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chowing kat's Profile

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Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - December 2014

I picked up some of the sweet potatoes last night. My TJs was out of the corn pudding, too. Too bad - I really liked it and wanted to get some more to round out my take-to-work dinners. Ended up getting 2 of the Scalloped Potatoes to use. I'll see how they are.

Dec 05, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - November 2014 [Old]

I've got a problem with those brooms and the pinecones I find in just about any market this time of year. I think the cinnamon oil they are cured with affects me in a bad way. I always end up with my cheeks red and burning. I have to avoid any soaps and such, also, that contain cinnamon. But, ground cinnamon and cinnamon-flavored products are OK.

Nov 09, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - November 2014 [Old]

Maybe it's just me, but I like it. I usually had a bag or two of it in the freezer for a quick dinner (at noon) before I head out to work. It's just like rice with squash sauce on it. I also like pasta with pumpkin sauce on it (not a TJ's thing, but my own).

Nov 09, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014 [OLD]

I went back to my TJs yesterday. I found the O&H kringle, pumpkin caramel flavor. Oh my!!! it was amazing!!! To save me from devouring the entire thing in one day, I took all but two pieces to work with me. It went FAST!! Best description someone had was that it was a combination of a croissant, pumpkin pie, and a cinnamon bun. Hopefully, more will be at the store when I go back in 2 weeks!

Sep 23, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014 [OLD]

From this month's trip to TJs, I picked up a few new (to me) things:

frozen chicken gorgonzola - NAAAAAY. No discernable gorgonzola anywhere. One large piece of chicken and a few chunks. Kind of a runny "sauce" - tasted more like a provencal sauce - olive/caper/tomato like. Tasted bad - won't buy again.

Island Soyaki - yay. Makes a good stir fry sauce for my veggie stir fry. Used a bowl of the stir fry veggies in the produce section - a 5 minute fresh dinner! Then used it as a dipping sauce for some potstickers. Good multi-purpose sauce.

Coconut cashews - OMG YAAAAY. I have to restrict myself to one handful a day, or they'd be gone in an hour!!!

Sep 11, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Attention all Trader Joe Shoppers!

The two TJs in Utah cannot sell alcohol. Well, they CAN sell 3.2 beer, but nothing else.

I like TJs because they have a great variety of quick-to-make items for a solo diner that are better than the trip to Mickey Ds AND I don't have to freeze part of it or eat the same stuff for 3 days. The frozen foods are a saving grace for me. I love the Force Primeval Bars for a quick snack in the morning. I like the variety of nuts and dried fruits that I really don't have access to (I only have a big-box grocer here). I love the cheese choices and the different crackers that I can get to go with them.

Sep 04, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

I just ate the Spelt Risotto with Vegetables and Chickpeas. YAY from me. I love the nutty chewy spelt. The veggies and chickpeas complemented and didn't overwhelm. It has a bit of a cheese sauce with it - it almost gave a smoky bacon smell to it. All in all, a good quick meal to have before heading out to work. I'll be buying this one again to add to my "quick meal" rotation.

May 20, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

Oh YAY for the Coconut and Cranberry Granola AND the Rice Pudding from me, too!!!
I was there 2 days ago and, besides those 2, I have:
Yay: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. In the plastic bin. Hard to keep my hands out of the bin!!!
Yay: the Frozen Rice Medley. 3 to a box. Nuked up just fine and nutty/chewy the way I like it.
YAY again: the pecan-crusted Norwegian Salmon in the refrigerated section. Pan-fried it last night (using some of the Coconut Oil Spray) and it was once again very moist and crusty when done. Twice I've bought this and twice it's been excellent.
NAY: the soft dried mandarins. I really wanted to like these, based on all the talk, but they were just way too sweet for me.

May 15, 2014
chowing kat in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - May 2014 [old]

If you liked the Toscano with black pepper, try the Toscano soaked in Syrah. a YAY from me on both of them.

Cinque Terre

Il Pirata is OK. Not fancy dining, but solid offerings and very good desserts. My friends and I went there twice during our stay and once for breakfast.
The other place we had lunch and dinner was Vulnetia. I loved the seafood risotto (shared with my friend) and my friend's husband really enjoyed the trofi with pesto. I don't know if it came back after the mudslides. It was one of the restaurants right on the harbor.
Our favorite thing was to grab some focaccia at the Panifacio Focacceria and go and get some salumi and cheeses and a tomato or two at the little deli. They were across from our apartment. Those and a bottle of wine made for some nice mellow evenings!!!

Apr 11, 2014
chowing kat in Italy

Trader Joe's YAY/NAY - April 2014 [OLD]

Did my bi-monthly TJ run yesterday. Picked up mostly good old reliables/favorites. But, I picked up some new things, too. Two of them, I've had already and both were Yays:

Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen. German unfiltered hefe with grapefruit flavoring. Two of my favorite tastes in a nice, light tasting beer. Good for a sunny day!
The farm-raised Norwegian salmon filets that were crusted with nuts were good, too. They were in the fresh section, not frozen. The salmon wasn't artificially colored, which was nice. I broiled it and it came out nice and juicy. Some of the better salmon I've had lately.

Apr 11, 2014
chowing kat in Chains

Mountain hideaway good food?

There are other independently owned restaurants in Deer Valley. Cena at The Chateaux up in Silver Lake, J&G Grill at the St. Regis, Glitretind at Stein Eriksen Lodge are not owned by Deer Valley Resort corp…

Any of those are good restaurants, away from Main Street. For something different, try the Viking Yurt. No comment on food (haven't been since they moved from Canyons to PCMR), but you are taken up on the ski mountain - definitely up in the hills and away from everything...

Feb 12, 2014
chowing kat in Mountain States

Rome - Nov. 25-Dec.1 - Single Traveler - Help Refine my Lists

I did a little solo trip to Rome back in May. I received plenty of good help from the kind people here on CH. Here's what I did:

Armando al Pantheon: I've been there a few times and I've always had good, solid food and was treated well as a solo woman. I have a special spot in my heart for their dessert tarts - and I'm not a big dessert person.

Pizzarium: yummy pizza on the go. It is indeed standup eating - there is one small bench outside on the sidewalk, otherwise you stand.

Roscioli: I thoroughly enjoyed myself there. I had a nice table downstairs and had a very amicable and attentive server. Food was excellent - only time I ever went for every course!

Gelato Artigianal Corona in the Largo Argentina is in my top 2 gelato spots ANYWHERE!!!

Nov 24, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Yay: Something new that I picked up yesterday: Chocolate & Cranberry Rolls. They were in the bread section. Look and taste just like the ciabatta rolls, but with lots of chocolate and cranberry bits. Warmed one up tonight in the oven - yummmm!
Meh: Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Carmel Truffles. The filling was kind of a bland peanut butter and carmel, not real taste of either. A little disappointed. I'll have to stick with my Peppermint Bark that I picked up, too.

Nov 10, 2013
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Never seen the chocolate covered Weisellas. But, I did buy a pack of the sugar-glazed soft gingerbread cookies yesterday. Ever since an acquaintance brought me a package over from Germany back in 2001, I eagerly await their return every year.

I also give a "yay" to the sweet potato gnocchi - bought more of it yesterday, too :-)

Nov 10, 2013
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - November 2013 [Old]

Hmmmmm. One of our local artisan cheese makers here in Utah (Beehive Cheese) makes a coffee-rubbed cheddar called Barely Buzzed. It's been around for a few years now. I wonder if it is the same cheese? It's available in most local markets here. It really is a good cheese!!!

Nov 03, 2013
chowing kat in Chains
2

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

The "Cookie Butter" is actually pretty good on toasted Force Primeval Bars! I don't slather it, just a little on each half.

Oct 19, 2013
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - October 2013 [old]

I picked up some of the pumpkin cream cheese. YAY!!! Paired it with the pretzel crisps - just right.
I also saw the cranberry coconut granola on one of the endcap displays. YAY!!!!!! I always have granola and yogurt for breakfast and this one is good for my rotation.
Those were the two new things I had this time. And, I only spent $127 on this month's trip to TJs....

Oct 09, 2013
chowing kat in Chains

Trader Joe's Yay/Nay Thread - June 2013 [OLD]

Yep on that Cubano. I believe it's a little pork loin in there, too. That's what is usually in the Cuban sandwiches. I try to plan my trip to TJ so I can pick up one of these for my lunch.

Jun 17, 2013
chowing kat in Chains

Jordanian Dead Sea

I was at the Marriott resort on the Jordanian Dead Sea back in 2009. There really isn't anything around that I saw than the different resort hotels. I guess you could wander to the different hotels.

Rome party of 15 . . . impossibile?

Oh well... I put it out there, based on what I saw.

May 18, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

Rome in June

I've only been to Roscioli for dinner, but it was a fantastic dinner. I don't think you could go wrong with either of your Roscioli ideas.
For you post-Vatican eats, perhaps Sorpasso. Or, if you are also taking the Metro back to Piazza Barberini, walk down to the Cipro Metro stop and have some amazing pizza at Pizzarium.

May 17, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

chowing kat does Rome - report ( warning - long)

Thank you. I'm finding that I'm loving to write more about my trips in the past few years. Probably thanks to my friends - we all love to live vicariously through each other's travels. With CH, we are so privileged to have so many people that share their information with us, it feels only right to pay it back and let people know how their recommendations turned out.

May 17, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

Rome party of 15 . . . impossibile?

Since you want to have drinks at the Minerve (by the way, I LOVE having drinks up there on the roof), I'll suggest that you see if Amando al Pantheon would be an option for you. The night I was there 2 weeks ago, there were two parties of 10 in there at the same time. If they could do that, I imagine a party of 15 would be doable. Armando is just maybe a block away, from the Minerve it would be on the street to the left of the Pantheon.

May 17, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

3 Nights in Florence

This isn't a restaurant rec, but a last night drink rec. Go to the top of the Westin Excelsior to their restaurant/bar. It has a wonderful view of Florence at night. The drinks were pretty good, too! I went upstairs around 11pm. it was pretty quiet (dinner stops at 10:30). I snagged an outside spot. It was so relaxing and a good way to end the day.

May 16, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

chowing kat does Rome - report ( warning - long)

I'm glad that I would tweak your brain! I love it when things just "call to me". I've discovered some of my best food, restaurants, purses, etc. that way. Corona was just one of those happy coincidences - I was hot and hungry, Corona was right there. I didn't even know that Corona was a good spot until I returned and tried to remember the place. Good thing I remembered it was there at the Argentina tram stop!!!

May 16, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

chowing kat does Rome - report ( warning - long)

Elizabeth: I want to thank you for the help you gave to me via emails. To have people like you and Katie (also a HUGE thanks goes to you) to help us with our planning is beyond amazing. And, that you all do this personally and gratis is just, well, I'm glad that I found both of you!

May 14, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

chowing kat does Rome - report ( warning - long)

I wanted to report back quickly on my 4 nights in Rome during the first week of May. I received so many good ideas and recs from CH that I felt I needed to give back a little. I got a little long-winded, but it was all so good I had to let it all out :-)

My first night in town, I went back to Armando al Pantheon. I had been there before and enjoyed both the food and how I was treated as a solo woman. I was not disappointed again.
My appetizer was the special bruscetta of the night: a mix of fava beans, artichoke, peas, and pancetta. It was a refreshing change from the usual bruscetta I've sampled.
I fully expected to have pasta cacio e pepe. But, one the nightly specials was gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce. I couldn't pass that up. The gnocchi was just, well, gummy-chewy enough, the way I like 'em. The sauce was definitely gorgonzola, but wasn't heavy and sticky like a usual cheese sauce. It was probably medium thickness, where it had movement on the plate. I could have eaten a second plate of it, if I had the room in my stomach.
I kept seeing the artichokes going by my table. I decided I had enough room to get one of them. I am glad I did! With the olive oil surrounding it, the artichoke just melted in my mouth. I'm usually a "eat the end of the leaves" kind of artichoke eater, but this preparation could make me think of going through the effort once in awhile to pare it down to the choke only!
I knew I wanted to have another one of Armando's tortas for dessert. I really enjoyed the last one I had because it wasn't a sweet dessert. This one was just as good. A nice little torta with some raspberry jam in between the layers. I so love that Italians have this option of things not sick-sweet for dessert. I went back to the hotel sated and happy.
I also want to comment on how I was treated as a solo diner. I was welcomed warmly. I never felt like I was being ignored. Anytime I had a question about the food or preparation, I received a full response. I did not feel like I was treated like "another tourist", but a welcome guest. For me, how I'm treated when I am traveling alone is just as important as the food.

I did a stop at Pizzarium for some pizza and suppli before I did a night tour of the Vatican Museum. If you didn't know about the place, you would probably just walk by it. Man, it was a tiny hole-in-the-wall, complete with some graffiti on the outside wall. But, oh my, the food. I had a classic suppli, my first. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was yummy. A deep-fried rice "cigar" filled with cheese and pomodoro sauce (yes, the sauce was inside). I wanted more, but I also wanted pizza. It took awhile to decide from among the varieties which one I wanted. It ran the gamut from the familiar to the bizarre (I never thought of heaps of meat or potatoes on a pizza) I took the arugula and fresh ricotta slice. Some of the best pizza I've had anywhere, anytime. I know the owner wants to keep it small, but I wish he could put more than one bench outside. I really wanted to sit due to the several hours of standing I had coming up at the Vatican.

I had dinner Saturday night at Roscioli. Again, I wasn't expecting what I found. Roscioli is a deli/wine store by day and restaurant by night, it seems. My table was downstairs in the wine cellar. There were 4 other tables downstairs with mine. I did not feel crowded in the space. I had decided to go whole-chinghale and order from the Segundi section also that night. My server made sure to take good care of me. I'm sure that these guys get tired of all the tourists, but he was engaging and very helpful. When we discussed wine, we talked about what I like, not by type of wine (ie, chianti, chardonnay), but by tastes and body. I like a good full-body red. He ended up bringing me a glass of Tenuta Saint Antonio Amarone. Now, I was surprised by that pick, but, da%m, it was good. All in all, I ended up drinking 3 glasses of it (I bought by the glass).
I was brought a little amuse bouche of fresh tomato puree. It was very bright tasting. I couldn't decide on an appetizer, so we talked. I would have loved the burrata, but it would be just too much. In the end, he said he could bring me 2 balls of bufala mozzarella. Yes! When it came, he had added a heathy handful of dried tomatoes in oil. It was perfect for what I wanted. Those tomatoes were probably some of the sweetest tasting I've ever had.
For my pasta course, I decided to try the Amatriciana. Oh my. It sure looks like a plain basic pasta, but it definitely was not plain. The pasta, like large rigatoni, were cooked just right, enough body and chew left in them. Just a light layer of sauce, not a smothering that we in the US are used to seeing. Lots of great cheese on top. And, my new favorite meat - crispy guanciale. I never had it before, but, wow. Not a ton of it, but just enough to add to the flavor of the dish. I'm ruined for using pancetta now, though. The dish looks pretty dull and plain, but looks aren't everything. Again, I was sad when I hit the bottom of the bowl. But, more things to come.
For my meat course, I chose the Roman meatballs with polenta. Definitely something I would never order, but they just called to me. Very fresh tasting tomato sauce topped with more good shredded cheese (I assume pecorino romano - I forgot). My server told me they used 5 different kinds of meat in the meatballs. Now, when I took my first bite, something very familiar in the flavor came to me, but I couldn't place it. It had to do with the spices. A few more bites and it hit me - it reminded me of the Lebanon bologna I ate as a kid in Pennsylvania! Kind of a spicy, but with a sweet end note. I was too full to finish the plate, but I was happy I had ordered them.
I ended the night with their version of tiramisu and a glass of moscato recommended by my server. The tiramisu was surprisingly light so it was easy to eat. It wasn't like a usual tiramisu with the layers of cake/ladyfingers, but more like a layering of puddings and mousses. My server at the end brought me a small dish with 2 amaretti cookies and a dark chocolate dipping sauce. A very nice way to end a wonderful dinner. Again, I felt like I was taken care of quite well. The servers were all very friendly and not brusque, as I've seen in some reviews. And, the wine cellar did NOT feel like a dungeon, but like, guess what, a wine cellar. I did not miss being upstairs.

The one total surprise was the gelato I had as i wandered from the Colosseum back to the Pantheon area. I was feeling a little hot and tired around the Argentina tram stop area. I saw a tiny storefront with a sign "Artigianale Gelato Corona" , so I popped in. Some usual flavors, but my eyes went straight to the limone e basilco tub. It just looked refreshing. My eyes did not deceive me! I think that may be my new favorite gelato flavor!!!

May 13, 2013
chowing kat in Italy

Hawaii Vacation- help! escaping cruise food

Does Tahiti Nui still their their luau on Wednesday nights? That was my one and only luau, way back in the mid 80s. It happened to be a birthday of a local mom, also. It was nice and low key. The little daughter (maybe 6 or 7) did a hula for her mom. Food was basic, but so much fun to be eating among the locals on a special night.

Since the OP is a noodle lover, I'll suggest the Marukame Noodle House on Kuhio, just behind the IMP in Waikiki. Fresh udon noodles, made in front of you. Several preparations of the noodles. Then there's various tempura items you pick from. It's "cafeteria" style and it's bad form to have someone save a table! I really loved the noodles (I got the hot one with the soft egg on top) and the pumpkin tempura. A bowl of udon with 4 pieces of tempura and a drink was under $10.

Apr 16, 2013
chowing kat in Hawaii

Good sit-down lunch near Vatican

Katie - if I were to try to go there on a Friday late afternoon, say 5pm, would I need a reservation as a solo? I think I'd like to try this one as my late lunch before I go to the evening Vatican tour.

Apr 12, 2013
chowing kat in Italy