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Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2011 [Old]

Oooh. Was the latter in the baking aisle, or on the spice rack? Definitely, definitely need both in my life.

Jul 03, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Chains

Help with a space for an alumnae happy hour? Anywhere from Old City to University City, but close to Septa

Follow-up: I went back yesterday, just to have a glass of something and a snack, and ended up nearly alone at the bar at 7:00 P.M. It was fantastic. I ordered a single pour of a bourbon, a plate with the fondue (this, I think, could have had more heft to it-- a bit too soupy to properly adhere to the breadsticks) and apple slices and a pot of vidalia onion jam. I then got one of the wee cast iron plate/pan things filled with sea-salt-topped rolls, with whipped butter and a wedge of honey on the side. And then? A complimentary plate of lamb spareribs with glazed apples, because sometimes bar guests win the kitchen lottery of extra food. Total peace to read a chapter in a book, hilarious amounts of buttery carbs, and really excellent bourbon, for just under $20, pre-tip, and half of that was alcohol. My water glass was constantly refilled and every server was incredibly nice. I still can't speak for its value or valor as a full meal place, but it's fast becoming one of my favorite places to just sit, sip bourbon, and read. (Bonuses: absolutely no cheesy pick-up lines! Or bad music!)

Mar 24, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Dinner near the Barnes Museum

Bryn Mawr, a town located between the Barnes and St. Davids, both has Sola and Verdad. Yangming gets such mixed reviews that I doubt it's what you're looking for. I do love Therea's Next Door in Wayne but it's more casual than what I think you're implying and the wait for a 4 top on a Friday could be quite some time.

Mar 07, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Penn Museum nearby?

The food at the museum is actually pretty decent; I haven't tried any of the themed Silk Road food, but I know the happy hour options are good (half a hearty sandwich with roasted squash and feta + greens + handful of what-looked-like-homemade chips for essentially $3.00?) and the special event catering is certainly quite nice [disclaimer: have helped with organizing special events]. That said, the Pepper Mill cafe is slightly lacking in ambiance, and if the options include Turkish food or Dim Sum it can't quite compete, but I just thought I'd put in a good word.

Mar 01, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Why must all restaurant entrees have meat in them?

Haha, thanks for the heads up-- I've actually heard they (and their kin, Chima) have fantastic salad bars. I've been thinking of treating my steak-loving boyfriend to a night there as a treat, so it's nice to know I'll enjoy it too!

Grilled Cheese - favorite variations?

Mix of smoked cheeses (gouda, mozzarella, whatever), honey mustard, and sauteed mushrooms (thyme and white wine, last time) on sturdy wholegrain bread.

Feb 27, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Home Cooking

Why must all restaurant entrees have meat in them?

I actually love Costco's 3 bean salad, as sugary and delicious as it is. It's still 100x more interesting than not-well-drained canned garbanzo beans. (Wawa, I'm looking at you...)

Why must all restaurant entrees have meat in them?

Yeah, I have to say, most salad bars only offer kind of gross canned beans, and they're generally awful. I would love, LOVE it, if more restaurants put out cooked or at least spiced things into the salad bar or veggie options. Even canned beans with spices, or cooked for a bit in broth, would be an immense improvement over the tinny, dry canned beans.

Why must all restaurant entrees have meat in them?

Er, actually, most recent (i.e. last several decades) of anthropology has pointed out that meat is a fairly unreliable source of calories, though an essential one. Meat, especially from large animals, requires a huge amount of preparation and work just to kill, let alone butcher, prepare, and preserve the rest of it. Gathering, that oh-so-maligned alternative, is more flexible and consistent, without severe weather changes. Just saying, gorillas have massive canines but they're mainly for attracting lady gorillas, as far as I know, not hunting and slaughtering things. There are things to be said for both sides, but humans began to domesticate crops and form sedentary societies for a reason; while health and balance can be dicey things within that context, to reduce it "Man eat meat RAWR" is a bit silly.

Why must all restaurant entrees have meat in them?

I agree with that-- I did a master's in Britain last year, and was unbelievably happy with the veg options even at the casual pub down the street. At one place in Bristol, without my even asking, they said they could do a veg sausage and mash, with a veg gravy. Good salads, really good vegetarian burgers (aloo patty with lentils, for example,) and spectacular sweet potato pies were all to be had. Kind of a bummer to come back to the Philly suburbs!

Looking for Bangladeshi cuisine

Ciao,

This is actually on behalf of a student worker, who's looking for a taste of home. Are there any straight Bangladeshi restaurants in Philly or the nearby suburbs? I know we have any number of good Indian places, but I think they skew more northern (could be wrong) but I was hoping there might be one Bangladeshi place hiding somewhere. Thanks so much!

Feb 08, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

How much olive oil should one cook with on a weekly basis?

When I excavated in Turkey, I seem to remember that the basic cooking oil was something more like sunflower or vegetable oil, along with the massive tins of olive oil-- perhaps something that varies by economic standing or region?

Jan 25, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Home Cooking

Help with a space for an alumnae happy hour? Anywhere from Old City to University City, but close to Septa

Would just like to say we did go with J.G. Domestic, and even though we had fewer people show up than expected, it was great. I would recommend them for a happy hour; they were courteous and kind about everything. Also important, the brandy and manhattans were great; I have a love affair ongoing with the house fries and malt vinegar aioli. The popcorn was delicious. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions!

Jan 23, 2011
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

$1.50 per person surcharge for Healthcare added to your bill....WHAT?!?!

Frankly, I'm okay with paying more to have the people cooking and handling my food be covered with basic health insurance, because the alternative is kind of terrifying. I get that the profit margins are extremely low in restaurants, but I'd rather not have a chef skip a course of antibiotics because they can't afford the doctor, or ignore an infected cut...I don't live in San Francisco, but it's something I've thought about ever since it first became an issue.

ISO: Delicious, delicious ice cream

Haha, thank you for the very concise answer. I'm afraid that since I can't drive, most of the farther-out places will probably remain as potential day trips for the summer, though they all sound good.

On the plus side, Narberth is very much in walking distance, and it gives me an excuse to eat French pastry!

Dec 30, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Gender and Food

I definitely agree on the ladies-with-"macho"-alcohol-tastes front-- I love single malts, including Laphroig, and porters, and my boyfriend doesn't drink at all. This is routinely confusing to servers and strangers; I don't like having to prove that I really do love drinks that bite back just to get a decent mixed drink, for example.

Though thankfully, my guy loves that I love food, and loves boxing with me afterwards to ward off the worst of the Christmas cookie fury! I love salads, but I love cheese too...

On another note, I still get amused every time they hand my credit card back to my male companion. Seriously, we're young twenty-somethings in the year 2010; surely it's no shock that sometimes, the lady pays the tab!

Suggestions for a cheerful, not too dear Christmas Eve dinner on the West Side for two Philly visitors?

I appreciate the thought; I'm well-aware of open table, but not every restaurant participates, nor do I spend enough time in Manhattan to really know how to best filter the options (currently running at 616 within two miles of where I want to be.) Do you have any more specific recommendations? They are very appreciated!

Dec 05, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Manhattan

Suggestions for a cheerful, not too dear Christmas Eve dinner on the West Side for two Philly visitors?

Like I said, I'm the only one who ever drinks and it's not essential, so that's roughly 30 to 40 sans tax and tip, yes. Thank you for the suggestions! Really, we're even fine with doing Thai (or if anyone knows a place doing a decent fesenjen....) but I wanted to know if Christmas Eve will be a tough thing to wrangle. Thank you for the suggestions; I've heard about Convivio and I'll add it to the list to check out!

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Convivio
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017

Dec 05, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Manhattan

Suggestions for a cheerful, not too dear Christmas Eve dinner on the West Side for two Philly visitors?

I hadn't realized this would be much of a problem until another post on this board caught my eye...My boyfriend and I will be staying around 7th and 57th from the 23rd until the morning of the 25th. I guess I had assumed that given the area and New York, finding decent food on the 24th wouldn't be a huge problem...We'll be going to mass at 5:30 at St. Patricks, so anything within a mile or two would be great.

Prix fixe is fine, although we are but young twenty-somethings without too much disposable income (say $30 to $40 dollars a person, maybe a tad more?) Almost any cuisine is fine except Chinese (reserved for Christmas itself), only one of us drinks, and it should be kind to vegetarians. And if anyone does have suggestions for a pre-theatre dinner on the 23rd (near 8th and W. 44th), that would be fantastic. Thank you in advance for any advice!

Dec 04, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Manhattan

Help with a space for an alumnae happy hour? Anywhere from Old City to University City, but close to Septa

Will check it out, thanks!

Nov 21, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Help with a space for an alumnae happy hour? Anywhere from Old City to University City, but close to Septa

Extremely helpful, thank you so much! I am a bit worried about turnout based on access to parking and/or Septa; UC is tempting because it's closest to 30th and the UPenn campus, but most of the invitees will be coming in from the suburbs and you're right, it makes far more sense to put them in tempting range of the restaurants and sights of Center City and Old City.

I'll investigate Triumph, Chifa, and Time more; as much fun as darts sounds, I know people get irritated when asked to wander far afield for booze. Haven't ever seen Time, or Zocalo (comment above) so I'll definitely check them out.

Nov 21, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

Help with a space for an alumnae happy hour? Anywhere from Old City to University City, but close to Septa

I hope this question hasn't been adressed before, but feel free to point me in the right direction if it has. I'm looking for a space to do a kind of drop-in alumnae happy hour, probably no more than 10-20 people at a time, somewhere in Philly. What I'd like is somewhere big enough that we won't get in the way (a constant problem in narrow bars in D.C.), cool enough that people show, and fun enough that it's not just bitter graduates tossing back wine spritzers. Preferably, the drinks/cocktails would be relatively cheap, but good. This would be in January, so nothing reliant on an outdoor space.

In all honesty, I'm a little stumped-- there's a part of me that would love Tria, but they're way too small. I suppose a Tria/Biba might work if it were totally empty, but I suspect that's never true. I would love Capogiro (January be damned!) but I wasn't sure if the one in University City would work, size/not annoying other people-wise. Other thoughts (huge wide range, as I've never tried to plan anything like this before!)

Good Dog Bar (too loud?)
Marathon Grill (generic, probably not a bad thing)
Caribou Cafe (went here for dinner, loved it; couldn't remember if the downstairs space was flexible enough for groups)
Triumph Brewing (decent sandwiches, big)
World Cafe Live (have no idea how busy this gets for happy hours)

If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know, especially if you've been to a similar event anywhere in Philly and loved or hated it....Thank you!

Nov 20, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

ISO: Delicious, delicious ice cream

Hey,

I apologize if this has been done before (if so, blame my search skills with the new interface), but we've just moved into Ardmore and have noticed a surprising lack on the local sweet scene: ice cream. Or, well, custard/frozen yogurt/gelato/various and sundry names that don't involve water ice or Baskin Robbins. Sadly, one member of the party has been spoiled by a life led in the proximity to Zwahlen's in Audubon; while presumably no Swiss chalets are lurking in Haverford, you never know...

We are literally within eyesight of the Viking Pastries sign, which will doubtlessly cause much bliss, but is there ice cream to be had? There is apparently a newish ice cream place in Bryn Mawr, but I haven't heard anything about it, and Handel's is a bit a of a trip. Thanks for any suggestions!

Sep 19, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Philadelphia

I hate the new release

I've been lurking and posting on Chowhound for something like four or five years, and I abhor the gray scheme after ten minutes of dealing with the icebergs floating around the replies in this thread. And I'm twenty-three. How is this supposed to be useful for reading recipes, or any of the large, paragraph-heavy restaurant reports? This feels like m.chowhound-- something designed for my ipod, in which the fonts are clunky and the sizes larger to accommodate the tiny screen. But I'm reading this on a 15 inch laptop screen, and it's ridiculous. Even pinching in (macbookpro) only makes it slightly more legible for quick scanning, and the font sizes are irregular and disproportionate to their roles. Seriously, this is making me rethink my chowhound addiction, because I use my laptop as a cookbook, and no part of me wants to pore over the site with the redesign.

Aug 10, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Site Talk

In search of the perfect Red Velvet

Quick request- has anyone had mind-blowingly fantastic Red Velvet cake (in either cupcake or traditional form) in D.C.? Must be available either tomorrow or Saturday. I know this is odd, but I have a friend coming to town and it's far too hot to bake! Thanks for any suggestions!

Romantic Italian in DC

Haha, oh, it's not new at all- the original incarnation was open in the 80's, when my parents started going and fell in love with it. It reopened in the last ten years or so under Giovanni. It's not swish or posh, and it is tiny, but it's remained a beloved family favorite. The lentils and sausage, a special for New Year's, were better than any I have had in Italy for that holiday. It is quite hard to see from the street, because it's at the basement level- look for the menu and sign on the iron railing; in the basement niche below and behind that is the lone outside table. I admit to thinking it's romantic because we had dinner there before prom, but I do think it's a kind of space that's very different than the powerhouse Italian restaurants closer to downtown proper. If you should go, I would love to hear someone else's impressions because while we go there every couple of months, it is seldom (ever?) mentioned on chowhound!

Romantic Italian in DC

You might also try Trattu, which is expensive (though less than Obelisk, I believe) but utterly charming and small. If the weather is nice, you could get the tiny two-top table outside in the niche by the street; the inside is cozy. It's on Jefferson Street, I believe, just off Connecticut- by Bertucci's, although clearly I don't recommend that for this at all....

I hope you have a lovely evening, wherever it is!

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Trattu
1823 Jefferson Pl NW, Washington, DC 20036

Arlington: Ray's, Guajillo, The Liberty Tavern

I agree- I went with a friend for drinks and dinner; had a very, very solid Manhattan, which came with a warning (appreciated!) that they were out of the Luxardo cherries, and that this was a normal maraschino, which I probably wouldn't have even noticed. The market greens were heaped and delicious, and so was the basic Tavern greens salad. The pizza, the Vermont, was liberally coated with the promised cheddar, prosciutto, apples, sage and caramelized onions, though the crust itself tastes more like flatbread rather than a true pizza dough. Not really a complaint, as it was delicious, but we both thought it was a different kind of beast. The Red Velvet cheesecake was ridiculous, wacky, and also totally delicious. I'd definitely take the trek out to NoVA again just for that.

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The Liberty Tavern
3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

Your 10 favorite DC Metro restaurants

That was fantastic; thanks for pulling it all together! Hopefully it will guide you well!

ISO appetizer combo of cheese and honey

In a slightly different direction, this is amazing- http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ro...

I think I added toasted walnuts and cheated with frozen puff pastry and it was absolutely amazing.

Mar 20, 2010
chocolatstiletto in Home Cooking