DistendedBelly's Profile

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up and coming

That's a shame about La Petite Maison.

I hope Pic does well here too - seems she's on a roll now, ever since her Paris opening. I know she's not as well received on the CH France board, but we really enjoyed our meals in Valence, and hope she can replicate at least some of it here.

In an unrelated note, I read that the Racines people have opened up a caffe in Paris (I think in the same Passage des Panoramas that houses the original Racines) with the brothers from Padova's Le Calandre (one of our favorites in the Veneto region). We had a great meal at Racines here recently.. is it wishful thinking to pine for a Racines x Le Calandre offshoot here too, or am I being greedy ;)

Sep 25, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

up and coming

I thought I was the only one excited with this piece of news! I was so happy to read this when it made all the rounds on Monday. I've dined at Pic in Valence and several times at Le7 -- one of my favorites in France for sure.

Sep 25, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Are bagels "a thing" now?

I was in Toulouse this summer, and spotted this place next to our hotel in Place Wilson

I was sorely disappointed that there wasn't an Uptown offering ;)

Also strange that they would use a nondescript generic skyline..

Sep 04, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Munching in Turin

It's been a few years since our trip to Torino, but I recall it being a wonderful city for chocolates, caffes (especially for aperitivo hour), and museums - in particular the Mole Antonelliana (has great views up top) and the Egizio (Egyptian) Museum (if you haven't seen enough at the Met yet ;) )

If you are doing Eataly, I would also suggest popping to view the 8 Gallery (iirc it was free entrance) - as well as stepping outside the art gallery to view the Lingotto track. It's not used for auto testing anymore, but it was cool snapping pictures of the track.

At Eataly, we bought some items that I haven't seen at the Eataly Flatiron, as well as enjoyed a pizza at the bar (just wanted something quick). Otherwise we had a fine meal at Tre Galline (I recall a well made vitello tonnato, and a dish with sweet peppers being exceptional) as well as Consorzio (highly recommend).

Here are some of the places that we liked (yes, sweet tooth here) + hours (it's been a few years since I researched these business hours, please dbl check before going - it's Italy afterall!):

* Baratti & Milano, Closed Mons. Tues-Sun 8am-8pm - it's available all over the world, but it's nice grabbing a coffee at the bar here too
* Caffe al Bicerin, Mon-Tues and Thurs-Fri 8:30am-7:30pm; CLOSED WEDS - On your list already! So good we went twice.
* Giordano Chocolates Store: 09.00 / 13.00 | 15.00 / 19.00
* Guido Gobino, 10am-8pm, see 17th C Chocolata Inda, drink chilled bicern - I've seen bags of GG chocolates at Eataly Flatiron before, but it's always nice to see the entire line at the actual store
* Platti, 7:15am-9pm Closed Fridays
* Peyrano-Pfatisch - Chocolates, 9am-730pm
* Stratta, 10-1, 3-730 Closed Mon morns and Sun - bignole, small pastries
* Pepino - I think this place claims to have invented the chocolate covered icecream on a stick
* Marchetti - really great gelato here. Tons of accolades. There was a lovely bunet flavor when we visited.

Enjoy Torino!

Sep 04, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Rare date tonight -- need recs for dinner LES

+1 Rosette
This is good to hear. We really loved the dinner we had there a few weeks ago when Curtain was still in the kitchen. The burger was pretty awesome (the patty was flavorsome.. but weren't fans of the bland sesame bun), sides (sprouts, roasted avocado) were delicious, drinks well made, and the space (half empty on a Friday evening though - hope it picked up for them) is atmospheric and beautiful. Looking fwd to a return visit with the new chef.

Aug 12, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Mimi Cheng's Dumpling's: Meh Meh

I love the title of this post :)

I'll echo all the sentiments about Mimi Cheng's in this thread.

I have no problem paying any price for excellent food.. but this was just plain meh (for lack of a better word), and I could not justify the $1+ per piece price tag.

I'm happy to read that there are quite a few other recommendations mentioned here: Vanessa's, Prosperity (which had a huge line up when we walked by last weekend), and Tasty

Aug 05, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

This is good to hear! I love Sullivan, and they (Sullivan and Grandaisy) offer near identical items, so will give them a try for their pizza soon.

I was less impressed with Grandaiy's bread - the last loaf I picked up from them a few weeks ago tasted really stale.. like it was several days old. Granted it was past 3pm when I bought it, but nonetheless, this one tasted like it was 2 days old :( After that, I just continued schlepping a little farther down to Sullivan St Bakery for the always delicious Pugliese loaf.. Perhaps it was an off day at Grandaisy, I'll still give their loaves another try when I pop in for a slice!

Aug 05, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Pi Bakery Soho

I love a good baklava, so after reading several good intros on Pi Bakerie, I couldn't wait to give it a try. The one line that sold me however, was Grubstreet's
mention of a "Turkish baklava maven" recruited at Pi..

Gave the place a whirl last weekend, and I am happy to report that the place is a nice addition to the area. It's a nice bright space, high ceilings, very inviting, and worth a stop if you're looking for a coffee and snack, or a more substantial meal.

I'm more of a purist - I ordered the traditional (walnuts, almonds) - but they do offer a chocolate one as well. The baklava was really delicious (see attached pic). It was not too sweet (really dread the baklavas that make your tooth ache), the layers oozed a bit when I pressed my fork against it, and the top was crispy.

I would go back to try the other items that MVNYC mentioned - the spanakopita did look very enticing!

Aug 05, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

How A Major American Travel Magazine--Conde Nast Traveler--Gets Paris Food Shopping Hilariously Wrong!

@mangeur & @sunshine842 -- nice! now I'm armed with some additional ideas for what to do with my collection of mustards :)

Jul 21, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

How A Major American Travel Magazine--Conde Nast Traveler--Gets Paris Food Shopping Hilariously Wrong!

Thanks for the heads up! Will keep this in mind once our current supply starts to dwindle:

Jul 21, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

How A Major American Travel Magazine--Conde Nast Traveler--Gets Paris Food Shopping Hilariously Wrong!

I've visited this site before, and they do have an extensive selection of deliciousness. However, just a few select Bonne Maman items :(

Really, most times it's just part of the fun shopping in France. Instead of buying magnets and useless trinket souvenirs, I pick up edibles (you're there already, why not).. plus you get more variety/see the full range, and are able to see the expiry dates.

Bonus if you need more info and the owners/store associates are there to help out. We picked up several interesting Fallot mustards when in Dijon (after trying ALL the flavors they carried in store). I noticed the D&D here only carries 2 or so types.

Lastly, I'm lucky that many items are available where I live.. but if you're living in a smaller city, you really can't readily find some of these items at your local grocery store.. sometimes you don't want to wait for mail order ;)

How A Major American Travel Magazine--Conde Nast Traveler--Gets Paris Food Shopping Hilariously Wrong!

Yes! Absolutely love the chocolate covered ones too :)

This past trip we picked up a bag of the Quatre Quarts (which made it back home with us, have yet to try), and a bag of the lemon poppy seed cakes for the road. The lemon poppy seed ones are chock full of delicious rind and packed with flavor in such a tiny cakelette. I thought this was quite nicely done for an industrially made product.

Jul 16, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

How A Major American Travel Magazine--Conde Nast Traveler--Gets Paris Food Shopping Hilariously Wrong!

I have to admit that I do enjoy the individually wrapped madeleines from Bonne Maman, and will buy a bag or 2 back whenevs in France (or from the Galeries Lafayette in Berlin). They taste great, and the ingredients list (unlike Oreos) is recognizable and short. Can be enjoyed with a nice cup of tea, or with some berries and cream for a quick dessert.

Are these available in Manhattan? I know select Bonne Maman jams/preserves are readily available, but I haven't looked hard enough for the baked items..

From that list:

* I did buy 2 tins of La Belle Chaurienne cassoulets from Toulouse last week :) No idea if it tastes any good. I think we were more tickled with the fact that we could transport such an iconic dish back home to savour.

* French butter (President, Lescure, Isigny, etc) is readily available in Manhattan, but we did pick up some regional butters to sample since you can't find those here (eg Savoie butters, AOC Bresse, etc)

* I enjoy the chilled desserts section of French supermarkets. Can't remember all the ones I've sampled from past trips, but from this trip, we enjoyed the creme caramel from Bonne Maman (again, short ingredient list), as well as some panacottas, and a fresh tasting faisselle with fruit compote. They're super convenient when you're on the road and are looking to end a picnic on a sweet note

Jul 15, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Trip report: Emilia Romagna & Rome

+1 for Locanda al Gambero Rosso
We had a very lovely lunch there this February, and can echo what you mentioned above. Traditional items of the region, all done with care and presented very neatly.

Btw, did you get a chance to meet Giuliana? We were marveling at the Gambero Rosso pamphlets on the table, which had a pic of her in her beautiful chef gear.. imagine our delight when she came out to greet us - wearing the very chef gear as depicted in the pamphlet!

A very warm reception at this restaurant, and a very pleasant dining experience. We would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a nice meal in the area. They have rooms too, so if one is looking to stay for the night, that's an option.

Jul 15, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Alba on Sunday and Monday

I don't have the app, but I have been using the Kindle version, which has proven quite helpful when we're in the area and wondering about a restaurant, or are at the table and are wondering what the recommended dishes are.

Jul 15, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Favorite Pasta dish of the year

Spaghetti & clam at The Clam

When it arrived, I was a bit concerned, as the actual dish was hidden under a huge mound of arugula. It certainly wasn't the prettiest dish, but wow when we took our first bite, we realized how wrong we were to judge by appearance.

I believe it's housemade spaghetti, as it didn't have the bite that dried pasta has - which suited the chunky & flavorsome tomato based clam sauce that had bits of clam chopped into it. Surrounding the place were huge littlenecks (some were a bit tough, but don't let that detract from the star of the dish: the sauce and the pasta).

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream?

I had 2 scoops a few weekends ago: Black ass licorice, and the salted pretzel. I found the salted pretzel grainy with a strange texture, but the black ass licorice was very nice and not too strong. If you're an ouzo, anise or licorice fan, this is the scoop for you! I loved it.

I didn't look over the glass to see how the salted pretzel was scooped/prepared - can anyone chime in? Are the pretzels added to order? Maybe that would explain the strange grainy texture..

If in the area and there aren't lineups, I would stop by again.. but wouldn't make a special trek out for it.

Jun 20, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best Ice Cream in NYC

RE Milkbar softserves: Their flavors are hit or miss.

For the current line up, the limeade (EV) and fruit salad (UWS) flavors are nice and refreshing. Some past flavours were either too bland (toast and jam - was so excited to try this combination, but ended up throwing most of it out, as it tasted of nothing) or too savory for my liking. I'm hoping she brings back the sour patch kids flavor :D

Jun 20, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Thanks for the update from your colleague!

Strolled by Awadh last night around 8:30pm, and the place was super busy. Good for them! I'll give them a try once they've settled in..

Jun 20, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Brand new, made the New Openings rounds this past week. Also avail on OpenTable..

Jun 19, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

France: One great meal in Lyon?

I'd second this as well - the chocolates in the store are amazing, but the items served at the cafe aren't memorable at all.

Jun 17, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Niiiiiice! Thanks for trying it 3x to be sure :) Will definitely try DDE on a weekend jaunt - so glad to hear of your report! Oooh it's close to Levain too - dangerous combination.

Funny you mention Counter Culture beans. Recently tried Kuro Kuma (on La Salle & Broadway). They serve CC beans as well, but I wouldn't say this is a destination worthy stop either. If you are in the area, it fits the bill. It was a pleasant spot.

Jun 13, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Nice! I have seen Stumptown's cold brew at the WF on Columbus too! Good to know that there are several places to grab it from the 60s - 90s :)

I was just at the UWS Milk Bar last weekend - I was too busy scarfing down a pastrami thing to notice the pour over! Thanks for the heads up - will definitely give it a shot.

Walking back up Columbus last night, I noticed that Macaron Parlour displayed Blue Bottle beans. I don't know how the macarons are there, and don't know if they do a decent drip, but something to keep in mind if in the area..

Cheers for all your coffee intel ;) Super helpful!

Jun 07, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Sunday dinner - Dijon

Yes, we will have a car. Fantastic! Thanks for your suggestions! Will go and peruse the 2 sites

May 28, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

I've tried other Joe locations, and wasn't bowled over by them. Perhaps the UWS location is better. I'll give them a shot soon!

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

The lack of good coffee in the UWS has me chemexing my own at home (Sightglass, BB, etc) instead. I love love looove BB's New Orleans iced, so am really waiting for the day they decide to open a branch in the UWS (soon, we hope??)

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Sunday dinner - Dijon

Thx for the recs! I did come across hotel restaurants (such as the Mercure one) that were open on Sun night. Le sigh.. Might just wing it, or go the picnic route.

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Sunday dinner - Dijon

Yup. Cross checked both viaMichelin and G&M. Nada. I think I came across one or 2 that were open Suns (Porte Guillaume, and the restaurant in the Mercure, neither sounded enticing)

Picnic it is!

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Sunday dinner - Dijon

Combed through various listings, and nothing is open on Sunday evening :( I guess a light picnic will be our best option..

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in France

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

The UWS is in serious need of good coffee :/ Just waiting for Blue Bottle to open! Haven't ventured too far from our hood yet. There is a Birch nearby - is it any good?

May 27, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan