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desertrose5418's Profile

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Sensing at Fairmont Battery Wharf?

I went for the press dinner. My impressions:

- The cocktail prices are silly, but I don't think they're going out of their way to be arrogant or event to present something that is "novelty expensive". I really couldn't tell you why they're doing it. It may be that they're just trying to do something different for the rare person that can afford it.

I concur with MC Slim (as I generally do) that you can get a better and more interesting drink made at Drink, ES or Green Street, because those places have gone out of their way to hire people who really care and know their stuff. Sensing hasn't really attempted to seduce away any local talent in this regard, so don't expect anything great in your glass. It's mostly about the food here.

- FWIW, I liked the wine offerings we tried. (Sancerre Ladoucette, Comte Lafond, Savuignon, Val De Loire 2006 and Nuit St Georges Chaivenet ler Chiagnot, 2004) They don't have a sommelier (yet) but they seem to be managing.

On a related note, I have no idea why someone would say Boston is "just not a wine town". I know many people here who are passionate about wine, from sommeliers to chowhounds and everyone in between. The economy is likely affecting the "priorities" of the restaurants to whom consultants are trying to sell, but that doesn't mean you can then infer the "priorities" of individual drinkers, who are probably choosing to drink the good stuff at home where it's not marked up 50-100%.

- The decor is unimpressive. It feels bland. Not a "sensory" experience.

- The food is good. Very classic "French with a twist". But nothing you couldn't get in other parts of town.

- Guy Martin is adorable. But no, he won't be here in the restaurant much. He'll be flying to Boston a few times a year to talk menus with the staff, but for the most part he'll be managing his properties in France.

Hope this helps.

Jan 28, 2009
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Cafe Fixe in Washington Square

We live near Cafe Fixe and were in on the first day. It's become our regular place. I highly recommend the regular coffee, the teas and the French Press (the b.f and I like to split one on sundays). They are light on the food options presently but what they do have is very good. My b.f. prays every morning that they'll still have their lemon scones left, and the bran muffin is ridiculously filling! I'm hoping they start stocking some sort of good yogurt soon to go with their granola.

Dec 12, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Natural Gourmet School - thoughts?

Hi there,

I'm a visiting Chowhound from the Boston boards. I've been writing about food here for a while now, and would like to get out of the stands and onto the field, so to speak, and brush up on my own cooking skills -- maybe even do some cooking around NYC afterwards. I'm a mostly vegetarian eater (a vegetarian food writer? yes, we exist) and would prefer to learn to cook vegetarian rather than train in heavily meat-based cuisines, so I was looking at the Natural Gourmet cooking school. Are there any alumni from this school on the Manhattan boards? Anyone who's taken professional or recreational classes there? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Also, would love suggestions for affordable, "foodie" neighborhoods I should look into should I move to NYC to train here. It looks like it's right near the 23d street PATH, so I could do Hoboken or Jersey City, but I think I'd prefer Bklyn.

Any insight is appreciated!

Nov 21, 2008
desertrose5418 in Manhattan

Salt Lake City: Hidden Haven of Awesome Food?

I lived in Utah for 15 years before coming to the East Coast, and I go back every year. Sure, the food is great in coastal cities, but it's easier to do. I can tell you that it doesn't take an rocket scientist (or a registered Democrat) to know good food from bad. It has its problems and its mediocre food like any other state, but the biggest mistake folks make about Utah (and one from which Utahns benefit) is grossly underestimating how awesome it is. That's what keeps its powdery slopes, gorgeous campgrounds, badass coffeeshops and food-conscious microbreweries from becoming overcrowded by snobbish hype addicts from out of state.

Nov 04, 2008
desertrose5418 in Features

Roadhouse BBQ Brookline

It officially opened yesterday 9/8. They're obviously still working out things in the kitchen, but it was a nice crowd and the bartender seemed nice. Decent beers on tap and he even gave us samples to try before settling in on a pint.

Sep 09, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Nectarine dessert at Zuni is just that

Ok, SF Chowhounds, this story has actually made it all the way out to the East Coast. My friend, a food editor in Boston, passed it along after reading about it on SF Eater, and we are having a lot of fun reading the deconstruction of this whole thing. I've been to Chez Panisse, and I think it's interesting how much it's been name-checked because they do some simple stuff, but really, I think the fact that Waters is so influential in SF just makes it more difficult for you to see how ridiculous Zuni's dessert really is, especially since unlike CP, it comes across as a fairly conventional restaurant. It's a classic "emperor has no clothes" situation -- those who think they are really refined say, "ooh, how beautiful!" and those who can really see it for what it is say, "uh, what?" We're all about revering local produce (perhaps too much) out here as well, but seriously. It's an effing $8 nectarine. And they're serving it in a recession, no less. Marie Antoinette has nothin' on them.

The only explanation for this could be this: by doing something so outrageous, Zuni thought they might be able to snag some free press and buzz. In that case, well played, Zuni.

Aug 19, 2008
desertrose5418 in San Francisco Bay Area

Private dinner for 15 - ESK, Dante, Sorisso, Stella, Upstairs on the Square?

I had a birthday party with about the same size crowd at Eastern Standard, and we took the back room and had a fabulous time. It's great because the room doesn't cost extra - you just have to call in advance to book a reso. And obviously the food is some of the best in the city, and portions are pretty decent, so you could get a lot of platters to share. Or just spend the budget on drinks - it's worth it :)

Dante was my second choice - I know they require a certain amt. to reserve their private room, or they ask guests to order from a pricier per head menu - so not the most budget friendly. Their portions are also quite small so not the best bang for your buck. However, it has an amazing view of the Charles, and chef Dante is awesome!

Aug 08, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

La Morra for Restaurant Week?

I went to La Morra for RW two years ago and was underwhelmed. Their food isn't that expensive to begin with, and their RW portions are smaller than usual I think. I think if you wanted to do really great Italian food you should go with a pricier spot like Dante. You'd be getting a better deal.

Aug 08, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Impossible to find dive bars downtown?

9lives mentioned The Tam which I would second. Right off the Boylston stop on Tremont. Very legit dive bar. Should probably be big enough. If it's not, Jacob Wirth is a great suggestion too -- not a dive, but not at all pretentious. It feels like a saloon out of the turn of the century, and they supposedly have killer sausages. And they do have good beer.

But seriously, if you can cram into Bukowski's with your crew, do it. It's awesome and legendary and has a lot of character and about a million beers. And a burger with peanut butter. It's that kinda place. Also, you never know who you'll run into there. I once ran into Kori Gardner from Mates of State and Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal on the same night there.

Other than the Pour House, I'd stay away from Boylston and Newbury Street. They are full of what my friend and I would call "doucheries". Popped collar spots. Peeps lining up to get into mediocre bars. Save yourself the trouble.

Also, seconded on Summer Shack. Legal Seafoods is a local New England chain down the way in Park Plaza - they're known for very fresh fish and they seem to handle groups with more grace than your average seafood place. Great Bay near Kenmore is good but pricey. You could also try Eastern Standard, which has a large back room for which they don't charge anything so you could take that space - they have more than just seafood but their oyster bar is delicious.

If you can sneak away from your group for REALLY good seafood, go to Neptune Oyster. It's teeny tiny but has the best seafood in town.

Aug 08, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

ISO Hip, HQ Restaurant in Cambridge/Somerville/Arlington

sorry, it looks like it's going to post 2 duplicate replies from me

Aug 08, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

ISO Hip, HQ Restaurant in Cambridge/Somerville/Arlington

I agree - live music AND good food are hard to come by under one roof. If you wanted to go across the river, I'd say Matt Murphy's probably combines all the factors you're looking for the best with a small but solid beer and drink selection, amazing food, and great live music (no cover charge). On the Cambridge side, the Middle East and TT's are where it's at for music (with PA's in Somerville coming close behind), but their food isn't anything to write home about. However, Central has an amazing array of "hip" spots to eat nearby. I.e. Miracle of Science is a good choice for local food and beer in a "hip" setting, and its right across the street from TT's/Middle East. Enormous room is a good choice for a group - you can get their Medi platter and a tasty drink. River Gods has great beer, a great (and veggie friendly) menu, and the sweetest bartender you'll ever meet. Green Street Grill is hip and legendary for their drinks, less so for their food, and no live music (that I know of). I suppose you could do Ryles in Inman for jazz, drinks and Southern food - but I've found that to be underwhelming, especially with 2 Chris Schlesinger restaurants nearby. So I think you have to decide what part of this equation is most important to you!

Aug 08, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Restaurant Week(s): March, 2008. Where are YOU going?

Dante is awesome, I just went for the first time on Monday. Great chef, great bar staff, great view.

On the veggie tip - it's funny, I just posted a thread on Yelp about this. I know that OM's is veggie this year. Some people have said that you can call ahead and request a veggie option. I think my coworkers and I are going to go to blu (one of the only financial district options) and I'm going to see if I can get my vegan coworker hooked up with something edible.

Mar 06, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area

Persephone - where is it

This is located right next to our office on Summer Street, across the street from the Channel Cafe. It was slated to open in fall..and then in December...and now the latest date I've heard is Feb 18 for an opening. I have been waiting all this time for a new food option in the area - I'm sure it's going to be chi-chi but it'll be nice to stave off the workplace lunchtime boredom (although Channel Cafe and Flour around the corner are not exactly chopped liver).

Anyhow, you can see into the windows and the space looks very cool. Hanging IKEA-esque cube shelves, open floor plan, and a large bright bar in the back left corner. Seems like a good place to go for eats before or after an ICA visit - and a posh hangout for the Euro tourists staying in the very mod Westin up the street.

My money's also on them having a pomegranate martini.

Feb 07, 2008
desertrose5418 in Greater Boston Area