ocshooter's Profile

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Rancho to Go BBQ in Orange

Have you tried Burell's in Santa Ana. I am more the plate kind of guy, I just want a meal, not a whole slab, but Burell's does larger orders as well.

Nov 19, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Smoking... What else should I try

I have been using my smoker a lot since I set it up, and I have generally really like the results. I have the baby pellet fed Traeger, and since I like in So. Cal, I don't really have a lot of weather issues that will keep me from using it year round.

I have one wrinkle where I underwent some medical issues last year, and that has left me with a reduced ability to produce saliva, so drier proteins like chicken breast and most cooked fish become a chore to eat at best. I also do not eat pork.

So far, I have done chicken thighs, brisket, lamb chops, beef ribs, and steaks. I didn't care for how the steaks came out, and the rest were great. The fat on the chicken breasts and the lamb chops really helped keep the meat moist. The brisket was excellent, but at 8-9 hours of smoking, it is not something I would do that often.

So what else should I try? I will do a tri-tip, I just have not gotten around to it yet. I am wondering if it will be more steak like or brisket like when it is done though, and I need to look into the time required. Two to four hours is fine, six to eight is less ideal. I have also smoked salmon for the family, but it does not really work for me. I have some limited access to game, so I can do some of that, but I don't know if it is really worth it, especially if it is leaner than beef. I need the fat to help keep the internal moisture going.

Nov 06, 2012
ocshooter in Home Cooking

Meat cocktail party?

I am sorry, that fake cream cheese stuff tastes terrible. I would go low fat, but not soy based. Unfortunately, low fat is not going to be non-dairy.

You can do the lox without cream cheese. Lox on crackers with a little dill and red onion, a'la gravalox, is good, but it can get a bit salty depending on the lox and how much you eat.

You can also do lox 'sushi.' thinly sliced cucumber rolled with some lox. I think it would be great to do a salmon or salmon skin (which is cooked) roll with lox on the outside. the only problem would be sourcing the kosher sushi-grade salmon filets. Of course, if you can get Kosher sushi-grade fish, that opens up a whole new avenue for apps.

Nov 02, 2012
ocshooter in Kosher

Meat cocktail party?

You can do meat, or at least non-dairy, no problem.

Hummus and babaganoush are both easy dips without dairy.

Meatballs and lamb chops are simple to do.

You can do mini beef tacos as long as you can source out the tortillas. Take a ring mold and trim out the centers of the tortillas to make them smaller. add steak or chicken, onion, tomato and cilantro.

Chicken wings are easy.

Veggie platters are simple, you just need to change out the dip for something non-dairy, but you can pair it with hummus.

Veggie spring rolls or egg rolls are fine.

Mini tuna fish and egg salad sandwiches are easy, again if you get the non-dairy breads.

Though I would never do it because I think it is disgusting, you could even do soy cheese products, but you would probably need to make an announcement about it to no one freaks out.

Nov 01, 2012
ocshooter in Kosher

Where in OC...

The problem with Scott's is that it could be anywhere. There is nothing especially So Cal or OC about Scott's.

If the weather is nice and you are looking at lunch, the Beachcomber is great. The food is not fantastic, but the location is unbeatable.

For dinner, K'Ya in Laguna Beach would be a good choice. Just make sure you have a few cocktails at the Rooftop Bar (same location, different operation) first. I think it is the best view in OC.

Another possibility would be Las Brisas in Laguna. Great view, decent food.

Some of the smaller operations/gastropubs would also be good. Crow Burger in Newport makes a great burger, as does Umami (but Crow Burger has better fries0, Haven Gastropun in Orange is fun, so is Crow Bar in CDM and Dublin 45 in Mission Viejo. I like the revitalized downtown Santa Ana, and there are several great options there. The Playground, Lola Gaspur and Memphis are all excellent and then you can walk around afterwards and take in the neighborhood.

Nov 01, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Bruxie is Coming To Chino Hills; It Damn Well Better Live Up To Your High Praise Professor Salt...

It is good. It is not earth shattering. I like the concept of the waffle as bread, and the fillings are generally good, but it is by no means my favorite sandwich shop.

Nov 01, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

first date

Hidden Gem? Does Traditions in Tustin count as hidden? It is good Indian.

Nov 01, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Seeking Ethnic Gems in Orange County, CA

There is Trieu Chau on 1st in Santa Ana (I have seen other places with the same name, but I do not think they are affiliated) for excellent simple Vietnamese. I love duck, and they do a nice soup there with it. I doubt they have booze, but maybe...

Shin sen Gumi on Brookhurst in FV is a lot of fun for yakatori. It isn't cheap, but it is not in the stratosphere. Beer and sake here.

For Japanese style pub food, there is Honda Ya in Tustin, with a new location in Fullerton and a sister spot on Brookhurst, Kappo Honda.

I have been to Merhaba in Anaheim for Ethiopian (actually Eritrean), but have heard that Tana and/or Abyssinia may be better. I suspect they all have beer.

There is also a Kenyan place in the area that I have tried, but unless you are dying to have goat, I would skip it.

For Vietnamese, the 800 pound gorillas are Brodard and Brodard Chateau, the latter being fancier, more expensive, and heavier on the French side if the French/Vietnamese mix. Both are very good.

There is a nice hole-in-the-wall Afghani place in Tustin called Naan and Kabob. It advertises itself as Persian, but when I spoke to the owner about the place, he told me it was Afghani. The food is good either way, though I am not sure if they have beer or wine.

More moderate and less exotic would be Memphis in Santa Ana. They have a full bar and would be fun for a Friday night.

Oct 29, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Authentic French restaurant in OC?

Marche Moderne only could be considered reasonably priced at lunch for the prix fixe deal.

Brasserie Pascal really is nothing special. I think there are far better dining options at FI, though maybe not for French.

Other options to Marche Moderne are Basillic and Pescadou Bistro, though I don't know what you consider reasonable.

Oct 22, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

near Caltech

My favorite breakfast/lunch stop in the Pasadena area is Julienne's in San Marino.
http://www.juliennetogo.com/restauran...

Closer to campus is Pie and Burger on California.

If you get off campus, Sushi Roku in old town is good. So he can get a California Roll and you can enjoy good sushi options.

Oct 19, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Best fried chicken in Orange County?

I am a fan of Korean Style fried chicken.
http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforki...

Oct 19, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Wine Store in Orange County for Gift Certificate

Get on the mailing list. I have received coupons for up to 20% off wines ($20 of every $100 purchase). Not all wines are included, but a there are always alternatives. When I was buying a couple of bottles for my very small destination wedding, I saved a lot on some very nice wines.

Oct 19, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Wine Store in Orange County for Gift Certificate

High Times Cellars is one of the better purveyors in OC. You can call for gift cards (800)331-3005.

If that does not work, Total Wine and BevMo both have outlets here in OC and both sell gift cards.

Oct 18, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Thanksgiving afternoon brunch in OC

I have had nice Thanksgiving meals at Lucille's. It is not AYCE, but I really don't want that anyway.

Oct 17, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Oggi's Pizza and Brewery in OC

Which Oggi's. They are a chain, but I think that the quality varies wildly. I have tried to like the one in Tustin as a good place to have lunch and watch the early days of March Madness, but I have written the place off. In general, I prefer BJ's for a generic chain brewpub.

Oct 17, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Tipping a Bartender

I don't know any bartenders that "buy" drinks for customers. They are pouring free ones, so in essence, they are stealing from the house, but it is something that a good owner will leave up to the discretion of the bartender. Waiters do not get the same discretion.

Unless the shots are measured, there is always going to be some variation in the number of drinks per bottle. If a bar can get 20 1 1/2 ounce shots out of a bottle, that still leaves 2 shots in the bottle. For a super premium, that is going to be $300 from a $15-$20 bottle. Using those extra shots to comp a customer that is in the bar every week with friends and generating a few $100 a month in bar business is just smart.

Sep 28, 2012
ocshooter in Not About Food

Tipping a Bartender

You, my good man, are a gentleman.

Sep 28, 2012
ocshooter in Not About Food

Tasting Menus--are they worth the price?

Generally, I enjoy tasting menus. There are certain things that I choose not to eat, so if I go to a place that can not, or will not, accommodate my requests, then I don't go with the tasting menu. Beyond the broad strokes, I do not try to manage the kitchen, and want them to put out food that represents what they do best. So while i will ask if they have non-pork options, I will not ask for sauces on the side, or to swap out one ingredient for another.

In general, I have had no problem having my requests accommodated, and I have had some excellent meals. At one spot I asked for an alternative appetizer, and they offered the foie gras, which was one of the best things I have ever had.

So yes, it is something I enjoy, it is something I think is worthwhile (in moderation) and something I recommend. It is a great way to try a wider variety of tastes from a menu than you would with a traditional meal.

Sep 28, 2012
ocshooter in General Topics

salmon!

I have been making it with a honey, mustard and rosemary glaze and smoking it at around 200 for a hour or so. My wife loves it that way.

Sep 27, 2012
ocshooter in Home Cooking

Are you a 'hunter' or a 'farmer'?

I am a glutton.

Sep 27, 2012
ocshooter in Not About Food

Lunch for 40 Near Irvine

I used to work Downtown a few years back and DG was a regular rotation for our weekly working dinners. I liked their chicken pot pie. But this is lunch after all, and lunch on a budget. How badly can they screw it up?

Does Tokyo Table have a room that can accommodate you? How about Il Fornaio off Von Karmen?

Sep 26, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Orange County

If the weather is nice, it might be fun to hit up 3 neighborhoods/areas with distinctive flavors.

The Circle in Orange (Chapman and Glassell) has a lot of antique shops and a number of bars and other diversions. You could do dinner at Haven Gatropub or Gabbi's Mexican (or Avila's if you want to go cheaper), and then walk around and either end up at Bruxie's for dessert or The District Lounge for drinks (or somewhere else for dinner and Haven for drinks).

In Santa Ana they redeveloped part of Downtown into artist's lofts, and a number of good dining options moved in. Lola Gaspur, Memphis, Chapter One and The Playground are all options. Again, you could graze in the area or do dinner in one and drinks in another, or eat and then wander, looking around.

You should also try Laguna Beach for one night. It will be a bit chilly, but Newport has a lot of higher end art galleries and tons of shops. For dinner, there is K'ya for small plates (and the rooftop lounge in the same hotel for drinks with a great view), House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, 230 Forest, and a plethora of other options.

Sep 26, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Lunch for 40 Near Irvine

What about Daily Grill on Jamboree? I have not been in a long time, but I recall them having private-ish spaces to the sides. Lunch there isn't too bad.

Sep 26, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Lunch for 40 Near Irvine

But are you getting the gourmet trucks? Some of those are pretty good, with menus limited to just the few items that the truck does well.

Sep 24, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Tipping a Bartender

Then you guys must not get a lot of free drinks. I don't have a regular bar anymore, but if there is no difference between what I am being tipped for a free drink and a charged drink, I am charging you.

If a bartender comps you a cocktail, tipping $5 or even $10 is still a discount to what you would be paying for the drink and a tip. Now, if the freebie is to make up for something, that that is a different story. Make me wait an hour in the bar for my reservation and buy me a round to make up for it, then $1-2 per drink is just fine. Comp my 3rd cocktail because I am a witty conversationalist, then a nice tip is due.

Sep 24, 2012
ocshooter in Not About Food

Lunch for 40 Near Irvine

With 40, you might be able to get Break of Dawn to yourselves for lunch. It is a little south of you guys, but not a by a ton.

Caspian at Culver and the 5 should have rooms that can accommodate you, though it has been ages since I have eaten there.

Have you though about doing a food truck event at the office? Bring in a pair of gourmet trucks for an hour or so. Of course, you need an appropriate office space...

Sep 21, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Tipping a Bartender

Having both waited and tended bar back in college, I will say that there is a large difference between the level of service for the two positions. Waiters are really the face of the entire meal, dealing with all the needs of the table, orchestrating service from the kitchen and bar, and serving fewer people, over a long time. Bartenders tend to serve and move on, doing a high volume over a short time interval per customer. Of course, there are exceptions. If the bartender is doing service bar as well, they are tipped out by the waiters.

In a busy restaurant with a good bar business, the bartenders make as much or more than the waiters. I tip bartenders $1 to $2 a drink, and it will go up from there. If I am running a tab, then I will add about 20%. If I am comped, I will tip close to the value of what I am getting comped. So a free $12 cocktail can easily get a $10 tip. Upgrade me to a super premium for the well price, that is easily worth $5. That goes for servers as well, unless it is to make up for something.

I don't tip hot bartenders any more than I would normally, even if she is flirting. It makes for a fun night, but that is part of the game to get more in tips.

Sep 21, 2012
ocshooter in Not About Food

Is Sugarfish Over-Rated?

Sugarfish is good for what it is. It is not a high end sushi bar, so judging as one is going to throw you off track.

It has a limited menu of good sushi options, more like a grab and go sushi spot, except here you stay a while. I definitely would not make it a destination, but if I were in the area and wanted some good basic sushi, it would be a good option.

Sep 14, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Good Food, Good Booze, Solo Dining. Where in N/Central OC?

Had a nice dinner at Memphis on Friday. The beet salad was very good, and I enjoyed the duck quessadilla, but it could have been crispier. I was falling apart and tough to eat. I also had two nice cocktails. Lola was too crowded for me to get in.

I had not been to the area in a while, and I was impressed with how it had grown. There are a few more places in the area that are on my radar. From home, it is about 15 minutes, so really not much further than Haven.

Sep 10, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area

Good Food, Good Booze, Solo Dining. Where in N/Central OC?

Looks interesting. For my specific diet, there is not a ton on the menu I would eat, plus it is just beer and wine from what I see. It is a possibility.

Sep 07, 2012
ocshooter in Los Angeles Area