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Q's on ordering suckling pig dinner in SGV restaurants

Friends:

For his birthday dinner, my SO would like to be served a whole suckling pig, on a big platter, complete with snout, ears, and eyes (or maraschino cherry eyes). And we'd like to do the dinner at an SGV restaurant. I've heard good things about Lunasia, Elite or Ocean Star for the quality of the pig served. Some questions:

--Unfortunately, I have no Chinese language skills, and I understand I'll need to order in advance. Will that be a challenge, and if so, is there a restaurant where it would be easier for me to order than others?
--Also unfortunately, our friends are not adventuresome eaters, so this will be a special dinner just for me and my SO. I'm not worried about the cost of the pig - it seems relatively reasonable, even for a dinner for two. However, again, I'm wondering if the restaurants will be willing to serve this for two people only, as long as we pay for the full cost of the pig. Also, is there some optimal way to explain this? My SO and I often go to SGV restaurants, order obscene amounts of food so we can have some variety, and take a lot of it home. Most of the times, the wait staff understand, but there have been occasional times we've had long discussions where we have to convince the wait staff that yes, we know how much we're ordering, and how much it will cost, and we're fine with that.

--Finally, about how long in advance would we need to order, and is there any place that more likely to less advance notice?

thanks!

-Roz

Jun 06, 2014
roz in Los Angeles Area

Portable induction burners shutting off when boiling water

Again, I really appreciate hearing about other folks' experiences - ellabee, it's good to hear you're able to use a 2 quart sauce pan, because I think that's getting close to the minimum pot diameter the unit says it will take.

My pots are definitely induction compatible - and I've used a Scanpan fry pan and a Paderno carbon steel saute pan on the units without any problem with them shutting down.

LMAshton and other portable unit users - I'm curious about the concept that the unit would shut down if the pot has reached the temperature associated with the wattage. I realized I'm confused about the relationship between the wattage settings and the temperature settings on my units. Let's say I set the wattage to a certain level, and then set the temperature to a certain level. Which setting controls? Both units have default for each setting - so let's say I start with the default for one, but adjust for the other, which setting will the unit respond to?

Finally, a slightly unrelated note - anyone make pancakes on their portable unit, and if so what pan do you use and what settings do you use?

thanks again.

-Roz

May 10, 2014
roz in Cookware

Portable induction burners shutting off when boiling water

thanks - do you remember what kind of pot you were using? again, I appreciate hearing about your experiences.

May 08, 2014
roz in Cookware

Portable induction burners shutting off when boiling water

I appreciate everyone's perspectives about this. The issue isn't the pot size - for both units, the minimum pot size is about 4 and 1/2 inches, and the diameter of the bottom of my saucepan is definitely 7 inches.

I called Max Burton, and the person I spoke to indicated that perhaps the Cuisinart cookware I was using wasn't optimally induction compatible. This seems odd because the MultiClad Pro line has a stainless exterior and interior, over an aluminum core, and my refrigerator magnets had no problem sticking solidly to the bottom.

I'm inclined to agree with Kaleo at this point, because the performance is better at the lower power settings - around 4 or 5. I may see what happens if I set it to 3, and whether I can get water to come to boil without the unit shutting off at all, and how long that takes.

thanks again, your advice is very much appreciated.

May 08, 2014
roz in Cookware
1

Portable induction burners shutting off when boiling water

Friends:

I'm experimenting with two different relatively inexpensive portable induction burners (Max Burton 6200 and Update International IC-1800W). I live by myself and often like to cook a small portion of pasta. So tried boiling 6 cups of water in a Cuisinart MultiClad Pro Stainless 4-quart saucepan, uncovered.

In particular, the Max Burton unit kept shutting down several times as the water was heating up. The Update International only did it once. Both units are supposed to give error messages when they shut off, but I didn't see them.

Reading the instructions, it appears that the unit shuts down when there's the wrong type of cookware or the pot is too small - that shouldn't be the case with the cookware I was using - it's definitely induction-compatible and the diameter of the sauce pan is about 7 inches.

The units' instructions also say they will shut down when the internal temperature of the unit is too high or the heat of glass cooking surface is too high. With the Max Burton cookware, I did the old school "crank-up the wattage as high as possible to see how fast I can get the water boiling"-approach, and started the unit at 1800 watts, which might have caused the problem, but I'm not sure.

My bottom line - are there optimal setting for boiling a relatively small quantity of water with these burners? I realize I may have unrealistic expectations of the ability to quickly boil water with these portable units - the Cook's Illustrated reviews suggested they are not really better than a gas burner in terms of speed.

Finally, the reason I wanted to get an induction burner is that I live in an apartment with a very old electric stove top that works terribly. I've tended to do all my cooking with a butane portable burner, but there are some drawbacks with that being my only heat source, so I wanted to try something new.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

-Roz

May 08, 2014
roz in Cookware

Cleaning non-stick (Cermaic Guard) pan - and plastic cutting board

Friends -

Two cleaning questions - first, I have a wonderful pan that has a Ceramic Guard II non-stick coating. I clean it with basic dish washing soap (Palmolive), and it sometimes still seems to have a slightly gummy/greasy residue on it, particularly high up on the sides. I only use olive, peanut or sunflower oil with it, so it's not a problem caused by using cooking sprays. For my pans that don't have non-stick coatings, I've found that heating distilled white vinegar and then adding baking soda does a great job of getting rid of oily residues - I'm wondering if I can do the same with the pan with the non-stick coating.

I also use a plastic polyethylene cutting board for cutting meat, and the Palmolive doesn't do a good job of cleaning it - it also feels just slightly greasy, even if I wash it a few times. I'm wondering if there is a different dish washing soap, or something else, that would do a better job. I do disinfect it regularly by soaking it in a bleach solution.

thanks in advance for your suggestions!

-Roz

Mar 22, 2014
roz in Cookware

Best brands of Asian red/black vinegar and places to get in LA?

Thank you all for your suggestions. Banjoboy, I did find Gold Plum brand at a market in Chinatown, and ipsedixit, it was indeed "ChinKiang" black vinegar. I can't wait to try it out.

Banjoboy, you mentioned that you've seen "highly recommended" lists for Chinese vinegars. Are those lists around for other Asian ingredients and condiments, like different soy sauces or Japanese ponzu sauces? I'm fortunate enough to live near a variety of Asian markets in Los Angeles, but I'm not very educated about different brands - and price isn't always the best guide.

So as much as I enjoy the occasional taste test - going in and buying five or six brands of the same item, and seeing which I like best - there are times I just want to walk in the store, and have a pretty good idea about the quality of what I'm buying.

Again, I appreciate everyone's responses.

Nov 27, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

Best brands of Asian red/black vinegar and places to get in LA?

Friends:

I've had some great Cantonese hot and sour soup in the SGV, and I've always been impressed by the "sour" flavor - which has the perfect balance of tartness with a slightly lingering sweetness.

I'm assuming that this comes from Chinese red or black vinegar, and I'm wondering if there's a place in downtown's Chinatown I could get really good vinegar for preparing soup at home - I'd particularly appreciate hearing if there's a particular brand I should be getting, and how to identify it.

I also noticed that Mitsuwa market carries a very expensive Japanese black vinegar. I'm wondering whether I could use that instead of Chinese vinegar, and whether it's worth the cost.

As always, much thanks in advance for the great recommendations fellow Chowhounders provide.

-Roz

Nov 27, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

Best HK-style seafood restaurants in SGV - for seafood, for dinner

Friends:

I'd love to hear what folks think are the best HK-style seafood restaurants in the SGV for dinner - and for quality, variety, and distinctiveness of preparation of the seafood. Most of the posts on these restaurants in recent years seem to focus on dim sum, and not what's available at dinner.

My apologies if this seems to be covering territory that's been covered in Chowhound before, but my searches aren't coming up with recent postings on this question - and I'm wondering if folks have new ideas or have changed their minds about the best places for HK-style seafood.

Thanks on advance for your recommendations!

Nov 08, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

Quiet but "hip" in Bev. Hills, Hollywood, Cent. City, LA West

Friends:

I want to thank everyone for their recommendations and suggestions - everyone was so helpful. Ultimately, my nephews desire for an interesting beer selection won out, and my cousin was perfectly happy with somewhat exotic sausages - so we ended up at Steingarten on Pico, around 4:30 pm, when it wasn't crowded - I'm not sure what the noise level is like when it's packed.

My cousin liked the bratwurst with the curry ketchup - it was moist and tasty without being incredibly heavy or greasy. I had a duck and bacon sausage that was tasty, although just a little bit dry for my taste - but their pretzel bun for the sausage was delicious. Everyone loved the apple and bacon sauerkraut - including my sister, who usually isn't the most adventurous eater.

Finally, my nephews said they that have trouble finding Lost Abbey beers at the BevMo or bars close to where they live, so they were delighted to get them at the restaurant. I don't know anything about beer - apparently, their favorites were Devotion and Mo Betta Bretta.

Again, I appreciate everyone's suggestions, and will be likely to check them out for future family dinners.

-Roz

Aug 31, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

Quiet but "hip" in Bev. Hills, Hollywood, Cent. City, LA West

I'm putting together a family dinner for about five folks that include two young adult nephews and a "more mature" cousin. The cousin is actually a relatively adventurous eater, but prefers places where the music is really low, so we can talk - for example, she loved the food at Sotto, Picca and Ink, but just found the music too loud. My nephews see me as the aunt that takes them to the "hip" places with good selections of beer or wine and good food - they loved the Hungry Cat and Bludso's.

So I'm looking for a place in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Century City, or LA West (near the Grove or Beverly Center or West Hollywood), that has good food but is not too "fuddy-duddy," and is relatively quiet.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

-Roz

Aug 22, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

Can you ruin an SS fry pan by stir-frying with too little oil?

Friends:

Thank you all for your excellent comments and suggestions. The point about adding more than a few mist sprays of oil is well taken - I've decided it is definitely improving the taste and cooking quality, and I'm just trying to avoid the massive amount of oil some of my friends use, who seem to consider stir-frying and deep-frying to be synonymous.

For folks who were interested in why the non-stick cookware isn't working for me - I've basically abused my frying pan with the non-stick surface by cooking on too high heat, using metal utensils inside, and using abrasive cleaners on it. I'm not intending to repeat the latter two mistakes with the pans I buy next - at this point, I can't cook anything on the "nonstick" pan that doesn't stick, even with a very large amount of oil, and it heats quite unevenly.

I have to say with the all the great advice I've been given, I'm almost tempted to buy a SS pan, a carbon steel pan and a wok - I'd forgotten the temptation that arises when I hear about all the uses folks have for their pans.

thanks again!

-Roz

Jul 26, 2013
roz in Cookware

Can you ruin an SS fry pan by stir-frying with too little oil?

Friends:

I live in a very small apartment, and don't really have the room for a wok, but I've been doing a lot more stir frying lately on an old non-stick fry pan, which isn't working too well. I'm thinking of getting a new SS fry pan with a regular surface, but I do like to minimize the amount of oil I use - about two or three long sprays from a good oil mister I have. Also, I know I have to be careful about keeping the food moving, and not letting it burn.

Can I ruin an SS fry pan by stir frying with a small amount of oil? I don't mind having to put some effort into cleaning the pan - I've seen lots of great suggestions on chowhound on how to do so. I just don't want to impair the cooking quality of the pan.

Any suggestions would be appreciated - thanks in advance.

-Roz

Jul 21, 2013
roz in Cookware

What kind of cut for chicken thigh meat will cook quickly for stir fry or grilling?

Friends:

I shop frequently at a Japanese market that sells beef and pork cut in several ways that allow you to cook it quickly in stir fries, like yaki soba, or really fast grilling, like bulgogi, The cuts can be labeled "komagire" or "kiriotoshi" - I've even used meat pre-cut for sukiyaki, and although you're not supposed to stir-fry it, it comes out quite well.

Is there any way to get chicken thigh cut in a similar manner, or how would you cut it yourself? I don't mind a just a bit of skin and fat in it.

The Japanese market has a chicken curry cut, and I've seen fajita cuts in other grocery stores, but they don't look like they'd cook as quickly - and the curry cut looks like it's breast meat, which I've never had success in getting to be moist unless I marinade it.

Basically, I'm looking for a way to cut the thigh so that I come home, heat my pan up, throw in the meat with some worcestershire sauce or something similar, a few veggies, and maybe some yaki soba noodles that I've already microwaved, and have a super-quick meal.

TIA for any suggestions - there may be something simple here I'm overlooking.

-Roz

May 27, 2013
roz in Home Cooking

Can you use oil mister to spray hot sauce?

Thanks all for the helpful responses - I'm going to try some hot sesame or chili oil, which I believe my SO will really enjoy.

thanks again!

May 27, 2013
roz in Cookware

Can you use oil mister to spray hot sauce?

Friends:

So my obsession with trying different liquids in oil misters started when I got horribly bored with air-popped popcorn, but didn't want to add loads of fat - even "healthy ones" to my popper to get some flavor. I mixed some olive oil and rice vinegar into one of my spray oil misters, gave the popcorn a couple of shots, and it really worked out well. I've played with some other vinegars, and they seemed to work out OK as well.

So my SO, who wanted something with more heat, was wondering what would happen if we mixed some olive oil with Cholula. For my mister, I'm using an acrylic sprayer I got from the Container Store, which worked fine with my other mixtures. The hot sauce-olive oil mix seemed to do something to the acrylic sprayer, and I can't seem to get it to work anymore - I've tried cleaning it pretty thoroughly, and that doesn't seem to do the trick.

So before I repeat this experiment with one of my more expensive Prepara misters, I was wondering whether any one might know of a reason this wouldn't work. For example, when I poured a bit of the Cholula out on a plate, it seems to have tiny particles of what I think are chiles in it, and I was wondering whether those particles were clogging the misting mechanism. Or maybe the acrylic sprayer just isn't a particularly good oil mister. Or something else?

Any comments about this would be appreciated. TIA.

-Roz

May 25, 2013
roz in Cookware

Union Square recs for "non-adventurous" eater [San Francisco]

Friends:

I'm going to be having dinner with a friend in San Francisco tomorrow (Monday night), and the hotel I'm staying at is near Union Square. I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food, but my friend is not. He's fairly diet-conscious, and doesn't eat fish or pork. Often, he just orders a big green salad with grilled chicken. He will eat Asian food.

I'm trying to find a place where he can find something he'd enjoy, but is also fairly yummy, because I don't get to San Francisco often, and love to take advantage of what the city has to offer. I did some initial searching, and I was wondering what folks thought of the restaurants at Belden Place. Also, how good is the food at Hunan Homes on Jackson St.? Finally, I don't mind if the place is pricey, as long as I can get in without needing a reservation too far in advance.

Any other recommendations would be appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance!

-Roz

May 12, 2013
roz in San Francisco Bay Area

Places with variety of top-quality lox on Westside for taste testing

Friends:

I have a some friends coming in town from the South, and they want me to do a classic bagels and lox brunch for them - they are very, very good friends, so I'd really like to splurge. Beforehand, I'd like to go to a few places on the Westside that have a variety of top-quality lox - for example, both Nova and gravlax - so I can buy a small quantity, and "taste test" before I decide what I want for the brunch. I believe that Barney Greengrass is one place I noticed when I looked at old posts - any other recommendations would be appreciated.

Again, I want to emphasize that quality here is more important than value, unless I can some how get both.

TIA in advance for any recommendations.

-Roz

Apr 27, 2013
roz in Los Angeles Area

What can I do with an "Indian" chicken (other than soup)?

thanks all for your replies!

I did some more Web research on this. First, the reference by the poultry shop to "Indian chicken" was not a culinary or ethnic reference to how the chicken should be prepared - it was clearly a reference to the type or variety of chicken. As I did my Web research on this, as HeBrew says, there is a variety of chicken called an "Indian Game Hen" that is bred for being very meaty, so as chefj says it's likely they make good stewing chickens. I can't tell yet how the quality of the meat compares to a chicken you'd use for broiling or frying, but these birds were big.

So here's what's causing the confusion. In the UK, the Indian Game Hen is a breed that originated in Cornwall, and is also known as a "Cornish" chicken. It appears to be the mature version of "Rock Cornish Game Hen" or "Cornish Game Hen" that we refer to in the United States. According to the USDA, the Rock Cornish game hen or Cornish game hen is "a young immature chicken (less than five weeks of age), weighing not more than two pounds ready-to-cook weight, which was prepared from a Cornish chicken or the progeny of a Cornish chicken crossed with another breed of chicken.

So it could be that the Brits tend to refer to Cornish game hens as the big mature birds, while we tend to refer to their immature relatives that were all the rage I don't how many years ago.

thanks again to all - I ended up using both birds for the soup, it turned out great, and if I ever find myself in the situation again, I'll look for some easy chicken stew recipes. And next time I'm at the poultry store, I may take a photo of the chicken.

again, thanks all!

Mar 31, 2013
roz in Home Cooking

What can I do with an "Indian" chicken (other than soup)?

I went to a well-known local poultry shop yesterday in a hurry, and asked which chicken I should buy to make soup. They suggested an "Indian" chicken, and for some reason, I thought I'd be getting a very small bird - because I have a lot of soup to make, I bought two.

It turns out that the birds are really large, and one will clearly be enough for my recipe.I don't have the time or space to double my recipe. I'd like to save the second chicken and prepare it in some other manner that is hopefully less time consuming than chicken soup, in terms of the preparation (when I do chicken soup, I cut up lots and lots of vegetables).

-Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

-Roz

Mar 30, 2013
roz in Home Cooking

"Non-traditional" sit-down breakfast places in SF

Friends:

My SO and I will be in San Francisco for a few days, and he's not a fan of "traditional" breakfasts - pancakes, waffles, eggs. Typically when we travel, we like to eat at good delis or Asian restaurants that are open by 8:00 am and will let you order lunch-type of items. So we're looking for recs for good places in SF that will allow us to eat these kind of meals in the morning.

We'll be staying in Japantown, but will have a car, and are willing to drive pretty far into different places in the city if the food is good. I'm wondering whether any of the Japanese restaurants do a traditional Japanese breakfast where you can get broiled fish and vegetables. Also, how is Washington Bakery for congee, or is there any other place with good congee that folks would recommend? I used to go to Hing Lung every time I was visiting SF, but it seems to be closed.

TIA for any other recs that seem to fit the bill.

-Roz, from Los Angeles

Jan 06, 2013
roz in San Francisco Bay Area

Grocery stores with take-out poke in Kona

I'm on vacation in the Kailua Kona area for a few days, and I'd like suggestions for grocery stores, markets, or delis that have a selection of poke that you can take out. One of my favorite things to eat in Hawaii,

thanks in advance.

-Roz

Nov 09, 2012
roz in Hawaii

Need recs for Mom's 90th birthday party in LA West - easily accessible for elderly

Friends:

My Mom is turning 90 at the end of July, and we're trying to find a place where we can bring together about 30-40 people for a Sunday birthday brunch or lunch, My Mom and many of her friends live in the Fairfax/Cedars Sinai adjacent area, and we need a place that doesn't have many stairs or too long of a walk to get to the dining area, because many of the guests will be elderly. My Mom likes Italian food, and is also a big fan of rack of lamb, but is allergic to seafood, fish and pork.

We're concerned that many hotel banquet rooms will be booked because of the end of the bridal season, and we suspect that they would be pricier than a restaurant with a separate banquet room, but we're open to either option. We'd like to stay on the Westside - we're wiling to go as far west as Santa Monica or as far east as La Brea area/Mid-city.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

-Roz

Jun 02, 2012
roz in Los Angeles Area

How long can frozen cashew cream stay in freezer?

Friends -

I've found that cashew cream works great in many of my recipes as a substitute for milk or cream. I make a large batch, and then divide it into portions that I freeze. How long can the frozen cashew cream stay in the freezer before it starts to lose flavor, or isn't good to use any more?

thanks in advance.

-Roz

May 03, 2012
roz in General Topics

What dish to order at Mei Long Village to get "wine-braised seafood?"

Friends:

I'm going to Mei Long Villlage tonight, and some chowhound posts have recommended getting the "wine-braised" seafood at the restaurant. However, when looking at the only on-line menu I could find tor the restaurant, it wasn't clear to me which dish I would order to get this. Any suggestions on how to order this dish, or other good fish dishes at Mei Long would be greatly appreciated.

TIA -

-Roz

Jan 07, 2012
roz in Los Angeles Area

Water-resistant electronic kitchen scale?

Friends:

I've tried several different brands of kitchen scales, and while most have the features I want, inevitably, they seem to get water inside, and stop working properly. I realize that if I were more careful, this probably wouldn't happen, but it just seems that in the rush of measuring, cleaning the counter, or cooking, the scale inevitably comes into contact with a shallow layer of water or spilled liquid on the counter. I'm not talking about immersing the scale - I never do that - but I seem to have scales go out on me just from sitting in small liquid spill for a short time.

My favorite scale is the OXO 11 lb., with the detachable front. The features I'm looking for are:
-long automatic shut off time
--tare
--easily go back and forth between lbs.(oz.s) and grams.
--smallest increment 5 gms, 1/4 lb.

I've checked past chowhound posts, and while there's lots of info. on scales, none address how water resistant they are. So I thought I'd see if folks had any recommendations on this - or do I just need to be super-careful.

thanks in advance!

-Roz

Sep 05, 2011
roz in Cookware

Recommendations for recipes for five spice pressed tofu

Friends:

I'm looking for a good recipe for the chewy tofu with the dark brown border that you often get in the pad thai served in restaurants - I understand that it's a pressed tofu that's been marinated in five spice powder and other ingredients. I was wondering if folks had particularly good recipes they could recommend. Also, if you make a large batch, can you freeze it?

thanks in advance-

-Roz

Aug 06, 2011
roz in Home Cooking

Masan or Wassada for Korean-style sashimi?

My SO's birthday is coming up, and he really wants to try live octopus with squirming tentacles at one of LA's Korean-style sashimi restaurants - he's a pretty adventurous eater, so I'm also looking for a place with overall good sashimi. I'm not too concerned if the place is a bit expensive, as long as the quality is good.

Do folks have any suggestions of whether Masan or Wassada is a better choice? Or some place else? I checked past posts on the boards, and didn't seem to see much recent about the two restaurants.

TIA -

-Roz

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Masan Restaurant
2851 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Jun 22, 2011
roz in Los Angeles Area

Wine or tequila bar that's not too noisy

For my sister's birthday, I'd like to take her to a wine or tequila bar that's not too noisy on a Saturday night. It would be great to find a place that has a good selection where you can try a lot of different drinks - for example, I noticed one tequila bar that will give you one-half ounce for $5. My sister and I wouldn't really enjoy loud, blaring music, or an overly-noisy crowd, and we don't mind coming in the early evening to avoid this.

Ideally, it would be great to find a place near Glendale, Silverlake or downtown LA - we can go to the west side if we have to, but would prefer not. And I don't mind some place relatively expensive if the quality is good - i'll be able to splurge on this celebration.

thanks in advance for your recs.

-Roz

Aug 25, 2010
roz in Los Angeles Area

Best salmon dishes or salmon collar in Westside or Hollywood area

Friends:

My SO is on a health kick where he wants to eat salmon all the time for dinner, and I've been trying to find restaurants that prepare it well - he also really enjoys salmon collar. We can't afford to eat at places as upscale as Providence on a consistent basis - so I'm looking for places that are more in the Nook Bistro price range. We frequently see movies at the Landmark Westside Pavilion or Hollywood Arclight, so recommendations for places in those neighborhoods would be particularly appreciated (such as West LA, Sawtelle, Westwood, Hollywood, West Hollywood).

TIA for your recs -

-Roz

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Nook Bistro
11628 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 9, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Apr 10, 2010
roz in Los Angeles Area