DiningDiva's Profile

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What to do with dried tropical fruit?

That works too

about 7 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

What to do with dried tropical fruit?

There is a recipe called Larry's Tropical Treats that uses a good quantity of dried tropical fruits, in fact it uses an entire pound of dried fruit.

It's easy to find by Googling for it, but here's a link to the first hit the search returned for me - http://www.recipesource.com/desserts/...

I've made this recipe a couple of times, the flavor is good, but the ratio of add-ins is off a little. I solved that problem by doubling the cookie batter ingredients (i.e. doubled all ingredients up to the first dried fruit) and that solved the problem. Alternately, you could leave the batter ingredients as is and halve all the dried fruits, chocolate and nuts. It makes cookies for a crowd and they hold up well for several days.

It's a good recipe, easy to make, and it uses a TON of dried, tropical fruit

about 14 hours ago
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Long trip report: Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca

Wonderful report, thanks for posting.

You certainly covered a lot of ground :-)

1 day ago
DiningDiva in Mexico

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

I will report back. This is definitely a tome.

The first 75 pages are devoted to defining and explaining ingredients, each of them beautifully photographed.

The photography in this book is pretty amazing. I've only had a chance to give the recipes the most cursory glance, but the ones I did look at appear to be reasonable and doable.

University of Texas Press is the publisher and this is cookbook is a throwback to early times when cookbooks were spaciously laid out and meticulously proofed. I have not been so impressed with a cookbook in a very, very long time. I am about to do something I haven't done in a long time...turn off the TV and climb into bed with Yucatan and start reading...

Apr 18, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? April 2014 edition!

I've been on a cookbook moritorium for the last few months. But I broke down recently and ordered 2 new ones.

David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen arrived earlier this week and I can hardly wait to try cooking from it.

Arriving home from work this afternoon I found a very LARGE box from Amazon on my front porch. In it was David Sterling's Yucatan

If the Lebovitz's book is impressive, the Sterling book is stunning.

Apr 18, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Stuck in the Gaslamp District. HELP!

I think they have problems in both the FOH and BOH. And while I agree that the pool or well trained service staff is probably not at the same level as LA or SF, the service staff also represents the face of the operation. It's the operators responsibility to provide the standards of service and then train their employees in how to achieve those standards. Although it may be the case, I can't believe that 3 high profile owners would consciously allow their training staff to slide because the market wouldn't know any better.

I agree with you, Honkman, that recruiting qualified high-end waitstaff in San Diego is probably a challenge. San Diego hasn't really demanded that level of service so the pool of well trained waitstaff is probably fairly small. But based on the comments about rude, indifferent and utterly confused service, it also sounds like they've got the wrong person managing the FOH.

Frankly, I think most of the issues are probably related more to poor management than the floor and kitchen.

Apr 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Stuck in the Gaslamp District. HELP!

"I think they treated San Diego as some sort of backwater hick town that only needed their name recognition, so they could do a half assed job as they worked things out. The odd thing here is a lot of people I respect here seem to be playing right along."

RB, not sure I totally agree with this.

This is a corporate store with a corporate opening, nothing more, nothing less. It has some big names associated with it, but I'd be very surprised if they had more than a passing involvement with the operation at this point.

To me it looks more like they're trying to develop Mozza into an upscale (and potentially cash cow) pizza chain. To do that the principles - i.e. the big names - have brought in the people with the corporate skills to grow and expand the concept. I think it has more to do with the concept not being ready for prime time, and less to do with perceiving/treating SD as the poor relative dining destination.

The question for locals now is...1) do they recognize they've got problems, 2) are they going to make an effort to fix them and 3) how fast can they fix their operational issues. Or are they going to simply rely on the tourist and convention business which tends to be less concerned about some of the problems local diners have raised.

Clearly they've made some missteps and we can only speculate about how and why they happened. I don't think those missteps are due to perceiving SD as a "less than" dining location. My guess is they got concept, operational and corporate growing pains, and we just happened to be the location that took the brunt of those pains.

Apr 18, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Stuck in the Gaslamp District. HELP!

RB, not getting why you think Mozza opening to mixed reviews is an issue. It should only be an issue if they don't try and fix the problems causing the mixed reviews

Apr 17, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Plan Tijuana: The Interrupted Renaissance of Avenida Revolución

Apr 17, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Plan Tijuana: The Interrupted Renaissance of Avenida Revolución

TJ has finally gone mainstream...Zagat noticed ;-)

http://www.zagat.com/b/san-diego/6-re...

Apr 17, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

simple chicken livers recipe (not pate) - pan frying

YES! One of the best ways to cook chicken livers.

You can guild the lily by serving a chipotle dipping sauce on the side

Apr 17, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Corn Casserole?

This recipe is by Linda Evans who starred in that old TV show Dynasty. It's good, and I think it's probably what you're looking for in terms of a casserole dish.

Dynasty Corn Pudding
4 oz Butter, melted (1 stick)
3 Cups corn kernels, fresh (4-5 cobs)
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
9 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 can whole green chiles, drained, patted dry and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350* and spray a 2 qt. baking dish with pan release (or generously butter it)

In a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup of the corn kernels with the melted butter and eggs.

In a large bowl combine all the remaining ingredients except the parmesan cheese and add the corn puree mixture. Blend until well combined.

Pour into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the parm cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the puffed and golden.

- Pepper Jack can be subtituted for the Monterey Jack cheese

- If the top hasn't browned, but the pudding is set, put it under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown. Watch carefully.

- Frozen corn can be substituted for the fresh corn if fresh is out of season

Apr 16, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking
1

Plan Tijuana: The Interrupted Renaissance of Avenida Revolución

I don't think Ave Revo has had a vibrancy period since the 40s ended.

There was nothing even remotely vibrant or enchanting about it. I like the way TJ is evolving now compared to how it was when I was growing up (in SD) and visiting.

Yes, the more interesting dining is in areas other than Ave Revo, but then the more interesting dining in SD is in areas other than the Gaslamp and downtown, no?

Apr 16, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Mr. A's

Those are all really great ideas for a staycation!

Apr 16, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Plan Tijuana: The Interrupted Renaissance of Avenida Revolución

Sorry, DC, I don't agree with your assessment about the old Ave. Revo. It was dirty, seedy and catered to tourists, particularly tourists who wanted to get drunk or laid.I for one am glad to see a lot of that gone.

San Diego's downtown was once almost as equally dirty and seedy, but that began to change when the Gaslamp and Horton Plaza were conceived in the late 60s and early 70s and the urban redevelopment began in earnest. Both of those have been totally revitalized, even if the locals are not entirely on-board with the results (i.e. overtly tourist oriented due to the location of the convention center and Petco). The point being that the Gaslamp and downtown in general have had 40+ years to reinvent itself, Ave Revo has only had 4 or 5 years. Once SD city government and related organizations got on board with redevelopment there were resources and a planned direction, not sure that's been the case in TJ and to me that was one of the points Bill Esparza was making. Clean it up, but do it with some thought and planning.

When the tourists stopped coming, a lot of the businesses along Ave. Revo stopped as well. Buildings sat empty deteriorating or being vandalized. That isn't good for anyone. Revitalization lore has it that since the rents had dropped so low, enterprising young folks began renting space and set up places (along Calle Sexta for instance) for their peers to go and socialize and be safe. The movement gathered some momentum but if I read the article correction, it appears the momentum may have slowed down or stalled.

Ave. Revo doesn't need to be a grand boulevard, but it does need to continue the redevelopment. The first Friday and the last Friday of the month, there is an "art walk" type of event in 2 of the callejons off Revolucion, there are any number of festivals held on the street throughout the year (beer, tequila, paella to name a few), but there are still a few too many stores selling cheap tourist trinkets and t-shirts to make the street a viable destination for anything other than a caesar salad and zonkey photo. It doesn't need to be cheek-by-jowl, in your face, clubs and galleries like the Gaslamp to be successful, but it does need some more business variety than it currently has in order to make it a vibrant street again.

Apr 16, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Mr. A's

I think whether or not you're a fit for Mr. A's may depend upon your age range.

If you're young (under 30), hip and trendy, I'd say skip it, it'll be too staid for you

If you're young, but don't mind, and don't feel out of place, dining with the 45+ age group because the food is good, go for it, but end the night someplace a little more lively.

If you're over 35 with expendable income, it's probably a reasonable choice.

The food won't be cutting edge or innovative, but it will be well conceived, well presented and taste good. The service will (or should) be on the friendly but professional side. The view will be good and the noise level low enough to let you carry on a decent conversation with your dining companions, but not so low that you'll think you're in a morgue.

Because of some family stuff that was going on over the holidays we were seriously looking at Mr. A's for Christmas Eve but we decided to stay in and cook at the last minute. It is a good special occasion choice when you want something a little more formal than the casualness of our usual restaurants, but not so stuffy that the dining experience is dull or uncomfortable.

And if you aren't sure...go for drinks, apps and the sunset view and then move on to something else for dinner and late night. Enjoy your anniversary, the evening and each other and your choice of venue really won't matter ;-)

Apr 15, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Stuck in the Gaslamp District. HELP!

Chaplos at 10th & B has a reasonable variety of fish and vegetarian options

Even tho' Fogo do Chao is pretty much the most meat-centric place in town, they also have one of the best and most interesting salad bars in town. You can order salad bar only.

Apr 14, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Pepperplate menu planning app

I tried to log on to Pepperplate (using Chrome) and could not. This is the first time I've had a problem with them. Got a "run time" error message. I then waited 3 or 4 minutes, tried again and got in with no problems.

I have the app loaded on my smart phone and it loaded and synched just fine.

Apr 14, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Yes there is, I still drive by it with some regularity :-D

Apr 14, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Yes in Santee. It's still there

Apr 12, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

If you could change the restaurant/bar scene in SD. .

I'd like to see...

* more outside dining options

* more interesting/creative menu options, i.e. does everyone need a short rib entree, salmon du jour, safe pasta plate, or Berkshire pork cop? If you dine out frequently enough, or look through local menus they tend to have a numbing sameness. I understand the dynamic, restaurants have to stay in business, therefore they sell what people will order, I just wish we could having something other than the same old/same old

* I love a good burger, but do we need to be the burger capital of the United States? I think not.

* ditto for taquerias. Could we please have a place or two that does "real" Mexican? Squash blossoms, pozoles, pipianes, alta cocina D.F. style?

* San Diego has some great local produce, could we have dedicated tasting menus of local produce a la Charlie Trotter (meaning they aren't necessarily vegetarian, but prepared in ways that highlight how good they can be)

* I wish we could have the variety of Baja wines that are being produced without having to go south or mortgage the house.

* I wish the East County (i.e. anything east of SDSU) had something other than chain dining

* I wish I didn't have to go to south county to get a decent jugo or licuado

* I wish some of our taquerias served good sopes and/or gorditas

* I wish someone would open up a good, centrally located, pie shop

* I'd like for the wait staff not to refer to the table as "you guys"

* I'd like fellow diners not to bring small children to adult restaurants after 8 pm, they tend to be cranky and disruptive and put the restaurant in the awkward (and unfair) position of having to manage a customers' poor choice.

* I wish restaurants would realize that excessive noise does not equal trendy or pleasant dining.

* I wish the Allied Gardens/Del Cerro/San Carlos area had 2 or 3 solid places to go for dinner. Del Cerro has nothing (KnB doesn't count), Allied Gardens has the dreadful Brothers and San Carlos has The Trails, Nicolosi's and McCarters which is also pretty dreadful. Comeon, suburbia needs some decent places to eat too...help!

* I wish some restaurants had easier/better parking

* I wish SD had some place like LA's Lemonade or SF's Bi-Rite

* I wish the prices at the local farmers markets were a little bit lower so I could shop them every week instead of every other week.

* I'm kind of on the same page with everyone else on seafood places, but maybe not the seafood shack genre. I'd like to see something like Erizo, or more casual fish dining. Maybe a palapa-style place where you can go, suck down some clams, oysters, shrimp cocktails, order a whole fish grilled or roasted in a choice of various preparations and spend the entire afternoon with family or friends eating, drinking beer and generally having a relaxing good time.

* I'd like to see the Marine Room get a face life and modernization. It's the best ocean view, but it's tired and it's age is showing, from the furnishings to the menu. I'd also like them to bring back brunch. I'm not normally a big brunch person, but I always like the one there.

* I wish parking was easier in La Jolla and I'd trek out to dine there more frequently

I'm sure there's more, just give me some time ;-)

Apr 11, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego
1

Plan Tijuana: The Interrupted Renaissance of Avenida Revolución

I read this article earlier this afternoon. I thought he made some very good points. I'll be going to TJ tomorrow and other than hitting up the tequila store and possibly having lunch at Caesars, there really isn't a lot of reason to spend much more time in Ave. Revolucion which is a shame, it's a great street for walking.

Apr 11, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Who's familiar with 'old' San Diego restaurants?

Bali Hai is still in business as is Anthony's Fish Grotto in La Mesa. I think it was Pinnacle Peak that cut the tie off.

Apr 10, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

If a recipe calls for, simply, a "fresh red chile" would a fresno pepper work?

Oh, I've had some yellow fresnos that were killer.

One Christmas Eve I was doing a Sopa de Albondigas recipe that called for putting 2 or 3 fresnos in and simmering along with the meatballs and then removing and discarding. The albondigas were fine, the broth was so flaming hot we could barely eat it. My family has not let make Sopa de Albondigas for them since :-D

Apr 09, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

SuperNatural Sandwiches To Open Its First Brick & Motar Site

I don't know...I wasn't too successful today ;-)

Apr 09, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

If a recipe calls for, simply, a "fresh red chile" would a fresno pepper work?

Jalapeños turn red as they ripen and will have a little more kick than a Fresno.

Apr 09, 2014
DiningDiva in Home Cooking

SuperNatural Sandwiches To Open Its First Brick & Motar Site

So I tried SuperNatural Sandwiches on Miramar Rd. today for lunch.

Like that there is lots of parking...hate that I have to drive on Miramar Rd. That street has the lllloooonnnnggggeeesssstttt stoplights in the world.

I ordered the Harpy...shrimp along with bacon and goat cheese stuffed in a lightly toasted, top-loading, brioche bread/bun thingy and finished with balsamic sauce.

There were 5 shrimp (26/30s? they looked too small to be 21/25s) that were flavorful and well cooked. The bacon pieces were plentiful but the goat cheese was kind of a wad in the middle of the sandwich like someone had just taken a disher of it and plopped it into the center of the sandwich. There were a few pieces of diced tomato, along with a miniscule leaf of lettuce buried under the shrimp and cheese. The balsamic was a great topping for this sandwich.

The flavor combination works very well, but...(you knew this was coming, didn't you <gg>), after the third bite the sandwich totally fell apart leaving me with a big ol' hunk o' brioche and 4 lonesome looking small shrimp. When the sandwich basically disintegrates when you've just begun eating it, the enjoyment goes down proportionately.

In spite of having to eat the sandwich as individual components - or perhaps because of that - at $10+ (including tax) the value for the price may not be there for me. Yes, I know they are using quality products from good and respected vendors, but I'm not sure what I got equaled what I paid for it.

I'll certainly try them again because I think their flavor combinations are interesting. I just hope my next sandwich holds together a little better than this one did :-)

Apr 09, 2014
DiningDiva in San Diego

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

I was born and raised in SoCal and we do not use the word "Cali" as a shorthand name for the state. You can thank the ex-governator and Guy Fieri for foisting that horrible term on us.

Previous CH thread on Cal Mex vs. Tex Mex -http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5055...

The BEST quesadillas are made from masa...press into a tortilla, fill, fold and fry. Divine.

Apr 08, 2014
DiningDiva in General Topics
1

Eating in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Nope.

You're irreplaceable...

Apr 07, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico

Eating in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Not, FN, but I can answer some of your questions...

Taxis...are ubiquitous is Mexico, you know that. They're everywhere. EG will arrange transportation (i.e. drop off and pick up) for you if you ask

Decman's - Yes, I've been to Deckman's. It's definitely worth going. The setting is serene and Drew's food is excellent. He just kept feeding us and each course was almost better than the last. Fabulous rabbit dish that we thought was the entree...until the pork chop arrived. There's a reason he earned a Michelin star ;-)

Apr 07, 2014
DiningDiva in Mexico