Blaine_s's Profile

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Shikoku (四国) Dining

We will be at Iya Onsen

http://www.iyaonsen.co.jp/

Tabelog gave it a fairly good review for the food:

Yes - we will be in Kurashiki too. Chicken place it is!

http://r.tabelog.com/tokushima/A3604/...

Jan 17, 2012
Blaine_s in Japan

Shikoku (四国) Dining

I've been doing some planning for a trip to Shikoku and surrounding areas in March. This thread timing is great!

Any advice for Iya Valley, Imabari or across the sea at Kojima?

I've found a few places in or near Kojima thus far:

Sayaka taste of Setouchi (清香本店)

Recommended for local seafood and local octopus

Plum Villa (梅荘)

Recommended for udon

Cooking Octopus -( 元祖たこ料理 保乃家)

Another local seafood and local octopus restaurant

Jan 16, 2012
Blaine_s in Japan

Tipo 00 flour in Halifax??

There is some confusion with regard to what Caputo flour is best for pizza and this topic is addressed here: http://brickovenbaker.com/2011/04/faq...
Basically, the blue label "pizzeria" is one of the benchmark flours for authentic dough so if that is what they have, give it a try.

Jun 22, 2011
Blaine_s in Atlantic Canada

Route 15 - am I driving right past some great chow-worthy places?

My family and I tend to drive from outside of Boston to New York on a fairly frequent basis and we have found that Route 15 and the associated parkways make for a wonderful drive.

Typically we save our appetites for NYC, but frequently I wonder if we might just be driving past some great places to stop and have a bite.

So, what do you say? Keep driving and hold out for NYC, or pull off and try the fare at....

Jan 21, 2010
Blaine_s in Southern New England

iPhone Google Maps of Chowish Destinations?

I've tried that app but what it can't do is tell you nearby sites based on places *I* want to visit based on my list of choworthy locations.

Sep 23, 2008
Blaine_s in Not About Food

iPhone Google Maps of Chowish Destinations?

I really would like to use the GPS in my iPhone to locate Choworthy destinations based on my current locations. There are a number of apps that list nearby sites based on other people's ratings like Yelp (ugh).

I'd like to do my homework, locating and mapping destinations that are what I consider Choworthy, and find which ones are close to me based on where I am at any given time.

We travel so much up and down the Eastern seaboard that there are a million times I wonder if I happen to be close to a place I really want to visit.

Any ideas?

Sep 21, 2008
Blaine_s in Not About Food

True Japanese-trained sushi chefs?

Suzie - if you know of an excellent Asian cooking teacher in the Boston area - could you pass on his/her name?

Thanks!

- Blaine

Sep 21, 2008
Blaine_s in Greater Boston Area

True Japanese-trained sushi chefs?

Really....like this good?

Sep 21, 2008
Blaine_s in Greater Boston Area

Good pizza in West Suburbs??

I have to second this one.

Tomasso Trattoria did an excellent thin crust with a rare combination of crisp and tender with real flavor. Really good stuff and not your typical insta-crust that I so often see around here.

Aug 16, 2008
Blaine_s in Greater Boston Area

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

OK - Here's Part II

What I forgot to mention was that after our visit to the Met, we took a cab over to Kitchen Arts and Letters. What a wonderful little bookstore with the best (by far!) cookbook collection I've ever seen. I couldn't put down the volumes from el Bulli. At first I didn't want to pick them up because the chalk looked real and I thought I'd better not ruin a very expensive book. Then I noticed they were display copies and carefully thumbed my way through. We picked up a few rare Japanese books and chatted with the people working behind the counter. We told them how we lost hundreds of cookbooks last year in a flood and of all the things we lost, the cookbooks are some of the things we miss most. It was nice to see so many of them in one place again.

The next day we checked out of out hotel at a leisurely time and claimed our car so that we could drive, eat, and fill up the car as we shopped.

Breakfast first. My daughter is a bagel fanatic so it was off to Ess-a-Bagel on 3rd Ave. The parking gods were with us as we found a spot on the same block. As we were trying to feed the meter there was a shout from a man entering his building -
"you don't need to pay on Sunday". "Thanks!" we yelled - nice people in NY? You bet.

Around the corner was the best bagel we've ever had. There was a line but we still were able get a small table by the door. I watched "Richard" barking out orders to the customers - I only know his name because he had it hanging around his neck on a bicycle-sized license plate. Plain with cream cheese, toasted plain, plain with lox - they were unreal. Our jaw muscles got a workout. These are some of the larger bagels I've had and they have a wonderful chew. The outside was glossy and a touch crispy, the smell...yummmm. The coffee was really not so bad and very hot :-) . But it was the seriously good bagels that had our attention. We loaded up on a dozen for the road along with an Ess-a-Bagel T-shirt for my daughter.

We drove past Bridge Kitchenware, which unfortunately was closed on Sunday, on our way to Rockefeller Center to visit Minamoto Kitchoan. Ok, what are the chances that on the first try we could pull up to Rockafeller Center and park right in front of Morrell Wine Bar / Dean & Deluca on a weekend full of holiday events? I'm telling you the parking gods were with us.

My wife was off to Minamoto and I had to check out the selection at Morrell. Usually they aren't open on Sunday but we lucked out that they were open by 10 AM on Sunday - "Holiday Hours". I spent an hour talking wine with August and loaded up on some bottles that I usually can't find such as Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc - come on! My wife returned loaded with goodies from Minamoto and we moved over to the Japanese bookstore to pick up even more books and anime T-shirts for my daughter's stocking.

We hated to leave our prized parking space but the police were starting to block off the plaza and we had places to go.

Next was down to Kee's Chocolates with the hopes that she hadn't sold everything yet. Again, the parking gods were with us and we parked about a block away. We rushed over to Kee's and sure enough, there was a line with people scraping up what ever she had. With the tiny tiny space of her store it is clear that she makes them and sells them. I am glad to see that people support such a small business. When it was our turn we just said "We'll take two of each- whatever is left". There were 8 types left along with a dark chocolate "creme brulee" that had to be eaten in one bite within the day. I didn't hesitate and ate mine right there on the spot - oh so good....the chocolate had a good snap and the creamy center was fresh, liquid, and delicious. I can't wait to try the others. Kee was making the next round of chocolates and my daughter decided to ask her some questions what she was doing. Despite the crowd she was so polite and asked my daughter what she liked. It turns out that my daughter isn't such a big chocolate fan but said she liked the idea of green tea. Kee picked out a white chocolate truffle with green tea from the case and handed it to my daughter and said "see if you like this". She was so nice. We wanted to support her store and buy more chocolates but at this point the line was well out the door and it was clear that she didn't have any problems selling her beautiful chocolates! We'll be back.

I wanted to go to Sullivan Street Bakery next which should have been right where we parked the car. Then I remembered that somebody posted that their name changed and I realized that Grandaisy Bakery was the place Chowhounds had recommended. We bought ciabatta, and other breads along with a sandwich with fresh arugula, cured meat, and parmesan - it hit the spot. A pre-lunch if you will. The ends of the breads were chewed off before they made it to the car. I really liked how they balanced a very crispy crust that was still delicate and a yeasty chewy middle that just had a real authentic flavor. Few things beat a good loaf of bread.

Next door was the Ravioli Store. Here we bought both fresh and dried pastas along with fresh mozzarella. Then it was two doors down to the greek yoghurt store - "The Yoghurt Place II" to stock up on strained yoghurt, and Greek pastries. They look so good!

Then it was off to our next destination - Murray's Cheese. When we found the location the streets were packed with people enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon but despite the crowds we parked within three blocks within minutes. On our way we had to make a detour. John's Pizzeria just said - "eay NY pizza you fool" and we were sucked in the door to have a slice of NY goodness. After we ordered (only cheese - we wanted to have focus) and I had a pint of Yuegling, I asked if I could have a look at the oven. They were more than happy to show me the coal fired wonder. I wish I could cook pizza at 700F. I went back to the table and the pizza arrived. Thin, crisp, yet still had a chewy layer between the slightly blackened bottom crust and the bubbly brown top. I could also smell a nicely fermented dough. Yum!

Murray's didn't disappoint either. We have a good cheese store (Formaggio Kitchen) but the staff at Murray's was so helpful. We may have picked up a few too many washed-rind cheeses including a very stinky Epoisse but our cooler had a very ripe odor on the way back. The cheeses are now out in our shed (at ~45F) because they are way too stinky to put in our refrigerator! Stink is good.
I can't wait to try some of the olive oils including the EVO and the "Pugliese" along with the San Marzano tomatoes. Another T-shrit for my daughter and we were off.

We drove past Di Palo's but time was starting to run out and we needed something sweet. Down to the bowery and Orchard St. to Il Laboratorio di Gelato. We saw some at Murray's in the freezer but wanted to get some from the source.

The parking gods again were on our side and we parked in front of Il Laboratorio de Gelato. I couldn't believe it.

I had Guinness (sweet, not too beer-ish) and espresso (rich coffee and some grounds). My wife had passion fruit (slightly bitter and very concentrated and very good) and my daughter vanilla (rich and excellent). They were all tasty and we loaded the cooler with to go portions of malt and dark chocolate. We can't wait to try them.

We walked up the street to find a pickle market - Guss's Pickles. Now based on the chowhounds I wanted to take my wife to "The Pickle Guy" but she had to have something from these blue barrels of goodness. We tried the fresh "greenies", more sour pickles, and the spicy pickles. All excellent and even more fun just bought on the street from these big barrels. Again, we'll be back. There could be nothing like these fresh NY pickles. Eating such good inexpensive simple food in a part of NY that has so much immigrant history really made us think of how so much of your food is sculpted by the wonderful mix of cultures that have made their way through this part of the country.

At this point we had one more non-culinary stop at the Noguchi museum on our way out of town. It was a wonderful place to reflect and think.

As you can imagine it was a great trip and we are looking forward to visiting so many of the places mentioned in this thread that we did not make it to. You are all so lucky to live in a city so rich in culture and food! We love to visit and hope that next time we will be as welcomed as we were this time.

Again, to everybody that has posted here on chowhound, and to all of the great people we met, thank you.

Dec 13, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

We had a fantastic, and all I can say is "Thank You New York!"

Before I started this thread the original plan was to just see La Bohème at the Met, we really wanted to hear the Spanish tenor Rolando Villazón.

So I thought about dinner, read many of the Chowhound threads on Lincoln Center and where to eat, then thought that we could arrive earlier and do some shopping and we have Sunday free until we have to drive home. So we did our best to get around Manhattan on what seemed to be a busy weekend even by your standards.

First thing, we arrived by around noon and were starving. Turned out our hotel was in a predominately Korean neighborhood on W 32nd near Broadway. We didn't make it more than a block away before we ducked into a little place that looked too good to pass up....and we were starving!

It was called Gahm Mi Oak and it did not dissapoint! We sat at the traditional tables - "do yo mind sitting on the floor" our server asked? Nope, just fork over one of those pots of kim chee and a pair of scisors and we'll be fine. The kim chee was some of the best we've had - although others may say that their Mom's is better :-) My daughter had the squid entre - very fresh, tender, simple, large portion. My wife had the scallion pancakes and I had the sollongtang which is a milky white broth with rice hiding in the bottom, white noodles and very thin slices of beef. It had a wonderful beef flavor without being heavy at all. Add your own green onions, salt, pepper - tasty! Seriously wonderful bowl on a December afternoon.

After that it was a cab up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see "William" and check out some mummies. Every visit has to include a trip to the Met because there are just so many wonderful things.

It was a short visit and we needed to run back to the hotel and get ready for the opera.

Dinner was at Compass which we chose based on other Chowhounds and it's proximity to Lincoln Center. We had an early 5:30pm reservation to be sure we had enough time to dine. We started with glasses of Vouvray Sec (nice, light bodied). The amuse bouche as a small tile of perfectly rare seared tuna that was tender and what you would expect. Next was the wine list. It was fantastic. You could find great wines in any price range. It was a toss up for us between CA Pinot and Burgundy, but as usual Burgundy won. The wine steward helped us with our selection and I highly recommend his service. He was unpretentious, knowledgeable, and just guided our decision. Ended up with a young 2004 Gran Cru Echézeaux from Mongeard-Mugneret (tight, pretty, mostly red fruit, good length). My wife had two first courses - skate wing with cauliflower, capers and arugula in Brown Butter that was light crispy rich and wonderful with the wine despite the cauliflower. Then the duck confit risotto with butternut squash, soy beans and black truffles - rich duck, earthy truffles and the soy beans were a nice foil. My daughter had the grilled 21day dry aged sirloin smoked fingerling potatoes, salt roasted onions and oyster mushrooms in Bordelaise sauce - ordered medium rare and came medium. I cut them some slack since it was a dry aged steak. The oyster mushrooms were blown out of the water buy the Bordelaise and only really provided texture. Luckily the sauce was good. Fingerlings were sliced thin and were tender and firm without falling apart. The steak was fine but nothing special. I started with a grilled whitefish (I forget - it was like white sturgeon) dense, fresh, sweet, outstanding. Then I had the Colorado leg of lamb with chick peas, cardoons, Swiss chard and braised shank stuffed prunes. The leg was small cubes of tender medium rare lamb that was pretty but the braised shank and stuffed prunes was just what the Echézeaux was looking for and really paired well. For dessert I had the study of apples - four types of apples made four ways. The surprise of the four was the fresh apple with small sections of white chocolate and fresh black truffle. It really worked! My wife had sorbets (all very well done) and daughter vanilla ice cream (rich and again, well done), 10 yr. Grahams tawny, smiles all around. The last surprise came with the chocolates. One was pork rind in white chocolate - don't knock it until you try it!!! WOW, we loved it. Salty, crunchy, and just a bit creamy rich - taken strictly in moderation.

Coffee, and it was off to the Opera.

Sunday was more food-focused but I'll have to type that up tomorrow.

to be continued....

Dec 12, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

We're getting ready! Thank you to everybody that posted. I let you know where we ended up.

Dec 09, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

wow, I am totally overwhelmed. This thread is going to be the basis of *several* trips to load up the car with all things wonderful. A sincere thank you to everybody that has posted.

So much for a Top 5!

But at least there seem to be several favorites that are going to have to be "must visits" for this trip. Google Maps and TomTom are going to get a workout on this trip!

Here's the list so far:

Di Palo
Murray's
Russ and Daughters
Barney Breengrass
JP Prince
Mitsuwa
Despana
Salumeria Biellese
Bridge Kitchenware
Faicco's
ess-a-bagel
Kalustyan's
Vino
Fairway
Dynasty Food Market
Hong Kong Supermarket
Biellese
Korin
Kees Chocolates
Ravioli Store
Calabria Pork Store
Bakeries in Arthur Ave
Arthur Ave Market
Kossar's Bialys
Blue Ribbon Bakery Shop
Dom's
Despana Brand Foods
Chelsea Market
Astor Wines
Sahadis
Kam Man
Pearl River Market
Minamoto Kitchoan
Han Ah Reum
Gertel's
Moishe's Bakery
Boun Italia
Broadway Panhandler
Polish Butcher
Sullivan Street Bakery
Cheese Guy at Lincoln Center Farmer's Market
Baczynski's
The Pickle Man
East Village Meat Market
Kitchen Market
Economy Candy
Amy's Bread
Murray's Bagels
Zabar's
Laboratorio de Gelato
Kitchen Arts
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Veniero's
Sweet Life
Borgatti's (aka "The Ravioli Store")
The Yogurt Place
Sarabeth's
Raffetto's
The Pickle Guys
Doughnut Plant
Damascus Bakery
Rocco's
Yonah Shimmel
Wine Therapy
Balthazar Bakery

Dec 07, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

Thank you so much Manhattan! Really I *am* going to go to these places and enjoy the wonders of you have to offer. I plan on stuffing the car full of chowish goodies.

Here is a list that you have provided - it is sounding like some places are going to have to be "must visit". However, this trip I have Saturday and half of Sunday.

I would like to find something special for my oh-so-food-loving wife, she is the best and it is that time of year. I will also have my wonderful 10yr old daughter in tow (likes the idea of Doughnut Plant, soba noodles, or a good butcher with aged prime)

Again, thank you NY!

Di Palo
Murray's
Russ and Daughters
Barney Breengrass
JP Prince
Mitsuwa (not close)
Despana
Salumeria Biellese
Bridge Kitchenware
Faicco's
ess-a-bagel
Kalsytians
Vino
Fairway
Dynasty Food Market
Hong Kong Supermarket
Biellese
Korin
Kees Chocolates
Ravioli Store
Calabria Pork Store
Bakeries in Arthur Ave
Arthur Ave Market
Farmer's Market
Blue Ribbon Bakery Shop
Dom's
Despana Brand Foods
Chelsea Market
Astor Wines
Sahadis
Kam Man
Pearl River Market
Minamoto Kitchoan
Han Ah Reum
Gertel's
Hoishe's Bakery
Boun Italia
Manhattan Panhandler
Polish Butcher
Sullivan Street Bakery

Dec 07, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

Excellent so far! I plan on loading up the car with goodies for the trip home.

Great rare (raw) and local cheese.... yummy
Ethnic/Asian markets are always welcome shopping....NY only stuff like bagels or maybe Doughnut Plant?

I must go to Korin. I remember finding their website when I was looking for Aritsugu knives.

Wine stores - YES! Especially if they have a good selection of Armagnac.

Great ideas....keep them coming!

Dec 06, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan

Your Top 5 "must visit" chow-related stores in Manhattan

I plan on spending this weekend in Manhattan and would like your to know what you think are the Top 5 places that will convince me that NY is the chow epicenter of the world. I was thinking of places like Dean & Deluca, Petrossian, or Bridge Kitchenware, but I'd really like to hear what you think!

Dec 06, 2006
Blaine_s in Manhattan