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duncan36's Profile

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Best food finds at Costco? [old]

When given the option in Costco always pay the extra for the Prime. Most people dont realize it and stores dont have to label it but there is only one grade of Prime but there are two grades of Choice.
Restaurants of course know this and secure the top grade of Choice and since consumers are in the dark and dont know they're getting the bottom grade of Choice.
Stores can sell Choice for not much less than Prime when in reality bottom Choice is a much, much inferior meat to Prime.

The best deal at Costco when you can find it is the Prime Top Sirloin. More flavorful than Filet Mignon but not tough like Choice grade or below Top Sirloin and reasonably priced.

Dec 05, 2010
duncan36 in Chains

CiCi's Pizza Buffet

Its like a bad joke. Everything looks like pizza but tastes worse than a .99c Totinos pizza. The 300lb morons will sit there munching the faux pizza thinking at least it was only $3.99. Then they finish and immediately forget how bad the pizza they just ate was. Start looking at the buffet and think 'that looks good I'll try that'. Gets more faux pizza with no cheese, and no sauce, and starchy crust designed to fill you up. Munch, munch, tastes like crap but at least it was only $3.99. Rinse and repeat.

This place is what I imagine hell is like. You eat nice looking food that you cant taste. Its like mental torture.

Sep 20, 2010
duncan36 in Chains

what's my perfect Griswold skillet?

The golden age for Griswold was the 1930's. I believe at some point they had family factions inside the company vying with each other who destroyed the company and they sold the name. The later Griswold stuff to sum up is crap.
Look for the logo on the bottom that covers the entire bottom of the pan. That will ensure you get a pan from the right period.
Buying used cast iron is a bit of a minefield, if you're going to drop a lot of money on a pan make sure you will be able to return it if its warped or severely flawed.
However dont be scared of buying a pan with minor rust or surface flaws, with some seasoning instructions on hand and an hour or so they clean up perfectly.
The large Griswold pans sell for a lot of money and are in high demand by restaurants. This stuff is half the weight of modern cast iron, and cant be replicated today.
So frankly the best way to go is to buy a no. 9 pan. Those offer the best bang/buck. You could probably buy 4 of them for the price of 1 larger skillet. Just buy two of the 9's and have them going on your stove at once instead of spending $300 for a 12"+ pan thats my advice.
And yes everything you heard is true, these pans are magic. They heat up fast, they cook beautifully. The modern stuff cant touch it.

Dec 20, 2009
duncan36 in Cookware

What is the most overrated food city?

I dont know the reputation Austin has in the rest of the country for food but its terrible. The suburbanites fancy themselves sophisticated but the most common restaurant is bog standard Tex-Mex. Aka greasy tortilla wrapped something, with a slop of beans and rice, and maybe guacamole if you're lucky.
Downtown consists of a few incredibly overpriced steakhouses, hotel restaurants to service the politicians. Foods not bad though not great and value for money quotient is so horrid no one not on per diem is eating there.
The 'historic' restaurants in town are all chicken fried steak and fries type joints. Actually these are pretty decent joints when you want a lot of honest food for not a lot of money. But man cannot live on chicken fried steak alone.
Your average Chinese food here is worse than any city its size. There was a decent Indian downtown that has gone right downhill. Theres a lot of sushi in town but its usually overpriced and average.
We didnt even have a decent non-chain steakhouse away from downtown until recently!
I dont know what it is about this town but the best food is found in taco trucks. Outside of a few overpriced exceptions its greaseball tex-mex, chicken fried steak, and hamburgers.
As pretentious as Austin is, its got the worst food this side of Tulsa.

Aug 28, 2009
duncan36 in General Topics

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

From my brisket I like a nice robust beef flavor first similar to roast beef, then I like to taste the seasoning on the brisket a light salt usually, then I like to taste a light smoke behind that , then I like a small bit of juiciness from the fat.
I went to Coopers in Llano for instance and for 1 piece it was good but it just had too much fat, they obviously use vastly inferior cuts of meat to places like Kreuz. I couldnt finish piece two and started to feel queasy from eating too much fat. Some people like that and to each their own, however for my money if I'm buying brisket by the pound I dont want half of it to be fat.

Aug 11, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse

My relatives went and while I was over at their place the next day I poached the steak they brought back for my lunch. I know one of my relatives likes rare steaks but his better half never lets him order it so I was surprised to see the steak was on the rare side of pure rare. And yes it turned out he ordered medium rare but got rare. Not a problem for him because thats what he likes, but if I ordered it I would have sent it back.
I gave it the basic steak 101 finger prod and a rank amateur could tell it was super rare.
However in the restaurants favor the decor is nice, the quality of the beef is high and worth the money, and the service is good.
Also i've been before and the steak was cooked perfectly so its likely just someone new on the line or they got slammed and sent out undercooked food.

Aug 11, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

Well dont forget its a matter of taste. Some people even ask for 'extra moist' brisket. You can get 'moist' brisket at Kreuz just ask for it.
I personally dont like it and appreciate places like Kreuz that default away from heavy smoke and away from serving their customers fat.

Its not a question of who doesnt serve inferior brisket its more a question of who are by default serving high quality brisket. Thats Kreuz, City Market, Smitty's.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

Visiting Austin - Need Recommendations

If you want a good steakhouse. Steiner Ranch Steakhouse off 620 near the lake is excellent. Also the location is outstanding you get wonderful panoramic views of the lake. The decor is very well done without being pretentious.
When you think how much you pay for an average steak at say Outback it doesnt seem that expensive either.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

fried catfish

That farm raised stuff doesnt compare to the fresh variety. Best catfish I've had was in a gas station in the middle of nowhere about 30 minutes outside of College Station. The owner would catch fresh catfish and bring it in and cook it. One day we got it minutes after he fried up a batch he had caught that morning. OMG that was one of my top 10 meals of all time. Had it with fries, hush puppies and tartar sauce.
I'm willing to bet theres some hole in the wall somewhere near Austin that serves fresh catfish. Could be a gas station or tiny shack. Finding it is another matter.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

Its only dry if you compare it to places that use inferior cuts of meat that are half fat. Whenever I get Kreuz its not falling apart because of the high quality cuts of brisket they use but its perfectly juicy for my tastes.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

Bad Brisket at Kreuz's Today

Kreuz serves lean brisket. People for some reason equate good brisket these days with being extremely fatty, greasy, and falling apart because of this.
Trust me its a lot cheaper to serve half meat and half fat brisket. Lean brisket places try to elevate the cheap cut of brisket with a light smoke and seasonings and they usually succeed into turning into something that could be mistaken for a much pricier cut of beef.
If you go to a place like Kreuz market that serves lean brisket just ask for a juicier cut of brisket, they'll serve it to you. They value their customers however and so wont serve them a cut of half meat half fat unless you ask them.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Texas

BBQ trip report - City Market, Black's, Smitty's

'Fatty and melty' brisket is your sign of excellence? Yuck one piece of brisket like that and I feel like throwing up.
What the better brisket places try for is a light smoke, very little fat, naturally juicy without needing the fat to make it so, subtle seasonings that bring out the taste of the beef.
Do they always succeed? Nope but I appreciate the craft of that style of brisket.

If you go to a place that serves lean brisket like Kreuz or City market you can always ask for a cut with more fat.

Jun 21, 2009
duncan36 in Austin

The Lost Secret of Egg Foo Young

If you're passing through Beaumont, Tx go to the House of Chee restaurant and order the egg foo young. Best I've ever had, pieces of pork, shrimp, lots of vegetables with a Chinese seasoned brown gravy. Delicious.

Feb 14, 2009
duncan36 in Features