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I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

For the same reason they are glued to hand-held electronic devices while blocking out the reality around them. They seem to have become conditioned to require Uber-stimulation at all times.

about 10 hours ago
Querencia in Los Angeles Area

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

What I think is that you are right.

about 10 hours ago
Querencia in Los Angeles Area

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

My husband had a hearing aid and we had to walk out of quite a few restaurants because the noise level was so high that he got uncomfortable feedback and buzzing. Also, why do restaurants feel called upon to blare loud music during dinner so that conversation must be screamed? Do they think people can't chew and swallow unless their ears are being stimulated?

about 10 hours ago
Querencia in Los Angeles Area

Pulled pork--better in crock pot or dutch oven?

"Big attraction" is that you can go to work for the day while dinner is cooking.

about 11 hours ago
Querencia in Home Cooking

Planning a cocktail party

At a cocktail party don't people stand up, walk around, and circulate, drink in hand? Why do you need seating for 100 people?

1 day ago
Querencia in Not About Food

Peanut Butter survey!

I think you've got a problem with your study design. How many people are really going to remember the difference among the three named brands? I would clump Jif, Skippy, and whatever the other one was together in my mind and say "OK for peanut butter cookies but when it comes to eating the PB straight, I will either pay for a more natural product or make my own in the Cuisinart".

Guest Calling the Shots

We are saying it is bad behavior because it IS bad behavior. This employee is acting as if he were host, boss, and Daddy Warbucks. He is taking advantage of the party atmosphere and occasion to say FU to the boss.

1 day ago
Querencia in Not About Food

Guest Calling the Shots

What interests me here is that, by taking charge of the ordering, your employee is putting himself in the role of host although a) he is not the boss, you are and b) he is not paying, you are. Interesting dynamic. Does he usurp your authority in other ways? Or show hostility to you in other ways? Is this something you need to recognize?

1 day ago
Querencia in Not About Food

Goya Foods

Two good GOYA products are 1)their decaffeinated (ground coffee), which I think has more body than US decafs, and 2) their tiny limited line of frozen fruit juice concentrates. In Chicago these are distributed only through Tony's Finer Foods stores (or so I was told when I called GOYA); I assume GOYA doesn't have enough to supply all stores, but you might try requesting from your store manager. This concentrate comes in four flavors--guava, soursop, tamarind, and passionfruit. It is 'way better than the canned nectars. Comes in 12-oz can, not to be confused with packages of fruit pulp for making batidos. If you are in Chicago and go looking for this at Tony's, hunt diligently as it can be anywhere but probably not with other frozen canned juices. Persevere.

1 day ago
Querencia in General Topics

English Pudding?

Custard (a soft runny custard sauce) is commonly poured over puddings and pies in England. You may have noticed, in a store that stocks imported groceries, Bird's Custard Powder---that is a shortcut to this custard (sauce) that a lot of people take, although of course you can use eggs and milk to make your own custard.

1 day ago
Querencia in Home Cooking

So, I went a bit crazy and bought a country ham. . .

When I lived in Maryland I bought a huge ham boiler at an auction but never used it because, after all, I never did a country ham. Local belief was that a country ham was too salty unless you boiled it. Myth?

Oct 27, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking

ISO Quick & Dirty Dinner Ideas for Mom & Kid While Dad is Out of Town

Garrison Keillor recalled the greatest gourmet treat of his childhood being a dinner of Hormel canned chili and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Oct 26, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking

Stuck with 3 Tubes of Grands Biscuit dough - what to do with them?

Do you have a holiday party coming up? I read about a woman making bite-size cocktail biscuits out of Grands---flatten them slightly and cut 3 tiny round biscuits out of each one. Freeze them, and when you want to use them, half-slice them through and put a sliver of baked ham in each one, maybe a bit of mustard.

Oct 26, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking

Chicken Broth - when to add aromatics?

I would not think of adding spices and herbs to my chicken broth because what I want chicken broth to taste like is chicken, not garlic or rosemary or basil or peppermint. I use chicken, a modest amount of celery and onion, and nothing else. Then I reduce it to intensify the chicken flavor.

Food Health Fads Vs Science

My husband's job used to include convening those prestigious groups for federal consultation and advisement. Trust me on this: some of the participants have commercial axes to grind. When you see research results that salt won't hurt you, sugar is wonderful for you, et al, check around to see who funded the research. Research takes money. Industry has money. Do the math.

Update on Chicago bakeries

Yes, I found Julius Meindl to be a truly European experience last week when they charged me $11 for a cup of plain coffee and a piece of cake. I considered paying in Euros.

Oct 25, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Update on Chicago bakeries

It's more fun to join the crowd and whine and scream along with everyone else. Anyway the rest of Devon was quiet as a mouse today as yesterday was Diwali so I had energy to take on the Tel Aviv. Kcgrace, if you're new to Chicago do you know about our Indian/Pakistani>Middle Eastern>Russian>Orthodox Jewish food shopping street, Devon Avenue running west of Western?

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Update on Chicago bakeries

Kcgrace---Right in Streeterville you have a newcomer, a bitsy branch of Julius Meinl, famous coffee house from Austria, that has recently opened at 211 E Ontario. Not a bakery, but they do have a tiny line of exquisite pastries that can be taken out.

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Update on Chicago bakeries

Are you perhaps thinking of Racine Bakery, for the bacon buns? They always have a heap of them but I have never seen them at Pticek's (where the claim to fame is 12 flavors of kolachky...). BTW Racine has bowknot-shaped dinner rolls for $1.99 a dozen, a price undreamed of on the North Side.

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Update on Chicago bakeries

Go early. I got to the Tel Aviv at about 11 AM today and they were already out of seeded rye bread, babka, and Kiddush cake (they did have day-old babka)---and I got the very last small loaf of challah. There were at least 20 people ahead of me--- business was booming.

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Maple Buttercream

I rely heavily on maple extract and it has never let me down. Maple syrup and maple sugar cost the earth. Just make a nice buttercream icing with powdered sugar and use maple extract instead of vanilla. Nothing special---I use McCormick Imitation Maple Extract from chain supermarket. Nice flavor and turns the icing a pretty maple-y color.

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Recipes

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

Here's a consideration we are ignoring. The professional cook, preparing a dinner, is cooking. That is all he is doing. He is at work, and cooking is his job. The home cook, preparing a dinner (say a dinner party, a dinner for guests), is also cleaning the house, taking care of several small children, holding down a full-time job outside the home, picking up the spouse at the airport, and trying to find the lost cat because the kids are weeping hysterically. All of this adds up to a HUGE difference in responsibility. Of course we prepare ahead of time. It's the only way to avoid insanity.

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

RE discussion here of mise-en-place, as a home cook I do a similar thing when I have guests---I write a list of every single item I need to serve or set out, right down to the butter and the mustard, and before I serve I run down the list to make sure I haven't forgotten something bought or prepared especially for this occasion. (Am I the only one who has forgotten to serve an entire complicated expensive dish that I find, the day after the dinner party, still in the refrigerator?)

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking
1

Tips from the commercial kitchen for the home kitchen

Translating mise-en-place to the home cook, I should think one big advantage is that you don't discover, when the batter is halfway mixed, that you are fresh out of a key ingredient, it's 10 PM, and it's snowing.

Oct 24, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking
1

Menu suggestion for macaroni and cheese main dish

But soup makes a service complication for a crowd that size---you'd need bowls or cups, also spoons, and if it's self-service people would be carrying soup and spilling it down other people's necks---why not just a bean dish? That would add protein, be vegetarian, and could add a savory zing next to the mac & cheese.

Oct 23, 2014
Querencia in Home Cooking

Update on Chicago bakeries

Far-flung bakeries are travelable with public transportation. For the South Archer places, take the Orange Line to Midway Airport then get on the 62Harlem (be sure it says Harlem otherwise it goes in the wrong direction)---it's only a ten-minute ride but not walkable due to superhighways and overpasses adjacent to Midway. While you're down there, you can get off at Linder and enjoy the huge Shop & Save market which is like a trip to Eastern Europe. Also, Bobak's sausage factory has a retail outlet on site. Unfortunately, Weber's, the most famous of the South Archer bakeries, recently gave up the ghost after 93 years in business. But this old Slavic neighborhood is still a foodie's delight. BTW if you do make this safari, call Pticek's a day ahead to order the caramel pecan coffee cake, which has a solid inch of caramel and whole pecans on top.

Oct 23, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area

Local mail order food gifts

1) Almond Macaroons from Fralinger's. 2) Any chocolates from See's. 3) Royal Riviera Pears from Harry & David. 4) Pepper Relish from Harry & David (great with meatloaf). 5) Anything at all from Hammon's Black Walnut Emporium (try Chocolate Covered Black Walnuts).

Is it depressing to dine out on Thanksgiving?

I remember a scene in the old "ER" TV show where Dr George Clooney is going off duty and somebody says to him, "What are you doing today for Thanksgiving?" and he answers "Mu Shi Pork carryout and PBS". Sounds good to me. I have wrestled enough huge naked beast-birds in the kitchen sink at 5 AM while everyone else slept, then cooked for 12 hours, then cleaned up for another 8 hours. So dining out is fine.

Budget dining in Paris?

It may be too late for this trip, but we found that the best way to "budget dine" in Paris was to have a tiny apartment with kitchenette rather than stay in a hotel, so that we could eat in most of the time. This was so much less expensive that we were able to stay a month. Shopping in Paris food markets was wonderful fun. And while we ate, we enjoyed French television; my husband especially liked a program on breast self-examination on which the lady doctor removed her lab coat, blouse, and bra and demonstrated on herself.

Oct 23, 2014
Querencia in France
1

Update on Chicago bakeries

While in Evanston, check out Bennison's, 1000 Davis St, another excellent old-timer. Two things I remember from there are Bienenstich and a pecan bread loaded with whole pecans.

Oct 22, 2014
Querencia in Chicago Area