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alwayshungrygal's Profile

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The Great Buca Di Beppo debate

Thanks for the answer. I've also only been to the one in SF but it's a good idea to ask about specials. I've emailed the manager there about some menu questions and will email her again. We are getting the Pope's table which I like cuz (at least in SF) it's somewhat private, and round...better than a long rectangle. A few of my guests don't know each other so I think this will work out. Interesting about the wine issue...I am actually allergic to alcohol so can only imbibe so much before I get a reaction (hives on my face). I try to dilute with water and soda and pace myself.

Thank you also for the birthday wishes! This one is a little bit harder than the last two which I also spent at D-land. Like the remark Michael Douglas's character made in "Last Vegas"--"how did I get to be this age? I was just 17!" And for the record, I'm not yet the age he was supposed to be in that movie...hopefully will get there too.

Thanks again!

Aug 26, 2015
alwayshungrygal in Chains

The Great Buca Di Beppo debate

I know this is a very old discussion but I need some input. I've asked a group of people to join me for dinner at Buca in Valencia on Labor Day. Since I don't live in the area, I don't really have a place to cook dinner which I'd much rather do, and won't really have the time either (we're spending the weekend at Disneyland--it's a milestone birthday for me and I want to be a kid again!). My son lives in the area but his apartment isn't big enough for the group (at least 10 pp so far).

So, can anyone please give me feedback on that location? Here's my potential menu, a little bit boring but I haven't had dinner with most of my guests so need to keep it a bit on the safe side. I'll take suggestions if they could work:

Antipasti--Bruschetta, and Buca Trio Platter
Pasta--Spaghetti Marinara
Entrees-Chicken Limone and Eggplant Parmesan
Side--Italian Broccoli Romano
Dessert-Double Dark Chocolate Cake and Tiramisu

Yeah, I know, the standard stuff. And for the record, I grew up in a Jewish/Italian neighborhoon in Brooklyn, so I know my red sauce Italian joints pretty well. I like the group atmosphere at Buca and I don't think most of the guests are big Chowhounds.

Thoughts anyone? And thanks for all the answers so far...I read most of them.


Aug 25, 2015
alwayshungrygal in Chains

Dinner and a movie

Shenandoah was just on TV the other night, so I'd go with traditional Southern food. It takes place during the Civil War.

Restaurant recs near Union Square

The current menu (which does change seasonally) has one veg entree (listed in the large plates section), 2 veg shared plates, 2 veg salads and all the sides are veg friendly. That's what I mean by not exactly veg friendly (just 1 veg entree). but if your daughter doesn't like the veg entree, then it would be a problem. Here is their current menu, but still call ahead. I still recommend it, but of course your opinion matters more. And I definitely understand tears over not being able to find something to eat!

Restaurant recs near Union Square

I like Bluestem Brasserie, on Market Street at Yerba Buena Lane. I haven't had a bad meal there yet, and service is excellent as well. I can't say that they have numerous choices for vegetarians, but you can easily make a good meal out of what they do offer. And, they are very accommodating to special requests. You might want to call ahead with any questions before going there.

Substitute for champagne vinegar?

Thanks for all the answers. White wine makes perfect sense (and saves me a few bucks). Now if I could only use up the rest of the bottles...thankfully some are much smaller than the others.


Substitute for champagne vinegar?

I've got a pasta salad recipe that calls for champagne vinegar. I have so many different vinegars, I hate to buy another one just for this recipe. The pasta salad is basically a caprese salad (small mozzarella balls, tomatoes, julienned basil), with penne pasta.

Here's the list of the vinegars I have on hand, what can I use instead?

tarragon white wine
regular balsamic
golden balsamic
red wine
"electric" lemon
dark strawberry balsamic (this is great on a strawberry/spinach salad)
dark chocolate balsamic (great for dessert)
white wine
apple cider

Any thoughts or recs? Thanks!

Recommendations for August Cali Trip!

If you are going all the way down the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) be prepared for a very slow, winding drive past Big Sur. If you are not going to Hearst Castle and the Cambria area (lots of good choices in Cambria), consider detouring from Hwy 1 (after you pass Carmel, or double back from Big Sur) over to Highway 101 for the rest of the drive to San Luis Obispo/Madonna Inn Area. Past Hearst Castle/Cambria is Cayucos and then Morro Bay and then you get back to Highway 101 from there. But I still recommend not doing Hwy 1 the whole way--it's exhausting, and you definitely don't want to do it at night or when you're tired--you could end up in the Pacific Ocean.

Good luck, hope you have some great meals and travel safe!

Jul 10, 2015
alwayshungrygal in California

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

So, long story short, we ended up a Chinese place on Clement at 4th. The food was OK, standard fare, but really, it didn't matter as I was with someone I hadn't seen in over 40 years. We spent more time talking and catching up than paying attention to the food.

Thanks again for all the recs!

How to cook chicken drum stick?

I make them a few ways.

(1) Marinate in low-fat Italian dressing with added herbs (orgegano, garlic, Italian seasoning) and broil or bake.

(2) Shake some garlic powder on them, broil for a few minutes and then baste with BBQ sauce.

(3) Marinate in the same Italian dressing as above, then dredge in flavored bread crumbs. Bake 350 degrees til done.

For options 1 and 2, you should turn the drum sticks over 1/2 way thru cooking so they cook evenly. I use the "poke them with a fork" method to see if they are done--the more resistance to the fork, the more done they are. You definitely don't want any pink, and they will be pink at the bone if not thoroughly cooked.

Jul 09, 2015
alwayshungrygal in Home Cooking

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

I definitely will. The person I am meeting is more familiar with the area so it may be her choice as to where we go. But I'll definitely put in a suggestion for Garibaldis.

Thanks for the info.

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

This looks like the best option. Thanks!

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

Thanks for the rec!

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

I looked at the website and it closes at 7 pm.

Thanks anyway!

Good dinner spots for one near the JCC (Calif. & Presidio)? [San Francisco]

Can anyone give me an update on this? I'm picking someone up at the JCC tonight at 7 pm and need some dinner options nearby. Casual is best. I haven't seen her in many years so don't know her preferences; mine are for nothing spicy.


Restaurants and credit card fraud

Security cameras have a loop in which they retape after X number of hours/days, depending on the system. So if you don't report the suspicion and have the tape viewed, it will be taped over. I don't know if any of the security systems have the ability to archive before retaping.

Restaurants and credit card fraud

I know which retailer you are talking about, there was a lot of press about it. My CC company issued me a new card without my asking for it, only because I had shopped there recently, I guess within the time frame of the breach.

Current restaurant pet peeve

I had a problem with this method just this past Sunday. I went to a well regarded restaurant near where I live (current seasonal menus, farm to table, etc) with 2 friends. When the dessert menus came, I decided to get their panna cotta and my 2 friends couldn't decide between sorbet or ice cream. They asked if they could do 1/2 and 1/2. Server said yes and when my friends recited their choices, she said "I have to write this down." Their desserts came about 15 minutes later but not mine, and she walked away before I had a chance to say anything. I had to flag her down to ask where my dessert was, and not only did she forget that I had ordered my own dessert, but what I had ordered. She went into the kitchen to get it and I could see she didn't come out until she had my dessert. She comped it (as she should have). The service at this restaurant is usually flawless but that night it was less than stellar.

Current restaurant pet peeve

I'll take your feta. You can have my blue cheese.

Subway made 2 mistakes that are destroying its business

Your method wouldn't work very well in CA where the main/best/fastest way to go north/south is on I-5, which traverses mainly farmland. Any supermarket--major or not--would be at minimal, a 20-30 minute detour. Fast food chains are clustered at some crossroads and has the typical component. There's lots of discussion of "where to eat on I-5" on the CA board. I either pack a lunch or try to time it so I don't have to stop either way, but that doesn't always work, depending on which direction I'm going.

Jun 22, 2015
alwayshungrygal in Chains

Starbucks to close La Boulange

It really is a shame that the cafes will close. There is one a block from my office and I eat there frequently. The food is always fresh and the price is easy on my wallet. I can't comment on their baked goods as I don't indulge in those. I agree with the other posters, I had a bad feeling with Starbucks bought the chain and now I'm sorry that my gut feeling was right.

Feta crumbles -- just stop!

I love feta cheese in (almost) anything, hate bleu/blue cheese in everything. The less feta for you, the more for me. To each his/her own.

Need beverage quantity advice for party, please

I work for a catering company and do many large receptions(thousands of pp each night) for clients, so here's my thoughts:

I'd go with about 3.5 to 4 drinks per person; you could go higher to 4.5 total but that's bordering on irresponsible. Most of the beverages will be consumed in the first 2 hours. My usual ratios are below (all percentages are of the total number of drinks); your percentages may be adjusted if you know if the group drinks more beer than wine or vice versa:

50% beer (mostly import)
25% wine
split the rest among non-alcoholic (soft drinks, water, juice)

You can get 4.5 pours per wine bottle, 4 if you pour heavy, 5 if you pour light. If this isn't self-serve (and it shouldn't be), then you can instruct the servers to pour light. They can pre-pour the first round to get the party going (and the lines at the bars shorter) and then only open one bottle at a time.

I hope this helps and your reunion is great!

Have the recent rains helped the drought?

No relief in the Bay Area (tho as noted, it's the Sierra that needs the snow pack). One lagoon in Burlingame is just about bone dry, and the bay next to Highway 101 near (what used to be) Candlestick park has receded at least 30 feet. I drove up I5 (main highway between north/south CA) a few weeks ago and many orchards--primarily almonds) are done, from farmers giving up on them. It costs too much $$ to pay for water, there isn't enough well water to sustain them.

Mother's Day....dinner!

Final decision--we're driving up to Santa Barbara, will do a whale watching trip and then probably go to Brophy Bros for dinner.

I will definitely be in the Valley at least once, if not twice during the week for lunch (possibly solo) and dinner (with a friend) so we will either go in her 'hood (Tarzana) or Sherman Oaks. Thanks again for all the recs, I really look forward to trying some new restaurants while I'm there. Now I just need good karma traffic wise (while I'm driving down) and weather wise (I'm tired of the weather up here in the Bay Area).

Thanks again!

Brophy Brothers Santa Barbara

Thanks for your response. We are booked for a whale-watching trip from 3-5:30 pm so I think we'll stick close to the harbor area and Brophy Bros. In the Alley looks good for lunch but I think I'd prefer a seated meal. Brophy doesn't take reservations but I think we'll be fine.

Thanks again!

May 06, 2015
alwayshungrygal in California

NY style slice near SFO/San Mateo

I've not eaten at the Cole Valley location and it's actually been awhile since I've eaten at NB, so sorry I can't answer properly. I've been diet conscious for a long time so pizza is a bit of a guilt trip for me and I don't indulge very often.

Mother's Day....dinner!

pgl--I have a low tolerance for both heat and flavor. I looked at the Simon's menu and it's definitely doable, I love Mediterranean food (and I know the area well, it's 3 blocks from where I used to live.) I don't know the actual driving time for SPL but it's a "destination" so to speak so would definitely consider it.

aatran--I'm not that familiar with Argentinian cuisine but Malbec definitely looks doable. SweetSalt--website takes forever to upload! but it's more casual than I think I want. Olive/Thyme looks great for lunch, not really what I want for dinner that night. Prosecco and Ca del Sole definitely look doable! Italian is definitely my favorite cuisine (I grew up in a traditional Jewish/Italian neighborhood). Bistro Provence also looks great.

Thanks to both of you for answering. I was beginning to lose hope of getting a response. Hopefully we'll make a decision before I drive down and will try to report back afterwards.

NY style slice near SFO/San Mateo

If you are staying near SFO, you are just 10 minutes from San Mateo/Burlingame area. North Beach Pizza in DT San Mateo is very close. DT SM is very busy, especially on weekend nights and you may have to drive around a few minutes for parking (but you should be able to find a spot...eventually). I think there are more restaurants per square mile there than other areas. One 3 block stretch (on B Street) has about 20+ different eateries/bars etc, and none are chain restaurants.

Cheesecake factory

Alas, no Rock Sugar near where I live and a bit of a drive from where I stay in So CA. IF they ever come into the Bay Area I'll go to it. CF opened about a mile from my home about a year ago, have only eaten there once since. It's always busy but it's that kind of suburb, if you know what I mean. Not too many choices or variety in any category.

May 04, 2015
alwayshungrygal in Chains