Question of the week: Best restaurant products for home use?

Pat and Don and their amazing corner-cutting pizza crust.

At last night’s fun dinner at Pat and Don Hysko’s house, Pat shared her secret about buying Knolla’s pizza dough raw whenever she wanted to make homemade pizza. Her theory: If a restaurant can sell you something it takes a while to make (or that you can’t make any better) and it’s inexpensive and good quality, why NOT cut a corner when you can?

I realized that I do that with several things. If I make Pad Thai, for example, I purchase spring rolls from Saigon. You can’t make naan for your Indian meal better than Passage to India can. Buy it there! My friend, Kim, always has several bottles of Le Monde’s fattouch salad dressing in her fridge. And who doesn’t buy N&J’s pitas when serving a Mediterranean meal?

Are there any restaurant products that you like to buy to use when you’re cooking at home? Let me know what they are and why you like them so much.

Share your find in the comments section below.

Restaurant review: Cafe Maurice

I’ve been hearing from all sorts of people-in-the-know that I should check out Cafe Maurice, which is at 9747 E. 21st St N. I even heard that someone with N&J Cafe links had something to do with it.

I was shocked to walk in and find out that someone was Therese Srour, who was my favorite waitress at N&J back in the day. She and her husband, Gus, are the owners of Cafe Maurice, and it is goooood stuff. I can’t wait to go back for more kibbe and falafel.

Read my review, which is coming out in the paper on Friday. And if you’ve been to Cafe Maurice, let me know what you thought. Post your review in the comments section below.

Can we talk about baba ghanoush?

babaganoushAs often happens when one ventures over to hang out with Brett and Tracy and Kathy D. at B-98, my morning had a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to it.

I’d called Kathy to ask if I could come on the air to promote Monday’s On the Town with Carrie and Denise and Tuesday’s Wichita Eagle Holiday Open House. Kathy, the producer, said okay, but you’d better bring some baba ghanoush.

I thought this was an odd request, considering that she asked me to arrive at 8:30 a.m. So I decided she was joking.

She wasn’t.

Apparently, she and Brett stumbled across a goofy, online pronunciation of baba ghanoush and have been obsessed with the words ever since. They really, truly expected me to bring some.

Shamed, I went to the only place I knew would be selling baba ghanoush before 9 a.m. on a Friday morning: Green Acres Deli. The lady who checked me out said, “Have you been listening to B-98? Every other word is baba ghanoush.”

Tell me about it.

When I quizzed Brett about his baba obsession, he admitted he’d never even tried it. For those who don’t know, baba ghanoush is the best use of eggplant I’ve ever tasted. A Mediterranean dip, it’s made out of a mixture of mashed eggplant, herbs and fresh lemon juice. Some of the best in town, in my opinion, is served locally at Zaytun and at  N&J Cafe, but several other Mediterranean restaurants do it well, too.

Joking aside, who else out there loves baba ghanoush? Where have you found some you love?