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

DiveFan's Profile

Title Last Reply

Hardee's opinions wanted.

I'll have to disagree at least about the biscuits.

I was impressed with Hardees thirty years ago when I traveled a lot in the southeastern states. Their biscuits and breakfast items were more than acceptable for a fast food place.

Unfortunately when CKE of Carls Jr fame bought them, their corporate standardized industrial ingredients list came along and quality dived - cardboard biscuits anyone? Even my Wisconsin / Minnesota relatives said 'crap alert - stay away'. I can't say that they've returned to the biscuit recipe of old IMO. Perhaps there a few locations who can 'fudge' the standard process to get better results.

Sep 07, 2012
DiveFan in Chains

san marzano tomatoes... advice sought

I'll echo the concern about fraud, misrepresentation and just bad product. The canned ones I've bought at a very reputable store were nothing special and overpriced to boot.

Hate to say this, but canned Trader Joes plum tomatoes have been consistently the best store product IMO.

Perhaps the OP could mix in a lot of pulverized lava rock into her (likely clay) soil and try again. :-)

Sep 07, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

Empanadas filled with pork and tomato

@ChiliDude, I think you need to 'chill'. The OP's ex is some pathetic poser who misrepresented himself. Now back to the recipe.....

@PirateICE, welcome to Chowhound!
I'll bet the red pork fat is due to being cooked with achiote oil. See Daisy Martinez' book 'Daisy Cooks' for the red empanada dough and empanada recipes and much more! Daisy is genuine boriqua.

Search flash - found the dough recipe on her web site:
The recipe in the book includes yucca which may be more authentic but may be hard for you to find:
BTW the achiote oil recipe is also on her web site - link from recipes main page.

The shredded pork could be made with any basic braised pork recipe; Daisy's book includes one with guajillo chiles and tomato - very red indeed.

Sep 07, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

My 'to do' map - Microbrewers of Los Angeles county

@InsidiousRex, thanks for the link - they're Way ahead of me :-). Hope they keep it up to date. To my surprise, it lets one toggle display of specific categories on and off.

@RBHound, I'm aware of BeerAdvocate but, even more so than Chowhound, keeping up with the volume of interesting posts can lead to subject matter burnout. Perhaps it's time for a beer and a recharge .....

Sep 07, 2012
DiveFan in Beer

My 'to do' map - Microbrewers of Los Angeles county

For a long time I've meant to attack this systematically and finally 'cracked the codes' of the state ABC site. Here's a map of licensed microbrewers, brewpubs and home brew suppliers in the county:

Due to the higher costs of meeting county health dept requirements, most microbrewers don't serve food but most have 'tap rooms' for tasting. Surprisingly, there aren't that many places categorized as brewpubs.

I challenge one and all to Drink Local Brews and show us your (regional) maps!

Sep 06, 2012
DiveFan in Beer

Hearty Split Pea Soup

For the aromatics and that much water, I'm guessing one pound or 450g of dried split peas.
BTW that seems like a lot of liquid (8 cups) to start. I'll go with 'one inch to cover' and check back in 30 minutes.

Sep 04, 2012
DiveFan in Recipes

HATCH CHILE ROASTING 2012 Please add dates.

"I predict that someday these Hatch chile suppliers will sell New Mexico chiles as varietals, not categorized simply be heat."
I hope so but I'm not holding my breath. They are still kind of novelty produce in SoCal that few people know about. I'm hoping that some California growers will find the right microclimate in our diverse state to grow them in.

Sep 03, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

HATCH CHILE ROASTING 2012 Please add dates.

Thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately the chiles at my nearby Northgate Market looked quite beat up and shabby (and I'm not that fussy) - roasting them would be difficult. Still, they were only 69 cents a pound. BTW the local ad did Not advertise any roasting at my (Hawthorne) store.

OTOH I was surprised to find Hatch chiles at the local Big Saver market for $1 / pound last week. No verdict on them yet.

Sep 03, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

HATCH CHILE ROASTING 2012 Please add dates.

Anyone know the prices that Bristol Farms is charging?
Yeah, I know their usual demographic may not care that much .....

I amplify the reco above about bringing large bags and coolers for the roasted chiles:
- you really, Really want them to cool down to avoid oversteaming
- they WILL LEAK - all product goes in at least two layers of plastic

Sorry to hear about the disappointing product from Ralphs. They are part of Kroger, so that doesn't surprise me. Same with the 'New Mexico' chiles from local Latino markets - do not expect full 'Hatch grown' flavor.

Aug 20, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

Bay Area Sources for Sulfite-Free Wines, Plus a Debate

This topic is pretty overblown IMO.
Thirty years ago smaller winemakers here learned by experience and education (UC Davis extension) that previously recommended sulfite doses were WAY OVER THE TOP. Sellers of jug wine did this because the retailers WERE STUPID - who puts wine in a sunny window display?
At any rate most wineries today use very small doses, mainly in white wines. IIRC the skins in red wine will provide some naturally.
As with all food sensitivities, YMMV. I rarely notice anymore - symptom is usually a stuffed up sinus.

Aug 20, 2012
DiveFan in Features

Lasagne...pre-cook noodles or ?

Just to reuse an existing topic ......

Due to a non-functional oven I decided to make microwave (gasp!) lasagna. To my slight surprise it came out fine.

To improve the chance of success I parboiled regular lasagna noodles so I could cut and contour them to my microwave size glass dishes. Layer choice of homemade sauce, noodles, several kinds of cheese, cook for ~15 minutes. Done!

Jun 29, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

The End of "Ethnic"

Mr. Birdsall, please take your sorry 'writing' back to the East Bay Express where your fellow hipsters will nod in agreement.

Still, the term 'ethnic cuisine' still has meaning in those boring suburbs where Applebees and Chilis are the safe bet and non-Merican food is pretty much Italian, Chinese and Mexican (all suitably Mericanized of course).

Jun 06, 2012
DiveFan in Features

PBS disconnect: Ming Tsai and ATK's opinions of T-Fal Acti-Fry


In this battle, I don't have any favorites.
ATK product reviews are amusing but cover just a small fraction of what's available.
Celebrity endorsements should be taken with a pinch of ............ strike that, pickled in a barrel of salt. For what, I dunno.

T-Fal lost all credibility with me 30+ years ago with their crappy non- 'non-stick' cookware.

Most retail cookware sucks, patronize your local commercial kitchen equipment suppliers.

Jun 02, 2012
DiveFan in Food Media & News

The various Schat's bakerys

@MW: "I've only had the baked goods directly from the Ukiah bakeries, and for a brief time when there was a branch in Cloverdale. Wondering if glbtrtr's visceral reaction is from tasting the product of the wholesale operation."

Very good point. I wouldn't expect the same quality of bread when obtaining it via the supermarket supply chain. Witness La Brea breads, Noah's bagels, etc. Oddly, San Luis Sourdough is a possible exception ....

I have eaten their bread many times at the Ukiah location. Like their breakfast and lunch offerings, it is better than average but I wouldn't make a special trip for it.

May 29, 2012
DiveFan in California

Mexican salsa?

Aside from more expensive artisanal products, the Big Saver chain has the best premade salsas in our area IMO. I believe it is their 'ranchera' salsa that is made with roasted poblanos and tomatos - very tasty! A warning - their 'house' salsas now have a brand label so I don't know if they changed them recently.
They also carry the ingredients (but not the recipes) to make it yourself :-).

May 29, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

Supertaster Daily: 3 Ways to Improve Taco Bell's New Beefy Nacho Burrito

Getting back to Mr. Norton's proposed additions:
- Bacon - new stock item, new cooking skills req'd, but possible use in a Bacon Wrapped Mexican Hot Dog as well
- Pickle - new stock item, flavor profile a little too far away from TB Mex.
- Kimchee - new stock item, to the bean counters an expensive version of sauerkraut
Bacon might happen because 'everyone else is doing it'; I vote for the kimchee + ground 'beef' burrito without the horrific nacho 'chips' and 'cheese'.
Nah, won't happen :-(.

May 29, 2012
DiveFan in Features

Supertaster Daily: 3 Ways to Improve Taco Bell's New Beefy Nacho Burrito

Mr. Norton, once again thanks for amusing us with your consumption of terrifying food products.
However, Taco Bell is run by typical old school American management - better to have an even lower common denominator product than to take a risk. Using the same tired ingredients from their industrial cuisine palette is their only game.
There are countless (and even inexpensive) ways that they could step their Mexican style food up a notch, but I don't expect change until a competitor 'eats their lunch'. Not likely in Bubba America.

May 29, 2012
DiveFan in Features

How do you cook basmati rice?

Agree on the soaking and rinsing. Most brands that I've bought recently are cleaner than they used to be.
Go easy on the proportion of cooking water; for one cup of rice use 1 3/4 cup water, possibly less in a microwave cooker. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to very low flame and cook for about 12 minutes. I've found it very hard to screw up cooking basmati.

May 26, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

Last Meal in LA? Leaving after 20 Years

Bruddah's in Gardena.
I didn't notice a glut of mom-and-pop Hawaiian restos in Chicago when I was last there. Roy's doesn't count :-).

May 24, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

Help Me Like Sam's Club

As a Former Sam's Club member, I'll list a few highlights vs my long time Costco membership:
- occasionally better clothes selection (Levi, Russell Athletics)
- single qty on some cookware
- accepts MC and VISA credit cards (Costco is AMEX only)
- higher prices for almost all merch
- pimps overpriced, lower quality national brands like its parent Walmart (fewer store branded items)
- not many stores in my area (could be critical for vacation ROAD HAZARD Tire repair)
- only convenient store is older with fewer amenities (no gas, food court)

May 23, 2012
DiveFan in Chains

Bug - multiple posts on Story comments

Well, the long standing terse message 'Error' has been replaced by a spam like multiple posting bug - see this URL:

Using Firefox 10.0.4 ESR on Windows XP SP 3, FWIW.

Good luck, Engineering...

May 22, 2012
DiveFan in Site Talk

freezing stuffed peppers-blanching

I agree with not blanching them. You might want to consider blistering them slightly over the range or in a hot oven. Poblanos require this process more than bells.
When they come out of the freezer, the skins will come off easily and what's left won't be tough.

May 22, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

White Chicken Chili

As with similar recipes, the canned beans need to be added close to the very end - they are usually borderly mushy texture anyway.
If you can plan slightly ahead, soak some navy or other white beans overnight and cook them separately.
Having made similar before, I'd call this a chicken stew :-). IMO carne con chili means Beef.

May 22, 2012
DiveFan in Recipes

Chipotle, Beef, and Bean Chili

TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE RECIPE! Seriously, whoever approved this needs remedial taste training.
For the amount of meat, WAY TOO MUCH tomatoes and pinto beans! One 16 oz can of tomatoes will be plenty. Add one can of rinsed beans at the end unless you want them to disappear.
The salt content looks a little heavy, leave half out until the end.

May 22, 2012
DiveFan in Recipes

Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

@DST, any vinegar based Carolina cole slaw recipe will do. Here's a good one:
You don't want to overdo it on the BBQ sauce - the sandwich will be too sloppy. Barely moisten the pork.
BTW those buns are Super food porn :-).
EDIT - save time by prepping the ingredients and marinating in a zip top bag overnight.

May 18, 2012
DiveFan in Recipes

Del Taco Coming To SM Blvd. WLA

I had no idea WLA was so deprived :-). Large empty space on west of the 405.

Take it from the Emergency Food Gourmand, go for the Classic Taco special on Tuesday - three for $2.

May 17, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles Area Food Festivals Summer 2012

I mainly keep an eye on EyeSpyLA:
Not all of the listings are gems, but you'll pick up on this after a while.

The LA Times used to be a good source, but it's now a train wreck IMO.

The LA Newspaper Group has event pages, note different city selection at bottom of page:

BTW I wasn't impressed by the search-by-location feature of - much too literal. Searched by Los Angeles, got Just the listings in LA proper - not any nearby cities.

The L.A. Commons site has events by area: is also a 'somewhat thin' source:

Not quite a 'festival' listing, but this food truck site is improving :-):

@LA is an ancient site, haven't looked at it in detail recently:

May 17, 2012
DiveFan in Los Angeles Area

Tehina--Other uses besides making Hummus?

I'd appreciate a little more description of the flavor differences.
I've not found Middle Eastern style tahini paste to be sour, just nutty and oily in a good way.

May 17, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

Tehina--Other uses besides making Hummus?

" Great served over stuff".

Couldn't have said it better.
Tahini sauce is an amazingly versatile (and easy to make) sauce.
Pretty much anything that can fit in a folded piece of pita or Greek bread will benefit.

Even the inferior (IMO) non-roasted tahini makes a good sauce.

May 17, 2012
DiveFan in Home Cooking

I-5 stops worth making?

What did you like at Antojitos Mexicanos?
BTW there is (was?) a resto with the same name at the Howard Rd / Westley offramp 34 miles north. Stay away from the Mexican style cubano sandwich (includes hot dog wieners) :-(

An option for Mexican mentioned in other topics is Planeta Rojo at the Buttonwillow / SR-58 intersection. Decent tacos a la carte for a fair price.

May 17, 2012
DiveFan in California