"Even after living here for ten years, the candied nuts they sell at Downtown Crossing still get me. I will bust out 3 bucks for a bag of cashews and skip down the street with them, as giddy as any Faneuil Hall tourist." – ginafly
We have Chinese-American cuisine, Mexican-American cuisine, Peruvian-American cuisine. So why don't we hear much about French-American cuisine? "All these versions of immigrant cuisines come about because of substantial concentrations of immigrants who 1) can't get the ingredients they'd have had access to in the home country and 2) (and more importantly) get assimilated to one degree or another and adopt American ingredients and methods as well as adapting their home country cuisine to America," says Masonville. "But the key factor is a substantial ethnic concentration. Since the 18th century, there's simply never been any major French immigrant community in the U.S."
"How about the overstuffed omelet (i.e., Denver omelet) versus the classical French version with just cheese and some herbs?" suggests ipsedixit. "And what about the American version of pepper steak (a.k.a. steak au poivre)?"
"French cuisine's impact on American cooking is sort of an on-again/off-again relationship, and dishes people think of as old-fashioned might have climbed out of a French stew pot in the first place!" says lunchbox. Any time that "we create by marrying aromatic with savory, perfumed with sweet, and take joy in food that is appealing to the eye as it is to the mouth, we're paying tribute to classical French cuisine."
Discuss: French-American cuisine
This week's mission: A sleepy old cheese-based comfort classic gets a marketing makeover. READ MORE
The food cart trend continues to spread: The managers of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway announced this month that food trucks will be opening on the Greenway, with hopes that more people will visit and linger.
Early reports have centered on three spots. The first is Andale Express, an offshoot of Andale Mexican Grill downtown. Like its storefront restaurant, Andale Express offers tacos and burritos plus the choripan, an Argentine chorizo sandwich with chimichurri. "Tasty, but too small," complains spicyivan.
The second is the horribly named Beantown Franks ’n Spuds, purveyors of lovely dogs: "$3 for a jumbo dog ($2 for regular), with a clearly homemade dill relish (my favorite kind, and it's oddly rare around here ... most serve sweet, blech), and onion (they used green onion for this, a very pleasant surprise)," says devilham approvingly.
The final early fave is a Clover Food Truck, a sister to the Clover in Cambridge. Word is that the truck is already turning out quality vegetarian fare. nsenada says that "the chickpea fritters were great—sort of a cross between a crunchy beignet and falafel. Everything is obviously quite fresh and homemade, including the pickles and cabbage (or was the purple stuff radish or turnip? It went down the hatch so quickly I couldn't tell). Rosemary fries were excellent, hot out of the fryer."
Andale Express [The Waterfront]
Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston
Beantown Franks ’n Spuds [The Waterfront]
Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston
No phone available
Clover Food Truck [The Waterfront]
Dewey Square, Boston
No phone available
Discuss: Food carts coming to Greenway
There are restaurants with so many good items on the menu that you feel guilty ordering the same thing on repeat visits. And then there are places where everyone's there for exactly the same thing. At Buff's, you are there for the wings.
MC Slim JB lays it down: "Buffalo wings as they're done in Buffalo, NY, are pretty simple: Deep-fried wings (no batter), sauced with butter and Frank's hot sauce, served with crudités and blue-cheese dressing on the side. Buff's does a very good version of this canonical style."
Or, if you prefer, order the honey hots, which MC Slim JB judges to be Buff's best-seller despite the fineness of the classic version.
Buff's Pub [MetroWest]
317 Washington Street, Newtonville
"The majority of cookbooks opened, or recipes taped to cupboards, were done so by female hands, with brisk but careful consultation. When I asked my father how he learned to cook eggs (he cooked a fantastic egg), he said, with a look that managed to perfectly balance patience and scorn, 'The army.'" – onceadaylily, on male and female approaches to cooking
"The first thing you need to know about a gas grill is that there are two critical factors in gaining good results. One is BTUs. If you don't have the power, you'll never get the char. The second thing is that the older the lava rocks, the better the flavor. All those fat drippings of years gone by build up and start to give an 'authentic' flavor." – Caroline1, on gas versus charcoal grills
"One of the girls argued that anything French or Italian is considered seductive. None of us could disagree with the Italian part of her stance. She has two aunts that live in Italy and come to visit her family every single summer. I've met them several times, and I adore them. Everything about them is earthy, sensual. They make the simplest dishes, like perfumed oranges with aged balsamic, olive oil, and thin slices of prosciutto, seem like an intoxicating, exotic treat." – Glam Foodie, on seductive food
Turkish Cafe Istanbul'lu just opened last month in Somerville, and it's fantastic but not pulling in the crowds it deserves. sablemerle frets that "this location really does seem to be cursed. The owners are really lovely people and the food is very good."
And speaking of that food, the soft bread is house-baked and comes out with a red pepper dip. Sandwiches are served on the same bread. pekmez tried the lentil kofta, squished beautifully in a press with tomato, a nice tahini-like sauce, and tasty greens. Another delightful thing was the sandwich with "mixed Turkish smoked meats (one pepperoni-like, one pastrami-like, amazing seasonings) and sharp cheese and tomato."
sablemerle says the cheese boreks are "Maximum yum." pekmez agrees, and adds that the spinach borek and the mucver, zucchini fritters, are also worthy.
Cafe Istanbul'lu [North of Boston]
237 Holland Street, Somerville
Discuss: Cafe Istanbul'lu
Eight months after its demise at the hands of the cost-cutting Condé Nast group, the widely beloved Gourmet magazine may be back. Sort of. DailyFinance reports that the comeback would arrive "in the form of Gourmet Live, a 'digital content product' developed for use on the iPad and other mobile devices."
The most interesting thing about the free app (which will include some options for paid content) is that by reading articles, users can accumulate points that can be spent to unlock more content.
Unsaid in the article is to what extent the Gourmet app will feature the writers, editors, back catalog, and overall tone that made the magazine the institution that it was.
Marshall's Farm, a honey producer just outside of Napa, California, makes my go-to honey, an affordable and smooth one called S.F. Bay Area Beekeeper's Blend. It's not as obtrusive as, say, a tupelo or fireweed honey, it's just a nice medium-spicy but subtle honey that goes well with a variety of foods. But when I was picking up a few jars of the Beekeeper's Blend at the farmers' market the other day, the honey merchant gave me a little spoonful of a new variety: Honey-So-Fresh. It's guaranteed to be no more than a week out of the hive when shipped to you (or presented on a spoon by a cheerful apiarist at a farmers' market). You can taste that freshness, a floral, buzzy, ethereal party on your tongue. And you should.