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Hong Kong , Best Non Cantonese Chinese ?

If Sichuan appeals, I had a fantastic meal at San Xi Lou about a year ago.

Hong Kong 8 days

For Sichuan food, I recently had dinner at San Xi Lou, and was very satisfied with the quality of ingredients and cooking. Good wine list, too. It's near the Botanical Gardens, and a bit pedestrian inaccessible, so I would recommend taking a cab. My food reviews are here:, and their website is here:

Hong Kong recap

We're in Vallejo, so don't get down to try the good places in the South Bay, unfortunately. For dim sum, we will make the trek to Koi Palace, which does have some nice eats (rice rolls with fried fish, seafood dumplings in chili peanut sauce, XO radish cake, crab Xiao long bao, concubine clam congee), or if we're lazy settle for Asia Pearl in Richmond (XO rice rolls, crispy skin pork, soy sauce noodles, a good version of siu mae) - all significantly greasier and less consistently well cooked than in HK.

For dinners, we'll inevitably eat Sichuan - Z&Y is our current favorite while China Village is remodeling. Spices III in Oakland is also pretty good as well. We've also enjoyed Jai Yun in the past, as well as Beijing Restaurant but have not been to either in a while. That's about it. Which is why we try and gorge when we're in HK (which has been exactly twice).

Hong Kong recap

I hear you. It isn't the first time this kind of unexpectedly poor meal at a well regarded place has happened to us (Benu in SF, Eleven Madison Park in NYC, e.g.). It is especially vexing since it was not only the good reviews from Chowhounders and on Openrice, but also the great breakfast congees that convinced us it would be good. And, the scallop was really quite excellent. Oddly, the dishes that proved sub-par were the recommendations from our server. My partner is convinced that if we had ordered what we had initially intended, the meal might have been better (although we have no way of knowing that for sure).

In any event, I was kind of sorry I switched Ming Court from a dinner to a dim sum to accommodate this meal, but at least we gave it a shot. Hopefully just a one off....

Hong Kong recap

We finished up our recent Asian cruise adventure in Hong Kong, ready to hunt down some superlative dim sum and other culinary delights. We did quite well (for the most part).

Ming Court

Based on the recommendations of many Chowhounders, we ate our first Hong Kong lunch at Ming Court in the Langham Place Hotel in Mongkok. A beautiful setting and fantastic meal. Accompanied by a nice pu er tea, we ate the following:

Green onion rice pancake with dried meats. By far, the best version of this dim sum standard I’ve ever tried, especially when paired with the house XO sauce. Crunchy, savory, onion-y and not greasy. A fine start.

Steamed Shanghainese pork dumpling. We had versions with and without the addition of Alaskan King Crab. Interestingly, the "plain" version bested the "upscale" version for overall yumminess (both were good, though!).

Steamed bamboo shoot shrimp dumpling (har gau variation). Really great fresh seafood flavor and perfectly cooked wrappers. I think the “pleating” may not have been up to a traditionalist’s standards, but there was no complaining here.

Steamed seafood dumpling with pea shoots. Somehow, they manage to get the seafood, veggies and wrapper perfectly cooked unlike in the US, where one or more typically suffers the steaming process.

Steamed chicken with Cordyceps mushroom at Ming Court. We ordered this dish so we could try the Cordyceps mushrooms for the first time. Little did we suspect that it would be the best tasting chicken we had ever eaten. It was so “chicken-y” it was almost like a psychedelic flavor version of chicken. WOW!!!

The Chairman

Our first diner in Hong Kong was at The Chairman, a small restaurant serving “modern” Cantonese food. We stuck to the best known dishes here, and were happy we did so. Accompanying was an excellent very dry Kilikanoon Riesling.

Cherry Tomatoes Pickled in Basil Reduction with Lemongrass Pickled Yam Bean. A very fresh preparation with intense tomatoes and an edgy herbal yam. Very different, with pure and complimentary flavors.

BBQ Chicken Liver with Chinese Bun (Gold Coin Chicken variation). Note: must be ordered in advance (they actually checked our e-mail to verify this order!). My advice: order this in advance. WOW! Sorry we only got one each.

Wild Clams Stir Fried with Chilli Jam and Basil. This was amazing, as the sauce was quite assertive, yet allowed the flavor of these most excellent clams to shine. One of the pinnacle dishes of the trip, for sure. I could have eaten at least two more orders!

Steamed Fresh Flowery Crab with Aged ShaoXing Wine, Fragrant Chicken Oil & Flat Rice Noodles at The Chairman. One expensive crab. But a very good one, enhanced by the rich, slightly wine-bitter sauce. The accompanying rice noodles were a nice touch, allowing maximum sauce appreciation.

Osmanthus & Wolfberry Ice-cream. Terrific floral and fruity ice cream, not strongly flavored or overly sweet, but well balanced and a nice small send off to a great meal.

Lung King Heen

We had to try this Michelin three star for dim sum, as we had heard it was very inventive and well executed. We had heard correctly, apparently. Whereas Ming Court was all about the beautiful décor, LKH had the added benefit of a fantastic view. Fairly pricy, though (about double the price of Ming Court).

Assorted Appetizers, Chef’s Choice – Our chef’s choice was char siu (a bite each, but succulent and tasty), spring roll (crisp and enhanced by a shiso leaf wrap) and a fringed jellyfish (crunchy but a bit unfamiliar, for sure)

Baked Pork Buns with Fermented Bean Paste - A savory/sweet balancing act. An almost short dough-style pastry with a salty slightly funky pork filling. Very unique and flavorful.

Steamed Racan Pigeon Dumplings with Vegetables. The best single piece of dim sum on the trip (and, quite possibly ever). The veggies were perfectly cooked and complimented the rich, gamy and well spiced flavor of the squab. And, they're nice enough to put a thin carrot round beneath to prevent sticking. Superb!

Baked Whole Abalone Puff with Diced Chicken. The abalone had the approximate texture of shitake mushroom, but a deep savory seafood flavor which was perfectly complimented by the buttery pastry crust.

Steamed Shanghainese Pork Dumplings with Crab Meat. Very cute presentation in individual baskets, but bested ever so slightly by the pork version at Ming Court. Still, highly recommended for sure.

Steamed Fried Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Rice with perfect wok har complimented with dried ham and sausage, egg yolk and mushrooms. No greasiness whatsoever. So glad the server pushed us to order this rice.

Double-Boiled Egg White Milk Custard with Bird’s Nest. We had wanted to try bird’s nest for the first time, and selected this dessert, as we had heard it was difficult to nail this type of custard. This was really nice, with the toothsome birds nest contrasting with the perfectly velvety smooth texture of the custard. One thing we noticed consistently is that desserts in Hong Kong are much less sweet than similar desserts in the US. Which we prefer.

San Xi Lou

Living in the SF Bay Area, we do get some tasty Sichuan food (Z&Y, China Village, Spices III). My partner is always anxious to try new Sichuan places, so we decided to eat a dinner at San Xi Lou based on favorable reviews on Openrice and Chowhound. And, we’re sure glad we did. One suggestion – take a cab. It’s not only public transportation inaccessible, but the pedestrian route we took from the Midlevels was pretty convoluted due to a lot of complex intersections. And, it’s hilly. Definitely earned the dinner!

Amuse Bouche – Crunchy nuggets of meat with chilies, which turned out to be chicken knee cartilage. Great flavors and textures. A winner.

Marinated Cold Chicken with Peanut in Spicy Sauce - Very high quality and fully flavored chicken in a savory ma la sauce. Really tasty.

Hot and Sour Soup - A great version of an often mundane dish. Even served with extra excellent black vinegar and white pepper on the side for self-seasoning.

Ma Po Tofu with Shrimp - Creamy delicious tofu and very high quality shrimp combined for a unique version of this classic. Delicious, especially the fried (and well-manicured) shrimp heads.

Spicy Sichuan Style Stewed Mandarin Fish - Very fresh fish stewed with bamboo shoots, zucchini, radically thick and vibrantly green mung bean noodles in a spicy spicy stock. YUM!

Above & Beyond

We had spent the day hiking on Lamma Island, and lunch consisted of a $10 HKD bowl of fish balls and another of dou fu faa. The tofu was very soft, not too sweet and perfectly perfumed with ginger.

Hungry for dinner, we decided on Above & Beyond for a number of reasons (great Chowhound reviews, a great view of the light show, it was in our hotel). We were very excited because this restaurant sounded like it was ready to hit the big time. Don’t hate us, but we were REALLY disappointed, sad to say….

Very nice fried peanuts for our amuse bouche. We ordered our food and a nice bottle of Chablis (after the first two wines we ordered were the wrong vintage!).

Hokkaido Scallop with Crab and Sea Urchin – a beautiful presentation, with perfectly cooked succulent scallop well accompanied by the other fresh and rich seafood flavors. A promising beginning….

Shrimp with Sichuan Style Chili Sauce – On the recommendation of our server, and bolstered by our great experience with the clams at The Chairman, we ordered this dish. Overcooked and bland shrimp in a ketchup-y sauce. Almost tasted like a hot shrimp cocktail from a hotel buffet. Really disappointing.

House Special Crispy Skin Chicken – another recommendation from our server. The skin was interesting – not like the crackling skin one expects from chicken, but kind of an unfatty Peking Duck-like texture. Not as satisfying as anticipated, but interesting. HOWEVER, the chicken underneath was dry and bland. Granted, after the Minf Court über-chicken, my standards were set high. But, this did not even rise to Safeway chicken. Meh.

Wok-fried Garoupa fillet with Garden Green – We had wanted to try a garoupa belly preparation, but our server convinced us this would be better. Well, this was basically, some well-prepared fresh fish slices on a plate with broccoli, served with oyster sauce on the side for seasoning. Just OK at best.

Noodles with shrimp wantons in abalone sauce - Surprisingly floury-tasting and somewhat pasty noodles, mediocre dumplings and a slightly acrid sauce. Not good.

We would have ordered dessert, but had spent enough money already for a bad meal. So, we left. Sad. And, of interest, both versions of the congee served in The Market for breakfast were the best congee I’ve ever tried. Ate it happily every morning.

Fook Lam Moon

Or final per-flight lunch was taken at the Kowloon branch of Fook Lam Moon, as we were looking for “perfected” versions of “classic” dim sum standards. We were very pleased with our meal!

Char Siu Pie – Straddled the fine line between sweet and savory, with fine sweet dough surrounding a lush porky filling.

Pan Fried Cured Meat and Radish Cake – I love it when this dish has toothsome strands of radish and is still creamy delicious. Really tasty!

Deep Fried Shrimp and Vegetable Glutinous Dumplings – I’m more familiar with the pork version. This was a bit more oceanic/umami filling, but perfectly fried and not as sticky on the teeth as some versions. Not greasy, either.

Steamed pork dumplings with crab roe (shui mai) – a classic rendition, notable for the great texture and flavor of the meat filling and the well-cooked wrappers.

Steamed lotus leaf wrapped glutinous rice with Chinese dried scallops and chicken – Fragrant sticky rice steamed perfectly and studded with tasty goodies. What could be bad?.

Steamed chicken wrapped in Chinese wild yam – This dish was a new treat. The very waxy/starchy yam exterior contained flavorful chicken, mushroom and ham. Interesting and flavorful.

Steamed Prawn Dumplings (har gao) – A classic rendition, with nicely seasoned prawns and perfect pleats in the wrapper (or so I’ve read). The skins were perfectly steamed and texturally excellent.

Fresh Coconut Milk Pudding - Very intense coconut flavor, creamy and not too sweet. More like a very soft jello or blancmange than a pudding per se. A great finale.


We recently dined at Nahm in Bangkok, selecting the set menu option. Given that the remainder of the food we ate in Thailand was street food (and all delicious, even if we had no idea what we were eating at times), this was our higher-end “spurge” meal. Given that upscale dining versions of intense ethnic cuisines can fall short (including the meals we had in Bangkok the last time we visited 13 years ago), I was a little worried about whether or not we would be squandering our one dinner in Bangkok on some wimpy fusion food. Happily, this did not turn out to be the case. In fact, if anything some of the dishes were eye opening in terms of both unexpected flavor combinations and intensity of taste and flavor. Many dishes were delicious, and the remaining at least cerebrally captivating if not totally hedonistic. We had the following (accompanied by a nice Sancerre):

A selection of canapés – all very tasty and well balanced. Perhaps the best of the bunch is the ma hor, or pineapple topped with pork and peanuts – spicy, sweet, funky, toothsome, crunchy and wow.

Cured ‘hiramasa’ kingfish salad with chilies, lime and mint. Great fresh fish in a very sour, very salty dressing. Extremely pungent, but delicious. The dressing may have overwhelmed the fish just a bit, but it was quite good nonetheless.

Thai vegetable and fruit salad with tamarind, palm sugar and sesame dressing. This salad was served with the curries, and it was an extra course to our set menu. A bit like rojak, it was perfectly balanced and very tasty. A nice foil to some of the stronger tasting dishes it accompanied.

Crab and snake gourd soup with egg, pepper and coriander. The crab flavor in this soup was quite strong. The overall concept was good, but perhaps a bit too “oceanic” to be entirely enjoyable.

Clear soup of roast duck with Thai basil and young coconut. I really like this soup, but my partner thought the duck taste was too strong and found the overall effect strange. I would order it again and he would not. Chacon a son gout….

Salted duck eggs and crab simmered in coconut cream with fresh and pickled vegetables and fried leaves. Again, I thought this dish was both very interesting (lush sand salty egg, vibrant accompaniments) and satisfying, but my partner found it overly salty and a bit strange. The fried leaves (apparently a special for that evening) were crispy delicious.

Guinea fowl curry with shampoo ginger and holy basil. Totally delicious. Full flavored fowl counterbalanced by a rich, herbal and spicy gravy. A double thumbs up!

Smoked fish curry with prawns, chicken livers, cockles, chilies and black pepper. The most “normal” flavor in this dish was the chicken livers. Each bite brought a new extreme of flavor – sour, bitter, hot and fishy/funky. A sensual a delight as the guinea fowl curry was, this curry was more of a study in rapid-fire contrasts. A novel eating experience, but in the end perhaps not hedonistically satisfying. Intellectually satisfying, let’s say.

Stir fried venison with cumin and onions. We got this because we love Sichuan cumin lamb. And although this dish was somewhat different (more subtle cumin flavor, venison versus lamb), it was quite tasty and fulfilled our expectations. The venison in particular was nicely cooked and well complimented by the spicing. A great choice.

Mango and white sticky rice. Yes, it’s mundane. But when it is mango season in Thailand, one orders mangoes or one misses out on one of life’s great taste treats. Fantastic as expected!

We had a second dessert (not on the current online menu) which had coconut ice cream (tasty), a kind of moist orange cake served atop a half tangerine (nice) and filled with whipped jackfruit seeds (kind of odd). Not a total success, but had some successful elements and was interesting overall. Mignardises followed.

I would no doubt go back to Nahm on a subsequent visit to Thailand to try some more of Chef Thompson’s inventive, assertive and delicious food.

Singapore - a few days of eating....

We started our recent Asian adventure in Singapore prior to cruising through Thailand and Vietnam to Hong Kong. We had had some less-than-thrilling hawker center experience on our last trip, and were eager to try again with some fresh research. So, we left our luggage at the hotel and returned halfway back to the airport….

East Coast Lagoon Food Village
We lunched on Sambal Stingray from Leng Heng BBQ Seafood, Katong laksa from Roxy Laksa and rojak from You Char Kway Rojak. The rojak was a nice foil for the creamy/spicy laksa and fiery smoky stingray, but perhaps not at the very high level of the other two dishes (as previously discussed in Chowhound, it is basically a complex salad, so that might be expected). The laksa was creamy and satisfying, with well cooked noodles, fresh prawns, fish cake, curry spices, laksa leaves and a dollop of chili – quite excellent. However, the major highlight was the sambal stingray – fresh fish cooked to juicy smoky perfection with a terrific spicy sambal. We wanted a lighter lunch since it was late, but after eating this dish I was kicking myself for not getting the large. Very highly recommended!

Banana Leaf Apolo
The eating highlight of our last trip to Singapore had been the Indian style fish head curry at Banana Leaf Apolo, so we had to go again. As before, it was delicious, with a piquant spicy sour braising liquid, fresh fish head (don’t forget the tongue – a really good bite and veggies. However, our favorite dish this evening was a dry cooked curried fish that was spicy garlicky and just great. The accompanying veggies are a bit beside the point, but there was enough of the two fish dishes and rice that it did not make much of a difference overall (especially because the fish head curry had plenty of veggies).

A very cheap breakfast joint serving nasi lemak and coffee near our hotel. A tenth of the price of anything we could have dined on at the Mandarin Oriental, and totally satisfying. The otak and whole fish options were best, IMO.

Palm Beach Seafood (One Fullerton)
We went to the One Fullerton branch of Palm Beach Seafood because we wanted black pepper crab nearby to where our cruise was having its “meet and greet” party ($22 drinks at the Fullerton Hotel with a $10 cover – this city can be expensive). A beautiful evening for outdoor seating with a great view of the light show over Marina Bay. We tried exactly two dishes – spicy morning glory and Sri Lankan black pepper crab. The morning glory was well cooked and tasty, with bits of both shrimpy and porky deliciousness studding the spicy funky veg. The black pepper crab (singular) was the most expensive piece of seafood I’ve ever purchased ($140), but it was HUGE (2.5 Kg) and totally tasty. In addition to black pepper, we got a lot of butter flavor, and perhaps some coconut and maramite as well. Very complex and perfectly complimentary to the crab. The service was a bit chilly (especially for the prices we were paying), and it seemed as if larger parties or those ordering higher priced dishes (e.g. fish tank fish) received better and more prompt service. But, we were hungry and they were busy, so I could be a bit ungenerous here.

Din Tai Fung (Raffles City)
We love xiao long bao. We loved both branches of Din Tai Fung we tried in Taipei last year. So, we went here for a quick lunch before boarding the ship. The Oriental Salad in special vinegar dressing was a great start, but our xiao long bao options (steamed port and truffle) and Shanghai-style shiu mai were definitely not as good as the Taipei branches – thicker, starchier wrappers and less soupy goodness. Still better than many US versions – yes. But, not as heavenly as remembered. Hot and sour soup to finish was actually an unexpected treat – well balanced and tasty.

Bangkok - Thip Samai (ผัดไทยทิพย์สมัย) for the *Best* Pad Thai in Town

Good to have the Thai address. My partner and I began walking from the Grand Palace Ferry Pier to the restaurant with Mapquest directions on a brutally hot and humid day a couple of weeks ago and got close, but did not ever get there. One reason is that when we asked for instructions, someone told us it did not open unitl 6 PM and we were going for lunch. Since we never made it, I cannot confirm or deny the hours of operation.

On the plus side, we got to eat fish ball curry noodle soup and kanom krok (coconut fritters) from street vendors instead, which were amazing and cost us a total of around $5.

Cantonese or Chui Chow

I will be visiting Hong Kong for the second time in April, and am looking forward to several dim sum lunches (Fook Lam Moon, Sun Tung Lok, Man Wah, Lung King Heen, or others?). For dinner, at least one meal will be Cantonese (Ming Court, The Chairman or Above and Beyond, the latter since we're staying at the Icon) and one will be Sichuan by request of my partner (San Xi Lou looks nice). For our third meal, should we try Chui Chow cuisine for something different and interesting (we did not experience this the last time we were in town) or will we miss a more "world class" opportunity by foregoing Cantonese? We are pretty adventuresome eaters, so we're always up for new experiences. All assistance is appreciated.

Singapore - White pepper crabs at No Signboard Seafood Restaurant, Geylang

Are there any differences amongst the various branches of No Signboard? There's one that'll be near my hotel (Esplanade), but I would not be averse to travelling to Geylang if it is better (might be culturally interesting to boot???).

I would try Eng Seng as it seems like kind of a gold standard for black pepper crab, but No Signboard might be easier logistically if I don't want to have to rush from being a tourist to foraging for dinner.

Local Fare in Bali (Ubud & Seminyak/Kuta/Legian)

In Ubud, I really enjoyed Kafe Batan Waru (great version of Urap Pakis, veggie version of Lawar Salad, Ayam Rica Rica (yes, Manadonese, but if you're not going to Manado....) and, on saté night, the ikan lilit saté (hint: go on saté night!)): Warung Ekat was also quite tasty (pepes lindung is exceptional, otak-otak teggiri, ikan batar sambal matah):

Warung D'Sawah in Kerobokan was the best traditional food I ate in south Bali, and it is a removed from the mahem of Kuta/Seminyak.

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1 - Ep. #16 - 02/22/12 (Spoilers)

And the Terlato "Top Chef" wine. It's gotta rock! [snark]

Feb 24, 2012
cabking in Food Media & News

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 1 - Ep. #16 - 02/22/12 (Spoilers)

I do agree with you, chicgail. Taking this further, though, I wonder what type of risk a restaurant or cheftestant takes in participating in Top Chef. I can't believe it is always "any publicity is good publicity". For example, I would probably not eat at Moto based on the poor performances of their chefs this season. And, although I may have wanted to eat a Spiaggia at one time, I think I would rather support Stephanie Izard or Rick Bayless when I visit Chicago than support such an unpleasant person as Sarah (even though I kind of like Tony Montuano from TV, hence the risk he's taking by putting a sourpuss like Sarah in the spotlight). In a similar vein, would love to eat at one of Harold's restos in NYC, not so much wherever Marcel is cooking. When these chefs cook well and are nice people, it probably makes sense to go on the show, but when they just cook well, might not anonymity be preferable?

Feb 24, 2012
cabking in Food Media & News

Taipei: Shi Yang Culture Restaurant (食養山房)

Has anyone eaten at Shi Yang Culture Restaurant (食養山房) recently?

taipei: best bakeries?

I'm not going to Taipei until January, so I cannot be of service. And it does not seem like a lot of Taipei residents or travellers post here (my questions have gone sadly unanswered). But, I have found a couple of good foodie resources that include bakeries - best of luck!

Top Chef Just Desserts Finale

Hmm, perhaps Chris' plain bread was a calculated move so he could have time to win the bon bon, plated dessert and showpiece, and turn out a competitive entremet as well. I don't believe that Sally's plated dessert (a messy non-sealed chocolate sphere filled with a lot of stuff) was a better product than Chris' (which, while not as potentially pretty, was polished off by all of the judges, in contrast to Sally's). What I really do not believe is that the show is such a sham that the backstory bought Chris the win, or they would have milked it A LOT more. I think if Chris had burned his bread, made a dry entremet, etc..., he would certainly have lost, don't you?

Nov 03, 2011
cabking in Food Media & News

Top Chef Just Desserts Finale

Discounting the showpiece entirely, I still don't think Sally necessarily won. Chris won the bon bon and plated dessert, was close in the entremet, and lost on bread. Including the showpiece, Chris' was more nuanced and creative than Orlando's in this instance (Orlando's looked like the "same old same old" competition-style showpiece), if slightly less well perfectly consturcted based on the brioche slip. And although Sally did have the color scheme thematic element running throughout all of her desserts, Chris had a similar situation with his structural element tie-ins. And, as always with any of these shows, we did not get to taste anything, so are relying on the commentary of others (albeit well regarded judges).

So, while I would not have been surprised if Sally had won, I did not find it strange that Chris did. It would have been strange had Matthew won.

Oct 31, 2011
cabking in Food Media & News

Top Chef Just Desserts Finale

Sadly, this is, in part, Top Chef Just Desserts Showpiece, since showpieces have been an integral part of both seasons, even though they're bizarre non-edible historical vestiges from the days of Escoffier and Careme. OK, yes, they could be theoretically eaten, but they're not.

In the end, Sally lost because Chris beat her in bon bon and plated dessert (JI mentioned that Chris' dessert was the only one that all the judges at in its entirety) and did his own showpiece, even if one brioche fell off (and, in my view, that was really a "forest for the trees" criticism, given how awesome the piece was in its enitrety). I'm not sure he was trounced in the entremet (perhaps edged by Sally), and Sally won the bread. So, I think he clearly won from what I saw and the comments presented (again, all we have to go by). I had thoguht Matthew was a good third for the finale, but he seemed not to "bring it", really.

Oct 28, 2011
cabking in Food Media & News

Taipei area: Shi Yang Shan Fang (食養山房) or Da Shan Wu Jia (大山無價)

I will be visiting Taipei in January, and was strongly considering eating at either Shi Yang Shan Fang (食養山房) or Da Shan Wu Jia (大山無價) one evening. Is one preferable to another in terms of food quality? Service? Also, I will not have a car - will this make a visit to one or the other too challenging? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

NY Chowhound coming to Taiwan. Need some help please

Is the dian xin at Celestial only offered on weekends?

Lunch near the Guggenheim

I am looking for a good place to have a light lunch near the Guggenheim Museum. Great pizza (slice or small pie) woul be my preferred choice, followed by top class deli, followed by sushi or good ethnic Asian. Looking to go relatively light and not fancy since dinner will be EMP.

Apr 23, 2011
cabking in Manhattan

EMP 4 course option - satisfying?

I was wondering whether the four course option at Eleven Madison Park (versus the Tasting Menu) is still a pinnacle NYC dining experience, or if the Tasting Menu is the only way to get a top flight experience there. Money is a consideration, and for two the former is considerably less pricy. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Mar 22, 2011
cabking in Manhattan

TC Just Desserts: Finale [spoiler]

It is actually super simple to make a souffle (few ingredients and standard timing), which is why he lost. I'm guessing it had more to do with the crummy GE ovens than Morgan, but at this point in TC history, everyone should figure in the poor performance of the sponsors equipment (GE ovens, ice cream makers, heck even the Dawn probably chaps your hands!).

Nov 30, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News

TC Just Desserts: Finale [spoiler]

Morgan must have, at one time and another, made reference to hitting or punching. He was not talking about dough. These words were not made up.

He was either a complete fiction or a jerk. I'm guessing the latter only beacuse I'm certain that a low budget snooze fest like TC JD would not have spent a lot of time completely and thoroughly fabricating his persona down to the dislike of every contestant or the piecing together of every sentence out of his mouth to make him seem like someone he was completely not.

Nov 30, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News

Top Chef: Just Dessert Episode 8: CelebriTea

It is a game, and TCJD (and TC as well) can set the rules how they want. However, it does not make sense to me that the chef eliminated in team challenges is always one on the losing team. That having been said, I'm not sure Danielle's food was worse than Heather's last episode - it was kind of hard to tell. Her food overall, however, has been pretty uninteresting, suggesting that there is some inherent flaw in these shows that allows certain mediocre middle-of-the-road contestants to persist well past their due dates.

Nov 09, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News

Just Desserts 7: Dessert Wars!

Morgan does not remind me of any alpha males I know, and I work in an industry with many of them. He has poor impulse control and is borderline violent in both thought and action. And, it does not take a big man to apologize. It takes a thoughtful human being, and certainly Morgan does have this side of his personality (it just is not all that special). He should let this side of his personality take over his other far more unpleasent side.

Nov 06, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News

Top Chef - D.C. - Finale, Part 2 (Ep. #14) - 09/15/10 (Spoilers)

It is the drama of the cooking to which I was referring. There is not enough cooking shown, and what is shown is often intentionally deceptive through editing or deceptive by omission, at least until the extra judge's table videos or Tom's magically informative blog postings. In agreement with you, mariacarmen, I also do not enjoy the "drama for drama's sake", but do enjoy the suspense of finding out if what looks like the best dish will win. Too often this season, it was not possible to tell based on what was presented; hence, more a "gotch ya" type surprise than well documented and presented suspense based on the purported core competancies of the show.

Oct 01, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News

Volt, Restaurant Eve, or???


Thanks everyone for the advice. I am booking Restaurant Eve for the dinner, and planning later than 8 PM based on previous comments.

Restaurant Eve
110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Volt, Restaurant Eve, or???

I am looking for a great restaurant for my mom's b'day. I will be arriving into Dulles at 6 PM on a Friday in November, and would like to try to dine aound 8 PM or so. I was thinking about Restaurant Eve or Volt, since they woudl not require Beltway drives and my mom apparently has not been to either. Is it worth going to Volt if not choosing Table 21? Ditto restaurant Eve and the Chef's Tasting Room? Anything better in town currently? Hoping to spend less than my last parental birthday meal at Komi, if that helps.

Restaurant Eve
110 South Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

Tasting Room
101 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701

Top Chef - D.C. - Finale, Part 2 (Ep. #14) - 09/15/10 (Spoilers)

Unfortunately, TC no longer has drama or suspense (heretically, even though it is a much worse show, I think that Hell's Kitchen was more suspenseful this season than TC). TC does have surprise, yes, based on a lot that is unseen and not spoken (at least until the extras and blog postings). If they win the Emmy this year for anything, it'll be because it was the least bad TV show, not because they have done anything well.

Sep 25, 2010
cabking in Food Media & News