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Everything posted by andanand

  1. out of curiosity, if you're worried about volume loss, could you soak the paper towel in water, squeeze out the excess so it's not dripping into your collection vessel, and then run your liquid through it? alternatively, do you think a plain white tshirt (no colors…maybe an unused undershirt) would be toxic?
  2. I went there the day after it opened and I found the service to be really good. The bread we first got was little cheese rolls, and our second basket was herb biscuit-like things. Both were delicious, as was the butter they brought. The apple fritters were not apple fritters. There may have been apple in the batter, but it tasted more like an onion pakora than anything vaguely hinting at apple to me. It was good, but not apple fritters. The hot dog special was pretty good, the fries were delicious but an odd shape for dipping in sauces. The crab scrapple was disappointing, as it was basically a filler-heavy crabcake. I dont know what I was expecting, but that's what it tasted like. Beer list was great, though, so I will probably make this a common bar stop and maybe hit some of the snacks that I didn't have stomach-room for.
  3. from bloomberg: Three stars: Daniel (new) Jean Georges Le Bernardin Masa Per Se Two Stars: Alto (new) Corton (new) Gilt Gordon Ramsay at the London Momofuku Ko Picholine One Star: Adour Annisa Anthos Aureole A Voce (new) Blue Hill Bouley (new) Cafe Boulud Casa Mono Convivio (new) Del Posto Dressler Eighty One Eleven Madison Park (new) Etats-Unis Gotham Bar and Grill Gramercy Tavern Insieme Jewel Bako Kajitsu (new) Kyo Ya L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Marc Forgione (new) Marea (new) Minetta Tavern (new) Modern, the Oceana Perry Street Peter Luger Public Rhong-Tiam (new) River Cafe (new) Rouge Tomate (new) Saul Seasonal (new) Shalizar (new) SHO Shaun Hergatt (new) Soto (new) Spotted Pig Sushi Azabu (new) Sushi of Gari Veritas Wallse WD-50
  4. I had the shrimp/bacon/avocado/papaya mustard last summer. It was the first dish I'd had at jean-georges and I loved it. well, i loved the papaya mustard, specifically. the shrimp/bacon/avocado was actually very similar to dishes i've had before at other palces. maybe JG invented it, but it wasn't as exciting. the papaya mustard totally elevated the dish as a whole for me. maybe someone dropped something into the pot the day you went. i also want to know why that halibut has a supplement on it…seems like a pretty regular dish to me.
  5. andanand


    I'm no FT reviewer, but a few Fridays ago my family and I returned to Vetri after one good experience and one with good food and bad service. This visit was pitch perfect from start to finish. We managed to eat everything listed on the painted menu except the veal dish, hitting some classics (crepe, gnocchi, goat) and some awesome new dishes. The foie pastrami showed up as a canape on brioche with pineapple mostarda, salmon was served with red onions and oil, fluke was served with citrus, and all of it was wonderful. The highlights of the remaining new dishes were a ridiculously good grilled octopus (charred but soft with just the right resistance) with fennel sausage and a "salsa rossa," which tasted like roasted red pepper purée to me. It was delicious, and paired with Sangre de Toro, a strong ale from an Italian brewer (Beba) whose malts elevated the dish to transcendent. Another seafood dish we had was swordfish with eggplant and tomato andbasil. I usually avoid swordfish because it's texture doesn't really do it for me, but man this dish was amazing. I've never had the "steaky" fish so wonderfully soft and yielding, and its pairing (Ciró from Calabria) had a cool minty finish that totally worked with the dish. Actually all the pairings were fantastic, particularly when we got a sweet pea/mint ravioli paired with a Teroldego (a varietal I'd never heard of before) from Alto Adige that had a weird flowery finish that was kind of weird on it's own, yet tasted exactly like peas when eaten with the dish. One thing that was strange is that this is the second time I've participated in a tasting night, but this was the first time (the other time was 2 years ago) that I received canapes, a copy of the painted menu, and little muffins to take home for breakfast the next day. I didn't complain, obviously, but I wonder why there was inconsistency.
  6. Pliny the Elder - on tap (or maybe it was cask?) at the Linkery, San Diego, 3/7/09 This is my second time having this beer, and first time in tap/cask/not-bottle. In the bottle I had detected an unpleasantly bitter note in the finish that put me off a little bit from an otherwise exceptional beer, but on tap it was fantastic, with a smooth (with bitterness, but much more in balance). Pliny was piney, hoppy, and delicious. One of my favorites. Ayinger Celebrator - on tap at Local 44, Philadelphia, 3/5/09 My new favorite beer. Looked like foamed coffee in the special glass, and lived up to the doppelbock's reputaiton as "liquid bread." If you see it anywhere, and you're a fan of malty, beautiful beers, you absolutely must have this.
  7. Vetri. Don't know about Michelin (see: Babbo in nyc), but this is the best italian food I've had, and by far the best food I've had in Philly.
  8. andanand


    This happened when I ate there with my parents just over a month ago: no explanation of a single course. It was kind of bizarre, because our waitress had the table next to us, too, and she'd come out and explain their courses but then walk away without explaining ours. We had to ask for explanations of courses. The food was solid (sea urchin panna cotta, cheese platter were the best) but not exactly exciting, but the service really knocked it down a couple of notches for me.
  9. If you have the Vetri reservation already, I suggest you find a new friend to go with you. It's worth it. But if that's not possible, I had the tasting menu at Lacroix a few months back and was impressed by some courses, and incredibly disappointed by most. Tinto (or Amada) + Capogiro is the way to go I think.
  10. As one of those Penn students, I actually really liked it. I had a few disappointments (the corn esquitos were really heavy on the mayo and light on the chipotle much to my chagrin, the scallops were mushy and the grapefruit somehow tasteless in the alambres de callos), the food was actually extremely good. I loved the sangrita sorbet that came with the hamachi ceviche, adding a nice spice element to the dish, I loved the absolutely melt-in-your-mouth carnitas tacos, and the bacon marmalade with the bone marrow? Well I could eat a bowl of that for dinner most days. I also found it cheaper than I expected compared to what I paid at Tinto and Amada. Two of us got out stuffed for about $50. I donno about the decór, it's ridiculously hokey, but at restaurants my focus is generally on the plate in front of me. On my must-try-next-time list: Kobe, veal cheek, and tongue tacos and the duck and the pork belly moles.
  11. I know I'm not a friend or family, but I feel entitled to an invitation to the opening of Distrito. I've been woken up every day for the past 6 months or so by the construction on the restaurant going on below me. I hope it's worth the wait.
  12. If you do try Zahav, I would suggest going on a Thursday night if at all possible. Solomonov just started doing his "Quarter Kitchen" $65 tasting menus and they look amazing. Those are similar to (and actually some of the classics from) the old Marigold Kitchen. This is not to say that the other food isn't great, because I don't know. But I could never say no to those sweetbreads with crispy chicken skin. Amazing.
  13. You're right. Who am I kidding? I might as tell my friend that we're having dinner at Capogiro. So, friend, however tried and true he is, has just admitted to being Philly pork sandwiched-out. So, if DiNic's doesn't happen on Saturday, can you all offer an alternative non-brunch mid-day meal? I love pancakes and waffles. But, I can make them at home. If I can't get my local eats on, then I might as well get something semi-sophisticated. ← Quite honestly, there are approximately a million things to eat in Reading Terminal Market. So while you get your Roast Pork with Rabe and Provolone, your friend can find something else and you can sit together and you can mock his inevitably inferior lunch.
  14. andanand


    Can you explain this? I thought the tasting menu was set. Also, I noticed on the website that there is a "tasting menu" ($115) and a "grand tasting menu" ($135). Since they are so close in price, I'll probably opt for the "grand tasting." But, what is confusing me is that there is a "degustazione" (apparently only offered on Saturday - or currently in the summer, on Fridays only). Is this different from the two tasting menus? I really can't wait for this meal. ← When I did this last August, we were presented with a list of about 10 or so dishes available that night, and were asked if we had any allergies, requests, or preferences. We also had the option of 6 or 8 courses (the two price points) and a wine pairing (DEFINITELY get this, I'm not wine-experienced, but everything I tasted was not only revelatory, but also perfectly paired. And the sommelier comes and describes and explains every pairing with you, especially if you express interest).
  15. I took my dad to Amada on a Wendesday night, and it was a very reasonable volume. Until the flamenco dancing started (this is a Wednesday-night-only thing if i recall correctly), at which point it became rock-concert loud (and also fantastic to watch). I haven't been to Tinto since they added doubled their floor space, but it was also a good volume. I had an interesting meal at James, with 2 excellent and 2 bad courses a couple of months after it opened, so I'm not sure how it is now. Things that just occured to me: do not get the tastings at Amada or Tinto. They just consist of dishes on the menu but with no choice. Maybe philadining can answer this. I'm not sure, but the dishes he gets and the dishes on the website's menu, so either the website is out of date, there are constant specials, or regulars get special dishes. I'm actually interested in this myself, because when I go I'm going to want some of those specials.
  16. Yes, I'm an offal fan. Ansill's menu reads like a dream. James seems to get a luke-warm, if not chilly reception by those on this forum. So, let me get this correct: Amada = traditional tapas, Tinto = re-invented tapas. That's how the websites read, anyway. ← Actually I would say they're both "reinvented" tapas, just from different regions of spain. Amada is "mainland" spain while Tinto is the northern Basque region of spain (hence you'll find creamier, meatier dishes on the menu overall).
  17. You might also try Ansill, especially if you're an offal fan. The shirred duck egg was my favorite thing there, but I think he caved to the pressure and removed the foie gras from the dish. http://ansillfoodandwine.com/ansill_food.html
  18. The menu that I see on their website doesn't look like it's changed since the restaurant opened a long time ago. Check philadining's photos on the thread here. The "specials" are what look great. As for Zahav, it's mostly Israeli, but the concept (dips and skewers) doesn't excite me as much as Marigold's fare used to. If I understand correctly there's a tasting-menu-style room but I haven't heard any reports from it.
  19. Keep in mind that on Friday nights you can only get the tasting menu from Vetri. This is excellent, but if you're not in the mood for that, it could be a problem. Another problem is that you usually have to reserve those tastings 2 months in advance (by date) at noon EST (which is when the phone lines open). I think that doing Vetri and Osteria is a bit much, personally, but you certainly would be getting two great meals. It's like eating at Babbo for dinner on friday and Lupa for lunch on Saturday. The food will certainly be different (and those Osteria Pizzas are delicious, especially the Lombarda) but still too similar for two consecutive meals out for me. As for BYOs, Marigold used to be my favorite neighborhood place in Philly before Michael Solomonov left to start Zahav. Now that it is Southern instead of Middle Eastern, I find it really uninteresting. Cochon is one place that I've been dying to try, as they seem to share with me a pork fetish.
  20. No, I'm not necessarily looking for upscale. But, I can get plenty of great ethnic cuisine, so I'm looking for a dining experience that is uniquely Philadelphia. Also, I failed to mention that I've also been to both Geno's and Pat's (I haven't decided which one I like better, or if either were really worth the extra calories), as well as Alma de Cuba. Regardless where I eat, I'll be stopping by Capogiro for dessert after each meal. ← I think the general consensus is that the better of the two "signature" Philly sandwiches is the Roast Pork. Get it with the garlicky broccoli rabe and sharp provolone from either John's Roast Pork or DiNic's, in Reading Terminal Market.
  21. I had the pleasure of getting to Vetri's tasting last summer, and it was well worth the two months I had to wait between reserving and eating. I would recommend Amada or Tinto (Amada is more traditional Spanish tapas, Tinto is the basque version of this, or pinxtos). Or do both for lunch and then dinner.
  22. andanand

    Dinner! 2008

    Chai-Brined Pork Tenderloin Chai Air Jasmine Rice Cracker Pomegranate-Sherry Vinegar Gelée
  23. I just ate at 10 Arts tonight and had a mostly favorable experience. I'm just going to list food stuff here. The Amish bread was nice and the smoked sea salt butter it came with was delicious. I didn't really taste any smoke, but definitely tasted (and crunched on) some nice salt flakes. For starters we had the house salad and the grilled octopus ceviche. The salad was well seasoned, and well dressed, but to our dismay it was a pile of romaine hearts with a couple of chives thrown on top for presentation. It tasted great, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're really craving some plain lettuce. The grilled octopus ceviche on the other hand was fantastic. It came in a beautiful presentation with slivers of red and yellow adding some vegetal crunch and a bit of sweetness to some sharp onions, olive oil, and beautifully prepared, perfectly toothsome octopus slices. The trout with hazelnut brown butter was also good. The fish was perfectly cooked, and the brown butter was delicious. The little capers thrown in added a great light brinyness to a dish that could easily have been overly heavy. The bok choy that this came with, however, was crying for some seasoning. Just a little salt would have done. Desserts on the other hand were flawless. The beignets literally melted in your mouth, and the warmness of them followed by a shooter of cold orange-milk chocolate drink was fantastic. The standout of the night, however, was the ChocolatePeanutbutter (as blogged by Michael Laiskonis). This was a tart with a chocolate crust and a soft chocolate covering caramel encased peanuts, much like a snickers bar without the nougat. It was served next to a malted tastykake ice cream (great touch) and powdered peanut butter with a few maldon salt flakes thrown in. Absolutely delicious. I could eat 3 of these and call it a night.
  24. My friend and I were actually having this discussion a few months back. I go to school in Philadelphia, a city which, though less prominent than close-by New York and DC, has a fantastic food scene. Here we have some of everything, from the best italian meal I've had in this country (Vetri) to some old-guard French Establishments (Le Bec Fin) to the somewhat avant garde (Lacoirx) to the hip and delicious (Amada/Tinto), to the places to be seen rather than to eat, to the sort of signature street food every city dreams of owning (Cheesesteaks, Roast Pork). What it's missing, on the other hand, is ethnic food. Sure you can find gems if you look hard, but the mexican food here is bad, the chinese food is limited, the korean is almost nonexistant, and the Japanese is only okay. There are obviously exceptions, but for the most part, what I find I love about San Diego is that the ethnic dives are not only plentiful but also incredible. On the other hand, our fine dining seems to, as one post above astutely noted, revolve around the tourist industry, creating views or extravagance with perhaps less attention to the food. Take Jack's Dining Room, for example. When it first opened I had one of the best meals there, with great and contemporary flavor combinations befitting a Jean Georges alum kitchen. However less than a year later the menu was mostly steak, salmon, or chicken, and the flavors had been toned down. I think part of the problem is that San Diego as a "city" is really more a county, and is therefore far too spread out to have any consistant diners. People in Rancho Santa Fe aren't going to drive downtown to eat every weekend, and as a result, tourists dominate the cash influx to most restaurants.
  25. I'd go to Marisco's German for fish tacos (search for threads here and other boards for all the raves) I like Santana's for California Burritos (a San Diego invention, I like it with guac subbed in for the sour cream) I don't like Fidel's, but lots of people strongly recommend Super Cocina for Mexican (again look at chowhound for the myriad threads on it)
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