Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

alanstotle's Profile

Title Last Reply

Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri Return In New Food Network Series

I hope that on this show he'll also provide helpful advice for maintaining healthy and fulfilling marital relationships.

May 29, 2015
alanstotle in Food Media & News

1946 Alcatraz Prison menu

At first glance it looks like the midday meal--supper, a.k.a., lunch--was the largest meal of the day. The evening meal--dinner--has less meat and/or lighter-sounding entrees. From the way my parents & grandparents talked, I suspect making lunch/supper the big meal of the day was more common 50 or 100 years ago; less so today.

Jul 26, 2013
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Champurrado in Fresno?

I wonder if anyone knows of any restaurants, taquerias, etc. in Fresno that serve champurrado, the atole & chocolate drink that's popular this time of year?

Once upon a time there was a place at the corner of Shields & Palm (or thereabouts) but it has since been torn down & replaced by, of all things, a Rite-Aid.

I did a quick search of the boards which came up empty-handed--though it seems that Salinas is a hot-spot for champurrado.

Dec 16, 2010
alanstotle in California

Lotus of Siam in NYC

As soon as I saw the article in today's NYT I thought of you, Dave.

Oct 27, 2010
alanstotle in Manhattan

Glen Oak, CA

Sounds like you had a really good time. I wonder, though, if you could clarify something for us.

There is a town called Glen Oaks in San Diego County but the places you're describing sound like Oak Glen in San Bernardino County. Is that where you went?

Nov 25, 2009
alanstotle in Los Angeles Area

Kosher or Halal Turkeys in the Central Valley (other than Whole Foods?)

Huh? The Central Valley has something you can't easily get in the Bay Area?

Nov 18, 2009
alanstotle in California

What TV Chefs have given you ‘mostly’ consistent recipes vs those that have been hit and miss.

Like RetiredChef, I, too, am having a hard time understanding why so many see this as a difficult question. It seems pretty straight-forward to me (as RC has reiterated it in this last post):

Who is good (whose recipes work consistently)?
Who is bad (whose recipes don't work consistently)?

That is the main issue of the question asked.

The other issues are sidebars (as they are accurately labeled)--they are qualifications attached to the original question & they don't change the essence of the original question.

Nov 17, 2009
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Pismo's Coastal Cuisine of Fresno

For some alternative viewpoints, here are a couple reports from

The tastefresno site can be a bit difficult to navigate, so bear that in mind & don't get too frustrated if you decide to explore some of its other features.

Nov 12, 2009
alanstotle in California

Pupusas in Fresno

According to their menu:

open 7 days a week
9am - 8pm

Oct 29, 2009
alanstotle in California

Don Pepe.. SALINAS

I'll second PolarBear. I've been waiting for an opportunity to go to the Salinas location. Now I have second thoughts.

Oct 27, 2009
alanstotle in California

Pupusas in Fresno

Had a quick lunch at Zamora Taqueria (y pupuseria) the other day. I'm unclear from the previous posts whether anyone has reported on this place yet. Looks like PolarBear may have been headed that way at one point but I'm uncertain.

Had a #1 combo (2 pupusas, plaintain, beans & crema). Both pupusas were nicely crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, enough filling for good flavor. My pupusa chicarones was quite porky in flavor; pupusa pollo y queso was, I thought, a little better. (I'm having a difficult time distinguishing pupusas from one restaurant to another, so someone else might be able to give a better description.)

Curtido was nice big chunks & strips of cabbage & onion & other veggies with a couple hefty slices of serrano pepper for good heat. Very homemade appearance & fresh flavor; served in a bowl on the side. Red sauce in a squirt bottle.

Beans had a strong bean flavor (good if you like beans), not much else (i.e., didn't taste any lard or other fat). Crema cool & creamy.

Combo with a can of soda about $7 (iirc).

Friendly folks working the counter & the kitchen (or both). Menu includes two breakfast items (a burrito & a plate), burritos & other Mexican & Salvadoran foods.

Zamora Taqueria
619 E. Divisadero St. (corner of Divisidero & Broadway)
Fresno, CA 93721

Oct 27, 2009
alanstotle in California

Mike's Grill (in Fresno): Good Tri-Tip Sandwich

Good food alert. Mike’s Grill is the same little stand that used to be Big Al’s BBQ, southeast corner of Cedar & Herndon, in the same strip mall as Hunan. The last couple of times I’ve driven by I’ve seen the smoker & grill out in the little parking lot next to the stand.

An impressive tri-tip sandwich. A generous portion of warm, very moist, almond-wood-grilled beef, thinly sliced, wonderful balance of flavorful smoke but not too much to overpower the meat. Served on a toasted, herb-buttered hoagie roll with sesame seeds. Optional BBQ sauce (on the side) & jalapeños. Meat was so succulent that I ate the first half of my sandwich without any BBQ sauce.

BBQ sauce is a dark (almost-purple), thick, sweet sauce; not very spicy. If I had to guess (which I will) I’d guess it was pretty heavy on the molasses.

Homemade potato salad was thick (of the not-very-moist variety), chucks of potato, hard-boiled egg, black olive & chopped celery and/or pickle. Pretty standard stuff though its homemade flavor comes across clearly.

Limited menu (tri-tip or sausage sandwiches). Prices seemed reasonable: tri-tip sandwich with a side (chips or potato salad) & a drink for about 8 bucks (sausage sandwich a little bit less). I left with a full stomach. Michael (very friendly owner) said he’s like to add menu items as he gets settled in & more comfortable with the business: chili, a chicken sandwich, maybe a salad or some grilled fish, a take-home tri-tip meal perhaps.

This place has been open for less than two weeks. I hope Michael does well & if the good quality food I had tonight is any indication, he’s got a fightin’ chance.

Mike’s Grill
6642 N. Cedar Ave.
Fresno CA 93710

Oct 21, 2009
alanstotle in California

Top Chef presenter, enlighten me

Plus, consider that on the show, Padma's job is not to know about the food but rather to run the show. Think of her as being like an emcee or a moderator of a panel discussion whose job is to coordinate all the questions & comments. She doesn't really do that, of course, except in a symbolic sort of way.

To a certain extent, you don't want the emcee to upstage the show. (Or am I wrong here?)

And to be honest: I'd rather have Padma tell me to pack my knives & go rather than Tom or (worse yet) Toby.

Oct 19, 2009
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Mehek Punjab de (Fresno)

Thank goodness for brackets & paratheses so we can keep track of which thread is which!

Sep 25, 2009
alanstotle in California

Phở in the central coast

In Fresno, when I've had pho with bo vien, I didn't see it labeled as such on the menu but rather simply called "meatball."

Sep 23, 2009
alanstotle in California

Cooking Reality Show cliches

I'm more than a little annoyed at the way all the cooking show hosts make " this..." & " that...".

"It will taste great with MY chicken salad."
"Next I'm going to make MY chile verde."
"On today's program I'm going to show you how to make MY peach tart."

Good way to connect with your audience there. Not.

I don't want to make YOUR food; I want to make GOOD food.

Sep 14, 2009
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Casa Adams = Authentic? (San Diego)

> No, my complaint is at the hordes of San Diego residents who live 30 minutes from Mexico, but seem to actively avoid great Mexican food. Is this why we can't have nice things?

This isn't going to answer your question, but what you describe is something I've observed before in other food contexts. I tend to think of it as a human-condition type of thing. I call it a rush to mediocrity (though from your description of Casa Adams it might be a rush to less-than-mediocrity).

I live in Fresno. Here we are surrounded by truly outstanding Mexican food in the Latino sections of town & sometimes in the surrounding agricultural towns. Yet half the people who live here think that good Mexican food is Acapulco's Restaurant.

Moreover, we are also surrounded (literally) by some of the best produce in the country, yet, other than some small-ish farmer's markets in town & a few farms that you can purchase from directly, it's hard to find much interest in that produce here in town.

It would be easy to attribute this mediocrity attitude to the cultural isolation of places like Fresno & the stay-home-&-mind-my-own-business attitude around here. But when I lived there I observed this attitude even in places like Seattle--a bastion of urban hipidity & otherworldly curiosity. So who knows.

Sep 01, 2009
alanstotle in San Diego

Need a taco cart in Frazier Park area

This is probably not going to be super-helpful, but anyway...

There are taco trucks that park along the main drag in Castaic. As I recall, they are based in the San Fernando Valley. It's possible they have an operation that would be willing to drive the freeway a little further north from Castaic to Frazer Park.

On further reflection, though, I'm thinking Bakersfield might be easier to arrange.

Sep 01, 2009
alanstotle in California

Best Barbeque in Fresno

The prices at Ruben's _do_ seem a tad high but I've noticed that BBQ places in general seem to have prices that seem a tad high.

The former Allee's Brand (NW corner of Herndon & Cedar) & the former Big Al's stand (SE corner of Herndon & Cedar) kind of fit that perception. Same thing for other places I've visited. It's not that the prices were _too_ high but they did seem to be higher than what you'd pay for a comparable-sized sandwich at someplace like, say, Sam's Deli.

I wonder if there's something about BBQ specifically that makes it more expensive. My first guess would be a more expensive cut of meat is used in BBQ than something else like a deli sandwich or a torta.

Aug 30, 2009
alanstotle in California

House of Bread or Gus's for Sandwiches in SLO?

Muzio's (discussed below) is quite good.

Also want to second High Street Deli. It was my favorite for as long as I lived there.

Aug 25, 2009
alanstotle in California

Spanish Chorizo

Is there a particular part of California you're hoping to find this in?

Aug 25, 2009
alanstotle in San Diego

Don Pepe's Taqueria (spicy shrimp tacos), Fresno report w/ pics

Don Pepe's is definitely a favorite eatery with the Fresno (& even Bay Area) chowhound crowd.

Yes, it can be a bit warm in the dining area at Don Pepe's. When I walk in there, I just have to feel sorry for the guys (& they're always guys) in the kitchen who must be really hot.

Although I can't vouch for it from personal experience, I would expect that the newer Don Pepe's location near Fresno State probably does have air conditioning since it's an almost brand new building.

Aug 19, 2009
alanstotle in California

Roundup BBQ (Fresno): meh

Probably the same place. They advertise on their take-out menu that they are the original BBQ from Manchester Farmer's Market.

Aug 13, 2009
alanstotle in California

Roundup BBQ (Fresno): meh

Quick dinner stop yesterday at Roundup Bar-B-Q & Italian Kitchen (I know, that’s funny combination).

BBQ pork sandwich: generous helping of thinly-sliced pork on a warmed (toasted?) hoagie-style roll. Pork was tender (though I suppose it’d be hard for such thinly-sliced meat NOT to be tender) but not particularly smoky tasting; decent but unremarkable.

Sauce was thick, tomatoey, a bit on the sweet side, not much BBQ flavor. Texture reminded me of a thick marinara-type sauce that you might put on a meatball sandwich. More like a slightly-BBQ-flavored tomato sauce rather than actual BBQ sauce. Is it just because this place also does Italian food that I’m associating the BBQ sauce with Italian tomato sauce?

I would say the sauce was not very good, but I overheard two women at another table both say they liked the sauce. Note to self: different strokes for different folks.

French fried were good: made to order on this visit. Crispy on the outside; fluffy on the inside.

I might return & try a hamburger, calzone or Italian hot sandwich, but I’ll stick to satisfying my BBQ cravings elsewhere in Fresno.

Roundup Bar-B-Q & Italian Kitchen
5730 N. First St., Suite 101
(Hoover Marketplace, SE corner of First & Bullard)

Aug 12, 2009
alanstotle in California

Top Chef Masters Semi-Final 2nd Round (spoilers)

Well put. Professionalism (the quality I claimed the master chefs possessed) does not mean a person can't swear. Instead, it means knowing when & how to swear in a way that is appropriate (or at least not inappropriate) & (perhaps also) has more impact.

Comportment. I like that word better than professionalism.

Aug 10, 2009
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Top Chef Masters Semi-Final 2nd Round (spoilers)

And I agree with you. Thanks Bravo. Ugh.

Clearly these master chefs have egos, too. They are proud when they do well; they are disappointed when they don't do well; their egos are invested in what they are doing in the kitchen & at the dining table.

But what's different between TCM & TCA (Top Chef Amateurs) is that the masters handle their egos (& each others' egos) so much better, so professionally. They are happy when their fellow competitors cook well; they help each other out because they want everyone to succeed & they respect each other. And most of all, when they mess up they don't go around blaming others for their own goofs (& they don't pound on refrigerator doors & drop the F-bomb).

While watching the last two episodes of TCM, watching these professionals handle the kitchen & themselves so well, I've actually been inspired to consider (once again!) whether I should change my career & become a chef. I NEVER think about that when I'm watching the regular Top Chef; instead, I think about how glad I am that I'm NOT a chef!

So I guess this coming week I'll have to suffer with a small dose of the non-inspirational amateurs.

Aug 09, 2009
alanstotle in Food Media & News

Fresno: Where to find the best...?

Along with ramen, I'd be pretty happy to find a place in Fresno that serves good yakisoba. For now, though, I've resigned myself to a place I frequent in Berkeley.

Aug 08, 2009
alanstotle in California

Saigon Garden, Fresno

Not personally familiar with Saigon Garden, but the 2 Yelp reviews (if you trust Yelp) make this place to look only okay--perhaps decent food but not necessarily chowworthy.

Jul 29, 2009
alanstotle in California

Sacramento To Las Vegas

Just to clarify the location of Murray Farms:

Their main location is on CA-58 about 18 or so miles east of the CA-99/CA-58 interchange in Bakersfield. It's on General Beale Rd. This location is a bit closer to Arvin & it's pretty obvious from the freeway. I've never stopped here so I can't say anything about the quality.

According to their web site, they have a 2nd location on Copus Rd., which does run between I-5 & CA-99 a ways south of Bakersfield (not too far north of the Grapevine). It's not along the route to Vegas if you're coming south on CA-99 & then heading east on CA-58.

Jul 25, 2009
alanstotle in California

Mehek Punjab de (Fresno)

Very much enjoyed a take-out dinner from Mehek Punjab de (vegetarian Indian) the other night. I found only one other mention of this place on Chowhound:

Garlic naan. Made in the front area in (what I assume was) a tandoor oven; slathered with butter, garlic & herbs. It smelled so good we ate one of these in the car before we even got home.

Aloo Tikki: deep-fried mashed potato with spices. Really excellent: soft & moist interior with a nicely fried exterior; not too crunchy or overdone. Spices were delicious, too. Seemed a little greasy though we chalked that up to the fact that they sat in the car for 20 minutes before we got home. Served with two sauces: a dark, sweet sauce that we didn’t care for much & a light, creamy sauce with lots & lots of cilantro: really good with the aloo. Although I don’t recognize it on their menu, she told me (if I understood her correctly) that they also have a chickpea or chickpea & potato tikki available that we’d like to try.

Daal Makhni: curried lentils with butter. Also quite good: rich flavor; a comfort food texture. Perhaps a good entrée for someone who’s not excited about eating vegetarian; the richness almost has a kind of “meatiness” to it. Anxious to try other curried lentils.

Mushroom curry: yellow curry with sliced mushrooms. This was our least favorite: not bad but we both agreed that the texture was thin & I felt that the flavor was thin also.

We ordered our food (the daal & curry) spicy (our choices were mild, medium or spicy) & I have to say that they had quite a kick to them.

Also tried a piece of Khoya Barfi (also spelled Burfi) from the sweets counter: made with khoya (a dried milk similar to ricotta), spices & nuts. They have many different flavors made with different nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.). The sweets are sold by the pound (about $4-$5/pound depending). It’s a texture that takes a little getting used to but after a few bites I found myself strangely attracted to the slight caramely flavor of this sweet.

Interior is a big, open space, hardwood floors & bulky wood, dark-stained tables. Smallest table was a four-top; I suspect they’re set up for families; couples may sit at long tables with other couples?

We’re very anxious to go back & try more. When we were there at 7:00 on a Friday evening, I was dismayed that the place was completely empty. Meanwhile, cars were parking outside & people were streaming to Plaza Ventana next door. I hope this Indian restaurant makes it a while; our first experience suggests it’s quite good & it deserves more customers.

Mehek Punjab de
3173 W. Shaw Ave.
(Time Square; half a block southwest of Shaw & Marks)

Mehek Punjab de
3173 W Shaw Ave, Fresno, CA 93711

Jul 19, 2009
alanstotle in California