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Dining in Maui Week of Nov. 8th 2009

Tonight we cooked in. Porterhouse on the grill florentine style with olive oil and garlic. GF made a mashed potato with Surfing Goat Chive Cheese and bacon (stole it from Hula Grill last night). Pan fried some Maui onion and mushrooms to go with the steak. Had a Pride Cabernet I brought from home. Beautiful, very satisfied. Bought the meat at Lahaina Grocery. For lack of a better description the Whole Foods of Lahaina. Beautiful steaks, well marbled, cut very thick. While there bought some Poke with wasabi, and surf clams as an appetizer. Very ;nice night at a fraction of the cost.

BTW decided on Mama's for last night on way to airport tomorrow night.

Nov 12, 2009
ciesel in Hawaii

Dining in Maui Week of Nov. 8th 2009

I'd give it a try based on my experience. Can's say enough about the lamb and tuna I described. Not sure you have to do the tasting, but those two dishes shined. If you have the lamb, definitely go with the wine match I chose!!

Nov 11, 2009
ciesel in Hawaii

Dining in Maui Week of Nov. 8th 2009

This will be much shorter as only had dinner, not tasting, only a couple of courses. Started with the tuna taco. GF enjoyed I thought a bit salty, but tuna was very good. My Entree was the tandori fish with cucumber yogurt raita. Very spicy but very good. A VERY well prepared piece of seafood. Moist with great flavor, the raita perfectly complemented the spiciness of the fish. GF had the Hawaiin Fish Mixed Grill with Mahi Mahi, Shrimp, Scallops, Maui Onion, Shitake mushrooms and lemon beurre blanc. She wasn't sure were the mushrooms fit in, but said the fish and other seafood was excellent and extremely well prepared. A constant it would seem here. For the rice she subsituted the mashed potaotes, and then upcharged to the bacon and goat cheese version (Surfing Goat cheese from Maui, a must stop, very good). These were excellent only part of her dish I tasted and I kept dipping back in, thankful for her understanding.

All in all very good food ant a fairly reasonable price. Would definitely revisit.

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Hula Grill - Kaanapali
2435 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina, HI 96761

Nov 11, 2009
ciesel in Hawaii

Dining in Maui Week of Nov. 8th 2009

Thanks Juji, leaning that way myself, but at this point really confused.

Just got back from Lahaina Grill . First off, David Paul's is NOT Lahina Grill. World of difference. Loved this meal. Service was top notch. Complete opposite of DP's. Friendly, attentive, interested in us and our wants. Informative, explained each dish in depth and consulted on the wine. IMHO, David Paul's doesn't last another three months unless it gets its act together.

Again did the tasting menu.They say four courses, but really twelve since each course is 3 tastings. Do tastings all of the time in Chicago but nothing like these. So much food. No Mas.

Started with apps. Had the Cake Walk. Three seperate "cakes", Kona lobster crab cake, sweet Louisiana rock shrimp cake and seared ahi cake. Hard to pick a winner, but going with the rock shrimp. Since all had some heat, served with a Riesling. Very nice.

Salads were three courses. Bufala Tomato Salad. Hana tomatoes, bufala mozzarella, truffle oil, aged balsamic vinaigrette, seasoned with black Kilauea sea salt. ; Baby Romaine Ceaser Sald with garlic-anchovy dressing, croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese; and the daily special a beet salad. All were very good, wines match was o.k. After this and DP's I'm thinking they should start skipping this course. Both were o.k., but not memorable.

For course three GF got the meat, I got the seafood. For the meat she recieved: Kona Coffee roasted rack of lamb, light coffee-cabernet demi-glace, herb infused mashed potatoes; Kalua Duck confit of duck leg, thyme scented wild rice, plum wine reduction; and Steak Jolene, a beef filet, topped with a potato wrapped prawn, herb infused mashed potatoes, whole grain mustard port wine demi-glace. There was a choice at this point re: the pairing so I suggested she get the La Joya, Gran Reserve 2005 Merlot from Chile. She thought the steak was extremely well prepared, with great flavor, the duck so so, but the lamb... with the wine OMG. Amazing. Was like drining a cup of coffeee and the flavor with two went on forever. This was the only portion i tasted, with a sip of the wine, and if I ever go back I'm getting this combo. One of my favorite dishes all time with a pairing, bar none.

I got the seafood for the third course: maui onion and sesame seed crusted seared ahi
Vanilla bean Jasmine rice, apple cider-soy butter vinaigrette; tequila shrimp and firecracker rice with southwestern herbs and spices and tequila butter; and sautéed mahi-mahi with Kula spinach, herb infused mashed potatoes, Gorgonzola, pancetta and Chardonnay beurre blanc. Tuna was amazing, when I go back it will be a tough choice between the Ahi, and the lamb. Flavor went on forever. The mahi mahi was very good. Cooked to perfection with an intense, very intereresting flavor, a solid choice. Shrimp was least impressive overall but very good. I'm not a huge shrimp fan, but i absolutely loved the rice that came with this. It tasted like buttah.

Desserts were also amazing. Triple Berry pie, a combination of raspberries, blueberries, and black currants on a cloud of whipped cream. Loved the crust on this dish and berry flavors with our port went on and on. Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee infused with Tahitian vanilla beans, served with fresh berries and a home style cookie was very good, but it was Creme Brulee, my favorite desert, but a good one is a good one and this was very good. Road to Hana lyers of Hawaiian vintage chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream mousse, and macadamia nut caramel. this was my GF's favorite, and the flavors were decedent. Sunken Chocolate Cake Flourless chocolate with Kona coffee ice cream. Absolutely wonderful, wished I'd save some of that Merlot for the coffee notes.

All in all a wonderful overall experience. DP's, I'm sorry to say, isn't in the same league, and should not be spoken of in the same breath. This was a little more expensive, $300 vs. $180, but amazing service, presentation and food. A must stop.

Nov 10, 2009
ciesel in Hawaii

Dining in Maui Week of Nov. 8th 2009

Just arrived and thought I'd update some postings. Have had three meals so far, and will add comments to this post going forward.

1. !st night ate at Sensei. Girlfriend and I enjoyed, but some dishes much better than others. Service was very good. Reservation promptly honored. Focused 100% on "sushi" options. For the food: Had the Sansho-Crusted Ahi Tataki. I'm a big fan of Tuna Tataki, but this one missed the boat. Tuna was overcooked, and tuna didn't seem fresh. Good concept that was poorly executed. Also had the Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll and this was a home run. Ahi was great, and the blend of flavors left you wanting more.; Caterpillar Roll
Unagi rolled inside-out, wrapped with avocado and topped with Masago and unagi glaze was also very good. Had the Otoro sashimi, which as Otoro usually is, was quite expensive. Flavor and mouth feel were excellent, but two of the pieces had slight discoloration toward one end, which we avoided, no mention was made of our neglect of these pieces. Also had the Fresh Hawaiian Ahi Carpaccio Sashimi flattened thin and served with cilantro, roasted peanuts, lime zest and sweet Thai vinaigrette. This was also excellent and had us wanting more. Overall slightly above average food, and the price considering it was sushi was fair. Would most likely go back.

Second night went to David Paul's Island Grill. Let me start off by saying i wanted to love this place. Unfortunately the overall experience, especially given the price was severly lacking. We had the tasting menu, with matching wines. I don't think a single wine matched a single dish we had. The worst insult, and i'm getting ahead of myself was the sparkling wine, dry, served with the desert course of creme brulee, and pumpkin cheesecake (both absolutely to die for, especitally the cheesecake, OMG). But sparking wine? Blech. Not a single wine was memorable, and worse, they did nothing to compliment the meal, and actually worked against it. The amuse bouche was outstanding a crab bruchette that lingered for minutes. We both then chose the black been soup, again a solid winner, that had us very excited at that point in the evening. Then the vegetable course, Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad which was Caesar dressing and loose Brussels sprout leaves served with warm polenta croutons, anchovy filet and shaved Reggiano Parmigiano cheese, nice but not overwhelming. Also had some sort of box tomatoe salad. The only thing memorable was the tartness of the vinegar with the dish, and I'm not saying that in a positive way. But come on it was the veggie course, the seafood and meat would bring us home. The seafood started off very promising with Sautéed Opakapaka with Sweet Maui onion soft polenta, pickled Maui onions and Maui onion jus. Fish was cooked perfectly and the sweetness of the onios was great with this dish. The wine, blech. However, the second part of the seafood tasting was a squash ravioli with a bit of poached lobster. Basically a pasta course with a smidgen of lobster, while the pasta was very good, don't think this really qualifies as seafood. Finally the meat courses. A duck confit was so so, but very dry. Also had a Barolo braised short rib. I didn't think it was possible to have a braised short rib that was so tender that it fell aprat in your mouth, but at the same time was so dry that you could barely swallow. The overall impression of the meat was they were prepared will ahead of time and then heated up before being plated. Boring and not acceptable. I've mentioned the deserts, wow. Overall given the total uneveness of the dishes, along with what I consider indifferent service, no personality, no description of the food, no understanding of the wine and why chosen, won't go back.

Evening three - just got back from Bev Gannon's Hali'imaile General Store on the way back from Haleakala National Park and the Surfing Goat farm. Both must stops by the way. This was a meal!! Service, food, atmosphere, the whole nine yards. We had been planning on going to Mama's on the way to the airport for our 10PM flight, but I think we might go back here. Started with the daily soup. A coconut curry chicken soup that was absolutely stunning. Smelled it on the way back to our seats to be seated and had to get it. Was amazing. We then shared the Sashimi Napoleon - Layers of smoked salmon, Ahi tartare, sashimi Ahi, and crispy wontons with wasabi vinaigrette on top of a bed of greens. We each took a bite, stared at each other, and then dug in. Stunning flavor combinations, absolutely extremely fresh fish, couldn't get enough. Didn't say a word to each other except Hmmmm as we ate our way through it. I had the Coconut Seafood Curry with fish, shrimp and diver scallop, steamed in coconut milk mixed with home made green curry paste, Jasmine rice. Coldn't pass it up as I'm a sucker for coconut curries and this one did not dissapoint. Loved every bite. My GF had the catch of the day, mahi mahi, macadamia nut crusted with tropical fruit salsa, mashed purple sweet potatoes, mango lilikoi butter sauce. Fish was cooked beautiffully and the flavors were out of this world. Waiter had recommended a 2006 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir to go with these, and I had my doubts, but went fabously with both dishes, still not sure how. Service was attentive without being intrusive. Would go back in a heart beat.

Tomorrow going to Lahaina Grill and will post again. Not sure on next couple of nights.

Nov 09, 2009
ciesel in Hawaii

pizza party for 100

Connie's by Sox park

Apr 16, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

Good Seafood in the LOOP?

Catch 35 - Yes

Houlihan's - OMG, must be an employee

Apr 16, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

Boston Hound coming to Chicago for a weekend

Pizza, I vote for Gino's East. Good God Man, they have the sausage wheel!!!

Frontera Grill, must stop.

Breakfast, second the Bongo Room on Roosevelt.

Lunch, must have Chicago is an Italian Beef, make sure it's dipped. Portilio's is good, so is Al's

Also second Hot Doug's but might be hard to get to without a car. On weekends, they have duck fat fries!

Apr 16, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

IF you had to choose 2 places downtown

1. A Mano, small plate Italian. Half orders of pasta, and great antipasti

2. Opera - South Loop - On Sundays and Tuesdays $28.95 Three Course Prix-Fixe Dinner choose any appetizer or salad, and any entree and any dessert. Menu link below. I cheated on the $25, but it's a great deal.

http://www.opera-chicago.com/ClientFi...

Apr 16, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

3 Days - 4 Choices

1. I know it's a chain, but I've always like Ruth's Chris, nothing beats the sound of the butter sizzling on the platter when they bring your steak, otherwise I second Gibson's, potatoes the size of your head.

2. For an authentic tratorria experience, A Mano below Bin 36. Loved the aged salumis.

3. It's a hike, but love Baracco's in Evergreen Park. My daughter went to U of Wisconsin in Madison and her friend's begged her to bring back the stuffed after tasting it when they stayed at my house.

4. Sorry, no Wrigley for me, but for gourmet sausages (and duck fat fries on weekends) absolutely can't beat Hot Doug's near Wrigleyville (sort of), just west of Western Ave. South of Irving Park.

Apr 16, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

Unmissable fine dining, chicago?

Can't go wrong with North Pond in Lincoln Park. Seasonal tasting menu with matching wines is an excellent way to go. Also, beautiful views of the lagoon, with the skyline as a backdrop.

http://www.northpondrestaurant.com/te...

Spiaggia is the only four star Italian experience in Chicago. Beautiful setting with beautiful food.

http://www.levyrestaurants.com/Levy/D...

For a fine dining Mexican experience go to Topolobampo of Rick Bayless fame. Hard to get into, so make reservations well in advance.

http://www.fronterakitchens.com/resta...

That's three very different experiences and menus. So many more one could suggest, but so little time!!

Apr 12, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

South Suburban Hidden Gems

You ask a difficult question, because what type of place do you want? Some people are giving you more formal, some burger joints. I for example, wouldn't recommend Palermo's except perhaps for the pizza. While I agree with Tin Fish, I've heard others on the South Side, say it's too expensive (it's much cheaper than city counterparts by the way). It would be helpful to narrow down your question.

Apr 12, 2008
ciesel in Chicago Area

Ideale or Trattoria Contadina

We're from Chicago and ate at Trattoria Contadina last week. Very dissapointed after it being recommended by several frineds in San Francisco. Very average food, nothing special. My veal was overcooked, and tasted like something I could have made at home.

Apr 12, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Ideas for great,mid-range dining in SF?

Just got back and ate at Tadich Grill. Not modern at all, but solid seafood at reasonable prices. We enjoyed the experience,

Apr 12, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Late Night Arrival, Late Dinner

After arriving very late due to flight delays, opted for familiar Union street. Perry's was still there. Overall o.k. experience, nothing great.

Side note, I've read a lot of opinions on this board regarding Tadich Grill. I'm from Chicago, and because of O'Hare we get our share of good seafood at any number of local establishments. You have a gem at Tadich. Not the best seafood I've had (we had sole and sand dabs as advised), but very good as were sides and good efficient service at a reasonalbe price. Well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Apr 12, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Late Night Arrival, Late Dinner

I know the hour's late and my plane is leaving in a few hours, but when I leaved in town for about three months about 10 years ago, I remember a lot of places along Union street. Some must serve food late. I recall going to Perry's (??), about it. Suggestions in that area? If I remember, lot of bars too.

Apr 04, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Late Night Arrival, Late Dinner

Thanks everyone. I'll definitely report back. Won't be back to Chicago until Friday next week.

Apr 04, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Late Night Arrival, Late Dinner

Thanks for the feedback, probably give Rose Pistola, or O'Neil's a shot. Depending on how late I get in, maybe try my luck in Chinatown

Apr 03, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area

Late Night Arrival, Late Dinner

Arriving in Wharf area ( I know nothing in that area) around 10:30 Friday night. Looking for something casual in area or short cab ride away. Nothing fancy, just good food after a long day. Any suggestions.

Apr 02, 2008
ciesel in San Francisco Bay Area