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Everything posted by SuperLuckyCat

  1. Hi, My husband and I are flying into SFO on a Tuesday at 9:45 AM and driving to Crescent City, need to be there by noon on Wednesday. We want to enjoy the drive and need some suggestions for how to break it up. We have heard Point Reyes is a great place for eating and for getting picnic stuff, so maybe we would start there with lunch (saw the PR thread). We want to drive up 1, but need some recs for where you would stop for the night and other not-to-miss places to eat or poke around. We would enjoy any wineries that are near this route since we won't be going to Napa/Sonoma. We do want to see the Avenue of the Giants. Any hotel/motel recommendations would be appreciated. We like camping, farm stands, hiking, and trying new foods. Where would you switch to 101 from 1? After our stay in Crescent City we're driving back to San Fran for a few days (so we will check out those threads) but we will have another opportunity for 1 night in between the 2 destinations. Thanks a lot!
  2. Oh, and Specs. Specs is the best destination in town. And Central Market.
  3. I take family and friends visiting me to Tampico, Thelmas (which may be closed so then I would go to Goode Company partially for the absurd huge armadillo next door) for BBQ, Lankfords for breakfast, Hugos (everyone is impressed by their margaritas, ceviche, fish, and desserts), t'Afia and Cafe Annie for food unique (at least to Yankees) to here. Other previously mentioned places I agree with but not something very Houston would be Niko Nikos and Dolce Vita. When family comes into town and wants to go out for big steak, I pick either Brenners or Pappas. I have a hard time dealing with the location and the corporate parent of Brenners (Landrys!) but once in there you don't notice it. Pappas is just a fabulous place for a scene of Texas Sugardaddies and their daughter-or-date? bar scene. Hangovers must be serviced at Lankfords, Chachos, Breakfast Klub or Texadelphia.
  4. I think we will see the chains having to reinvent themselves away from the source of American obesity. The amount of food that is expected by the customer in a plate of food at these chains far exceeds wise portion size. People seem to expect 4-5 cups of food when they order at Olive Garden, Carrabas, Chilis, Applebees, etc. There have also been promotions, I think at TGIFridays, for a 3 course meal that I am sure is at least 1,000 calories if you ate it all, some fatty appetizer, dinner (like a cheese-topped steak?!), and then dessert. When the baby boomers and the following generations get SEVERE health wake-up calls, when 75% of the nation has diabetes or is morbidly obese, and people can't afford the health care consequences of American eating habits, I bet we will see the chains having to change. Imagine if there was a calorie, fat, and fiber count next to every menu option in chain restaurants? This comment doesn't address the commonality and consolidation of chains threatening all independent restaurants, but I wanted to point out that we are not far from a health crisis in the US that may force these chains to reinvent themselves.
  5. Thank you very much these suggestions. We have a reservation at Eiffel Tower but I think we are going to change our approach and go to a couple of nice restaurant bars and have glasses of wine and some sort of snack. Thanks! If anyone needs Houston suggestions come on over to the Texas board....
  6. A friend and I need a suggestion for a long, leisurely, wine-soaked lunch somewhere delicious on a Saturday. A lot of places I look at are only dinner. We're having breakfast at Bouchon the next day and all other meals are planned. Any suggestions? Thanks
  7. Is there a discussion on Sandra Lee?
  8. I went there about 6 months ago and was not impressed. Portions were big and sloppy, laminated menu, unimaginative sides that had me picturing the big common pan of potatoes or vegetables in the back no matter what the entree, just all sorts of picky things that would not have me come back. If I read a great review of there soon I will try it again because so many people love it. Recently four of us ate at Piatto (sp.?) that newish place behind the Dillards in the Galleria. Great asparagus appetizer with crab on top (very buttery) and great service but one of us had dry roasted chicken and my pasta was great stuff/sauce but the pasta itself made me sad and was too al dente. Is this place part of the Grotto dynasty? The menu seemed the same.
  9. It would be a HUGE loss. They will probably replace it with fake "news" where they put a regurgitated press release in for some new food or food product and write it up like it's an article. I feel like there are a ton of them in the HC. The W&D served as a guide for me to know where NOT TO GO. Booo!
  10. You're right! Two times actually, once complaining about allegedly good deals for free krap food for kids and once for complaining about another poster implying women love the flowers and linens part of the dining experience. I should send in a fake review: "The huge portions were to die for and we were very excited about being seated immediately. The server wore an Aggie pin and I was so put out until the manager made me feel better by comping my entire meal. I really appreciated the whole staff dropping everything to stand by my table and sing happy birthday to our 1 year old!"
  11. The To Die For comment was good, I agree. The requirements to make 98% of Chronicle Whine & Dine contributors happy when they eat out are: free food, huge portions, acknowledgement of birthday/anniversary (with free food), and some sort of proactive deferential behavior by the server/manager. That's why when some people complain about not having all of those in their "dining experience" and you don't read anything else about the actual food, (unless it's a chain), I almost want to go try that place because their priorities and target clientele might be more in line with what I like. Isn't this a snotty post? I admit it.
  12. I can't believe you didn't have the tallegio pizza! Just kidding. My first trip to Sabor has been a little less than expected, but I will try it again. I think I would go back and sit at the bar and try the tacos and have another amazing margarita....
  13. I think the service can be abrupt or spacey sometimes. Maybe that's why it seems more authentic, seems more Italian, it isn't some Americanized experience where the customer is 150% right and the whole staff claps happy birthday to you while giving your entitled free hot fudge sundae with whipped 'topping." Not that I am excusing anyone for asking a customer to leave. That's totally wrong. The manager and host(esses) on duty would probably be appalled if they knew someone had said that (leave the table). I was put off by that person saying that it was such a horrible experience they forgot what the food tasted like. I can remember the taste of a stale Good n Plenty I find behind the bureau and still eat weeks ago. It seems like the theme of Whine and Dine is service and quantity, not necessarily food. (Please note I am absolutely not excusing that service situation they described, I just find W&D unintentionally hilarious). BTW, the server warned me that it was salty (that aforementioned pizza) because between the homemade sausage and the pecorino cheese, there's going to be a lot of salt, I think it's a sum of the ingredients, not the kitchen's fault. In any case, it wasn't unpleasantly salty, I would say pleasantly so. In fact, if I was craving salty food I would seek it out.
  14. The crowds have thinned there considerably, maybe the Da Marco fans are at Sabor as the new hot thing. You won't have a hard time getting a table even at prime time on Fri/Sat. Last month, Gourmet magazine listed DV in their "What's Hot Now" section or whatever and had 5-6 cities with one restaurant and the only one in this part of the country was Houston and talked about DV. I think you get better service when you sit downstairs inside, just an FYI, but then you are talking about 4 small tables so then there might be a wait. BTW, I did stray from my Tallegio addiction and have the Pecorino, rapini and sausage pizza last week and it was very good, extremely salty, but I was warned and it was good nonetheless.
  15. Nothing is worse than traveling for work and having people who make the food decisions not be foodies. For example, going to Ruth Chris' while in downtown Chicago and you want to say, for that amount of $$ we could go to dozens of better places. But then in the reverse, when I speak up I end up being the person making the plans and dragging picky people to adventurous places or having to be the cat herder to get all of my colleagues to a reservation on time. And then people complain. My other pet peeve about work dinners is having to sit at a table for a large number of people and you know that you're not getting as good food or service. Or someone orders an appetizer sampler platter. Or you feel like you have to pass your appetizer around and let everyone try it.
  16. I am sitting at my desk at work eating cold, limp, leftover Tallegio pizza from last night and even though it is probably a disgusting thought to people out there - that's how damn good it is, even cold, reeking of truffle oil, it is still my crack addition. And the only reason there is leftover is because I ate some of my husband's pizza which has tomato sauce, argula, prosciutto, and mozz., and my friends pizza with eggplant and mozz. (a new addition). Both of those were great. I almost ordered the one with suasage, rapini, and pecorino last night and my husband said "you're not getting your Tallegio?" and I realized my (almost) folly. I think you could take an old leftover Tallegio pizza from DV outside, run it over with a truck and I would still eat it. I did take the advice and add some salt to it which is very a good idea.
  17. Can you go to t'Afia for lunch tomorrow (Friday)? That 3-course menu is always great and you can get in easily. You could also go the Farmer's Market there on Saturday AM and have the chilaquiles (sp) that the chef prepares for people to eat or her scones, biscuits, or egg sandwich. I haven't been to LM, but it's next on our list for big dining night (after Chez Nous tomorrow!) but I have had the tasting menu at t'Afia 2X and I am always not totally happy with the wine pairings (they are all from Texas, keeping in the theme). Some are fairly good but a couple are always not that good. The food has always been dynamite, though. Beans, are reservations hard to get at LM?
  18. I apologize for the technical ignorance but, Vinfidel (or anyone), how do I search on the archive for Mr. Caswell? We're in the final throughs of planning and I want to figure out a tour. BTW, that first 2nd weekend in July is Jazz Fest? Can anyone give any tips for us? We have dinner reservations lined up already at Joe Beef and APDC.
  19. We do go to DM a lot and probably get above average service. We have sent a lot of friends there who were underwhelmed by everything (but the food). The new renovations have made a lot of better space (and no more tent). The only sad thing is the great sommelier left to start a new restaurant on Washington called Catalana which is opening this summer. I have heard that he is in this new venture with a person from Ibiza and a person from Brennan's. Also, at DM the menu has recently changed and the new additions are great. I do admit that if you get better service if they know you, that's a bad thing. I would never go there at 8 on a Friday or Saturday night because of the noise. If you really love the food though, you should give Dolce Vita a try, the same quality approach to pizza and pasta. But that place gets loud and crowded. But there's a fun bar.
  20. Marks food is wonderful but I don't like feeling I am in the midst of big parties of expense-account diners. I feel like it is a bit impersonal and loud. BUT, the Tours of ____ (anything) especially crab are so dynamite. I think Marks desserts are hands-down the best in town. If we are still comparing the big 3 (Marks, Noe and Da Marco), I think Noe suffers from being quiet and empty and no buzz (as stated above), Marks is too popular with diners that make it loud and less elegant, and DM remains my favorite but I certainly understand why it's easy to have a bad experience there (lots of squished bad tables, no place to wait, and uneven service if they don't know you) but I think it's the best food for the $$. I would put Chez Nous above Noe and possibly over Marks for ambiance and setting, but it is very far away.
  21. Where in Houston is the best selection of half bottles? Specs (HQ) is OK, but I wonder if there is somewhere with even more.
  22. Gravitas is pretty good, if you haven't been there. Good wine list and lots by the glass. I've had lunch there (very good salade nicoise) and dinner (great lamb loin, but proceeded by the world's largest bowl of soup, the most irresponsibly/stupidly-sized dish I have ever been served, it was good soup but I don't need a gallon of it).
  23. This review made me want to go try it since I am someone looking for something challenging and appreciate the effort to make Houston more cutting-edge in the restaurant scene. Not to sound elitist, but the customer segment it probably affected negatively wouldn't have gone there anyway (on purpose) and if they had, they would have been a pain in the a$$ to deal with or they would have immediately written in to Whine & Dine about how the manager didn't come and personally great them and give them a complementary flourless chocolate cake with "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate syrup around the edge and their reservation wasn't honored within 5 seconds of arrival, etc , etc. Hopefully crazy foodies will start coming out of the woodwork.... Good luck greenbean man! And see you soon!
  24. As a huge Da Marco fan I was so excited for Dolce Vita and it has surpassed expectations. The only problem right now is the crowd. So much press lately and all of it right on, I think. Even that reviewer at Texas Monthly reviewed it this month. I cannot recommend enough the Tallegio pizza which is tallegio cheese, argula, pears, and white truffle oil. I think I have already consumed 10 of these since it has opened. If I need to go to a "happy place" when stressed at work I imagine the smell of this pizza. The pizza crusts are sooooo good. It has taken a ton of strength to order anything else from the menu but everything else has been excellent (except the mushroom with ricotta cheese dish and the cauliflower dish). I especially recommend any of the pasta dishes (gnocci with ragu, spaghetti with ceci, etc), the Niman Ranch speck from the carne menu, and the parsnips and also the shredded brussel sprouts from the verduna (sp?) menu. The prices are all surprisingly affordable and the wine is much lower prices than one would think. In fact, knowing Da Marco's price structure I was expected it to be about 20% higher than it actually is. The Tallegio pizza is ~$12, a decent glass of wine 6-8 and plenty of bottles are in the 30s range. Another awesome pizza is the one with tomato sauce olives, capers, and mozz. I can't rave enough about the tomato sauce on some of the pizzas. It is sort of a madhouse and can be loud, close together and things are brought out as they are done. I would not bring kids there or high maintenance people who can't relax. Or at least wait until it quiets a bit. There was a hilarious Whine and Dine about some people who went there and weren't treated like the royalty they thought they should be and were mad that the pizzas weren't pre-cut in the kitchen. I was glad to see that review since people like that shouldn't even bother. And next door to DV is the new location for Indika, so can the world of dining get any more exciting for that square block? NO!
  25. Thanks and btw, we are way too cool for "way too cool" bars! We made our reservation for the Hotel Gault, it looks great. Now we have 2 dinners and two lunches to plan..... Also, we are taking the train from upstate NY (the Amtrak Adirondack line) has anyone been on this trip? Albany to Montreal, 7+ hours, which sounds relaxing and should have nice scenery (we live in Houston where the scenery has plenty of refinerys, monster SUVs and strip malls). Vanessa, I am interested in exploring this option with you! I looked at the visites site that someone posted earlier and it looked good but we'd love something smaller and more customized. My husband loved the cheese idea, but we are open for anything, it would be July 8. How best to communicate with you about this? We love wine, Italian markets, cheese, chocolate, almost anything.
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