earl's Profile

Title Last Reply

need a few dining recommendations

hey guys wanted to give you my review after this weekend.

Again, I want to thank the community for all the recommendations and I wish I was in Miami to try them all. Nonetheless I’ll give quick review of my experiences with my wife and our friend over the weekend.

Lunches

Rodriguez de cuba (Hilton Bentley hotel) : when we walked in I was thinking oh oh… but I have to say we were so surprised as to how much we enjoyed this place. We started off with watermelon and tuna ceviche and chicken empanadas with Mojitos and I can’t recall the other cocktails….really nice, the Ceviche was super fresh, the empanadas a bit spicy. Entrees included your typical Cuban sandwich, mother and child (chicken thigh / leg and fish tacos. What amazed me was the lightness of the flour tortillas and how all entrees were just great. Service as top notch although just a bit slow in the beginning, what impressed me was how careful the waiter was in placing dishes down. Very good wine list (I had Ysios gran reserva by the glass which I never see).

Novecento (on Brickell) sorta laid back on a Sunday afternoon. The steak frites with chimi churi reminded me of similar dishes I had at the local steak places in Sao Paulo. Wine list was verbal (it was ok) but for a little bite it was nice.

Dinner:

DB Bistro Moderne: started with a nice Paul Clouet Rose champagne and the charcuterie. The smaller portion was fine for the three of us, really nice duck rillet ( I think) and great chicken and country pate. We had the cold pea soup, Serrano ham salad and heirloom tomato salad next, all great though my friend thought the pea soup would be better hot than cold and I prefer Jamon Iberico over Serrano. Entrees, with a nice Domaine Serene pinot (Oregon) included roasted chicken, branzino and ribeye done in a provance style. Well prepared and very good although the ribeye, to me, might have been better done without the capers. Madeleines and a cheese course ended a great evening. Service was great, I didn’t note the snootiness mentioned in some of the posts…it wasn’t super friendly but it wasn’t rude by no measure. Crowd was interesting for sure…cute older couple celebrating an anniversary, some late night partiers and your typical dood wearing a t shirt and cargo shorts…bleh…

Romeo’s Café: despite being in a non-descript shopping mall I found this restaurant super interesting. It was a slow Sunday night for sure as the three of us where the only people in the restaurant all night. However I had say that the chef came out talked to us about what we liked and didn’t and really prepared a great 6 course meal. Service was spot on and really nice.

We stated with salmon and beef carpaccio and a banfi vineyard (can’t recall) Pinot Grigio The beef (I forgot the cut) was excellent and the salmon was so delicate. I would suggest a lighter hand on the capers on the salmon as they tended to overwhelm. That course was followed up by lasagna with antelope…really good and cheesy. Next were sea bass and an Italian version of steak Diane (cream and peppercorns) with a nice Borolo. The fish really rocked, it was so fresh and with a light hand in terms of cooking it made it melt in your mouth delicious.

Next, with a Domaine Carneros pinot, was veal ossobucco on risotto, again tender and the risotto had just enough tooth to show it was freshly made. Entrees included pork with a peanut / chili sauce and a duck with a raspberry sauce, I would have to say this is where Romeo took some risks and the result was just ok. The pork was very good although I don’t think it was very northern Italian and the duck, while very well prepared (dark meat thigh portion), the raspberry sauce was too sweet…I figured he was thinking of using that to cut the fat just didn’t work as well.

Desserts include a flaky apple strudel: really good, a pear tart w an almond crust: super good and a semi molten chocolate soufflé, very light and nice. After about 3 hours we finally walked pushing our full bellies into the night.

Jun 05, 2012
earl in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

need a few dining recommendations

ok its DB cafe for saturday dinner and Romeo's for sunday dinner damn i wish Nemesis or Tuyo were open on sunday's they look great!

Zuma i think we'll hit for a late night snack...looks like a great place for people watching...feel free to pile on more ideas for lunch or a good jazz / piano club nearby

May 29, 2012
earl in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

need a few dining recommendations

thanks a ton for the recommendations... i am very curious about romeo's seems like a cool concept ... zuma seems like a cool spot.... gotta think abouit that one ....that either may work for sunday or even a late night snack....

sparkys...love the name alone ... Nemeis i will consider sounds cool

May 27, 2012
earl in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

need a few dining recommendations

I am coming down with a couple of gastronaunt friends of mine next weekend. We are staying downtown at the Epic and would like 3 dinner and two lunch recommendations. I have a car so i dont mind driving around but prefer walking or cabs...but dont that let that stop you.

so, for dinner i would like a few recommendations for some fine dining places, think where you would take a date, anything with a great local chef is preferred, open to any and all, price is no object

would like some good ideas for cuban for lunch

if you have any good ideas for wine bars or a place for jazz pile on.

i was intrigued by two chefs and romeo's cafe, azul and scarpetta what does the community think?

for lunch tinta y cafe sounds good

May 25, 2012
earl in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

So I just came back from my Austin trip. Again I want to thank the community for recommending so many places! Below is a quick review

Congress:

For the first two courses we had a nice Argyle Rose Sparkling wine

Started with caviar service: I really liked the Ossetra and the carrot mouse that came with it. My only thought is that I thought the sweetness may have conflicted with the caviar a bit. The crackers were pretty useless that came with the dish but tasty nonetheless.

I think I prefer a more traditional service but it was a good starter.

We had Hamachi with strawberries, burratta salad and beef tartare for our first course. The combination of Hamachi and strawberries was really different, in a good way. While I liked the beef tartare, the Kimchi tended to overwhelm…but it was still a good dish

Second course was Potato Gnocchi, White lobster bisque and Chicken Carbonara. While the Gnocchi was very well done, I would try something more adventurous next time. The Carbonara was great, sort of a deconstructed dish…egg was so perfect…the lobster bisque was so good….lots of swooning from the two ladies with me at the table.

For the reminder we had a bottle of K vintners (Washington) Syrah Morrison Road.

Third course we had veal tenderloin and two orders of the rib eye loin. Nice portion size while I am not a fan of veal generally it was very good, the rib eye, with the date steak sauce (!) was unbelievably good and paired perfectly with the big spicy Syrah.

Before desert we did a La Tur Cheese course…nice…all soft cheeses , the graham crackers went really well with the more sour notes of the cheese.

Dessert included a strawberry dish with a sunflower financier, Caramel pudding and something else … desserts were good…but not mind blowing.

I thought congress was probably the best dinner we had. I liked the people watching (I was with two pretty women so I’m sure there were some comments on our table as well) but there is an interesting crowd there. Great table service, great waiters and pacing was pretty much spot on.

Our other dinner was at Parkside. While I am not the biggest fan of the crowd on 6th the location is great if you are staying at the Omni where we stayed.

We started with cocktails, and ordered fried oysters and steak tartare both of which were excellent…I’d say I preferred the tartare here over congress. Salads included the butter lettuce and beet salads, both nice…My beet salad was a nice blend of yellow and red and a nice goat cheese on top – yea it’s a standard paring but it was simply well done.

We then ordered a Ridge 3 vines zin and dug into our entrees; the dewberry chicken and two steaks, an order of fries and an order of green beans. On the steaks I really liked the blue cheese foam it adds a nice flavor w/o the heaviness of crumbled cheese. The roasted chicken was great as well.

For dessert we ordered four, the donuts, (Yum!), the smores, (Yum! But I would like a bit less chocolate), Roasted Banana mouse (OMG what was that freeze dried thing that tasted like peanut butter!) and finally the passion fruit tart (was going to drop this one but we added it to the order and we were glad we did)

The crowd is an interesting mix for sure…some dressed up like me some like hipsters and others….well…never mind…good service even if a bit distant. A great recommendation either way.

We had lunches at Lamberts BBQ, La Condesa and Ranch 616, all excellent. I think we ordered all the sides and all BBQ meat options at Lamberts, while I liked the BBQ I think I could use a bit more smoke and spice. At Condesa we ordered chips / salsa / Guac and those off the menu roasted ears of corn...tasty...for lunch we had steak and eggs, tacos and Huevos Condesa all excellent.

The cocktails at both Lamberts and Condesa were top notch I especially liked the mint juleps at Lamberts and the smoked Mescal drink at Condesa. My only nick on Condesa is that service was a bit spotty with longish waits between courses and cocktails.

I really liked that neighborhood off 2nd, next time I think we’ll stay at the W since it seemed we spent a ton of time there. Cru was a nice find for a wine bar as well.

Finally we tried Elephants for jazz Saturday and Sunday…Saturday was standing room only so we went back Sunday when it was less crowded, I think what you need to do on a busy day is to do an early dinner and head over to get a table. Patika was a great stop for a morning espresso and unfortunately we missed the bats lol.

Thanks for the recommendations guys

May 02, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

thanks for all the great ideas...i wish i could stay there a week to try everything but here is the plan as of today lol.

lunch at Lamberts, la Condesa and Ranch 616 (may swap one of the great bbq recs for this last one)

Dinner at Congress and parkside

thanks for the music venue recommendations -- any other great ideas surely welcome as i still have a month to go lol...

Mar 05, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

yea i saw wink -- they have a wine bar too i hear -- moving my dinner reservations back to 8pm now so i can try these places before dinner lol

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

i may just grab migas all morning there is also a cool coffee cart i saw on the boards as well...Patika Coffee that sounds cool too

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

cool cool maybe ill spend a whole afternoon at parkside lol ... cocktails then dinner...perla..ill look em up

elephants check...

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

cool cool maybe ill spend a whole afternoon at parkside lol ... cocktails then dinner...perla..ill look em up

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

would they be better than Lamberts? i have heard of both on the boards here just figured they were out of downtown...

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

la condesa was also recommended in three perfect days the united airlines magazine ...i may do that

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834114

+1, if you're able to get a table. Paul is gaining publicity on Top Chef and is in the final three.

unless he was recommending Uchiko.

Mar 01, 2012
earl in Austin

Suggestions for brfst lunch and dinner for a weekend in April

Coming down to Austin the weekend of 4/28 staying downtown off of 6th. Based on the boards i have requested a reservation at Congress for saturday but i am looking at other recommendations for the following.

Saturday lunch (thinking lamberts)

Sunday breakfast, lunch and dinner (thinking parkside or wink)

Monday breakfast and lunch (thinking Ranch 616)

Ideally the places would be downtown or a short cab from there.

For breakfast we would prefer what is good locally opposed to any particular cusine. As for lunch and dinner...I would love recommendations for places with great local chefs .. (btw saw the recommendation for #1 but i cant find it ... is that the correct name?) And if possible 1 good BBQ place.

Also any great places for Jazz, Blues, Zydeco or spanish music in that area?

and last but not least -- any great wine bars / cocktail lounges for afternoon drinks? (wink sounds good @ 5pm)

thanks a ton!

Feb 29, 2012
earl in Austin

shipping wine out of Chicago -- anyone know of a shipper?

thanks for the feedback, i know the shipper needs a liquor license to ship alchol out of state even to one that allows it. I'll look up chris to see if he can help

Mar 24, 2011
earl in Chicago Area

shipping wine out of Chicago -- anyone know of a shipper?

other than trying to pass my case of wine as olive oil or bbq sauce anyone know of a UPS / FED ex shipper that has a license to ship wine out of state?

Mar 14, 2011
earl in Chicago Area

Zinfandel Tasting in Chicago 5/20/2008

ZAP, the zinfandal adovacates and producers, will be hosting a zin tasting at the mid america club from 6:30 - 8:30pm.

There are over 25 wineries pouring at the event and tickets cost $50.

Don't know if you any you zin fans have gone to the ZAP festival in San Francisco but here is an opportunity to try wines from some great wineries. You can see the list, Ridge, Rosenblum and Ravenswood will be there for example, and get tickets at www.zinfandel.org.

Full Disclosure, I have been a "advocate" of ZAP for a few years now and I have attended the SFO tasting numerous times. but having said that, if you love Zin this is a great event to go to.

May 06, 2008
earl in Chicago Area

If I only had one shot, which pizza place should I go to.

WOW someone actually mentioned Pequod's...they have great pizza but if I recall its in the north suburbs...Lou Malnati's is great pizza and the one I would recommend as well...thick butter crust and your toppings...yum

Oct 30, 2007
earl in Chicago Area

I recently bought some red wines that I am unfamiliar with- who can help?

Last year did a trip to walla walla...great place for a weekend, couldn’t do all the wineries of course but here some recommendations and notes.

Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot are big there. In general, very extracted wines…dye your tongue / teeth purple kind of extraction. Syrah very Rhone like with lots of spice. Cab and Merlot bigger and more fruit forward.

My favorites were Cayuse (Syrah), Waterbrook (Cab / Syrah), Northstar (Merlot), Spring Valley (Syrah) and Ash Hollow (some funky whites). – many more too many to list. Woodward Canyon, L’Ecole, are others widely distributed .

Suggest going to http://www.wallawallawine.com/ for a map

Many of the wineries have tasting rooms downtown. Good deli’s and a few good restaurants… I like 26 Brix (though it has changed hands recently I hear) and Whitehouse Crawford. The Marcus Whitman is a very nice hotel in downtown.

Oct 03, 2007
earl in Wine

Best Italian?

just went to the Italian Village and posted my comments at
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/11442...

Wine list is indeed huge...the upstairs has crappy glasses though and the markup is amazing...though 1k for Harlan estate is not too bad ...allocation price is $450 lol

Oct 03, 2007
earl in Chicago Area

Italian Village notes

I just went there recently, 10/2007. Lived in Chicago all my life and never been there so I thought I would go with my wife and my mother in law who both had fond memories of the place from 20+ years ago.

I have to agree with all of the negative posts. The food does not compare to most of the comparable Italian restaurants in Chicago…the food was truly mediocre.

I had pasta in meat sauce. The gravy was very basic with some meat chunks, pasta was a bit mushy and the only thing it had going for it was that there was a lot of it. Salad was your basic mix with some tomatoes and dressing. Bread was boring and very low grade olive oil on the table. Cannoli was good, crisp shell and all but sorta boring…my mother in law used to remember when they would bring a platter of cookies out after dinner…guess not anymore. My wife’s risotto was tasty but not creamy like it should be…it was more like a jambalaya / paella than a risotto.

Wine list, although extensive, was very high priced, x2+ retail markup across the board…I like high end wines and better restaurants change lower markups for the higher end bottles. This was more like Morton’s pricing. Glasses sucked….if you are a glass snob like me ;-).

Funniest part to me was the atmosphere.

First, we made reservations arrived 15 minutes early, which to me is on time, were told to wait then 20 minutes later we were seated in the bar near the waiter stand…note to self… insist on the dinning room.

Second you have the “good ole boy” network that I hate…I was standing in the lobby waiting for my wife to return from the washroom as we were leaving and I experienced this scene…Host to walk in….45 minute wait please take a seat in the bar….Host to another walk in that arrives a few minutes later…ahhh mr so and so…lets see what we can do…..ahhh here…we have a table right here for you. I hate that crap.

Oct 03, 2007
earl in Chicago Area

Dinner recs before Buddy Guy's Legends?

Bin 36 is a fun spot if you are a wine geek like me. It can be loud though...but they have a more formal dining area, a cafe with a seperate menu and a cheese bar. Its located near the House of Blues in the Marina Towers complex near the river.

www.bin36.com

Aug 30, 2007
earl in Chicago Area

From SF in PDX for a couple days-where to???

don't forget Lucy's table...even w new owners it is still good...btw if you are in the airport they have a great wine bar next to the rose city grill...many Pac NW wines including many from walla walla...good bottle prices too...manager is a total wine geek so he gets all kinds of stuff in...if you are w someone a bottle is the way to go since they charge retail + $15 corkage which is better than the by the glass prices....Ron is a great bar tender too....

Aug 30, 2007
earl in Pacific Northwest