s

SouthOCHound's Profile

Title Last Reply

Anaheim Convention Center--Entertainment

Mar 04, 2009
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Burns Night Supper -- preferrably in OC but beggars cannot be choosers

Per the brochure: "The price of admission includes a taste of haggis and tatties 'n' neeps, as well as something to toast with." Not sure what a "taste" constitues nor whether "something to toast with" means scotch. Unfortunately, Canogo Park does little to solve my distance dilemna. Nevertheless, I appreciate the heads up

Jan 21, 2009
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Burns Night Supper -- preferrably in OC but beggars cannot be choosers

I actually suspect it is because Restaurant Week starts on the 25th. But then again, the economy could really be the culprit and i'm not sure what kind of turnout they got last year.

Jan 21, 2009
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Burns Night Supper -- preferrably in OC but beggars cannot be choosers

Hi there. I'm looking for a Burns Night Supper on the 25th. Last year about the only place around that I heard of was Tam O'Shanter. However, they have dumbed it down this year (serving Scottish offerings -- hmm, would this include haggis?) instead of the full blown supper with poetry, etc. Worse yet, they aren't even doing it on the 25th (it was last night, tonight and tomorrow night). Looks like the only other game in town is at the Whale & Ale in San Pedro, which I know nothing about. I live in OC so that would just be too much of an effort to make. Does anyone happen to know of anything closer where I can get unco fou and happy? Them having haggis isn't a dealbreaker, but some poetry and revelry would be appreciated.

Jan 20, 2009
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Portuguese Sausage in OC

Anyone know where I can buy decent Portuguese Sausage in OC? I'm looking for a grocer that carries it so I can make it myself. Alternatively, a restaurant that I could order some from would work as well.

Jan 15, 2009
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Any Torta Basilica/Basil Torte Cheese Sightings in OC?

Not sure where you are located, but you can call the folks at Frog's Breath in Orange. If they don't have it I would bet they could tell you where to find it.

Dec 04, 2008
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Armenian Restaurants in OC?

Zov's Bistro in Tustin has some Armenian-influenced dishes (as Zov herself if of Armenian descent, IIRC). I recall the Armenian braided mozzarella and sojouk there but this place is more of an Armenian/Middle Eastern fusion with a SoCal twist. For the real deal, you may be limited to the SGV

Nov 04, 2008
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Lizarran tapas, Fullerton?

Jun 17, 2008
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Why do I need a bombilla to drink mate?

Do you mean like iced tea? I know that some people drink it as an iced beverage, even in Argentina. But I'm not sure if it can be cold-brewed or if it must be steeped and then cooled with ice. One thing to note, though, when mate cools it darkens tremendously [like emerald green, almost black].

Jan 14, 2008
SouthOCHound in General Topics

Why do I need a bombilla to drink mate?

Yeah, the taste takes some growing accustomed to and certainly will not be for everyone. Then again, coffee is a pretty strong and bitter drink as well. They are the sort of thing you acquire a taste for over time. I used to drink a lot of commercially available regular tea and I recall the first time I tried mate thinking the taste was awful. Lots of sugar is one trick. I've also seen people add milk or cream.

Jan 10, 2008
SouthOCHound in General Topics

Why do I need a bombilla to drink mate?

Yeah, I've only ever tried Rosamonte, Cruz de Malta, Taraguy, Guayaki [the Trader Joes brand], and the brand with the horse on it [the name escapes me]. Again, I can't really say that I was able to discern any difference quality wise -- but these were all mate cocido. With yerba mate, as I'm sure it is with any loose-leaf tea there will be differing levels of quality. I really have probably only had Cruz de Malta and Rosamonte in the loose-leaf [and whatever the argentines have passed around], so I can't really speak to quality-to-price differentials. I can see with my own eyes more stems and sticks than leaves in the Cruz de Malta I have at home, so I'm guessing that is one of the differences. Anyways, I think the presspot idea is an interesting one. I saw a place in Durango Colorado this summer that had loose-leaf mate, but it still seems like an obscure thing to the average american coffeehouse. I'm guessing that will change over time as it enters the mainstream and more people discover its beneficial properties. Thanks for your input

Jan 09, 2008
SouthOCHound in General Topics

Why do I need a bombilla to drink mate?

Well, South American snobbery aside, there is an essential difference in the taste and experience of mate from the bombilla [through a straw from a gourd, or – as the Argentines and Urugyanans I know simply refer to it – the mate] vs. mate cocido in the teabag. As for the “boxed” mate you refer to – I’m not really familiar. Mate cocido and yerba mate are the two forms of the tea I am most familiar with, and the following discussion pertains accordingly. By the way, the word as I know it is pronounced “MAH-tay.” Mate [that rhymes with rate] is what animals do to procreate.

I myself, a gringo American married to an Argentine, am perfectly content and perfectly comfortable in my own skin drinking mate cocido. In fact, I am sipping away as I write this. However, this does not permit me to avoid the sneering, scoffing, sideway looks from what I have coined "indigenous mate drinkers." My own personal experience with the bombilla has never been all that great. First, my Argentine counterparts like to drink mate at near boiling temperature – something my lesser American wimpy mouth is not capable of doing. The grimace I made the first time I tried mate through the bombilla did not escape the amused notice of my argentine in-laws. Second, mate from the Bombilla, even with tons of sugar, is extremely strong and quite bitter and really is an acquired taste to the average American’s palette. I have since overcome my aversion to the bitterness and can even drink fairly strong mate cocido [think two teabags, which I think approximates the strength of mate through the bombilla]. Third, the straw and gourd thing is just plain foreign to many Americans. For those who don’t know, the loose leaf yerba mate is packed into the mate gourd; almost equal part sugar is added; scalding hot water poured over the concoction; and the drinker drinks through the metal straw with a filter on the end. There is something disconcerting [at least to me] about having to filter while one is drinking. Something about it seems so, ahem, primitive.

The cocido thing to me is more about convenience and not having to explain to the uninitiated that this contraption is not a water bong. Also, the loose leaf product looks to the untrained eye strikingly similar to another more infamous herb [which may explain why many think the gourd is a bong]. So I can brew mate cocido from work and no one is the wiser. The argentines, however, are not so impressed. And there is an element to mate-through-the bombilla that has less to do with the strength of the brew and more with how it is enjoyed.

If you hang around many South Americans or ever have the opportunity to travel there, you will note that in some places [Uruguay, as a prime example] the mate and bombilla is ubiquitous. People walk down the streets carrying a thermos and a mate. The same can be said for enclaves and hangouts for expats here in the States. The bombilla is a shared and uniquely South American experience [well, let me qualify that: mate and the bombilla are certainly enjoyed elsewhere, but are primarily of that particular region]. And if you watch indigenous mate drinkers, you will note that everyone drinks from the same bombilla. The mate is passed around the group and enjoyed over what are usually very passionate conversations. It is almost a pastime – like grilling meat and hollering at the football match on TV. Sharing a mate is a part of a common bond. The Italians have their espresso. The South Americans have their mate. And yet no one seems to be the slightest bit off-put by the fact that everyone is sharing the same straw! This seemed extremely odd to me at first, especially considering my own argentine folks are almost paranoid about cleanliness and germ avoidance in every other regard.

The answer may lie in some of the accepted [if not necessarily scientifically proven] theories that the yerba [a perversion of the word hierba -- herb] in mate has benevolent and quasi-medicinal properties. You see, the argentines and uruguayos I know all think that drinking mate is the greatest thing for you next to breathing oxygen. They cite better defense against sickness, better circulation and a more alert and focused mental state – as some of the many supposed beneficial properties of this herb. For instance, my mother-in-law, who drinks mate regularly, has not had a cold or flu in ages. This has been attributed solely to the mate. To these supposed benefits, I myself cannot speak with any real authority. However, as you've already alluded to, drinking mate does suppress the appetite [some]. This is yet another popular notion that is widely accepted amongst the argentines I know. Brides-to-be and other dieters in Argentina are known to subsist on mate and cigarettes alone.

But the main reason that I like mate over coffee or even other teas is the kick in the pants it packs. It seems to get me going as well as coffee does without making me feel all amped. Unlike other teas, there is something more potent about the caffeine in mate. My own experience is that a cup of mate makes me feel just slightly less caffeinated than a cup of coffee. Whereas black tea to me seems about the equivalent of a third or less.

Per Wikipedia:

“Researchers at Florida International University in Miami have found that yerba mate does contain caffeine, but some people seem to tolerate a mate drink better than coffee or tea. This is expected since mate contains different chemicals (other than caffeine) from tea or coffee.

“From reports of personal experience with mate, its physiological effects are similar to (yet distinct from) more widespread caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, or guarana drinks. Users report a mental state of wakefulness, focus and alertness reminiscent of most stimulants, but often remark on mate's unique lack of the negative effects typically created by other such compounds, such as anxiety, diarrhea, "jitteriness", and heart palpitations. (The laxative effect of coffee derives from a substance that surrounds the raw bean, not the caffeine itself).”

Being able to ingest caffeine without feeling cracked-out on coffee and without upsetting my stomach, is perhaps its greatest benefit. Also, I’ve noticed that, unlike coffee, I can drink mate even in the evening and have no difficulty going to sleep at night. Lastly, while examining the packaging the other day, they must have had to place a sticker on the product when importing it to the States, which included the nutritional information. I noticed that there was a ridiculous amount of potassium per serving. I’m no doctor [I just play one on TV], but perhaps that explains something.

So yeah, you can pretty much get all of the same beneficial effects of drinking this panacea of a brew, even if you opt for the very un-indigenous method of brewing and ingesting it like any other tea. I doubt very seriously that it going through the straw vs. being steeped in a teabag would dispense with any of its beneficial properties. Of course, the mate through the straw is much stronger and you are obviously imbibing it at a faster rate. But again, I’m pretty sure you’re getting the same thing [albeit, somewhat diluted] with the teabag. Ask an argentine however, and you are likely to get a very strong opinion to the contrary. Whether psychosomatic or superstitious, you will not likely be changing their minds. Some may argue [rightly, in my opinion] that you are missing out on the cultural and communal aspect of the experience by drinking the cocido. Of course, unless you surround yourself with South Americans or other like-minded non-South Americans who happen to enjoy yerba mate via the bombilla, you probably aren’t missing out on much.

Some final thoughts. The secret about this wonderful tea is slowly seeping out. You can get mate cocido at Trader Joes – albeit for an obscene price [I think I paid like $4.50 for 25 bags]. Mate is considerably less expensive than coffee – especially if you are one of those Starbucks triple-half-caf-mocha-iced-chocolate drinkers. Mate cocido is more expensive than loose leaf mate, but still a steal compared to coffee. For instance, for a measly 5 bucks I can get bag the size of a small backpack of the loose leaf mate. The last bag of mate I bought about 6 months ago is still at home nowhere close to half way finished. Of course, I mainly drink the cocido teabags, but even if you only used the loose leaf, this bag would last you for quite a while. Whereas with the teabags, you only get 50 freaking teabags for about 3 bucks and change. Either way, it is quite a bargain.

The two brands I primarily consume are Cruz de Malta and Rosamonte. This may have more to do with these brands being the most prevalent at latin markets in my area than anything else. There are differing levels of quality [or so I’m told], but I am not refined enough to detect them and these brands work just fine for me. Lastly, as the secret of this great drink makes its way into everyday culture, people are doing some very un-indigenous things with it. There are already chai-mates [ooh, so catchy since it rhymes with chai-latte], which actually do get some reception in South America [I'm thinking with the hip young huckster types]. But now there are energy drinks that purport to contain mate and I’ve even seen a beer with mate in it [I guess the same idea as the alcohol/energy drink hybrid]. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the more you mix mate with other elements [alcohol, the spices in chai, chemicals in energy drinks], you could very well be altering its chemical composition and therefore its beneficial properties. I for one am sticking with the already-passé-yet-somehow-newfangled teabag method. Salud, and spread the good word.

Jan 09, 2008
SouthOCHound in General Topics

Anaheim: festive restaurant for a b'day dinner?

I'm thinking Park Avenue in Stanton would fit the bill nicely.
www.parkavedining.com

May 25, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

After the Angel's Game......

Nevermind. I just found your original post about the place. Intriguing...

Apr 04, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

After the Angel's Game......

Ooh, I've never heard of this place and I'm always game for a new taco joint. I'll have to keep it in my rotation when I'm in the area. Anything in particular you'd reccomend, DU?

Apr 04, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

i need help! best frozen yogurt place in orange, california?

Goldmine Frozen Yougurt on Chapman and Newport in East Orange. OTW, I'd say you're stuck with the aforementioned Golden Spoon on Chapman

Apr 03, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Best Mexican in Santa Ana?

El Gallo Giro on Bristol & Edinger always gets solid reviews.

Feb 21, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Halal question

Don't know off hand about upscale, but here is a search engine for halal restaurants:
http://www.zabihah.com/

Feb 21, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

New to OC...need GOOD CAJUN immediately

Hmmm. What about Johnny Reb's in Orange? It's Southern cookin' but I'm not sure how cajun it is.

Feb 21, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

OC Thai recommendations?

i'm not touching the thai porn thing. but as far as thai cuisine is concerned, you just missed the boat by about a month. What was arguably the best thai place in OC, if not all of California was Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove. Unfortunately for you and everyone else, it recently burned down. They are rumored to be rebuilding. In the interim, bangkok taste in santa ana may fit the bill.

Feb 09, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

friday night dinner in OC

I totally second the Zov's rec. Med/Armenian/Euro cuisine. www.zovs.com

Feb 09, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Cheap Eats near Loyola Law (90015, Olympic and Figueroa)

My pleasure. 2003. Seems like an eternity ago now...

Feb 06, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Lamajun (sp???)

This previous thread has some suggestions in OC and LA and a very windy explanation from some goober about the history of the dish and its various manifestations:
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/309227

Jan 24, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Turkish Pizza??

I have no idea. I just happened to notice it on their menu and never got around to trying it. But since Rosine’s specifies that it is “Armenian pizza” – I would presume hers would bear the hallmarks of the Armenian version, if there is such a thing.

It may be worth noting, however, that given Armenia's location between Turkey, Iran and the Near East and its proximity to Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, many of the dishes in Armenian cuisine are notably similar to dishes found in Persian, Turkish, Greek, and even Eastern European cuisine. Hence a very similar dish known by many different names across many different cultures (e.g., lamaju, lahmejune or lehmajoun [alternative Armenian spellings], lahmacun [Greek], lamajoon [Kurdish], lahm bi-ajin [Arabic], kiymali or pide [Turkish]) or perhaps referred to simply as Armenian pizza.

As to the specific differences between any two versions, I cannot personally say. There appear to be as many differences as there are similarities. A worldlier man than I would go out and try them all and report back.

That or write a freakin’ dissertation on the subject…

Jan 24, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

What's your best burger in OC?

I'll throw something different out there. If you happen to be in my neck of the woods [the southern portion of OC, that is] there is a hole-in-the-wall joint called A's Ace Burgers that is located off Avery Parkway and Camino Capistrano just off the 5 FWY in San Juan Capistrano [although it might as well be Laguna Niguel]. It is literally across the street from an Inn-N-Out, although I'll drop by this place any time over its franchising neighbor. Great burgers at cheap prices. One word of warning, though. If you are not big on mayo on your burger, you should say as much as the tendency is to err on the side of "if-it-doesn't-get-all-over-the-place-it-doesn't-belong-in-your-face" kind of condiment slathering. BTW, their fries and fried zucchini are to die for as well. It's out-of-the-way, i know, but worth a trip if you are ever in the area.

Jan 24, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Old Style beer and stuffed pizza for Super Bowl party

Well, strictly speaking, I don't think you will find giordano's style anywhere east of chi-town. You may find something close, but most people looking for a slice of home [i.e., NY style bagels/pizza/delis/pastrami; chicago style pizza/dogs, SF style Mission burritos] here in the southland are doomed to disappointment. That said, some damn good stuffed pie can be found at Tony's Little Italy in Placentia. Of course, finding [and muscling down] Old Style beer is another story altogether.

BTW, there are two restaurants that claim to have imported chi-town fare [specifically, the Italian Beef] to orange county. The first is Chicago's Best in Tustin, although the reviews have been mixed. The other is Portillos in Buena Park, which I gather does a pretty good job.

Jan 22, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Brea

Oh yes. In Placentia there is great sit-down mexican at El Farolito in old towne. Be prepared for a bit of a wait for dinner, but the food is awesome and the prices are great. Right down the block is Q Tortas for cheap mex to go. There is also Sophia's on Kraemer for Greek. You can also find killer stuffed pizza at Tony's Little Italy on Bastanchury. Ye Olde Ship is technically in Fullerton, but closer to Brea, if brit pub fare is your thing. Anita's New Mexican style in Fullerton for something a bit unique. In downtown fullerton there is Stubrik's steakhouse, as well as a spaghetti factory [chain], mulberry street ristorante [homey comfy place], or roman cucina [mod trendy] for italian, and Rutebagorz for healthy ecclectic. There is also Brickhouse pizza [haven't tried it yet], CHOMP sushi and Knowlwood's hamburgers nearby. Some decent bars around there also, if you are so inclined. Continental room is a sinatra era throwback that is worth checking out. And Heroes has something like 200 beers on tap. Taqueria de Anda for hole-in-the-wall cheap mexican can be found in boht Fullerton and Placentia. Sidnys cafe if you are looking for vegetarian [the aforementioned Rutebagorz also has a bunch of veg dishes, although they also have food for us carnivores].

Jan 22, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Brea

Taps fishouse for pretty good fish and even better beer is the first thing that comes to mind. Otherwise, I beleive there is a Cedar Creek and I know that there is a Hat [famous pastrami], Lucille's BBQ and fitness pizza. I also heard rumors about a Taco Mesa at the Brea mall. If you can swing into fullerton/placentia area you may find many more options.

Jan 22, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Empanadas- In Orange County

That's excellent news, Emily. With Beba's down, OC has been an empanada wasteland. I'll definitely have to scout this place out. Thanks for reporting back.

Jan 18, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area

Something fun and quaint in the OC (near 22 and 57)

quaint? Park Avenue in Stanton, perhaps?
www.parkavedining.com/

Jan 17, 2007
SouthOCHound in Los Angeles Area