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Lucques New Year's Eve dinner??

We're from the Bay Area but will be in LA for New Year's. We love the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook and would like to try the restaurant. So far I have found out that there will be no Sunday supper on January 1, and that NY Eve is a theme dinner with two seatings. What I can't find anywhere is info on what this year's menu is or when they will start taking reservations. Can any of you Southern CA chowhounds fill me in? When do they usually release the menu and start taking reservations--and how hard is it to snag a reservation?

If you have eaten one of Goin's NY Eve dinners, it would also be great to hear how you liked it.

Thanks!

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Lucques
8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Nov 26, 2011
alixschwartz in Los Angeles Area

Zoe or Tavolata?

Thanks--will definitely check it out (especially if we can get there on foot. Hadn't heard of Melrose Market Building, which sounds intriguing!

Jun 05, 2011
alixschwartz in Greater Seattle

Zoe or Tavolata?

Well, we want to leave the car in the hotel's parking lot and walk while we are there. And I read a lot of reviews and tried to narrow my options before asking the list because a too-open question is kind of useless.
Noisy and salty are not my favorite descriptors either, so thanks--this is helpful!

Jun 05, 2011
alixschwartz in Greater Seattle

Zoe or Tavolata?

Hi Chowhounds,

My partner and I will be in Seattle for just one night, staying by the the Pike Place Market. If you could eat dinner either at Tavolata or Zoe, which would you choose, AND WHY? We are from the Bay Area, eat sustainable, local, ya-de-ya-de food, and want to be sure we enjoy the one dinner we will have in Seattle on this trip.

Thanks!

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Pike Place Market
1501 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101

Tavolata
2323 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Jun 04, 2011
alixschwartz in Greater Seattle

Places worth eating on Hwy 5 from SF Bay Area north to Canada?

Thanks--you all are on the right track. We liked Vivify last time we went through Mt Shasta. Have not tried Thistle, but will check it out.
Portland is easy--it's those small towns that might be a good stop on the road that I don't know about.

May 15, 2011
alixschwartz in California

Places worth eating on Hwy 5 from SF Bay Area north to Canada?

Thanks--good suggestion. We are going as far as Vancouver, so those boards will be a big help!

May 15, 2011
alixschwartz in California

Places worth eating on Hwy 5 from SF Bay Area north to Canada?

Hi all,

My partner and I are planning a road trip for July. The destinations are Lummi Island (where we will feast on spot prawns one night and the next night the chef's 5-course tasting menu at the Willows) and Vancouver (where we already know where we want to eat). We want to plan our route so that we are near somewhere good to eat each evening around dinnertime. I already know good places on the Oregon coast and Arcata, but this time we are taking Highway 5 to save time. Suggestions? it doesn't have to be fancy, and in fact it's probably better if it's not (given the chances of fancy food being overpriced crap once one leaves civilization), but we would like food that is well prepared from scratch--any genre.

Thanks in advance,

Alix

May 15, 2011
alixschwartz in California

huckleberry jam?

Hi all,

I picked a bunch of huckleberries last night. I want to make jam, and looked on the internet for recipes. Some have a little butter in them. I had never seen butter in a jam recipe before. What's its function? Wouldn't it coagulate when the jam cooled? Does anyone have a very good huckleberry jam or sauce (to put on ice cream, for instance) recipe? I don't want to water them down or ruin them.

On Sunday I also picked some, and those became the huckleberry crisp from this month's Saveur--amazing!

let me know--thanks!

--Alix

Aug 19, 2009
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Jamaican curry blend: cardamom PODS?

This is helpful--thanks! i had no idea the white ones were bleached. And if you have roasted and ground them whole, then strained, that''s pretty much the inspiration I needed.

Mar 01, 2009
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Jamaican curry blend: cardamom PODS?

Yeah, I've made Indian curries with the whole pods-in fact, I often string them onto a thread with a needles so I can remove the string before I serve the food--I don't think anyone wants to bite down on a whole cardamom pod!

Mar 01, 2009
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Jamaican curry blend: cardamom PODS?

Hi all,

I am making a goat curry and the recipe for Jamaican curry blend calls for 12 cardamom pods, which are dry roasted in a pan with several other spices and then ground up. I have never seen a recipe that calls for roasting and grinding the PODS (as opposed to the seeds inside them) before--have you? Do you use green or white cardamom pods? (Recipe does not specify.) And if white, does the cardboard-y outer part blend up in the spice grinder or do you just pull out the shards before you use the curry powder? I can experiment with this, of course, but thought one of you might already know the answer.

Thanks!

Mar 01, 2009
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

sorbet without alcohol?

I live in Berkeley, CA and can get Meyer Lemons and pomegranate juice. Can you share your recipes?

Oct 09, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

sorbet without alcohol?

Hi all,

I am hosting a dinner party Saturday and planning a pretty rich menu so I wanted to end with a nice light sorbet. I even bought an ice cream maker for the occasion. I wanted to make the kir royale sorbet from the Gourmet cookbook. Then I found out two guests don't drink. So I went looking for a sorbet recipe without booze in it and am finding it surprisingly hard to locate one that also uses SOMETHING that's in season. Any ideas? So far I am coming up with only lemon, which seems a bit boring.

Thanks!

Oct 09, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

meat on bone--how to modify recipe?

Good point--you can never have too much sauce!

Jul 01, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

What's your favorite cabbage recipe?

Just had this last night: it was wonderful. Used Semi-freddi's rye bread (for those of you in the Bay Area), sliced thick.

Deborah Madison's Cabbage & Rye Panade

1 clove garlic and some butter for the dish
She calls for 3-4 cups of her Herb & Garlic broth or her basic vegetable stock made with 6 extra cloves garlic and 6 large sage leaves. So however you want to achieve the flavor...
3 T butter or olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t juniper berries, crushed
2 T coarsely chopped sage
2 lbs cabbage, quartered & sliced into ribbons
salt & pepper
4 slices rye bread with caraway seed
1 c grated Gruyere

Preheat to 350. Rub a gratin dish with the garlic clove, then butter it. Prepare your highly seasoned stock.

Heat butter or olive oil in skillet and fry the onion, juniper, and sage until onions begin browning. Add cabbage, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup water to the pan and cook til cabbage is tender and browned in places, approx 20 min. Turn it occasionally during cooking with tongs. Taste for seasoning, correct if necessary.

Place half the cabbage into the dish, top with the rye bread, then layer on the gruyere and finally the remaining cabbage. Pour the broth over all and bake for around 45 minutes, until it's bubbly and the cabbage edges are browning. Spoon it into soup dishes and be sure to ladle some of the garlicky broth into your bowl.

Jul 01, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

meat on bone--how to modify recipe?

Thanks so much, Paul. I am using a le creuset dutch oven in the oven, so the steam should be pretty effective. It calls for 1 and a 1/4 cups water for lamb (2 cups for beef, which takes longer to cook).

In case anyone wants the recipe, with all credit to Madhur Jaffrey, here it is. Every time I make it I get rave reviews and everyone asks for the recipe.

Red Lamb or Beef Stew
(Rogan josh)

from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking

Serves 4-6*

• Two 1-inch cubes of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 8 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1 1/2 to 2 cups water
• 10 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 pounds boned meat from lamb shoulder or leg, or stewing beef (chuck), cut into one-inch cubes
• 10 whole cardamom pods**
• 2 bay leaves
• 6 whole cloves
• 10 whole peppercorns
• A 1-inch stick of cinnamon
• 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
• 4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
• 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
• freshly ground pepper

(Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you are choosing the oven method below—which I recommend.)

1. Put the ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons of the water into a blender and blend into a smooth paste.
2. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium-high flame. Brown meat cubes in batches and set aside. Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon in the same oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color. This just takes a few seconds. Now put in the onions. Stir and fry for about five minutes or until the onions take on a medium brown color. Put in the ginger-garlic paste and stir for about 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne, and salt. Stir and fry for 30 seconds more. Add the browned meat cubes and accumulated juices. Stir for 30 seconds. Now put in 1 tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds, or until the yogurt is well incorporated. Add the remaining yogurt, a tablespoon at a time, in the same way. Stir and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Now add 1 1/4 cups water if you are cooking lamb, and 2 cups if you are cooking beef. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all browned spices from the sides and bottom of the pot. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for about an hour if you are cooking lamb, or two hours if you are cooking beef, or until meat is tender. Every ten minutes or so, give the meat a good stir. (Alternatively, the meat can be baked, covered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for the same length of time. I prefer the oven method because you don’t need to stir—it doesn’t stick.) When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid. The fat that collects in the pot may be spooned off the top. Sprinkle the garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve, and mix them in.

*Note: If you double or triple the recipe do not double or triple the amounts of oil or water.
** Alix’s patented trick: use a needle and thread to string the pods together. This makes it easy to remove them before serving, preventing any unpleasant surprises.

Jul 01, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

meat on bone--how to modify recipe?

Hi all,

I am making a favorite red curry recipe tonight (from Madhur Jaffrey) and it calls for lamb stew meat. Instead I will use lamb spare ribs because that's the last part of the Full Belly Farm lamb that I bought some months ago left in my freezer. How would you modify the recipe? It's over 4 pounds of ribs, and the recipe calls for 2 pounds of stew meat, but I assume at least half of what I will be using is bone. Probably it will take longer to braise. I can test that as I go. What I am more concerned about is the other ingredients. Would you use the same amount of the other ingredients (onions, garlic, ginger, spices, yogurt) as for 2 pounds of boneless stew meat? Or would you double it so it covers the meat better? What about water? I learned the hard way not to double the water when I double the recipe (i.e. when I use four pounds of stew meat)--it just turns out too runny. Should I double everything but the water? But maybe I need more water because of the presumably longer cooking time? Thoughts?

--Alix

Jul 01, 2008
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

ISO super dense, moist, extra lemony Lemon pound cake

So glad you posted this--I wanted to recommend Haida Heatter's but have only the book--didn't know it was available online. This one is definitely dense and lemony and amazing.

Jun 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Help! Five skinless chicken breasts to cook today!

The lemony cilantro chicken from Madhur Jaffrey works great with skinless boneless breasts. I have a xerox of it here at work but unfortunately no electronic copy.

Jun 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

tasty treats for 50+ people! ( not too $$$ )

If she has a grill going, you can't beat the chipotle-cinnamon butter on grilled corn recipe from one of the Greens cookbooks. Just grill the corn cobs, then roll them around in a flavored butter made from butter (duh), blended chipotle chile with a little bit of the adobo sauce from the can, lime juice, salt and cinnamon. Corn is pretty cheap at this time of year, and this butter is irresistible. I sometimes parboil the corn first so it shortens the amount of time it needs to be on the grill.

Jun 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

HELP with snow pea shoot dumplings

Thanks--that sounds like a good approach. I worry that frozen won't be as good as fresh, but one big globby mess is definitely far from optimal.

Jun 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

HELP with snow pea shoot dumplings

hi all,

I am making a pea shoot dumpling recipe from the famous dim sum restaurant in San Francisco, Yank Sing, for my cookbook club this Sunday. The ingredients for the dough are wheat starch, tapioca starch, shortening and boiling water. You mix, mix, mix, then knead, then rest the dough and roll it into little 3-inch circles, very thin, before stuffing and steaming. My problem is that I have to transport them, and although it does say I can freeze the dumplings, the recipe gives no other instructions for ways to keep them. I figure I can either bring a stack of the rolled-out dumpling wrappers to the event and stuff and steam them there, or I can stuff them and put them in one layer in each steaming basket and refrigerate them until I have to get in the car, but I don't know which method will minimize disasters. Has anyone made any dumplings with a similar dough, and if so, do the rolled-out skins stick to one another if you stack them (the recipe says not to put flour on the rolling board--I don't know about putting cornstarch between the sheets)? And if I stuff them and then transport them before steaming them will they get soggy or something? If only I were just making them at home and eating them immediately this would be a lot more straightforward and less stressful, but since this is my first time making the dumpling skins from scratch I am anxious about it.

Thanks!

Jun 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Best home base for a truffle vacation?

I love, love, love porcinis, but will be in Italy in late October/early November so will have to miss this particular festival (which may be a blessing in disguise since my main problem right now is narrowing down all these tempting options).

Thanks, though--I trust some chowhound out there will be able to take advantage of this fabulous idea.

--Alix

Jun 08, 2007
alixschwartz in Italy

WHAT shall I do with all this marscapone?

I have made a cover recipe from Gourmet several times to rave reviews: it has three layers: almond meringues, amaretto mascarpone, and apricot compote, plus praline almonds.You get sweet, tart, creamy, crunchy in every bite. It's incredible, and I know it's listed on epicurious--try searching by apricot and mascarpone.

Jun 07, 2007
alixschwartz in Home Cooking

Edible book ideas?

We're having a potluck at my work next week, and we're supposed to bring "edible books." These can be items (like cakes) made to look like a book (examples are a "dictionary cake" in which the definition for "cake" appears in the icing and a "My Year of Meats" in which the pages are cold cuts) or they can be puns on book titles. One co-worker brought in an example last week: an olive bread that she twisted before baking: Oliver Twist!

I have an idea that I am really happy with: I am punning on those enormously popular religious novels called "Left Behind." I'm making my favorite butt roast (the mock porchetta from the Zuni Cafe cookbook--YUM!) and placing it on the left side of a big platter. Left behind, get it?

It suddenly occurred to me while reading this Board that chowhounds would probably be full of good ideas for edible puns on book titles. Let the punning begin!

Jun 07, 2007
alixschwartz in Not About Food

Berkeley Sun Hong Kong alternative?

Great China used to be my favorite Chinese place in Berkeley, but I've had too many bad meals there lately. The worst (which may have permanently turned me off the place) was a few weeks ago when I was tired and just wanted to get some take-out. After circling the block forever to find parking, I ordered their fish ravioli (usually quite good), one tofu dish and steamed rice. All of them were inedible--even the rice smelled of chemicals.

I agree with you about the pea shoots, though--they are usually dependably tender and delicious. Still, I am in the market for a new favorite Chinese place in Berkeley.

Jun 01, 2007
alixschwartz in San Francisco Bay Area

Thoughts on Venezia and Bobby G's in Berkeley?

Venezia's osso buco used to be outstanding: tender, gelatinous, covered with roasted red and green bell peppers and garlic cloves. I haven't had it in a while, though, so it might have gone downhill. I once made the mistake of ordering venison osso buco there: it was dry and tough. But I had a great quail and truffle special there one night that had me licking the plate. It's very up and down in my experience.

Jun 01, 2007
alixschwartz in San Francisco Bay Area

Best home base for a truffle vacation?

You're killing me--this sounds great! I looked at their website and clearly they are very serious about food: they include a list of about ten different kinds of mushrooms and their seasons on the website. If I go here, though, that will make four regions (Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, and Emilia Romagna) in 13 nights--kind of a whirlwind. At least I have a few months to sort out my priorities.

Thanks!

--Alix

Jun 01, 2007
alixschwartz in Italy

Truffle hunting

Thanks! The hotel's prices look very nice as well. And I have never (knowingly) seen hazelnut trees--more and more adventures keep unfolding.

---Alix

May 29, 2007
alixschwartz in Italy

Truffle hunting

Cranrob, I am finally working on nailing down my itinerary. I can go truffle hunting in San Giovanni d'Asso and/or Citta di Castello, which you recommended. But the site for the latter gives no prices. Do you remembre how much you were charged, approximately? Also, where did you stay? More details on the town would be great.

Thanks!

May 28, 2007
alixschwartz in Italy