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vinouspleasure's Profile

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Angeleno moving to NYC looking for help!

welcome to ny! we recently moved into to the uws, here are some of our favorites without regard to what's better in LA...at some point you're going to want to eat chinese food in the UWS (for instance). these aren't destination restaurants, but they're all solid, local restaurants serving good food at a fair price:

szechuan garden - 105th and broadway
xian - 102nd broadway
awadh - 97th and broadway
sura thai - 101st and broadwa, yeah, not as good as flushing, maybe not even the best on the UWS, but weekend brunch is a steal.
broadway restaurant (diner) - 101st and broadway, old-school diner, handwritten signs, several movies filmed here
pio pio - amsterdam and 94th, fun vibe, decent chicken, we go with the kids and order the matador combo, which is more than the 4 of us can finish.

there is a halal guys restaurant much closer to columbia at 96th and amsterdam, no line. we haven't been. I think halal guys is good but honestly, I don't think people could pick out halal guys from five other halal carts.

enjoy!

about 4 hours ago
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

Bites on/near Broadway for and end-to-end walk

xian, 105th and broadway, a lamb or pork burger or sharing a plate of dumplings would be a good stop.

Aug 27, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

Oahu and Big Island trip report

my wife had the prix fixe, it was good but dessert was a throwaway.

It's hard to know if Kamuela, where blue dragon lives, has been explored by our fellow chowhounders and found lacking or if the chow needs to be discovered. There are good reviews on yelp for a fish store that sells poke, a fish taco truck run by the same store, two small delis selling Hawaiian plates and 3-4 restaurants. It's about 12 to 15 minutes from the fairmont. I do suggest getting to original big island shaved ice.

also, my wife and daughter used the blue dragon salon instead of the fairmont and found it very good.

Aug 26, 2015
vinouspleasure in Hawaii

Oahu and Big Island trip report

thanks macsak, I thought it was written "shaved ice" and pronounced "shave ice". In any case, it was delicious.

Aug 22, 2015
vinouspleasure in Hawaii

Oahu and Big Island trip report

my wife and two of our teens were in Oahu for four days, the big island for five. In order of consumption:

Oahu
side street - The laid back decor, great service, mix of locals/visitors, huge portions and fair prices made this my favorite meal of the trip. In some ways, reminded me of red farm in nyc at 1/2 the price and double the portions:
- ahi ono: our first taste of ono, absolutely delicious, in a soy sauce with fresh garlic and herbs.
- garlic chicken: wow, this was good, perfectly crisp with some nice sweetness.
- pork chops: lightly breaded, perfectly fried, cut into bite size pieces on the bone, this was delicious but maybe too similar to the chicken. In retrospect, the kalbi would have provided a nice contrast.
- the works fried rice: with Char Siu, Portuguese Sausage & Bacon, Peas & Carrots, Green Onions, Lup Cheong and Kim Chee. Huge portion, we couldn't finish, wonderful flavors.
+----------------------------
Royal Hawaiian Breakfast - Breakfast was included in our package, while I'd never walk in and pay menu prices, the food was inventive and excellent. My favorite was the kalua pork hash, poached eggs and champagne mustard hollandaise. Kids and wife loved the banana-macadamia nut stuffed french toast.
+----------------------------
Ono Seafood - we had an assortment of combo ono bowls, favorites were the spicy and hawaiian. $7.50 (i think) for a regular size bowl and drink, must be the best deal on the island (though I certainly didn't eat at enough places to make that assertion.)
+----------------------------
The Pig and the Lady - My wife called this one of her top fifty meals (I've lost count of the number of meals in my wife's top fifty!) and it was great:

Laotian Fried Chicken - crispy, big chicken wing drumettes, served with peanuts and lemon wedges, a great appetizer but $1 more than the huge dish of chicken we enjoyed at the side street.

kabocha and green papaya salad - while the ingredients were fresh and the kabocha an innovative addition to papaya salad, we'd have liked a little more heat.

deluxe pho - I don't know from great pho as nyc is weak in vietnamese food but I'll put this down as the best pho I've ever had. It was a mix of smoked bacon, 12 hr roast brisket, rare beef, fried shallots, tokyo negi and a soft egg. Given the ingredients, it seemed closer to ramen but the broth was all vietnamese. I added some of their house roasted chilis for heat and it was perfect.

french dip bahn mi and manilla clams - this is the dish my wife (and I) loved, I have a smoker at home and I see brisket bahn mi our future. the brisket was perfect: tender and full of flavor. I'm guessing they bake their own bread and they got it just right.

crab fat curry - we saw this on a lot of tables, like a huge crab curry pot pie, generous portion of crab but the ratio of puff pastry to filling was off.
+----------------------------
Musubi Cafe Iyasume - my daughter somehow got in her mind that she wanted to try masubi so I brought her here for a snack. small cafe in a hotel, order at the counter, 4 tables, most people were taking out. we both loved the spam masubi w bacon and avacado, fried chicken masubi was good, we wouldn't order the spcy tuna or salmon again.
+----------------------------
Town - Couldn't get a reservation at Mud Hen Water so we decided on town. The restaurant wouldn't seem out of place in nyc, it was very good but despite their commitment to local sourcing, the food somehow seemed less Hawaiian than our other meals.

black mussels - one of the best dishes of the trip, plump mussels in a delicious broth.

opah - Locally sourced fish, a little dry, would have liked a crisper crust, good sauce.
+----------------------------
In retrospect, another day to attend the big farmer's market and take another hike would have been great. My wife and I were thinking we could easily have spent the whole vacation in Oahu. We never got to leonards or shaved ice :^(
+----------------------------
Big Island

pine tree cafe - stopped here for lunch after flight, top notch Hawaiian lunch plates. Korean fried chicken and katsu dip were the favorites.
+----------------------------
fairmont orchid breakfast - average high-end hotel buffet, some of the dim sum was good, definitely opt for cooked to order eggs over the stuff in the hot trays. good filled mini-malasadas.
+----------------------------
blue dragon (Kamuela) - farm to table, about a 15 minute drive from the hotel, we paid $10/pp too sit in the main part of the dining area to hear live music. There's no roof, so we sat close to the mist sprayers which helped keep us cool. The music was great.

Big Island burger - my daughter was in the mood for a burger came w Pineapple Guacamole, Kimchee Pickles, Mayo & Fresh Cut Furikake Fries, meat was full of flavor, we have great burgers in nyc but this might be the one burger to rule them all.

Hawaiian hogs pork chop - big, meaty competently grilled pork chop bizarrely marred by a guava/white honey glaze. the glaze was too sweet, with notes of bubble gum.

opah - fresh fish of the day, moist, perfectly prepared, on a bed of sriracha mashed potatoes. sriracha mashed potatoes, where have you been all my life?

fruit bowl - the waiter told us a local pastry chef had created a dessert for them, it was absolutely fantastic, with fresh local fruit, macadamia nut crunch, whipped cream (or maybe it was ice cream) and some sort of peanut butter in the bottom. I'm not doing it justice, it was a great mix of flavors and textures. this is a must.

sorbet trio - a trio of homemade sorbet, each achingly sweeter than the last, good fruit but wouldn't order again.
+----------------------------
foodland farms - around noon we decided to ignore weather.com forecasts and head to vnp for the afternoon/evening. stopped for lunch at this grocery store, 4-5 varieties of fried chicken in the deli looked really good, my kids had the korean fried chicken and loved it. My wife and I split a couple of decent sandwiches.
+----------------------------
pineapples (hilo) - by the time we hiked across the Kilauea Iki crater, viewed the erupting volcano and got back to hilo it was close to 9pm so our choices were limited. I was outvoted 3-1 on Ken's so we opted for pineapples grill, daughter decided to try another burger and this one may have been better than blue dragons. The rest of us had delicious ahi sandwiches with home made slaw. The singer was so good my wife thought he was lipsynching(!).
+----------------------------
original big island shaved ice (Kamuela) - so, as my daughter was wont to remind us, we needed to rectify missing shaved ice on Oahu. My wife and I decided to split a halohalo with fresh coconut custard on top, the kids followed suit. OK, I've nothing to compare it with, but this was crazy good, a huge serving of shaved ice with sweet potato ice cream, coconut custard, beans, tapioca balls and lots of other goodies.
+----------------------------
tommy bahamas at Mauna Lani (happy hour) - we had drinks and appetizers at tommy bahamas, mojito and wine were very good, appetizers while good and reasonably priced, were small.
+----------------------------
The Blue Room at The Shops at Mauna Lani - No one loved their meal here, the food was fresh, quality ingredients, but the flavors were bland.

salad nicoise - I didn't care for the dressing, the tuna was nicely seared but unseasoned.

moco loco - good ingredients but the gravy lacked punch and the meat lacked seasoning.

steak au poivre - nice piece of steak but the sauce didn't do it.
+----------------------------
browns at the fairmont - for our last meal. we wanted a memorable, splash out dinner. Beautiful setting, very good food, silly prices, dessert was weak, wine by the glass was reasonable but my first glass was oxidized.
+----------------------------
Under the Bodhi Tree at Mauna Lani - we all wanted to try an acai bowl before leaving hawaii, this was a stunning bowl of fresh, tropical fruit, homemade granola and yogurt. I saw some very good looking sandwiches coming out of the kitchen as well, this is a must if staying in the area.
+----------------------------
final thoughts:

in the end, we ran out of time in Oahu and our schedule on the big island was dictated more by our activities (hiking, exploring, working out, tennis,snorkeling, etc.) than our stomachs. I suppose that's a good thing as somehow I managed to lose 5 pounds on the trip.

I was really taken with the "aloha spirit" of so many of the Hawaiians we met. I always thought one of my advantages in business was my ability to emote positive feelings. Well, here's a whole island of people that are better at it than me!

sincere thanks to chowhound members Sushi Otaku and Kathryn for getting us pointed to so many great places!

Re-reading this, I see I'm one short of five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind (we miss you terry pratchett). If you made it this far, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed eating it!

oberlin for four years

Hi,

my son is starting at oberlin, I'm sure we'll be there at least 12 times over the next four years, any suggestions for chow? how about between cleveland an oberln?

we like everything but prefer stuff we can't get at home (nyc area), ethnic food, bbq, hot dogs, etc.

tia!

Aug 21, 2015
vinouspleasure in Great Lakes

big island, fairmont orchid, is finding nearby chow hopeless?

we took Otaku's advice and stopped at the pine tree inn on the way to the fairmont, solid plate lunch, we had katsu dip and korean fried chicken (wings).

if you're at the resort around lunch time and don't want to eat resort food, foodland is five mins away and has decent sandwiches and they have a a variety of fried chicken lunch plates that my kids said were very good though not as good as the pine tree. give them your phone number at check out and they'll discount just about everything you purchase. also, decent wine selection/prices (didn't see any DRC!) but not sure what's going on with temp when store is closed.

we drove out to volcano national park after lunch one day, managed to hike KÄ«lauea Iki Trail, stayed to see the lava flows at night but by the time we got back to hilo, most of the places we wanted to try were closed. We did manage a very good casual meal at Pineapples. Actually, my daughter had their pineapple burger, a burger with grilled pineapple and bacon, didn't sound good but it was great. I had the catch of the day sandwich which turned out to be seared ahi. Definitely recommend it if you're there late. long drive back to hotel at night!

Aug 16, 2015
vinouspleasure in Hawaii

Best Japanese Restaurant in Southern Westchester?

I'd be interested to see how this goes. I worked at a Japanese bank with a team of consultants for 3 years and one of the hard lessons learned was never to allow an American with knowledge of the Japanese language to speak Japanese. Hopefully this isn't the case outside of a formal business setting.

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

we've been for lunch and ordered off the sz menu, all good, but elisa has a good suggestion, why not call ahead?

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

Looks like Mapo tofu

Looking for a good Cuban restaurant in NYC

Margon is good for lunch, it's steam tables and a grill, no waiter service and 3-5 cramped tables which can be tough to get, most people take out. Terrific cubano, good cold octopus salad. actually, I haven't been in 6 months, maybe I'll stop by tomorrow.

Aug 03, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

food trucks lower Manhattan

I worked for many years down there, most of the trucks are closed on weekends and the ones that are open, aren't the beest. As Trockwood suggests, why not look at good, inexpensive chow? Chinatown is within striking distance, go-go curry is open and nish nush is great.

Aug 02, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

Pagoda - great food but multiple websites are confusing! [Scarsdale]

chengdu heaven is arguably the best szechuan in flushing but it's in the basement of the really ugly flushing mall. besides chengdu heaven, there's 3-4 other vendors making great food in the basement.

Pagoda - great food but multiple websites are confusing! [Scarsdale]

wow, look at all those szechuan peppercorns with the Chongqing chicken. the chicken itself looks a little wetter than one would expect, no? or maybe it got a little steamed in the takeout dish.

what is the restaurant decor like? I know this is off topic, but have have you gotten your kids to chengdu heaven? I convinced my wife to visit, she liked the food but won't go back...

Best Cheap Eats 2015

here are some of my favorites:
margon
xian
joes pizza
ess-a-bagel
Saravana Bhavan
desi galli

Jul 31, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

Pagoda - great food but multiple websites are confusing! [Scarsdale]

thanks, we're at stew leonards about once a month and pagoda looks to be 10 mins, so we'll definitely give it a try. looks like they also have xiao long bao!

elita's deli, ossining

I'd vote for elita's if you haven't been. a plate of rice, beans, pork or the stewed chicken is a good way to start. or ask if you can try both. then you have decide between the platains or fresh salad.

and make sure you ask for their hot sauce!

Lefteris in Tarrytown, what the hey

wow, you feel cheated at stew leonards? IMO it's a privilege to have such a great store within driving distance.

elita's deli, ossining

hadn't been since the winter, stopped by today, wow was it good! for some reason, the yellow rice was the best it's been in any of my visits.

Lefteris in Tarrytown, what the hey

I agree but while nyc has a cart every 2-3 or blocks, if you're in tarrytown or kisco, there's not a lot of choice. Having said that, I do like santinori in sleepy hollow quite a bit more.

some recent chinatown noodles

today was the last day of my project, finished up a little early, arrived around 4:45, I was the only person there. The spicy spicy beef brisket hui mian was a little flat, took your advice, mixed in a heaping spoonful of hot chili oil and added black vinegar until the flavors popped...and pop they did, what a great, great dish. thanks for the recommendation!

Jul 27, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan
1

some recent chinatown noodles

no noodles! what did you eat?

Jul 27, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

some recent chinatown noodles

half the time I've visited, there's a line of tourists out the door clutching guide books. Not a big problem as there's lots to eat in the area but you haven't had this problem?

Jul 27, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

big w [Wingdale]

that might have been the case when I wrote the op but imo mighty quinn's in the east village has better brisket.

Best of the UWS, 2014 Edition

couple of more good meals:
celeste - arrived around 10pm, I had a wonderful homemade tagliatelle with shrimp. My wife had good not great gnocchi and my son had wood fired pizza which was very good but the crust in the center didn't hold up to the ingredients. very reasonably priced.

redfarm - we had the pastrami egg rolls, crispy spicy beef, soup dumplings, bacon fried rice and smoked duck. Good, interesting, bold flavors but it took about 30 minutes for the grease to clear from the back of my throat. Probably our fault for ordering so many fried dishes. Pretty expensive lunch, about $120 w tip (no alcohol) for 3 people.

manhattan diner - we eat breakfast here as much for the old school ambiance as for the well-prepared pancakes, eggs and french toast. I think g clooney did some filming here.

we're loving our new neighborhood!

Jul 22, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan
1

some recent chinatown noodles

working near chinatown of late has given me the opportunity to try a bunch of places:

noodle village - nice room, good service, probably my favorite noodles and wanton soup in nyc.

Lan Zhou Handpulled Noodles - love the dumplings, noodles were very good.

tasty hand pulled noodles - my least favorite, hot cramped room, fried dumplings were greasy as were the pan fried noodles. having said that, the dumpling filling was delicious and the noodles had nice bite. maybe I ordered the wrong dishes.

xian - ctown is the only location I hadn't tried, pretty consistent with the other locations. Generally I love xian but imo a lot of the dishes share the same flavor profile

Jul 21, 2015
vinouspleasure in Manhattan

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

thanks, that's a great list for us to try!

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

>>I've had almost all the items on the Sichuan menu at Imperial Wok

wow! I've only had 5-6 dishes, what are your favorites?

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

are you sure you ordered from the separate szechuan menu or was it a "spicy" chinese american lunch special? in any case, the food mentioned in posts above will be spicy.

Fantasy Cuisine or Imperial Wok for birthday dinner for Sichuan food lover?

when we don't want to trek into flushing or manhattan, we head to IW.
I've had the szechuan at IW and fantasy and found IW to be much better. I don't recall any ma la spices at fantasy.

favorite dishes are dan dan noodles (I prefer theirs to some of the flushing renditions), dumplings in hot oil, double cooked pork. as others noted you;ll find the decor very nice on the 2nd floor; tablecloths on the tables, etc...maybe nicer than fantasy.

another idea is aberdeen for dim sum and/or peking duck. our kids usually pick it for their bdays.