Monday, December 29, 2008

Seva, "mmm" or "hmm"?

With as many restaurants as New York City has on offer, it takes a lot for me to go to any one place regularly. But my first lunch at Seva, as you might remember, had me heading right back shortly after, and both times I had meals that tickled the ol' buds in a way that had me really missing the place once I got to Colorado and there was nothing but heavier (though still good) Indian food in supply. So Seva was the natural choice for TL and I to eat dinner before we headed into Manhattan to catch a performance of Avenue Q (which was hilarious and awesome, by the way).

At the restaurant, I think I was as happy to see the owner there as he was to see us. He greeted the two of us with warmth—remembering our previous visits effortlessly—and midway through our meal he even brought over complimentary mango lassis. TL and I went with the set menu as usual, which for dinner meant an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert for twelve bucks. TL picked a veggie samosa for his appetizer and above is a shot of the lamb spring roll I chose, which was a tasty pile of ground, spiced lamb wrapped in a chewy thin dough and fried. There was a crunchy coating to the outside too, which added extra textural interest. As for our entrees, we had chicken korma and chicken saag, and the owner made sure the latter wasn't too spicy this time. Dessert was gulab jamun and kheer, both of which were pretty good.

I hate to say it, but something about this meal was a little off this time around. The breast meat in the curries seemed just a touch too dry, and the onion paratha we added on had clearly been overcooked and the charred edges hacked off with a knife. Discussion on Chowhound seems to indicate some others also feel like the quality has gone down—so what's the deal, Seva? Please keep being magical and not mediocre; you're my only hope!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cutting the cake

When I came downstairs bearing Deb at Smitten Kitchen's carrot cake recipe as a base for the pumpkin cake we were about to make, my dad took one look at the measurements and shook his head. "Two cups of sugar for two cups of flour? Four large eggs and one-and-a-quarter cups of oil? This cake is going to be much too rich and much too sweet." He whipped out the recipe that he usually works from. "Look at that—mine is one cup of sugar for three cups of flour."

I knew right then I was headed for trouble. Rich and sugary is a thumbs-up in my book, and I was all too familiar with my dad's penchant for reducing and cutting the indulgent ingredients of a cake until it was hard as a brick and no longer sweet. Since I was baking this one to bring to a small gathering at MH's apartment, I was reluctant to alter the recipe I had copied down—I wanted the cake to taste good.

Still, my dad insisted. So we came to a compromise between the two recipes: our final batter contained a cup and a half of sugar for three cups of flour, and had three eggs instead of four. The resulting cake was sweet, light, and fabulously moist. My dad didn't find it too sugary, and I didn't mind the reduction in eggs, fat, and sugar at all. Score one for dad, score one for me.

When I brought it to MH's apartment that night, I just shook some powdered sugar all over the top before serving. Gussying up this cake with a cream-cheese frosting would be, of course, probably awesome, but I'm pretty sure my dad wouldn't approve.
Compromise Pumpkin Cake
by Soopling and Dad

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups grated raw pumpkin
powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top

Butter and flour whichever pan you're going to use; we went with a large metal bread loaf pan.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs in large bowl until well blended. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices) on top and stir them together first before blending them into the wet mixture (this is the "I don't feel like washing two bowls" method). Stir in grated pumpkin.

Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for forty minutes to an hour, or until a chopstick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Enduring bagel excellence at Hot Bialys

Hot Bialys: Because this Queens Boulevard bagel shop is on the next block from the Union Turnpike E/F station, all throughout high school I would stop in before getting on the Q46 bus for the half hour ride back home to my parents' house. When I had enough change, I would get my everything bagel with butter on the side; if I was feeling especially hungry, I would ask for cream cheese. Most days, though, I simply had my bagel toasted, which is good enough for these fresh, chewy, excellent specimens.
The goods at Hot Bialys are baked not by Jews but by a Thai couple who have been owners of the place for over twenty years. While the pedigree is a bit incongruous, the crusty boiled-and-baked orbs are the real deal; the place was even praised in this New York Times article for making "terrific bagels, far superior to the large doughy orbs that many New Yorkers have come to think of, incorrectly, as 'good bagels.' " Though the article was published back in 2003, after one bite into the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese I ordered recently, I still couldn't agree more.

Sushi, snacks, and Sapporo: Japas 27's party package

I'm back in New York City! And no more than a day after my arrival, I found myself in a karaoke room surrounded by sushi, fried things, and booze. It was J's birthday, and the fifteen or so of us were doing it up right with Japas 27's party package: for $35 each, we received two hours of singing, a huge amount of food, and unlimited beer, wine, and sake (which comes in pitchers for easy pouring. No pesky fumbling with bottles for us, no sir). Above is the spread that was waiting for us in the room, pristine before the carnage.
Spicy tuna rolls, shrimp tempura rolls, and California rolls. Mind you, there were three of these platters. I wouldn't call it great sushi, but it was decent enough.
Coconut shrimp, a "salad" with odd fried bits on top, chicken wings, french fries, sliced hot dogs, fried shumai, and a pile of quite good edamame. Standard fare, essentially, which obviously wasn't fresh out of the fryer and so suffered from the temperature drop (and plastic wrap on top). Still, no one complained—the assortment made perfect beer nibbles. There were three of these platters, too.
Add in a conga line of Sapporo, Heineken, and sake, and this is the scene three hours later. We probably only made it through about half of the food by then, but it's a good thing it was there, because something had to cushion all that alcohol.

Luckily (or unluckily) it wasn't until after a bunch of us called it quits that the topless women showed up. Boobs aren't part of the Japas package, but J's just a special kind of guy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mexican Russian Snowball Teacake Wedding?

I'm sure everyone's seen or tasted a version of this sweet before, and everyone's probably got a different name for it too, whether Russian Teacake, Mexican Wedding Cookie, or simply Snowball. Whatever they're called, these crunchy, buttery little rounds are studded with chopped nuts and have a powdered sugar coating that puffs out all over your clothes when you take a bite—so make sure you're not wearing black when you're eating these, or you'll wear the evidence.
Two days before I was due to fly back to NYC, I followed this recipe—with chopped almonds subbed in for pecans—to make a batch for an informal gathering at KS and WP's house that night. I used Sandy's tip to use a plastic bag when shaking the cookies in powdered sugar, advice which covered me and my kitchen in a light dusting instead of a flurry while making them, but still I got sugar all over my shirt when I ate some at the house. No matter—the same went for everyone else. We had all made it through a semester of graduate school, and that was reason enough to sit around a fireplace, drink hot chocolate with Baileys, and eat a cookie or two in celebration. First one down!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What's the matter? I'm a fungi

It's funny, because as a kid, I absolutely hated mushrooms. There was something about their taste that I remember thinking of as being "the flavor of nausea." The very smell of them made me feel sick. My parents had the good sense to realize that mushrooms were the only food item that I disliked, and to leave me alone without fussing too much about it. But I somehow grew out of my hatred for fungi, and ironically, now I love them wildly.

Remember the half pound of organic fresh mushrooms I picked up from Hazel Dell at the winter farmers' market? I'm not sure I can point out all the varieties accurately, but above are shiitakes, oysters, king oysters, maitakes, lion's mane, and creminis.
I wanted to prepare the mushrooms in a way that would highlight their flavor and freshness, so I just sliced up the lot into approximately even pieces and sauteed them in a few tablespoons of salted butter. While they were in the pan I also started several handfuls of penne in a pot of boiling water. Just short of the pasta being al dente, I tumbled the penne into the pan with the mushrooms and added a bit of pasta water and another pat of salted butter. I let the pasta finish cooking in the pan until it had absorbed and been coated with the extra slick of mushroom juices and butter. Topped with a final grind of fresh black pepper, my meal was ready to be eaten.
The succulent, meaty mushrooms made the dish deliciously earthy and decadent (is that a paradox?). In a time of belt-tightening and penny pinching, a half-pound of fresh exotic mushrooms at five bucks isn't cheap, but neither is it an indulgence that is out of reach. Once in a while, you just have to treat yourself, and I'm really happy that I did.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A visitor in town, part 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Catch up! Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4
TL was leaving the next day, so we decided to stick around Fort Collins and just chill out. There were still some food places I wanted to try with him, especially Nyala because KS had named it as one of her favorite restaurants here. It had been a while since I'd had Ethiopian food, and I'd really only had it a few times before to begin with. I was excited that there was a place here in Fort Collins since it's not a place exactly booming with international cuisine.
We decided to get two combos, one meat and one vegetable, so that we could sample a variety of dishes. TL picked out the chicken combo, which included doro alicha wot, chicken breast cooked with onions and green peppers and seasoned with garlic, ginger, rosemary and turmeric, and doro tibs, chicken breast with sauteed with olive oil, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, and spiced butter. With it, I chose a veggie combo of duba wot, a butternut squash stew; yekik alicha, a stew of yellow split peas; and ye-atkilt wot, a saute of cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions.

The injera that the dishes came with was fantastic. At no other place had I been served injera so soft and fluffy, and the cut-up rolls arrived to the table warm, too, which added to their appeal. As for the stews I was a big fan of the veggie ones, especially the butternut squash one, and while I also liked the chicken dishes, I thought the pieces of breast meat were just a little on the dry side. The flavors were really good, though, and my favorite part was eating the injera "plate" that the stews had been ladled onto and which had soaked up the sauces. I was quite happy with the meal.
That night, since TL was leaving the next morning, we decided to go a little fancy and have steak for dinner. Once that decision was made, though, the trouble started. The restaurant we had originally chosen was "closed for the season" when we called, and several others were closed on Mondays. We nearly gave up when the last restaurant we looked up said on their website that they were closing in an hour, but eventually we figured out that the closing time was just an indication of their last seating, not that they would start shutting the lights off on us and kicking us out the door. Austin's American Grill it was.

At the nearly empty restaurant we started off with a hot spinach-and-artichoke dip, which came with large tortilla chips, thick stalks of celery, and wedges of carrot. I thought the latter two were a weird accompaniment, something that kinda-did and kinda-didn't work, but the tortilla chips were good with the thick, cheesy dip.
I got the coconut shrimp and sirloin plate, which was served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed squash and zucchini. None of it was very artful, but the steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and the vegetables had good flavor. The coconut shrimp was just okay, as were the mashies.
Mmm. It had been a long time since I'd had steak.

Again, no dessert, since there were still brownies (one pan goes a long way when there are only two people eating it). After an epic search for a gas station open past 10 pm, we made it back to my apartment in time to watch Borat on DVD before TL had to start packing up. And so ends the tale!

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A visitor in town, part 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's

Catch up! Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3
MC had mentioned that the favorite breakfast place of her boyfriend, a Northern Colorado native, was Cafe Bluebird, and it sounded like a good place to hit up before heading to Boulder for the day. I'm glad we did—Cafe Bluebird was great. Along with nice touches like having coffee available for people waiting and the friendly, charming atmosphere, the food was of high quality and well prepared. I really liked my order of crepes filled with scrambled eggs, onions, tomatoes, capers, and real crabmeat, as well as the cubes of fried potato that came with it. And even though I had asked for my hollandaise sauce to come on the side in case I didn't like it, I ended up finishing nearly all of the sauce between drizzling it over the crepes and using it as a dip for the two thick slices of chewy wheat toast. My experience with hollandaise here was certainly a much different one than the one I had at Silver Grill Cafe; I think at Cafe Bluebird was the first time I ever enjoyed the sauce.
TL asked for the "Corgie Street Benedict," which came with grilled smoked salmon, tomato, and chopped spinach, and said it was one of the better renditions he'd encountered. I'm no benedict expert, but he's a bit of a fan, so I trust that his declaration is a good thing.
From Cafe Bluebird we took off for Boulder, making our way first to Sleepytime Drive, home of the Celestial Seasonings production facility. The tea-makers offer tours every hour, and we joined onto one of the last of the afternoon to check out how they process, package, and ship their products. The coolest part of the tour was being in the "Mint Room," where the plant oils were so thick in the air that with every breath I felt my airways opening and my sinuses clearing.
After that we headed into The Flatirons, a series of five peaks at the edge of Boulder, for a leisurely mountain drive.
The day before MC had also mentioned a Nepalese restaurant that she'd enjoyed, and since I'd never had Nepalese food before, I jumped at the idea. After we came out of the mountains and strolled for a little while along Pearl Street (a much better pedestrian mall than Denver's), we walked over to Sherpa's for dinner. It's a cool restaurant in that it's run by genuine Sherpas who also offer assistance and education in planning a variety of Himalayan travel expeditions.
I was surprised by how much of the menu read like Indian food, though I shouldn't have been, I guess. But not at all like Indian fare were the steamed beef momos, like thick-skinned Chinese dumplings with a slightly different flavor to the filling. They came with a thin tomato-onion dipping sauce, which paired well with the dumplings.
For my entree I ordered the makhini, described as "Tandori chicken cooked in a flavorful, mild tomato, onion cream sauce." The sauce was sweet and tangy, and much less creamy than Indian dishes I've had with a similar name. It came with what seemed like a thin lentil broth, which didn't have much flavor, so I left it alone.
TL ordered the "Sherpa Stew" with yak meat, which turned out to be a huge bowl of vegetables, potatoes, and bland doughy blobs billed as "homemade dumplings" on the menu (I'm Asian—I'm always going to think of dumplings as, you know, meat-filled dough like the above). The stew seemed a little bland, but I can see how it would be totally filling and comforting to down a bowl of the stuff while way up in the Himalayas.

And though I was tempted by the kulfi, we opted to skip dessert: I had baked some brownies the night before, and they were waiting!

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Monday, December 8, 2008

A visitor in town, part 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande

Catch up! Day 1 and Day 2
I was determined to take advantage of having a car around, so early the next morning TL and I drove to Denver, about an hour away. It felt really good to be in a city again, but with lots of people comes lots of cars, and the parking situation around the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall left something to be desired. Finally, after I managed to snag a roll of quarters so we could park at a meter, we were on our way to explore the city.

First things first. We needed food! TL had spotted an Earl's while we were looking for parking, and he'd explained that it was a chain with locations all over Western Canada. Since it was right nearby and I didn't have any other place in mind, we stepped in to have lunch.
The place has a dark, lounge-y feel, with dim lighting, leather-clad seating, and sleek-looking waitstaff. When I couldn't decide whether or not to also order a bowl of soup with my sandwich order, thinking it might be too much food, I was pleased to discover that soup could be swapped in for the sandwich's fries or salad at no extra cost.

Both of us asked for the clam chowder…which was unremarkable. There was barely any hint of clam or clam flavor, and the large pieces of cooked carrots and other vegetables seemed out of place. It came with an okay piece of bread, billed as "Rosemary-Oregano Pan Bread," but which seemed sort of flabby. In short, this course tasted like chain food.
Much better was the Cajun chicken sandwich I ordered, which featured chicken breast so moist that juices dripped onto the plate when I bit into it. The spicing didn't taste at all Cajun and the cheddar didn't taste aged, but it was still a decent and filling sandwich. I wouldn't go out of my way for an Earl's, but at least some of their food seems a cut above other chain offerings—just don't get the clam chowder.

That line down the middle of the sandwich is from where I pulled out the toothpick skewer, by the way.
In truth, what we saw of Denver was a bit of a disappointment. There just didn't seem to be that much personality to the city, and the much-touted pedestrian mall was like any other cluster of national chain clothing shops and restaurants. Its saving grace was one of the coolest bookstores around, the Tattered Cover, located a few blocks off the far end. With comfy armchairs and reading nooks scattered throughout its three levels, a sizable coffee counter, and as large a selection as any big retailer but the charm and coziness of a small independent, this place covered all my criteria for how a great bookstore should be. The Tattered Cover regularly holds interesting literary and community events, too.
Back in Fort Collins, after a nap at home, TL and I got some Thai food before meeting up with people for drinks. I wanted to go to Sri Thai, because I had heard good things about the place from friends, but my first impressions didn't bode well for the meal. Aside from it being sort of a cavernous space with worn, outdated decor and dingy lighting, the place didn't have chopsticks! Come on, I know this is Fort Collins, but maaaaan, you're really going to make me eat noodles with a fork?

I kid, it wasn't that big a deal, just surprising. The real problem was the food. Our appetizer of tod mun gai turned out to be eight nuggets of spongy material masquerading as chicken; the flavoring tasted like fish and the texture was downright weird. The dipping sauce was nice, but I feel no need to ever order that dish again.
IMG_9823 IMG_9827
The other dishes we got were better, but still not great. The basil fried rice lacked any of the title herb's flavor, a pretty big omission in my book. Like bad Chinese takeout, this dish was heavily sauced and very salty, and for me it quickly grew sickening.

The pad thai, on the other hand, wasn't bad. At worst, it was like much of the generic pad thai found all over Manhattan, and at best, it was better than any other pad thai I've had in Fort Collins so far. This isn't to say it was excellent—just decent and passable.
What saved the meal for me was our dessert, a dish of sweet rice with Thai custard and coconut milk. The textures and flavors of the dish were in perfect balance, and I enjoyed the sweet, eggy custard paired with the smooth coconut cream and slightly salty rice.
At the Rio Grande, where we met up with several friends for drinks, we made it a double-dessert night by ordering sopapillas, inspired by the sight of them being delivered to a neighboring table. The three large cinnamon-dusted discs came with our choice of honey or agave nectar for dipping, and I couldn't stop tearing off pieces to stick in my mouth. Fried dough: it's just never wrong.

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

A visitor in town, part 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin

Catch up! Day 1
The day after Thanksgiving, I took TL to Silver Grill Cafe to fuel up before heading out to explore Fort Collins for the day. Having already sampled something from the "Lighter Side" menu earlier in the week, I wanted to see what their other stuff was like, and settled on "Country Scrambler" plate: scrambled eggs on a grilled corn muffin and topped with sausage gravy. I really liked the way the sweet, moist muffin played against the scrambled eggs and creamy, salty gravy, and the fried potatoes were good too, crisp and well-cooked.
In an ongoing effort to acquaint myself with the appeal of hollandaise, I swiped a fork tine through the lemony sauce on TL's eggs benedict and gave it a try. Unfortunately, I still found it kind of gross. TL declared this version "good but nothing exceptional."

After Silver Grill, we spent the afternoon checking out a holiday craft fair, driving around Horsetooth Reservoir, taking photos at Swetsville Zoo, and shopping at Centerra and the outlets in Loveland. It was kind of funny, because once I was in a car, amusements that I assumed would take up a lot of time suddenly took a lot less. I guess I was still thinking in terms of biking!
Beat from all the shopping (I bought me a cute pair of sneakers!), we went to Red Robin to have dinner. I'd never been to this chain before, but TL had memories of hanging out there throughout his high school and college years, so we went for nostalgia's sake. Most notable about this restaurant—which fell, complete with flair, squarely along the lines of T.G.I. Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, and Applebee's—was their feature of "bottomless steak fries" along with every burger, so I got the "Whiskey River BBQ Burger," which came topped with bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, fried onion strings, and lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. It was a monster, but nicely wrapped in paper so that it was fairly mess-free to eat. The advertised steak fries were good. After the first portion I knew I could have asked for more, but after eating the burger I was just totally done.

After only a moment for digestion we went to watch the new James Bond movie, which was showing in the theater nearby. Definitely no popcorn or candy for me.

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A visitor in town, part 1: Thanksgiving, away from home

I'm way late with my Thanksgiving post (surprise, surprise) but I couldn't go without posting about the delicious meal that we had.

TL was flying in that afternoon, and CH and MH had invited us to Thanksgiving dinner with several other friends at their house. I had spent the morning and the day before preparing several dishes for the feast—stuffing, creamed corn and spinach, orange-cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream—and I thought we had quite a load to ferry over. But as you can see, others contributed to make the meal simply enormous. Along with what I had made, there was a juicy, flavorful turkey, a green bean casserole with fried onions, potatoes roasted with herbs and whole cloves of garlic, a breadcrumb-topped vegetable dish, mushroom gravy, and a pan of pecan-crusted sweet potato puree that TL couldn't get enough of.
The creamed corn and spinach I made was essentially this creamed succotash recipe with spinach swapped in for lima beans (I couldn't choose between making straight creamed corn or straight creamed spinach, so I combined the two).
I used a bag of Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing and a bag of their cornbread stuffing as the bread base for my sausage and apple stuffing. To make it, first I browned a pound of Italian sausage in a skillet (I used the Boulder Sausage brand), breaking it up into crumbles. In a different pot, I melted one stick of butter and added in two cups of chopped onion, four cups of diced celery (I used the entire bundle, because I didn't feel like having leftover celery around), and two cups of diced Fuji apples (next time I'll add the apples in a little later, as they cooked too long and became indistinguishable from the celery). After the veggies were cooked, I poured in four cups of organic chicken broth.

Once the broth began simmering, it was time to combine the broth and vegetable mixture with the stuffing croutons. The tricky part, I've found, is doing it evenly. If you pour over all the broth at once, as directions sometimes indicate, some of the croutons turn sodden while others remain dry or stay hard in the center. What I did was ladle the broth/vegetable mixture a few scoops at a time, turning over the moistened areas so that the dry parts got uncovered. By slowly adding it in, I ensured that the stuffing mixture absorbed the broth consistently. As for the sausage crumbles, I added them in as I added the broth and veggies.

Once at the house, the pan went into the oven uncovered to heat and crisp up. At the table the stuffing was well received, with fans even among those usually uninterested or picky with stuffing. I had made a huge pan, and it was more than half gone by the end of the meal.
Here's me plate. Man, I wish I could eat everything on it again right now.
For dessert I baked two pumpkin pies, one classic recipe and one that I decided to jazz up with a layer of orange-cranberry sauce at the bottom of the crust and swirled into the top. The latter got mixed reviews: while some really dug it, others remained steadfast to the classic. I thought the cranberry worked and added a nice tartness to the pie, but in the end I, too, still liked the classic version better.
Mustn't forget there was whipped cream to top our slices, and I daresay the whipped cream was the real winner here. Ever make your own? Super easy: using an electric mixer, beat one cup of very cold heavy cream with one tablespoon of powdered sugar or 1/4 cup granulated sugar until soft peaks form; add in a half teaspoon of vanilla extract at the end. Voila: about two cups of fluffy white crack.
IMG_9768 IMG_9766
We also tried these chocolate-covered potato chips, a local specialty of Dayton, Ohio. There, Mike-sells is considered to be the best in potato chips and Esther Price the best in chocolate, so this combination is the best of two sweet and salty worlds.
As you can see, the chocolate enrobing the potato chip was quite thick. It was clearly of high quality, but because of the ratio of chocolate to potato chip I could barely taste the 'tater aside from its crunch. It was actually sort of like Krackel, with better chocolate.

I think it could benefit from fleur de sel on top, for extra oomph to the salty-sweet, but that's probably too fancypants.
Bear got in on the clean-up action. She knew what she had been missing.

This year, for the first time ever, I spent Thanksgiving away from my family. At the beginning of the semester I had thought it might be a night I passed alone. Instead, I spent the evening among great company and friends, eating delicious food and sharing in cheer and laughter. With TL's presence providing a little bit of home, I was full of thanks indeed.

A Visitor in Town
Day 1: Thanksgiving, away from home
Day 2: Silver Grill Cafe, Red Robin
Day 3: Earl's, Sri Thai, Rio Grande
Day 4: Cafe Bluebird, Celestial Seasonings tour, Sherpa's
Day 5: Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Austin's American Grill

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Not-food giveaway: Winner chosen!

Picture 3

I've really loved reading all of your comments, interweb lurkers. Sometimes I write posts and assume no one else reads them, so this is a nice reminder that I can't get too carried away with nonsense. I didn't know how readers would fare with my switch from New York City to Fort Collins, either, but ya'll seemed with it (or maybe everyone who wasn't has left already). Rest assured that in any case both cities will remain major parts of this blog. I am going back to NYC for a month in a few weeks, after all.

I plugged the total number of comments I got on the giveaway post into a random integer generator courtesy of, and received:
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The eleventh commenter (and therefore winner) is Gastro888. Congratulations! Please email me through my profile page so I can send you the earring you chose: Perfect, a charming little dangle made of hematite and sparkling crystal quartz.
To everyone, thanks so much for playing. Please comment more, and not only when I bribe you. Now, back to the food!