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Liz B-F

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Everything posted by Liz B-F

  1. Thanks so much! I hadn't thought to try Economy Candy for anything other than guilty pleasures...but I checked online, and they do have really good dried-fruit prices.
  2. What are your favorite places to get cheap but great groceries in Manhattan? I'm especially interested in bargains for produce, and for dried fruits and nuts.
  3. 'sNice has delicious red velvet cupcakes...as tasty, I think, as the red velvet cake at Mary's Off Jane. 'sNice 45 8th Ave at W. 4th 212-645-0310
  4. I like Taim (Waverly between Perry and West 11th)...of the three kinds of made-to-order felafel balls (green, roasted red pepper and harissa), I like the harissa.
  5. My current favorite is the beef burger at Westville...delicious, high-quality grilled meat...exactly the right size...yummy bun...good bun-to-meat ratio. Less unweildy and uneven than the Corner Bistro burger.
  6. Stonehome Wine Bar is very nice...we had very tasty food and good service there, and the wines by the glass and flights are good value, especially if you're used to Manhattan prices. The small-plate approach was nice for pre-theatre dining. We found the food uneven at Thomas Beisl...my salmon tasted frozen and both the food and service seemed uninspired and perfunctory. We were underwhelmed by dessert, too, which is heartbreaking at an Austrian place! It's so very near BAM, though, that if you order right...the most classically Austrian meat dishes are best. The BAM website has a good listing of nearby restaurants.
  7. I don't know about the BEST, because I haven't comparison-shopped (like with fries or pizza or burgers), but I used to love the wings at The Reservoir on University.
  8. West Village here. We do lots of take-out and delivery. Tea and Sympathy for mac and cheese, shepherd's pie, sticky toffee pudding. Kitchen Market for chili con carne and cornbread. Pie by the Pound for pizza...they actually deliver here. Lombardi's used to, but now they make a huge fuss that we're one block out of their delivery zone. Moustache for ouzi, pitza and baba ganouj. Surya for chicken tikka masala and good fresh nan. Cheesesteaks from Wogies. 'sNice for panini, smoothies, and cupcakes...my favorite new place. Occasionally Benny's burritos, although we've had mixed experiences with them. Lassi apparently delivers now...it's on my list to order soon.
  9. A pizza bianca from Sullivan Street Bakery, fresh from the oven Skirt steak with red wine sauce and frites at Florent at three am Seafood stew at the bar at Gramercy Tavern Katz's hot pastrami Guss pickles Terminator sub from Mike's Deli at Arthur Avenue Tuna tramezzini with red wine at 'Ino Suzy's Smokin' margarita at Suenos Mac and cheese, then sticky toffee pudding, with strawberry tea at Tea and Sympathy Smoked tuna tartar at La Lanterna di Vittorio Black grape gelatto at Il Laboratorio del Gelatto Daquoise cake at Tartine ...and Amy's Bread, fresh from the oven at Chelsea Market. ...and the Union Square Greenmarket!
  10. I haven't tried Hummus Place yet, but I would recommend the hummus and baba ganoush at Bread and Olive (24 W. 45th, between 5th and 6th.)
  11. The vegan cupcakes at 'sNice on 8th ave near W. 4th street are surprisingly delicious--and I say this as someone who firmly believes that cupcakes should be made with enough butter to make a healthy 20-year-old keel over. The cake is dense, moist and cakey...the icing is sweet but not tooth-jarringly.
  12. It's also catering to the giant mobs of bridge-and-tunnel tourists in search of celebrities in the New Meatpacking District on Friday and Saturday nights. (And to the actual celebrities they're looking for, on Thursdays and Sundays.) I completely agree that it would be at its best as a really laid-back neighborhood pub, especially in the winter when it's so cozy and English and has such tasty hand-cask ale...maybe it'll mellow into that.
  13. Things I always buy at Chelsea Market: -Picholine olive bread from Amy's...delicious (the potato bread and the prosciutto bread are also delectable) -Amy's cashew bars (Can you tell I love Amy's bread with a passion?) -Portolet cheese...sort of a pasturized cheddar type thing, quite addictive...from the little Ronnybrook Farms outpost across from Amy's -Smoked mozarrella at Buon Italia -Italsol brand olive pate at Buon Italia Smoked mozzarella and olive pate on an Amy's baguette=heaven.
  14. Liz B-F

    Agave

    The two things that strike me about this story--and the reason I won't try eating at Agave now--are the fact that a manager was saying anything at all about the "quality of clientele" in front of customers who were having a meal, and the way both the waitress and manager handled customer complaints and requests. Eye-rolling? $12 margaritas that are made the "same way every time"? (Fine for a $6 margarita, but $12 drinks should have rare mezcal in them or be home-infused with rosemary...getting off topic here, though.) If your friends did indeed put gum on the table, it would've been understandable if the staff had been frosty to them. But he said that the quality of the clientele had gone downhill in front of other customers--customers who definitely didn't put gum on the table! And then a half-hearted apology? At Agave's price level, part of the deal should be good, accomodating service. I can understand a manager having a crappy day and being upset by customers leaving gum on the table, if they did so, but he should've gone back into manager mode after his slip and tried to make up for the mistake of spilling out over the sides in front of other customers. Either a full-fledged apology should have been offered or a drink comped, probably both. I will stick with Suenos.
  15. Patsy's on 23rd street in Chelsea--really, really, unusually rude service. Two Boots West on 11th--a weirdly long time delivering anything even a few blocks away, yet the food tastes like it's been sitting around for a few hours...un-fresh seafood. Ergh. (And I love the original East Side Two Boots...)
  16. After an afternoon looking at Klees and an evening movie at the MoMA last night, we went to have a drink at the bar--and now I understand all the hype about the Danny Meyer service ethic! I was trying to decide which wine to try and we started chatting with the bartender. I ordered a glass of rioja and my boyfriend (a non-drinker) ordered ginger beer. I mentioned that I had just successfully defended my dissertation (I can't stop bragging about it), and he brought us a tarte flambee and then tuna tartare and then asked if we were still hungry. (Meanwhile, our glasses were refilled like at a dear friends' house after a long absence.) He showed us the dessert menu, and brought the tangerine carpaccio and an espresso (which my boyfriend had ordered), plus the hazelnut dacquoise (which my boyfriend had exclaimed over, but not ordered...he loves the dacquoise at Tartine with a burning passion), plus a 20-year-old tawny port for me to sip with the dacquoise, which reminded me again of why I'm not a teetotaler like my boyfriend. The bill for the two of us came to $14.95, for the espresso and two of the four or five ginger beers. It was the most wonderfully special evening, and it felt like a good omen and exactly the right kind of start to this new stage in my life. The big bar is so satisfying...futuristic and sleek but somehow homey...the stools are incredibly comfortable. The lighting is just right. I imagine the bar is as comfortable as a table...at any rate, you can eat there without being at all cramped. The food we had was well-matched to the bar space...it was elegant but not fussy and just right for snacking. The tarte flambee is the perfect snack for two...it's smoky with an ultra-thin crust, really as thin as a tortilla, yet it manages to hold the toppings while getting neither hard nor soggy. The tuna carpaccio was melt-in-your-mouth good, and probably my favorite thing we tried, but then I love raw tuna. The tangerine carpaccio was nice but very light--it wouldn't be a substantial enough dessert for me on its own--and the dacquoise was to die for. Yum. Anyhow, we were "VIPed up the wazoo" and treated like royalty for no reason other than that we were people celebrating a special occasion.
  17. The 35 ounce can of San Marzanos from BuonItalia in my cupboard was $1.95....but it doesn't have D.O.P. on label...not that I can find.
  18. I love the New Yorker spoof, because it actually does speak to the subject of "value" seriously. To me, Masa's prices are so very high that for it too seem like a good value, the food would have to seem priceless--special ingredients, and such special preparation that the subject of price would go out the window. Tasting the food would have to seem like seeing a snow leopard in wild--a rare and un-quantifiable experience. On top of truly special food, the atmosphere and service would have to make me feel like a queen...truly and genuinely rich...completely pampered...and as if anything was possible for me. If I were super-rich, would I go to restaurants with Masa prices? Of course--I would happily try any restaurant that sounded special, unique and delicious. Once. But even if money were no object at all, it would take value for me to return to that restaurant. That's true in my current (low) budget, too. And even if I were very, very rich, I'd take umbrage at feeling ripped-off--bottled water sold at 350% of the retail price, $16 martinis, way way marked up wine list, snotty service, and no extras would still irritate me on principle. I'd look for places that are comfortable and lovely, with knowledgable staff and a true service ethic. It matters why things are expensive--when I see the prices of things that don't have special ingredients, aren't carefully made by a great chef, and aren't rare--like Evian water--hopped up to cost a zillion bucks, I get annoyed. Or when the restaurant expects you to be on an expense account and does creepy things like putting small bottles of olive oil on the table and then charging you $7 when you open them and put them on your bread. There are lots of cheap or mid-priced NYC restaurants that I think are great value, and I'd go just as often if I were rich (rather than replacing them with luxe reservations.) I might work off the food at a fancier gym. I worry with certain new restaurants that they have a brand-name ethic...I'd never pay five times as much for, say, a suit because it had a prestigious brand name...I would pay five times more for a suit that was clearly better made, higher-quality fabric, beautifully-tailored, etc. Like a suit, a truly great meal can last the rest of your life...you can remember it well enough to taste it later. But an ordinary meal priced high is like a brand-name, cheap, sweat-shop suit with a trumped-up price. Per Se and Masa sound special as restaurants, but I have to say I hate the sound of the Time Warner Center...too corporate, touristy, mall-like...I haven't eaten there, though, only looked at the place.
  19. WCR does have a website. Also, I believe that Mary Cleaver (owner of the Cleaver Company and The Green Table cafe in Chelsea Market) hosts some networking events for women chefs... Amy's Bread, also in Chelsea Market, is woman-owned and operated, and so is Mary's Off Jane, my favorite little local bakery...I guess those are more small businesses, though.
  20. The classic: Katz's hot pastrami, Gulden's mustard, rye, sour pickles Potatoes, salt and vinegar (fish and chips with malt vinegar, salt and vinegar crisps, etc, roasted potatoes sprinkled with...etc) Olives, mushrooms, pepperoni and extra sauce Salt and lime (with or without tequila) Aged English cheddar (a leicester?) with oat cakes Baguette, cheese, berries, scenery Charcuterie with wine Berries, peaches and homemade whipped cream The not-so-classic classic: Bacon and peanut butter Hummus and feta on a salt bagel Deep-fried tofu with buffalo sauce Cheeseburger, fries, champagne Croissant with melted gruyere Tomatoes and paprika Papaya and mangosteen Smoky single malt with rich chocolate mousse cake
  21. The Adore (13th Street between University and Fifth) is a little hole-in-the-wall tearoom with a few tables upstairs in a charming, sunlit little room. They have tasty but slightly pricey sandwiches, homemade pastries and lots of smoky, good teas (several kinds of darjeeling and Earl Grey, a really awsome lapsong souchong, oolongs.) I believe it's Japanese-run, but it's very European. I haven't been there in awhile, though.
  22. I love in a doorman-free, walkup building with a video intercom system...there's a guy who gains access to the building by buzzing up over and over again to random apartments and saying he's a UPS delivery man. I work at home, so I find his approach unethical and really, really annoying. The beating story is horrifying any way you slice it, and there's no excuse for beating anyone, ever, and obviously that super is felonious and scary and nuts....but, that said, if a menu-delivery-person is asked by the super or a tenant NOT to come to the building/the person's apartment, they should not come back, and they should not have to be asked more than once. I wish my building had a "menu envelope" by the gate--there wouldn't be random strangers walking around the halls, and those of us who wanted to pick up a takeout menu could grab ONE of each (instead of having eighty Fresco Tortillas menus.)
  23. It's not a cheese store, but the Union Square Greenmarket has some really excellent local farmer's cheeses available (as well as wines, breads, veggies and other local delicacies)--your friends would probably enjoy a visit. Lupa (170 Thompson Street between Houston and Bleecker) has good Roman food, great cheese plates and house-cured meat and fish...you can have a full meal there for $30pp.
  24. I ordered delivery from Lombardi's often until recently--it used to be that every pie was reliably delicious...increasingly, the pie arrives with something "off"--less-tasty romano, older basil, acrid olives--I do think the quality has slipped.
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