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

Where to Splurge on Tasting Menus

No bones about it: Tasting menus are expensive. Depending on the swankiness of the joint, multicourse tastings can run anywhere to $100 to $200 a person. And that's before you pay for the wine.

So where are the worthwhile spots to drop such coin? Multiple hounds recommend the following spots:

• Craigie on Main, where the six-course tasting will set you back $90, and the ten-course $115. "All my best meals at Craigie have been the blind tastings," avows kimfair1. "A six course usually contains at least an extra amuse, and usually something else extra at the end. Chef Tony Maws will usually personally deliver the final savory course of the evening."

• Clio, where a nine-course tasting is $105, and the fourteen-course $135. "IMHO, that's the way to experience Clio," says lipoff. "Ken Oringer really pulls out the stops on the tasting menu, and I think his molecular gastronomy food shows best in that format."

• L'Espalier, which has a Spring Degustation for $104 and a "tasting journey" at $185 that joth68 says is well worth it.

Craigie on Main [Cambridge]
863 Main Street, Cambridge

Clio [Back Bay]
370-A Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

L'Espalier [Back Bay]
774 Boylston Street, Boston

Discuss: Best Boston Prix Fixe

Overheard on the Boston Board

"Pierrot [has a] mellow French bistro vibe. Price points are about right, nice ambience, and excellent meat selections. Service is good as well, and they have a decent wine list with some affordable selections." – StevieC

"The best lamejuns are sold at an unlikely spot, Victor's Falafel Wraps, 233 Worcester Road, Natick. ... These are truly superior; when heated on a rack in the oven until just beginning to crisp around the edges, the bread becomes a little chewy, with great flavor." – 2ForTheRoad

"I recently had some fantastic Chinese-style fruit/whipped cream cake and a spectacular Portuguese tart at Great Taste in Chinatown." – Luther

Punk-Rock Fanciness at the Alembic

I’m going to start with a bold statement: the Alembic is one of my very favorite places to eat and drink at in San Francisco. READ MORE

The Thin Got Fat and the Fat Got Fatter

How fat, as a nation, are we? We're so fat that the fattest states on a 1991 map of obesity map would, by comparison, be the skinniest states when stacked up against a 2007–2009 map featuring similar data. West Virginia, Louisiana, and Mississippi are at the vanguard of the heavy, running less than 20 percent obese in 1991, and reporting 30 plus percent obesity in recent years. READ MORE

Pork Belly Croque and Good Vibes

In San Francisco's Bernal Heights you can walk down Cortland Avenue, the main drag, and kinda trick yourself into thinking you are walking Main Street in a small town. Despite the neighborhoody, family vibe, it still feels a little bohemian, like maybe the dude going by pushing a stroller has a Burning Man art car parked in his garage. READ MORE

Stacking for Big Savings

A nice little Consumer Reports rundown on using coupons to save at the grocery store introduced me to the concept of "stacking," or using two coupons for one product at the same time. What you do, see, is you save a manufacturer's coupon until you see a coupon for the same product at a store in which you shop. Use both coupons and save big!


Waiter, There’s a Hair in My Jam

Why spend $3.99 on a single pound of Smucker's Strawberry Preserves made from boring old strawberries when you can spend $7.60 for five pounds of "Occult Jam," made from Princess Di's hair?


Moroccan Food Without Kitsch

San Francisco restaurant Aziza has incredible food, a Michelin star, an Iron Chef–winning chef, and a gorgeous, sexy interior. And yet, after eating there and raving about it to friends and co-workers, the response was generally, “Oh I’ve been meaning to get there. So you really liked it?” Maybe because it’s out in the fog-obscured, bad-parking-cursed Richmond District, or maybe because it’s continuously represented as a "Moroccan restaurant," which for many people conjures up images of syrupy-sweet bastila and belly dancing. The truth is, Aziza is as far from the kitschy Americanized version of Moroccan food as you can get. In fact, though Chef Mourad Lahlou was born and raised in Marrakesh, his native cuisine is more of an inspiration for one of the most creative menus around. READ MORE

A Real French Crêpe

La Petite Creperie has been open for about a month. It's a little place, run by a French guy and an American woman. "I've been to most of the crepe places in LA and Santa Monica, and found them all to be pretty mediocre. This is the first place I will definitely go back to," says vittus.

A potato bacon crêpe is tasty and perfect. The potatoes are cubed and crunchy, and the crêpe is brown and a little crunchy—no soggy mess of a crêpe here.

The savory crêpes are made with buckwheat, and the sweet crêpes use a different batter. "I asked the chef about this, and he said most places here just use the sweet crepe batter for their savory crepes...but in France you would be stoned to death for doing that," reports vittus.

La Petite Creperie [Westside - Beaches]
3809 Grand View Boulevard, Los Angeles

Discuss: La Petite Creperie in Mar Vista. New Place, best Crepes in West LA

Phillips BBQ in Chino: They’ve Got Tri-tip

Beloved Los Angeles barbecue spot Phillips has opened a brand-new location in Chino. It is, admittedly, in "not the most upscale part of town," admits ChinoWayne, but it's worth the journey for "real barbeque, from an outpost of a legendary pitmaster, who is also a Soul Brother."

Ribs are cleanly trimmed and cooked to a perfect consistency, says ChinoWayne: "Not falling off the bone mush, they were toothsome, sticking to the bone but tender."

Of greater note: The Chino branch serves tri-tip, which the famed LA locations don't serve. They're very proud of the stuff, and it is spectacular. "The meat was smoky, tender, and moist. The sauce that came with the ribs and meat was sublime, not sweet, not too thick or two watery, not too spicy but with a nice residual burn in your throat," says ChinoWayne.

Phillips BBQ [Inland Empire]
11748 Central Avenue, Chino

Discuss: Phillips BBQ, Chino: An Enticing Sampling