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Spectacular and unusual wines for the seder

Wine for the seder is always difficult for many reasons. First off, at my seder there's always a mix of real wine drinkers and cream malaga/moscato d'asti lovers, so I always make sure to get a blend of decent stuff and garbage so everyone will be happy. But because of the amount one has to drink and the speed one with which one has to gulp down each kos, I tend to shy away from the dry, complex reds I usually prefer in favor of slightly lower alcohol, slightly sweeter wines. I find that lighter-bodied reds like pinot noirs or late harvest vintages like Herzog's Jeunesse line tend to do just enough to satisfy my snobby palate enough while allowing me to drink four full cups quickly without passing out.

For this year I plan to get a bottle or two of Capcanes' new Le Flor wine, which I tasted and enjoyed (though I didn't fall completely in love) at the KFWE last week. It's a bit lighter than their others and drinks a bit like a pinot noir.

If you're really more concerned with interesting than you are with good, then try pomegranate wine, which I find to be syruppy and not especially enjoyable but is certainly somewhat unusual. There's a Chinese brand that is kosher and carried in all the liquor stores I frequent in the 5 Towns area.

Mar 06, 2011
LI Guy in Kosher

Review of 2011 Kosher Food & Wine Experience

I enjoyed the Terra di Seta chianti as much as you did, and the Ramon Cardova Rioja is one of the best wines in its price range. But I found the Elgazi wines to be extremely harsh and completely unbalanced. I'm a big fan of everything Capcanes and I liked their new, lighter wine, which I think was called Le Flor something-or-other, although it's not as delicious as their other two offerings. I strongly disliked the Alexander wines and I enjoyed the vanilla liquer whose name now escapes me. Otherwise there was very little new this year on the wine side.

As for food, I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Subsational, which had outstanding, smoky chili that was made with brisket instead of ground beef. I went back twice. I also enjoyed Jack's Gourmet Sausage. But hands down Shalom Bombay was the best food of the night.

As for Carlos & Gabby's, the stuff they had there was fine but was neither their best menu items nor their most authentic Mexican. I'm a huge fan of their burritos (especially the chicken), and their avocado ranch dressing is so good on just about anything that I always make sure to grab an extra little container or two every time I go.

Mar 06, 2011
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher week-end in Rome

The synagogue, and almost all the kosher food, are in a neighborhood called the Ghetto. When I was there I stayed in a hotel about 20 minutes across town by bus, so I can't recommend a specific hotel in the Ghetto.

Dec 29, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Mendy's Midtown

I second the salad recommendation. I'm also a big fan of the chicken gumbo. And they are one of a very few places to offer, in addition to a soup-and-sandwhich combo, a soup-and-HALF-sandwich, which is great if you're either not hungry enough or not rich enough for the whole thing.

Oh, and the fries are thick and flavorful and fantastic but do not travel well (in case you're getting takeout).

Dec 02, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Friday Night Thanksgiving?

We make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and then have entirely new and different food on Friday. Any Thanksgiving leftovers that make it through Shabbos afternoon snacking become lunch or dinner on Sunday.

Nov 10, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Glatt Kosher Kingdom

I was there on Monday at about 11 AM and they took my credit card. But I was the only person shopping there and they had barely bothered to put out any meat. With the diminshed hours, the comparatively small selection, the mostly unimpressive sales, and the generally high non-sale prices, I don't expect to go back. And it doesn't look like anyone else is bothering to, either. It's too bad - the neighborhood could have supported the store if it offered something different (along the lines of Pomegranate in Brooklyn) but instead GKK turned out to be a lousier version of everything we already have.

Jun 11, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Good not deli-like place in Murray Hill Manhattan, anybody?

Nothing within a block or two, but there's Eden Wok (Chinese) on 34th a half block West of Park, and the three vegetarian Indian places on Lex, around 27th.

Mar 23, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher in Seattle?

Thanks for the info, everyone. Sounds like I have a few more options than I thought.

Feb 24, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher in Seattle?

Is there anywhere in Seattle to get kosher prepared food other than Bamboo Garden? I might be headed there this summer and need to know how much food I'll have to schlep along...

Feb 22, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

32 ounce kosher sparkling grape juice

You can check all the local weekly sale prices here: http://www.thefivetowns.com/NewExciti...

Feb 22, 2009
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher Restaurants Home Made Onion Rings

I haven't eaten at King David in Cedarhurst since the management changed so i can't say for sure, but I know they used to have homemade onion rings.

Dec 03, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Bistro Grill- Long Island

If I'm not too late with this answer, I was considerably more impressed with the food and the service at the Great Neck location.

Sep 18, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher chocolates in NYC?

Almost all Godiva chocolates are kosher, and are available in many places in addition to stand-alone Godiva stores. There's a Godiva store on Broadway between 40th and 41st.

Sep 15, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher in Rome

There was a sit-down milchig restaurant that my wife and I enjoyed very much called Yotvata. The fleishig places weren't as exciting; the very nice one, which I believe is called The Ghetto or at least has "ghetto" in the name, was good but not as good as it was expensive.

Sep 08, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Nice Quick Kosher Dinner Place in East 30's

How about Eden Wok, on 34th a couple stores west of Mendy's? It's not fancy (no waiter service) but it's clean and pretty quick and the food is pretty good.

Sep 08, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Lean Pastrami Sandwich in Manhattan?

If I'm not too late in responding, I recommend Mendy's, on 34th and Park. I find the quality of the deli there to be a bit better than at Mr. Broadway, while the ambiance, prices and service are roughly the same at both places.

Aug 27, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher Falafel Truck @ 5th Ave & 17th St.!

My wife works nearby and has been there a few times; she says it's been at 17th and 5th every time.

Jul 31, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

NYC - best, not too expensive, most interesting

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Abigael's, on 39th and Broadway. The lunch experience there is very different from dinner. The menu is interesting and not that expensive (in the $15 pp range), and the place is never too crowded or loud during lunchtime.

For dinner, it's a bit more expensive and the menu is not as imaginitive, but it's still quite good and one of the better meat restaurants in Manhattan.

Jul 16, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

NYC - best, not too expensive, most interesting

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Abigail's. The lunch experience there is very different from dinner. The lunch menu is more interesting and significantly less expensive (in the $15 pp range) than dinner, and it's never very crowded or loud during lunchtime.

Jul 16, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Mexican Chocolate

When I was in Mexico I found various chocolates that bore the aleph-aleph hashgacha, including chocolates made by Kahlua. Unfortunately I don't remember any other brand names, but it does definitely exist.

May 05, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

photo cake

There's a place in Boro Park that does it, but I forget the name. Sorry.

May 05, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher in Paris

Les Ailes does prepaid shabbos meals in the restaurant. The food there was good if not outstanding, but it's probably the best choice for shabbos. When I was there they served mostly the same stuff Friday night and Saturday afternoon, so I'd suggest going there for only one of the two main shabbos meals if you can find a good alternative for the other meal.

On the same block Les Ailes has a bakery that is better than any I've been to stateside, with amazing baguettes and croissants.

Outside of shabbos, there are several other fantastic restaurants scattered all over Paris. An Indian place called Darjeeling jumps to mind but there are many others. This question has been asked and answered a few times on this board, so your best bet is to search for those threads as the info is mostly still accurate.

You should also check the kosher restaurant database on shamash.org. I read just about every entry before I went to Paris and I found the comments to be helpful and accurate.

Apr 15, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Interesting feature on kosher wine

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/featur...

This short article doesn't contain much information on its own but instead it's sort of a collection of recommended Web sites for kosher wine reviews, history, etc.

Apr 11, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher Bakery in Costco - Lawrence (5 towns)

The hachgacha is printed on the labels of all their in-house bakery items. I believe it's from the OK.

Apr 09, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher Turducken

I cooked mine fresh but I'd imagine that reheating a whole one would take a few hours for the heat to penetrate all the way through. However, drying it out shouldn't be much of a problem--the duck is so fatty that it keeps everything moist.

Whether you cook ahead and reheat or cook fresh, one very important step is to let it cool a bit before carving. Many people don't realize that if you cut up steaming hot poultry straight out of the oven it will always fall apart. Letting it "rest" at room temp for 15 minutes makes a huge difference in this regard.

Mar 28, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Israeli Wines

After some quick Web research, it looks like Royal Wines is the U.S. distributor. The Royal Web site lists retailers:
http://www.royalwines.com/rwc_where_to_purchase.html

I know kosherwine.com has the cab/merlot, and onlinekosherwine.com has the cab and the chardonnay, though I've found the cab and cab/merlot slightly cheaper in my local stores in NY.

WineWeb lists a few other places to buy Gush wines online:
http://www.wineweb.com/scripts/search...

I must add that while I like the 2005 chardonnay, the 2006 organic chardonnay is even better. Unfortunately, I have yet to find it stateside and I'm almost out of the bottles I brought back with me last time I was there.

Mar 27, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Has Anyone Been to SOLO for the Top Chef?

I have to echo David's complaints. I was there the other day and was very happy with the food and the service (which has been consistently great every time I've been there), but the prices for the "special" menu are noticably higher than those for the regular menu, and the wine list is much smaller (and with less impressive offerings) than it used to be.

Mar 27, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Israeli Wines

Of the three you mention, Psagot has gotten some very positive reviews but I haven't tried them yet. I'm not familiar with the others.

Here's a very recent blog entry recommending specific kosher Israeli wines from a guy who's a huge fan of Israeli wines (kosher and nonkosher):

http://winetastingguy.com/2008/03/26/...

As for my own recommendations, without getting too long winded I'd say that Segal's and Dalton are usually good bets, and the wines from Domaine du Castel have gotten consistently high marks from prestigious wine publications. Castel wines are quite expensive but the Petit Castel is excellent and, at around $35, is the cheapest of the group. (Segal's and Dalton tend to be in the $20s and $30s.

)

If you're looking for something a bit less expensive, I'm a big fan of the Gush Etzion winery, which makes a fantastic Chardonnay that's oaky and crisp. It's hard to find in the States, though. Their reds are easier to find here and are very pleasant and drinkable but without much complexity.

Mar 27, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

Kosher Turducken

I made my own turducken a couple of years ago. Between deboning the birds, making the different stuffings, and assembly, the prep time was several hours. Deboning the birds was a little tricky but if you can cut a chicken into 8ths then you can handle the deboning. (One tip: do the chicken first, so that if you mangle it a little nobody will notice.) The assembly was generally easy until the last step: sewing up the turkey with everything inside. I recommend having a second pair of hands for this step.

I used the Prudhomme recipe, with a few variations for kashrus.

This guide recommends the best turkey-related Web sites (scroll down a bit for turducken sites, including a deboning tutorial):
http://www.findingdulcinea.com/guides...

Mar 25, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher

food for traveling

I've done it several times from several restaurants in the 5 Towns (Chosen Island, Off the Grill, Pescado, etc) and almost everything I've tried has travelled well and reheated well, with the exception of Mauzone's prepackaged frozen meals, which come out rubbery and bland and resembling airline food. The food from Wok Tov didn't reheat quite as well as the others, but it's not as good as the other places when it's fresh either.

I usually just order takeout from the restaurants and ask them to double wrap everything. Then I freeze it myself. Depending on where I'm staying, I've heated them up on hot plates, in hotel kitchenette ovens, and had the hotel restaurant heat them up for me, and everything normally comes out fine, though of course it's never quite as good as eating it fresh. In general I'd stay away from pasta dishes, which don't freeze well (though lasagna tends to do fine). And if you get rice, remember to add a bit of water to it before reheating or it'll be dry and hard.

If you're not near the 5T, then based on my own experiences I'd think you'll be OK ordering from any of your favorite restaurants as long as you order dishes that tend to freeze well. And the better quality the restaurant, the better results you'll likely have.

Mar 14, 2008
LI Guy in Kosher