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Gianduja in Turin

Thanks, barberinibee. Both of those links will be very helpful.

Apr 15, 2012
annana in Italy

Gianduja in Turin

Thanks to you three. @minchilli, I'm sure you're right—the streets of Turin are probably slick with gianduja!

It would be helpful to know what some of the better chocolatiers are. Any can't-miss stores? I'm interested in generation-spanning, family-run places and places that are more experimental, if any exist. I'm actually doing research for a potential article (rough life, I know).

Apr 13, 2012
annana in Italy

Gianduja in Turin

Hi hounds,

I'm going to Piedmont next week and will be spending a couple of days in Turin. I'm interested in seeing what sort of gianduja products I can find, specifically things that resemble nutella but are more artisanal/small-batch. Are there any chocolatiers/markets that sell items like this? I've read that the major chocolate companies of the region include Caffarel, Streglio, Domori, Guido Gobino, Venchi, and Peyrano Pfatisch. Should I keep an eye out for gianduja from these brands?

Thanks so much!

Apr 12, 2012
annana in Italy

Zaab-Elee, new Thai in the east village, now the best Thai in NYC, perhaps.

I ate at Poodam's a number of times when I lived in Astoria. We had planned to go for a final time the night before we moved to Brooklyn, only to discover that it had changed its menu and become a run-of-the-mill, Americanized Thai place. A huge disappointment, but not surprising—the building is in a bad spot, a few long blocks off of the beaten path in that neighborhood.

When I read that the former Poodam's chef was cooking at Zabb Elee, I practically fell out of my chair. I've visited twice and and it surpassed my expectations. I'm so thrilled that those incredible larbs are back in my life!

-----
Zabb Elee
75 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Jun 22, 2011
annana in Manhattan

Sunset Park Chinatown: "Rice Noodle" Dim Sum From Scratch

Has anyone paid a visit to this guy recently? Is he still in this location? I live in Carroll Gardens and would like to head down to Sunset Park sometime over Thanksgiving weekend.

Nov 20, 2010
annana in Outer Boroughs

My sealed jam looks to thin. Should I just use it now?

I didn't use artificial pectin, but I added 1/3 cup of grated Granny Smith apple to the other ingredients in the pan. It's a technique I borrowed from my coworker; he doesn't like to use store bought. (If anyone has any tips or observations on making jam this way, I'd like to hear them.)

Either way, I guess I didn't use enough to thicken the jam properly. Next time I'm probably just buy synthetic pectin. (Or maybe I'll make my own and go by the recent video that Chow just published.)

Sep 25, 2010
annana in Home Cooking

My sealed jam looks to thin. Should I just use it now?

I made a single pint of tri-star strawberry jam a few weeks ago. (My first foray into canning, incidentally.) I sterilized the jar in boiling water and processed it in a hot water bath. When I checked on the jar a few hours later, the lid had sunk in. (Never heard a distinct "pop," which was a tad disappointing, but no biggie.) I was also able to lift the jar by the lid–that thing is definitely stuck on there.

But my jam looks too thin. A lot of the berries are clumped near the top of the jar, with very little liquid enveloping them. Is this a problem? I know that the high sugar content in the syrup helps to preserve the fruit.

What should I do?

Sep 25, 2010
annana in Home Cooking

French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

A good tip: spray some water on the baking sheet before laying down the parchment. When the macarons bake, the water turns into steam; this helps prevent the cookies from sticking to the paper. Trying to remove a macaron that's glued to the baking sheet usually results in damage.

Sep 04, 2010
annana in Recipes

Memoirs of a Troublesome Macaron

Another tip I just remembered: it helps to spray some water on the baking sheet before laying down the parchment. When the macarons bake, the water turns into steam; this helps prevent the cookies from sticking to the paper. Trying to remove a macaron that's glued to the baking sheet usually results in damage.

Sep 04, 2010
annana in Features

Memoirs of a Troublesome Macaron

I have left the egg whites out at room temperature for three days and lived to tell you about it. It also resulted in a whole baking sheet of unrunny macaron halves with well developed feet. Try it sometime. (Just don't tell your mom!)

Sep 04, 2010
annana in Features

Is the quality of the food at Lucali dipping?

My father is visiting us this weekend, and I had planned to take him to Lucali for a couple pies. However, my coworker recently reported a subpar meal: she said the sauce tasted like it was from a jar, and the crust lacked flavor.

Has anyone else noticed a decline in quality there? Or could this have simply been a fluke? I used to live in Carroll Gardens and ate at Lucali several times. Every visit was fantastic. My last trip was in spring of 2008.

Thanks!

Aug 20, 2009
annana in Outer Boroughs

DON'T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA

Here's a thread I started about BA in January 2008: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489269

Astoria eats

We've been in Astoria for exactly a year and have sampled many of the local options. Here's what we've tried:

Kebab Cafe: Absolutely incredible, though those who are squeamish about offal may find the menu off-putting. The chef, Ali, has a commanding and gregarious presence, and is very confident in his cooking. Standout dishes include the mixed plate of hummus and baba ghanoush, sweetbreads with capers, and lamb cheeks. Pricier than what you might expect for the neighborhood, but worth it.

Arepas Cafe: I'm constantly craving arepas, and these satisfy me every time. I like the pelua (beef with cheddar cheese), guayanesa tropical (fried plantains with guayanés cheese and avocado), and mami (roasted pork with avocado and white cheese). Their garlic–cilantro condiment is addictive. Also great yucca fries.

Poodam's Thai Cuisine: I love the sweet and sour larb (though I have not eaten larb elsewhere, so I'm not sure how this stacks up in terms of authenticity). Also good are the chive dumplings; duck basil; papaya salad.

Seva: We really liked this place when we first moved to the neighborhood—we once had a catfish entree that still stands out in my mind. But on our third or fourth visit, we noticed a decline in quality. We haven't been back to the restaurant since December or so, but I still occasionally call for delivery. You can order an appetizer, entree, and dessert for a total of $11 or $12 (I like the gulab jamun) and stretch everything across two or three meals. The delivery is fine, but I wouldn't point anyone seeking great Indian food toward Seva. Can anyone report on a recent meal there?

Brick Cafe: Pretty lame. Fresh toast tasted like Wonder Bread. Creme Brulee had a rubbery surface that almost resisted penetration by my spoon, and its consistency was lumpy. A pasta dish was topped with what appeared to be store-bought ragú. There are far better places to patronize in Astoria.

Mundo Cafe: Scattered menu. People rave about those red sonja, which I don't get. I had Ottoman dumplings which tasted OK at first, but eventually the seasoning was too potent. My boyfriend took about two bites of the crabmeat burger and could not go on.

Cedar's Meat House: Had a beef kebab pita with pickles and turnips for only $3. Worth checking out.

Various taco vendors: I don't understand why there's so much fuss over the El Rey del Taco truck—I'd say it's on par with Viva el Mariachi (which I happen to like more because their tacos come with guacamole). I also like Viva's tamales. A couple months ago we finally tried a Latin grocer, El Jarochito, down the street from our building (on 29th, close to 30th Ave., next door to a barbershop). Great tacos there as well. On my first visit I noticed a "sweet tamale" on their menu, so I ordered one. It contained an almost alarmingly unnaturally fuschia-colored and hard-to-identify filling—maybe a sweet bean paste? Also raisins. Probably wouldn't order that again, but we do love their chorizo tacos. According to my boyfriend, they also do a mean huitlacoche quesadilla.

Sal, Kris, and Charlie's: Finally ventured up to this deli last week. I had a simple sandwich of genoa salami, cheddar cheese, onions, and mustard, while my boyfriend got the famous "Bomb." We both got two meals out of these sandwiches, a good deal considering they cost $6 or $7. I recommend taking your order and a soda to Hoyt Playground and watching the kids shoot hoops while you eat.

Taverna Kyclades: Good, would like to go back and try more. Had the grilled calamari, while my aunt had the delicious saganaki (though I can't imagine eating that entire brick of fried cheese on my own).

I know I have more to report on, but I'm drawing a blank now. Back later!

Jul 21, 2009
annana in Outer Boroughs

Bare Burger (Astoria)

We visited Bare Burger last weekend. I had a Piedmontese beef and bacon burger—it came out overcooked. My boyfriend's "jalapeño" burger was also overdone, and, according to him, it possessed almost no heat at all.

On the positive side, he got the peanut butter–chocolate milkshake, which was excellent (my chocolate one tasted like your standard diner milkshake; not necessary a bad thing in itself, but given that Bare Burger makes their milkshakes with organic dairy products, I was expecting better). We got sides of fries and onion rings, both of which were great.

Maybe we'll check it out again in a couple weeks. I'm sure they're still working out a lot of kinks in the kitchen. They really need to improve burgers if they want to charge such high prices for the area.

Jul 08, 2009
annana in Outer Boroughs

In need of small, quiet venue for business dinner

My apologies - I'm pretty swamped at work today and rushed through my post, forgetting to mention those important specs.

Location: Ideally, we want to eat in Midtown, as it would be most convenient for all members of our party. We're open to Flatiron, Gramercy, Chelsea and the Village, however.

Cost per guest: $100-$125 tops (includes wine and gratuity)

Again, we're seeking a venue with a low noise level.

Apr 30, 2008
annana in Manhattan

In need of small, quiet venue for business dinner

Hello Hounds,

I'm trying to organize a media dinner that will take place in early June (I work for a food PR firm, and we're taking out a client as well as a few food editors). We'll be a party of 12. Given that this account's budget falls on the lower end of the spectrum, we're trying to avoid shelling out for a private room. Can anyone recommend a moderately priced, quiet restaurant with good food that can accomodate our party? Thanks in advance!

Apr 30, 2008
annana in Manhattan

Buenos Aires Overview

In December I went to Buenos Aires for two and a half weeks to visit my boyfriend. We ate out nearly every day. I had originally aimed to report on every venue we visited, but at this point I can only easily remember what was, well, memorable. Here's a summary:

We had our first lunch opposite the western border of the botanical gardens at Guido's Bar, which churns out delicious homemade pasta. I had the Bolognese with tagliatelle and the boyfriend had some kind of pasta with mushrooms and truffle oil. Both excellent. We went toward the end of lunch hours and a couple menu items had run out, so going will likely ensure the best selection. The owner is very friendly, making sure to welcome every patron personally. We went back a week later, but a power outage (a common occurrence in BA) had brought their kitchen to a halt. Fortunately, there were still a few warm pizzas in the oven, so we had a tasty margherita.

Sucre is a bit of a drive from the center of the city, but it's worth the trek. Slick and hip interior, including a towering, back-lit bar. Great cocktail list. I had the goat sweet breads, followed by delicious roasted hen with spiced basmati and apples. The latter was simple, but very well prepared. Our server was a little inattentive.

Grand Bar Darzon (Libertad and Santa Fe) has similarly hip fare to that of Sucre (both venues belong to the same restaurant group). Another extensive cocktail list.. I loved my sole cebiche appetizer with pine nuts and melon juice, followed by a main of gnocchi with shrimp.

For some traditional Argentine chow, we squeezed into a dive parilla on Carlos Calvo between Bolivar and Defensa in San Telmo. After awkwardly maneuvering our way through a space only slightly bigger than my freshman year dorm room, we perched on rickety stools and devoured choripan (grilled chorizo on toasted bread) slathered with fresh chimichurri and chili pepper spread. Soccer memorabilia and clippings covered every inch of the walls and meaty aromas hung all around us. An absolute dream!

We dined at Nectarine, a high-end French venue that I believe is in Recoleta, tucked into the end of a brightly illuminated alley. Excellent green tea creme brulee and flawless, accommodating, and warm service. My boyfriend loved his entree with oysters and salmon. Tasting menu available. (La Bourgogne, at the Alvear Palace Hotel, is the other French venue with a great reputation, but we never made it there).

Thymus in Palermo is great for international, avant-garde cuisine at an almost criminally superb value, and they have a tasting menu that permits separate members within the same party to order different items. I suggest the blueberry terrine with rosewater syrup. We sat downstairs, underwhelmed by stone fixtures and other cold, minimalist decor. One of our city guides claimed that this venue offered romantic ambiance, so I suspect that one needs to sit upstairs to achieve this effect. Regardless, the food is excellent.

Oviedo in Barrio Norte is also worthwhile. We had an excellent cheese plate and an appetizer of two squid preparations. Our entrees were satisfactory; I had steak and boyfriend had suckling pig. Supposedly the fish is much better. Nice desserts and wine list. Understatedly elegant and professional.

Asian fare is sparse in BA, but Green Bamboo in Palermo Soho (or perhaps it was Palermo Viejo - I get my Palermos confused) did more than satisfy my craving for Vietnamese. The food is decidedly modern; dont go looking for a bowl a pho. Fresh cocktails and creative presentations. Best avoid the puzzlingly rich and ostentatious desserts.

Finally, my favorite restaurant was Social Paraiso in Palermo Viejo (on Honduras, I think). The food is honest with a touch of tasteful creativity. During our first meal there my boyfriend announced that they made him the best pork rib he had ever eaten. I enjoyed the Risotto Milanese with Osso Buco and the Patagonian Lamb on separate occasions. We also split an excellent appetizer of three salmon preparations and a dessert with crisp slices of caramelized apple and Schezuan pepper ice cream. Friendly staff in a bright, clean, and down-to-earth setting. Great value, too, with a daily prix fixe lunch for 15 pesos. Outstanding!

So there you have it. If I have a chance, I will contribute more as the details return to me. I'm going to be daydreaming about this remarkable trip for the rest of my day :)

Sahadi's

Yes - spices at Sahadi's are almost too good to be true. If only they still sold them in bulk...

May 21, 2007
annana in Outer Boroughs

cardamom and fruit pairings

Oh, man. I love mangoes. Do you happen to have an recipes that pair them with cardamom?

May 11, 2007
annana in Home Cooking

cardamom and fruit pairings

i would like to bake a tart flavored with cardamom and topped with a fruit. i have tried one with oranges and enjoyed it, but i would love to make one with other fruit. strawberries would work well, i think. i'm also big fan of blackberries, but i'm concerned the flavor might overpower the spice. any suggestions?

May 11, 2007
annana in Home Cooking