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ladydisdain's Profile

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Tonight: solo dining recommendation?

Hi--staying near the Water Tower tonight and looking for a good dinner where I'll feel comfortable eating alone. Anything but Indian or pizza (already loved Lou Malnati's); am always happy to eat at the bar rather than a table. Inventive cocktails a plus. I'm willing to spend some money on this--delicious food (local places only--no chains) and a comfortable, non-stuffy atmosphere are the musts.

I'm willing to take a cab/the L/the subway as long as it's relatively easy to get there and back.


Nov 22, 2011
ladydisdain in Chicago Area

STL to MKE: 55 to 39 to 43: anything great?

We're driving from St. Louis to Milwaukee via 55, 39 and 43 for Thanksgiving. We anticipate making this drive a lot as we just moved to STL and my husband's parents are in Milwaukee. We're planning on stopping at the Holy Land Diner in Springfield, IL tomorrow for lunch, but we'd like to know what else there is along the way.

Not just restaurants, but we do want those of course - but we're willing to leave the highway to find pie, corn dogs, great ice cream, little cheese shops, candy places, ANYTHING. We'll end up having a lot of time to explore this route. We won't stop for a fancy meal (takes too long on a 6-7 hour drive), and we will usually have a small child with us, and we eat everything except Indian food.

Suggestions would be awesome.

Very disappointed at Savona

This is hilarious - I wrote this so long ago I had a different screen name. However, I still talk about this meal any time Savona comes up in conversation.

First of all, "disagreeing" with a review would make no sense as a review is 100% opinion. We went to Savona because EVERYONE said it was THE BEST. At the time there was no menu online that we could find (this was five years ago, remember). And anyway, my main complaints - ridiculously small portions and rude, overattentive service - are not exactly subjective things. $33 should buy you more than five small scallops on a bed of peas and edamame. It just should. And no one should look annoyed when someone doesn't order wine.

Re-reading that review I wrote makes the whole thing come flooding back, and man, that was the worst expensive meal we have ever had.

Nov 03, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

Cider Donuts in St. Louis?

Eckert's doesn't have them.

STL: dinner downtown tonight, casual, nonsmoking

We're going to the City Museum tonight and would like to eat somewhere in the vague vicinity first, if possible. We've been to the Dubliner and thought about going back but even their "nonsmoking" section is pretty smoky and smelly. We just ate at Wasabi in Clayton. We want to dress really, really casually as we plan on climbing around at the Museum. Where can 3 adults go on a Friday night and have good food, at least decent service, and come out smell-free (except for food smells)? One of us doesn't eat beef, pork, or lamb, btw.

We don't HAVE to eat downtown, but we live in U City and eat in the Loop a lot so we thought a different area would be good. So anything not completely out of the way would be considered too. We basically eat everything but Indian.

STL - comprehensive sushi list

We got a sitter and went to Wasabi in Clayton last night and LOVED it. Thanks for the suggestion! We are no longer despairing about being able to get sushi in STL.

I've been lurking a little around stlbites, too - thanks for the tip.

STL: City Diner - horrible experience

I don't think the main problem is that I'm from Jersey. I have certainly had my share of poor service and bad food at Jersey diners, and I no longer patronized those diners. The main problem is that the City Diner has poor service and a lot of substandard food. Food should be served hot; steak should be able to be chewed. Food should not take 40 minutes or longer to appear when it is diner food.

All kinds of people go to Blueberry Hill, for instance, and it's in a city neighborhood-feeling sort of place, the servers are attentive and the food comes quickly and hot and is edible. This is not rocket science. (I know BH doesn't have the same kind of food as CD.) As long as people choose to patronize places like the CD and sit there forever waiting for lukewarm food without complaint, places like that will continue what they're doing because why not? No one's complaining.

There's a lot of good food in STL. Heck, there's a lot of mediocre food in STL I don't mind eating. But I'll be darned if I'm going to sit and wait and wait for substandard food served carelessly. It doesn't have anything to do with being from Jersey - it has to do with my expectations being higher than that, especially in this economy.

STL - comprehensive sushi list

Bumping this up to say we tried Seki's tonight and were completely underwhelmed. Part of that was personal taste - for instance, I don't want any fake crabmeat in my shrimp tempura roll, and I don't want my salmon and avocado roll to be enormous and overflowing with tobiko. Part of it, though, was the food quality. The edamame was overcooked. The fish was reaaaaaally fishy tasting, even the tuna, which just shouldn't be. One of the things we got was a tempura/sashimi combination and one of the three kinds of sashimi was octopus. Seriously? Octopus? When I think sashimi I think of fish that melts in the mouth. Octopus is more like "chew for a week." And when I'm only getting eight pieces of fish, I really don't want three of them to be octopus. The rolls weren't very solidly constructed, either; half of them were falling apart when they reached the table.

The meal was $80 including tip, which I thought was a lot for some pretty mediocre sushi. And charging for drink refills? Seriously?

If I was disappointed here, where should I try next?

STL: Amighetti's: what were we missing?

We tried the much-vaunted Amighetti's special and taste of Italy sandwiches tonight, and were completely underwhelmed. The bread's nice, yes. But the rest? The Special was, well, just a sandwich. And the supposed Taste of Italy was made entirely with fake cheese.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm from Philly. I love me some Cheez Whiz. I have Kraft Singles in my fridge right now. Easy Cheese in a can? I'm there. But if you're going to call your sandwich A Taste of Italy, or the Best of Italy or whatever it was called, you really need to use some kind of real cheese. Also, if you say your sandwich comes with olives, there should really be more than four thin olive slices on it.

Honestly, we didn't enjoy these sandwiches any more than we enjoyed the ones we had last week at Jimmy John's. Is Amighetti's something you have to grow up in St. Louis to enjoy? I'm looking for a hardcore Italian sub/hoagie/what have you, and it certainly isn't to be found there. Which is fine, if that's not what they're trying to do, and it seems like it's not.

And lastly, since I didn't find what I'm missing at Amighetti's, where can I find it? Or is it a futile search here?

(We also got their tortellini for the baby, and the gravy had a harsh, bitter edge to it. Wasn't so happy about that, although the pasta was cooked perfectly and the filling had nice flavor.)

Jul 17, 2008
ladydisdain in Great Plains

STL: Sports bar for the All-Star Game?

They had a great time at Lester's. Thanks for the suggestion!

STL: Sports bar for the All-Star Game?

We currently have no TV and my husband and in-laws are dying to see the All-Star Game. I know the answer to "which sports bars will be likely to show it?" is probably "tons of them," so I'm looking for a few suggestions for decent places to go. They'd prefer the food to be decent and to go somewhere where they'd be likely to get a seat (in-laws are in their seventies). We're in U City, but they have no problem going pretty much anywhere.

STL: City Diner - horrible experience

We went to the City Diner on S. Grand tonight for the first time - four adults and my 21 month old daughter. We got there at 6 and only a few tables were occupied.

Now, let me say up front that my expectations were diner-level. I'm originally from Jersey. I expect sullen service and mediocre food of a certain class. I'm fine with these things. I am not fine with:

1. appalling, horribly slow service. 40 minutes to get our food, which wasn't very warm when it came out. Clearly something had happened with one of the five orders and rather than come out and explain that and offer what food *was* hot, they left the whole order under the heat lamps. waitress was absent most of the meal - we eventually had to ask the manager where our food was. waitress never offered drink refills or brought requested extra items (napkins and butter).

2. runny middle in my omelet (which I'm guessing was the order that was made wrong, since it came out underdone) and hash browns instead of the requested french fries.

3. Steak in husband's country fried steak so gristly and tough that it was inedible. Now, if it's a piece of meat my husband can't eat, then you know it was the toughest piece of steak that ever came off a cow.

4. Giant piece of fat in the middle of father-in-law's mashed potatoes. No, it wasn't a potato or butter. Yes, we tried it.

Between my husband's disgusting dish (we did complain; it was removed from the bill without argument and with apology), my underdone omelet, and the slowest, least attentive service known to mankind, we will never go back. Again: didn't have high expectations, but I also didn't expect it to completely suck. It's the first bad dining experience we've had since we moved here, and boy, it was a BAD one.

STL: NY/East Coast style pizza

We're just back from a very brief final pre-moving visit (less than a month to go now!) and we tried Feraro's Jersey Style Pizza. Although I'm thrilled that they serve pork roll (Taylor ham) I wasn't overly impressed by the pizza. It was serviceable, I suppose, but La Pizza blows it out of the water (and La Pizza is less than five minutes from our house). I found Feraro's to be overly cheesy, which makes the crust overly wet. When I pick up a piece of pizza I don't mind if the front tip sags, but when the whole front half just flops down? Too wet for me. The sauce was nice, but the meatballs were spiced far too much. Nice flavor to the crust but just too wet. My husband liked it better (and wants to try the stromboli) so we'll go back, but I think I'll stick to a pork roll sandwich and save the room in my tummy reserved for pizza for La Pizza when I'm missing home.

Cambridge/Zanesville, OH?

We'll be spending a night in Cambridge OH. Anywhere remotely interesting to eat dinner? We'll have a toddler with us and it will have been a long travel day so it can't be linger-y. Other than Indian, we don't have cuisine restrictions.

Breakfast suggestions welcome too. Or maybe we should just skip breakfast and stop in Columbus for lunch?

Lunch between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on the Turnpike

We're traveling from Philly to St. Louis by car and will probably stop for the night somewhere around Zanesville OH. We need somewhere to stop for lunch, probably between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. We'd love to stop at Herby's like we usually do but we're going to pass it too early. Where else can we eat that doesn't involve Sbarro? We're willing to drive 5-10 miles off the Turnpike. We'll have our 19 month old with us, so we'll need something that isn't especially slow or fancy. We just need something to eat that, frankly, doesn't suck. Anything but Indian works.

May 18, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

Cupcakes in Philadelphia: '08 Edition

Got cupcakes from Naked Chocolate Cafe today. The amount of icing has gone way, way down and, in our opinion, so has the cupcake. They used to have a great icing-to-cake ratio; apparently that is no more.

May 11, 2008
ladydisdain in Philadelphia

Cupcake Gourmet in Malvern

We tried them last week. My thoughts:

chai latte: not good. weird lavender aftertaste. very disappointing.

dark chocolate mint: excellent. chocolate cake with mint buttercream dipped in dark chocolate ganache. truly excellent. the best we tried.

choc. with peanut butter icing: good cake, but pb frosting had a weird taste to it. choc/pb is my favorite combo so I was disappointed.

choc with vanilla frosting and vanilla with choc frosting: both very good. nice true chocolate and vanilla flavors.

overall, pretty good, but we need another visit to really give it a full review. the employees were lovely and we will certainly go back.

May 11, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

A Real Fruit Smoothie

It's in the 1920 Commons Building on Locust Walk.

Apr 25, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

A Real Fruit Smoothie

Philly's had a Jamba Juice for years. It was in the Whole Foods on South Street, and for some reason that one closed and moved to the U Penn campus. It is, nonetheless, a Jamba Juice, and it's open to the public - I was just there last week.

Apr 22, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

food near 78th betw. 1st and York?

On Sunday we're having lunch or brunch with my husband's godmother who lives on 78th between 1st and York and can't walk more than 2-4 blocks at the max. The last time we ate with her we had a very mediocre brunch (at a place whose name I can't remember, unfortunately, but I think it was on the corner of 78th and York). Does anyone have a better suggestion for us? We'd consider almost anything. We'll have five adults and a toddler so we won't be able to stand a super long wait. It doesn't have to be extraordinary food, just good.


Apr 11, 2008
ladydisdain in Manhattan

Cupcake Gourmet in Malvern

Do you have their address? There's no info on their website.

Apr 10, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

STL: trip report (long)

We're back from our week in STL and I'd like to report on what we ate! Thanks to recent and older suggestions and careful perusal of Sauce and some other websites we did really well. We bought a house in U City while we were there (we're moving in June) and thanks to both this trip and our last I'm feeling better about the food, for one thing. A lot better.

Where we ate and what I thought:

LA PIZZA: fantastic. Covered it in the pizza thread, but man, that was some good pizza. So happy to have struck it rich on our first pizza attempt, especially as it's a quick drive down Delmar from our new house.

JILLY'S CUPCAKE BAR: much better than the bland Cupcakery, but way too much going on. The mint choc cupcake had some of the moistest cake we'd ever had, but then it was filled with Andes mousse (delicious) and topped with mint buttercream AND chocolate crunchy things AND two pieces of mint white chocolate AND something else. It was just way too much. Also, they're way huge. I wish they were smaller and simpler. We'll definitely go back but stick with the simpler flavors.

HARVEST: exactly as great as everyone said it was. Lovely atmosphere and friendly service. I had divine scallops over mushroom risotto and a terrific cosmo; my husband had an excellent NY strip dish. We loved the whole evening.

KATIE'S PIZZERIA AND CAFE: just opened. Great gourmet pizza on a delicious thin crust. Highly recommended. Hope they do extremely well. Plan to become regulars when we move.

NOODLES AND COMPANY/STEAK AND SHAKE: hey, we have a 17 month old. Sometimes you just need somewhere they can throw a little food and yell a little, especially on a week's trip where every meal is in a restaurant. We have neither of these chains in Philly and have developed a fondness for SNS. Noodles and Company is perfectly serviceable in a pinch.

CAFE NATASHA: I think the falafel at Saleem's in the Loop is better, but my sandwich was good. Husband had a braised lamb dish that he pronounced fantastic. Baby quite happy with the hummus. Not the best Middle Eastern we've ever had but decent.

LITTLE SAIGON: we were staying in the CWE so this is the Vietnamese we tried. It was pretty good. The pan-fried shrimp dumplings were the best part of the meal. My bun was perfectly fine. We know it's not the best in the city (and plan to try the others when we move) but we were content.

TORTILLARIA: loved this place. Is it truly authentic? Of course not. But the handmade corn tortillas are excellent and these people actually know how to season meat. The $5 margarita was quite good. For quick Mexican that's a big step up from chains, this place is very good.

THAI: we ate at a Thai place in the Loop. No idea which one. It was fantastic. Huge menu - maybe a hundred dishes? LOVED it.

ROOSTER: good but not great. Not sure why everyone raves so much. It took an excruciatingly long time to get our food. 45 minutes, I think, maybe a little longer. That's a really long time for two crepes and a scrambled egg. Too long to wait with a toddler. The beef in the beef and bleu cheese crepe was like deli roast beef, which was hugely disappointing. We probably won't go back.

There are about nine billion places we plan to try as soon as we move. All in all, St. Louis seems to be a really good food town and we're quite pleased!

STL - Katie’s Pizzeria Café?

We went on...Sunday night, I think? It was excellent. We started with the cannellini bean dip which comes with pizza crust pieces for dipping; both were delicious. Then I had the proscuitto, brie and apples, and my husband had fingerling potatoes, pancetta, and two other things I can't remember. Fantastic crust. Delicious all around. Nice casual service. Small but adequate wine list. It's a real family operation with her mom running the hostess stand and her dad owning the building - really nice people. We plan to become regulars when we move here in June.

STL: NY/East Coast style pizza

We're here for a week, and we tried La Pizza last night. It was fantastic. We plan to try some of the others but we are no longer afraid of STL being a pizza wasteland. We just bought a house in U City off Delmar, so La Pizza will do quite nicely. The sauce was good, the cheese was real, and sausage was delicious, and the thin hand-tossed crust had that nice bite reminiscent of how marshmallows crunch after you toast them. Thumbs way up for La Pizza!

We also tried Katie's Pizzeria in Clayton, which is apparently very new, and thought it was excellent. Her pizza is more of the gourmet kind, though - mine had proscuitto, brie, and apples, and I loved it. Great crust.

STL: need many recs.

We're coming back to STL for an eight-day trip starting Saturday and need some more food ideas.

Places we've been already: Remy's Wine Bar; First Watch; the Cupcakery (totally mediocre); some creperie in the CWE (near the Chase Park Plaza, where we'll be staying again); Liluma; Ted Drewe's (while the concept of having cherry pie mashed up in custard is cool, it's no Kopp's); Queen of Sheba; The Dubliner; some incredibly dull overpriced restaurant in the CWE (near Bissinger's; it was newly opened in November); Bailey's Chocolate Bar; Modai Sushi Lounge (an accident, and not a good one); Saleem's; Soda Fountain Square.

Places we are already thinking about going: Crown Candy Kitchen, Taylana's, Pho Grand, Rooster, the Goody Goody Diner (I'm from Jersey; gotta have a diner), Blueberry Hill, Jilly's Cupcake Bar.

Cuisine I am most worried about not finding in STL: Mexican. Is there any authentic Mexican in STL?

Cuisine there is a surprising abundance of: Ethiopian! What a great surprise. We've only tried Queen of Sheba and thought it was fantastic; we'd love opinions on the others.

We are willing to drive probably up to a half hour. Recs for anything but Indian would be great (I can't eat it). For most meals we will have our seventeen-month-old with us, so fine dining is out. She's pretty well behaved, but we don't like to take any chances and we hate to be "those parents." (We always eat dinner out early just in case.) We will have time for one nice meal on our own but we don't want to have to get super fancy AND everything is being expensed but we don't want to go nuts.

We're moving to U City in June, so don't worry about giving too many suggestions - we'll try them all eventually!

(Please, no provel or fried ravioli.)

STL: organic beef in bulk?

We're moving to STL in June. We're used to buying our organic free-range grass-fed blah blah blah etc beef in bulk, usually a quarter to a half of a cow at a time, from a local-ish farm that slaughters and has it packaged, frozen and delivered. Is there anything like this in the STL area?

Looking for cupcakes like Sprinkles in LA

Missed this - sorry! I love Sweet and Sassy and think they are absolutely worth the drive. I've never had them shipped so I don't know how they arrive, though. I love the mint choc chip, the red velvet, the peanut butter and the lemon the best, but every single one I've tried (and I've tried almost all of them) have been fantastic. They're also very pretty.

Feb 17, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

Dinner in the Main Line Area

I've had different things every time I've gone - two different noodle dishes, including the beef chow fun, the salt and pepper squid and something else I can't remember (I was pregnant then; I barely remember any of that) - and as I said, I thought it was all fine, but certainly not worth the on bended knee praising they seem to get.

Of course, it is on the Main Line, where food generally sucks. I don't know why the rich seem to be perpetually surrounded by crappy food, but that's certainly the case here. Seven+ colleges and not a decent authentic Mexican place closer than Norristown? It's like Princeton all over again.

Feb 08, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

Looking for cupcakes like Sprinkles in LA

I've been to Sprinkles and we don't have anything like that within an hour drive. The Night Kitchen does make a decent cupcake but I think they have four flavors and there really is no comparison to Sprinkles. The best cupcakes in the immediate area are at the Naked Chocolate Cafe in Philly - the choc/peanut butter is particularly good. Further afield, Sweet and Sassy in Newark Delaware is absolutely fantastic - they do ship, too. Other than that, to get something like Sprinkles you're going to have to go to NY. I think the cupcakes at Flying Monkey at Reading Terminal aspired to be Philly's answer to the cupcake craze but while they certainly have interesting flavor combinations the cakes themselves just don't do it (try their peanut butter sandwich cookies, though).

Feb 07, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania

Dinner in the Main Line Area

I am honestly perplexed by what anyone sees in Sang Kee. I mean, it's okay Chinese I guess, but we've been there four times and been completely underwhelmed by the food in every way. Also, the falafel at Mediterranean Grill is IMHO terrible.

The owner or manager of Fellini in Ardmore is a complete jerk. I have seen him freak out on more than one customer in front of a room full of diners. My boss went there once at 5 pm with her six foot tall husband. He sat them in a corner and when they asked to be moved so the husband could sit comfortably he freaked out. It was an empty restaurant. Also, their "reservation" system is a complete lie. We haven't been there in a long time because the service is so bad.

Sam's Grill in Wynnewood has a great burger and good chicken salad. We've never had a service issue at Tango. Thai Pepper isn't so authentic and their portions seem to get smaller all the time but the food is still good. Ha Long Bay is decent.

Jewel of India closed.

Feb 07, 2008
ladydisdain in Pennsylvania