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Best Ravioli in Queens? How does Pastosa on Cross Bay rate?

+1 on the gluten free ravioli. My mother (who has celiac disease) really enjoyed them.

Mar 09, 2012
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Final pre-baby date night!

Hi all, hubby and I are expecting our first child VERY soon and are hoping to sqeeze in a final nice dinner out. For a quick frame of reference, our former go-to would have been Tempo- great food, but also a civility (in terms of service, as well as things like sound level and spacing of the tables) that has become increasingly rare. We also love Convivium, but have been pretty recently and would prefer something different.

We're not looking to spend tons of money, looming baby expenses and what not- preferably around $100 for everything. I'm not drinking, and my husband seldom has more than a glass of wine.

We eat tons of ethnic food, so I'd like something slightly "fancier" than our usual- maybe French or new American of some sort? We have a car and are happy to go anywhere in Brooklyn. Also, given my currently massive and exhausted state, we'd prefer somewhere with reservations or minimal wait for early weeknight dinners, where I won't have to drag my belly over the neighboring table in order to sit down.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Dec 27, 2011
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Know of any restaurants offering a Feast of The Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve?

I think Rubirosa on Mulberry is doing one.

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Rubirosa
235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

Dec 20, 2011
Cate in Manhattan

Peking duck on Thanksgiving?

Dogstar- so sorry they didn't have duck!
We ended up at Pacificana- the day ended up a bit busier than expected, so we kept things closer to home. I agree with the "not remarkable" assessment overall, but it fit the bill. There was a wedding in the main room, which definitely added to the overall vibe of the place (in a positive way, for me). We ordered a half duck and a few other items for the two of us. The hot and sour soup was neither hot nor sour. I was initially apprehensive about the duck- the half duck that they brought out and carved had nice, crispy skin, but very little meat on it. However, they returned with an entire duck's worth of meat, which I thought was a nice gesture (and still charged for the half duck that we ordered). We also had the fried bean curd with black mushrooms, which was fine.
I'm pleased overall, albeit not rushing back. All in all, a nice Thanksgiving!

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Pacificana
813 55th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Nov 25, 2011
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Peking duck on Thanksgiving?

And a noble tradition it is- thanks for the reply! I was wondering about Pacificana. It has looked like a madhouse on some occasions that I've walked by, but I'm guessing that the crowds might be lighter on Thanksgiving. Can't help you out re Deyi Peking Duck House.

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Pacificana
813 55th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

Deyi Peking Duck House
43-18 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

Nov 23, 2011
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Thanksgiving alone?

This other thread titled "Group tables for solo diners on Thanksgiving 2011" also has a similar conversation (and potential meetup) going...

Nov 23, 2011
Cate in Manhattan

Peking duck on Thanksgiving?

Does anyone have any recommendations of good Chinese restaurants open on Thanksgiving, preferably ones that serve Peking duck? Brooklyn is better, but willing to drive to Queens for a great duck. Thanks!

Nov 22, 2011
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Cheap Gluten Free Eats- What's not to be missed?!

The breadsticks at Risotteria are also gluten-free and really, really good. I'm not gluten intolerant, but most of my family has celiac so I'm pretty well versed with the gluten free options. Also agree on Tu-lus.
Carfreeinla- can I get some advice on Dosa Garden? The menu looks great, and I'd love to take my mother there sometime, but she's extremely cautious with "ethnic" food where she isn't familiar with the ingredients and how everything is made, and can't always communicate with the staff as clearly as she would like. If you don't mind sharing, what are their strong (and safe) gluten-free options?

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Risotteria
270 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Nov 06, 2011
Cate in Manhattan

Teen nephew's birthday dinner- best dumplings and pizza within walking distance

Sounds great- thanks!

Jun 15, 2011
Cate in Manhattan

Teen nephew's birthday dinner- best dumplings and pizza within walking distance

Hello all,
I'm trying to plan a dinner for some visiting family, including a teenage nephew on his birthday. In the past week, he has become a huge fan of dumplings- which is a big step for him, food wise- and he loves pizza. So, I thought it would be fun to incorporate both.
Virtually anywhere in Manhattan is fine. Dumplings would ideally of the five-for-a-dollar variety (family tends to balk at NYC prices, but is very impressed at what a dollar gets you at a dumpling place), then pizza should be a sit-down, whole pie sorta place.
I'm thinking that the dumpling request will put us pretty close to Little Italy- maybe Lombardis? Or something I don't know about? There will be six of us, including three teenage kids, if that makes a difference. And while they are certainly mobile, they aren't really accustomed to the sort of walking that one does here.
Thanks in advance for any suggestiosn!

Jun 15, 2011
Cate in Manhattan

Gluten & Dairy free dessert

My mother makes a gluten-free carrot cake that is honestly the best I've ever had. I can't get the exact recipe at the moment (she's on vacation), but I know that she starts with a Namaste spice cake mix and uses lots of carrots and apples, so its really moist, then uses tofutti cream cheese to make frosting. Gluten-free carrot cake is probably the most popular birthday cake request she gets, even for those of us who aren't celiac.

Feb 17, 2011
Cate in Home Cooking

Convivium Osteria--Menu Favorites

The assorted meat and cheese appretizer "for two" is very good and could easily feed four. And the rabbit, as others have noted, is really great. The wine list is eclectic and reasonable. I was disappointed with the pasta last time I went and basically ate my husband's rabbit.
The place is charming and romantic. Enjoy!

Aug 11, 2010
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Is it possible? A $70 per head restaurant for a wedding?

We had our rehearsal dinner at Steamer's Landing- maybe worth looking into. The food was fine, and the view is great- it's down near Battery Park, right off the water. This was a few years ago, but it was comfortably within that price point (including beer and wine).

Jul 29, 2010
Cate in Manhattan

Crystal Lake Cafe, Interlaken- surprisingly great

We basically just stopped by the winery since it was right next to the restaurant. I have yet to explore the area wineries- our time there was really limited- so I can't speak as to whether they've improved. I did enjoy the semi-sweet riesling, but would tend to agree that the winery itself isn't a destination.

Crystal Lake Cafe, Interlaken- surprisingly great

Had lunch here last Friday while on a quick weekend getaway from Brooklyn... the care and attention to detail are really, really impressive. I'm a major sucker for fresh bread and was practically in heaven here- the breads are all made in house by someone who really knows what they're doing. The bread basket (which is a menu item, not complimentary) was huge and had 3 varieties of fresh bread, served with an herbed butter and olive oil. My husband got the special corn and crab chowder and really enjoyed it. We shared the cuban sandwich, which I really liked- cuban sandwiches are inherently on the salty side, and this one was no exception, but I thought it was really tasty. The fries were also great- skin-on, perfectly cooked, and with homemade ketchup. We also shared a special sandwich- pork belly BLT with chipotle aioli- which was seriously delicious. We recently ate something similar where the pork was overdone, but it was perfect here. And the sandwiches were on that great bread...
I was incredibly full at this point, but noticed that there was a strawberry rhubarb crisp offered for dessert. And the desserts are made by the same chef who makes the bread, so I had to try one. It was huge, cooked-to-order, and delicious.
The beverages include wines from the Americana winery next door, available by the glass or bottle, and they cost the same at the restaurant as they do for retail (approximately $10-$20 range). I'm not a huge fan of NY wine in general, but I did enjoy their semi-sweet Riesling and had a glass. They also had ginger beer and root beer from the Ithaca Brewery. On a side note, although I didn't have any at the restaurant, I think their ginger beer is damn tasty.
Service was friendly, place itself was cute, prices were very reasonable. I would eat here often if I lived nearby, and will make a point to return if I'm ever in the area.

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Crystal Lake Cafe
4367 E Covert Rd, Interlaken, NY 14847

Things I love about Brooklyn

"Vinegary, spicy magic" sounds pretty great. I'll have to check it out- thanks!

Jun 15, 2010
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Things I love about Brooklyn

I have a lot of love for DiFara, but it didn't make it my happy list on this particular day since I drove by on Sunday evening and there was a line around the block. But yes, a square pie from DiFara's is a beautiful thing.

Jun 15, 2010
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Things I love about Brooklyn

Re Best Buy- Part of the appeal is just the size- it's huge, which permits an inventory and selection that few stores in the area can match. I'm not super knowledgeable about wines, but I think that their French and American selections are especially strong, and I find that most things are priced about 10-20% lower than I'm used to seeing in other places. And it's in Coney Island to boot. :)

Jun 15, 2010
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Things I love about Brooklyn

I was inspired by a recent post to start a new thread on food-related places that I love in Brooklyn. I'm always up for new restaurants, bakeries, etc., so please share yours!

I love Sahadis.
I love Tanoreen.
I love the fact that you can walk through Sunset Park and do compare dumplings from five different places then walk a few more blocks and do the same with tacos.
I love Best Buy Liquors down at Coney Island- great selection, great prices.
I love the Red Hook ballfields. (Everything except the crowds- but I go early)
I love sandwiches from DeFontes.
I love the ever-changing and always interesting selections at NYC Icy.

These are really just the tip of the iceberg... but they all make me really happy.

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Sahadi's
187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Tanoreen
7523 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

NYC Icy
905 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

Best Buy Liquors
1613 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Jun 14, 2010
Cate in Outer Boroughs

What not to miss at Alta

Big second for the brussel sprouts.

Jan 21, 2010
Cate in Manhattan

Soft ice cream recommendations?

Thanks everyone, I can't wait to try them. Will report back soon...

Nov 17, 2009
Cate in Manhattan

Great Pinot Noir under $20 -- Is there such a thing?

I tend to operate at a similar price point and have a hard time with pinot... greatness is tricky, but for what it's worth, I think MacMurray Ranch is a good value and it's pretty easy to find.

Nov 15, 2009
Cate in Wine

Soft ice cream recommendations?

Hi all- does anyone have any recommendations for a good place to get soft ice cream? No tasty delight or frozen yogurt or anything like that, just plain, good soft ice cream... preferably available in a chocolate/vanilla swirl... thanks in advance!

Nov 13, 2009
Cate in Manhattan

Babbo- first timer's review

After years of reading about Babbo- how to get a reservation, how to order, where to sit, etc.- my husband and I finally went last Friday. I had put it off for a number of reasons, namely cost (that’s a pricey meal for us) and fear that, after all of that research, my expectations would trump the experience. I had heard enough negative things that I hesitated to choose it for a special occasion; I had tried once for most of a morning to get a reservation without any luck, which was frankly a huge turn-off; and, I kind of feared being surrounded by “foodie” tourists and celebrity chef groupies. So, I decided that it would be a very casual thing, which by definition means no 1-month-to-the-day planning ahead and thus no reservation, and we showed up there at five.

It felt good from our arrival. It was upscale without being pretentious, and service was really gracious from the moment we walked through the door. We put in our name and enjoyed some wine and snacks at the bar, then the host informed us that he just had a cancelled reservation and that we could have a table in the dining room vs. a walk-in table by the bar. Bonus.

The chickpea bruschetta was a lovely start. And, despite warnings about filling up on bread, we both really liked it and ate (probably) too much.

The sommelier was pleasant and recommended a very good bottle at a very low price point. I believe it was Montepulciano, right around $30, and very tasty.

Our waiter was really patient and explained everything really well. He seemed to really love the food, and his descriptions honestly made me want to try everything.

We started with the lambs tongue vinegarette appetizer. As a recovering vegetarian, I was a bit apprehensive of this, but it was really great. It was surprisingly light, everything tasted incredibly fresh and balanced, and from a visual standpoint, it was hard to see where the mushrooms stopped and the tongue began. Great start.

Then we had the mint love letters. The mint is definitely strong, but I felt like this dish showed what the restaurant was about- unapologetically bold flavors. Strange analogy, but it almost reminded me of Sripraphai in the level of seasoning. It’s not a delicate or subtle dish, and it’s not supposed to be. I was a happy girl.

Next came the beef cheek ravioli. This was as beefy as the mint love letters were minty. Again, strong flavors, and with a perfectly paired cheese grated on top.

Then, we moved on to the goose liver ravioli. This dish had more extreme flavors, in that it was in a very strong balsamic sauce. The balsamic flavor was at times a bit overboard, but it also worked incredibly well when it was balanced with the fresh herbs and cheese. It definitely straddled the line between perfect and too much. At moments, it was my favorite pasta.

We ordered one of the special entrees. I don’t recall the name of it, but in its most basic form, it was basically akin to a grilled bacon-wrapped sausage served with a great, briny eggplant, caper, olive sauce. The dish was almost comical in its “pork parts mixed with pork parts then rolled in pork parts” presentation, again flirting with excess, but it was delicious.

One major observation is that, although the menu sounded a bit intimidating and somewhat offal-centered, the food was very approachable.

At this point, we could hardly move so we skipped dessert. All in all, it was great. The service was wonderful, and the space was lovely but comfortable. Not a cheap meal, but definitely a memorable one.

Mar 11, 2009
Cate in Manhattan

Swedish sausage?

Thank you! I'll definitely check it out.

Feb 01, 2009
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Swedish sausage?

Hi all- I'm trying to track down some Swedish sausage for my transplanted Midwestern family and having no luck thus far... anyone know a butcher (or grocery) that carries it? Or, just generally good ideas of where I should be looking? Thanks in advance!

Jan 30, 2009
Cate in Outer Boroughs

New Beer Bar in Park Slope

Their website says 5:00...
www.beertable.com

Feb 02, 2008
Cate in Outer Boroughs

GOOD Gluten Free Cupcakes??!!!!

Not sure how they compare with Babycakes, but Risotteria also has gluten free cupcakes.

Oct 16, 2007
Cate in Manhattan

Kensington/Flatbush recommendations?

They are on Beverley Road at 2nd Street, phone 718-435-0459. The pad see ew is really, really great. Also, they are making a definite effort to be an eat-in place, with candles on the tables in the evening and what not... a great addition to the neighborhood.

Sep 24, 2007
Cate in Outer Boroughs

Special (and challenging) request, Pompton Plains area

Not sure if this exists, but here goes...

I'm taking my parents to look at an assisted living place in Pompton Plains, NJ. I don't know the area at all. They want to see the surrounding area in addition to the facility itself, and I would be thrilled if there was some charming place I could take them for lunch to help them feel at ease with the whole transition. If they like the area, they will be a lot more comfortable with the idea of moving there. My father likes to feel like a local, if that helps.

So, cute lunch place, preferably in non-strip mall area? I don't want to go too far, but if it's within 10 minutes or so, that could fit the bill.

To further complicate things, a broad-ish menu would be appreciated- they have some fairly stringent food intolerances. But, anywhere with a good lunch salad would be great.

Thanks in advance!

Sep 06, 2007
Cate in General Tristate Archive