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Name Your Picks for L.A.'s Most Gorgeous Restaurants

Hands down: the terrace at The Loft at the Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach, overlooking the sea. Okay, not exactly L.A....forgive me for that...but absolutely SPECTACULAR!! We lunched there and were the only ones at that time and it is hard to find better beachside dining in Cali

Aug 28, 2013
luminosa in Los Angeles Area

Kitchenaid Stand mixer - which size to get?

The celeb chefs use the tilt-head version on TV for ease of use when filming ....it shoots and shows better to viewers and is easier to use in that context. I have a Pro500 w/lift up bowl and recently bought a 4.5 qt tilt up on the supercheap at Costco. While the tiltup is small...it is great for most regular projects. It is a bit smaller and lighter. The bowl lift version is slightly annoying for me to use ...I find I do like some things about tilt head...it is sort of a classic! But kitchen hound that I am, I kept the older Pro model around "just in case". I use it for whipping up quantities of stiff masa for tamales. Depends in part what you use it for the most. I found the larger bowl a bit of deterrent for many projects. But I am a fiend for the meat grinder attachment and sausage stuffer attachment. Seem to work fine on both.

Jul 24, 2013
luminosa in Cookware

Pondering What to Bring for Thanksgiving? Use This Chart

LOL...fergit criticizing this..those below who need 'serious' food writing with depth should tae a chill pill r log into ATK or Saveur or whatever. It is just a good laugh starter. I needed a good snicker...it delivered.

Nov 25, 2012
luminosa in Features

Basic Hummus

Arrrrgh! Okay, here is a really essential tip - how it is really done: mash the garlic into a paste with the salt first...mash it really good, then add it. Why? Because the salt "cures" the garlic, taking the edge off it. That 's the real deal way it is done...

Jun 09, 2012
luminosa in Recipes

Banh Mi Chicken Burger

Love this recipe. I am a huge Banh Mi addict, made easier because my day job is directly across the street from Lee's Sandwiches, the bastion of great inexpensive Banh Mi in the southbay. Lee's is also the purveyor of exactly the right baguettes for these delights (since the Vietnamese gleaned their expertise in baking euro breads directly from the French colonialists, they know how to knock 'em out!)

Anyway, here is my "True Confession": I took the lazygirl's way out and used Amy's Chicken Onion burgers directly from Costco. In truth these have a flavor not at all unlike some chicken concoctions I have had at Viet restaurants. And sliced into strips they work quite excellently in this recipe. (For those not in the know, Amys is a high-end producer of sausage and ground chicken products, very well-regarded amongst Muslims and other non-pork eating folks because Amys does not use pork casings on their sausages and also uses high grade and in some instances organic chicken. These chicken/onion burgers have a nice amount of spice.)

Definitely worth a try if you don't feel like putting the ground chicken mixture together in the recipe. I agree with another reviewer that thin sliced jalapenos is a good way to add the heat in lieu of sambal oelek or other hot sauces; jalapenos is what you typically will get in a Banh Mi house.

Point is, these ground chicken variations are YUM!

May 18, 2012
luminosa in Recipes

Hard-to-Find Vietnamese Duck Soup

Where can you get bung mang vit in San Jose? Please, do tell, since I have to schlep there wvery day...good to know!

Apr 02, 2012
luminosa in Features

The Latest on Bluefin Tuna's Demise

Hamachi is yellow fin tuna...i have never heard of it being farmed. It is also becoming more scarce hence the uptake in it's price. I spent alot of time on Hawaii's Big Island in the 1980s and they were bringing in 900 lb ahi tunas during the peak of the season then...no longer: thet never get a chance to grow that large. It 's really bad news folks...

Jan 13, 2012
luminosa in Features

Home Tours: Tacky?

Wow..not sure where you hang out, or with who, but sounds like we are in very different scenarios. Sounds like some, or maybe plenty of the folks you know are kind of a drag given the slant you put on this. Actually, we take the lead from our host/hostess as to whether they WANT to show more of their home beyond the areas that are part of the social gathering.

I spend a good deal of time in the wine country and although a humble artist with a modest apt. in Oakland, I have been invited to some of the most amazing homes for both large and intimate social gatherings. Seriously, many times it is outright uncool to ask "hey, can I see your whole home?" unless the people who have invited you actually offer that! It greatly depends on your relationship to the host/hostess and the nature of the event. If it is a large or complicated social gathering, asking for a tour may just be a pain in the butt ...often our hostess is very focused on the event hospitality and can't take the time; other times it has been clear that they have graciously opened up some areas of their home but to ask to see more is intrusive. It is the hosts' call, not a (nosy) guest's. And as for hanging out in homes that may outclass your own income level...why go there at all if you are so freakin' sensitive? To eat? And that's it? Chances are those disparities will show up in more ways than whether your host has a 2nd guest bedroom! Heck, I live in a small apartment and some of my hosts have multiple guest cottages that are bigger than my whole place, along with massive kitchens and art collections...so what? We all have a great time and those differences don't define it. Why go if you have issues to begin with. Hmmm...maybe take a closer look at your issues...

Dec 30, 2011
luminosa in Features

All Clad is 40% Off at my local cookware store -- Should I get it?

The All Clad 7 qt stock pot is the tall narrow version across all their lines. it is pretty much the same diameter as the 4 qt 3qt pans.

I DO like tri-ply for my tall narrow pots: the heat is conducted up the sides of the pan better than pans that are all stainless or have a thick disk on the bottom only...conducting the heat up the sides (the aluminum layers facilitate this...) makes it heat up faster while the layers of stainless help it hold heat. Love this version of their stockpot....the wide ones tend to NOT work as well for trad. stock making as they have a broad suface for evaporation which is not always desirable. BUT, I use my 8 qt for a whole lot of things like soups, steaming things, dutch oven-uses etc. Have the 6, 8 and 12 quart which I like the latter when used with their steamer insert for steaming tamales for our family...

Sep 29, 2011
luminosa in Cookware

cookwarenmore.com - experiences?

I have bought quite a bit from them with GREAT satisfaction. They have the BEST prices on All Clad bakeware - the 'irregulars' in this are included in the 20% off sale going on right now. I am a huge fan of the 'shallow bakers' (ie, jelly roll pans) in both sizes...they ROCK for roasting veggies, chicken wings and much much more (I line them with parchment to minimize clean up...) as well as the flat rimless cookie sheets.

My real All Clad obsession has been with Copper Core and when not snarking great deals for this on eBay (which are getting hard to find) I have gotten some A+ items from CookwarenMore....no visible signs of defect whatsoever...got the 4qt Chefs Pan with lid in mint condition for a stellar price. I am about to purchase a couple of things (I don't really need but want!) like a 14" fry pan from them which , with the 20% off, they have at stunning prices.

Only 1 weird thing happened with them once: they were 'out of stock' of an item I ordered and said it would ship as soon as it came in...weeks passed and nothing; I contacted them and they were very nice and said they were still waiting..very helpful and friendly. Eventually I got it (shallow baker, it was) and was glad. Didn't mind the wait since not having this item in my kitchen immeadiately was not a deal breaker..

So, I recommended them as a go to vendor...Oh, only thing with seconds...small "S" stamped somewhere on it...usually on the bottom side of the handle or elsewher not too visible...prevents eBay/other resale as if a 1st quality item...

Sep 29, 2011
luminosa in Cookware