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Top choices for Beijing?

Excellent! Thanks EZM.

I will definitely be giving it a try on this visit.

May 17, 2012
thomco in China & Southeast Asia

Top choices for Beijing?

Having read many great things about it, I've wanted to try Three Guizhou Men since my first trip to BJ a year ago.

I stay near Sanlitun/GongTi, so I looked for the GongTi restaurant on my first trip and couldn't find it. I assumed it was because the signs were in Chinese - which I can't read. However, I my last trip I learned it had closed.

Do you know, are any of the Three Guizhou Men locations open? CityWeekend lists two locations, but the comments indicate at least one of them is closed. And there haven't been updates or comments in over a year.

I am returning to BJ later this month. If this restaurant is still open, I'd love to give it a try.

May 14, 2012
thomco in China & Southeast Asia

Noodle Loft in Beijing - Is it still open?

After reading some good reviews (and, admittedly, some mixed reviews), I decided on my Beijing trip to try the Noodle Loft.

I found the address on the CityWeekend.cn website. It lists to locations: 20 Xi Dawang Lu and 3 Heping Xijie. I don't speak Chinese, so I asked my hotel concierge to write the address on a taxi card. He called the number listed to check if I needed reservations, but discovered they were closed.

It wasn't clear to me if both locations were closed, or even if he had his information right.

However, looking for reviews here and on other sites, I can't find any reviews written this year. I don't see any posts about it closing, but I don't see any posts about people eating there either.

So is there anyone on the board the can confirm that the Noodle Loft is still open? Can anyone provide a current address (or addresses if there are multiple locations). If multiple locations are still open, is there much variance in quality and dining experience between locations? Any recommended location?

Thanks

Oct 03, 2011
thomco in China & Southeast Asia

Food options determining vacation destinations

PotatoHouse...

I think you've got the right idea. Altough, I might start in Parma, eat my way through Modena to Bologna, then back to Parma.

But that's me.

Sep 09, 2011
thomco in General Topics

Pan - the kind you put in your mouth, suck, chew, and spit

Yup. It's good stuff!

Sep 09, 2011
thomco in Greater Seattle

Pan - the kind you put in your mouth, suck, chew, and spit

The store you may be thinking (kinda close to the location you mention) is

Mayuri Food & Video
2560 152nd Avenue NE # A
Redmond, WA 98052-5535

It's close to the Overlake Shopping Center on NE24th (where the Safeway is).

I called to verify they still have it. I was told they carry dried paan on the shelf (not the same experience IMO). A few times a week an Indian woman comes by and makes fresh paan.

As I understand it, neither the dried nor fresh paan contain tobacco.

Sep 08, 2011
thomco in Greater Seattle

Downtown Tacoma - eight dinners with no car

I would recommend Souther Kitchen, especially for breakfast.

Jun 22, 2011
thomco in Greater Seattle

Grocery Store Roasted Chicken - Who has the best?

That's hilarious!

Feb 20, 2011
thomco in Greater Seattle

Grocery Store Roasted Chicken - Who has the best?

As I was reading this thread, I started to chuckle because it reminded me of a recent episode of Portlandia. If you haven't seen Portlandia, it's a new sketch comedy show with Fred Armisen (SNL) that satires the attitudes/lifestyles of Portlanders...

It the first episode, there is a skit called "Is it local?" A couple go into a Portland restaurant, but before ordering chicken, they proceed to ask the server endless details about it.

Woman: "Could you tell us about the chicken"
Server: "The chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken, that's been fed a diet of sheep's milk and hazelnuts"

The skit continues as the couple asks how big an area the chicken can roam, is it Oregon Tilth Organic or merely USDA Organic? are the hazelnuts also local? Even after getting a fact sheet - which includes the name of this individual chicken and picture of him at the farm - the couple feels compelled to visit the farm to see first hand before they can order it.

It sounds a lot like the questions being asked here. We've already queried the local stores; who is going to volunteer to go out to Draper and see the conditions for themselves? :)

http://www.ifc.com/videos/portlandia-...

Feb 20, 2011
thomco in Greater Seattle

Wood for BBQ

I'm also an avid WSM smoker. I live on Vashon, and for most of my smoking I use Apple or Apple/Alder combination - woods which I can get for free from friends and neighbors.

When I want something else, I go to Sutter Home and Hearth. http://www.sutterhearth.com

They sell 5lbs boxes of various smoking woods chunks. They have several fruit woods: Apple, Apricot, Cherry, Pear. You'll also find Alder, Pecan, Oak - and of course, hickory and mesquite (both of which I find overpowering). I think it's fun to experiment with different woods and mixes of woods.

They also have the best supply of BBQ equipment I've seen. (They seem to have morphed into more BBQ store than "hearth" which the originated as). Two locations: Ballard and Woodinville.

Dec 26, 2010
thomco in Greater Seattle

Two weeks in August: Rome, Umbria and Marche

I just finished a similar trip which included Bologna, Marche, and Umbria. I can tell you the Marche is beautiful, and underated area. If you are traveling from Umbria to Ascoli Pisceno, you should consider a stop in Norcia. I enjoyed that town very much, and experienced some great food.

I agree with barberinibee, check out Fred Plotkin's book.

Also check out the threads from my request, great advice on those threads, including recommendations from ghiottone (a Marchigiana).
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6983...
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7062...

Jul 27, 2010
thomco in Italy

finding Ice?

When I was in Italy last month, I was surprised that I could not find ice anywhere. It was very hot, and I needed because I had bought cheese, and I was carrying insulin.

I tried the big grocery stores (Iper Coop), and they were no help.

Eventually, I discovered that almost all hotels have ice. If I was staying at a hotel, I would ask for ice before checking out.. I even asked for ice at hotels where I was just 'passing thru'. They were always happy to me help me out.

Jul 27, 2010
thomco in Italy

3 nights in Bologna and one in Milan

allende is correct that Osteria di Rubbiara has a fixed menu each day. Plotkin writes that you should expect to find this in osterie. He writes: "This, I believe, is a positive thing: I would rather have an inspired chef using the freshest ingredients than one who may be tiring of making the same old standbys."

I agree with Plotkin. To suggest that this practice demonstrates that the owner does not care what the customers want is ridiculous. Most customers know this is how Osteria di Rubbiara serves meals, so therefore, they ARE getting what they want.

I had an excellent meal at Rubbiara (http://www.acetaiapedroni.it).

I went there on the recommendations of fellow chowhounders who also had good experiences there. allende apparently has a different view, which is good to hear. Perhaps Pedroni was having an off day? However, if you search the board you will find his opinion in the minority.

Jul 05, 2010
thomco in Italy

3 nights in Bologna and one in Milan

As the others have said, there is a lot of stuff on the board for this region. Last week, I got back from two weeks in Italy - the best meals I had, were on the three days I was in and around Bologna.

Here are the threads planning that trip:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/698340
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706297

In that region, I dined at:
* Trattoria della Gigina in Bologna
* Osteria di Rubbiara (near Modena
) * Arnaldo's Clinica Gastronomica - http://www.clinicagastronomica.com

All were excellent. I think my most memorable meal of the trip was at Arnaldo's.

I strongly agree with the recommendation from barberinibee to pick up Fred Plotkin's book. Read as much of the introductory chapters as you can before you leave, then Xerox or cut out the sections for Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia. But I would add, cut out the food glossary at the end of the book. I found that very valuable and took it with me into every restaurant!

Jul 04, 2010
thomco in Italy

Recommendation for piccione (squab, a.k.a. pigeon)

I certainly hope to return. (threw the coin in trevi fountain)

There are several things on my list I didn't have time to do/see/eat. Squab being just one of them.

Jun 30, 2010
thomco in Italy

Recommendation for piccione (squab, a.k.a. pigeon)

Well, I never did try piccione on this trip.

I was planning to eat it in Umbria, but my meal plans in Umbria kinda fell through. (more details later in my trip report)

Maybe next time.

Jun 24, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

I am back from my trip. Exhausted and jet-lagged.

Thank you all for you excellent recommendations. I will be posting a detailed report as soon as I can get to it (hopefully this weekend).

I lesson I learned from this trip is to trust the recommendations of chowhounds over the recommendations of friends. My most disappointing meal was at the recommendation of a friend. I went to the restaurant even after a chowhound called the selection in to question. I should have listened to CH!

Report and pictures to follow!

Jun 24, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Cinque Terre being a prime example.

While I like his "through the backdoor" philosophy, for Italy, he seems to focus on the heavy tourist spots. Venice, Tuscany, Rome, and Cinque Terre. In his Italy 2010 book, not a mention of Emilia Romagna.

Nevertheless, I found his books and tv show very valuable before I went to Salzburg and Lisbon, and his "walks" and maps are nice. Listening to his radio show inspires me to want to travel.

Jun 06, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Your observation is correct, zerlina. I have not put much effort into Rome.

I've focused more on the first part of my trip, figuring I would have time to read up on Rome before I get there. Also, the first half of my trip (Emilia-Romagna) is very much food focused. The Rome portion, less so. While there is great food in Rome, I didn't add Rome to my trip for the food.

Der Pallaro was recommended to me by a friend, who also sent me a link to an article in National Geographic Traveler. It was also recommended by Rick Steves.

I've noticed that Rick Steves restaurant recommendation often have more to do with the experience of the people and place as the quality of the food. This leans the other way. Both perspectives are valid for tourists.

Jun 06, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Oops. Forgot the link:
http://tinyurl.com/29cwp2z

Jun 05, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Thanks again to everyone for the help and recommendations. I wish I had time to check out all of the places mentioned.

I have created a google map showing my route and stopping points along the route. At this point, it is dominated by the restaurants and hotels. In the next couple of days, I will be adding more of the sites I want to visit as well.

For restaurants, I credited in the notes where I received the recommendation. Most of those recommendations came from you all here on CH.

Jun 05, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Jen.

ghiottone had previously mentioned this article. I tried to read it, but initially couldn't because it was only available by subscription. I DID note Hosteria Santa Lucia as a place to try while in Jesi, but I didn't realize previously that the article was about Brodetto.

I've now read the whole article. I'll definitely be dining at Hosteria Santa Lucia

Jun 05, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

ghiottone. I've heard (read) so many indicate vincisgrassi as a culinary must-experience for Marche, that I'm suprised to hear a Marchigianan as yourself dismiss it as "just lasagna." Nevertheless, I'll accept your point that I should not need to go out of my way to seek it out.

I am definitely leaning toward skipping Assisi - even though I added a day to my Jesi-to-Rome drive. Looks like I may be using that time to include Ascoli Piceno, Norcia and Spoleto. It may be a game-day decision.

I've read about Osteria del Matto in Umbria. Sounds interesting, I've added it to my itinerary. Do you think I'll need reservations?

The Spoleto Festival (dance, theater, and art) starts the weekend I'd be passing thru. Has anyone been? I understand that hotels and festival events sell out months in advance. How will this affect my plans for a casual stop for lunch? Will Spoleto be crazy busy, and should be avoided? Or will it something I should schedule a few extra hours for and experience Spoleto during festival days?

Jun 05, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

I've firmed up my dining/lodging for the first three days and have reservations. Thanks to Jen for suggesting I double check Gigina's hours. They are open Saturday, which greatly simplified my planning.
Day 1 Thu: Dinner and lodging at Arnaldo's Clinica Gastronomica in Rubiera
Day 2 Fri: Explore Parma & Modena, Lunch at Osteria di Rubbiara, sleep in Bologna
Day 3 Sat: Morning in Bologna, Lunch at Trattoria della Gigina, on to Jesi.

After my conference in Jesi, I will drive via Ascoli-Piceno in route to Norcia (thanks to the advice of visciole and ghiottone). Certainly I will try Migliori for the olive all'ascolana.

After Norcia, I will drive to Rome. Probably stopping for lunch in Assisi, though some recommend simply enjoying the Umbrian countryside and smaller towns.

I am seeking recommendations for two Marchigian specialties: vincisgrassi and brodetto. I know vincisgrassi is a specialty of Macerata, but I probably won't make it to that town. I'll be in Jesi/Ancona for five days, and an afternoon in Ascoli Piceno. In which location should I expect to have a better vincisgrassi experience? I assume I can find good brodetto in Ancona. Any recommendations?

Thanks again!

Jun 03, 2010
thomco in Italy

Recommendation for piccione (squab, a.k.a. pigeon)

I'd very much like to try squab on my trip to Italy next week.

I'm seeking recommendations- general or specific: from best region, city/town, to specific restaurant. Looking for recommendations in Le Marche, Umbria and Rome.

I have read recommendations for La Pallotta in Assisi, on this board and in guide books, which I know serves piccione. If I visit Assisi, it would be brief, and not necessarily at meal time. So I'd love other recommendations.

Also, while we're on the subject, I'm curious about piccione preparations, region to region. Fred Plotkin's book notes Pioccione alla Perugina as a classic secondi dish in Umbria. La Pollotta serves Piccione alla "ghiotta". If I were to have pioccione only once on my trip, does anyone have a favorite version I should seek out?

Thanks

Jun 03, 2010
thomco in Italy

Eating at Heathrow (Terminal 5) [London]

I'm going to have a three hour layover at Heathrow in route to Italy. Three hours isn't enough time to leave the airport (especially with the long wait at passport control).

So I am looking for good food in the terminal (Terminal 5). I realize that good food and airports don't typically go together. However, I figured I'd have much better luck by getting recommendations here rather than stopping at any random restaurant.

Thanks...

May 26, 2010
thomco in U.K./Ireland

The Splendid Table on Emilia-Romagna

I agree that two big meals in a day is a bad idea. Especially when jet lagged. Especially when driving around. Especially if you really want to appreciate that meal.

I wanted to do Gigina at the end of the Bologna visit. Unfortunately, (according to Plotkin) Gigina is closed Saturday. Maybe I should double check that.

May 10, 2010
thomco in Italy

West Seattle Seafood Restaurants ?

Let us know how the fish is...

May 10, 2010
thomco in Greater Seattle

The Splendid Table on Emilia-Romagna

This might be old news to some of you...

I'm sure most people on this board (and any serious foodie) is familiar with Lynne Rossetto Kasper's show on American Public Media: The Splendid Table, whose targeted audience is "people who love to eat." Among many other awards, the show has won James Beard Foundation Awards for Best National Radio Show on Food.

What I didn't know, until last week, was her connection to the food of Emilia-Romagna.

I was reading Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler". In his introduction to the Emilia-Romagna regions, he writes:

"...I recommend, if you want to learn much more about the food of Emilia-Romagna, that you read Lynne Rossetto Kasper's excellent book The Splendid Table, which is so authoratative the even though the author is American, Italians use it to better understand this region's food."

Well, this got me curious. I haven't rushed out and bought her book, but I did search her radio archives.

In 2008, she did a two-show special on Emilia-Romagna. She visits trattorias, coffee shops, acetaia (balsic vinegar makers), and salumeria. Comments on the food and interviews the proprietors.

It was most enjoyable and informative, and recommended to anyone interested in this region. You can listen or download it here: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...

I also found an episode with guest Fred Plotkin talking about the cuisine of the Marche. Great timing before I go on a trip to Emilia-Romagna and the Marche! However, there isn't really much in this interview that Fred doesn't already include in his book: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/...

Enjoy!

May 10, 2010
thomco in Italy

Emilia-Romagna to Marche, then onto Rome via Umbria, take 2

visciole - I hadn't considered Ascoli-Piceno. (hadn't actually heard of it). A little bit of research suggests that, after Urbino, Ascoli-Piceno is one of the most rewarding towns to visit in the Marche.

I have hotel reservations for Norcia. According to viamichelin, the drive from Jesi to Norcia (via Ascoli-Piceno) is only 2.5 hours. Even if I take it slow, I should have plenty of time for a leisurely stop in Ascoli-Piceno.

Maybe even get to sample the famous stuffed and fried olives.

May 10, 2010
thomco in Italy