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Any MoCo Mexican restaurants actually run by Mexicans?

Just got back from Playa del Carmen with a hankering for Mexican food. We prefer whole-in-the-wall places to upscale and we have found a few places that we like but most of them seem to actually be run by Salvadorans and Peruvians, not Mexicans. is there any place in Montgomery County (preferably G'burg, Germantown or Rockville) that is actually run by Mexicans? Bonus points for a good vegetarian selection and/or fish.

We used to use them when we lived somewhere where the nearest kosher butcher store was an hour away. Their meat was very good quality and their service was excellent.

Now that we live in a major city and have lots of choices we no longer order from them. I was never thrilled about their supervision which is not generally well-accepted.

Nov 27, 2012
ravchaz in Kosher

I've got a 2-liter limit. Which bourbon(s) would YOU bring?

Prices at the distilleries are significantly higher than in liquor stores in Kentucky and taxes have nothing to do with it. Some of the distillery gift shops have a sign, in others the staff will tell you, that they purposely do not undercut the prices of the liquor stores in order not to hurt the local economy, etc. I don't know if this is true or just BS in order to allow the distilleries to make more profit, but the fact is that for a standard bottle it is always better to buy at a liquor store than at the distillery itself. We visit Kentucky, where my wife is from, every summer and we do our big bourbon buy at Old Town Liquors in Louisville. We only but at the distillery if ti's a special commemorative bottle we want (such as bottles from "my" Ambassador Barrel at Maker's) or a product that is ONLY sold at the distillery -- which is something that Buffalo Trace often has.

Jun 12, 2012
ravchaz in Spirits

Visiting Bourbon Country

The Brown Hotel lobby bar has a nice selection, including bourbon flights so you can try a nice variety. The Seelbach is also reputed to have a nice selection. Both are recommended in that you can indulge widely and then go upstairs to sleep in your room.

There are also a couple of restaurants which offer bourbon flights -- Bourbons Bistro and the Maker's Mark Lounge come to mind.

Feb 22, 2012
ravchaz in Spirits

Visiting Bourbon Country

Distillery touring, tasting and bourbon buying are distinct activities. Because of local liquor laws, the distilleries only give at most three one-ounce samples and can only sell a limited number of varieties -- I think four. Buffalo Trace on occasion has sold items that are exclusive to its gift shop, though -- their cream liqueur and at one point their white dog was only sold in their gift shop but that is no longer the case. Each gift shop will also give you a shpiel about how they sell bourbon mainly as a courtesy to their visitors and their prices are not designed to compete with the retailers -- and in point of fact you will pay at least as much, if not more, at the distillery.

Best overall tours are Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve because you see the whole process from milling to bottling. Same is true of Buffalo Trace hard-hat tour, I think, but that is by reservation only and we've only done the regular tour. Heaven Hill's tasting is very informative and they give you tastes of some higher-end products but the actual distillation is not done in Bardstown so you only actually see a warehouse.

If you want to buy, find a liquor store with a good selection and knowledgeable staff. We are partial to Old Town Liquors on Bardstown Rd. in Louisville but you can search the board here for other recs as well.

Feb 21, 2012
ravchaz in Spirits

One Meal in Teaneck?

We've decided on Noah's Ark for its broad menu. I think if it were my call alone we might have tried Sababa or Persian Grill but my wife, though she likes shawarma, gets nostalgic for the food of her Kentucky youth this time of year and Noah's Ark has both country-fried steak and fried chicken.

Dec 20, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

One Meal in Teaneck?

Looking for advice for one mid-week dinner in Teaneck.

We prefer fleishig as my wife in particular is a devoted carnivore and we at any rate eat fish/dairy out. Etc. Steakhouse looks interesting but the prices seem to mark it off as a special-occasion place and we don't want to spend that much money as we just are passing through the area, it is not an "occasion." We've been to Smokey Joe's a number of times and like it but are thinking of trying something else. My wife is not an adventurous eater so an emphasis on non-exotic, reasonably priced, meat options is preferred.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Dec 18, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

What's my next all-purpose whiskey/bourbon?

I got a bottle of Ancient Ancient Age 10 Year in Kentucky a couple of years ago and it was a good value because it is so cheap there (I think it was around 15 bucks). But it really helped me understand what people mean when they talk of "finish" versus "nose" and "taste". The Ancient Ancient Age smells and tastes almost identical to Buffalo Trace (no big surprise since it is the same distillery and mash bill) but the Ancient Ancient Age finish vanishes quickly while that of BT lingers. I guess the tasting panels really know their stuff.

Dec 07, 2011
ravchaz in Spirits

Bourbon question

Woodford Reserve is actually owned by Brown-Forman which ALSO owns Jack Daniels. The name of the company is Brown-Forman, not Jack Daniels.

The Woodford Reserve distillery is lovely and their process unique in that they use pot stills imported from Scotland rather than the column stills everyone else uses. Unfortunately their standard expression mixes the pot still bourbon with column still bourbon distilled at Old Forester, which Brown Forman also owns. I think some of their deluxe expressions may use only pot still but I'm not sure. As to the bourbon itself, I like it well enough but it's not in my top ten.

Nov 25, 2011
ravchaz in Spirits


If I recall correctly Mintzes Blintzes are a vegan product and are made by the same guy who invented Tofutti. Because they are vegan they are also pareve -- meaning that they can be served with either meat or dairy in a kosher household. I know that I have seen them in the frozen food sections of lots of kosher markets and possibly even in the kosher frozen food section of a regular supermarket, so I would look in those two types of places.

Oct 10, 2011
ravchaz in Chains

Good kosher pre-theater restaurant for teenage girls who are non-adventurous eaters

Agree on Clubhouse Cafe. Fairly straightforward menu and a very urban vibe. There is nothing to indicate it's a kosher restaurant other than the OU on the awning. While there are some more trendy items on the menu (duck empanadas) there are also some pretty "normal" items like burgers and fried chicken.

Oct 05, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Whiskey/Bourbon for a beginner?

Absolutely. Doesn't detract from my point that one bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel could be vastly different than another. This is true of any single barrel but Blanton's or Eagle Rare or Elijah Craig have a profile they are trying to hit and the variations should not be huge. At least you are starting with the same mashbill and yeast strain. With Four Roses that's not the case.

Sep 16, 2011
ravchaz in Spirits

Whiskey/Bourbon for a beginner?

I don't think Corner Creek is a single barrel. It's a fairly rare bourbon but almost certainly not single barrel since it is a four grain bourbon. The producers won't say whether it is made as a four grain bourbon or a combination of distinct wheated and rye bourbons, but the latter is more likely.

Four Roses has ten different formulas so two of their single barrels can differ tremendously. To really know what you are likely to like you have to go to their website and learn the key to the different formulas.

Sep 12, 2011
ravchaz in Spirits

Kosher restaurants in Montreal - anything for vegetarians?

According to their own website El Morocco is no longer kosher. Their website is in French which I read poorly but I used Google Translate. Interestingly, for whatever reason, when I pressed the translate button "El Morocco" became "El United Kingdom," but it still wasn't kosher.

Sep 07, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Kosher restaurants in Montreal - anything for vegetarians?

We ate at Chez Benny this summer and liked it very much. It's not a table-service restaurant though, more like a cafeteria. Our vegetarian daughter got the falafel and hummus platter and it was very good (I tasted some). I can't vouch for cross-contamination issues such as the falafel perhaps having been fried in the same oil as dishes which contain meat. But if that's not a concern and you don't need a table-service restaurant, Chez Benny could definitely fit the bill.

Sep 07, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Tripadvisor being investigated [moved from NAF]

I agree. If there are a lot of review, average them out and it's generally pretty accurate. If there are only a handful it may not be. I've based my hotel choices on tripadvisor for almost ten years and only once have I regretted it.

Sep 05, 2011
ravchaz in Food Media & News

Mr. Broadway

Ate there last night and all three of us were pleased.

Met my father and stepmother there knowing the food might not be that great. My criteria were: kosher near Penn Station, broad menu. My stepmother in particular is a picky eater and their menu is broad enough that I knew she would find something.

My folks got deli and said it was better than Ben's, which is their benchmark for good deli. I had a California roll (and my 82 year old dad, who had never tried sushi before, tried a piece and to his surprise liked it). For my main I got a shawarma and hummus in laffa. They brought it with sides of tahina and two different hot sauces and it includes a trip to the Israeli salad bar. It was really very good, easily as good as HaPisgah which is near my folks in Queens. I was a little concerned it might be hard to eat since I had to unroll it to put the salads and sauces inside, but they had cut it in half and it worked out fine. I was expecting merely tolerable food but we all thought it was great, and prices about what you would expect. I suspect we will be back.

Sep 01, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Fake Meat Makes You Feel Smarter

I eat those products as well even though I'm not a vegetarian. I keep kosher and it's not so easy to get kosher meat where I live. Also having been raised non-kosher, there are times when I still crave a cheeseburger or chicken parmesan. So the choice is real meat with soy cheese or soy meat with real cheese. I prefer the latter.

Aug 23, 2011
ravchaz in Features

Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

That's because Prichard's is a bourbon, not a Tennessee whiskey, notwithstanding the fact that it's made in Tennessee.

Aug 19, 2011
ravchaz in Spirits

NY Kosher steaks

Yes, we've been using them for a few months. By and large it is the best meat we've had, the rib steaks, hanger steaks, and ground beef are all fantastic. We've generally liked the short ribs as well but the last batch we got were not as good as before. Unlike other online sources we've used, the meat arrives fresh, not frozen -- though of course we do wind up freezing most of it. But I think it's tastier than meat which has been deep frozen.

Not that the meat is non-glatt and certified by Rabbi Israel Mayer Steinberg, and thus not accepted by most Orthodox folks as far as I know.

Aug 15, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Kosher in Mystic, CT

The full-service kosher department in New London turned out to be a big flop and cost the owners (not Jewish but genuinely desirous of serving the Jewish community) a ton of money. The promised hordes of customers never appeared.

I agree with AdinaA that only a New York Jew would imagine there to be a kosher restaurant in Mystic or anywhere near. New Haven is not really near, it is over an hour away.

The ShopRite in New London, though it no longer has the kosher in-store butcher, baker, deli, still has a decent kosher section. Pre-packaged glatt meats and dairy products, including Tnuva cheeses from Israel.

There is a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in downtown Norwich which is less than half an hour from Mystic. The Conservative rabbis of Norwich and New London certify it as kosher for their members. Many members of the Norwich Orthodox shul eat there as well though their rabbi says it's not acceptable. And the Krispy Kreme at Mohegan Sun is certified by the Diamond-K out of Boston if you can survive on donuts and coffee.

Aug 10, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Le Marais vs. Clubhouse Cafe for pre-matinee lunch

As it happened we went to Clubhouse Cafe for a quick early dinner after the show instead of lunch before. My mom recently came to NY for medical treatment and is staying at Hope Lodge, a residence for patients receiving chemo or radiation therapy who don't live in New York. So we had takeout sandwiches from Mendy's with her for lunch. They were just OK. Last time in New York I ate at 2nd Ave. Deli (yes, I know a lot of folks on this board don't accept their hashgacha) and I think it's ruined me for anywhere else.

We went to Clubhouse Cafe after the show so got there a little before 5. From reading earlier posts here I was not surprised when they sat us literally right next to the kitchen (we are in our early 50's and not hip enough for a "better" table.) But the service was still quite excellent and very solicitous. We were in a hurry to catch a train and asked the waiter to bring the check with the food, and he did so.

We split the duck empanadas which we liked. Wife said the fried chicken was very good but not great (she will never admit that any fried chicken is better than hers, but she doesn't make it very often because it's not an easy dish to do right and leaves the house smelling from the frying for a long time after,) My lamb sliders were great and the accompanying fries were every bit as good as, and very similar to, those at Le Marais.

In reply to a prior post, I don't see how Le Marais and Clubhouse Cafe can share a kitchen (though they do have the same management). They are across the street from each other and I didn't see any food being transported across W. 46 St, and I doubt there is a tunnel underground connecting the two.

Aug 10, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Grilling beef to eat cold on shabbos

We often grill a hangar steak to eat cold on Shabbos afternoon. Delicious.

Aug 03, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Le Marais vs. Clubhouse Cafe for pre-matinee lunch

We live about three hours from the City and don't get in often, and there are no kosher restaurants (except for one veggie Chinese place) closer than an hour away.

Anyway, we're coming in to see a Broadway matinee in a couple of weeks and both Le Marais and Clubhouse Cafe are less than a block from the theater. We ate at Le Marais for lunch about a year ago and were very happy with it. At the same time we do tend to fall into a rut and go back to places we like over and over, so I am thinking of Clubhouse Cafe instead. Anyone been to both and can compare? How is Clubhouse Cafe's fried chicken? My wife is from Kentucky so she might like that.

Jul 26, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

Late Sunday Breakfast near BWI

Looks like that may do the trick. Price is reasonable enough. I remember once under similar circumstances (i.e. dropping someone off at BWI and wanting a nice breakfast before) the brunch at the BWI Marriott. Do you know anything about that one?

Late Sunday Breakfast near BWI

I am looking for a place to have a late breakfast or brunch near BWI. We live in New England, will be attending my college reunion in DC, and I am dropping my wife of at BWI on my way back north. We are meeting Baltimore friends for breakfast near BWI before dropping my wife off for a 12:30 flight.

We would like a place with decent omelettes, pancakes, waffles, etc. (we are non-meat eaters). It can be a off the menu or a buffet if the buffet is under say $15 a person. It's important that the restaurant not mind us lingering for an hour or 90 minutes so a very crowded place with lines waiting to get in is probably not the best idea. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Stamford: Kona Grill or Mitchells Fish Market

I want to thank everyone for their advice and apologize for the delay in reporting back.

In the end we decided that we really did not want to get back in the car and drive somewhere when we were a two block walk from the mall. We ate at Mitchell's Fish Market and were pleased with our meal. I had the Shang Hai style tuna and my wife had grilled tilapia. We thought the portions were generous, the fish fresh and high quality, and the prices reasonable. We visit Jasper White's Summer Shack in Mohegan Sun pretty often (I know that opinions here are mixed but we like it) and the prices are about the same although the vibe is different.

Although service was very good we were seated in the bar and did not even really see the rest of the restaurant. I suspect that may have been because we were dressed so casually and a lot of the folks seemed to have come directly from work and were wearing suits.

We don't live very close by and I can't see us making a special effort to go back, but we thought the place was pretty good and we were quite satisfied with our meal.

Mitchell's Fish Market
230 Tresser Blvd Ste H02, Stamford, CT 06901

May 17, 2011
ravchaz in Southern New England

Stamford: Kona Grill or Mitchells Fish Market

We are spending one night in Stamford at the Holiday Inn Downtown and would like a nice but not astronomically expensive dinner. We have dietary restrictions in that we eat fin fish or vegetarian but not meat or shellfish. I think we would probably prefer fish to pasta and it seems that our hotel is in fairly close proximity to Stamford Town Center. Given our preferences and restrictions I have narrowed down our choices to Kona Grill and Mitchells Fish Market but would consider somewhere else. We will have a car but I don't want to travel too far.

Which of the two would you recommend? Another recommendation that meets our needs?

Kona Grill
230 Tresser Blvd., Stamford, CT 06901

May 01, 2011
ravchaz in Southern New England

Kosher "Smoked Meat" in Montreal?

I recently read David Sax's book "Save the Deli" which was a good read though I am saddened by so many of what he considers to be the best delis being blatantly treif. I winced when one deli owner described his process of making kashe varnishkes which began by sauteeing the kashe in butter and shmaltz.

But I was intrigued by his descriptions of "smoked meat" in Montreal. Sadly, the most famous smoked meat place, Schwartz's, is not kosher. We are going to be in Montreal for a few days in late June and I was wondering if anyone knew of a kosher deli or restaurant with smoked meat. We will have a car and are willing to drive anywhere within reason in the Montreal metro area; we'll be staying in the Chinatown neighborhood.

Mar 01, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher

New York Kosher Steaks

Yes, the website is

Feb 04, 2011
ravchaz in Kosher