sparky403's Profile

Title Last Reply

Tips to cut grocery bill

Actually, I often find the budget bin better at the Marina Safeway, or in Danville etc... because many in these areas wouldn't dream of purchasing discounted meat!

My jobs have taken me all over the bay area, Lucky and Safeway have bargain bins/managers specials at every store I have been too from SF to Santa Cruz to Tahoe... just have to look for them

1 day ago
sparky403 in General Topics

Which packaging scam annoys you the most

When I go out for beers it's for a pint!

The pint glass thing really annoys me. People don't ask because they assume they're getting a pint.

I get really bummed out, when the bottom is half an inch thicker and the glass is actually 12oz's not 16 oz. Funny, a bartender told me once that it was 14 oz so we bet and measured it using a can of beer as our guide.. I won that bet and I am not alone in being peeved by the smaller glasses.


To this day if you go into an English pup (in the UK). The quantity is mandated by law and marketed on the glass. Also, the practice of giving less for more is exactly what cause laws to be passed for the "bakers dozen" for instance.


Yes, the quantities are marked on the labels but, I have a hard time believing that people are defending smaller and ever changing package sizes?? At the end of the day, it's meant to confuse and increase profits... not to give the consumer more value.

I like the Kiss principle and the ever decreasing packages violates that principals for me at least.

Apr 24, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Tips to cut grocery bill

Every Safeway has a managers specials/market down bin... every one. If it's one thing you can count on from Safeway, lucky etc.. they're all the same. (I have worked at several companies on the pennisula and did my shopping at lunch).

If you want to save $ and cut and your grocery bill you're going to have to be creative and flexible as I assume you've already cut as much as you can taking into account wear & tear, commute time etc.

Apr 23, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Which packaging scam annoys you the most

Amen to that... I used to go the gym lots = a six ounce can of tuna was a ton of protein. Now it's 5 ounces and I think a good deal more water. I really need 2 cans.

For me, it's not about how much you get it's about constantly having to check the package size.. is a 14oz package of turkey at 4.oo bucks a better deal than 20 oz's at 5.5o? beats me - I hate to do the math ( but I do)... why not just sell a lb of what ever, at what ever price you can make a profit and consumer can decide from there. How much do companies spend constantly changing package sizes to maximize profits?

My perception is that by reducing package size they're preying on people that are too busy to notice, the old the young...

It doesn't stop with food, paper towels, soap, to let paper, virtually everything in the store is in a smaller (more profitable) package now days... Big grocery you parents would be soo proud. You've managed to gets us to pay more (or the same) for less and most didn't even notice... congrats.

I am able to do the math... but have better things to do...

Apr 23, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Tips to cut grocery bill

Just check at your market (for marked down meat)... it's amazing to me, that people pay a Huge premium for aged beef (dry aged I get it) but if it's been on the shelf for 5 days they mark it down by 50 Percent! Look for the managers special at Safeway.. nearly every market has a bargain bin... just look for it.

Yes, dry aged is better, but when the enzymes start to work the meat will change from bright red to dark red-though, aging still makes beef taste better and is more tender- it's no different than spending 5 days in your own fridge.

If you're on the peninsula check the other side of 101 around 3rd street in San Mateo several Mexican and Asian market here - if you don't save $ on produce at least you can get a couple of great tacos I haven't shopped down there in several years so I don't know the savings at this point... but, go check.

seek out the Mexican an Asian market's on the peninsula, and farmers market (Saturday's

Apr 22, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Tips to cut grocery bill

If you're in SF proper the Heart of the City farmers market has great deals at the end of the day (after 2pm)..... 1.00 bags... basically you can get all the "near" organic produce for 10 bucks (Wednesday and Sunday). For me, it's unreal to walk into WF and see red pepper at 4.00 per pound (that's what steak or roast costs).

Also, some of the ethnic markets at 16th and mission have real bargains on produce.... at least 60 percent cheaper than big box retailers like Safeway. You may have to shop in more places - but check out your local Mexican or Asian market.... very dramatic differences in price.

Always look at the ads - I am on a budget myself and unless it's a very special occasion I will ONLY buy what's on sale or what has been marketed down (I think it makes you a better cook - find what's available that you can make very tasty- most of the food we consider great was once peasant food). You might also consider a freezer so you can take full advantage of the summer.

As we come into summer you might consider canning or if you have the space a garden (better than csa).

Always, try to waste no food!! A very interesting documentary on food waste on MSNBC with tom C of top chef fame.

While you're making dinner... do a quick soak on your beans (boil for 5 minutes than let sit for an hour... cook the next night).

It will take more effort but during the summer in CA for a mostly veg diet you can do it.

Pro tip for booze... Use your Brita..


Apr 22, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Recipes for pork/pig heart

This was my experience too... Anticuchos requires a NASA hot grill (and to dry the heart prior to searing).

Love the heart and am planning to cook it more too...

Apr 18, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Recipes for pork/pig heart

Anticouchos? Normally uses a beef heart but I am sure a pigs heart would work the same.

I did a 2 beef hearts last summer - they went fast.


Beef hearts is not very organ-y more like a steak - I assume pig heart would be the same.

Beef anticuchos..


Anyway - cook it up!!

Apr 16, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

recipes for extra bacon

Yeah,.... I read that part. But I thought others might benefit- or maybe aren't aware of The bacon log (ends and pieces.

Comes in very handy and is pretty ideal if you don't want to open a whole pack of bacon for just a bit of bacon fat

Apr 16, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

The Return of Swordfish

I wish they would do the same with Yellow Fin, Blue fin and AHI I love the stuff - but they're way over fished.

I don't think Japan fills this way though.

Apr 16, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

recipes for extra bacon

In the future - to avoid the "too much bacon" problem - you can simply get some bacon ends and pieces (the packs should be close to the bacon). They come in 3 Pound logs and last forever in the freezer.

It's also good to save the grease - one of the most flavorful thins you can cook with.

Apr 16, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Throwing a party with no oven...suggestions?

I would use the BBQ!! (I do my turkey every year on the Weber - works like a charm).

Past that, you might consider renting a portable ove from a kitchen supply company? (I think this would be over kill as I am sure you can accomplish without).

60th Birthday BBQ Menu Planning

mis adventures with the mandolin (we've all had them)... most dangerous tool in the house (for those of us that don't own guns).

Apr 12, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

What's your favorite food blog?

Not sure if serious eats - more specifically the food lab qualifies as a blog... but, for me, it trumps any other food website...


What's your favorite food blog?

I looked it up - hyphen between the words corrected above.

Apr 08, 2015
sparky403 in Food Media & News

Impressive side dish

I think this would work well at room temp or warmed briefly..

Veggy Tian:


I think hassleback spuds (though super impressive) would be a lot of work for this big of crowd.

The food lab version would work well (but they need to be hot).


Apr 08, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

What's your favorite food blog?

I have 2 or 3 that I look at frequently.


Prior to opening this food blog Stephanie Li got her start by cooking all of momofuku's book... I love her photography and art.

The 2nd I just discovered... Eating Thail food


His food demo's are spot on and I have NEVER seen anyone that enjoy's food as much as mark does. It's a pleasure to watch him prepare and enjoy. He also has a travel blog.

Hot Thai kitchen


Edited... sorry about that. Palin is a bit fancier and more detailed.

Apr 08, 2015
sparky403 in Food Media & News

Same Dilemma Every Year

split pea soup with (hopefully) some of the braising liquid (added to or in Lieu of stock) is really good

Apr 06, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

perking up rice

Plain rice with a touch of sesame oil, butter and soy sauce... a few sesame seeds or green onion if you have them.

I eat this almost every day growing up and still love the combo... try it...

Apr 04, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

What Style of Beer Do You Use to Cook Mussels?

I use Hard Cider!! (like angry orchard). It goes very well with saffron (good pinch), Spanish chorizo (smoked) shallots, fennel, lots of butter.

Apr 02, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking


Dirty Peeps...

Apr 01, 2015
sparky403 in General Topics

Can you suggest easy dinners for a stressful month?

When I make soup I normally make a huge amount (2-3 gallons) eat for a few days and then freeze the rest.

My current favorite for this s sixteen bean mix at my local ( use 2-1b backs, a can or two of tomatoes, kale, carrot, onion and what ever else I have on hand.

Stuft Peppers- keep well and freeze well pretty easy to make (I steam the pepper first so they cook pretty fast).

A nice lasagna or two freezes well and is nice top pull out when you don't know what you're hungry for.

Good luck.

Brunch potluck where all the brunch basics are covered...

I usually make a strata... for a brunch potluck. it's great, you can use whatever you have, plus some day old French or country bread.


However, if all the bases are pretty much covered on the traditional front how about something slightly un-traditional?

Pot stickers or other Chinese dumpling, would be a hit?
Vietnamese Salad rolls? - depends on the crowd.

Premaid bloody Mary mix (let them put their own booze in or go virgin) - with freshly pickled green beans/?

Something Mexican? enchiladas chiliquilles? I feel strongly that every party needs Guacamole, Tzasaki or some other dip and some pita?.

Millions of options - it's brunch after all not just breakfast:-) No wrong answer so have fun.

Indian Samoa's? Pakora?

Greek Dolmas, Spanakopita?

Lots of options depending on the crowd...

Mar 29, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

advice on how to use half ripened avocado (already opened!)

On dinner impossible I remember they only had un-ripen avocados they ended up throwing the on the grill to Carmelize and soften. As I remember it worked pretty well (but I haven't tried).

I would try this just because I would be curious to see if it worked.

Other than that, I might use them in an egg roll or try cooking an egg where the pit formerly was.

Mar 24, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Easter 2015

--Greeked and Wined Tomatoes

These sound intriguing... do you have link or recipe you could share?

Mar 23, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Ski trip lunch/snack ideas

If you're going skiing and there's snow - you have an unlimited size cooler.

I would either try to barrow or rent a BBQ to cook things and heat them up etc.. have you considered taking a second car so you have some room? Bringing food you can make and consume is much cheaper than going out... especially in a resort town.

Just my .02 cents

Mar 19, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Easy Chicken Gumbo

Mar 19, 2015
sparky403 in Recipes

St Paddy Corned Beef....

I used a store bought small CB last year and it turned out pretty good (not great mind you)

But as a bonus: I then used the "stock" and the rest of the meat to make spilt pea soup.... it was great/heavenly... I'll choke the CB down and make a big olé pot of soup:-) as a consolation prize for the low quality of the meat.

Mar 15, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Underwhelming Coq Au Vin

I like Anne Burrell (but I don't use a capon). Not that it's much different. (Alton Brown's version is good too).

The real problem with Coq Au Vin is that coq - is a rooster or an old hen that can stand up to a long marinade in red wine and cooking - the chicken we get in the store isn't anything like an old rooster or an old hen with lots of collagen to make the sauce silky.

Mar 15, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking

Why you should absolutely own a cast iron pan + plus how to cook the perfect steak

Choosing between cast iron and the Weber? Is like being asked to pick your favorite child... I love em' both.. slight edge to the Weber...

Or if you're just cooking a steak... Son of Hibachi is super awesome (and portable)


Mar 15, 2015
sparky403 in Home Cooking