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what NY restaurant serves classic hot Kiddish food

I finally checked it out in person and tried a dozen different sides, salads and appetizers. some were good, others were disappointing, but at least now I know what to steer clear of for my gentile guests. I'm just glad they are close to a subway and even on Thursday would still make room for a 10-20 person party since most of the crowd seems on line for take out, not sitting down for dinner.

Oct 27, 2014
Joe Berger in Kosher

forward thinking cholent recipes

i have updated my cholent, but most would consider it a stew, so i'm not sure it helps you. first, I got rid of the barley completely. I use a wider variety of dry beans and root veg, I add red pepper and purple cabbage for color, etc.

Oct 27, 2014
Joe Berger in Kosher

Difference? Zahtar Pure Herb vs Zahtar Spice Mix

thank you - finally an answer that makes some sense.
if zataar the herb and thyme are so similar,
then why use thyme instead of zataar in the spice blend;
is thyme cheaper or more practical for dry storage?

what NY restaurant serves classic hot Kiddish food

I'm in an ethnic restaurant meetup and would like to introduce my gentile foodie friends to central-eastern European Jewish food, but most of the places serve other ethnic styles as kosher, are Mediterranean (Israeli), or are German style delis with american starches.

I want have brought to our table fresh (not microwaved): chollent, kishka, tzimmis, kuggle, etc. Noah's Ark is closed, and Gottlieb’s menu is limited. Isn't there a place in Boro Park that does this, maybe just on Thursdays when they are cooking for Shabbos catering jobs?

A buffet style service (like a Kiddish) would be even better. If you know a restaurant or shul with in house cooking that would do this kind of menu for a private party on their premise for a group of 10-20 adults. I'm at wits end trying to arrange this.

I'd look at NJ, Monsey, 5-Towns or KGH, but I really need a place reasonable distance from a Subway. it does not have to have a good Hashgacha, since they'll all be gentiles consumers. It can be open and fresh any evening or anytime on Sunday.

UPDATE: thanks for all the extra ideas, guys.

I spoke to Menashe Gottlieb who claims to have more Kiddish stuff than appears on the online menu for his Thursday/Friday fressers. I may go this Thursday afternoon just to check the 40 seat place out, and see if I can twist their arm to make some Kiddish stuff Wednesday night, as I don't want to bring my gentile friends to a Black Hat place during their busiest Thursday night. Gottlieb’s won't do a buffet, but I'll try to get them to setup a 2-top so I can work with the waiter to cut, platter and portion out the appetizers and side dishes to each table as samplers. they sound very friendly on the phone, but not particularly flexible - who can blame them, as I'm sure they don't need my business (or will my Asian friends cater their next business luncheon with his stuffed cabbage).

I may check out Essen Deli for the same sort of thing, but they are too deep into brooklyn to bring gentiles after work on a weekday night, but maybe on a Sunday. I don't think Mendy's or Yonah S. has enough Kiddish like sides, I can't go takeout or catering as I have no venue or servers, nor do I want to prepay.

Aug 25, 2014
Joe Berger in Kosher

Difference? Zahtar Pure Herb vs Zahtar Spice Mix

what is the TASTE and application difference between;
100% pure dry herb
Blend of Sesame Seeds, Thyme & Sumac
I know other blends exist, but above is the classic.

funny how the mix has no actual zahtar herb in it.
this was NOT much help...'...

Hot Kiddish Club Food Restaurants

Moishe - this is a very compelling idea.
about how many can they sit in this "room"?
not sure i can pull this off with a $30pp budget.

Feb 02, 2012
Joe Berger in Kosher

Hot Kiddish Club Food Restaurants

I'm with this group of non-jewish Ethnic food tasters
and want to introduce them to Traditional Kosher fare
NOT modern pastrami knishes lox & bagels, rather;
Ashkenazi/Sephardi Shul Hot Kiddish club foods like;
cholent, kishka, kugle, tzimmes, challah, burekas,
stuffed peppers/cabbage, herrings, gefilte fish etc.
the place must be able to reserve 8 punctual people
x3 tables(24), be easy walking distance to the subway,
have very clean and friendly counter or table service.

I've heard such places get very busy late Thursdays,
yet Thursday&Fridays have the best food freshest.
I need to book 7-9pm any day Sunday-Thursday.
I will probably go on foot to double-check these
places myself, but first wanted to ask what venues
I should check out in Boro Park and Williamsburg
where such foods are most popular and authentic,
by establishments that may cater the local shuls.

what I would really like to do is;
actually "throw a Kiddish" inside the Restaurant,
meaning; prepay for them to setup a buffet for
24 people to share, so they can each sample
as many different Traditional foods as possible,
and can refill... this is not an "all you can eat"
group that wants to stuff themselves, rather they
are a "chefs table" breed of food tasters.

Jan 23, 2012
Joe Berger in Kosher

Get Together Go To - Your Signature Dish

as a middle age single guy, i seem to attend a lot more "pot luck" holiday meals these days, so i concocted a marinated vegetable and bean salad that is Vegan Kosher low.salt low.sugar* easy to chew and can be left out all day at room temperature, all from cans or jars equals no liability on my part - so nobody has an excuse not to eat this;

Goya Low Sodium canned beans: Black, Pinto, Red Kidney, Pink and Chickpeas
drain the can liquid (do NOT rinse) and dump all beans into a 1gal Ziploc baggie.
add half a cup; Mrs. Dash Marinade: Lemon Herb Peppercorn flavor, and set aside.

open jars, drain liquid from, and chop into Chickpea 1cm size pieces with the following;
sweet marinated red peppers, cocktail onions, gherkin pickles, baby corns, pitted dates,
dump the diced contents into a second 1 gal Ziploc baggie and set aside.

(keep refrigerated till use) my serving suggestions require a bag of raw leaf spinach;

cover with a single layer of spinach leaves on a flat appetizer plate or shallow dish,
using a soup ladle or deep ice cream scoop, portion beans over the spinach
then half as much marinated veggies centered on top of the beans.

serves 40-60, ingredient cost $20-30, preparation time about a half hour.

-OR- cover the bottom and sides of a deep salad or punch bowel with a layer of spinach,
make a tube out of a flexible cutting board and stand it up in the center of your bowel,
ask a friend to ladel in the marinated veg into the center, then dump the beans around
the sides of the bowel, then pull the flexible plastic out. the bowel contents should
look like a doughnut of veg in the hole, beans around the ring, spinach framing the edge.

the raw spinach absorbs the excess liquids and tastes wonderful, so I usually leave an
open bag with tongs so people can line their own plates before spooning out veg/beans.
I also leave out a sprinkle jar of soy based bacon bits for those who want a smoky topper.

* check jars/cans carefully for anything that may be glutinous.

Dec 14, 2011
Joe Berger in Home Cooking

Looking for sushi maki filling ideas

after reading all these responses, i thought i'd throw in a few of my own ideas;

- instead of bottarga i found a pound of frozen masago cavier capelin roe
for $9 and shave a bit off with a spoon when i make a sushi maki dinner.
- there are these yellow pickled turnips most Asian stores sell (daikon)
- Russian vinaigrette works great - it's a spicy carrot & beet mixture.
- whipped cream cheese
- hearts of palm - Asian stores have them in a smokey BBQ sauce.
- cocktail onions (from a jar)
- sweet marinated red peppers (from a jar)
- baby corn (canned)
- I make my Tamago sushi omelet in the microwave: egg, soy sauce, Splenda.
- boiled egg white
- banana
- sweet gherkin pickles
- Kimchi sauce - i found a jar without the cabbage that keeps far longer in the fridge.
- Lychee (canned in a sweet syrup)
- Pineapple (canned rings not cubes)

I highly recommend using Ziploc VACUUM bags that are cheapest at Walmart
to keep all these wet condiments fresh for Months after they have been opened.

Many Japanese stores sell flavor infused vinegar, that really enhance the rice. click "Condensed Vinegar"
so after i make my rice, i wet it with half sweet rice vinegar, and half flavored.

If you must freeze your sushi, here's in interesting trick you can try;
cut your roll into large pieces that are each as long as the roll is thick.
dip each piece in a tempura batter and fry each piece in rice bran oil,
the contents of the sushi will cook, but it will also freeze much better.
when ready to serve, simply defrost or nuke a minute in the microwave.
kids and people squeamish about eating raw fish will love this variation.

Dec 13, 2011
Joe Berger in Home Cooking

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

so here's my follow up on finding this oil in Flushing;
within walking distance of the Main St #7 subway station are at least
four big Asian Stores and visited all of them, and here is what I found;
Hong Kong Supermarket (in Flushing not Elmhurst) no rice oil at all.
Jmart has a $10/liter price sign for "rice oil" but none were on the shelves.
SkyFood has no rice oil at all, and the manager has never even heard of it.
so in disgust I wandered around and stumbled upon somewhere fabulous!

Assi Plaza :
honestly, I never knew this place existed, and it's HUGE and there longer.
it's also a lower rent building which was reflected in many items I priced.
Assi had dozens of "Rice Bran Oil" bottles for $8/liter,
not as cheap as Mitsuwa, but certainly worth saving me the trip to Jersey.
one bonus about Assi - it's the only one of the 4 that actually has people
on their floor staff that understand English. Parking there is Free, which
is another bonus as the other places have none or paid parking only.

so I strongly recommend the next time you Manhattanites need to stock
up on Asian food, to give these 4 stores a try - you won't regret the trip.
BTW if you do stock up on the same items, it really pays to price check first
because the differences between each store can be 20% on the same item.
My Monthly routine now will be to visit at least 2 of these stores and get what
I now know they each sell for the best price - weather permitting of course...

Dec 13, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

yeah, I'm already wise to fish prices in Asian markets as I make my own sushi at home. just yesterday I got beautiful raw salmon filet $5/lb and raw tuna $8/lb, about half what you pay in a European store. I even got ZipLoc Vacuum bags to freeze some of the fish after I marinade them - comes out better once steamed than the best freezer case fish.
I'll tell you a nice fish bargain if you have an Aldi near you... they sell frozen PACIFIC Coho salmon filet only $5/lb - insane! I worried it was rainbow trout, so I wrote to Aldi and the fishery they used wrote back and assured me it was genuine. I used to buy my frozen Pacific salmon at Costco for $8.5/lb before an Aldi opened up nearby.
I bought myself a fancy "healthy" fryer for Xmas, so once I get the rice oil, I'll start making fish and vegetable tempura, my own Gyoza - oooh I can't wait...

Dec 09, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

do you recall what Mitsuwa charged per liter or quart last time you bought it?
that's probably a 2 liter bottle(4/lb weight), so $11 is a very good deal.
I always wanted an excuse to take the bus out there and shop around,
since their shipping charges are pretty steep.
HMart is running a half price shipping sale, so maybe I'll just order it here if
after I power walk through Flushing tomorrow - I still can't find it. I made a
printout of both products to use to embarrass a few store managers ;^)

Dec 09, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

oddly, Hong Kong Supermarket did not have it, nor did any of the large Asian supermarkets in Elmhurst - hell, they never even heard of the stuff. odd, huh... I'm going to try Skyfoods and Jmart in Flushing next, both huge Asian groceries that should be ashamed if they don't have it. FYI they are both walking distance from the #7 subway Main St. Station.
I'll tell you something funny if you are into Engrish jokes... I call the stores and eventually find someone who speaks english and ask; do you sell rice bran oil for cooking and frying, so they keep answering; yes, we have brown rice branD oil... and no matter how many times I repeat myself, spell out braN and braND, etc. - they just don't get it... LOL so I end up going to that store, and of course, they don't have anything remotely like what I asked for.
BTW if you wonder why I waste all this effort when it would be simpler to order online - it's because l like to walk regularly for my health, and having a store a few miles away to visit on such a "quest" just helps keep my walks interesting.

Dec 09, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

I have Amazon Prime but the shipping price is often built into their heavy grocery items, so no - you can't get it cheaper there - so honestfoods cost wise is the best online source especially since Tophé is made domestically so it's fresher and lower in transport costs compared to importing from Asia. I'd like to find a cheaper way to try Rice Bran oil before I spend $40 on a 5-gal box of peanut oil from Costco, which is by far the best deal for the best frying oil around with at least a 2 year shelf life.

Dec 09, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Rice Bran cooking oil - where?

I've looked at oils offered by a dozen Asian and Gourmet shops,
nobody is selling Rice Bran oil locally - which is great for frying.
before I buy peanut oil again, I really wanted to give this a try
short of spending $30 to get a gallon shipped to me online.
don't confuse this with rice oil used for horses or skin care.

Dec 09, 2011
Joe Berger in Manhattan

Best Beef Jerky

for an asian source jerky, these beef varieties are good;
species,beef,whole sliced,lemon grass
species,beef,five spices,five spices
not as oily, soft and sweet like most other asian jerky.
I found them at Jmart in Flushing, NY about $20/lb.

Nov 28, 2011
Joe Berger in General Topics

Forest Hills - where to eat?

adina - forest hills is tricky because there are mostly fast food take out places under the VHQ(western europeans), and various party hall type part time restaurants under the BRC(eastern europeans) - both are Queens run Orthodox supervisions that require these places to be closed on Shabbat.

Then you have an assortment of "Glatt Kosher" places some open some closed on Shabbat - under a variety of dubious certifications.

If you can narrow down what type of supervision you are happy with, and what type of food you prefer, as a Forest Hills resident, I can point you in the right direction. of course, when in doubt - you can always cross the park and eat in KGH...

Oct 05, 2011
Joe Berger in Kosher

Urgently needed experience- Fresh caught fish for homemade gefilte fish? Tuna, mahi others?

perhaps you could take a different approach.
cook the tuna and mahi as you normally would,
but make a "gefilte fish" garnish sauce out of;
cooked vidalia onions, sugar and carrots
in a starch or a gelatin suspension, chill
then serve them together with some
red beet horseradish on the table too.
this way you get the gefilte fish effect,
without using carp, pike or whitefish.

Apr 17, 2011
Joe Berger in Kosher

Aldi food store now in Queens NY

this place is like a cross between Costco and Trader Joes.
it's definitely worth a look if you are in the Rego Park area.
same new mall by 63rd and the LIE as Costco & Kohles.
they have a "bring your own bag" policy, or will sell you
a bag for 0.10 plastic or 2.00 canvas.

Feb 21, 2011
Joe Berger in Chains

Need to fine-tune my cholent for 12/16 (Meat question)

yes, i should have rephrased it somehow,
but now i don't really care to bother - thanx.
is your cup half empty much? LOL

Dec 16, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

Need to fine-tune my cholent for 12/16 (Meat question)

just adding some brainstorming from years of cholent making;

I would try a test batch with sweet potato aka yams before serving it to others.
many people find it's texture and aftertaste in a stew medium to be unpleasant.

other hard vegetables to avoid include beets, radish and turnips - too bitter.

hard vegetables worth experimenting include various dense squash, carrots, and
hard melons like papaya and pumpkin. just cube them as you would any potato.

keep in mind people associate cholent with a specific taste and texture,
so if you divert too much from that typical medium, you will lose them if
you try to change or add more than a few non-classic elements.

if you use many different types of dry beans in your stew,
i recommend using canned garbanzo:chickpeas - not dry, as
they don't soften enough to the same texture as other dry beans.

in addition to dry barley, I recommend adding cracked peas and lentils.

hard boiled egg whites-only can make a nice addition to your cholent.
but cut them large 4-quadrants per egg, don't dice them in.

I agree London Broil maintains its flavor better than Short Ribs (Flanken).
if you allow Flaken bones in your cholent, make sure they are all thicker
than an egg - don't risk surprising your guests with anything smaller.

I brine the raw meat in salt water for a few hours before cooking with it.
a tablespoon or two of dry chicken soup powder is a fast cheap way
to enhance the flavors of your cholent without adding salt. the most
common mistake is over salting your cholent, so keep it mild and
let your guests do it.

Osem now has a low MSG version of it's chicken stock powder.
but technically Maltodexin is also a potential free glutamic acid.

Dec 16, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

I don't get the chicken and waffle craze.

it's a recession mentality. people think wings are cheap
when in reality, they've become the most expensive part,
thus making breasts and thighs so 25¢/LB cheap that
chains will concoct any dish they can to include them.
even if they have to put in on our breakfast pancakes...

Nov 07, 2010
Joe Berger in General Topics

I don't get the chicken and waffle craze.

chicken at the wholesale level is very cheap now, despite the rise in corn prices,
so chains that buy in bulk are trying to find new ways to sell chicken at a profit.
so pushing a crossover dish that may work for the breakfast crowd is important.

Nov 07, 2010
Joe Berger in General Topics

When travelling how do you find kosher stablishments -

the reason Shamash is out of date is because it's contributed by viewers.
I would check Shamash and often find inaccurate or out of date information.
I would submit a correction, and a week or two later it would get updated.
the point being, Shamash is only as good as people are willing to help it.

Oct 21, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

Manhattan, NY - I need a vegetarian AND kosher place to take an important business client

here's a list I referred to last year - not sure if you can see this;
kosher & veggie is tricky because as others have said here,
the kosher certification is often more for marketing purposes,
than to satisfy the kashrut needs of their customers.
a place could be perfectly kosher, but then some unsupervised chef
gets a deal on non kosher wine he uses for cooking, and suddenly poof;
the veggie customers are still happy, while the kosher ones are screwed.

Oct 21, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

I NEED Salsa

Gold's Salsa is HORRIBLE definitely avoid it completely.
it tastes like watery marinated green pepper with mothballs.

I stock up on Ortega -Medium which is OU Parve and cheap.
Ortega is my Salsa base I can add canned fruit salad or indian relish for a sweeter salsa, melted cheese or mashed avocado, canned refried beans or canned corn, - whatever. just try to get used to Medium-Hot heat which is good for your metabolism, since the mild stuff is nothing more than over priced spaghetti sauce. health tip: use Salsa to replace manwich, pasta sauce and ketchup - you consume far less fat and sugar, while enjoying a nice zesty flavor.

Pace also makes a great cheap medium salsa,
but I don't think you can find it with a Hechsher.

Oct 17, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher


there are actually two styles of coated peanuts.
one has a hard glossy shell often found in Israel, another has a puffier cracker like shell found in every gourmet and nut seller here in New York.
I recommend getting used to the softer kind here, as they are a lot less trouble to find, and far less wear and tear on your teeth and fillings...

hard shell salty
soft shell sweet

Sep 27, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

Kosher Travelers' Supermarket Challenge

about 20 years ago I was stuck around Spain for a week,
and all we could eat was fish, potatoes and Black Bread.
when we finally got to Gibraltar, we found an Orthodox
kosher store stocked with goods from NY and Israel, so
we pigged out on packages of paskesz and bamba

Aug 12, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

Chow worthy Kosher Food

anyone interested in seeing what exotic
animals are available for consumption;

Aug 01, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher

Chow worthy Kosher Food

interesting - what, no giraffe kabobs?

Aug 01, 2010
Joe Berger in Kosher