Articles rss

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

Where Are the Farmers’ Market Bargains?

Time was when you'd go to a farmers' market to save money. These days? Not so much. "I'm old enough to remember when part of the appeal of driving out to the countryside and going to a farm stand was getting fresh produce at a bargain price," says katzzz. "Simple concept: Cut out the middleman so the money goes directly to the grower and the customer saves some dough."

But these days, many markets are more like boutiques for luxury shoppers. What gives? Part of the problem is that some farms sell part of their crop to wholesalers, who then sell to consumers. The rock-bottom prices wholesalers pay have to be made up for with higher prices at other selling points, like markets. In addition, many market sellers are small farms, which lack the economy of scale of big operations. They may also use organic or similar growing methods, which require more labor and deliver a smaller yield, all of which raise prices.

All that being said, it's worth it to many people to support farmers' markets, and, by extension, locally grown food and small, family-run farms. If you are such a person, StriperGuy has a smoking-hot tip: The Hmong farmers, who attend several local markets, have gorgeous Asian vegetables for great prices. StriperGuy got "pea tendrils to die for" for $4 a pound, "that would be $8 elsewhere." Other hounds have bought magnificent squash blossoms, Chinese broccoli, ong choy (a.k.a. morning glory greens, Chinese water spinach), cilantro, Thai basil, arugula, and interesting greens like amaranth. Woo hoo!

The Hmong farmers are at many different markets every day of the week; their complete schedule can be found here.

Discuss: Farmers Market prices

It’s Hot Outside. What Do You Eat?

What hits the spot when you're hungry but can't stand to turn on the stove or ingest something warm?

• Salads are, of course, a natural. Good choices: The green mango or tea leaf salad with sesame seeds, peanuts, garlic, and peas at YoMa; the "delicious fresh tomato salad with fresh corn and a soft white cheese crostini" that wooed cherrytomato at Summer Shack.

• Cold soups are another classic chill pill. EVOO serves a worthy version of gazpacho with sea bass belly riding atop; barleywino is a fan of the cold corn soup with corn fritters at Scampo.

Madrid lauds the cool delights at Cafe Istanbul'lu, previously called out in Digest for being wonderful: "The menu is full of vegetables, yogurt, and the Turkish breakfast platter for at least two includes watermelon."

• And don't forget seafood, light and fresh enough to sit easily on a summer-sour stomach. cherrytomato enthuses about Summer Shack: "garlic bread crumb stuffed razor clams, steamers, and the best lobster roll. You could tell that the meat was freshly shucked and not the chewy stuff. The lobster roll had little cubes of fresh cucumber. Blueberry pie for dessert. Summer shack has summer food."

YoMa Burmese Restaurant [Allston]
5 N. Beacon Street, Boston
617-783-1372

Summer Shack [Cambridge]
149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge
617-520-9500

EVOO [Cambridge]
350 Third Street, Cambridge
617-661-3866

Scampo [Downtown]
215 Charles Street, Boston
617-536-2100

Cafe Istanbul'lu [North of Boston]
237 Holland Street, Somerville
617-440-7387

Discuss: Summer Fare

Cheez Doodles, In Memoriam

It's not often that we turn to the New York Times for a tender moment of bittersweet reflection, but perhaps we should. The first place to look is probably the obituaries section, where amongst the dead giants (Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bea Arthur) you can sometimes find an improbable, lesser, and equally interesting subject like Morrie Yohai. READ MORE

Bubble Tea, Delivered!

All you need to know about Leisure Station Tea Shop in Kendall Square can be summed up in two short sentences. Ready? Great tea. Free delivery.

First the teas. Word is they're good, not too sweet. SmartChow sings Leisure Station's praises: "The teas are definitely flavorful and the jelly flavors delicate." Try the honey citron fruit tea and the jasmine milk tea. "Don't forget to add boba and a jelly," advises SmartChow. Each addition will run you 50 cents.

And the delivery: If you live or work within the MIT area, Leisure Station delivers, free. Sometimes within ten minutes.

Leisure Station Tea Shop [Cambridge]
625 Kendall Street, Cambridge
567-855-1668

Discuss: Anyone Try the Leisure Station Tea Shop in Kendall?

Overheard on the Boston Boards

"Rami's is basically a takeout joint, but the falafel is amazing. I used to live in the neighborhood, and every time I'm within range, I go in and get the platter with the hot sauce zhoug. The pita is great and mixing up everything on the platter works well." – Madrid

"The burger was really good—I wasn't expecting much. Fat 'n' juicy pub style, with jack cheese, a sweet salsa, and L&T. The tots rocked my world, almost as good as their tot poutine." – nsenada on Lower Depths

"[T]hey essentially pile an entire lobster (steamed in-store) onto a grilled, buttered hot dog roll, adding only a little bit of mayo to give it a kick." – TroyOLeary on the lobster roll at Foodie's Duxbury Market

Buff Wings Brings the Heat

Buff Wings’ pride and joy may be their homemade hot sauce. They have two kinds: "Ridiculous," made from fresh habaneros, and "Ludacris," made from ghost peppers. "The Ridiculous had a nice kick to it and that sweet-fruity taste that habaneros impart," says WildSwede. The wings themselves are nice and meaty.

Possibly even better: the Ghetto Dog, a Hebrew National hot dog wrapped in bacon and covered in grilled peppers, onions, and condiments. It is a fantastic, fantastic dog, says WildSwede.

Ian, the proprietor, is "very serious about the integrity of his products," says WildSwede. He makes almost all his sauces himself. He makes waffle batter from scratch. "We spoke at length about the ghost peppers and he said he had tried using extract amongst other versions, but he said he really likes the flavor of the sauce from the fresh ones and prefers that. Gotta give him credit," says WildSwede.

Buff Wings [Eagle Rock]
4411 Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles
323-256-4870

Discuss: Buff Wings - Eagle Rock

Fried Colombian Empanadas

Mi Ama is a brightly decorated and engaging, but often sadly empty, Colombian restaurant, says CarrieWas218.

It's an excellent place to sample Colombian empanadas. Unlike thick, baked Argentinean empanadas, the Colombian version is pure fried-dough glory. Mi Ama's are made with imported corn masa and stuffed with a purée of mashed potato, beef, and onion. The whole affair is given a cornmeal crust and is "rich and flavorful although I found the fine grind of the interior to mute the meat flavors, instead of emphasize them," says CarrieWas218.

They're served with a chunky salsa with tons of cilantro. Juices—like guanabana with milk—are filling and incredibly tasty.

Mi Ama Restaurant [South LA]
14605 Prairie Avenue, Lawndale
310-675-7323

Discuss: Mi Ama - the second Fried Dough experience

What Wines Pair with Placenta?

The sensationalistic gross-out topic of eating one's placenta after birth is a perennial source of interest for writers and readers. But a new article (now available online) in the latest issue of Meatpaper, written by Cynthia Mitchell (a friend of mine), approaches it with hilarity. Mitchell became interested in the topic when she and her roommate were approached by a mysterious group called Adventures in Dining and asked to host a placenta-eating dinner at their apartment. Although the dinner was canceled (something about the placenta having been "tainted" by formaldehyde), Mitchell was intrigued, and decided to research the topic of "placentophagy." As you might expect, the blood-filled sack is nutritious and has been used in many cultures as a cure or nutritional supplement in various forms. But wait, there's more.

READ MORE

La Super Rica Style, on La Brea

For those who love the Mexican stylings of the Santa Barbara institution La Super Rica, we now have a spiritual outpost in Los Angeles. Tinga is the place, and the owner says that his life was changed forever by one meal at La Super Rica, explains Mr Taster. Tinga serves some of the best Mexican food that fooddude37 has ever had. Cochinita pibil tacos are "ridiculously good," with perfect seasoning and textures. "The flavor has a deep complexity and I noted some char on it, it reminded me of real barbecue from Lockhart, Texas (just not as smoky)," says fooddude37. Short rib tacos are also amazing, with perfectly textured, juicy, full-flavored meat. bsquared2, however, complains of the prices ($4.25 a taco), and calls Tinga "good, but not great." Tinga [Mid-City] 142 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles No phone available Discuss: LA SUPER RICA inspired joint on La Brea.... anyone tried the new Tinga yet? Tinga on La Brea. Some of the best Mexican food I've ever had.

Overheard on the Los Angeles Board

"Wicked good. Tons of fresh peaches and their delicious whipped cream, no need for syrup. It made for a great Sunday brunch. The pancakes themselves were so good, very buttermilky, super tender." - baloney on fresh peach pancakes at Jongwaard's Bake N Broil

"They are here. Someone just handed me a box of peach donuts from Donut Man. Go forward and eat!" - ipsedixit

"A burger at a sushi joint? Kuma's Kobe Burger was twelve bucks for a pretty large charbroiled burger on a HUGE ciabatta bun, topped with white cheddar cheese and bacon, and served with seasoned steak fries. ... My son and I thought our burgers and fries were beyond delicious." - Briggs on Kuma Sushi