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Everything posted by tommy

  1. indeed the Ryland Inn, in its heyday, would likely also fit into that category, if not just for the change of scenery. but it was an anomaly.
  2. i consider myself fairly well-versed in NNJ restaurants, Manhattan restaurants, and traveling between Manhattan and NNJ via mass transit (quite often, to say the least, and everyone can be assured that the 22 minutes stated on the NJTransit schedule for a train ride certainly does not paint the entire picture) and by car (more often than most of my peers) both on weekdays and weekends. to answer your two questions: unlikely, and, very unlikely.
  3. If your contention is that people love free stuff, well then of course I agree with that. But if your contention is that people become food bloggers to get free stuff, there's no doubt in my mind that you're wrong. And I'd be pleased to debate that with you on a topic about that. Not on this topic, which is about something else, though. ← i think my contention is being oversimplified. as far as debating with you or anyone else, that wasn't my goal (and i will decline your offer). i was simply sharing my perspective based on my observations and experiences. i would, however, like to be appointed, if you would be so kind.
  4. i know a good number of bloggers, food and otherwise. like anyone doing anything, they all have different motivations, and they have mutliple motivations for blogging. some do it for validation, some to increase their sense of self-worth, some for special treatment they receive, some for the free food, and some for all those reasons, and then some. there is not doubt in my mind that free stuff is a motivating factor some, and not just a bonus. not for me, however. ← And free stuff's not a motivation for print or broadcast types? i didn't say that, and certainly didn't mean to imply it. people love and are motivated by free stuff, and the feeling they get when they get it. it's more than just icing on the cake.
  5. i know a good number of bloggers, food and otherwise. like anyone doing anything, they all have different motivations, and they have mutliple motivations for blogging. some do it for validation, some to increase their sense of self-worth, some for special treatment they receive, some for the free food, and some for all those reasons, and then some. there is not doubt in my mind that free stuff is a motivating factor some, and not just a bonus. not for me, however.
  6. Thanks to all for the suggestions. My sister decided to go with Lu Nello. I’ll try to get some feedback on how the newlyweds liked it after they’ve been there. ← is this the place where the waiters "sing" the menu to you?
  7. i haven't noticed anyone from NJ getting down on NJ for any reason other than the food, relative to NYC. i would think those who live in NJ know it's a dandy place on many levels. otherwise they very likely wouldn't live there. i agree that white manna and the ironbound, while possibly interesting on a cultural level, do not make for 2-hour-commute-worthy meals. perhaps more interesting than the perceived inferiority complex is the fact that no one from NJ has recommended any restaurant they feel is worth coming in for, especially if one doesn't have access to a car. NJ Transit, while doing a pretty good job getting people to work during rush hour, doesn't exactly drop you off at the doorstep of NJ's best restaurants.
  8. foodies in LA travel all over for a meal because people in LA travel by car everywhere. it's part of their culture, whereas it's not in NYC. i don't see how there's a valid comparison there, but i'm sure there's an answer somewhere. getting in and out of the city is a bit of a hassle. when i'm in the city i go out in the city. if i'm in NJ, where i live, i'm hard pressed to go to the city for a meal. i can't imagine if i lived in the city that i'd go to jersey. between losing a parking spot, and the traffic, or the trains, yuck. that said the ironbound is probably the one place i'd consider. i don't know of many places outside of newark around NYC that are quite like it. not that the restaurants there are world-class by any stretch.
  9. the only rules that i see are: Receipt of purchase will be required. Bobby will not be able to sign personal items or memorabilia. No picture taking will be available with Bobby Flay and all cameras and cell phones must be placed away and not in hand while waiting on line. No flash photography permitted anywhere in the store. The first seems reasonable. The second two are probably out of consideration for everyone in line. The fourth is to stop people from trying to get around the third. Putting the list in persepctive is Wegmans or WS really being over the top? Or are they simply mitigating risk. People have entitlement issues. When you manage an event like this you have to address that fact head-on. I do agree that there are many people who should be required to bring a note from their mother, however.
  10. apparently these places are trying to avoid mod scenes and opportunists. seems reasonable to me. additionally, i can't imagine these requirements came out of the ether. not to mention it's tough to say who is putting those requirements in place (authors, managers, publicists, stores, etc.)
  11. this looks absolutely brilliant and fabulous.
  12. before that they were owned by an investment firm as well, as are many large entities. before that they were owned by Restaurant Associates, who owns several restaurants in NYC, some of which are not bad at all. CB's doesn't seem to be a mom-and-pop, at least not for the past 18 years or so. any business owner who isn't watching the bottom line won't be a business owner very long! letting quality decrease and losing customers isn't a good approach to staying in business. of course, if quality decreases, as well as costs, and you *dont'* lose customers, well then that's pretty good. for my part i had a pretty horrible turkey club at a CB's about 3 years ago. that was the first time in recent memory, and the last, that i've even given the place a second thought. the place wasn't all that uplifting, to say the least.
  13. anyone try this place yet? sounds interesting. http://icemilan.com/
  14. a wholesale aversion to chains for the simple fact that they are chains is curious. chains employ locals, their existence contributes to the local economy, and sometimes they're sure as heck owned by local businesspeople (not the case here, IINM). if I like the food at my local chinese place better than PF Changs I guess I'd go to the local place. If not I'd go to PF Changs. neither option is very appealing for the most part, unless you find a really good authentic chinese place. although, who can deny the tastiness of those lettuce wraps? and dollars to donuts the wine selection at PF Changs is better than the local joint.
  15. no, i don't. do you really believe that the reviewer thinks that lamb should be green? or, more to the point, do you think the above passage suggests as much? i'll break it down as far as my understanding goes: "the meat's rosy red flesh...among the browns, oranges, yellows and greens " lamb - red lentils - brown carrots - orange yellow beans - yellow green beans - green
  16. surely none of this is the fault of chefs who embrace local and seasonal food. i think you're talking about the public's expectations or understanding of what they're eating. i just don't think "too many chefs" can embrace local and seasonal food, and i don't think the point of eating local and seasonal food is diluted because it's becoming a popular and widely accepted concept. but we should be careful to not help the local farmers *too* too much, or else they'll turn into another Niman!
  17. i don't think people think Niman Ranch is "local." They do probably understand that the products are oftentimes of better quality than the supermarket or other suppliers, and is "natural" in some way. my understanding is that it's actually somewhat of a cooperative of farms, some of which, I guess, are small. i do like eating locally and seasonally. i think the products are better, and i'm supporting local economy. to that end i'm very glad chefs are still promoting this type of thing (there aren't nearly enough doing this in NJ to my mind).
  18. who are these, bill and harry. Bring them to me.
  19. i believe the "browns, oranges, yellows and greens" comment was referring to items served with the lamb, not the decor. although, describing the decor and atmosphere of a restaurant is generally part of a review. David Féau served foie gras with dark chocolate at Lutece. mmmmm. yummy.
  20. The North Jersey (Bergen Record) food blog, here, always has reliable links to their articles. Trying to link any other way is usually an exercise in failure. duck with peppercorn sauce? chateaubriand (tenderloin: is there a more boring part of the cow?)? foie gras with a fruit-based (and I'm guessing sweet) sauce? where have i heard this song before? oh yeah, 1985, right around the time Diamond Dave left Van Halen to sing sing lines like "Bop bozadee bozadee bop... ... ... zitty bop". just the other night, on the way back from the quite good Esty Street up the road, I first realized where the Saddle River Inn lives. It came up my GPS because I had the "restaurants" icons listed. I had almost driven past it at least 40 times in the past year. After reading this review, I'm actually quite jazzed to stop in with a few bottles of special wine.
  21. You might consider the Reservoir Tavern in Parsippany for some classic NJ cracker-style pizza. It has been there forever. Very popular. Scarlet Knight has a great suggestion with Pub 199. I have some pictures and descriptions on my blog here. Ignore the steak, get the clams and lobster. And beer. If that's your thing. Neither place has a notable wine list, but they sure do provide local flavor. about 29 minutes away according to google maps is Bacchus Chophouse in Fairfield. It's right off highway 46, and they have a relatively extensive wine list. Dry-aged steaks. A nice big steakhouse burger. And an extensive menu beyond steaks. Big bar. Good spot, over all. website here. Morristown is relatively close and has plenty of restaurants. searching on morristown might be helpful, although I can't think of many notable choices there. Sammy's Steakhouse in Mendham is another classic NJ restaurant. around for years. it's very popular and highly regarded, although I don't find the steak very exceptional at all. Again, it certainly has local flavor. Some more info on my blog here. Clearly I didn't enjoy it very much, but it might be fun for a visitor.
  22. i'm not suggesting all italian american restaurants use Sysco. That company was an example. These restaurants aren't exactly sourcing ingredients from local markets and farms or interesting sources around the world. They're getting them from run-of-the-mill suppliers, which is the same or worse than what I can buy within 10 minutes of my house in north jersey. That, of course, is the point. the reason there aren't any restaurants like you describe? i don't know, but i'm guessing because they'd never make it. and there are too few people willing to take the chance. it's one thing to open an enoteca in the east village. quite another to open one in an area where people aren't young and single and have lots of time and money and the lifestyle to eat at such places. i mean for eff's sake people couldn't figure out that neapolitan pizza, like what they serve at A Amano, isn't supposed to be "crispy" like Kinchley's.
  23. ELA, i'd venture to say that most Italian-American restaurants don't have chefs. they have cooks, churning out the same stuff that every other I-A restaurant does. maybe they have a head cook, a guy who runs the kitchen and does the food ordering, and by definition, that would be a "chef". but just because you run a kitchen doesn't mean you know how to cook great food, or you produce great food at the restaurant. as far as quality or however you want to define it, there's little doubt in my mind that any home cook in this area can source better, fresher, and more interesting ingredients than 99% of I-A restaurants do. I'm betting they buy their stuff from large distributors like Sysco, just as most restaurants do. there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but you'd be fooling yourself to think that most local restaurants use ingredients that are special in any way. i'll concede that most places don't do risotto very well, and if you can find one that does, let us know.
  24. there's nothing different in what italian-american restaurants are making and what you could or would make in your own kitchen. people tend to talk about Italian-American restaurants, not Italian restaurants. And pretty much every Italian-American restaurant is a red sauce joint, dressed up in one way or another. There aren't many italian restaurants in north jersey that are authentic in any way that i would consider a restaurant authentic. most have a very very generic menu that doesn't challenge at all, with dishes made from ingredients you could buy at any suburban grocery store. as far as "really good" italian-american restaurants, i would think than anyone who eats that type of food has a favorite, and it's the one they go to. kind of like a favorite diner. I mean, some diners win "best diner" awards in magazines, but really, aren't they all the same? is E&V really any different or better than Sicilian Sun or Patsy's??? (hint: no)
  25. tommy

    Chengdu 1

    agreed. Chengdu 1 is best-in-class. Although that class is very small in NJ, it's right up there with best sichuan in NYC. Chengdu1 is a "very good" restaurant, while last week's Latour is barely a "good" restaurant (and not much better than others in its class), rather than the "very good" that the NY Times gave it. I normally agree with his assessments, but not these past few weeks. i have to wonder if he's known to places like latour. not everyone gets those pickled vegetables to start, even if you don't want fried wontons. perhaps he got peanuts each time. the vegetable is on the menu, IINM, for about 2.95. Perhaps they give them to people they recognize, or when they have a whole bunch.
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