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NYTimes's Pete Wells visits the new Brennan's

I'd love to hear your view. I had never been to the old Brennan's -- the absurd prices and lines of tourists were enough to keep me away, even as a tourist myself -- but I'd be game to give it a try this go-round.

Jan 20, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

NYTimes's Pete Wells visits the new Brennan's

And he (mostly) likes it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/din...

Note that, in addition to reviewing the restaurant, the article also includes interesting information about the history of Brennan's and of the Brennan family restaurant empire.

Jan 20, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Sugarburg, Williamsburg

As far as I can tell, Sugarburg (http://www.sugarburg.com/), on Metropolitan Ave. at the corner of Union Ave in Williamsburg, has not garnered a single mention on this board. I stumbled in on Sunday on loved it. It was mostly empty, which gave me pause, but I liked the looks of the menu, so I went in anyways. First, as soon as I walked in, I was hit with the Soul Rebels, from New Orleans, on the sound system, so I knew right away that the playlist was gonna be good. I sat at the bar and ordered coffee and the "scrambled egg po-boy," both of which were awesome. The staff was incredibly friendly too. I was told that they've been open for about 7 months, but I'm nervous for them, especially since they were empty when Brooklyn Star around the corner was packed. It seems like the kind of local establishment I want to support -- good food (at least based on my one visit), good vibe (Soul Rebels, c'mon!), friendly service, good looking menu, great beer list (http://www.sugarburg.com/beer/). I definitely will be back, and encourage others to give it a shot.

Jan 20, 2015
Blumie in Outer Boroughs

Where to buy Scotch in Boston?

While I am sure one can get a 55 gallon drum of Dewar's (which I don't even consider to be scotch) at Costco, the Waltham location has a small but decent selection of higher end single malts.

Jan 19, 2015
Blumie in Greater Boston Area

Where to buy Scotch in Boston?

I go to the one in Waltham. The scotch selection is, as you'd expect, somewhat on the pedestrian side, but still they have some good single malts, and I would imagine enough interesting bottles for a scotch tasting.

Jan 19, 2015
Blumie in Greater Boston Area

Plain old chocolate cake in Manhattan

And you can just go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine and for a $2 investment (a recent increase from $1.75) sample one of their wonderful chocolate cupcakes and see what you think. I love them!

Jan 19, 2015
Blumie in Manhattan
2

Where to buy Scotch in Boston?

Costco. Seriously. Not a stupendous selection, but still a good enough selection at great prices.

Jan 19, 2015
Blumie in Greater Boston Area

Is it OK to take a child to Sylvain?

In some of our views, we have PROgressed past children being seen and not heard. The fact that they may not engage in titillating conversation is no reason to tell them to shut up.

I suspect that, in reality, our views of how children should behave is not significantly different, but I do have a viscerally negative reaction to the "seen but not heard" mantra, particularly since I find I am so much more frequently annoyed by misbehaving adults than misbehaving children. (There's a great line in the Cat Steven's song "Father and Son" that goes, "From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen.")

But I think we're in complete agreement that Sylvain, although not at all geared to children, is perfectly fine for a well behaved child.

Jan 17, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Is it OK to take a child to Sylvain?

I think "seen and not heard" is a bit harsh for a 7-year-old. I can't go out and be seen and not heard, why should a 7-year-old? Sylvain is a little on the intimate side (but not, as montuori points out, precious), but I think most 7-year-olds would be fine there. I absolutely would have brought my daughter when she was 7.

Jan 16, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Hipster eats and drinks

Roberta's has great pizza, but the rest of the menu should not be overlooked.

Jan 16, 2015
Blumie in Manhattan
1

"Rules" at Central Grocery

I agree with you completely. The funny thing though is that while I don't like olives, I like the CG muff, strong olive spread and all. Go figure!

Jan 16, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Hipster eats and drinks

Two recommendations in brooklyn, both easily accessible by subway:

Roberta's is one of my favorite restaurants in NYC. They'll quote you a 2-hour wait, but it's never that long. Plus I always find a seat and eat at the bar before a table opens up.

Bizarre Bushwick: Went to this dive bar for the first time last night and, in addition to some really fun and offbeat entertainment, I had a surprisingly good -- like really good -- burger, which makes me want to go back and try more of their menu.

As these things often go, the crowds at both these places are a mix between hipsters and 20-somethings who live in the area because it's cheap.

Jan 16, 2015
Blumie in Manhattan

Casual business dinner

I have not noticed a change in quality. I don't go as often as I used to primarily because the menu does not change all that often, and the number of good and great restaurants in New Orleans has exploded. Still, I think there are few restaurants that better define New Orleans than Brigtsen's. Many will disagree with this, but as between Commander's Palace and Brigtsen's for a first time visitor, I would send them to Brigtsen's every time. Commander's Palace, especially for a first time visitor, can feel like a factory. I love the intimacy and warmth of Brigtsen's, as well as its really great food.

Anyone can have a bad experience at any restaurant, and there is no restaurant that is going to please everyone all the time. Maybe your bad experience was a one-off thing, or maybe you would not like it no matter how often you were to go back. I'm glad you shared your view; I just want to make sure your view, while accounted for, is given the proper weight.

Jan 15, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Casual business dinner

"Hey it's a free country" is a response I'd expect from an 8-year-old. We're all free to express our opinions, and I don't deny chinnytown's right to post (and in fact welcome his or her opinion). But I also have the right to express my opinion, which is what I have done. We are all free to agree or disagree with my view, too.

Jan 15, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

"Rules" at Central Grocery

I've got to say that the vociferousness with which you are defending Central Grocery is making me want to like it less than I actually do. I couldn't care less who invented it. I don't care whether another place is trying to imitate Central Grocery or anyone else. The only thing I care about is which one tastes better when I eat it today. I like Central Grocery's muff well enough, and have never had a problem with the attitude of the staff. I have had other muffs that have been decent and other ones that have been bad. And I've had riffs on the muff, like at Cochon Butcher, that I prefer to the "real" thing, but, as you point out, that's a little bit apples-and-oranges.

Jan 15, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans
1

Miami mega list: feel free to comment! (wall of text!)

"I usually like to post my "short list" and invite comments."

Your short list. Ha!

Suggestions for solo dinner and date dinner

Solo: Eat at the bar at Sylvain.
Date night: The Franklin. No reservations, but usually manageable waits.

Jan 14, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Private room (20ish)

I may be too late with my response, but I am setting up a private dinner (also on a Sunday night) for my friends over JazzFest and, in a Donald Link vs. John Besh smackdown, ended up choosing between the wine room at Calcasieu (Link's private dining venue) and the private dining room at Borgne. I ultimately chose Borgne because (a) it seats up to 30, versus 20 in the wine room, (b) they allow greater choice (3 entrees and 2 salad/appetizer/dessert, versus 2 entrees and no choice of salad/appetizer/dessert), and (c) although it probably doesn't matter, Borgne has a lower minimum spend ($1,000 versus $1,200). Both have great looking private dining menus.

Jan 13, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Casual business dinner

chinnytown, please understand that I mean absolutely no disrespect by this post. Many people on this board, myself included, love Brigtsen's and consider it one of the better restaurants in New Orleans. I completely understand that you went and did not have a good experience, and I am all in favor of your reporting that, as you have. What I am not in favor of, however, is your repeating your report in each and every thread that has been started since your visit in which Brigtsen's comes up as a recommendation. It would be one thing if you had been multiple times and were disappointed each and every time and were therefore able to conclude that its stellar reputation is undeserved, but you went exactly once and didn't love it. So report that, as you have, and move on. It does the restaurant and the readers of this board a disservice by chiming in at every opportunity to repeat your report of your bad experience.

Jan 13, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Sylvain or Peche with kids (8&10)

I don't agree with your characterization of Sylvain as "a bar first," although it certainly has that gastropub feel. It is, nonetheless, a serious (and seriously good) restaurant.

Jan 13, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Sylvain or Peche with kids (8&10)

The sets at Preservation Hall are only 45 minutes, making them even better for kids.

I love Sylvain, but agree that Peche probably is a better choice with kids.

Jan 13, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Lunch @ The Joint, 12/27

"There are times when, as a visitor (albeit a frequent one), you need a break from Creole and Cajun cuisine and seek out a change."

As another frequent visitor (I'm guessing 100 visits over the last 28 years), I have made it my mission over the last few years to really break out of the habit of always returning to the standard bearers; I love, love, love places like Clancy's and Brigtsen's and August, but the NOLA restaurant scene has exploded way too much, in such a wonderful and diverse way, that I knew I was missing out if I limited myself to "New Orleans cuisine," even broadly interpreted.

So I urge you and others to check out many of the new places that have opened up post-K, some of which might just well have been located in Brooklyn or Portland or Oakland, but of course because they're located in New Orleans, are more special than had they been elsewhere.

I find that these lists from eater.com are a good place to start:

http://nola.eater.com/maps/the-38-ess...

http://nola.eater.com/maps/the-hottes...

Jan 12, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Casual business dinner

Brigtsen's won't do a table of 10; not sure about Bayona.
Emeril's certainly will, though I'm not a fan.
Clancy's would be a great choice if you don't mind going all the way uptown (about 20 minutes by taxi from the convention center area).
Closer to the convention center, August will do 10, and would be a great choice.

Jan 12, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

"Rules" at Central Grocery

You make a fair point, but your point also supports my assertion that not all muffs are Central Grocery imitators or wannabes.

Jan 09, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

NOLA trip for babymoon :)

Yes, you're missing out, but stick with what you have and just come back again to hit Herbsaint, Peche and the 187 other great places you're missing out on.

Jan 08, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

"Rules" at Central Grocery

There are plenty of places that sell great muffs that don't claim to have invented them. I'd take the muff at Cochon Butcher over Central Grocery any day.

Jan 08, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

"Rules" at Central Grocery

On top of that, original doesn't mean best. Nor does the fact that others try to improve upon it (oftentimes, although not always, with success) doesn't make them imitators.

All of that said, I do like the muffs at Central Grocery and have never been put off by their attitude.

Jan 08, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans

Spicy food to fight a cold

Get yourself to Lilly's Cafe on Magazine St. in the Lower Garden District for some pho. It's an easy cab ride away.

Jan 08, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans
1

Best sandwiches in Boston?

The sandwiches I crave most are the Pho Viet bahn mi, a chacarero from Chacarero, and the lamb and beef gyro at Farm Grill.

Jan 08, 2015
Blumie in Greater Boston Area

Willie Mae's: original vs Grocery and Deli?

So I know that this is not the question you asked, but ...

Do you have access to good fried chicken where you live? I ask because, while NOLA has some decent fried chicken, it's not like it's so amazing that it's worth doing cartwheels for. There is so much great food in NOLA; have you considered going for something that you can't find at home?

Jan 06, 2015
Blumie in New Orleans