a

alag77's Profile

Title Last Reply

Plantains to cook

Thanks, everyone! I was just at Trader Joe's today and didn't see the plantains, but I agree--already peeled and bagged seems sort of ridiculous (and this from someone who luuuuuuuuuurves their bagged greens--arugula, baby spinach, etc.). I'll try Jon's (I think there is one by North La Brea somewhere?).

May 26, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Plantains to cook

Does anyone know where I can buy plantains or "cooking bananas" in Los Angeles? I love them at restaurants and would like to try and make them myself. Thanks for your ideas and/or recommendations.

May 25, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Fava Beans!

Gluten-Free Girl food blog had a good fava bean and tomato salad recipe. The flavors together were very nice. Here is a link to the recipe: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/20...

May 16, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

BEST MEAT IN LA

Do all or any of these places get their meat locally?

May 11, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

I tried the Farmer's Cart organic delivery service

I tried Organc Express and was disappointed. To echo what a few other posters said, their variety of fruits and veggies were repetative from week to week and nothing was really special--very pedestrian fare. I also had a few times where the produce was rotten when I got it and while I probably could have gotten it replaced, it was too much of a hassle (read: I'm lazy). I think you're better off at frequenting a farmer's market or going to a good grocery.

May 11, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Sonic

Does anyone know if they serve breakfast all day? I saw an ad for their breakfast burrito and it looked good. The closest Sonic is pretty far from me...about 45 minutes. Anyway, I think it's funny how they advertise so much with very few locations in people's immediate area.

Apr 24, 2007
alag77 in Chains

making boxed cake mix better...

Galliano is a sort of licorice-tasting liquor (I think). It's yellow and usually comes in some fancy, tall, slim bottle. I am sure you can get it at the liquor store. I've purchased mine at a supermarket (usually stored in the glass cases). It's a little expensive, but a bottle will last you a long time (that is, if you're using it strictly for cooking purposes. I can't vouch for how long it will last if you're swigging it at the bar). Be sure to get the regular galliano; I think there are different flavors.

I have never made it as a cupcake but I'm sure you can. Just adjust the cooking time. BUt even if you make it as a regular bundt cake, it's easy to slice it into individual slices and pack it.

Apr 24, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

Looking for good (healthy) sandwich ideas

Avocado, Sprouts and Munster Cheese
Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Fontina Cheese
Roasted Bell Peppers, Arugula, and Goat Cheese
Sautéed Mushrooms, Spinach, and Fontina Chees
Sautéed Mushrooms, Marinated Artichoke Hearts, and Fontina Cheese (vegetarian)
Ham, Watercress, Munster Cheese with Dijon Mustard on Croissant (okay, not that healthy but yummy)

Apr 24, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

What are your tried and true favorites from Epicurious.com

I love this thread; I now have several new things to try. My favorites are as follows:

BROWN SUGAR-GLAZED SWEET POTATOES WITH MARSHMALLOWS
(a T-Day Staple for our family)
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

SPICY TOMATO SOUP
(my go-to comfort food
)http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH SAUSAGE FILLING
(good for low-carb diets--I'm just a sucker for sausage
)http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

Apr 24, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

making boxed cake mix better...

My favorite cake to make is a Harvey Wallbanger Cake. It's a bundt cake and EVERYONE loves it (be prepared to give out the recipe). It's very easy and starts with a yellow cake mix. As far as cake mixes go, I’m a huge fan of Duncan Heinz “Most Delicious” cake line. My friend, Cat, actually tried this recipe using homemade yellow cake ingredients (she’s so Martha sometimes) and claimed it didn’t taste as good. Go fig—sometimes store-bought does triumph. Woohoo!

INGREDIENTS
1 package yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
¼ cup Galliano liquor
¼ cup vodka
2/3 cup orange juice
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Pour in a greased bundt cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done.

You can also sprinkle/sift powdered sugar over it to make it look pretty, but really, it doesn't need anything on top. Hope this helps!

Apr 24, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

Langer's Hand Cut Pastrami - Overrated!

Ah, thanks :) I've only been there for lunch but assumed they might be open for dinner. Too bad. It seems like it would make a great late-night meal (the indigestion, not withstanding).

Apr 17, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Langer's Hand Cut Pastrami - Overrated!

Hahahaha...very cute. I like Langer's (I used to work close by), but now I have to drive a bit for a pastrami fix. Those who are Langer regulars, when is a good time (lunch and/or dinner) to beat the crowds?

Apr 17, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Okay, so I made my choice. I made reservations at Grace, and I'm saving Lucques for September (taking the 'rents to Cirque du Soleil and they are insisting on taking us out to a really nice dinner afterwards--they are so generous). Thanks for all the feedback. It was very helpful. BTW, Clare, when I made reservations online, in the special accomodations sections, I shamelessly wrote that we were going for my 30th birthday and so I would love them to "wish me a happy birthday and tell me how young I look" and that "a good table wouldn't hurt either--if that's not asking too much." We'll see. I'm VERY excited. I'll try and write about my experience later.

Apr 10, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Hi Revets, Thanks for your feedback. I've always wanted to try Grilled Cheese Night actually. Perhaps soon...

Apr 10, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

yogurt cream top - like Brown Cow cream top

Gini, the Stonyfield baby yogurts have cream on top, too? Wow, I need to check that out. Anyway, yeah, I like Stoneyfield's but I think Brown Cow is a tad better (might be the maple syrup in it?).

Apr 09, 2007
alag77 in General Topics

Vegetarian takes Manhattan

When I was a student there, I frequented Dojo's a lot. It's very inexpensive and they have decent vegetarian fare, but I'm not quite sure the level of cuisine you're looking for. Here's a link to some reviews and their menu: http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

Apr 09, 2007
alag77 in Manhattan

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Yeah, Jar looks good, but I'm so enthralled with Grace...I might just hang my parents out to dry on this one (and to get back at them for taking me to Asia d' Cuba last year because they met the mother of the owner on some Australia trip they went on--it was horrible and $20!!! for valet parking).

Apr 09, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Yes, I loved Lupa. You could really tell the pasta was top-notch and the atmosphere was so nice and easy-going. I thought Babbo was just a lot of hot air. It was a little too stuffy for me and I wasn't wowed by the food (or service).

Apr 09, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Thank you, Newkie. I appreciate the thorough response. I'm leaning toward Grace, too.

Apr 09, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)--Recs?

I'm a girl who is happy with Trader Joe's EVOO for regular cooking. However, I have a suspicion that when a recipe calls for "good quality" EVOO, they were not thinking of Trader "Giotto." Does anyone have good recommendations for good quality EVOO (and perferably something that doesn't break the bank)? It would also be good to recommend something that is available nationwide in markets or something I can get in the Los Angeles area where I live. Something available only regionally in, say, New Jersey doesn't help me much (unless I can mail order it). I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in General Topics

Mom is visiting- I need a fun restaurant in LA area- please help! : )

I "third" Nook, but it is loud (a nod to a comment about fun/social=loud).

I was actually disappointed with VIolet. We felt it was a little expensive for what we received.

Another rec is Fritto Misto. It's a neighborhoody Italian place in Santa Monica and close to 3rd Street Promenade (a typically touristy site out-of-towners enjoy with a derth of good places to eat right on the Promenade). It's very reasonable, and I consistantly enjoy the place (can also be loud). I don't know if this qualifies as "fun," but it's a place that I take my parents and in-laws to when they visit. I'm also not sure if they take reservations (we just go and wait a bit if we have to), but if not, go on the early side during weekends. It can fill up quickly. Don't have exact address but it's on the corner of Colorado and 6th.

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Tea w/ Mom

First Thursday of the month, actually. Good catch, but most people tend to have tea on the weekends (what with work schedules and such), rendering that perk difficult to utilize (but if you can swing it, go for it). Members also get into the facilities for free.

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Ben & Jerry's Free cone day 04/17/2007

Thanks for the reminder!!!!

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in General Topics

Favorite Barefoot Contessa Recipes?

Her guacamole recipe (from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook). It's consistantly good and really easy. I make it for parties, and people always say I should sell the stuff. I tell them someone already does. ;)

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Home Cooking

Help me choose which restaurant (Jar, Grace, Lucques, or Campanile)

Hi Chowhounds:

I know this topic seems redundant (my apologies), but please read on. My parents asked me to pick a restaurant for my 30th birthday (it's a big one, so I'm going big). There are a million places I've always wanted to try, but I've narrowed it down to Jar, Grace, Lucques and Campanile (it's close to our home and we've never been). I have searched reviews for all of these restaurants on the board but would like further feedback given some qualifiers. I'm basically trying to please all parties, who have different tastes, interests, nueroses ;). However, just to let you know, based on reviews and a review of their menus posted online, I'm most intrigued by Grace (their menu seems pretty creative on first glance) and Campanile seems like a dark horse (some positive, but a lot of critical reviews on here).

Okay, here are some specific things I'm looking for.

1) Must have good service (which might eliminate Campanile?). If my parents are shelling out hundreds of dollars on a meal, I don't want them to be treated poorly. I'm looking for a more Colonel Pickering v.s. Henry Higgins experience (i.e., LIZA:...[Col. Pickering] treats a flower girl as if she was a duchess. / HIGGINS: And I treat a duchess as if she was a flower girl.).

2) Must have interesting food with some more "safe" choices on the menu. My husband and I enjoy new food experiences (we like being a bit daring), but my parents tend to be a little more conservative. For example, my mom does not like most seafood or "game-y" meats (or things a little strange to her, i.e., cheeks, tongue, etc.) and my dad is mostly a meat eater. However, he can be encouraged to experiment.

Over all, we tend to like lighter fare (i.e., think California cuisine or light French fare) but can groove on unexpectedly well-prepared (heavier) comfort food.

3) Substance not hype. I think people tend to jump on the bandwagon and "enjoy" places because it's the hot new spot or everyone seems to like it. I'm looking for good food, not just another culinary notch on my belt. For example, when I was living in NYC, everyone RAVED about Babbo. I tried it twice and was disappointed (I thought MB's Lupa was much better). Bottom line: Dazzle me with the food, not the name. My parents also don't live in LA, so they don't care about going to an LA-area "name" restaurant.

4) Consistancy. It's great if you had an amazing experience at (blank) restaurant once, but I'm not eating there on the same day that you did. Have you gone to said restaurant several times and never (or rarely) been disappointed? I'm also looking for opinions of people who have eaten at these places recently versus a couple years back (or even a year back; sometimes restaurants can go downhill very fast).

Two last things--one question and one request.

1) Are the menus posted on all these restaurants' sites sample menus, seasonal menus, or pretty much their standard menu? Does anyone know? I'm particularly concerned since it's now just the start of spring, so restaurants with seasonal menus will probably be revamping their menus soon (if they haven't already).

2) If you post a restaurant recommendation, I would love some feedback on food recs from that restaurant.

Thanks so much, and I hope no one gets mad about this seemingly redundant topic, since these restaurants are all well reviewed and commonly commented on. I just want to know how they stack up next to each other (and yes, I did read the post "grace or lucques," which I did find very helpful: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/33887...). When you go out so rarely to spendy places, you quake at choosing poorly.

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Tea w/ Mom

I can't say I've been to a lot of off-beat tea rooms; my bi-annual high-tea experiences with Mom and Grandma typically stick to big hotels. However, below are my thoughts about the places I've been to with my family:

1) Ritz-Carlton (Pasadena): The atmosphere is very nice and elegant (although borders on frou-frou), and the hotel's location affords a chance to stroll down Pasadena's downtown area before or after the meal (depending on your tea time). Food is great (their strawberries and cream were heavenly), but service is spotty. At least, that's just my experience when I went for Mother's Day last year; we felt ignored a lot of the time and service was slow (I've had okay--not great--service at other events, i.e., wedding showers). Over all, there was just a lack of warmth from the staff (I got better vibes from the valet service). If you choose to go here, call early. They tend to book up quickly. I've never been to the Ritz in Marina del Rey (Do they have tea service, too?).

2) The Peninsula--I just went with my family for Christmas '06 (so farily recently) and loved the atmosphere (one of the best). It was elegant and very classy (not frou-frou in the least). The service was also EXCEPTIONAL. The staff was extremely attentive and accomodating. The food was good, but not as good as some (Ritz and Hotel Bel-Air were better, I think). However, I would definitely go back for the ambience and service. The harp (as another person noted) was an unusual touch.

3) Hotel Bel-Air: Probably one of the best experiences I've had (just a hair better than Peninsula). I'm eager to go back. We sat in the patio (so romantic) and the grounds were gorgeous (We took pictures by the swan lake--dorky, yes, but hey, why not?). The food was excellent (we loved the lemon curd and the scones), and the service was excellent. If you haven't been here yet, give it a try.

4) Beverly Hills Hotel: Don't bother. The room set aside for tea is horrible--right by the lobby and entrance to the hotel. It wasn't intimate at all. I think the food was okay, but it wasn't memoriable. However, it was nice touring the historic hotel while we were there.

5) Huntington Library and Gardens: I've been here a couple of times, but I wouldn't go back. I see it more as a starter tea place--somewhere you go for your first tea experience and then trade up. I seem to remember they have a buffet, rather than table service, which takes away from the experience, I think (am I snob?). However, some people may like this, since they can pick and choose the foods they enjoy (For example, I like the savory foods better than the sweets). You also have to pay admission to the library/garden to have tea at the restaurant, so if you're not interested in touring the place, it's just another added cost (but the grounds are beautiful during certain seasons). I don't remember how the food tasted or how good the service was. Over all, I just think it lacks the elegance and class of some of the other places, but not a bad choice.

I hope this helps. I'm also sad to hear (er, read) a somewhat critical review of the Four Seasons. I wanted to take my family there next.

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area

Help Me Leave LA With No Regrets!

self-edit (replied to wrong person)

Apr 08, 2007
alag77 in Los Angeles Area