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Dan S.'s Profile

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Dongiò in Milano - Amazing pasta

Cool - I'm so glad you found my review, and that I have now found your response!!

Jan 06, 2012
Dan S. in Italy

Recommend a good ice cream maker!

Wow - that's a pretty major piece of info to leave out. I am too far into it now, having already combined all the chocolates. Seriously bad editing by
molly or her peeps. I've had the book or a while but just took it out to try something - I'll note this as a serious mark against it.

Will I miss the cornstarch much? I'm leaving it out.

Aug 29, 2011
Dan S. in Cookware

black and white cookies

I'm confused a bit - and I know I'm replying very late (maybe there's a more recent thread? If so, I apologize). I read on Chowhound years ago that a true black and white had a thin layer of apricot jam underneath the frosting. And lo and behold, the best ones in NYC do have that (I'm thinking of Isaac's (or Isaiah's?) out in Midwood, and the old, now gone, College Bakery on Court Street in Brooklyn. I actually just found a terrific one up here in Portland, Maine at the Rosemont Bakery on Munjoy Hill - and it DID have the apricot jam layer. But why no mention of it here - or in any of the on-line recipes I've been able to find??

Jan 17, 2009
Dan S. in General Topics

latest info on best Portland lobster roll?

No idea about that. The thing that Scales did that made their lobster rolls so good was: they used fresh cooked lobster. Totally different animal than the refrigerated chewy stuff. Any other place in town making their lobster rolls w/ freshly cooked lobster?

latest info on best Portland lobster roll?

I want the best tasting lobster roll in Portland (I live here - so I'm hoping for a special secret find more than the usual places).

Don't care for atmo - save me your Lobster Shack recs...I want something really good. The best used to be Scales in the Public Market, but they're several years gone.

So where's the best hole-in-the-wall killer lobster roll for your money in summer 08?

Need a good meal near I95 around Boston

It's Monday early eve.

Thanks!

Jul 20, 2008
Dan S. in Greater Boston Area

Need a good meal near I95 around Boston

Monday early eve - thanks!

Jul 20, 2008
Dan S. in Greater Boston Area

Dongiò in Milano - Amazing pasta

I wonder if anyone ever took my tip on this place. Two years later I can't get that pasta out of my mind!

Jul 20, 2008
Dan S. in Italy

Need a good meal near I95 around Boston

We're planning a meeting - I'm driving down from Maine and meeting my mother in law, who's driving up from Fairfield CT.

We'd like to meet some place for a good meal around Boston, but not actually drive into the city (since we'll have two cars and not a lot of time).

Can someone recommend an easily accessible place with good food? I'm open to just about any cuisine here, and moderate price would be best but any tips are welcome.

Thanks!

Jul 20, 2008
Dan S. in Greater Boston Area

Astoria near 23rd ave and 38th street

Sorry this is a duplicate!

Dec 25, 2007
Dan S. in Outer Boroughs

Caiola's in Portland ME?

I'll chime in in agreement with those who say Caiola's is one of the best in town. For my money, after having eaten at 555, Fore Street, Back Bay Grill, Cinque Terre, Street & Co., and many other restaurants in town, the only one that tempts me anywhere close to Caiola is Street and Co., which is a totally different atmo. For warm, intimate, inventive food and environment nothing beats Caiola. And when it comes to dessert, no other place in town can even sit at the table with them.

Crab Louie in Portland! (fish tacos!)

Near Pearl Street. I'm eating a fried shrimp taco w/ extra chili lime sauce and it's divine. I have to keep myself from going there every day.

I asked how business has been, and the guy there replied it's been very mixed. Sometimes busy, sometimes completely dead. Things here don't tend to last like that. Go have a fish taco - now, and every day, like me.

Crab Louie in Portland! (fish tacos!)

Crab Louie, on Commercial Street, is absolutely killing. In this town that is starved for anything even resembling a halfway decent taco or burrito, they are making exceptional fish and shrimp tacos, along w/ oyster Po' boys and more traditional crab shack offerings.

The decor is no frills and a touch fluorescent, but it's worth it. For $7.99 you get a very large fish taco in a soft flour tortilla, with homemade red cabbage slaw, super fresh and not oily fried fish, and a touch of zingy sauce. It is now my favorite lunch item in town.

The sad thing is, it being Portland and all, I'm pretty sure they won't last. So get one while they're there (and help keep them in business!!!)

best places to dine in Portland, ME?

I think the best restaurant in Portland is Caiola's. Actually, I know it's the best, but I'll leave a little room for others to disagree. For my money they blow Fore Street and 555 off the map. Can't speak for Hugo's because I haven't been (although we managed to have a bad experience there anyway! Story for another day...) Maybe Street and Co. is a close, but not too close, second place.

Where's a decent to-go egg sandwich in Portland?

I can't believe the number of businesses that think it's acceptable to microwave a prepared, perfectly round, "egg patty" or whatever it is, and serve it as part of a breakfast patty here in Portland. Oh sure, I know that's what you're gonna get at Tim Horton's or Dunkin's, and it'll actually work in a pinch. But at a local deli or Big Sky Bakery? Have these people no shame? In NYC, you can walk into any corner nothing Deli and expect them to throw some eggs on the grill for you.

I've had excellent egg sandwiches here at the Front Room, and 158 Bake Shop. But neither are easy, to go type places (158 could be, but it's sort of out of the way, and at $4.50 for the egg sandwich, too expensive).

So, am I missing places that make decent egg sandwiches starting w/ real eggs and not using a microwave here? They must be out there?

Portland ME Date Restaurant ?

I'm not too keen on Vignola. Definitely no good if someone's a non-meat eater, and in general I find it pricey and underwhelming. Nice urban atmo. though.

The best restaurant in Portland is Caiola's, which is on Pine Street. I would eat there a hundred times before going to Fore Street or 555. It's smaller, more romantic, and the food - every course - is just better. I've been twice, each time with parties of 5 (but it would work very well as a romantic date restaurant), and each time every single peson's every dish was exceptional. The service is also really great - not stuffy/cocky/rude, as Fore Street can be.

Street and co. is maybe the only other place in town that could compete with Caiola's in my book, but all in all, in terms of creativity, depth of flavor, consistency, service, atmosphere, and fairness of pricing (which is not to say Caiola's is cheap), I don't really think another restaurant in Portland comes close to Caiola's. I hope they manage to maintain their quality, and not succumb to their own hype, as Fore Street seems to have.

Portland: Caiola's or Uffa?

There is absolutely no contest here. Caiola's kills Uffa (and just about every other restaurant in town). It is the real deal - an absolutely delightful experience from start to finish. And whatever you do, do NOT skip dessert.

Whole Foods--Portland, ME

I think the new Whole Foods certainly adds something to the community, but my report isn't entirely as glowing. First off, I think it's a real loss for Portland that Wild Oats was purchased by Whole Foods. According to the woman at the W.O. checkout, they'll begin calling themselves Whole Foods within 6-8 weeks, and the store will of course almost definitely close. Competition is healthy, and despite the proximity of the two stores, Portland is pretty well starved for produce options, especially in the dead of winter. Having the two stores really helps when one decides to charge, say, $5.95 for a bag of celery (to be fair, it's a price I've only seen at Wild Oats so far).

Whole Foods is quite impressive and overwhelming upon first entry. Well - not entirely. The parking lot is a disaster, an unbelievable miscalculation (not sure if they any alternative) and a bevy of car accidents waiting to happen. The store itself appears huge and super sized and all that. But I've noticed when you go to individual sections to look for basic stuff - pasta, canned tomatoes, bread, to name a few, they're often surprisingly small. The pasta selection is anemic - smaller than Wild Oats. As another poster mentioned above, the bread counter is disappointingly small.

Bulk is also a good bit better at Wild Oats, and was MUCH better at the Whole Grocer. Anyone remember that neat loose tea section from the W.G.? Gone. It seems that Whole Foods really put a strong emphasis on prepared foods, and I don't mind having some options, but it comes at the expense of some of the more standard whole/health food selections you'd like to see. As a for instance, the new store has an enormous flesh festival as a meat section - more meat than I think I've seen anywhere at one time, complete with a chili/BBQ bar (an alternating menu of three kinds of chili, none vegetarian ever). But when I asked an employee if they had any kind of veggie bacon, she had to withdraw into the back of the store and came out with only tempeh strips, which wasn't what I was looking for. Granted they just opened, but I for one am sorry to see such an emphasis on meat products throughout the store, and comparitively such meagre treatment of vegetarians (who have a tough time of it in Portland to begin with).

As for the prepared foods - some are really quite good. Comments above notwithstanding, the Indian food at the Indian bar is excellent - right up there with the best Indian food available in Portland. But as with all the other Indian food here, it is starkly overpriced. A full container - barely enough for two people - cost me over $15, and for the same price I can get some quality food made to order. It's not so much that the W.F. prepared food isn't worth it - it's just that at the prices they're charging it ultimately doesn't really add a viable option to the scene for me.

The trattoria and cafe area looks nice, although it's far more formal and upscale than the very casual Wild Oats cafe, and it's impossible to access the tratorria area without passing through the (often mobbed) checkout area. The result is that the cafe feels like just another expensive restaurant in a town that has no shortage of them. It serves a purpose, but the Wild Oats cafe offered a far more unique service to the town.

Anyway, as for right now, I think I will do most of my shopping at Wild Oats until it's gone. The experience is far more hassle free - no parking lot disaster, no endless lines at checkout, and, aside from prepared food and fresh meat and seafood (I think the Whole Foods seafood counter is actually excellent, and, since it's open until 10, a great addition to Portland. Wild Oats' seafood counter always kind of grosses me out), Wild Oats seems to have as good or better a selection when it comes to standard health food type products.

All that said, the arrival of Whole Foods, with or without Wild Oats, does not alleviate the need in Portland for either a genuine health food store, or better still, a local food co-op. I like the convenience of Whole Foods and Wild Oats, but I'd gladly sacrifice a touch of that to support a locally run co-op with far more sensitivity to the vegetarian/health food population. I don't really need aisles of prepared meat and a dessert bar - I'd like a more compact, homey, local-oriented shopping experience, and Portland of all places should be able to provide that. And I HAVE heard whispers that a Portland co-op is in the planning stages (I am not involved....as yet) so here's hoping.

Posting to chowhound crashes my browser

Hi - I've had this experience twice in a row now: I make a post ( a response in a thread) and my browser, Safari, crashes. It seems like the posts go through, but this is a bit of a drag. Haven't had this happen on other sites? Anyone else experiencing this?

I'm using a Mac Powerbook G4, 1.67ghz, OS X 10.4.8.

Feb 22, 2007
Dan S. in Site Talk

Are there hot lobster rolls in Maine or New Hampshire?

Well, I don't think the difference between fresh picked lobster and frozen lobster is that subtle. And since Scales sold live lobsters anyway, not sure why they'd take the time and effort to reheat frozen lobster for their rolls. It was also kind of pricey, at $17.95. But the juices, redolent of the sea, were of the sort that I maintain simply could not have come out of a formerly frozen lobster - guess I just trust my taste buds on this one.

Are there hot lobster rolls in Maine or New Hampshire?

It's funny - I never even thought about it until reading this topic. I just remember how great the lobster roll was at Scales - and you had to wait for it. There is no way that was a previously frozen lobster. I haven't gone looking for it elsewhere. I do note that up here, when it comes to lobster rolls, there seems to be a general preference for quantity over quality. People seem to think the best lobster roll has the most lobster, no matter how cold and flavorless it might be. I've always had a sort of "This is it?" response to the rolls at Red's Eats - but they sure are big!

Are there hot lobster rolls in Maine or New Hampshire?

Hmm, maybe so. But the now departed Scales (which was in the now-departed Portland Public Market) served a hot lobster roll, and it was by far the best I've had anywhere around here. I bet some of the upscale places might still do it. A hot lobster roll = (ideally) a fresh, juicy lobster that's just been cooked, still redolent of the sea. A cold lobster roll = lobster that's been sitting in the fridge, and has lost much of its flavor and juices. I'm relatively new to the area, having lived here about 3 years, but I don't really care what the local tradition is: I'd take a fresh hot lobster roll over the cold variety (even one that's chock full of meat like Red's) any day.

dinner in Portland

Yeah - we hyper sensitive hounds have a thing about compete and total rudeness from the service staff. To be fair, this was in conjunction with doing what whs wisely advises against - going for a walk in (they should discontinue the practice if they can't treat their customers with human decency in this context - we had an AWFUL experience).

As for the food, I think it's really good, and just violently overrated. The mussels are excellent, but not the best you'll ever have anywhere. You want a really great meal, not overhyped, perfect from start to finish (I liked it much better than my several trips to Fore Street) go to Caiola's on Pine Street. Less expensive, slightly less grand and more intimate atmo, and just amazing food. But reserve - it's tough to get in. And whatever you do, do not skip dessert.

First trip to Portland

I love 158, but there's just no earthly way their bagels can be described as the best on the planet. Perhaps they're the best in Southern Maine...they're actually very atypical bagels - not really chewy in the traditional bagel way, and sort of flatter. Excellent toppings, particularly on their everything bagel (it includes fenel seeds). These are satisfying food things, but having just returned from NYC with a bag full of Absolute Bagels, there's simply no comparison. I do respect the 158 bagels for being their own thing, though, and not even really entering into the authenticity debate. I particularly like them as part of one of their egg sandwiches - which could be among the best in Portland (which, alas, is not a town blessed with many great egg sandwich options).

First trip to Portland

I just can't get past the disgusting name of the restaurant. I know we're living in a time of serious backlash against vegetarians, but I'll never set foot in a restaurant with a name like duck fat. That's foul (no pun intended).

First Trip to Portland--the Post Mortem--LONG

I'm glad you enjoyed Fore Street. I've enjoyed them in the past, although I much prefer their appetizers to their entrees, and have especially enjoyed making a meal of appetizers in their bar area. But last time we were there they were obnoxious and actually hurtful, enough so that we won't be going back. Their walk-in policy (save one third for walk-ins and treat everyone like zoo animals) leaves a lot to be desired. It seems an appeal to populism, but is really just a chance for them to lord their popularity over prospective clients. I don't like it - just reserve the whole restaurant and treat people with civility. At least on weekend nights.

Bad experience at Fore Street (portland)

555 was really, really good, if not particularly mind blowing. First off, though, I'll say that the service was really friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere - with the open second floor and high ceilings and copper tinged decor was also lovely. I had some pepper crusted scallops that had a real kick and were very tasty, while my wife found her salmon a bit boring. I had a mussels appetizer that was super fresh but not very inventive. The dessert, as I mention above, was the highlight. I'd certainly go back, although it's a touch out of my price range for regular visits.

Bad experience at Fore Street (portland)

Tonight was my wife's birthday. We didn't have reservations, but decided we'd try and hit Fore Street w/ my parents, who are visiting this weekend. I dropped my wife off at Fore Street at about 4:50 and went to get my folks at their hotel. My wife asked the hostess if she needed to wait on line, or if she could instead get a seat in the bar - and then have one of us wait on line for the reservation when we arrived. The hostess told her sure, so she went and sat in the bar for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile more and more people entered the front area to queue up for a table (since Fore Street reserves one third of their tables for walk-ins). All of a sudden, the bartender told my wife she wasn't allowed to sit in the bar, since others were waiting for a perch there (the way it works: you give your name to the hostess at 5pm, and then go wait in the bar until 5:30pm, when seating begins). Surprised, my wife got up to head back to the line, which was more or less total chaos - no order, rhyme or reason, just everyone pushing up towards the front. On her way - and this clearly isn't Fore Street's fault - a patron waiting on line yelled at her for cutting (even though my wife was probably the third person there all night). The whole thing was demoralizing - I haven't seen her so shaken in a while. We gave up and managed to get a table a few blocks away at 555. Good food (transcendent dessert), and less overall hype - very pleasant and helpful staff. My wife said she felt that Fore Street had just gotten too big for its britches. There's no need to herd people in and mistreat them for the honor of dining in your over-hyped restaurant, and no-one should have her birthday wrecked by thoughtless bartenders or miscommunication among the staff.

Oh - the 555 dessert? Hot pepper ice cream with hot fudge, kahlua chantilly, fried bananas, and candied pignoli nuts. Just insane.

Where to Brunch in Portland

Yeah, based on only one experience I have to agree that Bintliff's is nothing special. I waited on the line and saw the orders coming out, read the menu, and was convinced I was going to have the meal of a lifetime. The food itself - and it was long enough ago that I don't remember exactly what it was - was pretty uninspired. Not bad, mind you, but deeply overpriced and completely unmemorable. I've never had even the slightest yen to return. The atmosphere was nice in its way, and everybody seemed to be enjoying the food. Not me though.

Dongiò in Milano - Amazing pasta

Just got back from a whirlwind trip through Rome, Florence, and Milan.

No time and too jetlagged for a detailed report right now, but I can't not mention this restaurant:

Dongiò
Via B. Corio, 3, Milan, 20135 Italy

Small, intimate place in the Porta Romano area of Milan, on a quiet street - very reasonably priced, and entirely non-touristy, no English menu etc.

Calabrian cuisine - very hearty and spicy.

And...absolutely the best homemade pasta I've ever had anywhere. Both the pasta and the sauces. I had a bucatini w/ sardines, fenel, tomatoes and bright green bay leaves. My wife had linguini with tomato sauce made from cherry tomatoes, anchovies, and fresh oregano. A friend had a pasta with " 'nduja'" a kind of Calabrian sausage specialty. All of the sauces were very finely pureed - no chunks - and intensly flavorful. We all remarked how interesting it was that they all looked more or less the same, but tasted entirely different. Explosive with flavor and textures. These pastas were betw. 6-9 euros a plate.

We also had many fine antipasti, and a couple of us had secondos. I had a very simple plate w/ burrata (a mozzarella like cheese that just melts all over the place when you cut into it) with arrugula and greens - it was divine.

But the pasta is THE thing here. I just don't see how there's better pasta anywhere.

Sep 06, 2006
Dan S. in Italy