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25th anniversary dinner in Scottsdale

T.Cooks will always get my "romantic" vote, but I have an emotional tie to this lovely property. We were married there 15 years ago and return for special meals. The food is outstanding as are the gardens. You could arrange to have a private meal in one of the secluded gardens throughout the property. T. Cooks is the only place I know in the US with a Director of Romance. Depending on what you want to do, I'll bet he can find a way to accomplish something extraordinary for your 25th.
Lon's at the Hermosa would be my second choice.
Both these properties were old Phoenix private estates and exude a sense of place that is missing from newer restaurants.
Happy Anniversary, hope that it is a memorable occasion.

Edit: I should note that T. Cooks is in Phoenix, maybe a mile over the Scottdale border.

May 18, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix
1

Review: Four Peaks Brewery - Tempe, Arizona

I've been eating at Four Peaks for years and have never had a bad or so-so meal. Usually, it is a burger and beers but the daily specials are not to be ignored. My husband had the best duck of his life at Four Peaks and that is saying something. If you're not ordering a full meal, try their pretzels ... Or try them with a meal if you're really hungry (football-playing, teenage boy hungry).

May 18, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix

Please help me to learn to enjoy fish

Does your unlove of fish include shellfish? or are you open to shrimp, crab, et al?

May 08, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Scottsdale's Pink Pony is a disappointment

The Pink Pony has been a Scottsdale fixture since the Truman years. Filled with baseball memorabilia, my younger brother loved a special treat meal there - good burgers, steaks, etc. very 'old school' but in a good way. Yes, it's had ups and downs, finally closing several years ago.

On a rare trek through downtown, touristy Scottsdale, my husband and I decided to give the new Pink Pony a try. I gushed about my fond memories as we were greeted by the new owner who assured us that it was a much-improved PP. We were seated on the patio on a lovely day. It took quite a while for our waiter to arrive with menus. There were two other occupied two-tops on the patio. When he finall reappeared, we gave our order, explaining that we had a time deadline. My husband chose the umami burger rare ($15) and I opted for the chopped salad ($12)More than 20 minutes passed, water and iced tea arrived. More time passed. When our food finally arrived, his burger was was cooked well past medium on the way to well-done. It was too late to send it back so we pressed on. My chopped salad was OK except for the tired greens underneath. With tip, our bill was $38.

There was a hostess who passed through the patio, smiling but not dong anything that I could see. The owner/manager disappeared after the initial greeting. Whether our waiter was solo or not, we don't know because we never went inside.

It was a disappointing experience and one we are not likely to repeat.

May 05, 2015
Sherri in Phoenix

Chiles Rellenos - Meh?

I am in the minority and use Anaheim chiles instead of Poblanos. Further, I serve sauce on the side - it has never made sense to go to the trouble of making them crisp only to sit in sauce.
Full disclosure: I make two sauces - a wimpy one for gringos and another with some "body". I use cotija cheese or Monterey Jack. My Mexican friend tells me that these are not meant to be searing hot.

We don't eat these often but love them when the spirit moves me. Thumbs way up for chiles rellenos!

Have you tried making a C.R. burrito? I usually fill the burrito with more cheese, corn, cilantro and a great green chile salsa before adding the C R. Great Sunday lunch.

Apr 25, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

what do YOU serve for dinner with beef/calve's liver (and onions)?

Creamed spinach

Apr 25, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking
1

I humidified our condo by boiling water in a Dutch oven every day this winter......

Thought for next winter -- buy an el cheapo pot at a thrift store for $1 or less. When you no longer need a humidifier, toss it. Next winter, repeat.

Gnocchi cooking question

Would you tell us what kind of gnocchi you are cooking? Ricotta gnocchi will behave differently from potato gnocchi and the semolina-based gnocchi is another thing altogether.

Mar 31, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Traveling with frozen foods to beach vacation

If your food is firmly frozen, you should not have any problems. The ice block of beef will act as a cooling agent for the frozen chicken/lasagna/etc. Yearly we drive 1000 miles from Arizona to Northern California for a month at the beach. Our drive is hot. Every single time we arrive and unpack, the food in a cooler filled with frozen food is still rock-hard. Frozen solid.
Have a great time!

Edit: great point, Raffles and wekick, about pre-chilling the cooler. I use milk jugs filled with water that live in the extra freezer. Overnight with 4-6 of these will yield a cold cooler for your trip.

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Ddysert, Second favorite chard, name please? As I stated earlier, I am disappointed by the "unanswer" I received from corporate. Telling me that wine tastes different from vintage to vintage is talking down to someone who has been a wine drinker for many years. This patronizing communication style is a poor way to keep a heretofore loyal customer base.

Mar 13, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

ddysert, finally, I did receive an answer, a standard corporate answer. To paraphrase, "we simply like the new name better, it reflects our wine more precisely ... "
The writer went on to assure me that the Belcreme de Lys is the same as Creme de Lys with "variations that can occur with different vintages".
Baloney, and I don't think we will receive a straight answer to the question.

I am disappointed. My question passed through three different people and I feel like it was shuffled off to the Standard Answer department.

Mar 09, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Almost two weeks have passed after the initial "someone will get back to you" answer from my request. I sent a follow up today and hope to hear something.

Meanwhile, I have tried the Belcreme de Lys and do not like it as much as my old friend. There is a harsh first taste ... Wish that someone had followed the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" dictum.

I will post when I have an answer.

Feb 26, 2015
Sherri in Wine

ISO Reference Cookbook(s) - Good and Bad?

TWELVE RECIPES by Cal Peternell.

A chef at Chez Panisse for more than twenty years, Peternell wrote this book for his son when he left home for college. Dad realized that, although they often cooked together, he had never taught his sons HOW to cook. They could accomplish kitchen chores but did not have the basic knowledge necessary to really cook.

Thebook is relatively new so hasn't received a lot of attention. Suffice it to say that I will be buying copies for my sons. I have found it to be a wealth of information. Peternell gives a basic recipe and many variations including changing main ingredient, cooking method and flavorings.

In a chatty fashion, Peternell walks you through the steps of constructing a dish, suggests accompaniments and is never condescending or preachy. I love the photos of him in his home kitchen because it shows his battered, well-used batterie de cuisine instead of staged perfection. This is real-life cooking chock full of ideas, hints and accomplished wisdom.

Edit: re-reading all the comments, I noticed that I missed the request for step-by-step photos of the process. 12Recipes, while it does have photos, does not have the requested step-by-step photos. If this is a deal-breaker, I fear you will have to skip this extraordinary book. That would be the sole down side to 12 Recipes. All in all, I still recommend it very highly.

Feb 21, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

OP here. I ordered both the Ritz and San Jamar potholders. Ritz have not yet arrived but the Crew Ware (the San Jamar label) did. Nothing would do but that I cook an oven dinner. 450 degree oven, roasted a couple of chickens and am very pleased to report that these pot holders are great! A tag attached to the P H states " protection up to 500 F, intermittent heat resistance".

I called the Webstruant live chat line to inquire about the meaning of "intermittent heat resistance" since it raised flags for me. Explanation = up to 30 seconds of heat resistance, may be longer.

I carried the hot chicken roasting pan for over two minutes as test and am very happy that I never felt even 'warm'. A friend was here cooking with me and we agreed that these are a keeper. Next test includes a pizza steel that normally heats for an hour at 550 degrees. I am hopeful.

Meanwhile, my thanks to all for your productive advice. I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

Edit: I should state that these P Hs come in brown, no other color available. If a color-coordinated kitchen is important, you will have to make another choice. Chocolate brown is it.

Feb 21, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

I had never heard of webrestaurant store and am delighted to have this resource. I ordered the 12 pack because they state 500 degrees VS the usual 200-300 degree level. The shipping is $$$ but it still works out well. Thanks for the info and new shop.

Feb 17, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

I ordered four of these and will see how it goes. I also ordered a dozen (see post below) that will go to 500 degrees and will do a comparison. Thanks for the answer. You are usually right on target.

Feb 17, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

China or stoneware - what is a good forever pattern?

Apilco!

Seeking durable kitchen pot holders, the kind you can use for really hot pots and pans

I will start by admitting that I rarely use pot holders, preferring towels, a holdover from restaurant days. But I have lots of friends and family who cook in my kitchen and expect pot holders. My latest purchase - SLT - do not block heat well. Although they are double thickness, it is impossible to hold anything very hot for any length of time.

Some old pot holders were much more efficient, alas they have holes and are destined for the rag bag. Who has great experience buying pot holders that really work? I would appreciate hearing the 'who what, where, when & how' of your successes. Color is not important to me, efficiency is foremost.
NB: I should add that I do not include those bulky oven mitts in the 'pot holder' category. I am looking for square-ish pot holders capable of blocking heat.

Feb 16, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

does silence on an rsvp mean they aren't coming ?

You have been given some very valuable information about these family members who did not respond. Tuck it away. Always believe what people tell you about themselves - whether they use words or actions matters not.

The "why" they have not responded does not matter much, at this point. You will learn more as time passes and sometimes the family dynamics are complicated. Meanwhile, do what many have suggested, spend an hour on the telephone politely inquiring about their plans to attend. Do not be put off with vague "we're not sure ..." Since you need a head count but it is not necessary to explain that, simply say "I'm sorry, we'll miss you" and move on to the next call. Since this is your family, and you know the players, I would be especially firm with those you know to be pushy. Never forget the power of "It's not possible" when met with resistance or shilly-shally answers that always include "well, maybe ..."
Maybe does not cut it, yes or no.

I hope that you have a wonderful party. When it is over, take a breather. You've got a lot to deal with right now.

Good quality wooden spoons?

Experience puts me solidly in the olive wood camp. I bought some flat-bottom "spoons" in France close to fifty years ago and still use them daily. No brand name, just great quality.
I have bought more recent ones from WS and SLT. They are mere infants of ten years and going strong. I prefer the shape of my anvient French utensils since they cover much more bottom of the saucepan than a traditional spoon shape.

Feb 14, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

What To Make With Leftover Prime Rib?

You could make a pseudo boeuf bourguignon, cooking the veg and making sauce in advance of adding the beef and cook only until the meat is warmed through. Taste as you go, before adding the meat.

Thinly sliced beef, sauteed mushrooms + sour cream = a sort-of Stroganoff

Beefy pot pie, use the bourguignon idea of cooking all the veg and adding beef just before popping in the oven to brown top crust.

Any juice/drippings/gravy? That's a goldmine of flavor. Bits of beef, some juice tossed w/caramelized onions and pasta for a very quick supper. Top w/grated cheese and a fresh herb of choice.

If you have any of the rib bones, please make devilled bones! Brush with a garlicky Dijon mixture (splash of red wine vinegar too). Roll in buttered bread crumbs, broil until golden. These absolutely must be eaten with your hands!

Thin slices of beef could be made into spring rolls along with cucumber, scallions, carrots and cilantro. Ginger soy dipping sauce.
Lettuce cups instead of the spring rolls - same general idea.

Shredded beef mixed with a good red sauce and stuffed for cannelloni, top w/bechamel.

Let me know if you want more. This ought to get you started.

Feb 13, 2015
Sherri in Home Cooking

Did your toaster oven damage your counter/back splash??

Ditto on pulling the oven away from the back splash ... I cooked an electrical cord running behind the Breville that touched the back of the hot oven. I am much more cautious now.

Feb 12, 2015
Sherri in Cookware

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Thank you for such an informative response. I sent a letter to the contact person and received a speedy reply - it will be forwarded to someone who will answer my questions.

Meanwhile, I want you to know how much I appreciate that you took the time to post. It is CHers like you who make this site work so well. I will ppost answers when I receive them. Again, thank you Maria Lorraine.

Feb 09, 2015
Sherri in Wine
1

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

Thank you for such a complete, concise and helpful answer. I remain puzzled about the name change and have not yet opened a bottle of the 'new, improved' belcreme de lys. Tomorrow will be test night. Again, I am very appreciative of your response.

Feb 08, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Creme de Lys VS Belcreme de Lys, info please

We have enjoyed Creme de Lys as our sunset happy hour Chardonnay for several years. It's one of our favorite 'everyday' inexpensive Chards. When I went to Total Wine for another case I was told there is no such wine.
Ha!
I have been buying it there as long as we have been drinking it.
A bit of sleuthing - and a more helpful salesperson - determined there has been a name change. It is now called Belcreme de Lys (and shelved under "B" instead of "C" at TW).

No one seemed to know why there had been a name change nor did they have any in stock. I've tried googling both names and only come up with retail sites, never the winery. Even the website www.belcremedelys.com directs me to an e-store that does not have information other than ordering. Does anyone know anything about this wine? Winery? Reason for the name change?

Feb 07, 2015
Sherri in Wine

Looking for a magazine for my 80+ dad, not too adventurous

Don't know why I didn't think of this sooner ...
If your dad has internet access, there are several food blogs that might appeal to him.
If he does not, perhaps you could print some likely recipes and mail them to him. He could keep them in a notebook creating his own highly personalized 'magazine'.

Smitten Kitchen is basic but not boring
Simply Recipes is also basic but not boring
The Kitchn is another possibility
Cook and Be Merry = basic with a twist
Of course, there are many more and, likely, you have a favorite that I have omitted.

The writings of Michael Ruhlman and David Lebovitz are another possibility. Each offers recipes, Ruhlman with scientific explanations and Lebovitz is in Paris so the accent is decidedly French.

I also thought that you could send him ideas/recipes and an ingredient that he might not have in his kitchen. EX: a jar of dried dill to accompany sour cream-dill meatballs, or tumeric for a yellow rice recipe.

It is marvelous that an 80+ year old is interested in expanding his kitchen repetoire. Good on him!

Looking for a magazine for my 80+ dad, not too adventurous

Dgresh, have you ever seen CUISINE at Home? This magazine sounds like it could be a perfect fit for your dad. There is a free website you can access recipes and take a look at the layout/content. Using readily available ingredients, it has some interesting twists on old favorites. Could be just the thing for your dad. Good luck on your hunt. It's a lovely thing you are doing.

Feb 06, 2015
Sherri in Food Media & News

What's the most overpriced menu item you've seen?

Paris, 1990-ish, a very average martini = $20 plus tip.

Jan 19, 2015
Sherri in Not About Food

Five Days in Phoenix

Price point?
Where are you staying?
Can you give us a few more specifics, please?

Dec 01, 2014
Sherri in Phoenix

Niman Ranch chicken- is it really better?

Does your store stock Rocky brand chickens? If so, give them a try - they're *real* chickens.

Nov 18, 2014
Sherri in General Topics