DistendedBelly's Profile

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Best (take-out) Pastries in NYC?

Love Isigny butter & whipped cream!! Our neighborhood WF carries the butter, so we're happy there's always a steady supply nearby :) Now only if someone here carried Bordier caramels, yogurts, and butters!

Dec 10, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Lincoln Ristorante - Need soothing words to calm me down!!

Had a really nasty dinner here at the end of August, and thought it was just our bad luck, since it seems to be very well received on this board.

We were asked not once or twice, but FOUR times if we were sure about not wanting wine. He actually said, "Are you SURE?" We were able to look past that guffaw, but the food was pretty awful too. Pasta was soggy and fishy, and the dessert (cassatina iirc?) was freezer burnt and tasted like it had been made 6 mos ago. The location is really convenient for those attending a show at the Met, but that's about it. If in the area, I would rather return to Bar Boulud or Boulud Sud.

Dec 10, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Thanks for reposting this into the UWS thread!

The Maille store at Place de la Madeleine was inexplicably closed on several occasions we were in Paris, then it was a Sunday we were in Dijon, so no dice there either.. Hence, pretty excited to visit the UWS Maille store this weekend! Bonus: just a 10 min walk from Maison Kayser :)

Dec 10, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Matera and Monopli

Last year we had a very pleasant dinner at Le Botteghe in Matera http://www.lebotteghematera.it where we had a wonderful pasta with tomatoes, topped with fried sweet peppers, alongside some nice pane di Matera, and washed it all down with a decent bottle of aglianico.

Out of all the towns we toured in Puglia and the Salento coast, Matera was my favorite town - it's atmospheric and fascinating. Be sure to cross over to the modern side (where all the locals are, most of the tourists stay on the old cave-y sassi side) for a nice contrast.

If you're looking for some food souvenirs, Sapori dei Sassi http://www.saporideisassi.it/ is a good place to start. The staff were super helpful there, explaining all the local products, how to eat them, what to pair them with etc. We left with some interesting jams, and a bag of fried peppers.

The bread of Matera (pane di Matera, IGP status) is really delicious.. I wish I could remember the name of the bakery we bought an exceptional loaf from, when we joined the passeggiata on the modern side of town.. but if you're already having dinner in Matera, you should be presented some with your meal.

Can't help with Monopoli, since it was a Sunday that we were there, but we did enjoy an exceptional lunch at Bacco in Bari (about 30 mins by car from Monopoli). We've eaten countless polpo dishes at home and abroad, but the best to date was from Bacco - where the octopus was meaty, briny, tender, redolent of the sea, with a crispy charred crust.. absolutely delicious. Also had an excellent spaghetti dish with very fresh ricci di mare (sea urchin).

Nov 19, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Ferrara 2013 - The marshland to the East

Ah, I do recall this thread. Thanks for reposting.

The setting/location of the restaurant sounds wonderful. Looking forward to the food and the atmospheric fog rolling in.

Nov 07, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Ferrara 2013 - The marshland to the East

Not having much luck researching restaurants for Treviso, so we're looking to have dinner in this area instead.

Allende, have you been back to La Zanzara after your initial visit?

Nov 06, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

nomad or dirty french or carbone??

I think you're going to get different replies from everyone. It depends what you are looking for in terms of room, food, atmosphere, etc.

Personally I love the NoMad.. and I would actually recommend the NoMad Bar. Burger, pot pie, hotdog = incredible. Drinks are well made, service is fantastic.. Actually, the entire NoMad complex (Bar, restaurant, Library Bar, etc) is beautiful (even the restrooms are pretty!). We've taken countless out of town guests there, and it never fails.

Not a fan of the Torrisi joints. Did not enjoy my meal at Carbone - dishes were oversalted, and the meal was pricey for what it was.. but I know I'm in the minority here.

Oct 23, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Ma Peche - meh

Thanks for the review! I wish your review came before I went for dinner last week. I hadn't gone ever since Tien left, and ever since the change in format.

I would have to agree that it's very meh. I see that the dishes were entirely different than what we had last week, but the general consensus is that it's very average and some dishes very underwhelming.

I also wish they would stop with the dim sum format. I find it gimmicky (was never a fan of State Bird either), and not a good idea to have hot dishes being rolled around the room (at least in old school dimsum the steamed and hot items are in heated carts). By the time items like the rice, cod fritters reached us, they were ice cold.

Service like you said, was fine. Our server quickly changed our fritters, and overall was very professional and pleasant.

After reading your experience, and after our very lackluster experience, I'm taking Ma Peche off my restaurant rotation list.

Oct 23, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Trip Report: Milan and Genoa

Jen: Thanks for posting the article.

I had read about the devastating floods on the eastern side - eg the Gargano Peninsula (we were just there last year, so it was quite jarring seeing pix of Peschici pummeled by the floods).. but had no idea Genoa was hit hard too.

Seems climate change has produced some very strange seasons everywhere this year and last. In Puglia last year (Oct), we experienced crazy flooding and torrential rain in Martina Franca and Locorotondo. Our masseria hosts shook their heads and said it was odd and highly unusual.. they were sympathetic and even apologized for the crap weather - but what can you do, it's the weather :(

To bring this back on track to food, we've enjoyed Genoa a few times, and whilst it's not discussed heavily on this board, it does receive its fair share of tourists (but of course not as many as the main touristed cities). During our first trip, a cruise ship had just docked, filling the vicoli with quite a few American tourists.

My favorite candy is from Genoa: Romanengo - they make these incredible fondants that just melt in your mouth http://romanengo.it/en/shop/fondants-... Outside of Genoa, I've found them at Eataly Roma - where I made sure to stock up aplenty, since I've not found them elsewhere.

Oct 22, 2014
DistendedBelly in Italy

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

Oh noes, don't get me started on a UWS Wish List!

I guess things are looking up for the UWS, with a Maille opening soon, as well as Box Kite (oh Blue Bottle why don't you open a branch up north?! The Rockefeller location is pitiful, and I'm reluctant to schlep all the wall to Chelsea to snag a seat at the brew bar) and Maison Kaiser in the works.

Oct 22, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

Uni lover? Here are a couple of great selections

Thanks for all the uni love! There's a lot to choose from in this thread.

Here's my addition to the list ~ 3 items from the always reliable Sakamai:

Uni toast: torched uni on toast, topped with parmigiano flakes - loved the simple prep, allowing the uni to shine through without being lost with other flavors.

Egg on egg on egg - uni, caviar, scrambled eggs. Need I say more?

Sea urchin & bone marrow mazeman (pic - sorry for blurry shot, it's really dark inside Sakamai) - I've had a similar combination at The Marrow (RIP) before - but the one at the Marrow was odd tasting and the marrow itself was seriously lacking in flavor - a total disappointment. The Sakamai one was incredible - a harmony of meaty briney flavors, resulting in a (sorry for lack of eloquence) total umami bomb that has you licking the bowl and begging for more.

There are some other uni items on the menu as well http://sakamai.com/ incl a wagyu and uni hand roll

Oct 22, 2014
DistendedBelly in Manhattan

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