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Everything posted by porkpa

  1. Varmint, I'd love to be able to attend. Unfortunately September, October and November are impossible for me. Our whole year is dependent on our sale the first week in November. I have to be guarding the homefront prior to it. I'm very jealous. Porkpa
  2. I am surprised that with the numerous postings that Sonoma Grill and Park and Orchard gather on this list, that my personal favorite in this area, Il Villaggio has never to the best of my knowledge, ever even been mentioned. Although SG & P&O have superior wine lists to Il Villaggio, that is in my opinion the only area where they are even remotely better. I have eaten at Sonoma Grill perhaps a dozen times. I have found the food to be adequate, but never a whole lot better than just that. As far as Park & Orchard is concerned, I just don't get it. I've eaten there a few times and have never been impressed or even satisfied. They do have a great wine list, but in my opinion the food available does not come close to complementing the great wines offered. Work brings me up to the area from Pennsylvania many times during the year. Over the last 25 years, I would estimate that I've eaten at Il Villaggio between 150-200 times. I have NEVER had a bad dining experience there. The food is fresh, well presented and the service, although sometimes a bit fawning is professional and never neglectful. Amongst my personal favorites are the spiedini a la Romagna appetizer, as good a rendition of this dish as I have found anywhere. The pastas are excellent and are available in both half portions as appetizers and as main courses. During the summer I always have a chopped salad of Jersey tomatoes, mozzarella, roast peppers and sweet onions. Ambrosial! The fish and meats have always been fresh and very tasty. I especially like their lamb chops. The staff is most accommodating and will prepare all of the pasta,fish or meat dishes in any manner desired. I love their fried zucchini side dish. Again the best of its type I've found anywhere. The bread is dangerous here. It is so good that I have sometimes filled myself up on it. I never have any desert other than the fresh fruit sorbets imported from Italy. My personal favorite is the pear, but I like them all. The wine list is more than adequate, but not near as extensive as those at SG and P&O. I'm interested in hearing if any NJ members have tried Il Vilaggio. Porkpa
  3. porkpa

    I need help again.

    Here's what we had to drink: (1)Lump Crabmeat cocktail - 2000 Benchmark Winery, Thirty Bench Chardonnay. Clear and crisp. Enjoyable to a person who almost exclusively drinks reds. (2)Caesar Salad - Water (3)Arctic Char - Williams Selyem, 1997 Pinot Noir, Coastlands Vineyard. A wonderful wine. Much more body than most pinots. The number one wine of the evening for me. (4)Roast Rack of Lamb with port red wine sauce - 1993 Penfolds Grange AND 1994 Caymus Cabernet. I and two of the others preferred the Caymus. The other five liked the Grange best. Two awesome wines. (5)Cheese, fruit and nut plater with raisin pecan bread - 1996 Fonseca port. Pretty darn good, but not as good as it will be ten or even twenty years from now. (6)Opera cake accompanied by Graeters raspberry chocolate chunk ice cream - Lakeview Cellars 2000 Reisling Ice Wine - Ambrosial!! When we finished that bottle I searched the cellar and found a bottle of 1997 Villa Mt Eden late harvest Chardonnay, a very good drink for less than ten bucks. In order of preference this is how I liked the wines. (1)1997 Williams Selyem (2)1994 Caymus (3)2000 Lakeview Cellars Icewine (4)1993 Grange (5)2000 Lakeview Cellars Ice Wine (6)1997 Villa Mt Eden late harvest chardonnay (7)2000 Thirty Bench Chardonnay (8)Water Seven wines and not even one loser. The food was almost as good. Porkpa
  4. Lesley, Is this because Milos has improved or has Faros declined? On another note, I read your review of the Italian place in Westmount on the Gazette's website this morning. It sounds like you were treated in an unacceptable manner. Have you heard from the restaurant since? Is such poor service the norm there or do you believe that this was just an isolated incident? Of course once is once too many. If I owned the place, both the waiter and the woman who refused to give you the detailed receipt would be gone post haste. Porkpa
  5. porkpa

    I need help again.

    Lissome, Hanover Pennsylvania. This evening, 7.00 PM. Porkpa
  6. porkpa

    I need help again.

    Lissome, C'mon over! Porkpa
  7. porkpa

    I need help again.

    I'm cooking a tasting dinner for eight tomorrow evening. This is what I'll be serving. Please recommend a type wine for for each course. I appreciate all advice and help. Lump Crabmeat cocktail served with both remoulade and cocktail sauces. Caesar Salad. Arctic Char, served with a medley of snowpeas, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Rack of lamb, port and red wine sauce. Served with baked potato madeleines. Assortment of cheeses, fruit, nuts accompanied by raisin pecan bread. Opera cake served with Graeter's raspberry choclate chunch ice cream. Capuccino served with chocolate pistatio(?sp) biscotti. Thanks for the help. Porkpa
  8. Try Milos. Or for a cheaper almost as good alternative Faros. Porkpa
  9. porkpa

    The Baked Potato

    Further to my previous post. Why do restaurants, even the odd good one wrap their so called baked potatoes in foil? What good is doing that supposed to accomplish? Porkpa
  10. porkpa

    The Baked Potato

    Never, never wrap them in foil. If you do, you will get a steamed potato instead of a baked one. Porkpa
  11. Its mentioned that Jonathan Newman faces a herculean task in revamping and making PLCB more efficient and user friendly. I hope he succeeds, but I would change the word herculean to impossible. In addition to facing the myriad of bureaucratic details involved with dealing with a state controlled business, he also has to deal with a quite powerful union of state liquor store employees. I happen to know Newman from another non wine related business. I can assure you that his motivation is there. He is a wine lover and truly wants to see Pennsylvania stores selling a great assortment of quality wines at competitive prices. Having said all of this, the issue might be moot. Newman is and comes from a strong Republican family. I believe his position is a political appointment. Even though he has done IMO a very good job, the Democrats are newly in power and have already begun placing their own people in other positions throughout the state. This might not be the case with Newman. However the possibility, if not the likelihood exists that his days could be numbered. Alas. Such is politics. Porkpa
  12. I never eat breakfast when I'm home or working in the area. I always have it when I'm on the road, either working or on vacation. Why? I have no idea, other than I don't even think about it home and absolutely crave it on the road. Porkpa
  13. As far as i know this is the only St Viateur Bagel Bakery that is located on St Viateur St. I believe they have at least one and possibly more cafe type places in Montreal. However, I think that all their bagels are manufactured at the St Viateur bakery. IMO St Viateur is the best Montreal bagel. The only one that comes close is Fairmount Bagel Bakery which located a few blocks away. Porkpa
  14. "i hate wine spectator" David, Why? Porkpa
  15. Chazzy, What is it they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? Unless its against the law, which I'm sure this is not, I see no reason why a chef should not be inspired by another chef's genius and treat his customers to it. Regardless of how many people have copied him, people know that Jean-Georges was the inspiration for the molten chocolate cake. Is this any different? Porkpa
  16. Docsconz, I'm sure you were treated well. Furthermore, I have no doubt that most people would be. The point I was trying to make was that I perceived that Lesley was making light of a situation that undoubtedly will have negative consequences. Ironically, some of the people who might not come to Montreal might even share the views of those who were booing the United States anthem. When a significant percentage of almost twenty thousand people get up and boo the US anthem at a public venue, the message received by a significant percentage of Americans was "They don't Like Us Up There". Whether its true or not is somewhat immaterial. That will be and has been the perception of at least some and more than likely a significant percentage of Americans What might go through the mind of a potential Ameican visitor, especially a first timer to Montreal regardless of his political views is "why should I go where I am neither welcome nor liked?" It was well publicized that the behaviour of the people at the Molson Centre was not matched by those at similar venues in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Porkpa
  17. Lesley, Y-E-S it did!!! Furthermore, news of it appeared on probably every major television and radio network and newspaper in the United States. Porkpa
  18. Lesley, You say "we booed the American anthem at a hockey game" in a manner that suggests that this is no big deal. Why are people upset about that? In fact to many Americans(and Canadians too) it is a big deal. It is insulting and paints all the people of the United States with the same brush. I would suggest that many Americans who felt hurt by such symbolic behaviour might react defensively and feel unwelcome and perhaps even threatened in a city/province where such actions are practiced. Given a choice of cities such as Toronto and Vancouver where there might be disagreement on US policy, but respect is shown to its anthem and Montreal where the opposite has shown itself to be true, many Americans might choose to go and spend their money where they feel welcome and respected. Porkpa PS-Both my wife and I are dual citizens and ex Montrealers. We both love Montreal and visit often. For the present I will probably continue to do so but Marlene says that she'll be damned if she will go somewhere and spend our hard earned money where she feels unwelcome.
  19. Actually I think that Outback is more than "just meat". I prefer some of the non meat items to the beef ones. I think their dark bread is excellent; I like the shrimp on the barbie; the coconut shrimp is worth eating; their salads are fresh and enjoyable; the baked potato and baked sweet potato are as good as anybody's; anytime I've had the salmon its been good and fresh tasting; lastly the chocolate thunder from down under dessert is IMO much to much, but a very satisfying end to a meal. You notice I haven't mentioned their signature dish the Bloomin Onion. Its okay, but they have better. Porkpa.
  20. Stellabella, You are right. When I'm on the road I often don't know where I'll be staying on a given day. A lot depends on how much I've done, how much distance I've covered and how much still has to be covered. Its often the Hampton Inn, Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn or Marriott with neighboring restaurants which determine where I might be staying that evening. Rarely is researching local eateries an option. I'll often ask about restaurants when registering at a hotel. Rarely is a "local gem" suggested. Porkpa
  21. Obviously the word should be expectation, not expectational. That's what happens when you proof your post after you send it. Porkpa
  22. I'm writing this with the expectational of getting strongly criticized, if not flamed, knowing the general bias against chains on this board. My work has me on the road for upwards of 100 days a year. Much of my travel takes me to small towns or alongside interstate highways. I have found there few better options for both value and reliability than what Outback offers. Its possible to get a full dinner including steak/prime rib, a good salad(Caesar or house), a good baked potato(regular or sweet), excellent bread and dessert for less than twenty bucks. Add an appetizer of shrimp on the barbie and you still come in under twenty five. Its obviously not of Peter Luger's quality(nor its price), but I still think its usually pretty decent and I've never found it to be bad. The service is generally pretty good, although of the "My name is.......and I'm your server tonight" variety. If you don't want beef, the rack of lamb, salmon, fish of the day or just a plain old burger are very much worth eating. One of the things I really like about Outback is that you can order an end cut of prime rib and still have it rare. In any other place I've been to, if you order an end cut its usually going to be medium to well done. I've never had the rare option other than at Outback. Porkpa
  23. porkpa

    big wine bottles

    Craig, I think that would apply much more to Champagne than it would to large bottles of still wine. I don't have a whole lot of experience in this matter, but everything I have read leads me to believe that large bottles(reds especially) will last longer and age better than will the smaller bottle of the same wine. Porkpa
  24. I have seen quite a few of the 1998 California prices go into freefall recently. I realize that 1998 was an average year at best. Nevertheless there are probably some real good wines to be found at reasonable prices. Which ones would you look for? Porkpa
  25. I've done this at least a dozen times. The first thing I do each morning is prepare a pot of coffee while still half asleep. I reach for a mug and pour the coffee. The only problem is I'm holding the mug upside down. Porkpa
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