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Costco Food Finds- 1st quarter 2013

My local Costco (Santa Cruz) has Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon. It's pretty much the best bacon I can get that doesn't need to be mailed to me. There used to be Fletcher's Bacon at one point as well, but I haven't seen it in a year.

Feb 25, 2013
Xaga in Chains

Bantam in Santa Cruz Is Open

I just stopped by with a couple of friends this past weekend. The short: I feel that the food is inconsistent and the service is shoddy. The place definitely have potential though.

Pickled carrots and turnips - bland and boring. These tasted barely pickled and had no real flavor. The inconsistent size (rustic I suppose) meant inconsistent pickling and the smallest pieces almost tasted like a pickle, the larger pieces tasted like nothing.
Sheepsmilk ricotta and anchovy toast - good, but needs more anchovies. It was about a fist's worth of toast, spread with ricotta, but maybe 1 anchovy on the whole thing. It might have even been half an anochovy. I think this dish would work if it had maybe 3x the anchovies. The toast was fantastic though, a good toasting and strong buttery flavor.

Avocado toast with radish and valencia orange salad - decent, good flavors. The toast was again awesome, the avocado was ripe. Everything in this worked, maybe a bit more salt and some sour could have helped. It was good, but not great
Kabocha fritters and fried broccoli with red and green mustard salad - pretty tasty. This came with like a yogurt sauce. Fried things are always great. They used an heirloom broccoli in tempura batter which was great (when it was warm) and the kabocha fritters were properly fried. The salad had a good sour vinaigrette to accent the bitter greens.

Corned beef brisket with housemade saurkraut and lentils - solid. This came with a large dollop of mustard. The corned beef was properly near falling apart and had a good beefy flavor. The saurkraut, unlike the pickles, did have a good sourness to them.
Mozzarella di bufala, tomato, and oregano pizza - disappointing. The bottom was blond and the top was as well. I liked the sauce, it had a good tart tanginess. It was a bit light on the mozzarella. I feel like it should be about 50% cheese, and 50% sauce peeking through, this was more like 30% cheese. The flavors were good, but it could have used another 30 seconds.
Sweet and hot peppers, housemade sausage and fresh ricotta pizza - not bad. This one had some decent char on the bottom but the top still didn't have much. Here, I felt like it was just severly undersalted. Even the sausage didn't taste like it had much of any salt.
I'd say the dough is pretty good. It had reasonable hole formation and chew, it just needed more char.

I felt that the service was weak. They don't quite have the timing down as the pizzas came out first, followed by the corned beef, then what should have been the first course. It also took like 15-20 minutes before someone brought us our check despite the restaurant calming down since we first entered.

I think that the place definitely has potential, but it really isn't there yet. The food is too inconsitent to be fantastic. I may have just gone on a mediocre night, but based on that, I don't intend to go back until I hear a string of good reviews. Maybe you'll get a better night.

Dec 04, 2012
Xaga in California

Groceries near 4th and Market?

As I go to the muni station, I always see bunches of people (mostly asians) with groceries in red plastic bags with thank you on the bag. Not being a native, I have no idea where they come from and haven't had a chance to track it to the source. Also, I just haven't had the chance to grab someone and ask them. I was wondering if perhaps someone knows what I'm talking about and what grocery store (seems like an asian grocery store) these people are all coming from.

Jun 21, 2010
Xaga in San Francisco Bay Area

Things to grab in Europe?

I was wondering if there were any good ideas as for what bottles would be best to bring back from Europe. I seed to remember some things are slightly differently bottled in the US and Europe, though I cannot seem to find any evidence of it. Also, what about things which you just can't get in the US, but are very good and accessible in Europe?

May 01, 2010
Xaga in Spirits

AYCE Hot Pot in Rowland Heights?

Are there any all you can eat hot pot places in Rowland Heights?

Are they any good?

I can't seem to find any which aren't crazy super buffet type places. I was hoping to find a decent one.

Apr 22, 2010
Xaga in Los Angeles Area

When Should You Stir Versus Shake a Cocktail?

Auntie Mame, would, however, be wrong. Bruising is a word that doesn't really mean anything for hard alcohol.

Nov 02, 2009
Xaga in Features

drink like james bond

Nonono, you see, this is how James Bond drinks

Champagne, all the way.

Jan 21, 2009
Xaga in Spirits

We got a need cocktail recipes and tips...

The problem is that fresh squeezed juice can only be fresh squeezed. Without using fancy preservatives, fresh squeezed juices will lose much of their beauty, and even with the preservatives, they will still not be the same.

Jan 21, 2009
Xaga in Spirits

Obsello Spanish Absinthe

I'd have to agree that it is quite a tasty absinthe. The bottle was a bit tricky to open for me though, they do a Maker's Mark like dip, but I could not find a tab or anything to help get it off.

Jan 21, 2009
Xaga in Spirits

It's Brass Knuckles Time at Chuck E. Cheese's

Really? Blaming beer and wine? That's just plain stupid. Someone needs to get them a copy of Drunken Comportment.

Dec 10, 2008
Xaga in Features

Singapore Sling: Which Gin?

So, I would say that my standard gins are Gordon's as a cheaper one and Tanqueray. Both are pretty good gins and I feel that they are fairly standard.

Nov 21, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

National Drinks? Tequila is to Mexico as ... is to Other Countries

Chile is also very much big on Pisco.

Nov 21, 2008
Xaga in Spirits


Alize is nothing more than a premixed overly sweet concoction. It is quite comparable to Hpnotq or other blends of juice and alcohol resulting in a very bright liqueur. It comes in 5 different flavors but in the end, results in basically sugar. The Alize martini listed on Alize's website is just Alize rose with a splash of ginger ale. I am certain than any color would work just as well. In fact, I'd say the blue is better with ginger ale because it already has that flavor in it.

Oct 22, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Cooking with Fall Ingredients

Blame POM Wonderful for overhyping the fruit. It certainly has driven the prices up, though, on the other hand, it has increased availability.

Sep 28, 2008
Xaga in Features

Cocktail Suggestion

Well, it tastes like elderflowers. I dunno, its kind of a hard taste to describe. Kinda fruity, flowery, subtle.

Sep 15, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

MuNiMulA Wine Rack

I wonder how much real lego wine racks would cost. Building time!

Sep 13, 2008
Xaga in Features

Cocktail Suggestion

A nice way to end a dinner could be a Brandy Alexander. During dinner, say, a Mai Tai or Hurricane?

Sep 11, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Tequila for Margaritas

Those sound like wonderful proportions. I find that lemons tend to have about 1 oz each and limes have about 1/2-3/4 oz each. So you are essentially using a 1.5:1:.75 recipe. What you should try is to measure out the lemon and lime juice sometime to figure out exactly what you are using for better consistency. You might have horrid dry lemons one time and it will just taste off.

Sep 08, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Galliano-Shelf Life?

Well, typically I'd say it's gone bad. But, according to what you say, it seems to be just fine. I'd say you may as well use it if you haven't had any adverse effects.

Sep 05, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Soda Siphons

I am not sure if this is the right forum, but I figured that people with relevant knowledge would be here.

Is it possible to use CO2 cartridges which were designed for say paintball guns or other things rather than the ones specifically for soda siphons? Essentially, the cartridges are the exact same. If it's just CO2, then it's just CO2. The metal never actually touches the water. The CO2 cartridges seem to be 8 grams of CO2, while most painball cartridges seem to have 12 grams or even 16 grams.

I say this because I have a much easier time finding a paintball/airsoft place than a place that sells the soda siphon ones, not to mention the reduced price.

Sep 03, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Where to find Grant's Whiskey in San Diego North area...

Bevmo seems to carry a couple varieties of it.

Sep 01, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Help me make a Watermelon,Lime,Mint,Cachaca cocktail

If you are premixing cocktails, then there is no real reason to make simple syrup. Just predissolve the sugar with the rest of it. If those are the ingredients you wan't to make, then perhaps a punch is more in order? We could go with traditional punch ratios. 1 of Sour, 2 of Sweet, 3 of Strong, 4 of Weak. So, 1 of Sour would be Lime Juice, 2 of Sweet would be Watermelon, though you might want to add more watermelon or at least fortify it with some more sugar, or with limeade. 3 of Strong would be your Cachaca. 4 of Weak could be a club soda.

As always, fresh lime juice is certainly better, but that would be a lot of limes to juice.

As long as you use some fresh lime juice, then I think that you will be fine. It adds a different flavor. I think adding some Limeade wouldn't be too inappropriate.

For club soda, it's basically sparkling water. You can use Pelligrino if you want, but Pelligrino tends to be a bit more expensive and have some minerals in it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Greening Punch?
Lightly muddle the mint in bottom of a punch bowl.
Add Watermelon Juice (I'd say 2 cups)
Add Half a can of Frozen Limeade(or enough concentrage for 4 cups of limeade)
Add Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (I'd say 1 cup)
Add Cachaca (1 750 mL bottle or about 25 oz.)
Add Club Soda (I'd say 3 cups)

Make sure it's well mixed. You could float lime rings on top and have a BIG hunk of ice in it, maybe have the lime rings in the hunk of ice. Taste it and adjust to your preference. Although those ratios are traditional, I can't necessarily tell you that they will be perfect. Obviously, this is for just one bottle. That probably isn't enough booze to keep 25 people happy. You can increase the amount of each. Instead of tequila, you may want to use a Rum. Cruzan might work well here and is fairly low priced. If you wanted tequila, ideally, you would find something 100% Blue Agave, but that tends to be pricier. Something simpler like Sauza Blanco would work as a stand in. The Grand Marnier would possibly help the drink, but I personally wouldn't waste it.

All the suggestions I made are pretty bare bones and as low cost as I could make it. Think grad school. If you wanted something of higher quality, then simply up the quality of the booze and mixers. Some bitters would possibly help, Stirring's Blood Orange Bitters perhaps?

Whatever you do, experiment and have fun with it.

Aug 27, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Food Fight Results

Perhaps I'm missing something, but it feels excessively hard to find the food fight results. I ended up using google to find the specific page. Perhaps chow should create a permanent page for where all the chow contests and their results can be held? Or perhaps I just didn't find the right page. Where should I look next time?

Aug 27, 2008
Xaga in Site Talk

Induction Cookware

So, I was planning on getting a portable induction cooktop as well as some induction cookware for dorm room cooking. I was wondering if you guys could help me out with what exactly I'd be looking for.

Right now, the plan is to get some Lodge cast iron for the majority of cooking. Probably their three main skillet sizes, maybe something deeper for frying. But that still leaves some things that I would need, hence asking about what Induction Cookware to get.

As far as I can tell, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper all would not work unless coated with a layer of magnetic steel. Which means basically means that very few pans work. This leaves what tend to be mutli-ply cookware. But is there any way or place to find out whether or not the cookware I'd be considering is magnetic other than to find a store and get my hands on it?

I'm looking for a 6" nonstick pan, mostly for eggs, a larger stock pot, big enough to get most jobs done. I would add to the pans that I would want later. I know that I could get All-Clad, but that's just a bit too pricy for what I'd like to be spending. If there really are no other options, I suppose I would splurge.

Also, any idea on which portable induction cooktop is the best? Price is a factor too here.

One last thing, Lodge makes a cast iron trivet. Any good on an induction cooktop?

Aug 27, 2008
Xaga in Cookware

Good Scotch Bars in Your City

Well, if what you mean is that you want to create a new topic, the button is above the listing of topics and below where it says "Whiskey, Bourbon, Tequila, Rum, and Other Distilled Potables". Top left hand area.

Aug 26, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

What's up with the price of Plymouth gin?

Well Beer prices are going up because of Hops and weakening dollar. Anything owned by Anheuser Busch also went up after their acquisition by InBev. I think it's really just Plymouth looking to get more money. Most other imported alcohols aren't rising much. Or maybe Plymouth just has razor thing profit margins.

Aug 26, 2008
Xaga in Spirits

Any suggestions on what to do with extra chicken parts?

Bones work well for broth. As for things like livers and such, you could fry them up as well if you wanted.

Aug 26, 2008
Xaga in Home Cooking

Where do you buy your kitchen supplies?

What kind of kitchen supplies are you looking for? I tend to buy things on Amazon cause they usually have very good prices. Course, with things like knives and such, you wanna get a more hands on approach. While you say places like Williams Sonoma is overpriced, what they charge is about the same you can find for new stuff on the internet. Most of thier stock doesn't go on sale anywhere. If you want a more complete kitchen store, perhaps you have a Sur la Table around?

In the end, I still stick with Amazon. Best selection, pretty good prices, you just don't get to touch it till you pay for it.

Aug 26, 2008
Xaga in Cookware

Adult Cocktail Party with a Kid's theme

So, I'm not sure how to make this pleasing to a more sophisticated palette, but what about ants on a log? Celery, Almond Butter, some other delicious dried fruit? I don't know, maybe ants on a log are best as the original.

Also, you really gotta have cookies/brownies of some sort. Maybe work cookies or brownies into something else there.

Sorry I can't think of anything specific or how to prepare it, but maybe someone else can?

Aug 26, 2008
Xaga in Home Cooking

Vodka Infusions

Or Rum...
Or Tequila...

Aug 25, 2008
Xaga in Spirits