heavy whipping cream.
3. Allow to steep over low heat (for how long? recommendations, anyone?)
4. Transfer to bowl, allow to cool a little, then place saran wrap on surface so that skin does not form.
5. Chill overnight. Whip the next day.

Will this work? If not, why? Any suggestions on how to improve upon this recipe?


Feb 12, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Vender Halaal Chicken & Rice Recipe? [Moved from Manhattan board]

As far as I know, there is no recipe available for it. But I hope that the Chowhound community can help us figure it out, because I'd REALLY like to know how to make it too.

The white sauce is key. The rest, I think, wouldn't be too hard to replicate. Gyro Meat and dark chicken meat, both grilled. Nice soft pita. What makes the rice yellow? I don't taste any particular flavor beyond the usual rice one gets in good Persian restaurants...any thoughts on what kind of rice that is?

So far, all I've been able to determine is that the white sauce is a combination of mayonnaise, Middle Eastern style yogurt, and probably black pepper?

Feb 11, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

"Waitress" the Movie--All Those Pies

Aww, why thank you Claire! I could use a slice of it m'self....

Jan 23, 2008
Aloo0628 in Food Media & News

"Waitress" the Movie--All Those Pies

What a fun post! I haven't seen the movie yet, but plan to do so in the very near future :-)

Mine would be "Why am I in Law School?" Pie.

A graham crust with a hint of cinnamon, a layer of buttery caramel, a layer of thick, creamy, chocolate filling, a layer of espresso filling, topped with billowy mounds of vanilla bean whipped cream, dusted w/ cocoa powder, topped with a border of chocolate covered espresso beans.

Jan 17, 2008
Aloo0628 in Food Media & News

Pairing Food with Music

What a fun post!

When I'm preparing something that I'm familiar with or is somewhat tedious, i.e. I can make it in my sleep, or I'm having to do a lot of chopping, that sort of thing...then I like to play stuff that I can really sing to. The Moulin Rouge and Wicked soundtracks are favorites, or stuff like Evanescence, Tori Amos, Dave Matthews...I guess it's more song-specific than artist specific. I have a running list of really good belting tunes :-)

If it's something that requires more finesse and attention, I prefer instrumentals; Barber's Adagio for strings, or Jesse Cook-esque flamenco.

I love the idea of having ethnically themed music though - will definitely give that a try! Tonight is Mexican, tomorrow Italian...this should be fun! :-)

Jan 13, 2008
Aloo0628 in Not About Food

Favorite Food Commercials?

Oooh I loved the follow up ad to that, little boy and grampa sitting at the table, dunking and dunking their oreos...when at last they are soft enough to eat, both of them grin equally toothless grins. Precious!

Jan 06, 2008
Aloo0628 in Not About Food

Favorite Food Commercials?

I LOVE the Chick Fil A cows...the eat more chikn classic is always cute, but they had some really silly and creative ones too. Can't think of any off the top of my head, but BF and I have gotten many a giggle out of those brazen moocows. :-)

Jan 06, 2008
Aloo0628 in Not About Food

As A Chowhound, What Did You Get For Christmas?

Pardon the ignorance, but what happened? I'd rather learn from your mistake than making my own :-)

Jan 03, 2008
Aloo0628 in Not About Food

Runny frosting! What am I doing wrong?

That's wonderful, congrats! Here's to many more yummy - and well-adorned - cakes in your future :-)

Jan 02, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Favorites from Sunset Valley Farmer's Market?

I went by the market last weekend, and am thinking about going again this weekend to grab some of that coffee as gifts for my friends back home. Do you recommend any particular roasts or varieties?

I sampled Full Quiver's blueberry cheese spread, and must say it was really heavenly. I was really looking forward to checking out the Tamale place and Pasta Co, but didn't see either of them there. I guess this is a bad time of year to go to the market? Or maybe it was just too late in the day...I went around noon, and the joint closed up at 1. I'm going to try and check out Austin Pasta Co.'s home base, but not quite sure what to do about missing out on the tamales...

Jan 02, 2008
Aloo0628 in Austin

Best butter for baking?

I love using Plugra for my cooking uses (i.e. garlic bread, pan sauces, etc.) when I feel like the butter is the star of the show. I've never been brave enough (money-wise) to use it when I bake, but it sounds like I should definitely give it a try!

Just FYI, in my neck of the woods (Philly), Trader Joe's sells Plugra at a better price than 'normal' grocery stores like Acme, etc.

Jan 02, 2008
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

Which of Your Cookies was Best Received?

Caramel Apple Rugelach (Crescents). I used Lora Brody's rugelach dough recipe, but made my own apple filling and drizzled a little Bonne Maman Caramel Sauce and cinnamon sugar over the filling before rolling the cookies.

I couldn't get my family to stop eating 15-year-old brother kept sneaking them off of the tray when I wasn't looking. He's not really into fruit - like most kids his age - so this was a big compliment! :-)

Next time, I'll try a different caramel (or make my own, if I have time). This one tasted too much of condensed milk, and its flavor was not nearly buttery enough for me.

Dec 29, 2007
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking

What Christmas cookies are you baking this year?

I just baked the caramel apple rugelach today, and I have to say, they're so good that I'm not sure if my family is going to let any of them go into the gift boxes!

For the dough, I used Lora Brody's recipe, found here:

For the filling, I used 3 large Golden Delicious and 4 medium/large Cortlands. Peeled, chopped, cored - I recommend chopping them into fairly small pieces, as they will need to be small enough to fill the cookies. Follow the cooking instructions I posted above. I just used jarred caramel sauce (Bonne Maman brand - not the best tasting caramel I've had, but the consistency was perfect for this).

Method: I rolled the dough into the biggest circle I could handle, probably about 10 in diameter. Then I spread the apple filling, leaving a very small circle clean in the middle. I sprinkled over some cinnamon sugar (1 part cinnamon to three parts white sugar), and then finally I just lightly drizzled the caramel sauce over everything. Using a pizza cutter, I sliced the round into 16 even triangles, and then rolled into crescents. Baked until just golden brown on top. Divine!

Dec 27, 2007
Aloo0628 in Home Cooking