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Special restaurant for a 21st Birthday celebration

Thanks for the suggestions. We went with Uchi and had a wonderful meal. Fabulous sake, too. I do want to try the other recommendations on future visits.

We especially enjoyed hitting up the food trucks. Our favorites: Peached Tortilla, You Gonna Eat That, and Gourdough's, of course. We actually went to Gourdough's for dessert after our dinner at Uchi. It worked out well! And even though I wasn't looking to have pizza/Italian food in Austin, since we have such great Italian in NYC, I ended up sharing beet ravioli with pecan pesto from the Regal Ravioli truck and the Hot Honey Pizza from the 40 North truck. Both dishes were outstanding!

We also enjoyed breakfast tortillas at Torchy's, El Chilito and Al Pastor. All in all, a terrific visit. I may have to see a realtor the next time I come!

Feb 18, 2015
angelhair in Austin

Special restaurant for a 21st Birthday celebration

I'm coming to Austin to visit my two young adult children who live there (and to get away from the horrible NYC weather). One of them recently turned 21 and we'd like to have a nice, celebratory dinner. I've done a fair amount of research on places I'd like to hit up, either now or in the future, including old favorites (original Chuy's, Threadgill's, Hillside Pharmacy, Cisco's, Fonda San Miguel), newer places like Barley Swine, Odd Duck, Uchiko, Uchi, Qui, bbq (not waiting on line for Franklin's) and other odds and ends like Hudson's on the Bend, Garage Mahal, Nubian Queen Lola Cajun. Plus food trucks.

What would be most fun/best food for dinner or brunch for a special celebration? Preferably something that a young adult might not be able to afford, but Mom and Dad can! We love all types of food but are interested in something uniquely Austin. Other suggestions for other meals welcome as well.

Feb 04, 2015
angelhair in Austin

No reservations/single dining [San Francisco]

Perfect - this info is just what I was looking for. Thanks.

How difficult is it to get into Mission Chinese Food as a single, for lunch or dinner?

I've eaten at Yank Sing and R & G. Any other places anyone would recommend for Chinese and/or dim sum? I'm happy to go back to YS and R & G but would also like to try something new. And any recommendations for Burmese? Thanks again.

No reservations/single dining [San Francisco]

My husband and I will be in SF next week for six days. He will be attending a workshop and will be busy until 9 PM several of the days. I will be on my own for lunch (and breakfast, except I'm not much of a breakfast eater) and for about half of the dinners. I'd like to find places that a single diner can get into without a reservation as well as places that are open late for dinner. The reasons for no reservations are that I know these workshops are often unpredictable and my husband may end up being available for dinner, and/or other people may want to join us.

My priorities for this trip are to try some SF classics that I've somehow missed on previous trips, in particular, Tadich Grill and Zuni Cafe. I want to return to Foreign Cinema, one of my favorite restaurants. I want excellent Chinese and dim sum and I really want to try Burmese food. I would love to try some new places doing California cuisine - State Bird and Frances are of interest but would those be impossible, even for a single diner?

And finally, is there someplace where I could try Mission-style burritos that would make me a believer in this staple? The ones I've had outside SF are heavy, bland and boring.

Celebration dinner

We're looking for a restaurant to celebrate our son's graduation from Rice. Our son has certainly enjoyed the food scene in Houston, finding lots of good Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian food. We'd like to go some place special to celebrate, some place a college student couldn't afford. Open to any type of food.

Also, any new (or old) restaurants that we must experience before leaving Houston? We love El Tiempo, Hugo's and have enjoyed the hole-in-the-wall places our son has taken us to. Any good BBQ? We really enjoy Goode & Co but it doesn't get much love here.

May 15, 2014
angelhair in Houston

Impact of plastic bag ban?

I live in NYC and I would really hate to see a ban of plastic bags. I would pay the 5 or 10 cents to buy the bags if necessary but I think it's one of those things that may not have such a big impact on the environment but instead will make some people feel good about themselves. I don't see myself using the reusable cloth bags, for a variety of reasons. I've read studies that show that they breed bacteria and require frequent washing (how environmentally sound is that?) and I just don't want to have to deal with that. Also, my shopping tends to fall into two categories. I'm on foot, often coming after work or other errands and don't want to carry reusable bags around with me all day. My other shopping is done by car and then I'm buying in much greater quantities. I would need many reusable bags and I'm just not going to keep 10 or 12 clean reusable bags on hand.

I reuse plastic bags for lots of things - as trash can liners in bedrooms and bathrooms, for quick garbage deposits when I'm cooking, for wet swimsuits in the summer, for picking up after my dog, for packing shoes when I travel, etc. I reuse paper bags to hold recyclables. A ban would not change my consumption habits, it would just force me buy plastic bags from Amazon (or the store). Because I would still need plastic bags for all the above-mentioned uses.

Jan 27, 2014
angelhair in Not About Food

Where to buy Thanksgiving pies/side dishes

Now that the big day is almost hear I thought I'd revive this thread. I'm still looking for a place to get some great pies, some great rolls (preferably something interesting, like sweet potato biscuits, cranberry rolls, etc.) and some good sides. Also duck gumbo. And where's a good place to buy a turkey? Can you buy fresh (not frozen) turkeys anywhere in the city? Really looking forward to this...

Nov 13, 2013
angelhair in New Orleans

Where to buy Thanksgiving pies/side dishes

Thanks. This is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for. I've googled both places and they both look good. My research also indicates that Cochon has done Thanksgiving take-out dishes as well. That would be interesting.

I've also found a bakery called Shake Sugary that seems to have some great pies and rolls. Can anyone recommend them?

Other suggestions welcome!

Aug 14, 2013
angelhair in New Orleans

Where to buy Thanksgiving pies/side dishes

The other Thanksgiving-related post has inspired me to jump in, in August, with a Thanksgiving question! My family is renting a house in NOLA where we will host a group of family and friends for Thanksgiving. I will do the cooking but may want to augment my efforts with some purchased sides and pies. Our group may include 20+ people and that's more work than I want to do solo. So I'm hoping that there are some great places where I can get things like sweet potato casserole, pies and breads. We plan to have a Cajun/Creole menu along with some family favorites. So where I should I look for great sides?

Aug 12, 2013
angelhair in New Orleans

Prague - What's good?

I've read many of the Prague posts and have found that the same few restaurants seem to be mentioned over and over. And of course, so many of the Prague posts also focus on other cities such as Vienna and Budapest and you really have to pick through the thread carefully to find any info about Prague. So I was hoping to find some info just for Prague and not other places. Maybe choices are limited, but I was hoping to get recommendations beyond Lokal, Degustation and Sansho (and a couple of others that I've forgotten that keep getting mentioned). Is there anything new? Anything beyond the greatest hits that get mentioned repeatedly? Anything where there's no smoking allowed?

I will be visiting for a week but my son will be studying in Prague for a semester. So any good, inexpensive options would be welcome for him. He doesn't eat pork - I'm sure that will limit him but there must be decent, non-pork dishes that he can find. He loves Indian, Japanese, Thai and Chinese food. And he's willing to try traditional Czech dishes as long as there's no pork involved.

I did discover a website geared to expats in the Czech Republic, that has a ton of info about restaurants and pubs. That seems like it will be a great resource for him - and for me, when I visit.

Nov 14, 2012
angelhair in Europe

Prague - What's good?

I will be visiting Prague in the spring and would love recommendations for good food and places where you won't get ripped off. I've read some horror stories on the tripadvisor board about restaurants not posting prices on menus, charging for stale chips already on the table, really bad food, etc. So any suggestions for good, trustworthy service and good food are needed.

It seems pretty easy to find great beer, which of course will be a priority, but we'd also like some good food to go with the beer. Open to any kind of cuisine and any price range. Thanks.

Nov 13, 2012
angelhair in Europe

Inside food at the Barclay's Center????

I was at the arena on Friday night for the first time, watching college basketball. I thought the food offerings were superior to most other arenas I've been in. I had a brisket sandwich from Fatty Cue that was excellent. I also got a side of mac and cheese, which was some of the best mac and cheese I've ever had. Husband had a grilled chicken sandwich with mozzarella and basil from Paisano Bros. that he thought was excellent as well. L & B Spumoni Gardens has a stand as does Juniors and there's a stand run by the guy who owns Saul and The Vanderbilt. There's also a cart with a guy doing old-time soda fountain stuff. And there's pre-made sushi. And there's plenty more that we didn't see. I like that they're using Brooklyn vendors and Brooklyn institutions. So I'd highly recommend eating at the arena. It blows most sports venues out of the water. The food costs didn't seem outrageous for a sports stadium (sandwiches were around $12, the mac and cheese - a pretty large portion - was $6.75). Beer was excessive, though - $9 for all beer, domestic or imported. That is slightly outrageous but what are you gonna do? You can't bring beer inside. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to going back - and sampling more food.

Nov 12, 2012
angelhair in Outer Boroughs

Not Leaving Empty Handed (Southern Food Items Needed)

Why would you want mirlitons if you don't know what they are? (They're a squash-like vegetable, often stuffed in Cajun and Creole cuisine.) Also, a muffaletta is a sandwich - and the bread it's made with. Do you want to buy the bread, the pre-made sandwich or the ingredients for the sandwich? Olive salad is a necessary component and it's widely available. You can probably buy the cold cuts for a muff anywhere in America.

Coffee with chicory is a nice thing to bring back. Cafe du Monde, Community Coffee, Luzianne and French Market are all brands to consider. I also think that Camellia beans are a must. They're key for red beans and rice. They have such a creaminess that other beans don't have. I also like the Konriko wild pecan rice. Popcorn rice is interesting, if you can find it. I can't leave the city without at least one bag of Zapp's crawtator potato chips. You can find all sorts of mixes and condiments. You can usually find a mix for bananas foster (it's mostly just sugar and cinnamon and other spices and you add butter) but it's still pretty good. Try whatever looks interesting. Most of it will be pretty good, at least. If you have a cooler, it's worth taking back some andouille, some tasso and some boudin. But note that you can now buy all of this stuff online.

Jun 20, 2012
angelhair in New Orleans

Please don't pounce on me! I know there are lots of threads, and I regularly read the quarterly yays [Trader Joe's]

Highbrow chocolate chip cookies, the butter cookies with fruit topping (don't remember what they're called), chocolate covered anything but especially the blueberries, the dark chocolate caramels, canned chicken chili, trail mix, truffle brownie mix (I think they only have this in the winter months for some reason), their shampoos which don't contain sodium laurel sulfates, fresh stuffed chicken breasts, frozen Mexican food (for a Texan it may not be up to snuff but it's pretty decent), frozen three-cheese pizza, frozen Chinese dumplings, pimiento cheese spread.

As you'll notice from my list, I mostly use TJ's for pantry and freezer items along with chocolates and cookies. I'm not a big fan of their breads or produce.

Jun 01, 2012
angelhair in Chains

red sauce Italian near the Theater District- Trattoria Trecolori, Puttanesca or somewhere else?

Trattoria Trecolori seems to get the most recommendations for theater district Italian. We tried it recently, based on raves from this board. It was good but not quite as good as I was expecting. I think I was oversold based on all the chowhound comments. Even though it was only about a month ago, I can't remember a single thing we ate. They did get us out in time and the food was good, just not special or memorable in any way. There's nothing at all wrong with it (other than the noise level, but that seems to be the way things are these days). It's just not as special as I had hoped. I would go again but would probably try some other places before venturing back.

May 23, 2012
angelhair in Manhattan

Cooking with Jazz closing April 22nd

We just got back - we were there for the last night (Sunday). They had the full menu and the place was mostly full although there were some empty tables. I'm guessing that the dreadful weather kept some people at home. We very nearly stayed at home but decided to brave the elements and the Interboro for a last taste of the best Cajun food in NYC. We ordered more than we usually do and brought a bunch of leftovers home. Lunch will be good tomorrow.

Steve was roaming around drinking beer and taking pictures with the guests while spending some time in the kitchen. Lots of regulars there. It was a weird mix of festive and a little sad. They were selling the art work and fixtures and there was a big "For Rent" sign outside. I will really miss his food.

Are there any other decent Cajun places anywhere in the city?

Apr 22, 2012
angelhair in Outer Boroughs

Eeek! Mouse-proofing my pantry?

We have a house in the country that we only visit on occasion. Every time we arrive to find mouse droppings everywhere - and I do mean everywhere. They seem to love to eat or mess about in soap, any kind of paper, candles, plastic baggies.. We've found droppings in our bed and on our toothbrushes. I never leave bars of soap out anymore and I keep our toothbrushes in a sealed container. And we leave lots of glue traps out when we're gone. But it's a real pain - the house is always cleaned when we leave, but we still have to do a thorough cleaning (and change sheets) every time we arrive. That's part of why we don't use the house so much these days.

Apr 13, 2012
angelhair in Not About Food

Columbia Steak House in Lexington

I will be in Lexington for the first time in several years and nostalgia is calling me to some old college favorites. My brother worked for a time as a waiter a Columbia's and I'd love to have dinner there but some things I've read seem to indicate that it's gone downhill. Any thoughts?

What are some new (or old) faves that are worth checking out? I will have a teen-ager with me so any student hang-outs would be interesting for him.

Top Chef Texas Finale Part 2 - Ep. #17 - 02/29/12 (Spoilers)

I know that we're not always given a complete picture of the judges' thoughts about the dishes, but it certainly seemed that Sarah's dishes got more favorable comments from the judges and that she made fewer "mistakes." There was the issue with the beets and I think someone - maybe Hugh? - commented unfavorably about the texture of the polenta, which she remedied for the second set of judges. But Paul's chawanmushi was overcooked and the greens were a tangled mess for one set of judges and there were some complaints about the congee. And then Sarah's dessert was the clear winner. While Paul was by far the most deserving chef over the course of the season, it really seemed like Sarah took more risks and had the winning meal last night. I'm glad Paul won - he deserves it based on his track record - but I think maybe Sarah produced the best food in the finale.

Mar 01, 2012
angelhair in Food Media & News


Neither of these places is within walking distance of the parade grounds. DiFara's is about a 15-20 minute drive, depending on traffic. Piccoli is in Park Slope and is closer but is still about a 10-minute drive. Piccoli is great - I ate dinner there Friday night and loved my homemade pappardelle with braised short ribs ragu - but it may not be the best place for a bunch of kids. I'm not sure they're even open for lunch.

There's not much within walking distance. There is a pizza place on Prospect Park Southwest that you could walk to. And there may be some places within walking distance on Church Avenue.

If you end up driving your options are pretty much unlimited.

Feb 26, 2012
angelhair in Outer Boroughs

Trattoria Toscana: Very Good Old-School West Village Italian

We love this place. It's run by the guy who owned Cent' Anni, which closed a few years ago and was just down the block from Trattoria Toscana. The owner (whose name escapes me) spent several years in Phoenix but moved back to New York. I think his daughter is a dancer, maybe with the NYC Ballet or ABT and he wanted to be able to see her perform.

Rabbit is occasionally on the menu and that's a treat worth seeking out. But the food is always very good and I've had some great wine there too. We've really been enjoying these old school West Village Italian places lately. You can usually get in without much of a reservations hassle, the food is always good and the prices reasonable. We like Piccolo Angolo, La Lanterna, and Pesce Pasta Trattoria. They're all wonderful in their own way but I think the food at Trattoria Toscana may be a slight cut above the rest, with a slightly nicer room. But they're all worth seeking out.

I just discovered that one of our faves, Rocco's on Thompson Street, is closed. I'm heartbroken. I loved that place.

Trattoria Toscana
64 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

Feb 20, 2012
angelhair in Manhattan

A Seminal Dining Experience

Some friends took us to Sakagura several years ago. It's been one of my favorite places ever since. It's such a gem and yet most people have never heard of it. I've never had the shirako but may have to try it. I've never had anything bad there. On a recent visit the standout was the grilled black cod - the best fish I've had anywhere in a long time. We also really enjoyed the duck wrapped around scallions and the fluke sashimi. But even though the food and sake are terrific the atmosphere is even better. Love this place.

Feb 19, 2012
angelhair in Manhattan

Top Chef Texas - Ep. #14 - 02/08/12 (Spoilers)

Ed is the only eliminated chef to not get a chance to come back in via LCK. That hardly seems fair. They should have done the elimination round with the final four (Ed, Lindsey, Paul and Sarah) and then had the loser go up against Bev for the chance to re-enter the competition. Doesn't seem fair to make it all the way to the final 4 and not have that last chance that all the other ousted chefs had.

I'm bummed, because Ed was my favorite. But it still doesn't seem like a fair set-up.

Feb 13, 2012
angelhair in Food Media & News

Willing to make time to try NYC's BEST Southern Fried Chicken - But Where??!!

I would stick with Korean fried chicken. I've never found really outstanding southern fried chicken in New York and I say that as someone who grew up in the south. Pies 'n Thighs especially disappoints. It's greasy, flabby, the crust is bland. There is plenty of great Korean fried chicken in the city, though.

Feb 10, 2012
angelhair in Manhattan

Need the ambience says "Wow! We're not in Kansas anymore!"

When I entertain out-of-town guests, they're almost always most interested in the standard destinations and restaurants that could be considered classics. All the trendy neighborhood places beloved by chowhounders aren't really unique to NYC - most every mid-sized city these days has decent farm-to-table cuisine, etc. So with that in mind, Chinatown is a must. It almost doesn't matter what restaurant you choose. Just walk around, enjoy the ambience, buy some tea cups or slippers, and then look for a restaurant with a good review posted in the window. And do try to have dim sum. We like Chatham Square on the weekends. Dim Sum a go go serves dim sum at all times, unlike most of the other Chinatown places, and it's clean and modern. Might be a great option.

Also try Grimaldi's for pizza. It doesn't always get much love from this board but it's really very good pizza, almost certainly much better than anything outside of NYC. But the best part is the location. It's at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge . Depending on the weather, walk across the bridge, enjoy the spectacular views of Manhattan and the funky/interesting sights of DUMBO and top it off with some pizza. Jacques Torres is just a couple of blocks from Grimaldi's so end up there for dessert and hot chocolate.

Katz's is a must. You can swing by Economy Candy afterwards if you want since it's only a couple of block from Katz's. But even though I love buying my Halloween candy there, I don't think it's special enough to warrant going out of your way for it. Dylan's has the glitz and glamour that might be fun for visitors, even though I wouldn't necessarily shop there.

Definitely try some old-school Italian. We often go with extended family to La Mela on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. The food is good, is served family-style and is really typical of old-school Little Italy.

I love the suggestion to hit up Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle (sans kids) and Balthazar is a great suggestion as well. I would skip Luke's Lobster Rolls unless you're dying for lobster. It's good but there's nothing uniquely NY about it whatsoever. In fact, it says on the web-site that he's trying to create a Maine-type experience.


Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Chatham Square Restaurant
6 Chatham Sq, New York, NY 10038

Dim Sum Go Go
5 E Broadway, New York, NY 10038

80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

La Mela
167 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

Economy Candy
108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Dylan's Candy Bar
1011 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

Bemelmans Bar
35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

Luke's Lobster
93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

Feb 08, 2012
angelhair in Manhattan

Where to get good pies in Brooklyn for Thanksgiving

I so agree that NYC is not a pie town. Vut we make do... Ladybird Bakery in Park Slope has pretty good pies and even better tarts. Friday is the last day to place orders for Thanksgiving.

I've never been impressed by any Greenmarket pies or pastries but they'll be available next Wednesday if you can't get anything else.

Ladybird Bakery
1112 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Nov 17, 2011
angelhair in Outer Boroughs

Any Tips on Getting into Rao's ?

Not always true - I won dinner there at a school auction last year. One of the regulars donated their table for a night. It also included food. And that was made clear at the auction. We stuffed ourselves with a multi-course meal and lots of drinks and didn't pay a penny extra. That may not always be the case but it was in mine. The food, by the way, is quite good. Not the best Italian you'll ever have but really very good old-school red sauce Italian. But you're not going for the food, you're going for the experience.

Nov 15, 2011
angelhair in Manhattan

Suggestions near TCU

Perfect! Just what I was looking for. Thanks.

Nov 14, 2011
angelhair in Dallas - Fort Worth

Suggestions near TCU

I will be touring TCU with my son next week and would love some suggestions for restaurants close to campus. Interested in the student hang-outs (with good food, of course) but also a nicer place for dinner. We love all types of food but are especially interested in things that we can't readily get in NYC, such as BBQ, Mexican, Tex-Mex, sousthwest, etc. But open to anything.

We'll also be driving from College Station to Ft. Worth so any suggestions for places to stop along the way for a good bite are appreciated as well.

Nov 14, 2011
angelhair in Dallas - Fort Worth

When Thanksgiving and its customs are foreign to you

What's the big deal? It's one day. Unlike other holidays, there really aren't weeks of preparation and anticipation, for the most part, unless you're hosting a huge get-together.. There are no gifts to buy, no shopping for party dresses required, no tv specials (well, maybe a few) running for weeks on end, no special music in stores, no cards to send. It's just a huge harvest meal shared with family and friends. And the Macy's parade and football, of course. If you're not feeling a connection with the holiday, no biggie. If you live in a city with a Chinatown, have dinner there and go to a movie. Or stay home, enjoy your day off from work, watch dvds, get a jump-start on your Christmas/Hanukah gift-buying online, read a book, cook something special, take a nap so you can head to the mall for midnight Black Friday shopping, etc. The list is endless. Or if someone invites you to dinner, enjoy it in the spirit of a lovely meal spent with friends. And if you're still feeling out of sorts, remember, it's one day. You'll survive. I do understand that if you're far from home, away from your own family, friends and culture, that something like Thanksgiving might serve to make you feel alone and out of it. But there are many ways to adapt without donning a pilgrim hat and roasting a turkey.

Nov 07, 2011
angelhair in Not About Food