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josephnl's Profile

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I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

I think it's not so much that U.S.ndiners are less respectful, I think the loud ambiance is largely by design. Restauranteurs today like to attract a younger crowd and think, probably correctly, that they can do so by creating a noisy space with lots of buzz. Thus most popular new restaurants have all hard surfaces (no tablecloths, drapes or carpeting), play deafeningly loud music, and cram tables very close together. The question is...why do young people like this??

about 2 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Has Target discontinued Giada's pasta sauces?

OK...so...does anyone know where in southern CA (aside from Walmart) where I can buy Victoria pasta sauces?

about 4 hours ago
josephnl in Chains

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

Very funny!

about 5 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

I'm Going Deaf Eating Out in LA

This trend is everywhere in the major cities in the U.S. Obviously restauranteurs think that having loud music is good for their business, creates buzz and energy, encourages folks to eat faster and attracts the kind of customers they want...generally younger customers. Why young people like this...I have a theory, but I don't want to get started on it here because it's not very popular. What do others think?

about 7 hours ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Has Target discontinued Giada's pasta sauces?

I think if you talk to the employees at TJ's and Costco (I've done so), the majority of them are happy with their employer, their pay and their benefits. From what I've read, Walmart employees are not a happy bunch!

about 7 hours ago
josephnl in Chains

Have you ever used a Pressure Cooker?

I've never used a pressure cooker, but I've thought of getting one because I love and cook beans frequently. What concerns me however is that different beans require different cooking times. When I cook beans in a pot, I'm constantly sampling them so that I can pull them off the heat when they are perfectly done, but not mushy. How do you manage this with a pressure cooker...is it just trial and error? Do you keep opening the cooker to sample the beans?

1 day ago
josephnl in Cookware

Kitakata: New Ramen in OC

Thanks Porthos. Looks wonderful! Goodness how many ramen places are there in Costa Mesa now!?

1 day ago
josephnl in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

Thanks! Can't wait to try the new menu!

Sep 19, 2014
josephnl in Los Angeles Area
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014

They just arrived in southern CA. Call your store before making a special trip!

Sep 19, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Has Target discontinued Giada's pasta sauces?

I've never seen it in southern CA. Does anyone know if any southern CA chains (aside from Walmart) carry it?

Sep 19, 2014
josephnl in Chains

My first time at Chipotle.... or, what the hell was that bland beige lump I just ate?

Yes...at the very high end nuevo Mexican restaurant, Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, CA, certainly "sauces" accompany many dishes, but typical "salsas" are nowhere to be seen.

Sep 19, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014

Just had the pumpkin croissants for the first time. They are a definite YAY...but no more so than the almond or chocolate (or even plain) croissants. They are all delicious and the pumpkin is a nice seasonal variety.

Sep 19, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Has Target discontinued Giada's pasta sauces?

Would love to try the Victoria brand, but I won't go to Walmart. Do you know of any other chains (I'm in southern CA) that carry it?

Sep 18, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Has Target discontinued Giada's pasta sauces?

Suspect it was a decision of Giada's possibly related to her entry into the restaurant business. Perhaps she plans to reintroduce products in her name with the freedom to market them to whomever she wishes. Just a guess.

Sep 18, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Am I the only person on the planet that doesn't "get" Trader Joe's?

I still don't get it. If it contains cream, how can it be fat-free?

Sep 18, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014

I can though tell you that their African seasoning blends are quite good!

Sep 17, 2014
josephnl in Chains
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEY/NAY - September 2014

This is the contact for Nomu...a great line of African spices. I've occasionally found them in the US, but they can be ordered. http://www.nomu.co.za/home

Sep 17, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Minimum Wage Impact on Restaurant (especially FF) Prices

Absolutely! Wage equity and a living wage for all who work a 40 hour week, free public education through college for all who the ability and desire, and affordable health care for all...these are essential for a thriving middle class. When the middle class does well, business does well, investors do well, and because more taxes are collected the government is able to ensure the necessary infrastructure that keeps everything moving!

Minimum Wage Impact on Restaurant (especially FF) Prices

I too am a physician, retired now, and sure I worked very hard and made lots of sacrifices to get there. But there's no way that I could have done this myself. I was lucky enough to have a lower middle class dad who received a public college education (free in those days), and who worked 2 jobs so that both of his kids could get an education). Mom was able to stay home with the kids. Without these conditions which are rare today (even "public education" is expensive), there's no way that I could have become a doctor. Unfortunately becoming successful in today's economy requires much more than desire and hard work. It requires a thriving middle class which will spend money, reinforcing economic growth for all, and will ease the way for better jobs, more available education and quality healthcare for all. I've to meet the successful businessman who did it on his, and to quote a well-known billionaire, "had I been born into different circumstances, and not had a lot of help along the way, I might well be selling fruit by the roadside in a third world country".

Another restaurant wine pricing rant!

jpc, I agree with you and would never knowingly do so.

Sep 16, 2014
josephnl in Wine

Minimum Wage Impact on Restaurant (especially FF) Prices

Unfortunately there are many ff workers who are stuck in these jobs for many years struggling to get by on minimum wage and perhaps even trying to support a child. Many work more than one job just so they can get by. Those who get to the top in the ff and in most other industries rarely have done it by themselves. They have had the good fortune to have been raised by responsible parents who saw to it that they received good educations, and we're lucky enough to have been nurtured by many along the way. There are a huge number of ff workers who are stuck in dead end jobs through no fault of their own. They are not "just passing through" en route to better times. It is everyone's responsibility and to everyone's benefit that any employee who works a 40 hour week receive a living wage, and full health insurance. Too many employers of unskilled workers take advantage of their employees by making them work part-time, and thus avoid having to provide health and other benefits.

Sep 16, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Another restaurant wine pricing rant!

Actually many, if not most, restaurants in the Napa Valley will open for corkage a bottle that is on their wine list. After a day of visiting wineries in the Valley, we bring a bottle or two of our purchases to our favorite restaurants. More than once I've been personally embarrassed to notice the identical wine on the restaurant's list, but never has the restaurant either said anything nor refused to open it.

Sep 16, 2014
josephnl in Wine

Anything new & great in Rochester?

We get to Rochester 1-2x/year and keep hoping for a really terrific fine dining restaurant. So far we've really not found one. Our best meals have been at Tournedo's and Good Luck. Is there anything either new or older that we may have missed?

TJ's Olive Oil

I have been using Ina Garten's recommended California olive oil, Olio Santo, for years. It's great! I buy it at Williams-Sonoma and it's $30 for 750ml...not cheap. Have you (or any other CH), tried both the TJ's California Estate and Olio Santo? I wonder how they compare.

Sep 15, 2014
josephnl in Chains

Special occasion dinner recommendation!

L'Espalier sounds wonderful…and they indeed do have a vegetarian menu. It sounds perfect for what I want and will reserve. Thanks for your recommendation!

Special occasion dinner recommendation!

I will be taking a special guest out for dinner next month to celebrate a big birthday. I'd like it to be special…great food, service and ambiance. My guest is not an "adventurous" diner, and although will eat fish (halibut, salmon, trout, sole, flounder, grouper…but no shellfish), he sometimes will opt for vegetarian choices. Is there a terrific spot that will fill this bill. Cost is not a factor. We'll be staying at the Lenox Hotel in the Back Bay, so someplace reasonably close (on foot, or by taxi) would be great.

Also, for other nights, if there are some other places with great regional cuisine, fish, or Italian, that are highly recommended, I'd love to hear.

Thanks!

Sep 14, 2014
josephnl in Greater Boston Area

Minimum Wage Impact on Restaurant (especially FF) Prices

If the CEO's salary was capped at 100x (and all other top management at 50%) that of the minimum wage that was paid their employees, you'd see salaries rise dramatically.

Sep 14, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Minimum Wage Impact on Restaurant (especially FF) Prices

+100!

Sep 14, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Which would rather have? Great Food or Great Service in a Restaurant?

Agree, I always tip at least 10-15% for very bad service. Rudeness (a very rare occurrence) results in 0 tip, and a complaint to management!

Sep 13, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food

Which would rather have? Great Food or Great Service in a Restaurant?

These are just some examples of things that represent bad service. Of course, I'm not saying that a server being unable to answer a menu question alone would ruin a meal. Actually I picked these 3 examples because all these happened (plus more) during a meal last week...and yes, this is IMHO very bad service.

Sep 13, 2014
josephnl in Not About Food