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Orlando Choice

I had heard good things about them and thought that they might be able to accommodate a group of 8. I also tend to stay away from steak and chop houses.

Mar 12, 2014
pec23 in Florida

Orlando Choice

I had heard good things about them and thought that they might be able to accommodate a group of 8. I also tend to stay away from steak and chop houses.

Mar 12, 2014
pec23 in Florida

Orlando Choice

I am going to be at a conference at the Grande Lakes, and eating there most of the time. For a break from Primo and Norman's, eight of us are considering either Seasons 52 or Oceanaire. Does anyone want to weigh in on a preference or suggest an alternative? Thanks.

Mar 07, 2014
pec23 in Florida

Kurozato

Thinks for the tip. Mitsuwa is a real treasure.

Apr 20, 2013
pec23 in Chicago Area

Kurozato

Does anybody have an idea where I can find kurozato (Japanese black sugar) in the Chicago area? I have tried Filipino groceries without success and do not know where there are any Japanese markets.

Thanks.

Apr 19, 2013
pec23 in Chicago Area

If not Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, where?

Thanks for the thought. I did not take it personally, but I wanted to share my experience. For me, at least, part of the dining experience is the "hospitality." What made Union Square Cafe so special was not just the food, but that Danny Meyer made you feel prized and welcomed. My wife and I still joke about the "bon soir" chorus we received when we were seated at Taillevent in Paris. Though the demand for tables at these two restaurants clearly exceeded the supply, the people at the front of the house made each diner feel special and irreplaceable. Does that mean that hospitality can overcome mediocre cooking? Not in the slightest. But even the best food becomes tougher to swallow in the wrong atmosphere.

It is important for us, the community of diners, to be vocal about unpleasant dining experiences. First, we should warn others so that they do not suffer the same disappointment. Second, we should hope that an interested restauranteur will take note and change its ways. Finally, however, we should help push restaurants to improve their food and service, by patronizing those restaurants with wonderful food and service, and not patronizing restaurants that fail either gastronomically or hospitality-wise. To that end, someone searching "da Danilo" on Chowhound will likely see this discussion and think twice.

Sep 20, 2012
pec23 in Italy

If not Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, where?

Well, I am just back from Italy, and will report in more detail later, but I did want to close the loop on this posting.

Unfortunately, I talked myself out of Taverna dei Fora, which sounds like it would have been delightful. In its place, I chose to dine at da Danilo, which turned out to be the one real mistake of my trip.

I am attaching below what I wrote on TripAdvisor. Sorry for the duplication, but I am not sure what the overlap is between the users:

"What should we expect in a restaurant? Is good food -- in fact, a simple good dish -- sufficient to overlook inhospitality? That is a question that confronts all of us who dine and who love gourmet cuisine. Should we overlook hostile service in pursuit of high cuisine?

In search of preeminent pasta carbonara, I had made a reservation about two weeks ago at Trattoria da Danillo. There seemed to be a consensus that the pasta was exceptional, but opinion varied on the service. I reasoned that some of the complaints came from rude or inflexible customers, and figured, in any event, I could gently acquire the service I desired.

We arrived at the restaurant at 8:00 -- the hour of our reservation -- and received a friendly greeting at the door by one of the owners, who confirmed the reservation. The upstairs dining room was half-filled, and we saw a lovely table for two mid-way back. The hostess promptly directed that we be seated in the basement/dugeon? I asked if we could sit upstairs, where it seemed to be more lively. No, I was told, the restaurant was filled. But I made my reservation two weeks ago and there were plenty of empty tables, couldn't we have one of those? No. They were taken. You must go downstairs.

So downstairs we went, where one other American couple occupied the lonely space. Again, I asked the waiter and the hostess, was it not possible to sit upstairs? No, the owner, insisted it was not.

That put me in a dilemma. To paraphrase the Clash, do I stay or do I go? Truthfully, after a solid day of sight-seeing and quite a few miles of walking, I was too tired to get up and go somewhere else. The two young waiters downstairs were apologetic and embarassed, and assured us that the would take good care of us, which they did. Still, I could not quite get my arms around the way that we had been treated.

Soon, we were joined by three other American couples. Americans are perfectly nice, and I carry my passport with pride. That being said, I had not come to Italy to be horded into an American ghetto, where are money but not our persons were acceptable. The owners were happy to confine their American tourists to the basement, I suppose to make sure that we didn't interfere with their Roman guests' evenings.

Now, to the food, the pasta carbonara is top notch. The rest of the meal, particularly the lamb, less so. But I must admit to my bias. I simply could not overcome having been treated so shabbily.

I think that that is where we come in as guests. Part of the dining experience is and should be 'hospitality.' If da Danilo is unable to show its guests -- particularly its foreign guests -- hospitality, then it simply does not deserve our commerce. There are too many restaurants in this world where the proprietors will not stop to make us feel special. As da Danilo is not one, you should avoid it. "

Long story short, Trattoria Monti was exquisite (I had lamb chops with a white wine and mustard sauce) was spectacular. L'Assina d'ora was funky and delicious. In particular, the linguini with a white pigeon sauce was delightful. Sadly, da Danilo was just not pleasant, pasta carbonara notwithstanding.

I thank everyone for their time and efforts in helping make this a delightful vacation.

Sep 19, 2012
pec23 in Italy

Dinner near La Fenice in Venice

On our third night in Venice, my wife and I will be attending La Traviata at La Fenice (it makes me smile just to think of it). The curtain rises at 7:00 pm, and I would rather have a late post-theater dinner nearby, but I have the sense that Venetian kitchens close relatively early. We hope to dine at Trattoria Antiche Carampane and Osteria La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi the previous nights. Thank you for any suggestions.

Aug 27, 2012
pec23 in Italy

If not Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, where?

Thanks for the comments. It looks liked either L'Asino D'Oro or Da Danilo. I know that we are not quite comparing apples and oranges, but I would appreciate opinions and recommendations.
'Thanks again.

Aug 25, 2012
pec23 in Italy

If not Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, where?

It seems that success has gone to the head of La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, and that it no longer lives up to the glowing reviews of just a few years ago. I am saddened, because the restaurant seemed so promising. But that now leaves a hole on my gastronomic schedule for September 14th. We will be at Trattoria Monti on the 13th and Roscioli on 15th, but I am hoping for someplace "Roman" on the 14th. Thanks for your suggestions.

Aug 24, 2012
pec23 in Italy

French Sausage Safari

Thank everyone for your suggestions. We ended up procuring both Morteau and Toulouse sausage at Publican Quality Meats. We first met with skepticism that there could be anything so special about a French sausage. But doubt turned to worshipful admiration as our guests tasted the delightful grilled aucissons. Thank you all for your suggestions and recommendations

Jul 19, 2012
pec23 in Chicago Area

French Sausage Safari

I am having a picnic in honor of Bastille Day and am in search of French sausages. In particular, i am trying to track down a Morteau and a Toulouse. Fox & Obel doesn't carry it; Gene's Sausage, a fine purveyor of Central European sausage does not carry any either. I have suggested to my better half that I could just fly over to Paris and pick some up and still be back for the 14th, but she has given me a look that suggests that it is not such a good idea. Anybody here have any suggestions of a Chicago purveyor of French sausages?

Jul 07, 2012
pec23 in Chicago Area

South Beach Dinner for 16

I am attending a conference and looking for an interesting dinner location where 16 of us can eat and talk. It would be great if the restaurant were closer to Mid-Beach. I was a big fan of the long-since departed Splendid Blended in Delray.

Thanks for the help.

Mar 09, 2012
pec23 in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Rehearsal Dinner in Richmond

My brother is getting married in Richmond, Virginia, in June, and my wife and I would like to host a rehearsal dinner for about 20 people. We would like something delicious and elegant, without being snooty or oppressive. Neither my brother nor his fiance eat beef, though they do eat fish and seafood. Please help out this Chicago "hound" with your suggestions and recommendations.

Apr 14, 2008
pec23 in General South Archive