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

The Best (and Worst) Food Ads from Super Bowl 45

Like nearly all things American, the Super Bowl is as much about food and drink as it is about anything else. So it's no surprise that advertisers of all things edible and drinkable get in the game in a big way. Out of a slew of different ads hawking snacks and drinks, the following four really stood out—as being excellent or quite the opposite. READ MORE

Crowd-Pleasing Cheesecake in a Corner of Queens

La Cheesecake is an out-of-the-way bakery well off the main drag in College Point, Queens, but sweet-toothed hounds have sniffed it out anyway. They're queuing up outside this tiny shop for creamy cheesecake finished to order with cherry, strawberry, pineapple, and other toppings—"better than most of the 'best' around the city," dietndesire swears.

"The place is KILLER," declares ZenFoodist, who loves its rainbow bar—think heaps of rainbow cookies, stacked uncut in a footlong cake. La Cheesecake also bakes splendid Italian-style bread filled with roasted garlic cloves, foodie9 reports, so it's not all about the sweets. Really, though, it seems to be 99 percent about the sweets, especially that signature cheesecake, which ZenFoodist ranks slightly ahead of the one at hound darling Cascon, not far away in Whitestone.

For those who prefer the less creamy, ricotta-based Italian style, janie recommends Lety's in Jackson Heights, whose baker was schooled in the cheesecake arts at East Village landmark Veniero's.

But janie's own cheesecake heaven is Miss Grimble Desserts, a mostly wholesale bakery that closed its retail shop years ago but still takes care of walk-up customers at its plant in the Bronx. Miss Grimble's vanilla cheesecake is simple, wonderful, and hard to beat, but it also bakes first-rate Sachertorte and carrot, blackout, and chocolate mousse cakes, among other things. Get there early on a weekday. As Miss Grimble reminds prospective customers on its website, "we are bakers, so we are only here from 3 a.m. to noon."

La Cheesecake [College Point]
126-06 14th Avenue (near 126th Street), College Point, Queens

Cascon Cheesecake [Whitestone]
7-04 149th Street (at Seventh Avenue), Whitestone, Queens

Lety Bakery & Cafe [Jackson Heights]
77-07 37th Avenue (near 77th Street), Jackson Heights, Queens

Veniero's [East Village]
342 E. 11th Street (at First Avenue), Manhattan

Miss Grimble Desserts [Bronx]
909 E. 135th Street (at Locust Avenue), Bronx

Discuss: la cheesecake-college point

Overheard on the New York Boards

"The burgers were quite imaginative, with kimchi and tomato relish, and many in our group enjoyed the various pot pie selections (chicken and mushroom). The gumbo also received raves, very authentic, reported one who had lived in NOLA. Everyone liked the spicy Bloody Marys, which had a real kick." – Curious Al on Sunday brunch at The Green Table

"Joe's is still there and is still the REAL deal in Italian sausage both fresh and dried. One of Joe's sons runs the joint now (Paulie). My family has been in the sausage biz for over 100 years in NYC, and this is the only place I have seen that even comes close to the original simple formula." – bklynsausage on Joe's Pork Store in Queens

"They now have a good sushi chef, and sushi was really something one didn't consider getting there, but it's worth trying.... They served a natto dish with quail egg, some salmon roe and other things to mix together and place on crisp nori and roll it up yourself. However, beware, the thing in the bottom wooden tray below the nori is not wasabi or spices, it is a hot coal.... Perhaps I had too much sake, but it sure looked like something to spread on the nori." – foodwhisperer on soba specialist Matsugen

How to Clean Your Cutting Board Without Soap

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Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, urges you to reconsider your soap usage on cutting boards. Who wants soapy residue? CHOW Tips are the shared wisdom of our community. If you’ve figured ... WATCH THE VIDEO

DIY Projects

Make your own cheese, beer, sausage, yogurt, jerky, candy bars ... the list is endless. (OK, not endless; we've got more than 30 homemade goodies laid out here.) BROWSE

Tapas, Spain’s Way or Ours

To experience a typical Madrid-style tapas bar, head to Russian Hill. Lalola Bar de Tapas makes its own chorizo, and "their tortilla Española is just about as good as it gets in the Bay Area," says flavorenhancer. It recently expanded, perhaps compromising a bit of its authenticity since tapas bars are typically crowded.

"Zarzuela is my favorite. Subtle and homemade quality...not over salted," says ML8000. But in bbulkow's opinion, Iberia "is the only place really like Spain." But maybe strict authenticity misses the point. ThirstyBear, which pairs California-fied tapas with American craft brews, mainlines the fun feel of a real tapas joint, says the mess.

Contigo, Bocadillos (for a Basque touch), and Barlata, with the same Catalan owner as B44, are also hound favorites. And Joan Kureczka likes Esperpento, which has more vegetable dishes than the usual—grilled artichokes are exceptionally good.

Lalola Bar de Tapas [Russian Hill]
1358 Mason Street, San Francisco

Zarzuela [Russian Hill]
2000 Hyde Street, San Francisco

Iberia Restaurant [Peninsula]
1026 Alma Street, Menlo Park

ThirstyBear Brewing Co. [SOMA]
661 Howard Street, San Francisco

Contigo [Noe Valley]
1320 Castro Street, San Francisco

Bocadillos [Jackson Square]
710 Montgomery Street, San Francisco

Barlata [East Bay]
4901 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

B44 [Union Square]
44 Belden Place, San Francisco

Esperpento [Mission]
3295 22nd Street, San Francisco

Discuss: Are there any good real spanish tapas bars in the SF area.

A $10 Brownie Mix Worth Its Weight in Chocolate

To a food writer, a $10 price tag on a box of frickin' brownie mix is a dare. The dare is this: "Buy me. If I don't produce the most amazing, luscious, mind-blowing brownies you've ever tasted, you can become outraged at how expensive I am and then subsequently rip me a new orifice of your choosing." READ MORE

Yes, but What’s the Food Angle on Egypt?

For most of us, just keeping up with the waves of demonstrations and thuggish counterdemonstrations in Egypt is intense enough without getting all gastronomic about it. But there is, rest assured, a food component even to Middle East unrest and revolution. Grist ably rounds up the food-related Mideast coverage and discovers a pattern: Sky-high food prices were a big player in the unrest in Tunisia which in turn sparked unrest in Egypt—a country that actually does a dang fine job of subsidizing staples such as bread. READ MORE

Luca Cucina, a Taste of Little Italy

"Big win on Luca, if you're a fan of old-style East Coast red-sauce places," says ernie in berkeley of Luca Cucina Italiana, which took over a former Jamaican restaurant’s space. "A meatball hero—excuse me, panini—($4.50) was hefty and messy enough to evoke nostalgia," says ernie. Those panini/heroes come on Acme ciabatta, and evacarleton liked the (free-range) chicken parmigiana, caprese, and eggplant parm versions.

"Top gourmet? Not what I had. Good and priced right? You bet," says lmnopm, who had the meatball sandwich. There are also soups (including a tasty polenta soup: tomato broth with polenta, corn kernels, and a little mozzarella), salads, and pastas.

With "Sinatra in the background, all that was missing was checkered tablecloths and Chianti bottles with candles," ernie says.

Luca Cucina Italiana [East Bay]
2057 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley
No phone available

Discuss: Luca Cucina Italiana / San Pablo Av. /Berkeley

What’s Your State Dessert?

News that state legislators in Maine are arguing over whether or not to vote whoopie pie in as the official state dessert naturally raises the question: "Um, what? There are official state desserts?"

Of course there are. In a country where we choose official state insects, state tartans, official state soil (yes! In Wisconsin, it's antigo silt loam!), of course we have official state desserts. Here's a handy list (not all the states have official desserts) so that you can stay in compliance with your state's official sweets preferences.