susancinsf's Profile

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Hatch chiles 2014

Mentioned this on the bay area board, but for those of us in the CV, Raley's in Merced (and presumably other valley branches of Raley's) has green hatch chiles at 99 cents a lb today. Labeled 'hot'.

Aug 16, 2014
susancinsf in California

Hatch Green Chiles 2014

They had hatch chiles at the Raley's in Merced today, 99cents a lb. My guess is that means they are in the bay area Raley's stores as well, since we are never ahead of you all. I bought a few pounds to roast at home, no roasting facilities in this particular store.

Edited to add: haven't tasted any yet, but they are labeled 'hot'. (yay).

Aug 16, 2014
susancinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

New in Santa Barbara

When we were looking for a spot for a recent dinner, I rejected Scarlett Begonia because the online menu didn't look like it would be work well for our group with a vegetarian and a pescatarian. Besides, our local dining companions both voted for Lark...so as I mentioned in another post we went there and had a great time and a great meal.

Still, I am drawn to Scarlett Begonia (because of the name, mostly :-)) and will be back in Santa Barbara later this year, so am curious what your thoughts about how it will work for folks not interested in meat, Glbtrtr?

Aug 15, 2014
susancinsf in California

How is Rosine's in Monterey?

I've had breakfast there. Good for a group for breakfast because they take reservations, whereas a lot of the other nearby breakfast places would have a wait and/or not accomodate a group. The food was good, but nothing spectacular. They are known for their cakes, which looked good in the display case, but which we didn't try.

Large selection of pasta, but still I am not sure I'd really call the menu Italian...:

http://www.rosinesmonterey.com/Menus/...

On a weekend, I'd be inclined to try the prime rib dinner...

Aug 14, 2014
susancinsf in California

Need Serious Help - Party of 10 for Tomorrow Night

Four of us had a very early dinner the other night, after a (day) Giants game. Right on the longish walk back from the ballpark to BART. We asked to be seated in a quiet area, and they put us in what I'd call the the back room (which I am guessing is what others refer to as the side room: it is behind the bar area and to the back). It was perfect, not at all loud, and very cozy. When we left the restaurant was almost full (other than the back room, which had about half the tables occupied) but we still weren't bothered at all by the noise and could talk in normal conversational voices. (no music, however). I did notice some curtains in front of one of the walls: is it possible they are a recent addition to help with noise?

As for the food and drink, it was a hit. Great version of a maitai for me, and hubby had a non alcoholic drink with cucumber that was very refreshing, balanced. All of the food was excellent, but standouts for me were the dolmas (not traditional at all, more like a small stuffed pepper, full of flavor) and the bone marrow, which was absolutely delicious. Indeed, we ordered a second order of that bone marrow.

I used to go there for lunch regularly years ago. It's been a long while since I've been back. I now have a post game go-to place for those rare times I get to the City to see my Giants....and yes, I'd take a group there in a heartbeat (and request a table in the back/side room)

Aug 14, 2014
susancinsf in San Francisco Bay Area
1

Possible Double Standard Regarding Dietary Needs/Preferences

I can't speak to commercial preparation, but I will say that my Muslim daughter, Muslim SIL, and their many Muslim friends all tell me that at least for them, kosher is halal, but halal isn't kosher. This is a good thing where I live, since (despite the fact that the small Muslim population in our town is considerably higher than the tiny Jewish population, and growing, while the Jewish population is not growing) most of our local stores stock a fair number of kosher items and absolutely no halal items.

No matter: When daughter and family come to visit, they often bring halal meat from their big city where it is available. When we go out, they generally eat seafood (they will happily eat shellfish), or go vegetarian. Or I cook meals with the meat they bring, or we go vegetarian at home, which solves a lot of dietary issues for a crowd, to be honest. or a combination of vegetarian and kosher hot dogs for the grandkids (easy to find almost anywhere, in my experience).

In short, I don't find it to be any harder to accomodate a halal diet than it would be to accomodate a vegetarian diet.

Aug 10, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

Organic Fresno [Hwy 99]

just a wild guess :-) No, seriously, I am not at all into wraps, which limited my options. My DC really liked her wrap quite a bit, just not my thing. Next time I want to try the meatballs, or possibly the 'fake tuna'. (made with garbanzos).

Aug 09, 2014
susancinsf in California

The Lark in Santa Barbara

I had one night for dinner in Santa Barbara other than as an organizer of a retreat that would require me to eat on the UCSB campus (their on campus catering does a remarkably good job, fortunately, with an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients. I was even pleasantly surprised to see Straus milk and yogut in the dining commons!).

Two of us from Merced asked our two colleagues from UCSB where they'd like to eat, and both voted for the Lark. So we made a reservation (definitely needed, even on a week night!) and headed out. Hadn't read Polar Bear's remarks about parking for the wine shop (which would have been annoying to me too), but on the other hand, when we got there at about seven we were very happy to have valet parking: it may be an industrial area but we saw no available street parking within several blocks.

As mentioned, the place was hopping on a Thursday night; we were seated in a cozy booth that shielded us from the worst of the noise.

For us, Lark was a hit. We all had a great time (the two locals had both been previously) and the two of us from Merced whined as we speculated on how many decades it might be before our small town had anything comparable :-)) Two of the four are vegetarian or pescatarian, so we mostly stuck to items we all could share. Highlights included the fried olives, the brussel sprouts (almost a cliche on small plate menus these days, perhaps, but these were as good as any I've had); panzanella; brocollini; grilled octopus (which I don't eat for personal reasons, but which those who do indulge raved about); and the whole branzino (perfectly cooked). I can't pass up bone marrow when I see it on a menu: a very nice version. The homemade gnocchi would have been wonderful had the crab been fresh (the gnocchi themselves were almost perfect, but they were in a distracting sauce with Dungeness, which of course isn't in season; one of my dining companions insisted on ordering it anyway): as it was, it was a near miss with presumably previously frozen crab. We also had a cheese plate which was fine, not outstanding; I think there were one of two other items that weren't as memorable. We were too full to even consider dessert, other than the cheese.

Dinner for four with tip, a cocktail or two and a bottle of french rose was about $200. I'd definitely return.

Aug 09, 2014
susancinsf in California

Battered Fries. Are they french fries?

well, I guess I would have to say somewhere in the middle between the two: I wouldnt call it a thick batter, but not thin either. Would it make a difference?

Aug 09, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

Organic Fresno [Hwy 99]

A colleague and I recently had lunch here enroute to Santa Barbara from Merced. Pace was a bit leisurely due to the fact that our meals were made to order; service was excellent and friendly.

Both lunches started with a vegetable bean soup, which was delicious, and a simple, perfectly dressed salad of fresh greens. Colleague had a wrap (can't remember which one) and I had the chicken tikka masala, tasty but not memorable. There were a lot of baked goods at the counter but we didn't indulge. Colleague did buy some natural dried fruit for the road. Lunch here definitely fit the bill as a healthy alternative to either diner food or fast food, to keep us going on the long road trip.

Aug 09, 2014
susancinsf in California

What worked and didn't work about Chowhound

I am not sure this answers your question, since I am not sure whether what I find to be the best of CH can be replicated in a 'good site for civilized discourse about food' (which sounds, well, perhaps a tad formal?)...however, in the years I've been on Chowhound the best part of the site for me, has been the opportunity to meet people (both personally and virtually) whose appreciation for food meets and exceeds my own. I have several good friends that I met on or through Chowhound. In many cases, I originally met these friends either at bay area Chowdowns, or in many cases at the SF Board CH picnic, which served for at least several years as a fundraiser for the Site back in the days when Jim Leff owned it....Not sure how you replicate that, but if you can, more power to you.

I do think that diversity is key: one of the reasons I loved the Chowdowns (and organized a few of my own) was that they presented a the chance to meet folks from a variety of backgrounds but with a common passion for food.

Aug 08, 2014
susancinsf in Site Talk
2

Battered Fries. Are they french fries?

It happened to me again: at a decent brew pub (although the emphasis was on the beer, not the food), burgers came with an option of 'french fries' on the side according to the menu. There was a small extra charge for the fries, but I went for it and ordered them.

What I received was a good burger, medium rare as ordered, and battered fries. Sigh. I really dislike battered fries, ate none of them, and wouldn't have ordered them had I known, but the menu had no description besides 'french fries'.

For some reason this seems to happen to me most often at brew pubs, but I still forget to ask if fries are indeed just potato, salt, oil. I left the fries and didn't complain, but would I have been out of line to point out that I ordered fries and got something else? Is a battered fry still a french fry or is it a different item?

Aug 08, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

Totally Lost in Embarcadero with Co-Workers [San Francisco]

personally, I usually judge whether someone is a tourist by whether they are dressed in summer clothes or not, especially if they are sweaterless and/or their sweater is a local sweatshirt. Folks from Berkeley would never make the mistake of going into the City in the evening in shorts or a T. Of course, now that I live in the Central Valley I've sometimes been guilty of making this mistake myself....but then, I suppose I am now a tourist in my (former) home. And yes, I've seen an increase in tourists and (now that I sometimes need a place to stay) hotel prices the past year or so, presumably a sign of an improving economy...I'd agree that a group should make reservations.

Aug 08, 2014
susancinsf in San Francisco Bay Area
1

White Wolf Lodge Update, 2014

Meant to add to my report: yes, the phone lines are down but they do have internet by satellite (in the office only, not for guests, and email isn't an option for making a dinner reservation). The satellite is used mostly to order supplies and run credit cards, so yes, they accept all major credit cards as payment for meals.

Jul 21, 2014
susancinsf in California

White Wolf Lodge Update, 2014

I will be in Glen Aulin for two nights in two weeks (with yet another stay at White Wolf to acclimatize first. Life is rough :-)) and will report back on the food. Very excited! I can report that we stayed and ate at the May Lake High Sierra Camp for one night last year and the food was excellent. One note about the backcountry camps: unlike Tuolumne Meadows and White Wolf, alcoholic beverages are not available for sale. You either pack in your own, or if you are really thinking ahead and your wine really matters to you, there is a way to have it shipped in by mule back, but that is quite expensive, and I am not sure if it will be possible to arrange in advance given that the phones are down....

Jul 21, 2014
susancinsf in California

White Wolf Lodge Update, 2014

I've been lucky enough to be in Yosemite National Park several times already this summer (we do live relatively nearby), and have had three dinners and a few breakfasts at White Wolf Lodge on the Tioga Road. Thought I'd do a quick update for those looking for spots to eat in the park. In the past few years, the food at White Wolf has disappointed (even by not-too-high Yosemite standards) but they have a new chef, or something, and we've been very pleased this year. A few pointers and thoughts:

-White Wolf is a good option if you are driving on the Tioga Road, and would even be a viable option for those staying in the Valley if you've been out hiking or visiting the high country for the day. You don't need to stay at the tent cabins at the lodge to eat there, (although it is a great place to stay), the restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner (no lunch served, other than bag lunches you can order the night before if you are a lodge guest).

-the phones are currently down all along the Tioga Road, including in Tuolumne Meadows and at White Wolf, and are likely to be down for a long time (indeed, there is some question as to whether they can be fixed at all: the main phone line was buried several weeks ago in a massive rock slide). So, while reservations are accepted if you are there in person (so you could stop by in the am for a dinner reservation that night) it means that you don't need to make a reservation: show up for one of the four seatings and they should be able to seat you. (don't show up at nine pm expecting to eat, however, dinner ends early. I think the last seating is at 7:45 p.m. although I did see some folks come in at eight and get seated).

-all dinners are family style and you will eat with strangers. There is a fixed menu that varies by day of the week, with vegetarian and other special diet options available on request (at one dinner they made a delicious- looking pasta dish to order for a patron with a number of allergies that coincided with the ingredients in the main offerings.) Dinner as a fixed price meal with soup, salad, main course and veggies/sides, and dessert, but while they don't advertise it they will serve just soup and salad (plus bread) for a lower price (although I forgot to ask what that lower price is). Beer and wine are available for purchase, and we saw folks bring their own bottles as well.

-the full four course dinner is $29 for four courses, there is a $4 senior discount for ages sixty and over, and I think children under 12 are also less. A full buffet breakfast is $12 (with a slight senior discount); continental breakfast which includes hot cereal is $7.95 (no senior discount on the continential breakfast). All meals are all you can eat (served on platters family style, and just ask for more if you want it). While it isn't cheap, prices are reasonable for the remote location and the limited dining options in the vicinity (closest other restaurants at in Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley, each about 40 to 45 minutes drive away; or you can get groceries at Crane Flat, about a 20 to 30 minute drive away).

-As mentioned, menus vary by day of the week: we've had Saturday's steak dinner twice, and the flatiron steak was actually served medium rare as requested (yay), with a real baked potato and grilled asparagus, plus soup, a great tossed salad (with lettuce at one meal, a fresh spinach salad at another), and dessert. The veggie option one night was a stuffed belled pepper. We've also had the Friday night option of chicken 'fajitas', which was really grilled pieces of chicken, grilled veggies, rice and beans, served with salsa, warm tortillas you could make into a sort of burrito (along with soup, salad and dessert). Not as good as the steak, but decent.

-I've had three different soups, and all have been housemade and very good to excellent (soups are all vegetarian). Desserts have been a highlight: an excellent carrot cake one night, outstanding cheesecake another night, and a delicious apple pie. Whoever is making the desserts this year knows what they are doing.

-service otoh, is fairly amatuerish, but very friendly. Most of the staff are college students and recent grads enjoying some time in the mountains.

White Wolf Lodge will be closed all of the 2015 season for rennovations, to reopen in 2016. Hope they can keep the current chef. This is the first year in several that the food is good enough to put this one on the recommended list.

Jul 20, 2014
susancinsf in California

Big Island - Kohala Ranch and beyond.

I recall seeing their mushrooms in shops when I was there in May, so my guess is probably yes (?).

Jul 15, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Big Island - Kohala Ranch and beyond.

no, that makes sense, and please do report back on any places you try: We visit the BI as often as we can afford (or maybe even a bit more often than that :-)) and updates are always welcome!

Regarding the cooking at home: absolutely the way to go, even if the house weren't amazing. The quality of Big Island fish, meats and produce exceeds the quality of its restaurants, at least in my opinion. There is good dining there, but not much in the way of great dining, and yet lots of great ingredients.

Hawi has a Saturday Farmer's Market, by the way (I think), and Waimea has two on Saturdays...(as well as a mid-week market on Wednesday).

Edited to add: my email is in my profile: would love a private message with a link to the house you are staying in...especially if you end up loving it as much as you expect to do. Have fun!

Jul 15, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Maui and Big Island Report, Part III (Kona, Keahou and Holualoa)

Since I referred to this thread in another post, I will update it to report that Tacos del Mar is no longer in business, not a huge loss. There was a coming soon sign for another place that I think (?) was also Mexican. We did eat at Pine Tree Cafe this trip: it made a decent stop to get "plate lunch" type options to go to take to the beach for sunset options. Low prices, ok food, not memorable, but not bad. The hull hull chicken seems to be a favorite here, but they had just sold out when we ordered.

Jul 14, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Big Island - Kohala Ranch and beyond.

This thread has my long report on Holuakoa Cafe from a few years ago. Yes, it is a long drive and no, I wouldn't go back.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/746860

Jul 14, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Big Island - Kohala Ranch and beyond.

On my May visit, I liked Da Poke shack, but honestly am not sure it is road worthy all the way from Kohala Ranch area, unless one is heading to Kailua Kona anyway. For me it was very good, but not great. There wasn't much of a line when we went, and I was glad I didn't wait longer given the quality. I will say that it looked spotlessly clean and was well managed.

Village Burger was great. Highly recommended and one of our favorite meals this last trip. Be aware that there is almost no seating: two tables outside in the mall parking lot, a counter inside, and that's about it. You can call ahead and place your order and perhaps take it to picnic somewhere (although we ate there, and I am not sure how well the food would travel). There is also a food court next to it in the mall which has lots of tables, so presumably you could eat at one of those.

Food at Monstera in the Mauna Lani shops was fabulous on this, my second visit. However, service was 'relaxed' to the point of being annoying: LOONG waits between plates, we heard them tell a neighboring table about specials we weren't informed of, and bill was brought without asking if we wanted dessert...However, that wouldn't stop me from going again; the food really is that good.

Jul 14, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

As I read the descriptions above, 'Asian Veg' IS Indian vegetarian, they are not different items. Sounds like you should bring snacks.

Jul 13, 2014
susancinsf in Vegetarian & Vegan

Famous foods from your region you find tasty and delicious.

no to shoo-fly pie? Hubby hails from central PA, and years ago (perhaps before they stored pics and lots of information from passports on computers?) when his passport and all identifying docs were stolen in Rome, one of the questions the US Embassy asked him to establish he was who he said he was, after asking where he spent his childhood, was to describe shoo-fly pie.....In any case, I like it, more than much of the regional food I've tasted in that area.

He also remembers corn, pulled from the stalk and cooked within minutes, and sometimes just eaten raw. He remembers more than one August dinner that consisted of corn. and nothing else other than a bit of salt, pepper and butter.

I can also report that while I was born in and have lived most of my life in California (and agree with the obvious: we really do have some of the best produce anywhere), the best tomatoes I ever ate were in a salad in an otherwise forgettable restaurant in rural Western PA.

Speaking of obvious: San Francisco Bay Area: Dungeness Crab. Sourdough.

Jul 13, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

Unique to SF or Cal - Must eats for out-of towners

My husband often tells the story of the first time he even saw an artichoke: it was shortly after he moved from central Pennsylvania to California, and a new friend served artichokes at a dinner party. He had to ask for help on how to eat it...

Jul 07, 2014
susancinsf in San Francisco Bay Area

authentic mexican in bakersfield, visalia and in between

great, looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Jul 01, 2014
susancinsf in California

2014 Monterey Peninsula Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

Thanks for the detailed report! Sounds like you ate well overall. Can you tell us how recently you were there?

Jul 01, 2014
susancinsf in California

authentic mexican in bakersfield, visalia and in between

La Perla Tapatia in Delano, just off the 99. I haven't been in a year or so and would love an update report. Lovely house made tortillas. On other sites people mention the shrimp tacos. I am a fan of their chicken soup. Here is my original report:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/790249

Jul 01, 2014
susancinsf in California

Itinerary Review (Kauai, Oaho, Big Island)

Indeed, to truly take advantage of the best of the food that Hawaii has to offer, IMO one also should try a bit of cooking with the distinctive ingredients that are hard to find elsewhere. Even coming from California where most anything is available if one looks a bit, I see fruit in the farmers markets in Hawaii that I've never tried before, even after multiple trips. and the markets are fun as well as a good way to learn more about those ingredients. But of course, shopping takes time and cooking a few meals is difficult when one is in a different locale every night or two.

Jul 01, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Itinerary Review (Kauai, Oaho, Big Island)

That sort of makes sense then, *other* than the fact that if the weather is at all iffy, I think you will regret your decision to take the saddle road after dark (and there really isn't that much to see or do at the Mauna Kea visitor's station unless the stars are out, so presumably you are timing it for after dark). Would be a total bust if it is cloudy or raining, and the road can be daunting in the (not uncommon) fog. (quite possible for the visitor's station to be above the fog, but not the rest of the road. If it is raining, you won't see stars anywhere along the route). Besides, the northern route from Honoka'a to Hilo is beautiful, with waterfalls and gardens that are gorgeous rain or shine. Edited to add: If you do insist on such craziness, I'd just do a light lunch/snack at Tex's and then have your early dinner at Merriman's rather than take the extra time to drive down to Waikaloa. My one unimpressive meal at Merriman's was at lunch, and I wonder if they aren't a better dinner place. Take a look at the lunch and dinner menus online: they do seem to be different.

Jun 30, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Itinerary Review (Kauai, Oaho, Big Island)

It was the part about going up to Honoka'a to have a snack at Tex and then back to Waimea for lunch, after breakfast in Waimea, that confused me the most. Perhaps the morning is being spent touring Waipio Valley? My point is that I don't think the backtracking to have lunch at Merriman's is worth it, but just my opinion. I'd have lunch with malasadas and keep going towards Hilo rather than head back Merriman's for lunch. and I wouldn't build an itinerary around the malasadas to begin with.....

I've never been to Miyo's and if there has been much reporting here about it, I've missed it. Would love to hear more if you have a recent report.

Jun 30, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii