t

tillzen's Profile

Title Last Reply

A Burlington GEM!

"Avenue Bistro" is one of those places you drive by and wonder what if ...
Luckily I was in town for work, snowed in, and this restaurant sort of adopted me. The owner and her lovely staff treated me as if I was their oldest / dearest customer so I returned and returned. The breakfasts alone were a reason for being. The flavors one associates with a childhood in New England infuse every pancake / French Toast and omelet. Lunch was transcendent as well, as a simple salad exploded with nuance of flavors. The freshness in every meal was palpable. I tend to judge every restaurant by their chicken dishes, as it is a difficult dish to make stand-out but Avenue Bistro seems to give every tiny aspect of their menu an obsessive care, and I was simply thrilled at their food. I can still taste their eggplant which like their pasta was perfectly al dente . Were I living in their neighborhood I would NEVER leave! Also if Vermont allowed bigamy, I would marry the entire staff.
What a pleasure it was to stop my car, and remember how food used to taste, courtesy of the "Avenue Bistro".

Mar 25, 2009
tillzen in All New England Archive

New Orleans Report 2009

Luckylee! There was an appetizer that was mixed pork "thingies" called (I think "boucherie"), the oyster-bacon sandwich, the deviled crab and thyme crackers / ham hock / brisket/ and the sides were mac/cheese ' lima beans and greens. Desert was chicory ice cream over apple pie. There were 3 of us, and we still feel wicked/charmed.

Jan 21, 2009
tillzen in New Orleans

New Orleans Report 2009

First things first, Katrina can still be felt in many ways. As it affects tourism and dining, many jobs have been filled by "Stepford" workers. They exist, but just barely. I know New Orleans is laid back, but this is different. I visited twice within 10 days, and I felt this vibe at 2 different hotels, and several different restaurants. It is not a deal-breaker, the city is still a favorite BUT New Orleans is different than it was.

Now for the good news ... I had one of the 2 finest meals I have EVER had at "COCHON". Like the best meal ever (Nobu) each dish was earth-shattering good. Even the sides were breath-taking! Though loud (my bad @ 8pm on a Saturday) and a bit rushed (I slowed the busing and the courses as I had less desire than they did to "turn my table over") all in all, I was THRILLED!
I'm not a deset person, but the chicory ice-cream reflects how inspired these folks are. Every dish is spectacular, and as I said upon finishing "Take me to the "Lectric Chair"!

"MURIELS" in Jackson Square was also GREAT! It is THE place on a Sunday Night. Ate there twice, and 2 different tasting menus offered thrills galore! It is classy yet comfy, and except for the miracle of bad cobbler (how do you screw Cobbler up?), every dish was poetry. Bread pudding, oyster stew, short ribs, and deviled crab were highlights.

The other miracle was on Louisiana Street 2 or 3 blocks north of St. Charles. I asked the staff at my hotel where I could get a Poor-Boy Sandwich in a place where there was no one who looked like me (Caucasian). They directed me to a Market (Grocery Store) where I was indeed the only person who looked like me. They made me a Poor-Boy and a Muffaletta Sandwich for my train trip to Chicago. Both were GREAT! The oysters crisp, and sweet. The cold-cuts spicy and fresh. I was so glad I ventured "OUT".

Prior to several meals, I hit "GRAND ISLE" for raw oysters. The prices were easy, the staff outnumbered the patrons, and it is near the casino, and hotels. Having said this, I would get NOTHING there but a drink and oysters. One night the oysters were mad fresh with that sweetness I had read about, but never tasted. A night later they were a day older, and like every good oyster I have ever had. A week later, they were mad fresh again, so I knew that I had not dreamed it.

Now for the bad news ... "Mothers" was a dead zone. No spark, huge prices for the absolute lack of ANYTHING special. Had not a bus-gal taken pity of me, I would still be waiting there for my order that never arrived. Upon arrival it was AWFUL and it was a simple breakfast. I tried it a week later, and it typified New Orleans phoning it in post-Katrina. My second breakfast was worse than Denny's at 4 times the price. Nobody cared, and the food reflected this malaise. The managers or owners sat around as much as the staff did. I felt foolish for wasting my money twice, but shame on me.

All in all, New Orleans was the glorious place I remembered BUT heed my words, as once prepared, it is far easier to accept the bad with the VERY good.

Jan 12, 2009
tillzen in New Orleans

Just Outside El Paso, Texas

On Highway 28 in La Union, NM is La Union Station. Combine a drive through pecan farms and cotton fields with wonderful food for this hidden gem of a restaurant. At this moment in time, they only serve breakfast and lunch but wow what service. If you are passing through, have a meal AND take something to go as they have reinvented a Mexican Classic with their CHOCOLATE Tres Leches Cake. I am NOT a desert person, but this not to sweet decadent miracle is NOT to be missed. Call ahead, and order one. Our Thanksgiving was AMAZING before desert, but after it, EVERY guest acted like they had just been to Lourdes. The 3 sisters who run it, have made La Union Station a detour worth taking ... Oh my!

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?...

Dec 13, 2008
tillzen in Southwest

Sunday Dinner In New Orleans

I have read this topic before, but so many of the replies are NOT open Sunday that I hoped others might offer leads ... I know Muriels is open, but I was hoping for more "joints" or less touristy places. Don't wing it, as the previous answers to this question from another member were 80% wrong.

Dec 13, 2008
tillzen in New Orleans

Spending most of the week in El Paso Tx

Hellpaso knows! though Mi Piaci is AMAZING as is 2900 (Mesa) and for Barbecue MO'Z off US 54. For a pricey meal, Cafe Central is as good as ANYPLACE / ANYWHERE. They are amazing at everything! DANES Steakhouse is new and pricey but good as well.
For romance Mi Piaci / for a great meal anytime The Greenery and for that one great steak it's Cattleman's at Indian Cliffs Ranch. Oh and for Mexican Breakfast La Rincon de Cortez

Apr 17, 2008
tillzen in Texas

The Best and Worst of El Paso

For Mexican Breakfast it's the Executive Drive Exit . Right on Mesa Street to Sun Bowl Drive (Right) and on your left "El Rincon de Cortez". It's the real deal!
For more of an adventure, the Little Diner in Canutillo is as good but has more selection / gringo food. They have a website so Google them but if breakfast amidst locals and cops is your cup of tea "El Rinco" proudly wears the crown. The Little Diner is our "foody" magnet great at any meal. A Rincon breakfast is worth the stop.

Apr 17, 2008
tillzen in Texas

The Best and Worst of El Paso

Before I rave or slag a place I visit it 3 times. Having said this, I have a revelation for you ...
the FINEST beef brisket I have EVER had!!!
At Mo's Barbecue on US 54 (Fred Wilson) you will lose your mind if brisket thrills you. I grew up in New York City and after 10 years in West Texas I have had every brisket in every style but Mo'z sets them all to shame. Not only is Mo'z brisket softly smoky from the special wood Mo'z pits with, but the brisket is both wet AND crunchy which is the brisket Holy Grail. The pork ribs share this delicate yet heavy magic that Mo'z doles out daily. In fact everything is good but these 2 items are brilliant! Mo'z Mom makes a sweet potato pie that you must try to leave room for, and the banana pudding will take you home as well. The only drawback is the popularity and the parking crunch BUT leave your car for a hand wash car wash next door and get on line. I will promise you a revelation in beef, and a poem of pork. This gem is worth a detour from everywhere south of Mars, as Mo'z mojo's workin' and it'll roll all over you!

Now the bad news ... We have eaten @ The Mesa Street Grill 3 times since the New Year and it has been consistently awful. At these prices they MUST be more than convenient and sadly they are not.From the start you wonder if they are even tasting the food as the calamari was quite possibly the worst I have ever had. Despite my warnings last night a friend ordered it again and it was rubber bands of zero-ness. The tuna tartar was off (old) as well. These problems represent a kitchen where nobody is paying attention. Medium rare seems to baffle those who grill there. I have had a steak medium well and one blue / cold on the inside. At Cattleman prices this is highway robbery, as when they do actually cook it right, it is nothing special. What they do well are deserts and the Bar, but service is uneven and they simple don't sweat the details. Last night it was under cooked rice and over cooked veggies, as well as a chicken marsala where the butter in the sauce has been allowed to burn In March it was mushy salmon and over-cooked short ribs. If you think I'm being picky or cruel you might be on a trust fund or an expense account as the prices are inappropriate for the value you recieve. (A Belvedere Martini was 15 dollars!)
Like my review of Billy Crews Steakhouse in the New Mexico section, this is a convenient ghost of a once good restaurant, which seems to survive on its Bar. So many good places in town never get visited because we throw our money away at old stand-byes. I hope you will visit the new / larger Mi Piaci or 2900 or Danes where cost and value mean something to the ownership. The Mesa Street Grill is just phoning it in.

Apr 13, 2008
tillzen in Texas

Best Barbecued Brisket EVER!

I grew up on brisket back East, but in my 10 years on the Mexico/New Mexico and Texas border I have never had brisket like Mo'z in El Paso. If you prefer lean and drier brisket this aint it, but if you like wet marbled crunchy and crisp; you will lose your mind. The pulled pork was sadly a bore, though cooked perfectly. The pork ribs were perfectly seasoned but dry. The sausage was terrific, as was the sweet potato pie. Service was great and the sides were all perfect. Because they are a smaller joint it might take more than 2 visits to establish infallibility, but twice now the brisket was perfection beyond my wildest dreams. They are on Fred Wilson (right off of US 54 North) and sit next to a terrific hand-washed car wash so it's a must stop in. The last time I was this jazzed by a food, it was after a Nobu chef's tasting menu on Hudson Street in New York City. Wowsville!

Apr 05, 2008
tillzen in Texas

JB's Cafe - Simply Nice!

Life is short and nice moments are to be treasured. To sit outside looking at the Franklin Mountains from JB's Cafe is a favorite moment for me. The food is always good though the service is rarely quick as they seem always understaffed. The secret is to not be in a rush as then they are perfect. It's a simple basic cafe but can surprise when they are on their game. Luckily a Patty Melt and an Ice Tea are always good and the view is even more consistant. One would hope for more reliability but for El Paso its fine.

Oct 21, 2007
tillzen in Texas

Billy Crews Sings The Blues

Once a true gem, Billy Crews is Santa Theresa, New Mexico seems to have become a tired listless mess. Most every appetizer and entree were both boring AND over-spiced but my companions' Tilapia may have the worst entree I have EVER tasted in ANY restaurant ANYWHERE. To add insult to injury, the waiter told us that this was the third Tilapia to be returned that evening and that perhaps it was a "bad pan". For a chef to let a dish so revoltingly salty and over-spiced out of his kitchen 3 times, speaks of deep troubling problems. On the way to our table, our hostess stepped over a large piece of cellophane between tables. As we left, it was still there. Billy Crews is far from almost everything in El Paso so the distance matters and with it clearly in free-fall, I would wonder how the mighty could have fallen so far so fast. Empty on a Saturday night, I only wish another Chowhound could have told me how awful Billy Crews has become. With gas costly and so many great steakhouses all over El Paso, Billy Crews needs a change and soon, as they wasted our evening in many ways!

Oct 21, 2007
tillzen in Texas

Las Cruces-El Paso lunch / Tucson B-fast

For lunch, get off I-10 in El Paso @ Executive Drive. Left on Executive to Mesa St. (Make a right) Look on your right for Carnitas Quetero (large pig sign). They have a long parking lot and GREAT mexican barbecue / great service /// NOT a dive !

Apr 19, 2007
tillzen in Southwest

Recommend 3 Restaurants in Vegas (100-125PP, including alcohol)

Smith and Wollensky ... Buffet @ the Ballagio / Nobu @ the Hard Rock Hotel (these are no brainers I PROMISE!) ... @ Nobu you MUST try the chef's tasting menu @ S and W it's the Pork Shank

Apr 19, 2007
tillzen in Southwest

El Paso Italian

Any El Pasoean knows that 99% of our Italian Restaurants are quite possibly the worst in the world BUT both Mi Piaci and Ardovino's Desert Crossing are wonderful. Mi Piaci illustrates how one should do EVERYTHING. From the earth tones, to their knowing staff, even before food arrives, you know you are amongst those who "get it". The highlights are all their pastas, an osso buco to die for, deserts from heaven and a wonderful exotic wine list. Though Ardovinos offers more bang for the buck, the personal touch and the quiet ambiance make for the perfect romantic dinner. My ONLY change would be to remove the vinyl backed chairs which both squeek AND clash with the rest of the decor.

Apr 19, 2007
tillzen in Texas

El Paso

You are correct ... Smitty's brisket can be sub par an hour after 12 noon or past 6pm. They do not stagger their smoking and if you miss it fresh from the oven it makes a HUGE difference. I mentioned in the hopes of prompting "State Line" to get their s*** together as once they were the standard and now they are just plain sad.
The good news is that "Ardovinos Desert Crossing" is a revelation for Italian Food in El Paso (It is in Sunland Park, NM). Not only romantic, cozy and beautiful, the food is poetic. The wild mushroom lasagna was haunting, as were the meatballs. My one complaint is that their stuffed artichoke hearts is made with canned artichokes which leads me to ask "why bother"? Otherwise the entire experience was lovely! I also would add "Carnitas Quetero" as a don't miss for Mexican Barbecue.

Dec 16, 2006
tillzen in Texas

El Paso

Steak - Cattleman's @ Indian Cliffs Ranch (Worth the trip EVERY time)

BBQ - Smittys

Fastest Fading Star - State Line Barbecue (Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen)

Mexican BBQ - Carnitas Quetero

Mexican Seafood - Puerta Vallarta

Middle Eastern - Al Zaituna

Always Perfect - The Greenery

Chinese - Paco Wong

Italian - Monteleones (ALL the others will break your heart or truly ammuse you and not in a good way)

Bakery / Cafe - International Bakery

BEST OF THE BEST - CAFE CENTRAL

Hot Dogs NONE

Nov 22, 2006
tillzen in Texas

Hot Dogs

SD Weenies is brilliant but for THE timeless dog experience the city is New Britain, CT and the spot is "Capitol Lunch". Dog with sauce, mustard and onions is condemned man's last meal good. If you can arrange to eat them on set @ ESPN so much the better.

Nov 22, 2006
tillzen in All New England Archive