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NYC Food Challenges

I have been to this Southwestern restaurant in Astoria - right under the N/W called Mojave. If you finish their jalapeno infused tequilia shot, you get it for free. It has some ridiculous name with skull and crossbones on the menu.
Apparantly it's a big deal there. My friend finished it and they were so impressed they gave it to him for free and even gave him another one.

Apr 28, 2009
missjeanne in Manhattan

Vesta - new Astoria Italian at 30th Av and 21st St

Checked it out last night and I was really happy with our decision to try it. I read about Vesta a few places and all of the reviews were sooooo positive that I was thinking, "Come on...how much shill is this"? However, I am totally on board now. The wines range between 24-38 bucks. We didn't spend much time talking to the manager/servers so I don't know how much their wine knowledge is yet but I thought that there was a nice selection of affordably priced Italian wines. We ordered a bottle, had fried calamari (OK - some were a bit soggy), crostini with fresh ricotta (delightful), and a pizza that was paper thin and absolutely magnificent. What I liked about it was that even though it was really thin, it wasn't saggy or soggy. I don't know enough about pizza to debate the type of flour they use or argue over authenticity with one region of Italy versus another but I can say that I felt is was very well balanced in terms of flavor and texture.
In all, a bottle of wine, crostini, calamari and pizza came to before tip, just over 50 bucks. Not bad.

Nov 14, 2008
missjeanne in Outer Boroughs

Boite a cafe in Astoria . . . anyone else been?

Sorry - 30th Ave. It's just past Steinway. (40th Street?).

Sep 15, 2008
missjeanne in Outer Boroughs

Boite a cafe in Astoria . . . anyone else been?

So I read about this place on another message board and we decided to give it a shot. Wanted to post our experience. For now they are BYOB but they expect a liquor license in "about three weeks".
I never like restaurants that are blue. I have no idea why. But we had a '97 Burgunday that we were going to drink come hell or high water and we didn't want to walk back home or drag it to another restaurant and risk forgetting it.
The food was really good. The menu was a bit confusing but we ended up going with the 3-course fixed menu for 20 bucks. Started with an amuse of whitefish and salmon roe. I had cream of vegetable soup, followed by grilled chicken palliard. The brown sauce with the chicken was really nice, if a bit undersalted. It was served with carrots and over mashed potatoes. My SO had a salad (mixed greens, walnuts, serrano ham, apples, parm etc...) followed by red snapper. I think the snapper was poached in olive oil, and it was served over quinoa. Our desserts were crepes and chocolate flan. Both very good. I forget what the other options were for the fixed menu. Off of the fixed menu I think all of the mains were between 12-16 bucks.
The chef came out and spoke with us and really listened to the feedback (chicken dish portion was way too big, particularly when looked at in proportion to the fish dish). The partner is from Compass and there was over 40 years of French cooking experience in kitchen, we were told. We also got breakfast pastries complimentary on our way out.

Service was only OK but I am willing to give every place the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this when they are new. I did notice, however, that when we came in the chef was on the side at the bar with two of the servers, describing a dish (couldn't see it) and having them taste it. So I feel like that kind of attention to servers can only mean future improvements in service and knowledge of their employees. All in all, it was a pretty good experience and we would go back. Hopefully with the liquor license will be good/affordable French but the glass. I'll let you know..

Anyone else been there?

Sep 15, 2008
missjeanne in Outer Boroughs

Re-Opened Donovan's in Bayside

Have been going for AGES with my parents - we would drive in from Long Island or if we were passing the area we would always go out of our way to eat there...it was definitely and establishment. It was never revolutionary or mind blowing but you could get consistently good food and a good price, and hang around for a pint after dinner. I can't quite put my finger on why it wasn't quite right the most recent time I went (looking past the horrible service there are other things that are not quite right) but it isn't what we came to love it for. Can't reccommend against visiting Donovan's - food is still good. It is just a different experience now. Would love to hear what others think...

Jun 24, 2008
missjeanne in Outer Boroughs

In town for four days...what can I NOT MISS?

Hi all. I am coming in for a class/conference and I am looking for rec's about where to eat. Here's my situation. I am staying at the Fairmont which I hear is nice and would like to eat at some places that I can walk to from there. I am not that familiar with San Francisco (live in NYC and this is only my second trip there). My company reimburses for food but I don't have an expense account or anything - there are definitely limitations to how much I can actually spend on meals although I don't quite know what it is yet. So erring on the side of caution is how I am treating it. I am hoping for advice on a few different types of things so I can switch it up a bit at night. Any cuisine is fine.
In no particular order, I would like to know about.

1. At least one or two places that I can dine alone at the bar or just have a couple of glasses of wine and some appetizers or something.
2. A laid-back type of place that might be considered cheap-eats without being considered a dive.
3. Some place out of walking distance that you it worth it for me to find a way to get there.
4. Something you consider unique to SF/California that I wouldn't find so easily in NYC.
5. Coffee shop
6. Wine bar

If there are posts that have addressed these types of places, I would also love if you could post the links since sometimes searching Chowhound doesn't always yield exactly what you are looking for. Thanks in advance!

Feb 29, 2008
missjeanne in San Francisco Bay Area

I've waited seven years for this dinner...help!

Thanks for the ideas thus far. Also wanted to add that game on the menu would be great.

Nov 03, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

I've waited seven years for this dinner...help!

After taking seven years to get my PhD in molecular biology (plus another two for a masters)....I am finally finishing up. My husband wants to take be out for a celebratory/thank God it's finally over dinner. I guess that we would not want to go over 500 dollars for the whole dinner (which would rule out the tasting menu with wine out at Del Posto, for example). We can or cannot do a tasting menu - it doesn't matter that much. I am not a huge fish eater although not opposed to it but I wouldn't want to go to a place that is all fish with only one non-fish option. And to be totally honest, it doesn't even need to be a high end place if you can suggest some place we will be talking about weeks after we eat there. We love to eat, and we love to drink. Where would you go?

Nov 02, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Perfect first date place for tonight? (Urgent!) :-0

Not sure exactly what you are looking for - but I think Riposo 46 in Hell's Kitchen is a good date place for a first date where you won't spend too much money, don't really have to commit to much but it pretty cool. Finishi it up (if things go well) at Casellula - the cheese place right by there. Sit at the bar at both places...at least you will find friendly and knowledgeable people behind the bar to talk to if there is a quiet moment you don't want to be quiet.

Nov 02, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Poker Party

you'll have to let us know what you ended up making and how they went over -

Aug 22, 2007
missjeanne in Home Cooking

Poker Party

I can't believe I am admitting the things I make for poker night - but I almost always have a rotation of foods that include mini pizza bagels, sandwiches, wings, quesadillas, stuffed potato skins. I am always surprised at how much gets eaten from a vegetable platter but it's really easy to grab a carrot, I guess. I have varied on what I have at our poker game but these are the most popular...I guess bar food and beer go together for a reason.

Aug 22, 2007
missjeanne in Home Cooking

Beets for the non-beetie? Need recipe help...

I am part of a Community Supported Agriculture group and have been getting tons of beets. I am trying to introduce my non-beet SO to beets in a very gentle manner. He claims he doesn't like them, but actually had never even tried them. I just beets at a restaurant in a salad (beautifully and sparingly prepared, with orange pieces, almonds ,etc...) and he enjoyed them in that. Here's my request...
Anyone have reccommendations for preparing them at home where they would be a nice, but subtle part of a meal that could convince a non-beet eating person to just how wonderful they can be?

Aug 21, 2007
missjeanne in Home Cooking

Accademia di Vino

Went the day it opened. It has this weird corporate feel and it is huge. Split level - some outdoor seating and a bar on street level and a much larger downstairs restaurant-looking space. We didn't eat - just had a bottle of prosecco. Service was fine if not a little bit overwhelmed - completely forgiveable for the first day IMO. Their "gimmick" is that there are academic types of things - like the wine list on lined looseleaf paper etc...
My main feeling is that due to location this has total potential to become a very touristy spot - part of the Bloomingdale's, Dylan's Candy Bar, Serendipity III thing that visitors do. Sorry not much to report but I do plan on going back and checking out the food in the very near future - will let you know

Aug 20, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Resto (short review)

Stopped in late night a few weeks ago and our food and service was more than satisfactory at Resto - but RGR you could not be more correct about there being too many other places where you can count on having posititve overall dining experience. I would have a hard time reccommending it because I would worry that they cannot consistently deliver.

Aug 17, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Pork Shoulder Emergency - Which Butchers Carry It?

Not exactly true, UESMayor - especially in the UES where I live as well. In grocery stores (even the lowly ones) where it's tough to find a package of ground beef that weighs over a pound, it is tough to get something that size. Exotic - no. But easy to find? No as well. I have found more success with butchers and specialty shops over grocery stores. (By the way - I always enjoy and almost always agree with your posts)

Aug 17, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Pork Shoulder Emergency - Which Butchers Carry It?

I had a pork shoulder emergency last summer - compounded with the problem that many butchers in NYC are closed on either Sat or Sun or both in the summer. And often tough to get bone-in. There is a butcher near Bloomingdale's - on Lex in the low 60s I think that carries them or can get for you next day. I ended up ordering mine from the butcher in Chelsea Market...

Aug 16, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

RW dinner: Round 2 - Please Comment

Artisanal has a fixed 35 dollar menu year round for dinner - and it is fine but keep looking. There are far better choices if you are "taking advantage" of this to get a whole meal for what a dinner would normall cost at a place. Not a huge fan of RW because I always feel limited and end up just ordering off the menu anyway.

Jul 27, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Advice on Manhattan dinner groups/clubs? [Moved from Manhattan board]

there are tons of meetup groups regarding these interests and can be found at a board bearing the same name - welcome to new york and happy eating

Jul 25, 2007
missjeanne in Not About Food

Southern Hospitality

Walked by there on Saturday afternoon and there was a huge line outside and a LOT of teenagers with their parents (probably in hopes of meeting JT?) At least from the outside it looked pretty cool. Read about people assuming it will suck because there is a celebrity involved and it is on the Upper East Side...I am also looking forward to an extensive review.

Jul 23, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Dog Friendly bistros

There was an earlier discussion on this you might find helpful...
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/364677

I live a little further north than that and we frequent the following places with our beagle:
Barking Dog
Zucchero and Pomodori
Cafe Med
Uva
There are tons of places in the 70s on second avenue that allow small dogs. Just walk up and ask any of the outdoor seating places and more than likely you will be allowed. Most even have drinking bowls for your pooch as well. Also, in Central Park doggies are allowed off leash in the morning and there is always a large congregation of people with their dogs getting coffee and breakfast in the Park at the SheepMeadow cafe around 9AM, especially on the weekends. Enjoy your trip in this very dog friendly city!

Jul 22, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Cured Meats

Agreed on Calabria...but also off of Arthur Avenue is the way to go. Try any of the places on 187th for meats and cheeses. I live up there for several years and have found some of the places less crowded and just as good. I'll take Joe's Deli over Mike's Deli any day for sandwiches but it is off the beaten path. Good luck with yourr meat search and please keep us posted if you come across anything impressive.

Jul 22, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Salt bagel in NYC

BagelWorks on 1st Ave between 66th and 67th if you are on the UES at all. I almost exclusively eat salt bagels so if you are over in this neighborhood, do make sure to get one. Their cream cheese selection/variety/quality is also very good.

Jul 20, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Savoy-Clambake and dinner review

Last night 6 of us went to Savoy and 2 had the Clambake. Reservations were at 7:15 and we left at 11 because there was no way that we were still going to wait for the supposed complimentary desserts that were being sent because dinner had been so awful.

In all honesty, some of the food was very good, and this fell mainly into the appetizer category...like the sturgeon appetizer. The tomato salad appetizer was also well made, flavorful, and dressed nicely.
And the wine menu, although limited, is reasonably prices. Cocktails were spot-on.

With the mains:
Two people had the duck and while the salt crust outside was done nicely, the overall lack of any sauce or flavor to the dish was disappointing. One had lamb and it was perfectly cooked and very enjoyable. The chicken main was dry.

And now on to the clambake which everyone had been excited about...starts with clams on the half shell and they have a home-made house hot sauce. The two people with the clams had to send them back because they were very chewy and fishy. And after waiting almost an hour between our appetizers and main courses, they had to send back the mussels and lobster bake because of the same reason. None of the special menu clambake actually got eaten.

I hope you more success with this restaurant than we had, and it is with disappointment that I write this review because we had such high hopes.

Jul 20, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Where did you eat this weekend?

Thursday - downtown hopping that included Bourgeios Pig (East) and Kampuchea - the second of which was kind of disappointing. Friday and Saturday we ate home which is a rarity for the weekends. Sunday - coffee and granola at Barking Dog (Upper East Side). Will be eating this week at Town, Savoy and at the home of a chef.

Jul 15, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Ph.D. graduation celebration, but complicated...

10 years? Ugh - are you both scientists? I am working on year 8 as we speak... I just had a 30th birthday at Crispo and thought it was a great place to have it. I went with a bunch of people and two of them are very picky and there was no problem at all. Keep us posted on your decision. Are you totally opposed to set menus even if they have generous choice options??

Mar 29, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Little Italy. Best of the tourist traps?

Second Il Cortille - probably the only place that I could in earnest reccommend down there.

Mar 19, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

best happy hour?

I HATE to say this place but in reference to Times Square because it was the worst dining experience of my life... - the Hawaiian Tropic Zone is half price for ladies from 5-7. Drinks are good though and if you are in the area for some unexplainable reason. As for the upper East Side, Maya does happy hour Sun through Mon at the bar area with 5 dollar wine and about the same for their margarita (usually run 10 a drink?) and 5 dollar appetizers until 7. Merchant's on 1st (and maybe 61st or 62nd) is half price drinks until 8 and also a pretty extensive and affortable and not that bad bar snack menu. These are far better than the restaurant itself. They also have a cigar bar downstairs.

Asking for the best happy hour is tough - it depends on what you are truly looking for? Is it the atmosphere? The drinks? The likelihood of getting drinks without waiting forever?

Mar 19, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Shamrock Shake?

NYC doesn't carry them - the closest is Jersey (Trenton was the closest, I think). I just read an article on this somewhere but I can't remember right now. I will post if I can find because it was really interesting. Regions can decide to carry certain things...apparantly NYC and bouroughs focus on coffee and iced coffee preferrentially based on customer demand.

Mar 19, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Hungry College Runners

For the Millrose games, I assume. Good luck. I am assuming you are looking for a large group for that night, and on a serious college budget. You might want to look at Tony's Di Napoli on 43rd and Broadway - they serve family style pasta. For pizza - there are tons of posts already that you should feel free to browse through. For large groups at a place that takes reservations, Pala pizza ( a little far from you but totally reachable, as are most of the reccomendations you will get on this subject) is good although there will be many other options that people prefer over that. You order by the foot...not by the slice. You need to go to a totally different type of pizza place for that. I have been there with a group and had a great time.

Jan 29, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan

Outdoor Dining With Dogs

Upper East Side - I bring my beagle within the partition (sometime even on the lap...I know she's to big to be a lap dog, but that's a dog's life). Cafe Med and Mediterraneo on 2nd Ave and 66th. Also, there's a whole bunch of rests on 2nd Ave in the mid-70s that totally allow you to bring dog inside partition. Uva on 77th and 2nd and Zucchero and Pomodori (75th and 2nd?). UES, we have found, to be very doggie friendly and we have never had a problem when we ask to bring the dog. Good luck.

Jan 29, 2007
missjeanne in Manhattan