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

Happs's Profile

Title Last Reply

Mass Market Chocolate

I normally eat Dove and Toblerone chocolate but I decided to purchase some Easter chocolate today from common brands like Hershey's, Palmer and M&M's because they were heavily discounted. I don't know if my tastes have changed or the quality of chocolate has decreased, but they tasted too sweet and didn't have a strong chocolaty taste. Has anyone else noticed this or a change in the taste of common chocolates in the United States?

Apr 27, 2011
Happs in General Topics

Wine Refrigerator Cooling Unit

I have a Vinotemp 220 bottle wine cabinet with a WineMate 1500C cooling unit (similar to Breezaire) that's about 3.5 years old and doesn't cool as well as it used to. It also operates almost continuously. A new cooling unit is $700+. Can these cooling units be serviced by an HVAC technician or is it a sealed unit that can't be refilled with freon or have parts replaced on it? I'm not sure if the cooling unit just low on freon or if it's broken. I know they don't make things like they used to. I read many reports of refrigerators not lasting more than 5 years, icemakers on them going out in less than one year, etc even on higher priced units. I hope wine cooling units haven't gone the disposable route because $700 every 3-4 years is very expensive.

The unit is in my bedroom and I'm not concerned about looks. I'm willing to pay more for a wine refrigerator with excellent reliability in the cooling unit. I see used LeCache and Eurocave units for sale for $2000, but no mention how old the cooling unit is. Perhaps their units last forever.

I'm a little confused on what to do.

Happs in Phoenix.

Mar 12, 2009
Happs in Wine

Gallows Rd/Lee Highway Area Restaurants

I will be staying at the Courtyard in Vienna, VA right next to the Dunn Loring Metro station later this month and would appreciate any suggestions on reasonable ($-$$) places to eat for a single person. I like hole in the wall and value type restaurants that aren't chains. I don't have a car so I'd like to visit someplace close that's walkable. I will be walking down Gallows Rd from Highway 66 to Arlington Rd. Looking at maps online, it seems like it's a mile or so in each direction. I hope the area isn't too dangerous for a pedestrian to be walking in traffic wise. If Lee Highway is too scary to cross for a pedestrian, then are there any options at the corner of Lee Highway and Gallows Rd?

I thought I would ask here since most of the time a hotel will recommend chains. The hotel has a Vienna, VA address but it seems like it you walk a block or two south you are in Merrifield if that helps any.

Thank you for any information and I hope this request isn't too unusual.

Crane Lake Petite Syrah

Does anyone know where I can find this wine in the Phoenix metro area? I was visiting some friends in California and they said they bought it at Henry's for $2.99. It's a fantastic value and much better than Charles Shaw.

Oct 25, 2008
Happs in Wine

Good Value Lacking in North San Diego County

I probably speak for a lot of people in different parts of the state, but since I live part of the year in North San Diego county--specifically Solana Beach, I'll talk about this area. I rarely go out to eat since I haven't found very many value restaurants here. Restaurants seem to be overpriced and more about style than substance. Friends in other parts of the country tell me about packed family run restaurants with lines out the door that serve a great tasty good quality helping of food at an irresistable price and are turning a profit. Why is this concept extinct in San Diego? The only restaurant I've found that is a great value (meaning good quality consistent food for an awesome price is Souplatation) Where are your old fashioned breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurants that serve homeade food of good quality in copious amounts for a low price? 9 times out of 10 when a new restaurant opens, it's overpriced, bland and seems to be solely about profit. I know this area tends to have a higher end demographic but as an upper income person, I don't want to overpay and am not the type to freely spend $30 a plate for uninspiring food. I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. Perhaps most people don't think like me and that's why these "hip" places that generate a buzz are multiplying and bargain eats are becoming extinct. I wish I had the capability to open up an old fashioned American diner type restaurant like many Greek-American immigrants did when they came to the United States. I am Greek-American and had family members and knew friends who ran these establishments successfully for many years in the 1930's to 1980s. You received a copious amout of homeade food at a fair or inexpensive price, the menu was easy to understand, it was unpretentious. The owners made you feel welcome. Why can't restaurateurs offer this in the year 2008? I want to live in a metro where you can get a bargain authentic eat or an awesome value (like you do at many big box stores) in all types of neighborhoods--rich and poor. I bet there are people in Rancho Santa Fe who feel the same way I do. So far, the only restaurants I've found that provide this awesome value are the happy hour at Pacific Coast Grill, the happy hour at the Brigantine, Rudy's Taco Shop in Solana Beach, happy hour at Bully's in Del Mar and Souplantation---which is very busy because at dinner because it's a great value, while many restaurants along 101 seem empty--I wonder why? Most other restaurants I've been to have been avergage, bland, overpriced or catered to people who are undiscriminating about food quality. I know I've ranted a little but I want to encourage potential restaurateurs in North San Diego county to ponder why Souplantation has lines out the door for dinner and come up with an awesome value restaurant of your own--can be any type of cuisine--and offer really low prices and have lines out the door.

I would feel the same way if I was on the city council and was to approve a motel along highway 101. I would happily approve a $99 a night chain motel that I knew at that rate was going to be booked solid most of the year vs a $299 night boutique hotel that might not be booked most of the year. I would want the most sales tax revenue vs creating an upscale image. If you build it, they will come.

Feel free to name any other bargains in the area

Jun 25, 2008
Happs in San Diego