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Everything posted by Tess

  1. On the eggs benedict-- the artichoke bottom idea sounds great. A lite mayonnaise base would sound ideal, but lite mayo has a strange tinny taste, IMO. I find I can disguise it only in a very few things and I don't think I would risk feeding it to guests. However, I very much like a product from The Ojai Cook called Lemonaise Lite. It's avalailable at Whole Foods in these parts. It's not all that lite: 40 calories and 1 point (4g fat) per tablespoon. You might try topping each egg with a spoonful or two of that, lots of freshly ground pepper and a slice of tomato. (Pepper and tomato are my first line of defense in disguising lite sauce products but I honestly do not think this one needs too much disguising. I was using it before I thought of dieting. I grabbed some not seeing that it was lite, and liked it.)
  2. Mitsuwa is not to be missed! Might be kind of a madhouse trying to get a meal in the food court on the weekends though. For seafood, you will not be far from Bob Chin's or from the suburban branch of Shaw's Crab House. I hate to send someone to Shaw's in Schaumberg because it's in the Woodfield Mall. Horrible to drive in and out of and it will be packed. The food is good, though. For sushi, I've been dying to try this place: http://www.wildfishcontemporary.com/184829.html Over in Glenview, about 20 minutes from where you will be, is a Greek restaurant called Periyali with good fish. A fairly unassuming place, but I think the food is on a level with the Greek restaurants in the city. I usually get the Lake Superior whitefish and the grilled calamari.
  3. What kind of food? I am very fond of a little place called Retro Bistro at Golf and Busse in Mount Prospect. If you like the sincere suburban strip mall bistro, give this one a try. Best crab cakes I've ever had; they are mixed with rock shrimp for more texture. There's a fair amount of stuff in Arlington Heights itself, from sushi to tapas.
  4. Tess

    Quiznos Subs

    I've been to the Quizno's here a couple of times. I had some fairly plain turkey sandwiches that were OK. I stopped going because they had so much attitude. I came in with a coupon that had been mailed to me once; when I presented it, the one guy turned to the other and said, "We gonna take this coupon?" like it was a very remote possibility. They did accept it, but who needs that? Anyone been to a TOGO's? We have them all over the place suddenly.
  5. This article also looks an awful lot like a current topic on Chowhound's Not About Food board. I don't doubt at all, however, that a lot of these fluffy articles are written between desperate surfs of the net.
  6. I'm always looking for new tricks for salad dressing. I usually just use oil and vinegar, but sometimes I want something creamy, and most bottled brands don't do it for me. I've been making tzatziki with Total Greek yogurt a lot-- or just adding things to the yogurt. My latest idea, which worked out very well I thought, was to mimic those jars of feta you get packed in oil with herbs. I took fat-free feta and put it in a jar with olive oil with peppercorns, crushed red pepper, garlic and some herbs. I used 2T olive oil for 4 oz. of the feta. It doesn't immerse it, just gets it all damp. I let it sit all night in the fridge and would not let it sit much longer as it doesn't look like a mixture that would keep well. Came out at 4 points a serving. (I'm not doing Core.) I added a little bit of lemon juice and put it on a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and kernels of leftover grilled corn. I thought it was pretty good, and I don't like fat-free cheese.
  7. Upselling may get you an immediate profit, but do you have any way of knowing how many patrons never come back because of it? There's one restaurant I've never visited a second time because too much upselling went on. I got the feeling the server had been told to do it to everyone at least twice, or something like that. She was very nice and charming and even wrapped up a second batch of bread to go, free. I liked the food, too, but I just do not want to go through what is clearly an upselling routine every time.
  8. Tess

    Honolulu report

    I think the Carribean/Mexican place you ate was Cha Cha Cha's. There is a place called Cha Cha Cha Salsaria, also billed as Carribean/Mexican, in the Hawaii Kai plaza where we sometimes stop for tacos on the way to one of the beach parks. i like that they use a lot of fresh vegetables in their dishes. I don't have much of a chance to explore the restaurant scene in Honolulu, because the people we visit with are just not up for it. But I always enjoy the food because, as other posters have mentioned, you get wonderful fish and produce. Your average plate of fish in a bar on the beach is a lot better than most of what I can get on the mainland, at least without spending a ton of money. If you're there dining with kids again, you might want to try driving over to Roy's. The branches in Hawaai are, in my opinion, much better than those on the mainland (that local fish and produce again), it is kid-friendly, and the service is never less than excellent.
  9. I never pay out of my own pocket for anything above coach. I do fly business or first sometimes, almost always on United. I find it hard to guess whether there will even be a meal served on a flight. I generally try to assume there won't be, and eat before or after the flight. That said, I've had some fairly tasty meals on long United flights above coach. But my favorite dining moment was in coach on Alitalia. I was eating the OK cheese and crackers when they asked what type of wine I would like. I asked if they had prosecco and they brought out a bottle in an ice bucket.
  10. I hate sites that start uploading pdf files without warning when you click what you think is just going to be a link. I also hate it when you're looking for a menu on the site and can't find it and keep clicking on things that sound likely, like "Our Cuisine," and you leave not even knowing whether they have menus or not.
  11. Along the lines of the Cheesecake Factory/PF Chang discussion, Jeffrey Steingarten had an interesting article in Vogue about chain restaurants. I've been in a Bahama Breeze, which he describes as a good example of the new chain phenomenon. They have (as he notes) some fairly convincing imitations of Cuban food, some all-purpose food, basically something for everyone. I find them overpriced and not worth a trip, but I can't say I thought the food was terrible. The appetizers were nice and spicy and good with drinks. I think that all these comments about suburban preferences have some truth to them but an awful lot of city-dwellers want to eat that way to. It's harder to characterize urban cuisine. Here in Chicago, the suburbs have a lot of ethnic restaurants and sincere little bistros in strip malls, not really that different from places I've eaten in urban environments. Not the amazing variety you get in the city, admittedly.
  12. karma police, I use a lot of fish and seafood; most of them are fairly low in points. We have an Asian market, Mitsuwa, that I visit for interesting fish, sushi and things like instant soups. Soup is my friend. I'll take a packet of Taste of Thai noodle soup, which is 3 points, and put in some shrimp. I also make a lot of stir-fries or mixed salads with vegetables. It will be more of a challenge when the summer is over and some of my favorite vegetables and fruits are no longer in season. After reading Abra's blog, I picked up a few of the Amy's frozen pies, because the photo looked good. I haven't been doing as much as I could about scouting out prepared foods like that. I do like Boca burgers and Quorn products and have collected an assortment of more or less points-friendly condiments for them. I find that the Bocas have a better texture if you nuke them for one minute and finish cooking in a skillet. Sometimes I pour worcestireshire or reduced balsamic vinegar over it in the skillet to get a little crispy glaze. The last one I had, I topped with some homemade tzatziki and a tomato slice. (I made the tzatiziki with Total greek yogurt, 2%. Total is quite expensive but you get a much bigger taste bang for your points.) Editing to add: I'm all about the condiments. They are expensive but if one is good and low in points I'll spend the money. I've also started using Maldon sea salt on my fresh vegetables. I don't like things that scream out "diet food" but I have succumbed to the little 100-calorie packages of Chips Ahoy crisps a few times. They are strangely satisfying although I feel bad about the wasteful packaging.
  13. I would have left a tip. I also wouldn't have allowed only an hour to eat and get out of there without letting them know. On the other hand, 20 minutes is too long to go with no word on when your food will be coming. So there had been a mistake there. It's annoying when people compound their mistakes by getting defensive or huffy, but that does seem to be the way of things.
  14. Glad to hear they're not changing the plan radically. Here's another WW blog I like: Ointy Turkey suggestions: We often roast a whole boneless turkey breast, usually basted with some kind of wine reduction. I pop for the expensive organic ones at Whole Foods. Besides using them as lunch meat, I chop them up and make salad using any chicken or turkey salad recipe. The last batch I made had curried yoghurt dressing, green onions and champagne grapes.
  15. I like your blog. I'm almost to the end of my introductory 3 months of WW online and have lost 10 pounds. That seems slow, but I'll take it; I only wanted to lose 20 altogether. I hope they don't change the program too much; the current one seems to work for me. I have not given up good food at all. It helps that it's summer and lots of great fruits and vegetables are available, and that I like sushi and other low-fat things. Sometimes I get tired of figuring out the points and just eat a lot of yogurt and other stuff with very obvious point vlaues for a while, but that's because I'm lazy.
  16. I have trouble with shooters, especially those made with things like Bailey's, Chambord or Grand Marnier. Why would I want to gulp down something that expensive and fattening? It seems like a huge waste.
  17. We've done a few infusions here. We use Ketel One, which is our house vodka. We do a little at a time, in small jars, enough to make a drink or two each. I liked a cucumber-cilantro mix the best so far. With club soda, it made a nice tall drink. Someone mentioned garlic becoming overwhelming in an infusion. I was trying to make garlic martinis with gin and vodka. Recipes suggested infusing for only a few hours to a couple of days. I found that after a day the garlic flavor was plenty strong. Another thing we've tried infusing is tequila. We've used orange, mango and strawberry. Our usual margarita recipe is tequila, fresh lime juice and Cointreau. I've used the infused tequila for margaritas and palomas (like margaritas, but with salt and something like Squirt) with less or no Cointreau and it makes a nice light drink.
  18. "Gantlet" is correct here, is it not?
  19. We ate at a CF in a mega-mall recently, and got decent food with no wait. It was a Friday or Saturday evening, too. We'd been shopping at the mall and were starving. They told us it was an umpty-ump-hours wait, but that we could be served food in the bar. There was plenty of room and it was quite comfortable for a party of two. I had the miso salmon. It was a nice piece of fish and pretty much like the same dish I'd had at a nice Japanese restaurant in a strip mall a few weeks before. The snag, of course, was that it was more expensive at CF, and there was not the array of good, sometimes inexpensive appetizers and side dishes that you have in a Japanese place. So I would never make CF a destination, but when I want to get something before going home to crash I would certainly consider it if I can do it minus the wait. I don't laugh at people for using fast food and chains, but I think sometimes they're not aware of the less expensive and more special alternatives. I was just in Oahu and amazed to hear people talking about going to the new CF there as if it was some kind of experience. I mean, Duke's is right there, and it's also not the best value moneywise, but it's a nice place to sit and not the sort of thing you get in Cincinatti.
  20. In The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten writes about systematically eradicating all his food aversions as preparation for becoming a food writer. I thought that was really great. IMO, if you are going to become a restaurant reviewer, and you have a significant number of aversions, you can mention them in the interests of honesty, but if you aren't doing anything about overcoming them it will compromise you as a reviewer. I don't know how many things MB doesn't like, or whether she is planning to become a regular reviewer, so I don't know how much this applies to her.
  21. Thanks for the info, Dave! I haven't tried the sandwiches and I was just guessing. I have by accident bought frozen chicken that's been injected with saline and it was really gross. It seems to me that fast-food chicken is apt to be like that.
  22. With the sodium, I don't think it's so much the numbers that are a problem, unless you are watching them for health reasons. The problem is with chicken that's been injected with salt solution. Why do they do this? To prevent freezer burn or shrinkage, or as a cheap way of increasing weight? Anyway it sounds (from Bayless's own description of the chicken as being "more processed than I'd like" vel sim.) as if that's what's going on here, and it makes for lousy texture and taste.
  23. Am I the only one who wonders when Bayless made the decision to donate the BK money to the Frontera Foundation?
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