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mhdousa's Profile

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Vegetarian-friendly recs?

Most high-end places are accomodating of vegetarians if you give them advance notice. August said they would do a vegetarian tasting. Stella and Bayona both will make vegetarian items. Herbsaint prepared an AMAZING 4 course vegetarian menu.

Mar 31, 2009
mhdousa in New Orleans

Edmonton restaurant for gift card

This is awesome - thanks everyone!
I look forward to reading your mini-review.

Mar 29, 2009
mhdousa in Prairie Provinces

Edmonton restaurant for gift card

I like the idea of doing it for a specific restaurant so I can tell them that I did research on this and this is where they should go - rather than having them have to figure it out on their own.
I'll check out Red Ox and Blue Pear. Any other thoughts?
Thanks to everyone so far. This is very helpful.

Mar 27, 2009
mhdousa in Prairie Provinces

Edmonton restaurant for gift card

Hi all-
Two of my very good friends are moving to Edmonton in the summer and, as a belated wedding present, I wanted to get them a gift certificate/card to a special occasion restaurant in Edmonton.
The number one priority is quality of the food (doesn't matter what type) with second being ambience/service. A bonus would be a place willing to mail the gift certificate to the U.S. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Thanks!
-M

Mar 27, 2009
mhdousa in Prairie Provinces

Dinner in Art Museum/Fairmount

Heading back down to Center City afterwards. Thought I would use this chance to check out a place in the Art Museum area just because we've never gone out around there.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

Mar 26, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Dinner in Art Museum/Fairmount

Osteria might be a bit intense after a 2-hour wine class.
Anyone have any thoughts on the various gastropubs in the area?

Mar 25, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Dinner in Art Museum/Fairmount

Looking for a place to get dinner after a class at the Philadelphia Wine School this Saturday. Nothing fancy, just great food (but not BYO). We're open to all types of food.
I've never gone out in the area and am completely ignorant to what's good.
Thanks.
-M

Mar 23, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Help me decide where to eat for my birthday -PHL

i'll second kanella.

Mar 23, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Top Restaurants 2004 - RESULTS

I decided to bump this up from FIVE YEARS AGO because I was walking by the closed Django today and I remembered seeing this post come out just as I found I was moving to Philly.
Back then, the Pennsylvania board was dominated by talk of Django. It's interesting to see what's happened to many of the top restaurants on this list:
Django - closed
Lacroix - new chef
Matyson - new chefs and new owners
Fountain - probably the same, although really talks about this place
Le Bec Fin - Perrier "gave back" his stars or diamonds or whatever and changed up the feel of the place
Vetri - the only place up to this point that still is probably very similar to what it was back then
Pif - closed

Thoughts?

Mar 17, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Four Amazing Dinners?

Herbsaint - one of the greatest meals I've had anywhere, and a nice variety of richer and lighter items.

Mar 17, 2009
mhdousa in New Orleans

Any 'Must Orders' at Rangoon in Philly?

thousand-layer bread and anything in the jungle curry.

Mar 16, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania liquor store bargains

Sorry about that. I guess I'm a little too Philly-centric.

Mar 13, 2009
mhdousa in Wine

Pennsylvania liquor store bargains

Jump in a car and head to Moore Brothers in Pennsauken, NJ or Claymont, DE. You actually get to talk to people who know something about wine and they have wines in all price ranges (not below $11-12, though).

Mar 12, 2009
mhdousa in Wine

If You Had To Choose??

Herbsaint went out of their way to create a special experience when we celebrated a birthday there last month. The food was phenomenal.

Mar 12, 2009
mhdousa in New Orleans

Cool space to throw a party?

Check out DiBruno Brothers on Chestnut. Cool upstairs space that could probably hold ~100.

Mar 11, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Quick trip to NOLA report

Don't skip Herbsaint.

Mar 07, 2009
mhdousa in New Orleans

Bored off the old haunts in South Philly - new reccs?

last day was yesterday

Mar 02, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Cafe l'Aube - South and 15th

Have been back twice now. Had a fantastic croque monsieur on one occasion and a very good crepe with goat cheese, bacon, tomato, and egg. The crepes are incredibly light. It's a nice contrast to Beau Monde (which I love) in that these leave you full but not stuffed.

I think it's the best coffee in the city. I know many love La Colombe, but I don't think it comes close to Intelligentsia.

Feb 23, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Quick trip to NOLA report

I have to give some love to Herbsaint. We went about a month ago and had an absolutely phenomenal meal. Everything was amazing, except for the duck confit which was just above average. We had a couple vegetarians in our group and they went out of their way to make an entire vegetarian menu.
The gumbo, braised short rib, shrimp and grits, pork belly, and salad with satsumas were particularly good. The olive oil cake dessert was out of this world, and the banana brown butter tart was one of the best desserts I've ever had.
One other minor criticism is that our waitress wasn't great with the wine list, and didn't send over the sommelier.
Otherwise, no complaints and we'll definitely be back.
-M

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Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Feb 21, 2009
mhdousa in New Orleans

Zahav Review

Wanted to echo those who have talked about how good the food is here and what a steal the restaurant week menu is. We went the other night and almost everything was outstanding.

Highlights included the salads to begin, especially the eggplant, tomatoes, and beets, a very solid (but not out of the ordinary) hummus with amazing bread, the fried cauliflower with labneh, the grilled halloumi with fig jam and pine nuts (amazing), and the merguez.

Desserts were also quite good.

I also had a fantastic drink with spiced vodka and grapefruit juice.

Service was friendly but not intrusive. The space is beautiful.

I highly recommend trying to get there before RW ends. The food really is quite good and we plan on trying to get back sometime soon.

-M

Feb 04, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Merriman's Maui?

Thanks, Bill. That's what I was hoping to hear. Sounds like it was worth the rec from Alan Wong?

Jan 14, 2009
mhdousa in Hawaii

Merriman's Maui?

Hi all -
Heading to Maui and Kauai for a week and thinking about making this our splurge dinner. Has anyone been yet?
Thanks.
-M

Jan 13, 2009
mhdousa in Hawaii

Apamate - South and 16th

Hi all-

Went to this BYO Spanish/Venenzualan place last night. I went in really wanting to like it given that the prices looked great, it's a beautiful space, and I like the idea of a tapas place that is a little lower-key than Amada.

Overall, however, I didn't feel as though the food and portion sizes represented a good value for the money.

First, the good: Like I said, it's a beautiful space. The front table in the window looks like an awesome place for a group of 8-10. The wild mushroom confit was reasonably tasty. The rib-eye entree was well-cooked. The capricho goat cheese was quite good with the blood orange on top. The beets 3 ways was an incredible bite of food.

However, that leads me to the bad:
Portion size. For $5, we got 2 bite-sized beet chips topped with beets. As tasty as it was, I couldn't get over that it seemed overpriced. The wild mushroom confit was $6 and had a single toast topped with the mushrooms. While the rib-eye was well-prepared, it only came with some patatas on the side and certainly didn't justify the $25 price-tag.
Also, the hearts of artichoke & blanched asparagus were quite bland.
Finally, the churros, which I had read so much about, were missing the sweetness that churros should have.

The service was above average. However, an overzealous water-pourer knocked her pitcher into my arm as I was trying to serve something into my plate. And gratuity was included for our group of 5.

Hopefully, this was an off-night as I have heard wonderful things about this place. There is obviously a lot of skill in the kitchen (the beets really were outstanding). And I understand the idea of pintxos and picas are mini-tapas. I just wish the value was there.

Would love to hear others' thoughts.
-M

Jan 04, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Paxia - 8th and Christian

Just went here tonight - fantastic Mexican and BYO tequila.

Started with the the tres crepas (huitlacoche, zucchini flower, and goat cheese) - they were good. The guacamole was just really well done.

I had the skirt steak- it was well prepared with an amazing poblano crema on the side. Others had the enchiladas which were very good (the salsa roja could have had a little more kick) and the brochetas which had some of the best shrimp I've here had.

Margarita mixes were the traditional lime, which had a nice bite with enough sweetness, and the mango which was a little too sweet.

To finish, they brought out a couple complimentary digestif tequilas - one was a coffee-infused Patron and another that I can't remember. The Patron was really good - the coffee taste lingered in my mouth for at least a few minutes.

If you like gourmet Mexican and BYO, get here. The food is really quite good.

-M

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Paxia
746 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA

Jan 02, 2009
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Vegetarian at Hamura's Saimin?

Great - thank you. I figured the broth wouldn't be vegetarian, but good to know that they might leave out the meat.

Dec 31, 2008
mhdousa in Hawaii

Vegetarian at Hamura's Saimin?

Hi all,

Heading to Maui and Kauai for a week at the end of January. In Kauai, we're staying at the Hyatt, but I was hoping to hit Hamura's Saimin on the way from the airport. However, my wife is vegetarian. Anyone know if they will make a vegetarian version?
Thanks.
-M

Dec 30, 2008
mhdousa in Hawaii

Kanella -Greek, 10th and Spruce

This place just keeps getting better and better. I had a very awesome grilled filet of pollock over an unbelievably comforting stew of spinach and chickpeas.

Our usual orders of the dips of the day, beetroot salad, and halloumi/mint ravioli were outstanding as always. Someone had the moussaka which was also very nice.

Supposedly they got rid of the waiter who was annoying the crap out of people (this guy admonished us for not ordering enough on one occasion, and on another he was providing running commentary as I was eating the quail), so the service is great now.

Glad to see these guys are doing well. This is definitely my 'go-to' nice, but not over-the-top, BYO in Philly right now.

Dec 29, 2008
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Cafe l'Aube - South and 15th

Just hit this great little spot on a Sunday mid-morning (menu doesn't change throughout the day, so I hesitate to call it "brunch"). Had a very nice "Gouda dinde" crepe (turkey, gouda, and fresh herbs) for about $6.

For me, the best part is that they are pouring Intelligentsia coffee.

I had a nice chat with the owner who seems very enthusiastic. The croque monsieur and Brussels waffles look very intriguing, so I can't wait to go back.

It's by no means a fancy place (order at the counter and food gets brought out to you) but it's beautifully decorated inside.

All in all, a great addition to the area.

-M

Dec 29, 2008
mhdousa in Pennsylvania

Great food...with a vegetarian

Because New Orleans is the only major city to which I've traveled that has no vegetarian entree options on the online menus for any of its well-known gourmet establishments. Check it out - August, Cochon, Herbsaint, Bayona, Brigtsen's, Cuvee, etc. None of them have a vegetarian entree on their menu. Contrast that to other cities that are known for their food. Also, I don't consider a boring grilled vegetable plate a vegetarian option. That's what a lot of places will tell you when you ask if they offer anything vegetarian.

My question wasn't about whether any of your great places can come up with a dish with no meat, but rather whether any of them can offer an experience equal to that of a carnivore. Sorry if that didn't make sense from my original post.

Thanks again for everyone's suggestions. Our trip is coming up this weekend and I couldn't be more psyched.

Dec 16, 2008
mhdousa in New Orleans

Great food...with a vegetarian

Thanks, everyone. I actually emailed Restaurant August and the enthusiastic reply was that they could do an entire 9 course vegetarian degustation.
Given what I've read on this board about August, I think that's where we're headed for our big dinner. I'll check out the other suggestions for our other meals.
If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
Thanks again.

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Restaurant August
301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

Dec 09, 2008
mhdousa in New Orleans