h

Halifax's Profile

Title Last Reply

Coming to Chicago for July long weekend - How am I doing?

Thanks to everyone for their help. I have to admit that my head is spinning. Here is where I stand.

1) I am leaning heavily against L2O. I have heard and read the positive feedback. However, I must admit that there just seems to be more mixed reviews than I want going into such an haute (and expensive) dining experience. I guess that is why Robuchon got sick of 3 stars - the problem with high expectations.

2) We are leaning towards North Pond. I will admit that the decision is not final, and it is difficult.

3) Other options that we have looked hard at are C-House, Henri, Sixteen, Sepia, Bonsoiree, and Sixteen.

4) Too bad places like Tru and Ria are not open Sunday night, but my impression is that I should not be dissapointed with what is available.

Fire away with your opinions please - I am running out of time.

-----
Bonsoiree
2728 W Armitage, Chicago, IL 60647

North Pond
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

L2O
2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

C-House
Chicago, Chicago, IL 60611

Jun 29, 2011
Halifax in Chicago Area

Coming to Chicago for July long weekend - How am I doing?

Chicago Hounds,

My wife and I are coming to Chicago for the long weekend in July (1st-4th). We will be visiting and eating with another couple while we are there. We have been before, and have some reservations. However, I am interested in your feedback on our choices, and whether we should consider changes. Here are a few guidelines:

1) Is there any chance to get into Next, for any of the days over that weekend? If so, how can I make that happen? I am struggling with the website. We would cancel any of our current dining plans if we could get in. We would need a table for 4.

2) We plan to start the weekend with a convivial meal. My wife has been to Blackbird already. We currently have a reservation at Graham Elliot.

3) We are going to the Cubs game on Saturday so we plan on doing something very casual and classic Chicago near Wrigley or Twin Anchors. I don't think we want to be bound by a reservation that night.

4) We would like to have a "tour"/high end meal which we plan to eat on Sunday night. We have been to Alinea. It was fantastic, and I am sure we would not be disappointed, but we like to try different places. We are currently booked for L2O. I was not aware of the fact that they lost Chef Gras when we made the choice. Should I be concerned?

How are our choices?

Any feedback, guidance or alternative suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance.

-----
Alinea
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

L2O
2300 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614

Graham Elliot
217 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60654

May 01, 2011
Halifax in Chicago Area

Grove Street Wine Brokers

Who here has used them? And what has your experience been?

http://www.grovestreetbrokers.com/

Mar 23, 2011
Halifax in Wine

Next - Tickets

I decided last week to travel to Chicago for the July 4th weekend. Am I dreaming, if I hope to go to Next that weekend?

Mar 18, 2011
Halifax in Chicago Area

Hot Spot or Lounge Recommendations in Chicago

I have only been to Chicago once and stayed in the Sofitel. Had a great lounge experience there. I may be naive, but have been to other lounges in other cities.

Mar 18, 2011
Halifax in Chicago Area

Old Lahaina Luau Advice

We are taking our kids to the Old Lahaina Luau. Our kids are 11, 9, and 4.5. Here are my questions:

1) I have booked traditional seating rather than convention seating. It sounded like our kids would have the most fun with that. Is this the right call?

2) We are staying in Kapalua, and I would prefer not to drive. Any recommendations on transportation?

-----
Old Lahaina Luau
1251 Front St, Lahaina, HI 96761

Jan 09, 2011
Halifax in Hawaii

Recs for Meals with Kids in Honolulu Please

We are travelling to Hawaii for a family holiday in February. We are spending the first three nights in Honolulu, and are staying at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach in Waikiki, before we head to Maui for a longer stay (thanks for the grocery store recommendations:)).

I am looking for some restaurant recommendations for family places that are budget friendly. My wife and I are adventurous eaters, but are kids (11, 9, and 4 1/2)...not so much.

Our itinerary is being worked out, but here are some rough thoughts that I am building around.

We arrive in Honolulu after a brutal day of travelling from Halifax, Nova Scotia. I expect we will be exhausted, since it will be 4:00 AM Nova Scotia time when we get in. My thinking is that we will go straight to the hotel. We'll need to eat. It would be great to get something simple close by, or even order in a pizza. Any thoughts for supper that night?

The next day we will likely wake up very early, due to the time change. My plan is to go to the Pearl Harbour memorial that morning. I am considering the Wailana Coffee House for breakfast. It seems to make sense since it looks to be nearby, and is open 24 hours. I've read the mixed reviews, so if I am setting myself up for disappointment, please point me in the right direction.

I don't have lunch or supper plans yet for that night, but what about the Big City Diner?

For our last full day we are going to go to Diamond Head in the morning. At some point that day, we're consideringThe Rainbow Drive-in.

A few after thoughts: I liked the look of Ono Hawaiian Foods, but was concerned that there may not be much that my kids would enjoy. My wife and I would also normally do a variety of restaurants between local/rustic and high end, but due to our kids we are going more middle of the road - restaurants that offer something for everyone, and also on the less costly side, so that we are not rushing through an expensive meal to avoid a meltdown of our 4 year old.

I am not tied to any of the above places, so fire away with any thoughts please.

Thanks

-----
Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Big City Diner
3569 Waialae Ave Ste 3, Honolulu, HI 96816

Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd Ste Lbby, Honolulu, HI 96815

Dec 26, 2010
Halifax in Hawaii

Grocery Shopping in Maui

Thanks for the recommendations. I guess it's time to update my Costco membership.

Dec 26, 2010
Halifax in Hawaii

Grocery Shopping in Maui

We are taking a 7 night family vacation to Kapalua in February. Since we will be staying in a condo with a kitchen, we plan to make many of our meals.

We fly into Kahului airport, and ideally we would do a grocery shop on the way to Kapalua. Could folks please give me a recommendation on where we should do our grocery shopping?

Dec 26, 2010
Halifax in Hawaii

Food and Drink for Dudes in Atlanta next weekend

Hello Atlanta Chowhounders,

I am travelling to Atlanta on Friday with 3 friends for the SEC Championship. It looks like we will be staying in Buckhead.

None of us have been to Atlanta before, so we are looking for some advice on where to go get some food and drinks. We'll be having drinks so we will be cabbing or walking anywhere we go.

We plan to go out to eat on Friday night. We want something casual. We are all professionals in our early 40's. One of the group wants BBQ, so it would get strong consideration, but we're open minded.

On the BBQ front, someone recommended Swallow at the Hollow. Any views on it?

We will be going out after the game Saturday for drinks and maybe food. Any recommendations on that front would also be appreciated.

Thanks

Nov 28, 2010
Halifax in Atlanta

6 Dudes one dinner?

Folks, Thanks for all of your help. Just a quick note to report on our visit to Babbo.

First let me say, that Babbo is a great restaurant. The food is excellent, the staff is extremely professional and engaging and the atmosphere is fantastic. I had been about 5 years ago, and again it fit the bill perfectly for our night out: high quality in every way yet casual and fun.

Our evening got off to a rough start when one of our party got sick at the last minute and two of the others were late. This was an extremely difficult situation. I credit the maitre d, who was candid about their policy that they could not seat us until all of our party arrived and the length of time he could hold our table. In the end we lost our originally booked table, but were given another one when our party arrived. While we were seated at one of their walk in tables (yes I know - it's a compromise), I was surprised we got a table at all.

The food and wine was excellent. Dishes we ordered included sardines, octopus, beef cheek ravioli, love letters, sweetbreads. Everything I tried was excellent. For those who live closer and get to eat there frequently, lucky for you that you can try the whole menu.

I would highly recommend Babbo.

-----
Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Nov 28, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

6 Dudes one dinner?

The group has reached a consensus: Babbo.

Could folks give us a sense of how dressed up we need to be. We will want to go as casual as possible.

-----
Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Oct 28, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

6 Dudes one dinner?

I have gone out on a limb.

On the 19th at exactly 10:00 AM, I picked up the phone and started doing the redial thing for Babbo. After about 20 minutes, I got through and was able to get the 6 person table for 9:00!

I am now canvassing the group.

I am still considering Lupa, Kefi, and a long shot in Momofuku Saam Bar. The others still all interest me, but I think these are the narrowed down choices at this time.

Whaddayathink?

-----
Lupa
170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Kefi
505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

Oct 21, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

6 Dudes one dinner?

All of the recommendations sound great. Any idea of how hard it is to get a reservation for the Bo Saam? And generally speaking, will the price of going that route be comparable to Kefi?

Oct 06, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

6 Dudes one dinner?

I'm looking for something mid range. One of my partners is recommending Kefi, which I note has average entry prices around $15. I could see us spending a little more than that, but there will be no buy in for high end places like Jean Georges and frankly that's probably not the atmoshpere we'd be looking for.

I'd be interested in the views of the board on Kefi.

Otherwise I was thinking Italian or steak house, but there are a couple of others that might be fun.

Here are some of the other places I've been considering, but again I don't want to overlook something:

Babbo - probably top of our price range, and difficult to get a reservation. I was there about five years ago and had a great meal. Recent reviews on the board are all over the place.

Lupa, Casa Mono, or one of Batali's other places (not Del Posto).

Marea, although I don't know much about it.

Convivio, as an outside possibility. I've been and had a great meal and it is reasonable. But it involves a bit of a cab ride and is a large restaurant.

Peter Luger's. It looks like fun, but the cab ride to Brooklyn will deter others, even though for me that would be cool.

Keens. I like the look of that place. It looks like that will be at the top of our price range, but looks good.

Momofuku Saam Bar. I've eaten at Ko, and loved it. Saam Bar looks a lot less expensive and more casual. It will be on the edgy side for food for this group, but I think if I could get them there it could be fun. I don't know much about the atmosphere.

I also don't know much about DBGB.

I love Blue Ribbon. I'll keep it in mind, especially if we end up going somewhere late night. I assume it is still walk in only.

A Brazilian steakhouse. I've never done one before.

I look forward to comments and suggestions.

Thanks

-----
Lupa
170 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012

Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Casa Mono
52 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Del Posto
85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

Kefi
505 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

Marea
240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

DBGB
299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

Oct 04, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

6 Dudes one dinner?

I am travelling to Manhattan with 6 colleagues for a football game in November. We'll likely have only one night when we can plan a meal out, which will be a Friday. We are all in our 40' and 50's.

Please help me make recommendations to the group. I'd say we'd be looking for a convivial atmosphere where we can have good food and laughs at a reasonable price. I have some ideas, but I'm interested in the views of the board.

Thanks

Oct 02, 2010
Halifax in Manhattan

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

Thanks for all of the advice regarding my 1550 Hyde/Slanted Door dilemma.

I am less than a week away from our trip and am very excited. We are starting to do our packing. Of course, what comes with that is the inevitable decisions on what to bring. My wife is most concerned. Can folks give me a little insight into how dressy The French Laundry is?

I presume all of the other places are very casual. If I am mistaken on that, please chime in?

-----
The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

Thanks ThirstyReader. That gives me peace of mind. Gotta admit that your prior recommendation and your blog leaves a little doubt in my mind about leaving Chappallet off my list. But I don't want to over extend myself....

Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

Yes we have. It was a very tough call to abandon the Kenwood and Sonoma. However, it just seemed like we we going to stretch things too much logistically. I also felt that the one afternoon in Sonoma was not going to do it justice. I really like what I have read about Sonoma Co, especially the northern and western areas. They were not going to be doable, without killing myself driving which would take the fun out seeing those areas. Bottom line, I need to go back and do Sonoma Co on its own, and do it right.

When I do, I'll be sure to look into your Mayo Family suggestion.

Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

Thanks for the endorsement. The view was one of the main reasons I chose to make the effort to drive up to Pride. I figured that we needed to try one mountain winery. It sounds like they are also very friendly and have interesting wines to taste.

Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

I'm back. I have to admit that I could not investigate this issue too much as I found it exhausting and confusing. I decided that the best strategy for me is to pick a few wineries and enjoy them. Although I am a winery rookie, I decided to go with some high end choices. I figure this would be a good chance for me to try something I would not normally buy.

Monday: drive from SF to Napa County. Will eat en rout, and end up at Pride for a 3:00 PM tasting. We may stop somewhere along the way for a drop in tasting (possibly Plumpjack or somewhere in the Carneros district), but that will only be time permitting. After Pride we will go to Solage (Calistoga) where we are staying and eat at Solbar, 7:45 resy.

Tuesday: We are going to have breakfast on the resort and then relax for most of the morning. We will head out around 11:00 for a tasting at 11:30 at Schramsberg. I kept the 2:00 PM tasting at Shafer, which we will make our way to after Schramsberg. I don't plan to really do any tastings along the way. We are eating at TFL that night at 5:45, but I thinks 2 tastings very spaced out should be fine. I gather it's only a 5 mile drive to The Bardessono from Shafer, so we'll have time to check in, change, and get ready before supper.

Wednesday: 10:30 tasting at Crocker and Starr. Lunch at 12:00 at Auberge du Soleil. Relax at the Bardessono and Yountville for the rest of the day. Might check out Hope and Grace.

What do you think?

-----
Bardessono
6526 Yount Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Soleil Restaurant
625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

This always happens to me. I basically finalize all plans and reservations only to have some new option, factor or problem introduced that causes me to doubt a decision.

Please help with my current quandry.

I will be arriving in SF from Halifax at 3:30 PM on a Saturday. I have a reservation for that evening at 1550 Hyde. I chose it mostly because it seems fun, relaxed, very authentic California/SF, relatively inexpensive and appears to be highly recommend by the folks here.

A friend I haven't seen in years, who lives in the Bay area, will be joining my wife and I for dinner. I had to call in a favour from our concierge to increase our reservation to 4 people. My friend is very easy going, and is happy to go to 1550 Hyde, but has thrown out his own, local recommendations: Slanted Door (Vietnamese fusion); Water Bar (seafood); Epic Roasthouse (steak); Ozumo (japanese); Boulevard (french); Zuni Café (american) . He is most high on The Slanted Door, and I believe is going to make a tentative reservation for 8:45 there.

I must admit that I am a bit torn. Do folks think I should change my choice from 1550 Hyde to one of his suggested options, especially The Slanted Door? It does seem different than the other places I am eating at during the trip. I am a bit concerned about the 8:45 resy since my body will be telling me that is 12:45 AM. So I may have to embarrassingly call my concierge back and see if she can get me an earlier time, or just fight through fatigue. Of course even that would be a bit of a long shot.

What do you think: stay with 1550 Hyde, switch to the Slanted Door, go with one of the other recommendations, or switch to something new altogether?

-----
Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

1550 Hyde
1550 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Epic Roasthouse
369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

Ozumo
2251 Broadway Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

rw - I plan at eating at Canteen on Sunday morning. I note they don't take reservations for breakfast. It will be Mother's Day that day. Am I in for some kind of crazy wait? Does anyone have any advice about what time I should go and the time it will take to experience breakfast there?

I would like to stick to my plan of eating at Canteen that Sunday morning, but would like to avoid an unpleasant surprise.

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

Wolfe - I've changed my plans, and have decided to avoid the Trinity road shortcut. This was driven largely by the decision to stay at Solage and give Solbar a try, but the awkward drive did play a role in my thinking.

Approaching Wine at the French Laundry???

This is a very timely thread, as I am facing the exact same quandry for our meal at TFL in May. I am very happy to hear the advice that giving a budget is acceptable. I will be going with option #3.

For what it's worth, my wife and I ate at Per Se last year. They actually don't offer a wine pairing. We each had a glass of wine and shared 2 half bottles, at the sommelier's recommendation. This worked very well. I wish I had written down the wine we had :(

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

I have booked a 12:00 lunch reservation on the deck at the Auberge du Soleil for the Wednesday. This should fit in nicely after our 10:30 tasting at Crocker and Starr. After lunch I think we'll head to the Bardessono/Yountville and just relax until supper at REDD.

I'll bear in mind your other suggestions, thanks.

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

One of the best things about this board is that people introduce new ideas and remind you of practicalities. Based on some of the recent posts, I believe I'm going to make a change in our wine country plans. It will look like this:

Monday (the day we leave San Francisco) - We have decided to forgo a large breakfast and line ups of Dottie's. Instead we will grab a good coffee, and some baked goods. We are not going to take the Alcatraz tour either (We'll come back and do that with our kids :) ). Instead we'll get our rental car and go for a hike in the Marin Headlands or Muir Woods.

I struggled to decide if we would visit Suasalito for lunch at one of the recommended places which all look great for different reasons. However, I think I'll keep it simple and head to The Fremont Diner after our hike. It looks fun, and logical place to stop.

Here's where the most significant change comes in. I think I am going to abandon the weak effort to see a bit of Sonoma county and change our hotel reservations from The Kenwood to Solage. A big factor in this decision is that it just seems I will get a much better meal, much more conveniently, at Solbar than I would if we stayed at The Kenwood. While The Vinyards Inn sounds good and fun Solbar sounds better. I could leave Kenwood and find somewhere else to eat, but the thought of getting back into the car for dinner doesn't appeal to me. By contrast, Solbar would be right on property. The cost of the two options work out almost exactly the same. I recognize that Calistoga is no closer, and may be farther, but the overall driving looks simplified.

After lunch at The Fremont Diner, we'll head towards Calistoga. I have made a 3:00 PM tasting appointment at Pride. It seems to get a lot of praise. It will be the only "mountain" winery (I think) that we will be visiting. My thinking is that we will have plenty of time to get there after lunch, we'll get to experience the views of the valley, in addition to experiencing their wine.

After Pride, we'll make our way to Solage, where we will simply check in, relax, have a drink/wine, before dinner at 7:30 at Solbar.

Tuesday: Breakfast at Solbar. Relax at the resort and around Calistoga. I don't think we'll do any wine touring or tasting that morning. We'll eventually head to Oakville Grocery for a light lunch and shopping/browsing. Notwithstanding the advice above, I think we'll stick with our 2:00 PM tasting at Shafer. we may stop at another winery en route, before Shafer, which is TBD. I gather the Shafer tasting is 90 minutes. so that would put us in Yountville before 4 to check in and relax a bit before our 5:45 dinner reservation at the FL. While that is not a huge resting window, I think this plan sets out a relatively relaxed day. I could also see us strolling Yountville after supper, maybe going out for a drink or just relaxing at The Bardessono that night.

Wednesday: We have a 10:00 AM appointment that friends arranged for us at Crocker and Starr. I've heard the advice to mix it up, eg, try an olive oil tasting or sparkling, which we might still do. However, I feel a little obligated to go Crocker and Starr because of our friends' effort. It looks and sounds like it would be a nice experience. Please warn me if we should not go there.

I am thinking of making a lunch reservation at Auberge du Soleil, for Wednesday. I don't plan on doing much more in the way planned wine tasting on Wednesday. Rather, after lunch we'd head back to The Bardessono to relax. We have 8:00 pm reservations for Redd that night.

Thursday: we'll be up and on the road to Monterey early.

While this all involves driving, I am trying not to book too much or expect to do a large number of tastings, so as to keep things sane.

-----
Oakville Grocery
124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Bardessono
6526 Yount Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Fremont Diner
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

Thanks for the recommendation. I have looked into Solbar. It looks excellent. I am considering changing our plans to stay Solage instead of the Kenwood Inn and Spa on our first night in wine country. I would then eat at Solbar, instead of the Vinyards Inn in Kenwood. at the end of the day the price is about the same for either option. It seems that this plan may simpify things (although I recognize that staying at The Bardessono all three nights would be best, I can not access the original price I booked at and the new price is...). What do you think?

-----
Bardessono
6526 Yount Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Seeking advice for my 40th California Trip: San Francisco, Napa, Monterey

Seemac70 - good luck with your planning. I grew up in the Valley: Wolfville and Hantsport. Small world. Have fun.

Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

Chowhounds - I have received much helpful guidance for our upcoming trip to Sonoma and Napa in May. Thanks!

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/676784

I thought I would start a new thread asking for advice specific for winery recommendations. I have done searches, but there is a lot to chose from, and I notice that the results that come up are usually quite old. So I am asking for more help.

A few points to bear in mind: I have never been to Sonoma or Napa; I am a wine tasting rookie; I would like to learn; I am most interested in fun and personal experiences. I don't feel the ned to visit a million wineries, but would rather spend more time at the ones we do go to. I have a few places in mind, but nothing is carved in stone. I am not focused on any specific type of wine.

We will be driving to Sonoma County on a Monday. We are planning to stop at the Fremont Diner for lunch and will then make our way to Kenwood, where we are staying that night. My thinking is that we may stop at one winery along the way, before getting to a longer tasting/tour experience closer to in Kenwood. For a longer experience I am considering Deerfield, Chateau St. Jean, Kunde, or Benzinger. There are also some comments about Kenwood and Landmark.

The next day, the plan is to drive the Trinity Road shortcut with Yountville being the ultimate destination. The loose plan now is to stop at Lookout Ridge, and take the slight detour to Makayamas. I don't know much about either of these. Based on Chowhound posts, I have also sent a request for an afternoon tasting at Shafer. It seems to me that, at most, we would be stopping at one more drop in type tasting, but that may be pushing it as we have 5:45 dinner reservations.

The last day in wine country will be spent entirely in Napa. We have friends who have recommended Crocker Starr and Keever (if we can get in?). I've seen lots of love/discussion about Pride. Our concierge has suggested a few also: Swanson; Hall Rutherford; Elyse; Viader; and Cliff Lede. The only one of those that I have read any meaningful discussion on is Cliff Lede, and the feedback looks mixed. I have not looked at many options yet for that day.

As mentioned above, the options mentioned are preliminary, so if I am missing something, or am headed down the wrong path, please chime in.

Thanks again.

-----
Fremont Diner
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA