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Philadelphia Bucket List

Since it was my first time there I wasn't aware it was always available. It was delicious and more than enough for two people when ordered for two.

Jan 16, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

I don't think you're being facetious - and that's my point too. I'm far from being an expert on the matter but I guess if restaurants choose to allow byob, even when they sell their own wines, then it's their call, but I'll pay the "extra" to help a good restaurant succeed and pay their workers well.

Jan 14, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

Yes, if you're looking to save money that's a fair point. On the other hand, I've always heard that restaurants make their profits on liquor/wine sales so if it means we have better restaurants, I don't mind paying more. I also don't mind paying more to make it possible for restaurants to pay their workers a good living wage.

Philadelphia Bucket List

True about the wines. Normally I would have ordered a red because I know more about them and I like Italian reds, but because I was having fish I got it into my head that I needed a white which I know little to nothing about. The selection of by-the-glass was still pretty small.

I like to hear what other people like in restaurants and if a lot of people are steering clear of certain dishes then I generally will too, but food is also very subjective. I ordered the budino because so many people raved about it on CH. I liked what was on top but I didn't really care for the grainy consistency of the polenta as a dessert. Different strokes...

Jan 14, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

Good point.

Jan 14, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

I guess keeping rents low is a good thing. I don't know enough about state controlled liquor to have an opinion, but I'm used to going to restaurants without having to think about it, and from my perspective that's what I prefer. I don't want to worry about going out to buy a bottle of wine before dinner or raiding my personal stash. The other night we walked into Argana Tree and I wondered why the guy took the wine glasses off our table! When the server came I asked for a glass of prosecco and she asked me what it was. I finally caught on when I saw people walking in the door, bottles in hand.

Jan 13, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

I was asking about wines by the glass because my husband doesn't drink. I like heavy oak Chardonnays so they let me taste a couple of wines that they thought would be close to that, but they weren't close at all.

Next time - pizza and pasta it is!

Jan 13, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

I don't like having to think that much about what I order in a restaurant, but that's good to know. I feel like if you can't do it right, don't do it!

Jan 13, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Bucket List

We tried a restaurant on our bucket list this past weekend. Since I have wanted to try Osteria for several years we decided to make it the first. The comp bread basket is pretty amazing! Just a side note - I'm pretty sure that one of the breads is Jim Leahy's recipe for no-knead bread. It's kind of dense and feels damp, with a very brown crust. I happen to love that recipe.

My husband and I asked them to make their salad special for 2 instead of as individual salads. It was a plate with lightly dressed arugula piled in the center with 10 vegetables placed around the sides - red beets, golden beets, roasted parsnips, pickled cauliflower, roasted Brussels sprouts, oven roasted tomatoes, fire roasted red bell pepper, matchsticks of celery root - and some others! The salad was delicious.

I had the black bass (the online menu says striped bass, but the restaurant menu says black bass) w/cauliflower. It was tasty. My husband had the monkfish and he was very happy with it. For dessert we had the budino and the chocolate flan, which was, as far as I could tell, lava cake! Certainly not like any flan I've had, but my husband liked it. It was chocolate after all.

The service was excellent. The maitre d' came to our table and we talked about the PA state liquor laws and liquor licenses. I learned that one of the reasons some restaurants are byob is so you can bring wine (or alcohol) that you can't get from the state. It never occurred to me that the state had a fixed selection! Makes sense I guess.

The wine list was limited and they didn't have a white that suited my taste so I just stuck with prosecco for the entire meal.

Our wait person was very good. He and I talked about the intelligence of octopi when he recommended the grilled octopus, and then we brushed aside a conversation about force feeding ducks when he mentioned the foie gras. overall impression of the place was that the service was great - not overly attentive but on the ball and everything came just when we wanted it. The food was good but not fabulous. The next time I go there I will have the pizza and see how I feel about it, but for my money I've already eaten at other places in the area where I would rather drop $150 if I am going to spend that much.

Jan 13, 2014
fillyfilet in Philadelphia

Hotdogs in western MA

Just had a hot dog from the lady in that parking lot just off the rotary in Easthampton. I really liked it. The bun is the notorious New England style, albeit buttered and toasted. Kraut was on the bottom. They now offer a card that they stamp. I guess you get something free after you get so many punches. I like this little place and the lady is very accommodating and sweet.

But the real reason I logged on to this thread is another thing entirely! My husband and I were walking through the Holyoke Mall a few weeks back and I commented, as we were walking by one, that I hadn't eaten an Auntie Ann's pretzel in 20 years and wondered what their menu was like these days. They were literally flagging people down so I stopped and gave their menu the once over and decided to try their hot dog (wrapped in a pretzel of course). I shared it with my husband and we were both pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Now I don't think I would recommend it as a must try place as that would mean that I am encouraging people to go to a mall, but if you do happen to find yourself down that way, give it a try.

Auntie Ann's
101 Independence Mall Way, Kingston, MA 02364

Best Steak in Lexington, KY

Haven't had a steak in Lexington since the 80's! Back then Columbia's was the only game in town. What's hot in 2010??

Super Dave's Yucatan Chicken in Corte Madera?

Oh that's so sad!!! I googled to try and find if he was still in Corte Madera and found this post. I long for his wild mushroom tamales!! AND his great burritos. Surely he is still making burritos and tamales somewhere. He was just too good at it not to! I wonder if there is any other way to look for him?

2825 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025

Best burgers in the Pioneer Valley?

Montana's Tavern is in the Clarion Hotel, not the Doubletree.

Dining recommendations in Northampton, MA

I forgot an important breakfast/brunch place! Esselon Cafe on Rt. 9 in Hadley. Great outdoor seating. I don't care for the ordering process, you have to walk through a line and order and then they give you a number and you go find a table, but the food is very good. I think they are now open for dinner as well.

Dining recommendations in Northampton, MA

Lots of restaurants, but many fall short on quality. Here are a few that I like and a few that I've heard are good. If you're having dinner on a weekend, reservations are a good idea, except at the more casual places.

Breakfast recommendations: Most breakfast places open early and close around 2 or 3.
The Green Bean - N'hampton - never been because it's always so crowded!
Sylvester's - N'hampton
Jake's - N'hampton
Silver Spoon - E'hampton
Look Restaurant - Florence up Rt. 9

Gypsy Apple (French) - Shelburne Falls - will need reservation - highly recommend - $$$
Sierra Grill - N'hampton
Pizza Paradiso - N'hampton - outdoor seating
Local Burger - N'hampton - good burgers & dogs
Mulino's Trattoria - N'hampton
Both Thai restaurants in N'hampton are pretty good, Siam Square & Thai Garden
Bub's BBQ - Sunderland - very casual
Sitar Restaurant (Indian) - Springfield
Pho Saigon (Vietnamese) - Springfield
Butterfly (Chinese) - Hadley on Rt.9
Judie's - Amherst
Chez Albert (French) - Amherst
Bistro Les Gras (French) - N'hampton - by Smith - small menu but good - $$$
Zen - N'hampton - never been but a lot of people like it

Best burgers in the Pioneer Valley?

My favorite burger places:

Local Burger - Northampton
Outback - Springfield
Montana's - in the Doubletree Hotel - Northampton
Silver Spoon - Easthampton
Wagon Wheel - Gill

Silver Spoon Restaurant
73 Main St, Easthampton, MA 01027

Wagon Wheel Cafe
20 Farren Ave, New Haven, CT 06513

Zoe's Fish House in Northampton, MA

Zoe's Fish & Chop House closed a couple of years ago but now they have reopened under the name Zoe's Fish House, actually in Hadley, MA.

Has anyone eaten there since they reopened?

Looking for a good restaurant off the Merritt

Will be driving from NYC to Northampton, MA tomorrow and would like a recommendation for a must try place for lunch. We will be driving up the Merritt to 91.

We like all kinds of food and we're looking for some place we've never been before. There are only a few places we have stopped along this route in the past - Mamoun's in New Haven, Katz's deli, the Athenian (?) diner just off the Merritt around New Haven. Would be interested in exceptional burgers, Mexican food, Asian of any kind, or a good mom and pop place. Thanks!

Best fish tacos?

Really good blackened catfish tacos at Mesa Verde in Greenfield, MA.

Good burritos too, even if they aren't wrapped in foil!

Western Massachusetts Eat Up: Culinary Caravan

I hope you have better luck at DiPaolo than I did. My husband and I, along with another couple, went there a few weeks ago. The service was slow and the food ranged from mediocre to downright awful.

The waiter dropped a wet bottle of opened Prosecco on my husband's back. I reached over and felt his back and it was wet. I said "Are you okay, your back is wet" to which the waiter responded "No I don't think it's wet". He didn't offer to do anything! He just walked away.

I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo which I hadn't had in about 25 years. I lived in St. Louis for a few years and The Hill had some 4 star restaurants that made absolutely sublime Alfredo. From all the hype about DiPaolo I thought it would be a good test dish. I have to report that it was inedible. It came as a big glob on the plate and it was so thick you couldn't even separate the strands of pasta. It was as if it had been mixed with paste. Utterly disgusting.

One friend had the Cacciatore and the chicken was tough and the sauce tasted burned.

Another friend had a pasta dish in which the pasta was terribly undercooked.

On the drive home we were all expressing disappointment and a friend said "Maybe we just have to avoid the pasta"!

I am fed up with the restaurants in the valley that charge exorbitant prices for horribly mediocre food. When I pay $20 or $30 for an entree I expect it to be better than I can make at home!

So far, Gypsy Apple has been the best of the upscale restaurants.

New Paltz Restaurants

I don't know if you can get an inexpensive meal in New Paltz, but you can get some good Indian food at Suruchi. Not a very extensive menu (mostly vegetarian), but the entrees my husband and I had were great. We started with an order of potato and pea samosas which were better than some but not exceptional. They were very large and the filling was very good. The chutney and sauces were good and had an original flare to them. The entrees were outstanding. I had the Chicken Biryani and it was some of the best I have ever had. Only hunks of tender white meat chicken breast, no bones, wonderful spice flavor with almonds, raisins, cashews and a delicious raita to accompany it. The serving was enough for 3 or 4 people, no lie. My husband had the Chicken Korma and it was equally delicious with a light delicate cream sauce, cauliflower and peas. Entrees were $20. The only weak part of the meal was the bread. The naan was very thick and kind of chewy and the aloo paratha was too crispy (more like a quesadilla) for my liking. Overall we thought the experience was very good.

A bookstore owner also recommended The Village Tearoom. Their menu looks interesting and the tapas are reasonably priced.

Mosaic Cafe in Northampton

Is this the same people who owned the crepe place where Local Burger is now?

Mosaic Cafe in Northampton

Anyone been there? I ran into a friend that said it was pretty good, but I haven't seen any reviews yet.

Slider recipes

I just saw my first slider buns-labeled as such- in the grocery store today, Pepperidge Farm, and they have wheat as well as white. Probably won't be long before everyone is making them. Of course I live in Western Mass so it's possible the rest of the country has had them for years!

Jun 15, 2009
fillyfilet in Home Cooking

Brattleboro: Best Business Lunch?


Brattleboro: Best Business Lunch?


Brattleboro: Best Business Lunch?

It's not a cafe but A Single Pebble now serves lunch and the food is amazing! It's not your run of the mill Chines food by any means.

belchertown northampton amherst

In downtown Northampton, Local Burger at 16 Main Street is great. I can vouch for the juicy lucy burger, the local farm burgers, the french fries, the sweet potato fries, the onion rings, and the hot dogs are outstanding. I have seen grumblings on Chowhound that the buns are not grilled, but my husband and I love this little joint and the buns are just fine with us.

I agree with the Great Wall suggestion, and a drive up route 9 toward Hadley and you will find Butterfly which is also a good Chinese restaurant.

For pizza, we like Pinocchio's at 122 Main Street, Northampton. Not too many seats inside but great thin crust pizza. Sam's at 235 Main Street is pretty good too. It's next to Broadside bookstore - a great little bookstore.

There's also two pretty good Thai restaurants in Northampton, Siam Square at 84 Pleasant Street and Thai Garden at 2 Bridge Street, both easy to walk to. There's also Zen which lots of people seem to like but we haven't eaten there yet.

I'll let some other Chowhounds fill you in on Amherst and Belchertown.

Good Mexican Food?

Have you been to the one that Lenox637 mentioned Great Barrington..... Xicohtencatl? I was thinking of trying that one soon, but if you have tried it, let me know what you think. They have a pretty interesting menu, but I haven't seen a detailed review.

Jericho's Kitchen: Florence, MA really nice

Made it to Jericho's yesterday. I bought a sandwich, a bag of chips, a bottled soda, and two entrees for $23! Aside from having to deal with one of the local public drunks, we thought the food was very good.

I read on the website that this guy used to cook at Spoleto's and Zoe's. We really don't like Spoleto's and Zoe's was just okay, but he seems to be doing something different here.

The sandwich was a meatball grinder and my husband and I split it for lunch. The sauce was a very simple but tasty pomodoro sauce with chunks of flavorful tomatoes and not much else. The meatballs were the firm variety with parsley and mostly tasted like hamburger. While I prefer a softer meatball with some added flavor these were not bad. The puzzling part of the sandwich was that the meatballs were served on two slices of artisan country bread. The flavors were great together but the sandwich was wrapped in parchment and it was kind of soggy by the time I got home. We had to eat it with a knife and fork! We still thought it was good.

Tonight we had the entrees - chicken piccata and baked ziti w/meatballs and they were both good. The chicken piccata had just the right amount of lemon sauce and capers and the chicken was au natural as opposed to breaded. We chose pasta over rice and it came with very lightly steamed squash and zucchini. The ziti was very cheesy with just the right amount of pomodoro sauce. We also got a salad of red lettuce, grated carrots, and shredded red cabbage with a red wine vinaigrette, which must have come with the baked ziti. The portions of these two entrees were HUGE. There was enough food for at least 4 people, so that is the only warning I have! Not a bad warning.

I guess the thing about Jericho's Kitchen is that the food is as good as (most) people can cook at home. My big complaint with restaurants in the valley has been that I'm tired of paying high prices for food that is not as good as what I can cook at home. I will definitely go back.