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Best lunch in Costa Mesa/Irvine/Santa Ana for under $10

The manufacturer is allowed to inject water into the meat increasing its weight (and, in my opinion, decreasing its flavor). Ham is the biggest recipient, but other meats, like turkey are injected as well. At JM's you can see the meats in the case and the labels clearly state which are 'water added' and which are not.
To reply to JesseJames, there are now two places in OC where an acceptable Italian Beef Sandwich can be had. The first is the hot dog wagon in the Pep Boys parking lot on Beach, just north of the 405. The second is at Gina's pizza in Costa Mesa on Harbor Blvd. in the shopping center on Adams. I'm not a fan of their pizza but the sandwich (half) I had was tasty.

Aug 19, 2014
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Best lunch in Costa Mesa/Irvine/Santa Ana for under $10

I have not eaten at either of those two Philly's Bests (the one is actually in Santa Ana). I have eaten, pleaurably at the "factory" store in Huntington Beach. For a short time, there was one in Whittier to which we'd go for lunch, but they were poorly trained and the sandwiches (especially the cheesesteaks)were a poor reflection on what they are capable of at the HB store.
My wife and I both like Jersey Mike's, but many of his meats are "water added" and I don't order those. If I'm going Italian, I'll just have the hard salami and pepperoni with double the meat. Usually, I'll have a cheesesteak. The HB store personnel I have now trained to make it "my way" with grilled vinegar peppers and hot pepper relish in addition to the onions and green peppers, with a shot of marinara.
My favorite cheesesteak is still Frank's Philadelphia in Costa Mesa (Fairview & Wilson) and the fries are the best.

Aug 19, 2014
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Best lunch in Costa Mesa/Irvine/Santa Ana for under $10

There has been a management/ownership change to a greek place on Brookhurst (next to Arby's) in Huntington Beach. I was there for lunch before and after the change. The gyros improved a whole lot. The sandwich is now huge. It is slice a little too thick for my taste, but I can live with it for the quantity and price. I went to dinner there last night and had the kebab combo plate. It was not that great. The chicken kebab was OK, but it didn't taste as though the chicken had been marinated in anything, or seasoned. The beef kebab was tough. If I had to guess, the meat was probably chuck, as it was tough, chewy and overcooked. The pilaf was dry and tasted as though it had been cooked with just water instead of broth. The greek salad was also a problem. They pre-portion their house dressing into styrofoam containers. Mine was all oil, no vinegar, and the herbs were all at the bottom of the container. I commented on it and, as I was leaving, I saw them emptying the small containers into a larger one, with a whisk standing by to try to emulsify the dressing. I hope it works. I'll probably go back for the gyros sandwich, and I may try the bifteki, but I'll not go back for dinner again.

Aug 18, 2014
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Stainless steel vs cast iron temp science

Maybe the shinier surfaces of the stainless and carbon steel pans are dispersing the Fluke's beam (I'm assuming the Fluke is using a reflected infr-red beam to measure temperature.)?

Jul 17, 2014
REFFI in Cookware

new member and cast iron fan!

I recently acquired a Lodge grill/griddle. In using the grill, I have, apparently burnt off the coating on the griddle. I know that I need to clean and reseason it, but how do I keep it from happening to either side when one, or the other side is being used?

Jul 17, 2014
REFFI in Cookware

Where to get my knives sharpened??

Two of the best options for doing it yourself are:
1. Buy the Chef's Choice sharpener. It will both grind and hone all types of knife blades and it comes with clear instructions.

2.Buy the Spyderco sharpening kit (about $100). It has all you need to keep your knifes sharp.

Both solutions give you a sharp knife when you need it.

Mar 12, 2014
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Eats In and Around Santa Ana

Just to be a nit-picker, Pizzeria Ortica is in Costa Mesa. As a second generation Neapolitan, I was not impressed with their pizza. I mean, it was OK, and my tastes run to New York style but I digress. We went once and haven't been back. There is a place in The Camp, south of Pizza Ortica on Bristol that we've been meaning to try, but reservations are recommended. The night we were there, we couldn't get in, but it smelled great.

Nov 04, 2013
REFFI in Features

Any places doing Santa Maria style tri-tip BBQ in LA or OC?

There a number of Red Oak establishments. (There's one in Whittier.) Both it and the HB location are similar. The Habit, a new hamburger chain based in Santa Barbara with a number of locations (Santa Fe Springs and Costa Mesa are two of which I am familiar) does a Santa Maria style sandwich that is quite good. Their grilled tuna is good and their hamburger is not bad.

Jul 17, 2013
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

DON'T think PINK: Pink's (Hot Dog Stand) Revisited

My visit to Pinks was in the mid- to-late seventies and was a lat-ish lunch. My home made chili is a meat-only chili sauce that I've homogenized with an immersion blender. I agree that beans have no place on a chili dog.

Nov 16, 2012
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

DON'T think PINK: Pink's (Hot Dog Stand) Revisited

I can honestly say that the one time I ate at Pink's I was not satisfied with my hot dog, mostly ('ll admit, because of my disappointment with the chili. And this was at a time when you could practically walk in and wolk up to the counter to place your order. I never went back until a couple of years ago. When I saw the line, I went elsewhere. I've not yet a Carney's or any of the others mentioned on this site. I might try Just Dogs to see how they stack up. I know that they use Vienna Beef weiners, which I do find to be a tasty hot dog.I used to buy them from the factory store (now long gone) in Vernon. I've gotten to the point where, for a hot dog, I'd just rather make them at home.

Nov 16, 2012
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Can a Teflon-lined cast iron pot be salvaged?

I began folowing this thread and decided to write to Lodge for their recommendations, reproduced below:

"Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we cannot speak for another company but if our enamel cookware starts to chip there is no coatings we can put to repair it and we do not suggest sandblasting if it is enamel to take the rest of it off. I will be glad to mail you a free catalog if you would like please let me know. Thank you. "

May 05, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Why no cast iron on cooking shows?

The Barbeque U guy on PBS uses cast iron whenever what he's making requires a pot or pan.

May 04, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Advantages, Disadvantages and Uses of a cast Iron skillet

I hae an old cast iron crepe pan that is well seasoned (and rarely used in the last 25 years). I have a new Lodge skillet that came seasoned that I have yet to use. I have two carbon steel woks that I use quite regularly. I cook in them, let them soak overnight on the stove with just water that I heated in them before turning off the stove. Next day, a quidk swish with a brush and a rinse with hot water makes them clean again (and still seasoned). I dry them with paper towels, put them on the stove over high heat and lightly oil them wiith peanut oil and a paper towel. I let them cool and put them away til next time. Been doing it that way since 1975. Never rancid, never rusted.

May 02, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Why no cast iron on cooking shows?

I worked in restaurant kitchens when I was a teenager. In both kitchens, the frying pans / skillets were never washed. They (at that time) were all carbon steel and were simply wiped clean after use with a kitchen towel. I want to get a carbon steel pan just for frying potatoes.... no better flavor.

May 02, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Advantages, Disadvantages and Uses of a cast Iron skillet

In PA, banging pans was also an activity when newlyweds returned from their honeymoon.

May 02, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Can a Teflon-lined cast iron pot be salvaged?

I too, have a Waterford enameled cast iron dutch oven. Next year will be its fortieth year. I checked their (Waterford's) website and there is no longer a category for cookware. I would think that your best bet is to have the interior sand blasted to bare metsl, then carefully follow the instructions, available from Lodge, for seasoning it properly. That's what I'm going to do when my surface fails.

Apr 28, 2012
REFFI in Cookware

Heavenly Greek

We vacation in the Lake Tahoe area about once a year. Last year we dined with friends at a restaurant called Artemis in South Lake Tahoe. We thought the food was great but our friend (the husband) didn't. This year we ended up eating there twice, once for a late lunch and once for dinner. Our feelings about their food were reinforced. The sampler plate contained: Red pepper hummus (OK), Baba Ghanouj (outstanding), good grape leaves, very good felafel and a tasty chunky tzatziki. Their gyros is flavorful and makes a great sandwich, or is available as a plate with salad (good). Their menu is extensive with souvlakia, avgolemono, a spicy, vegan lentil soup and some interesting non-greek additions like the venison burger. I wish that we could have eaten there every day so that I could work my way through their menu. Everything is made fresh every day. Well worth the trip and the prices are very reasonable.

Mar 04, 2012
REFFI in California

How We Learned to Love the Pressure Cooker

I have a couple of favorite recipes that I've converted for the pressure cooker. By far, however, is its ability to produce a perfect risotto in six minutes. The price of the cooker is worth it for that alone.

Mar 04, 2012
REFFI in Features

The Greek place (I don't remember the name)

We went to the food court at 2450 Main in Irvine on Saturday intending to try the Italian Beef and / or the chili dog at Chicago's Best only to find out that they are only open five days a week (I'm going back tomorrow). Next to Chicago's best is a Greek establishment, and I apologize for not remembering the name. We decided to give them a try. I asked them if they made their own gyros or if purchased, from whom did they buy. I was gratified to find that they buy Athenian Gyros from Chicago. (My cousin's son used to work for Athenian, and I like it's flavor.) We opted for two gyros sandwichiches with a side and drinks. Came to about $20. Their tzatziki is served on the side (for better drip control) and could use a little more flavor, but all in all, a very good sandwich and worth a trip back to try the rest of the menu (they also serve felafel). Tomorrow I'm going back to Chicago's best. We'll see.

Feb 08, 2012
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Jersey Subs in Los Angeles

My wife likes Jersey Mikes subs. I like their cheesesteak more than I like their subs, but you have to keep a watchful eye on the sandwich maker to be sure you're getting provolone. They've kicked it up a notch with the availability of Cherry Pepper relish, a great addition along with the green peppers, onions, pepperoncini that I ask for. Their deli meats are "house branded," and I find them a little lower in flavor intensity than some better know brands. The rolls are very good.

Feb 07, 2012
REFFI in Features

the best SANDWICH in (Los Angeles) period.

You are correct. I do mean Seta in Whittier. They've been open a year or so with a chef named Molina. My boss goes there for special dinners about which he raves, but I only ever go for lunch. They are upscale (linen napkins at lunchtime) and the BLT is a $9.00 item, but worth every penny in this case. If budget constraints insist, there is a bar around the corner (6740 is the name and address on Greenleaf) that has a five dollar lunch special that is hard to resist. The BLT there comes with alfalfa sprouts, fries and a drink. They have a problem with the definition of "toast," but the sandwich is very good.

Dec 02, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

the best SANDWICH in (Los Angeles) period.

We eat lunch here on a fairly regular basis since it's a one-block walk from our building. They hve what may be the best BLT I've ever eaten for balance of flavors and texture. They use applewood smoked backon, beefsteak tomatoes and iceberg lettuce dressed with a chipotle mayo served on toasted ciabatta. Choice of side is either home made potato chips or a nicely dressed green salad with shave parmesan. I just can't say no to this sandwich.

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Seta Dine : Lounge
13033 Philadelphia St., Whittier, CA 90601

Dec 02, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Sweet Risotto/Dessert Risotto?

I love pressure cooker rice recipes! This one (Berry Risotto) looks spectacular. I'm going to make it today, just because I found a can of cocoanut milk in my pantry. If anyone has a source for further rice / risotto recipes that work in a pressure cooker, I'd love to have them.

Sep 10, 2011
REFFI in Home Cooking

Great Chilidogs

New Castle, PA was, at one point in time, trying to get itself named "Chili Dog Capital of the USA." I don't know how successful they were, but that's where I learned that the dog is always grilled and has mustard, onions and chili in that order. When I was in high school, we ate them twice a week during football season. Everybody would order six or eight (they were two for a quarter!) at a sitting. From the Travel Channel challenge, the Detroit Coney's look most authentic, to me. Here in California I have to admit that most of the chili dogs I've had have not measured up. Pink's chili is full of filler. I ate it once and never went back (1975). I've not been to the original Tommy's, but have eaten the chili dog at their Norwalk location (Alondra Blvd.). I was not impressed and it is messy.

The actress who replaced Suzanne Somers on "Three's Company," Jennilee Harrison once had a chain of restaurants and the chili dogs there were very good. I must confess that whenever I see chili dogs on a menu, my first question is: "Does the chili have beans in it?" If the answer is yes, I look elsewhere on the menu. I'll eat Der Weinerschnitzel, mostly because of convenience, but it is a pale representation of what I crave. My cravings do not go unfulfilled because I do make chili dogs at home. Usually, Hebrew National or Oscar Meyer Premium Beef dogs with my own home made New Castle, PA chili. My dad got me the recipe from a friend who was a cook in one of the many chili dog restaurants in New Castle. For nearly forty years I've been making that chili. It's meat only, spices, onion, a touch of tomato and will make my hair sweat.

I'll be trying the recommended dogs, but my standards are high.

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Weinerschnitzel
801 W Valley Blvd, Colton, CA 92324

Sep 07, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

What are your favorite dives and cheap eats WORTH THE DRIVE?

From what I'm seeing, there are a lot of different definitions for "cheap." I'd have to say that a meal for less than $10.00 is cheap, more than that, especially for lunch, makes me think I'm eating upscale. I will drive for exceptional food.

The 6740 Bar in Whittier has a BLT w/ fries and a drink for $5.00 that is hard to beat. You have to tell them you want your bread toasted "dark" if thats the way you like toast.

D'Elias on University Ave (between the 91 and the 60) in Riverside hasn't disappointed me since the mid-70's. We'll sometimes ride out for lunch (from OC), because the bread is that good, crispy crust with light and airy crumb. I think they've been there since 1953.

Original Pizza (now with two locations) in Newport Beach. Only the Newport pier location has slices. Whole pizzas do not fall into the cheap category, but it's the best New York style pizza we've found.

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Original Pizza
2121 W Balboa Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Sep 03, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Steak 'n Shake equivalent in SoCal?

I lived in Missouri for 2.5 years in the seventies and Steak and Shake was one of my staple lunch stops around the state. About three years ago, while on vacation SWMBO and I ate at a Steak and Shake near the Cleveland, OH airport. To me, they were not the same as I had experienced in Missouri. One problem, in my opinion, is that different restaurants of a chain are not as diligent in their preparation of the product so as to maintain the quality of the product that made the chain viable. Most notably, locally, Philly's Best, Tommy Pastrami and Farmer Boys. The Philly's Best on Brookhurst in OC (the home store) provides a very credible cheese steak. One that opened in Whittier, was so poor in their preparation that they did not survive. Another has opened at MacArthur and Fairview in OC, but I have yet to sample their wares. although, for a time, they were offering an attractive coupon. I have been to a number of Tommy Pastrami's and most have been faithful to the concept and the original store. I know that Tommy is diligent about checking on the stores and in the training of the new staffs. The Brea store was good, at first, but on subsequent visits "slippage" became apparent. On one visit they (a New York-style deli) were out of rye bread! They had also switched to a commercially supplied cole slaw. On my next visit, the rye bread was supermarket thin-sliced and not what I was expecting. I reported my findings to Tommy which precipitated a visit the next day (reportedly for them to straighten up and fly right). Needless to say, Tommy was forced to yank their franchise.

Now, as to tasty hamburgers, Farmer Boys (some, not all I have found) is offering what they call their Homestyle hamburger. It is a hand-formed 1/3 lb. patty and has the appropriate juiciness and flavor, very close to what i remember a Steak and Shake to be in a bigger patty.

It, the 1/3 lb. at Counters, and the sliders at Islands remain my favorite burgers (Tommy Patrami had a half-pounder that was very good, but didn't sell enough to stay on the menu.) For fast food, I prefer In-n-Out. Five Guys has yet to thrill me, except for their fries which i think are addictive. The Habit (based out of Santa Barbara but now in Santa Fe Springs) is a decent burger and I like their grilled tuna. They'll give you a half and half order of rings and fries that is good. I see that Burger King is offering mini-burgers but I haven't checked them out yet.

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Santa Fe Cafe
353 N Pass Ave Ste B, Burbank, CA 91505

Aug 31, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Italian Beef in SoCal

I was speaking of Just Hot Dogs. Interestingly, I watched Guy Fieri prepare Italian Beef yesterday morning. It looked like a good recipe, but he was weak on the giardiniere topping. I will check his program website for the recipe to see if he offers further clarification beyond "pickled vegetables."

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Just Hot Dogs
15223 Beach Blvd, Westminster, CA 92655

Aug 26, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Italian Beef in SoCal

I went, specifically, for the Italian Beef. They hadn't been open for very long. I had the beef with hot pepper giardiniere and an order of fries. The sandwich was very good, on a par with anything I've had in Chicago. The fries were also very tasty and crisp. However, they had no pepper or vinegar (both of which I like on my fries). I'll go back for the sandwich and I'll bring my own pepper and vinegar.

Aug 23, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Antica Pizzeria - a bit rambling

The opportunities I've had to eat here have been few and far between, but I've never been disappointed. This is the place, if you have the time, money and inclination to learn how to be a pizzaolo. The proprietor is the agent for VPN (Verace Pizza Naoletana = true Neapolitan Pizza). Had I the wherewithal, I'd sign up to learn how to make that wonderful crust. That knowledge and a Weber kettle result in pizza heaven at home. I hope they are up and running soon.

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Antica Pizzeria
13455 Maxella Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Jul 20, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Seeking the OC's Best Sandwich

You'll notice that I did not include any hot dogs in my previous post. That's because, to me, it's a whole separate category, separate from sandwiches.

May 24, 2011
REFFI in Features