Passover Recipes from the OTB Archives

April 11, 2014

It’s that time of year again, folks. Here are some of the most frequently requested Passover recipes from our archives.

Passover Rolls

Ultimate Potato Kugel

Veggie Kugel

Matzo Brei

Matzah Pizza of Affliction by you.

Pizza of Affliction

eggcream6

New York Egg Creams


NJ Dining: Holsten’s

June 20, 2013

With news of James Gandolfini’s passing, I thought that I would pay respect to the man by bringing back some older content about the restaurant that will always be remembered for the place where the iconic TV series that defined the actor’s career met its end.  — JP

NEW: Click for Hi-Res Slide Show

Holsten’s
1063 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ
(973) 338-7091

Web Site: http://www.holstens.com

Holsten’s, as depicted in the final scene of The Sopranos. (HBO)

There was a time back in the not so distant past where the typical activity for dating teenagers on a Friday or Saturday night was to head down to the local Ice Cream Parlor or Malt Shop, sit down at the counter, share an Ice Cream Soda or a malted with a hamburger and fries, and then go out and see a B picture at the drive-in. As my grandparents and my parents used to tell me, there once were many such malt and ice cream soda shops, but few of these American originals survive today.

One such place that seems to have resisted the destruction of these quaint landmarks of the 1950′s is Holsten’s, in Bloomfield. Opened in 1939, going there is literally like being sent back in a time machine to observe the social habits of pre-WWII and 1950′s American youth. The menu of ice cream treats and food items it serves are totally retro.

This is not by design like one of the newer established 50′s chains like Johnny Rockets or Cheeburger Cheeburger, but because it has ALWAYS been that way — it is the Real Deal in every respect. The prices are also remarkably cheap, and while there only are about a dozen or so varieties of ice cream, all of them are made in-house and are very fresh.

Holsten’s Storefront.

You don’t need to be the Jersey mob boss to appreciate the old-time ice cream at Holsten’s. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Seattle Dining: 8oz Burger Bar

May 28, 2013

8oz Burger Bar
1401 Broadway  Seattle, Washington 98122
(206) 466-5989

Web Site: http://8ozburgerbarsea.com

I have often been told that my food phototographs resemble hardcore pornography, and it’s clear that there are primitive, sexual urges at work when I post on this blog.

Guilty. As. Charged.

Frankly, I don’t know any self-described foodies that also aren’t extremely sexual people. The love of food and the love of sex are tightly interconnected things, because they both stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain.

It probably shouldn’t surprise you either that every person that I have met who has been involved in the porn industry in some form or another has been without exception, also a foodie.

And so it came to pass that a few years ago, in the course of my writings for ZDNet, I made the acquaintance of the founders of MiKandi, an independent, Seattle-based app store for Android smartphones and tablets. And I quickly found out these people are also hardcore foodies.

[Did I neglect to mention that MiKandi also specializes in porn applications and content for your Droids? No? Alrighty then.] 

So whenever I’m in Seattle, and I want to find seriously good places to eat, and people to share it with me, the first person I call is Jen McEwan, co-founder of MiKandi.

“You really should check out the 8oz Burger Bar on Capitol Hill.”

I’m thinking, okay, burgers. I mean, I love burgers, but it doesn’t sound particularly exotic or sexual. Not like say, Sushi, or classic French cuisine. But hey, if Jen likes them, they must make one hell of a burger.

Main Dining Room at 8oz Burger Bar in Seattle, Washington.

Indeed, burgers can be sexual. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Florida Dining: El Rey De Las Fritas

May 8, 2013

El Rey De Las Fritas
Multiple locations in Miami

Web Site (Google+)

Twitter: @reydelasfritas

El Rey De Las Fritas has been a Miami favorite of mine ever since I started this blog back in early 2006. The Cuban-style  family owned and operated burger micro-chain (they have 4 locations in the Miami-area) has recently been profiled on George Motz’s Burger Land on the Travel Channel, and business has been a boomin’.

I recently visited the Calle Ocho location, and brought along my iPhone 5 to take some new photos. Here’s a consolidation of all my visits since 2006. Enjoy.

Miami Calle Ocho Storefront, late at night.

Calle Ocho dining room

The Bird Street location of El Rey De Las Fritas. Note that it has a walk up window, where you can get all kinds of empanadas and croquetas, plus cortaditos and cafecitos, Cuban coffee. Forget Starbucks when you are in Little Havana!

Prepare for burgers, Cuban-style. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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The Joy of Passover Rolls

March 28, 2013

The Passover Roll, as seen above accompanying matzo ball soup, is a bit of a culinary enigma. Prior to having seders with my wife’s family, I had never encountered them before.

My family (admittedly reform Jews) on both sides traditionally would have matzohs during seder, and the kugels, and of course the matzo ball soup. But the idea of having ersatz bread or rolls during Passover was a bit alien to me, and questionably pesadich.

I mean, the whole point is that you are not supposed to eat bread during Passover, right? You’re supposed to want for it.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more. Read the rest of this entry »


Las Vegas Dining: Lotus of Siam

January 5, 2013

Heading to CES 2013? Don’t miss Lotus of Siam.

Lotus of Siam
953 E Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV
(702) 735-3033

Web Site: http://www.saipinchutima.com/

I freely admit that Las Vegas is not one of my favorite cities. It’s brutally hot, its out in the middle of the freakin’ desert and the airport is one of the worst I have ever experienced. The overall aesthetic and demeanor of the city is tacky and skeevy beyond belief in the most un-endearing way, not to mention the fact that the sound of the ever present slot machines drive me to near psychotic insanity whenever I have to go there, be it for some computer trade show or seminar.

Now, that being said, as soon as I heard I would have to go to Vegas for a few days this week, I immediately said to myself, “Cool! I get to eat at Lotus of Siam again!”

Lotus of Siam, which is located in an undistinguished commercial strip mall, has frequently been cited as one of the best, if not the best Thai restaurant in the country.

Is Lotus of Siam the best Thai restaurant in the United States? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more

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New Orleans Dining: Middendorf’s

August 30, 2012

8-30-2012 I’ve brought this old 2007 post up to the top because apparently the restaurant is now flooded with at least 4 to 5 feet of water from Hurricane Isaac, and for historical preservation purposes, I have added some newer photos from our 2010 trip to New Orleans that had not been posted before.

Needless to say we’re devastated, and our heart goes out to the people of Louisiana and other affected areas of the Gulf states that are enduring a “version 2.0″ of Hurricane Katrina, which happened exactly seven years ago — Jason

Middendorf’s
Route 51, Manchac LA
(985)386-6666

On the way back from LaPlace and our visit to Wayne Jacob’s, we were still a little hungry, so we decided to head down Route 51 towards Middendorf’s, a restaurant located in Manchac, a “Fish Camp”. Manchac isn’t as much a town but a stop on the highway where you can buy seafood, alligator meat, grab some soda pop and beer, and eat at Middendorf’s. It’s about as isolated an area in the middle of nowhere as you can get. It’s so out of the way that Middendorf’s and Manchac doesn’t even have a GPS entry in our Garmin.

We had tried to get out to Middendorf’s on previous trips, only to have not had the time or some confluence of events prevented us from getting there. We had heard of their deep fried, corn meal breaded thin and crispy catfish fillets, but it was only the stuff of legend to us. Imagine our horror that when we actually arrived, it was on the wrong day.

Hey, we finally made it! Oh crap. It’s closed!

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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An Iced Coffee Primer

August 1, 2012

Here’s a classic OTB post that I thought you would all enjoy — Jason

The summer, now entering  full swing, brings us into the seasonal consumption of cold caffeinated beverages.

have recently been asked about the proper method for making Iced Coffee, as with the current economy being what it is, people now have the desire to drink and make Megabucks-style iced coffee creations in their own homes and workplaces, rather than spend $2.60-$3 per 16 ounce glass in a store surrounded by trendy jackasses using Macbooks and sipping their green tea lattes.

There are a number of ways you can produce very good iced coffee in your very own home, some involving Scientological devices such as “Cold brewing” requiring 8-hour preparation methods, snobbish apparatus such as “Toddys” as well as diluting espresso shots with iced water in order to produce “Iced Americanos’ and the like.

To this, I say, phooey.

Iced Coffee Tutorial by you.

To make really good iced coffee, you will need an inexpensive can of Latino-style “Espresso Coffee” such as Cafe Bustelo, El Pico or Pilon, or an inexpensive Italian-style brand such as Medaglio d’Oro (these are all made by the same company, Rowland Coffee Roasters out of Miami).

These all go for about $2.50-$3.50 for a 10 ounce can or $2.50 for a 10oz brick. If these brands are unavailable in your area, try either Community Coffee Dark Roast (With or without Chicory, this depends on your taste) or Cafe du Monde.

coffee-latino by you.

Latino-Style Espresso Coffees. Cafe Bustelo, Pilon, and El Pico are all  made by Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami, Florida.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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New Jersey: So long, but not goodbye.

June 11, 2012

Some of you may or may not already be aware that Rachel and I have sold our home here in Bergen County. We are closing at the end of the month and are moving to South Florida.

This is a bit of a bittersweet ending since moving from New York State to New Jersey in 1992 and calling the greater NYC metro area home for over 40 years.

My job will not change — I’ll still be doing a lot of travel for my primary employer and will continue my computer industry writing at ZDNet.

While I am sure it will bring me back to the area fairly often, it will no longer be possible for me to continue my food and restaurant coverage in Northern New Jersey on a reliable basis.

I’m going to continue food writing on the site, but it will have a Florida focus on the restaurant side and more emphasis on the cooking (outdoor grilling, etc.) and the other restaurant coverage will be travel-related depending on where I go.

However, I have no intention of leaving New Jersey in the lurch. You’ve probably already noticed that there has been a significant amount of new restaurant coverage being supplied by Melody Kettle and her writers from the Montclair-based Hot From the Kettle blog.

Melody and I are now the best of friends and I can assure you that she will be covering all the major centers of Northern New Jersey restaurant activity on Off The Broiler, including Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Essex counties.  She has an incredible passion for food and an unbridled amount of energy, and I know she will do a fine job.

What I hope to accomplish is to allow OTB to have a mix of New Jersey and Florida coverage. Many people who live in New Jersey travel to Florida frequently, live there part time or are even considering moving there permanently, so I think it will be a good mix.

There are other changes which I am planning for the blog later in the year which will greatly increase the scope of what we do, and I will keep you updated as they occur.

To everyone who has been following me here since February 2006 — and to all the New Jersey restaurants that have enriched my life (and my stomach) for the past five and half years, I bid you so long, but not goodbye.

And to South Florida: Prepare for a wild ride.


All Conched Out

May 20, 2012

Rachel and I just returned from a vacation in Grand Bahama, and we’re both pretty wiped. The photos below we took in December of 2008 still very much reflect the native cuisine of the island, and I can assure you, we ate an awful lot of it this trip.

I’ll have some new photos of Bahamaian beach food (and the beautiful beaches) to put up shortly. But in the mean time, feast your eyes on the Island nation’s favorite marine gastropod, the ubiquitous Bahamian conch.

West End, Grand Bahama Island by you.

This is one of the many conch shell dumping grounds on Grand Bahama Island. There are literally tens of thousands of shells here in this one pile.

In the Bahamas, it’s all about the Conch. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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