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Everything posted by brucesw

  1. I wish I'd had some of Marcella's ragu in the freezer last night. Haven't made it in years but will, taking a cue from Duvel -- in a very large quantity. The Leberkäse looks like a lot of fun to try, too. I made Biff à la Lindström recently for the first time. Didn't take a picture because I thought I could do better. I really liked it. So Swedish Meatballs are really Turkish and Swedish Hamburger Steak is really Russian? Per the suggestion in the link I skimped a bit on the beets. I wouldn't next time.
  2. brucesw


    There's a store locator on the website. The Grand Openings list doesn't show any in NJ.
  3. brucesw


    Some of the DK branded stuff is actually from Germany and some is 'inspired by Germany,' 'Made in the USA.' Noted on the front of the packages. I look forward to the Bavarian wieners, natural casing, which are from a meat packer in Chicago I've read. Their Parkview Deli (?) regular wieners and sausages are made in Wisconsin, I believe. I wish DK weeks would come around a little more often. I like the 'Never Any' chicken sausages --- but, they're the only chicken sausages I've ever bought! The Pane Turano is good. Tuscan Pane at TJ's may be a little better but Aldi is much closer to me. The Steelhead trout and Norwegian Salmon are always 'Aldi Special FInds' and 'Available while supplies last' starting on the first day of the weekly circular, which is Wednesday around here. I've never scored any but my circulars are frequently delivered late and I don't remember to check the online ads until too late. Atlantic Salmon - pretty much always in stock but not fresh when I've looked at it. I used to rely on their Happy Farmer cheeses for sandwich slices and occasionally the Specially Selected block cheeses but they've introduced Emporium Selection as a brand and there seems to be a lot less variety. I will stock up on cheeses at TJ's.
  4. No Del Taco or Wienerschnitzel here. The former has tried twice, the most recent time in the last couple of years, and just hasn't been able to last. Wienerschnitzel left 30 years ago or so but they are elsewhere in Texas and may be in some of the outlying suburbs. I liked the hot dogs back when and usually stop for old times sake if II see one on the road. I checked Taco Cabana out of San Antonio which labels itself fast-casual - no tamales. Taco Palenque, a very good Mexican fast food chain out of South Texas (only one here) - no tamales. Likewise a local taqueria 'chain' plus Taco Bueno (here and gone) and Taco John's (never here but I've heard good things) Nada. But El Pollo Loco (out of Sinaloa by way of Los Angeles) has tamale offerings on the Seasonal Favorites menu. Our Food | L.A. Mex Menu | El Pollo Loco I thought they had given up after a brief try at entering the market back in the 90s but there are a half dozen or so, including one within a reasonable distance from me. I've never had any of their food but will try to make it over before the Season is up. Incidentally the entrepreneur who started El Pollo Loco and still owns the Mexican company is the same man who started Taco Palenque. This might be pretty decent. They even have a crispy tamale bowl; the only place I've ever seen fried tamales is a Salvadoran tamaleria. I'll report back if I'm successful.
  5. I never paid much attention to these products. If they were available in the 60s which I was at UT Austin I never saw them or heard of them. I tried a few over the years and didn't get the appeal until the poster Huiray here on eG started posting about them in the Lunch and Dinner threads. I don't read the site much anymore so I don't know if Huiray is still posting. In answer to a question once he recommended Dragonfly, Nongshim, & Myojo Chukazanmai brands. I've never found the first locally, Nongshim is almost as ubiquitous as Nissin and Maruchan here; I've had a couple of the Myojo but they aren't common here as far as I've discovered. I tended to avoid the cheap, mass produced (i.e., Nissin and Maruchan) and discovered a few varieties of other brands I like but then I discovered the Nissin Raoh. The noodles are really superior, air dried instead of fried. Raoh means 'King.' Mostly I'm buying those 3 varieties now, and hording them because the shelves are usually pretty empty these days. Here's some articles I've come across that give some good background and taste judgements. https://www.tastecooking.com/cup-noodle-industrial-complex/?utm_source=pocket-newtab https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/01/shin-ramyun-taste-test.html https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/02/we-pit-cup-noodles-against-cup-noodle-and-the-difference-is-real.html https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/06/american-nongshim-versus-korean-nongshim-instant-noodles.html After reading the Sho Spaeth articles on SE, I try to only buy the packets, not the convenience cups or bowls, and whatever one I buy, I take the noodles out and cook them in boiling water rather than nuke them or 'add hot water and soak.' It produces a better 'noodle experience' I think. I haven't had a chance to get out to China Town or up to Korea Town or the 2 small Japanese markets we have but I'm hoping maybe they're able to import some of the products made for the Japanese or Korean markets, which apparently are superior. These products are marketed here still as cheap food and convenience food but they're taken more seriously in other countries, similar to canned fish products. The Sun refrigerated noodles are excellent but they're only available at 3 places in the whole Houston metropolitan area. I tend to agree with Kenji on SE that the soup bases in the kits are nothing special so I prefer to buy just the noodles. My fascination with ramen has pretty much swamped my interest in pho. I have 2 good pho shops near me so I haven't tried home products as much. I keep some of the really inexpensive packets around, for snacking rather than a whole meal: Mama Pho Ga, Mama Pho An Lien, Oh! Ricey from Ace Cooks Pho Bo and Hu Tieu Nam Vang when I can get my hands on them. I like some of the Indomie products as snacks/sides. Another good one I came across was Ottogi Buckwheat Chilli Noodle. Have some kimchi on hand to doctor that one up some.
  6. Darienne - the restaurant meal I alluded to was 50 years ago. Of course it's possible I'm remembering wrong. Perhaps I should just say it was the first time I experienced a Chile Relleno made with something other than a bell pepper. The Wiki entry identifies the dish as originating in Puebla, Mexico, which is no where near the Texas-Mexico border or San Antonio, where Tex-Mex originated, and says that there it is typically made with a poblano pepper, which is named for Puebla. But others are used. Everywhere. Yes it's possible I've never tried one that was well prepared; but it's also possible I have had a well-prepared one and I still thought it was too greasy. Different taste buds. Chile Rellenos are not going on my bucket list. That may have been the last time I ever tasted one. But I am interested in trying this casserole - thanks again for posting it. I have found only one other, in a church cookbook from a church in a suburb of Dallas, published in 1968, labeled 'Baked Chili Rellenos - A Spicy Souffle-Like Dish' (sic). The ingredients list is similar but shorter; it calls for 8-10 long (5-6") green chiles - clearly that's not poblanos, nor bell peppers. The recipe does not include any tomatoes. If anyone wants the recipe I'll summarize it. Then there is this from Robb Walsh's Tex-Mex Cookbook for Dario's Chile Rellenos (p. 126 for those of you following along): "Old-fashioned chile rellenos may be the pride of Mexican cuisine, but the whipped egg-white batter is tedious to make, and when fried has an unappetizing color. The spongy batter also tends to absorb too much grease. This easy way to make Chile Rellenos was invented by Dario's, a Tex-Mex joint on Austin's East Side. Instead of a batter of beaten egg whites, they wrap the chile in a thin omelet. Dario's uses wild Anaheim chiles, but getting the skins off the thin chiles while keeping them intact requires deep-frying. I've substituted poblanos, which are a little hotter but much easier to work with." The East Austin location of Dario's is closed but the location in South Austin has the dish on the menu as Don's Austin's Tex-Mex Chile Rellenos. The Yelp gallery for the joint has one picture, posted by a Yelper who wanted to complain about the presence of the pecans and raisins 😄. I have to say it doesn't look very good to me, but if you want to look. To each his own.
  7. Thanks for this Darienne. I'm a native Texan but I don't recall that I've ever encountered a Chile Rellenno casserole before. I'll have to look through some old community and church cookbooks and the like and see if there are any that I just missed. I've never liked Chile Rellenos. My mother loved them and would always order them and it was one of the few Mexican dishes she made at home. I thought they were always way too greasy and soggy. hers and the restaurant versions Maybe I just never had a good one but I gave up long ago. Funny that Lisa Fain makes a sidewise comment on the use of bell peppers. Really Lisa? Oh wait, she's a lot younger than me I'm sure and I think she grew up in Houston?, or maybe it was Austin? I grew up in a small town. There were no poblanos available so everybody, including the restaurants, made Chile Rellenos with bell peppers. I was in grad school at UT, ca 1968, when I went with a Hispanic friend who was a student at St. Edwards in south Austin to a little Mexican restaurant on South Congress. He ordered the Chile Rellenos, which was his favorite dish, and offered me a bite when I told him I couldn't stand the dish. It was my first encounter with a poblano and I had no idea what I was eating.
  8. Hi Smithy, I passed thru Sweetwater a year and a half ago on a road trip to Fort Collins. Fortunately or not, It was not meal time either time I sped by so I didn't stop, but I had made note of a couple of places that were of interest to me if I was hungry. You may have already found these: Allen's Family Style Meals - judging from the pictures, this is the dictionary definition of 'humble eatery.' There does appear to be a pretty full array of known, national fast food chains in Sweetwater. Daniel Vaughn of the Texas Monthly BBQ Blog has posted 3 brief articles about Big Boy's Bar-B-Que - this is the main one; the other ones have pictures of the food if you want to look them up. If you have time to get away, Abilene is just forty miles east on the Interstate. Abi Haus was one of the most interesting finds I came across in my research for the whole trip but both times I passed thru I missed their limited serving hours. And it closed earlier this year but has recently reopened with some changes to the menu? The website is inactive but you can find a little online on Yelp. Lytle Land and Cattle Company in Abilene was recommended by two people; the grilled quail got high marks. Perini Ranch steakhouse in Buffalo Gap would also be worth a drive, apparently. It's off the Interstate but Texas has good secondary roads. That would be about a 45 minute drive.
  9. Trappey's brand pickled jalapenos are cold brined and remain very crisp; likewise their pickled okra. Cajun Chef is supposed to be another brand that is cold brined but I've never found them in grocery stores, only seen them in institutional sized cans in kitchens. It's the cold brining that makes the difference, as with kosher dill pickles. Look for the terms 'cold brined' on the label or something like 'never heated.' I can't find a picture of the TJ's product online that I can make out all the script so I don't know if TJ's are.
  10. Sorry I've forgotten to post about my findings. San San has changed hands it seems and more of the store has been given over to a slightly nicer restaurant dining area. The food, alas, seems to have gone downhill. There was no book section. I took another look at the temple near me. When I first discovered this place the tea room had only 4 food items on the menu and 6 teas; then they dropped one of the food items. Looks like they've got someone a little more accomplished in the kitchen now. The 'Intro' page on the website mentions a gift shop, library and classrooms, specifically mentioning vegetarian cooking classes. I bet Phoenix has a temple at least as large and with similar offerings. Perhaps you could just borrow books or browse extensively at the library without having to plop any money down. I'll let you know if I get over to try the tea room. I'm with the others here hoping you'll post back on your quest and what you make.
  11. We have a couple of Buddhist vegetarian places here and I love going there from time to time. One, San San Tofu, is a grocery/household goods store with a steam table restaurant. The combo meals are a fantastic bargain and the vegetarian dim sum is great and I've bought some of the frozen mock meats (chicken meatballs, dumplings, etc.) I'm thinking they may have a book section somewhere in the store that I haven't noticed before. I'll try to get over there in a few days and see, maybe at least get some titles for you? Another thought - is there a Buddhist temple in Phoenix? They may have a tea room but more importantly may have a bookstore. There's one near me but I've yet to go (the menu in the tea room is very small). They might have some cookbooks in the bookstore or it may only be religious materials. Would be worth a try, I think.
  12. Very interesting. I ate at Tocabe when I passed through Denver a year and a half ago - just one meal, wish I could have sampled more.
  13. The signage in my store identifies it as a cheddar. Nothing on the package that I could find, however.
  14. The soup and the bread are calling to me.
  15. brucesw

    Jack in the Box

    Flipping thru my grocery circulars this week I came across a fold-out flyer for JITB's Food Truck Series. Mostly the flyer is coupons for regular menu items but there's one coupon for a Food Truck Series combo meal for $5. The front and back of the flyer introduce the FTS - three sandwiches on a 'new toasted baguette:' An Asian Fried Chicken sandwich with Gochujang mayo, a Prime Rib Cheesesteak with cheesy garlic sauce, and a Pork Belly BLT with tangy honey aoili. I'm not falling for the 'prime rib' but I must admit the other two interest me. Here's the web page; click on the items for more description. Curiously they don't mention the special dressings online. I swore off fast food when I retired in '05 and have reneged on that solemn vow less than a dozen times since then. Que sera, sera.
  16. The menu. Looks very good but I'm wanting to see the meat pounded thinner (PTL on the brain, here ).
  17. I came across Piknik a few years back in a little store on the south side in a neighborhood where there were several businesses run by refugees from Katrina who stayed on here in Houston. I seem to remember something claiming it was a favorite in New Orleans, but that may have been for one of the other products I'd never seen here before. I remember being surprised it was made in Alabama. They had Cheewees and Louisiana style hot sausage and some other products, a lunch counter with po'boys and fried chicken (neither very impressive). I'm perilously low on Duke's and I think I'm up to try a new product. I'll try to get back over there.
  18. I have seen the SnoBalls, not sure if I've seen the Twinkies, at both HEB and Walmart in Houston. Displayed alongside Dreyer's; cartons are the same shape and size and price so I suspect Dreyer's/Edy's is producing the brand. Never was a Hostess fan; mother loved to bake so we always had home-made pies, cookies, cakes, etc., and home-made ice cream regularly in the summertime. I'd buy an individual portion out of curiosity but I don't want a whole carton to have to finish off.
  19. I am frustrated that the board software does not let me 'like' some posts multiple times! I am loving this. I was going to ask what body of water was pictured in your first post - you have answered that. We have a substantial expat community from Kerala in the Stafford/Missouri City suburbs of Houston and I have eaten at all of the restaurants there - none of which, unfortunately, are as seafood oriented as this last post. I hope you have much more to share.
  20. I haven't been to Dallas in decades so I can't give personal recommendations but here's the latest Texas Monthly Top 50 list - alphabetically by city, scroll down to Dallas. Five years ago when the list was last published, Pecan Lodge was ranked # 4 overall. This time around, it doesn't make the Top 10 (separate list but numbers appear with reviews in the link) but is still on the list, as is Lockhart. A newer Dallas joint does make the Top 10, Cattleack,@ # 3. I also see one joint in McKinney and one in Fort Worth and there may be others in towns around Dallas I don't recognize, just in case your friend is not going to be close and convenient to any of the three actually in Dallas. Here in the Houston area there is a ton of coverage also in the media, blogs, podcasts and such like; I'm sure there's a lot of that available in Dallas but I don't have any links. Your friend should prepare for long lines at any of these, I'm sure.
  21. There's a 'TX OK' tab on that page, too. A week or so ago when I first heard of this there was a Sysco distributor in the Houston area on the list but now all I see are two restaurants in the metro Houston area. I had an Aji Tuna Burger, seared, at Hopdoddy in Houston last month. Looks like I don't have anything to worry about for now but I'll have a test next time I visit the doc.
  22. brucesw


    First trip in a couple of weeks today. My store had no pork bellies nor any blank spaces in the meat cases where there might have been some. I sure hope this makes it here. It hasn't been mentioned in the circulars (this week's edition is late in arriving). The Brie was back; I got the last of it. I was sorry to see for the second time the Specially Selected Sea Salt Pita Chips were missing. I've been buying those for months and really like them. I bought a box of the Savoritz Sea Salt Pita Crackers and I am not happy with them as a replacement. There was a dearth of dark chocolate options where the chocolates are displayed. That had better be an abberation! I've been trying pulled pork products (refrigerated) to see if any are any good. I tried TJ's previously and while it's not bad it's not what I want. I was hoping the Aldi/Appleton Farms would be more of a Carolina style product with vinegar and mustard listed in the ingredients for the sauce before the tomato products but it was cloyingly sweet. I did not like it on it's own at all but could get it down with a generous dollop of plain yellow mustard stirred in or liberally spread on buns. I won't be buying this again. I have the HEB product in the fridge and will try it in a few days but don't expect it to be what I want, either. There are probably good Carolina style pulled pork products available but I'm not interested in doing mail order for this so expect to be making my own.
  23. brucesw


    Thanks. I didn't know Aldi did that. The store near me has only been open 7 months and I've only been going about half that time so I'm still learning but I am very glad to have some new competition in this part of town and I'm trying lots of products.
  24. brucesw


    Sorry to hear that. I know there was none yesterday at my store but I think there was a couple of weeks ago (I didn't need any so didn't buy any). I was disappointed not to find any Cowgirl Caviar in the freezer section yesterday and I won't be surprised if it suffers a similar fate. It was a steamable side with 7 whole grains (brown rice, oats, rye, red wheat, triticale, barley, buckwheat and red quinoa) plus black beans, shoepeg corn, and green bell peppers with either guajillo pepper seasoning or mango. I really liked the one with guajillo. Fortunately I stocked up a couple of weeks ago.
  25. @csingley - Hi. I was just at Mein this weekend with Jaymes and several others and she mentioned this thread, which I had missed. Glad to see your comments. Back in 2011 I was doing a tour of Sichuan restaurants in Houston, trying to educate myself about the cuisine, and happened on Mala Sichuan (the original) when the Grand Opening banner draped over the sign for the previous tenant in that space was all the signage there was. They were less than 2 weeks old. I ranked them in the middle of the 5 restaurants I sampled then and was surprised they became such a hit with foodies but chalked it up to my lack of knowledge of the cuisine. But I do have to agree, I find Cooking Girl, which I've been to only once with the same group (minus Jaymes) to be much, mjuch better. East Wall sounds good. I will have to put that on my list. I have been to Shanghai several times, Shandong many. I have noticed the frozen dumplings but never bought any. I was also doing a tour of soup dumplings back then. Fu Fu was proclaimed the best by most foodies. I don't remember how many I tried (Shanghai may have been one of them). There was a place where Uyghur Bistro is that I had them, as I recall and a place down the sidewalk from Fu Fu, Friends Kitchen or something like that. I gave up; if any of those available in Houston at the time were good examples then I didn't share the fascination. E-Tao started getting notices after I parked my tour bus and I've never been but I did see this last spring and it's on my list to try. Uyghur Bistro, which I've been to only once, and Cooking Girl are my two favorite finds this year as far as Chinese restaurants. BTW, of the 5 Sichuan restaurants I tried back in 2011, 2 are gone (Banana Leaf II replaced one of them, Uyghur another), one has either changed hands or the kitchen has completely changed and I wouldn't recommend. The fifth I can't remember. Our group at Mein over the weekend was somewhat underwhelmed, given all the hype. Recommend a good noodle dish there, if you will. Thanks.
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