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NYC Girls' Trip (Mid-May)

Yes, Barbuto...auto-correct. Didn't even notice it until now. Still fabulous...we ate and drank very well thanks to you all.
Not sure what the name of the speakeasy was. We walked, and the chef cousin led the way. Since it was our first day in the city, we had no idea where we were. But the Japanese place was on the second floor of a building, so you could be right. It was packed to the brim.

about 13 hours ago
attran99 in Manhattan

NYC Girls' Trip (Mid-May)

What a wonderful city you have with so many options for good food. We've just returned from our trip and tried the following:
Chelsea Market - Arriving into the city at 9AM gave us a lot of options for brunch, while I really wanted a traditional NYC brunch from Cookshop, my cousins insisted on Chelsea Market to grab something fast and easy to make sightseeing easier. We had a collection of various soups and chowders from The Lobster Place. The clam chowder was missing the clammy flavor I love. The lobster bisque was bland. The bacon and scallop chowder was the most flavorful thing, but the bacon was really overwhelming.
Junior's on Broadway - We walked the High Line, wandered Times Square, and found ourselves in Broadway. After small soups and chowders for breakfast, it was time to eat, again. Yelp pulled up Junior's in the neighborhood, and a chance to try NY cheesecake. The food there was just okay...though I really liked the pickled beets they send over with the pickles and cole slaw. That cheesecake was so lucious, rich, and decadent. I'm totally a fan.
Bar NoMad - Pre-dinner drinks...and the rest of the evening was directed by my cousin's cousin who happens to be a chef a Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. He guided us here to start the evening. The cocktails were fabulous...you folks in NYC know how to do it. I asked the bartenders to make up something with vodka that was refreshing (the humidity was insane), slightly sweet, and a little spicy. While I can't remember exactly what it was, it was perfect for a hot evening after walking the city most of the day. I tried my cousins' cocktails and liked them all, too. We had the carrot tartare, steak tartare, English Pea toast, and the chicken pot pie with foie and truffles. The tartares and the toast were insanely good. The chicken pot pie was served with seared foie and black truffle mousse on the side...I thought it was all going to be baked inside together. But it was still good...decadent. We didn't notice until later that they had huge punch bowl/drink dispensers that you could order for a large party...would love to try one of those next time.
Momofuku Ssam Bar - It was pretty busy here even at 9:30ish on a Sunday night. We waited about 20 mins for a table...and the chef cousin decided to take us on a side adventure during our wait...more on that later. We ordered a dozen of the oysters...really lovely...the Korean-style cocktail sauce on it was quite nice, but I prefer the oyster without accouterments. The Maine Uni was really nice...I never would have thought to pair uni, lychee and sake together. But I will have to say that I think Santa Barbara uni is leagues better than Maine's. The softshell crab was a good dish, but it's a lot like something that I can get in southern California. The octopus terrine was the best dish of the night...perfectly tender octopus, charred slightly for crunch, with capers, pine nuts, and pepperoncinis was simply amazing...textures and tastes were just so well balanced. We added on mason jars of kim chi and pickles...it was nice to have some vegetables on the table. The chef cousin ordered a sparkling Rose to go with dinner...and it paired very nicely. I was on the other side of the table, so wasn't able to get a clear look at the bottle.
Baohaus - While we waited for our Ssam Bar table, the chef cousin walked us over to Baohaus for another snack. I'll have to say, this small little dump puts out a nice bao. The fried chicken bao was really good...garlic ailoli with freshly fried chicken and a smidgeon of slaw. The pork belly bao was good, but I wish that the pork belly was seared on the flat-top or fried or something to give it more texture...the crushed peanuts didn't provide enough crunch. Still good...the staff is a bit kooky...we came back the next night with a different set of cousins, and found most of the staff screwing around singing and dancing along to music...they were do distracted that they forgot our taro fries...not sure I'll come back here for our next trip to NYC.
Unamed Speakeasy inside Sushi Bar by NYU - The chef cousin led us here next to find a crowded bar located inside a sushi bar by NYU. It was really cool inside, and the place was packed. So packed that we couldn't get a table or seats at the bar. I have no idea what this place was called, but I would love to come back and try it some other time.
CorkBuzzed - The chef cousin led us here for the end of the night. They have half-priced sparkler bottles. He loves champagne and comes here on his days off or after a long shift on the line. We were treated exceptionally well. Again, he took charge and ordered everything for us. It was great. Loved it. What a wonderful foodie night from an exceptional guide who planned the night on the fly with a group of 5...something that's really hard to do in NYC.
Ess-A-Bagel - Started the morning with a great onion bagel with lox spread. The bagel was exceptional. So good that it was also my last breakfast before I left...the everything bagel was hot and fresh add on some spread...so good. I will never get a bagel this good at home.
Golden Unicorn - Even though I had sworn to not go to Chinatown, we ended up there with my cousin's family after a tour of south Manhattan. We had the aunts...needless to say, I didn't have a say. We had to do something to please them since we had ditched them the night before. It was mediocre dim sum. I'll leave it at that.
Dominique Ansel Bakery - The conut of the month was the Clementine Ricotta. Had to have one. It was great...super crisp on the outside...lovely creamy filling...nice clementine flavor. The DKA was fantastic...crisp on the outside, layers of flaky pastry and pastry cream inside. We treated one of the younger cousins to do a cookie shot with us, and found it fun. The frozen s'more was delightful. The ice cream was delicious and coated in crunchy chocolate; the marshmallow was perfectly toasted outside. Really fun to eat.
PDT - Got a 6:30PM reservation for a group of 5. It wasn't terribly busy when we got there, and wasn't very busy still 2 hours after we left. Makes me wonder why they said they only had a reservation available for a party of 5 only at 6:30. They could have easily seated us later without issue. I asked the bartenders to craft a refreshing vodka concoction, and they provided something perfect. All the drinks were good, and the hot dogs were fun to eat. We got one of everything except the burger. The hot dogs were good...the special of the week was an April Bloomfield dog with jerk spices and scotch bonnet peppers...it was no joke hot. Like the Chang dog, but loved the PokPot dog with Thai and Vietnamese flavors. It was fun to eat with tater tots and waffle fries that came with cheese sauce and pickled jalapenos. After a few well-crafted rounds we left for another place down the street.
Death & Co - Dark, a bit mysterious. I loved it. We did a punch bowl...the Pirate King Punch Bowl. Lots of rum, and some other things. Served scorpion bowl style with a fiery center. It was perfect.
American Wing Cafe (The Met) - Had a lunch at the Met...the rooftop rose garden terrace was closed, so we went to the American Wing Cafe because it was easier than having to leave the museum only to come back to finish our tour. I loved the curry carrot soup. Fantastic curry and carrot flavor...really well balanced. The sandwiches were only so-so.
Mercato - The Mercato team was nice enough to give us a reservation for 7 people at 7:45PM when I called at 4PM. I had called a couple of other places in the city, and found that's it's rough for big parties. Our table was ready when we got there, and we ordered a bunch of things. The salumi and cheese platter was pretty good...lots of charcuterie including prosciutto and some fine gorgonzola. There was a lovely salad of fried baby artichoke hearts, arugula, and ricotta salata. Mussels in broth...the mussels were well-cooked and the broth was simply amazing with white wine, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. The roasted beets were quite nice. Everyone got cocktails except for me...the family seemed to like them and considered them strong. I had a glass of rose. Everyone ordered an assortment of items for dinner. The big winner was the porchetta...seasoned well, cooked perfectly...I had a bite and it was delicious. The cavatelli was wonderfully made and the ragu was nice. Dessert here was only okay. The family seemed to love them...which is the only thing that mattered. Everyone had a great time at dinner.
The Modern - Took the younger cousins to a nightcap here because it was a few blocks from our hotel. It's the perfect NYC trendy bar. My cousin loved it. The drinks were nice...I think I loved the ambiance more.
Bucato - The best meal of the trip. Chef Waxman was in the house. A friend took me here. I had a lovely margarita, my friend had a blackberry gin concoction that was great. We started with the Calamari salad and straciatella antipasti. They were both amazing...I couldn't figure out which one I loved more. The pan-seared gnocchi was spectacular...way better than the gnocchi at Mercato the previous night. But the chicken with salsa was amazing. We both loved it...I thought the skin was a tad salty. We had wonderful wine pairings with each course. Mike was a fantastic server and took great care of us. We were so stuffed, and my friend had other plans for dessert.
The Dessert Club by Chickalicious - My friend took me here for dessert where a tasting of two desserts and wine pairing was only $19. I had a luscious panna cotta with a beautiful cantaloupe sorbet. My friend had a lovely espresso trifle. Our second dessert was custom sorbets with custom garnishes. Really nice.
Thanks to all for your help. It was a great trip and I loved NYC.

1 day ago
attran99 in Manhattan
1

bagel recs

Thanks so much! Ess-a-Bagel was the only bagel we had in NYC and it was fantastic. Fresh, hot...great spread. The bagel on-the-go made traversing NYC really delicious and easy.

1 day ago
attran99 in Manhattan
1

Best frosting for a chocolate birthday cake?

Chocolate cream cheese frosting or perhaps a lovely chocolate ganache poured over the cake to simulate a fondant-like finish.

May 12, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

Casual Father's Day Dinner - Napa Region

Thanks, mwinston! These might make it to the top of the list if he decides to be lazy, after full day of wine tasting. It's about a 5-10 minute walk from our hotel.

Casual Father's Day Dinner - Napa Region

Thanks, jjcha314! How dressed up do we have to get? Since it's Father's Day, anything more than jeans is going to be a tough sell.

Casual Father's Day Dinner - Napa Region

We'll be traveling without our kids for the weekend, but I still want to take my husband out for dinner. While TFL and Auberge would be ideal for me, he's a lot more casual. We're staying in downtown Napa, but are willing to drive as far north as St. Helena. We've previously enjoyed meals at Goose and Gander, Morimoto, and Ad Hoc.
Thanks!

Best Fish and Chips in/near Long Beach?

My husband enjoys the version at the Original Fish Company in Los Alamitos. I think they have the best clam chowder.

May 09, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

What's your top 5 favorite places for lunch in OC?

Completely agree. A Wheat & Sons porchetta sandwich is my usual APH must. How sad that the Kroft remains, and the neighbor is going. When are they closing up?

May 07, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Anniversary dinner: Osteria Mozza or A.O.C.?

+1 AOC...I've been there about three times in the last 6 months and remain continually impressed with the food and beverage service each time. Ask for a table in the patio area in view of the fireplace.

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Mother's Day....dinner!

For what you've written, there's really nothing that's new or considered a must go in the Burbank/Glendale/Toluca Lake/Studio City area. You might want to consider using the search function with those cities to narrow it down.
I used to work in the area, and I've enjoyed the following:
Malbec - Argentinian...love their chimichurri steak
SweetSalt and/or Olive & Thyme - upscale cafe food
Prosecco - Italian bistro
Bistro Provence - French bistro
Ca del Sol - Italian

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Need rec for lunch near USC

Would concur on Chichen Itza. Good food, but not where I would want a post graduation ceremony meal. The parking lot is super small.
FYI, if you're looking to go downtown, you might have some problems getting reservations as a few other thousand people might have the same idea and made their reservations months ago. I'm originally from the suburbs outside of the greater DTLA area, so we moved closer to home to celebrate. Congratulations to your family!

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Need rec for lunch near USC

El Cholo brings back nice memories of the 50% discount and decent margaritas...nice to know that the food is still okay. Haven't been in ages since I finished my undergrad there.

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Good Hamburger Buns in Los Angeles

I really like Homeboy breads and buns.

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Need rec for lunch near USC

Downtown:
Drago Centro
Patina
Fogo de Chao
Church & State
Bestia

Close to LAX:
MB Post
Fishing with Dynamite

May 04, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Sandylc, what do you think of using coconut water? I've avoided using water because I'm afraid it might dull the flavors.

May 01, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Thanks, Ttrockwood! That's a great recipe. I think I'm one of those folks who find it's easier to consume things via liquid form than grabbing a raw vegetable and eating it.
Now that summer is upon us, I really look forward to making gazpacho with the VitaMix. I don't use bread in my recipe and I add protein by grilling chicken or shrimp as accouterments.

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Congratulations on such a great commitment and accomplishment!
Healthier meaning I add more fruit and vegetables to my diet so there's less of a need to snack on whatever junk might be lying around. I think something small like that will yield good results. Having the VitaMix is an excellent tool that can help with that.

May 01, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Agreed. I find that I definitely consume more fruit now than before because I can easily blend it into a smoothie in the VitaMix. Before the VitaMix, maybe 2-3 servings a day. After the VitaMix 5-8 servings a day. Because I'm usually full from a quick blended drink, I feel less of a need to snack on whatever junk is lying around.
Ideas where I can increase vegetable consumption can only help add to nutritional eating/drinking.

May 01, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

Seeking a pork chop recipe that will go with this butternut squash dish...

I'd marinate those pork chops in your favorite marinade and then grill them.

Apr 30, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking
1

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Thanks, all, for some great input! Much appreciated. Can't wait to start trying them in the coming week. My morning routine of greek yogurt, assorted berries, pineapple, and assorted fruit juices is starting to get boring.

Apr 30, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Thanks, sedimental!
Some fabulous ideas. I've used the VitaMix to make butternut squash soup and tomato bisque in the past and they've both been great successes.
Spicy orange ginger soup sounds amazing. Would you mind sharing the recipe?

Apr 30, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Looking to do this on a more permanent basis. I really don't eat enough fruit and vegetables. This seems the easiest way to remedy it.

Apr 30, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking
1

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

Sorry...must not have been thinking clearly when I posted. Looking to replace at least 2 meals a day.

Apr 29, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

VitaMix - Liquid diet ideas (smoothies, juices, protein powders, etc.)

In trying to be healthier, I'd like to utilize our new VitaMix a little better. Any tips on how what you all use to power pack your smoothies or juices? A few things to keep in mind:
-Not a fan of chocolate or bananas or oatmeal
-Suggestions for protein powder mixes that don't taste chalky or off-putting
-Willing to try new fruit and/or veggie ideas
-Looking to supplement at least 2 meals a day with these concoctions

Thanks!

Apr 29, 2015
attran99 in Home Cooking

Canyon Lake,Lake Elsinore, or Temecula

You actually might get more from the California board...Lake Elsinore and Temecula are definitely not a part of the greater LA boundaries.
However, I can recommend Public House in Temecula. The food is good, the atmosphere is casual...and the drinks were well-made.

Apr 27, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area
1

Recs for Weekend in LA

This is pretty solid dining on a budget list...with a couple of reasonable splurges.

Apr 24, 2015
attran99 in Los Angeles Area

Howell and Spring Mountain Wineries

Hi, Maria. Thanks for the input. I'm unwilling to forsake Howell and Spring Mountain for some glass beach. Appointments have already been made at Neal and Lanborn. I'm waiting on confirmation from Smith-Madrone as the last stop of the day before we head off to this picked over glass beach...the husband is quite insistent on going. I will be consoled during our drive back to the airport where we'll make Russian River and Anderson Valley stops before getting on the plane.
Thanks!

Howell and Spring Mountain Wineries

I shared your post with him, and he's still insistent on going. I'm already not all that excited. Won't be a complete loss if we find plenty of wine on this trip to ship home.

Howell and Spring Mountain Wineries

Thanks, Brian! The tips are very helpful. We've been to both Gott's and Goose and the Gander...enjoyed them both. We were planning on checking out a Cindy Pawlcyn place during this trip.
I'll be contacting you shortly to schedule an appointment.