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    Shaker Heights, OH
  1. Hi All, I am spending a few days in Erie, Pennsylvania and wanted to know if anyone has places to recommend, anything from bakeries to markets to fine dining - just want to avoid industrial food. Thanks in advance! Cheers, Mark
  2. I wanted to call attention to a new, excellent restaurant in Cleveland suburb Shaker Heights, OH: The Middle East Grill. I've been twice now and each time after the first bite I've looked up and exclaimed to my dining companions "Wow!" Which doesn't really happen a lot. The chef is Lebanese with French training. I had a Mesaa'a which the chef had transformed with some lamb into a French-style stew. The ingredients were incredibly fresh and flavorful, spices aromatic. I cannot wait to go back. http://www.middleeastgrille.com
  3. I forgot to report back on my experience in Annapolis at the beginning of May: My wife and I went to Level (West St) on Friday, Severn Inn for lunch on Sat, and McGarvey's on Sat for dinner. We also had lunch on Sunday at Rustico in Stevensville, MD. The owners at Rustico also own Luna Blue on West St in Annapolis. Level: This little tapas space had not only very fresh, farm-to-table ingredients expertly prepared, but two bartenders who mix as well as I have seen in more famous places like Pegu Club, Death & Co., etc. The classic Sazerac I had (pic below) was perfectly balanced, and again I have to highlight the freshness of the ingredients as the lemon dropped in at the end of the preparation did change the nose and taste quite a bit. They're not locked in to tradition however either as my wife had their "Margarita" which was a variation on tradition (pic below). That's fresh cilantro floating on the top of her drink. The bartender / co-owner there, John, also mixed me his own creation of Tequila Ocho Silver, Lemon juice, elderberry liqueur, st germain, clove syrup (made in house) and bitters, shaken. It was nicely balanced with grassy overtones. Delicious! The fact this place was one block from my hotel meant I had to exercise discipline throughout my stay to avoid popping in for a cocktail at all hours of the day. Severn Inn: I go here a lot when I visit because it's easy to access for my parents and we enjoy the view as much as the food. I did not vary from my "usual" which is their oyster stew and crab cake. I enjoyed McGarvey's for the atmosphere and of course we enjoyed the oyster shooters. At Rustico we had the fisherman's stew, which came out piping hot, very fresh. We would like to go back for the dinner menu. I would imagine Luna Blue in Annapolis is similar since it's the same owners. Thanks to all who provided recommendations we had a great stay.
  4. Hi Everyone - any updates to this topic? I'm in the Annapolis city center for 4-5 days next week. I visit my parents Kent Island and I get around that side of the bridge a lot, but I never seem to get a chance to visit restaurants in Annapolis itself. Anyway, would love to hear what people like and if there are any major updates from the contents in this thread. Thanks!
  5. Had an absolutely awful meal here Tuesday evening. Seriously. I had a *much* better English dinner at my hotel (Brown's) this evening. I found the cuisine to be half-hearted (we had sole which was dry, a filet overdone, and grouse overdone), and the service to be as Mr. Grant indicates in his initial post on this thread. I liked it better when the cuisine was so-so but the stuffed heads were on the walls. Hospital Road is on Monday. My sincere hopes for better London cuisine.
  6. If you didn't make it to PDT last time then you should hit it! (go early or late and sit at the bar) ← Many thanks to all who have provided input. I have the following golden tidbits of information on my experience to share: - My very best friend in the world, who lives in Brooklyn, met me at PDT tonight and swears by Clover Club. And she was not simply doing this to increase the perceived value of living in her neighborhood... - We very much enjoyed the PDT "Staggerac" as well as a champagne cocktail... - We then went to Death and Co. Our intention was only to sit for a single round... however, we met Joaquin... and well we ended up staying til past closing. I'll provide a list of the cocktails he recommended and prepared, which were fantastic (tomorrow)... but seriously Joaquin needs serious commendation - he was absolutely fantastic in recommending and creating the cocktails. Tomorrow we're considering Little Branch and Tailor. If there is any serious opinion on what should be sampled my last night it would be appreciated. Finally, two questions: 1) Any London favorites? Joaquin recommended the bar at the Connaught. 2) Is the community here familiar with the Velvet Tango Room in Cleveland, where I live currently? Joaquin was familiar and had been, so I was curious if other New Yorkers actually made the trek to the Mistake on the Lake to sample some of Bolognium's most excellent cocktails...
  7. Hello wonderful New York Cocktailians... I'm back in town through Wednesday afternoon... any new places / bartenders / cocktails over the past 6 mos you'd recommend? Thanks in advance, Ricain
  8. Hi Everyone - in Toronto spending a few days on vacation... which means for me the need for excellently mixed libations... Any recommendations from the locals? Establishments mentioned to me to date: - Ki - Bymark - Resevroir Lounge (not sure this is exactly right) - Pravda - One - Canoe - Nyood - Kulturs - Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar Anyway, would love your suggestions as I am sure there are excellent places here...
  9. Thanks for posting this Edsel. I'm not familiar (yet) with the restaurant and it looks lovely.
  10. I did not - our schedule was tight and I was cutting it close just getting some time off to visit in peace. But there is a great list the next time I am there.
  11. hey everyone - first of all THANK YOU to everyone who posted or PM'd. a lot of great suggestions and hopefully next time i'll be able to build more time into my itinerary... With time for only one venue, I chose Death & Co, and was seated at the bar in a relatively short period of time (thank you KELVIN!) and met Juaquin, who was fantastic helping me actually figure out what I wanted to drink. I decided on "bourbon with fruit" as a general theme and he made a version of a Brown Derby, with Knob Creek to bring out the spice and substituting a cinnamon - sugar mix over the traditional honey. The drink was fantastic - the bourbon stood on its own, and the cinnamon enhanced its spice and produced a (very) pleasant burn on the finish. It was a singularly fantastic cocktail. Again thanks to everyone for the info and the recommendations - next time I will make sure to budget enough time to do a proper "crawl"...
  12. Thanks Everyone - Mayur I will try not to "speed" when I am there!! Due to a (happy) confluence of events, it appears I'll be able to do Death & Co (and who knows if I totally blow off a friend maybe PDT) on Monday and Little Branch on Tues. I'm really tempted by PDT - the "Staggerac" looks fantastic... I'll let you know the results...
  13. Hi Everyone - I am on a business trip next week and will have just enough time to visit only *one* of the amazing lounges / speakeasies under discussion here. It would need to be in proximity to the west village and I would probably have to visit early in the evening. Probably Tues or Weds. Based on discussion and feedback from friends, contenders seem to be: - PDT - Death & Co - Flatiron Lounge - Employees Only - Pegu Club - Little Branch - Elettaria Using quality / creativity of the cocktails as the main criterion, any thoughts as to which should be chosen? Thanks in advance.
  14. REPORT: We had the pleasure of visiting the Eastern Shore during a particularly beautiful weekend (Apr 21). My parents live on Kent Island and I love the opportunity to dine in the region. Here is a report on the places visited: - Ram's Head Tavern (Stephensville): went the night we arrived because we did not want to drive any more that day and it is close by. Overall, it was pretty so-so, in fact had some new menu items and had lost a little in quality. The service was spotty (note we had a new server) and the mircobrews were OK. Overall pretty tame - not bad per se just not very interesting. - Cafe Sado (Chester): This is in an old Inn my parents remember visiting in the 1960s, and is adjacent to a complex of condos and the Castle Marina harbor. Well, the "Inn" has been completely redone, and the resulting design and aesthetic of the restaurant is fantastic - sushi bar, private alcoves, open dining room all very well appointed and trendy. This was a far cry from the Inn my parents remembered! We had lunch and the sushi and noodles dishes were *very* good; however, the miso soup was warmed over, and the sake tasted as though it had been open for some time. Did not seem to compare with good major market Japanese. I will definitely go back however as the dinner menu looked much more interesting (especially the black cod). - Peace Cafe : a small, artisanal bakery in downtown Stephensville. The tarts we had were first class and could have been picked from the best Parisian patisserie. The cinnamon rolls were also delicious. No novice this baker! And clearly into their art / craft. Definitely worth stopping by if you're in the area. - Rustico, also in Stephensville, we were not able to visit but wanted to. It certainly looked very inviting, and we will definitely try it next time down. - My mother's friend recommended we get (uncooked) crabcakes from a local market in Stephensville called Mr. B's, which is in a tiny building in someone's back yard in a residential area of the city. But they were closed on Wednesday, so we were out of luck, heading over instead first to the Smokhouse a few miles down the road in Chester, but not liking the look of the cakes, we ended up at the Narrows Restaurant. I would agree with the consensus in various threads that this is one of the better crab cakes in the region. Lots of (we were told Maryland) lump with minimal filler. We broiled our cakes, and with a Far Niente chardonnay it was out of this world. We also learned that the chef there for 20 years, Paul Shiley, left recently to go to Bobby's in Cambridge. And that Shiley was replaced by Matt Cohey from Carol's Creek in Annapolis. - We then moved down to Cambridge for a few days, where we ate the first evening at Canvasback. Very simple, but with some great microbrews on tap and a very good crab / artichoke dip featuring a very thick layer of lump crab sitting on top of a very fine artichoke and cheese sauce. Charming venue (a renovated Woolworth's from the 20s, and apparently recovering from a recent fire), and charming service as well. - The highlight of the trip was the following evening, at Bistro Poplar in Cambridge. I've been to some good French bistros in this country, including Balthazar in New York and Central in Washington, and Bistro Poplar holds its own with those two gems. The Bibb Lettuce salad with Roqueforte and a tarragon vinaigrette struck a perfect balance, and the freshness of the produce was exquisite. Seriously please try this dish! My wife's calamari soup was an examination in pepper. The Ham and Egg crepe with Gruyere Mornay and baby lettuces was done perfectly. And the steak frites with carmelized shallots was essentially an Onglet done to perfection in true French style. And the wine list? I was told the owner takes great pleasure in finding distinguished wine at affordable prices. The Minervois we selected, the Grande Tradition from Chateau du Donjon, 2006, at $36 is one of the better values we've had this year. The ambiance - warm lemon-colored walls, soft lighting, large plate glass windows looking into the street - was also striking and also impeccably done in French style. As you can tell we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here and I highly recommend it. Definitely worth a trip down from one of the cities for a weekend away. - We had breakfast the next morning at an informal, warm and friendly restaurant called the Cambridge Grill. We could not believe the size of the enormous (crab) omelets we had, especially for the price. And the coffee was piping hot and strong. - The only unfortunate experience we had during the trip was the Hyatt Regency Resort in Cambridge... even if everything else is sold out... even if you're just there for the golf, or the water, or the sailing... DON'T eat there. It is *very* expensive for what it is, which is mediocre. If you're spending that much on a resort, I'd do the Inn at Perry Cabin in St Michael's. - The next day we had an afternoon lunch with our family at the Kentmorr, on Kent Island, which was not special but was certainly not bad. Their crab cake did have more filler, with the lump crab layered on the top to give it a good appearance, and the rest of the dishes were similar, nothing notable but nothing bad either. What was really nice about the Kentmorr was its location in the middle of the harbor, the porch section of the restaurant, and its proximity to a beach where my nephews could get away from the adults from time to time. If you're in a boat, this is a perfect place for an afternoon lunch, and good for families as well. - The final evening, we went to Lisa's Small Plates and Wine Bar in Stephensville. The tapas were fantastic, if a little on the expensive side (many were $20 for a single tapa). The duck taquitos with cumin and corn were incredible. And the wine list had both depth and breadth, including an interesting section called "50 wines for $20". One of our favorites, a Karly Zinfandel from Amador County in California, was on that list and was quickly and happily consumed. Anyway, they also have half-price bottle nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a fair amount of live music. Hope this is useful to everyone! We get here a few times a year and we were really impressed with some of the new dining options that have sprung up in recent years.
  15. Hi several questions (since I am here now!): - How is the Inn at Perry Cabin doing? I had dinner there two years ago (Chef Salter) and it was fantastic. Would like to try something new, so recommendations welcome. - Someone recommended Robert Morris Inn in Oxford. Any thoughts? - I was told the Grove Market in Bishopsville, MD (Ocean City) was worthy Finally, is there anything on Kent Island that stands out? With only a night or two here are there any "don't miss" places? Thank you!
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