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Everything posted by SWoodyWhite

  1. Kitchen Arts and Letters, 1435 Lexington Avenue (near 94th St.). 212-876-5550 A friend of mine at another site mentioned this store, with a very high recommendation. Unfortunately, he didn't include an address, so your additional info is a great help, Bux! Thank you, and thanks to all for the suggestions!
  2. One of the signatures of Rehoboth Beach is the use of color everywhere. This is natural for the town, befitting the summer resort business. Bright paint is splashed everywhere. Mattel's Barbie would approve of a store called "Tickled Pink." Fences are painted in rainbow shades. Cloud 9 http://cloud9restaurant.com/ is almost discreetly yellow in comparison; much of it's color comes from the lighting on the roof. That's as far as the outside goes. Inside, the walls are burnished gold, with a sky blue skylight over the dining room, and cartoon-ballooned paintings in bold graphic style by Matt Adler on the walls. We went because we wanted a change of pace, and had heard that they have a pasta special running on Monday nights. Indeed, there is a special menu of pasta dishes and individual pizzas, and the pastas on the regular menu are at half price. (There is also currently a second-entree-free special on Thursday nights.) Der Brucer started with the baked oysters, which are served with andouille sausage, spinach, and aioli. He thought the bite of the andouille complemented the oysters very well. For my appetizer, I thought the sweet chili-garlic sauce that was paired with the coconut crusted shrimp also a good match, with the light heat of the sauce cutting the coconut's own sweetness. For the entree, he went for the duck confit pizza, which was paired with scallions, tomatoes, asparagus tips, and cheddar. I tried the lobster ravioli from the regular menu, which was served with a sherry cream sauce. No, I told our waiter, I didn't care for fresh Parmesan. What I did find myself wishing for was some contrast on the plate. The ravioli was very good, tender and striped orange and white, and filled with flavorful lobster. The sherry cream sauce was a good pairing with the ravioli. But... White and orange raviolis, with a white sauce, and served in a deep white dish somehow lacked a certain visual something. There was too much white, which went well with the late 70s soft rock playing in the background but wasn't as appealing to look at. The whole combination needed something green, like a glazed decoration to the plate itself, and maybe just a small sprinkling of seaweed salad on the raviolis to give a flavor contrast. The service was as pale as my entree. Tasty, but lacking something. As we were driving home, der Brucer commented that they're sure to rake in the bucks during the season. I'm sure he's right.
  3. We're not impressed with "fancy-schmancy" decor; the posters at Joe Allen's have always struck me as right for the place. Likewise, for ambiance, someplace with friendly habitues who are also likely to be going to the theater would be appropriate; der Brucer has been known to strike up conversations with people at the next table, often with pleasant results. Price-wise, I'd say inexpensive to moderate. And, when it comes to what kind of food, we both enjoy trying things we haven't had before, and gravitate to restaurants serving foods we aren't likely to prepare at home. (Which doesn't explain Joe Allen's, of course, but the main sell there is the ambiance.) Thank's for the search recommendations! I'll be giving them a try, too!
  4. Der Brucer and I will be in NYC on March 26th for the first preview performance of Assassins at Studio 54. Since we're driving up...from Delaware! no less...and will be heading back that night, dining post-theater is probably not such a great idea. My experiences with pre-theater dining have been mostly limited to Los Angeles, where the idea of getting to a show on time is way off the menu as far as most servers and kitchens are concerned. And, frankly, the theater experience is far more important on this trip than the dining experience. (Hey, it's a Sondheim show!) Still, I'd like to have some suggestions for places to try other than Joe Allen's (which I happen to like for what it is). While I'm at it, and getting a little off topic (but not too much), does anyone have any recommendations for bookstores, specializing in either cookbooks or theater-related items?
  5. Thank-you, Susan. Der Brucer and I are having a great deal of fun discovering whats here in our new home. Well, most of it is fun. However... Tonight was a fundraiser at the Rehoboth Convention Center, a bingo night (!!!) serving several local charities. There were prizes donated by a number of local businesses, most of them quite attractive. But it seems our friends at Dos Locos are back from their winter vacation. I'm glad they are contributing to the community, but in doing so they had a flier that they passed around, listing their specials, including a new drink. It's a chocolate-strawberry margarita. I think I'll pass.
  6. I initially wrote this for another site, where most of the people aren't heavily into food, which I hope explains my writing style and emphasis. One of the regulars there, a screenwriter on the West Coast, replied that I'd made her hungry! All right. We weren't really planning on dining out, just going out for a drink while der Brucer recounted the day's grandladsitting. We ended up at the Blue Moon, as I say only planning on cocktails. But on the way in der Brucer picked up a menu, and he began to smile as his eyes got wider and happier. We stayed for dinner. He started with a soup. Yeah, right, a soup. What's so great about soup, right? This was a truffled butternut squash bisque, with herbed goat cheese. I had a taste, and it was magnificent. The bisque was full of butternut squash flavor, with just the right spicing to lift it. The only thing wrong was the presentation, because it needed a little something on top to make it something different than a sea of deep orange, something like a few droplets of chive oil. It was the only dish that was flawed in any way all evening. My appetizer was a confit of buffalo osso bucco, served in a puff pastry shell, with fried leeks as a garnish. We've had confits before that were heavy on the salt, but this was wonderfully meaty and not salty at all. The textures of the puff pastry and fried leeks complimented the confit quite well. And the buffalo flavor was very nice, stronger than beef but less fatty. For my entree, I had a breast of duck in an apricot sauce, with wasabi mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas. Absoulutely delicious, and I'm not normally an apricot fan, but this worked very well. Der Brucer had a rack of lamb in a panko crust, with hericots verts and roasted garlic mashed taters. He happily knawed on the bones. It was pricy, but well worth the cost. We were very happy with our meals. What amazes me is how many fine restaurants are here in Rehoboth Beach. We've had better dining experiences during the last three months here than we regularly would have in Long Beach, or in the greater Los Angeles area. And we've travelled a bit, sampling some of the best of cities around the United States. Something tells me I'd better find part-time work fast, because our appetites are exceeding our budget. That, and my own cooking is up to an interesting challenge, to be up to the area standards! The Blue Moon is back in operation after taking January off. They're open seven days a week, from six to ten, with a Sunday brunch from 10:30 til 2. Web page: http://www.bluemoonrehoboth.com/
  7. One of the advantages of moving is that it has afforded me an excuse not to cook. I love cooking, but the van finally arrived (three months after I got here; long boring story) and my kitchen is so crowded with boxes that it's simply unuseable as a kitchen. So sad! The result is that der Brucer and I have been able to sample the two restaurants on Wilmington that others here have been joking about, going to one but never getting to the other. (We also went to Dogfish Head http://www.dogfish.com/ on Thursday night for their pizza specials; quite enjoyable.) Good news: There's good reasons to go to both! We went to Celsius http://www.celsiusrestaurant.com/homepage.html on Wednesday, taking advantage of their early-bird special (5 to 6:30, second entree free with the purchase of appetizers or dessert, please pay with cash only). I had pasta purses filled with wild mushrooms, followed by seared ahi on a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes; Der Brucer had the escargot, followed by a crispy duck. We were very pleased, with good flavors, good service, and only one flaw in the presentation. Der Brucer found his duck a wee bit too monochromatic on the plate; he'd have preferred some haricots verts over the carrots that were served. To me, that was a bit of a nitpick, but a little green on the plate would have been more interesting. Last night we went to their neighbor, Fusion http://www.fusion-sedona.com/ , which is currently open only on Friday and Saturday nights. Their special price for the winter is the second entree free, all night. (People in Rehoboth Beach have no reason not to eat well during the winter months!) We started with the soup du jour, a very good crab bisque garnished with a plentiful mound of lump crab meat and a splash of sherry, followed by the roasted boar quesadillas, in which the boar had been shredded and complimented with just the right level of chilis. The quesadilla plate also included a mound of fresh lettuce greens and and a thick sour cream, along with dabs in the plate's corners of what turned out to be ketchup, serracho and wasabi. (I know I've got some of that wrong, at least in the spelling.) My entree was the Thai Lobster and Shrimp Curry, a very pleasing blend of flavors. Sorry, I can't remember what der Brucer had. We got to meet Jonathan Spivak, the owner, after our meal. I could see where the staff's friendly attitude comes from; he was very interested in talking about the Rehoboth restaurant scene, giving high praise to several of his competitors, making suggestions as to what places we should try next. The schedule at Fusion should expand to four days per week sometime in March, and return to seven days in May. He also owns Sedona, in Bethany Beach, if anyone is in that area and looking for good food .
  8. Well, yes, Pepin. He did, after all, work for several years at Howard Johnson's, bringing their food quality up to snuff, rather than take a job at the White House. His memoir, The Apprentice, is a must-read.
  9. Stephen Flaherty. (Same spelling as Sondheim and Schwartz.) Together, he and Ahrens have written Lucky Stiff, Once on this Island, My Favorite Year, Ragtime, Seussical, and A Man of No Importance. Flaherty is particularly known as a chameleon among theater composers, changing his style to suit the project. A lot could depend on how seriously everyone takes the project. This is obviously not intended to be the French Laundry. Let's face it, what's dished up isn't going to be to everyone's taste, anyway. But a lot of people who know a lot about theater, including a number that I know personally, haven't the foggiest idea as to what food can taste like. They spend their money on tickets, not on their meals. And I can't blame them. I've tried to do both in one evening, and know from experience that it just doesn't work; either the meal takes too long to get to the theater on time, or is too rushed, leaving food unappreciated and the theater interrupted by gas. The rush to dine after theater can be just as bad, with kitchens and staff worn out from the earlier seatings and too uncareful to make sure the weeds don't get dumped on the plates along with the food. This could theoretically expose some theatergoers to food that is of a better quality than they have known, while entertaining them along the way. I just wouldn't take it very seriously, as either a dining or theatrical experience. Working with that as a given, Flaherty and Ahrens are among the best choices for writing this score. They can write serious material, but they can also compose wonderful souffles. If the kitchen staff can keep up their end, so much the better. (Hey, it can't end up any worse than some of the meals I've eaten at political conventions! )
  10. Personally, I'd like to wait until the show is on the boards before commenting. Absurd as it sounds, it might actually work! As in most theater (and for that matter most food experiences) the execution is what matters, not just the concept. This criticism of the enterprise seems premature.
  11. Celsius is open all through the winter. Fusion will reopen on Valentine's day. Der Brucer and I have eaten there before, very pleasurably. I think it's great that the two dining establishments are right next door to each other. We ran into the owners of Cafe Zeus the other day. John Mank and Charles Davidson told us that they'll be reopening in early March. Cafe Zeus is located at 37 Wilmington; their current web address is at www.DiningDEBeaches.com , with their permanent address at www.CafeZeus.com still under construction. Looks interesting! Der Brucer is quite pleased with the recommendations for Casapulla South (Rt. 1, Lighthouse Plaza). He's a Philly boy, and was hoping to find a good Philly-style sub shop. (Casapulla also has shops in Elsmere, Wilmington, and Glasgow.) And we've been surprised to learn that Delaware has a winery! Nassau Valley Vinyards, just a little west of Rt. 1 on Rt. 9, at 32165 Winery Way, Lewes, has been in operation for about ten years now. They've got about ten acres of vines growing, with another 14 due to be planted soon. They've also got a sweet white that would go very well with fruit or angel food.
  12. Sorry, Hillvalley, haven't had a chance to check for anythong on Rt. 16 yet. We did stop by Celsius tonight ( http://www.celsiusrestaurant.com/homepage.html ) for Kir and appetizers. Der Brucer enjoyed the Oysters Florentine, I had a very good time with the seared Ahi with a sesame-ginger vinagrette. Celsius is open for the winter starting at 5, only closed on Thursdays. All evening Mondays, and all week from 5 to 6:30, they have a deal on one entree at list price, the second entree free (along with purchase of either appetizers or dessert). Sundays and Tuesdays, for the rest of the evening, the second entree is half-price. Also, Wednesday's regularly scheduled special is four cold water lobster tails over Spanish rice, Fridays is Tapas night, and Sunday Brunch runs from 10 to 2 for 11.99.
  13. I stopped by La Tolteca for a late lunch about a week or so ago, after getting a haircut in the same shopping center. The food was much better than that at Dos Locos, and better than I was expecting. (For that matter, so was the haircut!) I'm looking forward to taking der Brucer there, to get his reaction. (Both La Tolteca and the barber shop. )
  14. I just spoke with the Espuma staff. (Reservation desk: 302 227 4199) They are open through the winter, and glad to be one of the few restaurants in Downtown Rehoboth that doesn't close during the off-season. The doors open from Thursday thru Monday at 5:30, and don't close until "nine, nine-thirty" on weekdays, and as late as eleven on weekends. Nightly specials, of course. They should be going back to regular season hours in a couple of months.
  15. I've been able to find a website for Espuma: http://www.espumarestaurant.com/ It doesn't say whether they're open right now or not; January is when many places close down for a month or two. It's a great looking menu, though! I'll report back when I get more information.
  16. In spite of the separate thread on their "Best 100" list, or maybe just out of curiosity, I went and bought a copy of Washingtonian's January 2004 issue. Giving Tony Chang's two stars and an "inexpensive" price tag, there's a few sentences worth noting: Exploration [of the menu] is likely to be rewarded with real finds: on a recent visit, shrimp and asparagus in black-bean sauce, duck in spicy garlic sauce, and a generous mixture of delicious fresh seafood on crispy noodles. At lunchtime, Tony Cheng's also offers dim sum - it's served from carts on weekends and may be ordered from a menu on weekdays. Dang, now I'M getting hungry! Edit for punctuation.
  17. Has anyone seen any of RRs specials for FoodTV? Her taste in covers matches her taste in apparel.
  18. Fine Living and FoodTV are both owned by the same people. They also own DIY and HGTV.
  19. My partner, the infamous der Brucer, and I had an enjoyable lunch with our own Malawry today. We met her at the hotel she's staying at over the holiday weekend, and wandered over and up Rehoboth Avenue, finally settling in at the Dogfish Head. For anyone who hasn't yet met Malawry, she is as pleasant and cheerful and genuine in person as she is in her writing! We had a great conversation, ranging over her new job, der Brucer's memories of the meals when he was a student at Annappolis, my own job hunting, and choral music. As for the Dogfish Head, I found it enjoyable, if a little chilly. The logic for having a small entry room finally became clear to me here, as the Dogfish Head doesn't have one, and every time the front door was opened the nippy air from outside made an invasion. Malawry and der Brucer sensibly ordered mugs of hot cider and rum, tasty by their reports. I can't remember the name of the house brew I had, but it was a very smooth stout flavored with chicory and St. Johns Wort. The fish sandwiches and fries Malawry and I ordered disappeared in good order; my catfish wrap had a good spicy kick, a vast improvement over the Dos Locos debacle. If der Brucer only ate half of his pizza, it's because he doesn't eat much at lunchtime; he told me later that he liked it. Service? Friendly and alert without being intrusive. Sound level? There may have been music in the background, but it never interfered with our conversation; nor did the conversations at other nearby tables. Price? Very reasonable, I thought. All in all, the Dogfish Head scored well. The food is unpretentious but imaginative enough to make coming back worth my time. And it is definately someplace I'd take others for a cozy, fun food break.
  20. Not really your fault, Jenny. Bruce spotted the 1/2 price special in the Cape Gazette, and I think he's been feeling guilty about taking me away from SoCal, where good Mexican food is plentiful. We did take a stroll along the boardwalk afterwards, and had a good laugh. If anything, this will give me more incentive to learn how to prepare the cuisine myself. (Time to dig out the Bayless books...just don't tell Jinmyo! )
  21. Some things may be difficult to find in Delaware. Good Mexican food, for example. The reason I'm belaboring the obvious is because tonight Bruce and I went to Dos Locos Mexican and Seafood Restaurant (10 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach DE) to sample their 1/2 priced entrees special (Mon/Tues from 5-10 pm). It's an attractive place, with the colors all correct and the ceiling trimmed with strings of chili pepper lights. The first hint that something might be off was the basket of tortilla chips and salsa that were brought to our table with the menus. I've never seen tortilla chips that thin before; they were like wafers. Our margaritas were the second clue, as I winced from the cloying sweet taste. "Is something wrong with the margaritas?" I asked Bruce, who thought they must have been made with Rose's Lime instead of Triple Sec. The jalapeno poppers we had for an appetizer were great: lightly breaded and crunchy on the outside, filled with oozy cream cheese, with a tangy and correctly sweet raspberry/pepper jelly for dipping on the side. But the entrees were a return to the land of the lost: Bruce's crab meat enchiladas tasted well of crab, as he expected in these parts, but had no "oomph" to them. (That his meal was served on a plain white plate, with no attempt at adding any color in the form of garnish, earned zero points from him as well.) My "Tres Amigos" enchilada plate had one filled with black beans that was all right, a second filled with over-cooked, shredded chicken that dried my mouth out, and a third filled with ground beef that tasted as if someone had simply added a handfull of chili powder to the pan and let it go at that. All of the enchiladas were made from the same wafer-thin tortillas, lacking the taste and texture of masa, almost as if they had been made with corn meal as a substitute, but generally corn meal has more flavor. The Mexican rice was cold and dry, and the refried beans so flavorless that Bruce had to add hot sauce twice, not behavior I expect from the Philly native. We overheard one of the owners telling a customer that they plan to go to Mexico during January for their regular "closing the joint" month-long vacation. Judging from what they've learned about Mexican cuisine on past trips, I suspect that when they return we'll still be able to find more authentic food at Taco Bell.
  22. When I was living in Long Beach, CA, I could always trust the Los Angeles Times food section for interesting reading. The exception was the inclusion of articles by Regina Schrambling, which always struck me as strange as she had no connection with Southern California, being based in NYC. The Long Beach Press Telegram, on the other hand, was noted for it's terrible food writing, both on Wednesday's Cooking section and in the Friday "Taste" supplement, with restaurant reviews written to formula. Yes, good food is to be found in Long Beach, but good food writing seems to be outside the abilities of Al Rudis, their lead critic. So far, I'm still trying to figure out what papers I want to focus on in Delaware. The Washington Post is probably my best bet for a major metropolitan paper, but I've got to locate something closer to home for local news, and so far the weekly Cape Gazette, while serving the area best in some ways, hasn't impressed in it's food reporting.
  23. My partner and I tried the Prime Rib Special, offered every Sunday at the Purple Parrot (247 Rehoboth Ave). A nice 1 lb. slab of prime rib, from 5pm "while it lasts", for just $10.75, with smashed potatoes and veg, we both thought we'd gotten more than our money's worth. They also have "Diner Dinners" on Thursday nights, at $7.50, and 1/2 price burgers on Monday nights. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, they'll be open the rest of the week through the winter. We also shared their baked brie, served with roasted garlic and fresh fruit (amazing what can be made seasonal in December, no matter where we are these days). Someone with a good sense of humor had a hand in painting the place, including the gigantic yellow lab sleeping contentedly in front of the fireplace! I keep wanting to give him a friendly scritch on the nose, even if he is only 2-D. Sorry, I can't find a website.
  24. Hmmm... Up here in Rehoboth Beach, I'm going to have to make a list of what places are open and work from there. I know the Purple Parrot is having festivities, since we were over there for Happy Hour a couple of nights ago, but it sounded as if they are already sold out! (This in a town that a few years ago closed up for the season in September! Those days are over, folks!) Time to start digging through the Cape Gazette to find out what's going on. Whatever we do, it will probably be an early night for us, since der Brucer, my other half, flies back to the left coast for two weeks starting New Years Day. Who knew that would be when he'd get the best price?!
  25. When I was growing up in Burbank, CA, we had five pomegranite bushes lining the back fence. Every year, they'd give plenty of fruit. Every year, it was my "job" to juice those fruits, which was terribly messy and sticky but fun. I'd wear clothes that were on their last, since they'd get so stained. And every year, Mom would take the juice, strain the sediment out of it, and make the most amazing jelly from it. It was a red a bit deeper than ruby, and had the most tongue-pleasing flavor. What we didn't keep for ourselves, she would give as gifts. Of course, if any company out there decided to make pomegranite the new jelly flavor of the month, they'd probably dilute it with apple. It wouldn't be the same thing at all.
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