About Jeff Dalton

I am a PhD student in Computer Science and a serious food geek.  In my spare time I hack food.  This blog documents my experiments, and what I had for dinner.  I use high-tech and molecular techniques to create new food experiences.  My cooking is hyperlocal and seasonal gastropub cuisine, comfort food elevated using modernist techniques.  I ♥ pork.

@cookingphd on Twitter. 

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NYC Food Tips

NYC food map
Momofuku Ssam / Momofuku Milk Bar - Run my hero david chang - think korean american awesomeness (be sure to have the pork bun)
WD-50 - High end molecular science food -- crazy out there 
Mission Chinese Food - My favorite SF restaurant come to NY.
Pok Pok NY - The best thai place in portland come to NY.
Iven Ramen or Ippudo (ramen, japenese)
The RedHead (the bacon peanut brittle and other southern inspired food)

Pubs & Bars
Booker & Dax - Awesome cocktail bar inside Momofuku SSam Bar.   Think liquid nitrogen, red hot pokers, centrifuges, and other crazy implements of molecular mixology torture.
PKNY (painkiller) - There's nothing like a Tiki bar, scorpion bowl!
Jimmy's 43 - A NY beer institution
PDT - (Please Don't Tell) a speakeasy vibe
DBA - Great Beer, tequila, scotch, etc... It has a great outdoor area.
Death & Co 
Milk & Honey - classic cocktail bar

Other hot spots
Eataly - Giant Italian food emporium with a biere garden on the roof.
Katz's deli
Gray's papaya dog
Burger joint / Shake Shack - two nyc burger institutions.
Del Posto - One of the best Italian restaurants in the US. Out of this world pasta  (fine dining,  with prices to match)
The spotted pig - the original gastropub -- by  April Bloomfield also runs the Breslin (NYC)  and a new taco place: Salvation Taco
Clinton Street Baking Co.  and Prune - brunch
Balthazar bakery

Other places
Zabar's market on the upper west side, Fairway for a good market
Jaqcue Torres for chocolate

Food Resources



Eggs alla #Sandy - Huevos Huracán

We're hunkering down and staying dry waiting for Sandy to hit.  The first thing we did on a hurricane day was cook something comforting.  For me this is a hearty baked egg dish, with a little spanish flare.  I was inspired by Eggs Flamenco from Anne Burrell, an egg dish cooked in tomato sauce in a large Spanish casserole dish called a cazuela. Here's another example of Huevos con Tomate

My take on it deviates by making the sauce a richer tomato sauce smoked paprika, a bit of chile, and sherry vinegar (like a bravas sauce).  Instead of chorizo, I used a smokey american bacon.  I make this a full breakfast dish by adding layers of mushrooms and kale, which is what I had on hand (feel free to improvise).

In Spain, this would likely be accompanied by some crusty bread and half a bottle of red wine (you know, to go with your breakfast cortado).


4 servings

1 spanish onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp 2x concentrated tomato paste
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped
1-2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1-2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 chile d'arbol finely chopped (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flake)
1 tbsp smoked spanish paprika
Herbs (1 sprig rosemary, 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig)
4 oz smokey bacon, chorizo, or other meat
8 oz sliced mushrooms (button or baby bella)
2-3 cups chopped kale (or other leafy green)
1/4 grated cheese (manchego, cheddar, or mexican blend)
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the casserole dish to pre-heat.

Sweat the onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt, add the bacon and cook until the bacon or meat is cooked through.  Next, add the garlic, chile, paprika, and tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Toasting the spices and browning the tomato paste brings out a lot of flavor.  Add the tomatoes and sherry vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  Add the herbs to the sauce. Taste it for seasoning and adjust, adding a pinch or two of sugar if it's very acidic.  Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thick and chunky, roughly 15-20 minutes.  Remove the herb packet or stalks.  If the sauce becomes too thick, add a small amount of water or stock to thin it out.

While the sauce is simmering, sautee the mushrooms until golden in olive oil, optionally deglaze the pan with a bit of brandy or water. Set the mushrooms aside.  After the mushrooms are cooked, add the kale and sautee with olive oil until tender, roughly 3-4 minutes.   

In mini souffle dishes or one large casserole dish, spread a layer of tomato sauce.  Then alternative with a layer of mushrooms, kale, and more tomato sauce.  Be sure there is room at the top for eggs.  Crack two eggs per ramikan, 8 overrall into the nests in tomato sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  

Place in the oven and cook until the eggs are about half cooked, starting to set, but still very wobbly - roughly 4-8 minutes depending on your baking dish.  Then sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and return to the oven. Continue cooking until the egg whites are almost set.  Remember, the eggs will continue to cook for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven.  The goal is have cooked eggs with a yolk that is still a bit runny.

Garnish with fresh parmesan, finely chopped herbs or scallions, and a bit of pepper. 


Portland Oregon Travel Preparations

I'm heading to Portland Oregon, PDX, for the 2012 SIGIR conference.

If you're lucky, you'll have some time to explore the sights, and tastes of Portland when you attend theconference.  Here are some of my raw research notes.

Let me start with some references and reading material on Portland. 

Portland food links:
Go for a hike
Fine dining Restaurants:
Beast  (think meat!) 
Le Pigeon (think Paris!) and their new place (foie gras profiteroles!) Little Bird (another french bistro)
Portland is big into food trucks
Nong's Khao Man Gai, Koi Fusion, Wolf and Bear, Big A$ sandwich, Lardo
Good Food Here
Many are only open for lunch in downtown, so check their hours.  For late night nosh, check the east side of town (great after a night imbibing at one of the east side bars/pubs)
Mai Pho (lemongrass tofu over rice), Pyro Pizza and Give Pizza a Chance (same owner), and Sugar Cube for desert.
Top places to eat.
Ken and Zuke's Deli (think Portland's version of Katz's in NY)
People's Pig (a food truck serving lunch, famous for it's Porchetta sandwich, see serious eats coverage)
Pok Pok - Thai street food (get the drinking vinegar) - be prepared to wait, there is always a long line (think 1 to 1.5 hours.  Go across the street and wait at the whisky soda lounge), famous for its wings
Beaker and Flask (restaurant of the year by Willamette Week)
Ken's Artisan Pizza
Olympic Provisions - great lunch places known for salumi
The Meadow - Artisan chocolates and food
Bakeshop - artisan croissants and bakery
Salt and Straw - ice cream
Fine dining
Little BIrd
Toro Bravo 
Beast (James Beard nominated (winner?) chef Naomi Pomeroy makes killer meat.  I have a crush on her)
Le Pigeon
PSU Portland farmer's market (on Saturday)
Beaker and Flask (restaurant of the year by Willamette Week, awesome cocktails!)
Clyde Common (great food + drinks, casual, great for a group in downtown)
Rum Club
Coco Donut -- the locals prefer it to the more touristy Voodoo Donuts
ken's bakery
Must visit beer places:
Distillery Row
Clear Creek Distillery
Brewpubs to visit
Hopworks urban brewery  (classic portland - eco-brewpub -- bikes, beer, and great food)
Roots Organic brewpub
Top pubs / Bars
Bailey's Taproom (an icon)
Horse Brass (an icon)
Belmont Station
Beer Mongers
Green Dragon
See the Portland entries in 2012 top breweries in the world: http://www.ratebeer.com/RateBeerBest/bestbrewers_012012.asp
Hair of the dog (the gold standard of portland breweries - best brewery in portland -- also has great food.  A must visit!)
Upright brewing company (hot new upcoming - just beer, in an hard to find location.  hard core beer geeks need apply)
Deschutes (large, popular standby)
Cascade Brewing (known for crazy sour beer!)
Breakside Brewery
Hopworks urban brewery
Gigantic Brewing
 -> brand new brewery just opened in may.
Rogue brewery is a hometime favorite --> their current Voodoo donut maple bacon beer is really unique
Must try beers
BridgePort IPA
Deschutes Bachelor Bitter
DOA, Hopworks
Consider for a simple beer walking tour:  cascade --> green dragon --> hair of the dog

Intern's Guide to San Francisco - Part I Local Resources

Last Summer and fall I interned at Twitter on the search relevance team.  During my internship I lived in two locations: in the Castro and NOPA (north of panhandle) near UCSF.  Here are some notes from my experience for future interns.  First up is a short list of my favorite local SF resources. Knowing me, there is a strong focus on food resources.

Local Resources

7x7 - 'local' online paper
- 7x7 is known for its lists.  For example, it has a new Big Eat 2012 List.

SF Fun Cheap
- SF Fun cheap was my go-to guide for local events.  The "Most popular" events are often good indicators of what events are hot right now.
SF Weekly
- Another good local magazine, which primarily focuses on entertainment: music, movies, events, art, and restaurants.  It has a good "Best of" section.  Their food section is pretty good.
SF Gate (online SF Chronicle)
- The Chronicle is one of SFs big newspapers. It has an extensive coverage of major news.  I found the events and food sections particularly useful.
Inside Scoop SF is a blog that focuses on restaurant news
Poor Taste Mag - SF section
SF Eater
SF Grub Street
Annual Events
Start thinking about annual events in and around SF:
(You might start with this list and also another list of food and music festivals.)
Here are a few highlights:
Outside Lands
SF Marathon
Tourist Club Sommerfest
Gilroy Garlic Festival
Pinot Days
Eat Real festival (September)



Short Edinburgh Guide to Food

I put all the food places on a map.  
Things to see:
A list of things we told our wedding visitors to do a few years back:
Be sure to have the old faithful cranachan (and sticky toffee pudding) for dessert, along with things like cullen skink, and haggis with neeps and tatties. 
The best restaurant in Edinburgh is The Kitchin. Worth the foodie trek, it's a splurge. but lunch is somewhat reasonably priced.  It's about a 8 GBP cab ride from town in Leith, which is a fine dining mecca.  (there is also a hot new fine dining place in the city: http://www.21212restaurant.co.uk/)
Urban Angel - Great for classic breakfast
One of my favorite places is the Guildford arms pub near the train station.  I also like the Doric Tavern not far from there.
I've heard good things about Monteiths (for the cranachan and other scottish food). 
First, don't take (just) my word for it.  You should read the local guides to the area:
The Listhttp://www.list.co.uk/  (In particular, their food and dining guide is "the" local guide) - It covers Edinburgh and Glasgow with parts of the surrounding areas.  The 2011 Eating & Drinking Guide.  
The Good Food Guidehttp://www.thegoodfoodguide.co.uk/  -- "the" book to get for all of food reviews in the UK
CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2011 - my favorite for good drinks.
Near the castle:
Ian Mellis Cheese shops - www.mellischeese.co.uk - One of the best cheese shops in the UK.  They have several locations in Edinburgh, one just off the royal mile.
The Whiskey Museum is a bity pricey, but worth it.  Save some tasting room for "The Whiskey Shop" just off the mile behind it which offers tasting and good value. My favorite is the Mcallan 18 yr.
Pub mini-crawl/walk
The Royal Mile Tavern, The Mitre, and the Whiski bar are all quite good (and adjacent).  In between is Dubh Prais, a very solid and traditional scottish restaurant.  A great concentration of gems on the east part of the royal mile.
La Garrigue, Edinburgh - My wife and I spent our honeymoon in Languedoc, so this is close to our hearts.  The chef was also recently featured on Gordon Ramay's "best restaurants" series.  
Valvona & Crolla - a popular italian cafe / restaurant
The Doric pub - A gastropub I visited once for dinner with a mate.  Good food, if a bit pricey for what it is, perhaps not what it used to be.
Other pubs: Bow Bar, The Malt Shovel, Albanach.
New Town
Most of these have been in old town, but there is some life in New Town.  
The Dome, the old standby JD Wetherspoon's chain pub is called the Standing Order which is super cheap with a good atmosphere.  There is the Harvey Nichol's store, including the food pavilion.
Further Afield
I've heard good things about the  L'Alba d'Oro for traditional fish and chips.  Oh and Atlantic Fast Food between Edinburgh and Glasgow was recently named the best fish and chip shop in the UK.



Glasgow Food Guide

I'm attending the CIKM 2011 conference in Glasgow.  Here's a quick guide to food in the area I compiled. The main focus of this guide is the West End, but other areas are covered to some degree.

All of these places and more are list on my Google maps guide.

Let's start with what you want: Beer. Lots of good Scottish real ale and grub to wash it down. Oh and maybe some whisky too.

Scottish Real Ale & Whisky
Three Judges - Pub with classic real ale
The Bon Accord - Another award winning CAMRA pub
BlackFriars - A real ale pub in Merchant City serving good food.
BrewDog - an American style micro-brewery serving west-coast style hopped "punk beer".  
Ben Nevis - Whisky bar 
Dram - a fantastic whisky and beer pub 

Seek sustenance:
Lebowski's - Normal every day tavern with decent pub grub.
Mother India Cafe - Indian small plates to share
Tinderbox Coffee - A great coffee shop on Byres road serving espresso drinks and homemade pastries
Ubiquitous Chip - A higher end dining experience
Stravaigin - Both locations have great food and service.  The Haggis with neeps 'n tatties is great here.
The 78 - An organic vegetarian restaurant, reggae on Thursday nights (thanks Kyle)
The Pelican - An upcoming bar-restaurant with an emphasis on wine.
Number 16 - An interesting looking restaurant on Byres Road 

Gourmet Food Shops:
George Mewes - A fantastic cheesemonger
DehmiJohn - Liquid gold by the 100ml, whisky, oils, liquers, and vinegars
Kember & Jones - a Gourmet food store which sells Tablet, and other great savory items 

Don't take my word for it.  Check out The List Food and Drink Guide.


Top 11 items for the new Modernist kitchen

The heck with the usual college/kitchen gear.  Get the new kitchen started off right with the latest in modernist cooking gear.

1) Liquid Nitrogen Dewar (or anti-griddle)

2) CookTek Induction burner (pans are optional)

3) Pressure Cooker - to pressure cook that sh*t

4) Polyscience Immersion Circulator - for all your sous vide cooking

5) Set of digital scales (small and large)

6) Thermometers - Ultra-tip therma-pen and Laser thermo-gun

7) iSi Hot/Cold ThermoWhip foam gun

8) RotoVap - rotary evaporator

9) Paco-jet

10) Combi-oven - temperature and humidity controlled oven

11) Selection of Crucialware serviceware (used in Alinea)

Knives, cutting boards, pans, peeler, microplane, and all that other stuff, optional.

And don't forget a selection of powders and chemicals WillPowder (and other equipment from WillEquiped).  


Nathan Myhrvold Modernist Cuisine TED talk

A new TED talk by Nathan Myhrvold on science and cooking, including how pickling works.