thinks too much's Profile

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In my family, the outlaws are the members of the family that have no legal connection. So my brother's wife's parents are the "outlaws" to my folks and the "inlaws" to my brother. Also, my partner's mother always gets tickled when I refer to her as my "Mother outlaw" since I'm not married to her kid. In short, the people who belong at a family gathering, and there is no other obvious term.

What cooking gadgets changed your life?... Well at least your cooking?

I'm with you on the immersion blender and would add the microplane grater to it.

Butch & Babe's in Burlington, VT

I really enjoyed their mac and cheese pancakes with the habanero syrup too!

Simple Good Things

Rockland Bakery in Nanuet does many rolls very well: good crust, soft innards. Not sure which style of hard roll you are thinking of.

Cocktail party eats -- a report

I am with everyone else. This is the way I fantasize my parties will look like. I also deeply appreciate that you outlined what was prepped ahead of time, frozen and reheated. It shows that your superpower is planning ahead of time!

What do you not order in restaurants...

Creme brulee. Chocolate mousse. Both are shamefully easy to make.

Uncle Pop Pop's - Tapas in Essex, VT

I can recall a mixed review, but didn't she praise some pieces a lot while she called one sandwich dry? I don't really trust and all-positive review anyway. This isn't a perfect place, but you nailed it on the head: this is a place that you root for.

Uncle Pop Pop's - Tapas in Essex, VT

I had read about this place a couple times over the last couple months. It's a tiny place in a strip mall close to Lowe's, but I hadn't paid a visit until yesterday evening. Small plates, reasonable prices. The two of us wound up with five plates to share, 2 glasses of wine and a cookie, and walked out with full bellies for $40 before tip.

The owner, Adam, is clearly chasing his dream. He will happily tell you about his sources for chorizo and serrano ham. The shrimp are both sweet and smoky. He even makes his own saffron aioli from olive oil, and you can taste the difference! His wife makes the desserts.

Cabane a sucre Au Pied de Cochon

Feel free to bring your own. They will seal better than the average to-go container, and you can bring more size appropriate containers and your nougat won't melt from proximity to your apple taffy (or whatever they are providing this fall)

Work trip lands me just outside of Burlington for 2 weeks

Two weeks in town is a lot of meals to expense, so you should have more time than just to hit the high points.

El Cortijo, like much of the Farmhouse empire, always strikes me as better on paper than reality, e.g. 2 bite tacos for $4. Farmhouse is the best of their lot IMHO, especially if their lamb burger is on the specials list.

Trattoria Delia is much cheaper if you go in for a glass of wine, the charcuterie board and a tiramisu. No extra per diem necessary.

In town, I also have a soft spot for Duino Duende. It is cheap and funky and full of characters.

Single Pebble is lovely, but not especially cheap.

There are some decent vietnamese places in town (and in Winooski) if your palate is getting tired of the localvore scene. Pho Dang has great pho in Winooski, Pho Hang in Burlington has the rest of the bases covered. Not worth eating if it's your only meal in town, but sometimes you want some bun rather than another localvore meal.

Also a shout out for Misery Loves Company (though I will warn you that the food tends towards salty)

I have also heard good things about Mule Bar, including a Wednesday special of mussels and Heady Topper. Full disclosure, I haven't eaten there.

Tiny Thai in Winooski is also cheap and good... and often crowded. BYOB.

Wednesday is burger night special (1/2 price) many places in the area.

For inexpensive, there is also a Bosnian place in Essex, Cafe Mediterano.

Leaving half doughnuts behind

I firmly stand on the side that things sharing food is social behavior and wasting food is not. Leave a plastic knife in the box and let people enjoy a little treat.

Inverness and on up to the Orkney Islands

Have a wonderful trip Morganna! We were in Scotland two years ago, including two days in Orkney, which was simply not enough time to do it justice! While we were there, we did not go high end in our dining, mostly eating in pubs and finding it convivial enough. As I recall, you don't drink, so I won't recommend the Orkney beers, though they are tasty. But don't avoid the pubs even if you don't drink. I think of them in some ways like the UK equivalent of the diner: ubiquitous, honest food that is typically locally owned. You might even be showing up on the day that they have their weekly session of traditional tunes.

There is a local cheese called Gribenster (sp?) which they fry up and serve with a tart sauce. There is a fair amount of seafood too, including some gorgeous fish chowders made with either fresh or smoked fish. We had some with a chunk of brown bread out of a food truck in a field above Stromness for the Queens 60th jubilee. You won't be there for that, but who knows if there is some other event in town that might merit driving the truck out? In Kirkwall we ate at a hotel across from the docks. It looked stodgy in a 1960's way with flocked wallpaper, but the food was solid, honest and not expensive. It was a lesson that what may strike you as "fancy" really isn't. Besides, all restaurants post their menus outside, so you can make a reasonable decision before walking inside.

I will risk making a non-food comment: many of the monuments at Orkney (the stone rings and some tombs) are not sites that get locked up at night. I'm talking about the free ones. I spent a lovely midnight at the Stones of Stenness watching the moon come up. This may loosen your visiting schedule around some of the major sites that take admission like Skara Brae and Maise Howe (which you TOTALLY want to go to if you are physically able enough. You need a reservation for this.)

Inverness was a town that bounced me out on my butt. Too large to conveniently find a parking place and too small to have mass transit. I can't help you there.

But we had some excellent Indian takeaway in Berriedale, on the way between Orkney and Inverness. I can't promise you the same 20-year-old couple having a heart-rending breakup as they argued through the town, though culminating with "Ah only luv yuuu!" I know you say that you want to eat with the local culture. Indian restaurants ARE part of the British culture.

Also, do not run out of gas! Small towns do not necessarily have a petrol station. A village that merits a mention on the map may consist of 6 houses. And I agree with everyone who mentions that travel time takes much longer over there. I almost missed the Orkney ferry because I had routed my way for miles on a "single-track" that the GPS thought I could drive at 55 mph. Ha! Have a great time!

Jul 15, 2014
thinks too much in U.K./Ireland

I'm so over...

Yes. THis is exactly what I am talking about Kris. I went for brunch and ordered a special with some poached eggs, potatoes and "a tomato-cheddar fondue." They just didn't want to sound declasse and say "sauce." I had been looking forward to dipping potatoes into a small bowl cheese fondue.

I have seen it on other menus too. Sometimes they should call a sauce a sauce.

I'm so over...

The term "Fondue" as a term for sauce. If I order something described as having "fondue" I expect a bowl of some pourable substance with chunks of some solid food next to it for the purpose of dunking.

Food additives that wreck the taste of food

Sulphor dioxide in dried fruit. It also provides a bitter note. I don't mind bitter in my beer or my greens, but not in my fruit.

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

Kris, the two items you listed are two that I always think are easier and better when I make them.

However, the items I think are easier to buy: mayonnaise, gnocchi, tortillas.

Vermont Source for Barberries

I wanted dried, but I wanted to buy in a storefront if at all possible. I prefer not pay just as much in shipping as in direct food costs. Plus, I get a good reason to stop in yet another of the tiny bodegas around town.

Vermont Source for Barberries

Madrid, I have only tried 5 or 6 recipes so far, but I have had great mileage with them. Looking forward to more.

Vermont Source for Barberries

Thanks Morganna! I will get back you if I meet with success!

Vermont Source for Barberries

I recently got a copy of Jerusalem, the cookbook, and have been noodling my way through. Does anyone have a suggestion of what market I might find barberries? I live in the Burlington area, and probably one of the smaller ethnic markets carries them. I was just hoping the Chowhound hive mind could help speed my quest. Extra points if they also carry date syrup!

Farmers market line ettiquite

Perhaps the more tactful response would have been, "I believe the woman behind you needs your help." Any implications could be made by the other parties. Not sure at all that I would have presence of mind to be so tactful.

Sad to report the passing of Veggo

I am so sorry to hear of this loss to you and to the Chowhound community. I enjoyed Veggo's presence here on the board. Like Sam, I will miss him greatly.

May 28, 2014
thinks too much in Site Talk

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

Sorry for bringing you down EWS. I was curious if other people's friends were more uniform in dietary issues than mine were, like having a whole crew of people eating Atkins, or if everyone had gone gluten free. I was trying to avoid this thread derailing into mockery of other people's diets.

I was also hoping that people would eschew the knee-jerk responses of "But I can't eat your menu !" to other people's posts unless they were real time friends who would likely be on the invite list.

In the mean time, I am planing a gluten-free vegetarian dinner party for this weekend. :)

Fiddleheads in RI

Just wow. My local coop was charing 8.99 a lb last week. Northern Vermont here.

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

My question to you: do you list vegans among your 15 closest friends? If not, the question is moot in this context. If so, the question is "How do you find middle ground when breaking bread together?"

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

What a great answer for your specifice set of friends, including a mention of why it works for you. Thank you!

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

That sounds awesome, Throckwood! Thanks for a beautiful suggestion.

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

I was asking for people's thoughts on their set of friends. Not mine. Not the world in general. I was looking for answers, just not a singular one.

One of the most profound meals I was served was fried eggs, plantains, avocado and salsa. We drank water. I was invited home by a former migrant worker who was working for an advocacy group. Before that meal I did not care for any of those foods except for salsa, which was very different from the grocery store version than I was used to. I was struck by the hospitality and generosity of that simple meal and, as a result, have loved those foods ever since.

In the wake of various discussions about what constitutes gracious hosting, which often stray into acrimonious barbs, I am looking for a note of grace and creativity.

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

Just to give you a little more background: in the thread I cited, the OP wanted to throw a party serving a special meal (crawfish boil). She acknowledged that not all people eat crawfish.; did not claim knowledge that any of her intended guests did not eat crawfish. But then, how often do you sit down with each of your friends to chow on crawfish? There were some posters who called her out on her insensitivity to the non-crawfish eaters.

When I entertain, there are always meat options, gluten-free options, vegetarian, alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. Most of my gatherings are potluck, but I start with a solid basis of food and beverage before people walk through the door. Even when it's not potluck, I don't get upset if people bring food.

However, after reading a few too many Not About Food threads, there is apparently a sizable contingent of chowhounds for whom potluck is anathema: contrary to the principles of quality food and quality hosting. I started thinking about a simplified approach while still practicing generosity. What can you possibly give that makes people happy rather than dissatisfied? The answers will vary from person to person depending on their group of friends.

I am not likely to change my hosting style any time soon. I like being hospitable and flexible to any guest darkening my door. I just thought of this as a mental exercise.

A Non-Offensive Universally Acceptable Meal

I was just reading the thread with the title "How to ask guest to pay for meal/drinks at dinner?" Among other things that the OP was called out for: acknowledging that not all of her guests might want to eat the food that she wanted to serve. I can't think of any subset of my friends that wouldn't have problems with any single meal that I wanted to serve.

In this day and age, I was wondering if there was any meal in America that a group of your friends would ALL be happy to eat. I ask this, because I think that breaking the same bread together is a powerful shared experience. Not having a separate children's menu. No separate entree that is gluten free and one that is vegetarian.

So imagine just 15 of your closest friends coming to a meal and eating at one long table with joy in their hearts. What single coherent meal and beverage could you possibly serve to all of them?