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Everything posted by kathryn

  1. What huiray said. Get to GATG and Frontera Grill EARLY. Be there right when they open and be prepared to grab seats . (NB: I've gotten a Frontera reservation for 2 before, but I called 3 months in advance.) For Girl and the Goat, both the actual bar area with bar stools as well as the lounge tables with couches are considered first come, first served, and they serve the full menu at both. So you might be OK if a lounge table opens up and you don't mind eating on low tables. Love the food, and it's very reasonably priced. Maybe for Saturday lunch, skip Hot Doug's, and try Purple Pig then, as they are open continuously all day. Even if your flight or check in is delayed, it's not like you're missing a reservation or something, or worrying about Doug closing the line at a certain time (which they do). The Violet Hour is excellent (craft cocktails in a speakeasy setting) but they don't allow standing inside, and it's rather popular. And I'm afraid of what the line will be like on a weekend night. Many people choose to wait while eating tacos and drinking bourbon across the street, at Big Star (IMO the tacos are good, but they used to be better). Also the Aviary is CLOSED Sundays and Mondays. Your only shot would be on Saturday and if I recall correctly, the reservation time slots are only for 6, 8, and 10pm. They might be willing to make an exception if you ask nicely? The new head bartender is great. The quality still seemed quite high to me in late October when I was there last (for the Kyoto Next menu). Booker & Dax in NYC or Rogue24 in DC are in a similar vein but not exactly.
  2. I usually take unadventurous Midtown visitors to Marseille. http://www.marseillenyc.com/menu.aspx?mid=112
  3. I can't speak to their reubens but really like the chicken in a pot and matzoh balls at 2nd Avenue Deli. Their pastrami isn't that great, though, I prefer Katz's for that.
  4. The Publican is not near any tourist sites. It's also only open for brunch and dinner. I am not sure the "beer hall" atmosphere of the Publican is going to appeal to a 13 year old. Not sure I've ever seen any kids there. However, you might like Publican Quality Meats, their store next door, which does have soups, sandwiches, charcuterie, etc. Purple Pig is closer to tourist attractions due to proximity to Magnificent Mile, serves the same menu all day, and I've definitely seen kids there.
  5. Also near the Loop, try Do-Rite Donuts (L2O alums, check hours beforehand), and The Gage (gastropub). 2nd Mercat a la Planxa. I've also heard good things about Terzo Piano inside the Art Institute as well. Also nearby the Art Institute is Cafecito and their takeout window No. 5. Note that it's a long-ish walk from any nearby hotel to Shedd's front door (15-20 minutes given that the paths through the park are not exactly direct) and the Field Museum. Also: buy tickets to Shedd online ahead of time! However, near Shedd/Field Museum is the Bongo Room, with fun pancake flavors that a 13 year old may like a lot. I personally find it too sweet, but I'm no longer a teen. Your teen may also like Garrett's Popcorn. There's very little near Navy Pier; don't eat around there and make sure you plan around that. Near Magnificent Mile in River North, check out GT Fish & Oyster, Xoco/Frontera Grill/Topolobampo (closed Sun/Mon, Topolo may be too formal but the food is excellent, Frontera is more casual but may be already booked up, Xoco is a quick service restaurant), Purple Pig (no reservations so go for lunch or early dinner), Sable. Also nearby are Pizzeria Uno, Due, and Lou Malnati's -- this will be a very different style of pizza that you probably have at home as well. Some of them will allow you to call in your order beforehand as it can take 45 minutes to make.
  6. Now I have to hope some of the recipes are eventually revealed... that Dueling Banjos sounds really interesting to me. It's essentially a Mai Tai but with lemon standing in for the lime, freshly made corn milk standing in for orgeat, and two bourbons instead of two rums. I'm sure they'll give you the specs if you ask (the postcard that comes with the check has "fill in the blank" spaces pre-printed for cocktail recipes), and they're pretty active on Twitter as well. https://twitter.com/pouringribbons
  7. Here's the Pouring Ribbons menu in PDF for those following along: http://www.insidehook.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Classics-and-House-Cocktails.pdf
  8. Due to an angry neighbor and issues with their liquor license, Death & Co's last call/close time used to be midnight. They have since extended it to about 1am last I heard, after resolving the issues, but that's why it closes "early" in comparison to other places. Definitely go to Death & Co and Pegu Club. Pegu Club allows standing so it can get really loud later on in the night. Luckily it opens at 5pm and not 6pm like the other places, so it can be a nice place to start. It's the 2nd floor and bright and airy, with a very different atmosphere (not speakeasy). For Milk & Honey, you need to have their contact information already and I don't think non-members can go before 1am on weekends anyway. You could try the new sister bar Middle Branch instead (though it's a bit out of the way if you're doing an East Village/Lower East Side crawl). I don't believe Attaboy is open yet. For something similar to M&H, try Lantern's Keep in midtown (closed Sundays, especially if you get Theo who works at both Lantern's Keep and M&H) or Raines Law Room near Union Square. For Raines, note that they open later on Sundays & they don't have a proper bar with stools, all the drinks are made in the kitchen. The approach and atmosphere reminds me of Milk & Honey. Pouring Ribbons is excellent. You might be lucky enough to actually get Toby Maloney (Violet Hour), Joaquin Simo (ex-Death & Co), or Troy Sidle (Violet Hour) as your bartender. I also love Booker & Dax. They are the only ones really doing anything molecular in terms of cocktails. There are also a number of specialist bars that are worth visiting: Mayahuel (mezcal and tequila), Amor y Amargo (huge selection of bitters, try their great housemade vermouth in a Negroni), or Gin Palace (gin, obviously). You might also want to look into the Experimental Cocktail Club.
  9. http://starchefs.com/cook/features/mixology/aged-cocktails I'd also ping David Wondrich via Twitter.
  10. I believe the new format begins today. They have been closed for the past week doing renovations.
  11. Insieme. Formerly by Marco Canora, who left in fall 2009.
  12. So glad that worked out for you! Especially since Alinea is on vacation starting today until the 22nd.
  13. Get to a Brisket Lab if you can, eGulleteers! Hopefully you have a friend who pre-purchased tickets/meat as the events are all sold out now. This was my first time attending the roving BBQ pop-up and I was quite impressed. If you did pre-purchase meat, here's what to expect. $25 for two people yielded 8 oz of brisket each, plus slaw, pickles, onions, and bread, with tax and tip included. The slaw was excellent, a carrot and red cabbage vinegar-based coleslaw with lots of fresh herbs, including mint. Yum. Quite fair especially since the live music is also included in the price, and they passed around a tip jar for the band (who were actually good). The drink specials for this particular event were also a nice surprise, as they'd hired a craft cocktail bartender for the event, who'd devised a number of Lillet cocktails (sponsor). He threw together something off-menu for us, and apologized for missing some ingredients in his arsenal, having just returned from Tales of the Cocktail. The brisket itself was very, very good. Tender, fatty, with good smoke ring, and would hold its own against the best BBQ in NYC. I'm thinking it would also compare favorably to some Texas stalwarts like Smitty's and Black's, from my experience. Pretty remarkable. The meat is from Pat LaFrieda and cooked low and slow for over 24 hours. Delaney purchased a smoker in Austin from the famed Franklin BBQ and drove it up to Brooklyn! That's dedication to the craft. I can't wait for his restaurant Brisket Town to open later on this year. He's doing a pre-purchase/ticket plan again most likely. Sign up for when Brisket Town goes on sale: http://comingsoon.br...om/?lrRef=cgB05 More about Daniel Delaney: http://delaneybbq.com/
  14. NB: Hot Doug's is taking a few days off in August. MONDAY, AUGUST 6 THROUGH TUESDAY, AUGUST 14
  15. Alinea tickets for August went on sale a few days ago and sold out in about an hour; you might find someone selling extra seats on their Facebook Page. They have also hinted that they might do some same-day tables. Are you dining solo? If so, try to contact them directly as they will try to accommodate solo diners outside of the ticket sales. Otherwise, you're essentially screwed unless you get lucky and can find someone with an empty seat they need to fill. If you can't get into Alinea, your best bet for any Grant Achatz venue is to try to get a drink at the Aviary, which is modernist techniques applied to cocktails. All the food is literally canape-sized bites and priced 3-6 USD, so eat elsewhere, like at Publican (which is a few blocks away). But the drinks are fantastic. If the weather is nice, you can sit outside on the patio, too. If you can stand the wait, try for a seat (go very early or very late) at Girl and the Girl, run by Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame. The food is creative and highly affordable, hence the long waits. It's a ten minute walk in the West Loop neighborhood which also houses Publican, Au Cheval, Nellcote, and a bunch of other hip restaurants. I asked the manager the best time to walk in on a Thursday a few weeks ago, he recommended 4:30pm or 11pm. Luckily, my brother in law was able to be seated immediately at 10ish. GATG is totally worth it though. Don't miss the wood fire grilled broccoli with blue cheese sauce. Or the diver scallops with foie vinaigrette. Other good cocktail bars: Sable (conveniently located very close to Rick Bayless' spots in River North), The Violet Hour (Wicker Park), Drawing Room (annoying clubby neighborhood/Gold Coast), Barrelhouse Flat, The Whistler, Scofflaw. There's probably more I'm forgetting. 2nd Publican and would also add on their new retail/deli space, Publican Quality Meats. Publican is also known for their brunches on weekends. Make reservations if you can. Great raw bar, beer selection, house-made charcuterie, usage of local produce. For something similar to Publican, but near Magnificent Mile, we almost always stop into the Purple Pig. Wine, cheese, and swine. They do great pork dishes. Bone marrow. Don't ignore their fantastic antipasti, either. I like sitting at the counter and watching the chef's work. We usually go for a late lunch; I hear dinner is packed consistently. No reservations. Big Star is good but I found the whiskey better at Big Star, and the tacos better at Antique Taco, just a short walk away. It's a more casual, counter-style restaurant where you order at the register, but at Big Star, my server has gone missing in action too many times to count. Big Star works best as a place to wait for a seat at Violet Hour. Or post-Violet Hour, where you stumble up to the takeout window, and scarf something down. Publican, Big Star, Avec, and Blackbird all share the same chef owner: Paul Kahan, BTW. I would also second a Rick Bayless restaurant. Try to get into Topolobampo for weekday lunch, it is easier than trying for Frontera at dinner. Topolo takes OpenTable reservations. Frontera books for some tables 8-10 weeks out only via phone, and leaves the rest of the tables for walk-ins. If you try the bar, though, you can order from both the Topolo or Frontera menus. The two are connected in the same complex to Xoco. Xoco is also good but more of a quick service restaurant / fast food style. High quality, delicious, pretty popular. Lines get long for lunch. I do like it for breakfast, too. All of them (Topolobampo, Xoco, and Frontera Grill) are closed Sundays and Mondays, BTW. Another Mexican option: Cemitas Pueblas. Logan Square is also home to some cool foodie venues. I've had great meals at Longman & Eagle (gastropub-ish, great whiskey selection) and Yusho (Japanese small plates and yakitori done by a Trotter's vet.) I haven't tried Lula Cafe yet, which is more American/local/market-driven and also known for their weekend brunch. They serve breakfast every day but the more creative dishes are only on weekends. If you like creative Asian food paired with great cocktails, Yusho is a must. I call it the Momofuku of Chicago. Or what Dave Chang might have created, if he'd become obsessed with yakitori. Big Jones is also good for lunch and dinner. Try their boarding house lunch special w/ their famous fried chicken. They also have a good bourbon selection, as well as excellent house-made pickles and charcuterie. For coffee, of course, you'll probably want to try one of the Intelligentsia branches. We also like Wormhole Coffee in Wicker Park and Coffee Studio in Andersonville. I've been hearing good things about Caffe Streets in Wicker Park, too. For breakfast/brunch, try Jam (chef driven in Logan Square, daily), Do-Rite Donuts (fresh doughnuts by ex-L2O chefs in the Loop, Mon-Sat I think), Southport Grocery (not too far from Wrigley actually, daily), Longman & Eagle (Logan Square, daily), Big Jones (Andersonville, weekend brunch only), m. henry or m.henrietta (daily but the more interesting stuff is on the weekends), 2 Sparrows (daily, see the special homemade pop tart section of the menu). I'd avoid the Bongo Room (unless you like undercooked pancakes smothered in very sweet sauces and 1+ hour waits). Oh, and some places will look really far from the CTA, but don't neglect the Chicago bus system.
  16. Since they opened, they have taken a limited number of reservations, only via email. It's been on their Facebook page for a while, and the address is also listed at the end of the NY Times review.
  17. It is also very, very spicy, and after a while, your palate needs a rest. And there is a lot of Sichuan peppercorn. Those unaccustomed to Sichuan peppercorn may find the numbing/tingling feeling alarming. It's also loud and crowded during dinner service, and there can be a long wait. The tables are very close together, and they often seat parties of 3 at tables that look like they're only meant for 2.
  18. That's weird. Have you had it multiple times and it just sucks, or did you have it once when it sucked? Per Serious Eats: "Bad: Fans of the old mapo tofu at San Francisco's Mission Street Food will be disappointed, as the mapo tofu here has been completely overhauled into a new dish. "Good: The old mapo tofu was not good anyway. Now this is some seriously good Mapo Tofu. This is one of the dishes Chef Bowien says, "I made like 40 times with 40 different chefs in Chengdu and realized that it's not all just about the searing heat I was doing in San Francisco." The old one was one-dimensionally hot. The new one is deep, rich, and complex."
  19. D'oh, just saw this thread. We spent time in Kihei earlier this year and ate pretty well. My recommendations for any future visitors: Yee's Orchard -- Awesome pineapples and Golden Glow mangos. Not cheap, but very tasty fruit. They also sell starfruit, apple bananas, papaya, passionfruit, guava, coconut, and more. The Golden Glows also have a very skinny seed, so you get more flesh off this variety than other types. They are also a bit larger and hefty than Mexican mangoes. Closed Mon and Fri. Only open 11-5. Easy to miss as it is literally a small hut at Kihei Road and Nohokai St. It is on the east side of the street. Great fruit, worth the effort to find it! We went back twice. Awesome breakfasts at Kihei Caffe. GREAT hole-in-the-wall breakfast spot, they close at like 2pm or 3pm. Try the pork fried rice with ham, bacon, Portuguese sausage, and scrambled eggs! Or the cinnamon roll french toast they do on weekends. Or the regular french toast (made from Hawaiian sweet bread) or pancakes, both topped with macademia nuts and bananas, smothered in coconut syrup. Loco Moco is only OK, but everything else we tried was excellent. We went back several times. Poke for lunch at Eskimo Candy. Off the beaten path. Super nice people. Great poke bowls with four types of poke over mayo/wasabi and rice, with some seaweed salad in the middle. I loved the furikake style best. We went back multiple times, we liked it so much. Our usual order was two poke bowls and maybe an appetizer, if dining in. However, it's much cheaper to buy the poke by the pound and get a side of rice or two if you are taking out. The fried calamari was very good (fresh, not rubbery, not too oily), but the coconut shrimp was even better. Crispy, tender, and tasting of real, fresh coconut. Not greasy at all. We loved this place and went back multiple times in a row, but mostly for takeout lunch. Great spot. We now miss it very much! Monkeypod Kitchen -- Solid food and good cocktails. Great pina colada with fresh pineapple juice and coconut cream. Slightly more upscale than the other places, which is saying a lot for Maui. Have the pizza and Kula strawberry pie! It's good for when you want something less casual near Kihei, since it's such a little, sleepy beach town, you might get tired of too many hole-in-the-wall places. There is also an awesome vintage Hawaiian shirt store on the 2nd floor of the shopping complex Monkeypod Kitchen is in. Coconut's Fish Cafe -- An unassuming place that looks more like a fast food joint/deli. Friendly service. Great 17 ingredient fish tacos. There's usually a line. Also the guy who runs it is a huge Packer fan and transplant from the Mainland, funnily enough. Sansei -- Decent enough fusion Japanese. If you go before 6pm, you receive a 25% discount for an early bird special on some days. Rolls are best. The "famous" dishes (miso butterfish, etc) weren't that great. Nice to have something different once in a while if you're staying for 2 weeks. Was not a big fan of Cafe O'Lei. Da Kitchen Express -- decent enough local fast food chain. Get the three item combo, it's the best thing there. Chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, kalua pork (salty but good w/ rice). Order carefully, and you'll have a solid meal, but the menu definitely has duds. Ululani's Shave Ice -- amazing shave ice. They have one in Lahaina and one by the airport, the Kihei one is opening very soon, I think. Best of the 4-5 places I tried. Local Boyz was #2.
  20. Guang Zhou has closed, not sure who is the reigning dim sum king these days. Also Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao is still quite good but I now consider RedFarm in Manhattan to have the best ones in NYC.
  21. Also available for takeout, if you're in a hurry: http://midtownlunch.com/2010/03/25/the-ml-team-eats-through-the-entire-grand-central-oyster-bar-take-out-menu/
  22. Nice. I would do Aviary at least once. And then ask if you can get into the Office (downstairs speakeasy) on the 2nd visit. Try to grab a reservation in advance. I think they are taking them via email 2 weeks in advance now. Any party size, for 6pm, 8pm, or 10pm.
  23. Excellent. Don't forget to try a molecular cocktail or two at the Aviary, then you can hit the trifecta.
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