Sam D.'s Profile

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General Tso's Chicken

Here is a link to the recipe I use for General Tso's Chicken:


Apparently, others who used the same recipe had positive things to say about it.

Apr 14, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Expensive Lunch at Farmer's Market

As a restaurant, they didn't support prop 8. That came from one member of the owning family who worked there.

But the larger issue is "Do business owners give up their right to free expression and the right to follow their own principles?"

Apr 11, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Can't log in --- help!

Thanks to Engineering. I was having the same problem with inability to log in.

Apr 05, 2014
Sam D. in Site Talk

gebhardt's chili powder

I just looked at the website of San Francisco Herb Company (www.sfherb.com).In the FAQs it states that they have a $30 minimum order which will be waived for a $7 fee.

The currently listed price for the chili blend is $4.55/lb.

Mar 25, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Chinese Five Spice Powder - Equal Parts?

Here is the recipe I use:

2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns
8 star anise
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds

1. In a dry skillet, roast 2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns by shaking the pan over low to medium heat until the aroma of the peppercorns is released (about three minutes).

2. Grind the roasted peppercorns and 8 star anise in a blender or pepper mill.

3. Strain the blended seasonings.

4. Mix in ½ teaspoon ground cloves, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds.

5. Grind the seasonings until very fine.

6. Store in an airtight container.

Mar 22, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Best meals(s) to christen grill with?

Nothing complicated. These would be my choices:

Steak served with twice baked potatoes.
Beer can chicken (provided that your grill has enough headroom to support an upright chicken).
Tuscan Grilled Chicken.

Mar 19, 2014
Sam D. in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

Does brining chicken make a big difference?

If you have had a rotisserie chicken from Costco, you've had chicken that's been brined. I read in another CH thread that their chickens are packed in brine when they arrive from the supplier.


Mar 10, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Farewell to my favorite Chili Cheeseburger, Tommy's on Lincoln to close

I like Tommy's but I really liked Topp's even more. It's been a long time since they've been gone but their pastrami dip was one of the best and it was very reasonably priced back then.

Mar 10, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Would you eat lime mayonnaise?

Of course. I often make mayonnaise at home and pretty much use fresh lemons and limes interchangeably.

Feb 23, 2014
Sam D. in General Topics

Chowders-All Kinds

My favorite is the clam chowder that was served at the now defunct Hungry Tiger seafood restaurant chain. Fortunately the recipe lives on and is available online.

Feb 23, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

MEATLOAF - Home Cooking Dish of the Month for February 2014

I would agree that Leonard Schwartz's meatloaf from 72 Market Street is the best ever. I just made it yesterday and got raves from everyone at our dinner table.

The recipe in the above link doesn't include the sauce/gravy which was served with Scwartz's meatloaf along with mashed potatoes. Here is a link that includes the sauce recipe:

Feb 23, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Depressing Places You Like

El Atacor on N. Figueroa near Ave. 26. Their Mexican food is quite good but the ambiance reminds me of a labor camp.

Also the Chowder Barge at Leeward Bay Marina in Wilmington. Decent diner food, beer & wine but the surroundings are not too cheerful. A lot of the boats docked nearby in the surrounding harbor are barely one step up from being junkers. The restaurant is housed in an actual barge. It was originally used as the support vessel for filming of the 1935 movie, "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable.

Feb 19, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Do you remember what the first dish you prepared from a recipe was?

In the 1950s & 60s the supermarkets often featured sets of items like dinnerware that were sold serially, with one piece of the set featured each week. My mother had bought a set of cookbooks this way. Each week the store featured a different paperbound section of the cookbooks that fit into a special size 3 ring binder. I was 11 or 12 and until then most of my cooking experience was from using pre-packaged mixes like for cakes.

I spotted a recipe that sounded good so my mother said she would buy the ingredients if I wanted to try making it. It called for Camp's frozen veal steaks which were oval shaped, ground veal patties with a big pat of butter on top, They came in pairs and were packaged in cellophane wrap. The other ingredients were sliced onions and bell peppers, Campbell's mushroom soup, white wine and a few flavorings and spices. It was an easy recipe and, except for my dad, the rest of us liked it. My dad liked his food plain without any sauces or special preparations. I made the same dish frequently after that.

Feb 09, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

What restaurant do you really really really miss that is now closed ?????

I'd have to concur on LaBarbara's Pizza.

But also--

Nu-Way Hot Dogs. It was located at Pico and Bundy where Teddy's cafe is now. They had the best chili dogs ever and lasted 40+ years.

Pickle Bill's. It was also on Pico but in Santa Monica. There was a large upright pickle sculpture standing on the roof over the front entrance. They had terrific fried shrimp and hot beef sandwiches.

Feb 06, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Jury Duty Downtown - Where Should I Eat?

Lots of places in Chinatown and nearby.
Hop Li
Golden Dragon
Ocean Seafood
CBS Seafood
Hop Woo
Won Kok

Spring St. Smokehouse
Philippe the Original
Homegirl Cafe

Eastside Italian Market Deli
Mexicali Taco & Co

Hoan Kiem 727 N Broadway Ste 130 Chinatown. 3 items only: banh cuon (spring rolls), pho ga (chicken), and Hainan chicken.

There is also a good Chinese place for lunch on the S/W corner of Alameda & Ord, across the street from Philippe's, but I can't recall the name.

Feb 03, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Sambuca Substitute

I've never mixed arak with plain water but on the rocks there is no sign of cloudiness after the ice has begun to melt. By description, the two liqueurs sound identical. Both are clear, both are made from distilling grapes with anise used for flavor.

Jan 29, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Beef Bourguignon

These days there really are no inexpensive beef cuts. I use boneless chuck roast because it is less expensive than most other cuts of beef and it is easy to trim and cut into chunks suitable for beef bourguignon. Long slow cooking will produce tender, flavorful meat.

Jan 29, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Sambuca Substitute

Arak is a clear anise flavored liqueur from the Mideast which works perfectly well as a substitute for sambuca. The one I use is Arak Haddad which comes from Jordan and costs around $10 for a 750 ml bottle.

Jan 29, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Papas Rancheras Tacos in LA????

I know of a couple places in the Highland Park area that serve tacos de papas but they may not be the same style that you're looking for.

El Atacor #11
My Taco

Jan 20, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Trinidadian food - advice please!

Does Trinidad actually have its own unique cuisine? I would have thought that all the islands in that part of the Caribbean would have similar food.

Jan 19, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Affordable brotform/bread rising basket

Try eBay. Besides brotform/bread rising basket, also search under banneton. I bought 2 of the that way. They came with linen liners and shipping was free. There is a wide variety to choose from and prices were about 1/3 of Sur Le Table's prices. The only downside is almost all of the ones on eBay are made in and shipped from China. So it takes 2-3 weeks to get them delivered.

Jan 19, 2014
Sam D. in Cookware

Wolf charbroiler?

You should post this in CH's cookware forum.

Jan 18, 2014
Sam D. in Cookware


The Carnegie Deli has the recipe for their cheesecake on their website. It's insanely delicious.


Jan 10, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Chicken Casserole recipe please

Chicken Picasso

This recipe preceded a more widely circulated but very different recipe of the same title. It was a popular dish served for decades at the former Café Four Oaks in Los Angeles. The recipe was first published in a book named "The L.A. Gourmet: Favorite Recipes from Favorite Los Angeles Restaurants". by Jeanne Voltz and Burks Hamner. It is an elegant dish and one of my personal favorites that always gets accolades from dinner guests.

2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Butter or oil for sauteing
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, 1 red & 1 green, thinly sliced
20 ripe olives, sliced
20 stuffed green olives, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
4 Tbs. Butter
6 Tbs. Flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese, lightly doused in flour
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp Dijon style mustard
2 cups sour cream
Cut chicken breasts into 1-2 inch pieces . Saute them in a little oil or butter until lightly brown and tender. Keep warm while preparing sauce. Add onions and green pepper to pan drippings and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add sliced olives and cucumber and saute until onions and bell peppers are barely tender. Then remove the vegetables and set aside.

Heat the 4 Tablespoons of butter, stir in flour, and cook until bubbly. Stir in the chicken stock, the cheeses, and mustard and sour cream. Simmer while stirring until smooth and thickened, being careful not to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Pour sauce over vegetables and chicken and heat at low temperature or in the oven at 300º F. for about 10-15 minutes.

Jan 09, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

India's Restaurant in Los Feliz/Silver Lake

I went there yesterday and had the lunch buffet. The place was less than 10% full at noon but I did see people coming in to pick up take-out orders.The buffet was $10.95 and consisted of a few standard Indian salad items, tandoori chicken, chicken curry, chicken tikka masala and a number of vegetable and non-meat dishes. There was also rice pudding and mixed fresh fruits. So it's standard Indian buffet fare. The chicken tikka masala was perfectly seasoned and really excellent, Everything else from the buffet was average or slightly above. That's not saying those items weren't good. They just didn't stand out. The plain and herbed naan that they bring to your table was very good.

I spoke with one ot the owners who told me that after the prior restaurant closed, he moved in and his crew totally remodeled the dining area and restrooms and were ready to open in the space of one month. It does look really nice and a huge improvement over the predecessor. The tables all have beige linen tablecloths, red linen napkins and each table had a single red rose.

Yelp currently has a $10 for $20 Deal on their site for this restaurant. But it only applies to the regular menu and not the lunch buffet.

I wouldn't make a special trip to return but I'll probably go back again if 'm in the area.

Jan 08, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

India's Restaurant in Los Feliz/Silver Lake

I saw the Yelp reviews and pics. It looks like it is in the location where the Point Dume Chinese restaurant was located. That's in the strip mall on Fountain near Sunset.There is also a good Thai restaurant there. One reviewer said he believes India;s Restaurant is under the same ownership as India's Tandoori in Manhattan Beach and they have identical menus.

I'll give it a try soon.

Jan 05, 2014
Sam D. in Los Angeles Area

Unsure which Flour for No Knead bread.

The original recipe as published in the NY Times calls for EITHER all purpose flour OR bread flour. It didn't specify bleached or unbleached so I'd assume that it doesn't matter.

The recipe originated from Jim Lahey and was popularized by Mark Bittman. When it first appeared, it generated thousands of responses on Chowhound and other cooking/baking sites.

There is another recipe for "No Knead Rye Bread" from Joe Valencic.

Jan 05, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

How long should shredded chicken and chicken noodle soup last in the fridge?

Chicken soup or broth goes bad quicker than cooked chicken by itself. You can keep chicken soup from spoiling by re-heating it to a boil every 3-4 days and then put it back in the fridge. If you do that you need to keep the noodles separate and add them when you serve the soup. Otherwise they'll get too mushy.

Jan 05, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

What's the Best Way to Reheat a Leftover Slice of Pizza?

I've tried the oven, microwave and stovetop in a heavy pan, all with less than satisfying results.

Jan 05, 2014
Sam D. in Home Cooking

Survey: Do you wash your poultry before cooking?

Have always done it and always will.

Jan 03, 2014
Sam D. in General Topics