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New 'Menu Items That Need to Be Retired", 2012 edition...

Number 1 and 3 on your list make me cry!

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in General Topics

New 'Menu Items That Need to Be Retired", 2012 edition...

Totally agree about the fried menu items! It gets really boring.

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in General Topics

New 'Menu Items That Need to Be Retired", 2012 edition...

- Cake pops need to go away. They were fun for a while, but they're really garbage-y and the novelty has worn off.

- Truffle oil ANYTHING. Truffle oil macaroni and cheese, truffle oil fries, truffle oil risotto, pizza, burgers, eggs, salads, ETC ETC ETC! I'm so tired of it. It's really not that special, save for the price! I'm weary of this, "Let's take a boring junk food item and wave a drop of truffle oil over it and act like it's a new phenomenon" mentality. It's just laziness at this point.

- While we're on the subject, let's lay off bastardized macaroni and cheese items that cost an arm and a leg. I feel like restaurants keep shoving a million ingredients into mac and cheese and it's sort of killed the creamy, homey simplicity of the recipe for me. A little mustard, fresh herbs, good cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs are all you need! Please spare me the applewood smoked bacon, seared scallops, caramelized shallots, and yeah, that darned truffle oil.

- Loaded mashed potatoes. See mac and cheese rant!

- Tilapia, salmon, and mahi mahi are nice, but can we please, PLEASE get other fish on the menu once in a while? The aforementioned seared scallops are also deserving of an honorary mention here.

- Flourless chocolate cake. It's yummy, for sure, but not exactly original. Unless it's SPECTACULAR, I'm sick of it!

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in General Topics

What Foods Do You Hate/Dislike that Most Hounds Probably Love?

I easily could have written this post. Let's be friends! :D

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in General Topics

What Foods Do You Hate/Dislike that Most Hounds Probably Love?

- Cilantro
- RAW sushi
- Anchovies
- White and red onions (yellow are okay, but never raw)
- Mushrooms that aren't piping hot and heavily seasoned/coated with sauce or butter or EVOO
- Sweet breads
- Relish
- Pickles
- Black coffee

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in General Topics

Favorite Cookbooks for a college student

Yeah, Joy is a must-have! This is such a sweet post, by the way.

I think better recommendations should be tailored by her tastes and circumstances. Is she a picky eater? What kind of budget will she have and how much time does she want to devote to cooking? Does she like spicy food, vegetarian cuisine, or very simple fare?

In general, I do like the Everyday Italian suggestion made by pinehurst. Italian food is always a great place for beginners because there are so many easy recipes, and a good mix of healthy stuff thrown in. Nigella Lawson's book Nigella Express would be a really good one. She offers a lot of interesting food that you can throw together quickly and without ruining your budget.

Jul 16, 2012
SparklingSugar in Home Cooking

Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, gets her own show

Wow. The amount of time spent obsessing over Ree is pretty pathetic when you watch those videos.

Cooks Illustrated hits a new low!

Well that's no fun! :( I would consider cancelling my print subscription and only pay for the app, provided the app content was top notch and covered everything in the actual magazine.

Why Yelp Sucks!

All of my Yelp reviews wind up filtered too. I've had an account there since March 2011, I have 13 friends, and 27 reviews with a variety of stars. So IDK how much more "established" I need to be? Has anyone else figured out how to get around this awful filtering system?

Pizza and Chinese food in Central Valley

If you want good pizza in Modesto, try Chef's of New York on Oakdale Road.

Jan 02, 2012
SparklingSugar in California

Pizza and Chinese food in Central Valley

Honestly, Dynasty is terrible now. They were great when they first opened, but now their food is dramatically worse than MANY of the other Chinese places around here (and that's saying something). Mongolian beef is a platter of onions and a few flecks of meat. Garlic chicken is deep fried and SICKLY SWEET, like candy. Same for the sweet and sour pork - it's diabetes-inducing.

Worst of all, their service is a joke. My dad and brother and I went there for dinner about a week and a half ago, and it was like everyone on the staff was in a haze. We ordered appetizers (which could have been hotter) and then they brought out our main dishes and walked away... didn't clear our original plates! What Chinese food place DOES that? When we asked for clean dishes, it was another short wait before we got them, and our waitress looked confused as to why we would need new ones at all.

My dad and I ordered tea, and one of our cups had a fleck of old, hard rice in it. He and I shared a cup while we waited; we killed a whole pot before a second cup ever came our way.

All in all, your best bets for Chinese are Beijing and the aforementioned Shangri-la.

Jan 02, 2012
SparklingSugar in California

Dewz In Modesto

This is an older post, but I have to echo this review; Dewz is utterly fabulous, and a real treat for me and my family and friends. I love their beet salad with goat cheese, all of their fresh fish selections, and, mmmm, their Madame Rouge cocktails. I think as far as Modesto goes, Dewz is one of the most beautiful restaurants to be found. I've attended wedding showers, champagne lunches, and dinners there and have never been disappointed.

Jan 02, 2012
SparklingSugar in California

Dinner tonight in or around Fisherman's Wharf - suggestions?

I'm so, so embarrassed to report that after a fight on the car ride over and a failed attempt to make it to Scoma's (the GPS on my phone stopped working and my family got very annoyed), we wound up having a God-awful meal at Fishermen's Grotto. We ALMOST went into Alioto's and went to FG instead, much to my annoyance.

It was terrible; absolutely terrible. We almost left but my mother is diabetic and needed to eat by a certain time, so we just settled in and tried to make the best of it. My parents are both fabulous cooks and my grandparents are the original foodies in my family, so we KNOW good food. Unfortunately, my parents are rotten at planning trips in advance, which is why we wound up with:

- Cold broiled halibut (my father's)
- Seasonless, flavorless sole meuniere (mine)
- Seasonless, flavorless red snapper (my mother's)
- Limp penne as a bed for fried calamari (my 15 year old brother's)
- A hamburger so bland, a Carl's Jr. $6 burger would have been preferrable (my 19 year old brother's meal. He's allergic to all seafood and didn't have the heart to order a steak, even though my dad tried to insist)

By the end of the night, we all agreed to come back soon, with a plan to try to make it to Scoma's, or to eat somewhere in Union Square. I'm BEYOND humiliated to even post where we ate on here, but I wanted to say thank you very much to the posters who tried to help me yesterday!

The whole night just went sour, and my father was driving based on his memory of SF, and it's been many years, so he felt sort of stuck. Meh. :( Next time, we WILL be prepared!

Dinner tonight in or around Fisherman's Wharf - suggestions?

My family and I are taking a little impromptu trip to SF from a town called Modesto. We should be there in about two hours. Any suggestions for a nice restaurant with a little ambience that's not too dressy? My mom and I look nice but my teenage brothers are in jeans. Any quick suggestions are greatly appreciated! I'll be checking this post from my phone periodically. Thanks so much in advance!

Slow Food's $5 challenge - Why exactly is this pissing people off?

I just wanted to say that I'm thoroughly enjoying your insightful, factual comments in this post. I applaud you for your knowledge concerning these issues, and appreciate your creating this thread.

Thank you to all the other commenters as well; I'm receiving quite the education (though I realize this is probably just the tip of the tip of the iceberg) this evening!

Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, gets her own show

I never caught an episode of this. Is her show still on the air? Did it get cancelled?

What will/did you have for Christmas dinner?

I have to gush over our meal; it was simple and rich and creamy but so, so good!

- Traditional Caesar salad with homemade dressing and homemade garlic croutons
- Prime rib with horseradish sauce
- Creamed spinach that was the stuff of dreams
- Twice baked potatoes; they were small and stuffed with cheese and chives and little crumbles of Applewood bacon
- Popovers

And dessert was this fantastic trifle my grandmother made, with raspberries and imported cherries that looked like olives, they were so black and round and glistening. They taste like maraschinos but not sickly sweet; just like the ideal cherry, haha. The trifle also had orange cake, slivered almonds, custard and, Reddi-Whip. Yes, Reddi-Whip, and it was divine!

And there were tons of Greek pastries, double chocolate chip cookies, biscotti, and wine and coffee like mad.

Dec 25, 2011
SparklingSugar in Home Cooking