Miss Needle's Profile

Title Last Reply

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

And in addition to the introductions, you would need to be deaf to not hear Katsuji shuck clams.

Oct 22, 2014
Miss Needle in Food Media & News

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., 114 Nassau at Eckford

That's so great to hear. There's nothing like really fresh fish. Thank you so much for spreading the word!

Oct 20, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., 114 Nassau at Eckford

Thanks for the report. I know this is the OB Board, but how does it compare to places like Lobster Place and Citarella (my 2 faves for seafood)?

Oct 20, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Is Chinatown the best place in Manhattan to buy live lobsters?

I don't recall them being that more expensive than other C-town vendors, perhaps a bit more but not like what you're seeing on the website. Perhaps the website prices are inflated to account for handling costs (boxes, ice, etc.)?

Oct 20, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Is Chinatown the best place in Manhattan to buy live lobsters?

Yes, I do like Aquabest in Chinatown. Bonus points for the people being cordial (sometimes difficult to find in C-town).

Oct 20, 2014
Miss Needle in Manhattan

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

"Someone made the good point about picking the weakest chef to challenge, but so early in the season, how would you even know?"

Everybody had to introduce themselves to the group. Gregory worked for Jean-Georges -- so even though he screwed up the mackerel, I would think that he would be a more formidable competitor.

Just based on the clam shucking alone, I probably would have picked Katsuji. What a mess!

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

I hope the mods will forgive me with this question. What is the dress code at Violet Oon's and Pidgin? Are shorts appropriate? Just figuring out whether we need to go back to the hotel to change before dinner.

It appears to me that Violet Oon's is a lot more casual and shorts would be OK. But I'm not familiar with the Singaporean dress culture and wouldn't want to offend. We made that mistake when we walked into a yoshoku restaurant in Tokyo for lunch and saw that all men were in suits (even though it was 100 degrees outside). Didn't realize that eating omurice in a restaurant named after a cosmetic company required some fancy duds!

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

I'm not Chinese but I have that similar aversion. Thanks for the tip about either going early or trying Rendezvous.

Not sure how I will be spacing the meals -- but it sounds like I'll try to eat lunches early to avoid those crazy waits at the stalls. It would probably make for a more sane experience.

All of you have been so helpful. I will most definitely post a trip report afterwards.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thanks so much for the thorough explanation!

I've found that when I was in Indonesia many of the food was prepared ahead of time and just sitting out. So by the time I would eat it it would be at room temperature. Is this the same case for nasi padang?

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thank you for the gift suggestions.

About the Bengawan cookies -- are they all sweet? Or are the ones like mini shrimp rolls and fish keropok savory crackers?

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Forgive my ignorance, but can I ask you (or anybody else) what the difference is between nasi kandar and nasi pandang? They seem similar to me.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Yes, I'm definitely planning on trying satay, rendang and nasi lemak during this trip. I actually make rendang semi-frequently at home so I'm curious to see how mine measures up.

Durian is one thing I cannot stand (and my list is relatively short compared to most people). I've tried it plain, as ice cream and as a part of of a chocolate souffle. When I had it plain it was in Thailand -- so it was fresh durian as opposed to something that has been frozen and shipped over. I find the creamy texture very pleasing but can't get over the rotten onion taste.

Yes, I have noticed that things are more expensive in Singapore compared to Malaysia. My hotel in Penang is a third of what I'm paying for my Singapore lodging. I'm glad that I'm not coming from a place like India where the rupee is weak compared to the SD.

Very excited about Penang. I know people who have been there and they raved about the food and the architecture and history surrounding it. My husband was pretty lukewarm on Penang until I found an old Bourdain episode on Penang. It's funny but Bourdain does exert a strong influence over some people.

And thank you for the tipping lesson. Yes, I will have to brush up on customs before I head out there.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Don't know about the sauce mixes but you can get Prima Taste laksa in NYC.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/963632

I'll take a look at the sauce mixes as potential gifts. Thank you.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Oh, I didn't realize that Sanur had it as well! Yes, C-town is much easier for me to get to vs. Flushing. Thanks!

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Are you talking about the place in Flushing near the LIRR station? If so, yes, I do like their kaya. But this is really more of a gift situation.

You've been to Singapore numerous times. Is there something that you think NYers would appreciate?

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thank you again!

I'm pretty sure I've seen Yeo kaya in NYC. Yeah, sometimes the best ones don't come in pretty packages. Plastic tubs would be difficult to bring back. And some people I know are more about the packaging. If I'm around Chin Mee Chin, will check out their kaya toast.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thanks for reassurance about the stingray. And I think I'll be looking forward to the warm weather as it will be freezing in NYC at that point.

Have a few more questions. Would appreciate input any of you may have:

1. In NYC, December 31 is one of the worst times to eat out for higher end food. Many places jack up the prices, have the B team working, and offer only a special prix-fixe menu. Is that the same in Singapore? Would I be better having a hawker dinner on that night?

2. Is Candlenut and Violet Oon's too similar? Would I be best trying just one and saving another meal for something totally different? I'm really trying to stick to foods that I have trouble finding in NYC or foods that NYC doesn't do too well. Eg. Malaysian/Singaporean items; high-end Indian

3. As gifts wanted to pick up some artisanal kaya (as you can find kaya in many Asian markets in my hometown). Bonus for pretty packaging -- there's one place near where I live that sells housemade kaya. But it comes in a plastic takeout container and would like something that's more aesthetically pleasing.

ETA: I've decided to break the trip up into 5.5 days in Singapore and 2.5 days in Penang -- in case that would affect restaurant recs.

Recommendations for Jackson Heights, please.

I will totally agree that Phayul is awesome. Have to admit that I've had Tibetan food numerous times and never really liked it that much because most of the menu items were too heavy and bland for my taste (in not a good way). But decided to give Phayul a try because of all the glowing reviews. Thought it was amazing! The fried spicy tongue is one of my favorite dishes there.

Oct 09, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Klyeoh and M_Gomez, thanks for elucidating the concept of Eurasian food. This doesn't really exist in NYC.

According to the Yelp picture, there was beef rendang on the menu, at least that's what it said on the chalkboard. Quentin's may be more appropriate for me as I'd like to a wider variety of things to choose from. Thanks for the rec.

Yes, I do understand how heat and humidity can affect traveling. Last year DH and I were in Japan in August. Asked him whether he wanted to see this temple in Kyoto. He asked me whether there was air conditioning at the temple! He opted to go shopping instead. We've definitely made some adjustments to the itinerary cuz we were feeling tired, hot and crabby. You know it's hot when it goes down to 91 degrees and you get chilly! I'm hoping it wouldn't be as bad in Singapore during December.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thank you so much for the rundown! I think I have a better idea of what to expect for each place.

We haven't booked our flights from Singapore to Penang. But it works best for our schedule that we book the Penang leg around December 31/January 1. I am hoping that many establishments won't close for the holidays as it seems that Chinese New Year's is more important there than the calendar New Year's.

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)....Any Better Successors?

Have the xlb @ 456 increased in size? I only had them once a couple of years ago and they were very similar in size to those at Din Tai Fung (which tend to be smaller compared to XLB you would find in NYC).

Oct 02, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

I also have an unrelated question. I've got an allergy to stingray. It's actually pretty severe as I react to cross contamination. Even when pans have been washed I can react to it, even though that reaction is mild compared to an unwashed pan or cutting board.

The last thing I want to do is deal with anaphylaxis in a foreign country. Will be carrying my epipen but would just like to avoid the situation. Are Singaporeans and Malaysians aware of the whole allergy thing? It's easy in the US cuz it seems that everybody's got an "allergy" these days. But not sure what the culture is like here.

ETA: I would probably stay away from something like BBQ stingray. But are there any dishes I should also steer clear from -- eg. a seafood casserole that may contain stingray as one of the ingredients?

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Thanks so much! Oh no -- not sure how I'm going to fit all of this food in eight nights! I'm hoping portions will be on the small side so I can try more things. I don't know what some of these things are -- will have fun looking them up.

M_Gomez, what is Eurasian food? How is it different from Singaporean food? I looked up the yelp page for Mary's Kafe. One of the pictures depicted a menu. I'll use the example of beef rendang because I'm familiar with the dish. Is the beef rengdang different from what you can get from a Singaporean or Malaysian restaurant?

Makanputra, it's great that you can get Penang food in Singapore. But I'd love to visit Penang for other reasons than food. So I will most likely try their specialties in Penang.

My husband and I are running into difficulties as how to divide this trip. I wanted to do an even split. He wanted to do a day trip to Penang and stay in Singapore the whole time. Any guidance as to how to split it up? We are going to the Maldives afterwards so beach time isn't important. And because this is a food site, I'll ask about the split in terms of having enough time to try the specialties Singapore and Penang are known for.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Oh wow! This is so awesome and helpful! Thanks so much!

I've had assam laksa once in NYC and hated it. I thought it was going to taste like a Thai tom yum soup but it was too funky for my taste. Given all the amazing sounding items you have listed, I probably won't get around to ordering it.

What's better in Singapore vs Penang?

Hello. I'll be visiting both Singapore and Penang. Which city is better for certain food items? Eg. Would Singapore be the better place for chicken rice? Is Penang better for cendol? Or does it not matter?

I haven't figured out how many days I will devote to each city but will be there for a total of eight nights.

Thanks!

Never have I been so baffled: Mama's House of Horrors

It's really very polarizing on CH. Wonder if those who hate it are going for late dinner. I only went once for lunch and really loved my experience. Got there early and had a seat with the most marvelous view. Not sure if there's a price difference between lunch and dinner now but I thought the prices were reasonable for what they offered. When I was there several years ago, entrees were in the 30s -- very similar to what I had at a restaurant like Cafe O'Lei's in Kihei. The food and ambiance at Mama's was superior.

Perhaps I would have felt differently if I was paying $60 for an entree with no view at night. That's kind of how I felt at Merriman's. Ordered a $60 lobster special and thought it was mediocre.

Sep 20, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

If your group can "stomach" it (yes, bad bun), try the tripe. I prefer this version over Babbo's and Bar Pitti's.

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Al Di La - Whats Good These Days

If you want to keep with the Italian theme, there's also L'Albero dei Gelati nearby as well.

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Outer Boroughs

Honolulu in November - looking for your thoughts on a few places

My husband loves meat, hence our meat-centric selections at Pig and Lady. There are plenty of fish and veggie selections there. Oh, I didn't mention it in my report but make sure you get the coconut horchata. A total revelation!

The restaurants that I think would meet your criteria from the list you provide are: Pig and Lady, Lucky Belly and MW. Pig and Lady had the most hipster vibe out of all of the restaurants I've visited in Oahu, even having a bartender with the ironic moustache. When I was at Salt on a weekday, it was pretty dead. We were the only table eating upstairs. By the time we left, there were only two other tables filled. Downstairs was more busy. I've only been to Town for lunch so it was relatively quiet. Dinner may be busier.

Some other spots you may like: Koko Head Cafe (ambiance not trendy as it's very retro diner-like but it is a current hot spot with locals); Bill's (but may not be busy enough for you).

Sep 10, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii

Oahu Trip Report - August/September 2014

Oh I would totally avoid the KCC Market as well if I was a local. It's quite insane and there is a very low ratio of produce to prepared foods. But it's really fun from a tourist's perspective. I went to Blaisdell Market a couple of years ago and found it relatively tourist free at that point. That might have changed by the now.

Sounds like a great time at the festival! Yes, please post some pics when you have some time later.

Sep 09, 2014
Miss Needle in Hawaii