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Tokyo visit -- a few questions

Well, I was inclined to just wing it, but I'm now convinced that I need to put together the kind of google map a few of you suggested.

I'm wondering (though I recognize it's a lot to ask!) if you Tokyo Hounds would be willing to help me do so. I've created a blank shared map here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edi...

I hope I'm not running afoul of some Chowhound rule in asking others to help me with this.

Lunch spots in the following neighborhoods would be much appreciated:
Asakusa
Ginza
Harajuku/Aoyama
Ueno
Near Edo-Tokyo Museum
Near Mori Art Museum
Near Imperial Palace

Dinners can be more far flung, as we tend to rest in the afternoon and don't mind hopping the metro to dine, but we are staying in Shinjuku, so nearby restaurants would be much appreciated.

Mar 04, 2014
Tobias in Japan

Tokyo visit -- a few questions

Greetings all,

I will be visiting from San Francisco in mid March and am looking forward to five days in Tokyo with a day trip to Kamakura.

I'll be with my fourteen year old daughter, and the two of us are seasoned and adventurous diners. We hope to sample a variety of not-too-precious but excellent restaurants and particularly enjoy casual dining.

While I am interested in suggestions for specific restaurants (see more info about neighborhoods below), I'm perhaps more curious about what approach you suggest for the Tokyo dining scene. I like the idea of not making lots of reservations but instead finding good places as we go. That will leave us free to decide timing, location, etc. as we navigate the city. Is it possible to follow the crowds and find excellent food?

If not, should I assemble a list of places in the neighborhoods we are likely to visit? We are staying in Shinjuku but will be exploring a great deal of the city, including Ginza, Chiyoda, Shimokitazawa, Asakusa, Omotesando ... Will we need to navigate long lines or find that great restaurants tend to be full?

Thanks in advance for the advice,
Tobias

Feb 18, 2014
Tobias in Japan

Inovino -- any reports? [San Francisco]

How about now -- any reports?

Oct 12, 2013
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Inovino -- any reports? [San Francisco]

Anybody been to the new wine bar in Cole Valley?

Sep 09, 2013
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Produce and groceries in/near Streeterville

I visited Chicago from San Francisco recently and stayed with family in the Streeterville neighborhood. For groceries and produce, we went to Whole Foods on Huron and, briefly, to Fox and Obel. The latter had some nice breads, olives, cheese, etc., but produce was mediocre, and the former had similarly mediocre produce. I know I'm spoiled here in northern California, but I'm wondering if there are better options for top notch food stuffs in Chicago. Do you have the likes of Bi-Rite? Fatted Calf? If price is no object, can one find great stuff?

May 27, 2013
Tobias in Chicago Area

Hasty-Bake grill or good alternative

It may be the thick of winter, but here in CA, grilling season continues, and I'm looking to buy a new grill. I'm particularly interested in the Hasty-Bake, as it's got a few qualities I want and is charcoal burning. Trouble is, the grate is not cast iron or enameled cast iron, so I'm curious if:

1) anyone has experience with Hasty-Bake grills and can speak to the quality of the stainless steel grate. If it's thick and heavy, I may purchase. If it's too light and won't hold heat, I will likely forgo.
2) anyone can suggest an alternative -- a nice charcoal grill with a cast iron grate.

For the second question, know that I've ruled out those that:
*have cheap/thin metal construction
*are shaped such that the sides slope and thus some of the grilling surface doesn't get direct heat
*are over $1000 (a big budget for a charcoal grill!)

Thanks in advance for some Hound advice.

-Tobias

Dec 09, 2012
Tobias in Cookware

Agriturismo in Tuscany

We ended up at Podere Spedalone outside Pienza. It was off the charts fantastic -- terrific hosts, delicious food, incredible views, beautiful pool. I can't say enough about this place, but on this board -- since food is of central interest -- I will laud the multi-course dinners, hand made pasta, farm produced jams, honey and olive oil. Giancarlo is both a gracious host and a terrific cook and made some of the best food we consumed in our three week journey through Italy.

Oct 04, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Arabian Nights + Pakistani Rec (SF)

Didn't he open Curry Village on 9th Ave? I believe it's the same husband and wife team that was behind Lahore Karahi, no?

Jun 03, 2012
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Rome -- in search of informal, rustic, carefully prepared, beautifully fresh cooking that doesn't break the bank

Thanks for all the responses to date, and I particularly appreciate the wisdom about long meals and finding some alternatives. I assume we'll do more than a few lunches of bread, cheese, salumi, etc. and that we'll go for proper sit down dinners. Our trip is about five weeks, with the first ten days in Tunisia.

As for our lodging in Rome, we'll be staying in an apartment near the Campo de Fiori, so recs for restaurants in that 'hood are particularly welcome, and I'm also curious to know if there's a good place for a morning coffee and pastry and an afternoon gelato.

My kids are very adventurous eaters and can handle longish meals, I'm glad to report.

Finally, do we need to reserve at spots like the ones mentioned thus far -- Armando al Pantheon, Settimio al Pellegrino, Hostaria Nerone, Colline Emiliane, Perilli and Urbana 47? And do Hounds concur that this is a good list given what we're after?

Thanks!

May 20, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Rome -- in search of informal, rustic, carefully prepared, beautifully fresh cooking that doesn't break the bank

Greetings Hounds,

I see a ton of posts about restaurants in Rome but none that quite answers my particular question (at least not one I could easily find). I will be heading there for four days and nights in late June with two very adventurous kid eaters (11 and 13). We are looking for places that:

1) serve home style cooking and nothing too precious, dainty or haute -- simple food prepared well;

2) use impeccably fresh, seasonal ingredients (like our favorite haunts in San Francisco -- NOPA and Cotogna, for example);

3) do not break the bank! This will be part of a long trip, and we need to pace ourselves. I hope we'll be able to dine for under 40 Euros per person

Are Perilli, Urbana 47 and Settimio al Pellegrino places we should consider? And what others for lunch and dinner?

Thanks all,
Tobias

May 11, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Paris this summer

Hi all,
I'm writing again so as to raise the profile of my earlier post. Perhaps I've asked a bad question and one that's been broached previously on this board (though I think mine is somewhat different). I would appreciate advice if anybody's got any!
Thanks,
Tobias

May 08, 2012
Tobias in France

Paris this summer

Greetings Hounds,
I am coming to Paris this summer with my kids (11 and 13), and all three of us are committed epicures from San Francisco, a city where one can eat quite well. I am looking for a selection of bistros (as we will try to eat well on a healthy but not extraordinary budget) and am particularly interested in places like the ones Mark Bittman chronicled in his June 2009 article, "Alive and Evolving: The Paris Bistro." He gives favorable reviews to Le Gaigne, L’Epigramme, Itinéraires, and Les Papilles, all of them small, innovative and, he says, delicious. Are there others of this ilk I should consider? We are staying near the Sorbonne so are particularly interested in places near there, but we can also take the metro far and wide. I would also be curious to find a good brasserie or two in that 'hood.
Many thanks in advance to all who reply,
Tobias

May 01, 2012
Tobias in France

Agriturismo in Tuscany

OK, I found Da Toto, and the hotel isn't what we're after, but the restaurant does look great. I'm hoping to find more of a classic agriturismo with the typical olive grove, grape vines, old stone buildings, etc.

Il Melograno also looks great but I don't know that area. Does it have the kind of Tuscan countryside I'm after? I don't care about seeing Siena, Greve, Florence -- or other jam packed cities and towns -- but do want to be in a spot where I can get to amazing hill towns.

Apr 29, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Agriturismo in Tuscany

To clarify:

I actually made a mistake in replying to this thread rather than the one I started, so I understand the confusion that led to a snarky remark.

I have not entirely decided on the region of Tuscany I desire but am thinking about the Montalcino/Montepulciano/Pienza area and am considering Podere Spedalone. I don't mind something a little rustic and am looking for a place that is well located, has a nice pool, and has an excellent restaurant. We're more interested in quaint towns than Etruscan ruins. I'll be with my two kids, and our four days will likely be as follows: breakfast where we're staying; outing/hike/wandering about and visiting a town or two; lunch at said town; late afternoon return to our lodging followed by swim and dinner. I am from San Francisco where the food is outstanding and have pretty high standards for food so want to find a place that will keep us coming back for four nights.

I'm not entirely sure where Il Melograno is, as there are a few different places by that name that come up in a web search. Please do clarify. And does Da Toto have a pool? The pool is a must.

Thanks for all the help, folks.

Apr 29, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Agriturismo in Tuscany

The agenda includes seeing some beautiful hill towns, so it seems Il Melograno and Da Toto are not quite right. So my revised wish list includes: a nice agriturismo with pool and excellent restaurant and well located to visit hill towns (though we will probably skip Florence and Siena). Suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Apr 28, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Agriturismo in Tuscany

Yes, copious and detailed but also overwhelming. I want to be well located to see some beautiful hill towns, have a place with a pool and excellent restaurant and not spend a fortune -- something in the neighborhood of 200 Euros at most. I'll do some more searching of this board but would appreciate any more leads and specific recommendations.

Apr 26, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Agriturismo with great restaurant

Hounds,
I'm planning a trip to Italy and will have four days or so in Tuscany. I would like to stay at a nice agriturismo that has an excellent restaurant. It need not be fancy, as I'm looking for superb, local, rustic fare. Any thoughts?

Apr 25, 2012
Tobias in Italy

Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Foods store?

Are these nice folks ever going to bring back those amazing tortilla chips they used to make? For years they said they were waiting for a new machine of some sort, but I've stopped asking. I love their beans and popcorn, but the chips were incredible.

Mar 03, 2012
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Cole Valley -- anything worth eating?

I understand EOS is closing after many, many years and that there is a Mexican place going into that space and the wine bar. Anybody know the details?

Feb 19, 2012
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Cole Valley -- anything worth eating?

Is there anything worth eating in Cole Valley? I like the almond croissants at the Boulange and the burgers at Kezar (Cole and Carl) but haven't been to Eos in at least a decade, don't like the looks of that Bambino place and am not excited by these crepe chains. I guess there's an old fashioned ice cream place opening soon. Anything I'm overlooking? How's that no name sushi spot or the other one next to Bambino?

Jan 17, 2012
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Mumbai recs in and around Khar

I'll be in Mumbai for four days next week and am staying the Khar neighborhood. My group is willing to travel around the city for food so would love some recs both in that neighborhood and beyond.

Gujarati thali places are of interest, as are northern/tandoori and Mangalorean. Frankly, we're open to all sorts of food, as long as it's Indian of one sort or another. We are looking for meals around 600 rupees or less per person. Thanks in advance.

Dec 09, 2011
Tobias in India & South Asia

Nopa Menu

The menu does change a bit, but I do find myself wishing they would expand the limited offerings. They don't change quite enough for my liking, and they would be wise to add a dish or two in addition to switching things up more regularly.

That said, I think NOPA is a gem of a restaurant. I disagree with the comments that it's comfort food, as some of their preparations are pretty complex and delicate. The cocktails are first rate, the service attentive, and the food impeccably fresh.

Aug 12, 2011
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

What's the Vietnamese equivalent of Thai House Express?

I love Thai House Express and pick up from there all too often. What's the equivalent (spicy, authentic and delicious) Vietnamese place in SF?

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Thai House Express
901 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

May 26, 2011
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Jackson -- I need help in a hurry!

I'm heading to Jackson tomorrow for a handful of days, coming from San Francisco. I've got dinners figured out but could us some advice about where to find a good cup of coffee and where to get a solid breakfast. Lunch advice (salads, sandwiches, and more) would be welcome, too.

There isn't much about Jackson on these boards, and precious little about breakfast and lunch spots. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Aug 04, 2010
Tobias in Mountain States

Prospect

It's new, by Nancy Oakes of Boulevard fame. Anybody been?

Jul 03, 2010
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

tortilla chips

Similar, yes, but too expensive (five bucks for a small bag!) and a little too greasy. Needed a tad more salt, as well. Good chips but not as good as Rancho Gordo.

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Rancho Gordo
1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

Jun 29, 2010
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

Element by Fuego

I'm considering getting one of these: http://www.elementbyfuego.com/

Anybody had any experience with it?

May 31, 2010
Tobias in Cookware

tortilla chips

They're thick. This photo will give you a sense: http://ranchogordo.typepad.com/photos...

May 29, 2010
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

tortilla chips

I miss -- really, really miss -- the tortilla chips from Rancho Gordo and continue to look for a reasonable substitute. (I'm told the Rancho Gordo chips will return, but it's taking a long while.) The nice woman at the Rancho Gordo stand at the Ferry Bldg mentioned a brand from Marin that might do in the meantime, but I've forgotten the name. I'll find out again next Sat., but thought I would put this to you Chowhounders: What's your favorite chip?

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Rancho Gordo
1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

May 29, 2010
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area

What's looking good, in season for May?

Blueberries!

May 07, 2010
Tobias in San Francisco Bay Area