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Los Reyes Taco Shop Merced

Haven't been to that location in forever but this iteration looks good. Will go check it out, thanks!

Aug 12, 2015
susancinsf in California

Hunan update (Fresno, Cedar location)

Yes, I agree on that October 2013 dinner being hit and miss (after some excellent dinners in the past), and we'd only been for dinner and lunch perhaps once each since then. The lunch had been very good but that other earlier dinner was also a bit inconsistent: exactly why I wanted to report on these three very good recent meals. Hope you can get down to Fresno one of these days to try it again with us.

Cookbooks geared to teens or young adults, but with visuals?

Hi all: I am posting this for my sister who is not ordinarily on this site, though this may encourage her to lurk at least :-). She is teaching her 18 yr old son, who is autistic, non verbal and doesn't really read, how to cook. The interest is definitely there, and love of food and cooking runs in the family. Sis is a teacher so engaging him probably isn't a huge issue, but she needs some visual aids.

Here is what she is looking for: "I've found learning to cook is helping with the impatience over food preparation. The books I've found so far are geared at younger kids and some of them are more like how to arrange food in cute ways, which I like, playing with food, but not so much him. He doesn't really read, comprehension is an issue. So want something geared at an older teen or young adult that's visuals."

Any suggestions? Thanks, hounds!

Jul 25, 2015
susancinsf in Home Cooking

Hunan update (Fresno, Cedar location)

Thanks! I actually thought about messaging you before yesterday's visit but saw based on an ice cream post on the boards that you were up north :-) Will be in touch very soon.

We could have used the company at lunch yesterday: as always, we over ordered, because I wanted to try several dishes. But hey, that is what coolers stored in the back of the car are for, right?: it was easy enough to head to the grocery store in the mall and pick up some ice, and now I am looking forward to lunch leftovers today!

Dishes we had at lunch: cucumber salad and spicy chicken with peanuts from the appetizer menu, plus Hunan braised pork, dan dan noodles again (that craving wouldn't go away). All from the Chinese menu. My favorite this round, along with the noodles, was probably the chicken dish: served cold, making it great for a warm day: perfectly poached chicken in a chili sauce, with green onions and peanuts. addicting. Fortunately, the 'appetizer' portions are large. The cucumber salad had almost too much garlic (along with sesame oil and ginger and cucumbers that I think might have been slightly blanched): in other words, as hubby pointed out: just enough garlic. The pork I've had before: it is very good, but another dish that is probably best in winter: rich with a high fat content.

Checked the menu and the name of that lamb dish is spicy lamb with numbing sauce.

By the way, if you ask for ice tea, they bring the same tea that is served hot, but cold and over ice, and obviously fresh brewed. Definitely a step or three above the ice tea one would get at most places around town, and they kept our glasses filled.

Until next time!

Susan

Hunan update (Fresno, Cedar location)

I've been in Fresno a bit more than usual lately and hubby and I have taken advantage of that fact to dine twice at Hunan. Both meals have been at the original location (Cedar, near Herndon). I am pleased to report that based on those two dinners that it appears to me that Hunan is really on its game right now, more so than I can recall from my past few visits before this set.

Nearly all of our ordering has been off the Chinese menu. Some standout dishes, all from the Chinese menu:

-'Spicy Combination': recommended by our server. Cold beef and tripe tossed with five spice, ginger and chiles. Delicious way to start a meal.

-dan-dan noodles: I can't recall ever having them here or even ever hearing them recommended, and I am not a dan-dan noodle expert but that said, these were as good as I have had anywhere, and I am craving more.

-spicy lamb with numbing chiles (I think this is the English translation): another new dish to me, another winner. A complex and delicious broth, lamb that really tastes like lamb, and sichuan peppers. Not really a summer dish, IMO, but who cares when it is that good?

-buttercream prawns (aka prawns with strawberries; this is a favorite dish of Polarbear's wife, IIRC): this one we've had before, but it was particularly well executed on our last visit. Came out freshly made, and clearly meant to be eaten while still hot, which we did.

-chicken with leeks: a simple stir fry but very nicely done. We got this as takeout and it held up quite well until the next day.

Both times we had to ask for the Chinese menu, which I find slightly annoying, but we are heading there today for our third meal in several weeks, for lunch after an appointment. I have the feeling that this time we may not need to ask: they are starting to recognize us.

Best part of visiting Fresno in the summer : getting my Hunan fix! (well, going to REI is always nice too...).

Jul 22, 2015
susancinsf in California

Restaurants are inappropriately using flour tortillas instead of corn? :(

I haven't had the 'Mexico City style corn masa turnover' at Frontera Grill, but I suspect it at least approximates what I would call a DF style quesadilla, described differently to get folks to buy it (because really, the stuff that passes for a 'quesadilla' in many US restaurants isn't all that interesting, IMO). Yes, DiningDiva's post, and the one that paulj linked earlier from my sister, describe what I recall and sorely miss from my days in Mexico City. No, we didn't get them at Sanborn's; we got them from street vendors. Thankfully, the best vendor was a block from our house.

Jul 21, 2015
susancinsf in General Topics

Mariposa for dinner

To be clear, I don't go to Jantz for the coffee, and if it is great coffee you are after there may be better places in Mariposa (though I don't know them). I go to Jantz for the baked goods. (and get coffee while I am there). In addition to breakfast pastries, cookIes, and the like, Jantz makes the best pies in three or four counties, IMO. Try the chocolate cream pie and the fresh stone fruit pies if they have those yet (last time I was there was several weeks ago and they didn't have the fresh peach pie yet, but it is worth going out of one's way to check...)

Jul 10, 2015
susancinsf in California

Mariposa for dinner

Actually, Erna's is at least 35 minutes drive in a direction that takes you to a different entrance to Yosemite, more if you aren't used to mountain roads, so I wouldn't call it all that close anyway. While there are a few decent Mexican restaurants (Salvador's and Castillo's) my choice for dinner in Mariposa would be Savoury's. Right on the main drag and much better food than one would expect in a small town. Open daily for dinner in the summer.

If you are there overnight and want excellent baked goods and coffee for breakfast, or cookies for the trail, try Jantz, also on 140 right in the middle of town. Closed Sunday, unfortunately.

http://savouryrestaurant.com/Savourys...

Jul 07, 2015
susancinsf in California

Crab with Ammonia Odor Question?

ok, so they may need to be handled differently to avoid the taste...and have a cartilaginous skeleton, but they most definitely are fish.

Jul 01, 2015
susancinsf in Not About Food

Offering alternative meals to children - yay or nay

I am solidly in the nay camp. The rule in my household growing up (know known as Grandpa's Rule, after my father, who quoted all the time, although he actually got it from a kid's book about etiquette): "Eat it and shut up about it, or don't eat it and shut up about it.'

I enforced more or less the same rule for my kids: well, we'd talk about food we like :-) but if they didn't like something they weren't forced to eat it, but no griping or whining and neither would I cook an alternative meal. They could eat more of another item or just have a snack they made themselves later.

It does help to have them involved in meal planning and cooking, and I did do that. Sometimes I would also ask them to choose between several suggested entrees for dinner. No reason not to give them a voice in the planning aspect. Daughter took to cooking more than son (She's a great cook now) but even son can make a decent meal; he has been able to make breakfast based on a good version of scrambled eggs since he was twelve or so.

Dinner out was often at an 'ethnic' restaurant (ethnicity different than our own, usually Chinese, Vietnamese or Mexican) and that also helped expose them to a variety of foods. That was a family tradition: my parents took us out to dinner most Sunday evenings, and the choice of restaurant was usually either Chinese or Mexican. My father generally chose inexpensive places and 'ethnic' often fit that criteria but it did help us become more adventurous, I believe.

My daughter did go through an extended phase from about age ten to age 16 or so where she didn't want to eat meat in a form she could recognize as an animal ( she'd eat a casserole, hamburger or hot dog but refused to eat a chicken leg or even a steak or chop). Meat is still not her favorite although she is not totally vegetarian. I respected her reluctance to eat animals and during that phase I often would prepare protein rich sides along with a fair number of vegetarian meals. Again, no separate meal but she did have options on the table even if she chose to skip the chicken. When we went out she could order what she want, and if we were dining out family style (as at a Chinese restaurant) each kid got to choose at least one dish to order so that there would be something they enjoyed. These days daughter has some religious dietary restrictions and I do honor those when she comes to visit and at family meals when she is present.

Upshot of my approach, at least for me: both kids love good food and are adventurous eaters. And I see that being passed to the third generation (fourth actually since I think I got it from my parents): my 7 year old granddaughter loves foods of all type, has been able to eat with chopsticks since she was three or four, and loves helping Grandma cook dinner most of all! Her favorite food is sushi: their family just visited Japan on vacation and she was in heaven. She kept telling my daughter that they needed to move there. My 2 year old Grandson is showing all the same tendencies, although he definitely has a particular affinity for chocolate and ice cream. :-)

Jun 27, 2015
susancinsf in Not About Food

The Etiquette of Bringing Your Own Meal on a Plane

Completely serious. The circumstances were unusual, but not unheard of and certainly not an excuse: they had switched planes due to a mechanical problem that could not be fixed, (after a five hour delay!) and so presumably the food somehow didn't get loaded during the switch....as I say, there was first class food, but unfortunately my daughter and her family weren't in first class.

Sorry, I don't know the flight number, but it was in early June this year, and while their ticket said Japan Air Lines, it was a code share, and the actual flight was an American flight. One more reason not to fly American, and, as someone said, to ALWAYS bring snacks. ALWAYS. especially if you are traveling with kids.

Happily, my daughter and family had a wonderful vacation once they got to Japan. They did say the flight was the worst of their life, and they have traveled quite a bit.

Jun 24, 2015
susancinsf in Food Media & News

Best Mexican Food in Gaslamp

I recently stopped into Comun for a quick bite after a meeting and before taking in a Padres game. The tostadas I ordered (one each of rabano, mahi and carnitas) were nothing special, and waay oversalted. The mahi didn't taste all that fresh. The margarita was decent, nothing more. Location, however, was great for a pre-game dinner, the outdoor space was nice for people watching as folks entered the game, and I have to say that the aguachile and half chicken I saw going to a neighboring table looked great, and were getting positive comments from the diners there.

So I could see Comun being worth a stop IF one orders carefully. In truth, however, I can't recommend it based on what I ordered: I saw better looking food at several of the stands in the ballpark.

Jun 24, 2015
susancinsf in San Diego

The Etiquette of Bringing Your Own Meal on a Plane

My daughter recently did a flight from LAX to Tokyo during which it was announced AFTER takeoff that there was no food, other than in First Class, due to a catering mistake. And she had two children under eight. Yes, totally aside from the relatively unappealing nature of airline food, there is a need to bring food not he plane. I always come armed at least with snacks, and definitely so if I was traveling with children.

Modesto, seeking good eats

I really want to love La Mo but I've found it to be uneven on several visits (last visit maybe a year ago). Definitely skip the birria if it is still on the menu:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/868494

Jun 13, 2015
susancinsf in California

Modesto, seeking good eats

when it comes to Modesto eats, bumping up old threads and new posts always welcome! (we don't get much Modesto traffic on the board)...Welcome and I hope to read more posts about good area places soon!

I will definitely check out Cheesecake Kitchen soon.

Do you have any favorite dishes to order at Memo's?

Jun 13, 2015
susancinsf in California

What's the most VARIED cuisine in the world?

In a similar vein, I really liked this thread on the LA Board a few years ago. It seemed that every time someone came up with something you couldn't find in the greater LA region, someone else would point out where you could find it.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716045

Jun 06, 2015
susancinsf in General Topics
1

What's the most VARIED cuisine in the world?

I'd call Puerto Rico tropical, and Guam, at least as tropical as Hawaii and South Florida, and since they are part of the United States, I'd say that in fact we do have a tropical zone. (edited to add: more than one tropical zone, actually.) And one that adds to the diversity and variety of US food: well, in truth, I know nothing about the cuisine in Guam, but PR is certainly very, very different from Hawaii (and most of the rest of the US, for that matter) in terms of cuisine, (not to mention history, population, geography, language, culture, etc.)

Jun 06, 2015
susancinsf in General Topics

What's the most VARIED cuisine in the world?

Mexico came to mind for me too, as one of the choices that would be less obvious than China...and even though you wouldn't guess it from the (lack of) range of Mexican restaurants in my area of the U.S....I also think that 'American' food (food from various regions of the United States) can have more variety than we would give ourselves credit for.

Jun 06, 2015
susancinsf in General Topics

Wegman's Faux Pas [Moved from Boston]

I do think the corn example is a bit different than picking and choosing strawberries, for the reason you mention: it is bad for the product being left behind. Of course, I suppose the same could be true if the strawberries or whatever are squeezed...certainly would be true with some fruits: the less handling the better, and not because of germs, but because of potential damage. Edited to add: while I don't think it is ok to do anything that would damage the fruit left behind, I do have some sympathy for a shopper not wanting to take some duds along with the good ones....(which raises a whole other issue as to what constitutes a dud...but that is why I buy my strawberries from a local stand: consistent quality, which I don't see in Driscoll strawberries...)

Jun 06, 2015
susancinsf in Not About Food

Recommendations For San Fran Restos? - bringing my "foodie" son....

I never said the food was great (Edited to add: although I do have a fondness for the Cha-CHa bowl, and let's face it, junky and ballpark go together for some of us...), just better than Dudgers. But then so is the team, not withstanding the past week. :-) (Although I haven't been yet this year to see what is new or changed).

Recommendations For San Fran Restos? - bringing my "foodie" son....

hush up (to put it politely).

Speaking of which, if the Giants are in town, a 13 year old might really enjoy a visit to the best ball park in the majors, with much, much, much better food than Dodger Stadium....

On that note, last season four of us had a very good post game meal at Flytrap which I'd actually call closer to California food (albeit with a decided Middle Eastern bent,) than many on the OP's list...and a bit of 'old SF' feel to boot. Flytrap would be a great place to make a meal (or just a post game snack) of appetizers, by the way. Bonus points for being quiet (especially the back room), accessible (and a great way to break up a walk from the ballpark to the Union Square area), a relatively easy reservation, and somewhere that I am sure could handle a peanut allergy without any problems. (OTOH, while I haven't been to Toronto in a while, my recollection is that it does have good Middle Eastern.)

REVIEW: Ma's Chinese Islamic, Anaheim

Couldn't tell you but thanks for the mention, you just put another spot on my 'to try' list on my next south bay visit!

Jun 04, 2015
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area

REVIEW: Ma's Chinese Islamic, Anaheim

Since someone else bumped this thread, I will add a further update: daughter, SIL and the WMAGC (yes, we have a grandson to go with the granddaughter now :-)) ate at Ma's to fortify ourselves for two days at Disneyland, in March. Our order included the pickled cabbage with lamb and the potstickers (I guess we really are creatures of habit, and IMHO it wouldn't be a trip to Disneyland without cabbage and lamb at Ma's), but everyone's favorite this meal was garlic beef with jalapenos. Really fabulous flavors and balance.

The service this visit wasn't great. It was Saturday early evening, and the place was packed even though we went early. By the time we left there were lines at the door. Sevice suffered: we were seated right away and our order taken fairly quickly, but there were delays in getting food, we couldn't get utensils or plates to share family style, etc. We ended up getting up to get someone's attention and fending for ourselves. (and sorry, I didn't notice if anyone was in shorts, although we were certainly all dressed casually if modestly). In any case, the food was great and as we left we all agreed: service sucked and we'd go back in a heartbeat (though we might try to avoid Saturday night next time)!

Jun 04, 2015
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area

Are there any excellent (and authentic) Italian restaurant in the bay area?

'day trippers are tolerated. Return visitors become welcome guests, multiple visits earn you family status.'...that is sort of how I view La Ciccia, although I felt like a welcome guest after one visit. Definitely feel like family now.

And I am ashamed to admit I've never been to Italy. Hubby promises to rectify that soon (he has been quite a bit, but no one said that life was fair). When I do go, I am heading to Sardinia!

King Salmon: Is the Drought Threatening California’s Favorite Fish?

thanks for the post...In a way, sort of glad I hadn't read it before dinner tonight. We don't get much if any fresh local salmon or much good seafood of any type in land-locked Merced, so hubby and I stopped at the Sonoma Market this afternoon on the way home from a Glen Ellen family visit to see what was available: They had local King salmon for $19.99 a lb. although I did take two of the last/only four or so filets.

We kept it on ice in the cooler I always bring on trips to see the Sonoma family; drove straight home and grilled it tonight. Really, really good.

We also picked up a few snacks for the road and various cheeses. As we were leaving hubby commented that his main gripes about the Sonoma Market are that it can be hard to navigate, that service can be 'spacey', that it is definitely not cheap and that it isn't in Merced. :-)

Help needed: Bethesda for a smallish group

Sad not to see any replies, but I will report back anyway: we ended up at Persimmon. A good pick for our group: it was quiet enough to talk (though still bustling), they didn't blink at separate checks (since we were all on different expense accounts), food was very good, and everyone left happy. Most of us had the catch of the day (I am blanking on what fish it was, but cooked very nicely), one opted for the scallops, which got a thumbs up, and several the short ribs, which was a HUGE portion.

I'd go back.

Ate another night with a smaller group at Blacks Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. Food was more upscale in style, and delicious (great oysters, very good asian-influenced fish preparation) but definitely more expensive and noisier (though they did give us a relatively quiet table in the back).I'd be more likely to go with a smaller group or as part of a couple, but I'd also go there again, but preferably on someone else's dime, which was the case that particularly evening.

Keoki's Hawaiian Barbeque Carry-Out | Marina - Monterey Peninsula

Plate lunch in the Monterey area! Thanks so much for this report, Melanie, I hope to try it soon (a shame that it is closed weekends...but sounds like it could make a great Friday night early dinner, picked up on the way into town, packed to go and taken to a bench or on one of the piers....)

May 18, 2015
susancinsf in California

Best tacos along Hwy 99?

Finally got a chance to try Birria Apatzingan. Thumbs up: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1014040

May 18, 2015
susancinsf in California

Birria Apatzingan, Tulare

I've been intrigued by Birria Apatzingan on many trips down the 99 to LA, and finally had a chance to pull in a few weeks ago. Right off the freeway at the Ave. 200 exit, with a large parking lot. A perfect pit stop if the food is good, and (yay!) it was.

There is a fairly extensive menu, including Mexican breakfast (served all day IIRC) but we were there to try the birria. Several sizes; a large bowl was about $8 and made a perfect, filling lunch. Chips and two salsas to start weren't that impressive, but the birria came out quickly, and was great. Delicious broth, large chunks of tender goat, good amount of heat and lots of flavor. Cilantro, lime and chopped sweet onion served on the side, along with lovely, house made tortillas. Both hubby and I savored every drop.

Pleasant diner-type ambiance, with comfortable, slightly worn booths and a counter. Service was friendly, both English and Spanish spoken. Most folks were also enjoying the birria, not surprisingly, although I did see a good looking enchilada plate come out of the kitchen.

There was a freezer case which held some paletas and helados, but we were full and decided to pass on grabbing treats for the road. Next time.

Recommended; this and La Perla in Delano are the best Mexican alternatives I've found on the drive between Merced and LA....

Birria Apatzingan
1066 Rankin Ave, Tulare, CA 93274

May 18, 2015
susancinsf in California

Nick's Cove - Marshall

no, no, I know what they are....I just have this image of checking into my room and seeing the bbq'd (grilled, broiled, whatever) sitting on the bedside or window side table with the tabasco and even perhaps a complimentary glass or bottle of wine? you wouldn't wonder how long they had been sitting there? and then after you eat them, having empty oyster shells to dispose of in your room. I mean, would you really want them delivered to or waiting in your room? as much as I love oysters, that would be pretty low on my list....