sweet100s's Profile

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HaTe fOod TrAILerS tRaIlORs EtAh

Opening and closing times in general stymie me, especially when traveling.

I used to use the "Salutation" field of my iPhone contact to keep opening / closing times of favorite places, or someplace new that I was really counting on being open. Then iOS stopped displaying that field. So now I use "middle name"

But even that's insufficient.
Lots of places stop serving food long before the official closing time, especially if they serve alcohol.
So you have to call and ask,

"What time does your kitchen close?"

But even that's insufficient.
Some places go to a reduced menu so I can't order what I wanted.

Here's the exact sequence of questions I use to ask to extract all the information needed from the person who answers the phone is:

1) Hello, what time do you close tonight? A: 10:00pm

2) Thanks. Does your kitchen close earlier than 10:00pm?

3) Do you use a reduced menu in your final hour or 30 min before you close?

Also handy to ask

4) Do you have any special functions at your restaurant tonight?

(Remember that really good Thai place on 183 near Lakeline that closed suddenly? I called to ask about closing times during lunch one day. Received an answer. But then they were only open for a special function. Website said nothing . Person who answered phone said nohting. Grrrrr.

5) And then, if I have my heart set on something being available..
ask if they have 86'd it
ex: the amazing RICOTTA AND TOMATO JAM JAR (6.95) appetizer
sweet tomato jam, ricotta cheese, herb pesto, extra virgin
olive oil, crostini
at the Nordstrom store Cafe Bistro at Barton Creek Square Mall

Over the holidays I had a relative's iPhone 5 battery replacement scheduled at that Apple Store vs the must closer to me Domain specifically because I've been craving that Ricotta and Tomato Jam Jar appetizer. Alas, they were out. The expediter was still as entertaining as ever, and the salmon mushroom risotto was still delicious, but I'd been raving to everyone about that appetizer...

Alas, I digress.

Mar 01, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Immediate and Urgent Need

Yea we want the full report.

Mar 01, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Dinner given these 4 considerations after the Sarasota Art Festival next Saturday (also Valentines evening...)?

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Trip report: Valentine's day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota

- The end of the excellent bottle of Merlot from Mazzaro's (St. Pete)
- City Market Bistro's delicious tomato bisque (Dade City)
- City Market Bistro's interior - headboards (Dade City)
- City Market Bistro's interior - ordering / cooking area (Dade City)
- the unique Lunch on Limoges (Dade City)

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Trip report: Valentine's day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota

Sarasota's Ristorante Salute's delicious fresh pasta dishes served in skillets.

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Trip report: Valentine's day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota

St. Pete's Vinoy Renaissance, location of Marchands

Marchands Bloody Mary Bar

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Trip report: Valentine's day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota

Steak and Grouper at Spinners. Photo of the view at end of meal.

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Trip report: Valentine's day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota

Thanks everyone for your help and advice

I had an excellent long Valentines Day weekend in St. Pete / Sarasota.

Weather wise it was a gorgeous sunny weekend, and gloriously cool - no overbearing Florida sun and humidity of summertime.

First stop after the airport:

Mazzaro's Italian Market
- Goal was to get hotel room fridge nibbles and a snack to tide us over till dinner.

Purchased for the room:
- duck proscuitto (wow!)
- several other lunch meats and cheeses,
- the best bottle of Merlot I've ever had.

- Did not at all like Mazzaro's caprese hot sandwich. Glad we just got 1 to split. It was shockingly bland. By the time we checked out and opened it up at the picnic table outside, half of the bread was soggy.

Yelp reviews rave about their sandwiches. I wish we had purchased a cold one vs hot.

From there we walked to the Mazzaro's kitchen store where I found a couple cool finds - a grill gadget I've been looking for, and wine bottle toppers in the shape of poppies. Most importantly, at the counter was Viktoria Richard chocolates displayed like jewelry. They are pricey, delicious, beautifully shaped chocolates designed with icing that glistened in handsome gradients. My favorite included "chocolate pretzel caramel" in the description.

From Mazzaro's, we went to our hotel (Grand Plaza) on St. Pete beach.

Spinners is the restaurant atop the hotel that rotates for a 360 degree view of St. Pete.

A dinner reservation opened up at 5:30pm, and the hotel actually called to inform of this after I asked to be put on a wait list on Monday of same week. We grabbed it since that aligned nicely with sunset at 6:10pm. It was a spectacular sunset and view throughout dinner.

Food was either serviceable (grouper) or good (their specialty steak). I would return for a lunch (I heard someone rave about their coconut chicken things) and the view.

For Saturday breakfast before the Sarasota Art Festival, we ate at Marchands restaurant in the Vinoy Rennaissance. I enjoyed the lobster hash off the menu, and everyone else had the buffet and raved about the omelettes.

Upon arriving in Sarasota and finding parking, we came across the farmers market before the art festival, and were pleasantly waylayed for over an hour there. LOVED the pickles we purchased from the pickle guy, LOVED the kettle corn. Normally kettle corn is nothing special, but it just tasted so fresh and delicious. Totally enjoyed the "pork broth shots" from the foodie place in the middle aisle.

It was a beautiful day for an afternoon of nonstop art festival strolling. We were ready for our reservation at Salute early at 4:45pm.

Buschetta appetizer - not at all interesting or tasty compared to about any other bruschetta I've ever had. Odd... bruschetta is so easy to do well.

Tricolore salad - beautifully plated, huge. Had a balsamic dressing that tasted extra special vs my standard balsamics.

Loved the entrees - two handmade pasta dishes - the mushroom papperdelle and spinach ricotta agnolitti (half moon pasta). Both had that fresh handmade pasta taste cooked perfectly al dente and with delicious flavors and sauces.

Sunday morning we were able to get a Marchands brunch reservation at 12:30. Perfect timing for a morning fitness stroll on the beach and then checking out of the hotel. Sunday brunch at Marchands was an impressive spread of expensive proteins, both land (prime rib, pork) and sea (crab claws, shrimp), beautifully prepared brunch and breakfast items, the omelette station with the expert omelette preparer, and best of all, the bloody mary bar.

The Bloody Mary buffet bar ($9 extra) at Marchands was so much fun I'm surprised it's not illegal :-). You pick out your vodka, and then you are confronted with a jaw-dropping array of high-end bloody mary accompaniments arranged in 2 tiers along the bar. ex: 2 types of bloody mary mix, 3 different types of bacon strips, 7 different types of pickled veggies! (my favorite = pickled peppers), shrimp, horseradish, powdered seasonings, etc... Everyone else had 2 courses down from the buffet and I was still enjoying the bloody mary bar.

Stayed with relatives who lived near Dade City the following week, and totally enjoyed 2 adorable lunch places in Dade City:
- City Market Bistro:
Most flavorful and interesting tomato bisque I've had in eons.
Warm wood toned interior. Unique antique headboards behind the booth tables.
Good Cuban sandwich. Not the best I've ever had but tasty.
Purchased a box of their homemade red sangria. $40 for 3 quarts with a srparate container of fruit for adding into each glass. We enjoyed an evening glass of Sangria the rest of the week.

- Lunch on Limoges:
Very unique place. Part antique store, part clothing store, part lunch cafe. The place was packed. I didn't have a reservation and got the last table.
Had the lunch special - a delicious crab stuffed shrimp and a fried avocado appetizer.

Dade City was unexpectedly beautiful. Saw a scene from one of the roads (S-579?) that could have been out in a movie. A football field size piece of land with massive oak trees, tons of moss, lots of shadows cast. Would have made a great high res black and white. Wanted to stop and pull over but a big Range Rover was close behind.

Thanks St. Pete - Sarasota - Tampa area for a great weekend.

Mazzaro's - first 3 (big car pic above + chocolates below)
Spinners - remainder in this post

Feb 28, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Prep today, grill tomorrow... Is that OK with these veggies?

>> I would steam until almost done, then on the grill to char and get some flavor a few minutes.

OK. One of the recipes indicated this as well but I didn't understand why.

I don't know how to steam / have a steamer...
Could I microwave them?

Feb 25, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Prep today, grill tomorrow... Is that OK with these veggies?

Thank you nothingswrong!

>> but do not oil and salt them.

I would have done exactly that if you had not posted!

>> This will prevent browning but also improves texture. A lot of restaurants and recipes keep potatoes in water like this on purpose.

Never would have guessed that !

I'm fine with no browning on the potatoes - other yummies will have that.

Feb 25, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Prep today, grill tomorrow... Is that OK with these veggies?

I forgot to mention my 2 sweet potatoes and 2 regular potatoes!

Can those be sliced ahead of time and then oiled? Or would they get brown?

I must be craving vegetables because I went a little nuts in the veggie department at whole foods

Feb 25, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Prep today, grill tomorrow... Is that OK with these veggies?

Wow thanks so much for your helpful replies!

HillsofBeverly, that eggplant article was perfect.

Looks like I'll try a wet brine on the eggplant of
1/4 cup of kosher salt for each quart of water
for 10 min. (seems like a short period of time!)

Feb 25, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Prep today, grill tomorrow... Is that OK with these veggies?

Tomorrow, I'm going to be grilling:

- eggplant
- baby artichokes
- zucchini
- red onion
- leeks
- red and orange pepper

with a simple olive oil and seasoning baste.

Can I prep the veggies today and grill tomorrow?


1) Eggplant

Can I slice salt them today and grill tomorrow

2) Artichokes

I understand that after prepping you are supposed to put them in lemon / vinegar water to keep them from turning brown.

Should they be in that overnight?

I'd guess that it would be totally Ok to chop these up and salt and pepper these overnight.

- zucchini
- red onion
- leeks
- red and orange pepper

Feb 25, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Saturday Lunch

Or if you're up for very casual yet very foodie and slightly exotic at the same time:

Kin & Comfort

An outpost inside of an Asian supermarket / tiny mall might be too casual for visitors, but everything I've ordered at Kin & Comfort has been delicious.

Feb 24, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Thank You, Austin: A Few Notes on My Vacation Visit

"We actually walked to Franklin's just to look at the line and then laughed and left. That line was so long, I assume the brisket included a weekend in the Bahamas with Kate Upton."

That was maybe the funniest thing I've read on Austin CH all year.

Thanks for such a cool review. Come back soon!

Feb 12, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Dinner given these 4 considerations after the Sarasota Art Festival next Saturday (also Valentines evening...)?

LilM's, you are correct - there's almost nothing available.
Selva's is booked the ENTIRE day we're in Sarasota (the 14'th), darnit. And of course I saw a Peruvian restaurnant featured yesterday on Cooking Channel - La Mar in Miami - the CHAUFA AEROPUERTO looked amazing.

Ah well. This trip was a very last minute vacation decision. The OpenTable reviews of Salute are pretty good. Most consistent feedback was that their olive oil special family brand is really good.

Plans so far:

........................ Friday, Feb 13

-- Plane lands 1:00pm. Drive to St. Pete from Tampa w/ local relatives.

-- Stop at Marchands Italian Market for a sandwich or quick snack, and goodies for the hotel room fridge (any recommendations?)

-- check in at hotel (Grand Plaza Hotel on St. Pete Beach)
We'll be there 2 nights

-- Drive to Dali museum.

-- Leave Dali at 5:30pm to catch the sunset somewhere

-- Dinner TBD

........................ Saturday, Feb 14

-- Breakfast at Marchand's Bar & Grill @ the Vinoy Renaissance

-- Sarasota Arts Festival

-- Dinner at Salute in Sarasota

........................ Sunday, Feb 15

-- Breakfast/lunch at Spinners (their first opening of the weekend!) to check out St. Pete while moving in 360

-- Check out and drive back to tampa

-- Stop at Whole Foods in Tampa to pick up the Tri-tips

(we decided to stay an extra night before returning, so change the WF that holds our TriTips that go on the Big Green Egg)

Feb 09, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Dinner given these 4 considerations after the Sarasota Art Festival next Saturday (also Valentines evening...)?

Looking for a delicious dinner after the Sarasota Art Festival on main street next weekend. I do realize this night coincides with Valentines day evening, historically one of the worst times to try to find a delicious meal.

One idea suggested was Salute on 23 North Lemon Avenue based on TripAdvisor reviews and proximity to Whole Foods where we need to stop before driving back to Tampa. (we have Tri-Tip roasts reserved there to put on a Big Green Egg the next day). But Salute's Yelp reviews are iffy.

Decision influencers
- Deliciousness. This is the "special meal out" for the next couple of months.
- Ambiance. When traveling (visiting from Austin, TX), I care more about ambiance than when at home.
- Price. If we could keep it under $75 per person that would be great. Less in price is great if above factors are there.
- One person is allergic to seafood. I enjoy everything including seafood. So it can't be seafood-only delicious :-).

Feb 07, 2015
sweet100s in Florida

Dai Due, Austin, TX


Try the pickled Okra and Leeks at Kin & Comfort.

It changed my mind about Okra.

Feb 05, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta

Yuck. These meatballs had a terrible consistency and not a great flavor. Made it exactly to the recipe.

The tomato sauce salvages this from a 0 star to a 1 star.

Worst recipe I've ever used from Chowhound.

Jan 26, 2015
sweet100s in Recipes

Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta

If i make this, what to do with the other 2/3 cup of Ricotta?

A new year's resolution = waste less food.

Jan 24, 2015
sweet100s in Recipes

Sports Bar in Austin

Cover 3 and Cover 2 have delicious fish tacos and tons of TVs

10 min drive from you

Jan 20, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

How to properly salt cucumbers before making cucumber salad?

Wow, thanks. I'll have to retract the accusation that someone ate the sliced cucumbers before I made them into a salad. Silver dollar sized slices became the size of dimes.

It did remind me of a dish I had in Tokyo. I recall wondering how they found cucumbers that small.

Jan 09, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

How to properly salt cucumbers before making cucumber salad?

What is your approach to salting cucumbers before making a cucumber salad?

How much salt, for how much cucumber, for how long?

I was surprised recently when I turned a huge 18" cucumber into less than 3/4 a cup of cucumbers after 2 days in the fridge salted and inside of paper towels.

I understand that the purpose in doing this is to get the excess water out... but I kind of miss larger cucumber slices from my Auntie's cucumber salad that I'm trying to recreate.

Jan 09, 2015
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Dry pack scallops


I've had better results searing scallops with avocado oil than olive oil.

To keep it Austin-related, the best place in Austin I've found to find avocado oil is Costco in the Arboretum.

1 liter / 33oz @ $10 for a high-quality non-GMO brand avocado oil
is half what I've seen elsewhere

Jan 03, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Dai Due, Austin, TX

Excellent detail in your review Zammdog.

At Dai Due I love their:

- Pastrami sandwich. Perfect in every way.

- Biscuit. Wow. I ate half and took the other half home and enjoyed it toasted across 2 other breakfasts.

- Flooring. Beautiful herringbone pattern. Perfect for the interior.

- Open kitchen. It's fun watching the person who slings the fat across the table work.

I did not at all enjoy the:
- Duck gumbo. I could hardly find the shreds of duck. I felt like I was eating a soup of gravy.

Jan 01, 2015
sweet100s in Austin

Kitchen remodel decisions that might help others

Hello Nav210west,

Could you post a 2-year followup?

Dec 23, 2014
sweet100s in Cookware

Mjadra - recipe advice needed

This morning's breakfast was a hit -

Green Bottom layer - Arugula with an olive oil spritz
Brown Middle layer - Mjadra
White and red top layer - 1.5 cast iron skillet fried eggs with sriracha on top

The Mjadra was from a container of something that looked interesting from my favorite middle eastern bakery
in Austin, Texas.

Since everyone liked it so much, I retrieved the container lid from the trash bin to see what it was called: Mjadra

Here's a recipe I found from Food Network for: Mujadara
"Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions"

Does this look loke a good Mjadra recipe to anyone more familiar with lebanese cooking?


Dec 20, 2014
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Meat thermometer mayhem...

Meat thermometer mayhem...

At the end of this story is the question:
Why would my Polder meat thermometer suddenly stopped working?

Thanksgiving mayhem occurred when I discovered my Maverick temperature probes would not work with my Maverick base unit*.

* I thought the probes were dead. They were not. I simply did not know that some Maverick temperature probes are incompatible with some Maverick temperature based units !! I didn't realize I had mis-matched probes and base units!

I decided to do before Christmas what I should have done before Thanksgiving: calibrate and re-organize my temperature probes. Especially since I plan to use my Big Green egg a lot this Christmas.

Step 1) Battery check
Took all the batteries out and checked for rust and leakage.
3 units had some of each. Tried to fix all 3 using tips via google
for battery leakage - alcohol and qtips
for rust - nail file and alcohol

I was able to fix 1 of the 3. 1 transmitter and 1 receiver remain dead. The Polder seemed fine - still working at this point.

Step 2) Probe match up

This was where I realized that some Maverick temperature probes are incompatible with some Maverick temperature based units. Eureka! I retreived temp probes from the garage that I had marked "dead". They are no longer dead when paired with the right base unit.

Key Fact: (in case anyone else has a Maverick Redi-Chek thermometer)
Maverick probes with black colored plastic near the plug in end are not compatible with grey colored receiver holes on Maverick transmitter base units.
And Vice-Versa.
Grey only to grey, black to black. In low light near the BBQ, the color differences might not be obvious, and you might assume you have a dead probe, like I did.

Step 3) Calibration

At my altitude, boiling water temp should read 211 degrees Fahrenheit.

After measuring, I recorded on blue painters tape the boiling water temp that the units read so I know which probes run high or low. Then taped that to the end of the wire.

The Polder probes measured either perfectly or almost perfectly (I think they were 212).

Now, for the truly baffling part. I thought I was nearly done. I was deciding which ones to use for BBQ vs inside oven and where to store. Decided to use the Polder for inside oven since it doesn't have a remote transmitter / receiver setup.

So put 2 new batteries in it. Turned it back on. Now - the Polder base unit doesn't even turn on anymore.

I'm baffled. Note the pic that shows the Polder was working fine.

Any ideas / suggestions?

The Mavericks I bought for Big Green Egg use. The Polder I inherited from my mom. So it's kind of sentimental I guess.

Dec 15, 2014
sweet100s in Cookware

halving pork loin roast

fourunder, do you have pictures of your pork loin thirds?
Just curious :-)

Dec 15, 2014
sweet100s in Home Cooking

Rosemary roasted potatoes from Ina Garten's Barefoot in London episode

"Hasselback potatoes" - learned a new word!

Thank you!

Dec 15, 2014
sweet100s in Home Cooking