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David Lerner

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  1. David Lerner

    Del Posto

    I am fascinated that the most interesting facet of Del Posto to be discussed ad nauseum by so many expert foodies is the price of the valet parking! What does that say about a restaurant, that the parking is more remarkable than any other aspect, including the food?
  2. David Lerner

    Restaurants Edinburgh

    Enjoyed breakfasts at "Cooking & Eating" (sorry, I forget how you say that in Dutch, which is of course what's on the door). It's on one of the "three streets".
  3. David Lerner


    Went Saturday night at 7:30. The service was a bit sloppy. I wasn't much impressed with the mixed salad - not enough dressing and it had no zing (if you call it champagne citrus vinaigrette I expect a bit of flavor). We were saying no return. But...my wife had three appetizers, and would reorder two of the three (philipine spring rolls and a risotto that looked too complicated but tased very good, having both texture and flavor). After being annoyoned that there were only two veggie entrees and they both contained meat substitutes - tofu and seitan - I got the vegetarian bento box (tofu) and was delighted. Flavor, texture, contrasts, more flavors. Most satisifying avowedly veggie entree I've had in years. We'll definitely return to Colors.
  4. Heading back to Naples and Ravello in May. One of us is a vegetarian. We know about the pizza, can anyone recommend other good choices (dishes, restaurants, or both) that aren't seafood only? Ravello itself doesn't seem to have any great food (or didn't 18 years ago), but we loved the town, the square, the view and everything else - we're happy to drive down below (or out the back) for dinner. We're more interested in the food than the ambience (Don Alfonso was too fancy and refined for our tastes - we prefer simpler dishes and bolder flavors). I'm enjoying some wonderful Apricot jam from Vesuvius, and I know the famed San Marzano and pomodorinni del pinello (sic?) tomatoes from the area - can anyone recommend specific restaurants or dishes to enjoy them in? Are there other vegetable dishes or pastas of note in the area? We're not afraid of red sauce if it's really good. And I'm always looking for great peperonata. Also heading down toward Paestum for a day, only found one restaurant in the area in the Slow Food guide (La Pergola in Capaccio). It sounds pretty good actually. Thanks!
  5. David Lerner

    Boca Chica

    Their vegetarian green chile is delicious, and they serve excellent flour tortillas with it. (I think they offer basically the same chile as a burrito filling or quesadilla filling as well.) It's a great value sort of place, but it is too loud for me.
  6. Kee's Chocolates on Thompson Street is my favorite NYC producer by far. Worlds apart from Torres.
  7. David Lerner

    Col Legno

    I've been enjoying Col Legno for about fifteen years now, it's our standard restaurant for pre-theatre (Pearl, Public Theatre, etc) in that area, and we chose it this year for Valentine's day as well. They tend to have simple dishes that are very well made and very tasty. My favorites include probably the finest "garlic bread" in New York, which they call Fettunta (excellent chewy grilled bread, imported from NJ, with a rubbing of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil - delicious!). The tomato bread soup (Pappa al Pomodoro) has a great flavor and isn't overly bready as it can be. They sometimes have a simple cold roasted red pepper soup (I've seen the roasted peppers emerging from the wood fired oven), what would probably be called a passato in Italy. Just pure simple pleasure. The Benjamino pizza (tomato sauce, cheese, red onion) is simple and excellent. Not the finest crust in the world (Una Pizza wins in my book), but delicious toppings in perfect proportions make it very satisfying. I really enjoy some of the pastas, including the pesto and the leek & tomato. A simple fruit plate for dessert and you could easily be in Italy. It's also refreshing to visit an Italian restaurant where the wines start below $20/bottle. It's very rare to find a restaurant that is stable for fifteen years, especially in New York where so many places feel that they have to reinvent themselves every three years, and as long as their dishes remain as tasty and satisfying as they have been, I'd be happy to see Col Legno stay the same for another fifteen years. Consistency can be a wonderful thing. (Actually the walls do change - they are usually displaying art by a local artist and it seems to change every few months - not all of the art is to my taste.)
  8. David Lerner

    THE BEST: NYC Pizza Favorites

    "Piled up to the sky" doesn't sound like you are discussing pizza - some other dish entirely I think.
  9. David Lerner

    "Tried and true" restaurants

    Where is Parkside? Not in Zagat.
  10. David Lerner

    Good Eats in Amsterdam

    Had an excellent Italian dinner at Hostaria (very small, you need to reserve). Also enjoyed dinner at Dining 11, creative and very satisfying. Had very good breakfasts at eating and cookikng (Eten & Kuchen?) on the middle of the three horizontal of the nine streets, off Prinsengracht.
  11. David Lerner


    I also liked the Pizocheri, although I prefer it baked a bit with a little crustiness (like my wife makes it). It was a bit soft and slippery, perhaps that's what Bruni was commenting on. The Mozarella came with a different assortment of tastes than you describe (olive oil, balsamic, both excellent, persimmon jam and blood orange...but it was all very good and although an unusual presentation, very satisfying. I also thought the limonata caprese (three takes on lemon) dessert was excellent. I don't think I would head far out of my way as a dinner destination, but as a very good pre-theatre restuarant I will definitely return.
  12. David Lerner

    DeMarco's Pizzeria

    DeMarco's opened today. Totally different look and feel than DiFara...the Houston street side is a shiny modern pizzeria with a large and unusually visible kitchen area (with nothing much going on yet), on the McDougal street side (connected on the staff side, but no connection on the customer side) it's what looks likes the same wood bar as Nellies, and about a dozen tables, unusually upscale feel for a pizzeria, and on another planet than DiFara in terms of atmosphere. The staff we as extremely friendly and nice. I don't think you can judge a pizzeria on day one, but I do plan to return. I'm not sure it will ever be in the same artisanal league as DiFara, but it may turn out to be a good addition to the neighborhood. (There's a possibility that the larger effort required for me to visit DiFara adds to its appeal, but I enjoy watching Dom work at DiFara, same clear love for his work and his product as the guy at Una Pizza Napoletana). I can only say that the first night's effort at DeMarco was way better than what I had at Arturo's a few weeks ago.
  13. My wife and I travel to Italy about once a year, usually renting a car and staying in 2-4 different hotels, or staying in a larger city without a car. For my wife's 50th birthday we rented Il Cucolo, one of the Villa's listed on Jim Dixon's RealGoodFood site and brought along three other couples. It was actually in Palaia, not Chianni. It was a wonderful week and a wonderful place, although it was August (we never travel to Italy in summer, but that's when my wife's birthday is), and the bedrooms were rather warm (no air conditioning). But having a nice pool to jump into made up for that... The location was great, nice views of the small town and fields (and one hotel/resort in the distance). Total privacy, beautiful swimming pool, nice landscaping. Upstairs four very comfortable bedrooms each with private bath, downstairs a compact but very functional kitchen, large living room and large sitting room, dining alcove, etc. I think there was a fireplace, but it was summer. We ate out on the back patio, viewing the pool and fields and town. For the birthday night Omar arranged for a local woman and her husband to come by and prepare dinner, it was a definite success (not gourmet, just good solid stuff). The house cost a little under $2000 for the week, all four couples were very comfortable and happy, seemed to me like a good value. Depending on your point of view, the town was perfectly centrally located or a little deep in the hills. We did day trips almost every day. For Florence we drove to a nearby town and took a train, for the others we drove, I seem to recall it was under an hour in any direction to Sienna, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, etc. This was mostly on smaller back country roads, the distances were not great. But it did mean that most nights we didn't have evening dinners in major towns, because we didn't want to drive the dark windy hilly roads back home late at night, although we did several times with no trouble. There were good supermarkets within 20 minutes and several good smaller markets in the town (10 minute walk, 2 minute drive) with everything we needed to make dinner. The town also had a good pizzeria/restaurant (simple linguine with summer truffles for $10 was more than fine) and a more up-scale cozy restaurant as well where we ate twice. I would totally trust Jim Dixon and Omar on their rentals (and their olive oils), I have no connection other than as a happy customer. I think you have to decide if you want a bed and breakfast or agriturismo sort of place, which can be wonderful, but where you are someone else's guest (who has to talk to you and feed you and entertain you), or if you just want a house so you can sort of feel what it would be like to live there, dealing with most of the details on your own. P.S. But those european all-in-one clothes washer/dryers - watch out. Once it's on the dry cycle, your clothes are locked in until the machine decides its over and cool enough, and I have a few shirts that are still permanently wrinkled because I couldn't take them out and hang them up when I wanted to.
  14. it depends where you go to lunch but i can assour you that the prices are not so high if you eat in good traditional osteria (any of the one in a slow food books) ← Actually, Latteria is a good traditional osteria, and we found it in the Slow Food book. P.S. I have to agree with Vesnuccia about Joia - didn't do it for this vegetarian at all.
  15. David Lerner

    Rome at Christmastime

    We enjoyed the presepio on display in many churches. Fifteen years ago at least, there were several churches with presepio competitions with thirty or fifty different presepio on display. These are the usual creche (manger) scenes you see all over in Churches at Christmas, but far more originality and wide variety, done in many different styles, not the standard church supply store stuff.