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SarahN's Profile

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To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

I love this. Makes me so excited to be in Barcelona. Some of our best meals (and memories) happened at the bar of a wonderful restaurant we chose somewhat on chance. Restaurant cities allow for life to happen are a beautiful thing!

Side note - We will be at the end of our honeymoon while in Barcelona, so two of us. I felt somehow compelled to "step up our game" given the occasion, but your suggestions are making me renege on that thought.

Aug 18, 2014
SarahN in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

This is great, thanks. I was asking for my own benefit, of course, but also interested in hearing others' perspectives based on their own desires.

We are somewhat go with the flow folks, so I may call the week prior and book a table or two. I appreciate that approach so much more than booking a dinner months in advance. I am really attracted to Llamber as our reservation night... Bodega La Palma looks great, but like you said, not reso-necessary.

Any words from anyone on Llamber?

Aug 17, 2014
SarahN in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

Hi all -

Been stalking your conversations on travels to Barcelona for a bit now, and finally chiming in with a question/discussion topic: Reservations. Do we need em?

Obviously the answer is "yes" if you're going the Tickets, etc route, but that doesn't seem to be our case. We'll have five evenings in Barcelona total, capping off the end of 2.5 weeks in Southern France and Spain (we'll be in San Seb prior). Already booked The Aborigen tour for one night, and hoping to attend a FC Barcelona game another. That leaves us with three free nights for eating in the city.

I think we'll save one of those nights for just hopping around to various tapas bars (no reservations required). We tend to get burnt out on molecular gastronomy & the like, and appreciate hole in the wall comfort food after a few weeks of travel. I've marked places like Bodega Le Plama, Llamber, Suculent and a couple recos from Aborigens down. I'm also curious about Pakta, the Peruvian/Japanese place from the Tickets folks, and realize that would require reservations.

Back to everyone else: Do you find resos to be necessary in Barcelona? How far in advance? Where are they needed and when can we skip? I'd like to think we'll want to dine with the locals at 10pm -- how does that affect our needs?

Curious to hear what you all say. Thanks. S

Aug 16, 2014
SarahN in Spain/Portugal

Banh Mi + Pho in the same place?

Yes, Minneapolis. This is the MSP board, correct?

Pho Tao Bay it is. I'm curious to see what their banh mi is like. We make our own at home so often, I forget how cheap+easy they are out.

Jan 19, 2014
SarahN in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

Banh Mi + Pho in the same place?

When one is craving pho... and the other half is craving a banh mi... is there any one Vietnamese place in Minni that does both well?

Sidenote: Looks like Pho Tao Bay does banh mi - and I love their pho. Does the banh mi stand up?

Jan 19, 2014
SarahN in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Eating locally in Toronto

I will soon be visiting Toronto for a research project exploring the topic of eating locally. No surprise - I want to explore Toronto's best restaurants and markets that celebrate locally grown or produced food. I've never been to Toronto, and hope to cover a lot of ground in 2-3 days. So tell me: Where to eat? High to low end, sit down to marketplace, game for them all.

Thanks - Sarah

Jun 01, 2013
SarahN in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Detroit, Ann Arbor foodie sites

I'm going to be spending some time for work around Detroit and Ann Arbor this summer. Besides the obvious chowhound, what are some good local food blogs, sites, etc to check out for this area of Michigan? What's the version of eater.com or heavytable worth checking out?

Thanks!

May 22, 2013
SarahN in Great Lakes

Local food: What does it mean to you?

It's a little like natural these days, can mean anything and everything, no official guidelines, and thus is means nothing.
When you think of local food, what do you think of?
Do you aim to shop, eat locally?
I thought I cared, but the past few times I've grocery shopped, I've noticed how quickly those California avocados make it into my cart (I'm in Minnesota). What about you?

May 22, 2013
SarahN in General Topics

The perfect Vegas compromise

Lovely... some names I have not heard of yet. Going to research right now!

Jan 14, 2013
SarahN in Las Vegas

The perfect Vegas compromise

I am going to Vegas in mid-Febuary with some high school friends to celebrate our entrance into our 30s. I love dining out, and when visiting a new city the dining experience is the center to my experience. If I was alone, I'd be vying for a spot at E.

But alas, that is not the trip I'm taking. The friends I'll be traveling with are open minded and live in larger cities (I'm in Minneapolis, they're in Dallas and NYC), but simply not game to pay half a month's rent for dinner. Silly ladies.

I'm on the prowl for the right mid-range dining options to please the crowd. I'm thinking one night we push the budget ($100/person), and others we keep it more modest ($40/person), modest drinking included.

Push options I'm considering are Sage, Kabuto and the Barrymore, but I'd love other ideas. More modest options include Public House, Lotus of Siam and Mon Ami Gabi.

I'd also love a small plates/sharable option with good wine or cocktails that's a nice start to a night out.

Thanks - S

Jan 12, 2013
SarahN in Las Vegas

Wanted: good kabocha squash recipe

I'm so so happy I finally found this post! I made the above soup last fall on a whim, fell in love, and never wrote down the recipe. My memory served me okay at the grocery store yesterday; the only ingredient I missed was basil and I came home with lemongrass instead. Might have to see what lemongrass does in here..

Oct 28, 2012
SarahN in Home Cooking

lunch... alone... asian... today!

Hey SFers -

I posted awhile back under the thread "selling the BF on a SF move". Well here I am, but a day earlier than the BF ... and craving a fun asian lunch alone of some sort.

Consider your reasonably priced pho, ban mi or sushi options... where should I go for lunch today? I'll be alone, and while staying in the Nob Hill area, I am game for a bus ride to the Richmond or elsewhere.

Thanks!

Aug 17, 2012
SarahN in San Francisco Bay Area

Selling the BF on a SF move

Thanks for the further neighborhood advice/debates, everyone. I think we will add NoPa and Western Addition to the list of neighborhoods to consider. There are certainly pros/cons to both SF proper and Oakland or Berkeley; a lot might depend on finding a decent apartment near transportation from what you're saying. We will likely have one car, and won't be moving without the means to fund the ridiculous rent prices!

I'll report back on how the weekend goes and where we end up eating a drinking.... and hell, if we end up moving out!

Thanks - S

Jul 30, 2012
SarahN in San Francisco Bay Area

Selling the BF on a SF move

Ya'll and your neighborhood and commute tips on a food board are awesome. We ARE exactly 30, and thus will likely fit in demographic-wise in OAK or SF. Or The City. Whathaveyou. I do think we'll spend a day checking out Oakland, as I've never been there and it would be nice to compare. I enjoyed the Ferry commute from Sausalito to SF on my last visit, so any such commute it not off the table. But at the end of the day, temporary housing for the first month might be the right path.

A great variety of food recos too... thanks! I'll have to plot my strategy and report back. Right now, I'm thinking 2 days in SF, one in OAK, and maybe a brewery tour somewhere in there.

- S

Jul 23, 2012
SarahN in San Francisco Bay Area

Selling the BF on a SF move

Hey SF Chowhounders -

So I'll cut right to it. I interviewed for a job in SF a couple weeks ago, and they quickly turned around with an offer. Tiny detail is, my boyfriend did not come along on my interview trip, and he's never been. I'm not in love with all things SF, but between the job opportunity and the diversity of options your city offers, I'm game. Plus, he's a designer and should have a wealth of job opportunities available, from what I hear.

But enough about work. I'm here for the food. We'll likely have 3-4 days (max) in a coming week to explore, look at apartments, and make a final decision. Most importantly, we will eat. I am looking for a few food recommends that will paint a picture of the diverse experiences, pricey and non, one can find in SF. Some food necessities in our lives include...

Japanese - beyond sushi fare, I'd imagine there's great saki, robata, bento and other fun Japanese food options. Nothing stuffy. This food should be fun, right?
Latin American influence - We spent a few weeks in Ecuador earlier this year. I love anything tapas-style. The boyfriend loves spice and grilled meats. Shocking for a Midwestern male.
Good coffee - We have a close friend who is also a roaster here in Minneapolis. We're spoiled on the coffee front, and will continue to be.
Breweries - I love wine, and no there is no lack of it in the Bay Area. But great local beer? Again, that male midwesterner.
Favorite hole in the walls, bars with fun snack food, dive bars with people over the age of 30/lacking hipsters, and breakfasts with a twist (dim sum, TexMex?!) are also welcome.

I should also mention that while I'm just getting my bearings on SF neighborhoods, we are both 30 and likely most interested in quieter more "neighborhoody" places with an easy commute DT. Glen Park, Noe Valley, Inner Sunset and *possibly* Sausalito are all on the list. So eating options in these areas would be nice, esp for breakfast/lunch/coffee.

That was quite a hefty list of asks. Thanks in advance. Now sell me on your city!
- S

Jul 22, 2012
SarahN in San Francisco Bay Area

Santa Monica for the weekend

Of course. The true benefit of an LA move would be those years of weekends at new restaurants. Considering this the sneak peak weekend to see if we want more, right?

You all have me at roll the dice on restaurant choices. Often being overly analytical foodies does not play out well.

Apr 26, 2012
SarahN in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica for the weekend

For what it's worth, we are in our 20s and I have a shellfish allergy. So you all win and lose by an account or two. :)

Apr 26, 2012
SarahN in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica for the weekend

Hmm.
Well you are all certainly giving me much to think about!

Normally when visiting a city, I go for whatever seems like it will provide the most memorable, distinct food experience. When adding the twist of a future home, that gets a bit more complex...
Obviously, venturing out of SM is necessary to get good food in LA. Likely we will end up living & working in SM or Venice, so I want to spend as much time as possible getting to know that area. That said, on paper I'm attracted to many more restaurants outside of the area. Suppose a visit will tell the full story?

Nonetheless, love recos for sushi and more casual dining options in the SM vicinity. I've heard Sea Harbour is very good for Dim Sum, so perhaps that will be our big drive meal. And I do like West Hollywood... so maybe Animal for our splurge?

New Trial, you mention how different each splurge option is... now channel this: Food-focused (I wouldn't make it at home) more down-to-earth/casual over stuffy/pretentious, small menu, sharable, good wine... who wins?

Thanks

Apr 25, 2012
SarahN in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica for the weekend

Thanks all. Yes, I am realizing my Asian loves are not on the West side. Perhaps that's for the best when you're a foodie with a soy allergy?!

In adding Animal and Picca to the mix, what splurge should we choose...
Animal
Picca
Sotto
Gjelina

I have covert reservations at all of the above at the moment (sh, don't tell!).

Apr 24, 2012
SarahN in Los Angeles Area

Santa Monica for the weekend

The boyfriend and I are spending a weekend in Santa Monica / Venice in early March and are looking for some dining recos. We are consider a move, and thus looking not just to wine and dine, but get a true sense of everything LA has to offer. We would like to eat a few meals in Santa Monica / Venice area, but are willing to venture out for at least one good meal.

I've seen some posts of a similar vein and have checked out a few places based off those. Red Medicine looks great, as do Fig and Gjelina. However, I have a few added "needs" (otherwise known as frivolous wants) to throw into the mix...

- So many of the restaurants I see touted here are very pricey. While we're up for one splurge night, a $15/glass of wine pains me. Of Red Medicine, Fig, Gjelina, Sotto and a few others I've seen recommended, which splurge is most worthy?
- I love Korean BBQ. Any recommendations that are nearby?
- I've seen quite a few moderate sushi places recommended. What's your fav? Irori looks like a good option for when we first get in.
- Dim Sum. My parents lived in HK for awhile, so authenticity (carts and chicken feet please) are key. Anything we don't need to trek an hour away for?

Thanks all - Sarah

Apr 24, 2012
SarahN in Los Angeles Area

Help me throw the ultimate latke cocktail party

Sandylc - You can make them early and reheat, but they loose some of their crispness. Making them with egg whites only helps keep them crisp, I've found. But I have it easy -- a group of eager cooking guests. What I will likely do is make a batch before guest arrival, and then let everyone have their hand at frying up a batch. We're a laid back interactive bunch!

Update for all: With further research, the menu I think I'll sleep on...
Potato latkes, gravlax, dill creme
Apple-raisin chutney on potato latkes
Traditional orange and olive salad on the side (love it, not gonna work atop a latke)
Lamb, feta, roasted red pepper on zucchini latkes

Dessert... TBD... to fry or not to fry...

Thoughts? Tried-and-true recipes?

Nov 28, 2011
SarahN in Home Cooking

Help me throw the ultimate latke cocktail party

All - I am love, loving these ideas. Now I'm going to face a new issue: Limiting so many great ideas to a throw-able party.

I'm with Goodhealth - I don't keep kosher, but no pork allowed when showing off my Jewish ways. It's really my grandmother talking. I suppose that's similar to guilt, right?

Potato latkes with gravlax and dill creme are definitely in - that one is easy!

I'm inclined to have some potato pancake with the basics (sugar, apple sauce, sour creme) set out throughout the night, for guests to top their own.

I'm gravitating towards a zucchini latke with lamb, mostly because I cannot come up with the appropriate latke-brisket-sauce combo that will hold together.

I'd like to do some sort of alt. root vegetable and (warm?) salad in the middle there.

Love the idea of sweet potato and apple for dessert, may have to look into that one too!

And finally, I have an amazing French-Jewish cookbook (Joan Nathan) that I love... many great tagines, smoked fishes, etc. I'm inclined to create a menu focused on the foods of this particular culture. What is better than lamb, olives, oranges and starches?! Perhaps some kind of orange-olive salad with the right latke could work?

Keep the amazing ideas coming!

Nov 28, 2011
SarahN in Home Cooking

Help me throw the ultimate latke cocktail party

Hey Chowhounders -- I've searched the Internets high and low to a solution to this one, but nothing suitable to be found. Perhaps we can create an answer together?

My boyfriend and I have a group of friends we do a semi-monthly dinner party with. It's our turn to host, and we're planning to throw a latke cocktail party. I'm the sole Jew in this group, and want to show my guests how it's done. I'd like to do the basics (potato latkes, sour cream, applesauce), but also want to add a few twists of my own -- this dinner club is a competitive bunch!

We are thinking a series of latke-inspired "small plates" with unique yet Jewish-appropriate toppings are the way to go. So far, my daydreaming has brought visions of...

Potato latkes with gravlax and creme fraiche
A sweet potato latke with a warm apple salad of some kind, or mushroom topping ??
A zucchini latke with a lamb, or carrot & potato with brisket

Fried donut dessert..

My questions...
- Any reputable recipes that fit these daydreams? I am not a recipe devotee, but hate to throw an entire dinner party
- Any added ideas, tweaks, flavor combos you would recommend?
- Any tried & true donut recipes? I've never made them before, but being the owner of a new frier it hardly seems a choice!

Thanks in advance all - Sarah

Nov 28, 2011
SarahN in Home Cooking

Montreal... one more meal, please

Thanks to everyone for the recos! We're on our first night in town and about to have dinner at Pintxo. I'll report back on what a couple basque-loving midwesterners have to say.

I think middle eastern sounds wonderful, so we'll look into that. We also heard good things about charcuterie at La Buvette Chez Simone... any thoughts there?

Jul 13, 2011
SarahN in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Montreal... one more meal, please

Hey all - My mother and I are planning a Montreal trip for later in the week. We already have French bistro (L'Express), Basque tapas (Pintxo), Indian (Curry & Naan and Bombay Mahal seem to get good reviews), poutine and various bagels & meats (we're Jewish) in the agenda. Now, we're looking for one more food recommendation to round out the experience. We're plenty adventurous and my mom lived in HK for a time (so Asian food of all kinds is loved, but it must be authentic). How should we round out our stay?

On a side note, anything to not miss on Bastille Day? We hear it's not a huge event in Quebec, but if there is something to enjoy (day festival?), we don't want to miss it!

Thanks - S

Jul 10, 2011
SarahN in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Jambalaya (or any stew-type dish) prep for dinner party

Hey all -
I'm making a Jambalaya that I'm quite familiar with making for a dinner party with friends tomorrow. However, I need some help making some timing decisions. The recipe includes shrimp, chicken, ham and sausage, and cooks for about 1.5 hours. We are going to a theater event at 3pm-5pm and I would like to do the cooking before so I can just reheat and focus on dessert & salad in the evening.

If I cook it beforehand, let it rest, and then reheat, do I risk the shrimp drying out?
And, would it make more sense to cook & then put in the fridge, or just let stand?

Thanks for the help folks!

Sarah

Dec 19, 2009
SarahN in Home Cooking

Completing my friend holiday dinner party menu

I love the bread pudding idea, especially in muffin tins. Easy & delicious. I'm going to look for one with a nice bourbon glaze...

Dec 07, 2009
SarahN in Home Cooking

Boston travels over New Years... two questions

My boyfriend and I are going to be in the Boston are over Christmas and New Years; my parents just moved there so we'll be visiting them. My parents are pretty big foodies, so I'm expecting them to keep us informed of good eats, but I do have two specific questions:

First, my boyfriend loves, loves to try new / novel burgers. He loves a good greasy spoon or dive burger, but also enjoys the "is that truffel oil and brie in my burger?" experience. Since I don't plan on eating multiple burgers over our time there (he would be game), what is the ONE Boston burger we cannot miss?

Second, we're going to be in town for New Years, and I want to try to be young and avoid staying in with the folks, we don't really appreciate an overzealous NYE dining out experience. Good food, slightly more relaxed / casual setting would be our thing. A decent restaurant/bar where you can sit enjoy apps and drinks without feeling the stress of NYE crowds would be perfect. Probably a lot to ask on New Years Eve, but any ideas? We do have some friends in the area, so we wouldn't spend the entire night in one place alone; just want a nice meal to start us off.

Thanks - Sarah

Dec 06, 2009
SarahN in Greater Boston Area

Completing my friend holiday dinner party menu

Hi everyone. I'm looking for some help rounding out the menu for an annual holiday get-together I host for a group of friends. We have a tradition of going to an afternoon theater event at a local museum, and then heading back to my place for a nice, but relaxing dinner. There are 4 couples -- 8 people total.

Last year I did roasted pork shoulder with a cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and greens. This year I would like to do something slightly less traditional for the holidays, and also a one-pot sort of deal that can cook beforehand. I'm wavering between a cioppino with monkfish, mussels, clams and shrimp and pasta jambalaya with chicken, ham and andouilli sausage (of course). Both are tried-and-true family recipes that I'm very confident with... I'm leaning toward the jambalaya simply because it's a bit less expensive to make.

Here's where I'm struggling: What sort of appetizer, side salad, and dessert to pair with either option? I have some obvious italian ideas that would work with the cioppino, but no ideas for the jambalaya. Help!

Thanks - Sarah

Dec 06, 2009
SarahN in Home Cooking

Last minute anniversary idea... want to try something new - MSP

Hey Kevin - We'd like to keep it under $100, but budget isn't a big concern. We actually went to Heartland in the Spring, so that might be out.

Any experience with Corner Table's Vinyl & Vino on Sundays? I was just reading about it on their website..

Sep 04, 2009
SarahN in General Midwest Archive