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Warm ambiance for mom's birthday

Thanks everyone! I have a reservation at La Ciccia and at Aziza for the moment and will decide as it gets a little closer.

Appreciate all the suggestions - this gives me ideas for my own dining adventures as a new SF resident!

Warm ambiance for mom's birthday

These are great suggestions - thank you, all. Much obliged.

Warm ambiance for mom's birthday

Thanks! I will check those out!

Warm ambiance for mom's birthday

Another idea - Aziza? Would that be suitable?

I am quite new to SF, so appreciate your suggestions!

Warm ambiance for mom's birthday

My parents are visiting from the Midwest, and I'm looking for a great restaurant at which to celebrate her birthday. My mom is particularly sensitive to pretension/attitude in restaurant atmosphere, so I'm looking for a warm ambiance and friendly staff in a classic, fine-dining setting, with a San Francisco vibe. I prefer a place with well-sourced (sustainable, ethical) meat, seafood and produce. Italian or Cal/American cuisine would be best, but a warm, celebratory, comfortable ambiance is the most important factor, with tastiness a close second.

I have a reservation at Perbacco, but haven't eaten there - would that be suitable? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, for context: we're having dinner the following night at L'Auberge, and lunch the day after that at Bouchon.

Thanks for your help!

best ice cream?

the search continues. i think sundaes and cones is the best i've had so far in this specific category of hard ice cream, but it's still not spot on. (so many of the posted replies above refer to gelato, or just other ice creams that aren't really the hard, old-fashioned kind.)

i was talking about hard ice cream with a friend from ohio recently, who knew exactly what i was talking about. she said the term is hard dip? (or, hand dipped? can't remember exactly.) and she agreed that it probably can't/won't be found in new york.

i happened upon the graeter's website while doing a little research afterward, and it looks like *exactly* what i'm talking about. has anyone had it, either at a store or by delivery?

Nov 27, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

birthday restaurant suggestions for NYC

i would suggest babbo for italian and a more formal experience or blue ribbon on sullivan st for raw bar, a wide variety of amazing foods, and a more casual ambiance.

Apr 18, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Best coffee cake?

Ooh, that looks great! As does the Pecan Tea Ring (on the same page). Thanks!

Apr 03, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Best coffee cake?

My all time favorite is the sour cream coffeecake from Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, and I haven't had anything nearly as good in New York. If you know a good one, please share!

Apr 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

best happy hour?

looking for best happy hour spots for cocktails and snacks. we're especially interested in places on the upper east side (e. 60s) or east midtown. but if others know awesome deals farther downtown (village, les) i'd love to hear about those, too! thanks.

Mar 19, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

where's a good spot for private party for 20

hi: you may want to check out il buco - they have a wine cellar and a chef's table that are both private. the harrison in tribeca and savoy (upstairs) in soho are other possibilities. freeman's is a fourth option - it has loads of atmosphere, great food and cocktails, but it's the only one of these that doesn't have a private room (at least as far as i know). enjoy!

Feb 12, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Argan oil in Manhattan

this is so helpful - i am looking for argan oil for a lamb tagine i am making tomorrow. i got the tagine as a gift so may as well invest in the oil! thanks.

Feb 08, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Trendy Birthday Dinner Group

public or wd-50

Feb 07, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Chocolate Bars

in addition to the others, i suggest vosges as one to try some time. they have a store on spring st and i think they sell them at bergdorf, too. the exotic caramels and the exotic truffles are fun and delicious.

http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

Feb 07, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

il buco or the harrison?

trying to decide between these two for a large-group dinner. help! they both look so appealing!

Feb 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

my own private harrison or something like it - suggestions please

okay! well, after doing more research, i have narrowed the choices down to savoy (upstairs), crispo (carriage house or alcove), il buco (chef's table or wine cellar), in addition to the harrison's private room. also tried gramercy tavern - their private room always looks so lovely when i walk by it - but they are booked.

if anyone has specific thoughts considering these particular options, would love to hear it.

Feb 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

my own private harrison or something like it - suggestions please

i am organizing a celebration dinner for 10-15 people from work. my preference is for a new american or french or italian place that is cozy with a private (or semi-private) room. we are hoping to get the private room at the harrison, which would be terrific from what i hear of it. any other suggestions in that vein? thanks!

Feb 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Prune -- How Early Should I Line Up For Sunday Brunch?

the pancake is one of the few things i haven't tried yet so thanks for sharing! i agree the coffee is great. other suggested brunch dishes are the fresh ricotta, the spicy stewed chickpeas, and eggs en cocotte.

Jan 16, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Prune -- How Early Should I Line Up For Sunday Brunch?

in my experience, if you're there by ten you will be seated right away. the crowd is not as big as clinton street, which has a full restaurant of a crowd waiting outside by nine forty-five! prune rocks. hope it was a good time!

Jan 14, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Patisserie Claude

i stopped by with a few friends for a post-brunch pain au chocolat yesterday (saturday about 1 o'clock, i think we got the last of the batch) - and it blew my mind again. the aromas in the store are amazing in and of themselves, wow. the chocolate was still warm and melty this time, and the crunchy bits of the dense flaky pastry are so, so good. i will not get pain au chocolat from anywhere else anymore.

Jan 14, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Any rock solid dinner choices left?

yes, blue ribbon never disappoints me either! i've been there scores of times and eaten through most of the menu. solid like a rock!

Jan 12, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

UES Saturday Brunch

we went to cafe d'alsace once. the food was pretty good, as i remember, and the atmosphere is kind of fun. i'd recommend it even though i remember the service being a bit less than stellar.

for something different, there's supposed to be a terrific restaurant inside the neue galerie.

Jan 12, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Good, Expensive, Casual Dinner?

i heartily suggest blue ribbon on sullivan at spring in soho. their raw bar is amazing and they have some of the best friend chicken ever. other favorites include the bone marrow, wor matzoh soup, shrimp provencal, goat cheese salad (even though it sounds boring), and the banana split or strawberry sundae for dessert. it's certainly busy so best to go very late (they're open til four a.m. every day) or very early, say five or six o'clock. enjoy.

Jan 12, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Place Near NY Hospital?

yeah, le pain quotidien would be perfect.

cafe evergreen on first ave between 69th and 70th could also be good - it's surprisingly good chinese, fairly quiet, and should be a good spot for an interview.

Jan 04, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

Cardamon flavor ice cream

yeah, love cardamom. i will have to try sundaes and cones; i've been meaning to do so and this is even more reason!

also - not exactly an ice cream parlor, but still i'll mention that del posto had a cardamom spuma on the menu with a bittersweet chocolate tart. and they have a different cardamom dessert - a semifreddo - listed on the menupages menu. so you could always pop in there and get a drink and dessert at the bar i'm sure!

Jan 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

new year's eve at del posto (long)

we thought it would be a good evening to try it out, given that the grandeur seems perfectly apropos on this night especially.

service was very warm. the host walked out to greet us as we entered. we found the ambiance and decor to be tasteful and enjoyable, especially since there wasn't a bit of snobbery in the service.

the leharte rose brut i had was really delicious, as was the $45 pinot noir that was a recommendation of the wine guy. it was a perfectly balanced complement to our dishes.

the amuse bouche were all wonderful, especially the super-aromatic, crispy white truffle mini rice ball.

the house made breads were a fine conduit for the bf's trip to heaven with the lardo. he's pretty hard to please with food but this totally did him in.

bf started out with mario's house sausage, which was full of rich sweet and spicy hot flavor and served with a delicious mustard. my starter was the rucola salad - the tiniest, freshest little baby arugula i've ever seen, so delicate and peppery! - with roasted beets and a delightful coach farm carino cheese.

next we split the lobster risotto for two. it was very rich and full of buttery flavor and light and airy at the same time.

bf got the duck for his entree - it was melt-in-the-mouth delicious (don't remember the preparation though). my delmonico steak itself was terrifically tender and juicy and tasty. it had that yummy dry aged flavor, and a very special extra flavor that i couldn't place at first... until i realized it was olive oil! a very clean, tasty olive oil. the torino di ricotta that accompanied it was quite bitter and not to my liking, and the spicy rapini was ok.

figgy pudding with homemade zabaglione and salty caramel for dessert was quite good, as were the tiny cookies they presented to us at the end of the meal. the grappa truffle was amazing!

it was a fully enjoyable dining adventure on new year's for someone who usually prefers holing up in a cabin somewhere with friends.

Jan 02, 2007
raybird in Manhattan

best ice cream?

how would you describe sedutto's ice cream?

Dec 28, 2006
raybird in Manhattan

Egg Nog (served, not purchased in the stores)

yeah! it was the new york magazine article that i had found previously. i totally agree with their breakdown of different store-bought nogs - organic valley is my standby. and they rightly dis the ronnybrook.

enjoy the pete's nog :)

Dec 21, 2006
raybird in Manhattan

Egg Nog (served, not purchased in the stores)

yeah, isn't it the best? interestingly, i just googled it to give you the link and now i can't find it either! i have it in my email somewhere, though. maybe you can provide your email somehow (don't know how this works) and i can forward to you?

i have a bottle of the ronny at home and i find it to be not my favorite - it's got the thick & yellow thing going big time. i love sam's for its pale white color, thin consistency (bc of the booze), and its abundant flecks of fresh nutmeg.... yum!

Dec 20, 2006
raybird in Manhattan

A group of 6 individuals in our mid-late-20's, looking for a moderately priced downtown (south of 14th St) Italian restaurant with great food &

crispo or lupa. for sure.

Dec 18, 2006
raybird in Manhattan