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

Sophia C.'s Profile

Title Last Reply

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

Wow, Chef Wendy. Your ignorance demonstrated in the article above and your comment below about MSG reduces Chow's credibility by tenfold. MSG sensitivity is a VERY real-thing - For about a decade, I was suicidal, in constant pain, had joint problems, was always thirsty, had bulimia, had skin problems, everything bad until I made the glutamic acid link. Now that I've cut it out, I'm fully functional and extremely happy.

Our bodies are not programmed the same. Like diabetics have a sensitivity to sugar, people like me have a sensitivity to free-glutamic acid.

And bringing up the "One billion people in China each (every man, woman, and child!) eat over 15 lbs of glutamtes a year. Migraines are unheard of over there." Can you please back that up?

Jul 25, 2011
Sophia C. in Features

Teacake Bake Shop, Corte Madera -Opening soon

Yep, Teacake will be opening two new locations in late spring: one in Lafayette, one in Corte Madera.

San Pablo: Nominating Lee's Garden for best 69 cent garlic fried chicken leg. The 30 cent salt and pepper shrimp is good too

I always get fried rice with Hunan Chicken and Lemon Chicken, which are both VERY Americanized--sweet, sticky, colorful, and crispy--but boy, are they made for craving!

DIY butter?

I made butter by accident by freezing heavy cream. Upon thawing the cream, I noticed that the buttermilk sank to the bottom and chunky, clotted cream floated to the top. I heated it up in a double boiler, poured the liquified mixture into a clear container and put it in the refrigerator. Clarified butter floats to the top and the buttermilk stays at the bottom. Poke a hole into the corner of the hardened butter layer and pour out the sweet buttermilk. The sweet buttermilk is the best part about making homemade butter... it's so rich, yet lowfat, and tastes like the sweetest milk you've ever tasted

Jul 27, 2007
Sophia C. in Home Cooking

best restaurants with patios

Chevy's in Emeryville has a cozy outside deck overlooking the bay with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Nothing beats a tequila sunset.

Hawaiian Grocery Store in East Bay??

Monterey Market on Hopkins St. in Berkeley sells ti leaves; they're located on top of the fresh herb shelf.

Just wondering, what are you using the leaves for?

Zabu Zabu in Berkeley. How is it?

I finally tried Zabu Zabu with a friend a few weeks back for dinner. We ordered one rib-eye shabu shabu, the chicken yakitori, and a hot sake to share.

The chicken yakitori came as two skewers of marinated chicken thighs skewered with mushrooms, onions, green pepper, and zucchini basted with a tangy teriyaki sauce. It was good enough--I ended up saving the leftover teriyaki sauce to flavor my rice (blasphemous I know)

The beef ribeye shabu shabu was decent in size. It fed two people quite well. If you've ever been to Cafe Mum's in SF, the beef was arranged on a platter as such, very thinly sliced and fanned out in layers on a large platter. It was accompanied by a generous and very well presented platter of assorted vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, and katakuriko clear noodles. The shabu came with two dipping sauces: one tahini-like sesame sauce, and a very tart and interesting tasting ponzu sauce. We were also given grated daikon and chopped scallions on the side to flavor our sauces.

Everything was very fresh and very clean tasting. My friend and I ate ourselves to the brim but because the food was so clean and lean, we left Zabu Zabu with still enough room to catch a gelato up on Shattuck.

Oh, and for those who love to drink the shabu broth after all the meats and vegetables have cooked in it, Zabu Zabu's post-shabu broth is delicately flavorful and feels really great going down. It was actually the highlight of my meal.

My 19th birthday...suggestions?

Went there for a friend's bday and we forked out about $60 per person without drinks... it's a tad bit expensive for someone on a college budget but it's sure a lot of fun.

How much can you stir different kinds of batter?

In the cake recipe that you used (where you beat the cake batter for 2 minutes), were the dry ingredients mixed with the butter first before adding the eggs and liquids?

May 11, 2007
Sophia C. in Home Cooking

Cambozola what to make with it?

I've had fried cambozola cheese balls and they were wonderful. My friend cut the cambozola cheese into 1 inch chunks, dredged them in flour, dipped them in beaten egg, then rolled them with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.. then deep-fried them. Eat when still hot and the cheese will ooze out of the crispy exterior. It's kind of like deep fried mozzarella sticks.

May 11, 2007
Sophia C. in Cheese

Richmond – Pacific East Mall - Tw Bestway Foods – Saving the best for last … Taiwanese preserved fruit, pork jerky, hot jelly drinks

Mmm.. I love the dried hawthorne, the one that looks like dried cranberries with seeds. I also like the dried plums.. the wet looking ones. However, I read in a previous post you've written (about banana sauce) that you're not a huge fan of the clove taste. Chinese dried plums often times taste like cloves... a lot of American-born people really dislike the taste.. it's very acquired.

The olives really are olives. I'm not a fan :/

Zabu Zabu in Berkeley. How is it?

Chemchef, thanks so much for your detailed report! Now I feel confident about inviting my friends over there for a meal. Glad to hear that they give a lot of food, too. That's always a plus for my appetite!

Richmond – Pacific East Mall - J & S Coffee & Tea House – Ham, pork ear & pork patty sandwich

I've never tried J&S's banh mi sandwiches, but I've had their boba drinks and they're quite good. It's the hippest place within the Pacific East mall to get boba drink.. (see the variety of youthful fashionistas that patron the place.) In addition, they sell Illy Espresso.. my fave.

Sheng Kee Bakery in Pacific East Mall also sells a version of banh mi sandwiches, and they're located on top of the cake display. I remember them being very good..with head cheese, gia lua, pickled veggies, cilantro, and jalepeno slices.

Graduation Party for 8th graders. Someplace other than Hong Kong East

Glencora, let me just say that you are one cool mom! The teens are lucky to have you on their side :) I'm glad to hear that the Templebar worked out!

btw, in addition to the Templebar buffet, are you catering in outside food? If so, where do you plan to cater from?

Graduation Party for 8th graders. Someplace other than Hong Kong East

I held my 26th birthday party at the Templebar in Berkeley

I fell in love with the cozy, tiki decor and the yummy Hawaiian mixed drinks; but mainly, I choose the place because it was extremely affordable to rent out for a party of up to 70 people AND they have a full liquor license (not that 8th graders drink.. I'd hope not!


I had some peculiar special requests upon renting the Templebar for the night: I wanted a potluck, to play my own iPod music, to use the stage and PA system to announce games, to play a background DVD on the large plasma TV screen, and to reorganize the tables and chairs for group games. All requests were accommodated. However, we couldn't bring in our own drinks or water because restaurants with liquor licenses cannot allow that. That was fine.. we bought pitchers of soda and beer for everyone, and each person paid for their own Hawaiian mixed drinks and Jack&7-ups.

In addition, there's lots of parking, the bathrooms are clean, the lights are dimmable to change the mood for dancing. The owners are also very sweet and accomodating. The place makes for a very memorable party.

See pix:


Zabu Zabu in Berkeley. How is it?

There's a new shabu place in Berkeley called Zabu Zabu that took over the old location of Le Theatre. The place also bills itself as a lounge and is open until 1am on weekends. Has anyone tried the food there? And how's the atmosphere? Thanks!

Zabu Zabu
1919 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94704

Best Eggnog

What keeps the eggnog from going bad when aging?

May 01, 2007
Sophia C. in Recipes

Albany – Saffron Gourmet – Koofteh Tabrizi & 1001 Persian pleasures

Thanks for posting about Saffron Gourmet, rworange. The owner is a very peppy and passionate fellow who knows his food. Unfortunately, the store is in a less travelled part of Solano Ave. so it doesn't get very much business.

Anyway, back to the food. From the deli, I've tried the chicken breast stuffed with olives and preserved lemons and the portobello mushroom stuffed with lamb/beef? Both were fantastic (when warmed up!) and each item cost $6.99. The price seemed a bit steep at first but then I realized that I'd pay upwards of $12 or more for the same item at a sit down restaurant. And Saffron Gourmet does Middle Eastern food right--unmuted seasonings, perfect salting for my taste, and fine textures.

Apparently, the owner used to own a business on College Ave. called 'Cornucopia' I've never seen the previous business myself.. I'm curious if Saffron Gourmet is a reincarnation of his old store?

Lost recipe [Moved from Midwest]

Is the recipe you're looking for more like a crinkle cookie, melting moment, or none of the above?

Feb 21, 2007
Sophia C. in Home Cooking

SF Dim Sum to Go

Is New Wing Sing still open? I drove by there recently and the windows were covered in brown paper.

What and Where?

The name of the Vietnamese dessert served at Cam Huong is called "che" (found in the back refrigerator for about $1)

Here's a picture of various che's:

Here's are several recipes for che's:

Coconut milk is the common milky addition to sweet and creamy che's, although if you make it at home you can add liquid hazelnut flavored non-dairy creamer for a delicious variation.

Late night or 24hr take-out in Berkley Area

If you're ever craving fried chicken and waffles there's always Home of Chicken and Waffles at Jack London Square in Oakland Open til midnight most days, til 4am on weekends and they do take-out.

Okay, my very large friend who's as round as a yoga ball and who's definitely *not* a Chowhounder, swears by Americana Pizza and Taqueria off the San Pablo Dam exit on I-80E. It's open 24 hours and serves pizza and Mexican food. So if you ever get your craving around Richmond or San Pablo and you trust the opinion of a big dude....

restaurants in san jose?

For Japanese, try Sushi Maru

Very well-priced, fresh fish (fresh everything for that matter), huge beef teriyaki, owned by Japanese people.

Chicken Skewers with Dukkah Crust

To KitchenBeard:
I've seen those skewer sticks at Japanese stores in the SF Bay Area. I know that Daiso, the Japanese knick-knack store in Daly City where almost everything's a $1.50, has them.

Jan 26, 2007
Sophia C. in Recipes

Need a cookbook for a firefighter

In the same vein, "Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco's Firefighters" might be a good one to try...

Dec 13, 2006
Sophia C. in Home Cooking

Restaurant for a group of 12 in Berkeley/Oakland?

I've been to Binh Minh Quan and I appreciate the authenticity and tastiness of the food there as well. But I'd personally never throw a birthday party there unless my friends were as open to trying 'new' foods as most chowhounders are.

Best Place to watch a Football Game - Berkeley/Oakland...elsewhere

I know you've decided on Looney's for its 10 foot monster TV but I'll post this anyway for reference..

Brennan's on 4th St. and University (under the overpass, next to the Berkeley Amtrak station) has several TVs (at least one giant one), and it serves hearty and filling hofbrau type food cafeteria-style (corned beef, turkey legs, mashed potatoes&gravy, stuffing, etc) and beer on tap (as well as some hard stuff.. try the Irish coffee). The crowd is very eclectic but I don't know whether or not they'll be 'fun'. I doubt it'll be terribly crowded on game day since the eating area is so huge.. you might want to call and check whether they'll be airing the game.

There's ample parking as well since they have their own parking lot.

720 University Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 841-0960

Restaurant for a group of 12 in Berkeley/Oakland?

Le Cheval is a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland that is great for groups (as long as reservations are made ahead of time). I've always enjoyed the food there--it's accessible to most palates, flavorful, and well-priced. In addition, the interior of the restaurant is quite pretty and sophisticated (dim lighting, feels like candlelight).


an affordable, and trendy if possible, place for a birthday?

I've been to Paragon for a birthday dinner--the prices are decent and the drinks are good, but I had the dryest chicken served at a restaurant in my life there..

Down in the SOMA district there's a Thai restaurant called "Koh Samui and the Monkey." It's trendy, affordable; food's served family style, cocktails are pretty to drink and better to taste; and it accomodates large groups easily. On top of that, parking is easy to find. Dinner will set each person back about $25-40 w/ drinks.

The website for Koh Samui is down right now but to get an idea on the prices and the type of food served, check out its sister restaurant's website

Hope you find the perfect restaurant to celebrate your 21st!

German Pretzels (Bretzeln) [moved from Int'l board]

Perhaps you can use a potassium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate solution sold in Chinese food markets. It's also known as lye water. See picture in article link:

I'm assuming you should dilute the solution before using it for your German pretzels. Good luck!

Nov 15, 2006
Sophia C. in Home Cooking