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Steven T's Profile

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What is a "must try" food in Venezuela?

I agree with all of jkatz23's recommendations, but don't forget to try some empanadas.
In Caracas if you are out late night, go to one of the cafes in the Mercedes and make sure you have a cachapa with the queso telita. Amazing.
There are also lots of panaderia/pastelerias and the pan de jamon and baked items are always good.

Gordon Ramsay on Leno

I didn't see it, but I just discovered "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" on BBC America, and I cannot get enough of it. I have been TIVOing it and it is really well done and hilarious.

Aug 11, 2007
Steven T in Food Media & News

Dallas Anniversary weekend recs

Need hotel and Saturday night dining recommendations for our anniversary weekend. Should we do the W and Craft, The Mansion and the Mansion, the Crescent Court and Nobu, ZaZa and Dragonfly? Or maybe one of these hotels or another and Stephen Pyles.
Also, who has the best Sunday brunch. Price is no object for the room or either dinner or brunch, I just want to make sure it is the best it can be. Any and all suggestions appreciated.

Mar 26, 2007
Steven T in Texas

birthday dinner - mexican

If you are former Texans you must try Uncle Julio's Hacienda at North/Clybourn near the El stop there. They are from Texas and have great chips, salsa, guac and margaritas. They can accomodate large groups in the dining room, or the bar area is large if you just want to hang out.

Feb 22, 2007
Steven T in Chicago Area

Help Me Choose Restaurant (Arlington area pref.)

I am also not a fan of Harry's. Go to Willow. I have been there half a dozen times for dinner and it has never disappointed. Not a huge menu, but it covers all the bases, and even the chicken entree is great. Also, unlike a lot of restaurants, the entrees here are actually better than the appetizers. They also have a separate small bar area.

North/Halstead/Clybourn corner

I second Uncle Julio's Hacienda on North just west of Clybourn or Mangia Roma on Halsted just north of Halsted. Also there is J. Alexander's ( it's a Houston's knock-off, but pretty decent in their own right ) on Clybourn just a short walk north of North Ave.

Jan 09, 2007
Steven T in Chicago Area

Kid Friendly Fare In Buckhead

Casa Grande on Peachtree just south of Buckhead. Very kid friendly, and the food is great. Upscale Mexican and Tex-Mex w/ fun atmosphere.


You may have also noticed that those four or five visits were spread out over the course of twelve years. Sometimes you end up at a restaurant because that's where others want to go, sometimes you opt to give it another chance.

You seriously never go to a restaurant more than once if you aren't impressed on your first visit?

I have never felt that Topolobampo was terrible, and certainly I have eaten some interesting dishes there, I just have never had a start to finish great experience there. Considering the reputation and the price point, four or five visits without a great experience merits being disappointed.

Dec 10, 2006
Steven T in Chicago Area


I have been to Topolobampo four or five times over the last twelve years or so and I have been disappointed every time. Sure, there have been flashes of brilliance, but overall I have always wondered what all the hype was about. Very inconsistent and overpriced. Frontera Grill is just as inconsistent, but at least you don't feel so bad when you get the check.

Dec 09, 2006
Steven T in Chicago Area

Espresso machine recommendations?

I have been using a Starbucks Barista machine for the last eight years, and it recently died on me. I used it with the pods pretty much everyday and was happy with the results. I made only double espressos, never even used the foaming wand. I was thinking to just buy another of the same, unless anyone has any suggestions that they really think I need to know about.

Dec 04, 2006
Steven T in Cookware


Planning to take a large group for dinner next week to Trece. Anyone out there have any comments to share?

Nov 30, 2006
Steven T in Texas

Where to Go for the Best Hot Dog

I always loved the Byron's on North and Clybourn. Now I like Portillos, ask for everything on it, and it comes out just right.

Oct 29, 2006
Steven T in Chicago Area

Decent chow for group near Bethesda Metro

For Tex-Mex, Rio Grande Cafe on Bethesda Ave. and Arlinton Rd.
I would also recommend Foong Lin on Fairmont Ave.

Quest for best authentic Mexican in Western Suburbs!

Uncle Julio's Hacienda on Butterfield Rd in Lombard. They do have another location on North Ave and Clybourn near Lincoln Park so I don't know if you would consider it a chain, but if you haven't checked this one out, you should. More Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican, but it is food is high quality and consitently well-prepared. I don't really know of any authentic Mexican restaurants in that neck of the woods.

Oct 29, 2006
Steven T in Chicago Area

Is it ever okay to be moved in the middle of a meal?

I have been in the restaurant business for more than twenty years. Asking someone to move from their table once the meal has begun is never ok, and a guest should never be expected to comply. On very rare occasions, if guests have long finished their meals and are drinking and chatting, I have offered to buy them a round if they would be willing to move to the bar/lounge area. Even this move is strictly a last resort, and if they didn't want to take me up on my offer that would be the end of it, I would never push the issue. Asking a guest to move once they have been seated except in the rarest of circumstances is unproffesional and inhospitable.

Oct 24, 2006
Steven T in Not About Food

Best Sushi in Dallas not named NOBU, TEPPO, or TEI-TEI

Another vote for Sushi Sake, though I don't know how late they are open, they are my favorite for Sushi.

Oct 17, 2006
Steven T in Texas

Review - Cachitos Taqueria (DFW) - long

Excellent review. I do consider myself an expert on Mexican/Tex-Mex food, and just based on their offering ( tortas, sopes, barbacoa, lengua, pozole, menudo ) I put this at the more authentic Mexican end of the scale. I plan to give this one a try. People eat at chains because they are not adventurous, and they are afraid they are going to get something "bad" or something they won't like, and the reality is sometimes they will, but..Oh never mind, I can't explain it, but it's fine by me. While all the sheep who are too afraid to try a sope are standing in line to eat at Chipotle, I'll be at Cachitos ( or someplace like it ).

Oct 14, 2006
Steven T in Dallas - Fort Worth

DAL: Seafood, what am I missing and Fish on Fire

I finally tried Fish City Grill today ( Flower Mound location ) after reading positive comments here, and hearing good things from other sources. The place was clean and the service was prompt, but the food was a huge disappointment. The server said that I had to have the fish tacos, that they were the most popular item on the menu. The "fish" consisted of tiny pieces of mushy catfish inside of giant wads of breading covered in melted cheese. The roasted jalapeno soup ( also highlighted on the menu and recommended by the server ) was just strange, and not in a good way. What is so good about this place? Did I just order the wrong things? Menu recommendations anyone?

Oct 11, 2006
Steven T in Dallas - Fort Worth


Noticed Maguire's on MSN City Guide the other day. It had been rated the second best gourmet/fine dining option in Dallas. Met freinds there last Saturday night. We got a late start so we skipped apps/salads and went straight to entrees. Pork chops were average, fish was overcooked, chicken was very pedestrian, and my entree, a lamb shank, was an inedible mess. The crowd seemed to consist solely of older couples and kids on homecoming dates. Anyone have a good experience here? Oh, yes I must give them credit for the desserts, the chocolate lava cake and the creme brulee were both good renditions, but overall I was very underwhelmed.

Oct 06, 2006
Steven T in Texas

looking for great sushi anywhere near downtown

i used to live in Chicago ( lincoln park ) back in the early nineties and ate all my sushi at either Sai Cafe or Kamehachi on Wells. I am now traveling to Chicago for business about once a month and would like an update on where to go for very fresh sushi.
I went to Kamehachi on a recent trip and was disappointed. The sushi was all pre-sliced, there was not a lot of variety, and it was not as fresh as I would have liked. I have not been back to Sai Cafe. I am not looking for a trendy, overpriced, scene type restaurant that makes lots of crunchy, sauced-up rolls. Just somewhere where I can get a good variety of very fresh fish cut to order for nigiri sushi and sashimi.

Oct 06, 2006
Steven T in Chicago Area

Chinese food in Dallas Area?

Had the beef chow fun ( dry ) at First Chinese BBQ in Carrolton last night. It was excellent. We live in Coppell have been going there every other week or so for about the last three years since I was taken there by a Chinese girl that worked in my office. Also very good there is the orange beef, soft fried noodles w/ bbq pork, chinese broccoli w/oyster sauce, fresh shrimp dumpling soup, fried rice. The same girl also recommended Shanghai Restaurant, and we have eaten there often as well. The pork juice bun, scallion pancake, and wu shi pork are standouts here.

Sep 30, 2006
Steven T in Dallas - Fort Worth