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baconstrip's Profile

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Tabelog vs AskU

I live in Kyoto and use frequently to make decisions on where to eat. It's a site that ranks restaurants from reviewers' ratings. I also post comments on the site for restaurants I've visited.

It's a good guide for Kyoto. I'm familiar with the city and the restaurants recommended there. I'm not sure if it's the same for other cities in Japan, though.

The site has many avid reviewers. It's a good way to choose your favored reviewers by seeing if you agree with their ratings and comments. I count more on my preferred reviewers' than the overall ranking since, as someone else pointed out, that the number of reveiws don't seem to get factored in as much as the actual rating of one review.

Jul 16, 2008
baconstrip in Japan

Summer in MSP!!!

Thanks everyone! They all sound great! I hear storm's a-comin', so I'll get myself over to one of the suggested places tout de suite! I'm thinking either Stella's or Sea Salt for one of the first visits.

I've been doing some outdoor cooking with my family. I forgot how good Minnesota corn and watermelon taste! Not to mention dry-aged beef from good-ol' Byerly's ;-)

Summer in MSP!!!

What are your favorite spots in the TC in the summer? The rooftop at Joe's Garage? Breakfast at Sunnyside? Are there new spots worth exploring?

I haven't been living in MSP for a few years, but have always enjoyed cocktails at Pracna's and hanging out at Bryant Lake Bowl, munching on my TAB (turkey, avocado, bacon) sandwich and sipping Summit PA.

I'm going to be in town for about a week. Dear MSP hounds, please help me with new places and old favorites I need to check out!

Restaurants with Sensational Desserts

Adour, the new Alain Ducasse restaurant in St. Regis hotel, is somewhere I'd check out. The pastry chef there, Sandro Micheli from the ADNY days, has always made such innovative and delicious desserts.

Apr 24, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

Babbo Reservations ... Help!

I've just shown up on the early side, 5:30 to 6. There are usually bar tables open. Also, I've been offered a table in the dining room with time constraints (out by 8:30, for instance). Babbo is a hard place to get a "normal" reservation, but there are ways around it.

Apr 24, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

Let's talk store-bought yogurt -- what do you like?

i like creamy yogurt. no low-fat or non-fat.

my favorite is Stonyfield Farm Yo Baby six-packs. they are nice and creamy without being too sugary. the portion size is just right too. it's higher in fat but the calories (110 calories, 13 grams of sugar per container) are lower than low-fat yogurt 1.5 times the size and sugar (dannon low-fat with 170 calories and 30 grams of sugar)!

Jan 24, 2008
baconstrip in General Topics

Gramercy Tavern: tasting menu or regular menu?

I'm assuming you have a reso in the dining room. I like ordering a la carte in the tavern area for a casual fun thing.

My friend and I did tasting menus in the dining room a few weeks ago. They actually made two separate tasting menus for us involving 9 courses and 17 dishes total (the first dessert was more of a platate cleanser and the same for both of us).

When you have that many dishes to cook, of course, some are going to be not perfect. The squid ink pasta dish was overly salty and there were a couple other unmemorable ones. The desserts weren't particularly interesting, except for the pre-dessert palate cleanser with perfectly rehydrated tapioca.

But overall we were very impressed. I'd do it again.

I guess the only thing is that it does take a bit of time to do the tasting menu. You should committ good 3.5 hours at the restaurant. Also, if you are going with 3 people, you may taste more dishes (3 appetizers, 3 entrees, 1 or 2 shared middle course, 3 desserts, maybe 1 more extra) than doing the tasting menu for all of you.

If your folks are also foodies and like to switch plates, I'd say do a la carte. The restaurant is formal, but casual enough to feel comfortable sharing.

Jan 23, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

MSP Suggestions for Football-Watching Bars

How about the Superbowl? Is there a Giants bar or an anti-NE bar somewhere? Or do people in MSP usually go to each other's houses? (That's the general sense I'm getting as I've been here for a couple weeks now.)

I'm from NY and apparently not used to doing thigs at home since my homes there have been too small to accomodate gatherings. I've moved here from NYC recently and haven't developed a social core yet to have been invited to a Superbowl party.

Do you MSP hounds have favorite places?

What do you indulge in after a good workout?

I'm a recreational runner - 3 to 4 miles a day, 5 days a week.

When I run in the morning, I just do the usual breakfast routine of cereal, fruit, milk and coffee and get my day going as usual.

Here's where it gets a little more intereting:

I crave BEER after running in the late-afternoon! In fact I'm having one as we speak as I've just gotten back from the gym after a good 4-mile run and a shower.

I wonder if this is a common thing for runners. I've heard that non-professional runners tend to enjoy drinking more than non-runners.

Jan 23, 2008
baconstrip in General Topics

Hounds - What are your three favorite Italian restaurants? I vote for Lupa, Felidia and Crispo. And any special dish that can't be missed? Thanks

I know it can be a pain to get in, but Mint Lovers at Babbo is so good. Perfect combination of lamb and mint in ravioli :-)

Jan 23, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

Higher expectations of Japanese foods [moved from Florida board]

Japanese Western Foods (Yoshoku) is a special and particular culinary tradition in Japan. Often times it has nostalgic and family oriented values.

Japan, particularly Tokyo, does more modern international cuisine very very well. Just look at Michelin Tokyo 2008 with the most number of stars (more than Paris!). Many places were high-end Japanese restaurants, but there were also a lot of French, Italian, Chinese and Spanish restaurants.

Food culture is very high in Japan. Tokyo has more than 160,000 restaurants compared with 20,000 in Paris. Most of these restaurants are speciality restaurants where they serve only soba or tempura or pork cutlets or Southern Spanish food or whatever.

Japan is really a magical country for foodies.

I also love the mention of Depachika - the department store basements! I get SO excited in them, trying all these samples and what-nots :-)

Jan 21, 2008
baconstrip in General Topics

Wait Staff and Kitchen Staff [Moved from Ontario board]

If you calculate by the hour, generally speaking, I think FOH makes more money. Doing the same calculation, many times servers make more than the management staff.

Depending on how much you work, how the evening (the season, the year etc)goes, whether or not your restaurant pools tips, (if it does) how many people are on the floor, your income as a server varies.

Again, generally speaking, cooks and managers make less money than "normal" 9-to-5ers for the amount of hours they work. From my experience, full-time cooks and managers work about 80 hours a week.

Unless you are a big-named chef and the owners pay you because of your fame or you receive money from other projects (tv shows, cookware line, book deal), cooks at high-end restaurants normally don't make enough money to be able to afford to be a regular at the place they work.

(Of course, restaurant workers will spend more money than regular people for food, going to restaurants people who make the same amount would consider extravagant.)

If making a lot of money consistently is important, you should not be working in the restaurant business FOH or BOH.

I think it's more of a lifestyle thing. If putting a lot of hours working to make and serve food satisfies you even if you aren't getting paid $100,000/year, it works for you. If you consistently feel short-changed or taken advantage of, then you need to take it up with the management or change your job.

Jan 21, 2008
baconstrip in Not About Food

MSP Suggestions for Football-Watching Bars

Thanks for the suggestion! I went to The Loop last night and had a nice time. I had no idea that the Packers were so popular in MN, though! I'm from NY, so I was thankful for the old gentleman sitting next to me who was also cheering for the Giants.

Why do many people still think going out on Valentine's Day is a good idea?

Good point. One of the perk of going out for Thanksgiving Day is not having to deal with the craziness of shopping, cleaning the house, setting up, and doing the dishes for a large party.

I live in NYC. My apartment has never been enough to invite my SO and his family. We did go to Jean Georges one Thanksgiving (when I used to work for a restaurant that closed that day!) and had a nice meal.. BUT the meal (everyone had the turkey with foie gras stuffing; I had the venison option) itself was NOT AS GOOD as the usual Jean Georges meal I'd have!

I would have gladly eaten their egg with caviar and garlic soup with frog legs over my venison...

Jan 20, 2008
baconstrip in Not About Food

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

Used to love PB & Pickles sandwitch! I tried it after reading Kinsey Millhone mysteries in middle school. The alphabet letter series (A is for Alibi, etc)! LOL!

Jan 20, 2008
baconstrip in General Topics

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

I love tobasco on popcorn! Drop a few drops in the microwavable bag and shake shake shake!

I also like to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar in butter-flavor mic popcorn :-) Sweet and savory. Yum.

Jan 20, 2008
baconstrip in General Topics

Why do many people still think going out on Valentine's Day is a good idea?

Or any other "special occasion" day like Thanksgiving and Christmas. You get the worst service since restaurants get much busier than what the staff is normally used to, boring prix-fixe inferior to what the restaurant is capable of serving (especially for better restaurants) and strange atmosphere provided by dining rooms full of couples trying to be romantic.

Maybe I'm cynical, but the only benefit would be not having to do the dishes. And maybe I'm a cynic because I've always worked on such holidays being in the industry.

I'm seeing "Suggestions for Valentine's Day in ______ (insert city)" on so many boards here. I think the best suggestion is to stay at home, make a simple and tasty dinner and enjoy the company of your sweetheart without dealing with the fuss of going out on one of the busiest days in restaurant business.

What do you think?

Jan 20, 2008
baconstrip in Not About Food

MSP Suggestions for Football-Watching Bars

I'm new in town. What are good bars in the area for watching football games?

I've been to Rudolph's BBQ and had a nice time before with a group.

I'm alone today for the early game, though. What is a good comfortable place to go alone?

MSP - need to be rid of Olive Garden memory

I do love Broder's Pasta Bar. They have good value wines and their pastas really are quite nice. I've never been too impressed with their appetizers and risotti, though.

Solo dining in MSP

Thank you for all your suggestions! I'm going to try 112 Eatery and Vicent for sure. It seems like many places in MSP have good happy hour, too!

Saint Paul is a little away from where I am (South Minneapolis). But I'll trek it over when I get a chance. I definately want to try Heartland when I make it over there.

I went to Quang yesterday and had a nice thawing bowl of pho. The classic stuff with rare beef. I wished the beef tasted better, but I couldn't complain about the broth and the noodles!

I have been to 20.21 before and really was not impressed. It reminded me of bad Jean Georges "Asian" places in NYC like Vong and Spice Market ;-(

Best preparation of Foie?

Jean Georges always does a nice preparation of foie gras.

Recently I enjoyed the sauteed foie gras at Casa Mono that was sent to our table (we had a chef dining with us). It was quite the best thing we had there! A nice surprise.

Jan 15, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

Solo dining in MSP

I need help from all you sweet MSP Hounds! I'm looking for good places to dine alone in MSP.

I dined alone at Barbette last night and was really not happy with the flakey servers. I watched my food get cold through the kitchen window while my server chatted away with her fellow co-worker.

I'm looking for places with good solid food and good service that a solo diner can enjoy.

I don't mind dining at the bar or getting a table by myself. I'm from NYC and enjoy eating alone at places like Blue Hill, Babbo, Gramercy Tavern and many of the city's sushi bars.

I also like more casual places - You can find me slurping pho in a hole-in-the-wall in Queens at a shared table.

Restaurant with Nice Bar for Solo Dining

I've always had good experiences dining alone at bars at Blue Hill, The Modern, Casa Mono, Telepan, Babbo, Gramercy Tavern, Veritas and many sushi bars.

NYC is great for solo diners. If I feel like enjoying a relaxing dinner myself, I usually have no problems eating at the table alone. Service for solo diners in "nicer" places in NYC is exceptional. Everyone is really accomodating.

Jan 14, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

Celebrity restaurant for out-of-towners

Babbo is very possible to get into if you make eating there a priority. They have tables in the bar area for walk-ins. Go there a little before 5:30 and you should NOT have a problem. The menu is the same there as in the dining room.

Jan 14, 2008
baconstrip in Manhattan

great cakes/pies in the Forest Hills area?

How about that little Chinese bakery by the South side Forest Hills subway exit? Any report on it?

Nov 26, 2007
baconstrip in Outer Boroughs

Spanish Harlem

mesa mexicana is great! but i don't think their business is doing so well. an owner told me they may have to close soon...

y'all spanish harlem people, let's storm them with business to keep them alive!

Nov 06, 2007
baconstrip in Manhattan

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

i only go there so that i can get the full-sized j-g chocolate fondant.

Oct 02, 2007
baconstrip in Manhattan


Haven't gone in a bit, but I've always enjoyed doing Sunday brunch there. Never terribly busy, simple and good food, good service... Very civilized atmosphere. Good bread, too.

Aug 25, 2007
baconstrip in Manhattan

Peter Luger- Pecan Pie/Chocc Mousse or Apple Strudel??

the chocolate mousse cake is good. but the best is their cheesecake!

Aug 24, 2007
baconstrip in Outer Boroughs

Soto vs. 15 East

but 15 east has the best soba in town nowdays with honmura an gone.

Aug 16, 2007
baconstrip in Manhattan