Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by ricain

  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!
  16. I agree - as popular as it is, their bar is fantastic. They make their own ice cubes, sub zero, and the "Whiskey Cocktail" is incredible (Van Winkle bourbon, bitters and sugar on the rocks). If you're in Berkeley, I also like Cesar, though I have not been for a few years.
  17. Edsel Good point about the flamed lemon zest! It was definitely noticed and a nice touch!
  18. Everyone, a quick note to say the VTR's newest cocktail, the Aviation, is superb and worth a visit to the VTR on its merits alone. Sweintraub and I visited last night and were able to sample one. A cocktail from the 30s that is apparently "close to extinction," it's a gin based libation with maraschino cherry liqueur and fresh lemon juice. The VTR's version was incredibly well balanced to the point I could not believe I was drinking a gin cocktail. Highly recommend this!
  19. TRANSLATION: More authentic than Los Angeles, San Francisco is actually the trendy city in the United States. Did the writer have to put down Los Angeles to make San Francisco look good?? Isn't the ethnic cuisines found in LA far more "authentic" than those found in SF?? I wonder whether the writer would have said New York instead of Los Angeles ... ← I think there is a cultural factor in this usage. I've worked in French Studies and business now for over 20 years and it's my experience that when it comes to foreign travel the French tend to idealize nations and / or destinations. Part of the objective in traveling abroad for the French is the search for the "true" essence of a place. The message back to his readers is that SFO is the current place to be in the US, a true foodie town in the French tradition, here at the expense of LA, which is implied to be "superficial". I realize this is in itself a generalization but it's one I nevertheless experience on a frequent basis. John since you live there do you experience this as well? In terms of content I can't speak to the Japanese restaurants but I do think both Coi and Quince are good recommendations for a French person coming over for a visit and wanting to check out the current SF scene.
  20. I love French Bistro cooking and my two top pics would be 1) the Balthazar cookbook - simple to fairly complex recipes but I have never had a bad dish (also interesting read) and 2) Patricia Wells Bistro Cooking - I love reading about the French bistros she visited, their cartes de jour and some of the wine pairings she recommends.
  21. My only question is whether or not this is a Manhattan? It might be called a Manhattan, but... ← I get your perspective, but if we were that strict with cuisine would Robuchon not be considered French? It was a nice innovation on the traditional drink. And it was good!
  22. I stopped by Frisson the other night and had a fantastic Manhattan: 1.5 oz bourbon (bulleit I believe) Dash Cynar Dash orange bitters Dash pomegranate molasses Orange peel It added a sweetness to the typical bitter kick. It was fantastic - recommend you have Ben mix it on Tuesdays.
  23. Nancy thanks for sharing this restaurant. We went last night for pizza and it was delicious. I did not grow up in NY but lived for a few years in Nice on the French / Italian border and the Marotta's pizza reminded me of the kind you eat there (we had a "Margherita". The ingredients were really fresh, especially the tomatoes and herbs, and it made a huge difference.
  24. OK, here are some of the specific restaurants we visited, and two stores we found to be very high quality when we were preparing our own meal. Our extended family (15 ppl) spent a week in Kill Devil Hills on vacation, and my wife and I were able to visit a number of places recommended in this thread. (on a side note, I used to spend a week a year here 1983-1988 in Duck and I could not believe how much the area had grown) - Outer Banks Brewing Station: we'd planned on only having lunch here one day but ended up making multiple visits, adding in extended family to the trips. The beers were all innovative within their traditional categories. The Titanic, a Belgian style ale, was excellent, as was the Lickety-split pale ale, which suited my strong hops preference. The seafood was all fresh, and perfectly prepared. Favorites were the steamed shrimp, which were simply (but skillfully) prepared and the fish-and-chips, which comprised two large grouper fillets with beer battered breading. The service was friendly and the venue pleasant. As micro-brew followers we were both impressed and found this pub in the top 5% of breweries we've visited for quality of food and drink in the US. - Goombays: we had lunch at this little family-style location close to the beach and the home we were staying in. We had shrimp breaded, rolled in coconut and deep fried, as well as a mini crabcake and scallops poached in garlic and oil. For a little place off the beach, both the food and the value were excellent. The staff were very friendly and attentive. - Beach Bread Co.: we both thought the bread suffered a little bit (we weren't sure if one of the batards we purchased were not already a day old). The loaf of sun dried tomato and garlic was good. Some of the pastries were very good. The coffee was adequate but the best we found during our stay. chiantiglace as per a previous post on this thread I do think there is both room and demand for a good bakery here! Some of the pastries are here: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...md=si&img=99495 - Jeffrey's Seafood in Hattaras Village: This was a fantastic place in Hattaras Village Marina where all of the charter boats unload their catches and Jeffrey's sells them. We were lucky enough to get fresh tuna. You cannot get fresher seafood I would imagine than here. Note they were open only 5h30 - 7h30 and 2h30 - 4h30 after the boats get in. Here is a picture we took of the building: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...md=si&img=99502 - The Roadhouse (Duck): we stopped in for a drink here but did not have time to dine. The venue is very cute (small, clapboard house, essentially a "Roadhouse") and the staff very friendly. Would love to try this one when we go back. - Bluepoint (Duck): alas, rarely do I walk away from venues based on the attitude of the host. However, here I did. In my business I work with a lot of fine dining restaurants in markets all over the world. This might have been the rudest experience I've had. In sum, let's say this seemed like a very touristy location. Unfortunately I cannot provide a recommendation on the food - but the "welcome" we received left me no interest in going further. - Meridian 42 (Southern Shores on the border with Kitty Hawk): my wife and I had a meal here on par with top major metro area restaurants. The restaurant features an open air kitchen with a large mirror set at a 45 degree angle (42 degrees?) to the floor so that the dishes being prepared can be viewed by the patrons. We were seated right next to the kitchen, which was fantastic - a set up similar to Robuchon's "Atelier". We began the meal with a scallop bisque with fennel and bacon. It was so good that I could have had two more, skipped anything else and gone home happy. REALLY recommend this if it's on the menu. We also had the seared tuna sashimi with wontons and wasabe cole slaw (excellent!). For our entrees, my wife had a sea bass (like butter!) pan seared and coated with grape powder, with black truffle vinaigrette, and a vidalia onion stuffed with red wine risotto and star anise glazed jumbo lumbo crab meat. The vidalia onion could have stood alone it was so good. I had griddle seared jumbo lump crabcake with bacon wrapped polenta, sweet corn, baby beans and charred tomatoes with smoked paprika remoulade. I was hesitant about the crab cake, having grown up in Maryland, but the server assured me it would be top notch and it was. Rather than using mayonnaise and filler to hold the cake together, the chef used a shrimp mousse with a touch of mustard and it worked beautifully, not overpowering the crab but complimenting it and adding some architecture to the dish. If you love blue crab, this is a must try (and ask for it as it was off the menu). The service at Meridian 42 was attentive yet discreet, and the kitchen provided a referral, at our request, to an excellent seafood shop, worthy of a visit in its own right, where I could purchase some more tuna for a meal I was cooking for the family the next evening. Hats off to Meridian 42 and chef Chuck for a truly wonderful culinary experience. For those cooking themselves: Carawan seafood: Mile Post 1 in the shopping center next to the walmart: This was a really interesting store that featured loads of really fresh seafood at good prices. There were also a variety of artisanal seafood powders and salts, put together by someone local, that were delicious. Also a small but distinctive selection of wines, including a 2005 chablis from Kermit Lynch in Berkeley. We chose that and a Marlborough region Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand to go with some tuna steaks which had come in off the boat four hours earlier. Farmer's market stand: near mile post 7 just over the line into Kill Devil Hills from Kitty Hawk on the east side of 168. Just a little open air, roadside stand but with very fresh local fruits and vegetables. Worth stopping by if you're cooking.
  25. Everyone, I followed some of chiantiglace's recommendations and they were right on. Some really good cuisine going on down here. Will post specific details on the venues later, but if you follow the items in his earlier post from 2005 they are all right on. thanks Chiantiglace!
  • Create New...