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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

Seeking the OC's Best Sandwich

I really couldn't choose a 'favorite' sandwich. It all depends on what I'm craving. Tomorrow, I'm going to Tommy Pastrami for lunch. It's been awhile and I need a pastrami on his fresh-baked, crusty rye.

There are three places I'll go for a cheesesteak. Franks Philadelphia on Fairview in Costa Mesa is my old standby favorite. Not "authentic" Philadelphia, but a great sandwich with generous amounts of meat on a nice chunk of baguette. Their fries are fresh cut and malt vinegar is available. Second favorite is Jersey Mikes in Huntington Beach (Adams Ave.). By carefully instructing the, mostly young, staff, the sandwich you get will be satisfying. The premises baked roll is highly reminiscent of Amorosos. As an added fillip, they have hot cherry pepper relish that adds to the sandwich's authenticity. A little more expensive and a little less meat than Frank's. Third choice is Philly's Best. The ingredients are authentic and the "home" store preparation (Brookhurst, south of the 405)is spot on. You can get a good cheesesteak here, but I've seen other locations close after an all to brief run. My feelings are that the staff were insufficiently trained in what a cheesesteak is all about. Their newest store (MacArthur/Fairview in Santa Ana)is, in my opinion, doing OK preparation-wise. I find them to be the most expensive.

I like the Italian Beef at the new stand in the PEP Boys parking lot on Beach Boulevard, north of the 405. I've only been once, but the sandwich was good. They didn't have either pepper or vinegar for the nicely done fries. They are supposedly opening a second location in Newport Beach.

To find a meatball sandwich that is worthy is a difficult task. So far, the best I've enjoyed has been from Finbars (two locations). Bring help for this plateful of meatballs on fresh-baked bread.

There are any number of great Bahn Mi places (of which my wife is not fond, so I don't get there very often).

One of my favorite sandwiches is my own, made at home, either as a pannini (Trader Joe's panne tuscana, Thuman's black pepper ham, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and my eggplant relish). It's hard to get all that in a pannini, but on a piece of baguette, it's exquisites.

May 24, 2011
REFFI in Features

Anyone know where I can buy Vienna Beef Hot Dogs?

There used to be a factory store in Vernon. I know it's gone, now; but, Vienna Beef has a warehouse in Vernon. Our church choir used to ohold a St. Patrick's dinner/dance and I used to purchase Vienna Corned Beef, in bulk (60 to 100 lbs.) If you have the freezer space, or sufficient number of sharers, I'm pretty sure you could buy a box of hot dogs. Cash only sales. There also used to be a Vienna Beef Chicago Hot Dog stand on Harbor Boulevard, south of Disneyland. And now, there is Just Dogs on Beach Boulevard in Westminster just north of the 405 in the PEP Boys parking lot.

Feb 16, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

Just Hot Dogs- Huntington Beach

Last Friday, I made a trip to Just Dogs for lunch as I had an errand in the area. I'm not a fan of Chicago style hot dogs, so my goal was to try the Italian Beef Sandwich. I ordered and was asked if I wanted hot peppers or sweet peppers, to which I replied "both." I also ordered fries. The sandwich was very good. I'm sure that more discerning ex-Chicogoans might be better able to provide a critical comparison, but it was definitely reminiscent of sandwiches I'd eaten in Chicago. The fries werevery good, but on the oily side. Interestingly, when I asked for pepper for my fries, or vinegar, neither was available, so I made do with salt and ketchup. They have recently added Italian sausage to the menu. When I asked if it was grilled, they replied that they didn't yet have a grill so they were deep frying it. If they have no grill, how are they cooking the hot dogs? I hate boiled hot dogs. They must be doing OK, as I was told they were going to open another location in Newport Beach. I'd go back there again for the Italian Beef.

Feb 16, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

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

When I first came to LA in the mid-70's, i used to listen to Robert W. Morgan, who recommended Pinks. I went there on that recommendation, one day, for lunch. Short to no line, but a severely disappointing hot dog to one who grew up in New Castle, PA where the chili dog is king. I even wrote to Robert W. about how bad Pinks was and he called me one morning and we discussed it. At the time I described the chili as gruel. There was so much filler (corn meal, I expect) that any resemblance to a true, meaty, beanless chili was remote. Needless to say, I have never been back to Pinks (I drove by once last year, saw the line, and laughed.)

There is a new place that I plan to visit today. It is in an oversized kiosk in the PEP BOYS parking lot on Beach Blvd. just north of the 405 (Westminster, I think). They advertise Italian Beef and Chicago Hot Dogs. Though not a fan of Chicgo-style hot dogs (though I used to buy the Vienna Beef Dogs when they had a factory store and restaurant in Vernon), I am looking forward to a good Italian Beef Sandwich.

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Pinksberry
7873 Monticello Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

Feb 09, 2011
REFFI in Los Angeles Area

The Basics: How to Make Veggie Risotto

Ever since the LA Times published a recipe and technique for making risotto in a pressure cooker I've been in risotto heaven. Saute garlic / onions in olive oil, add rice and saute 'til well coated, add a quart of broth, close cooker and cook for six minutes, release pressure, stir rice, add veggies nad heat through, add Parmesan and serve. Always wonderful. Instead of zucchini, try sun-dried tomatoes

Jan 04, 2011
REFFI in Features