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peanut butter liqueur or cocktail ingredients- suggestions?

anyone got good ideas for how to incorporate substantial peanut flavor into cocktails without too weird/solid of a texture?

Dec 11, 2009
tastyvegas in Spirits

Thoughts on the new (proposed) food label?

wow, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets stomach aches from sucralose! Most splenda fans look at me like I'm making it up or just psychosomatically inducing it in myself. But I can't stand the stuff, and it doesn't like me, either.

Dec 09, 2009
tastyvegas in General Topics

Sommelier snobbery - why do 4 star restaurants refuse to list white zinfandel?

IAWTC

Dec 08, 2009
tastyvegas in Wine

Thoughts on the new (proposed) food label?

I like it except for the part where it is no longer going to list the naturally occuring sugars.
A gram of sugar is a gram of sugar and some people really need or want to know these things.

Dec 08, 2009
tastyvegas in General Topics

Driving thru Vegas, where to stop for lunch...

Mint Indian Bistro (nee "Himalayan Cuisine"):
http://www.himalayancuisine.com/
offers a tasty array of northern Indian, Nepalese/Himalayan dishes, and a decent beer and wine list.
About 5 or 6 blocks East of the Strip on Flamingo, on the north side of the street tucked in an ugly little shopping center behind a Jack in the Box.

They used to be this kitschy little place with orange walls and Tibetan prayer flags, and they always had cheap and good lunch specials- I used to go there often when my office was on that side of town.
Their head waiter, who I think was working himself through school, seemed to eventually graduate and buy the place so he could "class it up"- which basically equated to changing the seating layout and putting more subdued paint on the walls, and changing the name from "Himalayan Cuisine" to "Mint Indian Cuisine".

I went there with a friend recently, and it was pretty much the same menu, same prices, same blend of tasty himalayan/indian dishes.
The momo are tasty, as is the rebel lamb curry.
heck, I've never actually had a bad meal there.

Barring that, go West on Spring Mountain from 15, keep driving past "Chinatown", several blocks until you come to a Checker AutoParts store on the north side of the street. Directly across from it on the South side, is an Italian deli/grocery store/cafe. Their food is amazing. I'm sorry I can't remember the name. But you won't be sorry.

Or you can easily stop anywhere in Chinatown for Korean BBQ, Pho, or Banh Mi.

Dec 08, 2009
tastyvegas in Las Vegas

8" Chef's knife - $30 Henckel or $130 Shun?

Can't speak for the Shun as I've never used one, but after clicking on Jemon's link I can say that i'm lusting after those Hattori blades now. The mokume gane style swirls on that KD series is just- ahhhhh....
But I will say that I've been very happy with my standard, no-frills Henckels 8" Chef's knife- it got me through all my culinary classes at college, several prep cook jobs, and even though it only sees action in my home kitchen these days, it's still my main knife of choice. We've been through a lot together this past 7 years, and I've used it for everything from slicing tomatoes to chopping through bone. I just sharpen it myself every so often with a small oiled stone I bought at a discount cooking outlet, and true it with a cheap steel that came with a cheap set of knifes my husband bought (which I can't stand). It's never let me down. IMHO, a fancy knife doesn't = a better chef.
(that doesn't mean I'd turn down a Hattori blade if Santa wanted to leave one in my stocking....*g*)

Dec 08, 2009
tastyvegas in Cookware

Las Vegas Buffets?

where/what area are you staying, and are you renting a car or just going on foot?

Dec 07, 2009
tastyvegas in Las Vegas

Why Can We Not Reuse Freezer Bags Used for Raw Meats or Seafood?

I am ServSafe certified (http://www.servsafe.com/index.aspx) and I would not reuse ziploc bags that have contained raw meat.
Here are helpful links from the National Restaurant Association for consumers who whish to know more about foodborne illness and what they can do to reduce the risk:
http://www.restaurant.org/foodsafety/...
I especially recommend this page on the most common pathogens, how they are spread, and tips on reducing their harm:
http://www.restaurant.org/foodsafety/...

You can read through and make up your own mind on whether you want to reuse raw meat bags or not.
But I can tell you if I was a health inspector and saw such a practice going on in a restaurant, they would be shut down immediately.

Dec 05, 2009
tastyvegas in Not About Food
1

What are some of the unusual useful tools that you have around?

*lol* Kimmie, I like your answer best so far! :)

Growing up, my dad always buying my mom kitchen gadgets, and my mom was always throwing tupperware and pampered chef parties, so we ended up with soooo many weird trinkets in our kitchen, most of them rarely used. Now that us kids are grown and have places of our own, I'll occasionally get "care packages" from my mom full of our kitchen gadgets when she goes through and decides to get rid of stuff she never uses, mostly in harvest gold, avocado, and brick orange plastic.
Which is funny because my cooking philosophy these days runs more along the lines of, "if I can't do it with my chef's knife or paring knife, it doesn't need to be done." (I'm no stickler though- one thing I still love is this wavy vegetable cutter that I always use for carrots and zucchini out of childhood nostalgia)

Dec 05, 2009
tastyvegas in Cookware

Why Can We Not Reuse Freezer Bags Used for Raw Meats or Seafood?

plastic bags are probably hundreds of times more porous than metal or glassware, thus providing millions of places for bacteria and viruses to hide and live on through a washing and drying. Whereas metal and glass can be sterilized in the dishwasher or even the microwave; even washed in the sink and left "clean" and dry on the counter top, the death rate of any microorganisms left on the surface of non-porous materials is many times greater than that of porous ones.

Dec 04, 2009
tastyvegas in Not About Food

Best Pickles

Claussen makes the best nationally distributed jar-pickle, IMHO. (I should mention I greatly dislike sweet pickles, so I am totally biased toward dill pickles here.) They were my Dad's favorite pickles so we grew up eating them and no other pickles ever taste as good to me- especially Vlasic, which are all yellowy and canned-tasting and old-looking and gross- pretty much the antithesis of the Claussen pickle- which is always crisp, clean tasting, looks close to a fresh cucumber- great on sandwiches or alone- man, I could eat a whole jar by myself in one sitting, if it wasn't sodium suicide! *lol*

However, if you live in local Las Vegas, there's a restaurant here called Bagel Cafe I think, in the Summerlin area, that apparently makes fresh in-house pickles-- OMG, they are the best pickles I've ever eaten in. my. life. They were crispy and fresh and and garlicky and savory but not too salty-- just, wow. But I have no idea if this cafe is a chain or if the wonderful Pickles of the Gods are actually available anywhere but here.

I also love okra pickles, but sadly few people share my love. *sniffle*

Dec 04, 2009
tastyvegas in General Topics

Avoiding the Costco yearly fee and other tips?

No worries, no malice taken- but to answer your query- why add another comment to this thread? Because the OP...posted it. And is/was in search of an answer.
And we see that the OP was looking to be sort of "convinced" by starting this thread, to wit: "Yeah, I was hoping that with more people in the house I might look at Costco differently or since I've been out of the loop so long that there might be amazing stuff there I could use. ...At one time I felt strongly against TJ... However, reading Chowhound posts I got some insight into TJ that I didn't have before and have come to value it.
I was hoping to get that from this thread..."
Later, we see that the OP has made up his/her mind based on food-centric criteria (as is only fair, this being a chowhound board): "Thanks to all who contributed food related buys. Right now it doesn't seem that Costco food-wise will give me any advantage."

However, I value The Box not as much for the food as much as for the essential household needs- items which still make a membership "of value", and an area of discussion on which the other posters in this thread touched only lightly (again, this being a foodie board). Also, the OP seems to have a certain strong feeling about membership fees, and I didn't see anyone explaining the fees in terms of economic benefit to the member, only economic benefit to the store. Therefore, I felt I still had something of value to contribute to the OP's thought process, since everyone is entitled to change their mind when presented with new information. (I also thought not only of the OP, but of other Chowhounds who might have clicked on this thread just to read along because they're in the process of making up their minds, and want to see what value is in it for them.)

The OP asks, Is a membership "worth it"? My tiny 2-person household says yes, though maybe not on the criteria the OP was looking for. But IMHO, it would be of even more value if 3 teens suddenly moved in. I might actually start buying a lot more food there, if I shopped for a family of 5. So I felt compelled to say, 'hey look, it may be "worth it" for these reasons you might not have even thought of, AND it might be even more value, food-wise, later on.'

If they still say, "mmmmm, nah." Then, hey, cool, no skin off our collective pro-Box noses. I'm not trying to hammer anyone into seeing it my way, just sharing what I know. Which is, after all, the ostensible point of this forum. *shrug*

Dec 03, 2009
tastyvegas in Chains

question on grains in soup

Strain/ ladle out/ otherwise reserve a quantity of broth in a separate container before putting the soup "fillings" in their own container. Refrigerate separately. The grains can't absorb what isn't there.

On reheating, put the "fillings" in the soup pot first with a little bit of liquid (water or the original broth) and cover, stirring occasionally, till it's all "steamed" hot. Then add the rest of the reserved broth and bring the whole soup back up to the heat you desire. You should have enough broth left to last the duration of the meal.

If you have enough left to put it back in the fridge a second time- invite more people to dinner next time.
(half joking, but of course, there are only so many times you can heat and re-heat food before it becomes unappetizing, not to mention a bacterial playground- they just love warm wet carbs-- So I really wouldn't do this more than twice, and I'd probably make sure I'd brought the soup to a boil before consuming.)

Dec 03, 2009
tastyvegas in Home Cooking

Avoiding the Costco yearly fee and other tips?

I am a thrifty shopper out of necessity. There are just 2 in my household, but we usually maintain a membership to a big box something-or-other every year. (Usually it's Sam's- cheaper annual membership than Costco and closer to home, but I've done Costco too).
Why? The savings in toilet paper and gas alone usually pay for it before the year is out.

I am an equal opportunity bargain-hunter- I have cards for all the main chain groceries, shop at TJ's, Fresh n Easy, Food-4-Less (sounds like your Grocery Outlet), even WalMart and Big Lots sometimes -oh, and the occasional Farmer's Market (but in Vegas those are slim pickins compared to the bounty I used to be able to take advantage of while living in upstate NY. I didn't know how spoiled I was back then!)

I don't usually buy my weekly groceries at The Big Box. I usually shop at smaller stores for that.
But I hit up The Box about once a month (gas stops not included) to restock major staples - flour, rice/beans, hunks of cheese, any produce that keeps well or I use repetitively in cooking (crushed tomatoes, berries, bags of potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, oranges) and I also prepare for any entertaining I plan to do (paper goods, alchohol and mixers, meat for grilling. etc.)
A few times a year I go there for household cleaners, dishwasher pellets, vitamins, shampoo, soap, etc.- and very occasionally, we buy tires, electronics, jewelry, or eyeglasses, at which point the membership usually pays for itself on the spot.
I try to avoid most of the seasonal "specialty items", the bakery department, any overly processed crap, any produce packaged in a bunch so large that I know it'll go bad before I can use it, and getting snookered into buying pallets full of cubic feet of mass when I only really need one small box or can. I keep "budget creep" down by making a list before I go and sticking to it. (*cough*except when I fail my save vs. sample ladies.*cough*)

It's been worth it to us- and I define "worth it" as "The membership has paid for itself this year and I have saved more money on top of that."

As for the membership, I don't think of it as "paying the store for the privilege to shop" but rather, "paying a wholesale buyer's club to use their economies of scale I don't otherwise have access to as an individual civilian". A normal (free to walk in) store charges me only *retail* prices, because I'm the last step in the consumer process. At The Box, I could score a wholesale or close-to-wholesale deal. In theory, the reason I'm paying a fee is to move one step up the supply chain.

Thus, my general rule of thumb is I don't buy it at The Box if I can get it cheaper by myself in the retail world. But normal grocery stores don't let you have access to near-wholesale prices on toilet paper, gas, & tires. So I look at those things as my "true savings", and treat the food buys as occasional savings gravy, if that makes any sense.

Dec 03, 2009
tastyvegas in Chains