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edberliner's Profile

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Looking for a Nice Dinner Spot in the Fort Lauderdale Beach Area

I'd recommend The Lobster Bar for your Friday night affair and on Saturday I'd try Coconuts which is on the water. You can sit outside and enjoy a few cold adult beverages and have a decent meal. Wherever you go its going to be good, but not great, because it has been my experience over the last year that this is not a real dining destination. Good luck and enjoy.

Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach- 1 week vacation

Couple of suggestions from a newby (I've only lived in Fort Lauderdale a year). For breakfast or lunch we found a marvelous deli in Boca Raton called Flakowitz Bagel Inn. Its on Federal highway around the North 2000 block, reasonably priced and great food in a really funky atmosphere, reminiscent of the Bagel Cove in Aventura (an institution). For the best Italian food around at great prices kid friendly and a very nice place to boot, I'd highly recommend Gianni's of Pompano on Atlantic blvd. in Pompano Beach. Entree's come with a fantastic salad and scrumptious rolls drenched in olive oil and garlic! Don't miss the ravioli, but everything is great. Near the Ritz you'll want to try Coconuts, family friendly on the Inter-coastal, not cheap, not expensive, and the food is ok. Want a really fun, off the wall suggestion? Try the Chef's Palette at the Art Institute of Florida, only open Thursdays and Friday's and probably not for kids, but a great value for a 3 course gourmet meal for $20 per person. Reservations are require, but it is truly a fun experience. The meal is prepared by students, served by students, and you can watch them do it. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone. Believe me, this area has some good restaurants, nothing that I would qualify as great so this is as good as most and at a reasonable price in an interesting and inviting atmosphere. Try it, you'll enjoy it. Last thing, sign up for the Fort Lauderdale/Miami groupons. There are some deals that are well worth the small amount of time it takes.

Best Crab house in Miami, Ft Lauderdale even Palm Beach vicinity

I am constantly shocked by what limited varieties of seafood are sold and served in the Fort Lauderdale area! Either the Atlantic isn't very productive or all the fish go elsewhere to swim. You might get Mahi Mahi or the occasional grouper but beyond that and the wildly overpriced stone crab there just isn't much. The poster who said you shouldn't try to get what you were use to in Maryland was correct, it would just be trucked in and not very good. Its like trying to get decent Texas bbq here, it just ain't happening! Stick with what they do good (and let me know when you figure that one out).

I've eaten here and it was good! (I'll go first) Sweetwater (Boynton)

I can't seem to get enough of Gianni's food. Its on Atlantic Ave in Pompano and its marvelous. I love the salad, I love the Ravioli, I love the Chicken Marsala, I love just about everything about the place, including the prices which I find to be quite reasonable. I've been here for 8 months now and I've eaten out quite a bit and I have to say this is the best of the lot for my money! (Although the pastrami sandwich on Thurdsays at that BBQ joint on Federal is pretty good eats--sorry I have forgotten the name no that I no longer eat red meat)

Ft Lauderdale dinner

I have two suggestions for you. The best Italian food in the area (by area I mean from south of Hollywood to Pompano Beach to the north)is a restaurant named Gianni's of Pompano. It is a bit of a drive for you, but I've tried a lot of places since moving here 7 months ago and Gianni's is the best! In fact, we took a couple from Connecticut there last night and they loved it. It is reasonably priced and takes reservations. If you want a place closer to Stirling Road and 95 then I would recommend Fascino's just off the circle in Hollywood, 1900 Harrison I think. They also take reservations. We took another couple there 2 weeks ago (hey its Florida, lots of your old friends come visit, especially when it is freezing where they live!). I would say the Fascino's is a very good choice for you due to it's location, but if you can make the 20 minute drive north on 95 to the Atlantic exit I believe you will be well rewarded. Enjoy.

Help--12 people need great Italian

While I didn't get much feedback, I thought I'd post the result of our dinner at Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana on an overcast, rainy Monday night. Our friends arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport and we picked all 10 of them up in a rented 15 seat van for the drive to Miami. They were famished so we stopped by the Bagel Cove in Aventura for a quick fix and then headed to the hotel. After they checked in and freshened up we drove to South Beach where we walked around for awhile before making our way to Cara Mia for our 7:30 reservation. The place was mostly empty which sometimes is a bad thing, but this night proved otherwise. The place looks like an authentic Italian joint, with dark woods and cool lighting, a long bar and an ample display of wines. Since the main room was so empty we were seated immediately. The staff was friendly and in no particular hurry for us to finish our conversations, catching up with old friends. We ordered beer, wine and several different appetizers for the table, calamari, fried olives, bruchetta. Of the 3 I liked the olives the best. The calamari was rubbery but good and the bruchetta was serviceable. The wine and beer was all fine and a bit overprice. Our entrees were all excellent! Out of the party of 12 I counted 11 fantastic and one ok. The ok was the veal, described as overcooked but tasty. My spaghetti ala carbonera was delicious, creamy and plentiful. My wife had the Linguini Al Cartoccio, prepared and presented in parchment paper. Visually pleasing and delightful, I would recommend at least one at your table order it. The rest of the party had various pasta and the aforementioned veal. Again, 11 out of 12 described their meals as delicious. The service was excellent, and the tab was large but in line with the quality and quantity of the dinner. Our 2 hour dinner was delightful. We were too full for desert, and our friends had to be up at 4:30 am for a flight to Cuba, so we loaded the van and headed back to their hotel. All in all a delightful, delicious experience at Cara Mia! I would recommend it to my friends and I heartily recommend it to you.

Help--12 people need great Italian

I think we are going to Cara Mia Trattoria Italiana....any thoughts on that? Let me know. Thanks

Help--12 people need great Italian

10 friends from Austin plus the 2 of us from Fort Lauderdale will be in Miami on Monday before a humanitarian trip to Cuba. We will be staying at the Crown Plaza near the airport an need a good, fun Italian place that will take the 12 of us around 8 pm for dinner. Should be within a reasonable taxi ride from the hotel. Help. Please reply asap I need to call and make reservations. Thanks!!!!!

Chinese on Xmas day

I'm new to Fort Lauderdale and Jewish to boot, consequently I need to find a Chinese place to eat my traditional Xmas dinner. Any suggestions? I live near Oakland and N. Ocean and would prefer someplace with great food close by if possible, if not I'll drive. I guess the only other requirement is that it be open on the 25th. Thanks in advance

Blue Willie's BBQ

I was about 8th or 9th in line this morning for my second pastrami sandwich in 8 days (I was here last week also). I have to say that it was good, but not really stellar like it was last week. I thought the flavor wasn't up to par and my meat was kind of tough unlike last week. I'll be back, just not next week, I'm giving them a few weeks to get back into form. I'm trying Zinger's next. BTW I bought two sandwiches and took one to my son-in-law who liked it, but didn't love it which I think proves my point. If he tried last weeks he would have loved it. Oh well.

Blue Willie's BBQ

Just finished eating my first (certainly not my last!) pastrami sandwich from Blue Willie's. I should say that I just finished eating as much as I could of my sandwich, I'm saving about 1/2 for dinner. My assessment: Absolutely DELICIOUS! I give it a 10 on a pastrami scale of 10. FYI I got to the place about 11:15 and was 7th in a line that stretched to about 40 by the 11:30 opening time. It was quick and painless to be number 7. I ordered mine with slaw, no mustard on an onion roll and added a side of mac and cheese. The total came to about $15.56 which I think/thought was a tad high, but the sandwich was huge, stuffed high with glorious pastrami. The slaw added a sweetness to the meat but didn't interfere with the taste or really add much to the experience. I drove from Las Olas to get my fix and took the sandwich and side back home to eat it. The roll held up fine and the mac and cheese was just as hot at home as it was when they loaded it into the container. The sandwich was hot and juicy and as previously mentioned, stacked a mile high. The meat was extremely flavorful, tender, juicy and delicious. I think it is the best Pastrami sandwich I have had, in fact I know it is. I would recommend it to anyone who asks. I have already emailed my son-in-law, a foodie all the way, and told him to take off work if he has to and get to Blue Willie's next Thursday to taste a little slice of heaven. You should too!

Blue Willie's BBQ

I had to laugh! I read all the posts about how hurt some poor shlub from down south was all bent out of shape because they wouldn't accommodate him and sell him a sample of all their meats. It occurred to me that if he seriously wanted to try them, AND pay for them, he could have gotten two 2 meat plates (if they had 4 meats for sale) or maybe even three 2 meat plates (if they had 6 meats for sale) and so on. But that didn't occur to him I guess. He just decided to leave. Glad he did! If the BBQ is good then eat it, don't whine over being told to order off of the menu. I haven't had an opportunity to try the Q around here yet, I've only been here for 2 months now and I'm still working up the nerve to give it a go. I'm from Austin, and my standards are kind of high so I'll let my palate adjust to South Florida then I'll go. I do love me some LaSpada Hoogies though, they are a real treat! I also can't seem to get enough of the sandwiches at Gran Forno, I assure you there isn't anything like them in Austin! I'll try Blue Willie's soon, but I'm still trying to figure out why exactly Pastrami is classified as BBQ. I guess if Skyline can call their spaghetti "chili" then Blue Willie's can call a pastrami sandwich BBQ. I'll let you know what I think this Thursday if I am lucky enough to get a sandwich.

Best Calamari

I ate at Canyon Café Friday and everything was fabulous! But the standout was the calamari, it was the best I've had, although that isn't really saying much since I don't eat much calamari. Canyon's was sweet, tender, and gone too fast. I'm curious if anyone has had a similar experience? Can you suggest other great calamari dishes in the area? If so, I'll give them a go, I might just have discovered something else I like. Thanks.

Best Meatballs /meatball hero in Ft Lauderdale?

No, I'm a better one, new to the area, here from one of the best food towns in the country, Austin, Tx.

Best Meatballs /meatball hero in Ft Lauderdale?

Ate at Noodles Panini on Tuesday the 16th and had spaghetti and meatballs in order to try the meatballs. I found the dish lacking. The meatballs were what people apparently call "tender", but I would call them mushy. How tough can some ground beef be after all? The sauce was just ok, so I would rate the whole dish fair and the meatballs average at best. We did try the bruchetta which I would call exceptional. The presentation was amazing, the size was phenomenal! I would recommend going before 7, have a 1/2 price glass of wine and 1/2 price bruchetta and you'll be more than happy. That is about the only way they will get me back.

Where I have recently eaten in Austin and what I wish I can get

Had the pleasure of eating at Barlata's last night and it was exceptional. The atmosphere was delightful, the waitress was knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and the food was terrific. Don't miss the lamb chops, pass on the paella, make them tell you about their happy hour if you are there timely, and enjoy, I know we all did.

Rehearsal Dinner in The Woodlands

Help! My son is getting married, we thought it was going to be in Galveston in August, but he just called to say it would be in March in The Woodlands. We need to put on a dinner Friday night for about 40 people. Price isn't necessarily a factor, we need a nice place with a room that can hold 40 to 60. Any suggestions????

Jan 01, 2014
edberliner in Houston

Flour and Vine disappoints

We ate at Flour and Vine last night and to call it mediocre is really giving it too much credit. We started with the lettuce wrap appetizer which was bad. I think the chicken had turned a couple of days ago but they still used her! I had the surf and turf, 3 or 4 lousy shrimp and a filet that was no more than 1/2 inch thick and perhaps 3 oz. It was cooked medium, but apparently had been cooked long before being served. The put a pat of butter on top to melt over the meat, unfortunately there was no heat in the meat and the butter didn't even start to melt. The waitress never inquired about anything, just went about her rounds. I'd call the service fair, and the food lacking. My wife's red fish or red snapper or whatever it was suppose to be was ok, not great, not good, but edible. The décor is fair, but on closer inspection is a little sad a little worn, a little lacking. We used a groupon which could explain the lousy food, maybe they were saving the real stuff for the full paying customers, but hey, if you didn't want me to use my groupon why sell it to me. I expect the same food regardless, apparently I didn't get it, cause I'd hate to think this is how they really cook.

Jul 31, 2013
edberliner in Austin

El Paso - hidden gems? hole in the walls? must haves? anything healthy?

I just got back last week from my trip to El Paso and pulled up your post again. I ate at L & J Cafe and it was excellent, a very pleasant, fun, and flavorful experience. I enjoyed their chile con queso which was vaguely reminiscent of the queso at the old Florida club in Juarez circa 1965. I also ate at H & H, and, as usual, found it to be delicious!!! (juevos rancheros are stellar) But here is one must try place and one ought to try place for you. You MUST try the Chicken Marsala at Pasta Avanti. See my review just posted for further information. the ought to try is Dona Lupe on the east side across the street from what is now a police station but was always Sears when I was growing up. I had the green chile con carne with 2 eggs over medium (fyi they overcooked my eggs slightly), rice and beans which was very good. The others had eggs machada (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) which consisted of two eggs cooked to order over flat enchiladas. It was probably better than mine. The place is nice, the service is excellent, the chef is probably the owner's mom! (or the owner herself). I'd put both of these places on my list for sure, but I'd go to Pasta Avanti when it opens at 12 this Sunday, go early and you can probably make it back for dinner!

Jun 02, 2013
edberliner in Texas

Best Chicken Marsala I've had!

I rarely rave about a restaurant in El Paso (other than H & H carwash of course) but the Chicken Marsala I had at Pasta Avanti off Mesa on the west side of El Paso last weekend was beyond heavenly, it was memorable! I am still upset that I ordered the 1/2 order! The sauce is thin, not thick like most Marsala Sauces I have had. I would call it subtle, flavorful, and most likely habit forming. The restaurant itself is rather pedestrian in décor and layout. I believe that the owner/chef worked at Bella Napoli for years and most of the offerings are probably similar to what she was taught on. I thought the service was A+. The small dinner salad was flavorful and fresh, but really nothing at all special. The star of the show was the main dish. I believe they serve a toasted buttered bun type bread with all meals, but fortunately we ordered another order. To say that I sopped up every drop is to say the truth! My dining partners had eggplant parmesan, a dish that I don't like in general since I don't like eggplant, but they did. None left on either plate. Go, try the Chicken Marsala and let me know what you I right?

Jun 02, 2013
edberliner in Texas

Fun night at the Buenos Aires Cafe

I didn't have time to ask you hounds about where to eat in Bee Caves, it was Sunday, my oldest son was taking my wife and me out to eat for the first time in his life, and we had to meet the middle kid out in Bee Caves where he works. He didn't get off until 8 which is really late for my wife and me, so we decided to meet him when he got off rather than wait until he drove all the way to Central Austin to meet us! Long story short, I chose the Buenos Aires Cafe after researching the restaurant scene in Bee Caves, and I'm really happy that I did. I had a blast! First the place is very inviting, nicely done, intimate, clean, happy! There was a 2 piece band setting up as we walked in which could have spelled disaster. My wife absolutely hates noise. If the place is loud she is miserable and, consequently, so are we. We asked to be seated as far away from the music as possible, and they obliged by seating is in the back which isn't all that far from the front. Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable and assured us that our cheese plate would come out first, the empenadas when we looked ready, and our entres when the appetizers disappeared. He was right on the mark all night! Drinks were as ordered and generous. The cheese plate was to die for. A fantastic Blue cheese, excellent brie, asiago as well as a bowl of honey, grapes and candied pecans made for a spectacular start. In fact, had I known, I would have ordered another cheese plate as my entre! The empenadas were stellar, mine was spicey meat and the others had spinach with ricota. The chimichuri they served along side was stellar, just amazing. I could have had a shot or two of it by itself. I had the sheppards pie which was good, not great, but certainly a worthy choice. My wife had a mixed green salad with a chicken breast and was very happy with the choice. She hates greasy food and this was not at all! When she's happy we are all happy. The boys food wasn't as noteworty, one had the pork chop which looked great but was a tad overcooked (his fault, he ordered it medium, he should have just left it to the chef's discretion), one had the veal cutlet which was a bit tough but good, and the portion was large enough to take half home. The star of the night, however, was the band. There were two guys, one with a cowboy hat, white snap button shirt, jeans and guitar, the other, a white haired gentleman with a sports coat, slacks and dress shirt and violin. I was intrigued. They finished setting up about the time our drinks arrived then started say they were fantastic is an understatement. They were accomplished musicians and the crowd at the place appreciated every note. Their name is Flamenco Symphony and they were well worth the listen. Check out their website, They weren't loud, just fabulous! I would drive to Bee Caves again just to hear them play. All in all we had a wonderful evening at Buenos Aires Cafe and I would recommend it without reservation.

Dec 23, 2012
edberliner in Austin

H & H Car Wash and Coffee Shop, El Paso....simply the best

I can't stop smiling! My kids are on a trip to El Paso to visit their aged grandmother. I suggested they eat at least one breakfast at H & H, and, thankfully, they did! Their review can be summed up in one word....DELICIOUS. Its a dump, no two ways around that, but what a dump. The juevos rancheros are transcendant, as is just about everything they crank out. I quizzed each kid separately and the result was exactly the same, they loved it. My oldest, age 31 fancies himself a chef, and he raved, my youngest, age 27 lives in Florida and is a real foodie, she's actually eaten at Jok's Kitchen in Bangkok, and her review: "Great recommendation, the juevos rancheros were DELISH." My middle son, age 29 is a picky eater, a bacon and eggs man, which is what he ordered, and he loved them. If you aren't impressed by the surroundings, but rather by the food, then please do yourself a favor and go the H & H. Tell Kenneth Haddad I said hello!

Dec 15, 2012
edberliner in Texas

Monty's vs. Joe's

My kids are taking us to eat Stone Crabs at the end of October (we live in Austin, TX). I spent time in Coconut Grove years ago and actually loved Monty's, better than Joe's. I thought the crabs were great, and I loved Monty's Ceasar salad. I'm curious if anyone has a preference or if Monty's is still good (or ever was), or should I let the kids take us to Joe's? Thanks in advance for the advice.

One lunch in Chinatown

San Francisco

One lunch in Chinatown

I'm passing through on the way to the wine country on a Wednesday in late June. My wife and I have but 1 meal which I would like to be in Chinatown, although I could be swayed. My only requirements are that it be reasonably priced and non-chain. I am not much of a seafood lover although my wife is. With those perameters could you steer me in the right direction?

Curious about Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa area

You have never steered me wrong in all my visits to San Francisco so I'll bother you one more time. This time I'm heading up 101 to ultimately end up in Healdsburg for a wedding, but before that I have one evening in Rohnert Park and one in Santa Rosa. I have the wine tastings all set, but I'd like any suggestions you might have for dinner in the Rohnert Park area. I thought we'd eat at Johnny Garlic's in Santa Rosa the second night because I am a major Diners Drive-Ins and Dives fan, but I would listen to reason if something good is close by. Thanks as always.

San Francisco to Healdsburg

I'm a loyal Chowhound from Austin, Tx. I fly to S.F. on the morning of Wednesday, June 20th then have to be in Healdsburg by Friday at 5:00 p.m. for a wedding. Of course my question is where should I go, what should I eat, where should I stay? Should I drive out of San Francisco for a night or stay in your lovely city for 2 nights? I've been there before, but not for 20 years, so I'm guessing its changed a tad. Feed back is appreciated. Thanks.

What a great lunch at Arkie's Grill

I've lived in Austin almost 40 years and just made my first pilgramage to Arkie's Grill way out east on Ceasar Chavez. I loved it. The setting was Austin mid 60's, the food was fantastic diner food. My friend and I both had the chicken fried steak with 3 out of the 4 sides (we skipped the okra which was probably a mistake). 3 sides at Arkies is a nice sized salad, fresh, cool refreshing; a baked potato with butter, and black eyed peas. Do not miss the black eyed peas, they are marvelous. Next time I'm skipping the baked potato and opting for two helpings of the peas. The chicken fried is excellent. Fried to a crispy perfection, beaten till its tender, nice tasting beef and excellent crust. The gravy was also diner delicious. I think it was yellow but who knows. The rolls were first rate. And the notch...A++. I loved our waitress and she seems to enjoy what she does for a living. She was a delight. Come to think of it I enjoyed the food but I'll go back for the waitress. I only wish I remembered her name, she deserves kudos! If you have a friend in town for a day or two and want to do lunch in an old Austin institution that will not dissappoint, do yourself a favor and venture east ot the freeway near the Montopolis bridge and fall in love with Arkie's. For what its worth, this place is cross between a diner and a dive....either way its fun.

Oct 07, 2011
edberliner in Austin

Who makes Empanadas

My son, who is a very very picky eater, recently ate empanadas at an Argentinian restaurant in El Paso. He loved them! (as he generally loves anything we can get him to try, which hasn't been very much until recently). They were stuffed with Roquefort cheese, celery and pecans. Is there anyone in our area that makes such a thing? His birthday is this Sunday and I'd like to take him wherever you come up with to recreate his cullinary experience. Thanks.

Oct 06, 2011
edberliner in Austin

They're back baby!

They have put in a nice new floor, added some blinds for the windows, but otherwise it remains the same old funky Sunflower! It smells as great as I remembered, and the ladies are all glad to see their old customers. I wish I could talk my wife into going back again tonight.

May 10, 2011
edberliner in Austin