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Everything posted by victornet

  1. I love that there is something worthwhile around virtually every corner. After work yesterday I decided to stroll through the lower east side on the way up to Toy Tokyo near St. Marks Place. After resisting a strong dumpling temptation on Grand St. (and declining to wait on line at DiPalos), I passed Gus Pickles on Orchard St. and bought a quart of good sour ones. Continuing north I came upon Il Laboratorio di Gelato, and had a wicked chocolate gelato/ peach sorbet combo cup. Trying to keep my burden light I did not go into Russ and Daughter when I hit Houston, but it was tempting.
  2. Have you researched which local restaurants serve good baby pig? This is what I've done (here in NYC) and found that with a weeks notice I can get a great baby pig (10 lbs when the gods are smiling, as much as 15 lbs at other times) cooked and ready to warm and eat. My local source is called Great NY Noodletown, but if you don't want to buy a caja china and wait all day I'd look to the local pros.
  3. victornet


    I marinate shrimp in soy sauce and oil with a little sriracha before grilling (15-30 minutes in the marinade). Too much of it would burn, but it adds a great kick of heat to the shrimp.
  4. I use House brand Shichimi Togarashi on Salmon filet and many types of red meat to be grilled (it seems more complex than Ichimi, perhaps because of the sesame seed and other ingredients). It's a great substitute for black pepper. I know of several chefs who use this regularly. Regarding Shiso, which I taste in restaurants from time to time, I can only praise to the moon the Shiso Sprout. I've only had it in a dish at Charlie Trotter's (he gets it from farmer Lee Jones in Ohio) - perhaps the finest, most memorable vegetable experience of my life.
  5. I have not read the whole thread, so pardon me if this does not contribute. I've taken the Wolfgang Puck option in Chicago several times. And I'm grateful for Legal Seafoods at Logan in Boston. You can't go wrong with the chowder. I have not really found much to eat at DFW, but if you are disembarking there (as opposed to changing planes) you do not have to drive far to hit the first Sonny Bryant.
  6. victornet

    EVOO on the cheap?

    The Toscano oil that is available for around $10.00 at Costco this time of year is quite good. It seems to appear around now and lasts a few months till they sell out the year's product- I got my first since last summer last weekend. I don't know if I would have tried this, but Lynne Rossetto Kasper recommended it when I took a wonderful class with her.
  7. I tend to trust whatever brand Di Palos has when I visit. But I go home on the subway from there so after cheese, salami, and oil I don't have much room to carry cans of tomatoes. But, just to open myself up to attack, I have to admit I've been fairly happy with the 106 oz cans of "Nina" San Marzano (non-dop) tomatoes I get really cheap at Costco in Wayne, NJ.
  8. I haven't managed to make it there, but my sister has found that one CAN get a table sometimes at odd hours, and positively raves over the gnudi, as well as giving the place an A.
  9. I don't have a recipe, but since you are in the area I'll note that we eat this all the time (takeout, I'm afraid) from Petaluma - 73rd St and 1st Avenue, NYC. The dish is a favorite of ours.
  10. victornet


    If you are in the mood for couscous, Mansouria is not far away, and enjoyable. A bit loud, and probably more so on weekends.
  11. My one meal at Brasserie Perrier did not suggest it would be the place for cassoulet. Alsatian food perhaps (choucroute was definitely OK, and better than most of my companions' entrees), but the menu, service, and program seemed tilted towards the hip and contemporary rather than the classic food they certainly have the talent to do if the percieved demand was there. In NYC Quatorze does a very tasty cassoulet once a week.
  12. I'm a big fan of Wylie and the restaurant. A couple of meals there in the last 6 months have been more consistent and delicious than meals when the restaurant was new. While some dishes do sceam out Wylie's determination to break out of all molds ( the square frozen egg yolk is one of these tasty, but trying hard to surprise) it really does not get in the way of pure flavor. I had the pork belly my first time there, and felt it would be much better as a small plate than as one's main course (so rich, and not a dish that evolves with each taste). This issue has not often come up since. Most recently I had a spectacular chicken entree, and I cannot think of another restaurant of this caliber at which I would order "the chicken". I've also taken 3 cooking classes with Wylie at De Gustibus, and he is an amazingly sharing teacher. From his hint to microplane frozen snickers bars over ice cream, to his praise of Alkimia in Barcelona, he's a great source of inspiration and for me he's one of the true lights of food in NYC.
  13. I would highly recommend Deborah Madison's mushroom, leek amd potato soup from the Greens Cookbook (which starts using the porcinis in her wild mushroom stock). I've made it many times. Some friends made a porcini pie once, but it was pretty intense, not as balanced as this soup.
  14. We ate at Chiberta last week. My experience was similar to Bux, though the pigeon paled in comparison to the heavenly version I had at Astrance the day before. We liked the same soup, and my terrine of Bresse hen, foie gras and artichoke was of interest, but not really intense enough even to stand up to eating with bread. The food overall was good, but not terribly imaginative. I had a tasty Jarret de Veau that was reminiscent of good bistro food (tasty, but not refined, and probably twice as much protein as desired). The place was full, and the energy was good, but the pace was not especially leisurely. The wine list was good and they were helpful with a fairly priced recommendation. A high point was a dessert of Clementines 3 ways. Our meal was 186 euro - fairly reasonable. But still the meal did not rank with those at Astrance, Table du Robuchon (at essentially the same price), or Table du Lancaster.
  15. I last ate at Joia 3 or 4 years ago, but it was great and I second the praise. If someone is looking at this thread for more of a budget recommendation, I've enjoyed meals at Santamarta 6, not far from the Cathedral.
  16. Random notes: Yes, to include the hot dog joint as one of 4 NY meals was a big mistake. It's true that a Katz's pastrami sandwich would have been 10x better (even though I feel NY has nothing that equals the long-gone Romanian pastrami of otherwise forgettable Bernstein on Essex). I practically lived at Les Halles when I lived in the 30's and needed aplace that was friendly to brnging a baby in a stroller (12 or so years ago) but it too is comfy but not special foodwise. If you wanted beef, Peter Luger would be memorable and on another plane. I have to disagree with all about Lombardi's. Perhaps inconsistent, but still a great Pizza. I'm fond of Lupa, but all are right that it is not Babbo. If you had gotten a table there, you would have a great sense of what Italian food in NYC can be, with rocking music. I'd also plug L'Impero. Although I'd rarely send a West Coast person to a fish place in NY, Nobu would have been great - eating everything but the sushi (do that on your coast). WD-50 would have given a great hint of where things are at, with a fun neighborhod and a less-heart attack inducing check than Daniel or Jean Georges. If you wanted that high end type of French food you would find Cafe Boulud not too stuffy and a menu that has the seasonal, the traditional, and the creative.
  17. I'm not from DC, but Jose Andres made a spectacular strained gazpacho when I took a cooking class with him in NYC this spring. (And I've figured out that you can save the strained vegetables, freeze them, and serve over summer vegetables - making this a double duty recipe). I'd call and see if he serves this at Jaleo, Minibar, etc. and go wherever you can get it.
  18. I, too, had a very enjoyable there last sunner. I enjoyed Alkimia even more, but definetely recommend Commerc 24.
  19. victornet


    I often disagree with fatguy, but when he said: I missed Woodstock, but I can understand why it was important. he hit David Bouley on the head. ( I missed it too - I had tickets for the last day, by which time you could not get within 100 miles). But we're still talking about it over 30 years later. There are few NY chefs besides Bouley about whom you will be able to say this. He made history. His restaurant may not rate 4 stars, but the review does not convey how high a bar it clears at points. The 3 stars is consistent with my last meal there ( a 4 star chef in a 3 star restaurant), and I agree with the sense that Bruni must not have been in NY during his glory days (I always felt Bouley was (at least at times - Charlie Trotter has had his transcendental moments as well) the best chef I had experienced short of Robouchon, who changed my life in 1 meal back inthe original Jamin). The problem with the review is indeed its failure to convey how great the best dishes are. Reading it, my suspicion was that it was a prelude to elevating Per Se to 4 stars while maintaining his toughness. And my sister spent a lot of time volunteering in Bouley's kitchen after 9/11, so I'm unsympathetic to the whole idea of putting Bouley down for what he did to feed the rescuers for months - whether he covered his financial ass or not. No one has mentioned the lamps! The thing I always hated about the original Bouley (besides the jacket and tie requirement) was the funky little lamps on each table, who's cords inevitably got mixed up with the dishes. Funny how Bouley's taste for lamps raises its ugly head. Without disagreeing on ratings, I agree Bruni is off to a rough start. I always marked Grimes reviews up by a star, but his texts were good. It's too early to decide about Bruni.
  20. Once a year we give large all-day-eating party at my parents' apartment (formerly a New Year's Day fest, we decided some years ago that too many people were hung over and not ready to really eat.) We've generally featured a roast baby pig (with a bagel in it's mouth) purchased in Chinatown, but it has indeed been the hardest course to source. (No PhD needed to buy smoked sturgeon at Barney Greengrass for example) I started getting the pig at Great NY Noodletown a couple of years ago, and now the entire thing quickly disappears from the table. We always looked for the smallest pig, and last month they got me a 10 pounder, our smallest yet, and very delicious and tender.
  21. Well, I'm back and want to thank those who suggested places. Special thanks to Sharon, as El Ranchito was definitely my favorite. I downloaded a review from the Morning News which loved it, but suggested the reviewer was too squeamish to try the Cabrito So of course I had the Cabrito. Very tasty, quite similar to lamb shank. The only problem was squeezing the leftovers into the hotel minibar :). (Here in NYC I get a very refined and more Italian cabrito at L'Impero). But the single purest flavor of the trip was the beans that came as one of the side dishes to it - definitely 4 star beans. In Ft Worth I did lunch at Joe T Garcias, enjoyable but definitely not very Mexican. The bbq at Bryans was tasty, though I only made it to the one near the airport - as soon as I arrived and to pick up plane food on the way home. I had the baby back ribs at Peggy Sues - great meat, but with a coating that was a touch on the sweet side. I was tempted to go for the regular ribs, which are dry rub, but the waiter said the baby backs were the way to go. So, no mole, but a great trip.
  22. A friend of mine orders 5 pounds or so of the peaberry at a time and freezes it. It keeps well and is a tasty bean.
  23. I had a very good meal there. For what it's worth it was Thanksgiving week and the waiter described it to us as their slowest week of the year (though the Stones were due at the Hard Rock the next weekend, so the lull was brief)- so I don't know if it is different when busy, as Nobu in NYC is every day of the year. I eat at Nobu in NYC with some frequency, and have tried Matsuhisa in LA on a night when the chef was present, and I'd give the Las Vegas outpost high marks. For what it's worth I don't eat sushi at Nobu or surrender my wallet to omakase. I stick to the many wonderful dishes the chef (and Mr. Morimoto) have perfected such as the black cod with miso, rock shrimp tempura, squid pasta, and whatever the waitperson says is good that particular evening.
  24. victornet


    [Hearth is a lovable two-star restaurant -- it represents all the best in a two-star place. I would choose it over many three-star places. But that doesn't make it a three-star restaurant. ] Having not eaten at Hearth yet {but having tried most of the dishes mentioned in the review (including the delicious snapper crudo) at a De Gustibus cooking class with Marco Canora} two stars sounds right. The chef mentioned the ingredient constraints he has in order to meet the price point he feels is appropriate to the neighborhood. In this sense the contrast to certain Craft options is clear, though many of my favorite dishes there are made from "humble" ingredients (cheeks, anyone). The star rating system does tend to reward the presentation of luxury ingredients (a la Ducasse - a style of cuisine that I have chosen to rarely patronize no matter how tasty). But Fat Guy, I take exception on the issue of L'Impero, which is one of the best meals I've had in NY (several times) at that price point, and easier to get into than Babbo.
  25. Scott, do you have any favorites? And Richard, as a reformed art historian I am indeed in posession of comfy sneakers and an ability to cruise swiftly through those parts of Museums that are just interesting to me, and to focus intensely where it matters. (A quality I find useful in markets as well, though restaurants are like movies - you are not in control of the pace and can only stay or go). Although it's problematic on brief visits to cities like the one I have planned, I much prefer multiple visits to a given picture over staring at it for an hour. Probably it is the result of too much TV as a child.
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