janetofreno's Profile

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Favorite Movies About Food?

Adding a new favorite which came out after the last post to this thread: "The Hundred Foot Journey". It managed to poke fun at classical French cooking AND Indian cooking yet still make you yearn for the best of both. Plus I thought it was a sweet statement on the immigrant experience. And bonus points for beautiful French countryside scenery and market scenes. Going with DH (who is from India) enriched the experience...there are a few scenes where Papa comments under his breath in Hindi, and his comments are not subtitled. DH translated, and a couple were zingers. OTOH, I like it when films where the story line would require several languages to be spoken don't translate every word...it feels more real and gives you a feel for what the characters are going through. The film did the same thing with French a few times. But go to see the food scenes. I am craving sea urchin, and you will too!

Aug 17, 2014
janetofreno in Food Media & News

On the road

Hey, I've seen your van!!

Aug 01, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Possible Double Standard Regarding Dietary Needs/Preferences

I agree; it might seem arbitrary but it might represent a reawakening of faith. My husband went through that (he was raised Hindu), and now won't eat meat (he will eat fish) and particularly beef...both of which he ate when we first met and were married. I guess the easy part for me is that he made this conversion after our children were mostly raised and out of the house...so planning meals for them was never difficult (well, except when they went through picky phases:-). Of course, I know and love my husband well, and I respect his religious beliefs even if I don't totally agree with them...so I would never dream of serving meat in our house now. Because I was with him when he went through this conversion, I understand that it is genuine. In return, he respects my beliefs and doesn't have a problem with me ordering meat when we go out to eat (even a good steak should I crave it:-), and is ok if I keep a package of ham in the fridge for my beloved ham sandwiches I make for lunch. Of course, he reserves the right to refuse to kiss me right after I've eaten that steak:-)

Jul 31, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food
1

Food to eat while healing a sore throat

ummm....not to be technical on you or anything, but strep throat (although it might occur secondary to a viral infection) is caused by a bacteria, specifically one of the group A streptococcus bacteria strains.

Jul 31, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Great Mexican (Indian, Ethiopian) anywhere close to I-15?

I would also recommend Viva Zapata's. Good food, good margaritas for the non-drivers :-), and good service. And very easy on/off I15 without city hassles. Bonus: there are several inexpensive gas stations at the same exit.

Jul 23, 2014
janetofreno in Las Vegas

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

We too have suddenly had an excess of cucumber in our garden. And I'm not a huge cucumber fan....so lots of salads, and lots of raitas. Raitas can help get rid of a lot of cucumbers:-).

Someone mentioned craving beets: maybe I'm a bit anemic too, because I too have craving them. I picked a couple from the garden today, even though they were still small. But when they are small you can slice them thin and they are delicious in salads! (along with more cucumbers:-) So tonight we had a big salad and roasted corn. Simple.

Jul 23, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

Today was actually the coolest day in weeks!!! We actually had rain, and the outside temp at dinner time was probably just above 70 degrees!! Rain!!! yeah!!

So we celebrated by turning on the oven. Winco (store chain here) has a premade pizza dough that's pretty good. All you have to do is add toppings and bake according to directions. The garden tomatoes are going crazy, so I made a fresh tomato sauce. I chopped up a couple of Japanese eggplants from the garden, along with some onions and lots of herbs...made a good sauce! We then added stuff from the garden and the fridge as toppings: wax peppers, basil leaves, mushrooms, mozarella. Delicious!

Jul 20, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

If you're ever looking for good Indian food in Sayre, Oklahoma....or just need a good pit stop off of I40

OK, this tip comes directly from my husband, who is not on Chowhound, and I have not eaten at the place myself ... but OTOH it is about an Indian restaurant, and he is far more the expert on those than I am:-)

Last week found DH on a long work-related road-trip. 4500 miles in a week, with several stops. Seriously. And since most of it was in the South and Texas, my veggie husband found himself craving some of his own (non-fried) comfort food from home (he was born and raised in India).

So when he stopped for gas at a truck stop in Sayre, OK, and noticed a sign in Punjabi, he was of course intrigued. In turns out that the truck repair place at the I40 Truck Stop in Sayre also cooks some good chow, mostly for the many Sikh truckers who apparently travel that road. There is no sign other than the one in Punjabi, and no menu. In fact, you'll be served whatever is on the menu for the day (the menu is limited, and varies depending on available produce and the like). The proprietor does speak English, and will tell you what's available. DH says that it is all freshly made from scratch, and delicious ... He says that any Hounds who are anywhere near there, or just passing through, should check it out. The tiny (seats maybe 15) restaurant is attached to the truck repair place next to the truck stop, so you'll have to seek it out. Look for the sign in Punjabi:-)

Jul 20, 2014
janetofreno in Great Plains
1

What's for Dinner #313 - There's a Summer Place Edition! [through July 21, 2014]

You know, this is slightly off topic, but even though I never would want to live there again, one summer food I miss is watermelon. Real, sweet, cold watermelon like they used to grow in Texas (I lived there most of the first 10 years of my life). My dad used to search out the best watermelons from a certain town there, and now I can't even remember the name of the town (maybe my sister will read this and remember...). I really haven't eaten watermelon in years that was that good. In fact, I've almost stopped eating it because it just doesn't taste that good to me anymore. I was beginning to think that my memories were exaggerated, but DH is currently traveling through Texas on business (poor man), and texted me to tell me that I was right: the watermelons there ARE better. So I guess my summer place is under a shade tree, eating a slice of perfect watermelon. Or maybe on Galveston Beach, doing the same...

In the meantime, I have watermelon growing in my back yard. Real ones, with seeds, Not near ripe yet, but I am hoping they help me reach that place.....

Jul 17, 2014
janetofreno in Home Cooking
8

Restaurant blames cellphones for service complaints

My son is a teacher in Japan (in Yokohama) - elementary level. There lunch is prepared ON CAMPUS for everyone. According to him it is often his main meal of the day, because it is free (to him; not sure if the kids pay), delicious and healthy. It consists of miso soup, rice, meat or fish, vegetable...different menu every day. When lunch is ready each classroom will send two student volunteers to go pick up the food, and the students eat in the classroom with the teachers. Everyone sits at the table, student volunteers serve, and everyone talks to each other during lunch. It is considered an honor and a treat to sit at "Teacher Edward's table." After they are finished, the students go out to the playground for about 20 minutes. If he has playground duty, my son joins them...otherwise he heads to the teacher's lounge - where there is talk with colleagues but no eating (since everyone eats in the classrooms).

Jul 17, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Does anyone still get the whole family together for Sunday dinner?

We don't live in the same state as the rest of my sisters, father, etc...so Sunday dinners don't happen in that sense.
But when our sons still were at home, and even after they left but were attending college in the same city, we had regular Sunday dinners. The boys would come over, often bringing a friend or girlfriend, and do their laundry while we cooked and watched football. It was a given that they would be there. We would try and cook their favorites, but it was really more about being there than the food. For many years a good friend who was single would join us as well.....it was a standing invitation and he knew he just had to show up. He now lives elsewhere (and luckily is no longer single:-) but he still emails me once in awhile on a Sunday to let me know he misses those dinners. Good times.

Jul 14, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

Well, it was quite a few years ago, so the schedule could have changed. So could have the food, but DH says no....Same ole, same ole...

Jul 13, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

V & V: What's for Dinner? Hot In Here Edition

We are going to a late-afternoon reception, and not sure how much food will be served. Maybe if we're lucky we won't have to cook!

But I do have dinner planned just in case: The garden is going crazy, so there will be a salad using tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, red onion, and herbs that I picked today. We will have rice mixed with fresh peas I also just picked. The main course will be some salmon steaks left over from a picnic we attended last night. I'll just heat them up a bit in the skillet...so other than the rice almost no cooking!

We often eat outside when its hot (our evenings tend to cook down...but the house doesn't...and our only air conditioning is in the bedroom). Might just heat up the salmon on the grill....or heck, just eat it cold. Its already fully cooked.
Yes, I know that's not vegetarian..sorry. We eat fish about once or twice a week at home...otherwise all our meals are vegetarian.

Expecting guests tomorrow night, and they are vegan, so the meal will be vegan as well. East Indian. I haven't planned the menu yet; will see what the menu yields in the am. I think there is eggplant ready to be picked..so probably a pea/potato/eggplant sak (curry). And we might make bhajia (fritters; sort of like Indian tempura) with zucchini, peppers, and onions from the garden. It is supposed to hit 100 tomorrow, and I won't feel like cooking inside, so might plug in the electric skillet to the outlets on the deck for the bhajia. And of course tomato salad, because the tomatoes are out of control at our house (I know, I know...such a first world problem:-) Oh, and we have some really good okra I found at the farmer's market as well....so maybe fried okra East Indian style. DH is going out of town for the week on Monday..so I'll be perfectly happy if there are tons of leftovers!!

Jul 12, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

All that being said, the regular vegetarian meals on Delta on recent flights to/from Tokyo were pretty good, and better than the regular meal imo. One out of the four contained pasta, but two of the four were breakfasts.

Jul 12, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

Reserving Vegetarian/vegan meal for flight?

um, not necessarily. The Indian "Asian Vegetarian" meal I ordered on British Airways looked awful. I say "looked" because the one time I ordered it (on a flight from London to Mumbhai, via Dubai), the airline loaded enough beef meals for everyone on the plane (most folks did not pre-order meals) and two "Asian Vegetarian" meals for my husband and I (at the time DH had not yet gone vegetarian, but our experience was that the pre-ordered meals were better.) Well, the flight from Dubai to Mumbhai was full of Indian nationals returning from working the oil fields (It was right before New Year's, so I assume they had holidays). Anyway, none of them wanted the beef, naturally. So DH and I traded our Veggie meals with folks near us for the beef meals. The beef meals looked a lot better, btw. Shame on British Airways for having no option other than beef on a plane they should have known would be full of Hindus.

DH finally tried the "Asian Vegetarian" meal on a flight to Mumbhai several years ago (I stayed at home). He reported back that it tasted no better than it looked....

Jul 12, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

Railway Dininig. Ever experience it ?

I've done the Napa Valley Wine Train (a business colleague of my husband's was treating; I wouldn't have paid for it myself). The food was ok, but nothing special. And the train doesn't really go anywhere....it just goes back and forth between two locations in Napa with no stops, and in the evening you won't see much. (due to darkness). Actually, during the daylight hours you don't see much either...mostly vineyards. It gets old after the first 15 minutes. And the wine aboard is for purchase at not inexpensive prices. We had fun, largely because we were good friends, but as I said it is not something I would do again.

Jul 10, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Railway Dininig. Ever experience it ?

About 25 years ago we took a train from what we then called Bombay to Madras (now it would be Mumbhai to Chennai:-) in India. We took other trips by train in India, specifically from Delhi to Jaipur, but that long one to the south was the most memorable. We had a sleeper car, which was nice, but we didn't figure out until the second and last night that we had to pay the purser to get blankets and pillows (I remembered being quite annoyed at my husband for not knowing that. After all, he had grown up in India. But he hadn't taken a train there since childhood, and presumably his parents always quietly paid for the amenities:-)

But as for the food: in India (at least at that time) there was no real dining car. However, there is plenty of good food. The purser will come around about an hour before mealtime and take food orders off of a menu. Then they radio them ahead to the next stopping point (there are almost always decent restaurants in the rail station). The food would then be delivered to your seats shortly after the train left that station. Somehow everyone always got their order, and it was hot and usually tasty. And since it was ordered ahead, there was never worry about the train running out of food! In addition, if a stop was long enough, there was always someone willing to sell snacks and tea through the windows when the train stopped.

I still think of that train trip sometimes. A beautiful way to see the countryside.

Jul 09, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

What's for Dinner #309 - the Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer Edition [through June 30, 2014]

Waaayyy too hot to cook tonight. So we made a delicious meal mostly from leftovers. DH had grilled some beautiful salmon steaks on Friday, and we still had salmon left over. So I added some chopped purple basil and onions from my garden along with a little mayo and seasonings, and made a salmon salad. We ate it in sandwiches on leftover burger buns with lettuce and tomato garnish. We also had a ton of fruit, thanks to a mis-communication about who was buying peaches at the Farmer's Market. And I also had a few slices of canteloupe left over from breakfast, along with a couple of strawberries from the garden (they've been coming in dribbles; I think the birds get to them before I do! They seem to sing especially loud and happily when they are near those berries!:-). Finally, our fruit salad was completed with the perfect mango. All I had to do was squeeze on it the half-lime leftover from the gin-and-tonics we had before dinner, add maybe a half-tablespoon on honey, a touch of salt, and a handful of dry roasted (unsalted) peanuts. The fruit salad went great with the sandwiches, and the only use of heat was when I toasted the buns in my toaster. Perfect!

Jun 29, 2014
janetofreno in Home Cooking
8

Brother's Barbecue Reno

hmm....not sure they have a liquor license. Didn't notice any, and I wasn't planning on having any so didn't really pay attention. I remember soft drinks and lemonade (I had water) but no beer. Sorry.

Jun 26, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Brother's Barbecue Reno

This place opened recently in a small house on Wells (a few blocks north of Vassar) that has been at least two other barbecue places if I recall correctly...maybe the same smoker is still there?

Anyway, somehow I was hoping that the name "Brothers" might hint at Oakland-style cue. No, they advertise on their menu as "Texas Style" but the ribs are pork....how can that be Texas style? Just more generic imo.

But on to the food: Of course I tried the ribs. I will always try the ribs first at a Barbecue place. The rib plate had three large meaty pork ribs. I ordered them without sauce and was glad I did...they didn't need it. The meat had the right bite with just a bit of chew but very tasty with a spicy rub. I ate every bite. I tried a bit of the regular and the "habanero" sauce....neither one did that much for me. They actually tasted too sweet...both of them. And the habanero sauce wasn't that much more picante than the regular.

The plate came with two sides and the requisite soft bun. The "kicked-up" cole slaw (as opposed to regular slaw) doesn't have too much mayo, which is how I prefer my slaw, and the spice was nice. Unfortunately it too was too sweet. Someone at this place needs to go easier on the sugar or honey or whatever they use. If it had a little less sugar and a little more vinegar it would have been perfect.

The homemade potato salad, otoh, was darn near perfect...and I'm fussy about potato salad. A little bit of crunch from celery, and a good mustardy kick to it. No bland potato salad here. And I was glad to eat something that didn't taste sweet. The counter guy steered me to the potato salad as opposed to beans....and he was right.

The rib plate was 11 dollars. Plenty of food. I would definitely go back for more ribs, minus sauce. And potato salad. Actually, after I ordered I noticed a special "Texas Plate" that sounded good (and like enough food for two): a 1/4 chicken, a hot link, pulled pork, beans, coleslaw, and Texas Toast for 12 dollars. I would like to try the brisket as well (you can get that on the Texas Plate instead of the chicken), and definitely a hot link. I'll be back; I'll just go easy on the too-sweet sauce. Maybe I should sneak in a little bottle of vinegar to doctor up that cole slaw:-)

Jun 26, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Interesting eats along I-80 between SF and Auburn?

Yes, sorry, I forgot to say that the restaurant is in Roseville. My bad....

Jun 25, 2014
janetofreno in California

Interesting eats along I-80 between SF and Auburn?

Since this old thread was just revived, let me add a new find: Mehfil Indian Restaurant on Douglas Blvd. just off the freeway. It is standard North Indian fare, but everything is tasty and freshly prepared...definitely a step above average. We stopped there for dinner the other night and found that it might be the perfect stop on trips back from the Bay Area to Reno: accessible, moderately priced, and with attentive and rapid service. We will definitely keep it in the rotation.....Bonus points for an excellent (and "picante") green chili chutney and a good onion salad.

Jun 25, 2014
janetofreno in California

BBQ Tofu Korean - Livermore

Actually, I have no idea if that's really the name of the restaurant, but that's the sign out front. Its on the old part of First St east of downtown in a tiny strip mall (look for a gun shop and an optometry office...).

Anyway, let me set the scene: DH and I were taking my dad out to lunch, and we were all hungry and not into driving around. We needed a place with easy disabled parking, preferably not too crowded and noisy. And of course veggie-friendly for DH. We tried cruising downtown, because my sister (who lives in Livermore) said there were lots of nice places there. True enough, but every single one was excessively crowded and disabled parking was impossible to find (every spot was taken). Since when did Livermore become trendy? :-)

But I digress. My dad saw "BarBQ" and DH saw "Tofu" and that sounded good to both of them. More importantly, there was an empty disabled parking space right in front of the front door. So we took a chance. And it turned out fine. The grilled short ribs were delicious...they come in small and large servings. My dad and I split a large, it was delicious and just the right amount. We each had about four or five ribs, plus rice and vegetables and all the banchan. He has too light of an appetite these days, but he gnawed every one down to the bone, and even commented afterwards how good it was. He also enjoyed a korean beer. DH had a tofu-filled Korean pancake...it was quite large but again rapidly disappeared. My dad especially enjoyed having a clear view of the TV and a World Cup game (Ghana vs. Germany; I think) televised with Spanish subtitles. We lingered over lunch watching futbol and reading the paper. I was particularly interested in an article that talked about how disabled parking is increasingly difficult to find in Northern California because so many people find a way to get placards as that frees them of the necessity to pay for parking and those with the placard are allowed to ignore the parking time limits......

OK, side rant over. If you want an inexpensive and tasty Korean lunch, and you are in Livermore, this might be the place...:-)

Jun 25, 2014
janetofreno in San Francisco Bay Area

Culantro??

OK, you learn something every day. I was looking at a Caribbean rice and chick-pea recipe, and it called for culantro. I thought it was a typo for a minute, until I noted the recipe also called for cilantro. Wikipedia tells me that this is a distinct herb from cilantro, used most commonly in Caribbean cooking but also found in India and Southeast Asia. It definitely doesn't LOOK like cilantro; in fact, its very reminiscent of epazote. (long flat leaves). So I'm counting on someone among the hounds to have tasted it....does it taste like epazote at all? (probably not since it doesn't seem to be a member of the mint family; Wikipedia says its sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro but with a stronger taste.). To confuse matters, its also known as "Mexican coriander." Silly me, I always thought cilantro WAS "Mexican coriander" (since cilantro is just the Spanish name for coriander.).

More importantly, anyone know where I might find some anywhere near Reno, NV? Is it common in Latino stores at all?

Like I said, learn something new every day. Apparently its also common in Indian cuisine, which I have studied (DH is from India), and I've never heard of the stuff. I wonder if I have seen it mentioned before and just assumed it was a typo and let my brain read "cilantro"....

Jun 25, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

lol....when my kids were in seventh grade (same teacher a year apart) they had to make jerky as part of a social studies section on pioneer/early western living (at least it was "early" for the white men....). Anyway, the teacher sent home several recipes and they had a classroom contest to see whose was best. I guess the idea was to learn how difficult it was to preserve meat and how people managed on the wagon trains (as part of the same unit they also spent a day in snow caves on Donner Summit to get a feel for what the Donner Party went through and to learn survival skills...I refrained from the temptation to ask the teacher what was on the menu for that one..) Anyway, the jerky was a lot of work, and definitely not as good as the stuff you buy at any supermarket checkout line....Still, it all got eaten.....

Jun 23, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics
1

What foods have you made and then decided store bought was good enough, thank you, based upon cost, time, and taste?

DH would love some of those plums, remember.....he is a plum guy!

Disagree on the pie, sorry. I like pumpkin pie that I've made myself. Our mom actually taught me a cooking secret about the pie that works and that I've remembered (I know, hard to believe). She claimed that the standard recipe on the Libby's can has too much liquid (evaporated milk) and to cut it by almost half. I do so and I think she's right...it makes for a little denser pie, but I like denser. And of course I always add more cinnamon and cloves than called for....

Jun 23, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

quick help wanted east bay

Update: After further conversation with my son and his SO, it turns out they would be going to Walnut Creek after they met up with us to visit her parents. So it seemed that somewhere closer to Livermore was fine. We ended up meeting at Lokanto, a Greek/Mediterranean restaurant on Main Street of Pleasanton. It turned out to be a fine choice: the back dining room (which was right next to the disabled parking spot in the back parking lot) was quiet and comfortable; there is a reasonably priced happy hour every day (including Saturday), and we were able to eat small plates, which is what all of us wanted. The calamari is very good, and I also liked the baba ghanoush...a version without much yogurt. For six the total was 115 dollars including tax and tip, a couple of beers, and a bottle of local wine. I would call it more appetizers than dinner, but none of us left hungry. I would go again, esp. when I was looking for a place serving food around 4pm (many of the local restaurants seem to be closed between 3pm and 6pm....)

Jun 21, 2014
janetofreno in San Francisco Bay Area

quick help wanted east bay

OK, so if I wanted a nice (but not overly expensive) place for a late lunch/early dinner today somewhere between Livermore and San Mateo, preferably quiet, with easy disabled access, vegetarian friendly and where we could enjoy a glass of wine (Italian is good)...where should I go? Outdoor is great as long as its shaded. I'm with my almost-90 year old dad, and trying to meet up with my son within a three hour window that he has open (hey, he's a medical intern, so time is a precious commodity:-) We are in Livermore; he is in San Mateo...looking for somewhere that doesn't involve too much driving for either of us. Ideas? Two of us are vegetarians, and my dad is happiest with a good glass of red....

Jun 21, 2014
janetofreno in San Francisco Bay Area

V & V what's for dinner?

DH had to travel about 400 miles RT for work today, and I knew he would be home late AND hungry. And since we are going out of town for the weekend, I wanted to use up a few perishable foods we had.

So I improvised: a spaghetti sauce that started with chopped eggplant (sauteed in olive oil), chopped fresh tomatoes, a touch of organic vegetable broth, onions, garlic, a can of (low sodium) garbanzo beans, a big handful of chopped mixed herbs from our garden (two types of basil, oregano, marjoram, and even mint!), about a half cup of red wine, some dried basil (also from our garden; the basil is going crazy), a crushed dried red chili pepper, a tsp. or so of maple syrup...and I think that's it! We grated a little fresh parmesan over it, but obviously there could be a vegan version without it. Paired the spaghetti with sourdough bread, and a salad made of mixed spring greens, raw almonds, and strawberries (olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing). Delicious! DH ate every bite and had seconds, and is now happily sleeping away. Of course, we shared the rest of the bottle of red wine for dinner...so that helped! :-)

Jun 19, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan

Why do no national burger chains have veggie burgers?

I was in Japan recently, and went to a local burger chain called Mos Burger. Their veggie burger turned out to be a corn fritter on a bun, and it was delicious! (Served with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc). I think that as a rule veggie burgers do better if they don't try to imitate meat in taste or appearance.

Jun 18, 2014
janetofreno in Vegetarian & Vegan