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Toddler friendly top restaurants in Yountville

I have an out-of-town pal all the way from Europe whom I'd like to entertain next week. We are going to Yountville for lunch, and I have to bring along my 15-month old toddler. I am wondering if there are any great restaurants there that are toddler friendly? Ad hoc?

Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

Jul 14, 2011
Riceball in San Francisco Bay Area

Costco membership worthwhile for 2 adults and 1 infant? (organic buyers)

I remember it being organic pastured beef (not sure if says grass fed, will check next time and write down the brand, since we don't eat steak very often). The organic raspberries and blueberries are from Driscoll's.

There's also organic frozen yogurt by Alden's and organic ice cream bars by Julie's, both major brands at Whole Foods. Our Costco also carries many cheese products that Trader Joe's does, some of them organic. I have been so far very satisfied with my membership fee since it saves me lots of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's trips.

Apr 10, 2011
Riceball in Chains

Costco membership worthwhile for 2 adults and 1 infant? (organic buyers)

Thanks for all your replies. I have now reactivated Costco membership for two months, and I think I can make back my $50 membership fee easy. I'd like to share some experience with other organic buyers.

The stores that I am going to (Redwood City and Mountain View) have quite a few organic choices. For animal protein, we usually get organic steaks ($3-5 per lb cheaper than Whole Foods), wild fresh seasfood such as halibut, dover sole, cod which are selling at ~$3-4 per lb cheaper than farmer's market or Whole Foods), and organic chicken breast ($1 per lb cheaper than Trader Joe's).

Costco organic olive oil is a great deal, so is its organic pasta and organic flour. It carries organic blueberries and raspberries, at about $0.5 per lb cheaper than the cheapest stores I can find. However, we are also buying more Towsend frozen organic berry mix for making smoothies or pastries, sometimes if fruit is not in season, we buy frozen instead. Costco also carries Earthbound organic salad mix, baby spinach, celery and baby carrots and these are the four items we get regularly.

For milk, I am a bit disappointed that they don't carry Strauss (perhaps because of the bottle hassle) since they carry Strauss yogurt. We don't eat that many eggs so we buy from Farmer's Market, but the Costco organic eggs seem to be pretty big. We also buy Costco organic chicken stock which comes out to be $1 cheaper than Trader Joe's for every 6 packs.

Overall, we probably save about $6-10 per week by going to Costco, which comes out to about $40 savings, so I'd say organic buyers can definitely benefit from Costco membership.

Apr 09, 2011
Riceball in Chains

Where can I find less sweet organic cake and pastry?

I am concerned about the rBGH laden cream and milk protein used in cake and pastry, as well as the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. Where can I find cake and pastries that are toned down in sweetness with organic milk protein ingredients and cane sugar? Or I will have to make such a thing at home?

Mar 25, 2011
Riceball in San Francisco Bay Area

Costco membership worthwhile for 2 adults and 1 infant? (organic buyers)

Thanks for all of you who have chimed in, really appreciated your input.

My other concern about Costco is, is their organic really organic? Organic as a label is different from organic in quality, for example, I will never buy Horizon "organic" milk since it is really borderline organic, and those who care about quality know that Horizon is just a glorified factory-farm brand that tweaks its operation to qualify for being organic, but the Horizon milk cows produce twice as much milk as average organic milk cows, so go figure. I somehow have the same concern with Costco organic, because any farm that serve Costco volume will have to sacrifice on quality, there is simply no way around it. I cannot expect to find Strauss quality for milk at Costco. Is it my prejudice against big retailers? What do you guys think?

Nov 26, 2010
Riceball in Chains

Costco membership worthwhile for 2 adults and 1 infant? (organic buyers)

We are a family of 3, consuming mostly organic veggies and seafood (wild if available) for diet. I heard that Costco is great for diapers but I can't seem to find Huggies Pure and Natural which is what my baby uses at a nearby Costco. My baby feeds on breast milk and home-made solid food soI don't need the formula or baby food there either. I am also aware that Costco offers a lot more organic choices nowadays, but I am just not sure if I can get my $50 back annually with our spending pattern.

I currently obtain my organic veggies, fruit and seafood primarily from local farmer's market and Trader Joe's with a few Whole Foods trips to top it off.

Any insight is welcome. Thanks.

Nov 21, 2010
Riceball in Chains

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

Regarding chocolate, one of the foods with richest antioxidant, one should always try to buy undutched cocoa, which is far more important than buying organic. Dutching is a process of adding alkali to cocoa to do away with the bitter after taste, but it also sheds over 90% of the antioxidant.

Sharffen Berger is one of very few companies that carry undutched cocoa. Highly recommended.

May 30, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

I agree with most of what you said.

However, I think once we return to the "old" food that our ancestors have been eating throughout tens of thousands of years, moderation is really not required, because our body knows how to react.

The biggest problem of high fructose corn syrup is, it was only popularized as a sugar substitute 30 odd years ago. Our body doesn't know this stuff. As a result, you don't feel full, and you don't feel sweet enough. Our body through centuries of evolution has never encountered something like corn syrup and doesn't send off "I'm full" signal to our brain, hence the amazing percentage of obese Americans in this country.

I didn't grow up in the US. When I first came here, two things about food were shocking to me. Dessert tasted (and still does for me) sooooo damn sweet, I could never finish a typical American cake or cookie. When we make our own cookies at home, we have to cut the sugar to 1/3 of the recipe. On top of this, food portion was HUGE. The second one was easier to get over, somehow I found out, if I eat enough of those food loaded with corn syrup, I just didn't feel full so easily!

I occasionally use butter, never margarine, for cooking or bread spread. I don't mind high-fat things, as long as they are "old" food, because I quickly feel full and stop. Although I have never bought any low-fat gimmies, because of my veggie-centered diet, my bad cholesterol level remains very low while my good cholesterol level is very high due to the our daily fish intake.

I think it is actually quite easy to eat healthy. Just eat the menu that our ancestors have taste-tested for us for many generations. It's the highly industrialized food production and modification process in this country that bothers me.

It is also quite an irony that I have to pay more to eat like my parents did in their home country. Something is awfully wrong about the food industry in this country.

May 30, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

A few points from an obsessive healthy eater

-low fat xxx is sometimes imitation xxx. The American law has it that the manufacturer doesn't need to put the word imitation in front of the food which is being imitated. What are the components of imitation xxx? Well, the usual suspects of industrially produced chemical compounds.

It's actually ok to eat full-fat dairy, as long as it is natural and organic, and raised without rBGT. Americans grow fat not because of fat, but because of sugar. Our body converts extra sugar into fat for storage. The Europeans are not obese not because they don't eat fat (in fact they almost always go for full-fat dairy), but because they eat low-sugar diet. Almost everything on their supermarket aisle has a low-sugar alternative.

- diet soda is NOT healthy. Both aspartame (Nutrasweet) and its predecessors are carcinogenic. There are also many long-term side effects for consuming aspartame.

It is ok to consume REAL cane sugar. The problem of American diet is, we have no or very little cane sugar, but high fructose corn syrup as substitute! Everything in this country is loaded with high fructose corn syrup which doesn't make you feel full. If you like soda, get something with real cane sugar in it without any corn syrup, and pour in half half seltzer water, hence reducing the calorie by half. I often make my soda by pouring juice and seltzer or soda water together.

- try to stay away from ground any meat. What kind of meat do you think goes into ground meat? Internal organs, useless ends, usually parts with the highest cholesterol content. Buy good meat and ground it yourself if recipe calls for it.

May 28, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

Thanks for the suggestion, I will go check out this week.

May 26, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

We have completely cut out WF since our CSA substitution. TJ's inventory is very reasonably priced and we are hooked on too many of their items so we can't cut that.

However, the seafood problem is, those flash-frozen fish tastes decisively different from the fresh fish served at Mitsuwa. If our tongues cannot tell the difference, I would be more than happy to go with TJ's stock. But since we live so close to the coast, I've always been wondering if we can find a cheap local fishing outlet that sells fresh fish from Monterey or Half Moon Bay.

Yes, our diet is mostly carb free. We do eat little bit of rice, noodles, bread etc. every day and that's why we need lots of veggie and fruit to fill the stomach.

Healthwise, we actually feel very good on the current diet. But we don't feel that good about the cost.

May 26, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

Thanks for the detailed reply again. We are not loyal WF fan, and by switching to CSAs from WF, we are already saving 50% on veggie cost. When my Frog Hollow CSA runs out, I will go to local farmer's market for fruit. Maybe I should hold out till their stone fruit season first (they don't come down to South Bay for farmer's market), but so far I find their fruit to be overpriced at $3.5 per lb. The Upicks is a great idea, we are on the waiting list of Two Small Farms CSA, so if we get on, we will drop one of the current CSAs.

Gardening is a great suggestion, I am trying to research on how to grow herbs in my backyard. Not a born green thumb, but hey, whatever can save $$$ is a good enough motivation.

We are not brand conscious, we just want to find the most reasonably priced healthy food, because frankly, food is much cheaper than medicine and hospitalization cost. My father spends easily over $250 on medicine a month even though he is covered by Medicare.

May 26, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

Thanks for the suggestion on Grocery Outlet, I just found one that is within 5 miles radius of my home. I will go check it out today.

May 26, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

Cooking CSA Produce [From SF board]

I usually use lightcooking.com to look for recipes. There are a few easy ways to finish off the veggies.

1) Veggie soup - if you put tomatoes and potatoes in any soup, even without stock, they are going to taste great. The rest of the ingredients range from zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage or whatever is left over. Load up the soap with herbs like oregano, parsley (add dry herbs at the beginning and fresh at the end). The soup only takes 20-30 minutes.

2) Salad - combine fruit with salad mix (lettuce, cabbage thinly sliced, or cucumber, radish etc.), and do your own salad dressing using California-made olive oil which I think is superior to Italian and Spanish ones. It takes experiments to find out which fruit goes well with what veggies, but as a general rule of thumb, citrus suits any veggie.

3) Baked veggie like ratatouille, casserole with a mix of different veggies that you can swap in and out once you get the basic principles down.

4) Stir fry - we love Thai food, so we keep fish sauce, lemon grass, and fresh lime close by. You can always stir fry an assortment of veggie adding the Thai elements like those mentioned above. To finish up, don't forget to toss in fresh basil at the end.

5) Curry - you can buy Indian, Japanese or Thai curry sauce, or if you want go all the way, you can go to these ethnic shops for spice packs. I personally like Japanese curry powder that you can add to any veggie to make it a curry dish. Thai or Indian curry has too much coconut oil which may not be that healthy.

I think the key to veggie cooking is to understand how fast each type cooks, so that when you put them together, you know the order in which they are cooked and assembled together. Since Vit C is destroyed at above 60C, Vit B and folate are also easily destroyed by heat, if you cook your veggie using mild heat accordingly, most of the nutrition can be preserved .

I hope this helps.

May 25, 2008
Riceball in Home Cooking

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely look into the seafood choices.

But I am a little embarrassed to admit that we DO finish almost all the veggies from 2 CSAs every week (maybe 50 lbs), sometimes in 6.5 days. We get two full shares from both CSAs. Since we have nothing to eat on the 7th day of the week, we have to eat out. I know that sounds completely ridiculous, but we seem to have unreasonably big stomachs, and we haven't been putting on much weight after so much food, perhaps because it's mostly veggie and fruit.

May 25, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food

grocery bill for health conscious consumers

We are a family of two, very health conscious, cook almost every meal from scratch and bring our own lunches (eat out 5-6 times a month). We eat almost exclusively organic and seafood. I would like to solicit some idea from fellow organic veggie eaters on how to pinch pennies in this inflationary environment.

We currently belong to 3 CSAs, Eating with the Seasons, Full Belly Farm and Frog Hollow (for fruit only). We like Eating with the Seasons because it offers choice, unlike conventional CSAs. With choice comes cost, every single item comes in a smaller quantity compared to Full Belly, which has some outstanding produce, but bunch carrots for a whole month could be overwhelming. So we always look at Full Belly's weekly delivery list first, and choose from EWS whatever FB doesn't deliver that particular week. Frog Hollow (Happy Child CSA) is the most expensive one, costing about $35 for 10lbs of fruit (avocado inclusive), we joined based on the raving reviews of their peaches on this board. So far, we don't find their fruit to be THAT extraordinary, perhaps because the peach season has not started yet. With 3 CSAs under the belt, we need very little supplement from the supermarket, except for olive oil, milk, condiments etc. at TJ's. When our subscription with Frog Hollow expires, we may find another fruit CSA with better value. Are there any other choices for fruit CSA besides Frog Hollow?

Our CSA costs come out to be around $85 a week, which I find to be as good as it gets because we eat enormous amount of veggie. Prior to joining the CSAs, our Whole Foods grocery bill was at least 50% higher. Now we never visit Whole Foods again. Our TJ cost is around $40 a week on ice cream, olive oil, milk, nuts, two buck chucks (for cooking, we don't drink) etc. Maybe there is some slack, but I feel we are doing ok.

We are murdered by our cost on seafood. We shop at Mitsuwa, which we found to carry the best quality seafood in South Bay, but at a steep price. Our seafood cost is around $65 a week, and they are not even all wild caught. I would love to know about quality fish mongers around South Bay that can cut my seafood cost. Are there seafood CSAs?

So just on food alone, without counting the bath tissue, washing powder etc., our grocery cost is already $800-850 a month, which I found to be on the higher end compared to grocery bills I saw on the internet. I would love to cut $100-150 a month without sacrificing much quality, is it doable? How?

Thanks.

May 25, 2008
Riceball in Not About Food