susancinsf's Profile

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A Faster Chowhound: Pagination for Longer Threads

Ditto. (though I can't tell if page is loading faster or not so don't stop reading here as you apparently did with Melanie's original post). I HATE pagination on other sites, and to have it on CH, yuck!

I haven't read all of the replies so I am sure someone already pointed out one of my big concerns: I opened my CH, said 'WTF' and had to come to 'Site Talk' and read this thread to understand how to fix it (partially anyway) in my Settings. If I were new to the site I have to say it would just turn me off enough that I probably wouldn't bother to try and figure out what, if anything, I could do about it, and you'd lose a potentially dedicated reader before you even start.

Fix the things that are broken before you fix things that aren't broken.


One more place to mention: I didn't eat there, but my friends whose opinion I trust loved Maggie's Blue Rose, (Mexican) and based on their description I put it at the top of my list for my next trip.

Dec 17, 2014
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area


One guy isn't really an operation. We were unable to set up reservations in advance for scuba boat trips for a small (4 to 5 people) group there recently. We were told our best option was shore or kayak diving, but that wouldn't take us to Ship Rock, and thus chose Avalon (which has some good operations that were willing to take reservations in advance to take us out (and did take us all the way to Ship Rock one day, yay!) That said, I am with you completely on the cruise lines....If I was just looking for a SoCal oceanfront getaway, I'd chose Two Harbors over Avalon in a heartbeat....(but my heart would be broken if I had to look at Bird Rock and Ship Rock every day and knew I couldn't get out there for the world class diving those sites offer).

For those who do want an escape, there are now vacation rentals with kitchens at Two Harbors, and between that and the one good restaurant, someone who loves food (shrimp and grits, yum!) could be happy. However, unlike in Avalon the grocery selection is decidedly limited (and rather expensive) so if I was going to cook many meals in, I would bring a full cooler....(which the ferries won't blink an eye at, by the way, although they may count it in your luggage limit).

Dec 17, 2014
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area


On our last trip ( early October) we rented a house with friends and cooked a lot. Actually the Von's (there is both Von's and Von's express) has everything you need for a picnic or for dinner, and quality was decent and, to our surprise, prices were quite reasonable; same as the mainland.

Some restaurants we liked:

The Lobster Trap: we didn't eat there, but it was a great place to get fresh seafood to cook at home. We got some lovely clams there one night. You can also buy seafood from a little shop at the end of the commercial pier also. (don't remember the name, but ask around).

El Galleon: very touristy looking and location (what isn't in Avalon?) but we had a surprisingly good dinner there: they have good early bird specials. Great service, other than the fact that it was like pulling teeth to get them to put the Giants (baseball) game on. Oh well, this is LA County...)

Casino Dock Cafe: nice fish tacos.

We liked Courtyard Coffee also. One other place we enjoyed: at the foot of Clarissa there was a little, slightly strange store that sold take out food and sushi (can't remember the name) which had a small but lovely upscale cheese selection and some great craft beers...we spent too much money there...

Dec 16, 2014
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area


Two Harbors no longer has a scuba operation, I'm told. That would be a reason to stay in Avalon. But I do love Two Harbors. The take out ice cream from the store by Harbor Reef is good.

Dec 16, 2014
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area


I have taken the bus from Two Harbors to Avalon and I don't recommend it as transportation. Fine ONCE for an adventure of sorts. Pretty when weather is good, but bad roads, steep drop offs in places and very long, bumpy (think yellow school bus) and you actually have to transfer up near the airport (so it is really two bus rides, with a wait in between that can be half an hour or more). The ferries go between Two Harbors and Avalon, that is the pleasant way to do it, IMO.

Dec 16, 2014
susancinsf in Los Angeles Area

A Message from The Chowhound Team & Plans for 2015

So, I just have to be contrarian for a minute and say that only one of these suggestions (enhancing search capabilities) would make my top ten (Indeed, I had to do a search on COTM to figure out what the heck it was). Well, if I get an iPad that 'jumping' issue might matter a lot, but for now, other than search, no.

FWIW, in that regard, I've been a regular poster since at least 2005, and what I've loved about CH is the information (mostly on restaurants, less so opinions on Cookbooks: I already have way more than I use, and anyway, that is what visits to Green Apple Books in SF is for.. :-) )

As westsidegal points out, the pleasure of interactions is what has made the site for me. That and the great knowledge I've gained, from posts and from my brother and sister Chowhounds.

Indeed, I've made some lifelong friends, thanks to CH. (I sure miss the good old days of the CH picnic.....). Knowing where the buzz is? having the moderators text me about certain threads? Pre-determining who might be a great participant on a certain topic? None of those ideas would chase me off the site, but OTOH I'd mostly just ignore them. Whereas, the issues on my second favorite board (Los Angeles): those have been sad and hard to ignore. Definitely has led to a decline in my interest in participating, not to 'see' some of my favorite SoCal hounds...

Not too long ago I emailed CH to ask why a post was allowed to remain that had no real information but just called a well known author and food critic a name that I think most persons find offensive (offensive against women particularly). The answer was basically that we don't moderate people's opinions, and no one is off limits (including famous authors) and thus the hounds are free to use offensive language to express their opinions and to use offensive names as long as those names aren't directed at other Chowhounds....umm...ok, but then, why are certain opinions in fact moderated? and is calling someone a 'd--bag' in and of itself an opinion? I get that we don't want moderators to be the 'offense police' but if the excuse is that 'it is ok as long as it isn't directed at another hound', well, to that I just say, huh? How do we know said author isn't in fact a lurker, if not a poster, on CH? And how is it that the word 'd...bag' is ok but certain punctuation is not? (or is swearing no longer ok? I see hints that it may not be based on discussions on site talk? If so, really? I can't use standard swear words but words that call out specific genders or ethnicities would be ok?)

I didn't get it then, and I don't get it now, and my last email asking these types of questions went unanswered. So then, that's what matters to me: that moderation is used in a way that at least shows semblance of someone putting some thought behind it. You can be transparent without revealing any personal information, did you know that? If CH can be more transparent in moderation and apply the rules equally across the board to all posters, and thus continue to allow me to experience a sense of community, I will continue to participate.

Bells and whistles: not so necessary. Have at it if it makes others happy, but it doesn't do much, if anything for me, and has absolutely nothing to do with the value of the site to me. AND for sure, please don't tell people that their multiple punctuations might crash the site (and therefore can't be allowed), and then try lots of new bells and whistles without first changing whatever basic code allows a row of question marks to crash the site!

Thank you.

I'd like to, but I've never tried homemade . . .

no, no, no.....sorry, don't want to do that. If you have the patience to make sushi, you can make tamales....just bring the abuelita!

Dec 08, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

I'd like to, but I've never tried homemade . . .

I saw the corn husks at my local Costco yesterday :-).

I agree that tamale assembly is fairly forgiving, but I am not sure the actual cooking really is: first you have to get the filling right, then you need to be sure you have to mix the masa just right to have the right density of the masa, and steam just enough but not too much...

Dec 08, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

I'd like to, but I've never tried homemade . . .

I guess the 'easy' part depends on how you define easy...I'd say that the process of making tamales isn't so technically difficult, but it is quite time consuming. I've made them perhaps three or four times, years ago when I had a boyfriend of Mexican descent: I joined his Mom and sister for several tamale making sessions. My opinion is that it is done as a social gathering not because it is more fun, but because it is less tedious (and because traditionally they are often made for holidays). This is especially true if you want a good variety of fillings. I guess it is like a cookie bake in that respect (make a bunch of types, take some of each home..) but then, I also find baking cookies to be tedious, which I know not everyone does.

Tamales do take a certain 'touch' so I think it makes sense to make with someone's Mom or Grandma, rather than just from a recipe, at least the first time or two. I guess that is probably true of a lot of family favorites.

As for me, I'd like to try to make homemade sauerkraut. I'd also like to try canning something (tomatoes perhaps, if I ever get a big enough crop), just to say I have....

Dec 07, 2014
susancinsf in General Topics

Jardiniere not just downhill but rock bottom [San Francisco]

I went for the first and last time for an anniversary celebration several years ago. I thought neither service nor food were up to the standards that the prices and lovely room suggest, and have not wanted to return. Thought I posted at the time, but can't find post, but it has been at least two years, probably more.

I too need help on uninvited guests.

Ordinary, I'd be with you on uninvited guests...but it seems a little unrealistic to ask your brother to come without his immediate family on a major holiday. I'd respond by reshaping the celebration to accommodate both your wishes and those of your family, since it is Thanksgiving and Christmas (for a regular party, I'd just say no to the extra guests, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are not regular parties for most people).

I can't tell how young these kids are, and I know you've already weighed in as OP...but I am surprised that there hasn't been more discussion of what I think is the obvious solution, assuming the kids are at least four or so: put them to work! You need the help, and yes, even young kids can help. They appreciate the food much more if they have a hand in making it (and ahem....the same is true for adults: another solution is to either ask your 18 family members to pitch in or tell them the alternative next year is potluck, or to find another host!) .

Be very clear: NO ONE is allowed in the kitchen unless they are helping to cook. (which would eliminate very young children/toddlers). Feel free to post a note on a door or the fridge: "Be prepared to help cook, all ye who enter here..." or some such; keep it light, but be firm. The kitchen is for cooking.

This year my six year old granddaughter helped her mom make the Thanksgiving desserts the night before Thanksgiving (breaking eggs, stirring pie ingredients, etc.), and then she helped me with the rest of the meal, cooked at daughter's house, including the following: tore up the sage leaves I brought from my garden to put in the stuffing, tore the bread for the stuffing (tearing stuff is great: no knives required and the end result may not have perfect cubes, but it tastes just as good), melted butter (well watched it melt and told me when it was ready), stirred the gravy (and she did a damned fine job of it: the gravy was excellent), washed veggies, scrubbed potatoes.... I let her sit on the counter under very close supervision, but a footstool works just as well and is less obtrusive. When I needed items from the pantry, she would fetch them. When she got bored, which she eventually did on the stuffing job (lots of bread to tear up) I reminded her of the 'workers only in the kitchen before dinner' rule, and suggested she take a break. Which she did, outside the kitchen. Her two year old brother was banned from the kitchen and since his Dad is not a cook, it was his job to watch him.

My granddaughter thinks I am the world's best cook, other than perhaps her Mom. Far from it, but I think her perspective shows an appreciation, even at her young age, for what it takes to put a home cooked meal on the table. Grandson will be joining our cooking sessions very soon. You'd be doing your grand-nieces and nephews a favor if you passed along a bit of the same type of perception, and they are a lot less annoying when they are actually helping..... beats gritting one's teeth while they play tag around the island...

bink's midtown

Adding an update to report on a dinner that three of us had a few weeks ago:

On a Monday night, the place was almost deserted. Most people were eating outside, but I thought it was too cold (ok, I am a wimp, but it was November after all...), so asked for a table inside mentioning chill. Table was fine, but right under a very active AC vent. Took some persuading to get them to turn down the AC even though the room was empty. Other than the temp, the room had a cozy feel.

Service was sort of hit and miss: friendly, but sometimes long waits for food, and things brought out inconsistently.

Between the three of us we tried:

good cocktails: both my Port Old Fashioned and my friend's Dirty Greyhound Margarita got a thumbs up (though my Old Fashioned was a bit small for $12...)

Grilled dates: recommended highly by the server: good, but then it is dates and prosciutto, hard to go too wrong. Not the be-all, end-all that the server's description promised.

house bread: some type of biscuit, forget the description but I think it was blue corn (based on the color), and quite undercooked.

White bean soup: I didn't taste it, but hubby enjoyed it quite a bit. Looked very, very hearty, probably heartier than I would have wanted for an appetizer.

Kale cold plate, which was really a salad: my friend's choice. Again, I didn't try it but she raved and polished off every bite of a huge serving. Looked delicious.

Little Gems salad: my salad was meh: the lettuce seemed a bit tough for a little gem and it was a bit overdressed. Oven dried tomatoes were nice.

Tortilla Soup Meatballs: I find it hard to pass up meatballs when on a menu, these were again, somewhat meh and over salted. Liked the idea but think it missed on execution. I was wavering between these and the duck breast and the server recommended the duck, saying that the meatballs would not be enough food as a main. Actually, it was plenty of food, but I probably still should have listened to the hidden message.

corn pasta: friend's choice, this I tasted and did like. Nicely cooked, and again, it was polished off.

sand dabs: yes, Phoenix is landlocked but hubby couldn't resist. I thought they were the hit of the night along with the ice cream for dessert. Buttery, perfectly cooked, delicious.

roasted sweet potatoes: delicious.

none of the desserts appealed but the ice cream that accompanied one of them, mint, did, so we just had mint ice cream for dessert. That was the highlight of the meal. Best mint ice cream I've had in well, forever. Espresso was also good.

Total for the three of us with tax, all of above and a glass of wine was about $160 before tip. The restaurant is very close to my friends house and I am glad to have tried it, but not in a rush to go back.

Nov 22, 2014
susancinsf in Phoenix

Thanksgiving Guests! What are you bringing?

Perhaps next year you'd like to come to Thanksgiving dinner at my home? :-)

Kid-friendly restaurant in SF?

I see kids at La Ciccia all the time, especially when dining early. Sadly they are not open for lunch. There as a young girl behind us when I dined there a bit over a week ago who couldn't have been older than three.....

Monstera, Big Island

glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the report back. I've been back more recently (in May of this year) and as I think I mentioned in another post: food was still great although service (with hubby, we were seated at a table) was a little off that night. I suspect that sitting at the bar is the way to go, but I definitely would and will be back regardless of where we are seated. Going to try the mai tai next time!

Nov 15, 2014
susancinsf in Hawaii

Panaderia Guadalajara Merced

Wanted to bump this post to add: agreed on the baked goods: yes, it is still one of the best Mexican bakeries in Merced (actually, it is the best I've found)...and one of the best bakeries period. But I find myself going back repeatedly not only for the baked goods: they have a small but interesting selection of Mexican groceries, a fairly large selection of helados (which I haven't yet tried: next trip for those), are known for their custom special occasion cakes, AND have some take out savory dishes. In the latter category: I really like their tamales.

Stopped by yesterday to pick up some tamales for the office Halloween potluck yesterday, which ended up with a Mexican theme just because of the participants food preferences :-) I ended up buying out their remaining supply for the day: a dozen green corn and a dozen pork. Bought a small container of house made salsa to go with: the counter guy told me it was tomatillo, but when I got it back to the office it turned out to be an incendiary and absolutely delicious habanero salsa. Not sure why or how this 'mistake' was made, but I was happy and will be back to order more.

The salsa and the tamales were a hit, especially the green corn tamales (though hubby, who also came to the potluck, felt that the salsa should have had a XXX warning on it for heat level. :-)). Others at the potluck fell into two categories: those who knew of Guadalajara and were already fans, and those who had no idea it was one of the better places in town to get tamales, but were very happy with the heads up.

Nov 01, 2014
susancinsf in California

Guest Calling the Shots

"said employee is ordering not just what he wants to eat, but more, and is ordering for others who may not want the same appetizers"

On the one hand, I get this from an etiquette standpoint. OTOH, let's be honest: assuming it is a good restaurant (which is probably a safe assumption if the OP really is a Chowhound), how many of us Chowhounds would be tempted to order for the table because we wanted to get a taste of every appetizer? (OP did say the appetizers ordered were to share).

If I really meant it when I told employees to order whatever, and one of them ordered apps for the table, I'd be secretly thrilled that I managed to find a sister/brother CH to work in my group! :-)

Ordering the shots is a bigger problem to me, because while I'd like to see my staff enjoy themselves at the holiday party, I'd be concerned about both liability and some folks feeling pressure to drink more than they ordinarily would. Besides, at my office the shots would come out of my own pocket since I work for a public employer and policy really restricts when alcohol can be purchased. For all of these reasons, if I were in a similar situation I'd grin and let the employee in question get the apps for the table (In fact I'd probably encourage them), but limit alcohol consumption to a few beer and wine selections to be ordered with the meal (and would tell both the group and the servers, something along the lines of 'I have ordered a few bottles of white and red for the table; but if you'd prefer a bottle of beer with your meal instead please let your server know, and s/he will tell you the available options.' Servers could also be instructed not to allow an order of more than one beer at a time per person (and that all wine would be ordered by the bottle by me).

Lelenita's Cakes (Bernal Heights, San Francisco)

Seeing your first photo brought a wave of nostalgia and homesickness for the old 'hood (which I always claimed was Outer Mission to everyone but real estate agents :-) ) Lelenita's was almost just around the corner from my house when I lived in the City; I've driven by that sign hundreds of times and it was always my marker that I was almost 'home' when coming from the south.

We bought a few good birthday cakes there. Service was always helpful and friendly, although in my experience closing early was not unusual. Glad to know it is still around.

Retire where?

oh, I know about sunbathing and beaches: I lived for years in San Francisco :-) Indeed, I think one of the reasons that Oregon came up in my quiz answers was that I agreed strongly with the statement about loving rain.

help. Peppers (green and yellow) giant Zucchini, giant cukes

I freeze peppers also, just as you say, without blanching. Use them year round in stews, soups, chili. Along with the zucchini I shredded around the same time of year. Or, as you say, make a soup now, and freeze that.

Oct 24, 2014
susancinsf in Home Cooking

Retire where?

I decided to take the tests under my that someone mentioned earlier in this thread: anyway, of the top twelve options I got back, 11 were in Oregon! :-) (including Portland, Salem, Eugene, Ashland and several small towns I'v never heard of). Portland would be high on my list for food, walking, and bikes, definitely.

Oct 23, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

Organic Fresno [Hwy 99]

Just ran across this report that Organic Fresno is closing next week:

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in California

Retire where?

no, I don't think so (to Santa Rosa or Windsor): I just did a quick search and the cheapest thing I could find was $175K: for a vacant lot. The cheapest condo I could find was over $200K. and i have a feeling those aren't in the areas where you can walk to shops, etc. (there are a lot of suburban areas and not a lot of public transit, plus traffic can be remarkably bad in the Santa Rosa corridor.)

I have been considering Paso Robles for my own retirement in the not-as-distant-as-it used -to-be future, and I am not sure it fits either, largely due to rising housing prices. honestly, my dream location (Big Island of Hawaii) would be cheaper for housing, assuming one doesn't want to be on the beach....sadly for me, Volcano (HI) has a nice farmer's market, but it is a 40 or so minute drive to the nearest decent grocery store....(I may do it anyway).

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

my point in reflecting on how time might change their perspective was quite simple: they may not realize how uncomfortable waiting can be until it becomes uncomfortable for them (which would likely be as they age). I know that I didn't realize what it really meant to be in a wheelchair until I was confined to one for several months, even though I thought I was quite empathetic to the needs, issues and concerns faced by the disabled prior to my time in a chair.

If that is 'existence proceeds essence' reasoning, whatever. It doesn't change my point, and my opinion, that there are many, many people in this world who really don't understand things that they don't experience personally. This applies particularly to the young for the obvious reason that the young have had fewer experiences than the old.

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

looking for a place in central valley tat sells portuguese blood sausage

Have you checked Wolfsen's in Gustine?

Oct 20, 2014
susancinsf in California

Hayes Valley Seriesously [San Francisco]

I could swear that a critical Giants game was on the TV in the bar at Absinthe when I walked by relatively recently during the regular season (the game was going poorly and I was trying to ignore it, so I could be confused about that) you might want to call Absinthe and ask (although if so, grabbing a seat in the bar might be quite difficult especially pre-opera).

Bar Jules might also be a possibility (?).

Go Giants!

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

Good for you, and yeah, I've seen customers like that. My own former MIL was like that. Going out to breakfast or any meal with her was unpleasant.

But it isn't a comparable situation. This isn't a one on one with a difficult customer:This is an opinion forum for discussion.

and the statement wasn't, 'Frankly, if you complain we don't want you'. The statement was 'and if you can do it better we don't want you. '

Sets the bar sort of low, don't you think?: "We aren't proud enough of our food to offer it to those who know good food and know how to make it. And we certainly wouldn't want those who know how to cook to feel welcome in our establishment".

But the poster probably didn't mean it that way, I know. It was just an overly sensitive reaction, probably based on years of trying to deal with difficult customers.

It appears to me that some posters on this thread equate discussion and expressing one's opinion in a thread in a forum devoted to discussion as a affront or a complaint. It isn't. This is a forum designed for these discussions. It is a pity that if restaurant owners, managers and staff are going to participate in these discussion that they don't use them as an opportunity to learn from and educate potential customers (for example, I am hoping that the restaurant in question reads my posts and takes a moment to consider and evaluate whether the waiting options are comfortable if customers do have a wait. If they are, great, and if they aren't perhaps they will be motivated to at least consider some possible changes or work-arounds).

But unfortunately, even in a more or less anonymous forum, it seems that any discussion that is critical is a complaint, and therefore something to react against rather than to consider.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

my point was about the physical aspects of aging and how they influence my lack of comfort in waiting. And I still don't get how any amount of change as you describe applies to that context, sorry. (and by the way, being a person who cares about sustainability in a severely drought stricken community: I have absolutely no grass on my yard. So, no need to yell at the kids about stepping on it :-)).

The point I was trying to make was not a philosophical or existential one. It was simply this: waiting for a table is harder when one has physical disabilities. Those disabilities tend to increase with age (although obviously, they aren't only associated with age). Many of these places that say the wait 'rarely is more than twenty minutes' don't get that even that long of a wait can be uncomfortable. and in my experience very few establishments actually offer the option of leaving a cell phone and going elsewhere (at least in my neck of the woods). part of my dislike of waiting reflects the circumstances under which restaurants (some of which claim it is all about customer experience and service) expect me as a customer to wait.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food

"We don't take reservations for less than 6." Restaurant Owners Listen Up! [moved from Seattle board]

"And frankly, if you can cook a better breakfast at home, we prefer that you do so."

Ok then.

Gotta say, sounds a bit grumpy and unwelcoming for a place that prides itself on customer service, and on its food.

Oct 19, 2014
susancinsf in Not About Food