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Posts posted by porkpa

  1. Normally my children and grandkids come to Pennsylvania where I prepare a huge, somewhat traditional Thanksgiving feast where the emphasis is on the multitude of side dishes in addition to the bird which might vary from turkey, to capon or even turducken. This year I'll be going to Los Angeles where most of my family is domiciled. I'm looking to host a Thanksgiving dinner for about twelve people including four active children aged seven and younger. I'm looking for restaurant suggestions. Price isn't a great concern, but comfort, food quality and a pleasant environment is. Any suggestions?

  2. As someone who subscribed to Gourmet almost fron its inception until a year or so into its stewardship under Ruth Reichl, I am somwhat saddened, but far from surprised by the news of its demise. Under the (so called) leadership of Ms Reichl it went from a journal which was loaded with quality content, to one which was bereft of substantial content to one which emphasized flash at the expense of what had made the magazine successful for numerous decades. That's what happens when you eliminate the steak at the expense of sizzle.

  3. I'm guessing that its probably just a result of these difficult economic times. I was recently in Orlando Florida. I went to the first Waffle House I had ever been to almost forty years ago. It was on Lee Road just off of Interstate 4. I was shocked to see that it was closed. The next morning I went to the one in Sanford which I had been going to for breakfast for the better part of thirty years. It too had been closed. I have to believe that these aren't the only ones. Given the state of the economy, I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised but I was.

  4. Why bother with cabs at all? I always either walk or use the metro, even when going to a 3* restaurant. You are never far from a metro stop in Paris. Although the metros are not the most classy form of transportation, they are almost always quite functional and safe.

  5. With the possible exception of Per Se, you should have no problem getting into most everywhere - if not at a table then for sure at the bar. Its summertime and the restaurant trade is traditionally slow. Add the economy to the equation and there shouldn't be any problem.

    My squeeze and I just walked into a very popular steakhouse where its virtually impossible to get into without a reservation in Fall or Winter, last Friday evening and we had more than half the place to ourselves.

  6. I was there last night with two friends and really enjoyed it. I had the escargots and the roast chicken both of which were excellent. The fries a la l'Ami Louis which accompanied the chicken were good, but not quite as good as good as their namesake on rue Vertbois. Oh that they would try to replicate the potato pie of l'Ami Louis - that would make the place a destination venue. My friends had the vegetable cocotte and steak tartare as appetizers. The steak tartare was actually a main, but my buddy had it as an appetizer. He said it was the best he had had in New York. I tried some and thought it was good. His wife had the quenelles and she thought they were great. The breads were outstanding. My friend has been a steady patron of all the Ducasse restaurants. They sent us each a gift of the house a huge dish of a fish tartar. I think it daurade(?sp). It was good, but far too much. We had an assortment of desserts, the best of which were the profiteroles and the vanilla millefeuille. We BYOB'd a Beaucastel '89 which was drinking quite well.

    The place was crowded and quite loud. Surprisingly the bar was empty. It might even have been closed.

    The only deficiency might have been the service, which was friendly but somewhat unprofessional. The waiters kept asking who was getting which dish. No big problem, but worthy of note.

    All in all, we really enjoyed it and will undoubtedly return.


  7. Lots of it. Mostly good southern Italian Americanized. Heavy and tasty. Standouts were the side dishes and appetizers - baked clams, broccoli rabe, burnt broccoli, burnt green beans, fried zucchini strips. My main was chicken francaise. They gave me three good sized pieces. By the time we got to the mains I was virtually full. Even though it was very good, I stopped at one piece. The old folks took the remaining two home. The pasta was fine, but again far too much.

  8. I was in South Florida on business last week. My lady friend came down from NYC to join me over the weekend. Her mother and step father spend their winters in Boca. They are respectively 87 and 92 years old. They are in reasonably good shape for their ages, but they are obviously not spring chickens.

    They wanted to eat at Matteos, because they always had enjoyed the food at Matteos in Roslyn NY.

    I called to make a reservation, but was told that they didn't take reservations. I mentioned that we had two very old people in our party who probably would find it uncomfortable to stand around for any length of time. I was assured that if we arived by 6.30 we would have no problem getting seated quickly.

    I dropped them off at the door at 6.15 while I went to park the car. I entered the restaurant five minutes later and was told by Carol(my ladyfriend) that there would be a ten minute wait for a table. Certainly no great problem. At the time, we and another couple were the only parties waiting to be seated. As we waited numerous other people arrived. Most of, if not all of them appeared to be known to the host as evidenced by the numerous handshakes and hugs.

    The first party to be seated was the other couple who were there when we arrived. Thereafter at least twenty tables of people who got there after us were seated. Needless to say I was not happy. I told the host that we had already been standing for over a half hour when we were told the wait would be ten minutes. He said that we were next and then proceeded to seat three other tables of people who had just walked in. The old folks had to be pretty tired.

    Finally, after 45 minutes of waiting we were seated. From that point on things went well. The food was decent and plentiful. Our waiter was excellent.

    If it had been just Carol and I, we would have left after ten minutes of waiting and gone elsewhere. However the old folks wanted this place and it was a schlep getting them in and out of the SUV, so we waited it out.

    I wouldn't have been at all upset if it was a question of waiting for available tables which hadn't cleared. What really bothered me was the many parties who were seated well before us even though they had arrived well after.

    In the end the old folks were pleased with dinner(although quite tired), having had a good meal, but also at least two more meals in leftovers that they took home with them.

  9. For pretty decent soul food try Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar B Que on Lee Road on the edge of Winter Park. They have an incredibly diverse menu. It seems to always be crowded, but service goes along pretty well and you usually have your food within a few minutes. The prices are very reasonable. You can eat inside or out on the patio. I guess that its a mini chain, since they have two other Orlando locations.

  10. On the rare occasions that I eat at McDonalds or Burger King in order to secure a freshly made product I order it with changes from the norm. If I'm ordering a burger at McD's I specify without ketchup. At Burger King I ask for it "off the Broiler" thus ensuring that it hasn't been standiing around. Its well worth the extra minute or two wait.

  11. I haven't been to Mr Steer for years. As I remember it initially their burgers were the ne plus ultra, not only in Montreal but virtually anywhere I had experienced hamburgers.

    The last time I was there the burgers were pre cooked and had obviously been sitting for quite some time. They were then put on the grill for a minute or two to warm them up. They were simply terrible. I haven't been back since. Perhaps they have gone back to the old way of making them as ordered. I hope so.

    I always loved their Suzy Q fries.


  12. I see on the Fairway Markets website that they are advertising several Canadian beef specials. Does this mean that the ban on importing Canadian beef into the US has been lifted? If so, I hope it means that I can obtain a long denied fix for Montreal smoked meat. If anybody knows, please respond.


  13. As one who almost always wears a jacket in a restaurant where that garb is usually worn, I nevertheless disagree that its a display of poor manners for someone not to do so unless that standard is specifically part of the requirements of the particular restaurant.

    I'll give you an example of a situation where something of that type happened to me. On Memorial Day weekend my SO and I were in the Napa Valley. We were waitlisted to dine at the French Laundry. Since I've had the experience of being waitlisted there on several occasions without any luck I thought that the chances of our getting in were less than nil, especially since this was a busy holiday weekend. Lo and behold late Friday afternoon I received a call that a reservation had freed itself up for Saturday. I mentioned that I didn't have a jacket with me. The receptionist replied that they always kept jackets on hand for those who didn't have them. When we arrived I was smartly dressed in slacks and a white cashmere sweater. No mention was made of the jacket by the welcoming staff. We were seated in a room where I did not feel the slightest bit uncomfortable or conspicuous.


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