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    Syracuse, NY

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  1. I think more appropriate questions would be 1) What percentage of Manhattan foodies have cars or easy access to one? 2) If one has to use Zipcar or something of the sort then how much time is involved in getting and returning the car? 3) Most of the North NJ locations mentioned are no more than 4 to 10 miles from an point in Manhattan by car - bit if there's a fair amount of traffic coming going in the tunnels or on the GWB.... how much extra time gets chewed up in your precious evening hours by going to NJ to eat? I don't live in Manhattan but have many friends who do and I did live in North Jersey for a few years so I have some perspective on the issue. Can't speak for others but I work about 50 to 55 hours in the average week. Chewing up an additional hour or two on any given evening in order to explore alternate dining options isn't an option for me except on the occasional weekend. I live a one hour drive from Ithaca NY where there are some excellent dining options different from what I find here in Syracuse. But I rarely (i.e. no more than a few times each year) take advantage of that fact. I can easily drive to any restaurant in the Syracuse area in 10 to 15 minutes. I'm looking at a time savings of 90 minutes or more if I dine in this area rather than schlepping down to Ithaca. Even taking a train to the outer boroughs is far more time consuming than staying in Manhattan to eat. [rhetorical_question] But there is another question that hasn't been asked.... is there a sort of reverse parochialism at play among some Manhattan foodies? Could there be a group of people so insulated from local (i.e. metro NYC) experiences that they assume nothing else (apart from a few other key major cities and foreign countries) could approach the depth and breadth of the dining experience they get in Manhattan? [/rhetorical_question]
  2. It's a comment based on numerous independent assertions I've seen made by a number of people both in past discussions in this forum and elsewhere. And the assertion is that "most" (but certainly not all) of the NYC Chinatown Vietnamese restaurants are run by Chinese operators rather than by Vietnamese. As for the claim that many people make regarding the food in these places as being "less authentic" for that reason - I'm inclined to be skeptical. Does your first hand experience contradict the assertions? Just curious. ← oh no...I don't have the foggiest clue. I'd just seen that observation come up here before. ← I've seen it mentioned in a few NYC Viet food user reviews on Yelp and elsewhere. And I've yet to try Viet food in Manhattan that's as good as what I used to get in North Jersey or what I get up here now in Syracuse. But I've only been to four or so such places in NY and that's not a large enough sampling to draw good conclusions from.
  3. It's a comment based on numerous independent assertions I've seen made by a number of people both in past discussions in this forum and elsewhere. And the assertion is that "most" (but certainly not all) of the NYC Chinatown Vietnamese restaurants are run by Chinese operators rather than by Vietnamese. As for the claim that many people make regarding the food in these places as being "less authentic" for that reason - I'm inclined to be skeptical. Does your first hand experience contradict the assertions? Just curious.
  4. I've been a bit busy and am just now getting back to this thread. Which assertion are we referring to? If it's my comment that the best Vietnamese food I've had in the NYC area was in North Jersey it still stands true although it's been a few years (about five or so) since I last had Viet food there. There was a place in Nutley - Little Saigon if I recall correctly - that was excellent (and run by ethnic Vietnamese). It burned and subsequently reopened in a different location but is reputed to still be very good. There's a place in... Fort Lee I think... that opened more recently and also has a great rep. details are buried somewhere int he NJ forum. But if I made some other assertion that warrants comment please remind me what it is and I'll respond. Thanks!
  5. Follow up report: Thanks to all for the advice and suggestion. It took all of ten minutes for me to get from Metrotech to the Union Street station on the M and by chance my friend had arrived just a few minutes prior on the R. We walked the a few short blocks to Tempo arriving at 6 PM and, although I had called earlier in the day for reservations, found that none are needed that early in the day - at least not on Mondays. We were the only people in the restaurant for the first 30 minutes and upon departure at 7:45 PM it was about half full. Service was friendly, down to earth and professional. Food was very, very good and a fantastic value. For starters I had Tuscan Farro salad (I'll ask for the roasted beets to be left out next time - I keep trying to like beets and it's just not gonna happen) and she had a very good chopped salad. Generous portions on both. Ditto the prortions and quality on the entrees. Papardelle with ragout of wild boar for me and some kind of shrimp and pasta dish for her. $4 upcharge for me and $2 for her on the entrees but there were perhaps only three or four entrees out of ten or so that had an upcharge above the $25 three course fixed price (and the upcharge was well worth it). Her dessert was an "okay" apple streusel cake like thing about the size of a generous muffin. A bit dry but topped with a scoop of very good gelato. My sticky warm date and toffee pudding was not as good as sex but it was damn near orgasmic - and as good or better than the one I used to have at Up the Alley in Chelsea before they closed. Given the opportunity I could eat one every day. With two "okay" double espressos, all of the above, a humongous side order of "Tuscan fried potatoes" (too large for two people to finish), a large bottle of Lurisia mineral water and a call brand vodka and OJ the total bill was $88 including tax before tip. Can't comment on the wine selection or prices as alcohol is not on my list of ingestibles. Excellent low key and casual dining experience with very affordable prices. If you don't mind the trip out to Park Slope or are in Brooklyn for other reasons this is a GREAT choice - and I sincerely appreciate the recommendation. By the way - we asked about car service and they offered to just hail us a car and a cab in front. Loads of them go by and within two to three minutes our rides were lined up and waiting. $33 car service to LGA and $30 yellow cab to CPW and 102nd.
  6. Not really. Spain, Provence and Italy are on the northern side of the Mediterranean while Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya (and perhaps a bit of Egypt?) are on the southern shore. We had a very cool place here in Syracuse for awhile that had exactly such a menu - mostly Spanish and Moroccan influenced dishes with a small and large plates offering. There were other Mediterranean influences as well and it really worked nicely. But alas... this is a conservative food town that's usually ten years behind major metro areas in terms of food trends. The owner was unable to sustain enough customer volume to be profitable and switched over to a Mexican / Latin American / Caribbean themed menu at a more moderate price point (and it has been reasonably successful).
  7. I'll be at Metrotech Brooklyn near Jay Street / Borough Hall A, C, F stop for the day this Monday working with a client and will be free from about 5 PM onwards until I grab a cab to LaGuardia at 7:45 or 8 PM. I'm planning to meet a friend from Manhattan for dinner and she'll take the train out to meet me. 1) Franny's is a short distance away and I'd love to try it so it's high on my list but are there other options near there worth exploring? I'm looking for casual and low key in a moderate to mid price range. I know there are some good middle eastern places on or near Atlantic Ave and am wondering about those. 2) I usually get car service from the Brooklyn Marriott to LGA when I'm finished with this client on any given day. How tough is it to hail a cab on the street in the evening in other areas of central Brooklyn?
  8. Vinegar based Louisiana style hot sauce and a fat component that is typically butter. Obviously people manage to replicate it sort of) in powdered form because there are "Buffalo flavor" chips. But many of the "Buffalo flavor" products have a blue cheese component added as well. If it is a reasonable facsimile of the original it will have both heat and pepper flavor.
  9. I forgot to mention... when it comes to economical for coffee try Porto Rico Imports on Bleeker Street. You probably won't find decent quality coffee cheaper anywhere else. The downside is that they don't have a good espresso blend and all the roasted beans are stored in open barrels (oxygen is not coffee's friend) so you have to figure out what sells fast in order to get the stuff that's really fresh. But the upside is coffee at about $5 to $6 per pound that easily sells for $10 - $12 elsewhere in Manhattan.
  10. There's a place on 9th just one or two doors north of 40th if I recall correctly (it's behind Port Authority and next to Casa @ Cupcake Cafe). They have dried fruits, nuts, spices, olives etc. in bulk and I believe the prices are very good.
  11. You got my attention with the coffee shop. There fewer than five coffee shops in all of Manhattan that I consider to be serious in terms of consistency and ongoing pursuit of highest possible quality in espresso drinks (9th Street and cafe grumpy are the two I tend to frequent when in town). Can you tell us more about the coffee place down there in the seaport?
  12. IMHO the chicken at the Dino is one of the best items on the menu. I've also had very good success with the fried green tomatoes and the tomato cuke salad is pretty good too. If you waver and have pork I suggest the pulled pork - it's typically very consistent. The ribs... all over the place... sometimes very good by central NY standards and other times (at least for me) not so great.
  13. She is so right. I bought my last bag of Macouns for the year last weekend (third weekend in October) and they were already past peak. I'll get through the bag only because I eat so darn many of them. But the Macoun season is about three weeks and the ones you buy at the end of that time period don't keep well for more than two weeks.
  14. I haven't been up that way in years. Just glanced at the Chamber of Commerce Adirondack Dining Guide to Saranac Lake and it doesn't look like you'll have too many options within that 20 mile radius. It's not likely to exceed that price range IF you find the kind of place you're looking for. Good news. In New York State the entire restaurant - including the bar area - will be non-smoking. It's been the law for a few years now.
  15. Mina has reappeared in Flushing at the edge of Jackson Heights with Spicy Mina. Her food is terrific as always and I doubt that there's better Bengali food anywhere in the NYC Metro area. Follow-ups to a related question would inevitably have to move to the New Jersey forum but have any of you on this thread tried some of the options in and around Edison NJ? There's a very large Indian population out there not to mention that the discretionary income levels are likely to be higher than in Flushing or Jackson heights. It stands to reasons that there might be some higher end Indian restaurants out there.
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