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OnceUponABite's Profile

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"Hole in the wall" Chinese on Peninsula?

Joy in Foster has amazing Chinese food. It's frequently by Chinese have to bring someone who can read the Chinese menu, their regular menu has horrible food. I'd love to go to Joy everyday!

Can you recomend a Miso soup brand? [Moved from Home Cooking board]

Rather than using dehydrated miso soup mixes, it's just as easy to make miso with dashi powder. You can get dashi powder from Asian markets or online,

Dissolve the dashi powder in water, bring to a boil, stir in some miso paste, also available in Asian markets or online, and some tofu cubes and you got miso soup.

Mar 04, 2008
OnceUponABite in General Topics

Where to find sweet potato fries?

21st Amendment used to. They don't anymore. I asked this past weekend.

Where to find sweet potato fries?

I had their sweet potato fries yesterday for lunch. I was disappointed :( However, it might not be that the sweet potato fries were bad, rather the fried fish was. Let me explain.

I saw they had fish and chips on the menu, so I asked to subsitude regular fries with the sweet potato kind, they let me for a dollar more. The fish was was a huge disappointment, so oily. And sitting on top of my sweet potato fries, it made the fries soggy. I looked at other people's sweet potato fries and they looked way better as an a la carte order.

I've learned my lesson!

Where to find sweet potato fries?

I've been craving to have some sweet potato fries, or any time of good sweet potato preparation. Where in SF is a good place to find them?

Thai gem in Redwood City! Ka Ra Kade

You can specify how hot you want things to be. I asked for medium and it was fairly mild I thought. But I'm pregnant right now and can't have very spicy food (fear of heart burn) so it was fine by me. The spices are used very judiciously. It's wasn't about how hot it was, but the overall flavor of all of the spices.

Thai gem in Redwood City! Ka Ra Kade

Ka Ra Kade is located on Woodside Rd. in Redwood City. The restaurant used to be called Woodside Thai Spot. Recently they remodeled and change its name. According to the owner, they didn't change ownership or chef. But for some reason, the food seems to taste so much better!

So far I've been there for lunch twice and both times I was very pleased. The lunch menu consisted of regular Thai offerings of various curries, rice and noodle dishes ranging from $6-$9 each. They also have a special a la carte menu that really shines (the speical menu is more pricer ranging from $9-$15). The halibut curry with steamed vegetables was delicious. The fish was fried first then coated with a light red curry sauce. The curries themselves are very clean tasting. Not heavy-handed which leaves you with nothing but coconut flavors in your mouth.

The complmentary salad is a mix of iceberg lettuce and some cucumbers and shredded carrots. The dressing is a tangy sesame sauce that works well with the salad. Everything is served in nice white plates. The presentation is definitely a notch above most lunch spots.

The downside to this place is the unpredictable service. This place used to be always empty. There is only one wait person and probably on chef in the back. But now it seems the word has gotten out and so sometimes the whole place is filled up and still there is only one waiter. Regardless though, he tries hard and the food is good, so I would definitely go back.

Home made preserved lemon problem?

No, these lemons are from my Mom's trees. No wax there.

Jan 29, 2008
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Home made preserved lemon problem?

yes, I meant tongs. Spelling is not my strength! But cooking is :)

Jan 29, 2008
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Home made preserved lemon problem?

I had a nice batch of meyer lemons, so I decided to make some preserved lemons. I used a fairly straight forward recipe from (


I have made preserved lemons before, but I can't remember which recipe I used.

This time, I even boiled my glass jars and used a tongue to pick up everything. An extra precaution that the recipe didn't call for.

As soon as I assembled everything inside my jar, however, everything tuned cloudy. I don't know if it's the salt and lemon juice reaction (if there is such a thing) of if it's suppose to be that way. In any case, I've kept it on the counter and shaken it daily as directed by the recipe.

The cloudyness didn't go away, I haven't open it yet, it's only been 4 days.

Do you think my preserved lemons have gone bad before it even began preserving? Besides the cloudyness, it doesn't look moldy or bad...

Jan 28, 2008
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Quick help needed for skimming fat off chicken soup WITHOUT having to cool it down...

You can try pouring the stock (after it's not boiling hot anymore) into a large gallon size zip lock bag. Then snip off the bottom corner and let the bottom drain. The fat should stay on top of the bag. Of course, stop the flow when you are nearing the end.

Jan 22, 2008
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

favorite spots in Chinatown for a tourist who is not afraid of authentic food?

although recent posts suggested the baker of those famous egg custards have either left or something. You might want to search for Golden Gate Bakery to see if there are any updates.

Peking Duck Pancakes

If you have access to an Asian grocery store, they typically have them in the frozen section with other kinds of buns.

Other wise, you can make them from scratch, I'd guess the dough would be simliar to any buns, but you'd just shape it differently.

Jan 18, 2008
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Where to get new pots in SF?

what everyone already said. But also did you know those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons never expire? And you can use multiple coupon at one check out. We always go in with a stack of coupons and use either the $5 of an item of $15 or 20% off one item. You can save a lot of money this way.

French macarons in Redwood City - Pamplemousse Patisseries et Cafe

Thanks for this post! I just bought some at lunch time. They are great.

I tried the passion fruit, hazlenut and amaretto. My favorite would be the passion fruit, because the tartness sets of the sweetness nicely.

At $1.95 they are a bit steep, but I think that's how much most place charges. They had so many flavors, I'd definitely go back and try more.

dusting chocolate truffles question

you can dust them right before serving. The refridgerator might have caused condensation and made the sugar all caked up.

Dec 12, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Help with Chocolate Fudge Recipe (crystallized/traditional)

I've never made fudge either. But I made a batch successfully with a epicurious recipe. It was for chocolate walnut fudget. It didn't call for corn syrup, instead it was just chocolate, butter, sugar, and non-fat evaporated milk (with other flvorings like vanilla and espresso powder).

You can search for it on but I think the results is what you describe. The sugar and evaporated milk are boiled until they reached 234 (which by the way I used a digital thermometer with no ill effect). Then combined with chopped chocolate, butter and the espresso powder. Everything is mixed until combined and stir in the walnuts.

Dec 12, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Fruit Jellies (Martha called them "Vellies. . .")

I tried this recipe twice. I didn't have apple pectin, so used regular fruit pectin. Both times it won't set up, no matter how much I boiled it :(

Dec 12, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

What's Your Go-To Cookie?

my go to cookies is definitely Lara Brody's ruglach. The recipe can be found on
I make extra dough and keep in the freezer. They make for a quick cookie when the dough is already made.

Dec 12, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Peanut brittle (sort of long, but please help!)

I used them before for brittles. They'll work fine.

Dec 10, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Cookie Recipes - Unusual ingredients?

Maybe go for unusual herbs or spice combos?

Start with a basic short bread or butter cookie recipe, and flavor it with

cardamomn and orange zest
five spice
rosemary and lemon
black pepper and drizzled with caramel
green tea powder

Dec 06, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

The Red Lantern in Redwood City?

A girlfriend and I went last night. I work in RWC so am always on the look out for good lunch places. The Red Lantern had so much buzz, I was looking forward to it.

After reading up on it, I was a bit concern about the high prices and the small portions. I have to say, for two girls, the portions weren't small, but the prices were indeed high.

We ordered lumpia and the fried calamari for appetizers. The portions on both were plenty. In fact the calamari basket was really large. Perfectly fried, crunchy and not oily, it is one of the better calamari that I've tried recently. The lumpia fell short for me. It was slightly on the greasy side, and overall the filling was uninspiring and I can't really tell you what was in it.

For our entree we had an order of crab fried rice and Chicken Penang (sp?). I broke my rule of never ordering fried rice out in restaurants because I'm convinced that restaurant will used leftover rice (i.e. uneaten portions from the tables) to make fried rice. But given this was a bit more upscale and I've read good thing about this crab fried rice, I went for it. I was pleasantly surprised it was chock full of crab. They did not skimp on the ingredients. But the fried rice itself was a bit smooshy, not as 'loose' as I expect fried rice to be. The portion size is perfect for two people.

The chicken penang is a light coconut curry with boneless skinless chicken breast meat. I'm glad to say they did not over cook the chicken breast. But given it's chicken breast and you can't really braise it for long, the flavor didn't penetrate the chicken, and overall it was not as successful as it could have been if it was a boned-in dark meat braise dish.

Between us we shared the coconut tapioca with coconut sorbet and strawberry. I found the tapioca to be too sticky, but the sorbet was really coconut-y. And at the end of the meal, we really needed something sweet so this hit the spot.

The appetizers were around $9 or $10. The crab fried rice was $10 or $11, the chicken was $20, the dessert $8. Add one small bottle of sparking water, tip and tax, we paid $62 total.

I'd say Red Lantern is a place to go if you want nice atmosphere and decent Southeast Asian food. But it will not be a place we go for lunch any time soon...way too expensive.

Buttermilk cake, pie, tart, cookies,...anything?

this place we go to, Mama's by Washington Square, has big, tall, and fluffy pancakes, not dense. I'd like to recreate that..

Dec 03, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Buttermilk cake, pie, tart, cookies,...anything?

does this make for a fluffy 'tall' pancake? I don't know if it's my pan (I don't have a griddle so I use a non-stick frying pan) but my pancake always comes out pretty thin. I use the basic pancake recipe from Joy of Cooking.

I'm looking for a big fluffly 'tall' pancake recipe.

Nov 29, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving dinner at Top of the Mark

I take a lap around the whole room first to see what is available. Then I go for things I like and things I want to try, but definitely things that are more expensive :) No baked potato for me! The trick is to take a very small amount, a bite at the most of something. Then after I've tried everything, I go back for seconds of those that I liked.

While the menu looks impresive on paper, in person, about half of it is what I'd consider cheap fillers (pasta, baked potatoes, field green salads etc.) I wouldn't waste time or vaulable stomach real estate on them.

Even though it was a pricy buffet, it was still pretty crowded. But they managed it somehow so the crowd made me feel festival, rather than chowtime at the trough.

Turkey stock has been in the fridge since Thursday. Is it alright?

before you put it in the freezer, I'd reboil it again, just to be on the safe side.

Nov 28, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Why is my coffee so blah?

Agreed. At home we make two cups of coffee with a probably 6 tablspoon of ground coffee (freshly ground of course).

Nov 28, 2007
OnceUponABite in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving dinner at Top of the Mark

I am pregnant, so my stomach capacity is less than normal. I felt like I didn't eat as much as I could have if I was 'all hands on deck'! My party of four ate for about hour and a half, choosing the more expensive items like seafood and meat. Still it was A LOT of food!

Thanksgiving dinner at Top of the Mark

I think so, if I don't cook it myself. This year with only three and a half eaters (my sister only eats seafood, no turkey for her) it seemed like a waste of my energy to cook the whole spread.

Thanksgiving dinner at Top of the Mark

I hardly see any posts about people's experience eating out on Thanksgiving so I thought I'd give my input for next year's diners.

This year Top of the Mark offered a TG buffet that started at brunch time all the way to 10pm. The cost was $89 for adults and $49 for kids. A very good complementary champagne (all you can drink) were included.

The spread WAS very impressive. Overall, the non-tradition TG meals were fabulous. The seafood bar, the cavier bar, in general the seafood. Unfortunatly, the traditional turkey and stuffing were lack luster. (I much prefer when I make it myself!) The cost is high, but you do get a fabulous view and live jazz pianist playin the background. And if you don't feel like making the whole meal yourself, it's a nice place to get dressed up and spend a relaxing Thanksgiving meal.

The menu:

Roasted US Prime Rib of Beef with Port Wine and Baked Potatoes
Roasted Turkey stuffed with Sage and Apple-Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Alaskan Salmon stuffed with Sea Scallop Mousseline and Thai Basil-Lemon Butter
Roasted Pumpkin Bisque with Cinnamon
Seafood Display of Cracked Dungeness Crab, King Crab, Prawns, and Oysters
Caviar Station with Fresh Blinis and Traditional Garnishes
Seasonal Terrines with Cumberland Sauce
Salmon en Bellevue
Assorted Sliced Deli Meats
Alaska Smoked Salmon, Smoked Trout, and Smoked Eel
Lobster Parisienne
Baby Shrimp Cocktail
Assorted International Cheese Display with Bread and Crackers
Assorted Mixed Greens
Roasted Free-Range Chicken and Grilled Vegetable Salad tossed with Olive Tapenade
Sea Scallops and Capsicum Confit Scented with Cilantro
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad with Dill Yogurt Dressing
Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons
Clams Rémoulade Salad
Roasted Beef and Bell Pepper Salad with Sesame Oil
Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Velvet Sauce and Mushrooms Medley
Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing
Glazed Sonoma Baby Vegetables
Bowtie Pasta with Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Oregano
Morel Scented Gratin Potatoes
Shrimp stuffed Free-Range Chicken Breast with Basmati Rice and Bisque Sauce
Steamed Halibut with Simmered Spinach and Champagne Sauce
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Farm Fresh Scrambled Eggs
Smoked Bacon, Link Sausages, and Canadian Bacon
Fresh Berry Pancakes
Pumpkin Pie
Orange Crème Caramel
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
Raisin Cinnamon Bread Pudding
Assorted French Mini Pastries and Fruit Tarts
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Granny Smith Apple and Caramel Pie
Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake
Lemon Tart
Candied Yam