Category Archives: Great Finds

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 36

The 3-piece Hat Yai Fried chicken at Roost & Roast.
The 3-piece Hat Yai Fried chicken at Roost & Roast.

Roost & Roast, Palo Alto

Southern fried chicken is a staple most everywhere. Korean fried chicken just had its big moment. Now, comes Thai fried chicken on the scene.

Roost & Roast opened in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village in June. Although there are a couple of outside tables, this tiny place with no inside seats is largely takeout.

Hat Yai Fried ($14) is probably the most popular dish with three pieces of Southern Thai-style fried chicken that come with a mound of rice strewn with deliciously crisp, fried onion and garlic slivers. Dusted in potato starch, the chicken, while at times cut into rather haphazard pieces, has a wonderfully crisp, airy exterior. There’s little to no seasoning on it, though, which is surprising. As a result, you may want to drizzle on the accompanying sweet chili sauce to boost the flavor. You better like sweet, though, because that’s the predominant taste of the sauce. However, you can also get a container of Sriracha to mix in to add more heat.

A generous portion of BBQ Chicken with rice.
A generous portion of BBQ Chicken with rice.

The BBQ Chicken ($14) was actually much more flavorful. The moist chicken tasted of rice wine, fish sauce and herbs. So much so that you really didn’t even need the accompanying sweet chili dipping sauce. It was a generous portion of chicken, too, piled over a foundation of white rice.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 35

Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.
Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.

Etto, Paso Robles

Yes, this might be a stretch for takeout, but since I actually did get everything to-go to enjoy later at home, I say it qualifies.

Plus, if you are ever in the Paso Robles area, you owe it to yourself to drop by Etto, a three-year-old boutique pasta shop started by third-generation Italian American Brian Terrizzi.

After reading an SFGate article about this charming store that makes and sells both dried and fresh pastas, I knew I had to stop in when I was in the vicinity last month to attend an outdoor wedding.

The small shop carries olive oils, salumi, cheeses, cookies, wines (including from Terrizzi’s Giornata Winery, and a slim selection of locally-grown produce. Basically, it’s everything you need to put together a simple yet satisfying Italiano meal at home.

The containers of bucatini and sauce.
The containers of bucatini and sauce.

Terrizzi learned how to make pasta from his grandmother, and from regular trips to Naples and Tuscany. He is a purist, making pasta with only organic durum semolina flour and water, which gets extruded through traditional bronze dies.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

If you love chocolate chip cookies and adore brownies, these bar cookies are sure to satisfy.
If you love chocolate chip cookies and adore brownies, these bar cookies are sure to satisfy.

After this grueling past year and a half, you most certainly deserve a special treat.

Or two treats in one to be exact.

“Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies” is precisely that.

Let those words roll over your tongue and sear into your mind for a hot minute: Chocolate chip cookie. Plus brownies.

Stacked one on top of each other, these cookie-brownie bars are truly the best of both worlds.

And a riot of dark chocolate.

This decadent recipe is from “Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level” (Clarkson Potter) from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.

They are essentially Brookies, which are often made as individual circular cookies. This recipe streamlines that because you bake everything in one pan. Which, of course means you get to enjoy them even sooner.

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Rodney Scott’s Smoked Prime Rib

Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.
Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.

Rodney Scott has felt the blistering heat at the heart of a raging fire.

Both in front of the barbecue pit and in life.

In his new cookbook-memoir, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, this legendary pitmaster lays bare both his rise to success and the subsequent yawning chasm in his relationship with his father.

It’s a book that offers lessons in cooking, of course, but also in fortitude and perseverance.

What’s more, despite the legion of barbecue and grilling books that have flooded the market over the years, it’s also astonishingly billed as the first cookbook written by a black pitmaster.

About time.

James Beard Award winning Scott, chef and co-owner of the legendary barbecue mecca, Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, S.C.; Birmingham, AL; and Atlanta, GA, wrote the book with Lolis Eric Elie, a writer and filmmaker, and one of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Scott has led a hard-scrabble life, in which his family eked out a living growing soybeans, corn and tobacco on their farm in Hemingway, SC (population 400). It was at the family-owned store that Scott’s father got the idea to sell barbecue. He took charge of the pig while his wife made the sauce.

As his parents’ only child, Scott grew up helping on the farm and at Scott’s Bar-B-Q from a young age. In fact, he cooked his first hog at age 11, stoking the coals every 15 minutes in the wee hours by himself.

When Scott grew older and branched out on his own in Charleston, winning widespread acclaim in the process, he butted heads with his dad. Unfortunately to this day, their relationship remains strained.

You can cherish this book simply for the inspiring story of a man who worked his way up from nothing to the very top of the barbecue pinnacle. Or you can also relish in cooking from it.

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Meet Your New Favorite Condiment: Umami Crunch

An indispensable new condiment you'll want to put on most everything.
An indispensable new condiment you’ll want to put on most everything.

Chili crisp may be all the rage now as the “It’ condiment, but a worthy competitor has stepped up to challenge: Lazy Susan Umami Crunch.

This new Chinese condiment is from Lazy Susan, the takeout- and delivery-only Chinese restaurant that opened earlier this year in San Francisco by Salt Partners, the restaurant group behind the (Dominique) Crenn Dining Group, and Humphry Slocumbe.

While chili crisp is a mix of Sichuan peppercorns and chili flakes floating in a generous pool of oil that carries a kick of spiciness, Umami Crunch is not about heat at all but an explosion of savoriness. That’s what I found when I received a sample recently to try.

Umami Crunch is made with rice bran oil, but just barely enough to hold all the minced ingredients together. As a result, when you study a jar, you will immediately see the mix of diced pieces of garlic and fermented black beans visible that gets bloomed in the oil and seasoned with shiitake mushroom powder.

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