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Authentic Cassoulet

Thanks for the replies. La sirene sound perfect! I Iike the byob aspect; I'll be able to bring a better wine for less.

I was specific in my request primarily to avoid imitations that do not include the duck. I'm no member of "la confrerie de L'academie universele du cassoulet" but most of the cassoulet's I've had out side of the Languedoc region pale in comparison to those in Castelnauray.

Sep 20, 2012
mainiac in Manhattan

Solo dining at Peter Luger

I would like to eat at Peter Luger's for lunch for their burger and dinner for the porterhouse (Not on the same day!). Are they ok with solo diners? Also, I've heard the porterhouse for two is much better than their other options. Is it gluttony to order this for one. I'm ok with leftovers. Any update on the price for the porterhouse?
Regards,
Mainiac

Sep 19, 2012
mainiac in Outer Boroughs

Authentic Cassoulet

Looking for an authentic cassoulet in the style of Castelnaudary with duck confit. A good salade friesee aux lardons would be a plus as well.

Regards,
Mainiac

Sep 19, 2012
mainiac in Manhattan

Maine Hound returns to the Big Apple

Thanks for the replies. I will repost in the OB board as this seems to be where most of the ethnic enclaves are located. Traveling by subway is no problem. To refine my request a bit:
Shawarma is fine; I'm trying to avoid the ubiquitous Greek meatloaf, Kronos. A blend of lamb and pork would be ideal. Tacos pastor would be a treat as would Yucatan style food. A good veal parm in red sauce with some decent pasta is on my list. I still pine for the first veal saltimboca I had at Forlini's in Chinatown many years ago ( I heard they are still there). Lastly, I would love to find a decent schniztle, some goulash, and viennese pastry mit schlag. I'll be staying at the Royalton on W44th.
Thanks again,
Mainiac

Sep 13, 2012
mainiac in Manhattan

Maine Hound returns to the Big Apple

I'll be in NYC for a week this October for a medical conference, but my real agenda is to take a big bite of the Big Apple. I've been to NYC many times over the years and have had some terrific dining experiences. This time I plan to focus on reliable and modestly priced establishments for lunch and dinner. I'm seeking ethnic food with big flavors and good value in any of the 5 boroughs. Some specific items include:
Great espresso
Best Gyros
Authentic Mexican (no TexMex)
Old school Italian
Chinese with some heat
Eastern European

Quite a request I admit, but it is worth the effort.
Regards,
Mainiac

Sep 12, 2012
mainiac in Manhattan

Cioppino

Best recipe I've ever had is from the Tadich Grill in SF. mercurynews.com/recipes/ci_7407936

Dec 04, 2011
mainiac in Home Cooking

Caiola's alert

It pains me to write this review of one of my favorite restaurants in Portland. In the past few years, I've always enjoyed the food at Caiola's and have recommended the restaurant to a number of friends. However, a recent dinner on Thursday night was a below par. It started well, as our party of 8 was seated on time in the "back room". Appetizers were lobster bisque and caesar salad with fried oysters. The bisque was an odd color, more of a yellow-brown, and had little lobster flavor. The salad was marred by seriously over fried (dark brown) oysters that had a rubbery texture, and again, no flavor.
Several entrees were ordered; scallop risotto, chicken marsala, Caiola's burger, paella and zuppa de pesce. The scallops (3 medium) in a very small amount of rice were tasty, but for $25, seemed a bit of a rip-off. The paella suffered from some tired mussels that were past their prime, an over-cooked shrimp and chicken that was more bones than meat. The amount of rice was again pretty skimpy. Chicken marsala was overly sweet and would have benefited from some acid to balance the almost candy-like taste. Zuppa de pesce was good, but after the first round of bread, our waitress informed us that the kitchen had run out of bread and offered some toasted croutons as a substitute, so there was no way to mop-up the tasty sauce. The burger, I'm happy to report, was fine, as usual. We passed on dessert as we had a freshly baked peach cobbler at home. The tab was $308, including the 20% tip added for our convenience for 3 apps, 8 entrees, 2 glasses of wine and 3 cocktails. An off night perhaps, or has the restaurant lost it's edge?

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Caiola's
58 Pine St, Portland, ME 04102

Aug 27, 2011
mainiac in Northern New England

Worcester area Easter Sunday Lunch

Maine Hounds looking for an agreeable lunch for two adults and two chow savvy teens on Easter Sunday in the Worcester area. Cuisine is less important than the quality and taste of the food.
Regards,
Mainiac

Apr 20, 2011
mainiac in Greater Boston Area

Cuban's near MIA

Looking for a place to get Cuban sandwiches near Miami Airport. We're getting a rental car and heading to Key west and would prefer not to stop for food on the way.
Thanks

Dec 20, 2009
mainiac in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Royal River Grillhouse, not so royal

A recent dinner at the Royal River Grillhouse in Yarmouth will surely be my last. My DC and I have been going here for a few years and have mostly had good, but not spectacular food and decent service. I ordered the baked oysters, $12 for 3 medium sized "Flying Point" (local) specimens. They were barely warm, covered with a non-descript crumb coating devoid of the advertised lemon chive oil. They were utterly tasteless and watery; gross. They tasted like they had been previously frozen, then broiled. For the main, I ordered the cioppino and received a serving of 4 mussels, two scallops, two small shrimp, a few rings of calamari, and a spoonful sized piece of salmon set on top of a very small portion of pasta. The mussels smelled funky and tasted like they had spoiled, overpowering the remaining seafood. The little mound of pasta had been seared somehow, leaving it clumped together in a ball, yuk! The waitress enquired about our meals well after the entree's were presented. I told her I was not happy with the food and thought there was something wrong with both dishes. She consulted the manager who told her there was nothing he could do. She was so embarrassed. On the way out, I confronted the manager (he would not come to the table) who dismissed my complaints by saying "these are our most popular dishes, we sell alot of them. When I tried to explain that the mussels were clearly bad, he said "well, you must have got a bad batch, sorry it didn't work out" I was speechless. Never again.

Sep 23, 2009
mainiac in Northern New England

Florida Keys, Great Local Joints

What, no Hound's in the Keys?

Sep 18, 2009
mainiac in Florida

Florida Keys, Great Local Joints

We'll be chartering a boat the week after Christmas cruising the lower Keys and need some local knowledge for not to miss local joints . Nothin fancy, just good food. The closer to the water the better. Would love to find places that serve fresh seafood, particularly shrimp.

Sep 15, 2009
mainiac in Florida

Merida and vicinity with 18 year olds

We are taking our son and three of his friends to a beach house near Progreso as a high school graduation present for a week this April. All of the kids speak spanish fairly well but range from adventurous to timid regarding food. We need recs for eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Merida area knowing we will not satisfy everyone all of the time.
Gracias!
Mainiac

Feb 25, 2009
mainiac in Mexico

large lobsters vs. small lobsters

It seems to me that it is a surface to volume issue (squared vs cubed) so that there is proportionally more meat (volume) as the size increases. This used to have an impact on pricing with larger lobsters selling for several $/pound more than the smaller ones due to the higher yield of meat. Now, larger lobsters are quite scarce relative to the one pounders and are priced accordingly. Incidently, I would dispute the notion that larger lobsters are less succulent than smaller specimens. Its how you cook them and how long that matters most.

Jun 13, 2007
mainiac in Home Cooking

What to serve with lobster?

more lobster!

Mainiac

Jun 13, 2007
mainiac in Home Cooking

Shrimp Heads

The main reason I'm always on the lookout for "heads on" is they are usually fresh, as in not previously frozen. Fresh shrimp have a sweetness and texture that frozen shrimp rarely possess. Once you have them fresh, frozen will never be the same!

Jun 11, 2007
mainiac in General Topics

Knife Sharpening in Portland, ME

Most Hannaford meat departments will sharpen knives for free if asked. They use an in-house grinder that gives a very sharp edge but does tend to take a fair amount of metal in the process.
Mainiac

Mar 07, 2007
mainiac in All New England Archive

Great Diamond Island MAine

We have been to the restaurant several times with our own boat. The marina charges $5 for a slip while you eat. The setting is hard to beat, right on "cocktail" cove with sweeping views of Casco Bay. The staff are very friendly and accomadating but can get a bit harried when the ferry drops 25-30 day trippers at their door. Yor can eat indoors in the dining room which is nicely rennovated and warm or outside facing the cove if the weather is nice. There is a great supply of bug spray at the bar if you forgot to BYO. Now for the food..
Fairly upscale menu befitting the rather exclusive atmosphere of the Island. This is not the place for traditional Maine specialties. At a recent lunch we had a tuna BLT which came as a deconstructed, open-faced affair with a good sized chunk of medium-rare tuna on a bed of foccacia and veggies, so-so. Mussels provencal were tasty but not the meatiest specimens I've had. No bread for dipping. Fish and chips were not on par with most of the beach-side take out shops in the area and suffered from a overly heavy batter that fell off too easily.
Fried calamri was good but arrived somewhat cool. The tab was $165 before tip for six with two glasses of house wine and a Stella. More traditional Maine seafood can be had at Cook's on Bailey Island.

Aug 16, 2006
mainiac in All New England Archive