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Posts posted by MomOfLittleFoodies

  1. Living in SF, it's easy to find most Mexican, Latin American and Asian ingredients. But, there are a number of items easily found on the East Coast (where I grew up) which I can't find here.

    premium sliced bread (like Peppridge Farm or Arnold’s)

    radiatori pasta

    spaetzle (Maggi, boxed)

    hominy grits (slow, not quick)

    pasteurized eggs (occasionally but very rare)

    cappicola (ham from the shoulder)

    I've lived in the SF Bay Area for 14 years... I can help you out with some of these...

    Arnolds brand is called Orowheat on this side of the Rockies. The labels look exactly the same except it says Orowheat rather than Arnolds. They sell it at pretty much every Safeway in the area.

    I've seen Radaitori pasta at Whole Foods Market, Lunardis and pretty much every other high end grocery store.

    Spaetzle and real Hominy grits I've seen at Lunardis.

    Pasteurized eggs are available at pretty much every big chain grocery store (Egglands Best)

    Cappicola ham, I've seen at Whole Foods, some Safeways and the deli section at Lunardis.

  2. Freddy's, Whataburger, Culvers, Smashburger? Wha? Are my West Coast roots showing yet?

    Here are my rankings...

    1) In-N-Out (because I'm from the SGV, birthplace of In-N-Out)

    2) Nations (a Bay Area Chain)

    3) The Habit

    4) Jack In The Box

    5) Fatburger

    6) Carl's Jr.

    7) Burger King

    8) Wendy's

    9) McDonalds

    10) Sonic (love their chili cheese tots though)

    I figured that if Five Guys is in the mix, I could throw Nations and The Habit in there too. We do have a Five Guys here, but I refuse to set foot in there because of their use of peanut oil (long story)

  3. Well, from the posts here I'm abviously a Cretan - but - I still enjoy Round Table Pizza. I gave up on Papa Johns a few years ago. I mostly patronize a local place that makes good, but not fantasic, pizza.

    I like Round Table Pizza too... while it's not gourmet, it's good. Dominos and Pizza Hut are tolerable in a pinch. My pizza of choice though, is a local chain called Skipolinis. I'm a peasant though, and don't like my pizzas too frou frou.

  4. Lays BLT flavored potato chips


    A two-fer! Surprisingly, I liked both of these flavors.

    Of course, the Lays BLT potato chips don't taste like lettuce or even tomatoes. What they do taste like is bacon. Not a heavy dose of it but a light one which is why I was surprised that I liked them. I wouldn't really call them "bacon-y" but I thought they still tasted good.

    I've gone through about 3-4 bags of these in the past 2 months. I like them. They've got a little hint of tomato going, but mostly that light bacony taste with a hint of mayo flavor.

  5. I'm not a food professional by any means, but as an average Joe on the street, here's some things that draw me into a restaurant.

    First off, make sure you're listed on websites like Yelp, and things like Foursquare if they're available in your area. When I'm craving something different from my usual, or looking for something nearby in an area that I'm not terribly familiar with, I search using yelp or foursquare.

    Also consider local news blogs too. For example, I found my favorite taqueria through a local news blog (claycord.com) when they were discussing where to get the best burrito in the area. Another local news source, Patch.com, occasionally runs articles on restaurants.

    When I'm walking out walking or shopping, things that catch my attention are things like good smells, attractive photos of some of the products being offered, or even take out/paper menus by the door. Being able to take a menu with me without having to commit immediately has helped me find some of my favorite places, and I also have a small stack of menus of places I want to try in the future sitting in the car.

    Specials and loyalty programs are attractive too.

  6. 1) When I first went to the US, a 5 to 10% tip was the order of the day, depending on quality. Then 10% became entrenched. Then "we have added 12.5% to your bill for your convenience". Then it became 15%. I am now informed that in places in Miami, the major Californian cities and NYC, less than 20% can lead to a lightly chilly response. Why the changes? Which measures have altered given that we are dealing with %s which cater for inflation, etc.

    I live in California, where waitstaff get paid the same minimum wage as the teenager bagging groceries gets ($8/hr), unless you're in San Francisco, where minimum wage is $9.92/hr. The "I don't make minimum wage before tips, take pity on me" card isn't really an issue here. Hubby and I tend to tip around 20%, never less than 17% unless the service is wretched. That said, we're not talking about fine dining establishments. LOL

    From the California Department of Industrial Relations website FAQ on minimum wage

    "Q. I work in a restaurant as a waitperson. Can my employer use my tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay me the minimum wage?

    A. No. An employer may not use an employee's tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay the minimum wage."

  7. W are takkin pizza in the middle of August when garden fresh tomatoes are everywhere for goodness sake. Who buys or even cares about canned tomatoes this time of year.... for a pizza no less???

    I'd rather use local, fresh tomatoes when available over anything that comes in a can, no matter how "premium" the canned stuff is.

    Granted, when I make pizza, I'm not going for gourmet, I'm going for what my kids like and will eat.

  8. Nope, not concerned about the ethics of flesh-eating. I'd prefer animals to be treated humanely before they're slaughtered but I don't exactly lose sleep over it.

    However, I'm deeply concerned about the environmental effects of flesh-eating, particularly the depletion of wild fish populations.

    This pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue too.

  9. I don't always tip. If the service is really really rubbish and staff just don't seem to care even when I politely draw their attention to the problem, I will tell the waiter at the end that I am disappointed with the service and then I don't tip.

    And btw there are no set rules about buddhism and vegetarianism. The majority of buddhists actually operate on the principle that it's ok to eat meat if an animal wasn't killed specifically for you. And of in many countries were buddhist monks still live in the traditional way, monks accept whatever they are offered to eat when they do their alms round. On the other hand, I know many "western" buddhists who are vegan. So there you go, don't assume anything!

    Over the years, I've eaten many meals with Buddhist priests, which included meat. My great-grandfather and great-uncle were/are Buddhist priests in Japan, and they both consume(d) meat.

    Most of the very devout Japanese Buddhists I know are not vegetarian or vegan.

  10. A lot of why school lunches are so screwed up comes down to funding. I know that in our school district, the food services department is supposed to be self supporting. The district only provides funding to maintain the facilities and pay staff. Everything else gets paid for with revenue from meals and snacks bought, and the USDA reimbursements for free/reduced price lunches, and other subsidies.

    The school district would have to probably double the price of the lunches to be able to provide the kind of lunches Jamie Oliver touts.. and our district actually has some of the healthiest school lunches in the area.

  11. A lot of kids will not drink unflavored milk. It ends up in the bin. If chocolate 2% milk gets some milk in them, so be it.

    I'm a noon supervisor at an elementary school. A lot of the kids at our school won't drink the nonfat Chocolate milk they offer either. There's usually anywhere from 6 to 24 cartoons of milk left on the table by the garbage bins every day, and the vast majority of them are chocolate. USDA requirements state that each student buying lunch must take either a milk of an extra serving of fruit/veg if they don't want milk if the school wants to be reimbursed for the meal.

    I like most of Jamie Oliver's work, but this Food Revolution bull drives me nuts. He's a little too pompous about it, IMO.

  12. I would think it was an isolated event, as was hopefully the near fight between a guy in a souped and jacked up truck and some kids in a sedan behind me. In a very nice and expensive area actually, San Ramon or Danville or where it is.

    But I like bacon on my burger, so I never went back, as they don't have what I want. The burger I got was rather bland, but I did not know about their "secrets" that aren't on the menu (?). I've never been inside one, I liked that they had two drive through windows and managed where you get your order, that seemed to speed up (the very long and slow) like a bit. And that I did not have to talk to some quacky speaker, but a person with some wireless tablet thing took my order.

    I won't be back, if I eat fast food 5 times a year it's a lot, so it doesn't matter to me, there are others that serve what I like to get.

    We're actually gonna get one more, against the protest of all the people that live around that empty lot, and I know plenty people that love them - to each their own :laugh:

    The San Ramon In-N-Out is kind of funny. Half the time my family goes there it's over run by the local high school kids. Once a drunk backed into my husbands minivan in the drive through there late at night. That was funny (just a bump).

    Actually, we're getting two In-N-Outs in our area. The empty lot one, which is reasonable walking distance from my house, and the one near the "stay away during Christmas shopping season" intersection in the same city. :biggrin:

    I like burgers with bacon too., but for me In-N-Out is a nostalgia thing. A double double animal style (onions grilled in mustard and pickles) hits the spot every time. I grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, home of the first In-N-Out.

    I joke with my husband, a Bay Area native, that if I could have a Nations burger with In-N-Out fries, that would be perfect.

  13. Christina Cooks is the only cooking show that has actually found a way to make me less hungry. So I guess I could use her show as a dieing tool. Too bad I think her show may be canceled....darn.

    Fear not, it stills airs on PBS, in Chicago at least. Your dieting plan could work.

    It still airs in the SF Bay Area too (KQED Create), late at night. I watch just to mock her when I have nothing better to do.

  14. We're actually gonna get one more, against the protest of all the people that live around that empty lot, and I know plenty people that love them - to each their own :laugh:

    We're actually getting two... the one in the contested location you mentioned, and another further down the road.

    I like In-N-Out, but I'm also originally from the San Gabriel Valley, so go figure.

    Have you tried The Habit or The Counter in downtown WC yet? Both get good reviews.

  15. I always put celery, garlic, onion, chopped apple and bacon into my stuffing/dressing, and I moisten it chicken stock.

    My paternal grandmother always made a sausage and giblet stuffing. My maternal grandmother (Japanese) stuffed her turkeys with chicken flavored rice a roni. :(

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