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TexanGert's Profile

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Best Cast Iron Skillet?

I'm quite sure you're wrong about the US so-called "Yankees" not using cast iron. I don't know where you got your information, but I think what you mean is older northeastern families don't sell their cast iron in yard sales. Instead, it is among the most cherished of inheritances. My largest cast iron skillet once belonged to my great-great-great grandmother! It has no name on it because my great-great-great-great-great grandfather made it himself in his forge.

I inherited my vintage Griswolds from my Great-Grandmother and her sister. Half my family was trying to get their mitts on them because they all love cast iron. None of them have ever lived anywhere except the northeastern US. We are a huge family. Most people in the central part of my northeastern home state are related to me by birth or by marriage. My family's been there since around the Revoluntionary War period. They are / were farmers. Through my great-great-granparent's generation, most of them had 12-16 children. My great-grandparents had 5 or 6 children each. I don't know anyone through my grandparent's generation that did not cook almost exclusively with cast iron.

Jul 22, 2013
TexanGert in Cookware

New Years Eve

Cadot was very nice last year. I don't see on their website where they have announced doing New Years Eve as yet this year. I heard Fearings was nice last year, too.

Dec 04, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Best BBQ in DFW?

Reading my mind here! I've got relatives coming from the great white north white north soon and thought I would pop over to ask about BBQ. I love Pecan Lodge, but is there anything up north around McKinney?

Dec 04, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Why bother stripping cast iron when you can buy a new pan for so little money?

Why in the world is anyone stripping cast iron? The only reason I know to strip one is if it has been mistreated, as I was taught by my Great-grandmother. One only gets a new pan when one gets married or first moves out from home. One scrubs it well, lards it up, and puts it in a good, hot oven. The oven is then turned off after 10 minutes and left overnight without opening. Absolutely no peeking! After that, if one cares properly for the pan, it should never, but never ever, need anything but a good wash out. One never, ever places soap or cleaner into a cast iron pan as it will get into the pan and flavor any food one cooks in that pan forever. You could always taste a certain ew de soap in her sister's eggs because she scrubbed her cast iron out with Brillo pads, plus her over easy eggs were always burst due to sticking, even though she would re-do the lard periodically on her cast iron. Instead, draw a sink of hot, hot soapy water. Great-grandma boiled the dish water on the stove and added a squirt of dish soap. If your water is not good and hot, it will warp your pan. Dip your cast iron in, swish it around, rub it out with a dish cloth, and rinse with boiling water from the tea kettle. Dry it out with a towel and put it back on the burner until the color changes so you know you got all the damp out. Shouldn't take more than half a minute back on the burner. Great-grandma did it for 60 years of marriage and never had to re-season her pan once, and I've been doing it going on 30 years myself. Only time I ever had to re-season a pan, my baby sister, who was never taught by Great-grandma because she died before baby sis was old enough, put my good 2-egg cast iron skillet to soak in a sink full of hot water. Then she scrubbed it out with plain steel wool. Up to then, one spritz of evoo from my refillable spray bottle was enough for eggs to slip right out but now I have to use at least four or they stick.

I'll agree the newer cast iron is in no way equal to the nice pans my given to me by my grandmother when I first wed, and I don't think even those are the equal of my Great-grandma's pans. I got my Great-grandma's chicken skillet when she passed, and it just has a nicer feel than the one I had. Although it is the same size, the sides are a tad higher, the handle fits the hand better and somehow stays significantly cooler, and somehow chicken fries up tastier. Or maybe that last is just to me because with it comes the memory of all the chicken dinners Great-grandma used to fry up in that pan.

Oct 09, 2011
TexanGert in Cookware

Foods You Enjoy for Breakfast that are non-typical

When I was a kid, we used to get cinnamon peanut butter toast with tea on special occasions. You have to make it just right, though. Toast the bread just good and toasty, slather it with butter, spread it thickly with crunchy peanut butter, and sprinkle it all over with cinnamon and sugar.

My current favorite non-typical American breakfast is an Indian dish called Sabudana Khichdi. I was first served this dish when I stayed at the home of a Hindu friend. Tapioca pearls are soaked and prepared with black mustard seed, turmeric, cumin, cilantro, lemon juice, peas, and freshly roasted peanuts. Mmm mmmm!

Veggo, you are not playing fair with the grilled conch mention! At least not to those of us nowhere near an ocean. I always have grilled conch with garlic over grits with over medium eggs and salsa when we visit Grandma's each summer. My mouth will be watering for a taste of that breakfast for days now.

Oct 09, 2011
TexanGert in General Topics

Downtown Dallas Tunnels

Thanks, vstock, we'll try it out.

Mar 02, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Downtown Dallas Tunnels

Thanks, Dallas Alice. Vstock, where are you going uptown for the sushi fix? There will be days I have time on my hands during the stay, so think I could swing the trip.

Mar 01, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Where to take foodie Grandma out for dinner in Dallas!

I have a soft spot for Cadot Restaurant. Chef Jean-Marie Cadot has a wonderful talent for homey French goodness, and he's lovely fun to chat with as well. You can get something yummy for a really reasonable price there, but I have also had one of the most expensive ( and delish ) meals of my life there. Totally worth it.

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Cadot Restaurant
18111 Preston Rd # 120, Dallas, TX 75252

Feb 26, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Downtown Dallas Tunnels

What can you tell me about reasonably-priced restaurants in the downtown Dallas tunnels? Anyone have thoughts on Sushi Yaa ? Is it located under the Chase building?

I'll be spending a week in June with friends in the Plaza of the Americas area, and thought it would be fun to check out lunch in one of the tunnels. Suggestions welcomed, and also for anything yummy in the general area, as we won't want to dag our car out unless absolutely necessary. Thanks!

Feb 26, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Valentine's day 2011

Thanks for reminding me to look around. I saw Cadot has a special menu with shrimp bisque with bourbon and creme fraische from their tweets. Arcodoro & Pomodoro caught my eye by mentioning aphrodisiacs would be prominent in their Valentine's specials. Someone have some sort of live music performance with dinner? Anyone?

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Cadot Restaurant
18111 Preston Rd # 120, Dallas, TX 75252

Jan 31, 2011
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Just got braces and EVERYTHING hurts, need ideas for softer foods...

Remember those days well, and just finished going through it with my daughters also. Weird hint I received that turned out to be a real help. Take one of these period relief pills instead of the pain reliever the doc recommends before each tightening, they discourage swelling (ask your doctor about this first, of course!). Be sure to drink plenty of water. One of my daughters and I loved warm things like a cup of beef broth or a bowl of chicken noodle soup with everything cooked pretty soft. One of my daughters couldn't stand anything hot and lived on jello, applesauce, ice cream, anything cold she didn't have to chew. Has your doc recommended one of these chewing gums that won't stick? We all found if we forced ourselves to slowly chew some gum, although it didn't feel that good, the slow motion helped the muscles relax and the pain was over sooner. Pudding and yogurt were also popular around tightening days.

Jan 31, 2011
TexanGert in General Topics

My, how could that taste so awful?

If it has Aspartame, I cannot stand it. Leaves this gross afterfeelingtaste in the back of my throat that just will not quit. I read once somewhere this might be a hereditary thing.

Don't like any of these low fat cheeses, either. Always seem to leave a weird coat on my tongue that is difficult to remove.

It isn't just the Campbells Light stuff. Lot of the "low sodium" stuff is baaaad. Not that I mind the lack of salt, I never add salt in my cooking and unless you have an addictive shaker reflex, you'll still love what I cook. People are always surprised about that, but the problem is most people seem to equate low sodium with little to no spice or herbs. Part of the problem is a lot of products in the spices and herbs section include salt. I just make sure to buy either fresh, or organic whole and grind or chop my own.

Jan 31, 2011
TexanGert in General Topics

Faintly Evil Signs at Whole Foods

I came here expecting something along the same lines, Andytee. To the artist: Stop whining! The signage pictures are awesome, and I somehow doubt anyone with that much talent will be out of work for long.

Jan 31, 2011
TexanGert in Features

Is Chick-fil-A Anti-Gay?

How to express my lack of surprise. Chik-fil-a has never been secretive about their strong reliance on the personal religious belief system of their founder. Not shocked if that included the usual anti-gay religious rhetoric. Nice thing about it, everyone gets to vote with their dollars. Don't like? Take your dollars elsewhere. Personally feel if they want to put their agenda out there and take the consequences, so be it.

Jan 31, 2011
TexanGert in Features

10 "Holy Shit" Things About the Egg Recall

I really don't want to raise my own eggs but if they start pasteurizing them I will have to. It is bad enough they turn all milk into white wash with no flavor in this country. Interestingly enough, in several years I checked, despite not using American pasteurization, France had significantly less food born illness. This is about people being dirty and they should be made to clean up. They shouldn't make the rest of us suffer poor quality food instead.

Sep 17, 2010
TexanGert in Features

Tokyo Area - Do shinise shops still exist here?

I've been treated to a friend's details of her visits to Shinise shops - traditional Japanese shops where families have carried on traditional methods for years to create such wonderful items as confectioneries, Zen wheat gluten products, roasted tea, tsukemono, natto, and shoyu. I wondered could it be possible in the bustle of Tokyo, or perhaps in one of the outlying areas, such wonderful shops could have survived? We will be taking day trips across the bay to Chiba to go up the ropeway to see the largest stone-carved Daibutsu in Japan at Nihon-ji at Nokogiriyama and also to Nikko. Information on traditional, family-run restaurants in these areas would also be appreciated.

Aug 28, 2010
TexanGert in Japan

Eating in Tokyo / MSG

I'd like to drop in a bit of information I learned a few years ago on a trip to France from a friend with food allergies, a condition I thankfully do not share. I did witness how helpful allergy cards were, however. If you will search the net, you can find a number of companies selling allergy cards in a variety of languages. Naturally, you chowhounds benefit from how well informed your peers are, but these cards come written in the appropriate language for the country you are visiting and list various names the restaurants might recognize the item by. My friend found them extremely helpful, as her food allergies, like many, pertain to items often used in other items. The cards name off some of the common items containing the problem food. The cards come in packets in most cases so that you may give them to the server to give to the cook. I believe she obtained her pack at the suggestion of her pharmacist, and she said they were very inexpensive.

Aug 28, 2010
TexanGert in Japan

St Pete Beach FL

Already planning the next trip, just finished setting up the alerts for low fares. The food was just awesome, and we loved the beach. St Pete is a great place to relax. My one question for the next trip is where to get an exceptional picnic packed for us and is it allowed to fire up a mini habachi on the beach at Shell Key? We did ok making sandwiches in the kitchen in our hotel room, but thought it might be fun next time to have something a tad more romantic as we will be traveling sprout-free. :)

Aug 13, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Conch - tell me more!

I can confirm the cracked conch at Mid-Peninsula is very tasty and tender. We enjoyed a dash of the habanero sauce on the calamari and the catfish. The catfish was a novelty for us, coming from Texas where catfish comes dipped in cornmeal, but we thoroughly enjoyed the light breading and the flakey, moist fish interior. My scallops had a lovely sear you can only get with nice, fresh scallops. We spent around $60 for three people and enjoyed cracked conch and calamari starters, catfish for daughter, fried shrimp for hubby, and scallops and shrimp scampi for me, white wine and soda included. We thought it was quite a bargain for such well-prepared food.

Aug 13, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Staying in St Petes, looking for top chow places to eat at ?

Just back from St Pete. Bella Habana was closed up.

Mid-Peninsula Seafood across the bridge in St Pete was wonderful. Melt in your mouth cracked conch, which we found surprising as we'd been told conch is tough and requires lots of work to be edible. Also great grilled scallops and shrimp scampi.

Ted Peters - I swear the place had people there at all hours every time we passed it and the food was just excellent.

Paradise Grille Upshaw Beach - great coffee, great breakfast, great view. Really nice home fry potatoes. We were blown away by the great breakfast as the place looks like a beach snack shack with picnic tables with beach umbrellas on a little deck.

Ceviche - If anyone knows the recipe or even just the name of the sauce on the escargo wrapped in chicken, PLEASE share. That stuff was so good I swear I want to bathe in it. The sangria was really good, too.

Palm Court at the Tradewinds Island Grand - if you go just to eat, be sure to ask for a two hour free parking pass. The Sunday Brunch buffet was exceptional.

Skidders - If you are looking for a taste of old Florida, to me this was it. Place is a diner, basically. Best coffee we had in Florida. The breakfast was very good.

Beverly's La Croisette - My Florentine Benny was very good. Nice slices of ham, flavorful spinach and onions, nicely toasted English muffin. The place was wall-to-wall with locals and we heard a lot of discussion of local gossip without any need to try, which was really quite amusing, as they sat in big groups chattering and the place is quite small. My husband said his omelet at Paradise Grille was much better.

Larry's Ice Cream - ended up going twice, first time part of our group got some really tiny portions, but the second time things were more in line with what was pictured on the menus. Everything was very tasty and fresh.

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La Croisette
7401 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Habana Cafe
5404 Gulfport Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707

Paradise Grille
6850 Beach Plz, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Tradewinds Restaurant
6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32821

Skidder's Restaurants
5799 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Aug 13, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

St Pete Beach FL

It has been a great week and I really want to thank each of you for helping to make it that. We didn't make it to all the restos, but we did make it to:

Mid-Peninsula Seafood - great, tender cracked conch, crispy tender calamari. The catfish was a big change for us, coming from Texas and used to a cornmeal breading. Loved how light it was. My scallops had a beautiful sear you can only get with really fresh scallops. The garlic-y shrimp scampi was buttery without being greasy. Really a great place, excellent service.

Beach Snoballs - really yummy, lots of flavor, nice, big snoballs, plenty of syrup. Great cool down on a hot day.

Cerviche - the upstairs was closed because they put something on the floors that made them too slick to walk on. The bar was open with loads of safety rugs out. If anyone knows the recipe, for the sauce on the escargo wrapped in chicken, or even just the name of it so i can hunt for a recipe, it was so good I wanna bathe in that stuff. Loved the food so so much. The sangria was to die for.

Beverly's La Croisette - Florence Benny was just wonderful. Thick slice of ham, perfectly cooked eggs, toasty English muffin. Fluffy, creamy grits without a hint of gummy. Service was prompt, professional, personable. Great place if you can squeeze in for an early breakfast around all the locals eating and gossiping.

Bella Habana - had been told to visit for their Cuban food. They appear to have closed up. Spiced pork sandwich at the Floridan lived up to the claim it is addictive. So tender and great flavor. The deviled crab was just fine, but I didn't not think it did the pork justice.

Ted Peter's Smoked Fish - yummy. Can definitely see why they have such a great reputation. I swear there was a crowd every time we passed by.

Skidders - This place is all diner retro except you get the feeling that is just the way it has always been. Best coffee we had the whole visit. So few places know what egg over medium means, but they arrived perfectly cooked without any need to explain. My husband loved his omelet so much.

Wanted the Sunday brunch at Don Cesar but was told the season's over, not doing it anymore. So...summer is over the end of July? On what planet? Had Sunday brunch at the Tradewinds Palm Court resto instead. So nice, really felt pampered from the moment we arrived. They had a swordfish dish infused with ginger that was just awesome. The buffet was just lovely, beautiful presentation, very tasty.

Larry's Ice Cream was sinfully good. Thank goodness for the tiny tiny portions or I would never fit in my jeans again. Obviously they have to charge extra for the service of delivering the world's smallest sundae.
Ok, seriously, one of our waffle cones was a reasonable double dip. Double dip cone number two and the sundae hubs ordered were prepared by a different counter person.. Did not understand why the expensive sundae my hubby ordered was so tiny. They fit the entire thing in a 12 oz dart cup with the flat lid on, neither the sides nor the lid of the cup were touched by the ice cream, and she bragged about it like she did us a favor. My double dip amounted to a little bit of one flavor down in the cone with a dollop that barely peeped above the top of the cone. And that was it.

Beach bar at the Beachcomber - Very nice hamburgers, cooked well, fresh, crisp lettuce, tasty tomatoes. Fries were tasty, skip the potato salad. Pina coladas weren't from a machine, which I found surprising. Certainly not a gourmet experience, but a great way to enjoy the sunset. Kelly at the bar was a sweetheart.

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La Croisette
7401 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Skidder's Restaurants
5799 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Aug 11, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Palm Court Sunday Brunch

We had Sunday Brunch at the Palm Court in the Grand on St Pete's Beach today because the Don Cesar has decreed the season over and stopped serving Sunday Brunch. We'd been looking forward to it, and were terribly disappointed, but I think we may have ended up getting the better end of the bargain after all.

First, the service was impeccable. My husband might be described as having a drinking problem. He loves his Dr Pepper. Many places have been known to give in and hand him a pitcher, he downs them so fast. Not here, refills were delivered in mini-carafes steadily, and he never saw the bottom of a glass. The staff was professional, friendly, and had an enthusiasm for the area I found highly commendable, particularly as it is late in the summer and they must already have had a thousand tourists asking about this, that, what is to do around here.

Second, the food. The brunch is a buffet, and as we all know those can be curious things. I was impressed with the fresh cerviche as I was expecting chewy, but it was kept fresh and tasty. The cracked crab claws were lovely. The swordfish was infused with ginger and very tasty. The cheese blintz were very tasty but could have used just a little more fruit topping, perhaps a bowl to dip from would be better than artistic swirling over the top. The eggs benedict had a nice flavor and the chef had a suitably light hand with the sauce. So many buffets they just bury the eggs in it. While the egg hunt might be entertaining, it just ruins them.

Over all, we were highly satisfied, and if we were staying about for another Sunday, we'd return.

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Palm Court At Tradewinds
5500 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Aug 09, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Skidder's in St Pete Beach

I wouldn't call it a gourmet place,more along the diners and dives line, but I think I may have found a version of old Florida. Presided over by a lovely Grand Dame, though the place was fairly empty, the waitresses were kept hopping during our visit yesterday for a very early morning breakfast. She also turned out to be a fount of information regarding the area, and she was very nice about sharing tidbits. The place is a diner, in some ways in the old sense. Desserts in glass covered cake stands on the counter, that sort of thing. The place was just awesome. Lots of places I get funny looks when I ask for "eggs over medium" , not here. My eggs arrived perfectly cooked, as did the lovely ham steak. Haven't enjoyed a ham steak that tasty since I was a kid and my grandma was cooking it for me. Husband's omelet was nicely done, the pancakes were fluffy, and the coffee was hot and fresh. The one odd spot was the potato pancake. Clearly some commercially-made product (Who knew they made frozen potato pancakes? Very odd.), it was at least cooked well. Can't recommend the potato pancakes, but I do recommend Skidder's for breakfast.

Btw, this is my first review as I promised I would remember to report back on everything while I was here visiting. I'm an absolute newbie round here, so be kind, k? I'm sure my posts won't be everything you could wish.

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Skidder's Restaurants
5799 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Skidder's Restaurants
5799 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Aug 09, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Conch - tell me more!

Really appreciate the informative and honest reply. Was looking forward to trying something new, but maybe will save that for our trip to the Caribbean next year. On the other hand, conch fritters sound interesting, and seems like everyone on St Pete's Beach has them when I check out menus. Thanks also for the information about the conch farm. Sounds so interesting, I wonder if there is any such thing as a tour? :)

Aug 04, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Conch - tell me more!

How do you like it best?

Going to St Pete Beach for a week, never had conch. What should I look for? Conch chowder? Conch fritters? Conch sandwich? Any recommendations where to go out at St Pete Beach/Pass a Grille area?

Aug 04, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

St Pete Beach FL

It all sounds awesome, so looking forward to this trip. Too bad about the stone crab, guess we will have to make do with all the other great seafood. :)

Saw Agave, easy walk from our hotel, so glad for the recommend. Thanks for the warning on Sea Critters. I had noticed Mid-Peninsula when I played around with google maps, they look interesting. Will make sure to come back and let everyone know all about everything. We get back on the 12th.

Jul 30, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

St Pete Beach FL

Thanks for the recommendations, we'll bear that in mind about Caddy's.

Jul 29, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

St Pete Beach FL

Driving into Tampa area is acceptable, and I have looked at Tampa threads, but I'm really interested in what is there at St Pete Beach. We're hoping to relax relax relax so don't want to deal with traffic and such more than necessary.

Did a google maps walk through and see a number of restaurants pretty close. Bella Habana Cuban, Snappers Seafood Grill, Caribbean Bay Cafe, Sweet Gallery Candy / Ice Cream, Agave.

Also had recommended to me the Seahorse for breakfast and see the pelicans, Sea Critters for dinner, Sea Hags for a shrimp dinner, and Caddy's on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island over Blind Pass Bridge.

Really hoping to have
1. A great Cuban sandwich.
2. Some really awesome tapas - I understand some places have wine and tapas afternoon weekday specials, but so far both recommendations we've received are clear across Tampa from St Pete Beach. Surely somewhere nearer is good, too?
3. Some good, old fashioned, dig in seafood. Not looking for posh, looking for a place that focuses on good fresh seafood served up simply. Paper napkins more than fine.
4. One completely awesome, totally Florida dinner. We'd like this dinner to be an event and plan to spend an entire evening, plus around $35 - 40 each plus drinks.

Edit: Any suggestions where we might get a couple pounds of large shrimp, some scallops, and crab or lobster to cook up in our kitchenette in the hotel?

Jul 28, 2010
TexanGert in Florida

Need a GREAT Italian Restaurant near I-35E & George Bush interchange

First off, I wish to thank you for your replies. We were meeting friends who used to live near us and missed the local Italian eatery. We ended up lunching at Maurizio's and then dinner at Amici. Both were wonderful, though each in their own way. We kind of wished we'd visited Amici for lunch and Maurizio's for dinner as Maurizio's put us more in the mind of our local place. Amici was lovely but would probably enjoy it best with just my dear husband. Even so, we enjoyed great food, the service was great, and no one gave us the bum rush even though we really lingered.

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Amici
1022 S Broadway St, Carrollton, TX 75006

Jul 19, 2010
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth

Need a GREAT Italian Restaurant near I-35E & George Bush interchange

Anything close, along 35E north from there, or perhaps off the Tollway would be great. Looking for a really nice overall experience and great food and wine, hoping there is something local in that area, or something with a really authentic feel. Meeting old friends half way for a good evening of enjoying ourselves and don't know the area.

Jul 15, 2010
TexanGert in Dallas - Fort Worth