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cali2ia's Profile

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Coffee beans in Astoria?

I got here too late. The beans I bought there were unsuitable as packing peanuts. I find the Green Parrot on Ditmars good enough, though.

Jun 12, 2012
cali2ia in Outer Boroughs

When simple/cheap is better than haute

For the examples you give, I'm going to have to be contrarian and say "I like it haute". Chicken salad on white is what you have when you vacuum all the flavor out of a tuna salad sandwich. And that second sandwich you describe has me preheating my oven and heading for the butcher.

Jun 19, 2009
cali2ia in General Topics

Best Cheap Beer

Back when I was in a poor college kid in SoCal, the best of the cheaps was Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve. I seem to remember it being a bit like a Negro Modelo and could always find it for a hair under .75/bottle at supermarkets.

Apr 26, 2009
cali2ia in Beer

Cedar Rapids Eats?

Lincoln Cafe in Mt Vernon (15 miles east), opened 7 years ago by people who moved from North Carolina? Probably not the one you heard of, but Totally Worth The Drive, if you haven't been there since moving here. There is also Redhead in Solon, which is only a few years old, but I don't think the owner is a transplant.

Vodka Martinis?

Sounds like you put them in whole or sliced. I've done lemon and grapefruit using just the peel and they both turned out great. With citrus, I think you need to be sure not to put any of the white pith in there.

Jan 20, 2008
cali2ia in Spirits

Fat Tire Beer

Ah. I, for one, totally missed the point you were making with Shiner (and was wondering where you are from such that both are widely available).

Jan 18, 2008
cali2ia in Beer

Cedar Rapids Eats?

I'd be interested to find out if any of there are any Iowa City Chinese restaurants that could stay in business if they were airlifted to Monterey Park.

Otherwise, there's no trick to finding good eating in IC, from what we sampled this past summer. Unless you need to buy fuel on the way to Lincoln Cafe in Mt Vernon, there's no reason to leave IC and come to CR for contemporary, mediterranean, etc. Constantino's, Vino's, Biaggi's(chain) are all fine, and worth a drive from Urbana or Shellsburg, but are not as good as what you can find within a stone's throw of Market & Linn.

My wife had the same impression of Zindrick's, so I tend to return for solo lunches. Perhaps I give it bonus points for nostalgia (cabbage rolls) and novelty (everything else) that most people would not.

Fat Tire Beer

I couldn't disagree more. Shiner is the second most disappointing Bock I've ever had, while Fat Tire by far the best American amber I've ever tried (though I must admit that it's not a style I explore much)

Jan 17, 2008
cali2ia in Beer

Cedar Rapids Eats?

I'm still fairly new to the area, but I'd drive 30 miles for a few places...

Zindrick's is a wonderful Czech restaurant in our otherwise underwhelming Czech village. The goulash was overly salty, but the stuffed cabbage take me back to New Years Day at my grandmother's house.

My British wife and I have finally discovered a fried cod that is nearly good enough to satisfy her cravings for fish and chips at a new place called Beckett's Pub by the Hyvee at Edgewood and Blairs Ferry. If you rate the chip shop in her home village as 95/100, I'd say that Beckett's was an 85 and that we never found better than low 70s on the California coast. They also do a wonderful Roast Beef Boxty. Avoid the cheese sauce boxty (heavy!).

We may have found the best Chinese in Eastern Iowa at the Sushi House by the Westdale mall, but we've only just discovered it and cant say for certain because we keep getting the sushi, which is also very good. Reviewers on other sites claim it to be the best sushi in Iowa (including des moines), but I lack the sushi palate to choose a preference between any of the 4 bars in town on sushi quality alone.

Digestif advice?

Depending on your definition of LA, I spotted Becherovka at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa on xmas eve. Last aisle, near the Fernet and Averna. I believe they ship as well.

Jan 01, 2008
cali2ia in Spirits

Just Ask and Martha Delivers

I suspect Martha knows very well, but that the assistant who blogs in her voice does not.

Dec 19, 2007
cali2ia in Features

Best Flask for Gin & Tonic?

I would also assume that your seam leaks are due to the pressure of the gas coming out of solution rather than acid. Since this is presumably not a thermos, and so might not be very well insulated, perhaps the liquid is warming up as well as being jostled. This would make the solution problem worse still. Skip the G&T. Slip a dark rum hot chocolate into your pocket instead.

Dec 17, 2007
cali2ia in Spirits

No link to report comments outside of boards

There's no way to mark a comment to an article as spam, vulgar, etc, such as this probable spammer:

Nov 30, 2007
cali2ia in Site Talk


I have a mexican one at home (Coronado) with a content of 10%, and I've had one in Belize that I believe was in the low 20 percents.

Nov 19, 2007
cali2ia in Spirits

New coffee house in Wichita

I stand corrected. I didn't notice the photo with their "cinnamon hazelnut" beans the first time around. Ick. They'd better have a separate grinder for that stuff.

New coffee house in Wichita

I think you're being a bit harsh. I don't know if I've ever been in a coffeehouse in this country without flavored coffee. So long as the flavorings are added to the cup and never touch the brewing or serving equipment, it's all good. (Otherwise everything starts to taste like Irish cream.) The names are clearly pretentious/ridiculous, but I'd also disagree that the mis-adoption of foreign terms matters. If I don't know if Kung Pao is singular or plural, why should it bother me if someone fits a foreign word into their native language with tamale or panini. (This laissez faire attitude doesn't apply to food abuse, though. I've heard that they make tacos from fried flour tortillas in the Wheat Belt. Eek!)

The roasted coffee to-order sounds cool, but I wonder how much of that is automated. My local roaster knows when to stop by the sensory cues, not by time.

As a small, local outfit, they're probably expanding because they're good and well-liked, rather than because they're flush with investor cash and a manifest destiny. That sounds like a good sign.

Midwest Coffee Shops

I have been there, and absolutely love it. It's run by a French woman and her french-trained-former-chef husband. Most of its opening hours it's a patisserie, but from 11-2 they do soups, croque monsieurs, and quiches. Soups tended to be blended. I think it was asparagus & mushroom the last time I was there (in July, before deadlines put an end to my long drives for lunch). I find the quiches fantastic, but my wife deemed them to be not as good as her mother's. But as she'll eat the frozen ones from target, her palate is suspect.

As for the coffee, as this is a coffee thread, I've only had Cafe au Lait there which I've thoroughly enjoyed and I've had that nowhere else, so I have no frame of reference to compare. There are some reviews on Yelp, where I first heard about the place earlier this year.

Midwest Coffee Shops

Roasters in Hiawatha (on Center Point just north of Boyson)... coffee gets no fresher.

If you're downtown, the Blue Strawberry (near 2nd & 2nd) is an oasis of activity in a ghost town.

old fashioned ice cream parlors with old fashioned ice cream sodas, sundaes and banana splits

Seconded. I just stopped by there a few weeks ago and had an awesome Black Raspberry Float, where the man that made the float picked the berries. They don't call them floats though... ice cream soda perhaps? I'd call ahead, though. They play it pretty fast & loose with the opening hours.

Dickey's barbeque chain to St. Louis

I went to the Cedar Rapids, IA location a month after it opened, at 7 on a Saturday. Out of ribs. Out of cornbread. The brisket and the shoulder were both dry, dry, dry, but I frequently find them too dry for my taste other than at competitions. It wasn't cheaper than my local paper plate bbq joint, and it certainly wasn't better, so I drive the extra miles and go there when I have the need.

There is a chains board where you can probably search for more opinions than you'll get here.

Home made Limoncello

Is there a safety reason for the freezing, or it just for serving temp? Every recipe seems to end up in the freezer, but none imply why. I made a grapefruit "cello" a few weeks ago and am just keeping it in the drinks cupboard with the rest of my bottles, and serving over crushed ice.

Oct 09, 2007
cali2ia in Spirits

Iowa City

The question is: what kind of Mexican restaurant is it?
Is there cheese on the beans?
Is the default red salsa brick-red or tomato-red?
Is there goat or tripe on the menu?

La Reyna did not prove to be worth the drive from Cedar Rapids, though I would certainly return occasionally if I lived there. We'll give the new place a try if it passes my test.

Sep 25, 2007
cali2ia in Great Plains

Weetabix...what am I missing? (Moved from Home Cooking)

I pour a stripe of maple syrup down the back of 2 dry weetabix, then pour milk around them, half way up, so that the top stays dry. Crunchy, soggy, sticky, yum. My love for them is probably due more to being a great maple substrate than their own flavor, though.

Aug 16, 2007
cali2ia in General Topics

Maid Rite

We have a handful up in Cedar Rapids and Marion (1000 7th Ave, Marion, on the square).

Ruby Tuesday's "Triple Prime" burger?

I've had one, and I can say without question that I've had worse. The meat was as thin as a Culver's butterburger, the lettuce was wilted, and the bottom bun was completely saturated with watery juices, rendering it impossible to eat with my hands. Had the slightest bit of care gone into its assembly, it would have been a good $5-6 burger. As a $9-10 burger, they couldn't be further from the mark unless their name was Red Robin (ick). I don't imagine you'd have a similar experience, but I've written off the chain for good.

If you want a good burger, go to a brewpub. I've never had a burger that I would grade less than "very good" at a brewpub.

Aug 05, 2007
cali2ia in Chains

Eating in and around Iowa City

I would say that my recent experience there was mediocre-to-good, though my wife loved it. (Actually, she has not asked that we return, which says something.) I hear great things about the Colony Inn from a Californian relative that comes to Iowa once a year, but that might be more tradition than taste. I tried to join her there this summer, but it was closed (Sunday evening), so we went to the Ronnenburg. THAT was a huge letdown. The sauerbraten sounded so good, but the result was a slightly acidic, dry boiled beef.

Aug 02, 2007
cali2ia in Great Plains

Eating like a Chowhound on $3 a day – Week 1 menu and recipes

Perhaps by chicken leg she's referring to the thigh and the leg? I'm 200 lbs and consider a thigh/leg portion more than adequate. A leg alone wouldn't cut it.

Jul 30, 2007
cali2ia in Home Cooking

Rose syrup--what to mix with?

I've mixed Rose Syrup with peach nectar, rye whiskey, and a little soda to great effect, although I wouldn't call that Middle Eastern.

Jul 25, 2007
cali2ia in Spirits

I've never made pork chops

This recipe for smothered pork chops is almost impossible to do wrong:

This slow cooked pork chops recipe is also very good if you can get them thick, like they seem to come here in Iowa:

Jul 09, 2007
cali2ia in Home Cooking

Indianpolis Cheap Eats?

I've only been there once, June 16th of this year, and they were the complete opposite of dry. The pork one, in particular, was not only moist but "lip smacking" like great barbecue. Many of the ones I've had growing up were what I would consider dry. These were not. For what it's worth, I got there quite early, so they could have been fresh from the steamer, whereas most of the tamales I'd had in the past were usually made at least a day in advance.