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  1. Hello, I am looking for comments regarding a few Asheville restaurants: Bouson Table FIG My wife and I will be up there next weekend and we are looking for a place to eat on Friday night. The 3 listed above are my short list, winnowed down from perhaps 10-12. Thanks in advance ! Ross
  2. I have been told by serval people who have owned/run/cooked in restaurants in SC that unless the meat is purchased directly from the producer (not wholesaler or broker) and ground in house (not supplied in ground form) that it is permissable to cook to "rare" or :medium rare". For the record there are 2 restaurants in the Charleston area that will serve a burger cooked to "rare": Rue de Jean, located on John Street in Charleston and Poe's Tavern on Middle Street Sullivan's Island. Best, Ross
  3. We had the great pleasure of eating there during a trip to NO back in '03. The meal was OUTSTANDING ! Even though we were seated at 10pm, everything was perfectly cooked and as fresh as possible. I had sauted rabit in a mushroom creme sauce; my wife had a stuffed fish and I don't recall what the others in our group had. Appetizers were several plates of cornmeal dusted fried oysters. The oysters were shucked, dipped, then quickly fried and dumped on our table still sizzleing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ! I understand however, that the NYC location has received indifferant reviews- with some siting inconsistant quality and service. Best, Ross
  4. GO TO PENNISULA GRILLE !!! You will not be disappointed. I am aware of some of the critisism. There is a group of people both in Charleston and in the SE that feel that because P-Grille has been discovered, has been open for 10y, has been written up all over the country, it can not possibly be as good as it was several years ago. I can tell you that these people are flat out WRONG ! Very simply those leveling criticism are not happy unless they are ahead of the curve and thus already inhabiting a place before the "masses" find out. Atmosphere: Dressy Casual. A tie is not required. A jacket is suggested, but not required. I have seen every form of attire from sleek business suits and Channel to men just back from offshore fishing or the golf course. My suggestion is for your husband to wear nice trousers and button down shirt and maybe bring a summer blazer. Enjoy- and please report back ! Best, Ross
  5. Ahhh....Flora-Bama. My one and only visit was occured while visiting Pensacola for a friend's wedding. We stayed in a condo on the beach. If you could replicate every southern redneck cliche, and put them in 1 place, I bet the place would look a lot like Flora-Bama. A drunk was being tossed out as we were walking in. There was a metal detector at the front door and a large display of confiscated metal objects... The band played inside of a chicken wire cage. I witnessed a mother and daughter combo display and compare tatoos with a guy they were both hitting on. And PBR in a can for $1 ! They just don't make 'em like that anymore ! Best, Ross
  6. <<<< I think one can chart the proximity to NC mountain towns to Metro Atlanta by the number of coffee shops that serve panninis in the town.>>> Is that why some Atlantans refer to Highlands as "North Buckhead" ? Personally, we're heading up to Waynesville/Maggie Valley in a few weeks. 8-10yrs ago it was like the place the time forgot. Now the quick stop sells premium cigars and there is a goumet cooking/wine store in downtown Waynesville. Best, Ross
  7. My moto is life's to short to drink bad licquor ! Yes Pappy is my favorite as well. If I were to rank them: Pappy Van Winkle 15yr old Bookers Woodford Reserve Knob Creek Baker's Blantons (tie) I was introduced to Pappy by a friend and was amazed at the complexity, with strong vanilla and caramel overtones. I have since consumed several bottles.... Booker's starts very strong due to the proof, but finshes very smooth, without harshness. Just a nice blend of oak, spice, smoke and caramel. Because of the proof, it doesn't mellow in the glass as much as some of the others. Good bourbon flavor until the end of the glass ! Woodford Reserve is now my standard house bourbon. I have introduced several people to it and all are surprised at it's wonderfull balance of taste and cost. As a premium bourbon, I consider it in the same category as Pappy and Bookers, yet it is 50-60% cheaper. On the other side, even though it is slightly more expensive than Maker's Mark and similar, once you taste Woodford, it is hard to not to justify the extra cost over the MM category. It is smooth, with a nice balanced taste- hints of spice and oak, but not much charcoal or smoke. Knob Creek is smooth, with hints of spice and vanilla. Nothing offensive and I have found it appeals to non whiskey drinkers. I have also found that Knob appeals more to women than the other premium brands. Blanton's/Bakers I put these at the same level because to me the virtually indistinguishable. Nice "Bourbon" flavor, moderate proof and it mellows nicely while in the glass with ice. I do not care for Basil Hayden at all; too spicy and has a burned aftertaste. To me Basil Hayden has a very distinctive taste- so much so that I was able to pick it out of a blind bourbon tasteing I partcipated in. As far as cheaper bourbons, I like Henry McKenna and Old Forrester. Both offer a better taste than Jack and Jim, but are comparably priced. As a Yankee transplant in the deep south, I was introduced to bourbon when I was a fraternity pledge way back when. The "house" brand was Heaven Hill, or Heaven Heave as we called it ($5 a quart...). In fact, it was quite a while after my freshman year before I could stomach bourbon again. What brought me back into the fold was a licquor store closeout of Jim Beam and Cola in a can. We bought out their stock and our net price was something like $.25/can ! It was the perfect beverage for watching flag football games. From there I progressed through Jack Daniels (black) and then onward and upward. Now, there is nothing quite like the sence of relaxation and contentment that comes from a highball glass of good bourbon, a few ice cubes and a dash of water ! Best, Ross
  8. We ate at Lombardi's last June when we were in NYC. Very, Very good and better than what we have locally. We could taste the difference that their coal fired oven made. The ingrediants were ultra fresh and the size of the pie was substantial. Supposedly, theirs is the oldest NYC pizza oven in continious operation. Hype or fact ?? The oven did look old though. While I have not tried any of the other NY Top 10, I would urge those interested in the subject to at least try Lombardi's. Best, Ross
  9. rl1856

    BLT Steak

    BLT Steakhouse / Recommended The Internet is a wonderful thing. My wife and I decided to try a high-end steakhouse, as that would be a change from the French or Italian food we usually gravitate towards. We found the restaurant by searching in the vicinity of our hotel and then refining by rating and cuisine. The professional and amateur reviews we read were uniformly excellent and it was within walking distance of our hotel. Via opentable.com we booked a 10:00PM reservation for the evening of our arrival in NYC. Our flight arrival was slightly delayed with the result that we were ~20min late for our reservation. Even though the restaurant was ~80% full when we arrived, we were quickly seated with a minimum of fuss or problem- a definite plus in my book). As we were waiting for our table, I noticed a nice selection of small batch bourbons and after the stress of travel and our late arrival, my wife and I needed a drink. Once seated, 2 bourbon and waters were quickly ordered and delivered after a moment of levity. Residing in the south, when we order bourbon and water, we receive a highball glass containing bourbon, -ice- and a little water, when we asked our waitress for bourbon and water, she looked at us for a second and then asked if we wanted any ice!! No problem and we quickly learned that in NYC we should ask for our drinks on the rocks, with a little water. This held true throughout our visit. The drinks were substantial and were poured into what looked like 12oz water tumblers. After 2 each, we had relaxed a little and were ready to contemplate dinner. By the way, were seated against the back wall, at a nice 4 person zebra wood table- in other words we had enough space to be comfortable. From our vantage point we had a view of the restaurant and the other patrons. As we sipped our drinks, it was nice to people watch. From reading the Internet reviews, we knew to expect a delivery of well-seasoned and smooth pate and then fresh popovers with sweet butter. Both arrived as expected and were as good as the other reviewers had noted. By the end of the meal, we had consumed all of the pate and had asked for more popovers. Excellent. From the décor and the menu, we quickly realized that BLT was not a steakhouse but rather a restaurant that serves Steak. There is a difference. If you are expecting Peter Luger or Smith and Wolensky redone for a sleek east side crowd, you will be disappointed. On the menu for example, there are more non steak choices than steak choices. BLT is a retro modern styled restaurant catering to people who may not eat steak all the time. In my opinion, BLT is competing more with other high-end establishments in the vicinity rather than other well-known NYC alters of steak. After our cocktails, we decided against a bottle of wine and instead opted for glasses of wine with dinner-a glass each of a 2002 Arccadian Pinot Noir. As it turned out, this was a nice choice and perfectly suited our meal. We settled on the Caesar Salad, Heirloom Tomatoes with Stilton, Rib Eye for 2, potato gnocchi, grilled asparagus and caramelized Brussels sprouts. The enormous Caesar Salad was very fresh with a correct dressing and nice sour dough croutons. The tomatoes were tasty and were drizzled with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette that was an effective counter to the pungent (and fresh) Stilton. When our entrées arrived, we were taken aback by the multitude of items; the steak in a large cast iron cooking pan, with the side dishes each in their own cast iron serving pans. We had dishes and pans scattered all over our table and my wife remarked that if we consume everything we would burst! The steak was perfectly cooked and flavorful, with a full, creamy and very beefy taste. It was obvious that the beef had been carefully aged. Our rib eye was double cut thickness and served with the bone. Just before the meat was brought to the table, it had been cut into easy to handle pieces that facilitated serving to our plates. The gnocchi were just ok, neither better nor appreciably worse than in other restaurants. The asparagus had been seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and then grilled to crisp tender consistency. Very good. The Brussels sprouts were very small and had been caramelized in a skillet with butter, minced bacon and sweet onion. Excellent. We did manage to consume most of what had been put in front of us, so we unfortunately had to forgo desert. The only area I found for criticism was that, while we did not feel rushed, we also did not feel that we could linger at our table all night if desired. I realize this is a minor point, but I like to have a nice relaxing meal at my own pace rather than at the pace of the server or maitre de that wants to turn the table. Our bill was very reasonable and overall our experience was excellent. Highly recommended.
  10. RE: Sienna I agree- food is EXCELENT ! Even though it is located on Daniel Island and thus a bit of a drive to get to, it is worth the trip. Caveat- Service can be spotty- servers seemed to be unpolished and not very knowledgeable regarding the wine list and the preparation of the menu choices. My opinion mirrors that of others who have eaten there. Esquire's reviewer seems to have a soft spot for Charleston. It is he who originally brought attention to the Charleston Grille (under Louis Osteen's stewardship) and then to Pennisula Grille and McCrady's. Best, Ross
  11. Melissa, Glad you were in our fair city ! Where else did you eat ? As I have previously posted, P-Grille is my favorite restaurant here. Best, Ross
  12. ----Though we will continue to keep Mamma Zu's in mind ---- My wife and I had a memorable meal there a few years ago when we were visiting a friend. Walked in @7:30, left @ 11:30 ! Wait was almost 2hrs and we consumed far too much wine. I recall a great Arabata sauce, excellent veal shank and gnochi. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the location ! My wife was apprehensive when we parked a few blocks a way and had to walk to the restaurant- we certainly did not look like we lived in the area. If you get a chance, you should go. Best, Ross
  13. I'm neither a friend of Harry Glazer, nor even an aquaintance, though I did know a few of the bankers that handled the IPO. What I related was common knowledge in Atlanta. The Bankruptcy and sale took place in 1997-98. Best, Ross
  14. Yes, I read the same article. My recollection is that "Slug Burgers" were not actually beef, but some sort of soybean product mixed with breading and spices, then griddle fried. They were small, cheap and distinctive. Best, Ross
  15. The December issue of Gourmet has a nice article on the Savannah culinary scene. The author is a native. Best, Ross
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