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Philly trip & a holla for help. Again :-)

They will definitely do a supplement on an extra dish if you want based on my experience. I know for our party of four, we wanted all five of the dessert options (4 sweets + cheese plate) and that was no problem at all. I forget what the additional charge was but it wasn't unreasonable.

Oct 17, 2014
sockii in Philadelphia

Philly trip & a holla for help. Again :-)

Another vote for the bucatini. A companion ordered it when I was at Sbraga (which I also loved overall) and I could have cried I didn't order it myself after getting a taste.

However, everyone envied the Vandouvan Game Hen I ordered for my third. With good reason, it was insanely delicious.

Tuesday early dinner, near Chicago Symphony, vegetarian-friendly

Just wanted to be a good Chow and follow-up on how things went.

All in all everyone was happy with the choice and we had a good experience. It was absolutely POURING rain Tuesday night so we were really grateful to be dining where he wouldn't have to go outside again to get to the symphony center! They gave us a nice large, round table for our party of 5, which was great as at the last minute we had a 6th person able to join us and room to accommodate him.

It did end up being a little tight on the timing getting to the pre-show talk at 6:30 with our 5pm reservation, but I think that was due to the fact that two of our party didn't finish rehearsals and get down to join us until 5:30. So I think they held off on firing our previously ordered main courses until they had ordered. That meant we didn't get them until about 6pm and I had to ask to get the check asap just to make sure it was all paid and we could get out to get seats for the talk by 6:20.

But that said, our server was great and the food was overall quite good. They had just started a new autumn menu and the Chestnut Soup several of us ordered was delicious. Everyone who ordered pasta for their entrees were extremely happy. I was excited for my risotto with squash, artichokes and other autumn vegetables but I must say it was a little disappointingly bland...maybe not enough salt or a rich enough stock to bring out the vegetable flavors?

Even so I definitely would give tesori a thumbs up if you're looking for an easy-to-plan pre-show dinner with a group.

Oct 16, 2014
sockii in Chicago Area

Tuesday early dinner, near Chicago Symphony, vegetarian-friendly

Awesome, thank you. I'm going to link my friends to this post so they know all the details!

Oct 12, 2014
sockii in Chicago Area

Tuesday early dinner, near Chicago Symphony, vegetarian-friendly

Thank you, that actually looks perfect! I remember walking by there last year when I was in Chicago and could not remember the name of the restaurant.

I can get a reservation for 4 or 5 of us at 5pm, which should be perfect as one person from the show's production crew may be joining us now that it's so close to the symphony. We're a bunch of Stewart Copeland "hardcore fans" who travel all over the place whenever and wherever he's playing, so this should be a great time.

Oct 12, 2014
sockii in Chicago Area

Tuesday early dinner, near Chicago Symphony, vegetarian-friendly

Hello Chicago Chows,

Four friends and I will be going to a performance at the Symphony Center Tuesday night and are looking for a good choice for early (4pm-ish) dinner before the show. None of us are locals, although I got some great recs from this board last year when I was in town for a few days so I'm hoping you can help again with this particular request and requirements:

- Two of our party are vegetarians (NOT vegan), so a nice assortment of veggie options definitely necessary.

- Good/interesting food that isn't overly expensive. Probably not looking to spend more than $25-35 a person before drinks, I figure we might want to get a couple appetizers to share and entrees, probably skipping dessert as we'll be going out after show again.

- Not too long of a walk to the Symphony Center, especially as the forecast is for rain.

- Efficient but not rushed service. We want to be at the symphony by 6-6:15ish to get seats for a pre-performance talk so that's why I'm looking to book us somewhere around 4-4:30pm.

- Any ethnicity is fine, like I said just needs to be vegetarian friendly.

Any tips/suggestions most appreciated, thanks!

Oct 11, 2014
sockii in Chicago Area

DEFINITELY NOT The Appropriate Audition for a Food Network Show

Perhaps it would be fair to warn people that this article focuses on murder, dismemberment and some pretty gruesome subject matter that perhaps not all of us would like to click on expecting something actually, well, food-related.

Menu confusion: Plates of all sizes in quirky categories befuddle hungry diners

Great piece. Count me in as one who is a bit tired of the whole small plates trend, especially as it can be so confusing to know how much to order for a couple (or more) people if you're actually trying to make a meal out of the experience.

Can't count the number of times I've been in one of these places where my sweetie and I have sat there utterly confused about how many plates to order, especially when:

1. Most waitstaff seem trained to upsell - they'll easily recommend 4-5 dishes a person when realistically you only need maybe 3. We usually end up far over-ordering and ringing up a much larger bill than necessary (and tapas generally don't make for good leftovers...)

2. Dish sizes are inconsistent. One pasta "small plate" could be almost a full primi size while a seafood dish might be three tiny bites.

The timing can also be a pain if you're not dining with people who want to share and nibble, and plates just come out in whatever order the kitchen finishes them. Had a very awkward "tapas" meal at one of Jose Garces' places like that with a friend who doesn't eat seafood...she was sitting there awkwardly for like 15 minutes while all my seafood tapas came out one after the other, but not one of her plates was out.

Oct 08, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Restaurant Birthday Party- You're Invited But You Have to Pay

I was going to comment to the original thread by saying that when I receive a formal invite in the mail, I expect not to have to pay - except by gift if I choose. And that's always been the way it's turned out.

If a friend just calls or emails to say, "Hey, I'm having a birthday dinner/other gathering next week, can you come?" I assume it's each-pay-your-own, unless I have previous experience with the invitee to expect otherwise.

Oct 08, 2014
sockii in Not About Food

More diaper changing - this time in Chipotle

Having children or not, it's not okay. Period. No one gets special knowledge on a standard public health issue because they were or were not able to/chose or chose not to have children themselves.

Oct 07, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

More diaper changing - this time in Chipotle

And I hope you never end up childless like I did due to infertility.

Let's not place judgement on others' experience with children and suitability to the job, shall we? Because some of us who are clueless didn't end up this way by choice, but we still have to live in a society that assumes everyone who doesn't end up parenting is a clueless baby-hater. And passing judgement on others suitability toward parenting can be really, really cruel.

Best restaurant in which to splurge

I would second this. Basically plan on spending an entire afternoon indulging in whatever you might fancy from ultra-lux appetizers to raw oysters, cheese, cured meats, carving stations, and desserts to die for. Granted it's been 4-5 years since I've been but it was certainly one of the most lux and over-the-top dining experiences I've had ever, let alone in Philly.

Oct 07, 2014
sockii in Philadelphia

Really bad food from a restaurant.... What would you do?

Agreed, because as LeoLioness said, a one-off super-negative or super-positive review on a site like UrbanSpoon or Yelp has little credibility to me. If you're going to rant about one bad restaurant, give your review some credibility by reviewing some other places (good, bad or just average.)

Oct 07, 2014
sockii in Not About Food
1

Top Chef Duel Kevin vs. Art

I'm an MIT grad myself who dropped out of engineering to go into food and art. It's just a school like any other - we're just all hardcore nerds there and many of us are or were pushed toward engineering whether it was our real calling or not.

Er, sorry, tangent, just an MIT person here who is so f*cking tired of spending my entire life since graduation having to answer questions like "Why are you painting and cooking instead of saving the world/making millions of dollars as an engineer?!" or being made to feel like I wasted my life because I chose not to spend the rest of it in a science lab.

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

JMHO, but I feel like Elizabeth knew the fix was in from the start in the finale, so why not call out what's going on? You know you're not going to win so try to get in the snark where you can.

Like I mentioned up thread, Jaimee and Victoria really were totally on board with trying to help Elizabeth and if you look back, there were a lot of team challenges and otherwise that no one wanted Courtney on their team.

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

Well, not everyone who is passionate about food and may want to launch a career in it needs to or wants to work in a restaurant. Having a highly successful blog, becoming a well-known cookbook author or food writer can be a goal to aim for, too.

But I was also hoping for a Christian win because he was the only one whose cookbook I would have bought this season; he had a coherent style, and seemed like a genuine, cool person.

I have a feeling that TPTB really screwed up on their planned storyline this year. They thought everyone was going to cheer for Courtney and her plucky "Mary Magdalene" storyline (that's at least what one of my friends has been calling her), and see Elizabeth as the nasty mean girl from the start. Didn't happen, I think because Courtney revealed herself to be too much of a manipulator and too arrogant from the start. You never saw her really develop any "friendships" with the other competitors, at best just a grudging respect. Meanwhile, look at how happy Jaimee and Victoria seemed to be to work with Elizabeth at the end. I get the sense in retrospect that everyone else knew this was going to be Courtney's year from the start and just had to suck up and take it. (It's almost enough for me to want to rewatch this season from the start just to see how much it was planned.)

As the saying goes, you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear...

Sep 17, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

A lot of times no, they don't follow through, or it's in a half-assed way. See: Kathy Prieto last season whom Gordon supposedly offered an "internship" to:

http://www.trashtalktv.com/07/31/kath...

I did a round up a couple months ago of what's up with the season 4 contestants. A lot of them seem to end up in the private chef/catering world, if they weren't in it already, or just went back to whatever they were doing before.

http://www.spacial-anomaly.com/master...

I do think Luca made out pretty well last season; his cookbook is ranking nicely in Amazon (and it IS actually a good book!), but I do think he already had solid connections in the NYC restaurant world anyway before even going on the show.

Sep 17, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

That's the problem I had with her from the start - she wasn't walking away from her past but trying to put it to use while trying to proclaim being Miss Innocent. Yeah. No.

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

That's no big news about Leslie - I posted the same info the day after the season premiere. It takes about two seconds on Google to find it.

What was funny was seeing Melissa all over the MasterChef Facebook page last night dissing the show. If nothing else this season has been pretty good for trolling...

Sep 16, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

Leaving aside the exotic dancer issue, I just simply cannot figure out what Courtney's cookbook focus would be. It's not like she made that many dishes that really stood out in my memory (as much as the judges might have swooned.) I guess her gnocchi, but then a lot of luxury/odd stuff most people won't make (truffled lobster mac and cheese? Pig's ear and quails egg?) Or will it just be a ton of desserts?

I honestly wonder if we'll actually see a book at all.

Sep 16, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

Not much of a baker either, but elsewhere someone commented that the cake wouldn't brown and wouldn't rise the same.

Either way I smell a rat.

Masterchef US Final 3 tonight--conclusion (expect spoilers here)

Well that was...disappointing. What I was dreading, but still, disappointing. Do they not see how unpopular their special predetermined pick for the win actually is with the general public this year?

Sep 15, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Wheat/Dairy Free Wedding Guest Ettiquette

Yeah, Philly/New Jersey person here. I've been to 4 or 5 weddings in the past couple years, from a backyard pig roast to an elegant all-the-works glam fest. Not ONE has had anywhere to indicate dietary restrictions.

Sep 13, 2014
sockii in Not About Food
2

Looking for rehearsal dinner recommendations in Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Marlton areas

Most BYOs I know of in the area don't have large private rooms and aren't equipped for such large parties. Haddonfield has some great BYOs but they tend toward the smaller size, or you'd have to see about having the whole restaurant for the night, I think.

If you want really good food and a space that would work for a nice event, I might suggest Marc Vetri's Osteria in the Moorsetown Mall. http://osteriajersey.com/home/

Sep 03, 2014
sockii in New Jersey

Masterchef 9/1 OMG SPOILERS

A HELL of a lot before cameras roll, no question.

(I'd never heard of one before last night myself but then I am not a baker, either.)

And I still don't know how much you can trust the critiques vs. what they want to edit it to look like. It was time for Jaimee to go for certain. I don't know that hers was any harder to break into/cut/pull apart than his. The judges can say whatever they want tastewise to justify the decision they plan on making.

Sep 02, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef 9/1 OMG SPOILERS

Blech, I hope not. They always seem to want a guy vs. gal finale, so I am hoping it might be Christian vs. Elizabeth, with Courtney getting the 3rd place bitch/egotist boot a la Jessie last season, and Becky the year before. I could honestly take either Christian or Elizabeth winning at this point, although I hope/think it's Christian.

This next week, with the visit from home, should be interesting. I know that's when Luca really shone last season and suddenly was in the big spotlight.

Sep 02, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News

I really like <fill in chain> and I look forward to returning

I've had the biscuits when they are awesome, and when they are awful. Avoid Red Lobsters in areas without a lot of turnover/business. There is nothing more gross than one of their biscuits that is cold and has been sitting around for a while...it makes you question ever attempting to eat one again.

Sep 02, 2014
sockii in Chains

I really like <fill in chain> and I look forward to returning

I feel almost ashamed to admit this, but I honestly have had some decent experiences at TGIFridays this year and don't mind returning. They seem to have seriously improved the menu options and quality of food of late; the salads I've had for lunch have been very good, full of quality greens and toppings, and I like some of their "small plates" (especially the Thai Pork Tacos and Ahi Tuna Crisps).

There's one near my mom's house and she is always requesting to go there now when I visit, if just for the Jack Daniels Chicken Sandwich. She is like a grilled chicken sandwich addict and it's totally her favorite. If I'm stuck on the road or in a chain wasteland I'd take them any day over Applebees, Outback, Chilis, etc. But their mixed drinks generally suck.

Sep 02, 2014
sockii in Chains

Next Food Network Star -finale (spoilers)

And you're implying that we should just accept such words and insults because it's "guys just being guys", or something like that?

If women don't speak up more about the crap that gets said to us simply because of our gender, then change will never happen. Saying that just because it happens all the time, we should let it pass is just something I'm cool with. Sometimes it takes a few example cases for anyone to pay attention and realize "this is not OK".

MasterChef Canada coming to Cooking Channel

If you watched Cooking Channel at all over this holiday weekend, you couldn't miss the ads for MasterChef Canada that's going to start airing Sept 9.

As an MasterChef US (and BBC when I can see it) junkie, should I make sure to catch it? Anyone know if this is the most recent season? I know I'll be needing some kind of fix until MasterChef Junior starts again soon...

Sep 02, 2014
sockii in Food Media & News