janetofreno's Profile

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"Just eat it, you'll like it"

I am clearly not a vegetarian, as I sometimes crave meat. I do, however, try and limit my meat-eating nights to ones where DH is not at home...because he really DOES find that the smell bothers him. I never tell him I've had beef at lunch (not only does he not eat any meat; he is Hindu and therefore beef especially offends him). However, he always knows. He kisses me hello when I come home after one of my (for obvious reasons, rare:-) beef-eating sessions and says "you ate beef, didn't you?" And as I start to apologize he says "Oh, no, its ok. I think you should eat whatever you want. Just don't expect intimacy tonight" (Well, he's a little more graphic, but you get the idea....). He knows every time! (and because I love my husband and love his company that way, I eat less and less meat.....)

1 day ago
janetofreno in Not About Food
3

When there is no "tip" option on the credit card receipt....

Actually, the food and drink WAS delivered by the same person who took our order at the counter. It was brought to our table. And it was on real plates, not paper, so we couldn't clear everything by just throwing it away. So I consider that the same service as what you describe above, not less.

1 day ago
janetofreno in Not About Food

When there is no "tip" option on the credit card receipt....

There is one thing about tipping in the United States that ALL folks should understand, whether they live here or not. (and many do NOT understand and may not have learned here unless they've read through every post on tipping).

Many if not most restaurants in the US pay their workers LESS (in many cases far less)than minimum wage and expect the workers to make up the difference with tips. Some cities have disallowed this practice, I believe, but it is true for many places around the country. This may be why North Americans have a problem with service charges (they are afraid the workers are being short-changed at the expense of management) and why tipping levels may not vary much despite service). For example, my niece is a server in a well-known sports bar chain in a college town; an establishment that I know does good business. And in fact she is paid well through tips. But her ACTUAL wages are something like 3 bucks an hour, and barely cover her taxes. So if for some reason (say a nasty snow storm) very few people come in on a given day she is expected to be there but not well compensated. For this reason I always feel badly shorting a tip: after all, I might be causing someone to receive less than minimum wage that hour. I've gotten to the point where I expect to pay 18 percent no matter what. Yesterday we went to a restaurant that happened to be the only one in a small town open on Easter Sunday. They were slammed and clearly understaffed. The waitress made several errors (forgetting our drink orders, and then when reminded she brought me the wrong drink). DH insisted on paying only 15 percent tip because of the screw-ups...and I felt guilty. I probably shouldn't, because she was plenty busy and I'm sure made good money that morning...but otoh it WAS a holiday at least for some and she was working her tail off.

Apr 21, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

When there is no "tip" option on the credit card receipt....

Well, actually I was thinking that a bank or a processor set up the credit card system for them, and just assumed that they were not actually serving food there since it is a bakery. And it is a Mexican bakery. Now, admittedly its been a while since I lived in Mexico, but I seem to recall that tipping is customary in that country (and at least when I lived there so were bribes, but that's a whole other topic:-) What I meant by the ethnic comment is that maybe tipping is only customary in their part of the world in establishments that are primarily restaurants and not primarily bakeries...

Actually, maybe they intended originally to just be a bakery, and then decided to add food service later. After all, the store was a restaurant previously, so maybe the tables and restrooms were already there. And it is true that they have yet to have an actual menu...just hand-printed signs with specials and not always those. So maybe the food service WAS an after-thought. Still, I felt badly at leaving without a tip, especially considering our food was brought out on real plates (no paper items...)

Apr 21, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

When there is no "tip" option on the credit card receipt....

There is a new bakery/restaurant near our house that is quickly becoming a favorite. Most of their sales are to go, but they do have a kitchen and food can be ordered from the counter and enjoyed there. (There are at least 10 tables and restrooms, so presumably they are planning on people eating there).

Anyway, a few days ago we stopped there for a late breakfast/early lunch after a morning of shopping. It was totally impromptu: we were hungry; we drive past this place on our way home from anywhere, and suddenly our plans of eating at home seemed silly (especially given their low prices and good food).

Neither one of us had a penny of cash on us (remember, it was an impromptu decision to stop). And DH went to pay with a credit card, and realized as he was signing the receipt that there was no way to add a tip. I suppose he could have asked them to add a tip to the total if he knew there was no option on the receipt, but at that point it was too late. So DH came back to the table (its an "order at the counter" place) and asked me if I had a few dollars for a tip. Nope.

We were embarrassed to sit there and eat, knowing that we had no way of leaving a tip. I figure when they set up the account the credit card processor must have assumed it was a bakery where most people take the goods home, and thus no tip line was necessary. But as I said, the place is clearly expecting folks to eat there with that many tables, and clean public restrooms.

I wanted DH to explain the lack of the tip to the owner, but he was embarrased and just said "We come here all the time; I'll just leave them extra cash next time" (I confess; I was embarrased too).

I hope they give us good service and good food the next time we go, which will surely be soon enough that they will remember us. This is an ethnic establishment and family owned and operated, so maybe they don't expect tips?

What would you guys do? Say something? gently remind the establishment that they might get bigger tips if there is that option on te credit card receipt? Leave it alone? My suggestion was to rush home, get some cash, and rush back to leave it for them....but DH was having none of that.

Curious what others would do, but mostly just venting here. I know there are folks that own similar establishments that frequent chowhound...let this be a warning to you: think these things through before opening!

Apr 21, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Single Men Who Cook

amen to that. I married a man who had a very similar situation to yours, except added in to the mix was the fact that he came from another country to go to school and missed food "like mom used to make." So he taught himself the basics of Indian cooking, and taught himself a few dishes from American cuisine (whatever that is) that might impress a girlfriend. And he does at least 50% of the cooking in our house, even though I like to cook as well. And he probably did more than 50% of the child-rearing duties, if the truth be told:-) I am still grateful.

Apr 08, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food
1

Is the cuisine so boring or just bad that you have to ask for alternatives?

I have been thinking about this very issue the last few days as I start to think about restaurant/food choices for our upcoming trip to Tokyo. DH likes Japanese food well enough, but he doesn't eat any meat and eats less and less fish. He also prefers spicy food (he was born and raised in India), and begins to absolutely crave capsicum if he hasn't had any spice in a few days. I'm afraid that he WILL, sadly, be seeking variety after a week in Tokyo. Part of me wants to enjoy only the local cuisine while we're there, but a bigger part of me knows that we will not leave until he can at least try the (supposedly decent by all accounts) South Indian place a few blocks from where we'll be staying....And I have to admit, part of the fun is finding those memorable meals (good or bad) in unexpected places. Heck, we laugh about that horrible Indian meal in Paris, but we're still talking about it years later.

Apr 07, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Is the cuisine so boring or just bad that you have to ask for alternatives?

lol....I think I would make a point of going there just to try the Peruvian-Japanese menu:-) My son lived in Barcelona for about a year, and has plans to briefly return there this summer....maybe he can go there and report back, if he hasn't been there already.....

Apr 07, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Is the cuisine so boring or just bad that you have to ask for alternatives?

India is a great example of that. I had good meals in restaurants there, but none that were noteworthy enough for me to even remember the name of the restaurant. OTOH, most of the meals I had in people's houses were very good to great, and there were a few I still remember in detail over 20 years later....

Apr 07, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics

Recommendations near Meguro station, also Shibuya - budget recommendations welcome....vegetarian friendly even more so

I sort of wish that you hadn't mentioned Laxmi Indian food near the station.....DH is bound to see the place and want to go there; he is from India and just has to try the local version of his homeland's cuisine wherever we travel. I'm perfectly ok with Indian food, but OTOH its not what I travel to Japan for:-) Of course the strong possibility exists that my son has already checked out the place and will have his own opinion. And I think I'll skip McDonald's, sorry....:-)

Apr 05, 2014
janetofreno in Japan

Recommendations near Meguro station, also Shibuya - budget recommendations welcome....vegetarian friendly even more so

Thanks for the recommendations, all. Keep them coming. And keep in mind that although we are trying to stick to a reasonable budget, a splurge place or two is definitely in order...so recommendations for that welcome as well. And I wouldn't let son treat:-) (He has promised us a meal or two he's cooked, since he has learned cooking since leaving home...). And he speaks/reads/writes Japanese well, so no problem there.

Apr 05, 2014
janetofreno in Japan

Recommendations near Meguro station, also Shibuya - budget recommendations welcome....vegetarian friendly even more so

I have been so busy I haven't even thought about our upcoming trip to Tokyo, and now its less than a month away. Our son lives near Meguro station, and we are staying just a few blocks from there....so good but relatively inexpensive places relatively accessible to there would be great. Of course, we are going to rely heavily on his recommendations (and he is reasonably chowish), but would love to have a few suggestions of our own. To complicate matters, my husband eats no meat. He will eat fish, but refuses to eat tuna and other species that are not sustainable.

Our son hangs out a lot in Shibuya, and we will undoubtably visit some of his favorite watering holes there as well...but I'm sure there will come a point where he wants to keep dancing and we just want to go have a snack - so ideas there are welcome too.

This is my first trip to Tokyo, and although DH has been its been several decades. We are going as much to visit our son as anything, and we just want to have a feel for everyday life there. So more everyday choices are fine. That being said, if you have any suggestions for restaurants near major tourist sites they are welcome...

Apr 03, 2014
janetofreno in Japan

Unisex bathrooms in restaurants

As someone pointed out, healthy urine IS sterile. It may pick up germs if it has contact with other body parts on the way out.... Ask your nephew someday how that led him to an interesting diagnosis on a patient in New Orleans...or maybe don't ask him if you don't want a gross story:-)

I wipe the seat if its wet not to get rid of germs (I know better) but rather because there is something less than aesthetically pleasing about sitting in wet you didn't produce.....

And no, I don't think men are any more likely to be a germ source than women....

Mar 31, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food

Unisex bathrooms in restaurants

In Europe I noted that many restaurants had unisex bathrooms, but their stalls are more like rooms with complete walls to the floor so you can't see in or under at all. The sink areas would be shared by both sexes.

Personally I don't have a problem with sharing the restroom as much as some people do. But I also tend to be less paranoid about cleanliness than most people. Now, I do wash my hands, probably more than most (I am, after all, a health professional, and usually wash my hands dozens of times a day). But I don't feel a need to use a seat cover when peeing (I'm female) - I'll wipe with a towel or more likely just go to another stall if the seat is at all wet or dirty. And I don't squat either. Nor do I EVER bother to use a paper towel to open the door after I've washed my hands. After all, germs are everywhere. I touch people every day that have them (I am an optometrist, so for the most part I don't deal with very sick folks...but you'd be surprised at how many people think its ok to get their eyes examined when they are coughing over everything in sight....and how many parents call and tell us "Little Susie is home from school today sick and needs an exam, can she get in this am?" My point is that if I worried about germs all the time I would go nuts, and that's not how I want to live my life. So I wash my hands when I can and don't worry about it the rest of the time. And btw, I haven't had a serious cold or flu in several years at least. Maybe longer. So maybe there is something to that immunity thing:-)

Mar 30, 2014
janetofreno in Not About Food
3

Reno - El Adobe Cafe

Never answered this. There are two tvs in the bar (none in the restaurant itself), often tuned to different games (although if the niners are on that's the owner's first choice; another reason to like the place:-). Now its good for March madness.....

Mar 23, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest
1

Random Reno notes: New Middle Eastern and a Panaderia

Update: the bakery IS on Wells, corner of Wells and Winston to be exact. It is called La Fama. DH stopped by there today and bought bolillos: four for a dollar and larger than usual. Baked fresh and quite tasty...almost Mexico City quality. He also got some tamales dulce and some pan dulce. All very good. The nice kid at the counter (probably the only person in the place who speaks English) told him that they would cook up just about any type of taco or torta to order. Its becoming a new favorite!

Mar 21, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest

Random Reno notes: New Middle Eastern and a Panaderia

Two short, unrelated updates:

As I was driving up Holcomb the other day I noticed a small converted house with a big sign saying "Midtown Market" and a smaller sign advertising Middle Eastern foods and halal meats. It is on the east side of Holcomb a few blocks north of Vassar. Any hounds been there yet? This may well be the first market of this sort in town; I do intend to check it out soon.

And a new place I DID check out is a new panaderia/tamaleria near the corner of Oddie and Sutro (its right about where Oddie curves and becomes Wells, so not sure if its technically on Wells or on Oddie. Its near the fairgrounds, and right next to the large lot where the llamas are, so hard to miss. Almost looks like a converted greenhouse, with a curved roof and lots of glass. Look for a wrought iron fence around the parking lot). All of this description is to make up for the fact that I didn't catch the place's name. Nonetheless, its worth a stop: a large and very tasty-looking selection of Mexican baked goods (We didn't try any, but will definitely be back to do so), and excellent tamales. I had the tamales de pollo; DH had the rajas con queso. Both were quite large, with light white corn masa. They were accompanied by an excellent home-made salsa verde. The place has a few tables and they were full, so word is out. The young man who served us (owner's son?) told us that they've been open three weeks. They also serve tacos, tortas and Sunday menudo. Prices are reasonable (the tamales were 1.50 each, a good price considering they are definitely larger than average). This could become a regular weekend stop, as we live in the hood!

Mar 16, 2014
janetofreno in Southwest
1

Not too touristy lunch and/or late dinner in the heart of Touristville, Orlando.....

Quick report back: Wed. night we ate at Yamas (I think that's the name), chosen mainly for the fact that it was next door to our hotel, open late (many places there aren't), and Mediterranean, which DH enjoys. Actually, I would definitely go there again. Touristy, and the belly dancer was over the top and not very good....but the food was tasty, servings were huge (so could be shared), and the price was right. We shared a Greek salad, which would have fed four. I'm not a feta cheese fan but the feta in that salad was very good. DH had the lentil soup, which was tasty but should have been hotter (temperature wise). I had the grilled lamb ribs, which was just about the most tender lamb I've had in a long time. Our meal started with two perfect martinis and a complementary serving of hummus and pita. We left stuffed and happy, having spent less than 50 bucks for all that, including tip. Most of the rest of the time (including Thursday lunch, as it turned out) we ate catered meals, but since it was a Gujarati wedding the food was good. (Not as good as my sister-in-law's, but good :-) And served fresh). We did eat at Café Tu Tu Tango for Sunday brunch just before heading to the airport and home. it was as good as I remember but pricier (brunch including two drinks, tax and tip was 70 dollars...but we probably over-ordered. OTOH, it was just as well we did, as we had no time to eat all the way back across country....).

But the single best food bite of the entire trip was an appetizer served at one of the receptions prior to the traditional dancing (gaarba): something the caterer called "Mexican bhel." I am SO stealing the idea: tortilla chips topped with a corn and black bean mixture, bhel mix, tamarind sauce, cilantro, and guacamole. There were several salsas as well as extra tamarind sauce, dried red chilis, sour cream (which I skipped; seemed like overkill), and powdered cumin that you could add to taste. DH and I both made a dinner out of it; SO good! I have always thought that certain Indian dishes remind me of Mexican ones, and that was the perfect fusion. YUM!

Oh, and to Big Bad: a taxi was not necessary to go to Café Tu Tu Tango, as the trolley that goes up and down International Drive took us practically door to door for 2 bucks. We also used the trolley to go to a movie Thursday afternoon when our plans to lounge by the pool were thwarted by the downpour. An easy way to get around if you are staying in that area.

Mar 12, 2014
janetofreno in Florida
1

Vegetarian friendly in the Austin airport?

Yes, learned that about the dining places and the "bar." Layover turned out to be shorter than expected, but the bar was right by our gate. And there was live music playing there; that was totally an unexpected treat. DH settled for nachos. At least they were edible and had plenty of jalapenos. I had something called a barbqued brisket baja taco, a bastardization if ever there was one. The brisket was delicious, and the coleslaw (I guess that's the Baja part) was crunchy and good....but the flour tortilla was, well, a flour tortilla AND it was cold and stale to boot. The good news is that Lonestar on tap was tasty and reasonably priced. And the music was good.

Mar 12, 2014
janetofreno in Austin

Vegetarian friendly in the Austin airport?

Posted this to Texas board by mistake; didn't realize you guys had your own board. Looking for something decent and veggie friendly there; I might be dreaming but its worth a try. We have a longish layover there at more or less lunchtime on Wed; looking for alternatives that don't include meat...seafood is ok. Thanks!

Mar 03, 2014
janetofreno in Austin

Anything decent and vegetarian friendly in the Austin airport?

Thanks....didn't notice the Austin board when I posted this. Will try there!

Mar 03, 2014
janetofreno in Texas

Not too touristy lunch and/or late dinner in the heart of Touristville, Orlando.....

Too great suggestions, thanks! And I took one glance at Café Tu Tu Tango's website and realized that I've been there before with some friends while in the area for a meeting, and I enjoyed it then! (didn't remember the place until I saw the picture of the bright walls; then it came back to me!)

Mar 02, 2014
janetofreno in Florida

Not too touristy lunch and/or late dinner in the heart of Touristville, Orlando.....

We will be in Orlando next week for a family wedding. Staying in the designated "friends and family" hotel near the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Road. I know that there are lots of restaurants near there, but I'm looking for something not full of screaming kids, lower-to-middle-end (saving our travel dollars for a trip to Tokyo in two months), and vegetarian or at least seafood friendly. Most of our meals this trip will be with family, but our schedule is such that we will be on our own Wed. night and Thursday lunch. Wed night, however, we probably won't be eating until at least nine (plane lands at 7:30). That's ok since we'll still be on west coast time, but need a place open late. Ethnic is fine, but probably would prefer it not be Indian, as it is an Indian wedding with a number of meals later in the weekend...Any suggestions? We are not into going to any theme parks (been there; done that), and probably won't have time anyway. I was thinking of spending all of my down town lounging by the pool, but it might not be quite warm enough for that. So might as well eat:-). Bonus points for good key lime pie (if there is any in Orlando:-). We will NOT have a car; but don't mind walking a mile or so (or taking a short cab ride).

Mar 02, 2014
janetofreno in Florida

Anything decent and vegetarian friendly in the Austin airport?

A girl can dream, can't she.....:-) I have a longish layover there next week (hey, getting to Florida during spring break time can be costly, so I had to go with the cheapest SW airlines could offer, as not going was not an option:-) If I were alone, I'd happily go for some barbque or just good old fashioned beef, but DH wouldn't be happy with that at all. And since he's not a happy flier anyway....Tex Mex would be ok as long as there are veggie alternatives...Any suggestions? I figure it can't be a big airport so alternatives might be limited, but I figured I would ask.....

Mar 02, 2014
janetofreno in Texas

Maple Syrup.

I have a good friend who owns a maple farm (or whatever you call acres of maple trees), and he is of course a big fan of maple syrup. In everything. And I must admit he has converted me...despite its expense I find myself using it whenever a little bit of sweetness is called for. I've been known to put it into all kinds of soups and stews (just a teaspoon or two; adds a nice sweet flavor). And some goes into my vinaigrette recipe. And of course roasted brussel sprouts wouldn't be roasted brussel sprouts without a toss in a little maple syrup before roasting.....Oh, and as a syrup over vanilla ice cream.

Feb 27, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics
1

Taco Wars -- Leticia's Mexican Cocina

By the way, Dave, I thought I had reviewed Leticia's here before, and I was right. I found something I wrote after the first time we ate here, during the time period we lived closer to Summerlin and away from the northern parts of Las Vegas. When we moved back to the northern parts of town we remembered that first trip to Leticia's and ate there several more times, as I mentioned. Couldn't figure out how to link that post, but it was back in 2011.....

Feb 19, 2014
janetofreno in Las Vegas

Truckee - Casa Baeza

Here's my report: Our wanderings took us to Truckee yesterday, so decided to give it a try. Now, I have to temper my response with a warning: we were already a little past our usual lunch time when we experienced minor automobile "issues" as we were pulling into town. Fortunately, Jerry was able to fix it on his own, but it meant a half-hour wait in the parking lot of the auto-parts store while he did so (before lunch). And THEN parking was impossible to find. All of this is my way of saying I wasn't in the best of moods when I entered the restaurant....so maybe I shouldn't judge based on that one visit. I will say the albondigas themselves are wonderful: light and with a hint of epazote. But the broth of the soup seemed a bit thin to me, and the vegetables were over-cooked. Also, the bowl-sized serving is pretty small for 6.50....it looked to me to be the same size as what folks at the adjoining table got with their meals. I had a carnitas taco with it...the carnitas are very tasty, but again, serving size issues bothered me: way too much carnitas for the one thin tortilla it was served on. Most places will give you two tortillas. DH's chili relleno was good, but no tortillas offered with the meal (He had it on a lunch special). 8.75 seems a bit pricey for 1 chili relleno, rice and beans and no tortillas. Maybe that's the Truckee touristy influence. Also, the dining room is small and not attractive at all, and there were several tables uncleared when we walked in. The bar looks like a lot of fun....I would be more likely to go back there than for the food.....

Feb 16, 2014
janetofreno in California

Truckee - Casa Baeza

lol....strong margaritas might not be the best thing to drink right before heading down the canyon to Reno. But I am ear-marking it too....might be a great place to refuel after a trip to the mountains....and I agree; the albondigas look great!

Feb 13, 2014
janetofreno in California
1

What's for Dinner #272- The Big Game Edition! [through Feb 3, 2014]

a simple dinner tonight: baked teriyaki salmon and rice, and some early asparagus. For the game I'm thinking of a tortilla soup. DH wants to keep the Soup Sunday theme going, and I figure it will go with some guacamole....:-)

Jan 31, 2014
janetofreno in Home Cooking
3

I know it's good for me but I just can't eat it

Very useful, thanks! I love dried apricots and dates, so will just munch on those when the leg cramps start hitting. And since medjool dates are a favorite of DH's we won't have to have that "you should just eat bananas" argument anymore....yeah!

Jan 29, 2014
janetofreno in General Topics