March 07, 2006

Reader Mail

by psu

Today two short notes based on reader feedback.

First, in the area of crackers, I was finally at the Geagle and remembered to look for the special British crackers that Kim mentioned in a comment on cookies. McVitie's Digestive Biscuits are, indeed, the real thing. They are slightly sweet, and wheaty without being grainy. They are also less crumbly than the Carr's knock off. I love this kind of cracker for blue cheese and such. You can pick your favorite application.

Second, thanks to Stephan for reminding me in email that the people who bought out Chopstick Inn opened a new smaller place in that space called China Star. Rather than Cantonese seafood, it looks like China Star has a mostly Americanized Szechuan and Mandarin menu. But, it also has a menu written only in Chinese with some specialties on it. I can't read Chinese, but Stephan was resourceful enough to provide translations. The twice cooked pork belly and the beef tendon in the Szechuan pepper and chili oil were both yummy, if a bit oily. I think they have that dish that is supposed to be tripe and lung in the same pepper sauce, although my mom says you can't really get lung in the U.S. You should go just to try the cool Szechuan "ma-la" sauce. It has a very distinct flavor and mouth feel.

China Star reminds me of a similar small place in Wexford called LUCKY which was open a while back but changed owners or something. It's not quite on the same level as Rose Tea, but good for a change of pace.

Posted by psu at March 7, 2006 08:18 PM | Bookmark This

Glad you found the McVities. We are fond of them with blue cheese too. I recently discovered a reasonable Stilton-alternative at Whole Paycheck, Queso Valdeon. I wouldn't buy it when they have the Stilton I like but it's pretty good in a pinch.

Posted by Kim at March 7, 2006 08:24 PM

The Cashel Blue is also pretty good.

Posted by psu at March 7, 2006 09:00 PM

The Valdeon is ok, and it's one of the best values at whole paycheck; it's basically a slightly less bold version of Cabrales. If you like the valdeon, try grabbing some cabrales next time you're at penn mac.

Posted by peterb at March 7, 2006 10:29 PM

My informants tell me that the chef at China Star either used to cook at LUCKY, or at least taught their staff. So that would explain the similarities.

In case you're interested or have some suggestions for the translations, the menus can be found at:

Posted by Stephan at March 8, 2006 01:37 PM

I was quite sad when I found out my fav Chinese restaurant Chopstick Inn is closed and replaced by China Star. Their beef noodle soup in hot oil is good and filling, their tea-smoked duck and chicken dishes are a little oily since they were deep fried first, then cooked in hot oil. The execution was not astonishing, although the flavor is rich and quite "traditional". Although I think Rose Tea also offers these dishes in similar rich flavors, but not as oily.
Do you know what happen to the owners/cooks from former Chopstick Inn? I talked to the owner of China Star but am afraid his opinion is a little off.

Posted by w at April 17, 2006 01:34 PM

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