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  1. Can't really understand anyone who would disagree that the cote de boeuf at Minetta Tavern is fairly obviously the best steak in Manhattan.
  2. We just had an exceptionally mediocre meal at La Tupina and would advise against going. The service was very nice and attentive, but the food was just not very good. We had scrambled eggs w/ local caviar and pan roasted cepes to start, and then the pork chop and the roast chicken. The eggs were fine. The mushrooms were mushy and not very flavorful. The pork chop was just fine, but totally unremarkable. The chicken was the biggest disappointment. Totally lacking in flavor, underseasoned, flabby skin. This place has all the trappings of a great local restaurant, what with the wood fire, the tabl
  3. We had lunch at El Capricho several days ago, and would echo Steingarten's assessment -- probably the greatest steak we've ever had. I was a bit worried after reading this review by Steve Plotnicki on Opinionated About saying that the restaurant was "disgusting" and more importantly that the steak wasn't very good. His review was from about two and a half years ago, so maybe things have changed since then, but we found the setting absolutely amazing. While it is indeed in an old wine cave, it turns out that an old wine cave can be a beautiful place to eat; it's perfectly clean, well lit, the
  4. This is hands down the best pork I've ever had. Last weekend my wife and I and another couple participated in this event at Mosefund Farm in northern NJ, where we learned how to slaughter, butcher, and prepare and cure Mangalitsa pigs, led by Christoph Wiesner and his wife, Isabel, an Austrian couple who raise the animals on their farm. We'd had this farm's pork in the past at a Mangalitsa dinner at elements in Princeton, NJ, so we knew the quality of the product going in. In any case, we had an amazing weekend. It was a great group of people, we learned a ton, and it was delicious. The main r
  5. dagordon


    So a lot has changed since my last post. Basically, as I said, after the new owners took over the place they were pretty much trying to maintain the same menu as the old place, and while it was ok, it wasn't great. So we didn't go for a while. Then we started going back, maybe 8 months ago or so. The place is transformed. There are a couple of dishes that I remember from the old place, but the menu is largely different. And it's fantastic. I'm not sure I know what Japanese home cooking is (we've spent some time in Japan, but sadly not in anyone's home), but this seems substantially more refine
  6. I have to vent. For the love of God, why does 99.97% of pistachio ice cream or gelato in the universe contain (and taste like) almonds, or almond extract??? I understand pistachios are expensive, and good pistachio paste isn't cheap either. But I'd rather not have pistachio gelato at all than be served something that tastes predominantly of almond and very little of pistachio. This problem is actually messing up people's tastes. I know someone who loves Ciao Bella's "pistachio" gelato, which tastes mostly of almond, but when given il laboratorio del gelato's pistachio gelato (which t
  7. These week's tasting menu is fantastic. In particular, it's not often that you see sturgeon on a menu. They had it as a special recently when we were ordering off the menu (there was no tasting that week), and it was great then too. “Luxury for the New Year!"” Lobster Bisque Vanilla crème fraiche, aged bourbon Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras Corn muffin, persimmon coulis Lightly Smoked Wild Columbia River Sturgeon Potato latke, wilted watercress, hackleback caviar sauce Pan Roasted Australian Rack of Lamb Truffled sunchoke puree, hen of the woods, mushroom demi glace Champagne Sorbet Lemon bar,
  8. We just totally missed the Game Menu due to various other commitments, and your description makes me very jealous. We had a tasting menu at Matyson several weeks ago that was a tad disappointing by Matyson standards (but would have been impressive for $45 at any other BYO in Philly), but that was the only blip in a string of many, many tasting menus we've had there in the past several years that have been varying degrees of excellent. IMHO, at its best the food here is simply in a different league from that of any other restaurant in Philly in a similar genre.
  9. Koo Zee Doo has quickly become one of our favorite restaurants in Philly. We've only been twice, as we don't live particularly close; if we lived nearby we'd probably go twice a week. The level of care and attention that goes into the food is clearly quite high, and it has great results. For example, everything is perfectly seasoned. We've been known to carry portable salt and pepper containers with us as much restaurant food is not properly seasoned (and good salt and pepper isn't usually available); at Koo Zee Doo we salted the butter but that was it. The gizzards were truly a revelation; I
  10. I have six waiting for me. Other than opening and tasting, any way to tell if the bottle is good or bad? AFAIK, no. Though I'm pretty sure that one of the advantages of the PLCB is that you can return even an opened bottle of wine, so I suppose you could always open it and return it if it's bad. On the other hand, there's a lot of great wine out there, so I just figured it's not worth the risk and hassle and returned mine.
  11. For those of you who bought the 2005 Sierra Carche at some point, in case you don't already know: http://www.drvino.com/2009/07/22/sierra-missed-the-saga-of-sierra-carche-2005/ Basically, it seems that many, many of the bottles are flawed. I just returned the 2 I purchased.
  12. What's funny about the story about their tomato espionage (and what makes me thing that it might simply be a marketing gimmick) is that the pizza sauce as Stella seems pretty clearly to be cooked and adulterated with seasoning. With classical Neapolitan pie the sauce is simply crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and in that cause of course it really matters what tomatoes you're using. But given what Stella is doing with their sauce, it strikes me as improbable that it makes much of a difference which brand of San Marzano tomatoes they're using. I don't mind the sauce at Stella; it tastes pretty unex
  13. dagordon


    It took us way too long to get to Aldea. We ate there last night for the first time and had a terrific experience overall. I'd called just the day before to ask if the chef's counter was available, and was surprisingly told that it was. When we got there we were told that the previous couple was being slow, so it would be a bit of a wait (~25 minutes). So we sat at the bar and had the sea urchin toast and the presunto ham to tide us over. They were, of course, fantastic. What was really nice was not only that the hostess was initially genuinely apologetic about our wait, but also that two diff
  14. I figured I'd write about the last Ideas in Food / StudioKitchen in this thread, as this one was at Alex and Aki's place. Well, that reminds me that I never wrote about the dinner on Sept 12! It was fantastic, and I'll post a menu shortly. We were at the Saturday (Oct 3) dinner. The following pictures are from Shola's blog, and they're from the Friday dinner, but with a couple of small exceptions they're faithful to what we had. Hiramasa broken french breakfast radishes, crab applesauce Peanut Pumpkin roasting jus, harbourne blue (it's doña engracia cheese in the pic form the first night, I
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