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Best Cajun Spice Blend?

Chef Prudomme's Blackened Seasoning is the best for grilling or frying fish and chicken. Cajun's Choice Creole and Blackened Seasoning are the best all purpose seasonings.

Dec 05, 2012
IDavis in General Topics

Best tasting canned tomatoes? [moved from Home Cooking board]

For me, Cento DOP San Marzano tomatoes are the best . In fact, all Cento canned tomatoes are pretty consistent in my opinion. They must have good quality standards. The only other certified San Marzano brands I've liked are Gigi and Rega. I haven't found any American canned tomatoes I've care for that much, though the Glenn Muir fire roasted tomatoes make good sauces and are reasonably priced. They are artificially sweetened, but they do work well for making sauces. When I really want to go all out making top notch dishes involving tomatoes, I know a farmers market vendor who hooks me up with fresh and phenomenal heirloom tomatoes. They're $6 per pound, but they can't be beat.

Oct 28, 2012
IDavis in General Topics

OC Brunch

Sorry, I got some names mixed up. It's actually called The Hacienda. The Mission is another place in SA I was thinking of.

http://www.the-hacienda.com/TheHacien...

Dec 30, 2011
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

OC Brunch

People talk about the Orange Hill Restaurant and Orange Mining Company. The buffet food is acceptable, nothing special. Both have the same view of central OC from the same hill, which makes the atmosphere very nice. Orange Hill is more upscale, little more pricey. I occasionally go to these places when in the mood for the view.

Taps in Brea has the best brunch in North OC and a good value at $35. It's a New Orleans Cajun themed brunch and the food is very good. Chomps in Fullerton has a nice brunch with quite a variety of fresh sushi. An excellent value at $25, though the brunch atmosphere is nothing great.

The Mission in Santa Ana has a decent Mexican brunch for $20 and the atmosphere is beautiful. It is a converted 19th Century Spanish mission and is absolutely beautiful. Speaking of Mexican brunches, Taco rosa in Newport Beach offers and excellent brunch value at $18.95. The food is good and they have a carving station and omelet bar. The Bayside in Newport Beach has one of the best brunches in Newport, but it is off the menu.....no buffet. Nice atmosphere overlooking the bay canals off Lido Isle and there's usually a jazz pianist playing. Talking about jazz, Spaghettini's in Seal Beach is the place to go, but the food is pricey and very mediocre.

Hyatt Huntington Beach is a very good hotel brunch just a notch down from The Ritz Carlton and St Regis Hotel brunches in Dana Point, which are very pricey at $70, but offer by far the best brunches in OC.

All of the aforementioned brunches have free flowing champagne.

Dec 29, 2011
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

In-N-Out Burger sucks (moved from L.A. board)

True, not the best burger, but the best fast food burger by a regional burger chain for sure and the rest of their food is really good for a fast food joint. All of it very fresh. Much better than the national fast food chains like McDonalds and Carls. And, when you take into consideration the price point of their food, the super fast and friendly service ....In 'n Out is tough to beat for a fast food chain.

Sep 12, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

I have been to 5 Guys now many times, and I really like them. It is kind of hard to compare to In 'n Out, because of the many more topping options. However, if we take a basic Double Double from In 'n Out, and compare it to the 5 Guys double pattie burger with similar toppings, In 'n Out wins. The fresher tomato, bun, lettuce and onion gives In 'n Out the edge in addition to their better tasting beef pattie. However, 5 Guys makes a bigger burger which is kind of nice, and again, I really like the topping options. I don't think there is a clear winner in the french fries department, but I prefer In n' Out's regular fries slightly, but prefer 5 Guys Cajun fires overall. In 'n Out also has better shakes, but 5 Guys makes a good shake. I haven't tried 5 Guys lemonade yet, In 'n Out makes great lemonade.

Because In 'n Out is cheaper, it is a better value, though I don't think 5 Guys is grossly over priced for the quality, and as I said before, they make a bigger burger. In the service department, In 'n Out wins hands down. Somehow they are able to find really good servers with great attitudes and their process is much faster than 5 Guys. To be fair to 5 Guys, they have more things on the menu to deal with and more topping combinations to consider when making their burgers. Nevertheless, In 'n Out is super fast. They have been making burgers for 50 years the same way and no one is faster or friendlier. They even deal with a drive thru, and 5 Guys doesn't have drive thu's, and In 'n Out is still much faster.

I know I give the big nod to In 'n Out, but I still like 5 Guys and recommend them, especially if you love lotsa topping options and haven't tried them yet. Next to In 'n Out, they might be the best regional chain fast food burger. They are certainly much better than the national chains such as McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Carls, BK, etc.

Sep 12, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Canned Tomatoes; check to make sure Calcium Chloride is NOT an ingrediant!!

I usually use DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes, and to my knowledge, they don't use calcium chloride, at least not the Cento brand which is what I use. However, I don't always feel it necessary to spend 5 bucks a can in order to make the very best sauce every time, so I will use an organically grown domestic product like Muir Glen or Red Pack for half the price. Both make acceptably good sauces. I simply rinse them and then soak them in water for 20 minutes to get rid of the calcium chloride taste which makes them overly acidic and metallic tasting.

Jul 25, 2011
IDavis in General Topics

SAN MARZANO (DOP) TOMATOES. What's the big deal?

No tomato makes a better sauce than a DOP certified San Marzano. I usually use Cento. The closest domestic product I have found is the organically grown Muir Glenn brand. Red Pack is not bad either. Yet, most of the domestic brands are inconsistent and have that stewy taste. I have compared the SM's many times right out of the can to domestic tomatoes and there is no comparison. San Marzanos are sweeter, richer, firmer and fresher tasting. They also melt and integrate much better into sauces. I can assure you that as soon as a better, and more consistent sauce tomato becomes available, all of your top chefs and top Italian restaurants will switch over.

Jul 25, 2011
IDavis in General Topics

Best Canned Tomatoes

If you don't want to spend top dollar. Muir Glenn organically grown tomatoes are good, though the consistency varies. Red Pack crushed tomatoes are good too and both these domestic brands make acceptable tomatoes sauces. They run between $2.00 and $3.00 per 28oz can. Now, if money is not an issue and you want to make the best tomato sauce possible using canned tomatoes, then nothing beats the DOP certified San Marzano variety imported from Italy. In fact, unless you know a grower, most any canned tomato will make a better sauce than fresh tomatoes typically found at local super markets. San Marzanos are a whole level up from any other canned tomato. In fact, one difference with the San Marzano tomato is that it has a fresher taste and does not have that stewy taste typical of most canned tomatoes. It's what your top chefs typically use when making sauces and the only brand I have used is Cento, so I can't comment on other brands. San Marzano is the region in which these tomatoes are grown. They are roma tomatoes and apparently the soil in San Marzano is volcanic, which is supposedly why the tomatoes are so much better. It is important that you only buy DOP certified (the Italian governments Designation Origin certification). If the can does not carry the DOP designation, there is a good chance the tomatoes are not from San Marzano. They typically run between $5.00 & 7.00 dollars per can.

Jul 25, 2011
IDavis in General Topics
1

Best tomatos for making pasta sauce?

Plum or Roma tomatoes are the best for making great sauce. Unfortunately, unless you know a grower or grow your own, it is hard to find great fresh tomatoes for making sauces. Certainly not in the supermarket. You are much better going with a high quality canned tomatoes. Some of the best canned tomatoes I've ever used are the Muir Glenn brand. However, they are not the most consistent and vary year to year and season to season. I would still recommend trying them. If you find a batch that are good, buy a whole bunch of cans. The best canned tomato based on quality and consistency are the San Marzano variety from Italy. They come in a variety of brands, Cento is the most popular and most available. Just make sure they are the real deal from Italy. Get either of these tomatoes whole in a can and then crush them by hand

Jul 24, 2011
IDavis in Home Cooking

tomato sauces question

Some of the best canned tomatoes I've ever used are the Muir Glenn brand. However, the are not the most consistent and vary year to year and season to season. I would still recommend trying them. If you find a batch that are good, buy a whole bunch of cans. The best canned tomato based on quality and consistency are the San Marzano variety from Italy. They come in a variety of brands, Cento is the most popular and most available. Just make sure they are the real deal from Italy. By either of these tomatoes whole in a can and then crush them by hand. Tomato sauce in a can is never as good.

Jul 24, 2011
IDavis in Home Cooking

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

Having eaten at 5 Guys several times now (and I do like them), here's the deal. In 'n Out has better tasting beef, period. In addition, their flavors work really well together. The tomato, onion, cheese, pattie, dressing and bun are all harmonious. With 5 Guys, they require that you build your own burger and choose your own toppings. If you know how to match your ingredients well, a 5 Guys burger can compete with In 'n Out's. Still, In 'n Out still has the edge in freshness and taste of beef. Both fries are comparable and it's a matter of choice.

Mar 30, 2011
IDavis in Chains

five guys burger sucks

Wow, you must have went on an off day or to a bad five guys. I agree that they are not the incredible amazing burger they claim to be, but my fries were fresh and good, the burger was on the large side (certainly bigger than In 'n Out's, which is the best fast food burger BTW) and I thought they were good. Certainly better than Carls, BK, MacDonalds and the National chains.

Mar 30, 2011
IDavis in Chains

five guys burger sucks

I've eaten at 5 Guys a couple times and while I find their burgers to be very good, they are not as good as In 'n Out's. The flavor of the beef was just OK. The topping choices is what sets 5 Guys apart from other fast food chain burgers.

I do not recommend ordering to go. They wrap their burgers in foil, and while that works well keeping in the heat, it also keeps in all the moisture which makes the bun real soggy.

Jan 29, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

I'm sure if you were a top chef who's credentials and popularity attracted big money endorsements, you would roll over for Applebees too. If you read the list, you would find the chef's on it to be quite impressive. None of them were paid for their opinion.

Jan 29, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Your Favorite Chain Burger

I don't rate national chains because none are up to my standard. Yeah in a pinch, I'll do a Big Mac or Whopper, but I try to avoid them.

My Picks:

Regional Chain (fast food): The In 'n Out Double Double Burger, (West Coast)
Regional Chain (restaurant): Surf 'n Turf Burger at Jack Schrimp (Various States)

Local Chain (fast food) The Kind Burger at TK Burger, (Orange County, CA)

Honorable Mention: The Counter, Five Guys Burger, Portillos, Hamburger Mary's

Jan 25, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

Although there's a lot to like about Five Guys, In 'n Out clearly makes the better burger. You just can't beat their freshness, and the taste of their beef is better. The whole medley of bun, beef, cheese, fresh tomato, onion and lettuce works better than any fast food chain out there. However, you can make an argument for Five Guys being number two along with a couple other regional chains. Five Guys makes a bigger burger and has a great topping selection that fits their build your own burger concept well. Still, In 'n Out's burger is better and that is supported by a recent poll of leading gourmet chef's, including a couple from the Food Network including Tyler Florence and Alton Brown.

http://www.cheese-burger.net/stories/...

Jan 24, 2011
IDavis in Chains

Your Favorite Chain Burger

Fast Food Large Chain Burger - This one goes to In 'N Out Burger. You cannot beat their freshness!

Fast Food Small Chain - Orange County CA based TK Burgers. At least good as In 'N Out, perhaps a little bit tastier.

Restaurant Large Chain - The Surf 'n Turf Burger at Jack Shrimp. The cajun remoulade is awesome on this burger!

Aug 23, 2010
IDavis in Chains

Five Guys Burgers & Fries Opens in Cerritos

5 Guys? Really good burgers, great toppings! Is it as good as In 'N Out? No..... In 'N Out has such a high standard for quality and freshness, you can't expect other chains to beat them in this area.

Aug 22, 2010
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

What's your best burger in OC?

As far as fast food burgers go, TK Burger is the best in OC. It is slightly better than In 'N Out.

As far as restaurant burgers? I have several favorites. One every should try is the Surf 'N Turf Burger at Jack Shrimp. Outstanding! Eat Chow Cafe in Costa Mesa has awesome gourmet burgers! In fact, their parmesan fries are the best fries in the world (so are their onion rings with blue cheese aiola).

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Chat Noir
655 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Jack Shrimp Restaurant
2400 W Coast Hwy Ste M, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Aug 22, 2010
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

Five Guys vs. In-N-Out

OK...I have eaten at both numerous times. Both have good beef and buns. 5 Guys has the advantage in regards to toppings and options. However, if you just rate the basic double burgers, done in a classic american way with cheese and classic toppings (ketchup, onions, tomato, iceberg lettuce, and a little thousand island, etc), In 'n Out blows 5 Guys away no doubt! In 'n Out is just a fresher burger period! 5 Guys is good, but it is no In 'N Out! In 'n Out also has much better fries and a better chocolate shake. However, 5 guys has some great french fry variations that are awesome! There shakes are good too and have more of a selection.

Bottom line? In 'n Out is better with the basic simple american burger, 5 guys is better with the creative variations.

You know which fast food burger beats them both? A small Orange County, CA chain called TK Burgers! Originated in surf town Huntington Beach, CA......this burger joint will rule the world if they can figure out how to consistently make their process work in a large chain (100 +) situation. Right now they only have a few locations. Nevertheless, they are top notch!

Aug 21, 2010
IDavis in Chains

Italian in OC

As far as OC goes I've tried most the popular ones......Peppinos (OK, a bit over-rated), Angelo & Da Vinci's, (not so good & way over-rated), Bene Mangia, Mangiqa Mangia (both decent), Lomeli's (considering the low prices, they're actually pretty good), Ti' Amo (not so good and overly hyped), The White House (I'm baffled why people like this place, not good), Villa Nova (worse than the White House). The reason some of these places receive way too much acclaim is mostly due to uneducated food afficiando's, who are fooled into thinking the food is better than it is because of the atmoshere. Honestly folks, do you really think the Villa Nova would have the rep they have if they were located in Garden Grove rather than on the water in Newport Harbor? And to be honest, I hear more about the charming 100 year old, turn of the century converted cottage home that is the White House, rather than their food. To me the place is gawdy and not very clean.

Anyway, Antoinellos, Roma Cuccina and Roma 'd Italia are all deserving of the praise they get. Their food is really good. Finbar's is good too. Too bad L'Opera's Spectrum location closed down, they were excellent. Fortunately, their downtown Long Beach location is still thriving as usual.

As far as the food goes? The best italian joint in OC is Nick's Pizza & Ristorante in Costa Mesa near Harbor & Wilson. Besides making the best pizza in OC for over 30 years, they make the best anti-pasta salad and the best brushetta I've ever had anywhere. In addition, their italian oysters on the half shell are heavenly and their clam dishes are outstanding. Most their pasta dishes are top notch and for $24.00, they serve a melt in your mouth, to die for, proscuitto wrapped Filet Mignon with creamy garlic mash potatos (awesome mash potatos, BTW) and a huge portebello mushroom filled with garlic sautee'd spinach. Unless you go Kobe, you won't find a better steak in OC. All of their food is very fresh and organic tasting. I am told that Nick the owner owns a ranch in Temecula where he grows his own herbs and vegetables, this could be why. Nick's marinara and red sauces compare to some of the best NY restaurants I've eaten at and his spicy Italian sausage is excellent.

Mar 16, 2009
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

Where can i get a great taco?

Fish and shrimp...especially shrimp....El Taco Nazo hands down! Maybe the best taco ever made. They are in S El Monte, La Habra, Bellfower, Anaheim Hills and a couple of more in the San Gabriel Valley.

Taqueria de Anza in Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa An has the best Carnitas tacos!

Jul 11, 2008
IDavis in Los Angeles Area

Best Taco Stands in LA

The best Shrimp Taco on the planet is at El Taco Nazo. In fact, it might be the best taco ever made! Everything is good there, but fish and shrimp are their specialty....especially the shrimp! It is worth all the hype and write ups! There are several in the San Gabriel Valley area. I go to the one in South El Monte. They also have one in Bellflower and Anaheim Hills.

Best Carnitas.....Taqueria De Anza! They are in OC...Santa Ana, Fullerton and Anaheim. Slow roasted rotisseire pork...mmmm!

I have no favorite Carne Asada place...the aforementioned are all good.

Jul 11, 2008
IDavis in Los Angeles Area