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

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!

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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?

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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
310-437-0226

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
909-517-3500

Discuss: Phillips BBQ, Chino: An Enticing Sampling

Overheard on the Los Angeles Board

"R & R Soul Food across from Home Depot Center in Carson has a great chicken and dumplings for their Thursday menu special." - velozo155

"One of the things I found somewhat remarkable was the quality of the beef they use in the gyro. Too many times that is the Achilles heel of the beef gyro. This was excellent beef. So very tender." - Servorg on the only good thing at Sunny Grill

"The whole menu has changed and they also had some specials that night that my whole family tried. The new chef seems totally committed to using only top quality seasonal ingredients ... I haven’t been this impressed with an Orange County restaurant in quite a while." - cdmedici on the new chef at Kimera

The Art of Shabu Shabu

jacqueline f has something to confess: She probably uses way too much sauce at Shabu Shabu House. The place surely has good meat—well-marbled beef, with lots of good beefy flavor. But the sauces are amazing.

"It's embarrassing the way I dunk the beef in the sesame sauce," says jacqueline f. "I know I'm over-doing it. I know people are looking askance. I can't help it. There is no polite dip with me. I completely submerge the meat, swirl it around, and then drop it on the mound of rice, hoping that enough sauce falls off the meat to drench the rice, but that enough still remains on the meat, for the perfect bite."

There are also beautiful veggies, especially the bright chrysanthemum leaves. There's udon, but you have to be careful when you cook it. "They are almost as hot as molten sugar and for me, rather unwieldy, flying through the air. Once a noodle flung back at my hand and I suffered a huge blister on my index finger. This is dangerous food!"

She throws all the seasonings into the boiling water and drinks the glorious broth at the end—but she admits she has no idea what she's doing. Most Japanese folk seem to be adding the sliced green onions, daikon, and garlic to the sauces. They're also dipping the beef in the sesame sauce, and the vegetables in the ponzu, observes mrhooks. "You can, and should eat it however you like it, but it would seem very odd to a Japanese person to put any seasoning in the water," says la2tokyo.

Shabu Shabu House [Downtown]
127 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles
213-680-3890

Discuss: How to Shabu Shabu? -- Shabu Shabu House

The Mission Burrito, Dissected

Not to be too gross, but if you dissected the stomachs of San Francisco’s population at any time, roughly a third would have the remnants of a Mission burrito inside of them. Cheap, filling, salty, and satisfying, the city's staple is like bagels outside New York: Other cities try to imitate Mission burritos, but they never quite taste right. Roxanne and I are not going to write about sourdough bread, the martini, cioppino, Irish coffee, or all the other things that were supposedly, with varying degrees of truth, invented in San Francisco. But a dip into Mission burrito territory seems necessary when discussing innovation. READ MORE