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Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

"There is a very local wine called "fortana" that is red, sparkling, low in alchool and a bit sweet and it is the drinking tradition, it is hard to find a good one because it is mostly home made, a good Bonarda from Piacenza hills may fit the bill."

tabata, I imagine fortana or bonarda may be difficult to find. I will be sure to ask for it when possible. If you know of a place/restaurant in this region let us know as I would love to try them. Certainly will keep Lambrusco as backup, or any that the owner is currently drinking w/. Thanks!

1 day ago
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

Thank you for these delightful notes.

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

"should I go on?"

Call in sick and please keep on going :)

Are there places where Cicciolata can be had for a visitor, or is it a production of more occasional and family affairs that I need to sign quick temporary adoption papers?

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

allende,

I suppose it's about how one goes about making a decision to visit a new restaurant. I do look into the windows and observe the "scene," along with various venues from which I glean and weigh-in written/pictoral information. Best to go there and eat I agree, and ideally several times in different seasons, and you certainly have afforded these experiences in numerously unparalleled reports many of us place heaviest value/gratitude and heed (thanks to you much of my Piedmonte trip coming up in a month is tracing your breadcrumbs).

Still, it becomes a judgment of the visitor to see how much my interest align with yours, and admittedly the dining experience of 36 years of your repeated visit to a restaurant won't be same as my first visit; I hope that it will be as wonderful as the bests of your visits, perhaps maybe not. I think we agree that more the input and seemingly divergent point of views including that of the locals enrich visitors' experience.

In that light, any thoughts on several of tabata's recommended restaurants such as these?

Al Vedel
Ristorante Palazzo Calvi
Osteria di Fornio
Al Canton 33
Cocchi

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

"Cocchi in Parma is superb, Ziggy missed it and regretted."

I wanna make Ziggy breakdown and weep by making this visit in a month and write a poem on it: looks seriously good. Thanks for this opportunity as I've been weeping over all of his recent eats here and elsewhere ;)

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

walker, I have to say that you have a way of reporting on a restaurant, first with a picture of outside that draws us all in, that makes tagging along with you on this armchair culinary travel very enjoyable. Thanks for all your reports so far, and hope there's much more to come.

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

allende,

I've been looking forward to visiting La Bucca and Da Ivan on our next visit, but tabata's view point makes me think that they have evolve to accommodate for the visitors different from their original form. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I shy away from establishments that makes distinction of serving different quality products as tabata elluded to for La Buca, and wine markup that is different from the norm of the region. Why do you think La Buca's price is higher, and is this justified in your experience? The menu that hasn't changed much for decades is what attracts me to La Buca especially, so if that's the price to pay I gladly will. As for Da Ivan's theatrics tabata described, along with the impression I get from their website, it doesn't scream "local's hangout" to me. My search preference is for a quite countryside non-descript joints where visitors are welcomed but not specially catered for.

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

Wow, tabata. Thanks for this rundown of info. I am surely to work my way through using your list.

I can appreciate and relate to this quite a bit actually as my Korean culture also appreciate (more than 25 parts for pigs and more thand double that for the parts of cow, are sold and enjoyed in restaurants as grill, boiled and/or pressed) not throwing away much. But hair?!? Italians got us on that! Please tell what you do with the pig's hair... very curious.

Of the restaurants you've recommended, will most these be available for tasting? Is there a best season for this even though they are aged? In short, what supporting roles (wine, bread, butter?) makes tasting these enjoyable? Again, thanks for taking the time to inform us on these.

Aug 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

tabata,

I think your view point is quite valid: what interest visitors are quite different from that of the locals, and tourists as well as discerning epicures can failed to appreciate the locals point of view and what they would consider the gems. One can see this often on number of frequently discussed food destinations where the interest of even frequent visitors collide with ones who live there - it is only natural that the focus and interest are different.

Having said that, and having given many advise to people visiting my familiar regions, it's good to consider the purpose and goals of the visitor as well. While I am most likely to eat out in one or two of your recommended places in a month or so, I am afraid I may fail to appreciate your recs in some places even as an experienced traveler and diner I think that I am. For starter, I am fascinated and excited to learn all different sorts of culatello you describe which I copy and paste below, I am at lost with more than half of them, and unlikely tell the difference between good and great ones to be honest.

"Which kind of spalla, the curde or the cook ed one, the Palasone one, or the one from San Secondo, with or without bone? What about fiocchetto, salame, strolghino, soppressata, ciccioli, cicciolata, gola, pancetta, salame di mariola, prete?"

But still, I want to express a great appreciation for your thoughts, as they add a guidance that may align with what some of us are looking for.

Aug 27, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Help with final dinner decision: Babbo, Locanda Verde, Osteria Morini or...?

Glad you picked Babbo and I am sure you will enjoy the meal there. Do follow Kathryn's recs on the dishes, and don't be tempted to order pasta tasting or other tasting menus at least for the first visit as many have reported "pasta fatigue" and diminishing return in pleasure as courses progress. Also, remember that, along with great wine list, they have Coravin device with which they will pour some great bottles by the glass (3 and 6oz pours) which may add to your enjoyment for a particular plate that wowed you on the first bite, or to linger after the meal sipping on a great vintage. Enjoy!

Aug 26, 2015
Kurtis in Manhattan

Our perception of "authenticity"

joonjoon, there's a couple of North Korean, or at least NK- influenced restaurants run by people from Yangbien in Flushing, NY. I've been to one named Sol Hyang Gee when they opened many years ago with mixed result. It's worth checking out at least for the experience. There's is a CH post on this place iirc. The other is Yang Ji Chon, also in Flushing, NY.

Your post reminds me of a story I read on CH a while ago. It involves a very disappointed US- residing Korean's visit to Seoul after many years of absence. After having received many good advise on where to eat from CH posts, he reported back upon return that the only place he found good food in Seoul was from a restaurant in Seoul whose outpost in US he frequented while living in the states. He reported that he ate there almost daily and exclusively while in Seoul as he couldn't eat much else.

Aug 25, 2015
Kurtis in General Topics

Please recommend a hotel in Paris

"...the fake and the counterfeit are indeed abundant in the tourist zones because this is what all too many tourists want..."

No tourist wants fakes and counterfeits; it's greedy proprietors taking advantage of unknowing visitors.

Aug 25, 2015
Kurtis in France

Trip report - Veneto and Emilia Romagna driving tour

Wonderfully descriptive and informative reports walker. Great read.

Aug 23, 2015
Kurtis in Italy
1

Thip Kao in DC - Report

It's called Goong Chae Nam in Thai and is a great summer dish. Glad to know she has this on her menu.

China Chilcano in DC- Report

Hearts of palm salad was nothing special, and not good at all if you consider how it is served in original form of comida de la selva.

Chiang Mai 293 Van Brunt St. Red Hook Just steps away

Jin Som Mok is indeed amazing, and quite addictive; I can't believe I just ordered one on my last visit when I could have easily had three : )

There's a chef in DC who recently opened a Lao restaurant Thip Khao which is worth a detour. Before she opened this, she used to run a Thai restaurant and, by popular demand, had ever-lengthening hand-written sheet of off-the-menu dishes consisting of specialties from her mother's Lao kitchen. Here, she would do variations of Jin Som Mok, and at times gently grill the fermented pork and garnish it with fried slivers of galangal, fried kefir lime leaves, nearly burnt dry chili, and with a sauce that had tremendous depth - great stuff. Fermented fish dish, called Som Pah, was favorites of many followers including me, and it thus made it into the permanent menu when she opened Thip Khao. Wonderful story of how she came to open this restaurant.

Aug 11, 2015
Kurtis in Outer Boroughs

Share your Best and Worst Seafood Tower spots

It has many different names.

https://www.google.com/search?q=seafo...

Bon Appetit names Thip Khao one of top 50 new restaurants

Fantastic! Well-deserved.

Share your Best and Worst Seafood Tower spots

Never had the tower/plateau, but I usually get only oysters - lots of variety and best in town - at TSOH due to generally poor quality shellfish items there.

Tried a several of Michael Mina's restos but you know I just never been very impressed; they seem above average hotel food at well-above average hotel food cost...

Any Must Order at Jaleo?

New to the menu (DC) is Ostras con ajo blanco y ajo negro:

5 gently poached oysters returned to its own half-shell swimming in chilled almond soup (already on their menu) accented with black garlic - simply beautiful.

Izakaya Seki: The very good and the very bad

A cook/side help handled the fryer each time when I was there and never seen the chef himself doing it. Raw items on their menu shines most brightly.

Fork & Wrench w/ Chef Keefer

Thanks for this report as I haven't been there in a long while. There's been burst of asian/exotic sounding items on menus in Baltimore and my eyes tend to glaze over when I encounter another kung pao or kimchee puree these days as they are there to catch your interest more than your palate. I think probably F&W incorporate this better than most in town, but remains not coherent.

Mare Nostrum in Fells Point: odd name, good food

Sounds like a great meet. I've been coming here on and off for some time now, and have enjoyed much of what you mention. They also have some items not on online menu but shows up on regular menu based on availability. One of them I tried recently was Lakerda - a cured/pickled Bonito fish which is a mezze from Ottoman empire. Fatty and funky, it is delicious treat if you like pickled fish.

Share your Best and Worst Seafood Tower spots

Best: Le Diplomate (DC) Why: variety, freshness, uniqueness (ceviches, whelks), great and unique condiments, grand presentation, and very thoughtful and accommodating service including clearing of the shells, reorganizing the platter at midpoint, and hot hand towel at the beginning and at the end. Grand Plateau $140.

Worst: Wit & Wisdom (Baltimore) Why: limited variety, overcooked and poorly handled shellfish, generally not so fresh items, very average condiments and presentation, and no service specific to the tower. Grand Shellfish Platter $165.

(For the price W&W is charging, I wish that they do better as it is a beautiful spot to enjoy this sitting in their patio. LD's platter which has about 25% more food than W&W's, is a relative bargain)

Fresh Figs?

I picked up some from H-Mart in Catonsville, MD yesterday. Good quality. There are several H-Marts in MD/VA so you might find one nearest to you.

Thoughts on Venissa in Venice?

Any recent reports since the departure of two chefs?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/hot...

Jul 28, 2015
Kurtis in Italy

Chiang Mai 293 Van Brunt St. Red Hook Just steps away

Visited here again yesterday evening; pretty packed around 9pm.

Had Jin Som Mok again, and yesterday's version was a bit more fermented, with stronger sour notes that cuts the gelatinous and fatty pork ear/skin very flavorfully. Agree with ww that it would be nice to have more ginger or better yet galangal with the dish, and I've had a version with fried julienned galangal, raw garlic, and fresh bird's eye pepper which works very well. The version they serve is a great dish, quite addictive, and it would be interesting to see if she would do a fish version - raw or cooked.

Also tried khao soy for the first time, and it was quite nice as well though bit too sweet for my taste; wonder if this curry is typically this sweet in its original/authentic form. Nevertheless great flavors.

Sai Ua this time around I liked better than last; it was more moist but equally herby and I suspect this one spent less time on the grill. Loved all the condiments that came with it, though I did ask for galangal to go with this as it compliments well. A great version.

Grilled squid on their menu was nothing special; decently grilled with two dipping sauces - probably suffers being a "small fish" in a big pond of excellent dishes.

Jul 20, 2015
Kurtis in Outer Boroughs

Maketto in DC - Report

That's too bad as the place appears pretty cool.

DC and certainly NYC is seeing quite a boom of SE asian joints. Recently had a remarkable Thai meal in Brooklyn (a tiny place called Chiang Mai) that reminded me of when I first tasted Chef Seng's noodle soups in BG. Got to go back soon. Appreciate your report.

Meal at Fiola Mare

Been here a couple of times now - first as solo lunch and second on an anniversary dinner, and we've become a big fan.

Their version of tuna tartar comes with sliced great quality tuna, garnished very harmoniously with San Marzano tomatoes, lemon, yuzu, Taggiasche olives, and capers, doused generously with again great quality olive oil that makes this dish most decadent version I know. Served with olive oiled char-grilled bread which accompanies it excellently.

Gragnano Spaghetti Chitarra came out very hot off the pan and as noted perfectly al dente pasta; clams in them were also of very good quality and perfectly cooked rendering great rich overall flavors. One of better pastas I had all year.

Grilled squid and langostines were done perfectly and simply, and seasoned just right. Oysters are shucked well, and quite fresh. Bit lacking was their mignonnette that comes with it. Bomboloni dessert is a great comforting finish, with perfectly fried Sardinian ricotta doughnuts, vanilla gelato, and warm butterscotch sauce service on the side in a miniature copper saucepan.

Their service deserves merits: 1) our server replaced with new cold bottle when our second bottle of water sat out for while half consumed midway through the meal 2) struck a nice balance between very relaxed but attentive service. 3) FOH staff are exemplary of hospitality that is at least seemingly unscripted; welcoming, warm, and accomodating - a combination not often seen even in this caliber of resto or beyond.

Chiang Mai 293 Van Brunt St. Red Hook Just steps away

"I went 3 times last week."

I would go back daily if I could : )

Jul 13, 2015
Kurtis in Outer Boroughs