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Solo dining in downtown Houston vicinity that won't break the bank?

I'm going to be in Houston for a few days this week on business. Will be staying at the Doubletree downtown and all of my meetings are in the general vicinity - 15 minute walk, max - so I won't have a car. Am I doomed to chains and high-end places? Need some suggestions for solo dinners and lunch that won't break the bank ($40 max for dinner). I'm open to any type of cuisine, but would love to get some stuff I can't always find in New York - Vietnamese, good Tex-Mex/Mex, BBQ, etc. If things are pretty limited downtown, any options in adjacent neighborhoods that aren't too much of a hike by cab/bus?

Also, is there a good place to get breakfast downtown on a Saturday morning before I have to head to the airport, or am I pretty much stuck at my hotel?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Nov 09, 2014
kdgchow in Houston

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

1. They may have White Plains POs, but they're not actually in the city. If that's splitting hairs, fine.

2. I meant WP is extremely diverse population-wise.

3. You criticize me for comparing Mount Kisco to White Plains, yet you're drawing comparisons between White Plains and Paris and New Orleans? I'm not comparing White Plains to NYC, for example, but compared to other communities in Westchester, yes, I think it falls short.

4. I have sussed out good places in WP - frequently with the assistance of this web site. That doesn't change my belief that they're outnumbered by mediocre/bad places.

5. Major brain fart on my part omitting Francesco's, I used to live around the corner and it is very good.

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

Actually, Alpha Hound, I've hit most of those places on your list - and to nitpick a bit, some of those aren't actually in White Plains proper - and a few others not on it. And while some of them are good to very good, I stand by my original point. The city is extremely diverse, yet is overflowing with chain restaurants and chainlets, Asian fusion places and pubs. Where's the good Thai place? Heck, what about a good, sit-down Italian restaurant? Is Buon Amici it? The only non-chain ice cream shop closed down. Saigonese, which might be the only Vietnamese restaurant in the county, opened in Hartsdale. Fantasy Cuisine, which just opened and has chowhounders lauding the dim sum and Sichuan dishes? Hartsdale. Meanwhile, another Asian fusion place opened where Nicky's Pizza used to be on Mamaroneck Avenue, and you can look diagonally across the street and see yet another Asian fusion place!

where have all the chinese (restaurants) gone in westchester?

Not quite lower Westchester, but Imperial Wok on Route 22 in North White Plains is good for Sichuan food, probably your best bet for it in the entire county.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Yet another update:

Tried Sinapi's Pizza in Bedford Hills. Solid plain slice, and a few of their specialty slices - nonna, upside down margherita and bruschetta - were very good. Will definitely be in the regular pizza rotation.

Also tried the gelato at La Tulipe in MK...wow. Some of the best chocolate gelato I've ever had, and the espresso gelato was pretty terrific as well. It's not cheap - $5.25 gets you a small cup - but you can't knock the quality. Also tried a couple of macarons - I'm no expert, but I thought they were excellent.

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

Even Dobbs Ferry, with nearly one-sixth the population, has a more interesting restaurant scene (I lived in Irvington before WP). I really wonder if part of it is WP's status as the county seat and a possible rep as a strictly government, 9-5 town - hence all the happy hour-laden bars on Mamaroneck Avenue and such.

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

Or in WP's case, the one or two landlords that seemingly control every rental space downtown: Silverman and Cushman Wakefield.

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

Plus, they can be loss leaders for the corporate office.

TGI Fridays opening in White Plains ?

Maybe it does, or at least, the mall-ified downtown. I recently moved from WP and I'll say it again: the restaurant scene in the city stinks, out loud. It's embarrassing that smaller communities in Westchester - my new home of Mount Kisco, to name one - have more diverse options.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Another update:

Had a couple of pupusas at Rincon Santaneco and they were made to order and very good. Anything else on the menu worth trying? I saw few tables with tamales on them.

Tried a plain slice at Marcella's Pizza on Main Street - eh. Best slices I've found in MK so far are Gerardo's and Mario's.

Also tried some tacos al pastor at Maya, which is next to Little Kabab Station. The pork was pretty good, but no pineapple. Also, I'm trying to figure out if the place is truly Mexican - they're advertising things like churrasco and bandeja paisa.

It looks like the deli next door, American Latino Cafe, has a sit-down area, anyone ever been? And FWIW, what's the best taco in MK?

Montreal restaurants with vegetarian options, including a special-occasion place?

Glacially-paced, it took forever to get everything: drinks, apps and mains. They were perfectly friendly, though.

Montreal restaurants with vegetarian options, including a special-occasion place?

I guess that's another difference between smoked meat an NY-style pastrami. The spicy brown deli mustard helps cut through the fattiness of the pastrami.

CaptCrunch: The funny thing was, I thought the best vegetarian dish at Europea was the one on my tasting menu, not my wife's: the risotto. I don't even like mushrooms that much, but if I could eat them like that all the time, I'd be happy.

Oh, and while I didn't get my pasteis de nata fix at the bakery you recommended, I had a perfectly acceptable version at Vasco de Gama near our hotel downtown.

Montreal restaurants with vegetarian options, including a special-occasion place?

Just got back from Montreal, here's a recap:

Europea was terrific. My wife and I each had the $89.50 tasting menu (not the full $125 menu) and we were still well and truly stuffed. The risotto with burrata, asparagus and mushrooms I had for one of my courses was the best risotto I've ever had. My wife really liked her vegetarian courses, especially the root vegetables with beans and Raz-el-hanout hummus. I could see why. I'm an omnivore, but to me, this is what good vegetarian food should be: not stuff masquerading as meat, but vegetarian ingredients cooked to stand out for what they are. The desserts and amuse-bouches were superb as well, and the service was attentive and helpful without being overbearing. Definitely a worthy place for an anniversary dinner, or any other special occasion.

As for our other dinner, Le Petit Alep was as good as we remember - their lentil soup and dips are terrific and I enjoyed my Armenian sausage sandwich. We went to Gado Gado on our first night in town and enjoyed it - my pork belly steamed buns and beef rendang were very good. We tried Restaurant Darbar for an Indian place and we thought it was OK, but nothing special.

L'Gros Luxe was an excellent spot for brunch/lunch - avocado fries and grilled cheese sandwiches were very good, and cheap. Fun spot, but man, the service was glacial.

We hit Eggspectation a couple of times for breakfast, since it was so close to our hotel. It was fine, but I think my wife liked it more than I did. We also hit some Montreal classics. I had wanted to eat at Schwartz's again, but the line was so long both days I passed by and I don't have as much patience for that as I used to. Instead, I went across the street to the Main, got a table right away and an excellent smoked meat sandwich. But yellow mustard instead of spicy brown? Boooo! St. Viateur hit the spot for breakfast before we headed home to NY, and I made sure to pick up a dozen bagels from Fairmount for the trip - they're in my freezer now. And Kouign Amann's almond croissant and eponymous pastry were terrifc, even after a 7+ hour drive home.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

Montreal restaurants with vegetarian options, including a special-occasion place?

Thanks for all the suggestions! Europea looks great for an anniversary dinner, I made a reservation for Monday night.

A friend of mine who was just in Montreal raved about the Indian meal he had at Restaurant Gandhi in the old town. Any other opinions? I've also heard good things about Restaurant Darbar.

Would love to picnic on Mont-Royal, unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's going to be good picnic weather this weekend.

Any breakfast/brunch suggestions would be welcome as well, though I think we're going to try and hit the St. Viateur cafe at least once.

Montreal restaurants with vegetarian options, including a special-occasion place?

Heading up I-87 to Montreal with my wife for our anniversary this weekend, commemorating the first trip we ever took together, nine years ago. Obviously, things have changed a little bit in that time, so I'm looking for some new lunch, dinner and dessert recommendations for a four-day trip. However, my wife is a vegetarian - dairy, but no fish - and I'm not.

We really liked Le Petit Alep on our last trip, so we'll probably go there again, but I'm stumped for additional options. I'm not a big fan of strictly vegetarian/vegan places, so I think Aux Vivres and Lola Rosa are out. L'Gros Luxe looks like it might have enough options for the both of us, but what else? Any other recommendations for Mediterranean? Any decent Indian options? We'd like to keep the prices reasonable, though I'd also like to find one place that would be suitable for an anniversary dinner. We'll be staying downtown, near the Bell Centre, but will have a car and have no problem taking the metro anywhere.

As for dessert, we'll definitely hit Kem CoBa for ice cream, but my wife is also a sucker for French pastry, so any pastry shop recommendations would be welcome. Meanwhile, I'm a sucker for pasteis de nata (Portuguese egg custard tarts), what's the best place to get those?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Anyone try Rice in Armonk? They bill themselves as serving authentic Cantonese food and are constantly offering coupons, but I'm a bit skeptical. How do they compare to, say, Aberdeen in White Plains?

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Another update...

Tried Rocky's Deli in Millwood, got the Untouchable (chicken cutlet, grilled proscuitto, fresh mozzarella). Pretty good, but didn't blow me away. Some of the other sandwiches look interesting, any must-gets? It looks like if you don't get something with chicken, it's pretty much just Boar's Head all the way, which doesn't interest me as much.

The best sandwich I've gotten around here so far was the porchetta and broccoli rabe hero at A&S at the Route 117/128 intersection. Very tasty, and a lot of their other sandwiches look good as well.

Tried a slice at Gianfranco's in Bedford Hills, pretty mediocre. However, the slices at Mario's (at the MK Metro-North train station) were very good. Best tasting crust out of all the slice joints in the area, if it was just a little less saggy, it would be perfect. They also have Foxon Park sodas, a New Haven pizzeria staple! Saw they had a clam pie on their menu, any chance it could rival the one at Pepe's? One can hope...

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Oh, and if you're a beer nut and haven't checked out the DeCicco's in Armonk yet, run, don't walk. Fantastic selection on two floors, plus a beer bar that fills growlers, at extremely reasonable prices, IMO. I went to a Brooklyn Brewery tasting there a couple of weeks ago and it was terrific.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Wanted to keep this thread going with an update.

Tried Bedford Bagel and Bakery on Sunday. Pretty good, their bagels definitely look and taste more like bagels than the inner tubes that masquerade as bagels at most other places.

Gerardo's is the best pizza I've tried in Mount Kisco so far.The regular slices are solid and the grandma slices are very good. How's the rest of the menu - pastas, heros, etc.? Basilico on Lexington Avenue was eh, on the level of Bellizzi. I was also a little disappointed with Via Vanti, definitely more flatbread than pizza, and pricey. How is their non-pizza fare?

Turco's in Yorktown is very good, I usually rotate my shopping between them and DeCicco's in Armonk, depending on who has the better sales.

My wife liked Mt. Kisco Wines and Spirits in the A&P Plaza, said it reminded her of Vino 100 in White Plains, only larger.

Also tried Salsa Fresca - the one in Yorktown Heights - definitely a Chipotle clone. It's ok, but for that type of food, I'd rather go to Tijuana in downtown MK.

Little Crepe Street is fast becoming a semi-regular weekend brunch spot. And I have to say that for a diner, the recently-remodeled Mount Kisco Coach Diner is pretty damn good.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Is that Bedford Bagel & Bakery? Will have to buy some there and confirm.

BGR IN MT KISCO CLSD

It's in Pleasantville. Pretty good stuff, and good for kids: http://www.ponyexpresstogo.com/

I think they recently moved into expanded digs.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

BTW, I'm assuming it's pretty much a lost cause for good Chinese food around here? Back when I lived in White Plains, at least I had Imperial Wok and Aberdeen nearby.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Tried Lefteris with my 2-year-old and was pleasantly surprised - it's much better than the original branch in Tarrytown, which stinks, IMO. It was also packed on an early Sunday evening, maybe the turnover helps.

Got some nova and sable from Mt. Kisco Smokehouse for a party we were hosting and while it was pricey, it was very good, especially the sable. And wherever they get their bagels from, they're good, better than the ones from Mount Kisco Bagel Co., which I thought were disappointing.

salsa fresca-mamaroneck

Is it better than Pancheros? Went to the White Plains one when it opened, now THAT was a weak Chipotle clone. And I'm not even wild about Chipotle.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Thanks for all the recs, everyone! Will have to check out Rincon Santaneco and the Smokehouse ASAP.

New to Mount Kisco, need the lay of the land

Just moved to Mount Kisco and have only started exploring its food options. So far, I've sampled Little Kebab Station (very good), Village Social (ditto), Azteca (ok) and Bellizzi (ok, good for kids).

What are some other places worth checking out? There are a bunch of Mexican/Central American places in town, any highlights? How about food stores/bakeries/wine and liquor shops, etc.? Now that I no longer have easy access to Fairway, the Mt. Kisco Smokehouse looks interesting, any reports?

Also, anything in the immediate surrounding areas (Bedford Hills, Katonah, Yorktown Heights, etc.) worth checking out?

the original pancake house (white plains)

Eagerly awaiting the opening as well. I go to the ones in the Detroit burbs at least once while visiting my in-laws, it's way better than IHOP. Hopefully, the crowds aren't as insane for the White Plains one as they are for the ones in Michigan - if you don't show up before 9 a.m. on a weekend, you're waiting an hour-plus for a table!

Lazy Boy Saloon and Lazy Boy Lounge - White Plains

Hadn't heard that. It would be a big shame if it was replaced. Not only does the beer selection elevate it above all the other pubs on Mamaroneck Avenue, it's also the only pub on the strip that doesn't feel like a meat market on the weekends and summer evenings. It's decent for bar food as well, certainly better food than places like The Black Bear.

In White Plains...

I go to the OPH at least once every time I visit my in-laws in the Detroit burbs. It might be IHOP/Denny's-like, but it is MUCH better. It's actually one chain restaurant I don't mind coming to WP. That German pancake - and its smaller cousin, the Dutch Baby - is terrific.

Red Plum - White Plains

In Port Chester, Tortilleria Los Gemelos is great for Mexican, and I like Asi Es Colombia Bakery for arepas and such. I know Tarry Lodge gets mixed reviews on CH, but I've had both lunch and dinner there and thought it was very good both times.

In Mamaroneck, Sal's is good for a solid slice of NY-style pizza, regular or sicilian. Certainly better than the slice joints I've tried in White Plains. Turkish Kitchen is also very good.