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  1. baw


    Popped in Perilla last night to give it a try at the bar. I liked the spirits selection, but didn't look too closely at the wine list. The placed ranged from busy to full during the time I was there (~9:30 - 11pm) and had a good feeling. I had a mackerel crudo ($11?) appetizer to start. Raw mackerel, citrus pieces, hearts of palm, green plantain thin strips, with clover type sprouts (?) in a vinagrette and a healthy portion of jalepeno jam painted the the side on the place. Then spicy duck meatballs ($12) which were described above by Dave H. I quite liked the mackerel, although I committed many sins against it by just picking out the citrus and fish and mopping it into the jalepeno jam (owing to my inhuman aversion to raw green things especially if they are touching vinegrette). I've been a huge sucker for jalepeno+citrus+white fish/shellfish since having the scallops on citrus salad with jalepeno grapeseed oil at Degustation shortly after it opened. This dish was definitely a different take on that flavor combination, but I couldn't help the comparison having picked out those three ingredients in the dish. I hoovered the duck meatballs. I felt sufficiently able to whisk in the quail egg, unlike Dave H above, but I suspect that my definition of 'vigorous' and his may be fairly different I agree that the gnocchi weren't outrageously flavorful, but I love me some purple gnocchi and they were fun. The service aimed to please, but wasn't "trying too hard". The price point and location of Perilla, the quality of ingredients and preparation, the fun but not wierd flavor combinations, and the service would lead me to warmly recommend Perilla as a neighborhood restaurant. Based on my short experience there I don't know enough about it to say much other than that. But if you're looking for dinner south of 14th street, I'd say check it out.
  2. Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square has the most forward thinking food of anyplace I've been in Boston. (Which admittedly isn't *that* many because we live down the street from this place so often just go there). The proteins themselves are not unusual, but the garnishes/sides/other ingredients are. For example, the early Spring menu had a seared tuna appetizer I enjoyed a few times - with a pile of powdered coconut, yuzu-squid ink vinagrette, and 4 pipettes filled with different house infused sake flavors. Liquid nitrogen has been making an appearance on the menu somewhere lately. Most recently, its in a white sangria with beet juice. Gargoyles doesn't chemically reformulate food the way WD50 does (I don't know if that is correct term, but you know stuff like the thin canneloni sheet at WD50 made from shrimp and made possible by some 'meat glue' substance), but instead relies on unusual pairings and uses of some familiar (and not so familiar) foods. Although some might not count the packing peanuts that were sprinkled on my chicken as food
  3. Peter, I've been obsessively reading this amazing blog since you started it. I've been bugging my husband to read it, but he's been too busy at work to do a thorough read. He's trying to convince me to print the whole shebang out so he can read it on the plane: we're leaving for a trip to Shanghai in 3 days (9 days in Shanghai, 4 in Beijing). I'm so glad you got to the Shanghai bit of your trip! I selfishly hope that you post loads more about this leg of your journey before I leave
  4. Yes, Bloomie's may be uninteresting relative to the high-end boutiques you get in Nolita and Soho (if you know what streets to walk down, which is why I encourage a targeted crawl). And yes, Broadway shows and MoMa are wonderful. But we're talking a day trip and I'm talking from the point of view of a woman who recently left living in that 'hood for Boston, a city (in my bratty opinion) with crummy shopping, booze, and restauarants. I make it back to NY about once a month and I hit the place like a well oiled machine I've been planning my drink tomorrow at Death and Co since my trip was scheduled 10 days ago. I nearly broke my back with goodies from Astor and 'uninteresting' stores on Broadway during my last visit. Maybe Philly is way better than Boston in shopping and eating, but sometimes, its all about efficiency
  5. If you're breakfasting at Balthazar, no reason to stray far for shopping or fun nibbling. Hit the Soho branch of Bloomie's. Its a smaller selection than their flagship geared towards the younger set... I'm 30 and it still amuses. Otto Tootsi Plohound is on Lafeyette near Balthazar and has a nice shoe selection. You could look up a few specific boutiquey locales to hit in Soho to shop... perhaps center a crawl around some standards like Marc Jacobs and see what you find in between. Work your way west through Soho, hit Kee's chocolates and make your way to Sullivan Street bakery for their much talked about potato pizza. I know what the PA state stores are like - if you like booze, consider hitting Astor Place Wine for a good selection of treats to take home. Oh yeah, and if your gf wears Levi's, the store on Bway near Balth was having a ridiculous sale when I was there 9 days ago. 20 bucks a pair! If she likes cosmetics, there is a big Sephora on Bway near Balth as well.
  6. Finally got to Alinea this past weekend. Been wanting to go since the pre-opening thread here. We planned our honeymoon as a trip to Chicago so we could go. We had the 24 course tour with wine pairings. In summary: Best. Dining. Experience. Ever. I can't really add too much to what has been said here, but I'll toss in my twenty cents: - We had a couple of dishes that were new from the most recent, and excellent, review posted here. The "black truffle explosion" was instead a white truffle explosion with a slice of Alba truffle. The hanging bacon was replaced with a small bite pineapple fruit roll-up thingy stuffed with powdered(?) rendered bacon fat. There was also a hard cinnamon puff stuffed with some forbidden, liver-y deliciousness. There was a new venison dish - venison coated in granola on a bed of celery root puree with a pond of cherry-red wine sauce. - The wine pairings were unbelievably good. I had *no idea* what a wine pairing could be until that dinner. The sommelier did a great job explaining each wine in detail with each pour. - The service was unflaggingly excellent. I was a bit nervous that my small bladder (and, hence, 854 trip to the ladies room) would be troublesome for the meal pacing, but everything was seamless. The pacing was perfect for the entire 4+ hours we were there. The service added a lot to making the meal feel like a fun event, rather than just eating. - There was a family at the table next to us that seemed to be enjoying themselves very much. At one point in the latter part of our tasting, a waiter was describing to us the many components of a dish.. can't remember which one... and the Dad of the neighboring table whispered in our direction "And there are little Martian babies hiding under there". For some reason that keeps making me laugh. - A word of advice: If you have a choice, don't do a 9 pm or later sitting if you want to get the tour. We chose that over the 5:30 because I wanted to do Topolobampo at lunch. We were dying of exhaustion partway through the meal and felt like crap the next day after our full, drunk selves passed at at 2:05 am, which was the instant our butts were back in our hotel room. - I am a small person with a small appetite. I couldn't finish all of my food, but I could eat some of everything. I also couldn't keep up with the wine pairings. But I had at least a little of each pairing with the appropriate dish and sent many glasses away with some wine left in them. It was still 100% worth getting the tastings. I wonder if one could ask for a 'mini pour' version of the tasting. - The last chocloate dessert was too much. Please have mercy and make that dish half of its current size. We had very high expectations and the meal exceeded them. There were a couple of dishes that did not work for me taste-wise, but a) I could appreciate something about each dish and b) given how picky I am, its amazing that there were only a few out of 24 dishes that I couldn't 'do. It was the best meal I ever had. And I wasn't just on a honeymoon high.. fwiw we were disappointed by both Topolo and Avenues.
  7. annarborfoodie - Your story cracks me up! And has my sympathy
  8. I just got married a couple of months ago and my husband's family hosted a great 'rehersal' dinner at the hotel where everyone was staying. We had about 130 at our wedding and at least half flew in to Pittsburgh from out of town. Having it at the hotel was great! It made it easy and relaxing for guests to attend after travelling and some latecomers were able to make it who wouldn't have been otherwise. It was also easy and relaxing for us to attend. I think my husband's family was initially a bit hesitant at inviting everyone, because that wasn't their image of a rehersal dinner. But in the end everyone was so happy with how things went and the ~60 guests seemed universally grateful to have an event where they could see the other guests before the wedding and catch up with old family and friends in a relaxed setting. Our dinner was a buffet dinner with open bar. Something like a beer and wine reception with heavy hor d'oerves would have also been great for what we wanted. (fwiw, our hotel was a Marriott... I was really surprised at how good their catering is and highly recommend.) Afterwards, we were soooooo happy that we just had it at the hotel and I would 100% make the same choice again. We could barely stand by the end of dinner, and were glad to have only a few hundred feet to talk to our bed. I have liked all of the rehersal dinners I've been to because I'm so happy to have been invited to an event to see friends and family. Most of them have been in hotels where I was staying, or easily accessible by foot or public transportation. I find it stressful to have to travel very far by car to a rehersal dinner when I've already had to fly/drive in that day.
  9. Went to the bar in Gargoyles tonight for a quick solo drink and some grub. The bartender, Paul, was so great. Easily best I've had in my short time here in Boston. So professional and so on top of the very busy bar. I had a really nice perfect Manhattan. Its too bad... now I'm going to have a very easy temptation for weeknight drinks...
  10. Hi timh - I'm sorry you found the review confusing, but I'm not sure how one would infer anything but a very positive and straightforward review! Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but in my world a great, forward thinking, good value meal with excellent service and good drinks is definitely a home run, 'even' with an appetizer that was slightly not fresh with one of 4 garnishes less than perfectly melding and a bum fondant. You don't get a lot of 5 component appetizers where all the components perfectly meld - I've had awesome dishes at WD-50 where I would classify one of the components as "an afterthought". You don't have to get a 1600 on the SATs to be in the 99th percentile! (At least in my day... I think they may have renormalized the scoring system, but you get my point )
  11. We went to dinner tonight at Gargoyles on the Square, in Davis Square in Boston, for the first time. We recently moved here, and this was our first post-move nice meal. We were very pleasantly surprised and impressed by both the food and the service. I was quite happy upon reading the menu: sous vide and rooster combs are two terms that immediately jumped out at me. These are two terms I didn't anticipate at our local fancy restaurant but was excited to see. We started with a half-bottle of Trimbach 2002 Pinot Gris Reserve for $19. Nothing special, but we're partial to Alsatian Pinot Gris so we'd get again. We shared an appetizer of Petit Veal Cutlet with cream cheese noodles, bee pollen popcorn, cocoa nibs, and onion powder for $10. When I read "cream cheese noodles" it evoked an image of yogurt noodles at WD-50 (NYC). They were actually pasta noodles in a cream cheese sauce. The only negative of the dish was that it did't seem quite freshly prepared - the noodles were just a little bit congealed and the veal seemed reheated. The bee pollen popcorn, while tasty on its own, also did nothing for the dish and seemed like an afterthought. That said, this dish was really great. The cocoa nibs and onion powder combination sprinked around the dish were a great complement to the veal cutlet. I really liked the play on the beef stroganoff/veal goulash dishes that this appetizer evoked with the sauteed veal cutlet on the thick, creamy noodles. I would absolutely get this dish again and it was a great value at $10. For our entrees, my hubby wanted to order sous vide wild sockeye salmon, with shellfish gnocci and other garnishes that I can't recall. They were out of sous-vide bags, and he passed on the pan fried version of the dish. But the mahi-mahi special he ordered ($26) instead was delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly. Tender and barely cooked through. Sat atop a plump helping of pureed butternut squash and topped with smoked pears. The smoked pears chunks were really interesting and flavorful. There was also crispy fried sage and pancetta in a brown butter sauce garnishing the dish. The combination of all those garnishes was off putting to hubby in theory, but in practice the dish worked great. I had the "signature" duck confit with sticky rice, cashews and bean sprouts ($24). The duck confit was also perfect. Crispy, succulent skin and delicious meat. The coconutty sticky rice, with cashew and mango and bean sprouts were a nice foil to the rich meat. We finished with one dessert - butterscotch fondant, black truffle ice cream, dried strawberries and snap-crackle-pop ($10). (Aside - Its amusing that the pastry chef's name is John George). Anyway, to be blunt, the butterscotch fondant was not good at all and the dried strawberries were not the uber-dried crispy kind that would have served the dish well. However, the black truffle ice cream was excellent and had lots of bits of black truffle. This scoop of ice cream made ordering this dish worthwhile and I have high hopes for this pastry chef's other work, although there is no way I'd go for that fondant again. In the latter part of our meal, we each enjoyed a cocktail from the bar - a Sazerac and an Old Fashioned. Although mildly concerned by the presence of such drinks as "The Hot Tub" on the cocktail menu, we cocktail snobs we very pleased to find that that Gargoyles has a competent (wo)man behind the bar. Our service throughout the meal was excellent, the dining room itself was comfortable and a pleasure to dine in, and all of the food was well seasoned. Overall, a home run dinner and we look forward to go back again. I was surprised to find such a forward thinking menu in Boston and am curious as to whether there are other chefs around the Boston area experimenting with new preparations/flavor combinations as well. And fwiw - the currently available menu for Gargoyles online doesn't do justice to some of the fun new stuff on its Fall menu. (I think chefs recently changed??)
  12. baw

    Unique Pastry

    Pan - I believe that there is a slightly smaller selection of bing than your list above. The banana is the only standout difference. I remember: banana, red bean, taro, mixed veg, cabbage, hot and sour veg, chicken, spicy chicken, beef, pork, spicy pork, pork and chive, pork and cabbage. Perhaps spicy beef as well. I'd like to try a chive and egg or a cabbage, dried shrimp, mushroom bing as you describe above! The banana was OK. Good as a bfast bing, but I wouldn't get it aside from that. There was a much higher dough to filling ratio than the savories that I've tried. And noodlebot is right... they don't have all the bing all the time. I think its because they run out and not because of any specific pattern of only having sweet in the morning. One morning, they were out of mixed veg so I got cabbage. I just was there 15 minutes ago (second time today, I know) and they did have sweet bing.
  13. I spend a lot of my life 'snacking through the village', so perhaps I can be of some assistance. I believe Plumpling has been replaced by a cupcake place, which was mediocre when I tried it shortly after opening. The list below is in very rough order of South to North in location. A lot of the places have threads on egullet and chowhound if you want to read more. These are all places that are regularly in snacking tours of mine and my baby's: 1) Sullivan Street Bakery, now called something like Grandma Daisy's but the recipes tasted the same as of 2 weeks ago. Sullivan Street south of Spring. Get a piece of potato pizza. 2) DeMarco's pizza, Houston and Macdougal. Many will disagree, but the last time I had pizza there it was as good as the DiFara's pizza I had yesterday. The experience generally isn't that pleasant, but split a round or square slice. Even if the pie isn't fresh, I can always taste the quality ingredients. 3) 'ino, Bedford between 6th Ave and Downing. 2 glasses of Prosecco and either Truffled Egg Toast or 2 pesto bruschetta. 4) Ditch Plains, Bedford at Downing. Sit at the bar and share a half bottle of wine. Very reasonably priced wine list, all bottles available in half for exactly half the cost of a full bottle, and its open from 7 am 'til late. 5) Sparky's, Lafeyette near Bleeker and next to Bite. Share a chili cheese dog. Best dog I've ever had. Honest to God. I don't want to go to Grey's anymore. 6) Bing Place on north side of 3rd street near 6th Ave. If you eat pork, share a pork and chive bing. If not, a mixed veggie bing. Get a honeydew drink. 7) Pio Maya, south side of 8th bet. 5th and 6th. Get anything. I like the tamales. 8) Otto, 8th street and 5th ave. Sit at the bar, drink wine and eat olive oil gelato. I'll stop now.. but I could go on Enjoy.
  14. baw

    Unique Pastry

    I've been to the W 3rd street bing place 5 times already, and I've been out of town for 10 of the days that its been open. I live in the neighborhood and my husband and I are totally addicted. I had one for breakfast and wanted to go back for lunch. I tend to order the same things over again, so I've only had: pork and cabbage dumpling, Taro roll, spicy chicken roll, mixed veggie bing, pork and cabbage bing, pork and chives bing, and banana bing. And a fresh honeydew drink. The bings cost between 1.50 and 1.95, with buns being about .50 less. This morning we went at 10:30 am and there was a full stock of bings, the pork and chives were fresh, hot, and delicious. The dumplings are more like small buns and come 6 to an order. The pork and chive bings that I've had are the best thing I've sampled. The spicy chicken roll tasted bad to me because it had cilantro, but I can see how someone who liked cilantro would like it.
  15. baw


    I can't recall the name of the chef.. his name was on the menu, but I'm spacing. I have a fairly small appetite, and didn't feel overstuffed by the amount we ordered. Just pleasantly stuffed. (And I ate 2 cookies an hour later.) So I think that about 4 dishes would be appropriate to feel like you had a full meal, even more if you have a moderate to large appetite. But I could have gone with my fiance and shared 4 dishes between us (delivered one at a time if we wanted to be leisurely, like 2 ladies next to us did) and slowly sipped a glass of wine or two and felt like it was a worthwhile dining experience. But I definitely would have needed a slice afterwards.
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