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Sports Bars - North York showing NFL Playoff games

We will be in town this weekend. Staying @ the Novotel, North York.
Looking for a Sports Bar Restaurant that may be showing the NFL Playoff games w/ a decent menu. (wishful thinking...a few gluten free options?)

El Paso - hidden gems? hole in the walls? must haves? anything healthy?

I was introduced to The Hoppy Monk, a "Gastropub" on my last trip to El Paso.
It is well worth the visit ! The Beer List is the best I've seen and the food was wonderful! The Rabbit Tacos paired well!!

Jun 18, 2013
ciaogal in Texas

Anything good to eat in or very near Artesia, NM?

I travel through Artesia a few times a year. One of my favorite lunch spots is Henry's BBQ.

Nov 11, 2012
ciaogal in Southwest


Fry's Marketplace @ 90th and Shea has it in the freezer case in the Kosher section

Jul 12, 2012
ciaogal in Phoenix

Fresh Seafood?

Cask 63 @ Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale has some wonderfully prepared seafood items. The preparations are really beautiful. Chef Brian Feirstein was previously at Eddie V's.

Feb 18, 2012
ciaogal in Phoenix

Best Chinese Restaurant on the Strip?

The Palms is directly across from the Gold Coast. Just west of the strip on Flamingo.

4321 W Flaming Rd.

Nov 11, 2011
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Best Chinese Restaurant on the Strip?

Check out Cathay House @ the Palms.
The original is on Spring Mountain. They have wonderful dim sum and authentic cuisine

Cathay House Restaurant
5300 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146

Nov 10, 2011
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Breakfast in North Scottsdale?

A new breakfast place has opened on 100th St and VIa Linda called The Egg I am.
I drove by it the other day and it looked busy! I'm hoping to give it a try this weekend.

Oct 14, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Barrymore - Las Vegas

Last week I had the opportunity and pleasure to try The Barrymore Restaurant a few days shy of their Grand Opening.
The restaurant is to the left of the lobby inside the Royal Resort located on Convention Center Drive.

The feel and decor evoke Art Deco,South Beach & Old Hollywood. The space has an intimate feel...this is not a corporate, mega resort celebrity chef collaboration.
The chefs, managers, and servers were on their game. For a soft opening there wasn't a miss.

We started in the Bar area w a glass of wine. The Barrymore offers a nice cocktail and wine list. They also feature 50 wines for under $50 ....many from small boutique vineyards.

The outdoor patio (almost complete) will offer a beautiful view of the Vegas Skyline and include a firewall which will be perfect for our cooler evenings ahead.

We moved into the dinigroom which was decorated in a retro film motif with overstuffed comfy half moon booth and black and gold brocade wallpaper. It was beyond cool!

We started our meal w/ the Lobster deviled eggs and the roasted artichoke. Both were lovely, light and flavorful. The presentation was beautiful.

For our main entrees we ordered the Diver Scallops, ox-tail stew, potato galette & mushroom emulsion. The pairing was unusual but worked well. The ox tail was braised pefectly and it's made specifically for this entree
Crispy Pork Belly braised with korean flavors, kimchee fried rice, ginger carrot emulsion.
This was a hearty flavorful dish.

It was nice to see classic items on the menu such as Vitello Tonnato, Oysters Rockafeller and Chicken Matzo Ball Soup.

Dining at the Barrymore was a real treat, Price points werent sky high, parking is easy and there is no smoky casino which added to the ambiance of the evening.

I loved this place! I look forward to re visiting on my next trip!

Sep 26, 2011
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Bar Forte

I am working in Las Vegas this week

Given the given economy and the array of celebrity chef restaurants trying dumb down their menus and package them at discounted prices I was tempted to try something independent and off strip. I'm so glad I did.

The reviews of Bar Forte were intriguing as was the menu. Some of the E. European offerings transported me back to Friday night dinner @ my Grandmothers.

The menu is vast, comprised of small plates (tapas) . A mix of Seafood, Grilled items, Russian, Spanish and Bulgarian. The best way to experience the menu was a little like throwing a dart at a map. I just started picking....

The meal began w/ a garden infused vodka martini w/ a pickle in it. (my grandfather used to drink pickle juice from my grandmothers homade pickles and a shot of vodka...evoked so many nostalgic memories)

Bar Forte offers many different homemade infused Russian Vodkas....

Accompanying this an order of Marcona Almond Stuffed Dates, Wrapped In Bacon which had a nice char in a cherry reduction sauce.

Then I sampled both the Octopus In Olive Oil Spanish Herb Rice, Drizzled With Spanish Oil and the Stuffed Squid In Its Own Ink. (The octopus reminded me of my grandmothers pickled salmon.)

Next came the Grilled Spanish Chorizos Mixta (charred perfectly served w/ a nice fresh dilled slaw), The Khinkali (Hand Made Traditional Georgial Style Dumpings Filled with Meat and Spices...reminded me of my grandmothers kreplach from her chicken soup) ,

Adjarski Khachapurri ( Traditional Georgian Bread In The Shape of A Boat, Filled With Suluguni-Style Cheese and A Cracked Egg....amazing flavors the salty feta, warm crust baked bread and the egg which cooked from the heat of the bread)

Shopski Clay Pot (almost like a souffle of Roasted Peppers, Tomato, Scallions, Feta Cheese and Eggs Baked in an Authentic Clay Pot...very light)

Blini W/Meat, Filled With Ground Beef, Served Sour Cream again just like my grandmothers Meat blintzes....

The meal ended w/ a sour cherry vodka on the rocks and a shot of the fresh raspberry vodka and an order of baklava (stuffes w/ what was a more E European filling...reminiscent of rugelach) absolutely delicious.

The prices are very reasonable...dinner w/ Cocktails was under $90 for 2.

Its difficult to convey how wonderful Bar Forte is. The freshness, the flavors and passion for amazing food shines through.

There is so much more I want to try....there were some lamb specials, the Borscht, the herring, the strogonoff....

Bar Forte may be a once a month visit.

So many great independent restaurants in Vegas....this is at the top of my list!

Jul 19, 2011
ciaogal in Las Vegas

"Only in Canada" food items: add to the list

Missing 'Ganong' Chicken Bones: cinnamon candies w/ a chocolate center, King of Donair...Donairs (Halifax) Rappie Pie (Acadian) Beep (orange drink from Farmers Dairy Nova Scotia

Jul 12, 2011
ciaogal in General Topics

Breakstone's Unsalted Butter


I buy the Breakstone unsalted butter (in the tub) @ the Fry's Signature store on 90th st and the Kosher section.

They have lots of East Coast goodies.

Jun 10, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Fried Clams in PHX

A new Fish and chip restaurant opened on Via Linda and 90th on the S/E corner.
Seattle's Best Fish and Chips (the old Aladdin's)
We stopped in last week...I was very excited to try it and was extremely disappointed. We ordered NE clam chowder it was very flour'y w/ almost no clams and no taste.
We also ordered the clams and onion rings. They were out of clams so we subbed oysters w/ our rings.
The batter is very thick on both oysters and rings. I was hoping for a light flakey batter where the fresh flavors of the seafood would shine.
They promote their homemade tartar sauce.....they should give you more than a thimble.
Slaw and fresh lemons should be served as well....

Im hoping they are working out the kinks and can improve on what has great potential.

Apr 03, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Help! Need Sunday Brunch Options - N Phoenix, (I-17, Happy Valley)

A girlfreind and I are looking for a fun Sunday Brunch where we can sit outside, enjoy a Bloody Mary in the N. Phoenix Area.

Mar 25, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

If one HAD to pick a buffet in Vegas...

Hands Down the best Buffet in Vegas is the Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan Hotel. Most creative food selection, many items are served in Copper/Cast iron serving skillets. Items like short ribs, truffled mac and cheese, braised pork belly. Seafood , Carving stations, Dessert is spectacular.
No comparison to Bellagio or the Wynn.
It's a bit of a hike...but so worth the visit!

3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

Feb 21, 2011
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Scottsdale Corridor...any restaurants there worth trying?

Scottsdale Quarter is where you want to be if you are in to hip, and happening. The restaurants all all busy. Primebar had a nice menu...I ve only had appetizers....they offer a great Happy Hour. Brio is above average 'corporate' Italian. True Food is excellent...focus is on organic healthy and smaller portions. I like the fact they focus on more vegetarian and healthful eating. Pac Central has an interesting menu, Tanzy and Salt are connected w/ the ipic theatre....they are both beautiful and appear to be doing a brisk business. The bar at Tanzy looks like a great place to hang and watch a game!

If you venture to SQ look forward to your review!

Jan 26, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Where is the best crispy skinned roast duck to be found in the East Valley?

Love Nee House @ Tatum and Thunderbird! They make a great roast duck and a Peking Duck

Nee House
13843 N Tatum Blvd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85032

Jan 26, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Anise closed

I heard they had opened a new location in Peoria. I'm not sure if this is it:

Jan 23, 2011
ciaogal in Phoenix

Rickshaw - Ruidoso, NM

Rickshaw is on Mechem.

Here is the link:

I look forward to your review!


Jan 22, 2011
ciaogal in Southwest

Rickshaw - Ruidoso, NM

We went to Richshaw on a recommendation from a colleague.
It is a cool, asian space w/ an eclectic fusion menu along with a very cute bar/waiting area.
It's a combination of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean and East Indian flavors.

The restaurant offers a Tasting menu which was $22/pp/hr . and additional $11/ per 30 minutes of service.(Tanoshimo Table) There was no rush to turn the table.
Rickshaw also offers all items a la carte as well as a very nice wine, beer and cold sake selection.
Dishes are served Family style. ..portions are large. Service was terrific! Everydish was explained to us as it came out.

We opted for the Tanoshimo Table.

On the table when we arrived were 2 large mixed green salads w/ pear, blue cheese and candied almonds tossed in a flavorful vinagrette. It was delicious!

We started with 2 appetizers, one was a pork lettuce wrap / cashews, carrots, minced pork , served w/ a red chili peanut sauce along w/ an Asian Sea Cake which was a combination of salmon, crab and a whitefish fried into a patty served w/ a saffron aioli.

Our lovely Server then brought us a soup tureen which was put on a hot plate in the center of our table. It wasnt hot when it was brought out...though did heat up as it sat. The soup was flavorful mushroom beef broth. it had a hint of ginger and green onion. It was perfect on a chilly evening in Ruidoso.

On to the main courses...we shared a Chicken Pad Thai, rice noodles w/ beansprouts, scallions, tofu, peanuts in a very light sauce. A GInger marinated flatiron steak served w/ a spicy dry sauteed green bean, Curried shrimp served over basmati rice, Korean bulgogi served w/ crisp greens , Indian Spiced BBQ ribs which were fork tender served over a bed of Gobi mashi and an order of sweet and sour spicy wings.

To end our feast we were presented a beautiful plate of tempura battered bananas accompanied with a vietnamese spiced cinammon ice cream and a green tea ice cream.

Food was plentiful and flavors were distinct. Dinner was an adventure. We were not disappointed.

Service was terrific!

We were impressed to find out our chef was only 20 yrs old w/ a real passion and love for his craft.
Richshaw is a must if your in Ruidoso and want to take a culinary adventure.

I hope to return again....

Jan 21, 2011
ciaogal in Southwest

meatless on the strip

Lakeside Grill @ the Wynn has a Vegetarian Menu as well as a Vegan menu.
Its a beautiful new restaurant. It seems as if most of the Wynn restaurants now offer separate Veggie/Vegan offerings. (Steve Wynn is Vegan)
Most restaurants are very accomodating.....


Dec 14, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Anyone Tried Lakeside Grill at Wynn yet?

I miss DB Brasserie too!

I was trying to find a place to watch Sunday Night football and have a nice dinner.
I was headed to Stratta...where there was a large group @ the bar with children in strollers.
I didnt think after a long day I had the patience.

I wandered down to the Lakeside Grill . I was pleasantly suprised. The restaurant was beautiful and accomodating. I was dining solo and was able to find a seat at the bar in what was an extremely busy restaurant.

The menu was very interesting....It seem to be comprised of Clean , fresh, and organic offerings. I like the fact they offer a separate Vegetarian and Vegan section.

While reading the menu the waiter brought over a beautiful bread basket that was almost too pretty to eat. I loved the braided breadstick!

I started w/ the Iberrico Ham which came w/ a fig spread, crusty bread and a spicy arugula shaved apple salad. The portion was quite large and would be great to share w/ one of the other starters.

I ordered the Butternut Squash Agnolotti from the Vegetarian Menu. It was a perfect sized portion. The pasta was homemade, stuffed w/ a wonderful squash filling. It wasnt too sweet and quite in balance w/ the light broth diced squash, pinenut sauce.

I like how the Restaurant has changed the layout from DB Brasserie and oped up the Bar area. It feels much more festive. I also love the new large TV. I dine solo most of the time and enjoy catching a game along w/ a great meal.

Dec 06, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Obscure Joints for Lunch

I had an opportunity to try Catfish Alley this past was terrific. Everything was cooked to perfection. I had the Oysters, Spicy Catfish, Greens. Black eyed peas and Hush Puppies...
Service was great and the restaurant is immaculate! I will make a return visit. The other unique place not far from the South Point is Bachi Burger
more than just a burger joint... many interesting combinations of Burgers, steamed buns, boba teas and more!!! Try the Shrimp Chips and the truffled fries!!!

Catfish Alley
467 East Silverado, Las Vegas, NV 89183

Nov 19, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Where to watch Football while eating great food?

Had a fun MNF evening @ RM Seafood @ Mandalay Bay. 3 large flat screen tv's in the Bar area. Great raw bar and sushi selections! They even offer a few Happy Hour/football special appetizers and cocktails! We stuck mostly w/ sushi! Enjoy!

RM Seafood
3930 Las Vegas Blvd S 134-200A, Las Vegas, NV

Oct 07, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Raku -- okay for a woman dining solo?

I have dined alone @ Raku on 2 previous visits to Las Vegas. My recommendation is to make a the earlier part of the evening. They are usually busy and even the bar seats are reserved. If you dine later in the evening they may be more accomodating. It is well worth the visit.

Sep 01, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Regions Wine Bar (Shea) Scottsdale - Re-opening!

After Region's last 2 openings and closings...I'll wait before I step foot or spend another dollar there. I hope their employees will be paid and the food they're serving is worth the $$$$. I'm hoping for a good review! Under new Ownership!

Jul 02, 2010
ciaogal in Phoenix

Renegade Cafe?

Have been to Renegade Canteen twice since they have opened. I too live in the neighborhood. The restaurant is a total transformation from the previous restaurant. I love the decor and the open wine cellar/storage/display in the center. The bar area is inviting and was packed for Happy Hour. I think most people arrived between 4 and 5 to take advantage of the bar menu and special pricing. The dining room is decorated in a dark wood w/ beautiful lighting, mirrors and booths along the wall. Reservations are a every table/booth was full @ 6pm. The servers are well versed in the menu and service was well executed. Everything flowed well. The food was as well done as the decor. We ordered a bottle of tempernillo which our waiter immediately poured a taste then decanted in a beautiful vessel on the table. 3 of us shared the Wedge Salad which was more than ample, along w/ a basket of warm jalapeno sourdough and pumpernickle rolls (herbed compound butter) For entrees I had the rack of lamb and creamed spinich (nightly special) which was cooked to order, It was tender, and delicious, the other 2 entrees we ordered were the filet w/ green chili mac and cheese and the catfish. Our other visit to Renegade was for lunch in the Bar area where we had the flat bread and 'Bob's Big Burger'....both were terrific. I definitely see this place as 'great' adddition to the neighborhood. With Robert McGrath's reputation and the quality of food and service they have provided in their first 2 weeks....this place will do well! I look forward to returning!

Renegade Canteen
9343 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Jun 25, 2010
ciaogal in Phoenix

Best Italian American On The Strip?

Take a look @ Nove in The Palms. The menu is comprised of traditional old school items such as Chicken Parmesean, Calamari w/ banana pepers, Sunday gravy (bracciola, sausage and meatballs) rigatoni bolognese.....many grilled seafood items (octopus, branzino,) ...w/ a modern feel.
The setting is beautiful...51st floor overlooking the strip. Last night was my first visit. I was pleasantly suprised. It was a gorgeous setting to watch the sun setr over the Vegas strip!
We finished our meal w/ an order of make your own cannoli's! How fun...we stuffed the shells w/ ricitta then dipped in sauces, chocolate chips, toffee chips, pistachios.....
Service was top notch making it for a memorable evening.

Jun 15, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas

Authentic midwestern and liver & onions

Liver and onions is a's getting harder and harder to find.
El Charro Lodge, Pink Pony(now closed) and Don and Charlies all used to be favorites for liver and onions.
Don and Charlies still serves their chopped liver along w/ their bread basket pre-meal!

Mimi's Cafe has Liver and Onions on their's not bad!

Durants has wonderful sauteed chicken livers!

If you find a plaxe...please post! I'd love to know!

Jun 13, 2010
ciaogal in Phoenix

Big tv & luxury dining?

The Bar @ Carenevino (Palazzo)is one of my favorite spots for great dining and game watching. Excellent food, and service. Another option would be the Bar @ DB Brasserie...Wynn

Jun 05, 2010
ciaogal in Las Vegas