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hmruthi's Profile

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After Italy:Search for Gelato in Atlanta

I am very surprised to see that no one has said Alon's. Alon's used to have a gelato shop right next to their HIghlands location called What's the Scoop? that was fabulous. They closed that location, but the Alon's in Ashford Dunwoody now serves gelato. It's not as good as What's the Scoop used to be but very close.

I'm pretty picky about my gelato, having tried it in Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi coast, so I would definitely vouch for Alon's (especially in comparison to Paolo's).

Jul 04, 2011
hmruthi in Atlanta

Romantic place - dinner and dancing?

Did you ever find a good place for dinner and dancing? My husband and I are hoping to find a similar place for our first year wedding anniversary. The Sky Room is a bit far from us, so we were hoping to find other options. Any advice would be appreciated!

Jul 29, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

It makes sense that OM is more like Otto than Babbo. I just finished reading Heat, which is why I think I have been on a Mario Batali kick.

Too many options! I might just wait to see what the Sunday Supper menu is at Lucques and decide that way. Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone - I really appreciate it!

Jul 24, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

The "scene" of Mozza is my concern. We just went to the Pizzeria last week and while we enjoyed the pizzas, we were a bit surprised at the bustling environment. I think I had hyped it up so much before going that my party was expecting a Babbo-esque experience, which they have all been to. Is the Osteria closer to Babbo or the Pizzeria in its ambiance?

I just checked Hatfield's and it doesn't seem to offer many vegetarian options. Lucques is willing to do a vegetarian version of their Sunday night supper for me...

Jul 23, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

Taco truck and Providence in one evening. I like the sound of that!

Jul 23, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

Thanks so much for the heads up! Oil/butter/grease is not up my alley. I will try some of the other suggestions instead.

Jul 23, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

Okay, so apparently both Lucques and Mozza have availabilities on the day I would like. But it is a Sunday, which means that we'd be doing the Sunday Supper at Lucques. Any comments on the Sunday Supper vs. Mozza.

Also, Akasha seems to be a nice option - I'll throw that one out to my husband as well.

Jul 23, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I think Providence is a bit out of our budget range, although the dessert tasting menu looks really good.

Mako looks great, but they are closed on Sundays, which is when I am looking for a table.

What about Osteria Mozza as an alternative? I've been to Babbo in NY and it was possibly one of the best meals I have had in my life. I'm not sure if OM is similar...

Jul 22, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Please help me with anniversary dinner!

My husband and I have our first year anniversary coming up and my head is spinning after searching for restaurants for us to go to. We just moved in from SF, so I am only nominally familiar with the LA dining scene.

We'd like something with a nice ambiance, good food, and not too overpriced - something along the lines of Gitane or Aziza or Slanted Door in SF. As far as types of cuisine - we're fine with Middle Eastern, Mexican, Latin American, Tapas, Italian, or Asian Fusion. We live in Culver City, so we'd like to stay within 30 minutes driving distance. Also, I'm vegetarian but my husband is not.

So far, I've only come up with Il Cielo and the Little Door, which both seem to have great atmospheres but underwhelming food. Please help me!!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Jul 22, 2009
hmruthi in Los Angeles Area

Great Dinner at Gitane

I just went to dinner at Gitane with my husband and we had a wonderful meal. We started out with the goat cheese wrapped in grilled eggplant, as well as a side of the patatas bravas with three dipping sauces as our appetizers. The first was excellent, and the second was good (although we weren't sure why tartar sauce was one of the dipping sauces). For our entrees, I got the vegetable tagine and my husband got the pizza primavera with portobello mushrooms (for an additional $3). The pizza was pretty good, although probably the weakest out of all the dishes we ordered.

As for the tajine - having been to Morocco recently, I was surprised with Gitane's interpretation of tajine and couscous. Tajine, which is simply a stew (usually available both with meat and without) is served with a round french bread roll in Morocco, and not with couscous (which is its own dish served separately in Morocco). Also, in Morocco the tajine always comes in the tajine dish. I was quite surprised to find that Gitane's tajine came in a regular bowl with a side of couscous, and the couscous (not the tajine) was put in the tajine dish. All of these little quibbles aside, the actual "tajine" was amazing. It was perfectly spiced and full of flavor, which I really appreciated because almost all of the vegetarian tajine OR vegetarian couscous dishes I got in Morocco were superbly bland.

After our appetizers and entrees, we both were too full for dessert. Overall - an excellent meal and a place that we will definitely return to.

Jun 01, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Coco 500 vs. Bar Bambino

Hmm, overdressed is an issue. I went ahead and checked on reservations at both Coco500 and BB before posting this. At BB, if we dine there, we will have an entire 10 person table to ourselves (apparently they have 3 in the restaurant for large parties), so I'm thinking that might be less crowded.

Also, we don't necessarily need to be close to the W. I think we'd be willing to drive from dinner to W, just not too far. Having said that, any suggestions?

Apr 28, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Coco 500 vs. Bar Bambino

A few of us will be attending a graduate school formal at the W hotel this Saturday night starting at 10 p.m. Since I didn't get my act together fast enough, the only places that seem to have reservations that can get us in at a decent hour is either Coco 500 or Bar Bambino. Considering that there will be 8 of us, we will be in semiformal attire (suits not tuxes), and heading out to the W afterwards, which would you recommend? If not these two, any other recs?

Apr 28, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Moroccan Restaurants that are not Aziza

Thanks for the suggestions. Both Casablanca and Cafe Zitouna seem like reasonably-priced options with more traditional fare. My husband and I just got back from Morocco a few weeks ago and loved the food. We recently went to Aziza after our trip and I was surprised to see the lack of tagine on their menu, although I will have to say that they make a killer vegetable couscous (on par, if not better, than anything I had in Morocco). Considering that Aziza is more creative, I was hoping to find some alternative options in the bay area with the more traditional assortment of dishes. Thanks for all of the suggestions!

And all the mint tea we had in Morocco was super sweet. It was almost like the tea was a conduit for sugar, but the cups are so small that the sweetness was manageable in small doses.

Apr 14, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Moroccan Cookies

South bay would be preferrable. The cookies we had in Morocco were freshly baked so I'm not sure if the markets would have freshly-baked ones or pre-packaged, but I'm willing to try anything at this point. The main ones I'm looking for ar called Kab el Ghazal, and they are filled with an almond and orange paste. I saw that Zitune restaurant serves cookies as one of their dessert items, so I could possibly just order them that way, but it's $9/order, so I would love a less expensive alternative.

Apr 14, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Moroccan Restaurants that are not Aziza

It looks like Tanjia, El Mansour, and El Morocco are all prix fixe. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether the non prix fixe places are any better to try?

Apr 14, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Moroccan Restaurants that are not Aziza

Looking try new Moroccan restaurants that are not Aziza, which I love and have already been to twice in the last couple of months. Here are the ones I have heard of: El Mansour, Cafe Zitouna, Cossu, and Zitune. Are any of them Chow worthy? Solid, traditional food is key (they at least need to have either couscous or tagine on the menu), and nice ambiance would be a plus, but not totally necessary.

Apr 14, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Barnett vs. Spring Mountain?

Thanks for the suggestions! We have tour/tasting reservations at both Pride and Spring Mountain. If we can squeeze in Barnett, we might try to do that as well. I've never been to the Spring Mountain district, so I'm definitely looking forward to it!

Apr 13, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Moroccan Cookies

My husband and I recently returned from a week-long trip in Morocco armed with 2 boxes full of Moroccan cookies from Rabat. Now that our families are finished with them, we are looking for places in the Bay area to buy more. We sampled all different kinds in a few bakeries in Rabat, but we're interested in mostly the ones that are almond or pistachio based. However, since all of them were delectable, and surprisingly not too sweet, we're willing to try anything. Any suggestions on places in the Bay area that we can stock up on some more?

Apr 13, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Authentic Neapolitan Style Pizza

We finally made it out to Pizzeria Picco after a 6 mile hike in Muir Woods. We got to eat our pizza at the bar, and we had great service. I ordered the pizzeria margherita with the addition of imported Italian buffalo mozzarella and arugula. I asked the arugula without oil or salt, but they somehow ended up getting the order wrong by adding those two ingredients onto the arugula, which made the entire pizza quite oily. My husband got the mushroom pizza (called "Seven") and his was definitely better, and much less oily. So far, his rank for Neopolitan pizza places in the bay area are Picco, A16, and Pizzaiolo, with Delfina in its own category. I would rank A16 higher than Picco, mainly because I like the A16 crust better, but otherwise my list would be the same.

Also, the soft-serve ice cream was a huge plus at Picco. I got the chocolate soft serve with strawberry compote and my husband got the vanillla with hot fudge. We both would recommend the latter over the former.

Apr 12, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Barnett vs. Spring Mountain?

Is there a particular spot to picnic that you would recommend? We have a tour/tasting at Pride Mountain from 10 - 11:30 a.m., so we could in theory picnic there, or the next winery that we hit up in the area.

Apr 10, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Brand new in Silicon Valley: where should I eat?

Here are my Palo Alto area favorites thus far:
Chai at Coupa Cafe
Valrhona Chocolate Yogurt with Apricot Puree at Fraiche
Smoked Tofu and Rosewater Mojito at Mantra
Tzatziki and pita appetizer and molten chocolate cake at Evvia
Plato de Vegetales at La Bodeguita del Medio
Weekend lunch buffet at Amber

Others the places that I have tried that have been good, but not been spectacular (according to my book) are: Junoon, Darbar, Calafia, Oaxacan Kitchen, Vino Locale, Applewood PIzza, Pluto's, Cafe Barrone

Places I would probably never go back to are: La Strada (terrible - don't bother!), Amber Cafe (different from Amber restaurant and not good), Empire Tap Room (overpriced)

Apr 09, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Barnett vs. Spring Mountain?

Thanks - it sounds like Barnett is the way to go, so I'll try to get a reservation there. Thanks again!

Apr 09, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Barnett vs. Spring Mountain?

Judging the tastes of the people in my party (2 of whom are Napa first timers), better in the sense of overall experience, particularly location. Spring Mountain is supposed to do their tastings in their caves, according to the website. Would you recommend that over the views of Barnett?

Apr 09, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Barnett vs. Spring Mountain?

Which one is better? Both the tours/tastings are $25/person. Have reservations at Pride and looking to hit up another in that area...

Apr 09, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Parents visiting Napa - need help!

My parents will be in town in May and we're going to Napa on a Wednesday (mainly to avoid the crowds). They've never been, but have recently gained a newfound appreciation for wine. I'm in the process of picking and choosing wineries that have the right combination of education for beginner wine drinkers, nice scenery, reasonable prices, and not terribly touristy. Here's what I have come up with:

10 a.m. - 11:30 tour and tasting: Pride Mountain
Picnic lunch (supplies from Sunshine Market)
Afternoon: head out to Spring Mountain for an Estate Tour and Cave Tasting
Vist 1-2 other wineries
Dinner at Ubuntu (both my parents are vegetarian, so it should be perfect)

I would appreciate suggestions for narrowing down the list of other wineries to visit. Here are some options I have come up with:
Stag's Leap or Chateau Montalena (for the history)
Joseph Phelps (they have the barrel seminar that day or the terrace tasting)
Hess Collection (mainly for the art gallery)
Del Dotto (St. Helena location, I've done the other location and it wasn't worth it)
Schramsburg (I've been twice already, but it's a wonderful tour and tasting)

I would have really liked to have taken them to Cakebread's Sensory Evaluation to start off with, but they only run those on the weekends. I've heard the seminars at Joseph Phelps are good alternatives, but their only doing the barrel seminar the day we go, so I'm not sure if it's worth it for my parents...

Apr 08, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Slanted door tonight - need recs! [San Francisco]

Thanks for all of the suggestions. We ended up having mostly vegetarian dishes last night, which all turned out to be great. We had the vegetarian imperial rolls, the veggie spring rolls (my personal favorite), grapefruit and jicama salad (amazing), the lemongrass tofu (very good), and the organic japanese eggplant (again, very good). For the non-veg dishes, we had the pan-seared scallops (which turned out to be the weakest dish we ordered), and the soup. We also had a bottle of austrian grĂ¼ner veltliner (it was perfect with the food), and with all of this our bill for 4 people was around $150. My husband and I both would definitely try going again, although we might explore some other dishes...

Apr 08, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Slanted door tonight - need recs! [San Francisco]

Great - thanks for all the recs! I'll let you know how they turn out.

Apr 07, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

What would you add or subtract from the Chron Top 100 List?

Even though Vik's is cheap, it really needs to get the boot. Just ate there a few weeks ago and it was sadly disappointing. The people we were with said that there are much better places in Fremont and Sunnyvale for cheap chaat.

And Green's also needs to be off. I just ate there yesterday for brunch and it was also underwhelming, and overpriced for the quality of the food.

Apr 07, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Slanted door tonight - need recs! [San Francisco]

Two vegetarians and two meat eaters. What should we order? From what I can gather, we should definitely get the grapefruit and jicama salad, but anything else? Recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Apr 07, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area

Authentic Neapolitan Style Pizza

I've had the pizza margherita at La Strada. It's sub par in comparison to the rest of these places (A16, Pizzaiolo, Delfina), and not worth the money, at least in my book.

Mar 21, 2009
hmruthi in San Francisco Bay Area