Jump to content


legacy participant
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by phaelon56

  1. I used to get huevos rancheros many years ago when I traveled extensively in California and Colorado. My recollection is a dish that consisted of a flour tortilla with a layer of beans covered with salsa and then two poached eggs on top. I vaguely recall that some places might have had the beans in between two tortillas with the other ingredients on top of the top tortilla. Last summer I tried huevos rancheros in a small family restaurant in the barrio in Austin TX. It had all the ingredients I recalled but offered hot sauce rather than salsa. In this case all items were served separately and one simply layered them at the table or just ate them independently. My assumption (a dangerous thing) that this was typical huevos rancheros was changed on a recent trip to Belize. there are many folks of Hispanic extraction there (from both Mexico and Central America). I ordered huevos rancheros and received what we always called "mexican style eggs" when I was growing up. It was scrambled eggs with some peppers, onion and a few small chunks of potato mixed in. What is the prevailing style here in the north Jersey area and what's good place to go for them? I'm open to any location but North Bergen, Union City and West New York are most convenient as I live just a few miles west of there.
  2. It's not exactly in town but close enough - there's a Portuguese place called Maquiseria. The Seabra's own it and yes they have some big commercial places but this is a small neighborhood place with an absence of tourists and lots of neigborhood Portuguese and other folks. Their focus is on seafood and they have an iced display tray in the window of the kitchen where you walk in with the day's fish visible - also a good sized fresh lobster tank. there are some interesting Portuguese traditional dishes on the menu that I haven't seen elsewhere but of interest is the fact that roast suckling pig was the daily special when I was there recently on a Sunday. We arrived late eveing and it was gone but I intend to return and try it. They also offer a very garlicky, seafood puree soup that's outstanding. If they're out of it and they offer the other seafood soup that has some crab leags and other whole items in it, just decline - the brown one that is puree only is fantastic. Can't recall the cross street but it's just off Ferry Street heading south several block past Iberia and Iberia Peninsula. I advise calling ahead to see if they have it (the suckling pig which I think is just on weekends). They should have someone who speaks English answering the phone (hopefully) but you're likely to just do some pointing with the waiters - on my two visits the waiters spoke only Portuguese. It's about a fifteen -twenty minute leisurely walk from Newark Penn Station.
  3. Good thread and stuff here to check out. My only comment on Mexicali Rose in Montclair is that their bizarre customer "dis-service" tactics will prevent me from ever returning. We went on a Saturday with a party of three, had soup and entrees and did not dawdle over our food (40 minutes from start to finish). When I asked about desserts the waiter got a funny look (it was now about 6:45 on a Saturday evening) and said "let me check". He returned and informed us that the manager would not allow him to sell us dessert because "it's getting busy and we need the table (there were about a dozen people in total waiting for seats at that point and it's a moderately large restaurant). Naturally, I left a generous tip as the waiter was good and was just doing his job but I can't imagine ever going back. Very weird experience and there are so many restaurants out there that actually WANT me to buy dessert and spend more money... I'll patronize them instead.
  4. I'm guessing that Victor's restaurant has good con leche but if you're looking for a place to just get a cup to go I'm not sure. Next time I'm in Chelsea I'll try the Cuban sandwich place on 8th ave (it's in the mid twenties) and let you know how it is. Among my coffee revelations was trying Ethiopian coffee (as made in the traditional manner) for the first time. It was a heavenly elixir - quite possibly the best coffee I've ever had. The restaurant was in Denver and I was the only customer the entire time I was there. The traditional method involves roasting special grade of green beans on an iron skillet, grinding in mortar and pestel with some spices, then steeping and serving from a special clay pot. It is typically pre-sugared and if you're lucky you may end up in a place that offers the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony - truly a wonderful experience. On a more recent note, I just returned from Belize, where mediocre coffee (or even instant) is the rule rather than the exception. Was staying on a small and lowkey island called Caye Caulker. My advance research had yielded Cindy's Cafe as the only place onthe island where a good latte or cappucino could be obtained. Imagine my chagrin when I got a watered down latte made with skim milk - at $3 on an island where a good complete dinner can be purchased for $6-8! On a hunch I tried the cappucino at Il Biscaro, an Italian restaurant at the north end of the island. It was one of the slowest weeks of the year and they were nearly empty most of the time. Imaganer my suprise when the owner Salvador (native of Milan Italy and he makes an amazing al dente spaghetti) returned with one of the best cappucino's I've ever had anywhere. He uses a Pavoni manual piston machine and gets Guatemalan coffee from a food whlesaler in Belize City. If you ever get to Caye Caulker give this place a try - amazing food and really cheap.
  5. Regarding Prohibition and restaurants that choose not to serve beer or wine... not everyone wants to or can justify the expense of getting a liquor license - in some places it's not as simple as just filling out forms. I live in a quaint and very small town in North jersey that has no bars and does not allow alcohol to be served in restaurants. It's actually a very good thign for most folks - you can just bring your own and the more upscale places may charge a corking fee or in two cases actually have a small wine shop on premises where they sell you the wine and you open it yourself - much cheaper than paying restaurant markup. Chains are an abomination until I need one... Starbucks may have some issues (i.e. their regular coffee is acrid and bitter) but you know exactly what you'll get. I typically get a latte and despite having order them in Starbucks throughout the US in every imaginable location the quality is consistent. not the best I've ever had but better than I often get from other places. I'm always open to trying new sources and make an effort to support businesses run by individual owners without the corporate stamp but sometimes (especially in airports) Starbucks is the only good option. I did recently eat at Houston's location. They are a chain but admittedly much more upscale than Applebee's and the like. I wouldn't seek them out when more interesting options were available but they were the only open late in suburban Atlanta when we arrived. I had an outstanding, perfectly cooked tuna steak, a very acceptable (but plain and unimaginative) salad and the service was good. As for favorite items in the lower end of chains... I always opt for the broiled chicken at any of the usual suspects. Believe it or not... the broiled chicken sandwich at Dairy Queen is REALLY good! I was on a drive down to Key West and we didn't want to stop for a sit-down lunch. My girlfriend convinced me to do the Dairy Queen drive-through and try the chicken - a pleasant surprise.
  6. phaelon56

    making lox?

    I think you're correct that true Lox is smoked but it is also heavily salted in the process.
  7. This topic has seen some active discussion quite recently - just scroll down this page a bit (general topics) and you'll find a thread. I'm currently using a Solis Maestro and love it. I haven't had the problem that some folks describe with static on the bin but I disagree wiht those who love it because you can grind directly into the portafiliter basket of your espresso machine - I've tried that and it's messy. The Maestro is really nicely made, quiet and looks good - widely considered to be the best thing on the market for under $200. To find out more or to get info and detailed user commentary on the Maestro or on semi-pro machines (be prepared to shell out serious $$) go to www.coffeegeek.com
  8. Cafe Vivace link - http://www.espressovivace.com/for_home.html It ain't cheap but I know it's good. I'm originally from Syracuse NY and my hometown espresso fave is "Freedom of Espresso" (ask me and I'll tell you the truly hilarious story of how they came up with that name). I'm pretty sure they use Vivace beans for their roasting because I know their supplier is Seattle based and when I was traveling to Seattle for the first time, the one recommendation they had for espresso in that town was Cafe Vivace. Prices are pretty good at Torrefazione - three 12 oz bags totaled only $27.95 with shipping (no tax). Vivace is a tad steep but their low price on green beans is tempting me to get a home roaster (oh boy... here we go again). I can't comment on any change or decline in Torrefazione Perugia as I just discovered it two months ago. Where do I get the Graffeo? - my interest has been aroused...
  9. Hey... anyone want to go in on some Meinl with me? I'd like a bag each of their espresso blend and also one for regular coffee but on two bags the shipping adds way too much money. I think best shipping price per bag results from buying about six total. For an espresso blend I'm now totally sold on the Perugia blend from Torrefazione Italia. They're at www.titalia.com - have a few cafes here and there but none in the NYC area. Highly rated and I've tried it out somewhere but not in my own machine is the Cafe Vivace blend from David Schomer at Cafe Vivace in Seattle. It's truly excellent but I have fallen in love with the Perugia and choose to remain monogamous for now.
  10. I'd guess that some portion fo the 21% will NOT ever reach the waitstaff. I worked part-time as a bartender for a lrage caterer in Syracuse NY for several years. Customers were charge a 15% "service charge" which they assumed was a gratuity of sorts. Hardly. It was used to fray or cover the cost of hourly wages for barstaff and waitstaff. granted, we made far more than restaurant minimum and we were never led to believe that we would receive tips but IMHO it was a sleazy practice and one that I'm sure is in effect in any number of places that do banquets or catering. If I got a 15% cut of the bar tab at most of those functions I would have earned far more per hour than I did but the reality was that I needed the money and they were good people ot work for in all respects (hey... they never lied to me about the service charge but I still think it's wrong to let customers assume things that aren't true).
  11. phaelon56

    making lox?

    This may sound a bit odd as it's not a cookbook but just for fun you might check the library for "The History of Salt". It's a bit dense in parts but presents a really fascinating perspective on how salt has influenced cultural development, politics, wars and every other thing you can imagine through the millenia. They had lots of fascinating info on the differences between real lox and the less salty more contemprorary version that we typically call Nova lox. IIRC there were some recipes in there for making a variety of salted fish products. Some were ancient and included instructions for things like having a 15 year old boy jump on th leather cover to the barrel to compact the layers of salt and fish but there were a few contemporary references. Probably won't really get what you want in there but if you're into food it's an amazing read.
  12. phaelon56


    Great thread... I'm new to the site and strongly recommend (for those who are truly interested) a visit to www.coffeegeek.com (many of you have probably already been there). Several points raised in other responses that I'll address: Lavazza makes more than one grade - the stuff in the black can is Medaglia D'Oro grade - okay but nothing special.They also have one called "Qualita Oro" in a gold can - twice the price and better but IMHO nowhere close to the quality of Illy. I've also tried Ionia and rank it a notch below the better grade of Lavazza. On a recent trip to San Francisco I tried an espresso at Torrefazione Italia cafe (they have several in SF and also in a few other cities). I was blown away by the quality of their product and brought a bag home. I have now been ordering it online from them at www.titalia.com - about $8 per 12 oz vacuum bag but incredible stuff. My favorite until then had been Illy whole bean - this is as good or better at lower price. the Perugia blend is the one recommended for espresso - can't comment on the others for regular coffee as I haven't tried them. Best espresso in NYC? Chowhound recently had a thread about a place called cafe Gitane but the comments I saw in citysearch (from many people) an uber-trendy and snotty staff and lots of smoke deterred me from a visit. I'll try it some weejday afternoon during the slow time if I can get there but until then I really haven't had a "knocks-your-socks-off" espresso in NYC - I have to go home to my NJ apt to get one!
  13. I suggest considering Arthur's Landing in Weehawken at the Port Imperial ferry dock. Very upscale, good size portions and the food was excellent when we went. $30 each before tax and tip included one Bloody Mary, Screwdriver or Mimosa (I think that was the choice but I don't drink so can't really recall), starter, entree with side and dessert with choice of coffee or tea. Really nice room with floor to ceiling windows with an incredible view of the NYC skyline. You must park in a pay lot but they validate your parking. There's usually a jazz combo playing. I've been to Blue Sky in Montclair and was not overly impressed. The food was fine and a bit more interesting than the usual brunch fare but at $25 each I didn't see real value. The brunch at Arthur's was a meal I could expect to pay that much for (or more) at any NYC restaurant at lunch or dinner. Haven't been to the Short Hills Hilton for their brunch but have a friend with well developed tastes who says it's truly amazing and very good.
  14. In the early 90's I lived in Ithaca NY and loved a dessert they had at Cafe Decadence (also home of Finger Lakes Roasters, who had an amamzingly good French Roast they sold by the pound). It was called "The Ultimate Cookie" and went something like this... Brown sugar, butter and rolled oats as bottom crust in a brownie pan. Then a layer of something that was equivalent to chocolate cheesecake and then on top of that a layer of chocolate truffle (or something similar to it). It was cut in triangular serving portions and had to be kept refrigerated before serving. Cafe Decadence is long since out of business and by chance I was visiting Ithaca last year and in the Home Dairy (on the Commons - their sticky buns are to die for - haven't had them in years but they were the best I've ever had anywhere). They hadd desserts in the case and I got to reminiscing with the counterman about the Ultimate Cookie. He brought out their baker, who had once worked at Cafe Decadence. She recalled the dessert but wasn't the one who made it and said that if she could get the recipe it would only be for huge batches. I have tried making this myself but couldn't get the right consistency - I generally found it to be a bit too soft. especially the top layer and also the crust. Theirs had a firmness to the crust and the layers that gave it a quality and texture somewhere in between a brownie, cake and firm quality fudge (the good homemade stuff - not the commercial dreck). It's soooo pricey to experiment with these ingredients and my waistline can't afford to eat the mistakes. Suggestions anyone? Knowing the overall idea can any of you offer ideas on how I might replicate this item?
  15. Wilfrid - I agree that the majority of restaurants do not include gratuity but it appears to be happening with more frequency in major cities and is sure to spread out to other areas as well. I don't see the mystery in it - people are justifiably concerned that they may inadvertantly double the tip. The restaurants that do this do not offer different credit card slip formats to different tables - if service was of the 18% caliber I just draw a line through the extra tip space - if it was deserving of more I add in an appropriate extra amount. As you point out - very simple to do. Regardless... the way the "included tip" is positioned on the slips I've seen is deceptive - it actually apppears as though it were a line item on the bill.
  16. You're right about the complainers but they're proabably the same ones who would want the bill to show tip amounts for10% and 12% also in addition to 15%! I forgot to mention that once you add the tip (on the initial bill where gratuity has been included above the subtotal)... the slip they bring back for you to sign ONLY shows subtotal, tax and empty line for tip. Keep in mind that they are stoll NOT taxing the tip and they are also giving you a separate itemized copy that actually shows the tip they included. I'm guessing that it's not intentional sleazy behavior but I'd also guess that not one single proprietor or server has called a patron afterwards or mentioend to them at the time that they might be mistakenly double tipping. I routinely tip 18% to 20% for adequate service and more for exceptional but I NEVER ever tip 36% to 40% unless it's a small check in a greasy spoon where the server is running their as* off and deserves it because the darn check is so small (I'm originally from Syracuse where you can still get a breakfast with two eggs, toast, homefries and coffee for $2.50-$2.95 in some joints).
  17. It's completely coincidental that I'm a first time poster but it's understandable that many lurkers would register i order to reply to this. It's a hot topic that gets many of us a bit ticked off because the way in which this is done is a bit deceptive in some places depending on how the ticket is printed. I don't even recall where this happened to me in NYC but I think it was eother Alley's End on W. 1th between 8th and 9th or at Raymond's Cafe on 7th between W 15th and 16th (maybe at both). IIRC here's how the slip format works - keep in mind that this is NOT the credit card slip that you may be accustomed to seeing - it's the itemized bill on which you add gratuity. After doing this they bring back a copy showing only subtotal, tax and total which you then sign off on. You receive a carbon of the signed copy as well as a copy of the itemized bill but BOTH copies are printed by the restaurant's computerized register system - there is not traditional credit card slip that is run through an imprinter. Looks like this: soup 2.50 salad 4.00 entree 12.00 dessert 6.00 18% gratuity 4.41 subtotal 24.50 Tip Total You'll note that they do NOT tax the tip but it is posiitioned as though it were a line item. I strongly suspect that this is "feature" of some software package that is being sold to restaurants and you'll begin seeing it in more and more places. I ahve seen it in other cities (Philly) recently as well. I agree that it's deceptive but it's probably legal because they clearly state that it is a gratuity. Then again maybe not because in none of these places was there any notification on the menu or elsewhere that they were doing this. A system I've seen in use in only one place that makes much more sense works like this: soup 2.50 salad 4.00 entree 12.00 dessert 6.00 subtotal 24.50 Tax 2.45 Tips 18% = 4.41 Tip 20% = 4.90 22% = 5.39 Total When I first saw this format I realized that the software let's them print the darn receipt in any old format they choose - how come more places aren't doing this? It's totally ethical and I appreciated because so many peopleI dine with stop and start doing all sorts of mental gyrations to figure the tip. It's nice to see it printed as a precalculate amount that you can choose... IF you choose to . I agree that it sucks when it's already hidden in the check but this appears to be on its way to becoming a common practice.
  18. I agree that 14 grams is way too much for one cup of coffee but standard "one cup" in coffeemaking is 6 oz - might this person be referring to how much they use for a mug (which is typically a 10 oz mug or larger). I use one standard plastic coffee scoop rounded to a peak (by overfilling and then shaking it a bit over the container). Always come out really welll. Starbucks standard method is to use far more coffee to water than other people use. I guess it bumps up the caffeine content and gets peoplel hooked on their product? Not sure but I always thought the big problem with their coffee was overroasting until someone gave me some as a gift and I made it using my standard proportions - I was shocked that it actually made a half decent cuppas joe! As for grinders... I've had a standard $40-50 Braun blade grinder for years and it has served me well for auto drip and Melitta style coffee - even for espresso when I got a baby DeLonghi espresso machine. Finally graduated to a Gaggia Baby after some research (and after I realized I was really hooked). I also researched burr grinders on www.coffeegeek.com and settled on the Solis Maestro - have been very happy with it. My biggest complaint ont he Braun was static on the container and a tendency for grounds to accumulate in the horizontal chute and end up on the counter when I pulled the bin off. The Solis drops grinds vertically into bin and although others have mentioned static as a problem I have had none. Also, because of the vertical dispersion, I've never had to clean out that part of grinder. Do NOT get the Solis Maestro which you may see on sale cheap - it has horizontal dispersion. By the way... the Maestro is also very, very quiet. Quietest grinder I've ever heard - nice feature if your mate is a late riser. If espresso is now in your plans or perhaps future plans... get the Maestro - otherwise a good $50 grinder should be adequate. As for espresso based drinks vs regular joe: I still love regular coffee but have found myself drinking a latte each morning rathe rather than regular coffee. Once you get the right gear and make a really good one at home it's easy to get hooked.
  19. Which restaurant did this may be of interest to many but caveat emptor - it's becoming a common practice. I just read a travel forum trip report for an NY'er who went to South Beach last month - they ran into this almost everywhere they ate. I suspect the software that restaurants use has recently been upgraded to include this "feature" as i have run into in the NYC area on several occasions lately (always with a party of two or four so it's definitely not the large party thing). keep in mind that the receipt is usually printed wiht the added in gratuity ABOVE the total - they are not taxing it but a computerized register can print it wherever it chooses. It IS very deceiving even for those of us who scan the check (which I always do). There is always a separate blank area for tip and the "included" gratuity is NOT adjacent to it on the receipt. Can't wait to see what happens if I ever get such horrible, insulting service that I decide not to tip (has only happened once in my life but it can happen).
  • Create New...