Awesome Bullshit–Milk Edition

2014-01-11 14.52.16I know what you are thinking, “I waited weeks for a new post and they give me a @%*#*-ing MILK POST!!”  But believe me, Kurtz and Sons milk is a beautiful unique snowflake that you will be THANKING us for, if you can get over your rage and the sometimes erratic supply and try some.

This is, hands down, the best milk I have ever had, anywhere, in my life.  The flavor is truly amazing.  It is thick, very sweet, and creamy, making it ideal for baking, custards, hot chocolate, ice cream making, pudding, cream sauces,  and most other cooking purposes.  When you make cappuccinos with this milk, they don’t need any sugar.*  Honestly, this milk is an entirely different animal from any other milk I’ve tried. Continue reading

Zaletti–Cornmeal Cookies with Marsala-Soaked Currants

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Would you like your house to smell like a Marsala-Zephyr just wafted through? If so, then these charming cookies can make that dream a reality.

For my money, Italian cookies top the International Cookie Pyramid©.  They are diverse, not too sweet, and feature the natural flavors of the ingredients without covering everything in a torrent of sugar, sprinkles, candy chunks, and glitter.

Zaletti are an excellent representative of the Italian cookie canon.  They are crunchy, slightly gritty from the cornmeal, and perfumed with Marsala-saturated currants and lemon zest.  They are a lovely dunking cookie with coffee. Due to their subtle sweetness and aromatic booziness, I find them especially sophisticated. They are also remarkably easy to make.  Basically, they are an icebox cookie that you just roll into logs, refrigerate, and slice. Continue reading

Old Timey Gingerbread Cookies

2013-12-15 19.20.10During the Christmas Cookie Season, the baking situation around our house gets a little . . .

DSC01145INTENSE.

Christmas time is cookie time and cookie time is christmas time.  Ever since I can remember I’ve been a christmas cookie shipper.  As a result, I’ve amassed a sizable repertoire of special Christmas cookies that only come but once a year.

So, lets start with a classic. Continue reading

Thai Place

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It wasn’t that long ago* that I opined, in response to a friend’s question in our comments, that there were no Thai restaurants in Tallahassee worth visiting. That wasn’t just an idle bit of snark, because we had done our due diligence and given all of Tallahassee’s stand-by Thai places a try. Time after time, we got our hopes up, only to have them dashed. Some of those memories are particularly dark, like the time we were amped to see mango sticky rice on the menu at Siam Sushi, only to be served something that was covered in chocolate sauce. (Yes, that actually happened, and even just retelling it makes me feel like I am going to throw up in my own mouth.) But even then, we did not give up. With persistence, I was sometimes able to convince servers to persuade the chefs to make dishes in an authentic style, with appropriate levels of heat, but I hate having to be that pushy, and sometimes even that wouldn’t do the trick. Eventually I just gave up, and planned to explore cooking my own Thai food at some point in the future.

Well, I am happy to say that there is a finally a place in town where serving authentic and delicious Thai dishes is the default rule rather than a rare exception. After reading Mike’s promising review, Sarah and I couldn’t wait to check out Thai Place. So, in search of some post-Thanksgiving culinary variety, we headed up there with my sister Jayne to see if it was as good as it sounded.

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Tan’s Asian Cafe

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Tan’s is the kind of place that makes me very happy. For one thing, I occasionally enjoy going completely crazy on spicy food, and Tan’s is just the place for that sort of behavior. This started out as a matter of family pride for me; my dad, after all, used to claim that our family motto was, “If you didn’t sweat, you didn’t eat!” (I’m pretty sure that was just something he made up in order to justify his large collection of absurdly hot Indian pickles, but you could do far worse in the family slogan department, all things considered.)

More recently, a friend of mine in Chicago once ate a plate of food so spicy that his picture is now on the wall of a Thai restaurant, purely out of respect. So with these sort of role models, it probably isn’t surprising that I often find myself entreating servers at restaurants to make it a bit hotter than you think a customer would want. Well, to a level that is unique around town, Tan’s delivers on this front. But it isn’t just a question of heat alone (which would be impressive but pedestrian); if you order from the right parts of their menu, Tan’s delivers food that is both fiery and delicious.

Continue reading

6 Suprising Quirks of the Tallahassee Food Scene

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As another August rolls around, Tallahassee is shaking off its drowsy summer stupor and bracing for another academic/legislative year.  Traffic is picking up, people are wandering around campus with big maps again, and I’m pretty sure we have some newcomers to the Tallahassee food scene.  If you just relocated to Tallahassee from another region of the country or even another part of the state, there are some interesting facets of Tallahassee dining that you are going to have to acquaint yourself with.  But don’t worry, I’m here to speed your transition.

Some things are going to become painfully obvious quickly, like the cuisines that are not well represented (e.g., Korean, good Thai, real Italian, Dim Sum, or any African, etc.).  Some bright spots (strong Indian scene, good sushi, fresh seafood, and great southern specialties) will also make themselves known in short order.  There were a few other oddities however that surprised me, which you’ll find below. Continue reading

Awesome Bullshit–Ice Cream Edition

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My first job was at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. One of those Northeastern ones with the stainless steel fountain, long marble counter, red stools, and little metal dishes.  It had been in continuous operation since 1895. Despite its unintentionally racially questionable name, that place was awesome. We made our own whipped cream and marshmallow sauce several times a day. We pressed fresh limeade, lemonade, and orangeade. We pulled frosted mugs of birch beer from a gigantic barrel. Oh, and we made amazing sundaes!

Suffice it to say, I know a thing or two about ice cream. I’ve devoted some serious time to analyzing the matter and have conducted extensive field experiments. If you want to go out for ice cream in Tallahassee, high-tail it to Lofty Pursuits.  But if you want to eat in, I’ve recently come across two great ice cream finds that are locally available. Continue reading