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Birthday dinner for large group. Tasty but not prix fixe.

Thanks for the suggestion. Those places look a little pricey for my group. Anything else, everyone? I'm pretty open here. :)

Mar 22, 2011
joeyz in Manhattan

Good pizza and Italian take out that delivers in financial district

No pizza but Barbarini is excellent Italian in the Seaport area. They deliver.

Mar 16, 2011
joeyz in Manhattan

Birthday dinner for large group. Tasty but not prix fixe.

Hey all,
I am planning a 30th birthday party for midweek later this month. There will be 10-13 guests total. My first choice was Prune but we would have to commit to a $65 per person prix fixe for a large party like that. The menu looked great but I don't want to break the bank for everyone. The people coming have a variety of income levels and I want to go to a place where the food will be great but that won't require that kind of financial commitment from everyone. Ideally I want to avoid prix fixe completely. I'm open to all kinds of food. Any suggestions? :)

Mar 16, 2011
joeyz in Manhattan

Listo El Poljo (The "Colombian Hooters"): Elmhurst Queens

Thanks for the post Driggs, I'll have to check this place out. I agree, atmosphere etc is part of what makes a place unique. No one made ParkSlopeMania click on your Flickr link!

Jan 09, 2011
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Sandra Lee could be the next first lady of New York?

Yep - scary!!!! :)

Jun 21, 2010
joeyz in Food Media & News

New Cooking Channel Reactions??

Love it. It's a big improvement over Food Network in it's current form. Molto Mario, Jamie At Home, Giada, Emeril, Michael Chiarello, Juila Child, that new show about Indian cooking....and not a realty show in sight! :)

Jun 21, 2010
joeyz in Food Media & News

Best Burrito in NY?

No, those burritos are far from great.

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Best Burrito in NY?

Benny's are Blockheads are perfect examples of everything that's wrong with the watered down "Mexican" food found in Manhattan. BLAND BLAND BLAND.

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Best Burrito in NY?

Exactly. The real Mexican-style burritos I grew up eating in "for us, by us" Mexican places in Chicago and the Chi-town burbs were much more minimalist - primarily just meat and cheese. Still the best burritos I've ever had, by far.

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Best Burrito in NY?

Nice - the place in Astoria you're talking about is Tulcingo. I've been going there for YEARS, when I finally discovered that there is some good, real Mexican food in NY (i.e. at places like that). I would literally travel from Brooklyn to Queens just for their Bistec ala Mexicana (which is GREAT).

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Best Burrito in NY?

I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and ever since I've moved to New York I have yet to find a burrito that even comes close to the burritos I grew up eating. Seriously, the place near my high school (El Burrito Mexicana in Lisle, IL) makes what to this day I would be inclined to pick for my deathbed meal. The suburbs and city of Chicago are filled with great places and none of them are trying to be "mission-style". I'm sure real mission burritos are great but I don't know how it is the this became the standard for what burritos are supposedly supposed to be. A real burrito (Chicago-style) has no rice and is primarily good quality meat and plenty of Mexican cheese (plus a not-overpowering amount of beans, lettuce, and tomato, and maybe some cilantro and onions). I don't know why it's so uncommon for burritos here to have some good hunks of quaeso blanco inside. Plenty of good salsa on the side for liberal application to your burrito is also key. One popular option (which, when done right, is DELICIOUS) is chorizo and eggs as a filling. I shouldn't have to go back to Illinois for burritos like these. Stop drinking the faux-mission Kool-Aid.

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Dos Toros- new taco/burrito joint in Union Square

I love this place, it seriously is my biggest addiction right now. Get the burritos, with guacamole. All the meats are excellent, the grilled chicken especially so. The green hot sauce is the secret ingression, which I get on the side and apply at will. The red hot sauce is REALLY hot. the first time I went here I made the mistake of having it added to my burrito, which I could barely eat - so be warned. Can't compare it to actual SF burritos but this is great stuff, way better than garbage like Burritoville.

What NYC really needs now are Chicago-style burritos - no rice, heavy on the meat and cheese!

Mar 27, 2010
joeyz in Manhattan

Throwdown with Bobby Flay staged?

I don't understand the Flay hate. I'm assuming it comes from people who used to watch back in the 90s. He always comes off as very congenial in Throwdown (and even his recent grilling shows), and almost seems embarrassed when he wins. The show should be called "Beat Bobby Flay." Most of the time he doesn't have a chance because authenticity is almost always one of the judging categories. Although it's not like I've actually eaten any of the dishes made on the show, I often get the impression that tastewise it's either a draw or even in Bobby's favor but authenticity wins it for the hometeam.

Mar 05, 2010
joeyz in Food Media & News

No Reservation Chile

I can't say I understand the apparent Chilean fondness for combing avocado with copious mayo. That hot dog - yuck!

A lot of the other stuff looked good though, like the ribs in wine sauce.

Jul 26, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Best and Worst of No Reservations

And Peru - I forgot how good that episode is.

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Batali on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon

http://nymag.com/daily/food/2009/04/a...

• Ouch: Gwyneth Paltrow has given Mario Batali a free membership at her friend's gym because "Mario is the only fat friend she has, and wants him to change." [NYP]

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

FN Mac&Cheese Challenge: Barbara Lynch

Bobby usually loses, BECAUSE he tweeks the dish - often for the better IMHO, or at least it looks/sounds that way.

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Anybody catch Throwdown with Mark Israel of Doughnut Plant?

LOL, there is now NO mention of the episode in the television section of his website!

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Best and Worst Cooking Shows

Bobby loses Throwdown the vast majority of the time, often when it seems like he makes the better dish - probably because of people like you who hate him and just want to see him lose.

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Throwdown with Bobby Flay staged?

This is kind of a nonsequiter but did anyone see the meatball show? The competitor was this really funny New York Italian guy who kept talking about how Bobby was making "Irish sauce" - even though it was shown earlier that they were actually making one of his assistants' grandmother's recipe!

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Throwdown with Bobby Flay staged?

In the first season, it was either jerk chicken or jambalaya and the woman was clearly pissed - Bobby even mentioned as much in his narration and there were clips of her giving him lip. There was a split decision between the judges so the final verdict ended up being given to a random 11 year-old. This woman looked like she was going to strangle the kid if he didn't choose her dish - seriously, the kid looked scared!

Some people seem to think the show isn't fair to Flay's competitors but if anything the odds are stacked against him. The dishes are judged according to "authenticity" which usually ends up meaning that Flay loses because he tweeks the dish, regardless of how it tastes (hot peppers in arroz con pollo - no, not that!), and the judges are probably pressured by the crowd to give it to the hometown hero. I've often wondered whether the winner's dish was really better than Bobby's - matzoh ball soup, fried chicken, moules frites, etc. He even lost to Paula Deen because he used cream gravy on his chicken fried steak! In the first season he only won 3 times (and tied once), with one of these times being for burgers. Note that this is one of the only times Bobby had the more traditional take on the dish. His competitor made a Greek style burger - I wouldn't be surprised if the judges thought it was Bobby's!

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Throwdown with Bobby Flay staged?

I felt bad for her. She was on the "rematch" show too and ended up making the exact same vegetables Bobby did, with apparently much less success!

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Throwdown with Bobby Flay staged?

The puffy taco lady was like "you mean I'm not starring in a new series called South of the Border?". Seriously, making people think they were going to have their own SERIES is just harsh. Bobby Flay isn't Sacha Baron Cohen - getting these people pissed off is not good for his show!

Jun 21, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Batali on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon

That was funny. Reminds me how much I wish Mario was still cooking on TV. That dish was simple but probably extremely good - the essence of Italian cuisine. And he does look thinner.

Jun 20, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Bourdain in Mexico

Yep, that's him. I thought it was funny how matter-of-factly he talks about how he took over as head chef because Tony became famous "for some reason". LOL. Anyway, I'm glad he got to do this episode and I LOVE real Mexican food. I've been lucky enough to live in Chicago and Queens so I know the difference!

Jun 20, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

Best and Worst of No Reservations

Some of my favorites were Indonesia, Laos (any of the Southeast Asia shows really), Disappearing Manhattan, the China and India shows, and Sri Lanka. These episodes really captured the spirit of the respective places and I think these were the episodes where Bourdain was most successful in translating his love of food to a deeper, almost more spiritual level. And the food looked great of course. Beirut and "Into the Fire" were very interesting too, for different reasons. People keep mentioning Cleveland and I enjoyed that as well, mainly because of Harvey Pekar and the whole American Splendor motif. I'm from Chicago and I enjoyed that episode, given Bourdain's unabashed love for the city (and yes, Chicago pizza sucks although the Chicago hot dog blows NYC's off the planet). The Texas episode was surprisingly good too.

Namibia was just gross. Moscow, Sweden, and Egypt were on the dull side (great countries but not for food) and I still have yet to get all the way through Romania.

Jun 20, 2009
joeyz in Food Media & News

worthy take out in Sunnyside or LIC ? After 9:30pm or weekends?

YES! 5 Star Punjab is easily the best Indian place in the LIC/Astoria area. Truly authentic and delicious. The buffet is a great deal. The Kofta curry may be my favorite. Yum.....

Feb 15, 2009
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

IF YOU HAD 3 DAYS TO EAT ETHNIC IN QUEENS, --?

Wow, thanks for the great list. BTW, Tulcingo is in Astoria as well. Been going there for years - just got some chilaquiles last night. YUM!

Feb 15, 2009
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

seva - good indian in astoria!

I used to live right by 5 Star Punjab, in a converted industrial loft. Definitely the highlight of a sparse neighborhood. I've been meaning to go back for the lunch special for ages. They also make a damn good navratan curry, especially if you ask for it spicy.

Thanks for the rec. of Seva, I'm craving Indian and am really glad to hear about this new option in the neighborhood!

Oct 05, 2008
joeyz in Outer Boroughs

Is Bourdain's baby girl a culinary savant?

Haha, wait until she gets older. She'll rebel by becoming a regional manager at Applebees...or a Food Network exec!

Sep 15, 2008
joeyz in Food Media & News