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desert rat's Profile

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Short Report Caffe Nuovo

Greetings Boston Chowhounds -

Santa Fe hounds enjoying Boston for a few days. We had a late breakfast at Caffe Nuovo based on a few recs I found on this board.

Price reasonable and portions large. Lovely bright ambience. I had the caprese scramble (it had pesto in eggs and stack of tomato, bufo mozz and pesto as a side) and hubby had salmon scramble. Both plates well done - home fries delicious. Good, well done food.

Stereo too loud. Diet Coke served from a can (I expect fountain from a restaurant - it has a bar).

FYI... they are changing name to Ferraro's and say they are changing menu...

Jun 01, 2012
desert rat in Greater Boston Area

Downtown MPLS - mid priced for government travelers

Thanks to all for your great input.

As it turns out, we ended up at Fire Lake last night - traveling companion's luggage didn't show up and she did not want to go anywhere...just some wine and food for us. She enjoyed her meal - 1881 Rotisserie Strip Loin Dip and I enjoyed a wonderful bone-in chicken breast: Hunter Crusted Chicken - perfectly done. Good wines by the glass, too. We ate in the bar. Very casual and comfortable.

Apr 19, 2012
desert rat in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Downtown MPLS - mid priced for government travelers

Thanks Brad and meljohns for such quick replies! There are only 3 of us. Thanks for the recommendations! They really help!

Apr 18, 2012
desert rat in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Downtown MPLS - mid priced for government travelers

Hi MSP Chowhounders -

I have been combing this board for walking distance recs in downtown Mpls (staying at Radisson) dinner at a mid-price level for persons on a state government expense account. You can imagine that is not like Don Draper's expense account.

I would describe mid-price for dinner as no or few dinner entrees over $25. Not traveling with chowhounders - don't know how adventurous they are - so looking for a creative menu with some dishes that appeal to less adventurous. We do all like a nice glass or two of wine, however.

Must say, not finding a lot in price range meeting food style criteria.

Ike's (no prices posted but menu seems like it would fit price criteria),
Firelake (some over the limit, but lots of plates within price range),
Saffron (might be too adventurous for some),
112
Bradstreet/Crafthouse (seems like a bar with some bar food.)

Any other thoughts? All on the list above are at the higher end of the price criteria. I am totally unfamiliar with Minneapolis. I see we are right by the Skyway and Nicollet Mall - there must be some restaurants in this area with a lower price range.

Am coming from the desert southwest, so Mexican cuisine is of no interest to us.

Thanks in advance.

Apr 18, 2012
desert rat in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Santa Fe New Year ?

Oh duh!! I'll need to pay attention better! Too much good food and wine this week!

Dec 28, 2011
desert rat in Southwest

Santa Fe New Year ?

I do not know whether any of the following will be open on New Year's Day. You will have to call them.

Plaza Cafe Southside (related to the Plaza Cafe on the Plaza). Great chile! (Full bar)

Tomasita's (rarely open on holidays) - Railyard - can walk from downtown.

Tecolote - Classic for brunch. Requires a drive from downtown (no bar)

Dec 27, 2011
desert rat in Southwest

Santa Fe New Year ?

Debit - While Andiamo! and Hotel Santa Fe are walking distance, they are a "distance" from the Lensic.

Dec 27, 2011
desert rat in Southwest

Santa Fe New Year ?

I'm not hearing great things about the New Palace. I hear it is overpriced, noisy and the food is average. Restaurant Martin is a bit of a hike from downtown. Not far...but not "close" to the Lensic.

Dec 27, 2011
desert rat in Southwest

Santa Fe New Year ?

Hello, the Plaza Cafe on the Plaza is closed until April, I believe. It may have reopened already, but I don't think so. I don't think most people would consider The Plaza Cafe the equivalent of Albuqerque's Frontier Restaurant. Totally different in terms of atmosphere and service and food.

Here is the website for the Plaza Cafe on the Santa Fe's plaza: http://www.thefamousplazacafe.com/

Dec 27, 2011
desert rat in Southwest

Report: Andalu

Thanks for your thoughts, and as I said, I was very pleased with Andalu in that the food was well done and the variety satisfied my non-adventurous son and me. When I visit a city, I am not always looking for a destination restaurant. A fun restaurant with good food is also very enjoyable to me. I get a good feel for a city by visiting a wide variety of restaurants.

As a Chowhound, I'm interested in all sorts of food - from food carts in Portland to high end dining in NYC and everything in between. In this same visit to San Francisco, I also enjoyed brunch at Greens and a lovely dinner with 11 other business colleagues at The Slanted Door, both of which, I suppose, might be thought of as "destination" restaurants. Also went to an unassuming tapas bar in Nob Hill called Lalola that was very enjoyable.

I look forward to my next visit to try a number of other San Francisco restaurants. I am a great fan of Italian food and am excited to try La Ciccia and Perbacco. Cotogna also sounds interesting. Have always wanted to eat at Swan's Oyster Bar...and am interested in Foreign Cinema, Saha and Pesce...and many more.

Dec 18, 2011
desert rat in San Francisco Bay Area

Report: Andalu

Sorry, I really can't compare as I don't get to San Francisco very often. Try it and see what you think compared to others. We spent a little over $80 which included a bottle of Mark West pinot (always a worthy choice), so you're not risking much. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Dec 17, 2011
desert rat in San Francisco Bay Area

Report (longish): Scala's Bistro

I was taken to Scala's Bistro for dinner as part of a business conference I was participating in.
It was a Monday night 6:30 reservation. The place was quite crowded. We were seated immediately.

To be kind, I was underwhelmed with the entire experience.

The wine list was difficult in terms of finding a mid-range priced ($60-70)red that was worth drinking. The Italian wine selection was limited in quality and selection and I wasn't too thrilled with the California list either.

I was with inexperienced wine drinkers, so I picked a Friulano ($68 - I thought that was high for this varietal) - this wine was delicious. I also picked an Amarone valpolicella because I thought the less experienced drinkers would enjoy the berry and raisin undertones and easy drinking quality of this easy to drink wine. As the taste was poured, one look at the wine in the glass told me it wasn't going to be pleasurable and the "nose" (or maybe it was the "stink") confirmed what was to follow. Yukk. Not even close to a bad Amarone. The wine was just bad. Sent it back. Ordered a Dolcetto d'Alba which was tolerable but not a good representation of this very easy-to-drink wine.

I ordered a half dozen oysters on the half shell from Drake's bay. 5 were delicious. The last had an off taste that practically choked me. Not sure whether the defective oyster could have been identified by the food preparers...not educated enough about selecting oysters...

I ordered: Panzotti - rogusa squash, brown butter, sage, pecorino pepato, pignola (It was ravioli). There was no brown butter. It came drowned in melted butter. Don't recall pignola and ...well, it was basically tasteless and uninteresting. Other diners had the Fricelli - a tube-like pasta with a pork ragu. Not good. One diner ordered an appetizer of moule frites (odd for an appetizer and an Italian restaurant) - it was a meal sized portion. Another diner had the orecchietti with spicy sausage and liked it. Another had the linguine with clams and proclaimed it OK.

Over all, I would not recommend this restaurant. It was mediocre and pricey. With so many really good Italian restaurants to choose from in San Francisco, you don't have to settle for this.

Dec 17, 2011
desert rat in San Francisco Bay Area

Report: Andalu

A few weeks ago I posted a request for restaurants for a non-adventurous meat-eating son and his adventurous mother (me). I didn't get a whole lot of suggestions that intrigued me, so I sent the kid a list that included Lulu's and Andalu and a couple of others, and he selected Andalu.

We went on a Saturday night. Had a 7:30 reservation and they seated us right away. The restaurant is hip and noisy and comfortable. We ordered the duck confit dumplings with chili dipping sauce, the macaroni and cheese with herb tomato vinaigrette, the cambazola cheese fondue with fuji apples and asian pears, and for the kid himself, a filet mignon with a demi glace. The kid ate from all the dishes - I just didn't eat the red meat.

All dishes were delicious, well prepared and beautifully presented. I recommend for a fun, casual meal. At 54, I might have been one of the oldest persons in the restaurant!

I want to go back and try some more. The portions were generous...larger than one would expect for "small plates". Wine list was great. Looking forward to returning to Anadalu next time I'm in beautiful San Francisco.

Dec 17, 2011
desert rat in San Francisco Bay Area

2 Qs: Dinner for a beef lover & Dinner for 10 -12

I have browsed the board and have gotten a few ideas but will ask anyway.

My son lives in the heart of SF and in a few weeks I will be visiting on a business trip. Will be taking him to dinner on a Saturday night. While I am a foodie with a broad palate, the son is really a beef eating kinda guy with little interest in vegetables beyond potatoes (don't ask me how that happened!) So am looking for some great food that satisfies his need for red meat but has a good broad menu for foodie mom, plus a good wine list. Price range can be on the moderately high side but not astronomical. For example, Boulevard is a bit pricey for this meal.

Also, as for the business trip part - looking for a great place that can handle a party of 10 - 12 with high quality food and a good wine list. The other diners are not foodies like me, so looking for a varied menu that includes some familiar foods. Was thinking Boulevard though the price may be too high for the organizer of the meeting I'm attending. I was thinking Slanted Door but I read that for this size party you can only order 3 different main dishes and it is not that much less expensive than Boulevard. Plus..am worried about the non-adventurous among us. Was thinking Italian or seafood. Would like to avoid Tadich Grill after reading a number of reviews on this board (am afraid that is where they will pick if I don't come up with anything.) Any suggestions are welcome. Hotel is in Nob Hill.

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Slanted Door
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Nov 27, 2011
desert rat in San Francisco Bay Area

Laurelhurst Market and Veritable Quandry

Thanks for the suggestion. .Nostrana has been on my PDX list for a while. Next visit.

May 29, 2011
desert rat in Metro Portland

Laurelhurst Market and Veritable Quandry

When you serve steak like that, you should have a better wine list. Lots of great, well-priced wine around.

May 29, 2011
desert rat in Metro Portland

Laurelhurst Market and Veritable Quandry

We were in town for our son's graduation and celebrated that evening at Laurelhurst Market. It was the second time we'd been there. We were a party of nine.

We had a few orders of salt cod fritters and the large charcuterie plate for appetizers. Very yummy. Most had the daily steak selection. A couple had the clams/frites. All was delicious. The steak was amazing. Service was very good.

There are 2 things that the Laurelhurst can improve on:

1. Their wine list. I just haven't been happy with it both times. The quality of the selections don't match the quality of the food.

2. Serve sparkling wine in flutes. We ordered the prosecco, which was on the wine list, but they were out. So we had the cava. The cava was very tasty but would have been even more so had it been served in flutes rather than the wide flat champagne glasses.

We also had a dinner at Veritable Quandry. Not mentioned much on this board, and not my choice, so I felt a bit of trepidation. However, found the food to be delicious and well-prepared. People ordered everything from a vegetarian plate to osso buco. The wine list was excellent. I ordered a Patricia Green 2008 pinot noir. Delicious and well priced! Ambience was very pleasant. We had a view of the river. I would go back to VQ - I hear it has a great brunch on Sundays.

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Laurelhurst Market
3155 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97232

May 29, 2011
desert rat in Metro Portland

Corner - Hampden

Went with my sister-in-law for a light dinner on April 1. I thought the seating was fine. I did not like the smell of the place when we walked in. Must've been a old neighborhood bar and they just couldn't get all the smoke smell out. As the room filled up with people and good food, the smell was not noticeable. Of course, I do have a bloodhound nose. Others may not have cared.

We weren't interested in wine, so that wasn't a problem. I have dined at "Dish" in Tucson which is attached to a good wine store. Don't remember a corkage fee but it's been a while. Either way, I thought the set up was a great idea. No huge mark-up on the wine.

Anyway, they had diver scallops on an asparagus and something-else risotto as a special appetizer. In addition, they had very tempting soups and it was cold that night. So...we ordered soups and 2 appetizer diver scallops. The owner said these were small portions and we should order more food but we stuck with our plan. The soups - a corn bisque with crab and a potato leek soup - were delicious and the portions were very generous! Not small portions at all! Then the diver scallops and risotto - again generous portions that could have been main dishes in other restaurants.

So, the food was really really good! The portions were VERY generous (we saw a lot of main dishes being served, too.) We found the service good, not great, and were annoyed by the person who took our order and tried to discourage us from only ordering soup and appetizers. Everyone seemed to be truly enjoying their meal.

I disagree with the poster below that the restaurant is off to a poor start. The food was great! The service will improve, hopefully. I urge folks to give this one a try.

Apr 06, 2011
desert rat in Washington DC & Baltimore

Recommendations for small celebrations

awild1 - who is "we" that could seat us in the restaurant or "our" Alder Room or Overton Street room? Thanks

Apr 06, 2011
desert rat in Metro Portland

Recommendations for small celebrations

Will be in Portland for my son's college graduation - looking for recommendations for a place for the out-of-towners celebration the night before - about 10 of us - thinking cocktails/wine, nice food - a nice view would be great since most will be newbies to PDX. I don't think it has a view but any thoughts if Toro Bravo would work for this?

Then, a late luncheon or a dinner after the midday commencement ceremony - again about 10 guests. Well priced wine list, good food...ambience is definitely a consideration. Even a view...

TIA

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Toro Bravo
120 NE Russell St Ste A, Portland, OR 97212

Mar 12, 2011
desert rat in Metro Portland

Steak Dinner for Son's 21st Birthday

Thanks - that seems to be the consensus on Portlandfood.org, too. Can't wait! Will report.

Jun 13, 2010
desert rat in Metro Portland

Steak Dinner for Son's 21st Birthday

We're coming to PDX to celebrate our son's 21st birthday. He has requested steak and some wine. He's not an adventurous eater (though we are) and isn't much into green vegies (though we are) - so we're looking for a nice place that makes carefully prepared good solid food. We have taken him to Mother's Bistro and we found it pretty good. I have received a recommendation for Laurelhurst Market. Have looked at it on line. Menu looks great. How is it for ambience? Wine list? Thanks for your help.

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Laurelhurst Market
3155 East Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97232

Mother's Bistro & Bar
212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204

Jun 12, 2010
desert rat in Metro Portland

Farmington, New Mexico - exclusively Navajo menu

Thanks for this heads up. I get up there 2 or 3 times/year. Always end up at the 3 Rivers for beer and fish'n'chips.

Mar 14, 2010
desert rat in Southwest

Sandiagos (Firehouse) at the tram

There's never been a decent restaurant up there. You pay for the view, not the food.

Mar 14, 2010
desert rat in Southwest

Upscale New Mexican Restaurant in Albuquerque--birthday dinner

Rancher's Club in ABQ for sure. I totally disagree with Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe as a rec for this poster. Great food but not that fine dining experience. Besides, she asked for Albuquerque.

Oct 14, 2009
desert rat in Southwest

Santa Fe Vietnamese Roundup: Lan’s and Saigon Café

Thanks for posting. FYI - The Saigon has been around since the very early 80s. Started life on the top floor of a warehouse in the Guadalupe District near Tomasitas. It was the most popular place in town for a while.

Oct 14, 2009
desert rat in Southwest

Cheese, Chocolate & Wine Stores in ABQ, SF & Taos?

No one mentioned Chocolate Smith on Cerrilos Rd in Santa Fe, just south of Whole Foods. They do dark chocolate. Awesome. As for wine, there's also Liquor Barn on Cerrillos at Siler. Their wine guy is very knowledgeable. They also stock some hard-to-find spirits, like grappa and kirschwasser.

Oct 14, 2009
desert rat in Southwest

Pecan Pie in New Mexico? Also, wine/alcohol question?

The no byo wine is not a by-product of New Mexico's DWI problem. This lousy law has been in place since I've been here, which is 33 years now. You used to not be able to purchase package liquor on Sunday, so that law has actually been loosened. You probably remember we had drive thru liquor windows...they've been gone for years. Didn't help the DWI problem, though.

Sep 15, 2009
desert rat in Southwest

Good Huevos Rancheros in Santa Fe

I recommend the huevos rancheros at Los Potrillos in the former Pizza Hut on Cerrillos near St. Michael's drive. Not New Mexican but Mexican, and very good!

Sep 12, 2009
desert rat in Southwest

Some Southern New Mexico Musings

mcgrubbs - What do you recommend at Chope's? I wasn't as wow-ed as everyone seems to be with this joint. Had chile rellenos in the middle of chile season. Not to mention Chope's mosquitos. I called it the West Nile Virus Cafe. Alamogordo - do you know if The Compass Rose is still there? No chile, but we found it to serve the only edible food in town. Never found Eddie's Burritos.

Sep 12, 2009
desert rat in Southwest