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Everything posted by emilymarie

  1. I will be in Hampton Bays next weekend and am looking for some recommendations for dinner. We can go to Southampton, Bridgehampton, Tuckahoe. Any restaurants worth checking out? This is for a birthday dinner for my mother, so some place nice-ish but not fancy or stuffy, with really good food. We like Italian and American-type places. Had a reservation at Montauk Yacht club but think it's a bit far out to drive...
  2. Dined at Elevation Burger on opening night. I am a huge fan of Five Guys for quick, fast-food burger, so I'm somewhat biased going into this post. I found the Elevation Burger a bit flavorless and greasy (probably b/c of the cheddar which had melted to all but oblivion) and agree that the grass-fed beef does not benefit from being cooked at what is probably very high heat to well done. It needs moderate heat to medium at best. I also do not see the point in frying the french fries in olive oil. They were not crisp or exceptional. As far as the milkshakes, they used Blue Bunny ice cream, which to me is just eh. If I want a quick, fast-food-like experience I'm sticking with Five Guys, which is soon opening up in the area.
  3. Will be in St. Louis for long weekend in June. Heard that Revival is closing. Sad about that. Are there any new restaurants around to try? Anyone been to Hubert Keller's place? I've already got my reservation at Niche, which I love and am excited to revisit? Anything new? Any thoughts much appreciated! Thanks so much, Emily
  4. Are there any ice cream shops in Portland I should hit when I'm out next month? It's getting to be that time of year. I'm a bit of a fanatic and would love to see what Portland's got to offer. thanks!
  5. I got an amazing, uber-moist carrot cake from Flour Patch that was decorated with cookies for my sister's birthday. It was really wonderful. And they were super nice. My aunt got one of their vanilla/yellow cakes and said it was dry, reminiscent of day-old pound cake. I cannot attest, but she is a super-skilled baker and I trust her opinion. I love Gina's cake but am not a fan of their less-than-pleasant service, and their high prices. I would be curious to hear other opinions.
  6. Had dinner there for the first time last night. Was not a busy--though we ended up there around 9PM. My initial impression of the restaurant was that the staff was not on top of their cleaning duties! I spotted a couple of flies buzzing and tables were not being bused as quickly as I would have liked. There was also food on the floor, fries that had fallen off people's tables, things like that. Not filthy by any means but not the way I think a restaurant should present itself. It's always hopping, though, so I stayed and my boyfriend said his mushroom/swiss burger was good. Not great. Fries were OK. I did not get a burger (I know!) but it was too late for me so I had an Asian chicken salad: generic mesclun with grilled chicken and chopped cucumber and tomato. There was one piece of undercooked/raw chicken but the dressing was bright, gingery and the chicken tasted like it'd been marinated. It's not exactly a diner, but the burgers did not seem to stand out or differentiate themselves in any way so as to merit a second visit. Especially after I spotted the Five Guys sign in the Michael's shopping center just north on 23!
  7. After a bit more research, here is what I've decided on. And I should have said that leaving South Beach for dinner is no problem at all: Thursday: Michy's Friday: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink Saturday: Talula, Vix or Prime 112. They all look interesting and I'd love to hear other people's opinions of these spots. And somewhere in between all of this I'd love to hit up Icebox Cafe for Brunch or Lunch. I was thinking that for drinks we have to see the Delano and maybe Aftergio. Any other drinks spots on South Beach we should hit. And while I'm asking locals, between the Ritz, the Sagamore and the Delano, which one would be a great hotel and not tear (or debt!) inducing! thanks so much! EM
  8. I'm having dinner with a friend who just moved to West New York and we're trying to find some place to eat dinner. We want delicious food only, be it a great Mexican joint, great Chinese or even a good pie! Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
  9. Hi All, I will be in South Beach for a long weekend in October. I've got reservations at Michy, Prime 112, Sardinia, and Vix. Are there any other spots that I must hit or (off of this list) should not hit? Thanks very much for your help! EM
  10. I'm cooking dinner on Friday night and wanted to get some really good-quality beef but don't know where to go. I want USDA Prime aged beef. Does anyone know where I can go more locally than NYC, like in NJ (Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Essex Counties, etc?) I am off on Friday and would love to avoid having to drive in on my one day off! Thanks! Emily
  11. you would be shocked, Curlz, at what Gina's charged me for the cake I described above. It was a half sheet cake--but with whipped cream frosting which I guess I thought would be cheaper than buttercream. It was highway robbery and they were just so rude on top of it. I won't be going back!
  12. I had a carrot cake from Flour Patch Bakery, which they decorated with their signature iced cookies and iced cookie lolli pops. It was a tall cake with the cookies stuck to the side and sticking out of the top on the pops. It was bright and fun! The cake itself was very moist and tasty, though my aunt said that their vanilla cake tasted like day-old pound cake. I haven't had it so I can't say. The staff were pleasant and friendly on the phone. I think Gina's makes a good cake and especially like the vanilla cake/lemon curd/raspberry filling/ whipped cream frosting combination but have had bad experiences with their customer service, or lack thereof. Plus they are way overpriced, even by Montclair standards. I also love the carrot cake from Mardi Gras catering on Bloomfield Ave in Verona. They once did a large carrot cake decorated with gold-powder that could have fed 20. Really classic! I heard that they changed hands but that the old owners sold their recipes with the space--so hopefully the cake remains the same! Good luck!!
  13. Despite my post about how easy it is to get to NJ, there may not be that much food- wise to entice people from NY to travel to NJ. I eat most of my meals-out in NYC (and I am born and bred and PROUD to be from Jersey). Nathan--why would you make the 2-hour commute? Maybe for some of the eats FG mentioned--places like White Manna, all of the many many hot dog incarnations, Korean, Indian, and just for some pure Jersey. That said, I don't think there are many nicer or fine-dining spots in northern NJ that are worth the trip, especially since the Ryland Inn (where I never, unfortunately, was lucky enough to have dined) closed. A lot of people like the places in and around Montclair but they're just not that great. For a number of reasons the talent is not out here, in general and I think that the majority of the people going out to dinner in NJ are not lookinng for the innovative or creative or even very thoughtful food. They want what they're used to eating. They don't want what is totally strange to them. And I know this b/c I worked in the kitchen at one of the area's well-known Italian restaurants and saw first-hand how limited the owners were in creating the menu. Diners wanted what they wanted! I think this is a factor of the diners on the whole being on the older side whereas in NYC there are lots more younger professionals with money dining out, interested in learning more about food than in New Jersey (that said there are lots of crappy restos in NYC that are crowded, trendy...). And NJ, despite its proximity to NYC, is still behind the times. People still want their Belmont Tavern and their Jimmy Buffs, etc. and I think these places set the tone for the rest of the scene. I love those places and I need to have those kinds of places b/c it's part of NJ and the food is great but I also like the ability to have something totally different the next night. And my final thought--if you don't like Jersey, well, then stay home--or come but be nice. The last thing we need is more people from Cleveland via NYC or Long Island moving out acting like the first person to have discovered the town I grew up in...
  14. Here is an example of just how NOT difficult it is to get to Jersey: I commute to and from Upper Montclair/Clifton NJ every single day of my life in under an hour each way. By bus from Port Authority at that! And I have lived to speak of my travels! Ok that part about under an hour each way is longer when the dreaded Lincoln Tunnel gets backed up but it's on average under an hour. I'd venture to say that many of the great restaurants in north Jersey are within 10 to 15 miles from NYC and a lot of them are in Bergen county where there is pretty good NJ Transit bus access, better than in other counties. So, there ya go! Don't be scared. We don't smell--at least no worse than Long Island Sound on a hot summer day.
  15. After asking some people around the office, I've decided to go with Citarella in the city. And I think I'll go with Maria's for the pasta. They've been good in the past, and my ability to run around is slightly restricted due to FT work schedule. Thanks for all of the suggestions though. I've never actually been to Via Mia, though they're right in the old neighborhood so to speak.
  16. Hi all, I need your help again (last question was about cheese and I now have 2 new go-to cheese shops on): I am catering a dinner party on Saturday and need 2 things--good fresh salmon and good homemade pasta. Re pasta: I usually get my homemade pasta from Maria's b/c it's close-ish to my house. Is that the best around and does anyone know off-hand if I can special order a cut of pasta, like pici or a long cavatappi? Re fish: I was thinking of special ordering from the Market Basket in Franklin Lakes and was thinking some kind of wild salmon. No farmed salmon. Is there another good fish resource in the U. Montclair area that I should go to instead of Market Basket? Thanks in advance for your help! Emily
  17. I would actually agree with you about Humboldt Fog--in that there are probably more interesting small Artisanal cheeses available and that it's not as novel as it once might have been. That said, I think I'll continue to enjoy it but add some smaller more artisanal varities to the mix.
  18. Well of course it should be cut to order, but I just did not have the time to go anywhere else. It held up well and was very good to eat. That said, I won't be going back to Whole Foods--just a disappointment all around.
  19. I went to Whole Foods in Montclair and similar to my last experience there, I encountered a counter person who didn't know much of anything about the cheese in front of him and hadn't heard of the cheeses I was interested in/wondering if they stocked (Pleasant Ridge Reserve, for instance). What I really wanted was some guidance and I got none, though he did let me taste a few cheeses. As someone commented on, they had pre-cut slices of Humboldt Fog that were cut the night before and looked good (and were good) but not ideal at all. On an aside, I really get bothered by the emptying of garbage while I'm right there. That garbage bag came dangerously close to food. And they're wearing gloves but not changing their gloves. I won't be going to Whole Foods again for cheese. It'll be Summit or the place in Hoboken the next time. I did get a cheese called Robusto that was really tasty. An aged gouda. But you are right about their having just the usual suspects of cheese.
  20. Mmm, thanks for all of your advice. I've shopped for cheeses at Montclair Whole Foods once and found the staff (at least on the day I was there) to be un-helpful. It's great to know about these other places--cheese shop and summit cheese. I think Murray's is a bit far to go. I am willing to travel, but not fight the tunnel on a day that I don't have to! thanks.
  21. I need to put together a cheese plate for Saturday night. Any shops in Montclair-Bloomfield area where I could get go and encounter knowledgeable staff and good cheese? thanks.
  22. Got the cake from Flour Patch last night and it was BEAUTIFUL and adorable and just delicious to boot. The cake was exceptionally moist (old-fashioned-style) with large shreds of carrot and mildly spiced. It had cream cheese frosting in the middle and vanilla buttercream on the outside. The top and bottom edges were decorated with large violet dots and the sides were stuck with iced sugar cookies and the top with iced sugar-cookie lollie-pops--balloons and candles. It was truly spectacular and could have fed 15 to 18, though it was meant for 10. We only got through a third of it and we are big eaters! They were also extremely pleasant to deal with. I will say that I wanted to find another bakery after a horrible experience at Gina's Panificio. Thank YOU so much for the recommendation. We will be going back.
  23. I tried Flour Patch. They were very friendly over the phone. I will let you know how all about the cake after we eat it--
  24. Other than Gina's Panificio, which I am not too fond of, is there a place where I can get a good old fashioned birthday cake? I'm looking for a good carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, actually. Any recs close to Clifton/Wayne area? thanks!
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