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Everything posted by gulfporter

  1. We almost always ask for separate checks and rarely are refused. Generally it is two or three couples in our group. If a restaurant refuses (rarely) to do separate checks we won't go back there with a group as I feel with modern restaurant software, there is no reason to deny separate checks.
  2. True Story: I was brand new to my job and was sent with a group of other employees to a site visit for the entire workday, about three hours' drive away. On the way back we stopped for dinner at a nice steak restaurant. I was young and on a tight budget, so when we ordered, I opted for the cheapest thing on the menu, a chopped sirloin burger and a glass of tap water. Others in the group were ordering filet mignons, a few ordered wine. When the check came, the supervisor simply divided the tab by the number of us at the table, regardless of who ate what. The next time field trip, when we stopped at the same place I ordered the filet mignon and one of their fanciest desserts. When the check came, this supervisor (a different supervisor) whipped out his calculator and gave everyone their exact tab based on what they had ordered.
  3. The Manhattan was my first adult cocktail. The Georgetown (DC) Grill served Manhattans at their weekday Happy Hour and charged 50 cents for them! Of course this was back in 1971. Great memory for me. I veered off cocktails into the world of wine many decades ago, but this topic has made me thirsty for a Manhattan.
  4. Aaaaah....AJ's. Fun place. We would drive 200 miles RT (from Bisbee) to their Tucson store.
  5. We moved to Central FL last year so Publix was new to us. They have outstanding customer service but their prices reflect this high level of service. It is the least stressful large grocery chain in which I've ever shopped. But the one nearest us is a bit of struggle traffic-wise and for parking. TJ's just opened a new store in downtown St. Petersburg (12 minute drive for us); I was a fan of TJs for decades in DC-Metro and missed it a lot when we lived in AZ and Mexico. I buy most of our wine, chocolate and snack foods there. Aldi's....hmmmm. I've never been. Never saw one until we moved to FL and based on the two I've seen in rather run-down strip centers, I assumed they were humdrum low-market markets. I recently read they are owned by TJ's...is that true? I also heard they do not take cc's...true?? We buy all of our proteins at this place http://www.mazzarosmarket.com/ and buy all our produce at a small but interesting produce stand that's a 5 minute bicycle ride away.
  6. When I purchase cilantro, Italian parsley, the bunches are too big for use up quickly. I trim their bottoms then stick them upright in a bit of water in a heavy glass in the fridge (I use my old pyrex measuring cups for stability). Not only do they keep well, the cilantro will continue to grow! Of course, this does take up room in the fridge, though I usually put them on the door shelves. I have also rolled up the herbs in a damp paper towel then put in a ziplock bag....sometimes it works great, sometimes not-so-great. Yes, it's easy for me as a retiree with a bicycle and a very nice Produce Stand under a mile away, to buy last minute produce and herbs. When I worked/lived in DC suburbs I shared your pain of going to shopping centers any more than I could stand.
  7. Radtek, Is it possible you are refrigerating items that don't need refrigeration that is taking up space? Are you buying produce too far in advance? Of course I don't know your household size which could explain why your fridge is crowded. I buy my produce the same day, or sometimes the night before, I cook/eat it. In Europe and Latin America, this is the norm where fridges are often quite smaller than your 21 cu foot.
  8. Re: my post and our location. We're currently living in a small beach town (Gulfport, FL). Gulfport is a Tampa Bay area 'restaurant destination' as it has 12+ eateries in a 5 block stretch of its historic downtown. In addition, snowbirds flock here every winter. We live in the historic district and walk to these eateries and eat out most every day, so the staff (usually young and attending colleges or the local law school) are familiar to us, some are our neighbors. We tip the 20% when we travel around the US. In Europe and Mexico (where we lived for 5 years), we tip between 5% and 10% depending on the local customs.
  9. We generally tip 20% on the pre-tax amount. If service was not-so-great, we'll cut it by a few points. That said, we also have 'minimum' flat rate tips for low-cost venues that exceed the 20% guideline. Example: there are some casual restaurants here that offer $6.95 sandwiches, and at lunch we often just have water with them, so it's a $14 tab. We tip $4 on that lunch, i.e., a $2 minimum tip per person. Same think if I'm traveling solo and and grab a coffee and bagel for breakfast at a cafe that cost $6 or $7 total, I leave a minimum $2 tip.
  10. We eat one meal out every day, usually dinner and have done so since we retired in 2003. Service is as important as the food that's served. I'lll forgive a chef whose version of a dish doesn't quite match mine, as long as he/she put some thought, creativity and good ingredients into the dish. But we will leave a restaurant that ignores us for more than 8 minutes after being seated. Yes, we put them 'on the clock' and vote with our feet. It's been our experience that when the initial contact is s-l-o-w, the entire meal service will just go downhill from there. We tend to go to restaurants that offer foods that I don't make at home either because the ingredients are difficult to come by or making the meal at home involves a lot of clean-up, splatter, or mess. We like places that offer at least a few off-menu specials, it's a sign that the kitchen is still having fun cooking (not just cranking out the same-old same-old). We like a range of wine prices by the glass, including a house wine that is no more than $7 per glass. We like small plates and an array of appetizers with a big variety. Eclectic offerings always a plus; we don't go out to eat a standard steak dinner or meatloaf. Outdoor seating is a big draw for us (we live in FL now, prior to that AZ and Central Mexico); even when we travel to colder climates we enjoy eating outdoors whenever feasible. Don't like places that push desserts, extra sides, etc. We always start with a glass of wine before we order food, and it's nice when they bring the breadbasket when they serve our pre-dinner wine so we aren't drinking on an empty stomach. We like friendly waitstaff but it's more important that they're knowledgeable about the menu items.
  11. gulfporter

    Best Double Oven?

    I inherited a GE double oven at our current home. The upper oven has convection and I recommend the convection for baking. I've only been in this home a year, the oven is maybe 3 years old??? and so far so good.
  12. Update: none of the Whole Foods in my FIL's area (DC VA burbs) carries Realbeanz nor can they special order.
  13. FYI: DH quite happy with the Black and Decker Rapid toaster purchase. It is indeed fast.
  14. We always eat it 'straight' sliced thin on a plate with fresh fruit, good crackers.
  15. Re-read the recipe; no hanging. We've made it at least half a dozen times.
  16. My DH has made this recipe numerous times. Super easy. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/duck-prosciutto
  17. Yes, point to point.....and no fair hitting below the point, on the side. Most 'hit-ees' make a fist around their egg up to their point to keep that from happening. My first Easter at my new in-laws introduced me to lamb, and to meat served rare. Never tasted lamb before that and any meat cooked by my family wasn't considered done until the meat turned a suitable gray. My in-laws hid eggs around their yard for the hunt; my family hid the entire Easter basket, indoors. Easter 'duty' was the one day a year my father went to mass (the rest of us went weekly). Back home after Easter mass, the fast was broken with ham (what else!) and eggs and a shot of my grandmother's homemade hooch. Then off to the egg cracking.
  18. One person holds an egg in their hand with the pointy end up. The other person holds their egg in their hand (pointy end down) and taps their egg against the other person's egg. Only one egg will crack. The winner gets to keep the other person's (now cracked) egg.
  19. Growing up, the main courses were ham and kielbasa (pretty much any holiday was ham and kielbasa for my Lithuanian-American family). Always with beet-red horseradish. The main side dish was kugeli (baked potato cake with salt pork). And also a cucumber salad with sour cream, green onions and dill. Easter morning after church we'd carry our eggs (color: all the same reddish brown from onion skins) around the neighborhood for 'egg cracking.' It was fun, but also a bit cutthroat, especially for the men. Any eggs we had after the egg cracking were immediately put into a large glass crock with vinegar and beet sliced to be eaten in a few days, once well pickled.
  20. IF Starbucks had decaf in bottles (it doesn't) it'd be in the 15 mg range which is doable for my FIL. I found data on Realbeanz at a review site, that says there is zero caffeine in its decaf product, but can't vouch for its accuracy. I have sent an email to Realbeanz re: actual caffeine in it. Also, some Whole Foods carries Realbeanz, unfortunately none in the area near my FIL. I have sent the local Whole Foods and email asking about the product and whether it could be ordered for their store.
  21. Realbeanz looks promising; I'll see if I can find in stores and avoid the embedded shipping costs. Thanks!!
  22. Single serving bottles/cans is what we need. The caregiver leaves my FIL at the house between lunch and dinner, with a small cooler at his chairside (he has one of those lift chairs/recliners)....with bottled water, fruit, yogurt, juiceboxes, Ensure...stuff like that. My FIL is ambulatory but relies heavily on his walker and the less steps, the better. I was hoping to add a new drink to his supply, for something different. I make him iced coffees in the blender when I'm there, using his decaf brew. I really find it hard to believe that with all the bottled coffee drinks out there (even Krispy Kreme has joined the ranks), none are decaf. I will contact Trader Joes and Whole Foods and see if they stock iced coffees sans caffeine.
  23. Like I said, we don't want to put any extra burden on the caregiver. She is in her 60s as is her husband who does the home maintenance/repairs, transports my FIL (wheel chair and walker) to appointments, also the lawn care, snow shoveling). They are trustworthy and dedicated to my FIL (long story short: my late MIL sponsored this couple from Central America to the US in the 1970s). We fear their retirement will put an end to my FIL's ability to stay in his own home as finding affordable and trustworthy in-home care in DC Metro may not be feasible. So, no new burdens on the caregiver/spouse that aren't critical to his care. I was just looking for a treat that I know he'd enjoy that I could stock in the fridge. Nothing powdered at the Starbucks website and again, nothing DECAF at Starbucks website in bottles. It's not like it's just the aged that have to limit caffeine, but evidently the bottled iced coffees are part of the "energy drink" market, hence the caffeine.
  24. I have not seen DECAF in any of the coffee drinks in our local groceries (Central Florida), including the Starbucks' offerings. I googled DECAF for Starbucks and looks like they don't bottle any (I find that hard to believe, but their website doesn't show DECAF in bottles). My 91 y/o FIL loves iced coffee, the sweeter the better, but cannot have caffeine. His foreign-born caregiver doesn't really understand iced coffees and we hate to burden her with another chore. I was hoping to buy a case of prepared DECAF coffee drinks for his fridge (we visit every 6 weeks or so). He is in DC-Metro so I'm wondering if there are some items that may be carried there (often better selection in DC/VA stores than here in FL). Anyone know of any DECAF bottled iced coffees (mocha, frappaciino...that sort of thing)?
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