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Mexican In Nashvillle/Brentwood

I like Rosepepper in East Nashville. I can't speak to their margaritas, but they win the local style paper's annual 'best margarita' contest pretty regularly.

http://www.rosepepper.com/

I wouldn't call it a 'traditional' mexican place. It is tasty, though.

Jun 03, 2010
itsrob in Kentucky & Tennessee

HELP: how to make popcorn on the stovetop

The real trick here is making sure your oil is doing the cooking rather than your pan. I use a really cheap, thin, aluminum pot. Coat the bottom of the pot with oil, put over MEDIUM heat (though I use gas and a thin pot, so maybe that's high for electric or a thicker pan - just remember you want the oil to cook the corn, not the pot), wait 2-3 minutes for the oil to heat up. Once you think the oil is somewhat hot, throw in a test kernel or two; it should pop relatively quickly. Dump the rest when the test kernels have popped, shake a bit, and crack the lid the smallest bit possible to allow steam to escape (which will keep the corn from getting soggy). Shake a bit on/off until popping slows, then dump, season, enjoy!

I've found that if I get my pan too hot on the bottom I'll get premature popping, which results in small pops. A thicker pan could help this, but I find just letting the oil heat up well solves the problem. I use cheap store-brand kernels and they turn out great!

Jan 21, 2008
itsrob in Home Cooking

Best inexpensive coffee?

The chock full o nuts is good, and I can get it in NC. I think their decaf is probably the best among the cheaper brands.

Nov 19, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

Last time I was in Louisville and drinking at a well-stocked bourbon bar the bartender highly recommended the Elijah Craig 12 and I cannot disagree. It seems to be a bit hard to come by at my local shop (which is crazy, because I can get Bulleit), but its good stuff.

Nov 14, 2007
itsrob in Spirits

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

Bulleit is by far my bourbon of choice these days. It has a bold flavor but is still smooth, which is really hard to pull off. My local store has it for about the same price as a bottle of Makers Mark or Knob Creek.

Nov 14, 2007
itsrob in Spirits

ONE fast, smashing, veg, one-bite app please! [Moved from General Topics board]

recently attended a wedding where there were some beautiful classic tiny melba toasts w/boursin and figs.

Oct 24, 2007
itsrob in Home Cooking

I only like meat and potatoes

Alton Brown suggests that slaw is a good way to introduce vegetables in a nice, tasty way. I concur - slaw is good, and makes both a nice condiment and side dish. There are endless variations on slaw but texture seems to be the most important component - the last thing you want is soggy slaw, so salt and drain your cabbage before preparing.

My overall favorite advice for eating new things came from 'The Man Who Ate Everything' by Jeffery Steingarten: if you don't want to eat something, try to find places that are preparing it well. Its easier to work your way into a taste if its awesome the first time you have it.

Other options:
1) next time you're grilling, cut a hole in an onion, pack it with butter and brown sugar, and wrap it in foil. put it on the grill as its heating, and leave it until your cooking is done. it should get soft and sweet - a perfect steak topper or side dish.
2) next time you make breakfast, ask if you can throw some onions and green peppers, chopped fine, into the hash browns.

good luck!

Oct 13, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

Favorite Halloween Candy

amen. every halloween i end up eating enough candy corn to feel sick at least two or three times. it hurts me, and i love it anyway...

Oct 13, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

high quality but inexpensive knife set [moved from Home Cooking]

Love my Forschner knives. I've pretty much stopped using all of my other knives. The only problem I had with mine was the 8" chef knife was a bit wider than what I had before and it doesn't sit flush in my knife block. No idea if this is because the block was for a narrow knife or if the Forschner knife is indeed wider than normal.

Oct 11, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

Best single-cup coffee maker?

the melitta coffee cone is good. it doesn't use pods like the one:one but just uses regular cone filters and can be set on top of a mug just as easily as it is set over the pot. i use mine a lot and it was extremely inexpensive. look for one at the grocery or at a housewares store.

Oct 09, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

stumped for wedding gift....your go-to gift?

Donvier 1 quart ice cream maker. You keep the bowl in the freezer, and can make ice cream in about 15 minutes. People seem to really like them.

http://www.amazon.com/Donvier-1-Quart...

Sep 26, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

quality *COMPACT* drip coffee maker

I use a melitta coffee cone (suggested by my local coffee roaster) for drip coffee and its great, cheap, and small, though admittedly its not a traditional 'drip' maker as you have to heat water on the stove or in a kettle. It does make great coffee, though.
http://www.melitta.com/itemdy00.asp?T...

Melitta makes some electric coffee makers as well, the 5 cup looks pretty small and if it does as well as the filter cone you'll likely be satisfied.
http://www.melitta.com/search.asp?SKW...

Sep 25, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

how do you build a NUTRITIOUS veggie salad?

Walnuts are good on a salad, or slivered almonds. Walnuts and almonds are both pretty high in nutritional value. I also like to include broccoli, as it is also densely packed with nutrients. If you're not a big fan of the taste, you can just shave the tops into the salad and they will practically disappear. Spinach is a good suggestion for the greens - either add it to what you have or just use only it. I would suggest making either a citrus dressing of some kind (something with olive oil, lemon or orange juice, parmesian) or maybe some sort of yogurt-based dressing (you can add lots of savory spices to a mixture of yogurt and oil) will work.

Here's a list of 'superfoods'
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/fe...

Sep 21, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

Slap yo' Mama!!!

Tony's is great on potatoes.

Sep 14, 2007
itsrob in Home Cooking

Is butter freezable without much consequence to flavor/texture? What about mozzarella?

I read a great recipe on chow today that included a tip: freeze your butter and grate it when making biscuits instead of having to cut it into the flour. I'm totally throwing some butter in the freezer tonight so I can have biscuits soon!

Sep 10, 2007
itsrob in Home Cooking

soap sacrilege (moved from Home Cooking)

soap is fine, but i think since cast iron is porous it can soak some up which can affect the flavor of your food. soap will also wear the seasoning a bit (less than cooking tomatoes!), but the beauty of cast iron and spun steel pans is that if you wear out the seasoning, you can re-season them pretty easily.

when my cast iron is really dirty or has something stuck on (very rare), i wash it using a stiff brush and a small bit of liquid soap, then set it on a hot burner for a couple of minutes to dry. while warm, i rub a small amount of vegetable oil or peanut oil into the pan. if its not really dirty, i just use hot water and the brush. It is important to wash your skillet pretty soon after you cook in it; don't let it soak in the sink for a long time.

salt also works but i use it more often on the office coffee pot than anything else. its convenient for washing dishes when camping, if you have salt around. i think people use salt because it will affect the flavor of your food less than soap, and they are not wrong but I use soap so rarely it doesn't seem to make a huge difference.

Sep 10, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

first thing to purchase...?

For sauteeing and short-order stuff like pancakes, hash browns, etc. I really like the french crepe pan from williams sonoma. it must be seasoned before use (coat with oil and bake) but is better than non-stick for a lot of things because you can re-season if you scratch up the coating. its made of spun steel and is pretty much indestructable. Because its fairly thin you can manage the heat really well (gets hot fast, cools fast) - the handle will get hot while you use it, but its a one handed pan all the way.

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Aug 30, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

Perfect BLT or Variations

I like to toast my BLT - put the mayo and tomato on one slice of bread and top with a bit of salt and oregano. put the cooked bacon on the other slice of bread, and put in the toaster oven or under a broiler for a few seconds to get everything warm. pull it out, add the lettuce, and chow!

Aug 30, 2007
itsrob in Home Cooking

what is the most useless gadget in your kitchen

That sounds like it might be good for making hash browns. Hash browns have made my waffle iron relevant again!

Aug 03, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

what is the most useless gadget in your kitchen

I use mine almost every day too! It saved me from buying bagged lettuce. I buy lettuce, slice it up, wash it, and keep it in the spinner. It stays good quite a while in there.

Aug 03, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

what is the most useless gadget in your kitchen

I used to use the pump sprayer a lot, then realized that a small squeeze bottle was just as effective and easier to deal with (fill, clean, grab in a hurry).

Aug 03, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

Place to buy Pure Cane Sugar Pepsi? Dr Pepper?

Dr. Pepper is made with cane sugar in West Jefferson, North Carolina as well. They also make a lot of other sodas with cane sugar.

http://www.glassbottlesoda.org/bottle...

Jul 31, 2007
itsrob in Los Angeles Area

How Does Subway Stay in Business?

I don't mind not having a lot of meat or cheese on a sandwich, but my local subway skimps on the veggies quite a bit, too. that bread is just too big and too dry without a lot of veggies. i was bummed when they switched to the big bread a few years ago; the old small bread was a better match for the amount of stuff they put on a sandwich.

my theory is that subway stays in business by being unoffensive; its not that anyone particularly likes it, but very few people hate it, making it a sort of "default" when shopping around for lunch. the one near my office has a line out the door every day.

Jul 30, 2007
itsrob in Chains

World’s Best Candy Bars?

I like real cadbury bars but they are too hard to come by. my favorite these days is the green & black milk or dark. by far the best readily available chocolate bar (available at whole foods and harris teeter in north carolina).
http://www.greenandblacks.com/us/howw...

Jul 30, 2007
itsrob in Food Media & News

Refrigerate peanut butter?

natural goes in the fridge. jif goes in the cupboard. i love them both, and usually keep a jar out to dip chocolate bars in.

Jul 25, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

Everyday dinnerware

I'm slowly building up a collection of local pottery. Beautiful, domestic, not as pricey as you might think if you deal with an artist directly.

Jul 06, 2007
itsrob in Cookware

Do Italians put chicken on pasta?

I'd agree with the sentiment of "do what you like" but perhaps a cultural difference is there for a reason; there's no need to dismiss it out of hand. I like the Italian meal because its a long, slow affair - most nice sit down dinners include a starter (appetizer), first (pasta), second (main course/meat), and then there's some variation from there. That seems like a lot of food, but its actually a nice way to eat if you make reasonably sized portions. Nothing wrong with trying something different; you may find you like it!

Jul 02, 2007
itsrob in General Topics

Eating At The Bar

I agree with most of the points brought up here: eating at the bar tends to be more social and you tend to have more attentive service which allows you to pace the meal. I've also found that in smaller local places there might be a waiting list for a table, but you can find a spot at the bar with no waiting.

Jun 22, 2007
itsrob in Not About Food

Boiling pasta - oil or no oil

I use a small dash of oil when I'm cooking pasta in a smaller pot, to prevent boil over (breaks surface tension). When I'm using a larger pot I don't fill it as high so I don't bother with the oil. I use salt if its handy. I usually cook the pasta and sauce together briefly just before serving, and the small bit of oil does not prevent the pasta and sauce from coming together nicely.

Jun 22, 2007
itsrob in Home Cooking

Good, cheap burr grinder for French press coffee?

There's no hopper on the GSI grinder. I either grind over my mug, or right into the press. When I use a filter cone, I usually grind right into the cone.

Jun 11, 2007
itsrob in Cookware