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Atomic Lunch

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  1. Hey all, I need a restaurant with a private dining room within about five blocks of the Time Warner Center. I would prefer fine dining, but would go more casual if the food were really amazing. This is for a family event of about 14 people. Unfortunately the private dining room at Asiate only seats 12. Any suggestions? BTW, location is important as we have older people who will most likely be walking there. Thanks!
  2. Thanks for the suggestions. I will check them out, especially EMP. As far as budget, I reached out to Per Se and it's out of my league. I'm on more of an Asiate budget. I think I'll save Per Se for a romantic dinner for two and not bring the rest of the family along.
  3. I am tying the knot and not making a huge fuss about it. Immediate-family-only is keeping our numbers under a dozen (probably 10) and we don't need a storybook wedding. We do want a kick-butt dinner, though. Ideally the space would have a great view or a ton of charm. The food should be awesome. And if the space were big enough to bang out that whole ceremony part, well, that's bonus. Asiate is already on our short list. Any other suggestions? Strong, strong strong preference to stay in Manhattan. Oh, and I know some of you are going to suggest that we just get a big table somewhere, but for a wedding dinner we really do need a bit of privacy. Not necessarily a whole banquet hall, but think back on some dinners you've had spoiled by an obnoxious tourist at the next table, and imagine if that were your wedding. At least some privacy is a must.
  4. So I think it's finally time for me to retire the chipped and mismatched plates and bowls and get a real grown-up set. So the question is, where can I go to get a full set of Fiestaware without paying the crazy NYC prices? I'm not looking for seconds or factory imperfects, I just don't want to overpay for a chic boutique. Also, I'd rather stay in Manhattan since I have to schlep the things home. thanks,
  5. I've been watching the DVDs and they are really funny. It's hard to know why Fox does this: cancel shows before they even get a chance to develop traction. This was a really good show, though. There was an unaired episode (nine unaired in total on this set) called Rabbit Test that had me laughing until I cried. I think one of the things that really worked against this series was how it was presented. I've seen it a dozen times on this board alone: "It doesn't have much to do with the book." If you forget the book and just watch it as a TV series, it's great. If you watch it with book in hand, like a kid at a Harry Potter movie, listing the disparities, you'll be so busy you'll never see the really good writing. You either love Bourdain or you're disgusted by him. This show on the one hand had his fans pissed off that it wasn't more true to the book. On the other hand, the girl I watched the DVD with said "he's not going to eat the head off of a live sewer rat, is he?" They should have changed the name of the series, bumped up Bourdain's title so that they could prominantly feature it in the opening credits and promos. But then Fox might have cancelled it after six episodes rather than just four. Why would anyone even take a series to Fox anymore?
  6. Man, I hate to say it, but I"m losing patience with the Shake Shack. I was there yesterday late afternoon. It wasn't peak hours and it was raining. I fully expected it to be one of those rare occasions when you can walk up with no line. No luck, the line was relatively short but more than I expected considering the aforementioned variables. The line went down to the edge of the gravel area. I soon found out why the line was so long. I waited for between five and ten minutes and the line simply didn't move at all. People were not walking away from the ordering area, people weren't moving forward. The line was at a dead stop. I can understand that the food is made to order and I'm willing to wait for a fresh made, delicious burger. But there's no reason why the order part of the process should be the bottleneck. The line has been moving a lot more slowly so far this spring than it was last year. I don't know if the credit cards are confusing them or what, but something's got to change. I don't mind waiting because a lot of other people got a hankerin' for a burger before I did. I DO mind waiting because someone can't take an order and exchange money. I walked away as I have roughly 50% of the time, hungry, empty handed, and annoyed.
  7. I'm so depressed. I absolutely LOVED their marzipan pigs. Watch, there will probably be another starbucks in that location. Will we be the last generation to have known interesting and unique? I wish I'd known they were closing, I would have stocked up on pigs.
  8. I actually would like to address the issue of whether the shake shack gives you the runs, and I will attempt to do it as delicately as possible. I do sometimes find myself urgently looking for a restroom about 40 minutes after eating at the shack. Luckily there's an NYSC nearby so it's not a huge issue. And here's the important part: given that it's a kind of a "one and done" experience I am confident that it has nothing to do with food poisoning or bacteria. I have two theories on this. First, the burgers can sometimes be a little greasy. I have commonly heard that if you're not used to greasy food, it can encourage motility. Also, I know most people arrive at the shack hungry. No point in waiting in that line if you're not ready to eat. So if you drop a big ole' burger and a big honkin' shake on that empty stomach, you're flirting with upset. Particularly if you're just a little lactose intolerant, as most adult humans are. With nothing else in your stomach to temper it, all that dairy can just run amock. I personally wouldn't go to shake shack on a date or right before a movie, but the line would make either of those impractical, anyway. On an unrelated topic, is it just me or does the line go a lot more slowly now that they take credit cards? I was there Sunday and the line to pay was excruciatingly slow. There was almost no wait for the food. Clear where the bottleneck was. A
  9. I was very excited when I heard he was moving to 42nd street as I work on Times Square. Expecting the lines would follow him, I waited until a day when I was taking an off-peak lunchtime and wandered down to check it out. I have to say I was very disappointed. First and foremost is the soup. I mean, if the soup isn't great, everything else is just window dressing. And the soup wasn't great. I used to go to his old place and, despite being out of work at the time, spent rather a lot for his soups because they were just that good. His new stuff is just okay, but not worth the money or the walk. He had three different bisques, but it's hard to make a big bowl of hot cream taste bad, so I went for something that required a little more skill, the chilli. All I can say about it was it was just okay. Now, let's talk about the rest. He's got salads. Whoopee. There's an indoor portion so your last few minutes on line are indoors. Yay. Instead of Al's stern face there are a handful of chipper young people serving up your food and very loosely and gently enforcing the rules (have money ready, move to the left.) I've only lived in this town for just over two years and already I'm kind of immune to whether the counter people are friendly or not. The thing that struck me most is how touristy the place has become. There are soup man t-shirts and mugs and he has TVs up on the walls so patrons can watch his interviews. And every interview seems to deny that his fame is based on Seinfeld or that he is a phenomenon of the show. It seems the strategy is to call attention to the Seinfeld angle by denying, which is a good strategy, just a little transparent. So Al has made his shift from purveyor of damn good soup to tourist attraction. I doubt we'll see midwestern families trading in their "I Heart NY" t-shirts for "I heart Soup Nazi", but I'll be spending about as much time there as I do at the top of the empire state building. Oh, and a final note, they still give a piece of fruit with your order. I got a crab apple so tiny that I wouldn't have bothered throwing it at anyone when I was a kid. I took a picture of it to send to a friend and put it next to a quarter for scale - they were about the same size.
  10. The article quoted someone who "recently" bought a cup of soup from the Manhattan location. He's not open again, is he? I stopped schlepping up there to check months ago. His website hasn't changed. I could go for a good cup o' soup right now....
  11. There's a place on the upper east side, just around the corner from me, that has hummus to die for. It's called "OK Falafel House", though there's no way you would know the "OK" part from the sign. It's on 2nd between 91st and 92nd. The guys who work there are great, too.
  12. Man, I have to be thinking of another place. It can't be the same place. Not that little hole in the wall that looks, to a hungry neighborhood wanderer, like it's going to be a gem, then leaves that wanderer sorely disappointed. Not that place with the dry and flavorless rotiss and the tough and unappetizing fried. Maybe my timing has just been preternaturally bad, but the only thing I ever thought walking out of there was "at least I didn't pay a lot." So, do I give the joint another try? Or discount the article? East Side Poultry, bah!
  13. I have to ask, what's the "New York Danny Rose" attitude? I'm familiar with the Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose, but I remember it being about a loveable loser who keeps getting into strange situations. As far as the New York attitude, I don't think I'm qualified to speak on this, having not lived here for very long, but I think it is a perception from outsiders thing. In my experience, New Yorkers aren't mean, but we are at home and we have places to be. Working on Times Square, I see a LOT of tourists and American tourists tend to think of every place as an amusement park. Lots of tourist destinations encourage this as it brings their money. So while I am always happy to take a picture of a tourist for them, or explain subway directions, I get very annoyed when they are blocking the sidewalk or slowing down some other aspect of life. I'm sure this applies doubly to restaurant workers where the same tourist attitude could expect the server to put on a big show, take longer to turn than a regular table, and end up tipping very little. I'm sure your daughter didn't fit this bill, but it is possible the people at the deli were expecting it from her. I have come to expect typical tourist behavior from tourists I encounter.
  14. Ah, Pio Pio... It's right around the corner from my apartment. When I was out of work I scarfed down a lot of Pio, $4 for half a chicken as long as you go eat it somewhere else. Put the same half a bird on a plate and eat it on one of their tables and it's $10. Still, it doesn't have the low-class charm I'm looking for. Less evidence that it was recently rolling over a very hot charcoal fire. Keep those suggestions coming, I'm building a to-do list!
  15. I used to go down and buy his soups for $7 a pop when I was out of work. The mulagatawny actually makes me feel high. Their soups are better than mine. Oh, hurry back to us, soup nazi!
  16. Hey gang, I've been living in NYC for just a year, moved here from the metro DC area, and I have yet to find a Peruvian rotiss chicken joint to match the one I left behind. My favorite old place was called El Pollo Rico in Arlington, Va, and all they served were chicken, fries and flan. They brined the birds in some magic potion, then cooked them rotisserie over a charcoal flame to perfection, hacked them into quarters and served them up with a helping of steak fries. Cole slaw was available if you like that kind of thing. The skin was always nice and crispy and just a little charred and the flesh was preternaturally juicey. It was served up without pretention in styrofoam, and cost only a few bucks. Now, since I have moved here I have come to expect that there's nothing you can't find in this town, so I must just not be looking hard enough for some good pollo. Does anyone know of a place that meets or approximates this description? I'd prefer Manhattan, but for the proper pollo I'd brave a trip across the river.
  17. I bought the book for no other reason than to see if I could replicate the Les Halles frites. I was quite pleased to find the rest of the book a pretty damn good read. As far as the frites go, I had been taught to blanche at 320F; the book said to blanche at 280F. I tried it and they did come out a lot better. I had also never drained them on a towel before. Don't know if that made any kind of real difference but it didn't hurt. The fries weren't quite as good as the restaurant, but they were a hell of a lot better than any I had made before.
  18. That is unusual in this town where it seems the local economy thrives on tipping. Record stores have tip jars next to the register. I used to work for a chef in a cafe who wouldn't let our counter girl put out a tip jar. She said that if people wanted to tip her, they were more than welcome to, but having a tip jar out seems to be asking for a tip. Almost like panhandling, and it might make customers feel obligated to tip. Honestly, I agreed with her. I used to work at a coffee shop in VA and we didn't have a tip jar. Occasionally someone would tell me to keep the change. But I wasn't a waitress, making well below minimum age. I was collecting an hourly rate and it was my job to make good coffee. Frankly I think the tipping thing is getting a little out of hand. The guys behind the counter at Bagel Express on 2nd at 93rd are terrible (though the bagels are great) and I'll be damned if I'm going to give them my change for their exceedingly slow service. The guy at Falafel House, two blocks down, make an amazing hummus sandwich and I slip him an extra buck. But not because they have a jar - it's because he's good. Sorry, I'm getting off topic. What are some other industries that don't allow tipping? I dont' think flight attendants can recieve gratuities. What is the rationale there? Anyone know?
  19. Hey Pan, what are the Polish places, then? I have fond memories of polish food at my friend's house at xmas time.
  20. I know there is a lot of Russian stuff in Brighton Beach. But for those of us who don't want to spend the better part of the day on the subway, is there anywhere in Manhattan that has Russian foods? Namely I'm looking for frozen pelmeni, but anything else would be gravy. I'd even go to an outer borough, but only a CLOSE one. Anyone know anything?
  21. In all seriousness, I'm sure the DQ strategy is ignore it and hope it will go away. Because there is a good chance it will. Likely the majority of their customers don't know the word or don't care. The ones who will get mad and shake their fists probably won't affect sales that much. And there will probably be some media attention, but I'm sure DQ is hoping it won't be much during this, an election year. There's lots of real news going on, there's a good chance this will blow over. Who wants to take bets?
  22. Or maybe "cow squirtin's caffe"
  23. You're boss should have been beaten with a stick. I suppose he or she expected all his/her employees to carry around dictionaries of cultural literacy. Next time that manager sees someone hold a door open for a woman, perhaps he/she will chastise them as the origin of that was to let the woman walk into a possible attack first in order to warn the man. Now you're just talking about starbucks. FG - Funniest thing I've ever seen you write. Cow milk. What a concept. A lot sweeter than that chipmunk milk, and a lot faster to harvest. I think the real story here is about the corporate culture at DQ. One guy didn't plan and launch this whole campaign. The idea must have come from some marketer, been approved by all levels of management, focus group testing, art review, advertising campaign planning. In all that time it is inconcievable to me that NO ONE had ever heard the term mulatto. And even if they weren't personally offended, in these hideously PC days they must have known someone might be. I can't believe that DQ is full to the brim with white hood wearing racists who get their jollies naming milkshakes as near rhymes with dated terms. Rather, probably all of them enjoy being employed in this lousy economy and feared questioning a decision that had been made by some upper brass. I imagine a lot of people saying to coworkers "moolatte? seriously? huh, whatever. If the old man wants moo-lotto, let 'em have it." The whole concept of dairy queen offends me as I am lactose intolerant. And the letter P offends me as well. I wish you would all refrain from using it.
  24. You know, I'd never seen a bagel cut vertically until I moved here. I have to say I like it. Makes for more manageable pieces. Ruth Reichl said she liked it some issue of Gourmet, and what's good enough for Ruth... It's funny, I live near frustration personified: Bagel Express makes the absolute best bagels I've had. Their texture is perfect, their flavor is sublime. They are everything a bagel should be. And the guys who work there are the absolute worst sandwich makers in the business. They ignore people when they come in, there will be five guys behind the counter and the line still grows even on a slow day. They only seem to be able to make one sandwich at a time and they don't even seem to be able to cut a bagel down the middle. I hate myself for going in there, but I just can't help it. I can think of one thing, but I've never been quite that desperate.
  25. That was a lot of fun to read. I'm with you, I never have been able to just stuff myself and still walk around all day. I LOVE the knishery. I used to eat there when I was out of work - you can have lunch there for less than five bucks and not be hungry again till the next day. And the girl who works there is so nice. Great photos, too. Good job.
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