This week, I opened my CSA box to find piles and piles of "garlic for drying." My first thought was, "As opposed to ... wet garlic?" READ MORE
Talking about the upcoming CHOW Tour. ... WATCH THE VIDEO
This is one time you might bypass your local spot. "I find that spices from dedicated spice purveyors who stake their reputation on their merchandise, rather than local Chinese markets (which are very good for many things, don't get me wrong) are a much better bet," says bushwickgirl. She gets hers from The Spice House: "wonderful customer service and quality products," she says. Caroline1 recommends World Spice. "I find World Spice has exceptional quality for the price as well as carrying things I can't find anywhere else," she says. And another option is Penzeys—top quality, if more expensive.
A final tip from Pei: "I've had better luck getting that numbing feeling using Sichuan peppercorn oil," says Pei.
CocoDan has a policy of never going to a new restaurant for a few months in order to give the kinks time to work themselves out. But he just so happened to be at Port 305 during the first hour it was open, and he declares that "this place is hot, and will be the haunt of choice for those that can't stay away from the waterfront."
Port 305 is owned by Kristie Henriksen of Siros and has a similar vibe: resorty, upscale, black-and-white, a big bar with incredible views of the water, covered outdoor seating.
The menu has an American comfort food vibe: tuna melt, mac 'n' cheese, chicken wings, steak. Dan's party had the fried clams with french fries and an Asian-influenced coleslaw, and lobster sliders with barbecued baked beans.
"I definitely recommend it, but get there soon before the summer crowds discover it," says Pegmeister.
Port 305 [South Shore]
305 Victory Street, Quincy
Discuss: Never Say Never!
"Grilled cheese sandwiches in my house, growing up, were always done in the waffle iron," says Florida Hound. "I never knew they weren't always made that way across the world, until sometime in adulthood or the college cafeteria or something, and to this day, I think of a grilled cheese sandwich without the waffle indentations as weird and second-rate. (On the waffler—magnificent!)"
"That's EXACTLY how my mom made grilled cheese when I was a child," says Darlin. "Her waffle iron had the option of using the flat plates, but she always kept the original waffle style plates intact. A grilled cheese with a glass of chocolate milk was my Saturday lunch at noon while watching Sky King. Thanks for the flashback!!!"
A regular waffle iron is better for this trick than a Belgian waffle maker. The deep indentations on the Belgian machine might be a bit much, says Florida Hound. While you're at it, try using your waffle iron for brownies, muffins, and hash browns.
Discuss: Waffle iron grilled cheese
The Boston area has plenty of options for doughnut enthusiasts:
• robertlf is fond of Donuts With a Difference. "Try the jelly sticks," he urges.
• Sofra has unusual filled doughnuts with Middle Eastern spices; Bob Dobalina had a worthy "dukkah," a long doughnut with an Egyptian spice-and-nut mixture "affixed to the top with some sort of sweet adhesive."
• SaraASR sighs over the grilled doughnuts with huckleberry and vanilla bean ice creams, served with caramel and champagne foam at Rattlesnake: "to die for."
Donuts With a Difference [North of Boston]
35 Riverside Avenue, Medford
1 Belmont Street, Cambridge
Rattlesnake Bar & Grill [Back Bay]
384 Boylston Street, Boston
Discuss: Gourmet Donuts
Michelle Polzine is the pastry chef at the popular San Francisco restaurant Range. Much beloved (she won SF Weekly's best pastry chef award and has been nominated for a James Beard Award), she specializes in homey desserts your grandmother might make, if your grandmother spiked her pudding with good rum and her tarts with lemon verbena. We sat down with her at Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission District and talked about pine nut mouth, why vanilla actually isn't neutral and bland, and her recipe for incredibly perfect butterscotch pudding. READ MORE
misscucina is an iced coffee fan, and her go-to place is Flour: "I like their coffee—good flavor, reasonable portion for $2.75 and most times, they don't just take hot coffee and pour it over some cubes (a huge pet peeve). Once in a while they do in a pinch, but for the most part they take a big frozen block of coffee and let it melt with a splash of hot to speed up the process."
But she's having trouble finding a place that makes iced coffee as good or better. Any suggestions?
• Espresso Royale Caffe, where Science Chick says that the iced Americano is nice: "Since they add cold water to the espresso before pouring over ice, it circumvents the 'hot coffee over ice' fiasco, which I agree is a disaster!" misscucina concurs that ordering an iced Americano at any coffee spot, in fact, typically yields a better iced coffee.
• Iced espresso at Peet's: "Three shots in a large cup filled with crushed ice, extra ice on the top to fill. It's stronger than the Americano because no ice water is added, but as all that ice melts, it mellows out. I drink it even on the coldest days of winter," says Madrid.
• Diesel's iced coffee, says Boston_Otter, is "rich and delicious, not over-roasted," and can also be served Vietnamese-style, with sweetened condensed milk.
Espresso Royale Caffe [Back Bay]
288 Newbury Street, Boston
Peet's [Financial District]
176 Federal Street, Boston
116 Newbury Street, Boston
Discuss: Let's Talk Iced Coffee
"This is so frigging good! It's just like eating crumbled drumsticks. Anyone had any of this yet? It's new and one of the 'fun flavors.' Should be called one of the 'crack flavors.'" – Beach Chick, on Dreyer's Drumstick ice cream
"Try using fresh lemon juice combined with freshly minced garlic. You can also buy low-sodium mushroom extract at some Chinese markets. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce (regular version) is also low-sodium." – raytamsgv, on salt alternatives
"If you want to be outside, Piers Park in East Boston might be nice, as it has great views of the Boston skyline and it does have a sheltered area." – hiddenboston, on where to have a romantic evening picnic
"We got the veg tasting and it was fantastic: the carrot purée, grilled asparagus with egg salad, a delicious black-eyed pea dish not on the mezze menu, fatoush salad (who would have thought iceberg lettuce is that delicious), and the fideos ... All outstanding ... such an explosion of freshness and spice." – Madrid on the vegetarian tasting menu at Oleana