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Mike in Rhinebeck's Profile

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How often do you get a bad meal in the SF area?

I am an upstate NY hound who has visited the SF Bay Area three times in the past two years, the most recent being a week from July 23-30. Most of our meals this time were in Berkeley (Chez Panisse, Comal, Gather, La Note, Bette's Oceanview Diner, Gregoire, Jupiter, Sunny Side Cafe, Gregoire, and Spengers Fish Grotto). None of the meals we had were "bad" - in fact, most were very very good to even great. but I do regret having eaten at Spengers when so many other options were available. Given the hype about the potato puffs at Gregoire, we were underwhelmed with them Our meals in Oakland (Cholita Linda), SF (dim sum twice at Hong Kong Lounge) and Napa (Zuzu) were excellent. And sipping beer at the Hog's Apothecary and Cellarmaker was fun as well!

Last summer in the Palo Alto area, we enjoyed Califia Cafe (twice), Tacolicious, The Counter, Paris Baguette, and Doppio Zero, and even our rare forays into fast food were acceptable. On the earlier trip, we had great meals in SF at Isa, Brenda's Soul Food, Dotty's True Blue, Lai Hong Lounge (dim sum again) and the Mission Bowling Club. One bad experience at a Thai place in the Tenderloin.

So . . . Even for an out-of-towner who relies upon Chowhound and a few other sources (NOT Yelp) for restaurant planning, it is difficult to get a "bad" meal as long as you do your research! Many thanks to the SF Bay Area hounds for their recommendations and reviews!

One evening in San Fran / 5 nights in Napa

As Yogi Berra once said, it is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore.

Restaurants in Oneonta, NY

I have lived in Oneonta for 6 years. In Oneonta for dinner, good choices are The Red Caboose (mostly locally sources), Toscana's (mostly Italian but with some good seafood and occasionally Asian choices), The Farmhouse (American), and The B Side Ballroom and Supper Club (eclectic and great beer and mixed drink menu; no membership necessary). All are casual, have vegetarian options, and are very consistent in terms of high quality.

In Cooperstown - which will be very crowded this weekend - Alex and Ika has been transformed into a pretty good Mexican restaurant named Cantina de Salsa. Bocca in Cooperstown also is good. Haven't been to Toscana's in Cooperstown, but it is run by the same people who run the one in Oneonta.

And . . . Autumn Cafe always offers 5-8 dinner specials each night; these change frequently.

need Chinese New Year dinner rec Hudson Valley

not sure that you'll find such a place serving Chinese food on the east side of the Hudson north of Poughkeepsie (or even in Poughkeepsie) unless something new has come on the scene since July 2012 . . . . . . . In fact, not sure that you will find "great" Chinese food anywhere in Dutchess County . . . . the Thai scene might be OK, though . . . ,

Lunch on the road near Erie

On Friday, we'll be driving from central New York State to the Dayton, OH area and will be passing nearby Erie (I-90 to I-271) around lunch time. We are looking for non-chain suggestions not too far off the interstate in that area. nothing fancy - just good solid chow served relatively quickly. Thanks

Great restaurants Beacon or Cold Springs

Cathryn's is pretty good, but Aroma is definitely better. Need a reservation for both.

Biscuits and Gravy: SFBA Dish of the Month July 2014

My son had B&G at Calafia Cafe in Palo Alto yesterday (Aug. 23) at lunch. The biscuits somehow were both light and substantial enough to stand up to the mushroom gravy (no sausage), even after sitting there for 15 minutes while he tucked into chicken and waffles. The texture of the biscuits where they were not covered by gravy led me to suggest that they may have been lightly griddled just prior to having the gravy poured over them. The gravy was relatively thin as compared to most B&G we have had in the past, and while it was less salty than most renditions we've tasted all over the country (my wife is a South Carolinian), it still taste a bit too saline to me. If we return, we will ask for the gravy on the side.

Dim Sum Club (Russian Hill, San Francisco)

We had stuffed eggplant this morning at Lai Hong Lounge. Each of the 4 eggplant pieces were as large as I have ever seen, but were stuffed with a disproportionately small amount of filling. The sparse filling was ground something - we could not determine if it was fish or shrimp. Three of the four eggplant pieces were cooked perfectly, being neither too soft nor underdone, with a good amount of sweetness. The fourth piece was underdone a bit but the flavor was sufficiently good that I ate it anyway. The sauce was not traditional black bean and in fact was quite gummy. . . . Overall, this dish has gone downhill since my last LHL visit about a year ago.

On the other hand, LHL still makes the. best. siu. mai. ever.

late dinner between Albany airport and Coxsackie

You won't find much of anything open once you collect your luggage and get on the road, besides the chains (the usual suspects plus a few others) on Wolf Road near the Albany airport. Perhaps the Blu Stone Bistro in the Hotel Indigo on Albany Shaker Road stays open that late.

Trip down Memory Lane: Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Fortune wheel is in Levittown on Hempstead Turnpike just west of Wantagh Avenue.

Aug 05, 2014
Mike in Rhinebeck in Manhattan

Trip down Memory Lane: Nom Wah Tea Parlor

My parents were introduced to dim sum in the very early 1960s by a friend who had discovered Nom Wah's, Chinatown's oldest dim sum restaurant (dating from 1920) on narrow Doyers Street. By the mid 1960s, they would make 4-5 pilgrimages per year to Nom Wah from the suburbs, with my 4 brothers and I in tow, to gorge on steamed dumplings, fried delicacies, and almond cookies. By about 1975, however, we shifted our dim sum loyalties, first to the Silver Palace, which could better accommodate our large group and which offered a greater variety of dim sum, then to Flushing, and eventually, after several hit-or-miss (mostly miss) places in Nassau and Suffolk, to Fortune Wheel in Levittown, which also was closer and offered more convenient parking for our Lido Beach-based parents. All this time, however, Nom Wah never left our thoughts, and over the past 40 years, on the very few occasions when I found myself in lower Manhattan, I would find an excuse to walk down Doyers to refresh my memory -without going in (as I was almost always alone and I prefer to have dim sum with a crowd.

Having heard about Nom Wah's temporary closure and it recent resurrection under ownership of the nephew of the previous owner, I was eager to revisit it for a meal, and the opportunity finally came yesterday, August 3. My mother, 26 year old daughter, one brother, and I drove into Manhattan, once again negotiating the narrow streets of Chinatown in car and on foot, to re-kindle our relationship with Nom Wah Tea Parlor.

As might be expected, we found a tea parlor that in some ways was the same (modest appointments, limited number of menu items, cramped rest rooms, and the classic facade outside) and others different (booths instead of tables, much better lighting, a younger staff that is more fluent in English, and - most significantly - ordering off a menu instead of choosing from among dishes piled on carts). We ordered quite a few different dishes - many of them the standards we order at any dim sum place: har gow; pork siu mai; char siu bao (steamed roast pork buns); stuffed eggplant; steamed rice rolls with shrimp and with beef; chicken feet; chive and shrimp dumplings; sesame coated lotus balls; turnip cake; taro dumplings; and steamed spare ribs in black bean sauce. We compared these to the analogous dishes at Fortune Wheel, where we have had our most recent experiences.

First conclusion: ordering from a menu means that the dishes are hotter when you get them; my single biggest criticism of Fortune Wheel is getting lukewarm food. Second: none of these dishes surpassed in taste their analogues at Fortune Wheel; in fact most (all except the gar gow, chicken feet, and char siu bao) were inferior to Fortune Wheel in that the flavors were more muted (blander), though still somewhat tasty. Third: we really enjoyed two dishes that we cannot get at Fortune Wheel: the fried crab claw (minced shrimp wrapped around a crab claw (like a lollipop) with the claw shell as a stick) and the "original egg roll" - chicken and mixed vegetables wrapped in an egg crepe and deep fried. And finally, the almond cookies we so enjoyed as kids had morphed into a still tasty, but different textured cookie.

As we sat there, we wondered how reliable our memories are of how these items tasted 40-50 years ago, and the effect on those memories of all the other dim sum we have eaten through the years in places as different as Flushing, Washington, DC, Albany NY, San Francisco, Kansas City, MO, Toronto, and other NYC Chinatown restaurants. Of course, the cooks and recipes also have changed over the years, so who is to say that the dishes we recall from the olden days did NOT taste as good as we recall?

So, will we go back to Nom Wah Tea Parlor? My mother thinks she won't, as she disliked the schlep into Manhattan and knows the Fortune Wheel staff quite well. I might, but I also see so many enticing dim sum places within just a few hundred feet of Nom Wah that are beckoning. If I can get my other three brothers to agree to stroll down memory lane with he again, however, I will give it another try!

Aug 04, 2014
Mike in Rhinebeck in Manhattan

Annapolis recs?

Here is my report on Annapolis dining. Got to town mid-afternoon Sunday and, after checking into the hotel, met my daughter who drove over from the DC area where she lives. We both wanted crabs, so we did dinner at Cantler's, which is across the Severn River from the main peninsula on which Annapolis sits, down a narrow, winding residential road that leads to a creek side complex of buildings that constitute the restaurant. While it was crowded and noisy, we were immediately seated (without having had a reservation) outside under a canopy at one of many long, communal-style wooden tables. We couldn't help noticing the piles of bright red (from Old Bay seasoning) crabs on plain brown paper in front of most diners, as well as the distinct sound of small wooden hammers crashing down on crustacean bodies. We ordered a dozen large crabs ($55), side salads, a basket of hush puppies, and beers. Neither the salad nor hush puppies (small, overly sweet, and without much textural heterogeneity) were noteworthy. The crabs, however, were quite tasty, despite the work it took to extract meat from the shell. This was my first experience with steamed crabs, and while I could fairly easily break open the large claws to get a hunk of flesh, it was much more gratifying to slowly pull out the tender, sweet meat from the carapace. As a novice, it took me nearly 90 minutes (and two beers) to work my way through my 6 crabs. I would recommend Cantler's to anyone who seeks the "real" (as opposed to tourist-fied) crab experience.

The next morning, I had a late breakfast at Miss Shirley's Diner on West Street. This is a relatively upscale "diner" with an interesting, Southern-influenced menu of breakfast and lunch items, as well as a full bar. I debated among three different choices and settled on a breakfast sandwich of fried green tomatoes, smashed avocado, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg on thick slices of pumpernickel, with a side of stone ground grits. The sandwich was delectable, the crunch of the bacon balancing the tangy tomatoes and creamy avocado. The grits were not as distinctively "stone ground" as those I am used to (e.g., from the Hominy Grill and other restaurants in Charleston, SC). Nevertheless this was a satisfying meal that stayed with me through dinner that night.

Most of my remaining meals (2 dinners, 4 breakfasts and 4 lunches) were at Loew's Hotel, where the restaurant West is located, and where 20 of us were staying and attending a workshop). The dinners (lump crab cakes on fried green tomato one night, and a perfectly medium rare beef tenderloin the other) were outstanding, the lunch buffets were sumptuous in quality and quantity, and the breakfasts so-so (due to the merely ordinary quality of the croissants, muffins, and Danish). Dinner at The Metropolitan (rockfish, a delicious vegetable medley, and jasmine rice) was very good, as was my meal at Pusser's, in the Annapolis Marriott on the waterfront. My entree was Halibut Annapolitan, a generous piece of perfectly cooked halibut topped with just the right amount of lump crabmeat and a bechamel (?) sauce. Interesting ambience - we sat outside right along the water but adjacent to a relatively rowdy bar full of 20-somethings. Descriptions of this place that you can read on Yelp reviews are spot on regarding the noise level, but all 8 of us 50- and 60-somethings really enjoyed our meals!

I would have liked to have tried Vin 909, but with 8-10 of us wanting to find together, we chose to walk at her than split up to drive. I will just have to put it on the itinerary for my next Annapolis visit.

Annapolis recs?

Upstate NY hound will be in Annapolis for a workshop which leaves us free each of 5 nights for dinner. What are some "should not miss" chow-worthy spots? Will have a car; while cost is not an issue, would also like to sample some down-to-earth, local joints as well.


Please Critique My San Francisco Itinerary

Both Dottie's and Brenda's are superb choices for breakfast, but Dottie's offers a more varied menu than Brenda's, so if it were me, I would go to Dottie's twice (not necessarily on consecutive mornings) and Brenda's once (be careful -the beignets are so good they are addictive). Also, you may encounter a wait in line at both spots so you may need to budget a bit more time than you have indicated in your schedule.

Breakfast more or less near the Ferry Building [San Francisco]

Dottie's True Blue Cafe, near the corner of 6th and Market, will have a large-ish (and high quality breakfast) and endless coffee in an interesting environment. At 1.5 miles from the Ferry Bldg., Dotties may be just at ( or outside) the 15-20 minute walk preferred by the OP . . . Who perhaps could opt for a cab?

recs near Stanford for August

Wow - what a nice long list (and so quickly) for us to start with! I had heard about Tacolicious and Pizzeria Delfina when we were in SF last summer, and was aware if these branches on the peninsula. I thank you all for these suggestions, and certainly will report back after our trip, which I am sure will be just the first of several visits per year over the next few years.

recs near Stanford for August

We will be bringing my daughter to start at Stanford Law School at end of August, and will stay 4 nights near Palo Alto. Would like to sample a range of cuisines (Mexican; Thai, Pizza, great burgers/sandwiches; seafood; Italian) as long as the food is GOOD with cost not really a barrier (although we prefer NOT to have to get too dressy). I am starting this search early so I can check out restaurant web sites ahead of time and get reservations if need be. For reference sake, last summer we loved our meals at Isa in SF; Passion Fish in Pacific Grove; The Crown & Anchor in Monterey; and breakfasts at Dottie's and at Brenda's Soul Food in SF. Thanks!

Rex's Pizza in Nanuet

So, I posted this thread almost 10 years ago, and nobody responded. I am re-posting in hopes that some of you who have joined Chowhound recently may recall Rex's, and because tonight I will be staying at a hotel in very close vicinity to that site.

Rye Bread Long Island

Country Boy Bakery in Long Beach. It's a schlep from Suffolk but worth it.

Sunday in Hyde Park with friends

For lunch, the Hyde Park Brewing Company is almost directly across Rt. 9 from the entrance to the Visitor Center at the FDR home.

Sunday in Hyde Park with friends

Aren't the CIA restaurants closed on Sundays?

First-Timer in Toronto

I will be in Toronto for two nights with no car, attending a conference at the Hyatt Regency on King Street. Am looking for recommendations for dinner,preferably within walking distance, for interesting ethnic restaurants (Thai, Vietnamese, or anything unique to Toronto). While cost is not an issue, I am not looking to spend an arm and a leg. Thanks.

What are some "shouldn't miss" dishes at Proof?

Report on Proof

Thanks to all who responded with recommendations. Dinner at Proof turned out to be sublime. While everything -including cocktails, wines, and desserts - we ate was excellent, we agreed that the most outstanding dishes were the tuna tartare, the potato gnocchi (with autumn squash, sage brown butter, and Brussels sprouts, among other items, and the lamb chops with farro. While we have enjoyed dining at other DC favorites (e.g., Brasserie Beck; Oyamel; Central Michel Richard) and have yet to sample other restaurants which frequently are discussed by 'hounds, I see a return trip to Proof in the very near future.

What are some "shouldn't miss" dishes at Proof?

I am an out-of-tower who will be eating dinner at Proof in 2 weeks with 2 others. What are some of their "signature" dishes -those that we should not miss if we never get to eat there again? Two of us will try almost any food, whereas the third is a bit picky and won't touch seafood. Thanks

Four Breakfasts in/Around Charleston (long)

The rice dish did not contain any white rice.

Jan 05, 2014
Mike in Rhinebeck in Southeast

Hotels and restaurants to visit in Paris, France

We visited Paris in April 2009. For a truly non-touristy lunch, we very much enjoyed Chez Janou ( on two occasions; not terribly expensive and (at the time) reservations not necessary. It is in the 3rd Arr. and a short walk from Place de Vosges.

we also did a lunch at Chez L'Ami Jean ( in the 7th Arr. (about halfway between the Eiffel Tower and the Musee d'Orsay); the three course lunch was expensive (now about $42 Euros) and required advanced reservations (about 2 months ahead of time). We will never forget the old-fashioned rice pudding dessert with salted butter caramel.

we also rented a studio apartment where we ate most breakfasts and one dinner; hard to recall most of the other restaurants as they were not unique . . .

Jan 05, 2014
Mike in Rhinebeck in France

Four Breakfasts in/Around Charleston (long)

OK - here they are; sorry for the delay and the length:

Saturday night dinner at Hank’s Seafood:
After a very frustrating and long day of driving (or should I say “sitting”) on I-95 from DC to Charleston, we arrived at Hank’s full of anticipation, based upon a friend’s recommendation that Hank’s had “the best” seafood in Charleston. We started with drinks: son had a beer while my wife and I ordered cocktails from their specialty list. I had a Southern Gentleman (Gentleman Jack, Southern Comfort, a splash of OJ, some simple syrup, mint leaf with crushed ice) and my wife had a Gin & Tonic made with jack Rudy Tonic. Both drinks were weak and we were unimpressed. My starter was a 1.2 dozen oyster sampler (2 each from the Gulf, Nova Scotia, and the West Coast) – the smaller non-Gulf oysters were very tasty. For entrees I chose a special that was pan roasted Carolina bass with roasted vegetables plus another accompaniment that I do not recall. The fish was perfectly cooked with a nice crust on the outside. My wife had shrimp and grits (creamy, not stone ground) which she said was very, very, good except for a few small pieces of shell that were NOT associated with the tails. Son had a platter with a fried crabcake, fried shrimp, hush puppies, cole slaw, and fried sweet potato chips. While he raved about everything, the sweet potato chips were especially impressive. He finished with Peanut Butter Pie, while my wife and I shared Cherry Crisp with vanilla ice cream which, truthfully, was nothing special. Service was efficient but a bit stuffy and not at all “warm.”

Sunday night dinner at Monza Pizza on King Street:
We were attracted to this place because several web sites had chosen it as “best” pizza in South Carolina and because we wanted a lighter dinner on at least one of our nights in town. We were not super hungry because we ate a large brunch at Lost Dog in mid-morning and because we drank several beers that afternoon at Charleston Beer Works while watching the Panthers. Our server bragged about having been selected as 11th best pizza in the U.S. We had two of their 10 inch pizzas: the Materassi (fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella & basil) and a special with apples, manchego cheese, sausage, and some other items. Monza’s wood-fired oven bakes these pizzas quickly with a thin crust with just the right balance between chewy-ness and crusty-ness. We liked both pies but found them similar to other wood-fired oven pizzas from across the country; frankly, we were surprised this place received such a high ranking. I also had a wonderful warm salad composed of wood roasted seasonal vegetables with parmigiano reggiano cheese andbread crumbs, topped with a local farm egg cooked sunny side up. This was fabulous, and I really liked the way the slightly runny but warm egg yolk and the cut-up egg whites melded with the light dressing on the rest of the salad. While we were there, I saw only a few other tables but about 10 staff members and on the way out learned that they had a back patio; it would have been nice if we had been offered an opportunity to sit out there as it had been a beautiful day.

For dessert, we stopped on the walk back to the hotel at Paolo’s Gelato Shop on John Street; while we enjoyed all 4 flavors we tried, the pistachio was outstanding!

Monday night at Fat Hen on John’s Island
After having consumed a pedestrian but convenient lunch at Hyman’s (many downtown lunch spots were closed on Monday, and others took an extended Christmas vacation), we drove through a drenching rain 15-20 minutes out to John’s Island to this country French-inspired restaurant located on a main highway in an otherwise residential area. Given the time of year, it was very dark upon our arrival, and a bit difficult to see signs directing us to parking, which is in the back (which is where the main entrance is located). We were seated in the large and (a bit) noisy front room, and were impressed with the convivial nature of the space. Our server was very attentive and got us started with drinks - nothing for my wife, but a Low Country Lemonade (Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, Triple Sec, fresh squeezed lime, splash of Sprite, garnished with lemon) for my son and an Orance Fashioned (Orange bourbon, bitters, soda, orange wedge, cherry) for me. These drinks- especially the Lemonade – were much more satisfying than those we had at Hank’s. We shared a delicious appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes that came with pimento goat cheese, pepper relish, and tomato jam. The kitchen must have been very efficient because despite the crowd, our main courses emerged very quickly (in fact, I felt that our entire meal was a bit rushed). Son had Salmon Bearnaise with mashed potatoes and garlic spinach (which I wound up eating, as he does not eat cooked spinach), I had the tilefish special and my wife had the Grilled Butcher’s Steak with demi glace, bearnaise, garlic spinach, and pomme frites. We were all very satisfied and decided to forgo dessert.

Tuesday night (Xmas Eve) dinner at Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.)
My son and I, as a continuation of our tradition started in 2012, wore bow ties to dinner; given our relative inexperience tieing them, we arrived just in time for our reservation! We had eaten a light lunch that day at The Glass Onion (which was OK but we did not understand all the fuss about this place). Wife and I started with Prosecco and son had a rum and Coke to toast the holiday, and later he switched to beer and I had a glass of Pinot Gris with my dinner. I started with SNOB’s version of She-Crab soup (called Charleston Crab Soup) which was very good but was not an adequate replacement for she-crab soup that I had had in the past. My main course was an amazingly outstanding plate of pan-roasted fish (sorry – forgot what type!) that came with potato gnocchi, a few roasted veggies and a creamy puree. Again, the fish was perfectly cooked, and its juices blended well with the sauces in the bowl that bathed the gnocchi and veggies. I ate very slowly to savor this dish, which was my favorite of all the meals I consumed in Chucktown. My wife had pan-seared duck breast with Charleston gold wild rice pirlou, Brussels sprouts, apple compote, and a honey thyme reduction. She liked it very much (as did I, having an opportunity to taste a few bites) but – in her words – “not the very best duck she ever had.” My son stuck with turf and ate a grilled CAB ribeye filet with herbed goat cheese, red onion jam, grilled okra (which he did not touch), and Madeira sauce; other than the okra he cleaned his plate and then enjoyed Peanut Butter Pie while my wife had Espresso Chocolate Pie with Oreo crust and chocolate sauce and I had sorbet for dessert. Our server, as well as the other servers with whom we interacted, were knowledgeable, warm and very helpful, making us feel very much at home. Despite our having a 5:45 seating, we never felt rushed even as we lingered over dessert while the front reception area of the restaurant was crowded.

All three of us felt that the overall experience (food, ambience, service) was clearly the best at SNOB, where we would go back in a heartbeat. While we enjoyed the dinners at Hank’s, Monza, and Fat Hen, we would first like to try other Charleston restaurants for dinner before returning.

Jan 05, 2014
Mike in Rhinebeck in Southeast

where to eat,sleep and visit between ithaca and bennington that good, real, interesting and non-chain?

Cafe Madison in Albany, NY, (on Madison Ave. near College of St. Rose) has an outstanding breakfast/brunch menu and is definitely NOT chain.


Four Breakfasts in/Around Charleston (long)

My wife, 22-year old son, and I just returned home from a trip to South Carolina, during which we spent 4 nights/3 days in Charleston. Here is a report on the 4 breakfasts we enjoyed.

Sunday brunch at the Lost Dog Cafe in Folly Beach: Sunday, Dec. 22 was a warm and sunny day (temps eventually hit about 80 in downtown Charleston) and we drove the 15-20 minutes out to Folly Beach for brunch. Arriving shortly after 10 AM, we were surprised to have no wait to get an indoor table; the outdoor seating areas looked inviting and were full of dog-lovers with their pooches as well as a bevy of smokers. We each ordered specialty coffee drinks and started off by sharing an "awesome Cinnamon Roll" which was good but not awesome. Son had biscuits and sausage gravy (in fact, he had this as breakfast all 4 days in a row) and a side of grits, wife had a HUGE breakfast burrito (meat, eggs, beans, tomatoes, cheese, etc.) which was accompanied by grits, and I had Eggs Benedict modified with a fried green tomato between the egg and Canadian bacon. We were served very quickly despite the crowd, portions were huge, and the food quite tasty (except that he fried green tomatoes were quite acidic - more so than those I ate elsewhere in Charleston). Service was a bit rushed, as might be expected given how busy they were. Walls were decorated with many photos of dogs.

Monday breakfast at Hominy Grill: set in a residential neighborhood in an old barbershop, we again had no wait to get a table inside, whereas those seeking to sit outside on the patio had to wait. Extremely nice and personable service from our waitress, who took time to explain not only the breakfast options but also items (T shirts, coffee cups, etc.) that were available for sale. Son had B&G again, wife had sausage, eggs, grits, and toast, and I had a Hangtown Fry (eggs scrambled with oysters and bacon) with grits. As opposed to the relatively creamy grits at the Lost Dog, these were stone ground grits with a distinctive "crunch" that we all very much enjoyed. We finished up by sharing a piece of sublime buttermilk pie, which we enjoyed in a relatively leisurely way in the relaxing ambience of the restaurant.

Tuesday breakfast at the Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe: a very small storefront about two blocks from the historic Charleston Market, patrons line up, place an order at the counter (which strongly prefers cash), and then find a table either inside the crowded room or at patio furniture just outside. The long line appeared to include both tourists and locals, Not too many fancy dishes on this menu; son again had biscuits and sausage gravy, while wife and I each had scrambled eggs, grits, and biscuits. Apparently, this place is famous for tomato pie, but it was not listed on the menu posted on the wall above the counter, otherwise I would have ordered it. Grits were like those at Hominy Grill, biscuits were better than Hominy Grill!

Christmas morning breakfast at Toast: this restaurant is attached to the Days Inn on Meeting Street about a block or so from the Historic Market, and was one of the very few places open on Xmas Day. No wait at all upon our arrival at 8:45. Son had his usual B&G, wife ate scrambled eggs, meat, and grits, while I had shrimp and grits covered by a "lobster" sauce with very small pieces of pork sausage. Grits were very creamy and a bit runny but otherwise this was a good dish. Fairly simple interior of the restaurant. All the staff, however, were attired in "Santa gear" and were amazingly cheerful and inviting given that they were working on Christmas morning!

We enjoyed all 4 breakfasts and would return to all 4 places. Son felt that the biscuits and gravy were best at Lost Dog Cafe, and my wife enjoyed her breakfast at Lost Dog the most (she might not want to return to Dixie Supply because of the tight quarters and lack of wait staff).. My favorite was Hominy Grill for the combination of food and ambience, with Lost Dog a close second.

Dec 30, 2013
Mike in Rhinebeck in Southeast

Driving home for Christmas [lunch in Ithaca/Corning?]

Not sure if Binghamton is too distant from "Ithaca/Corning", but if not, the Lost Dog Cafe ( is a fun place.