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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Hamburger Helper – Promising Newcomers in Fort Greene

Fort Greene hounds have flipped over the burgers at Mullane’s. They’re well seasoned, handmade, and cooked to a turn. Buffalo wings are authentically crispy, meaty, and spicy, reports upstate expat faprilano, who also recommends the house steak. Fish and chips are crisp and tasty but, some say, overpriced.

Just down the block, 67 Burger scores with its Blue Burger, says VocalLizzy. She loves its “hitting on all cylinders” combination of meaty richness, bacon smokiness, and blue cheese sharpness. Beyond burgers, hounds recommend chicken, grilled cheese, or turkey club sandwiches. But some find the prices too high and note that add-ons add up fast at 75 cents for jalapenos, $1 for cheese or sauteed onions, and $2 for bacon or avocado.

Mullane’s Bar and Grill [Fort Greene]
71 Lafayette Ave., between S. Elliott and Fort Greene Pl., Brooklyn

67 Burger [Fort Greene]
67 Lafayette Ave., at Fulton St., Brooklyn

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Mullane’s Bar and Grill —Fort Greene Brooklyn
Brooklyn’s 67 Burger–More than burgers and all is yummy!

A Divine Doner Sandwich at Ali Baba

“I worship Berlin-style doner with red cabbage,” testifies jon, “and I’ve found a place here that has it.” He directs fellow believers to Ali Baba, which turns out a terrific version of the Turkey-by-way-of-Germany spit-grilled lamb sandwiches.

They’re the specialty at Kebap G, a takeout joint whose doner kebap on good hot pide bread will scratch the itch, even if it won’t make you forget Berlin, says TipsyMcStagger.

Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine [Murray Hill]
212 E. 34th St., between 2nd and 3rd Aves., Manhattan

Kebap G [Upper East Side]
1830 2nd Ave., between E. 94th and 95th Sts., Manhattan

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Chichen Itza Opens in MacArthur Park

Chichen Itza, whose Mercado Paloma stall is a hound favorite, has finally opened its long-anticipated restaurant, reports 9thandBroadway, and the panucho and cochinita pibil are fabulous. It’s Yucatan-style Mexican food, in the ground floor of the Asbury apartment building.

Chichen Itza
2501 W. 6th St., Los Angeles

Mercado La Paloma
3655 S. Grand Ave. #C6, Los Angeles


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Chichen Itza restaurant arrives

Habanero Salsa in the ‘Hood

Dommy passed a hot spot for outdoor al pastor pits, on Central north of Jefferson. On her return, though, she couldn’t find them and instead stumbled upon a taco table on MLK Boulevard that a guy had set up in front of his house.

There’s a grill, and a braising “hubcap” where the juices collect and infuse the meat and braised onions. Chorizos are obviously homemade, and are perfect in a mulita–you get two tortillas to soak up all the juice, and cheese to heighten the flavors. Lengua, in a taco, is melty and flavorful. Salsas include habanero salsa (unusual for an outdoor, non-Yucatecan operation).

It’s definitely a neighborhood operation, with most of the customers being neighbors–even the non-Latino kids are hooked on cabeza (although Dommy says her portion was a little gristly).

Taco table
Martin Luther King Boulevard, west of Central
Locater of intersection

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South L.A. taco table

Preserving Fresh Herbs for the Long Haul

It’s possible to freeze some fresh herbs and maintain good flavor, when you have an overabundance of such green glory. Plan on using frozen herbs for cooking; you won’t be able to use them in applications that call for raw fresh herbs. Thyme, rosemary, and sage can be rinsed, dried well, and stored in zipper-top freezer bags as is. It’s a snap to strip the leaves from the still-frozen stems, says MakingSense. Parsley leaves can be washed, dried, chopped, and frozen loose in freezer bags. Just grab the amount you need to throw into your dish.
There’s no satisfactory way to freeze whole basil leaves, but they can be minced finely, mixed with a little bit of olive oil and frozen in ice cube trays. Pop the cubes into a freezer bag and add them directly to sauces, etc., as they cook.

SeaSide Tomato makes herbed salts with end-of-season herbs, which can be enjoyed year ‘round and make great gifts. Wash, dry, and tear the leaves of fresh herbs in small pieces, and combine with kosher or sea salt in a ratio of 2/3 salt to 1/3 herbs or half and half. Use a combination of herbs or a single type, depending on your preference. The salt can be stored in tightly sealed bags for months (it will be damp at first, from the fresh herbs, but will dry out over time). Transfer the salt to pretty jars for gift giving or to keep in your spice rack.

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Freezing herbs —which ones work?

Different Takes on Baked Ziti

JaneRI finds that sharp cheddar cheese nicely offsets the sweetness of roasted butternut squash and onions. She combines the roasted vegetables with 1 lb. cooked ziti, a drained can of diced tomatoes, and plenty of grated sharp cheddar. If the mixture doesn’t seem moist enough, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream. Turn into a baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly and heated through.

greenstate’s baked ziti with chicken is easy and comforting: Saute 1 lb. cubed boneless, skinless, chicken in olive oil. Add a chopped onion, a can of roasted tomatoes, and two cups of tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and basil. Toss with a pound of cooked ziti and a mixture of fresh mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan cheeses. Top with a generous layer of mozzarella and bake for 45 minutes at 375F.

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Give me your best baked ziti recipe—no meat, please.

No More Drippy Wine Bottles

The DropStop pouring disk is a nifty little gadget that fits inside the neck of wine bottles bottle and stops them from dripping. RicRios calls it the best invention ever! A great solution for avoiding those red wine stains on the tablecloth.

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I hate bottle circumcision

Rao’s Marinara Sauce

Mere mortals can’t get into Rao’s Italian restaurant in New York City. The closest most of us will get to the experience is to buy a jar of their famous marinara sauce. It’s excellent, but pricey.

About ten dollars a jar isn’t unusual; Atomica has seen it as high as $12. Most agree that it’s worth it. Sometimes you can find it on sale. (Use a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, for 20% off.)

It’s simple, pure, not sweet , not too thick, and seasoned just right, says Jesdamala.

Rao’s Cookbook has the recipe.

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Rao’s maranara sauce @ $10–What gives?

Venti Nonfat G-String Latte

According to a piece in The Seattle Times, the “sex sells” idea is running rampant through the suburban Seattle coffee trade, where you might get confused if you went to buy caffeine or a new push-up bra.

Taking a page from Hooters’ sound business plan, Seattle-area coffee pushers are putting the “ta-tas” in baristas by embracing a very un-Peets-ian uniform.

At Port Orchard’s Natté Latté, baristas sport hot-pink hot pants and tight white tank tops. Day-of-the-week theme outfits ranging from racy lingerie to ‘fetish’ ensembles are the dress code at Moka Girls Espresso in Auburn and at several Cowgirls Espresso stands in the area. Bikini tops are the special at Café Lorraine on Highway 9 in Woodinville, and the women of the Sweet Spot in Shoreline pose provocatively in Playmate-style profiles on the stand’s Web site.

‘In this area, we all know how to make good coffee,’ said Barbara Record, who opened Bikini Espresso in Renton last month. The trick is to set your business apart, she said, and sex is one surefire way to do that.

My first thought is, why is the Victoria’s Secret coffee shop dressing just for men? What about some Chippendale-esque dancer (more along the lines of Patrick Swayze, not Chris Farley) playfully asking if I want cream or a stir stick?

At Best Friend Espresso in Kenmore, baristas go thigh-high. An elevated service window offers customers a nearly full-length view of pretty, young baristas—some of them high school students—in short skirts, tank tops and high heels.

High school students? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. But hey, even some of these coffee-shop owners and managers have their limits.

Bowden said law requires that employees cover their breasts and buttocks, so there will be no ‘thong Thursday,’ as some customers have requested.

Well, sure, because that would be tacky.

Modern Potluck

Modern Potluck

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