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Single Serving Coffee Pot??

I started with a Tassimo about 6 years ago. I really liked the coffe brandds and flavor options, but finding the pods locally was difficult so was having to order online. With daily use, I never had a problem with the machine.

2 years ago, I was gifted a Kuerig. I liked the option of using the re-usalbe K-cup and liked the idea of having K-cups more readily available. However, this machine has given me problems since the first few months. About every tenth cup, the pump will stop and I have to pick it up and shake the whole unit around and after a few attempts it will work again. I've also decided I really don't like the re-useable Kcup option. If I'm going to the trouble of filling and cleaning it for each cup, I might was well use my french press or my Melitta Ready Set. I also haven't found coffee's I really like in the Kcup line. The ones locally available are not my favorites, so I'm ordering online anyway.

So the Keurig is going off to college with my daughter and I'm switching back to my Tassimo with my french press, Melittta, and Chemex as backups.

Jul 31, 2013
pyescamilla in Cookware

You down with OTP? Yeah you know me!

I use my pizza wheel for cutting things other than pizza so don't consider it a OTP. My meat mallet can become a kitchen hammer at times when I don't want to go dig into my husband's toolbox.

I think the things I have that are truly OTP are:
Pepper seeder that we use when making stuffed jalapenos, but when cleaning a 4 dozen, it is needed.
I thought I'd use my ricer for more than potatoes a few times a year, but I don't so its an OTP.
Pie crust shields
Candy thermometer that I only use for candy making

Jul 31, 2013
pyescamilla in Cookware

PSA: 99 Ranch Market and BEEF!

The $3.89 a pound for their tenderloin is a great deal. I've bought it for around $6 per pound there. Though not the most flavorfull tenderloin I've had, I've never had any complaints.

I've also been very happy with their paper thin sliced tenderloin to use in Pho.

Nov 12, 2012
pyescamilla in Houston

Where and What Did You Eat?

I don't post on the board often, but I appreciate reading the other posts. I'd been passing Portugalia for a year now thinking I wanted to try it. Finally did over the weekend and really enjoyed the food and service, though I missed out on the martini since I was driving. I enjoyed the beef in Angolan sauce and I also sampled the kale chorizo that was very good.

We also finally got out to The Shack in Cypress to try their burgers. While the burger was good, we both thought the buns were too sweet for our tastes

Nov 12, 2012
pyescamilla in Houston

Always consistent dishes in Houston

Thanks, Lambowner. I've had other recommend Pad Thai that only disspointed me. I'm going to try Thai Cottage's this weekend. Empire Grill is very close to us, but I've only been there once. We'll go back to try the Kebab.

Thanks for the recs.

Jun 14, 2012
pyescamilla in Houston

Always consistent dishes in Houston

In reading Allison's top 100 list and some of her comments about consistency being why a few restaurants were not on the list, it got me to thinking about places and specific dishes that are always consistenly good.

Do you have specific items that you know is going to be up to your expectation every time you order?

Here's mine. What I'm suprised about is how short my list is but a lot of that is due to me always wanting to try something new on the menu. So a dish has to be spectacular for me to order it each time I vist a restaurant.

FuFu's Cafe Hot Spicy Chicken. We've had this more than 50 times over the last 6 years. The oly time it dissappointed was when we tried out the newer FuFu's Restaurant.

Vic & Anthony's crab cakes

Pappa's Bone in Ribye

Himalaya's Briyani

Branch Water Tavern's Sticky Toffee Pudding

Jun 11, 2012
pyescamilla in Houston

Restaurant near the Houstonian

Philippe is a great French with a Texas twist. The Houstonian is close to the Post Oak/Galleria/Uptown area. Here's some suggestions.

TexMex - Sylvia's Enchilda Kichen on Woodway
Steakhouse - Papa's on Westheimer
Brazilian Steakhouse - Chama Gaucha on Westheimer
Delicatessan - Kenny & Ziggy's on Post Oak
Continental - Masraff's on Post Oak

Mar 26, 2012
pyescamilla in Houston

Closest alternative to Commander's Palace Brunch

Thank you for the note. We were in NO yesterday and had brunch at Ralph's. Unfortunately, it wasn't as positive of an experience as w had hoped. Though my reservations had requested that we be seated in the main room, when we arrived they stated the only table available was in the bar area right next to the piano. The service was much more casual than I expected and I believe our waitress might have been stretched. I had to request a spoon for my coffee twice to her and once to another server before receiving one. The food was fine, but nothing memorable. My daughter thougt her crab meat omelette to be slightly overcooked as it was dry.

My biggest suprise was in the dress of the other diners. I wasn't expecting male diners dressed more appropriately for breakfast at Denny's in jeans, flip flops, shorts, and t-shirts. One diner who seem to be friends with several of the restaurant staff kept his baseball cap on the entire time. When we arrived for our 11:30 reservation, I'd say more than half the men were in jackets or button down shirts. By the time we left around 1:30, that had switched to less than a third of guests.

Maybe we just hit them on an off day.

Mar 26, 2012
pyescamilla in New Orleans

Closest alternative to Commander's Palace Brunch

Thanks, everyone. We've had dinner at Brennan's a few times so think I'll make reservations at Ralph's. Looking at the menu, she wants to try their version of chicken and waffles.

We were wanting a place with a dressier feel. Glad to know we won't be out of place.

Mar 22, 2012
pyescamilla in New Orleans

Closest alternative to Commander's Palace Brunch

My daugher and I will be in NO for one night after visiting colleges. Before heading home, I wanted to take her to Sunday Brunch at Commanders' but they are booked. What would be the closest altenative with similar level of service, elegance, and over all experience.

I was wanting to try Ralph's as I haven't been there yet. What is the level of dress for their Sunday brunch?

We also don't want buffet style, so Court of Two Sisters isn't an option and neither is the Crystal room.

Thanks for any advice.

Mar 21, 2012
pyescamilla in New Orleans

Headed to Houston for Final Four. What's worth hitting and what's worth skipping?

My favorites right now when higher end are Haven and Branch Water Tavern.

If you've never experienced a Brennan's of New Orleans restaurant, try Brennan's in Houston, especially their brunch. Hugo's also has a great brunch.

If you like Asian and can't get authentic in your area, then I recommend a trip to Houston's Chinatown in southwest Houston, FuFu's Cafe is our favorite for dumplings and hot and spicy chicken. We also like Que Huong for Vietnamese.

Bombay Pizza is great fusion.

Que Huong Restaurant
8200 Wilcrest Dr Ste 27, Houston, TX 77072

Branch Water Tavern
510 Shepherd, Houston, TX 77007

Mar 19, 2011
pyescamilla in Houston

Looking for something simple, but impressive.

Crapitto's on Mid Lane has a nice ambiance and a lovely patio for outdoor dining. Lots of under $25 entrees. Two Saints in the Memorial area is very good and is BYOB and you can easily stay under $100 for two.

Crapitto's Restaurant
2400 Midlane St, Houston, TX 77027

Mar 19, 2011
pyescamilla in Houston

Thanksgiving Angst

Not sure how many your feeding or your family's favorites, but here's some ideas.

Plan to shop on the Sunday before, but since you are don't plan anything that requires super fresh ingredients. Suggestion is Turkey, dressing/stuffing, make ahead mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, gravy, store bought cranberry sauce, and roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus. Or another green veggie suggestion is overnight green beans cooked in a crockpot with bacon, apple vinegar, and brown sugar.

If making stuffing/dressing, wash and cut up your veggies on Sunday. Wash all your veggies before storing.

On Tue evening, make a pumpkin or pecan pie, they'll be fine until Thur, though may not be as fresh for Friday left overs. Or make a carrot cake, one of our family tradiions because its actually better after its set for a day. Bake your cornbread (if using conbread for dressing) or tear up your stale bread.

On Wed, mix up your stuffing. Cut up for veggies for roasting. Start the green beans if doing those. Start brining turkey if you brine.

On Thursday all you have is putting the turkey on, cooking your roasted vegies, making the gravy, and the mashed potatoes

Nov 13, 2009
pyescamilla in Home Cooking

Where to buy lamb in Houston?

Yes, Phoenecia Market has a nice lamb selection.

Nov 05, 2009
pyescamilla in Houston

Bad Brisket at Kreuz's Today

We hadn't been to Kreutz's in a while but stopped in on June 14 and found the same as you. The brisket was way to salty. The smoked ham was the best on the plate.

We still really like Black's and Smitty's.

Jun 25, 2009
pyescamilla in Texas

rehersal supper in Houston

I attended a private function at Bistro Le Cep. It would be about a mile west of the beltway on Westheimer. We were in a dining room that held around 40 people. I think you could manage around $35-$40 per person for 3 courses here. They also have a reasonably priced wine list. With its rustic French bistro look, I think it would be pretty for a winter rehersal dinner.

Another option is Cantina Laredo which would be in the same area. I believe they have private rooms available.

Little bit further out Westheimer at Kirkwood is Piatto, a Carraba's family restaurant. Rioja Spanish Tapas is also at Westheimer and Kirkwood. I haven't been in a year or so, but they had great tapas and paella. It's in a strip center and not much to look at from outside, but the interior decor was very nice.

Jul 31, 2008
pyescamilla in Houston

Rec please: Monday night dinner CBD or FQ with 2 teens

My sister, BIL, husband, and 2 kids will be in NO for 3 nights. We need a recommendation for Monday night and preferring a classic Creole moderately priced, i.e under $25 for entrees. Its been years since either of our families frequented NOLA, but used to enjoy Bon Ton, Mr. B's and some of the other classics. Other nights there, we're hitting Cochon and Cafe Degas.

Mar 15, 2008
pyescamilla in New Orleans

Cincinnati Chili

My first experience was with a group of locals who decided to take the "Texan" to have chili. They insisted on my trying the 3way. Now, 20 years later, I still "fondly" remember it as the worst meal I've ever had. Seasoned grease on barely warm spaghetti with bland cheese. I still shiver when the concept is mentioned.

Feb 14, 2008
pyescamilla in Features

Get a Room

QueenPeach... I'm in your corner. After the age of 21, you should be able to go 2 hours without constantly touching each other. We have a group of friends we socialize with frequently all in their mid 30's to late 40's. It is very common to occasionally see PDA between the couples (a glass of wine is delivered with a kiss on the cheek... a wife gets her husbands attention away from the game by a gentle rub on the shoulders... a quick kiss if passing in a hall...arm around the shoulder while sitting on a sofa). But that's the limit. Frankly, watching any one twirl their own hair or someone elses is irritating (didn't all of our mom's have us stop that behavior by highschool? are they chewing gum too?) and fingers constantly up and down your own or someone elses arm makes me wonder if a rash is involved and ointment is needed. If you wouldn't engage in that behavior in front of your boss or your grandmother than don't do it in front of me.

Feb 14, 2008
pyescamilla in Features

Dinner this week

Here's some nice and easy alternatives...

Joe's Special... Brown Italian turkey sausage (mild or hot), add some garlic, red bell pepper, and sliced mushrooms mushrooms. Saute for 1 min then add chopped kale and cook covered 3 min. Whisk up 2 or 3 eggs and season with thyme. Pour into sausage and kale and stir until eggs are cook. Serve with roasted potatoes and cornbread.

Pasta Sorta Puttenesca... Cook penne pasta. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil then add 2 or 3 anchovy fillets and cook until disoved. Add a 1/2 cup of chicken or seafood broth, add a cup of diced tomotoes and saute for 2 min. Take off heat and add capers and fresh grated paremesean. Season with S&P and toss with pasta.

Chicken Lime Soup.... Buy a rotteserie chicken and dice up breast meat. Save remainder for another use. Cook a cup of brown rice. In a large pot, saute onion, green peppers, and garlic. Add couple cans of chicken broth,a can of tomotoes and green chiles, cumin and chili powder to taste. Cook for 10 min. Add a cup of frozen or fresh corn and some diced squash. Once rice is cooked, add to pot with diced chicken. Before serving, squeeze a lime into soup. Can top each bowl with diced avocado, shredded cheese, and tortillia strips if you'd like. For low fat tortillia strips, spary corn torillia with cooking spray. Slice into strips, and cook on sheet in oven for about 5 to 10 min until crisp.

Jul 31, 2007
pyescamilla in Home Cooking

party for 25-30...should i be worried?

Hire the help anyway. I was having a sit down, 4 course dinner for both sides of our family which ended up totaling 24. I received tons of "ribbing" from both sides because I hired someone to help with the set up, clearing of plates, and cleaning. Everyone said it would make them "uncomfortable" having someone wait on them at a family event, or "its just a waste of money and we can do it", or flat out comment like "who are you trying to impress".

After dinner was over, they all shut up and ended up asking if they could contribute to the cost of the help and wanted to make sure we had the help at all future events. You've obviously been gracious enough to offer to host this event. Make it easier on you by getting the help for a few hours. Not having a dirty kitchen from all of the trays, serving spoons, dishes and cookware at the end of the night will be a huge blessing. And guest won't feel obligated to get in the kitchen with you to help with the clean up.

I would also suggest reducing your number of hors d'ouerves. The hummus and a beautiful cheese tray with some fruit would be sufficient considering your serving a full meal. I'd also remove the potatoe salad and instead do the couscous and the grean salad. Or if you area really set on the boccocini/tomato/basil skewers, instead make that into a salad to serve with the lasagna course.

On storage of the food, borrow large coolers from friends and store your salads and vegetables. Leave the ice in the bag and then when you set the food out, you can use the extra ice for drinks. I also set up a roaster in my utility room and use it to keep hot items warm until serving. I'll cook the lasagna 2 ahead, take out and stack the pans in the roaster, turn it on to warm, and it stays great until ready to serve. This makes cutting easier and frees up my oven. If you don't have a roaster, you can use a cooler to keep warm items warm, or I've wrapped casseroles in heating blankets.

Jul 31, 2007
pyescamilla in Home Cooking

Playa del Carmen-5 nights

We're back from the Quinta Roo area. In Playa, our favorite was Casa Meditterean off of 5th Avenue. Exceptional homemade pasta. We were also a fan of Carbonocitas off of 5th. We also tried Ah Cacaos which only serves chocolate, but I recommend skipping. Dry brownie, overpriced drinks for the quality.

Jul 26, 2007
pyescamilla in Mexico