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Everything posted by lhollers

  1. lhollers

    Dinner! 2010

    That looks ... awesome ...
  2. Just saw that you were looking for the "Raleigh/Durham area" - we also had fantastic meals at Nana's in Durham and Solas in Raleigh...again, feel free to let me know if you would like some pictures or more information on the meals!
  3. My girlfriend and I had one of the best meals of our life at Bonne Soiree in Chapel Hill...absolutely incredible... The chef came out to speak with us about the courses and the hostess/sommelier (chef's wife) made sure the entire meal and night were fantastic. I would highly recommend Bonne Soiree for any special occasion - one of the very top restaurants in the Triangle! I included some pictures of our meal below...if you'd like more pictures or more information, please feel free to message me! Interior Roast Duck Breast with Duck Rillete North Carolina Chicken Savory Tart (caramelized onion and goat cheese) Boudin Blanc Seared Foie Gras with North Carolina Apple (best bite of food I have ever had...) Flounder with House-Made Gnocchi
  4. We are there for a Moot Court tournament at Pepperdine Law, so we won't have all day, every day to go around. However, we do have some time open on Thursday night, Friday during the day, Saturday night, and possibly Sunday afternoon. We do have a rental car, but I was hoping to stay within a reasonable distance from our hotel in Santa Monica (right by the pier). Anything more than 15/20 min. away is probably out, though I certainly don't think this will limit my options as far as fine dining! As I said, I had considered Melisse, Il Grano, Urasawa, Katsuya, Bistro LQ, and some others. If you have dined at any of these places, or can think of any that I am missing, please let me know! Basically, I just want a fantastic tasting menu one night and one great lunch. The rest of the time, I will be more than happy to check out smaller cafes, restaurants, street vendors, etc.
  5. Thanks for the recommendations! I didn't want to make it sound like we were restricted solely to Santa Monica for dining; that's just where we will be staying. I am, however, more than willing to make a trip to surrounding areas for a great meal! I hadn't heard of Michaels, but I will certainly check it out now...thanks again, and if you can think of anything else, please let me know!
  6. Need to give this thread a little bump... Hello, everybody - I will be staying in Santa Monica from this coming Thursday until Sunday afternoon. I realize this is short notice, but I was wondering what was the very best of the best in the Santa Monica area. Price is no object, as I will likely only be here this one time and would like to try whatever you all think is tops food-wise. I was hoping to try a tasting menu or two, but would basically just like good food in general. I'm not locked in to any specific type of food, and am open to anything delicious. OpenTable has led me to seriously consider Melisse, Il Grano, and maybe an omakase at Katsuya; is there anything better or any restaurants I may have missed? Thanks for all the help, everyone!
  7. Hi all - I just set up a tasting for Sept. 5th, and was wondering if anyone had eaten here or could report...thanks!
  8. I'm digging the report so far, Bryan - how long are you down there?
  9. lhollers

    Dinner! 2009

    Dude, Prawn...this looks and sounds awesome! Nicely done!
  10. Based on the critics' reviews and these last few comments, I guess I'm not joking...any chance we could get a description or thoughts on why your experience was so poor? Was it an off night, or was the service and food just outright bad? Thanks!
  11. Haha, sorry - I was just going off of reviews that I had seen online...however, based on this thread, the experiences eGulleteers are having are far different than those being had by critics, etc.
  12. Has anyone dined here recently? This would appear to be the leading contender for Bruni's next four-star, yet there isn't much being said about it on this thread... For what it's worth, Alan Richman very much enjoyed his experience at Marea - his review can be found here.
  13. Haha, nicely done christine! As I was reading downward, I kept wondering "Wow, I wonder why they haven't thrown in some sour cream..." This was a summer staple at my house, and quite possibly began my love interest with cucumbers! Can't wait to hit up the Farmer's Market on Sat. and start rocking some of these salads!!
  14. A joy to read! Very well done, and thanks for this!
  15. dlc - just following up, wondering what y'all decided to go with? Wherever you ended up choosing, hope it's a great meal! Let us know!
  16. Reading back through this post, I gotta be honest - what I really think you should do is travel the 15 minutes to Chapel Hill and go to a place called Bonne Soiree. The..best..meal..of..my..life. This entire night still haunts my dreams - Chip (chef and husband) and Tina (sommelier and wife) are both awesome, the wait staff was fun and knowledgeable, and the food was the best I have ever eaten. This was - literally - the perfect meal. Small, intimate, romantic, with amazing flavors and products. Seriously, at least think about giving this place a try...just sayin'.
  17. What's up, dlc? The gf and I ate at Nana's on New Year's Eve, and it was a great meal. Just a few photos of our night... Crispy Local Oyster over Cous Cous with a Mango, Pineapple & Vanilla Chutney Delicious starter - even the gf (who is not a fan of any seafood) liked this. Creamy, briny oyster surrounded by crisp exterior - at first, I thought this outside was panko, because it was more crisp than usual, but I was informed that it was simply flour and seasonings. House Cured Sturgeon Gravlax over Crispy Potato Cakes with a Frisee Salad, Lobster Creme Fraiche & Paddlefish Caviar Remember that gf who isn't a fan of seafood - yeah, she didn't really go for this one. Sturgeon was quite good - smoky, salty. Caviar was a nice touch, but I didn't get any lobster flavors from the creme fraiche. Local Pork Consomme with Wild Board Shank & Ricotta Agnolloti finished with a Brunoise of Root Vegetables Ooh boy, this was intense - it's rare to find a well-executed consomme, but this guy hit the spot. Concentrated pork flavor with pillowy agnolotti - filling of boar shank and ricotta was spot-on. Swiss Chard Rissoto with Sweet Butter Poached Maine Lobster finished with Porcini Broth & Yellowfoot Chantrelles Meh...lobster was overcooked, mushrooms were good - usually impossible to go wrong with lobster and risotto...one of the weaker dishes of the night. Pan Roasted Striped Bass over Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower in Maine Sea Urchin Broth Very high-quality fish, with the cauliflower giving that added textural crunch underneath. Just a well-cooked piece of seafood...wish I could have tasted more of the sea urchin in the broth... Wood Fired Fallow Venison with Local Collard Greens and Nana's Sweet Potato Gratin in Smoked Bacon-Vodka Sauce Wowie - this was probably my favorite dish of the evening. Medium-rare venison with some wilted collard greens, accompanied by a perfect smoked bacon-vodka sauce. Holy moly, I could have used more bread to mop up that sauce - dynamite. The sweet potato gratin was also a really cool presentation, almost like a little layer cake...probably been done before, but the first time I had seen it. Nice little dessert trio Pretty tasty - I remember the bottom one being the best - some sort of caramel ice cream...I was too drunk from the immense wine pairings to care much about desserts... Overall, a solid meal. With that being said, however, I must admit that Nana's was not my first choice. I had originally tried to get in at Magnolia Grill for New Year's Eve, but, much to my chagrin, they were full. Nana's was doing a prix-fixe type menu New Year's Eve, and the gf and I wanted more of a tasting menu for the night, so we went in to talk to the chef, Scott Howell. Chef Howell trained at the CIA, worked at Bouley, and was the sous chef at Magnolia Grill before opening Nana's. Surprisingly, when we went to talk to him, he was kind of a dick - I realize that he was probably busy getting everything ready for that night, but we were trying to make him some extra money with a tasting menu and were obviously very interested in food...I think I'm just being too sensitive about it, but I guess I just expected more...Also, in my humble opinion, we were charged entirely too much. Although this meal was quite good, it was by far the most expensive I have ever had - the total bill for the two of us, with two tasting menus, tax, tip and wine pairings was $370. Having dined out at nearly every "upper-end" establishment in Charlotte, I was quite surprised with the bill, but, eh it was New Year's Eve - oh well. This entire post hasn't done much to answer your original question, but I hope that it helps narrow the search a little bit. Magnolia Grill has always gotten rave reviews, but we had a solid meal at Nana's. Hope you find something great, let me know how the search turns out!!
  18. Fantastic photos, as always, philadining! Those morels look amazing...
  19. lhollers

    Dinner! 2009

    Dude...that looks awesome...
  20. lhollers

    Per Se

    Alan Richman just did a nice writeup of dining at the salon here: http://men.style.com/gq/blogs/alanrichman/
  21. Hello, eGullet universe! A friend of mine (Executive Chef at Tre Restaurant in Sioux Falls, SD) was informed today that due to economic pressures, he was being laid off... Any opportunities or chances for employment would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has heard of anything or knows of anywhere trying to find a top-tier chef or culinary staff, please let me know, and I can put you in contact. Tre really had become our go-to spot in Sioux Falls, as my friend is the only young chef in the area with any vision and the willingness to put together tasty food from superior product. We have enjoyed numerous tasting menus, as well as a la carte dinners, and have thoroughly enjoyed the execution and quality of food he has presented. In addition, this chef won last year's Taste of Elegance, a state-wide cooking competition put on by the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. I have many pictures of his work, and would be more than happy to share if anyone hears of any opportunities... Thanks!
  22. Wow, that sucks...well, I would go ahead and take that one off the list - replace with Ru San's - a little less expensive, a little more Americanized, but a really fun atmosphere and somewhere where you most certainly won't go home hungry...man, that really is shitty that Restaurant i closed down...
  23. Nice! Glad you enjoyed M5; Harper's group is doing some great things in the Charlotte dining scene... Alright, I didn't realize that you had a larger group with you, so that changes things a bit - still looking for moderately-priced, I presume? A few other places that we have very much enjoyed that aren't super expensive are: Harper's - cheap, good Southern food Bonterra - bomb-ass wine list (shout-outs from Wine Spectator magazine) and a really cool "Food for Wine" menu that allows you to choose small plates that complement the wine you select. This might not be the best option for a true "dinner" though, as mains are somewhat expensive ($30-40). Villa Antonio - I know I threw in my plug for Luce, but this site is known as one of the better places to get Italian in the city...prices are right around $30 for mains, but there are some cheaper options, as well! If you're looking for something different from the norm: Restaurant i - "French Japanese" fusion (weird, I know, but it works) with the best sushi I have had in Charlotte. I got the sushi platter, she got the Beef Tataki: Copper - upscale Indian cuisine at a reasonable price - another Wine Spectator favorite...beautiful interior Cabo Fish Taco - A straight-up good time, in a quaint (read: tiny) building, with some good ol' fish tacos and Mexican food - people getting hammered, being loud, and enjoying food - my kind of place!! Brixx Wood Fired Pizza - pretty self explanatory, and yet oh so tasty... Finally, I know that I said this in my last post, but for a genuinely great restaurant experience, I have never gone wrong with Ilios Noche - the food, the service, the interior, the wines...all of it combines to make this one of my absolute favorite places to go in the entire city. If you do go (and you should), please do me one huge favor - say hi to Doug for me...he's the bigger guy with glasses (I believe a manager now) and he was the first one that we met in Charlotte during our first meal dining out; kind of a tradition for us to stop in and see him every time we are there haha! Another thing I would recommend is to pick up one the Charlotte magazines entitled "Creative Loafing." You can find these anywhere around the city, they're free, and inside is an extensive dining guide (based on area of the city) that lists the type of food, a brief review, and a price range...very helpful, and what we originally went off of when deciding where to go. Hope this helps, and let me know if you need anything else! Enjoy your time in the beautiful Queen City, and rest assured that I am insanely jealous as I labor away at my legal studies, eating Hy-Vee Chinese in Vermillion, SD!
  24. I will go back through my pictures and talk some more to the gf - $55 per person will get you all a super nice meal, no problem...
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