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suggestions for jack-of-all-trades Japanese

Philadelphia proper.

Oct 24, 2012
panoz in Philadelphia

suggestions for jack-of-all-trades Japanese

Looking for a good Japanese place that will serve a variety of dishes both seafood and non-seafood, and even a bit of sashimi. I have a group of people where some people won't touch any fish, and some people who are pescatarians so I need to accommodate everyone. An Izakaya would fit the bill nicely, as they generally have a grilled fish collar and some sashmi, but doesn't have to be a drinking establishment.

I've been to a few Japanese generalist restaurants that serve everything, sushi, teriyaki, rice dishes and noodles, but I've noticed that they are usually owned and run by non-Japanese, and the quality of the food is not very high. I'd like to avoid those types of places.

Thanks!

Oct 24, 2012
panoz in Philadelphia

Wild Pecan Rice, is that a real thing?

The last time I was in NOLA, I poked around Creole Delicacies & Cookin' Cajun to look for local foodstuff, and I found a bag of Wild Pecan Rice, made by Konriko. Supposedly, it's rice with bran left in so it tastes like pecans without having pecans in it. Is this really something that people from NOLA or Louisiana really eat at home or in restaurants? I've found recipes on line for Pecan Rice where people add pecans into their rice. The store also sells Hurricane Mix, so I'm suspicious of whether it truly is a New Orleans/Louisiana/Cajun/Creole specialty or if it's something to simply sell to tourists.

Are there any NOLA restaurants that would serve pecan-less pecan rice in there dishes?

Jul 19, 2012
panoz in New Orleans

Husband in NOLA...what ingredients/foods should I have him bring back for me?

I know I'm kind of late with this, but this might be useful for anyone reading this post at a later time. When going to on a trip to NOLA, a former native now living in NYC requested that I bring back Hubig's Pies. I've certainly never seen them anywhere else.

Jul 13, 2011
panoz in New Orleans

healthy/light dinner in Salem

In a few weeks, I'll be on a road trip eating every hot dog and fried clam available from New York City to Cape Ann. When I arrive in Salem, I'll probably be desperately looking for something green for dinner. Is there anywhere that I can find really good dinner salads and steamed or grilled seafood? Nothing fried or greasy, obviously.

May 12, 2011
panoz in Greater Boston Area

I just paid $4.25 for an iced coffee - what the...?

You can expect to pay $4.65 for a Blue Bottle ice coffee at the newly opened Andaz Hotel on 5th Ave near the library. Was it worth it? Hell no! Especially when you can get Stumptown ice coffees for $2.25 at Vic's Bagel Bar in Murray Hill .

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Vic's Bagel Bar
544 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

Aug 10, 2010
panoz in Manhattan

What is an "overpriced" cocktail?

There is a lot of things that go into a cocktail that add and subtract from the price. First you should know what's the ingredients. Obviously the booze, is it a named spirit? High end, middle end low end? Or is it something that they're so ashamed of that they're pulling it from the well, (let us never mention it again)? What kind of spirits are they putting in your drink? Some spirits inherently cost more to make than others. Scotch is expensive because of the cost to store and age it. Vodka, being unaged is cheap to produce (sorry Grey Goose fans, much of what you're paying for their marketing budget).

How many different spirits are they using? Places like PDT and Death and Company may use five or more spirits in a single cocktail. Is the drink a highball (A single spirit and something non-alcoholic)? These should never cost that much. If someone is charging $15 for a gin and tonic, I don't care how expensive or organic the gin is or how awesome the tonic is, I'm not ordering it. I could make it at home for 1/15 the cost.

Juices: is it fresh squeezed lemons or limes on the spot to order (look for a large bowl of fruit and a industrial squeezer)? Is all squeezed that day into bottles for service? Or do they use Rose's Lime juice? Citrus oxidizes quickly, if you can find a place that squeezes on the spot, you have found yourself a treasure. I haven't seen anywhere in NYC that does this, but I know Hungry Cat in LA and some of the Trader Vic's do.

Bartender skills: Fortunately, NYC has made great strides here, and are grooming a lot of good bartenders. That will add to the cost, but if you can find a skillful barman, you will have a friend for life. Do they measure with a jigger? Or do they free pour? Do they give your drinks a good hard shake (10 seconds or more)? Or do they willy-nilly it for a couple of seconds? Do they know when they're supposed to shake and when they're supposed to stir? Hint: all-booze drinks like the Martini, Manhattan and Negroni should be stirred, despite what 007 says. Is the bartender knowledgeable? If they can quote people like Dale Degroff, Jerry Thomas, David Wondrich, Jeff Beachbum Berry, and Don the Beachcomber, then you have yourself a learned scholar.

Finally, what I believe is the most important driving reason for prices and an unfortunate thing in the New York cocktail experience: the pedigree of the bar. People who open new cocktail bars tell you whom they used to work for, and they establish this link that goes back to usually two names: Audrey Saunders (who founded Pegu Club) or Sasha Petraske (who founded Milk and Honey). If a new bar is going to open and the owner can say that he used to work for a place, that was opened by a person who worked for a place, and so on... all the way to Milk and Honey... well you can bet your ass the drinks will cost at least $14. And this tidbit will be on all the newsletters and blogs months before the bar's soft opening.

Jul 22, 2010
panoz in Manhattan

WHERE CAN I FIND?

Here is an easy to find interface to search for specific things on NYC's Greenmarkets:

http://www.whatisfresh.com

Jun 21, 2010
panoz in Manhattan

Sashimi Grade Diver Scallops - where to buy at a reasonable price?

Not only that, but the term "sashimi grade" is unregulated and therefore meaningless. Anyone can put that on their fish regardless of the quality.

May 14, 2010
panoz in Manhattan

high end cocktail bars in SF

Haven't been to SF for a few years, so I'm not sure of the state of cocktail bars there. What are some very high end cocktail bars here? The kind with a good mix of really classic cocktails and contemporary innovations using named liquors. The bartenders are very knowledgeable and can tell you the difference between a daisy, a fizz, and a flip. Equivalents in other cities are Varnish in LA, Violet Hour in Chicago, and PDT in NYC. I am aware of Bourbon and Branch and Smuggler's Cove, what else is there?

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Smuggler's Cove
650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Apr 20, 2010
panoz in San Francisco Bay Area

Food Wars

I kind of like its approach of having blind folded judges determine the favorite. There's a lot of hype and bias when it comes to town favorites, like in newspaper surveys. A lot of people say, "Place X is better than Place Y. I've been going there for 30 years, and I never go anywhere else." Well if you never go anywhere else, then you don't really know what's good, do you? 5 people is kind of a small sampling size, and it's even worse because they use 2 so called "superfans". That kind of just tests the so called superfan's ability to determine their favorite under blindfold. That reality TV style cut to, build excitement, cut to commercial, then rehash is really irritating. I just fast forward on TiVo to the end to see who won.

Mar 14, 2010
panoz in Food Media & News

No Reservations: Obsessions

I thought this episode was a lot of NYC shilling. And I live in NYC!

I thought AB using his pork obsession as an example of his foodieness was kind of stupid.

Is that like a diabetic on insulin who had his foot amputated, and damn what the doctor says, he's going to still eat that sugar? Oh, it's okay, he's just a obsessed foodie.

Mar 14, 2010
panoz in Food Media & News

SGV Cajun Asian -- help me make a list so I can do a comparison

I believe the reason is the fact that there are a lot of Vietnamese immigrants living in the Gulf Coast states like Texas and Louisiana. Many worked as fishermen, as they did in Vietnam. Of course, crawfish boils are very popular there. Some eventually moved to Orange County and SGV, bringing the cuisine with them.

Nov 12, 2009
panoz in Los Angeles Area

Hi... anyone know where to get the BEST fried chicken in Koreatown??

There's also K Town Chicken and Hof on the sublevel of 34 W 32nd Street, which I happen to go to last night on a KFC craving. I was sold on the $13.95 ($15 including tax) deal for to-go orders posted on a sign outside. We asked the waiter if the deal included spicy fried chicken, he didn't know, so he asked the bartender, who confirmed it. The wait was 20-25 minutes which is typical for these things. When it was brought out, the bartender popped some holes in the aluminum foil to keep it from getting soggy. It came with some pickled daikon and a tiny iceberg and cabbage salad with a french dressing. The verdict was that it was quite soggy, even though I, we dug into it about 10 minutes after receiving it. I've eaten crispier KFC from the BBQ Chicken on Saint Mark's after the same amount of wait. Several of the pieces had a strange gluey texture. I wasn't sure if I was eating extra thick skin, cartilage, or soggy batter. I was pretty disappointed in K Town Chicken and Hof, which is too bad because it's a good price, but I can't recommend it. I know the OP asked for the BEST, but I'm posting this for posterity.

Good news is that the despite the seemingly halting start and stop construction of the Kyochon on the NE corner of 32nd and 5th Ave - it looks like it's going through and may open this winter. As we walked by it, I saw some workers put up new posters around the site saying it's indeed coming.

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BBQ Chicken
26 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

KyoChon
319 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

Nov 12, 2009
panoz in Manhattan

Cheap Chicken Parts in the East Village?

Not the East Village, I know, but in Chinatown if you go to Deluxe Food Market on Elizabeth Street, you can get a bag of bones, approximately 2 carcasses, for $0.99.

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Deluxe Food Market
79 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

Nov 01, 2009
panoz in Manhattan

Where to find excellent Mai Tai?

Just FYI to people looking for where the former head bartender of Elettaria went - Joseph Swifka, who came up with the Tiki Monday menu now works at Flatiron Lounge on Fridays. He can make an authentic Mai Tai, as well as Zombies, Three Dots and a Dash, Suffering Bastards, and other tiki drinks.

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Flatiron Lounge
37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

Elettaria
33 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011

Oct 29, 2009
panoz in Manhattan

Happy Hour bar appetizers in Murray Hill

Granted there are tons of bars along 3rd Ave in Murray Hill, nearly all of which offer reduced price well/shot/beers during happy hour. Does anyone have reduced price food? Pub grub, burgers, anything?

Oct 26, 2009
panoz in Manhattan

Homecoming to LA - restaurants in the last 3 years

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

The reason I ask for restaurants opened in 2007 and 2008, is because I strongly believe when restaurants first open (especially if they hired a good PR group), they can generate a very high level of initial buzz/hype. Then the media, bloggers, yelp, and chowhounds maintain the hype for a while after that. So I figure if after 2-3 years, it's still being talked about, then it's worth trying.

Oct 09, 2009
panoz in Los Angeles Area

Homecoming to LA - restaurants in the last 3 years

I'll be visiting my hometown after a three year absence. Some friends want to take me out to dinner, but as usual, they don't know where to go. What has been some of the best/hot restaurants to open in 2007 and 2008?

Looking for nearly anything: Cal-French, Cal-Italian, sea food Japanese (not sushi prefer Izukayas), Mexican, Chinese (only if it's in the SGV), Thai (if it's in Thai Town). We don't want to pay expense account type places. But having a nice wine or cocktail list is nice.

Some of my favorite places were Hungry Cat and Lucques.

Thanks!

Oct 08, 2009
panoz in Los Angeles Area

Portland dining recommendations

Hello All,

I will be driving up the coast on Route 1 from Boston, eating at clam shacks all the way. Then spending a couple of nights in Portland. I haven't been there in about 4 years. The last time I was there, I had a fantastic meal at Fore Street. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a couple of restaurants that really shows off Portland or Maine cuisine for dinner. I was thinking of Street and Company (but can't get reservations on OpenTable). There's a ton of ethnic places where we're from, so we can limit it to 'American' food. Keep in mind we'll be eating a lot of fried seafood, chowder, and lobster rolls already. So something that showcases a lot of local produce would be appreciated. Blueberries for dessert would be a plus. TIA.

Jul 21, 2009
panoz in All New England Archive

where to purchase natural, chemical free charcoal for the 4th of July?

What you are looking for is natural "lump" charcoal. It's made the old fashioned way, simply burning wood (in the absence of air) until charcoal remains. If you use that in combination with a chimney starter, that's as natural as can be. I believe you can find it in Whole Foods and possibly Home Depot. Trader Joe's in California carries it, but I don't know if the New York ones do. Call these places first.

Jul 01, 2009
panoz in Manhattan

liquor store (sells Lemon Hart rum) on/near Strip?

Hi,

Does anyone know a liquor store on or near the Las Vegas strip that sells Lemon Hart rums? Otherwise has a very good selection or has very good prices?

Thanks!

Jan 23, 2009
panoz in Southwest

Casual BYOBs near Rittenhouse Square

As I'm going through old posts, I notice that there are a lot of mention of BYOB in Philly. First can you tell me what is it about the liquor laws that makes it different and seems to spawn all these restaurants that allow BYOB?

Second, I'm visiting from out of town, and staying just a few blocks north of Rittenhouse Square (I'm not familiar with area names) without a car, so I'm dependent on public transportation and walking. Can you suggest some good, casual BYOBs that is easy access to that area? I noticed Farmicia and liked the menu, but if you can think of other places, I'm open to suggestions. Thank you!

Aug 21, 2008
panoz in Pennsylvania

good liquor stores in Philadelphia (for rums)

Can you guys tell me where in Philly are there really good liquor stores that sell really hard to find items like Lemon Hart Rum (80 and 151 proof), Falernum, and Cruzan 2 year old white rum?

Aug 20, 2008
panoz in Philadelphia

burgers in Philly

I'm going to make my first trip to Philly and one of the many things that I'm on the lookout whenever going to a new city is burgers. I often consult an old list that was on GQ magazine "The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die" by Alan Richman. I've had some great successes in some cities (NY and Seattle) and not so much in others (LA). Philly has two on this list the Kobe Sliders from Barclay Prime and the Rouge Burger from Rouge.

I normally scoff at kobe burgers, because kobe (or wagu) is raised to be tender, fatty cuts of meat - much of this effort is wasted when ground up and cooked and most of the fat dripping out.

So that leaves Rouge. I realize that it costs about $16. How is it? How does it compare with other local places?

Aug 13, 2008
panoz in Pennsylvania

Primehouse or BLT Prime?

I'm planning on taking a few friend to a steakhouse, and eliminating all the steakhouses we've been to, I've narrowed it down to Primehouse and BLT Prime. We're a all certified meat eaters, will probably get a bottle of wine in the $40 range or so. I love ribeyes.

Which one between the two do you prefer? I'm not considering any other suggestions. But if you just HAVE to recommend somewhere else, I'll say.... Sparks.

Thanks!

Jun 05, 2008
panoz in Manhattan

Unhappy with a wine

If you request help with the sommelier, he makes a recommendation, and you don't like it, then they _may_ take it back. They of course have no obligation to do so, but they more than likely will.

If you chose it yourself, and you don't like it, you're stuck with it. It's the same with food. You don't order something, taste it and say, "take it back, I change my mind".

Only if the wine is spoilt or corked will a restaurant take a wine back unconditionally.

May 23, 2008
panoz in Not About Food

Where to buy dry-aged prime ribeyes /steaks (other than Lobel's)?

Chains unfortunately, but Whole Foods and Fairway carries prime dry aged steaks.

May 22, 2008
panoz in Manhattan

Angelenos in NYC

For coffee, they can go down to Chelsea for Cafe Grumpy's on 20th, 9th Street Espresso in Chelsea market, or cappuccino and a pain au chocolat at La Bergamote on 9th Ave and 19th.

There are a lot of good moderately priced restaurants in Hell's kitchen, especially if they stroll down 9th ave. Don't forget Pam's Real Thai.

May 22, 2008
panoz in Manhattan

sichuan peppercorns?

Penzey's in Grand Central will carry them.

May 22, 2008
panoz in Manhattan