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Brunch in Santa Monica

Fig worked really well for our group last May. Nice atmosphere, with some tables overlooking the pool area.

1 day ago
prima in Los Angeles Area
1

Berlin food gifts for pals and potential paramours

When I'm in Berlin, I head to the food hall at the KaDeWe and other upscale department stores, walk through the aisles, and bring home stuff that won't get confiscated at customs.

After my most recent visit to Germany (Munich, not Berlin, but I'd bring these same gifts from Berlin), I brought home gifts of upscale chocolates, supermarket level chocolates, Niederegger marzipan, Rotegruetze-flavoured jam, and Florentines and Stollen from a legendary Konditorei.

1 day ago
prima in Europe

Freshest spices in TO

I don't think there's a way to know if the dry spices in cello packs are fresh until you open them at home. You could some always try to return them if you believe the spices you bought are stale.

Are you grinding your spices at home, when possible (with cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander seed, turmeric, etc)? I find that makes a big difference.

I like the spices from Spice Trader. They're pricey, but I find they keep well in the metal tins, which can be refilled. I haven't been disappointed with any purchases. Compared to what I spend on other groceries, quality spices are a splurge that is relatively affordable. I wasn't impressed by the spices I've bought in Kensington.

Some shops sell The Epicentre spices and blends. I bought some Aleppo pepper at a gift shop on Roncy near Hopgoods last month.

I've kept some of my less-used spices well past the 3 year mark. There's no way for me to tell when most dry spices were harvested or dried, and I have no idea how long they've been stored before I bought them, so I'm not going to toss them automatically after they've been in my kitchen for one year. I toss spices when they're no longer fragrant, and I'll buy fresh spices when they star in a special dish, but I use up less fresh, year+ old spices in everyday cooking. And I sprinkle old cayenne on tulip shoots to keep the deer and other critters away.

Apr 14, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

a Toronto Chowhound's trip report: Lost Hills, Morro Bay, Monterey, Salinas, Lodi, Stockton, Lockeford, Dublin

a Toronto Chowhound's trip report: Part Deux

I returned to some of the same places, so I thought I'd add my trip report to the same thread.

Lodi
We dined at Farm Cafe at the Michael David Winery, and enjoyed the tortilla soup, and the daily special of tri-tip and Delta Asparagus sandwiches. I hadn't had tri-tip before, and I'm sure I'll try some other versions next time I see it on other menus in California. http://www.michaeldavidwinery.com/visit/cafe/

Salinas
We returned to Elli's for lunch. This time, I tried the Mini Chinese Chicken salad ($10.99, and still generous enough to fill me up, served with a thick slice of garlic cheese bread), and my friends enjoyed a very generous tuna melt, and chicken enchiladas (4) with green sauce, rice and black beans. Friendly service, generous portions.

Lost Hills
We tried Jack in the Box for the first time, to see how it compares to the other fastfood options at Lost Hills. I think I liked my Junior Jack burger a little better than the burger I ordered across the road at Carls Jr last year. I'd read the threads about Buttonwillow http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9706..., but we didn't have the time to seek out better food off the I5 on this trip.

Oceanside
Rim Talay for dinner. This place was recommended by a friend. We enjoyed the tom yum, fresh rolls, green papaya salad and island curry (red curry with pineapple). Friendly service, popular place.

Apr 12, 2014
prima in California

coffee and/or breakfast near San Mateo / Foster City

Thanks! We decided have breakfast ended up at an IHOP which was a block from our hotel in Foster City, which was my first visit to an IHOP in close to 30 years. I've got to admit the bite of my friend's sweet cream cheese crepe with raspberry topping was quite tasty. :)

Apr 12, 2014
prima in San Francisco Bay Area

breakfasts, relatively healthy mains and/or salads in/near San Leandro, Hayward and Castro Valley

While I didn't end up seeking out especially healthy restaurants while visiting the Castro Valley area, I ended up working on my portion control, instead.

At Norman's Grill at 3638 Castro Valley Blvd (diner style-breakfast, with friendly service, reasonable prices, and most breakfasts priced $6.95-$10.95), I enjoyed the a vegetarian omelette ($8.95, generous with the cheddar cheese), and my friend had a sampler, which included 2 pancakes, hash browns, a sausage, slice of bacon, 2 eggs, not sure what else.

Casper's on Foothill Blvd in Hayward http://www.caspershotdogs.com/index.php for a legendary hot dog at the

At Top Thai on Castro Valley Blvd (which had been recommended in an old thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/41013#5093734 ), we enjoyed The Po Tak (a soup I hadn't tried before, described as
"spicy combination seafood in hot & sour flavored broth with basil and mushroom") fresh rolls, panang beef curry, green papaya salad at . I'm glad I tried the Po Tak, but I think I prefer Tom Kha or Tom Yum soups. I thought the food served at Top Thai was fine, better than most Thai restaurant food that's available where I live in Canada. http://www.topthaicv.com/.

I'd recommend Top Thai and Norman's to anyone looking for bang for the buck while dining in Castro Valley. Our breakfast for 2 at Norman's Grill cost roughly $20 before tip, and our dinner for 2 at Top Thai cost roughly $40 before tip. A similar quality Thai meal in Toronto usually costs me closer to $60, so Top Thai seemed like a relative bargain.

Apr 12, 2014
prima in San Francisco Bay Area

coffee and/or breakfast near San Mateo / Foster City

Anyone have a rec for a decent place for a weekday breakfast (open by 9, so dim sum won't work) and/or coffee? If it's all chain coffee near San Mateo/Foster City, which chain(s) do you recommend most for a visiting Chowhound?

Thanks for any ideas.

Apr 02, 2014
prima in San Francisco Bay Area

George on Queen. Allow me to vent.

Avant-garde restaurants are under the Chowhound and/or Michelin radar.

If I told you which restaurants were avant-garde, they'd become apres-garde.

Apr 01, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)
1

Great dining in Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove?

Thanks for the heads up. Turns out I won't be breakfasting in Carmel as I had initially planned, but I'm hoping to try Carmel Belle on a future visit to Carmel!

Apr 01, 2014
prima in California

George on Queen. Allow me to vent.

Alinea doesn't meet my definition of avant-garde, and I don't think avant-garde has much to do with openmindness, but YMMV.

Apr 01, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

George on Queen. Allow me to vent.

Which cities are renowned for avant-garde open-mindedness?

Apr 01, 2014
prima in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toxic Food Combinations [moved from General Topics board]

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Apr 01, 2014
prima in Not About Food

Great dining in Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove?

Thank you! :)

Mar 28, 2014
prima in California

Do you cook when you're down?

I find cooking therapeutic. I usually make avgolemono soup, roast chicken or grilled cheese when I've got the blahs.

When I can't find my get up and cook, I resort to my favourite take-out: veal/chicken parm sandwiches, goulash soup, souvlaki, shawarma, fried garlic tomatoes from my favourite Middle Eastern place, West Indian curry chicken, chicken roti or old school Chinese Canadian food (which is getting harder and harder to find where I live).

Mar 28, 2014
prima in General Topics

Great dining in Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove?

Thanks so much! Which dishes would you recommend the most?http://www.carmelbelle.com/

Mar 27, 2014
prima in California

Great dining in Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove?

PattyC, are there any restaurants you'd recommend for a weekday breakfast in Carmel?

Mar 26, 2014
prima in California

10 lb frozen pork shoulder - now what!?

TorontoJo's Chengdu-style braised pork is fantastic. Especially when prepared by TJ. :)

Mar 26, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

10 lb frozen pork shoulder - now what!?

My favourite uses (I'm repeating some that have been recommended) would be:
pernil
carnitas
pork roast al pastor (using the same marinade used in al pastor tacos)
porchetta
pork goulash with sauerkraut

Mar 26, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

Do you have a vegan or plant-based menu that you serve to omnivore guests? Just brainstorming...

Shouldn't the Margarine Daal be called Daal Marghani, instead of Daal Makhani, when once considers makhani means with butter? Or perhaps Daal Mock Makhani, in the spirit of Mock Apple Pie? :)

Mar 26, 2014
prima in Vegetarian & Vegan

Vegetarian caldo verde

This morning, I started to make John Villa's traditional Caldo Verde recipe, calling for 1/4 cup of olive oil, a Spanish onion, a couple cloves of garlic, 6 potatoes (decided to use 4 potatoes instead) and chouriço. http://leitesculinaria.com/7580/recipes-portuguese-kale-soup-caldo-verde.html

After opening my vacuum pack of Portuguese chouriço, I discovered the chouriço were covered in a sticky white film that I hadn't seen in other vacuum packed chouriço I've purchased. That's when I decided to make a vegetarian version instead.

When I started to search for vegetarian caldo verde, most versions called for soy-based sausages or tempeh, which I don't tend to keep on hand (or purchase), so I expanded my online search look for kale and potato soups that didn't call for veg sausage or tempeh.

I decided to use the bay leaf, rosemary, smoked paprika (sweet) and thyme. mentioned this recipe,
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-kale-..., then blended the soup with an immersion blender, so it looks more like a speckled green pureed soup.

Does anyone have any other vegetarian kale and potato soup recipes they'd recommend?

Mar 26, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

An Antidote for Very Salty Food?

My worst saltbomb experience this year followed sharing some Turkish pide and an Ethiopian platter with 2 Chowhounds. I'm guessing we each ate around 1100-1400 calories that evening, but I'm guessing we got triple our daily recommended amount of salt. The boots I'd bought earlier that afternoon didn't fit the following morning, so I returned to the store, thinking I bought the boots a half size too short, to discover the new pair was almost a full size too large 2 days later, after the salt was gone.

Ethiopian Veg Platter
http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/nutrition/2013/11/07/the_dish_vegetarian_platters_healthy_ingredients_undone_by_salt.html
Turkish Pide
http://www.thestar.com/life/health_we...

Mar 25, 2014
prima in General Topics

Linguafood and buttertart and a weekend in Philadelphia...

I'm looking fwd to reading your reports, buttertart & linguafood!

Mar 22, 2014
prima in Philadelphia
2

San Mateo: best Chinese near 92 & El Camino after 9pm?

Did you end up trying one of the Chinese restaurants mentioned in this thread? I'd love to hear about any restaurants (open after 9 pm) and/or specific dishes you found worthwhile.

Mar 22, 2014
prima in San Francisco Bay Area

What's for Dinner #285 - Harbingers of Spring Edition! [Through March 22, 2014]

Thanks, Fowler!

Mar 21, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #285 - Harbingers of Spring Edition! [Through March 22, 2014]

thanks!

Mar 21, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #285 - Harbingers of Spring Edition! [Through March 22, 2014]

Which herbs and spices go into Serbian cabbage rolls, Fowler?

Mar 20, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #285 - Harbingers of Spring Edition! [Through March 22, 2014]

Would you mind sharing the recipe for your Hungarian cabbage rolls' filling and sauce, Christina?

Mar 20, 2014
prima in Home Cooking

An Antidote for Very Salty Food?

I find tabbouleh (no salt), tomatoes, cucumbers (no salt), watermelon (or other melons), tea, agua frescas and cucumber/berry-infused waters help after too much salt. Cabbage soup and low-salt borscht seem to help. Exercise also helps. I find it takes me up to 48 hours to drop the bloat after a saltbomb meal.

Mar 19, 2014
prima in General Topics

Which cuisines don't use garlic?

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Mar 19, 2014
prima in General Topics

What's for Dinner #285 - Harbingers of Spring Edition! [Through March 22, 2014]

I used this recipe as a guideline tonight (but used canned pineapple chunks, rather than fresh pineapple) http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tacos-al-Pastor-242132.

I also like this recipe http://www.latimes.com/food/cl-fo-tac... , but it's more labour intensive, and I haven't made it in ages.

Mar 19, 2014
prima in Home Cooking
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