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Groupons- good or bad for businesses? [moved from Prairie Provinces board]

I am a regular groupon user - typically only for restaurants. One thing I've noticed is that no matter how much my groupon was for, I usually end up spending above and beyond my groupon. In fact, I've noticed that I still end up spending around the same amount *in addition* to the groupon that I would've spent without the groupon.

I also thought that it was interesting in one of the articles presented here that they associated groupon users with "coupon clippers" who pinch pennies and typically won't spend more than what the coupon is worth. While I'm sure that this may be the case for some, I don't think of groupon users as coupon clippers. Most people I know (including myself), do fairly well for ourselves and don't really have the time or the interest in scouring the papers/internet for coupons. The primary difference is that groupon (or livingsocial or buywithme etc...) is that it's in our face. There are apps on my phone, emails sent to me. So when someone shoves $50 worth of food and drinks for $25 in my face at a place I've been wanting to check out but is often off my radar, how can I resist?

I imagine that there are others out there like myself that balance out the numbers to some extent (again, in dining groupons, not considering retail, other services, etc.). Thoughts? Non-biased stats? Just curious about opinions or experience with the buying over the limit regularly.

Nov 29, 2010
weathermasta in Not About Food

Detroit marathon - visiting from DC

Hi everyone -

Just wanted to thank you all again for your input. Had a great time and had a chance to enjoy a few of your recs. Unfortunately I didn't get to check out as much as I would've liked, but got a few places in.

As I mentioned before, I didn't have a car, so I pretty much stayed downtown, and occasionally walked to other places within walking distance. And what was within that range was pretty fantastic! Here's a rundown:

Arrived Friday evening. Went to Grand Trunk Pub on recs from the Beer Advocate site before meeting some friends at the Magic Stick. All Michigan brews on tap (and plenty more in the bottle) and pub food definitely a step up from typical pub fare. Burgers and sandwiches served on Avalon bread (LOVE the olive bread!)

Saturday - Walked down the street from the hotel to Chez Zara for coffee and breakfast. Awesome espresso drinks and coffee (even if Lavazza isn't my favorite choice). Was hoping for bagels or some other big carb, but they only had pastries and cookies. All from Avalon again, and even though I'm not too much into sugar, I had a cookie and carrot cake type brownie that were nicely done. Walked over to Eastern Market after that and basically ate my way through it. Hot apple cider from Urban something or other (??), Pierogies from People's Pierogie Collective (yum!), Cheese from Zingerman's, Local bread and blueberry jam (forget where from) from R. Hirt and of course pizza from Supino. I am extremely picky about my pizza and very rarely eat it because of that, but this definitely fit the bill. Perfect crust and damn that sauce was good. As a former Bostonian living in Italian enclaves, I mourn the lack of decent pizza options in DC. Thank you Supino for giving me the best pizza I've had all year. Walked back downtown after that, took a ride on the People Mover (best 50 cent tour of a city ever!) and ended up at Detroit Beer Co for a few beers (their Anniversary black IPA makes it worth the visit). Finally over to Angelina for my pre-race meal. Met a friend there and we dined at the bar. They were pretty busy, but I wouldn't go so far to say slammed, yet the bartenders sure acted like it. When we finally got their attention, they were nice and accommodating, but they all seemed a little put out by having a full bar. Food was fantastic - I eat simple before big races - started with the simple greens (really nice dressing for such a simple salad, I like details like that) and had the mushroom risotto. Overall excellent food, nice atmosphere, just meh on the service.

Sunday - not worth talking about because all I did was run and drink. Never got a chance to go out somewhere for celebratory meal because I met some really great people that I just ended up drinking with. Ah well.

Monday - Was really beat from the race and the night before, but I absolutely had to check out Traffic Jam & Snug, if only because the cheese (and everything) is made in house (I moonlight as a cheesemonger, so that's why it was so important to me). While it wasn't the greatest cheese and beer I've had, I really appreciate those who stick to their roots and do it themselves. Also a plus - they take their General Hospital watching seriously. I'm not into soaps, but it was pretty awesome (hilarious) that you'll be glared at if you are interrupting the show. Note - order during commercial breaks or wait until it's over. Wanted to head across the street to Motor City Brewing after, but was just too damn tired. Went to bed and made a plan to return to check out everything else (Greektown, Atlas, 42 Degrees North, Slow's, etc.).

A couple asides: There is a great (if not somewhat overpriced) wine bar in the McNamara terminal with a well-priced decent cheese plate. Was a nice break from crappy beer and overpriced horrible food that's found in most airports. Also, I took a cab from the airport to downtown for $45 (not including tip), and took the bus back to the airport for $2. Half hour ride via cab, 90 minute ride via bus (Smart bus #125). Great people watching on the bus though, if you have the time to kill.

Thanks again! I hope to return again soon!

Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant
511 W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201

Detroit Beer Co
1529 Broadway St Ste 100, Detroit, MI 48226

2457 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207

Oct 21, 2010
weathermasta in Great Lakes

Detroit marathon - visiting from DC

Thanks for all the recs so quickly everyone!

Angelina is PERFECT for my pre-race meal. And I'm torn between Atlas and 42 Degrees N for celebratory meal - both look fantastic and I may have to visit both (hey, 26 miles certainly can warrant 2 dinners! :) ).

Traffic Jam & Snug is totally up my alley (they make their own cheese!?! yes please!) and plan to spend most of the day after the race there and at Motor City Brewing, since they're right across the street from each other.

The only thing I can't get down with is the lack of transportation options from the airport to downtown. While I understand rainsux's rec to rent a car, I don't want to worry about my beer consumption and driving (weathermasta is actually a she and feels those beers!), not to mention that the hotel daily parking rates are ridiculous for a car I would barely use.

Thanks again everyone! Looking forward to your fair city!

Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant
511 W Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201

Sep 06, 2010
weathermasta in Great Lakes

Detroit marathon - visiting from DC

Hi everyone -

I'll be in town mid-October for the marathon and looking for good eats (and drinks!). I'll be staying right in downtown Detroit (without access to a car) and will be looking for the following in walking/bus distance:

- great hole-in-the-wall Italian joint for a good pre-run pasta dinner
- upscale but fun and hip place for post-race celebratory dinner
- a place with an awesome cheese plate for dessert or snacking
- brewpubs with decent food for lunch or casual dinner

Ok, now for the high maintenance part:
- I am vegetarian (will occasionally do seafood, but unlikely this particular weekend)
- I will be solo dining often, and much prefer eating at the bar
- I am a bit of a snob about beer and cheese, so any direction toward great beer and cheese lists are a HUGE plus.

Any help or direction is greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

Sep 05, 2010
weathermasta in Great Lakes

Late night dining in DC

I'm not typically a night person, so I come to the experts for help :)

My boyfriend is coming into town Saturday night and we'd like to go somewhere for dinner. By the time he arrives and we get to town it will probably be around 10:30-11. We'd like something a little bit nicer, but nowhere we really have to get dressed up. Somewhere we can have decent service and good food/drinks, and atmosphere would be nice. In other words, Ben's Chili Bowl and Amsterdam Falafel are out. I heard that Proof does a late night bar menu, so something along those lines might be nice, though maybe something just a tad more casual would be perfect.

The only restrictions include no Indian or Ethiopian. And the closer to the Hill, the better.


youthful French restaurants in DC

As a recently transplanted Bostonian myself (and one who would often enjoy Wine Wednesdays at Sel de la Terre), I agree with the poster who recommended Bistro Bis - as the most "similar" environment and food offerings. Bistrot du Coin is nice and fun and lively and all, but Sel presented a more upscale environment, creative cocktails and a place where the chef has more of a focus on local and seasonal ingredients.

One other suggestion would be Mendocino in Georgetown. It's not french, but the menu has the same type of attentiveness to local and seasonal as Sel does. The atmosphere is quite similar (except considerably smaller) and the crowd seems to run the gamut (I love the beer and cheese pairing they do).

Philly Hound Looking for Good Beer and Grub near Georgetown

Welcome to DC - Philly is one of my all time favorite cities, so hope you will enjoy it here. I definitely second (third) Pizzeria Paradiso (downstairs at the bar is where it's at for a beer geek). Pizzas are pretty good, but I don't find myself in G-town much to begin with.

If you're willing to hop in a cab, you absolutely must take a trip to Granville Moore's on H Street NE. The best Belgian selection (IMO) and ridiculously good food (mussels, frites and the best damn veggie burger I've ever had). Think Monk's with a more low-key neighborhood feel.

Beck is good, definitely scene-y, but I'm really digging their cheese plate right now too (paired with a delicious Belgian beer of course.) Marcel's - the sister restaurant to Beck is considerably closer to G-town (walking distance on Penn), but I've never been, so would ask around first.

Finally, one other thought - again you're either gonna have to cab it or hop on the metro up to Columbia Heights and hit up Commonwealth Gastropub. Decent beer selection, better than average pub food, fairly low key and local on weeknights, can get a bit busier during the weekend. There's also Wonderland in the area, but I haven't been yet, so maybe someone else can chime in on that.


Your favorite regular brunch spot

Thanks everyone for your replies so far, I won't be there till May, so I will certainly reply when I get settled in. Based on my wanderings however, Cafe St. Ex definitely looked most like my speed, but that was just simply by walking by (although it did catch my attention).

Your favorite regular brunch spot

So I'm moving to DC from Boston and I'm curious as to the brunch scene. For me and a small group of friends, every Sunday means "brunch club" at Highland Kitchen (if this means nothing to you, think well crafted cocktails, standard brunch fare without all the grease, Johnny Cash on the jukebox, friendly bartenders who really get to know the regulars and just a tad out of the way so it's not overrun by huge crowds).

Looking to replicate this experience as best I can. Somewhere I can eat at the bar and read the paper, or bring friends and hang out for a few hours. While I'll be living in Capitol Hill (NE), I'll consider anywhere within bike riding/bus (maybe Metro is it's really worth it) distance. Closer is always better, but the right place supersedes any distance.

Visiting Sanibel/Siesta/St. Pete....recs and comments?

Hi Science Chick - I, too, am a Boston hound, but spent Jan and Feb in St. Pete/Tampa and spending Mar in Ft. Myers (right near Sanibel). I am also a vegetarian and here's what I've found so far:

St. Pete:
Leafy Greens - not sure it exists anymore. Big sign that said they were moving, but not where and now the space is vacated.
Central Cafe and Organics - tiny space, good sandwiches, but more meat based options than veggie. Decent raw options.
Red Mesa Cantina (downtown) - delicious tofu tacos and sangria at the outside bar with waterfalls!
Cafe Alma - decent veggie options and this became my brunch spot, but what I really like is the beer selection and the atmosphere reminds me a lot of Highland Kitchen (my usual brunch spot). Awesome staff and service!
Ceviche - spanish tapas place with a surprising amount of veggie options that are better than your average. there are a few scattered throughout the bay area, but the downtown one is my favorite.
Bella Brava - it's tomato season here... chef tends to focus on local produce with an Italian flair
The Table - fun wine list, limited veggie options, but the cheese plate rocks. The house bread is some concoction of cheese filled chickpea flour type rolls (I think)
Pacific Wave - mostly sushi here and creative asian influenced chow, awesome happy hour specials on both drinks and apps
And if you're into craft beers, the Independent (Central and 3rd N) and the Cider House (Central and 20th) both have amazing beer selections (no food though)

Sanibel - East End deli. Lunchtime joint, incredible sandwiches.

If you make it off of Sanibel and into Ft Myers:
Yabo - Delicious homestyle Italian in a very East Village styled place. Sometimes they have live music. Tiny space, so they're always slammed. Small, affordable, but decent wine list. I don't typically eat Italian, but this place will be added to the repertoire.
Blu Sushi - I hear from many that Origami is better (haven't been yet), but I really dig the space at the Blu on McGregor.

Have fun!

Mar 08, 2009
weathermasta in Florida

L'Olivier in Ybor City

Anyone been yet? Thoughts? I've recently been to the St. Pete location and enjoyed it, thinking about taking some friends to the newly opened Ybor one for dinner and the show.


Feb 02, 2009
weathermasta in Florida

2 nights in North Adams

I will be spending 2 nights in North Adams next week and have read the "guide" that was posted about 2 years ago, but looking for some updates. A few years ago, I went to the Gramercy Bistro and loved it, wondering if it's still there and just as good?

I will be traveling alone and am partial to casual upscale or fine-dining restaurants where I can eat at the bar. However, I'm really open to anything that has a decent beer/wine (by the glass) list and friendly to lone diners. While I typically eat vegetarian, I am open to free range and sustainably raised meats, but don't do seafood at all. I would prefer to stay in North Adams, but if somewhere in Williamstown or elsewhere nearby warrants a visit, that will certainly be considered as well.

Many thanks!!

IND - Watching the game with great food and beer/wine?

I will be in Indy for one day only on Sunday and would love to find somewhere to watch the Colts game with great food and an awesome beer and/or wine selection (I am open to all cuisines). A few constraints:

1. Should be downtown, as I am staying there without a car.
2. Although my diet is primarily vegetarian, I am open to meat that can be sourced, if it's a not to miss situation.
3. Price is not a factor, great food and drink while watching the game is the only concern


Cheese tasting class at BCAE

That's funny, I've gotten mixed responses from people saying I should eat first because we'll be picking at little bits, to others telling me that there's way too much cheese. Did you enjoy the class and the cheeses (besides the amount, obviously).

Besides that, wondering what the types and ranges of cheeses are. Is there a learning component besides just eating good cheese, or a different theme for each class. Wine or beer paired with cheese? Do we interact with everyone else in the class much and so forth...

Cheese tasting class at BCAE

Any thoughts on this class? Some friends and I are going tonight and I'm curious about what to expect...

Christmas and Christmas Eve dinner in DC

Hi there -

I will be in DC for work the week of Christmas and am wondering what's good that might actually be open either Christmas Eve or Christmas night. While I am open to most anything, I am especially partial to places that focus on local and seasonal ingredients, have decent beer and wine lists and are accommodating to single diners (I prefer to eat at the bar really). Chef tasting menus and creativity are a huge plus. To give you an idea of what I'm after, I've enjoyed meals at Asia Nora, Cafe Atlantico, Firefly and Blue Duck Tavern.


Philadelphia Marathon recs - November

I'm glad you're reviving this post because I, too, am heading down for the marathon - and am actually running this because Philly is one of my favorite eating cities (I'm a Boston hound).

The last time I was in town this is what I enjoyed:

Monk's - although that will be my Friday night venue, as I won't be drinking much beer the night before the race. Amazing beer and mussels selection, outstanding frites, and they have a vegan tempeh burger!

Tria is a favorite. While I didn't pay much attention to the regular menu, the cheese menu blew me away. And I've never such such perfect pairings with accoutrements for each cheese, with such knowledgeable service. This is where you're likely to find me after the race (yes, I should be eating carbs after a long run, but who cares really!)

Friday Saturday Sunday - while the food didn't blow me away, it was certainly very good, and had enough options to please everyone. Decently priced wines and a fun crowd definitely added to the experience. I seem to recall a fair amount of pastas on the menu.

And now for my question to you Philly hounds...Anything else along the lines of Tria? Any place that has a focus on seasonal and local foods? Chef's tasting menus? Upscale, but not stuffy?

Nov 14, 2007
weathermasta in Pennsylvania

Mezze Bar @ Boston Kebab House

The newer Sebastian's on High Street seems a bit nicer and cleaner than the others (maybe because it's the baby of the bunch). But I still swear by their salads, can't find better ingredients during the lunch hour in the area.

Mezze Bar @ Boston Kebab House

Can I ask what's up with the mayo in the babganoush though?? Makes me sad. Glad to hear you had a good experience there though. Was my old standby for awhile, but then everything seemed to go downhill a bit and as a result, haven't been there in awhile. Will have to give it another whirl.

A different kind of cheesesteak in Philly?

Hi all -

After 18 years I've decided to begin eating meat again. Now that this option is available to me, and in November I'll be in town for the marathon (CH visiting from Boston), I'd love to try a traditional one. However, due to my issues with eating meat and all that... I'm wondering if there exists a cheesesteak that is made from locally and naturally raised grass fed beef.

Yeah, a bit ridiculous, I know. But that's the way it is. Can I find such a thing, and if so, where??

Sep 28, 2007
weathermasta in Pennsylvania

Eating meat again and I want a burger

So after 18 years of being a vegetarian, I have decided to integrate a little bit of meat back into my diet. Now I don't want just any burger, and my reasons for not eating meat are still haunting me a bit, so I will need the best burger in the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area, from a place that is conscientious about where/how they obtain their meat (not looking for a political debate, just some ideas where I can rest easy on this).


1 night only in Raleigh/Durham

Well, sort of but not really. I've been coming down to the area for work on a regular basis, but either haven't had much of a chance to get out, or have had to go to all the crappy chains that the client wants to go. My last night in town in Friday and I want to take myself to one of the many places I've accumulated on my list. I am a vegetarian looking for something a bit more upscale with a focus on local ingredients, and with a nice wine by the glass list. It's also important that this place will be accommodating to a lone diner on a Friday night - preferably at the bar. Here are the places I'm thinking:

Frazier's - looks like they'll do a veggie tasting menu if I call in advance.

Piedmont - everyone raves about this place, and the wine list looks fantastic. I'm also partial to places that only have one veggie option because it tests the chef's creativity on what is typically the least expensive item on the menu.

Enoteca Vin - Have been here once, but only for the cheese plate. The menu blew me away, as did the wine by the glass list.

An - Heard nothing but rave reviews and would love to find a place that does a creative tofu dish.

Lantern - a possibility, but coming from Raleigh and drinking a bit of wine, I don't really want to have to drive that far.

Comments on the above and other suggestions are welcome. Many thanks!!

Aura at Seaport Hotel

Not really sure if this question belongs here or in "not about food", but directly applies to Aura at the Seaport Hotel. I understand that it is their policy to add the gratuity to the check, regardless of party size. The menu indicates that an 18% service charge will be added. Last night two friends and I went there for dinner (RW menu specifically) and while we didn't exactly have the best experience there (which is why I typically avoid RW like the plague), our waiter added a 20% gratuity to the check.

Now I'm typically a generous tipper, 20% is what I give as an absolute minimum. Had that not been added, he definitely would have gotten 20% anyway, so it's not about the money, but rather the principle. So I'm wondering if that was something the restaurant did for the sake of RW, or did I just get screwed. And if so, how do they get away with that?

Poll: Help the Vegetarians!

Tons of favorites as well, but here's my top 3 (at least today):

Veggie platter at East Coast Grill. Sounds boring, but damn I crave that all the time. Vegan or vegetarian option - either rocks.

Veggie chef's whim at Craigie Street Bistrot (I know, it's not a dish, but I've never had anything less than an amazing meal there).

Homemade veggie burger at Christophers. (The ones at Publick House and Atwood's are quite tasty too).

Last minute whim - downtown to South End

So a coworker and I have decided to leave work (downtown) a little early and are looking for a good place to grab some cheap drinks and decent food before we meet another friend in the South End for dinner.

Most places along the way that we can think of are closed until 5:30. Any ideas?


Cheap, dive-y, fun with decent food?

Does this exist around town? I'm in the mood for this tonight and seem to be at a loss. Suggestions for anywhere in the Boston/Cambridge/Somerville area most welcome.


Best Indian food downtown DC?

Hi there -

Looking for some truly wonderful Indian food nearby K and New Hampshire. Would prefer not to travel far from the area, but quality always takes precedence over distance (although must stay within DC).


Vegetarian-friendly with nice wine list in Durham, NC?

Hi there -

I'll be traveling to Durham about once or twice a month for work. I'm looking for a variety of places that have vegetarian options - both cheap and higher-end. In particular I'm partial to places with creative food and nice wine by the glass lists for dinner, as well as lower-key places for lunch options. I'd like to not spend more than $25 per entree for dinner options (not including wine or first courses) and not more than $10 per lunch (everything).

Many thanks for your help!

Boston Kebab House - Downtown hope for vegetarians

Not sure I want to bring this into the downhill alert department quite yet, but I must say that the past few times I've been (including today) I was somewhat disappointed. This has become a regular lunchtime joint for me due to the amazing food and cheap prices.

However, after numerous attempts of finding the right logistics for the order and pay lines and figuring out what wording works best on their daily coupons, they've bumped up the prices and reduced the portions.

Now, mind you, I'm not really into big portions (I prefer quality over quantity), but when the price for the meze with salad (I highly recommend the grape leaves and babaganoush) goes up by $2 in 2 months and the number of grape leaves goes from 6 to 2, and the amount of babaganoush cut by 3/4ths, I get a little bummed out. Yes, that was way too much to begin with, but isn't there a happy medium somewhere?

The food is still excellent and the place is still a zoo (15 guys behind the counter!), but simply just something noticed.

Dinner and "sure things" in DC

Hi there -

I'll be spending a few days each month in DC - specifically around M Street and the teens/20s. Looking for decent places for dinner and sure bets for lunch or just when I'm beat and don't want to get dolled up for dinner.

I'm a vegetarian, but pretty easygoing - so I don't need fifty million veg choices at one place, just something good - I'm open to all cuisines. I'm partial to nice wine and beer lists as well. Typically would rather not spend more than $25 on an entree. I guess what I'm simply asking is for an array of recommendations in the area that would suit me well.