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Thomas Secor

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  1. Thanks for the info. Ill try and make reservations, and if that doesnt work, Ill swing by. Am trying to fit a first swilling at Setagaya in, in any event, so Im going to be in the neighborhood already.
  2. Any updates on lines/needs for reservations. I was thinking of checking PDT out relatively early on Thursday evening (somewhere between 7pm and 10pm) with one or two friends. Will I have trouble getting in?
  3. Genever is hard to find in the U.S. but you can definitely find it. The most common type is called Bols, I believe. Usually comes in a tall circular-circumference clay or ceramic-looking bottle. Genever is generally divided into two basic categories, young and old, or oude. Oude Genever is much smoother and more flavorful in my opinion, not surprisingly. I keep a bottle in my freezer and drink it straight, like the old Dutch men do. I have never seen it mixed with anything, but someone who had a better sense of the combination of flavorings might come up with some great cocktails. It is definitely not something you would use in a martini, as it is a bit sweeter and not as dry as the standard English-style gin. Oude genever is also not clear, looks a bit piss-like, and probably doesnt quite cut a classy pose in a martini glass. I love the stuff. Good luck finding it.
  4. Went to the downtown market today and agree that the sugarsnap peas (which I bought in abundance) are looking a bit tired and are getting to a size where they are a bit tough. Based upon my grazing while perusing approach, I would say the string beans are very good, the best I've had this season. Unfortunately, we have had string beans several times in the last few weeks and the recipe I had in hand called for sugar snaps. Also got some great white and yellow peaches from Conklin orchards. Well the whites are great based on the one I have eaten so far. I am assuming the yellows will be just as good, if a tad less sweet. I plan on using them to make the peach crostata in the Babbo cookbook. Cherries still abound, as do blueberries. The beefsteak tomatoes were a bit overripe, and many were bruised, but I got several anyway. I figured they are always good for salsa or with mozzarella. Can I repeat what others have said before? If you are downtown, please patronize the Thursday farmers market near the path station. It would be great if it returned to its former glory.
  5. I was really interested in reading this article but I cant open it from the link, nor can I find it by doing a search on the L.A. Times website. Any thoughts?
  6. They are building new coops where Dynasty, West Side and the bagel place are currently. Much more significant than "renovations" as they are due to add several floors (should be in the low tens). Havent been able to get straight whether they are keeping the original structures or tearing them down. But Koronet was spared. wha-hay.
  7. Has anybody pursued this any further? I am currently corresponding with the distillery and thought I would check out egullet before I laid down the pounds. Not surprisingly, I found this thread that is exactly on point. Curious if anyone else has done it, what their experience was and what type of whiskey they ended up selecting.
  8. I have always liked Metisse, although I think reviews here have been decidedly mixed. Im pretty sure it was referenced in a thread a while back on the upper west side. I would link it if I knew how.
  9. Lew, any feedback from your trip?
  10. Any further word on Patou? Was thinking about going here tomorrow night with my dad.
  11. The place Wagyuboy mentions on 110th street is Mamie's Spoonbread Too. I prefer M&G's, although truth be told, M&Gs gets a fair bit of tourist traffic as well.
  12. Going here this weekend when Im in town for the Flower show. Any further thoughts would be appreciated (we also have reservations for Fork, but one member of our group is low on funds so we are heavily leaning towards Chloe, with the BYOB option. sad).
  13. It was supposed to be opening for Mardi Gras. Sounds like thats not happening.
  14. Bergerka, thanks for bringing up Metisse. I have been living in London for the last three years and only recently returned, so I havent been to Metisse in a while, but I used to like it quite a bit. I am not sure it rivals Les Halles or similar enviorns, but it used to be a good reliable neighborhood place (and next to the Abbey Pub which was a favorite watering hole). I will have to check it out again. What I find particularly amusing about the Upper west side restaurant development, is that I now think there are better restaurants near me (in Morningside Heights north of 119th) then the average on the UWS. There is not a critical mass yet, but new places like Pisticci, Max's, Kitchennette, a great new paninni shop, Radio Perfect are all very good, throw into the mix the old ethnic standbys that have always been there (ethiopian, soul food, latin food) and then add teh fact that we have the best pizza (Patsy's) and fried chicken (Charles) within a five minute ride, Im feeling pretty pleased. I dont want to start a UWS vs. Morningside Heights argument, because MH isnt there yet. But three years ago I could not stay in my neighborhood and have a nice meal and that has really changed. Plus there are two to three more new restaurants coming soon (a new French-Thai, the BBQ place to open near Fairway and a new, guess what, French bistro) that have me excited for the first time ever about this area. As an aside, I think one of the reasons the upscale funky "Schiller" type places dont open on the UWS is because of the astronomical rents on the UWS. The other reason, at the risk of offense, is that Schiller's wouldnt be a funky cool place if it were on the UWS. Having lived in and around the area for well over thirty years, I can safely say, that although there may be other great things about it, there is nothing hip, funky or cool about the UWS.
  15. If you are thinking about Tir na Nog, might I suggest Keens Steakhouse on 35th between 5th and 6th. They have great burgers (if a little pricey). And I think more authentically old school NY than Tir na Nog, which, if memory serves me correctly, opened about 4-5 years ago. But I have to caveat that Im not a big fan of the large Irish pub concept, when it is so clearly sold as only that, a concept. With corporate backing. But I have never eaten at Tir na Nog, only drank there. And you could do much worse.
  16. Has anybody tried the aged steaks and/or the prime steaks they sell at Fairway? I am thinking in particular of the Fairway uptown, where they have a large meat counter. Saw them there the other day and was very tempted. They seemed to be around 22./pound for Prime Porterhouse as I recall.
  17. Yes, Sardo would also be good, although I think Da Paulo and certainly Passione, are better. La Perla is Mexican in fact, or Tex-Mex. There is a spanish tapas place off of Charlotte called Fino which I liked a great deal on the occassion I was there (a three for two Toptable offer). I know Simon M. did not like it, although as I recall much of the complaint had to do with quantity for amount paid, which may be less of a concern if someone else is paying (as was the case when I went). Other than Passione and Pied a Terre, Fino is probably the only aspiring restaurant on that street. So....no to Mexican, but yes to Spanish.
  18. Wednesday Dinner on Charlotte Street: Understand you dont have much input, but you really want to avoid La Perla and any of the thai/pseudo-thai places on that street. Im also not a big fan of any of the indian places with the exception of Rasa Samudra which I quite like. The best on the street are Pied a Terre (which you are already hitting) and Passione. In fact, if you want to be sneaky, if they ask what kind of food you like, suggest italian as you will then end up at either Passione or Da Paulo, both of which are good (the former being much better). If you are looking for a pub, I would suggest the Newman Arms on Rathbone (one block west of Charlotte Street, take the cutthrough next to the Charlotte Street Hotel), your hosts will thinkyou are really in the know. Barring that, the Northumberland Arms at the corner of Goodge and Charlotte is the best of the bunch. If you are looking for a drink, you can try the Charlotte St. Hotel although with drinks starting around a tenner, it can quite pricey.
  19. I second Andy's suggestion of Pied a Terre. I continue to love the food there, although others have not been thrilled with the setting. It is however generally a very quiet relaxed place to eat (with non-smoking in the main dining area, for those who care about such things). It can be quite expensive but they do a two course meal for 35 pounds which is pretty good value of a two star restaurant. Their tasting menu continues to rank as the most outstanding meal I have had in London. Unfortunately, it come in at 60 pounds. Arguably a good value for the number of courses (seven, not including "extras, with which it comes to about 10) but not cheap by any means.
  20. Has anyone else been here lately? I have been there twice in the last six weeks or so, and really felt that the place has fallen off. The burger I had was overcooked (although I asked for medium rare), not at all moist, and tasted a lot like what one would get at a burger van albeit bigger and with great bbq sauce available. Similarly, I had a duck breast sandwich which was also really overcooked with a layer of fat/skin which had not been crisped so was inedibly chewy. Even the beef brisket, an old standy for me, was dry the last time I had it with no bits of fat to be seen. I used to enjoy Arkansas quite a bit although I never thought much of the bbq, preferring the grilled items. But Im not so sure anymore. Particularly with Bodeans available which is in a completely different league. Add to that the fact that Arkansas cafe is not particularly cheap (a beef brisket sandwich with no sides is in the range of 7 pounds; at Bodeans you can get a whole rack of ribs with multiple sides for a couple pounds more, and any sandwich for less than five (including, in reference to another thread, bbqed salt beef which is pretty tasty). Was my experience a fluke? related to summer holidays?
  21. I am under the impression there are no fine distinctions. I thought Salt Beef was what we americans call Corned Beef. I have never come across anything called Salt Beef in the States. You guys have me drooling about Katz Deli on the lower east side. Puts Selfridges to shame. Anybody had salt beef at the bagel shop on Brick Lane lately? I had it there once a few years ago and it was very good. Not as good as Selfridges though. I think the key to good salt beef/corn beef is that it remain in the liquid in which it was cooked (which should have taken on many of the characteristics of the brine and should be quite oily from the fat in the brisket) until served, and certainly not sliced until served. Many of the places I have been in London (including Gaby's and the place near Hatton Gardens that crows about its salt beef (Knosherie, I think its called) have the salt beef sitting out on the counter waiting for customers. That doesnt work if turnover is not high paced.
  22. I went to the Lindsay House about four weeks ago with some friends of mine from the States. The meal was poor enough (and expensive enough) that I felt the need to apologize to my friends for having suggested it. I wont go into great detail because my criticism is not much different from that above, but some highlights: We reserved through toptable which was running a special (three course for 30 pounds, I think) Similar to Cabrales experience mentioned at the start of this thread, I had to ask a number of times for the "special" menu and was generally made to feel uncomfortable that we were ordering from it, notwithstanding the fact I booked through toptable; We waited at least 30 minutes for someone to take orders of any kind (including drinks) and a further 20 before we received the wine we ordered. Lindsay House is too small and too expensive for this type of error; Staff was woefully unknowledgeable about the food; I chose not to go with the set menu; had seared foie gras for a starter. It was the thinnest piece of seared foie gras I have ever had, and unsurprisingly was overdone and tough; My main was pork belly with seared scallops I remember being dubious about the dish and particularly the ability of the chef to combine these two ingredients in a way that wouldnt completely overwhelm the scallops. I took a chance. Bad move. Not only was my fear confirmed, but it was unequivocally the worst pork belly I have ever had. They managed to take a cut of meat which is like 50% fat, and transform it into a lifeless, bone dry, tough and bland piece of cardboard. devastating. The place was also so hot the four of us were literally dripping with sweat by the end of the meal. And no, this was not the really hot part of the summer. In fact, it was a cloudy, relatively cool evening. Before you even factor in the cost, I would never return here. When I think that we could have had three courses at Pied a Terre, the Square, Petrus, etc. for the same price I beat I weep that this was my friends' one "nice" meal in London. We would have had better food, better service and a better time at a tenth the price if we had just gone to Bodeans up the street instead.
  23. Catherine, my wife and I were thinking of staying/eating at the Three Chimneys and decided against it. At the time we were unable to find anyone who could give us any personal feedback so I was excited to see your post. I was also amused by the timing issue as my wife and I were constantly annoyed in Scotland by what seemed overly restrictive dining hours. I have a few questions: First, assuming you stayed there, how were the rooms and the other aspects of the Three Chimneys? The rooms themselves are not cheap for that area of the world so I wonder how they hold up. Second, if you were to think of the restaurant as a restaurant in Skye, or even the Western Higlands, as opposed to a destination restaurant, how would the food hold up? I generally found the food in that area to be quite poor (with the exception of the Old Pines near Fort William). I would have been very happy to find an excellent restaurant, even if it werent one of the top 100 in the world. How would you rank it against other restaurants in that area? as opposed to comparing it to London? Obviously the best in the area may still be worth a visit if one is in the area for other reasons (like the almost unbelievable awe-inducing scenery). Have you found anyplace in Scotland that compares that is not in Edinburgh or Glascow? Third, when you say there is no service charge, what does that mean? Does it mean it wasnt included, or that somehow the restaurant conveyed that you were not expected to pay it? Even if it wasnt included, I would assume the standard is to leave something, no? I often find the 12.5% is less than what I would leave on my own, so actually come out ahead where service charge is included.
  24. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. So far the plan seems to be to spend Friday night in Glasgow at the Malmaison Hotel, eat at the Ubiquitous Chip Bistro or Stravaigin and then do a pub crawl as Teuchter suggests, with the Scotia as the pub crawl anchor, i.e. we will start there and may finish there if the vibe suits (Teuchter, the August bank holiday is 8/22-8/25 so your suggestions are just in time). Thought about Amaryllis as Scott F suggested but it didnt fit the desire for an informal meal and I concurred with Gus (or at least his implication) that I should do something in Glasgow I could not do here in London. We have generally decided against the train, as it was almost 40 pounds return (Glasgow to Mallaig) each, and we would need to rent a car on the other end, whereas a car from Glascow is about 70 pounds for the three days. This way we can also stop off around Loch Fyne (as suggested below) and Glencoe. We are still looking for dining and accomodation suggestions around Loch Fyne/Glencoe/Fort William area, and perhaps a bit farther north up towards Inverness. I have tentative reservations at the Skeabost Country House Hotel on the Isle of Skye and am still thinking about the Old Pines Hotel. We may also stay an evening at The George, a pub in Inverary, which is recommended in the Good Pub Guide. If anyone has any thoughts on these that would be great.
  25. I dont have any personal experience, but the most recent edition of Food and Travel (U.K.) has an article on restaurants Gothenburg. In case you are not in the UK, the following are mentioned: 28+: French, famous for its cheese collection. Amanda Boman: tiny, lunch-only in the city's food hall. Feskekorkan (translated as the "fish church:), a huge indoor fish market. Restaurant Gabriel in the Feskekorkan is recommended, particularly for fried herring. Fond Gotaplatsen: Michelin-starred, using local seasonal produce to "prepare traditional Swedish concepts heightened by international flavours" Linnea's: recommended for fish dishes, game dishes and the cheese board Mauritz: cafe, with the best espresso in town. Smaka: late-night noisy eating spot, particularly known for Swedish meatfballs. Sorry about the lack of first-hand experience, but maybe this helps. Let us know if you try any of these. Rover: a bar with a phenomenal collection of whiskey and belgian beers.
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