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Best Chinese available for takeout in the Menlo Park area

Thanks so much for the tips! I am excited to try them out.

Jun 29, 2015
meg944 in San Francisco Bay Area

Best Chinese available for takeout in the Menlo Park area

Hi - looking for good restaurants that do quality Chinese available for takeout in the Menlo Park area. Willing to drive about 15-20 minutes out for something special. Sichuan would be ideal, but mostly we are just looking to avoid the usual depressing work lunch offerings at our office. Thanks so much!

Jun 28, 2015
meg944 in San Francisco Bay Area

Northern Sonoma Barrel Tasting weekend

Thanks so much, folks! Freesnack, asking Betsy for tips is a great idea. JonDough, we are actually members at Dashe but have only visited the Oakland tasting room. So, all these suggestions sound good. We are new to Oakland and have only visited wine country a couple of times.

Incidentally, we were thinking about Chalkboard in Healdsberg for dinner but are up for something different if anyone is passionate.

Mar 13, 2015
meg944 in San Francisco Bay Area

Northern Sonoma Barrel Tasting weekend

Hi, we are thinking about coming our for this Wine Road barrel tasting event. A PDF of the wineries is here:

Any tips on which wineries to visit? We will be going to Iron Horse (not on the list) and Acorn anyway, and may go to Healdsberg for dinner, so distance isn’t much of an issue

Mar 12, 2015
meg944 in San Francisco Bay Area

any tips to replace Lotus of Siam

I was hoping to go to Lotus of Siam while on a visit this weekend. They only take phone reservations for a few hours each day, no email, no online. Tried for the past three days and it was busy every time I called, now today they say they are fully booked all weekend. Apparently no waitlist, either, as the woman on the phone just hung up on me. :(

Anyway, while I am disappointed, I was hoping you folks could offer similar suggestions. I will be at a conference, staying at LVH. For other meals we are planning on Sage, Jaleo, db brasserie, Japanese Cuisine by Omae.

Jun 27, 2014
meg944 in Las Vegas

Celebratory lunch in the same vein as Momofuku Ko?

Thanks, all. In the end I was lucky enough to snag a dinner reservation the night before we were supposed to come down - it will mean another night at a hotel and some rearranging of plans but I think it's worth it since this is so perfectly his style. Then I got us lunch at Babbo for our free Friday.

Apr 24, 2013
meg944 in Manhattan

Celebratory lunch in the same vein as Momofuku Ko?

Thanks! Those are both solid ideas and places we've discussed before. Unfortunately they have no openings for 5/3 right now but I will get on on the waitlists and keep trying.

Apr 23, 2013
meg944 in Manhattan

Celebratory lunch in the same vein as Momofuku Ko?

My husband got an amazing promotion and we will be moving to San Francisco soon. On an upcoming visit I had hoped to take him to lunch at Momofuku Ko to celebrate but had no luck snagging a reservation. Unfortunately, due to timing/family plans, a Friday lunch is our only option, but I would like to try and find a similar place if possible. That is, really interesting food done really well and ideally somewhat adventurously. He is a former line cook and an assiduous home cook as well as a research scientist, so imagination is more important than decor or even service. We will be in Chelsea but would travel a bit for a special meal.

Apr 23, 2013
meg944 in Manhattan

Global Champagne Day, Oct 28, What's in your Glass?

Gaston Chiquet Fiacre!

Oct 28, 2011
meg944 in Wine

New "authentic" Mexican restaurant in Albany?

Tl; dr - just a move and re-branding of Pancho’s. Which is to say, entirely in-authentic.

Dinner for 60 in Montreal in Spetember

I am arranging a dinner for 60 in Montreal at the end of September. We have enough foodies and almost enough budget to be biased toward somewhere interesting (e.g., APDC).

Anyone have a recontamination for a suitable place? Upscale, ideally with a Québécoise spin on the food.



Mar 16, 2011
meg944 in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Fleur Royale - the prettiest cocktail we've ever made

Yes, the bottle that we got says "Pages' Parfait Amour Creme de Violette." I'd be curious to try the other variations (though not curious enough to lay out the cash!)

This was an example of our latest project, to ocme up with cocktails for some of our more obscure spirits. Next up, that Farigoule lavender and the whiskey/maple/pecan thing. (Not in thesame glass, though!)

Aug 24, 2010
meg944 in Spirits

Fleur Royale - the prettiest cocktail we've ever made

1/2 oz. Parfait Amour creme de violette

1/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur

sparkling wine

edible flowers (optional)

Pour liqueurs into a champagne glass and top with sparkling wine and an edible flower. We used nasturtiums as the orange contrasted beautifully with the indigo of the drink.


As with a Kir, this would probably be both tasty and pretty made with still white wine - then we'll just call it a Fleur.

It also tasted quite good (spicier, less floral) when we substituted Vya extra dry Vermouth for the St. Germain. Last night we were in full end-of-summer mode, but this version may be more appealing in the fall.

This would likely be very pretty in a martini glass. When the light shines through the drink it's really spectacular.

Aug 22, 2010
meg944 in Spirits

TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy

Yes, Jack and I are going for our final tasting menu this weekend. I am sad, though this will be better for them w/ their young children. They have a chance to run a destination chateau in the Languedoc.

TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy

Yes, I believe they are closed - that was a sad story. The owner was stabbed to death by her grandson.

Phoenicians, Albany (Lebanese cuisine)

Haven't been but have heard only good things - thanks for the report, fdr!

capital q smokehouse

. Finally made it in to Capital Q Smokehouse for lunch today. ( ) This is basically a take-away joint, though they do have a small amount of counter seating and a couple of picnic tables. We were really pleased – the guy behind the counter immediately suggested that we sample all three of their pulled pork options (one is more traditional, one is vinegar-based w/ ketchup, the last, and my choice, was vinegar-based w/ mustard.) He also offered to let us sample any sides we wanted. I got a pulled pork plate w/ corn bread w/ maple butter, potato salad (they let you sub either this or macaroni salad for the usual coleslaw,) and mashed sweet potatoes with maple. I also had a bite of friends’ baked beans, hush puppies, mac and cheese. Everything is made in-house, including the pickles you get on the side or in your sandwich, and from what I understand, it is primarily more of a North Carolina-style barbecue. I found the pulled pork w/ mustard to have just enough bite and nice levels of smoke – my friends preferred the most traditional sauce. With drinks we spent ~$10 each, and except for the pleasure of trying many things, I would be inclined to recommend sharing a plate amongst two people. I had to take at least half of my food home. Both of the counter people were really nice, and the guy came out and chatted w/ us while we were eating at the picnic table. We even got to meet the owner’s dog. They also have smoked chicken, beef, and quite a large number of sides – now I am wondering why I didn’t go for some Hoppin’ John! Though I’m not in this area much, I’ll keep it in mind for inexpensive, tasty, friendly barbecue.

TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy

Actually, this "best of" is done by the Metroland staff - they also have a "reader's poll" that comes out at another time. (They used to combine the two, but they are both such popular issues, I think they decided to combine them to maximize ad revenue.) I usually get some new insights from both, but the reader's poll is less reliable, in my experience.

vegetarian-friendly, near Mart Plaza

YThat sounds great! Thanks, Etoiles!

Jul 19, 2009
meg944 in Chicago Area

vegetarian-friendly, near Mart Plaza

Thanks so much for teh suggestions!

Jul 17, 2009
meg944 in Chicago Area

vegetarian-friendly, near Mart Plaza

I was looking for vegetarian-friendly places in the area of our hotel or reasonably easy to reach from the hotel and had no luck - perhaps because of my limited knowledge of landmarks other than our hotel. Sorry I wasn't more clear. And I hear you on the non-vegetarian restaurant thing, but I have actually been burned by that several times. Casual ethnic lunch places, sure, but upscale places are often less vegetarian-friendly than I'd like - I don't want my sister to have one pasta dish to "choose" from. My family still tells the story, to my horror, of the tapas place in Philly where we once took everyone. I remembered it as having a lot of options, but it turned out nearly everything had meat. I wanted to leave when I saw the menu, but they were afraid we'd be out of luck elsewhere. So, my sister's family wound up splitting several orders of the couple of things they could eat while the rest of us had a guilty feast. So, I am doubtless being over-zealous, but with some cause.

Anyway, we made reservations for our special dinner on Saturday at the Green Zebra, which looks great, and have noted the others. Unfortunately Frontera is not open on Sunday or Monday, or I might have had to push the vegetarian envelope.

Thanks, all!

Jul 16, 2009
meg944 in Chicago Area

TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy

You can easily travel to Saratoga, Troy, or Schenectady in ~15 minutes, and Albany takes just a bit longer, so I would consider that. But right in Clifton Park, Tai Pan isn't bad at all, especially for dim sum. Also, Shalimar just opened a branch there, I understand - that is basic but tasty Indian.

vegetarian-friendly, near Mart Plaza

Hi – my sisters and I are coming out to Chicago for a girls’ weekend at the end of this month at staying at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. This is the first time we have ever done this (sans parents, husband, kids) as we live all over the country. One of my sisters is vegetarian, so I would like to get some recommendations for places that are vegetarian-friendly. I did a quick search but didn't find anything. Ideally it wouldn’t be more than a $10 cab ride away from the hotel (though for something really amazing or on the Brown line, which is near our hotel, there could be some leeway.) And while casual is fine for most lunches, dinners, I’d like to do something a bit more upscale for our Saturday night dinner. (Sadly, it won’t be Charlie Trotter’s, though I know they have a vegetarian tasting menu.) Also, I’d love to find a nice place nearby to have a glass of wine or cocktail and perhaps a small bite. I really appreciate the help – I can’t tell you how many times Chowhound folks have saved my bacon while I’m traveling.

Jul 14, 2009
meg944 in Chicago Area

Need Recipe for Brownie Batter Ice Cream!

I actually developed mine because a friend told me he had done just that. I never use a mix to make brownies as the recipe is so simple and good, so this was actually easier for me (as I had everything on-hand) and, I hope, tastier. But I bet both are delicious and indulgent. (A bit too much so for me, I’ll admit – I made this up for my husband.)

Jun 29, 2009
meg944 in Home Cooking

Primavera, Ludlow

I didn't even know there was a Ludlow, VT - sorry!

Best (Funniest? Wittiest?) Food Quotes

Re: bad coffee, Ani DiFranco had a line I always liked: "The coffee was just water dressed in brown."

Jun 27, 2009
meg944 in Not About Food

Primavera, Ludlow

My husband and I had a really enjoyable dinner at Primavera in Ludlow on Thursday. This isn't a fine dining destination but the food is tasty and inexpensive, and the young servers were almost shockingly sweet and helpful. For instance, we ordered an appetizer of flaming chourica sausage, which actually arrived in a pig-shaped flaming dish. My husband happened to be in the bathroom when it came out and I mentioned that he was going to be sorry he missed the spectacle, so one kept an eye on it so it wouldn't get too burnt while one went to keep watch and hurry him down the hall. Later he said he wished he had thought to take a picture of it w/ his cell phone but we had already blown out the flame - a nearby server overheard and then offered to light it again (we didn't.) As I write this I realize that this might come off badly elsewhere, but the mood was friendly and light-hearted and we were completely charmed by them.

The meals all come with a free cup of soup - that night's was vegetable, which we thought would be blah but turned out to be rich and creamy. A note to any vegetarians, there is no way this was a vegetarian stock. We then had the sausage (nicely spiced and crisp - the flaming is actually a nice touch, flavor-wise) and some cod cakes. I found the cod cakes a bit disappointingly bland, and we ordered a carafe of wine after seeing a bunch of what looked like a table of regulars drinking it - that turned out to be not such a good idea. They have a limited but inexpensive and mostly Portuguese wine list, and I would try something else next time.

Our entrees were a stew of monkfish with some shrimp and mussels over rice (rice cooked in the dish plus an extra plate of rice) and a daily special of tripe, sausage and white beans (and possibly some other vegetables.) Both came in dutch ovens and were huge portions. Were it not for the fun of trying more tastes, there would be every reason to split one between the two of us in the future. The flavors were rich and complex - I was hard-pressed not to overeat because it was all so tasty.

Total bill - something like $55 plus tip.

Incidentally, they are doing some construction to expand.

Need Recipe for Brownie Batter Ice Cream!

Just made this up last night....

brownie batter ice cream -

Brownie batter
3/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. good quality cocoa powder

Ice Cream Mix
1 1/2 c. cream
1 1/2 c. milk
1 bar of minced good quality chocolate (we used green and black 70%)

mix together the brownie batter ingredients, add the milk and cream, and freeze as directed in an ice cream maker. At the last stage, add minced chocolate bits. You can eat as is or freeze a couple of hours for firmer ice cream.

Brownie batter ice cream - the ultra-indulgent remix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Double the brownie batch ingredients, divide in half, and reserve one half for making ice cream. In the other half, add 1/2 t. baking powder, and a pinch of salt, beat well. Add 1/2 c. chopped chocolate (or good chocolate chips)

Mix the ice cream ingredients w/ cream and milk and chill.

Oil an 8" square pan and spread the brownie batter. Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1/2 hour (until brownie begins to pull away from the edges.) Cool and cut - you probably want 1/3 for the ice cream and 2/3 for snacking or sundaes. Obviously the ice cream bits must be wee; the rest, less so. Make up the ice cream, and just before it is done, add the brownie bits and chopped chocolate. Eat, or freeze and eat, and then fall over with happiness.

Note - this recipe does call for uncooked eggs. If you don't trust your eggs, or are pregnant or ill, it's best to avoid that.

Note - You could probably flavor this with mint or peanut butter or raspberry or marzipan, etc. and have it be wonderful. This is just stage 1 flavor - have fun!

Jun 27, 2009
meg944 in Home Cooking

Rude guests bringing wine - should I have served it?

My very thoughts, albeit expressed much more eloquently!

Jun 02, 2009
meg944 in Not About Food

Cella Bistro - Review

Thanks, FDR! I was sick for awhile and Jack has been teaching a class in the evenings, so we haven’t had the energy to try any new places of late. We have been back to Creo and NWBB and had good experiences (and had a mediocre experience at Aperitivo, sadly,) but I really want to go to Dale Miller and am also intrigued by the remake of the Glen Sanders’ restaurant, Angelo’s Tavolo. I’ve never had pasta w/ sea urchin before.

BTW, I expect you are right – they probably want to avoid people coming in, having two glasses of wine (or maybe two glasses of water!) splitting an entrée and not ordering anything else. I can completely understand under those sorts of circumstances. We often swap plates but it’s not about saving money or even my rather wee appetite – we both just like to have a chance to try more things. Thus I think we’ll never tire of the small plates phenomenon.