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sidwich's Profile

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Berkeley hounds relocating to LA, where to live/shop/eat?

I live south of Hollywood (Hancock Park), and my regular farmer's market was the Sunday Hollywood Farmer's Market which I think is comparable to the Wednesday Santa Monica market in size and scope.

I buy virtually all my produce and herbs there. Lots of organic, local produce and generally good quality and prices. I don't buy my eggs from the market, but I believe a couple of stands offer them as well as raw milk, Santa Barbara seafood and some meat. The Hollywood market is shaped like a "+" with the north-south vertical being fresh foods and the horizontal east-west being more prepared foods.

I'm not a gardener, but I do have some friends who grow their own vegetables in various neighborhoods in the city.

Apr 22, 2013
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Easy to make, hard to screw up dishes!

Soups like lentil, tomato and mushroom are easy, cheap to make and store very well. Besides plain old spaghetti, try other pasta sauces like puttanesca (and its many variations) and clam sauce (cheaper if you used canned clams). And as for meat dishes, things like coq qu vin and pot roast are easy, impressive and very hard to screw up.

Mar 29, 2013
sidwich in Home Cooking

Your Top 5 Trader Joe's Products? [OLD]

Stuff I can't live without:

Ezekial sprouted tortillas
Organic tomatillo salsa
Frozen tilapia filets

Not quite life or death, but still used all the time:

Yogurt cilantro dip
Giant blocks of dark chocolate (seriously, the most useful thing ever if you need a hostess gift at the last minute)

Can't keep it in the house anymore because it's so good:

Dark chocolate covered almonds with salt

Mar 06, 2013
sidwich in Chains

What basic cooking skills should a beginner know?

My best advice to you is: don't be afraid to fail. Any good cook has turned out some clunkers here and there.

Beyond that, invest in some decent quality cookware, and dive in. You have two of the better beginner-friendly cookbooks out there, so start with some recipes of things that you like. I'd suggest a couple of simpler things like roast chicken or pot roast, and a couple of easy pasta dishes or soups, but it's more important that you're cooking things that you're familiar with and like.

If you're lucky enough to have good cooks in your friends or family, ask them questions. If there's something that they make that you like, ask them how they do it. When I headed off to grad school, my grandmother gave me some cooking lessons, and I was lucky enough to room with someone who was a very good cook. Between the two of them, I somehow survived my first few years of learning to cook. If you're not so lucky, cooking shows and youtube can help a lot.

And if the advice in this thread is overwhelming, don't worry. I'm no chef, but I'm a pretty accomplished home cook, and I'm pretty sure I don't own half the cookware suggested in this thread AND I cut onions like a barbarian. I cook for friends and family regularly and haven't poisoned anyone yet! ;)

Feb 08, 2013
sidwich in Home Cooking

Help please - What is your go-to basic waffle recipe?

I use Mollie Katzen's Amazing Overnight Waffle recipe: http://www.recipefiles.org/view_recip...

It takes starting the night before, but super-easy, and I've always gotten great results.

Dec 04, 2012
sidwich in Home Cooking

freezable family dinner ideas

Minestrone and jambalaya. They're both easy one pot meals that can easily be defrosted and reheated. You can also pump up the vegetables in each so the new parents don't have to worry about making them separately.

Dec 04, 2012
sidwich in Home Cooking

Kicking the eating out/getting take out too much habit

Get friendly with your freezer. I can get into big cooking moods sometimes, but even if I'm not in a huge cooking mood, I try to make one large portion of something like soup on Sunday nights when I'm paying bills/doing laundry/etc. Sometimes that's good for an entire week, but more often, a portion of it will end up in the freezer to get defrosted another week to mix things up. In summer, it's also a great reminder to put things up for colder months.

Also, if you're eating out at lunchtime, think about easy things like quiches which can be apportioned out for a few days of lunches. (Perhaps with that extra soup?)

A friend of mine also started an every other week dinner and movie club. Everyone brings a dish and/or wine, and we screen a movie at her house. It's been a wonderful, very affordable way to enjoy everyone's cooking, and a great reminder to check-in with friends when things get busy.

Dec 02, 2012
sidwich in Not About Food

Our Cat Likes People Food

One of my friends' cats was obsessed with tomatoes for some reason. I'm not sure if she loved the acidity or what, but she would really go crazy when tomatoes were being prepped.

Elvis' real owner wasn't the most of, uh, attentive caretakers, and after one particularly insistent push, I finally let him into my apartment. Having not grown up with animals, I was somewhat perplexed with what to do with this bossy cat. I finally hit upon the idea of putting a plate of my not-very-successful experiment with turkey loaf in front of him.

Elvis gave a cautious sniff of the turkey-vegetable concoction, and then, slowly, measuredly, turned his head back at him and gave a meow of, "Seriously? I am allowing you to worship me, and that's the best that you can do?"

Vegetables were not his thing.

Nov 18, 2012
sidwich in Not About Food

Our Cat Likes People Food

My dear departed Elvis used to love to drink the tea out of my mugs. (My grandmother used to comment approvingly that "He is a very Chinese cat!"). I finally figured out that the taste of the tap water was not agreeing with him anymore, so I'd make sure that he got filtered water in his bowl. Even with that though, I'd still finding him sneaking drinks out of my tea from time to time.

The people food that I learned not to leave out in the open were sushi/sashimi and cheese, the sharper the better. Guaranteed that if any of those were around, Elvis would be swiping them in no time.

Other than that, Elvis wasn't a big beggar. He did like to hang out in the kitchen when I cooked and I'd save him a few scraps of bacon or pancetta if I were cooking with them, or a bit of leftover meat or fish. If I were cooking something with pan drippings, I'd usually drizzle a bit over his cat food (Friskies or Fancy Feast on special occasions), and he's always appreciate the thought.

Nov 18, 2012
sidwich in Not About Food

Brunch in Mid-City tomorrow Saturday - gluten-free options?

Off of the top of my head, BLD has steak and eggs, omelettes, and breakfast hashes which are pretty good. They also have salads for more lunchey fare.

Nov 09, 2012
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

48 hours in LA this weekend

Not sure if you're only doing sit-down restaurants, but Ricky's Fish Tacos is lots of fun for lunch. and really close to Silver Lake. The fish and shrimp are fantastic, and might be a nice break from the other places you'll probably be going.

Sep 20, 2012
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

First time to Fig---what to order?

I like the mussels, the pastaless lasagna and the tongue.

Apr 24, 2012
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

In search of fantastic baby greens/lettuce

There's a small stand further up (past Selma) on the right which also has excellent greens. When I have Sunday dinner parties, I try to go there for the greens because they're always delicious.

Feb 21, 2012
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Simple food which you love

I'm with everyone on the hot, buttered bread. During the summer, a sliced tomato, hot buttered toast and a couple of eggs are my go-to breakfast.

For salad, just some good greens, a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of sea salt and pepper.

I also like simple muesli. Just quick-cooking oats soaked overnight in milk. Adding just a bit of sliced apple and/or roasted nuts makes it quite heavenly!

Dec 03, 2011
sidwich in General Topics

Dark chocolate chips/ coating chocolate

Trader Joe's sells blocks of dark chocolate which I've nuked to coat both fresh and dried fruit. If you actually need dark chocolate chips, Whole Foods carries the Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. Ralphs does sometimes, but WF carries them all the time.

Aug 31, 2011
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Afternoon Tea - where is most similar to Langham, Pasadena?

I haven't been to the Langham's tea, but the afternoon tea at the Montage Beverly Hills is a very old-time classic kind of tea. Lovely service, very relaxing, and the food is fine. My grandmother loved it, so it might be something your mom would like.

Rose Tree Cottage is very classically British. It most reminds me of actually going to a tea house in England, completely with doilies and cats. It's very nice, but it's not really the hotel afternoon tea experience I think you're looking for.

I used to really like the London's tea, but it went through a management change a few years ago, and I don't think it's been the same.

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Rose Tree Cottage
801 S Pasadena Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105

Aug 16, 2011
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Who's The Best (Old School) Bartender in LA?

Tyler Dow used to be at Checkers, and he was excellent. He's since moved over to Eveleigh, but I haven't had a chance to visit him at his new digs.

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Eveleigh
8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Jul 19, 2011
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Quick Question about Sea Harbour in Rosemead

It's not a totally ridiculous comment, but you'll be fine. Most of the big dim sum houses will call your number in Cantonese, Mandarin AND English (really, they want you to claim your table).

And yes, Sea Harbour has a very complete picture menu with both characters and English, and the order sheet has one side characters and one side English. As i recall, it's also keyed to numbers in case you're unsure. I call it "dim sum for dummies." It's really virtually impossible to screw up, even if you don't speak a word of Cantonese or Mandarin.

The servers at Sea Harbour are also quite helpful and as ipsedixit said, their English is actually more than serviceable if you need assistance.

Jul 06, 2011
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Returning to LA, need help planning a food-tinerary

For lunch and dinner in the Hollywood area:

My favorite fish tacos are Ricky's: https://twitter.com/#!/RickysFishTacos. He's not open every day so you'll have to check his twitter, but the fish tacos are superb, and it's always a fun and friendly, block-party atmosphere. Good choice for lunch.

Koreatown is just a bit east of Hollywood, and there are plenty of good choices. Three of my favorite Korean barbecue joints are Parks, Chosun Galbee and Gen-Wa, which are all also clean and appropriate for bbq beginnners (if you're into that kind of thing. :))

Jul 02, 2011
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Food Truck Wedding - Would Like Advice (moved from L.A. board)

I strongly suggest that you rethink your plans. Having organized events with trucks, I can tell you that it is very hard for any truck to handle feeding 100-120 people at once. Most trucks that I have seen can only serve a few people at once, so unless you can seriously stagger feeding your guests, you will have some guests waiting a loooonnnnngggg time for their meal. I can see something like a midnight snack working or having the company cater and bring the food in from off-site, but no way could one truck cater the whole thing.

May 19, 2011
sidwich in Not About Food

Afternoon Tea at Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills

I haven't been to the Langham tea, but the Montage is lovely, very peaceful with a harpist and all. "Civilized" is a good word to describe it.

I took my grandmother for tea there about a month ago, and as described above, the tea selection is excellent. I can't recall the exact sandwich selection, but from what I remember the sandwiches, scones and sweets ranged from good to excellent. It is a very leisurely experience, so I'm not sure how well 3 11-year olds will take to a 2+ hour tea, but it is very well done and service is very gracious and first-rate.

It is on the pricey side. I think it ran us close to $50 each with tax and tip.

Dec 11, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

New Yorker in LA looking for the best Indian, Chinese, and Pizza! Where do ex-NYers eat??

Get on the 10 and/or the the 60 and get off anywhere in the San Gabriel Valley. Throw a rock in any direction and you'll find better Chinese food than in NYC (yes, I lived in NYC for 1o years, I have a very good handle on the quality of Chinese food available there). If you let us know exactly what kind of Chinese food you have a yen for (dim sum, dumplings, soup dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, knife cut noodles, etc.), we can direct you to specific places.

Aug 23, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

THE COUNTER IS COMING TO MIRACLE MILE!!!

I like the Counter in Santa Monica, which I think was the first one, but I haven't been as impressed with any of the offshoots. I'm still hopeful about this one since it would be so close ot me, though.

Jul 18, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Do you feel guilty when dinner doesn't include a vegetable?

Not as much as I used to. I've realized that lifetime sometimes gets in the way, so I'm afraid that sometimes I'll just grab some frozen dumplings and make do. However, I do like to keep some kind of vegetable soup on hand for an easy veggie fix. Even if I can't seem to pull together the time or energy to pull together a "vegetable" per se, I can always nuke a vegetable-heavy minestrone or pull some gazpacho out of the refrigerator.

May 30, 2010
sidwich in General Topics

mother's day - we need dumplings

Have to agree with raytamsgv and bulavinaka. I usually see tons of kids of all ages at dim sum, of all volumes and attention spans. Dim sum wouldn't be dim sum without kids (and adults) running around at high volume.

May 07, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Any good dim sum places that take reservations?

Sea Harbour definitely takes reservations. The last time I did it, the minimum was 10, so I'm sure they'd do it for a large group.

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Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

May 07, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Where to lunch with my fellow young lawyer ladies?

When I was a young lawyer lady, I liked to meet friends at Five Points for brunch. I don't live in NYC anymore, but from what I remember, they have eggs benedict, delicious drinks and good atmosphere.

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Five Points
31 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

May 02, 2010
sidwich in Manhattan

Bite Bar & Bakery - seriously good croissants

We also stopped by Bite, and had a lovely time. I will say that I think the chicken pot pie might be somewhat inconsistent at this point. The one we got had a crust that frankly was rather grey in color and rather gluey instead of flakey. The filling was excellent, and we loved the mushrooms but the pastry was not very good at all.

The crab sandwich was absolutely superb, though, and we really enjoyed the croissant and all the cookies we tried as well. My grandmother loves chicken pot pie, so we'll probably try it again as they settle in more.

Apr 26, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Green Tomatoes in LA area?

Just a note that a few stands had green tomatoes this morning at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

Apr 25, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area

Green Tomatoes in LA area?

I buy them on Sunday mornings at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

Apr 24, 2010
sidwich in Los Angeles Area