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Which is better? The Sunday brunch at the Ritz-Cartlon Laguna Niguel or St. Regis in Monarch Beach?

That's very good to know. Apparently we're going to the St. Regis...

Feb 04, 2008
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Which is better? The Sunday brunch at the Ritz-Cartlon Laguna Niguel or St. Regis in Monarch Beach?

I haven't been to either. I'm sceptical about the RC because I know they've under gone a change of ownership recently and they've remodeled some of the resort but not all of it. I'm wondering if they've cut corners recently.

I'd like to take my husband out to a Sunday champagne buffet-style brunch for his birthday in February. I don't want a brunch that you order off the menu. He'd prefer a buffet brunch.

The Montage doesn't have anything.

Has anyone recently been to either the Ritz or St. Regis Sunday brunch and do you have any opinions you'd like to share?

Thank you.

Jan 14, 2008
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Wars!

I agree. I went to their outpost in Fountain Valley last month with a friend and we both really enjoyed their ramen. That rich porky broth has such great mouth feel and is addictive. I don't remember the noodles being spectacular but that broth sure is.

http://209.216.253.163/FV_ramen/index...

Nov 09, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Phillipe's (LA) Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

My MIL is the BEST pie maker as was her mother before her. Just this past Halloween she dropped off a pumpkin pie that was so far superior to every other pumpkin pie that I hesitate to even call it that (she says she uses a dozen eggs for 2 large pies which if you know something about pumpkin pie, and I don't, means something).

I want to challenge her to create the ultimate coconut cream pie which in my opinion is served at Phillipe's in LA. I know I can go up there and bring a piece home to her and let her try to recreate it, but...I thought I'd see if anyone had already done this experiment and had a recipe to share to point her on her way.

For those of you that don't live in LA, if by some miracle someone posts a recipe to this board, and you like coconut, MAKE THIS PIE!

Nov 06, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Beef & Noodles - Diner Style

Thank you. I know this took A LOT of effort to type and I really appreciate it. I promise to give a full report once we actually get some cool weather (damn that global warming). I really appreciate it.

The crockpot version that Oh Robin posted looks like an easy variation.

Oct 02, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Beef & Noodles - Diner Style

Yesterday I was watching the TV Food Network show "Diners Drive-ins, and Dives" and they were at a place named Rosies Diner in MD. They had a special at Rosies which was beef & noodles. It's got to be bad for you but it looked like complete creamy, beefy, carbo-ey, comfort. If we ever get cool weather (or ANY weather for that matter) again in So Cal I'd love to make something like this.

I looked on foodtv.com and didn't see a recipe for this but on the television show it said there was beef chuck roast, cream of mushroom soup, onion soup, and spices in a braise. It looks like this mixture is then spooned over egg noodles.

I even went to the Campbell's soup website thinking this had to be on it but I didn't see it there.

Anyone have a recipe for something like this?

Oct 01, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Birthday Dinner in OC

That's a great suggestion. I thought about that after I made my suggestion but didn't have time to ammend my reply. That being said...I've never been been there but it's on the top of my list.

Sep 19, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Birthday Dinner in OC

The one's I've been to and can recommend:
Mastro's Steakhouse in Costa Mesa across from South Coast Plaza on Anton
Char Noir - right next door
Pinot Provence - In the Westin Hotel off of Anton. A Joachim Splichal restaurant.

The ones I'd like to go to:
Sapphire in Laguna Beach. Former Executive Chef at St. Regis.
Mastro's Ocean Club - Right across from Crystal Cove State Park. Same great steaks as Mastro's in CM but with Seafood too.

230 Forest is a nice restaurant. Great for people watching for lunch. Good food. But probably not occassion-worthy.

Sep 19, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Don't mail order Vienna beef hot dog kits through Lou Malnati's website

You know I was going to do that until I ran the numbers and they wanted about $150 to ship $150 orth of merchandise. I kid you not...

Aug 27, 2007
Pate in General Topics

Slow Cooker Questions

I have a few thoughts on this.

On the one hand I was watching a special on the Food Network this week where they were at a convention featuring new products and they showed this:
http://www.westbend.com/catalog.cfm?d...

I thought that the griddle feature was cool and that if I were in the market for a crock pot I'd definitely consider this one because I like it's dual functionality.

On the other hand, I keep on reading on Chowhound posts that the old crock pots are the best because the temperature settings are lower, the food cooks slower, and it comes out better. I have two ancient crock pots and nothing bad has ever come out of them so maybe there is something to that. I have never seared anything before putting it in. I understand the point of this step but I use the crock pot because it's easy to just dump everything in and through the magic of slow cookery edible gold appears. So to make a long story even longer, I'd consider haunting Goodwill for an old crock pot with the old unsafe food temperature settings and spend the $240 bucks I save on a Le Creuset dutch oven instead.

And lastly, get the crock pot disposable liners. I used them for the first time when trailer camping recently and as the Lord is my witness I will never wash a crock pot again. I hope whoever developed these got a big bonus and gets a special place in heaven.

Jul 26, 2007
Pate in Cookware

ISO no bake desserts...

Ina Garten has a frozen key lime pie recipe that I made last week when I was camping. Instead of a mixer I used a blender for the first step and it came out fine. I don't know if people were being kind, or if they meant it, but a couple said it's the best they'd had. Also, I added 2 T of tequila and 1 T of triple sec. You couldn't really taste it but that's what I did. It's a spin on margarita pie I make sometime.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

Jul 25, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

How do you roast a pig?

I feel stupid because I don't know how to email you. I went to your page on Chowhound and clicked on the link to your blog but it said that the "Page cannot be displayed". I know you don't want to post your email address here but if you give me a hint I'll try to "follow the yellow brick road".

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

How do you roast a pig?

You must have an altruistic butcher. Although I have not asked, I'd be shocked if my local butcher (I only know of one that isn't a chain grocery store), offered to pull up his rotisserie and come over on his day off to BBQ me a pig.

You are truly blessed to have the butcher you do. Treat him well and send him to me when he takes vacation.

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

How do you roast a pig?

Every year I think about doing this. My only experience is when a group of us inherited a full hog after the planner/idea-guy had an emergency gallbaldder operation and a pig and uber-rotisserie contraption was delivered to the door. We way undercooked the beast and one person got sick (but it was pretty and smelled good).

Can you recommed online resouces for this? I live in South OC, CA and would love to cook a pig for Labor Day. If I could find a rental rotiserrie place and a suckling pig source I'd be a happy camper.

Any suggestions?

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Google Map of Chowhound Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants

If you ever feel like making an equivalent OC map you've have fans down south too. If I had any idea at all how to do this I'd do it myself.

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Help! Five skinless chicken breasts to cook today!

I just had this problem last week. I ended up poaching them and roughly shredding. Then I tossed the shredded chicken in a saucepan and added bottled BBQ sauce and as it heated the chicken shredded completely. Now comes the decadent part. I buttered the buns and grilled them in a frypan until just brown. I know I shouldn't be looking for reasons to add butter to my diet but it really did make a difference doing it this way. Then I served all of this with an asian inspired coleslaw with shredded red cabbabge, scallions, peanuts, red pepper, and a sesame oil vinegarette. Yumm!

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Take-home foodie souvenirs from Chicago?

Don't mail order Vienna beef hot dog kits through Lou Malnati's website anymore. I've ordered Vienna beef and Italian beef kits through the former Loutogo.com and now tastesofchicago.com and has the Vienna hot dog kit become a disappointment. You used to get a jar of the green relish and a jar of sport peppers with a Vienna hot dog kit order. Now you get a cryovac pack with a fraction of the quantity that is in the jars. Plus, once you open the pack, how do you store it? Apparently you're supposed to eat it all at once (which is possible because there is such a teeny quantity in the packages). The quantity is only enough for about half the hots dogs you get in the kit so to eat the second half of your hot dogs you'll have to scrounge up toppings from your fridge. What's the point of that? This is a real downer. I really think some marketing genius at Malanti's dropped the ball on this one. Your friends will be underwhelmed if you give them this now. Too bad, it used to be a good gift.

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in Chicago Area

Don't mail order Vienna beef hot dog kits through Lou Malnati's website

I've ordered Vienna beef and Italian beef kits through the former Loutogo.com and now tastesofchicago.com and has the Vienna hot dog kit become a disappointment. You used to get a jar of the green relish and a jar of sport peppers with a Vienna hot dog kit order. Now you get a cryovac pack with a fraction of the quantity that is in the jars. Plus, once you open the pack, how do you store it? Apparently I'm supposed to eat it all at once (which might be possible because there is such a teeny quantity in the packages). This is a real downer. I really think some marketing genius at Malanti's dropped the ball on this one. They must think their customers are fools.

Jun 26, 2007
Pate in General Topics

Desserts for upcoming BBQ - in need of your opinions!

If you're into fruit and it's a BBQ the obvious choice is cobbler. Plus you can make it ahead so you don't have to spend your whole party cooking.

Jun 23, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

Take-home foodie souvenirs from Chicago?

I wish I knew about the Vienna beef outlet last month. I would have been so there!

Jun 22, 2007
Pate in Chicago Area

Chicago-style pizza

I know. I get that response every time I post that about BJ's. More than anything I think it points to the dearth of good Chicago-style pizza in LA. I'm not saying it's on par with the best but you can put a lot miles on your car looking for pizza comparable to Gino's East and you're not going to find it.

Now camparing BJ's toPizza Hut just means you have been to either a really bad BJ's or a really good Pizza Hut :-)

Jun 22, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Chicago-style pizza

I don't even think Chicago makes the good Chicago-style pizza of my memories anymore. We just got back from there and ate at both Lou Malnati's and Giordano's (both Loop locations) and really came out of both underwhelmed. Were they good. Sure. Where they great. No, not really. Not worth pining for. My first job was at Jakes Pizza in Glenview. They had really good thin crust pizza and a rich spicy sauce. I never got tired of eating it, ever. That's the pizza I pine for. A few years ago when were were back we ate at Ginos East and for me, I think it's my favorite but who knows, that could be the lens of nostalgia speaking.

I'll take a lot of heat for this but I don't think Tony's in Placentia is great. It's probably on par with a frozen shipped Lou Malnati's (which can be tricky to reheat BTW). The flavor of Tony's isn't bad but it looks like it will taste worse than it does because the tomatoes have a lot of water that collects on the pie.

For Chicago-style pizza in OC without a lot of drama I'd say go to BJ's. I know I'll loose a lot of Chow credibilty for this, but I think if it were a one-off and not a chain that it would get more support on this board. I know it's not Tony's or any other number of local joints, but it's not bad especially when compared to my recent experiences at Malnati's and Giordano's.

BTW, for thin crust in So OC I've enjoyed Sonny's in San Clemente. Antonucci's isn't bad. Nice atmosphere if you sit at a pub table in the bar area. Selma's is owned by the former wife of the BJ's originator (or something like that. I know there is a close connection), so they've tried to mimick BJ's as closely as possible.

Jun 21, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

Take-home foodie souvenirs from Chicago?

I haven't lived in Chicago for close to 25 years, but I've never heard of Vosges. Wouldn't something like Fanny May be more emblematic of Chicago? I heard they were gone but recently resurfaced.

Jun 21, 2007
Pate in Chicago Area

Take-home foodie souvenirs from Chicago?

How about spices from the Spice House in Old Town? Small and easy to pack and they have spice blends like:
Argyle Street Asian Blend
Back of the Yards
Bridgeport Seasoning
Bronzeville Rib Rub
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago Old Town Sugar
Greektown
Lake Shore Drive
Milwaukee Avenue Spice
Old World Central Street
Pilsen Latino Seasoning
Pullman Pork Chop Spice
Taylor St Cheese Sprinkle
Ukrainian Village Spice

Very Chicago...

http://www.thespicehouse.com/

Jun 21, 2007
Pate in Chicago Area

Single Diner Brush-Off at Galatoire's!

I believe that until recently G's didn't even take reservations so it's not inconceivable that she just told you to come on by, especially since you were on your own. You should have taken her up on the offer. I just had an exceptional dining experience there last week with a party of 12. They're a little quirky but true pros.

Jun 20, 2007
Pate in New Orleans

Chicago Eateries

If you have a car go SuperDawg. It's a Chicago institution. http://www.superdawg.com/

A chain with good dogs and Italian beef sandwiches is Portillo's. There's one right downtown.
http://www.portillos.com/portillos/look/

Mr. Beef on 666 N. Orleans. I just went there for the first time and although it is also a venerable Chicago institution I wasn't wowed with the Italian beef but the Italian beef and sausage combo sandwich was pretty good.

We just went to Lou Malnati's and Giordano's for pizza and although both have their admirers and detractors we found both to be virtually identical. It's been a while since I've been to Gino's East for pizza but I remember liking it more. The reality is you can't go wrong with any of them.
http://www.loumalnatis.com/
http://www.giordanos.com/
http://featuredfoods.com/cgi-local/So...

I went to Greek Islands a couple of months ago and it was a pretty good place. Had a lamb kabob and the table shared pastichio and moussaka which is good to share because they are so rich. We also went to Athena in mid-May and sat in the courtyard to eat. Nice outdoor space.
http://athenarestaurant.com/

We were given some Greek pastries from Pan Hellenic Bakery and they were DELICIOUS. THe various baklavas were sinful.
http://www.google.com/maps?hl=en&...

In Chicago steak IS ethnic cuisine so you should have meat. There are so many places to go you'll just have to check the board and narrow it down. We just were at Gibson's which is in the "viagra triangle" and it was truly a scene. The meal came to about $300 with drinks (for 4) so not an inexpensive night but doable.

In the Loop go to Lou Mitchell's for breakfast. Just a joint with HUGE portions, reasonable prices, and crusty waitresses.
http://www.google.com/maps?f=l&q=...

Just make sure you cover all your Chicago food bases: Pizza, hot dogs, Italian beef, steak, and booze.

Use the El and the Metro trains too. They're cheap and easy like a college girl in Cabo.

Jun 15, 2007
Pate in Chicago Area

South OC for 5 - Coastal or Irvine ajacent & protein

I've been tasked with finding a restaurant on an expense account budget where co-workers & husbands will either celebrate or commiserate tomorrow night. Boss suggested protein. I'd like great food + atmosphere, not just a steak place. Last time this team was together we went to Maestros in Costa Mesa. The time before that, 6 Park Grille (they're staying at the Irvine Hyatt). They are all uber-foodies, but not snobs.

I'm thinking:

Bayside,
Savory's (or is it K'ya now?) because of the bar at the top of the hotel
The Bungalow in CDM
21 Oceanfront
Mastro's Ocean Club
Mozambique

Boss mentioned Agora Churrascaria because they get points on their dining club and it's protein. I'm not opposed but I have no desire to eat massive quantities of sub-par protein just for points. I'm not saying this is what Agora Churrascaria is, I don't know anything about it other than the concept of the restaurant.

I'm not looking for a reliable chain concept that we can have anywhere. Just good OC dining with a nice wine list, stiff drinks, a table for 5 in a somewhat intiminate setting, and a good protein supply on short notice. I'm thinking a Monday night reservation shouldn't be too hard to come by.

Any suggestions?

Jun 03, 2007
Pate in Los Angeles Area

How do you peel a peach? Really, how do you?

You know I have one of these. I just don't know how to use it. I know that's pathetic. I bought it to peel tomatoes and I could never get the hang of it. If you use the serrated part all it does is make a bunch of tiny jullienned-sized cuts on the skin but it doesn't remove the skin.

I feel so inadequate...

Jun 01, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

How do you peel a peach? Really, how do you?

Last year I bought some beautiful ripe peaches and then attempted to peel them for salsa and all I managed to do was bruise them and squeeze the juices out of them before I was done. First I tried cutting them in half and pitting them. Then I tried to keep them whole and peel them, then pit them, and I got about the same results.

Is there some secret to peeling peaches and not destroying them in the process?

Jun 01, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking

My cherry pie

So I made a cherry pie last weekend using the jarred Morello cherries from Trader Joes. I used 2-24 oz jars which I drained and then tossed with some sugar, flour, lemon juice, and orange zest. I didn't cook the mixture, just poured into an all butter pie crust and latticed the top using an ultra easy and impressive-looking technique learned during some serindipitis channel surfing. Brushed the crust with half & half and sprinkled it with sugar. Covered the outer rim with foil so it wouldn't burn and cooked it for 50 minutes, the last five without the foil shield.

I brought it over to my in-laws over the Memorial Day weekend because my FIL is a rabid cherry pie fan. When we were leaving he handed me the empty, washed pie pan as he took the half a pie that was left and plated it for himself for future consumption which made me laugh because they're super generous and under normal circumstances would share their last dollar. But we're talking cherry pie here and he wasn't taking any chances (plus at 75 you don't know if this is your last homemade cherry pie so who can blame him?).

Did I think the TJ's jarred Morello cherries were outstanding? No, not really. They actually had a washed out color that seemed to benefit from cooking. They weren't very tart either so I'm glad I added the orange zest. The recipe did give the filling the proper consistency, it was easy to cut and looked pretty. The all butter crust really made a difference. It just smelled heavenly and was light and flaky. So all-in-all, although a very good pie, not the 4-star pie that fresh cherries would have produced.

May 31, 2007
Pate in Home Cooking