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Bakeries, pastry shops and inexpensive good food

Hi Montreal Chowhounders,

We had a great time in your city. Of course, we couldn't eat as much as we wanted or at every location, but my freezer is quite full of goodies to enjoy back home.

We started at Aux Vivres and shared a sandwich. Sadly, we found the Mekong sandwich a bit too acidic and not as good as it used to be.

We then visited Hof Kelsten, just down the street. The strawberry walnut rugelach was ok - too sweet for me, and we didn't the raisins with the strawberries. My kids adored it, and it is quite a nice space.

For lunch, we made it to Avesta. I love Turkish food, and enjoyed our choices, but the rest of my family found the food here too spicy. The lentil soup was especially good. I am now on a mission (again) to try to recreate Turkish lentil soup at home. The prices were a bit higher than I would have expected for the quantities of food, but it may have been what we ordered.

Dinner ended up being a mash-up of things from the Jean-Talon market back at our accommodations - manchego and a nice sesame ficelle from Hamel, unremarkable takeout sushi, an avocado and mango.

We finished it off with the banana caramel choux from Patrice Patissier, and a chocolat praline and mille-feuille from Chistian Faure. Top marks for the Choux - very nice melding of flavours, and beautiful as well. The pastries from Christian Faure were techically excellent, but we preferred the mille feuille for not being too sweet. The chocolate praline was nothing exciting.

Day two started with pastries from Le Pain dans les Voiles. A cinnamon sugar swirly croissant-like pastry was devoured by me and my kids, and their scone with currants and orange was pretty good, but a bit dense. I also brought back some pain des peuples and a cheese bread. I wasn't as impressed by their apple turnover.

I also picked up a loaf of walnut bread and chocolate bread from Guillaume at their new rue St. Laurent location. The lineup was out the door!

We brunched at Le Vieux Velo. We got there around 11, but didn't have to wait too long. Their benedict with bacon was very, very good. The French toast (we got a half-order) was just alright. I love yogurt but I don't like it on my french toast. We also had the Atlantique (sans cream cheese), which was scrambled eggs and salad that had a very nice ginger dressing. We really liked the toast and potatoes (and ask for jam - the raspberry is excellent).

On our way out of town we stopped to get groceries at Adonis, which was a very fun madhouse. We bought more cheese than we should have, and lots of little middle eastern savoury pastries and a box of cookies, which were fun to pick out. I discovered horse-shoe shaped cookies with tiny seeds - a kind of fennel perhaps? that are quite good.

Since we didn't want to drive back downtown, we shared several salad/veggie dishes, hummous and beef shwarma at Zoukis, on Acadie in the Marche Centrale. It was quite tasty, if a bit greasy. We came home with lots of leftovers for today.

Thanks again to all of you for your suggestions. It is great to add new places to our list of favourites.

Bakeries, pastry shops and inexpensive good food

Thanks everyone! I have taken note of your suggestions, and will try to get to as many bakeries as possible - we will probably start at Hof Kelsten today. Antep Kebab sounds like a great lunch option, as we love Turkish food. I will certainly report back after our visit.

Bakeries, pastry shops and inexpensive good food

Hi Montreal Chowhounders,

I am heading to Montreal with my family for two days this long weekend. We love eating in Montreal. We have two kids, so fancy sit-down meals are generally not a great idea, and we don't want to spend a fortune either. I tend to do a lot of research before our Montreal trips, so I've read a fair bit on Chowhound.

We would like to try really good new bakeries for excellent bread. I already love Guillaume and have tried Mamie Clafoutis, Le Fromentier, and others. I want to try le Pain dans les Voiles this time. Anything else? I especially love good whole grain breads with nice sour levain/sourdough starters.

Great viennoiseries: I love the croissants at Fous Desserts, have had some good pastries at Mamie Clafoutis, and used to love le Kouign Aman but have been disappointed lately. I will try to get to Christian Faure, but welcome all suggestions.

Are there any good grilled fish sandwiches in Montreal? Simple, affordable? Kind of like getting a merguez or lamb sandwich at the Jean Talon Market, but fish instead?

We love Aux Vivres, and would like to discover other vegan restos or cafes that have flavourful and affordable food. We're not vegan, but like to have a vegan meal here and there.

Good, inexpensive sushi near Jean-Talon market? It doesn't have to be right next door, but in a two kilometer radius or so.

Are there any inexpensive and good lunch places downtown that would be open on Good Friday and Saturday?

Thanks in advance,


Montreal sejour - ups and downs

We just spent two days in Montreal, mostly eating. As we had two little kids in tow, we had some serious limitations, and sometimes ended up eating places because of location. In general, we ate very well.

The Good

Fous Desserts still has the best croissant/pain au chocolat in Montreal in my opinion. We also had a palmier that was excellent. We took some of their beautiful entremets home for dessert later that day - the chocolate eclair was very good, the Gargamel (milk chocolate, caramel, etc) was good but too sweet, the Millefeuille was decent, and the dark chocolate/pear concoction was good, not great).

Lunch at Schwartz's - perfect and satisfying, inexpensive. We don't go everytime we visit Montreal, but often.

We also ate lunch at l'Express. I hadn't been in years, and it was very good. The best was the smoked mackerel and the onglet/frites was very nice. The confit de canard salad was good but too heavy on the salad oil. They were especially nice to us considering we had two tired kids with us.

The Bad (or at least disappointing)

Cafe Sardine's donuts! We trekked all the way up there on foot in the rain, and found their lemon donut no where near fresh. We were assured it was made that day, but if it was, they have a problem as it was only 3 pm - and donuts shouldn't be that stale by that point in the day.

Mamie Clafoutis' viennoiseries were not as good as Fous Desserts. They lacked the light textures and delicacy, and were overly sweet. Their cheddar/leek ficelle however, is very good. Maybe if we stick with savoury products, they are better. We were really sad they didn't have their Kouign Aman, which we have loved in the past.

Kasa Sushi (on Mont-Royal, near Papineau) was our choice due purely to proximity to our accomodation. It was pretty awful - most of the rolls had lots and lots of rice and the thinnest strips of fish I have ever seen. They were miniscule. I feel like we paid for some tempura, a few shrimp and rice. It wasn't dirt cheap, so I don't understand.

I am sad I missed getting to Boulangerie Guillaume, Olivier Potier, and was too full to really enjoy the ice cream at Havre des Glaces. Overall, though, we had a great time and ate very well (certainly better than we would have in Ottawa).

Thanks for all of your good information on the Chowhound board - it has been helpful in making many food plans.

Homemade nut butters ... [moved from Cookware board]

I make homemade hazelnut butter in my small fp. Make sure you do toast them a decent amount, and add a tiny bit of salt as it brings out the sweetness. Better than what you can buy....

Jul 16, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

aux vivres' dragon sauce [moved from Quebec board]

Also, does anyone know what they marinate the tofu in for the Thai sandwich that has the dragon sauce? I know there are kaffir lime leaves, but my marinade fell very short....And my addiction is expensive as we live in Ottawa and have to travel to Aux Vivres!

Jul 06, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

the secrets to a great smoothie?

I find that if I use a food processor instead of a blender, I get a smoother smoothie, almost like ice cream. I put a bunch of ice cubes in the FP and blend until they turn into "snow". It is really loud. Then I add whatever I want - fruit, liquid, sweetener. If you add a bit of stevia, it tends to make it "fluff" up a bit.

Jun 15, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

NYC food weekend advice and reassurance

Hello Chowhounders,

We are planning our food itinerary, and need a bit of reassurance/advice. We are budget-minded, mostly vegetarian (eat meat, just not much) and have been to New York several other times to eat. We walk a lot in between meals....


Dinner: St Anselm (I know this is in Brooklyn, but everything else is in Manhattan) for steak and truffle mashed potatoes. We want a good steak meal, and have heard this is affordable, good and fun. Also never been to Williamsburg.


Shopsin's for breakfast. This has been on my list for many trips, going to try it out. Should we anticipate a line-up on a weekday morning?

Wundee Siam for lunch. We wanted not to expensive Thai. I love super-spicy food, partner needs mild. Wanted to try Zabb Elee but don't think partner can find much to eat on the menu that is not spicy.

Motorino for dinner. We love good Neapolitan pizza. Really liked Keste last time, want to try Motorino, but open to other suggestions.


Clinton Street for breakfast

Kefi for lunch. Wanted inexpensive good Greek (cannot get it at home)

Da Andrea for dinner. We want really good home-made pasta, not too pricey....


Breakfast - suggestions? Not brunch, as we like to spend our actual mornings out and about, so it needs to be open early enough. Preferably not too carb-heavy as lunch will be heavy.

Streetcha for lunch. Partner adores home-made pierogies, and this sounds like fun, cheap food.

Take-out from Eataly (or Parm?) for the plane ride home....

We will also stop at Donut Plan (which we adored the last two times), Puddin' NYC, Levain for chocolate chip cookies, and City Bakery for croissant bagels/hot chocolate.

Thanks everyone.....


May 04, 2012
hwertheim in Manhattan

Montreal in May - Must Eats for NYCers

Don't forget ice cream! I suggest going to Le Havre des Glaces at Jean-Talon for wonderful ice cream (we are partial to the dark chocolate and mango flavours, as well as the burnt maple if they still have it). Le Bilboquet is also pretty good.

Have a croissant and coffee for breakfast at Fous Desserts - it really is worth it.

Check out the new Olivier Potier patisserie for breads and fancy pastries - excellent.

Have fun!

Montreal baked goods - specific questions

Thanks for all of your responses.

Here are my thoughts on what I got to eat....It was a delicious, carb-heavy day. I have a freezer full of delicious bread to keep me happy in Ottawa for the next week or so.

Boulangerie Guillaume

Love the bun aux pommes (a tiny bit too sweet for me, but I guess that is the nature of the beast) Goes very well with coffee.
Really like the bun au chocolat/ of my favourite flavour combinations.
Baguette au chocolat (mmm, especially with a banana, I ate vast quantities of this stuff all afternoon)
Like their Kamut/poppyseed bread, and bought a baguette.

Fous Desserts
Croissant and cafe au lait (and an espresso to follow) for breakfast. Excellent, but slightly surly service.
Cafe au lait could have been hotter, but the croissants are perfect.

Olivier Potier
I got to try the Pain aux Peuples, which was delicious. Unfortunately there was none left to buy.
I bought a baguette (levain) and a whole-grain Kamut sesame bread, both from the Voiles bakery (Ste Hilaire)
The pistachio, vanilla and raspberry pastry received rave reviews from my wife.

I did a quick taste test of the baguettes from Guillaume and Voiles, and I think I prefer the Voiles, but both are good.

For lunch I had the Mekong sandwich on Chapati from Aux Vivres, which I adore.

I didn't have time to get to Mamie Clafoutis, or Rhubarbe, or the bakery in Montreal East, so will have to return soon.

Xanthan gum: uses besides gluten free baking?

I have made a really quick mousse with it - put some frozen raspberries and a bit of frozen banana in a food processor until ground up into icy powder. Add some heavy cream (or milk if you want a lower-fat version), a bit of sugar if you like, and a 1/2 tsp or so xanthan gum. Process minimally, and voila, a quick cold and quite healthy mousse.

Also use it to thicken frozen coffee concoctions and make smoothies, but a little goes a long long way, and I find it is really best when used with milk, otherwise the texture is weird.

Mar 20, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

Montreal baked goods - specific questions

Hi Chowhounders,

I am quite excited to get to spend a day in Montreal next week. I get to visit relatively often and have a few questions for you. I am pretty obsessed with bread and baking, and that is often my focus of eating in Montreal.

I have had amazing croissants at Fous Desserts now, and am tempted to return for my favourite - croissant and cafe au lait for breakfast. But should I try Mamie Clafoutis instead? I used to be a Kouig Aman croissant fan, but have been disappointed lately.

I plan on stocking up on bread from Boulangerie Guillaume as I love their walnut bread, chocolate baguette, and kamut/sesame bread. Anything else I should try there?

This new Olivier Poitras shop is also intriguing as they are bringing bread in from the Au Pain des Voiles, which I have heard of but never get to visit. Are there any breads from that shop that are a must? I am generally fond of baguettes, and like whole-grain breads as well. Is the food they offer at lunch good as well? Any recommendations?

Any other amazing new bakery finds or recommendations? My kids and spouse are expecting some exceptional pains au chocolat and apple turnovers to be brought back, and possibly some little entremets.



ISO perfect German Chocolate Cake

I have been tasked with making my father's 65th birthday cake, and he has requested German Chocolate Cake. I have seen a Rose Levy Berenbaum version, an Inside-out Epicurous recipe that gets a lot of good reviews, and a Davide Leibovitz recipe (though it has rum which I hate). Does anyone have any suggestions as to which one to try, or another one instead? He doesn't like things to be overly sweet, so the cake part of the recipe can't be too sweet, especially since I want it to contrast with the sweeter coconut topping/filling. Thanks!

Mar 08, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

Help! What to do with way, way too many bananas?

Put one and a half frozen bananas, cut up, in food processor (not a blender) with up to a quarter cup of milk. Add two to three tablespoons of cocoa powder (not sweetened), and blend until creamy. It ends up being a delicious and healthy "ice cream". Doesn't refreeze well - the texture goes, so just make enough at a time.

I also keep bananas frozen to add to bran muffins.

Put cut up frozen bananas in your pancakes or waffles.

We put cut up fresh bananas on our arepas with black beans, avocados, and fresh South American cheese.

Feb 26, 2012
hwertheim in Home Cooking

Looking for Poulain Hot Chocolate Mix in GTA or Ottawa


We have run out of Poulain Grand Arome hot chocolate mix from France. Does anyone know where we can find it in Toronto or Ottawa? It is in an orange box.



Bakery circuit

I got to spend yesterday in Montreal for work. Before and after, I managed to fit in several bakery stops. Since I miss such good bread in Ottawa, I ate it all day.

Le Fromentier (on Laurier)

Good croissant, not blow-me-away good, but very good. I also bought a walnut bread (not the one with cumin) which I am currently eating, that is good, but not spectacular either.

Boulangerie Guillaume

Their walnut bread is my current obsession. It is very sour, with well-toasted walnuts (such a simple thing makes such a difference). I also inhaled a Kamut honey baguette coated in sesame seeds. I realized as I ate it with salted butter that it is very similar to a perfect NY style bagel, in a different form. I went back at the end of the day to buy more, but there was none....

I also bought a pain au chocolat, which was a small baguette stuffed, and not skimpily, with very dark chocolate. I ate it with a banana, and it was revelatory.

Fous Dessert

They make great croissants. I now prefer them to those at Koign Aman, whose have, in my opinion, gone downhill recently.

I have to learn how to make some of these trips to Montreal are not frequent enough. Thank you Montrealers for supporting such a strong baking community.

Boulangerie Guillaume
17 Avenue Fairmount Est, Montreal, QC H2T 2L9, CA

Edmonton Assistance


I am an Ottawa chowhounder coming to Edmonton for work. I'll have two dinners and two breakfasts to fill....I am staying at the Westin, but can walk relatively long distances.

So far, I am very interested in Padmanadi (I am not a vegan, but don't eat very much meat) for dinner one night. It seems I have to try the Ginger beef.

Since I rarely get to have good Asian food at home, I would like either good, inexpensive sushi, or any inexpensive Thai, Chinese or Vietnamese. I love spicy food.

I would really like to find healthy, whole-grain baked goods for breakfast. I don't need to sit down for breakfast - bakery recommendations are more than welcome.

Are there any specialties in Edmonton that I must try?

And as an aside, has anyone seen anything about a Frozen Yogurt place called Menchies opening on Whyte Ave? There is one in Toronto now, and while it is surely made from entirely chemical, artificial materials, I love it!

Thanks for the advice in advance.


10740 101 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2S3, CA

Sep 02, 2011
hwertheim in Prairie Provinces

Croissant Crisis in Quebec City

Paillard makes lovely croissants and pains au chocolat. On St-Jean, in the heart of the old city.

Walnut bread, lunch and dinner


As a former Montrealer (a long time ago) who lives in Ottawa, I am always looking for good, inexpensive food for day trips.

We are starting our day at either Kouig Aman or Le Fromentier for croissants. I have been to KA many times, but never to Le Fromentier. Is anyone willing to steer me in one direction?

I would love restaurant suggestions for lunch with a toddler. She and I are not big meat eaters, don't eat pork at all, and I am training her to like spicy food. Any suggestions in the Plateau for a not-too expensive lunch that is informal enough to bring a toddler? She does love sushi, but I don't need to have sushi for lunch, unless someone has a really great and inexpensive suggestion.

I am thinking we will go to Bottega for dinner, as I love their pizza, and my daughter loves almost any pizza. But I am open to other suggestions, and am always willing to try new things.

On my last trip to Mtl, I had a walnut sourdough from Boulangerie Guillaume that I am now obsessing over. Since that bakery is closed this week, does anyone know who else makes such a bread? It was so, so good toasted with marmelade and butter.

We will definitely hit up some ice cream places, likely Le Havre and possibly Meu Meu, and will try to get to some other bakeries.

Thanks for any advice in advance,


65 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montreal, QC H2S1K7, CA

Trip report - thanks to all Chicago Chowhounders

We had a wonderful three days worth of food in your fun city this week. While I had a whole itinerary planned out, weather and spontenaity meant that we did not follow it, but we still managed to hit several of my planned restaurants etc.

Big Star

We had two tacos, pretty tasty, something we cannot get back home in Ottawa. They were smaller than we expected, but we didn't mind the idea of having two small dinners.


Tried a small butter crust with sausage deep dish pizza, which we ate outside in Wicker Park in the late evening sunshine. I can say I am not a fan of deep dish pizza, but my wife gobbled it down, and pronounced that it was up there among her favourite pizza experiences. I have been tasked with reproducing said pizza at home.

Forever Yogurt

Since I did not eat much pizza, I had frozen yogurt for dinner. I am a sucker for it, even when it is obviously artificial....It was quite enjoyable.


Very fresh, not too sweet honey-dipped donut. A bit too big for me - I could not eat it all without feeling like I'd overdosed on fried dough.

Fox and Obel

Tried both the cinnamon swirl and bran muffins (and a bunch of the jarred candy). I liked the cinnamon swirl, it reminded me of a Koign Amann with cinnamon and more sugar, but it had a hint of nutmeg or some other spice that I wasn't crazy about. The bran muffin was good, but too sweet for my tastes. They were both enormous, and we carried our leftovers around with us.

Kendall College Dining Room

A very nice experience, with quite a lovely dining room. The appetizers were the strongest, with crispy parisian gnocchi and a soft shell crab that were both delicious. My duck was good, though the hash and carrot puree was excellent. The pan fried fish (can't remember which white fish) was a touch overcooked. The desserts were disappointing with an overly sweet maple custard (ok, it is probably unfair to complain that something mapley is too sweet) and a not sweet enough dark chocolate tart.

Taco Joint

We had a very very rushed dinner at Taco Joint because we had tickets for a Steppenwolf play. They were surprisingly good. We had two huaraches, one with beef and one with corn and mushrooms. Quite a reasonable price too, and loved their hot sauce.

Bongo Room

We ended up having a late breakfast there, and it was worth the wait as we were both starving, and we ate everything put in front of us with gusto.

The banana heath bar pancakes were sooooo good. We had the sauce on the side, so they weren't too sweet. and they went well with my side order of thai chicken sausages. My wife had the special omelette with avocado, artichoke spread, etc. Very very tasty.

Piccolo Sogno

This was the best meal of the trip. A lovely restaurant with great service. We had the beet salad with fresh ricotta (I have to start making homemade ricotta), and the black pasta with seafood. It was perfect, and the best pasta I have had outside of Italy. Loved the grissini and bread and delicious syrupy balsamic vinegar too.

Bleeding Heart Bakery

I had a Take a Hike Scone and a banana teacake. The scone was good, not great. It was way, way too big for one person. The teacake muffin was meh - too greasy. I bought two cakeballs for later, but we weren't very impressed with them - perhaps not our thing.

Nori Sushi

A last minute takeout order for our plane ride back, this was uninspired and less than fresh sushi. We couldn't even finish it, and we love sushi.
We also made several stops at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, which was fun for us.

Thanks again for all the tips, and we look forward to returning to Chicago one day.

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Piccolo Sogno
464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622

Kendall College Dining Room
900 N. North Branch Street, Chicago, IL 60642

May 28, 2011
hwertheim in Chicago Area

Fill in the blanks - inexpensive, distinctive food

Thanks for the great information. I have added Benjyehudah as we love good falafel and can't get it here. We're also seriously considering Ricardo Trattoria for a dinner. I am crossing Smoque off the list as it is too far away, and I will just have to perfect my own bbq brisket this summer. We'll also pick up sandwiches from Pastoral for our airplane trip home.

I am now going to plot all of our restaurants and activities on a map, and figure out which bakeries we can reasonably hit without going too far out of our way.

Regarding pizza, I am really unsure. I don't know when we'll make it back to Chicago, so I am inclined to try deep dish, but honestly, it sounds very heavy. With all of our bakery stops, we might not feel like it.

Thanks again for all of your help.

May 05, 2011
hwertheim in Chicago Area

Fill in the blanks - inexpensive, distinctive food


We are going to be in Chicago for three and a half days (May 23-26) without our kids, and we love to eat. I've done a lot of research, and we have some meals chosen. I still need to fill in some of the blanks. We would really prefer not to spend too much (Sable is our upper limit price-wise), and want to eat things we cannot find back home in Ottawa. We are big walkers, and will use public transportation to get around. We're staying at the Day's Inn Lincoln Park. We also love baked goods and other sweets. Cakes, high-quality donuts, cupcakes, ice cream, etc. We are into exploring a neighborhood if it has a good concentration of delicious bakeries to try.

I was hoping to fit bbq in, as we can't find that at home. I read about Smoque, which has good brisket (important as I don't eat pork, and love bbq brisket), but it seems far from everything.

What about pizza? We are reluctant to try deep dish as we are not fans of super-cheesy pizza, and love either NY or Neapolitan-style pizza. Is it worth a meal here?

I was intrigued by Beograde for their burek - we love burek and haven't had any since we were in Turkey, but it too seems like a hike.

Hot Doug`s is appealing, but sounds super-unhealthy, as we like to consume some sort of vegetable with a meal.....but I could be convinced, as we will be on holiday.

So far, here is our schedule. All recommendations are welcome, and feel free to recommend we remove something and replace it with something else.

Monday dinner - Sable

Tuesday breakfast - Bongo Room
(activity - Art Institute)

Tuesday lunch - ___________
(activity - wander around Loop, Michigan Ave etc)

Tuesday dinner - Papa`s Casche Sabroso for Jibaritos

Wednesday breakfast ____________ (possibly Xoco)
(activity - CAF walking tour in Loop)

Wednesday lunch - ___________
(activity - need a good neighborhood for wandering and eating in bakeries etc - perhaps Bucktown and Wicker Park)

Wednesday dinner ______________

Thursday breakfast Fox and Obel for cinnamon swirls
(activity - need another fun neighborhood, hopefully not too far from either Fox and Obel or lunch on Goose Island)

Thursday lunch - Kendall College
Fly home.....

Thanks so much for your help!

Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

May 03, 2011
hwertheim in Chicago Area

Recent Food Weekend - Report

We spent a great long weekend eating our way around Manhattan. Here are some thoughts and reviews. We tried to keep our meals from being too pricey, so most of our choices were at lower price points.

We started at Kati Roll, where I tried a beef Kati roll. It was very tasty - the bread is quite good and not too greasy, and the meat not overcooked, and nicely seasoned. I would have preferred that it come with some sort of vegetable to make it slightly healthier.....

Since one Kati Roll is not enough food to fill me up, we went to Taim, and decided that their falafel is truly exceptional. I've eaten falafel in Israel, Montreal, and Toronto, and this was excellent. We had the "green" falafel, with whole wheat pita. The only complaint is that their hot sauce is not harissa, but I still enjoyed it.

As an afternoon snack, we stopped by the Donut Plan in the LES. Since we'd previously had their Tres Leches, we thought we'd also try the new Creme Brulee donuts. They are very good - the burnt sugar, the lovely cream inside. But $3 for a small donut? That hurts. It was just expensive enough that we felt a bit taken. But they are tasty, and donuts are one item I don't ever feel like making at home.

The second afternoon snack consisted of grapefruit and lemon gelato from Il Laboratorio. They were both excellent, with not at all too much sugar.

Dinner - Keste Pizza on Bleecker. Very, very good pizza. We had no wait for a table probably since we got there on the early side. Very good service. We each had a Margherita. The sauce is very nice and tomatoey, not overcooked, not overspiced. The cheese is very good quality, and the ratio is perfect. The crust is chewy, slightly charred, and has great flavour. As others have mentioned, the crust is a bit soggy in the middle, but not in a bad way.

We ended up at Sarabeth's on Central Park for breakfast the next day. Their smoked salmon eggs benedict really is very good. But very pricey! I had the almond crusted french toast, which was good, but not to die for. Sitting outside in the sun looking at Central Park is certainly pleasant.

We went back to Caracas Arepas for lunch, but found we weren't blown away by their arepas this time. Perhaps because now we make a pretty good version at home. The "del Gato" which has fried plantains, white cheese, and avocado was still our favourite. Their sauce is very good, and I still don't know exactly what they put in it.

We also managed to try 40 Carrots frozen yogurt - wow, that is very tasty. I wish we had something similar here in Ottawa, or even Toronto. Very good texture, lovely tart taste. It is too bad you a small is so huge, and costs $5.

For dinner we tried Halfsteak at Craftsteak. We though it would be a good opportunity to try a high-end restaurant without paying a fortune. The space is very nice, and the service was exceptional. The food was good, but not oustanding. We had the fried oysters, which were definitely not greasy, and quite tasty (but you get just three, which is not very many if you are sharing). We also had the halfsteak, ordered medium (I would have preferred rare, but being pregnant, am being careful about such things). So as a medium steak goes, it was good but not great. I found that there was less flavour that I would expect at a steakhouse, even for a special. The fries were quite nice, and went well with the mayo and the jus from the steak. The pull-apart rolls were very nice, and very buttery.

For dessert, we trekked over to Momofuku Milk Bar. Were were really full from Halfsteak, but we did try their soft serve ice cream. Neither of us was into it - we tried the chocolate donut and the bavarian cream flavour. The chocolate donut just tasted bizarre - exactly like those cheap chocolate donuts from grocery stores, but as ice cream. The bavarian was unremarkable. We wished we could have tried other things, but we were full and exhausted.

For our final morning, we had an unconventional breakfast of Junior's cheesecake. It is consistently wonderful, and made a surprisingly satisfying breakfast. We ended up back at Taim for one last falafel, and Keste for a final pizza.

We didn't manage to get to Shake Shack, which was on our list, or have a good hot chocolate (it was too hot out for hot chocolate).

I'd like to thank the various chowhounders whose prior posts help us plan our food itinerary - we ended up eating quite well.


Apr 28, 2009
hwertheim in Manhattan

Trip report

We returned from a three-day trip to NYC yesterday. I'm not sure how we managed to eat as much as we did in such a short time, but it was great. I'm not feeling very hungry today!

Pick-a-Pita (has moved locations, is no longer in a loading dock). Very good falafel, nice and moist, very green. Good toppings, fresh pita. The hot sauce was not harissa, which I did not enjoy as much. Overall, good cheap meal.

Una Pizza Napoletana - Arghhh...It was supposed to be good, as we watched the excellent-quality ingredients go onto our pizza....we shared a Margherita and the one with cherry tomatoes. They were both too salty, and one was too charred on one side. And at $45 for two small pizzas (enough for small to medium appetites) it made us feel like suckers - haha, see how the yuppies will pay astronomical prices for pizza! The cheese, sauce, and crust (where it wasn't entirely burnt) were excellent.

Breakfast at Dean and Deluca's - not so great. Ordered a scone from Balthazar and a banana bran muffin, which was almost inedible it was so dry. But the NY Times, a Ronnybrook yoghurt drink, sunshine and good coffee made up for some of its failings.

Artisanal - Steak Frites. Excellent. Asked for mayonnaise for the frites, which made the dish perfect. Wonderful service.

Caracas Arepas. This was a culinary revelation. I am now trying to figure out how to go to Venezuela to eat more Arepas. We had #10, which was cheese, avocado, fried plaintains. You must add the amazing sauce. The wait wasn't too long, and we were both so in awe at these little sandwiches, we went back for more the next day.

Sarabeths's on Central Park. Had smoked salmon eggs benedict, and lemon ricotta pancakes. The pancakes were very nice, could have used a few more raspberries. The bennie was great! I usually hate it, but this was wonderful. The only complaint was that the english muffin was a bit too big for the dish.

Grimaldi's Pizza - we went because my wife felt very strongly about this. Stood in line for forty minutes, ate very credible pizza. Noticed that the cheese and sauce are substandard compared to UPN, but not too saltly, and we ended up with leftovers all for under $20. I was disappointed that we didn't get to either DiFara or Lucali, but next time....

Donut Plant - Tres Leches, Tres Leches, Tres Leches. Very, very good. Want to take up donut-making. The blackout and three chocolates weren't in the same league as Tres Leches.

Sweet Revenge - Had two cupcakes, raspberry red velvet and dulche de leche. Way too sweet, substandard buttercream which was kind of gritty, and somewhat dry.

I also tried a Bialy from Kossar's. Maybe you have to grow up with them to appreciate them, but I was underwhelmed. It was warm, which was nice, but kind of blah. I am a Montreal-style bagel person, so that may be the problem.

Junior's Cheesecake. Excellent, plain NY-style cheesecake. Ate two slices.

All in all, we had a great time eating our way through NY, and we didn't spend a fortune, either. Thanks to all of the chowhounders whose previous posts came in very handy.

Oct 13, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Co. - new pizzeria place by Lahey open?

Thanks for the reply....darn....I was hoping it would be open in time for our visit this weekend...

Oct 08, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Co. - new pizzeria place by Lahey open?


Does anyone know if the new pizza place by Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery is open yet? It is supposed to be at 230 Ninth Ave in Chelsea....



Oct 08, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Steak Frites - Marseilles or Artisanal


For a pre-theatre Steak Frites, we're considering either Marseilles or Artisanal. Any opinions out there? Any other recommendations?

Also, does anyone know we'd be received if the two of us shared a prix-fixe as we're not huge eaters?

Thanks in advance,


Oct 05, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Bouley Upstairs - Saturday lunch

Is there usually a wait for a table for Bouley at lunch over the weekend? Thanks!

Sep 06, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Food Itinerary help please....

Hello Chowhounders,

We are planning our Columbus Day weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving) trip to NYC. We've been several times before, and we are dedicated to trying only restaurants we have never been to.

Here is our proposed schedule, with some gaps. Any suggestions are welcome, but please keep in mind we are cheap, we get up early in the morning and go, and we unfortunately don't have huge appetites.

Friday (arrive around noon)

lunch: Falafel in vicinity of Port Authority (Azuri, Pick-a-Pita or Olympic Pita?)

dinner: Prix-fixe at Montparnasse prior to Broadway show (but willing to consider other reasonably priced places for steak frites near Broadway theatres)


early breakfast: somewhere near Port Authority OR Battery Park (suggestions please!)

lunch: (around 2 PM) Bouley Upstairs (will there be a wait for a table for a Saturday lunch?)

dinner: Lucali Pizza in Brooklyn


early breakfast (any good UES good breakfast place)

lunch: Patsy's Pizza in Harlem

dinner: Anything! Whatever relatively inexpensive great place you think we should try (except Momofuku as I don't eat pork)

Thanks in advance,


Sep 04, 2008
hwertheim in Manhattan

Foire de Paris - worth a visit for the food?

Thanks Carl! My sister-in-law has been discouraging us from going, but your post has us convinced. We'll make a day of it and we'll go with empty stomachs.

Apr 08, 2008
hwertheim in France