albinoni's Profile

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Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

Somewhere in a box of books in my attic, I still have a copy of The Underground Gourmet. I wonder how many, if any, of the places reviewed are still there.

Nov 18, 2014
albinoni in Manhattan

Gothenburg and Copenhagen

Hi, we'll be spending a few days in Gothenburg and then in Copenhagen in the beginning of October. Any chow-worthy suggestions at either place? Thanks.

Sep 09, 2014
albinoni in Europe

Chengdu in Green Brook?

Four of us went there last night--it was their opening night, so I will cut them slack. The service was chaotic--waitresses appeared randomly, orders came in haphazardly, at one point they were screaming at each other across the room--obviously the place was understaffed with inexperienced help. I think the coup de grace was when they had three huge parties going on simultaneously, the smaller tables were totally ignored.

As far as the food, I have to be honest and say that I prefer Chengdu 23 in Wayne, or E-mei in Philly. Some it it was very good, good enough to go back and reorder or try some other dishes. Again, opening night is not for final judgments. I liked the spicy wonton app, they also had a very simple spicy cold broccoli app that was a killer. The kungpao chicken--a dish that has become ubiquitous on takeout menus, but was once unique and exotic, and, if done right, can still be revelational, was just ok--Chengdu 23's is far superior (either way, make sure you order it Sichuan as opposed to American style). We also had a sliced pork in spicy sauce, was loaded with chopped hot pepper which I got tired of picking out. Ants climbing a tree was made with cellophane noodles and minced pork, spicy, I took most of it home and just had it cold a few minutes ago and liked it better today. BTW, our friends, who know nothing about authentic Sichaun, ordered off the "special dishes" menu, which was nothing more than crappy westernized preps. One chicken dish was made with maple syrup.

Aug 30, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Chengdu in Green Brook?

Sounds good. My wife is on board. I will try to round up some guys from my bike club who like spicy, as well as their wives, though from past experience, this can be like herding cats.

Aug 26, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey
1

Chengdu in Green Brook?

sounds great! Eric, what time do you expect to be there?

Aug 26, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Chengdu in Green Brook?

We tried Golden Cantonese the other night, really liked it (we had the "giant" shrimp in superior sauce, and the pork chops with chili and special salt (at Wonder Seafood, this is called salt and pepper)--both were excellent. We will be back, though if Chengdu 1 Palace will be as good as I think it will, we will be going there a lot.

Aug 22, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Chengdu in Green Brook?

To answer my own question--yesterday, my wife, who lacks my patience, searched on-line, got the Chengdu 1 website, which has a menu and phone number for Chengdu 1 Palace in Green Brook. She called and spoke to a live person who told her it would be opening in two weeks!

Aug 18, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Edison food jaunt? Need ideas please

Food court in H-Mart has a Korean fried chicken joint which is really good (but the fries are totally generic).

I always recommend Wonder Seafood on Route 27, for outstanding Hong Kong/Cantonese, particularly fish and shellfish preps. They have dim sum every day during the day, weekends are extremely popular with a good variety available. Quality is excellent.

Aug 08, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Chengdu in Green Brook?

Thanks, Leofont, I've been meaning to try Golden Cantonese, though for years our go-to place for Hong-Kong/Cantonese has been Wonder Seafood in Edison. Looking forward to the opening of Chengdu.

Jul 30, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Chengdu in Green Brook?

Anyone know if it's opened yet?

Jul 24, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Rob's Bistro, Madison

Oops, that's Friccassee

Jul 15, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Rob's Bistro, Madison

Frisassee in Montclair.

Jul 14, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Copenhagen for 3 nights

We will be in Copenhagen for a few days in early October. All the hotels I'm looking at are clustered near the train station. Are there breakfast options in that area, or are we better off just paying for the hotel buffet breakfast?

Jul 03, 2014
albinoni in Europe

Ample HIlls Creamery Hype overwhelms reality

Yes, orchid biz is doing well. I bike in Prospect Park during lunch hour, one day I'll ride by and poke my head in. We have gardens in the backyard, unfortunately we are plagued with deer, it's a struggle to keep them from eating everything. That's great about the bees--I have two hives of my own!

Jul 02, 2014
albinoni in Outer Boroughs

Ample HIlls Creamery Hype overwhelms reality

Is this the same Jen Kalb that we (Charlie and Helen) knew back in the '90s from the St. Marks Block Assn. Garden? We lived on Plaza St and had a plot there!

Jul 02, 2014
albinoni in Outer Boroughs

Ample HIlls Creamery Hype overwhelms reality

Based on all the raves, I went to their outpost at Brooklyn Bridge Park at lunch today to see what all the fuss was about, and ordered a cup of the butterscotch pudding ice cream. It was OK, no real butterscotch character, flavor seemed to lack a finish. Using Bassett's or Graeter's as a standard, Ample Hills underwhelmed.

Jun 30, 2014
albinoni in Outer Boroughs

"Staycation" in Philly for a suburbanite...

If you are interested in hearing traditional Irish music played acoustically in a pub setting by some excellent musicians, Fergie's Pub on Sansom between 12th and 13th has a weekly session on Saturdays between 4 pm and 7 pm. It's a very cool pub, with a great list of draft ales on tap.

Jun 27, 2014
albinoni in Philadelphia

Seafood in Philly?

Sockii, please post info about restaurants in Collingswood and the crab shacks you've found on the New Jersey board!

Jun 19, 2014
albinoni in Philadelphia

Dinner recommendation in Edison?

Nearby, on Stelton Road in Piscataway, the Four Seasons is one of the best Thai places anywhere. Totally no-frills, BYO, but there's a liquor store in the same strip mall.

Jun 10, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Metuchen (or nearby) recommendations for gift certificate?

Hailey's has a killer selection of ales on draft, but their food is atrocious. Best have a drink at the bar and go elsewhere for the meal.

May 12, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Buccaneer Bay BBQ in Plainfield N.J.

The old Caruso's is now a day-care center.

As far as the lack of an established dining scene and stigma, by way of example I would only point to neighborhoods in Brooklyn such as 5th Avenue in Park Slope, or Smith Street in Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill, which I am very familiar with, and how, over the past 15 to 20 years, went from near-abandonment to becoming food meccas. In fact, they never had much of a food scene to begin with, and built up at a time when most families who lived in urban neighborhoods only went out for special occasions, if at all. Williamsburg? It was once Peter Luger's and nothing else. Bushwick? It was so far gone, most newcomers to Brooklyn had no idea where it even was, and now places are opening near where Roberta's first set up shop to serve single-serving pizzas. Similar stories in Bed Stuy, Crown Heights and Fort Greene--all once considered dangerous and scary, but now really "cooking". It always started with one or two brave entrepreneurs who knew they could draw a following regardless of where they set up, and took advantage of lower rents and costs of capitalization. By contrast, Brooklyn Heights, which has always been Brooklyn's most affluent neighborhood and which always had a handful of restaurants even during the worst of times, has, culinarily, stagnated.

Politically and civically, Plainfield has always found ways to shoot itself in the foot, but the same could be said for Brooklyn, which for years played second fiddle to Manhattan and has always had its fair share of poor leadership and a history of misguided attempts to redefine itself in ways that alienated its middle class. None of this seemed to affect the willingness of chef-owners to take the chances that they have, and who have largely, without any government assistance, gambled and won, and in the process altered the urban landscape. Why the same dynamics don't apply in Plainfield, which, although having extreme poverty, also has a solid middle and upper-middle class that would embrace a downtown restaurant scene, is beyond me.

May 07, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Buccaneer Bay BBQ in Plainfield N.J.

It's really crazy. Plainfield, which has an underutilized downtown with some incredible architecture, would seem to be the place where a cutting-edge, Montclair-type restaurant scene would have gained a foothold by now. Instead, it's populated with 99-cent shops and cheapo electronics joints. Similar situation on South Ave, which is just outside the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood whose residents would enthusiastically support such a place, but which is instead filled with day-care centers and fast-food. Granted, there are many Latino restaurants in the downtown, but nobody on these boards has mentioned having tried any of them.

May 07, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Diabetic eating low carb but not losing weight

Loseit.com has a phone app for I-phones and Androids. It's free. I've found it to be a great help since my diagnosis with type-2 at the end of March. It features a huge database of foods, as well as a barcode reader which makes it possible to add what is not there.

May 06, 2014
albinoni in Special Diets

Noodlicious Is Gone

That's really a shame. Their noodle dishes were excellent, it was a great place for something quick, different, and reasonable.

Apr 28, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Szechuan reviews: Four Rivers and E Mei from Philly Chinatown

We were in Philly for a few days last week on business, and based on what I read here, opted for Emei on Friday night. We ordered two dishes--lamb In cumin, and jumbo shrimp in garlic sauce. (We like it hot, and got a bit more than we bargained for in the shrimp dish). In any event, both dishes were outstanding, and, without having had an opportunity to try Four Rivers for comparison purposes, would return to Emei in a heartbeat. BTW, while I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on these boards re Han Dynasty, a friend of ours whose tastes run similar to ours' went to the Han Dynasty in University City, and said it was excellent.

Apr 18, 2014
albinoni in Philadelphia

Prediabetic to Diabetic- what to do?

I'm a veteran Chowhounder (I post mostly on the New Jersey board) who just received the official diagnosis a few days ago, along with high cholesterol and high b/p--the trifecta! As one who has always lived to eat, this is a tough one, especially when I learned that no matter what I do, I will always be a diabetic. However, in addition to the meds, my MD wrote me a prescription to attend a class that was given by the diabetes clinic at one of the local hospitals (it was covered by my insurance). I learned a lot from the nurse-practitioner and the dietician, and one of the other people who attended that day told me about a smart-phone app called "loseit", which I downloaded and am using as a food diary--an essential component of a treatment plan. The good news is that the weight has begun to come off, and as the dietician told us, controlling portion size and eliminating the foods we should not be having in the first place will both lower our blood sugar and promote weight loss.

Apr 09, 2014
albinoni in Special Diets
1

Forget the Archives, let's talk Plainfield!

I just copied and pasted this from today's (April 8)Plaintalker II, Bernice Paglia's blog on Plainfield. I must confess, though I have lived in P'field for over 15 years, I am woefully ignorant of the mom & pop, mostly Mexican and Central American, places that are sprinkled all over the downtown. This one sounds like a place to try:

The folks at Pollo Campero want you to help celebrate National Empanada Day (today) and their 43rd anniversary this month.

Today, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., they say, "Guests can visit any of the five Pollo Campero restaurants in New Jersey all day and receive a FREE hand-made empanada,which are made fresh daily with the restaurant’s famous Latin chicken and proprietary blend of spices."

Plainfield's very popular Pollo Campero restaurant is at 301 East Front Street. The company began in Guatemala in 1971 and when it opened here, the lines were around the block. I'm told Guatemalans are one of the largest Latino groups in the Queen City.

If you don't know an empanada from a quesadilla, this is your chance to sample one of Latin America's most popular food items.If I get out of the PMUA meeting early, I might just walk up Roosevelt Avenue to the Pollo Campero and get me one. And maybe some yuca fries.

Apr 09, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Forget the Archives, let's talk Plainfield!

Elma's Kitchen on South Ave near the Netherwood train station has pretty good Jamaican food, though I would not mind if the jerk chicken were hotter (spicier). Elma is a hoot!

Apr 08, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey

Noodelicious in Edison

1857 Rt 27
Edison, NJ 08817

This little storefront Taiwanese noodle shop is located in a strip mall on Rt 27 near the intersection of Stelton Road/Plainfield Ave. Right by the Sam Ashe music store, a stone's throw from HMart. Not much to look at from the outside, inside it's clean and functional. Very friendly and welcoming staff. Also, very cheesy music piped into the dining room. Their hours are a little eccentric--for the most part, they are open for a couple of hours mid-day, close, and then reopen at 5:30 for dinner.

But the noodles are excellent--thick, slightly chewy and very satisfying. The menu is very limited, and is broken down mostly into two categories: noodles in broth, and noodles with topping. I had a bowl of the latter, I chose the shredded pork with sautéed mustard greens. No more than 3 minutes could have passed between the time I ordered and the time they brought my food to me--it's true fast food. You can also order hot tea, which came out lukewarm, but which is also quite good. Prices generally within the $7 to $10 range. Highly recommended.

Mar 06, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey
1

favorite restaurant in nj

Fricassee in Montclair (French bistro, one of the best inside or outside of NYC). Chengdu 23 in Wayne--excellent Szechuan.

Mar 03, 2014
albinoni in New Jersey