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Upper West Side Coffee Shops

If you want a place to sit, Aroma is ok. If you want a place to drink good coffee, Aroma is out.

Oct 08, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Where can i get Oaxacan cheese?

Totally untraditional, but you might consider a really good feta. The Oaxacan cheese sold at Essex St. is an industrial cheese product. So, it's as if someone asked you to get cheddar and you bought that Kraft crap that comes in the foil package. A really good feta pairs well with Mexican food. Don't take my word for it, however--go to Essex, buy the packaged Oaxacan and get some feta from Saxelby, and see which you like more.

Sep 27, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Best Espresso drinks in Manhattan...so far

My top 5:
1. Everyman, when Sam or Bryce is working
2. Stumptown
3. Everyman, when anyone else is working
4. 9th Street
5. ??? . . . looks like I need to go to Taralucci

I agree that Grumpy is better for drip than espresso.

I have to dissent on the Roasting Plant. It strikes me as a gimmick that doesn't deliver very good coffee.

Sep 21, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Where can I buy unusual artisanal honey?

Fairway actually has a good selection. Make sure to check the regular and organic aisles. They've started carrying Bee Raw honeys, which might be the best in the nation. Try the Star Thistle, the Saw Palmetto, and the Sweet Yellow Clover (I know, Clover is so boring--not this clover honey!)

The tiny Formaggio shop in Essex St. Market has a good selection. The Cambridge, MA shop carries Ames Honey, which is this great artisanal producer from Minnesota, so the Essex St. shop might carry them, too, or might get them if you like.

Kalustyan's also got a good selection.

I think the Blue Ribbon honey is good, but sort of one-dimensional. All the same, the Manchego-Honey Toast is pretty irresistible.

Sep 03, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Twin Sisters' 40th Birthday in Charlotte

I'm an idiot. Take FIG off the list, and I'll restart my reading and geography lessons.

Would Lulu be a bit too casual?

Aug 29, 2009
jasmurph in General South Archive

Twin Sisters' 40th Birthday in Charlotte

My twin sisters are turning 40 next month, so the rest of the family would like to send them out to dinner with their husbands. None of us are from Charlotte, so we have little clue as to where to send them. They both have young kids, so they just about never eat out. Neither of my sisters are at all adventurous when it comes to food, so my sense is that something in the American/Southern vein would be best. Ambience and service are just as important as food.

Places that seemed promising were FIG, Barrington, and Ratcliffe on the Green, but I'd love to hear any suggestions.

Aug 28, 2009
jasmurph in General South Archive

Whole Foods WIne Shop (UWS)

In a word, lame. I didn't look at the NY wines, which I know they're hyping, because although I think there are some rather good NY wines, they're usually overpriced. I went straight for the European selections and found just what you would find at pretty much any grocery store in a state where grocery stores carry wines. If you've been searching far and wide for a bottle of Mouton Cadet, search no further. What's worse, not only is it selling nothing but large market wines you can get just about anywhere, Whole Foods is selling them at a buck or two more a bottle! So much for the buying power of large chains--they're probably getting killed on the lease.

IN the same way that I don't understand why you'd go to Whole Foods for groceries in a city with Fairway, Zabar's, Citarella, and the farmer's markets, I don't know why you'd bother going to the Whole Foods wine shop when there are at least 10 much better wine stores (see the NY wine shops thread).

Aug 27, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

NYC Wine Shoppes

Both DiPalo and IWM are pricey but have some interesting bottles. You're likely to do better at Astor, Chambers, and that place up in Belmont that always seems to have good prices on Italian wines but I've never been to. Mt. Carmel, I think.

Aug 23, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Artichoke Pizza report

Spinach dip? Houston's?? Really? I"m serious. Is it actually good? I associate spinach dip with the worst in industrial food, so if there's actually good spinach dip I'd be curious to try it. And at Houston's? Maybe that's why Bernie Madoff went there so often.

Aug 17, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Is Eleven Madison much better value than Per Se and other 4 * NYT restaurants?

I agree. One dinner at EMP: brilliant, up there with Jean Georges (where I've never had a disappointing meal). Two lunches at EMP: so-so.

Aug 16, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

salumeria rosi

I went on Thursday night and the food was . . . fine. That's not an insult or complaint. It was actually kind of perfect for the four of us to catch up. On the other hand, I'd certainly never go to Salumeria Rosi just for the food or take someone there who was really interested in food either. It strikes me as a good local place to grab a decent (not great) glass of wine and have one or two small plates with the wine. I wouldn't travel very far either to go here.

We each ordered 2 plates and shared, which turned out to be a good amount of food. Everyone particularly liked the lasagna and the bean salad. The pork belly was a disappointment. It wasn't bad (I mean it *was* pork belly), but it wasn't anything special.

Desserts were not good. Hurner, I did not catch your post in time--I got the fig dessert and it was bad. We would have done much better to have simply gone to Shake Shack for a cone.

Aug 14, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

salumeria rosi

I don't think it's true that they make it themselves. My understanding is that the restaurant is a partnership with an Italian salami company (Parmacotto), which is about the equivalent of Boar's Head here, i.e., good stuff produced on an industrial scale, not an artisanal one. That's not to say the meat's bad (I haven't been yet, so I hope it's not!), but it is to say that it's not like going to Lupa, where they do indeed make their own (awesome) salumi.

Aug 12, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

salumeria rosi

Thanks so much. I'm thinking we'll start with picking 2 plates each and then take it from there. Are there at least four bites on each plate?

Aug 12, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

salumeria rosi

I'm going Thursday night with 3 other people, all of whom eat anything and everything. I've read the earlier posts (very helpful!) and know it's small plates, but I'd love to hear more on Salumeria Rosi, since there's not all that much chatter on Chowhound about it.

What are the must haves on the menu? Anything to be avoided? Any suggestions on ordering? We'll be sharing everything, so should we be thinking about 8 plates, 12 plates, 20?!? Thanks for the help.

Aug 11, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Aroma espresso bar midtown.... oh boy...

These are awful stores. Bad, bad coffee.

Aug 11, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

ISO whole guanciale

Salumeria Biellese *only*sells the whole jowl, if I remember correctly, and they're making it themselves and I'd be stunned if it wasn't significantly cheaper than at Salumeria Rosi or the place in Grand Central. Salumeria Biellese's stuff is amazingly good, despite the look of the place.

Aug 03, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Where to buy tongue?

Union Square is the way to go here if you want fresh tongue, and to be perfectly honest, it's SO easy to make tongue that it seems silly to me to buy one cooked. And they're cheap--you'll pay $6/lb at the most, while delis will charge you over $10/lb.

Lamb: 3-Corner FIeld, no need to call ahead.

Beef: Amazin' Angus, call ahead

Pork: Flying Pigs, call or email; they don't have them often

Aug 02, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

latte macchiato

So, this is like a bizarro macchiato? Instead of marking an espresso with milk you mark warm milk with espresso? Sounds like a nice way to start your morning.

Jul 28, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Favorite Vendors at Union Square Farmer's Market

When proper apple season begins in September, check out Samascott Farm on Fridays. They've got the best varieties by far. Right now the storage apples that everyone is selling are past their prime, and I'm just not crazy about the early varitieties (The Lodi is okay). When fall arrives, try a Melrose and a Cameo.

Jul 27, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Where can I buy lamb ribs in Manhattan or Brooklyn?

3-Corner Field Farm, Union Square Farmer's Market, Wed and Sat.

Jul 27, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Great goat cheese

brettnyc, I think that they might be in Brooklyn Heights on Saturdays, but google it to make sure.

ajs42548, I'm not sure. You've got me curious, however. Is there some reason to eat reduced fat goat cheese? Other than Parmigiano, I don't know of any decent cheeses made from reduced fat milk. That doesn't mean that they aren't out there, so I'd be interested to hear about them.

Jul 27, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

Great goat cheese

Just want to let fellow lovers of goat cheese know about some cheese I had this morning (Sunday) at the Morningside Heights farmer's market. It's from Ardith Mae in PA, and it's the closest I've tasted to French quality goat cheese in the US. I've never been a big farm of Coach Farm, because it always tasted so bland to me, as if they were afraid to let any of the goat-y character shine through (a bit like those lamb purveyors who brag that their meat doesn't taste too gamey--why would I bother then?). Ardith Mae cheeses, on the other hand, display a broad range of flavors and ripeness. I'm loving the Valencay-style pyramid I got today. Plus, the cheesemaker's a good guy.

Jul 26, 2009
jasmurph in Manhattan

anyone seen concord grapes lately?

Buzzard Crest is easily the best grape purveyor in the city. SO sad that yesterday was their last day.

As to the OP, you've probably got another week or two of them at farmer's markets around the city. I wouldn't bother with them at the grocery store.

Nov 23, 2008
jasmurph in Manhattan

Fondant Novice Needs Help Please

This is why I love Chowhound (it sure ain't for the changing interfaces)!

Thanks so much, Amuse Bouches and poached.

Oct 01, 2008
jasmurph in Home Cooking

Fondant Novice Needs Help Please

Thanks. The firdge things is good to know. I'm using rolled fondant. So, my question is what if I apply the fondant one week in advance? I know it needs to set for 24 hours, but what if it sits for a week? Will it go all weird/ugly/nasty?

Sep 30, 2008
jasmurph in Home Cooking

Fondant Novice Needs Help Please

Dear Baking Experts,

I've (foolishly) taken on the responsibility of making a traditional English wedding cake for my parents' 40th anniversary. For those who don't know, this means a brandy soaked fruitcake, coated in apricot jam, covered in marzipan, and then iced. It's good because its low calorie!

The cake is ready to go; I've been giving it refills on brandy for many weeks now. I'm not worried about applying the jam or the marzipan, but I've decided not to make royal icing because, well, I'm just not all that good at icing stuff. So, I'm going to try fondant. I'm reasonably comfortable on getting the fondant on the thing. I've done a lot of research and will have back-up fondant when I inevitably toss the first batch across the room.

What I can't figure out is what I should do with the cake after it's finally covered. I know the fondant needs time to set (24 hours?), but do I do that on my kitchen table or in my fridge? Most importantly, how far in advance (i.e. how many days) can I apply the fondant and how should I store it in the interim?

Thanks so much!

Sep 29, 2008
jasmurph in Home Cooking

Favorite Vendors at Union Square Farmer's Market

If you're looking for unusual cuts and parts, 3 Corner pretty much always has lamb tongue, kidneys, liver, and neck, so you won't even need to call, but this week, I'm afraid, there won't be any 3 Corner Field booth at USQ. They told customers last week.

There's usually about 3 tongues per packet, which is enough to feed four people, if you're using it in a pasta dish.

Aug 20, 2008
jasmurph in Manhattan

Murray's Cheese: All that?

I'm going to second MMRuth on Saxelby's (and pretty much everything else she says on these boards!). You won't get Gruyere or Manchego at Saxelby, of course, but the leaps and bounds American cheeses have made in the past decade alone are amazing. It's no longer necessary to say "pretty good for American cheese." IN addition to great cheese, what makes Saxelby SO much better than Murray's are the two people who work there--kind, generous, knowledgeable. Heck, they guy who works there is French, which tells you how great American cheese can be--it's converting the French. It's easily the best cheese shop in Manhattan, even if it doesn't have the largest selection.

Other places to go:

Union Square for Cato Corner (cow) and 3 Corner Fields (sheep)--cheeses that can stand shoulder to shoulder with European cheeses.

Tompkins Square Park for Consider Bardwell cheese.

Get your Manchego and other spanish cheeses at Despana.

Italian cheeses at DiPalo

Aug 17, 2008
jasmurph in Manhattan

Need help ordering Wine...

Your best bet for sure is to ask your waiter. All three have good wines by the glass. If you get a tasting menu, you might go for a wine pairing.

For what its worth, of those three I'd choose EMP--by a mile!

Aug 07, 2008
jasmurph in Manhattan

Where to buy grass-fed beef?

There is a booth on Saturdays that sells buffalo and beef, but I wouldn't recommend it. Sorry to say, the meat is pretty blah, as lots of grass fed beef is. I'm very much in favor of not eating corn-stuffed cow, but there's not much point in bothering with grass-fed if it lacks flavor. That's why I like Tallgrass beef--it's not nearly as much of a sacrifice.

Jul 30, 2008
jasmurph in Manhattan