Critic Roundup: Northern Stars

Every week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews from across America

Critics in the Northwest U.S. awarded three-star reviews to the restaurants they visited this week.

This past week, the Northwest’s restaurant critics were greatly pleased by the establishments, they visited. William Porter of the Denver Post enjoyed his experience at Stoic & Genuine so much that he awarded it three stars, and Providence Cicero of the Seattle Times did the same with Mioposto.

Stoic & Genuine in Denver’s Union Station got off to a bit of a rocky start, but has pulled itself together, according to Porter, as he assures readers that “the food will, by and large, have you swooning.” The seafood restaurant satisfied the critic with its well-executed shrimp cocktail; the clam chowder, which the writer characterizes as “liquid surf and turf”; and two salads, which were praised as being “stellar, flavorful and vivid.” The only minor missteps mentioned were the too-fine consistency of the tuna tartar, and Porter could not detect “the zip of remoulade” in the fried oyster sandwich. He also does not advise ordering a dish built around something that once had hooves, nor booking a reservation for an intimate dinner, as “on weekend nights sound levels can rival the din of the switching yard in the nearby train tracks. This is a place to cut loose with friends, not propose marriage.” However, for a very good taste of the sea, Porter deems Stoic & Genuine “Great.”

Seattle critic Providence Cicero found the Italian pizzeria and café Mioposto to be charming and delicious. She cuts right to the chase, asserting that “Mioposto’s pizza is great,” and calls the pies “oven-blistered beauties.” While she did not get a good sample of the breakfast menu as “The oven was being temperamental that morning,” which led to both overcooking and undercooking some of the ingredients in the dishes she sampled, lunch and dinner was a much greater success. For an added price, the sandwiches are partnered with “a lively side salad,” and the smaller plates of “crunchy, sage-salted chickpeas and herbed meatballs” and Petite Hood Canal clams that “basked in a garlicky, buttery, white-wine broth that provided an excuse to break more of that oven-warmed bread” also pleased the critic. It’s unfortunately another too-noisy setting for getting to know your companion, but Cicero wants readers to know that “Acoustic panels … are on the way.”

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 9/18/14





Devra First

Boston Globe

Legal Oysteria

2 Stars

Pete Wells

The New York Times


1 Star

Gael Green

The Insatiable Critic

Dirty French


Stan Sagner

The Daily News

Colonia Verde

3 Stars

Tom Sietsema

Washington Post

London Curry House


Allston McCrady

Charleston City Paper

Park Café


Scott Reitz

The Dallas Observer

So & So’s


Jonathan Gold

LA Times

Superba Food + Bread


Michael Bauer

San Francisco Chronicle

The Farmer and the Fox

2.5 Stars

William Porter

Denver Post

Stoic & Genuine

3 Stars

Providence Cicero

The Seattle Times


3 Stars

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.

Homemade Weed Killer

Is it that time of year again? You know, the time of year where those new weeds start popping up from your plant’s plots? Did you walk outside to welcome the sunny day ahead of you to realize the weed control mechanisms you’ve been using aren’t cutting it?

Does that make you want to throw away the weed killer products you’ve bought from the store to make a homemade weed killer? You do want to protect your good plants and kill weeds.

Well, even if you take care of your plots and plants to the utmost of your ability, you’re still susceptible to seeing a weed pop up here and there. That’s okay, because today, you’ll learn how to make homemade weed killer recipes using ingredients like dishwashing soap, white vinegar, Epsom salt, and table salt.

Get ready to mix some ingredients and put the natural solutions into a spray bottle, because your weeds are going to disappear rather quickly!

Another round of star-studded recipes with Roy and Jon

All too often, Hollywood “passion projects” tend to be underwhelming excursions from A-Listers who want to show off some esoteric interest — but that’s not the case with The Chef Show, a new cooking series starring writer/actor/filmmaker Jon Favreau and chef/author/TV host Roy Choi. In every cooking scene, it’s clear that these famous friends love working together in the kitchen and take delight in demystifying the finer points of restaurant cookery for the rest of us. The second half of Season 1 — out today on Netflix — is just as entertaining and informative as the first round of episodes, with a few surprises thrown into the mix.

While much of the first half of the series was devoted to recipe segments filmed in spacious, well-lit kitchens, the second half of Season 1 shows Roy and Jon going on a few excursions in Northern California. The fourth episode begins with the hosts clad in life preservers, gliding across the beautifully gray Tomales Bay on a motorboat en route to the Hog Island Oyster farm. After pulling the oyster cages from the water and whacking them with bats to loosen the shells, Roy and Jon head to Hog Island HQ in the tiny coastal town of Marshall, for a beachside feast of mussels in white wine sauce and barbecued oysters.

Unlike most travel sequences on food shows, there’s no explanation for why they’re going on this oyster adventure — and there doesn’t need to be either. The Chef Show, in its best moments, is all about Roy and Jon exploring their culinary curiosities, and in this episode, they simply decided to go all-in on oysters.

In the next episode, the hosts find themselves in another unusual locale: the sprawling Skywalker Ranch in Marin, California, where special effects for the Stars Wars movies and other big deal Hollywood projects are alchemized. Roy and Jon pluck vegetables and herbs from the garden with the help of farmer Lyn DeLlamas, and then go into the Victorian-style mansion’s kitchen with chef Mindy Schreil to prepare a farm-to-table feast that includes bacon-wrapped wagyu filets from cattle raised and butchered on the ranch. Who knew that some of Hollywood’s biggest movies were made inside a locavore utopia, 25 miles north of San Francisco? I did not.

In terms of star power, Volume 2 bats a bit lower than the first round — although the first episode does include a highly amusing fried and braised chicken tutorial featuring a perpetually chortling Seth Rogen. Two episodes are devoted to recipes from acclaimed chefs who many viewers outside the LA area might be unfamiliar with: Guerilla Tacos mastermind Wes Avila and Pizzana chef/owner Daniele Uditi. And the season concludes with scenes featuring Momofuku boss David Chang and vlogger Andrew Rea that appear to be leftovers from the first half of the season, but are entertaining nonetheless.

Midway through the third episode, I was reminded of my one main issue with this series from the first go-round: There are hardly any women in the The Chef Show. In the latter half of the season, Roy and Jon cook with two talented female chefs — Schreil and Hog Island’s Mariko Wilkinson — but considering how much the stars and their guests refer to cherished childhood memories of the mothers and grandmas who inspired their love of food, it seems especially odd that the show is almost exclusively a bro-down. My hope is that A) The Chef Show gets a second proper season. And that B) Roy and Jon take a note from their Netflix colleague Samin Nosrat and put more female chefs on camera — both as kitchen professionals and the women who inspired their mutual love of cooking.

All six episodes of The Chef Show, Season 1: Volume 2 are available on Netflix.

2. Ratatouille

It may be animated, but that doesn't stop my mouth from watering while watching Disney's Ratatouille . Yes, it may feel wrong for a street rat to be whipping up five-star dishes, but Remy puts countless chefs to shame with his all-star presentation and obvious charm.

Though your version of Ratatouille may not take you back to your childhood in the French countryside, you will definitely find yourself in awe with this recipe. Maybe you too can become one of France's greatest chefs. I mean, if a Parisian rat can follow his dreams, you can too.

Not feeling vegetable stew? We all want to know the recipe for Remy's unknown creamy looking soup he beautifully whips up in the beginning of the film. Fill this void with potato soup, butternut squash soup, broccoli cheddar soup, and cauliflower soup. Take your pick, you won't be disappointed.

If you are looking for hearty, tasty meal ideas, try these recipes that start with something you probably already have on hand: a can of beans. Whether black beans (pictured here in a delicious stew with sweet potatoes), cannellini beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans, the humble canned bean has always been a staple. And it's become quite the star in recent years. That's not just because beans are fiber-rich nutrient powerhouses, they are also delicious, endlessly versatile, and very budget friendly. A can or two in the pantry means a speedy protein-rich dinner is just a few other ingredients away.

The recipes here reveal that this plant-based protein has the potential to be the highlight of any meal. Of course, we've included a few dips, the creamy texture of beans lends so well to dipping. Try a guacamole-hummus mashup or a Greek white bean dip topped with Greek salad that is a perfect starter or lunch. Unless you are talking Texas chili, you can't argue that beans belong in chili, and our version is made in the Instant Pot to build extra flavor in less time.

Another match made in heaven is rice and beans, and we're sharing a Cuban take on this classic that cooks up in one skillet, We also have a freezer burrito that's perfect for stocking up on quick dinners, plus a fun spin that swaps the rice out with a nuttier grain, farro.

Have you thought about combining two pantry staples&mdashnamely, beans and pasta&mdashinto one meal? We have, and to great success. A delectable one-pan pasta made with orecchiette, chickpeas, and olives is the perfect weeknight dinner. Because beans are also snackable, we've included a crispy roasted chickpea recipe.

Browse through for recipes that prove that canned beans are the ultimate pantry essential.

Do CGMs Really Help People with Type 2 Diabetes?

Do continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) really help patients with Type 2 diabetes? Phil Galewitz, a reporter for Kaiser Health News, has written a thought-provoking article discussing the doubt that some experts harbor on the issue.

Many in the diabetes world—doctors, patients, and advocates alike—have long assumed that CGMs could provide a benefit to patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2D). CGMs can provide nearly immediate feedback on the blood sugar impact of diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices, actionable data for patients hoping to improve their glycemic control. The technology has already been eagerly embraced by the Type 1 diabetes community, the first patients to whom it was made available.

But Galewitz writes that “the few studies — mostly small and paid for by device-makers — examining the impact of the monitors on health [of patients with T2D] show conflicting results in lowering hemoglobin A1c.”

There’s certainly evidence on each side of the ledger. An article published by AJMC asserted that “clinical study results demonstrate that CGM in T2D is powerful for behavior change,” with reference to studies showing that CGM use resulted not only in A1c reductions but in less hypoglycemia, decreased caloric intake, and increased exercise rates. An editorial in American Family Physician, by contrast, refers to several studies showing that CGMs conferred little or no benefit.

Galewitz also points to a “landmark” 2017 study that concluded that for patients with non-insulin-treated T2D, there was no benefit to blood sugar monitoring. In this experiment, 418 North Carolina patients were told to monitor their blood sugar once daily, or not at all. A year later, there was no significant difference in their A1c levels.

We would object to the relevance of this study. For starters, by filtering out participants that required insulin or had really uncontrolled diabetes (A1c > 9.5%) the study did not consider the patients most likely to benefit from blood sugar monitoring. But more importantly, a once-daily blood sugar check cannot possibly inform a patient about the impact of individual decisions (eg, how much this piece of toast might raise one’s blood sugar, or how much this walk might lower it). A single daily blood sugar value is not in any way an approximation of the type of data that a CGM provides.

Nevertheless, as we’ve seen in the T1D community, the devices themselves do not improve glycemic management automatically. It’s not a silver bullet. A CGM only gives its user better data the user must choose to do with that data.

One thing that everyone agrees on is that cost will be an issue. After some hesitation, insurance companies have now mostly agreed to cover CGMs for people with T1D. But it will be a tougher sell to get them to pay for the same technology for patients with Type 2 diabetes, especially those that do not require insulin, as they tend to have less volatile blood sugar and therefore have a less critical need for the technology. The cost will almost certainly need to come down before insurers agree to reimburse.

Manufacturers are betting that it will happen, ramping up production capacity and trying to reduce prices. And consider Dexcom’s recent Super Bowl ad, featuring rock star Nick Jonas: it could only have been meant to speak to the approximately 34 million Americans with T2D, and not the mere 1.6 million with T1D, most of whom are already well aware of the technology. Tellingly, the ad portrayed its device as “diabetes” technology, not specifying any type.

There still haven’t been any large, long-term studies of the CGM’s potential to improve Type 2 diabetes outcomes. Even if doesn’t make sense for all T2D patients to wear a CGM continually, we are optimistic that the technology can still find a role to play in the standard of care. When we spoke to Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer, he told us that his business has explored different models of use for those with Type 2 who are not taking insulin:

“We’ve been trying to come up with models and analytics around our device in that population. Does a patient need four a year? Do they need one a year? Do they need one a month?”

“Not all Type 2 patients need a behavioral change and not all of them need pharmaceutical change, but it’s really easy to tell which ones need which when you put them on a CGM. You could never find that out with fingersticks in a million years.”

Ross Wollen

Ross Wollen is a chef and writer based in Maine's Midcoast region. Before moving East, Ross was a veteran of the Bay Area restaurant and artisanal food scenes he has also worked as a food safety consultant. As executive chef of Belcampo Meat Co., Ross helped launch the bone broth craze. Since his diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes in 2017, he has focused on exploring the potential of naturally low-carb cooking.


Condé Nast Entertainment announced the appointment of Sarah Amos to vice president, development and production (non-fiction TV, documentaries). The new poisition is part of CNE’s prioritization of a global entertainment strategy and growing film, TV and audio business. Amos will report to Helen Estabrook, head of CNE’s film and television division. Previously, Amos served as the VP of development and production for Marvel Entertainment’s New Media division.

Fox News Channel has signed KTTV investigative reporter Bill Melugin as a national correspondent. He will begin on May 3 and will work in FNC’s Los Angeles offices. Melugin is a two-time recipient of the Golden Mike Award for best investigative journalism and was awarded a local Emmy for his investigative work in 2019.

Disney promoted Jane Gould to executive vice president of content research, insights and scheduling for its general entertainment content division. In her new role, Gould will lead a centralized team that will support Disney General Entertainment Content with data-driven analytics and marketplace insights. She previously served as senior vice president of consumer insights and programming strategy for Disney Channels.

Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution Networks president Debra O’Connell announced Laura Gentile and Nancy Lee joined her leadership team. Expanding on her previous role, Gentile will lead the brand marketing of all linear networks as the newly-created executive vice president of commercial marketing, networks and ESPN. Her roster now includes ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic. Pivoting from her role as Bob Iger’s chief of staff, Lee’s appointment to senior vice president of commercial marketing and integrated planning has her leading networks brand marketing and synergy, branded content, marketing operations and the Disney Movie Insiders platform.

The Kitchen's Best-Ever Chicken Recipes

Fried, roasted, seared and grilled — there's no shortage of ways to prepare the humble chicken.

Related To:

Photo By: Chris Amaral ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo By: Jeffrey Neira ©2014 Watershed Visual Media. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

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Spicy Pecan Crusted Chicken Thighs

When setting up her dredging station, Katie adds hot sauce and Dijon mustard to the egg mixture, then seasons the crushed pecans with salt and pepper to ensure the chicken packs plenty of bold flavors all the way through.

Grilled Chicken Parmesan

Katie&rsquos quick, no-fuss version of this classic Italian dish ditches the breading and uses the grill to add smoky flavors.

Sunny’s Citrus Can Chicken

Sunny cooks the chicken over a can of lemon-lime malt beer to infuse the citrusy flavors into the meat.

Creamy Corn Skillet Chicken

This all-in-one dinner is made in a cast-iron skillet, which means cleanup is a breeze.

Honey Bourbon Chicken Pops

Cut off both ends of the drumstick to help make these meaty bites stand up easily. Jeff uses a dry rub to give the chicken smoky, spicy flavors and a sweet Bourbon glaze to add sweetness.

Smoked Whole Chicken with Honey BBQ Sauce

The secret to this smoky, flavorful chicken is in the butter rub. Bold seasonings like smoked paprika, ground mustard and cayenne add rich flavors to the chicken, while the butter itself helps retain moisture in the meat.

Midnight Chicken Salad

Use your chicken dinner leftovers to make Alex&rsquos tangy salad. Enjoy this simple dish on top of salad greens, on toast or with crunchy, salty crackers.

Sunny's Easy 1-2-3 Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Citrus-Honey Glaze

From bold, rich spices to a sweet and tangy citrus glaze, this dish has it all. Make extra portions of Sunny&rsquos 1-2-3 Spice Rub and store in an airtight container to use as seasoning for other meats.

Sunny's Big Easy Chicken and Andouille File Gumbo

The secret here is file powder, which is made from sassafras leaves and lends big, earthy flavors to Sunny&rsquos gumbo. Serve over rice for a complete meal.

Roasted Chicken with Croutons

Katie roasts her bird atop thick slices of bread, which absorb the savory juices from the meat as it cooks. Afterwards, the bread is at once toasted and moist, full of the rich flavors of the chicken.

Easy Juicy Chicken Breast

Say goodbye to plain dry chicken breast. The key here is cooking the meat in chicken stock so that it stays nice and moist!

Baked BBQ Chicken

The secret to making this barbecue chicken is quickly grilling it before letting it bake with the barbecue sauce. This ensures you get the charred flavor you crave without the risk of the sauce burning. Katie says that you can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or make your own.

Sunny's Herbed Lemon Pepper Chicken Glaze

Sunny&rsquos zesty lemon pepper glaze is made with fresh herbs, lemon curd, Worcestershire sauce and chicken stock. Use part of the mixture to glaze the chicken as it&rsquos grilling, then use the rest to drizzle over the chicken when serving.

Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo Casserole

This is a two-for-onedeal &mdash two recipes in one dish. Jeff first gives a recipe for orzo casserole, and then one for Greek lemon chicken to top it off. The key here is baking the chicken right on top of the orzo, so all of the flavors come together in the end.

Sticky Honey-Chili Garlic Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Salad

Katie&rsquos cool cucumber salad brings a fresh balance to the sticky-sweet flavors of honey, and chili garlic sauce.

Sunny's Quick Sizzlin Chicken Fajitas

Sunny uses frozen mixed veggies here for an easy fajita. Serve the warm tortilla, chicken and veggies with all the fixings you like. Sunny recommends avocado, salsa and cheese.

Popcorn-Coated Popcorn Chicken

Using salty popcorn mixed with panko and paprika for the breading gives traditional chicken tenders an unexpected crunch and a boost of flavor.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Thighs and Eggplant

Katie adds sumac, which boasts a subtle lemony flavor, to the spicy blend in her bold marinade. This chicken and eggplant recipe comes with grilled naan bread and a refreshing yogurt-tahini dipping sauce for a complete Mediterranean dinner.

Chicken "Stir-Fry" Cheat Sheet

This isn&rsquot your typical chicken stir-fry. Instead of a stovetop pan, this recipe is made right on a baking sheet, which means prep and cleanup are a breeze.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Skewers

Elevate your chicken game with a common pantry snack &mdash pretzels! Here they become the crunchy coating to these simple chicken skewers.

Sweet and Sour Pulled Chicken

Put a homemade spin on store-bought rotisserie chicken by dressing up the meat with Jeff Mauro's tangy barbecue sauce. It takes just a few minutes for the bold flavors of the hoisin, chili and soy sauces to combine with peppery fresh ginger to create flavor-packed results.

Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

A sweet-savory combination of honey, soy sauce and cider vinegar serves two purposes in this quick-fix chicken recipe: It's both a marinade for the meat and a basting sauce. If you don't want to grill the chicken thighs, try searing them on a cast-iron pan then finishing them in the oven.

Caprese Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze

Inspired by the classic salad you know and love, this hearty dinner features layers of tender sliced chicken breasts, juicy tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. For an added boost of flavor, Jeff drizzles the platter with syrupy pomegranate juice for a sweet-tart finish.

Chicken and Waffle Cones

While these cones may look like a sweet treat, they're surely not a dessert. A scoop of silky mashed potatoes fills in for the usual vanilla ice cream, while spicy popcorn shrimp adorn the potatoes as "toppings."

Pan-Seared Chicken with Olives

After cooking the chicken, use the same skillet to make a simple pan sauce. Here GZ combines briny olives, sweet shallots and a splash of vinegar to form the base of his sauce, which he rounds out with garlicky tomatoes to complement the chicken.

Fried Chicken

The secret to Katie Lee's top-rated fried chicken is the buttermilk-hot sauce marinade in which she bathes the bird for a few hours before frying. Not only does it infuse the meat with flavor, but it also guarantees moist results.

Chile-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Kale, Quinoa and Brussels Sprouts

Who said you have to cook Brussels sprouts? Here they're combined with leafy kale and nutty quinoa to form a hearty salad, which rounds out Marcela Valladolid's chipotle-laced chicken.

Grilled Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Pecorino

Just 10 minutes and only a handful of ingredients? Yes, believe it or not, that's all it takes to turn out Katie's fuss-free dinner.

Sunny's Ham-and-Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts (Chicken Cordon Bleu)

Stuffing is the name of the game in Sunny's speedy breaded chicken. To make room for the filling, slice a pocket into the side of the chicken breast — but take care that you don't cut right through the other end of the meat.

Roasted Chicken with Bibb Lettuce and Roasted Chicken Vinaigrette

GZ's succulent roasted chicken does double duty in his dinner: The meat serves as the star of the plate, of course, and the drippings from the roast lend a savory bite to his Dijon-laced salad vinaigrette.

Chicken and Broccoli Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash

For the ultimate all-in-one meal, start with pre-cooked chicken and combine it with a creamy cheese sauce before baking it in a halved spaghetti squash.

Nashville-Style Hot Chicken Sandwich

To impart just enough heat to his take on the Nashville classic, Jeff opts for a two-tiered approach to spice: first a cayenne spice rub right on the chicken, then a dunk in a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce before frying.

Chicken Salad

Ever suffer a kitchen mishap and end up with less-than-perfect chicken? Follow Jeff Mauro's lead and repurpose it in this easy chicken salad. "This is the perfect opportunity to make use of dry or overcooked chicken breasts," he explains.

Jerk Chicken

It's all about the sweet, savory spice rub that coats the chicken in Jeff's classic recipe. The key ingredients? Dark brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and a bold habanero.

Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

Save time in the kitchen by taking advantage of store-bought rotisserie chicken when prepping Geoffrey Zakarian's simply dressed pasta salad.

Katie Lee's Chicken Pot Pie

Katie keeps it traditional in her 5-star recipe, with tender chunks of chicken, a creamy vegetable sauce and a blanket of golden pastry on top.

Sunny's Root Beer BBQ Wings

Not just for drinking, your favorite root beer soda serves as the base of Sunny Anderson's tangy, spicy barbecue sauce, which she heats up with the spice from a single ghost pepper.

Chicken Ramen Stir-Fry

A bold sauce featuring grated ginger and a squeeze of honey marries the ramen noodles, sliced veggies and juicy chicken in Katie's quick-fix stir-fry.

Quick Chicken Tortellini Soup

A duo of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice brightens up Jeff's fuss-free soup.

Sweet Glazed Butterflied Grilled Chicken

It's best to wait until the last few minutes of cooking to add the buttery brown sugar-mustard glaze to the chicken. If you do it any earlier, the sugars could burn.

Smoked Honey-Mustard Chicken Wings

You've had honey mustard before, right? Jeff upgrades that timeless flavor with a splash of apple cider vinegar for welcome brightness, and he uses the mixture to transform crispy chicken wings.

Grilled Chicken Burgers with Pasilla Aioli

Marcela guarantees bold flavor in her finished chicken burgers by mixing the ground meat with chopped onions and garlic, and serving the patties with classic and creative toppings: creamy pepper Jack cheese, pasilla-laced mayonnaise and crispy fried Poblano Rings.

Sunny's Easy Chicken Parmesan

To keep her ingredient checklist as trim as possible, Sunny opts for prepared pizza sauce, not tomato sauce, to dress up her breaded chicken breasts, as pizza sauce often comes already seasoned with flavorful herbs.

Want More of The Kitchen?

Check out Food Network's The Kitchen headquarters for more recipe ideas, plus go-to ingredient hacks and behind-the-scenes photos.

It’s Your Lucky Day! The Griddled Soda Bread of Northern Ireland.

On our recent trip through Ireland with our friends from Tourism Ireland and Bake from Scratch magazine, we took a traditional bread making class with Tracey Jeffrey of Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, located in Northern Ireland’s picturesque County Down, less than 1-hour drive from Belfast city. Tracey opens her home and kitchen to visitors to learn and taste, using wholesome, local ingredients, many sourced within five miles of her property. The soda bread is unique to Northern Ireland because the pieces of dough (farls) are cooked on a griddle, instead of shaped into loaves to be baked in an oven.

Tracey’s recipe is perfect for the beginning bread baker. It has just three ingredients: flour, baking soda and buttermilk. The dough is forgiving, so it won’t hurt to add a little more milk or flour to achieve the right consistency, and no kneading or proofing is required.

Tracey’s Griddled Soda Bread

• 2 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 cup (225 ml) cold buttermilk
• Unsalted butter for serving
• Jam for serving

Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat.

Sift the flour and baking soda together into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. With a wooden spoon, stir together, being careful not to overwork the mixture the dough should be sticky, shaggy and somewhat wet. Place the dough on a generously floured board and dust with more flour. Using a light touch with generously floured hands, and without kneading the dough, gently shape it into a round by tucking the edges under, adding a bit of flour at a time if needed to prevent sticking. Using your hands, pat the dough into a round about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. Using a chef’s knife, cut the dough into 4 equal farls (quadrants). Using a wide spatula, lift each farl from the surface, shake off any excess flour, and place it on the griddle. (If desired, you can use your knife to gently reshape the farls into wedges at this point.)

Cook until the farls have risen to almost double their original height and the bottoms are golden and make a hollow sound when tapped, about 5-7 minutes. Carefully flip the farls and repeat to cook the second sides. Finally, carefully lift a farl and stand it on one edge on the griddle to cook and seal the edge. Repeat with the remaining 2 edges of the farl, then repeat with the remaining farls.

Transfer the soda bread to a wire rack and let cool slightly. To serve, split it in half with a serrated knife and top with butter or jam. The soda bread will keep for a couple of days at room temperature, or you can freeze it for up to a month. Serves 4.

Recipe by Tracey Jeffery of Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen

This post is proudly produced in partnership with Tourism Ireland. Enter here for a chance to win your own authentic Ireland trip for 2 people!

Restaurant Review: Dumpling Galaxy in Queens

The shrimp and celery dumplings at Dumpling Galaxy, in Flushing, Queens, showcase the skill of Helen You, who for the last eight years has been the chef and proprietor of the Tianjin Dumpling House. These dumplings mix shrimp with two varieties of celery, the more bitter and self-assured Chinese and the sweeter, more shy Western kind.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

The shrimp and celery dumplings at Dumpling Galaxy, in Flushing, Queens, showcase the skill of Helen You, who for the last eight years has been the chef and proprietor of the Tianjin Dumpling House. These dumplings mix shrimp with two varieties of celery, the more bitter and self-assured Chinese and the sweeter, more shy Western kind.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Dumpling Galaxy sits back from the street, inside a shiny new mall it shares with a Korean-French bakery and a purveyor of sparkly false eyelashes.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Each deep semiprivate booth comes with its own TV screen showing a dumpling channel that highlights the 100 dumplings on the menu.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Ms. You, shown here,  designed the striking modern interior herself, splashing bold Chinese red across walls with a basket-weave relief.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Ms. You was taught to cook by her mother and grandparents. Her dumplings are sturdy, knobby, domestic creatures in the Northern Chinese tradition. Sometimes you see the ghostly outline of the fillings through the shiny white skins, and sometimes you can’t. But her dumplings, like these hot and spicy beef ones, are stuffed to order, and Ms. You fine-tunes them with the sensitivity of a natural cook who listens to her ingredients.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Tang yuan are tinted orbs of dough that are springy and chewy, like mochi.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Triple delight vegetables (green chiles, barely tender potato and eggplant so creamy it may as well be pudding) is an unusually good version of the Dongbei standby.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

For her pan-fried dumplings, Ms. You pours watery cornstarch into the pan, which bubbles and browns into a shatteringly thin, dumpling-studded pancake.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Preserved pork with pickled vegetables.

Credit. Michael Nagle for The New York Times

When I am on my way to a big dinner at a restaurant in Flushing, Queens, I like to limber up by eating a dozen of Helen You’s dumplings.

For the last eight years, Ms. You has been the chef and proprietor of the Tianjin Dumpling House, which is not so much a house as a narrow shaft of elbow room behind a sneeze guard in the basement of a Chinese food-vendors’ market on Main Street. The first dumpling of hers that I tried had a sea-bass stuffing cut with minced ginger, which gave bracing clarity to the few drops of broth sealed inside. It was so satisfying that at first I felt no need to branch out.

The dumplings were irresistibly priced, though, at about $5 a dozen, and I began to experiment with new ones: lamb and chopped zucchini humming with Sichuan peppercorns, maybe, or pork with threads of fresh dill. These were wildly good, too.


One day, I noticed a sign inviting me to pick my own custom dumpling fillings from a grid of 24 ingredients. This paralyzed me. Ms. You clearly had a kind of genius for creating miniature worlds of flavor. Who was I to tell her what she ought to fold into her circles of dough? It was as if somebody had handed me a box of feathers, bones, beaks and flesh and said, “Here, build a parrot.”

What I wanted was more of Ms. You’s recipes, not mine, and I got my wish earlier this year when Ms. You opened Dumpling Galaxy a few blocks from her original stall. Dumpling Galaxy sits back from the street, inside a shiny new mall it shares with a Korean-French bakery and a purveyor of sparkly false eyelashes. Ms. You designed the striking, modern interior herself, splashing bold Chinese red across walls with a basket-weave relief and building deep semiprivate booths, each with its own TV screen showing highlights of the 100 dumplings on the menu.

The Dumpling Channel goes heavy on cross-section shots that reveal the central core of filling. Take a good look, because this is a sight you should never see if you want to get the most out of a meal at Dumpling Galaxy. Resist the exploratory nibble. Dip one side in black vinegar and soy, and paint it with chile oil if you like, then pocket the whole thing in your mouth. It won’t gush with a waterfall of broth. It will, however, hold a few drops of liquid shed by the filling as the dumpling boiled. Those drops belong to you.

Sometimes those juices taste like fresh green herbs, as when Ms. You mixes cilantro with minced lamb, or dill with excellent softly scrambled eggs. Sometimes they combine those qualities with a whiplash of heat, as in the head-twistingly good spicy beef dumpling, seasoned with scallions, fresh red and green chiles, and searing dried chile sauce.

As a young girl in Tianjin, China, Ms. You was taught to cook by her mother and grandparents. Her dumplings are sturdy, knobby, domestic creatures in the Northern Chinese tradition. Sometimes you see the ghostly outline of the fillings through the shiny white skins, and sometimes you can’t. But her dumplings are stuffed to order, and Ms. You fine-tunes them with the sensitivity of a natural cook who listens to her ingredients. Mixing shrimp with two varieties of celery, the more bitter and self-assured Chinese and the sweeter, shyer Western kind, and using both stalks and leaves, she builds exhilarating harmonies.

It would be a miracle on Main Street if all 100 varieties at Dumpling Galaxy were equally lovable. They aren’t. The one with shrimp, scallops and crab meat didn’t deliver the sweet seafood luxury it promised. Steamed har gow were less juicy than those wheeled around on the best dim sum carts. My strategy is to seek out the proprietary blends, which justify prices that can be slightly higher (as much as $7.95 for six) than those at other places in Flushing, including Tianjin Dumpling House.

I’ve eaten entire meals that delivered less flavor than a single one of Ms. You’s dumplings stuffed with terrific little meatballs of duck and shiitakes. And if those hadn’t cheered me up, the fried dumplings would. Ms. You pours watery cornstarch into the pan, which bubbles and browns into a shatteringly thin, dumpling-studded pancake. Cracking that crust, I felt like the happiest guy in the galaxy.

That feeling wavered whenever I had to lean out of my booth with one arm extended for minutes at a time to ask for water or the check or for empty dishes to be cleared. It was like hailing a cab on Broadway at 5 p.m., but less effective. As time dragged on, I wondered why nobody had invented Uber for waiters.

Looking at the tables of Chinese families, I noticed that their dumpling consumption was considerably less piggish than mine. They might share a single order, a mere six dumplings, before moving on to the dishes from Northern China, Hunan and Fujian on the rest of the menu. (One cook specializes in each region.)

I came to see the wisdom of allowing fish and vegetables to supplement all the boiled flour I was ingesting. The Hunanese preserved pork stir-fried with stubby lengths of pickled long beans was superb, both fiery and tart. Triple delight vegetables (green chiles, barely tender potato and eggplant so creamy it may as well be pudding) was an unusually good version of the Dongbei standby. Whole fish with spicy bean sauce was a hit at my table, even if we did use the marvelous sauce to obscure the fish’s slightly muddy flavor.

You can find these dishes elsewhere, but no other kitchen offers such an embarrassment of dumpling riches, including dessert. Some sweet dumplings are pinched in dough like the savory ones, such as tart dried hawthorn berries with white wood ears, or pear with eight treasures, which I now think of as fruitcake pirogi.

Others, called tang yuan, are tinted orbs of dough that are springy and chewy, like mochi. My favorite was the pumpkin-flavored globe with a sugary paste of black sesame at the core. These orange globes arrived, not on a plate like the others, but bobbing in a thick, clear, steaming soup. I could stare at ingredient lists all day and never come up with a parrot like this.

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