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Traveling to NY for a week with my dad, where to eat?

Hi. My dad and I will be in NY for a week in June. We used to visit a few times a year but haven't been in 4 or 5 years, so while we have old favorites, I'd love some new best suggestions.
We'll be staying on the UWS, at W77th and Columbus. We usually go out to dinner on the UWS, and our old stomping grounds pretty much are Isabella's, Ocean Grill, and Ruby Foo's or sushi takeout on the night we get in. Not bad, if I recall, but I'd love to try something new.

He really loves good fish. I'm a big fan of the locavore, farm to table, slow food movement (although that's usually a bit expensive at restaurants). I don't eat pork, or shellfish. The type of restaurant doesn't matter too much (Locavore, deli, ethnic, italian, mediterranean, french, american, whatever), as long as the food is delicious.

I'd love recommendations for:
Several really good places under $30, ideally under $25, an entree on the UWS, preferably pretty near W77th and Columbus

Good grocery shopping on the UWS. We've never really cooked in NY beyond schmearing bagels, but I've gotten more observant over the years so we will be cooking Friday dinner at home. No idea where to get good groceries. I'm pretty spoiled by grassfed meat, local seasonal produce, super fresh local fish, etc back home in the East Bay (SF Bay Area). I don't necessarily want to spend a fortune on top gourmet ingredients, but I also know that the produce in the corner stores last time I visited was not up to my standards. (Awesome markets downtown would also be fine, but I'd love to know where a good grocery store on the UWS is.)

1 or 2 splurges. Is there anyplace fabulous worth making a trip out of? (We usually head out during the day but then head back to the UWS for a nap and dinner, but might go one night somewhere downtown or across town if it's really special.) This might be a little more than $30 an entree, but not massively more. 35-40 is probably ok, but more than that is too much. Is there anywhere really good we can't miss? I remember a few years ago, we went to Savoy, and I still remember what we ate, even though it was 6+ years ago. Any place like that that we just can't miss?

Thanks!

May 20, 2013
Magelet in Manhattan

Bay Area Korean recap

Oh, and this was for two people.

Apr 11, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Korean recap

We went to Kang Tong Degi. It was great. We ordered the spicy fried chicken wings and the short rib. The wings were sweet, spicy-hot, well spiced and delicious. It was a huge plate, served with daikon cubes. The short ribs were so flavorful and rich and tender and delicious. They were served over raw onions which stewed in the fat from the ribs under the heat of the meat and the hot platter, which were so good. They came with rice and kimchi and some sort of noodle thing, and pickled daikon and carrots, and bean sprouts. We also got a side of the salad which comes with the grilled meats, which we loved.
We went at happy hour (6-9 Sun-Thu), so a large Hait (1.5 pints) was 4. We got two.
All of it was $48 including a 20% tip. We were stuffed to the gills and had several chicken wings leftover.
The food was delicious. I highly recommend both dishes we had, the spicy fried chicken wings and the short ribs.
The music was a little loud, but since you are seated in little booths, it was easy to carry on a conversation. We went at 7 on a weeknight and were the only people there.
I highly recommend it. We had a huge amount of delicious food, and a celebratory generous amount of beer for a very good price.

Apr 10, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to go for an adventurous, affordable East Bay birthday dinner for 2?

Thanks. We had a great meal at Kang Tong Degi. We loved it, it was enough food we had leftovers plus a few beers for well under our budget and super yummy. He was delighted. He didn't try the chrysalis soup, he was considering it, as he likes to try weird stuff like that but the waiter dissuaded him, saying its pretty gross. We split the short ribs and the spicy chicken wings. They came with lots of sides of pickles and rice and such, and we got the salad that comes with the grilled meats. He was so happy. Thank you for the suggestions.

(Full food report will be under the Bay Area Korean Recap thread.)

Apr 10, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Ippuku - Izakaya in Berkeley

We just went to Ippuku tonight, and it was mindblowing.
We called last night for a reservation and they said they didn't have any reservations before 9, but if we wanted an early dinner, they could probably accommodate us as a walk in when they opened. We got there at 5:15 and they had no problems seating us.

The food was amazing.
We had:
1 order of the vegetable pickles - I liked the pickled turnips best, they were delicious. My fiancé loved the smoked pickled carrots and I think it was burdock root maybe? Or daikon? best.
2 orders of the chicken goyzas - They were mindblowing, transcendental, one of those food moments I'll never forget.
1 order of enegi mushrooms - grilled king oyster mushrooms, these were so simple and plain but so delicious because of it, perfectly prepared.
1 order of the minced chicken with egg yolk. - Again, absolutely amazing. Incredibly flavorful and tender and delicious. The egg yolk was just that. The dish was a skewer, served with sauce, and a raw egg yolk.
1 order of the chicken hearts - These were so good. I don't always love heart because it is a little tough and gristly for me, but these weren't. They were chewy, but not gristly, and so flavorful.
1 order of chicken breast - This was really good. It was fairly plain, but so perfectly prepared that you loved it plain, with lemon juice and salt.
1 order of the camenbert and honey - 2 triangles of camenbert on a skewer, grilled, with honey drizzeled on top, and spicy pepper on the side of the plate. I'm not a huge camenbert fan, and I liked it. My dad and fiancé loved it.
1 order of scallion pancake - It was one of my fiancé's favorite (with the goyza and rice balls), probably one of my least favorite. A very thick ( 3/4 in to 1 in, I would say) scalliony pancake served with shaved bonito and some sort of seasoned mayo or something.
1 order of grilled rice balls with tare (sweet sauce)-These were delicious. Grilled, hot, sweet, salty, a little crunchy on the outside soft and sticky on the inside.
Nigiri unfiltered sweet sake - 300 ml -very good. Even us non-sake drinkers enjoyed it ($25)
an IPA ($6)

Total for 3 people, including the alcohol mentioned above was around $115 with tax and tip. We came away full.

The must haves, in order of rank: the goyzas, the pickles, the minced chicken with egg yolk, and the grilled rice balls with tare.

Absolutely our new favorite place.

Apr 09, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Anyone know a great East Bay Burger joint?

I really liked Victory Burger on Alcatraz at San Pablo. We had the burger on the Arepa Bun and it was really quite good. It wasn't the best burger ever, but it was really good and the Arepa bun was awesome.

Apr 02, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Where to go for an adventurous, affordable East Bay birthday dinner for 2?

I'd like to take my fiancé out to his kind of restaurant for his birthday, as we usually go to my type.

His kind means adventuresome: he likes to ask for the non-English menu, to try the unusual (chicken tendons, frogs legs, chrysalis soup, whole sheep head, that's his thing). Spicy food is great, he is always asking for food served not white person spicy, actually spicy (my paraphrasing) but hasn't met his match yet (he's searching for it). The food should be actually really good, not just unusual. He loves big, bold flavors. He likes big filling portions and peasant food, and is not a big fan of fusion/pan asian/California cuisine, especially when it comes with small plates. He wants to be full after a meal.

I'm thinking maybe Asian: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai you name it. I can't eat pork or shellfish, so there needs to be an English menu or a waitstaff who can find me something I can eat, but I'm not picky. This is about indulging his love of the new.

I can go up to about $60 for two people, no drinks, no dessert, but if I can do less, that would be great. We'll be going on a Wednesday night. It doesn't have to be a romantic feel if it's great, but I would like a place where it's quiet enough that we can actually hold a conversation.

Looking for someplace in Berkeley, Oakland, etc. If it's amazing and affordable, I'd go a little further afield but not into the city. Either with reasonable parking nearby or near BART.

Thanks!

Apr 02, 2013
Magelet in San Francisco Bay Area

Romantic Dinner in Carmel/Monterey Pennisula

I know for a lot of places, it's not much, but for two entrees, and 1-2 appatizers, no drinks, no dessert surely not impossible. At home in Berkeley, we've been to many places we get out the door for about 30-40. Bistro moulin looks great.

Mar 31, 2011
Magelet in California

Romantic Dinner in Carmel/Monterey Pennisula

My partner and I are taking a trip down to Carmel, and are looking for someplace to have a really delicious, romantic dinner. We'll be staying in Carmel Valley with family, but will have a car, so Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-the-sea, Monterey, Salinas, Pebble Beach, etc, is fine.

I'd like to spend no more than $60 dollars for two, including tax and tip (no alcoholic beverages, and probably no dessert. we'd rather have more to spend on appetizers and entrees, and go get ice cream or something after). If it is absolutely worth it, I'd consider spending up to about $75, but that's really it, and only if it were a HUGE improvement over what we could get for about $60. Also, I hate going to a restaurant and only being able to order the least expensive thing. I like to go in, and have my choice of the menu in my budget.

I love Italian and French food, but he generally isn't a big fan, due to portion size and fussiness. He's happy with peasant Italian or French, and big portions, but haute cuisine with small plates and delicate flavors is not his thing. He also loves Asian food of various sorts, and so do I. Basically big portions and rich, hearty food, intense flavors and amazing. (We're foodies of the highest and poorest degree. This is a very special occasion, we rarely have this much money to spend on a meal, and want to make it worth it.)

We've been to Casanova and both LOVED it, but I'm thinking it's a bit out of budget. (I don't actually recall the prices, if you think we could do Casanova for 60 for two, let me know, but I recall it being a LOT more expensive.) I wonder if lunch at Casanova would be prohibitive.... Any ideas on cost there?

He eats everything, I can't eat pork, shellfish, rabbit, (any land animals without hooves really), or meat and dairy in the same dish. (I can usually work around meat and dairy in the same dish almost anywhere, but some restaurants are almost all pork, or almost all shellfish). Other than that, we're pretty adventurous eaters.

It doesn't have to be some stereotypically romantic spot, as long as it is quiet enough for conversation, nice enough to feel worth dressing up for (even if everyone else isn't much dressed up), and blow your mind amazing food. (I'm even up for blow your mind pizza, burgers etc. I'd happily spend less, and it doesn't have to be super fancy.)

Oh, and we'll be going mid-week (probably wed. or thu.)

Wow us! (And if there is something that we HAVE to order at a given spot, please tell me.) Thanks.

Mar 31, 2011
Magelet in California

Cookbook Question - Whose Cookbooks Rarely Disappoint You? Books Where Recipes Always Appeal?

I haven't read any of her other cookbooks, but Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food is amazing. Everything we've tried has been scrumptious, and most of the recipes are so appealing.

Feb 01, 2011
Magelet in Home Cooking

Kosher Cassoulet?

I'll try to find one. I've never heard of a smoked turkey leg. (at least not for sale in the market.) That would help a great deal. I wonder about adding some sort of cured meat as well? Many cassoulet recipes I looked at had some cured meat involved. I guess salami would be that, but salami is rather different than say bacon or salt pork, much... firmer. (I think salami might be a bit strange, I was thinking more along the lines of lamb or beef sausage in a lamb or beef casing for the sausage). mmmmh I already had dinner but I'm getting hungry thinking about this.

Oct 07, 2009
Magelet in Kosher

Kosher Cassoulet?

I've been day dreaming about cassolet. Any ideas of what meat to use? (I'm thinking I'll be able to find a kosher sausage to use, and duck is fine (and yummy fatty)). but what about the bacon/salt pork/pork shoulder/ ham hocks, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure all of these are very fatty cuts of meat. Would perhaps adding more duck in work? Are there other meats which would be good for cassoulet? Any one have experience making a kosher version of cassoulet? Thanks!!

Oct 07, 2009
Magelet in Kosher