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Gumbo Z'herbes

I have made a variety of Gumbo Z'herbes recipes over the past year, as I'm a big fan of greens, although definitely a meat eater too.

This looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. The roux addition sounded strange, but hey- roux tastes good! I was worried that 2/3 cup of oil/flour would be waaay too much roux for a soup, so I cut it down to 1/3 cup each. I only had 2 lbs greens, so I probably could have cut it back even further. I made the rest of the recipe as written, except I cut back the creole seasoning to about 1 1/4 T to account for the smaller volume. I keep a bunch of the Commander's Palace version of creole seasonings in a bin, which is quite spicy. I also added 1 package of chopped up sautéed Aidelle's andouille for depth.

The end result looked like dark green paint with gross chunks floating in it. It tasted great on it's own, although over rice it would probably be even better. I probably won't make this particular recipe next time I'm in the mood for a greens soup. Etoufee, maybe!

Aug 17, 2014
powermd in Recipes

Advice for first time visitors from NY (researched!!)

Lockhart report from today...

Black's - best overall. Only "great" brisket among the big 3, and the only item making the trip truly worthwhile. Smitty's was good, but no where near Black's. Kreuz was awful by any standard. Embarrassingly dry and boring.

Hot link at Smitty's and Kreuz (jalepeno cheddar) surprisingly similar. Tastes like smokey hamburger with a lot of fat. the Kreuz jalepeno cheddar sausage tasted of neither, although you could see the bits in there. A few years ago I tried this same sausage at Hill Country in NYC (supposedly imported from Kreuz and it was wonderful.

I've attached a pic of the brisket at Black's, then Kreuz, then Smitty's. The difference between Black's and the others is night and day.

Jun 21, 2013
powermd in Austin

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I think comparisons to properly done low and slow wood fired pit barbecue are a bit inappropriate here. The whole point of crock pot pulled pork is that it's convenient to do at home with minimal fuss. I liked this recipe, but made some changes of my own. I briefly (20 min) smoked my pork with hickory chips using a stovetop smoker. I omitted the cinnamon. I like a more NC style taste, so I added 1 cup of cider vinegar, and omitted the water for the chicken stock (but added a teaspoon of chicken base anyway). It came out very nice after 10 hours on low. I then mixed it up with some Sweet Baby Ray's (blasphemy to some, for sure..) and put together sliders for a party. They were a big hit!

Mar 09, 2013
powermd in Recipes

Can someone explain the allure of Tenderloin/Filet Mignon?

Easy, for non-foodies it's "the best cut".

Some people will argue for the high tenderness to fat content ratio (ie, it's healthier than a ribeye).

As a doctor who knows better, I try to avoid red meat. When I indulge, it's almost always a ribeye. The thicker the better!

Feb 10, 2013
powermd in General Topics

What's for Dinner #175 - Dark Days of Winter Edition [OLD]

It was 8 degrees out today in downeastern Maine. I wanted to do some kind of kale soup, and settled on Emeril's kicked up kale with chourico.
It was very easy, and done in about an hour. I sub'd in andouille for the sausage. It was a quick and satisfying dinner I'd recommend to anyone craving kale soup!

Dec 01, 2012
powermd in Home Cooking

Two days in Bangor

Giacomo's is the most popular "coffee house" type hangout, although Bagel Central is very popular in the morning. The Friar's bakery is a unique lunch spot.. very limited menu, but totally worth checking out. Probably the best whoopie pies in Maine, and their chocolate dipped macaroons are excellent. For a pub style lunch, Paddy Murphy's is exactly what you're looking for. I agree with Fiddleheads for dinner- great food, if not somewhat hit or miss (more often a hit). MAKE A RESERVATION! You can not walk into Fiddleheads, the staff will look at you like you have three heads. Always call ahead, even if you're hoping for a table in 10 minutes. Getting a table on Thurs-Sat night will usually require at least several hours advance notice.
If you guys like good beer and music, check out Nocturnum. Their beer list varies in quality, but is always interesting. The food is good, but definitely of secondary concern.

For outlying towns, take a drive down to Winterport. If you go as far as Rockland, you have some great restaurant choices. Primo is truly world class (and priced to match).

Most weekly grocery shopping is done at any of the several Hannafords, but there is a Shaws as well. There are farmers markets and farm stands around too. I like McCalkin's in Hampden. The Belfast Coop is the closest thing to Whole Foods in the area. In Bangor you have the Natural Living Center, but they don't have nearly enough fresh produce or any meats/fish.

Oct 16, 2012
powermd in Northern New England

General Tso's Chicken

I made this last night with some shrimp instead of chicken. The shrimp came out great in terms of texture using the egg wash marinade, but the sauce was definitely NOT what I'm looking for in General Tso's. This is a more "ketchupy" version common to some Chinese restaurants, but not others. It also was no where near sweet enough for GT's. I added a few tbsp of honey to the final product to correct the sugar.

What I'm looking for is that dark, thick- yet thin coating on the meat, syrupy sauce you get at places like Shun Lee Palace, Chin Chin, Chiam, and (from my memories of teenage dinners out with the gf 20 yrs ago!) Mr. Chan in Westchester. I guess I'll have to keep experimenting myself to replicate the recipe since it seems no one can agree on a single best recipe. Basically anything in the ballpark gets great reviews from whoever.

Sep 01, 2012
powermd in Home Cooking

Lobster with Black Bean Sauce

The starch coating doesn't really make much sense to me since you're essentially coating the shell encased meat. That just seems strange. If you're going to do that, shouldn't you remove the meat first? Then the meat will have a nice crispy edge (not sure if that's really desirable here).

What's the best widely available black bean product? I could only find KAME black bean sauce at the grocery store. What do restaurants use?

Jun 17, 2012
powermd in Home Cooking

Lobster with Black Bean Sauce

When I was a kid my parents used to take us out to the local Chinese place in Westport, CT and order what, at the time, was the most amazingly wonderful meal to me -- lobster with black bean sauce. I do a ton of home cooking but never got around to tackling this probably very simple dish.

Does anyone have a recipe I could try out, or some guidance on proportions of ingredients?

There are a few recipes floating around the web, but I'd prefer trying something the CH community would recommend.

Jun 16, 2012
powermd in Home Cooking

Bangor Maine restaurant experience

I'm sorry to hear about your experience with Laura, the hostess and co-owner. She's rough around the edges, but very nice once you become a regular. I'm glad you posted this experience because this restaurant is too good to fail for something as easily fixable as customer relations in one specific circumstance (no reservation). I got this treatment as well my first few times trying to get in on busy nights. You really do need a reservation as there is limited seating, and it's a very popular place- easily the best and most sophisticated food for many miles around. The chef, Melissa, is getting better too. Last time we went everything was spot on perfect. Her food could easily compete among the best places in Portland. It's too bad you missed out on Fiddlehead, because you really would have been impressed with the food.

Ipanema, to me, seems like the kind of place Gordon Ramsay would have a field day exploring their walk-in. Decent place to have a beer.. and nothing else. The last time we visited we waited 20 minutes before anyone greeted us and took a drink order- and it wasn't busy. The food was awful. The staff appeared young, inexperienced, and didn't seem to care.

Mar 29, 2012
powermd in Northern New England

Anyone been to Devi recently; feedback?

Went to Devi for lunch today.. very disappointing and expensive!! $40 for three courses. The cauliflower app tasted like General Tso's chicken, only more ketchup-y. The tandoori lamb chops were underspiced and not very meaty. Service was "meh". I was expecting far better, and the prices certainly promised it. It's been a few years since I last went to Tamarind, but that experience was FAR better. Not sure how they're doing now. Wish I had gone there or to Yuva.

230 East 58th St, New York, NY 10022

May 16, 2011
powermd in Manhattan

In-N-Out Burger sucks (moved from L.A. board)

I'm a NY hound who spent a year living in Sacramento. I'd have to say I was somewhat let down by In 'n Out given the hype. The burgers are good, but the primary flavors are salt, sugar, and fat. The subtleties of the beef, cheese, bun, and fresh toppings are not prominent. Shake Shack in NY does a better version of the IO style burger, but what's really impressive about IO is their consistency across a large number of stores. I like their burgers and every now and then would get one, but they don't come close to matching the hype. And for the record, I eat maybe 1-2 other fast food burgers per year. If I'm splurging on a burger, it's gonna be big and juicy with lots of bacon and cheese involved, and it'll be from a reputable place. FYI, if you're in NY, check out Blue Smoke. You wouldn't think to order a burger there, but it's one of the best!

Mar 30, 2011
powermd in Chains

Per se

Question for the board- is there a wine pairing option? How much is it? I'm not a big drinker, but would love to taste many well paired wines with the meal. I think I'd get bored with one single bottle of good wine.

Mar 27, 2011
powermd in Manhattan

HFCS Tries to Rebrand, Fish Die, Chang Is Awkward

Hundreds of dead fish would appear along the lakefront in Chicago periodically during the summer. Supposedly this was due to spikes in e. coli contamination in the water.

Oct 04, 2010
powermd in Features

Old Saybrook & Mystic, CT

I can second the recommendation of River Tavern in Chester. My wife and I had lunch there today and it was a great experience. The food was clearly the highlight. We started with some lovely light corn, chili, and bacon fritters served with a pleasantly spicy tomato aioli. Next she had a wonderful squash soup, which I don't remember the details of because I was enraptured by my eggplant parmesean! This beautiful dish was roasted to order, so it took about 25 minutes to come out. It was an incredible melange of the freshest eggplant, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and parmesean perfectly caramelized around the edges and on top. I took my time eating the whole thing, and my wife dug in too. Wow. We finished the meal off with the date pudding, which was one of those all-time great desserts that is just to die for. The pudding seemed to be comprised of buttered date and banana bread soaked through with something and baked, and served with caramel and whipped cream. Out of this world to the last bite! We didn't order drinks and the bill came to just under $50- very well worth it for this kind of meal. Prior to coming to River Tavern I had read several reviews complaining about the service, and if they get a 7/10 for food (in my system Daniel would be a 9-10), I'd have to rate them a 2/10 for service. The service staff are basically kids from the area, and they don't seem to know much about how to make people feel welcome, and attended to. On the surface they even come off a little cold and indifferent. In a busy NYC bistro you probably wouldn't notice much, but out in the country, and in the pleasant atmosphere of River Tavern, it's off putting. Waits were a little annoying as well. The waiter (Sarah) was slow to take our order, slow to bring our check, and food was slow to emerge from the kitchen (the place was about 1/2 full). Not unforgivable given the quality of the food, but something they need to work on. The fact that a place like this even exists so far from the big city gives them a big pass on the negatives. Finally, at least today, they seem to have a fly problem (one of the busboys said they're working on it). Despite these negatives, the food really is amazing- it's a must go!

River Tavern
23 Main St, Chester, CT 06412

Oct 03, 2010
powermd in Southern New England

Georgetown Cupcakes

If you haven't tried a Buzz cupcake at Buzz Bakery in Alexandria on Slater Lane, you're definitely missing out. Their other cupcakes are okay, but the Buzz is transcendent. I love the light airy frosting with just the right amount of espresso flavor, it beats the pants of of anything I've had at Georgetown Cupcakes.

Georgetown Cupcake
1209 Potomac St NW, Washington, DC

NYC Shake Shack to DC

In n Out is great for what it is- a reliably good fast food burger, available all over Cali, and made with locally sourced ingredients. It still tastes like a big wad of salt, fat, and sugar though. Shake Shack always struck me as In n Out done right. Good luck replicating that over dozens of stores the way In n Out has though.

Lunch For One in Old Town Alexandria?

I had dinner with my wife at Restaurant Eve for my birthday this year- good food, for sure, but not great for the price. I was underwhelmed in general, but for the area it may be as good as it gets. Haven't been there for lunch, although $13.50 sounds like a better deal for their food.

Restaurant Eve
110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314


Finally tried both Smokeshack Ribs and Dale's BBQ along 210 in Southern Maryland. Nothing to get excited about, or travel for. Not awful, but not 'real' barbecue. At both places I tried the chicken and ribs, which the staff advised me was the way to go. Ribs at Dale's were a bit better, and had a nice pink smoke ring. Collard greens at Dale's were not cooked with a ham hock, so they lack a meaty, smokey flavor. If you live in the area, give 'em a try, but don't go out of your way for these.

The best BBQ places I've been to are a little place that used to be called Buster's in Stamford, CT, right near the WWF headquarters on US1, Baker's Ribs in Dallas (cheap, imperfect, but still 'real' bbq), Hill Country, Blue Smoke, and RUB in NYC (all good, but 'Newyorkified').

organic produce delivery services

Has anyone used any of the available online organic produce delivery companies? What has been your experience?

After spending a year living in Sacramento, CA, and enjoying (immensely) the bounty of incredible produce available at our farmer's markets, I'm a bit sad to be moving to Washington DC where we will not have such amazing produce readily available. From what I read the farmer's markets there are kinda slim pickins. I'm willing to shell out some semi-serious bucks for a delivery service, but only if what they ship is truly great food.

The one's I've found online so far are:

Jul 19, 2009
powermd in General Topics

The Best Pizzas in New York Today

Agreed on DiFara. Highly overrated by zealots. The pizza's good, but not remotely worth what you have to go through to get it. What time did you go, and how long did you wait for your slice/pie?

For my money, Una Pizza Napoletana is the best in the city, but I love the pizza from Lucali, Grimaldi's, John's (mated to a pitcher of beer, of course), and Giorgione's. The sausage slices from Sal & Carmine are terrific- I love their sausage. Never tried L&B.

May 02, 2009
powermd in Manhattan

Good Southern and Creole Cookbooks?

I've always loved Commander's Kitchen, and Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, and Firey Foods that I Love. CK has a AMAZING recipe for barbecue shrimp, and there are so many other fantastic recipes, I wouldn't know where to begin. LK recipes are excellent too, but more Cajun, and VERY rich. Lots of recipes begin with "melt two sticks of butter in a large pot...". Firey-foods is a more modern take on PP's cuisine, and very interesting. There's a lot of fusion with other American cuisines. He explores use of multiple chili powders in different recipes. One of my favorite's is his "Hot & Sour Beef". The basic flavor is from a combination of three chili powders, lemon and lime zest, and cilantro. It's unreal!

Aug 31, 2008
powermd in Home Cooking

Will you leave Daniel hungry?

I had dinner with my fiance at Daniel a few nights ago. We had the three course tasting, but got kinda gyped into ordering two extra appetizers. The waitress made it sound like dessert was included but not a "course". Fine, whatever. This added about $80 to the bill. The portions were very, very ample for food as rich as this. We had wine pairings too, and were about ready to explode by the end of the meal. The total for the two of us, with tip was about $500. If you just got an app, main, wine pairings, and dessert, I think you would be well satisfied for about $100 less. We absolutely loved this meal, and were not disappointed with any dish or wine. My standards are pretty high, and I can usually find something to criticize, so to me this is saying a lot. I do not commonly frequent top restaurants, however, and have never been to Per Se, JG, Bernadin, etc.

Specifically, our apps were a duck liver foie gras special, with huckleberries, currants, and pine nuts. A soft-shell crab special. The abalone, and the raviolis. Our mains included the duo of beef, and cod, which were both stellar.

May 24, 2008
powermd in Manhattan

Daniel tomorrow night- recommendations?

I'm headed to Daniel tomorrow night as a birthday gift from my fiance. Has anyone tried the current menu? Any recommendations, positive or negative?


May 20, 2008
powermd in Manhattan

Best Latte or Cappucino

I just tried an espresso made in my Gaggia with Barrington Roasting Company espresso roast beans from Joe- VERY IMPRESSIVE! The coffee is rich, and nutty, without tasting over-roasted. I like it a bit more than Ily, and Roasting Plant's Papua New Guinnea blend, my other favorites.

May 13, 2008
powermd in Manhattan

Bermuda Restaurants...need some feedback

The only guarantee with Bermuda restaurants is that you will certainly pay a lot- and the results are hit or miss no matter how much you spend. I'm an on and off local with family on the island. I would add to your list the Lobster Pot, and go there for the Bermuda fish chowder. Probably the best on the island. Hit Port O' Call on Front Street for dinner, and ask for Fritz's escargot- it's off the menu, but out of this world good. In general, I would skip fish labeled as "local" at any upscale restaurant. They're most likely lying. The only way to guarantee that a fish is local is the catch it yourself, or get it from a fishmonger that you know and trust. Miles Market is reputable and convenient. Check out Cafe Acoreano (Azores) right next to the Hamilton bus station for a Portuguese donut, they're very good first thing in the morning. Their cafe au lait is excellent as well. If you happen to be passing through Smith's on the South Shore, hit North Rock Brewery for a pint of local beer. My personal favorite is the wheat. You can also buy North Rock's beer on the West end of the island (Dockyard) at the Frog and Onion pub. If you're on a bike, consider stopping at the Reef's in Southampton for lunch at Coconuts. They make an OUTSTANDING fish sandwich, and they have a fruity drink called the Gombey with is terrific.

David Burke's Primehouse

Given the very positive reviews in the most recent "best steak" thread, and how sharply this contrasted with our experience there, I thought this deserved a thread of it's own.

After carefully reading through the various reviews of Chicago steak houses, my group settled on Primehouse. Capital Grille seemed to be the other best contender for top steak. We really didn't care about the scene- just the food. There were five of us, and we all skipped lunch, anticipating an exceptional meal.

Here's the menu, for reference:

I'll get right to the point. Three of us had the famous grass fed 40-day dry aged rib eye ($49), and were totally disappointed. This was one of the most bland tasting rib eye's I've ever had. I wished I had gotten it au poivre just to give it some taste. I've made steaks at home on the grill from Fox & Obel that were more impressive. A friend got the 55-day (it goes up to 75-day). The 55-day dry aged rib eye was very good- it had the intensity you expect from a serious dry aged steak, but for $58, it seemed overpriced. Some friends dining at another table tried the Kobe sashimi, which they loved, and the porterhouse for two, which was also reportedly good.

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Craftsteak in NYC and was totally blown away. The grass fed rib eye there cost $52 and was several orders of magnitude better than the 40-day I had at Primehouse (and still quite a bit better than the 55-day). Add to that the side dishes were incomparably better, with lovely gourmet touches, service was appropriate to the prices- and the total cost was similar.

Of note, the ceasar salad was excellent- one of the best I've had anywhere. It's prepared tableside. The truffle asiago fries are a must-order, and the creamed spinach was excellent (although I didn't detect any cream...). The old-school hash browns were boring and very much skippable, as was the basil-mashed (slightly better).

Another friend who ordered the tuna (rare) found it to be very disappointing. It was about 2 inches thick, lightly seared on the outside, and perfectly rare inside. I tried it, and though the texture was good, and the meat was not gristly, a flavorful crust was lacking, and there was no sauce to liven it up. Booo--ring. A piece of tuna like that should have been an event all it's own, instead, it was an afterthought.

Last night we went to One Sixty-Blue, which was an oustanding restaurant, with a much more pleasant atmosphere, better service, MUCH better food, that was less expensive.

Primehouse, in it's current form, is an overpriced joke. They should eliminate the 40-day rib eye, and knock their prices down a full notch on the scale. They need to find a recipe for the tuna, because currently, they don't seem to have one. All of the side dishes could use some work as well. We skipped dessert, not wanting to be disappointed any further.

Apr 05, 2008
powermd in Chicago Area

high class great food Chinese - Does it exist?

Another nod to Chin Chin here! My fiancee and I went last night and had wonton soup, grand marneir shrimp (app), mu shu vegetables, and orange beef. Needless to say, this was a HEAVY meal. It was pretty expensive too. The GM shrimp app included 6 shrimp, but cost $22.50! The total bill with tip (we didn't order alcohol) was $98, similar to Shun Lee. The food was very tasty, the crispy orange beef was, in fact, quite crispy, and not overdone. The mu shu vegetables tasted a little better than average. The GM shrimp were wonderful, as always. The wonton soup was nice as well, it had a spicy edge to it, and the broth was a tad beefy. I would definitely come here over Shun Lee. I've never been to Mr. K's, and I've always been curious about that place.

Feb 27, 2008
powermd in Manhattan

LES: best coffee?

The Papua New Guinnea coffee at Roasting Plant is my favorite in the city to use in my espresso machine.

Jan 05, 2008
powermd in Manhattan

DiFara = Disappointing.

Not just a bite, dude. A WHOLE SLICE! It was fresh too. I wasn't really enthused about the square pie after Dom pulled a smoking burned one from the oven. The entire restaurant filled with smoke! Amazing how much emotion this topic generates. My fundamental point about the pizza wasn't that it's bad pizza, it's just not as good as the fanatics talk it up to be. Claims that it's WAAAAAAY better than John's, Grimaldi's, Una, Patsy's, Lucali's, hell- even Lombardi's - are utter fantasy. But hey, to each his own.

I must say, I expected much more vitriol from DiFara people about Una Pizza Napoletana. The 'taste buds' remark was intentionally mean spirited and directed at those who would denigrate the food at Una based on it's high prices and curt treatment of customers when it's busy (I've read such comments in other threads). Interestingly, there have been none. Sorry if that remark offended some of you.

Dec 22, 2007
powermd in Outer Boroughs