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Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

Thanks to everyone who provided their feedback. Due to a long day of flight delays and poor weather, we didn't visit all the places we hoped to, but still had a very satisfying visit. Here's a quick rundown:

Barney Greengrass - A unique establishment we wouldn't find anywhere else which is why I'm happy we visited. However, the prices and the quality of food (good not amazing) mean we probably won't return again. I liked the sturgeon sandwich and my partner had the Nova Scotia smoked salmon and eggs but overall, preferred the fish at Russ & Daughters.

Oyster Bar at Grand Central - Loved the room, the selection and the overall experience (another uniquely NYC place), but for a place that prides itself as an Oyster Bar, I found the oysters sloppily assembled with a couple tipped on their sides, spilling the coveted juices into the dish.

Uncle Boons - Overall, my favourite dining experience on this trip. Since one of my dining partners has an aversion to cilantro, I especially appreciate places that accommodate her, so we were very pleased that they were more than willing to take the herb out of every dish and put it on the side for the rest of us who love cilantro. Standouts: betal leaf wrap (meng kum) and crab fried rice (kow pat pu).

Attaboy - Turned out to be the only cocktail bar we would visit, but I'm glad we came here. While I was in a dark liquor sipping drink mood, my drinking mates gave the barkeeps some open-minded instructions and we were very pleased with the cocktails they came up with. Would recommend this for anyone who has a high tolerance for loud music and an open mind towards cocktails.

Maison Premier (Brooklyn) - Love the space and even though the restaurant wasn't close to capacity, the service was EXTREMELY slow. A simple basket of baked goods took a full hour to arrive and our server was MIA for much of the meal. The oyster prep, however, was done perfectly, much better than the Oyster Bar. Overall, the food was underwhelming, but I would return for more oysters and cocktails.

Balaboosta - Had a late meal here and admit I was just OK. Our table was literally an inch away from the next couples (one pair on each side) which I know is not uncommon in space-tight NYC, but still, it was akward. The raved about cauliflower was just OK, on the oily-side but the chicken was perfectly cooked.

I wish had more time but since we're only a short flight away, we'll be back soon! Thanks again everyone!

Jun 15, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan
1

Where can I find makgeolli (Korean rice wine) in Toronto?

I just had some at Oddseoul on Ossington. $25 for 750 ml which seems to be quite pricey. They put it in a fancy container and served it with shot glasses. It seemed to be an odd serving vessel since it's only about 7%.

More Torontonians Seeking Distinctly NYC Tastes

I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but in previous visits I've really enjoyed Danji and Hanjan for a modern take on Korean we don't have yet in Toronto. I prefer the latter because it's a bit more fun, but that's likely attributed to the many glasses of makgeolli I drank. That's another thing we don't have: makgeolli!

I do love Shake Shack but many Torontonians and TO-turned-NYC'ers argue that Burger's Priest has the superior burger. I'm on the fence, but SS has the better fries.

We do now have yakitori in TO, opened by the Guu folks (on Bloor, above Kinton Ramen). It's probably my least favourite of the Guu empire though. If you've visited, I'd love to know how it compares to Tori Shin since we are going to visit NYC next week. Thanks!

May 13, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

We are big fans of Middle Eastern. How does Gazala compare to Balaboosta? I know it's further away, but I just picked up the Balaboosta cookbook (without any context, just based on the cover and it was deeply discounted) and am now curious about Admony's restaurant.

Mar 24, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

I think the attraction lies in the fact that it's in Grand Central station. Thanks for the Aquagrill suggestion. Another friend had suggested it, so I may end up there, too.

The oyster list is back online: https://www.dropbox.com/s/v6mbf6yn074...

Mar 24, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

Thanks Irving Farm looks great and so close to the hotel!

Mar 22, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

@Kathryn Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions (and for clarifying Otto vs. Babbo). We have a lot to consider but some quick Qs for you:

Curious if you have any preference for our late night meal on the Saturday: Minetta Tavern, Balthazar or The Dutch?

Re: Empellon, are you referring to Tacqueria or the Cocina?

Thanks!

Mar 22, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

Two votes for GCOB, so we're going. Thanks!

Mar 22, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

Thank you, Jeremy!

I haven't ruled out going to Flushing since we have a friend in Queens. We have some great Chinese here in Toronto, but maybe not as diverse as Flushing. Any must-go-to places that you'd personally recommend?

Re: Babbo, I haven't been but we did go to Batali's Osteria Mozza in L.A. I like the idea of casual afternoon antipasti. Would we feel out of place if we walked in wearing jeans and carrying shopping bags?

Love Japanese, so we welcome suggestions especially of the fun and not-too-fancy kind.

As for Hanjan, yes, I really like it there, more than Danji. Do try it and let me know what you think.

Mar 22, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Critique my NYC food itinerary, please!

My partner and I are coming to town in May for a 3 night visit. I’m a regular visitor (from Toronto) but this will be my first non-business trip in a while and we’d like to make the best of it food-wise. On our previous trips, we’ve eaten at WD-50, Ma Peche, Milk Bar, Craftbar, Breslin, Russ & Daughters, Shake Shack, Chelsea Market, Eataly, Hanjan, Danji and other less notable places.

On this visit, we’ve opted to stay in the Upper West Side at NYLO (77th & Broadway) and we’ve done the major touristy stuff already. We’ll obviously be taking in other neighbourhoods (including a trip out to Brooklyn) but I’d love your suggestions and feedback on my proposed itinerary:

Thursday:
Dinner: Jacob’s Pickles or Red Farm
Drinks: Manhattan Cricket Club (any good?)
I made these choices assuming we’d be too tired to travel far but Is it worth taking a short cab ride to other food options a bit further and if yes, where should we go?

Friday:
Breakfast: Barney Greengrass
Lunch: Xi’an Famous Foods or Shake Shack
Dinner: Uncle Boons, Fatty Crab, return to Hanjan (my partner hasn't been there) or somewhere else (preferably ethnic).

Saturday:
Brunch: Probably the Brooklyn Flea, but if whether’s bad we’ll need Manhattan brunch suggestions
Pre-theatre drinks: Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station - read mixed reviews, is it worth a visit for a drink and oysters?
Post-theatre drinks: Rum House (love it here when there’s live music)
Later dinner: Minetta Tavern, Balthazar or The Dutch? Please also suggest good bars near these restaurants.

Sunday:
Breakfast: Murray’s Sturgeon - sounds like it’s takeout only, what do you recommend?

Other places we plan to visit: Big Gay Ice Cream, Levain Bakery, Zabars, Gray's Papaya, Sal and Carmine's Pizza

Additional questions:
- One of the reasons I liked Hanjan so much is the makgeolli (Korean farmer beer) where else do they serve it?
- Where are the best coffee shops in UWS?
- We love cocktails, what are your favourite cocktail bars in Manhattan?
- Is there a glaring omission in my itinerary?

Thanks so much. This board has already been so helpful!

Mar 22, 2014
foxymoron in Manhattan

Fine Liquor Store in Vegas

I love beer and wine, too, but with the customs regulations I think it's more "worth it" to bring back liquor.

If you have suggestions for great local beers/wines I should try while in town (and where), I'd love to hear them!

Oct 30, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

Fine Liquor Store in Vegas

Thanks for your feedback, everyone!

Just looking at Total Wine's website shows my bottle of Zacapa is in stock and listed at $40, 50% off the price in Ontario. I will definitely visit it and likely, Lee's as well, since it's closer.

Oct 30, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

Fine Liquor Store in Vegas

We're arriving in Vegas next week, from Toronto, Ontario, the land of government controlled liquor and beer stores. This results in a limited selection and high prices of wine and liquor. I'd really like to return to Canada with a couple bottles of good quality liquors we can't get (or are very expensive) here in Toronto.

I'm especially interested in high quality rums (Zacapa is my current favourite) and bourbon we can't get. My in-laws are also big scotch drinkers so it would be nice to get them a gift.

Can you please recommend a store(s) with good selection of rum, bourbon and/or scotch? We also love collecting bitters so cocktail specialty shops would be great, too!

We are staying on the Strip but will have a car and am willing to travel up to 30 min off-strip.

Thanks!

Oct 29, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

é by José Andrés vs. WD-50 (and other notable molecular gastronomy destinations)

Thanks for your response! I like pairings as well, I just find myself quite drunk afterwards and unable to properly appreciate the last few courses of food. I'll be interested in seeing their beverage menu. Maybe we'll do one non-alcoholic pairing. Thanks again!

Oct 13, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

é by José Andrés vs. WD-50 (and other notable molecular gastronomy destinations)

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. After reading your comment and other threads about e, I am convinced we should go there. We decided to skip going to a Cirque show so we could enjoy a fancy meal and it sounds like this is the most entertaining of options in Vegas.

I noticed you recently commented on a thread about Momofuku Shoto in Toronto. Please let me know if I can help you with your Toronto food/drink planning when you decided to visit.

Cheers!

Oct 13, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

é by José Andrés vs. WD-50 (and other notable molecular gastronomy destinations)

Hello!

We're going to Vegas in November and will be celebrating my partner's 30th birthday while there. Of all the notable restaurants I've read about é by José Andrés sounds the most fun, but it's also one of the more pricey outings. I think we'd be willing to fork over the money if we thought it would surpass our experience at NYC's WD-50 earlier this year—or was very different. We did the tasting menu at WD-50, sat at the bar and had a great time, but I wonder if because both José and Wylie are both molecular gastronomy chefs, the experiences would be similar.

Has anyone dined at both of these restaurants. Would you recommend é if we had recently been to WD-50?

Also, what's the beverage program like? We enjoy drinking, but tend not to get wine pairings so we can chose the wines/cockails we'd like.

Thanks, looking forward to your feedback!

AC

Oct 13, 2012
foxymoron in Las Vegas

Montreal group dinner for 8 carnivores, 1 pescatarian and a vegan

Thanks for your suggestions. I really like the look of Holder for brunch and I've passed the idea on to the trip organizer. For dinner, we've made a reservation at Salle a Manger. They said they would "sauté some vegetables" for the vegan.

Montreal group dinner for 8 carnivores, 1 pescatarian and a vegan

Hello fellow eaters,

We're a bachelorette party visiting Montreal (from Toronto). There are 10 of us, most of us are adventurous foodies and love to eat and drink well.

For our Saturday night dinner, we're looking for the following:
- vegan-friendly-ish: I don't expect to find a menu with a vegan dish but hope we can find a restaurant that would at least accommodate us by adapting one of its vegetarian dishes for her.
- will take a reservation for 10 on a Saturday night
- mains about $20-30
- fun atmosphere where patrons can wear a party dress or jeans
- we're flexible on cuisine

For Sunday brunch, we just need a place that will take a reservation and is relatively close to Old Montreal, where we're staying.

Thanks in advance for your help!

A

New Gins: Will Somebody Please Love Them?

Bloom is "the first premium gin distilled, blended and balanced specifically for the female palate..." REALLY?! Oh come on.

Aug 19, 2011
foxymoron in Features

ISO Meyer Lemons

Fiesta Farms had them a few weeks ago and they looked decent.

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Fiesta Farms
200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

ISO a great Mac and Cheese

I gotta second (third?) the recommendation for Harlem's mac and cheese. I've also enjoyed the one that Mitzi's Sister offers. There's a bit of blue in there so it may not be for everyone.

South side of Harbord, just east of Ossington

The Roxton, one of the best burgers in the city, I think. Enjoy!

Fantaxia - any reviews?

Was there on Sunday on Mother's Day. Very good and unbelievable value. I was also impressed with the portion sizes. I'll be organizing another trip there soon.

Thai-to-Go....impressed!

I've never been there, but we just ordered from Thai2Go this week. Still like the royal pad thai. The penang sauce is good, but I find they're skimpy with beef.

City mouse, country mouse

For beer, what about Smokeless Joe's? You'll be very close by as it's on John, a few steps north of Adelaide. It's a bit pricey, but the selection is great. It's also a lot more chill than Biermarkt, Beer Bistro and Volo (though I've not been to the latter).

My favourite gelato place is still Hollywood Gelato, especially since Solferino is closed. Others might also suggest Kensington Organic off of Queen W, but I have had mixed experiences there.

Lately, my favourite brunch spots are Cool Hand of A Girl in the Junction and Saving Grace. Expect a wait if you go to the latter. It's tiny.

As for ethnic food, you'll have to be a bit more specific. Are there a couple kinds of food you're interested in?

Any Winterlicious standouts this year?

Pizza Libretto is running an unofficial Winterlicious prix fixe menu at $25. I went last night and it was fantastic. Runs til the 12th: http://www.pizzerialibretto.com/menu....

Any Winterlicious standouts this year?

Shiro, was your lamb covered in a thick curry too?

Where to find Halloumi cheese in Toronto

I got it at Loblaws in the summer, but I haven't seen it since. I believe it was President's Choice brand, too.

Any Winterlicious standouts this year?

I'm sorry, BokChoi. We went to EDO on Sunday and unfortunately, I was underwhelmed.

The menu is here: http://www.toronto.com/winterlicious/... but please note it's slightly different at the restaurant. There are actually four courses + the salmon pizza amuse bouche. Sushi is not an appetizer option, but instead a second course.

To start, my SO got the tuna carpacchio while I chose the corn chowder and kobe beef sausage. I should have followed her lead because the chowder was just OK. I know BokChoi enjoyed them, but I found the kobe beef sausages to be little more than glamourized hot dogs. Yummy, but when I think sausages, I think thick, textured links. The tuna was relatively good, but not as nice as similar dishes we've tried elsewhere.

We chose both the non-vegetarian sushi plate and it was the highlight of the meal. On the dish: maguro, sake and spicy scallop + tobiko nigiri and a maki-like cold spring roll filled with avocado, tempura shrimp and asparagus.

For the main course, I had the lamb chops while she had the black cod. Again, my SO made the better decision. While the online menu describes it as "lamb chops with seven flavour chili pepper," my chops were covered in a thick Japanese curry. They were nicely cooked, the sauce was too greasy-tasting and rich for me. I get a little suspicious when pungent flavours overpower a meat...(perhaps its the "air of staleness" that pinstripeprincess referred to above?

)

Lastly, we ended with the yuzu cheesecake and black sesame panna cotta. The cheesecake was nice and light. The panna cotta was creamy but lacked a strong black sesame presence.

Overall, it was a disappointment. We still had a nice time, but EDO wow us. I'd visit again if I was in the neighbourhood, but it's not somewhere I'd go out of the way for. If I do go, I'll stick to the sushi bar offerings.

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Edo
484 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M5N1A5, CA

Johnny Rockets

We went to JR in downtown Toronto and while the food was decent for diner food, we found it quite pricey. Two of us shared a malted shake, onion rings and patty melt (that doesn't come with a side) and the bill came to the high 20s, $28, I think. We won't be going back for food, but maybe the shakes and floats.