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I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

Did it! AND they served their beignets at the Gambit food revue. We LOVED everything about City Park, and Morning Call was part of it!!

Apr 08, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans

I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

Jamila and Moncef were incredible. We called (we were only a block away) to see if it was okay to come in 35 minutes before closing and Moncef said, "come, eat, stay."

It was a great choice. We were experiencing a little bit of overkill and worried that every minute of the trip was too "determined." Merguez, wine, tagine, and friendly owners took all that away. We could have hung there all night and talked to them, they were so friendly.

Apr 08, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans

I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

A recap of the trip and thanks to your advice.

We did Jacques Imo's (see previous reply) and Jamila's and a day in the French Quarter got us some gumbo from The Gumbo Shop, a Muffaletta from Central Grocery, and Beignet's from Cafe du Monde--which had no line and was a pleasant place to sit for a bit...great people watching.

Monday night we ended up eating at Herbsaint and give it high marks on all counts. We had a great meal, great service, a terrific "flight" of sweeter red wines, and just a very relaxing night out. After a long day, it was nice to get great service and relax our way through a meal.

On Tuesday evening, we had been walking around the Garden District and also all over Magazine Street and walked by Big Fisherman Seafood. They were putting a sign out that said, "Just in, fresh crawfish, 299 a pound until 700 PM" We asked and they said it was a 2-day sale, yesterday and today. After our day slowed down, we made it back by before they closed. Just 2 of us got about 4.5 lbs. of freshly boiled crawfish, some cold Abita Ambers, and the remains of our muffelata. We ate crawfish on the front porch and drank cold beer...and it was the best meal of the trip. Big Fisherman cooked those crawfish perfectly--not overdone, beautifully spiced. We ate every bit, sucking heads and pinching tails til my fingers pruned.

One of the best things we did was to get tickets to Gambit's Best of New Orleans Food Revue. 45 bucks got an open bar and food from about 30-35 restaurants, and fresh beignets from Morning Call (the event was held at City Park) The restaurants put on a great show and we ate and ate and ate food from Brigstens, Bourne, SouBou, Magasin, Maurepas Foods, Root, GW FIns, Rene Bistro, Lola, Chef Ron's, Rio Mar, Tivoli and Lee, Company Burger, Martinique, Louisiana Fish Fry, Killer Po Boys, and more that I just couldn't remember to write down.We ate ALL of it, Sobou's ceviche and Root's pork belly with brussel sprout salad were among the best, but it was all GREAT and the people were SUPER nice and the beer super cold and the liquor high end. They brought hot beignets to the table--I am sold on this event.

We ate po boys at Parkway...surf and turf: fried shrimp and roast beef with "debris" (a great sandwich) and for my birthday we had dinner at Cochon.

Friday we made it over to Cassamento's. We noticed the hours earlier that day and went over and got in a noticeable but not too tragically long line. It was worth the wait. In line Mike the oyster man plucked a very large dozen and we slurped raw oysters in line (make sure to tip!) and got seated quickly. While there were plenty of choices we stuck with oysters: we ate 2 dozen raw and in shooters with make-it-yourself cocktail, beer, and hot sauce, 2 dozen chargrilled with garlic butter (fantastic) and oyster stew--oysters in liquor with milk and light seasoning--really simple and very tasty. Cold beer and we had an amazing lunch. Talked to one of the owners--they just don't open in the summer and they close at 230 in the afternoon not opening again until 530. It's worth finding out the hours and go in an R month!

Dinner at Cochon was on my birthday and it was worth it. I reserved the table in January and so glad we did. I cooked in restaurants for 20 years, the last 13 as an executive chef, so I at least know what I like and what is good. Cochon was very, very, good.

We also drank at the Avenue Pub on St Charles...met a friend who lived nearby. GREAT beer and whiskey selections, nice bartenders, very good happy hours, and a generally fun place. A guy from the Tulane radio station gave us CD's of their "best of new orleans" shows...still playing it in my car now!!!

We also went to Mid-City Rock-and-Bowl...it was huge fun for us old people to see other old people rocking out to live music. That is a part of the city that is SUPER appealing...

On Friday night we totally bailed on eating...instead seeing music for almost 8 hours. Frenchman Street was huge fun and we must have seen at least 10 bands, including Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers...GREAT!

We had to leave town on Saturday, but managed to get in line early for lunch at Cochon Butcher. This is the best of the Donald Link experiences--all were good, but this is where I could eat every day. We brought rillettes, lardo, and blood sausage home in the cooler.

A quick stop at Rouses to pick up Blue Runner canned goods, Abita Amber, Zapps Crawtator chips, and super cheap local andouille and we left the city...

Like MacArthur, I have only three words:

I SHALL RETURN.

An amazing trip.

Apr 08, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans

I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

Okay, we have been here for 3 days. So far, so good.

We ended up staying in a nice little house in the Black Pearl neighborhood. It's been great doing our thing from out here...no issues, yet, except the streetcar is under repair.

First night, Saturday, 800 PM...we went to Jacques Imo's. Waited in a line that was supposed to be 2 hours, BUT a family from PA didn't show up with enough people for their reservation and we became their new best friends and joined them for dinner. It was insanely crowded but the food was very good...

Had our brunch at Ralph's on the Park. Can't complain at all; great service and food, nice location and not quite as intense as Commander's Palace and others, but close enough. We were able to walk in the park after brunch and also the sculpture garden...it was a beautiful day.

Had dinner at Jamila's in our neighborhood. Tunisian Cuisine, which is NOT what we came to New Orleans for...but it was what the doctor ordered--low key for one night, well seasoned, GREAT service. EXCELLENT house made merguez.

Today we did the WWII museum and had nice drinks at The American Sector (happy hour) and then a GREAT DINNER at Herbsaint...really nice evening.

French Quarter tomorrow...doing those "touristy" things.

Thanks for all the advice

Mar 05, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans

I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

Can't eat 200 dollar meals. Sorry, can't type and think at same time.

Feb 05, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans

I can't research any more--we are in town for a WEEK in March...HELP!

I'm a university professor and my spring break plans fell through and we have decided to drive from Virginia to New Orleans. We are staying in an apartment in the Marigny from about March 2-9 and we will have a car. I have been looking for everything from traditional New Orleans fine dining to Ya Ka Mein and Po Boys and everything in between. I am usually pretty good at eating my way through a city, but I have to say that opinions on New Orleans restaurants vary tremendously, especially here on CH.

We know we want Po Boys and maybe to sample 2 of the city's best to compare.

My wife will kill me if we don't risk the line at CDM for beignets.

My son is Ya Ka Mein obsessed...something about noodles and soup is all he needs.

We have wanted to go to Cochon for years, but many of the local reviews are disconcerting.

One dressy dinner, but we are pretty casual so it won't be jackets and ties every night for sure.

BBQ shrimp.

Oysters at Casamento's

Elizabeth's (around the corner from our friend) for brunch

We have a whole week, so country buffet or fried chicken is a definite.

Looking for best bar to drink AND eat?

BBQ?

What's out in the suburbs...we will drive for food.

I am fishing on one of the last days...not sure of the location of the marina yet, but we'll want to do lunch in that vicinity.

I could list 30 places we WANT to try but I want to hear what we might have overlooked or what you all think are absolute musts.

We are adventurous eaters but appreciate food in all forms and prices.

Can't eat 200 meals for every dinner...faculty salary is NOT all that!!

Thanks in advance, I am looking forward to your favorites.

aloha

chef salad

Feb 05, 2013
chefsalad in New Orleans
1

Jimmy John's

Wawa tuna IS nasty, but here in Virginia the Wawa's are all full service convenience and gas marts. The old Wawa's in NJ were just little delis and the hoagies were great. There used to be one right next to the Dinky train station in Princeton and one off 33 in Hightstown...both had great hoagies.

Fact is, in Virginia, if you want a hoagie late at night, Wawa is as good as you'll get. Italians or "Premium" turkey is not bad.

Bread baked daily at regional bakery.

Again, nothing like home.

Feb 05, 2013
chefsalad in Chains

Jimmy John's

Italian Peoples!! TRENTON!! I was there last month and brought back ham bread, torpedo rolls, and bags full of other breads, cheeses, etc.

In Richmond, VA (where I have been for 30 years) we have all the chains: Jersey Mikes, Blimpie, Subway, Quizo's, and Jimmy Johns. My son worked a summer at JJ's and we got fresh baked bread brought home almost every night. It wasn't too bad. But the meats are, well, chain meats.

I hit Philly for cheese steaks and italian pork sandwiches and I get hoagies at the Trenton Farmer's Market or in Princeton at Hoagie Haven. You'll never eat a chain sandwich again...

BUT, if you have to, Jimmy John's makes decent (not great) bread.

Feb 05, 2013
chefsalad in Chains

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?

Okay, halfway through:

Got in late and went to Millers. I am a sucker for the Fried Smelts and they were excellent. Pefectly fried, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a nice slice of greek spinach and feta pie...9.00 BUCKS. And a GREAT pour of Basil Haydens, I was VERY happy to stumble back to the hotel.

Hot Dogs at Max's, always good...although they don't spoon out that neon relish that I kind like to see when I come into town.

Late night Chinatown run on the Red Line was both delicious and enlightening--the train isTOO easy. And Lao Sze Chuan was outstanding: Boiled Beef in Spicy Szechuan sauce, Ma Po Tofu, Lamb with Cumin, Szechuan Green Beans, and amazing dumplings. GREAT MEAL. Only complaint: the menu is TOO BIG!!

Tonight we were too late for The Gage so we went to The Purple Pig. OUTSTANDING. Truly a great meal for us. Lots of small plates...the best were Roasted Marrow bones, a GREAT salad of spring peas and pea shoots, bacon, and mint, some sliced Seranno Ham, and a bowl of Pork Neckbone gravy (like sunday pasta sauce with shredded pork) served with a scoop of fresh ricotta. Great drinks, great service, we WILL go back.

Tomorrow will be about lunch and dinner, and then brunch/lunch on Sunday. Thinking Heaven on Seven for lunch (or another good lunch place close) UNSURE about dinner (greek? Sable? Try to eek in the bar at Frontera? other suggestions?) and The Publican for brunch on Sunday (will there be a long wait? Reservations?)

Thanks to all you guys so far. If you head to Virginia, we'll let you know where to go!!

Apr 14, 2012
chefsalad in Chicago Area

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?

purple pig?

Apr 12, 2012
chefsalad in Chicago Area

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?

Great stuff. Nxstasy, what gives? I look forward to your recs. Everyone else--excellent help.

I can't help myself tonight--I am getting smelts at Millers and watching baseball at the bar. I can stumble home happy, full, and not broke.

I think we are going to try late night snacking and drinks at Sable...even though Heather Terhune was sort of annoying on Top Chef. Most Chicago hounds are still big on Sable and the menu looks good.

We do enjoy The Gage...is it still decent?

And now we have a Chinese wrinkle. I have always wanted to try Sun Wah BBQ (spelling?) but I have a friend who wants Sichuan food. Any takers on where that might happen?

We'll do Heaven on Seven for a brunch/lunch. Leaves. So we are eating 3 dinners, 3 lunches and 2 brunches. So far so good....thanks!

Apr 11, 2012
chefsalad in Chicago Area

Revelatory new Sichuan restaurant--Legend on 7th Avenue at 15th

Hong Kong Palace is good. Mala Tang is a bit much...I like hot pot, but not with that much fuss and fanfare. I am more interested in the composed dishes and the chef's control of spice, heat, and that numbing condition that i LOVE!

And I don't travel to Rockville from Richmond, sorry. Give some names and maybe I could actually try something?

Apr 10, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?

Greetings,

This week we will come into town for our annual conference at The Palmer House Hilton. I need a dinner on Wed. for just myself. Adventure lunch with just me on Thursday. Best hot dog within walking distance of the hotel...how far is Portillos?

Saturday brunch is Heaven on Seven on Wabash...I love that place. We'll need a great dinner spot for Saturday night...fun, great food. We like most everything, but are avoiding pizza this year, and not quite the level of hot dogs for dinner. But we are not looking to spend Alinea type money. And we haven't made reservations anywhere. Does Frontera serve food at the bar? I really loved the tequila drinks and selection at Topolobampo last year but made the reservations months in advance. We really just want tequila and seviche. Anything new close to the the Palmer House?

Sunday we are in town til 500, so a lunch/brunch place?

nxstasy has ALWAYS come through for us, and so THANKS in advance to any help any of you can provide!

Thanks!!

Apr 10, 2012
chefsalad in Chicago Area

Florida: Middle Keys recommendations?

NOBODY ELSE in the Keys has suggestions? Well, we are going ANYWAY!!

Mar 08, 2012
chefsalad in Florida

Florida: Middle Keys recommendations?

LOVE No Name Pub, definitely one of our stops.

Feb 24, 2012
chefsalad in Florida

Babbo substitute for 50th birthday

Il Buco Vineria, although they just got reviewed and it might be tough to get in...

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Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
53 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

Feb 24, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Scarpetta or Buddakan (or recs) for 29th Birthday with group of 12??

See my post on Legend. It's Sichuan chinese but the upstairs is actually pretty nice for your needs and downstairs they can accommodate large parties. The food is delicious and your are in a decent location for jumping off into the nightlife. Our party was for us old fogies but the 20-somethings in the group loved the food, the vibe, and had a blast.

Feb 23, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Successful surprise 50th birthday party, great Sichuan dinner at Legend

Thank YOU for the recommendation!

Feb 23, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Successful surprise 50th birthday party, great Sichuan dinner at Legend

After getting many replies to my earlier requests for help in finding where to hold a surprise birthday dinner for 16 people on a saturday night that would not be cost prohibitive, I took several of your advice and we had our party at Legend. In short, it was a GREAT decision.

The highlights:

First, they were very accommodating. We ate downstairs and were set up with 2 tables in a semi-private space. Service was first rate...owner/manager waited on us with 2 servers and we never were lacking for a thing. They understood that we needed the element of surprise and assisted with that (successful!) part of the night as well.

When the group had assembled, I was texted and got my wife to the restaurant from The Strand on a fake hunt for a book. In the meantime my son ordered appetizers and a round of drinks. When we got there the party had definitely started as our friends and family did not wait to tuck into Dan Dan Noodles, various dumplings, wontons in chili oil, scallion pancakes, and sichuan cucumber. With Tsingtao for everyone, it was a great start when they surprised her.

We ordered what seemed like half the appetizers and then had entrees brought out in batches:

Sliced Pork Sautéed w/ Garlic Stems, Ma Po Tofu, Chongqing” Diced Chicken w/ Chili Peppercorn, Hot & Spicy Crispy Prawns, Numbing Spicy Sliced Chicken, Dry Sautéed String Beans, Ginger Noodles, and Lamb with cumin were generally agreed upon by the group, and they also sent out a "house chicken for not spicy people" which was needed for a few in our party...and it was actually quite tasty, with almost an XO sauce taste to it and an interesting assortment of vegetables (baby bok choy, dried mushrooms, etc.)

I may have left out some things, but just about everything was excellent, and it was all up to the level of spice that some reviews had been critical of...

Our local friends are likely to return instead of Grand Sichuan on 23rd st. and having a bar really helps.

I am looking forward to a return in April.

Enjoy!

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Legend
88 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Feb 22, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Florida: Middle Keys recommendations?

We'll be in Key Colony Beach and Marathon for a week in March. We love Sparky's and Key Fisheries (especially drinking at sunset in Key Drinkery) Any other recommendations? We like anything that is good, fresh, local...but not interested in ultra-fine dining when wearing shorts and fishing clothes... Plus, we have found that high-end in the Keys is mostly overpriced and not all that great.

Any thoughts are appreciated

Feb 22, 2012
chefsalad in Florida

Grand Sichuan Chelsea for a birthday party on a Saturday night

Thanks for that suggestion. They have room for our party and not having to bring our own drinks is a benefit. Has their kitchen maintained some of the praise I read earlier? I understand they were recently reviewed...

And, your recommendation on dishes? I am a fan of most variations of sichuan style spicy chicken, ma po tofu, dan dan noodles, and variations on spicy lamb (cumin or othewise) but we'll order plenty of food, would love to have recommendations to guide us with such a large party.

Feb 02, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Revelatory new Sichuan restaurant--Legend on 7th Avenue at 15th

Have any of you been recently? We are taking a mixed group of locals and out-of-towners with mixed tastes in Chinese food. The menu is appealing for the few of my party who aren't well versed in Sichuan food, while for the rest of us the menu is very inviting. Because there are 16 of us, Legend's size and liquor license are also appealing. But I'd like to know if the quality is still as generally good as you have all described.

To add my 2 cents: I LOVE that you can all compare authentic Sichuan dishes at MULTIPLE restaurants. Before I moved south in the early 80s there were better Szechuan (back then!) restaurants in New Jersey (The Happy Buddha in Hightstown was worth the drive for dumplings, ma po tofu, hot and sour soup that has never been realized since, chicken with peppercorns, and a spicy version of zha jiang mian (they called it Char Jang Mein) that was spiced with sichuan peppercorns and chili oil. My dad even drove us to Philadelphia to the lone "Szechuan" restaurant in Chinatown to get his spice fix.

Now living in Virginia 30 years later, even the Washington DC area (which has great Cantonese kitchens) is still woefully lacking in Sichuan cooking.

Still, I am excited for a new sampling of one of my all time favorite cuisines. Ya'll are LUCKY!!

Feb 02, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

The Latest on Bluefin Tuna's Demise

AHI tuna is the yellowfin, and they don't usually get bigger than 250 lbs, with most catches under 100 lbs. Bluefin tuna are the real giants and they can get up to 1000 lbs, although anything over 500 lbs is pretty significant. Hamachi is yellowtail, or Japanese amberjack and totally different fish. I don't think they can be farmed.

Currently, off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, there is an unprecedented run of bluefin tuna within 1-2 miles of the resort beach at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Anglers have been consistently bringing in their limits (one per boat per day) averaging about 250 lbs per fish. They are everywhere with winter surfers seeing them just outside the breakers and striped bass fisherman having 300 lb tunas tearing off their striper rigs and forcing 3 hour long bouts.

I am a conservationist, but in VA Beach right now there is some measure of misunderstanding on the current condition of the bluefin stocks relative to their proliferation in this area.

Just fyi...

Feb 01, 2012
chefsalad in Features

Grand Sichuan Chelsea for a birthday party on a Saturday night

There are 15 of of us and these boards have been helpful trying to find a suitable location, but we are leaning towards this option. The food is perfectly acceptable for the party, and I particularly do like their brand of Sichuan, dumplings, etc. I still can't get them to commit to the reservation...is there a trick to that? Any body been there with a large group? Is there a better place to do similar service in terms of taking all of us, good food, loud but not too loud atmosphere, and near our general locations (Penn Station trains, Path trains, hotel in midtown, and apartments on 36th and in the east village)

The goal is to eat and drink and celebrate a birthday AND then go out and do more celebrating. So I am not asking if you think Grand Sichuan is way better than Spicy and Tasty or Szechuan Garden or anything like that. Just if you think there is a better place to eat great AND hold our little birthday party.

We are shooting for around 630 in the evening on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Any thoughts?

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Grand Sichuan
229 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Jan 27, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Struggling to find a place for 15 people on a saturday night in February

Changing plans. All of our possible options were going to require fixed menus and a minimum of 100 dollars per person. We are now looking at Chinese food, but not in Chinatown...I like Grand Sichuan in Chelsea. I know they have other locations but I do like the food there and it has a fun vibe, good location. Hopefully they can take a reservation or seat 15 people. Any thoughts, thanks.

Jan 27, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Struggling to find a place for 15 people on a saturday night in February

Good question on price. I am covering the first 600 dollars and ideally we won't go to terribly past 60-65 dollars per person...unless some people opt to drink at the very high end. The plan is to continue the party down the road somewhere (not everyone) and that is partly why we are not looking for a fabulous meal by courses.

I have checked open table for a lot of locations, but over 10 seems very hard to find.

As for Daisy May's, we currently live in the south, so BBQ is not on our radar when we come back home--unless it's Chinese or Korean. Down here we'd just head over to Buzz and Ned's (look it up, it's excellent!)

Thanks so far, looking forward to more suggestions...will be emailing DBGB in the AM.

Jan 24, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Struggling to find a place for 15 people on a saturday night in February

My wife is in town for work (which happens from time to time) and we get put up in Jersey City--weekend of Feb. 11, 2012. I have arranged for friends and family from in and out of town to meet and surprise her for her 50th birthday.

PROBLEM: Where do we fit 15 people from age 21 to 55 for drinks/beers/wine AND food that is not some awful Times Square tourist trap? Lots of favorite places are unable or unwilling to accommodate that many people on a Saturday evening.

We have a tentative "maybe" from Il Buco Vineria but I am still looking for a great place. We like food from all places and all levels, and will probably eat, drink, and be merry in one location, and then some of us will continue the celebration into the later hours elsewhere. We last ended up at Decibel for Sake and then cocktails at Little Branch, so we are game for good bars too. But the first locale has to be about food and beverage for that larger group.

Any and all help is welcome...

Jan 24, 2012
chefsalad in Manhattan

Anything new near The Palmer House hotel?

Okay, here is the last minute wrinkle: we scored reservations at Topo for Saturday night at 9:00. This was a few months ago. BUT...we are coming from Richmond, VA, specifically VCU and our kids are playing in the Final Four NCAA Basketball tournament.

SO...we are thinking about (GULP!) canceling our reservations so we can watch the game (at 630) and then we'll need a place to celebrate (either outcome, our kids are playing AWESOME!)

So...any good place near the Palmer House to watch the game with good snacks and drinks? And where to eat LATE on Sat. night?

Finally, if we had to take a cab to eat out, fun, good atmosphere, great food, great drinks, but NOT $100+ per person, WHERE would any of you suggest? As always, THANKS!!

Mar 30, 2011
chefsalad in Chicago Area

Best Choice for last minute Italian, this Wed or Thurs?

Looks like snow is going to postpone this trip til Thursday-Sun Feb 10-13. What are the chances of getting reservations in a popular restaurant on the weekend before Valentine's Day? Other recommendations for our 2 dinners, still including contenders to Babbo, Italian, and one other dinner. We are supposed to meet, greet, eat and drink at Schiller's Liquor Bar in the Lower East Side...any comments there are also appreciated...

thanks

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Schiller's Liquor Bar
131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Jan 11, 2011
chefsalad in Manhattan

Best Choice for last minute Italian, this Wed or Thurs?

We just found out we'll be in the city Wednesday and Thursday (January 12 and 13) evenings and my wife definitely wants a good Italian meal. Her heart is set on Babbo but that may not be possible with this short notice, so what are the best alternatives that we will likely get a table if I try to call on Monday or Tuesday.

I have time to hit redial a lot, but are there some decent places for walk in traffic where we won't be treated as "walk-ins?" (I HATE that!)

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Jan 09, 2011
chefsalad in Manhattan