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Best cupcakes in town?

I recently discovered Italian buttercream, and realize how much more I prefer it to traditional buttercream. I discovered it with Phoebe's cupcakes, and reading reviews realize Swirlz also has Italian buttercream. I really like the lighter, whipped texture of Italian buttercream, and really liked that Phoebe's frosting is also not as sweet as traditional buttercream.

What other bakeries beyond Phoebe's and Swirlz use Italian buttercream? I'm particularly hoping to find one a little close to me (Wicker Park/River North). Thanks!

Aug 11, 2011
bluepig1 in Chicago Area

Feast @ 4 East in Baltimore?

I went about a year ago - here's my review:

Private Room for 20

Not quite the area you specified, but we had an excellent private dinner party for 18 at the Wine Market in Locust Point this past Friday evening. They set us up in a side tasting room so it was a private area that was perfectly sized for 18 -- though could easily have accomodated 10 more. Worked with the manager -- there was no minimum food/drink order (though we easily cleared $500), but to expedite service the manager asked us to design a limited menu as a subset of the regular menu, with 3 appetizers, 3 starters, and 3 desserts (it was only challenging b/c everything sounded great!). The manager, Ryan, was fantastic to work with - responsive and prompt and met our needs.

Not sure how they would handle the 8 hours need - in that regard they might require some sort of minimum if you expected dedicated service during that time.

Service was fantastic, and they only added a charge of about $20 to the overall tab for the cost of extra table/chair rental.

Wine Market
921 East Fort Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230

Best meal for $10 and under in Baltimore?

Quarter chicken meal with sweet plantains and pinto beans at Chicken Rico and a bottle of the chica morada (purple corn/cinnamon/pineapple drink).

That, or 3 tacos from Tortilleria Sinaloa (my preference: carnitas, lengua and fish).

Puerto Rican Food In The DC Met Area???

Just tried calling their number as I was thinking about trying them tonight -- and the number appears to be disconnected. Any one know if they have closed for sure?

Munich - Riesling flights or by the glass?

Will be in Munich next week ('twill be cold, I'm sure) just for a quick weekend (Saturday morning through Sunday late afternoon). Staying near Old Town so imagine I will be doing a lot of sightseeing around Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt. Based on prior recs I think I have a few ideas for good restaurants to dine at (and of course will eat my way through Viktualienmarkt).

I love German rieslings so am hoping to have the opportunity to try many. Any recommendations for wine bars / restaurants that offer flights for tastings or have a good selection of by-the-glass rieslings?

Any suggestions for places to buy a bottle or two affordably to bring back? (And any advice for packing it in the middle of my suitcase when I have another country to visit before heading back to the US)?


Jan 26, 2010
bluepig1 in Europe

Mochi ice cream in Tokyo?

Just posting a long-overdue follow-up -- didn't manage to find/get to a location until the one at Narita on my way out. After a few pieces of fatty tuna belly at the kaiten sushi place in Terminal 2 to use up my remaining yen coins, I indulged what I'd been craving the whole trip -- 3 mochi ice creams at MochiCream. Green Tea (regular, not the premium), chocolate banana, and double mango were fabulous and only served to make me wish I'd managed to get to MochiCream earlier on my trip. Of the three, the double mango was my favorite with chocolate banana just behind. With all the wonderful flavors to choose from, had I found a location earlier I would have been there everyday I was in Tokyo.

Jan 10, 2010
bluepig1 in Japan

Raleigh - An Chuan Plaza at Brentwood/Capital

Sorry for lack of follow up - given uncertainty of whether An Chuan sandwiches would be available, we went to Green Basil at Capital Blvd and New Hope Church Rd as our old standby for banh mi. I think they are a little more expensive ($3 each) than An Chuan but I've almost always found the quality at Green Basil to be terrific as long as they are using fresh bread that day. When they're on, they're fantastic. (Only once have I found them to be retoasting day-old bread, and so the bread was inappropriately crusty on the outside and hard-ish on the inside, vs crusty outside and soft inside -- I guess I can understand the dilemma when trying to manage inventory without wasting ingredients, but you can really tell the difference in quality).

Jan 10, 2010
bluepig1 in Southeast

Immeasurable Chicken and Waffles: good flavors and still hot

Joined the Charm City Hounds for our outing today -- and we're stuffed!

We ordered:

Immeasurable Supreme – normally comes with grilled chicken; we requested fried chicken - & gravy & waffle
2 orders 3 wings & waffle
Catfish & grits
Catfish dinner – includes 2 sides – we picked greens and mac & cheese
French toast & home fries
Extra sides – mac & cheese, greens, and sweet potatoes

The portions are large but were no match for 7 hungry Chowhounds -- though I admit to being very full afterwards!

We all really enjoyed the Immeasurable Supreme. When requesting fried chicken, you get 3 fried chicken tenderloins – seasoned in a flavorful spiced breading with a little bit of kick, and smothered in lots of lovely chicken gravy. The combination of the gravy and fluffy waffle was wonderful and despite being one that was new to me.

I think our overall favorite at the table seemed to be the catfish – the fried catfish was moist and juicy, big thick fillets, and very flavorful with a crunchy breading. No soggy fish here. Topped with a bit of the house hot sauce (relatively mild), I think I almost cried as it reminded me of growing up in the south. The catfish that comes with the grits is also fried – same preparation as the fried catfish dinner. The grits were good but covered in a thick layer of melted butter. I like my grits with a little butter, but this was a little too much butter for me.

The sides were wonderful – the greens delicious and savory, the mac & cheese nice and cheesy. The sweet potatoes were quite “candied”, covered with butter and brown sugar and maybe honey – very, very sweet.

Two of our party ordered the Island Tea – their house combination of iced tea & fruit punch (like the bright red Hi-C kind of fruit punch). Despite being a tried & true southern sweet tea lover (I drink mine sweet like syrup) – the Island Tea was really sweet but my objection to it was more the fake-y tropical fruit flavors.

Our table ordered a few slices of cake (Orange Cranberry and Coconut) to go as we were mostly stuffed. Hopefully Dining Dish will link to photos soon! Overall the price tag came to about $15 per person after tax and tip – quite affordable for the amount of food we got. Though we went on a Sunday and had heard how crazy it can get with the church crowd – we got there around 11am so beat the church rush. We had no trouble getting a table and there were no issues with service delays and indeed, we were in & out within a little over an hour. We loved the service – our server was friendly and helpful, warm and funny.

I'd go back -- though the location in West Baltimore is out of the way for me, my two destination items would be the chicken with waffle and gravy (not the wings), and the catfish dinner.

Looking for Chinese scallion cake in Baltimore County

See my Umi Sake review at . I wouldn't drive in very far for it, but given the alternatives in the Cockeysville area, it's a good option.

Raleigh - An Chuan Plaza at Brentwood/Capital

re: the restaurant re-opening later this week -- does this mean that we cannot get banh mi there in the meantime? Was hoping to go tomorrow (Wed).

Dec 22, 2009
bluepig1 in Southeast

Question about Fuku

Any updated directions given the overhaul in Yoyogi Uehara station mentioned below? (is the construction still going on)? I'm headed to Fuku tomorrow (hopefully) and want to avoid getting lost in the area. Thanks!

Nov 28, 2009
bluepig1 in Japan

Mochi ice cream in Tokyo?

Can anyone recommend a specific specialty mochi ice cream place in/around Shinjuku? Yukimi daifuku, I believe - I've made do so far during this trip to Tokyo with the Lotte version sold in convenience stores. I'm specifically looking for the ice cream version.

However, a search of this board suggests previous recommendations for Mochi Cream, a store with a wide variety of gourmet ice cream flavors, with rumors of a few locations around Shinjuku, most notably in the food basement of Mitsukoshi Alcott and at least one other near either the South or Northeast exit of Shinjuku station. I went looking for any of the locations this evening and struck out - not sure if they've closed, I had bad info, or I just wasn't looking in the right places. Sounds like there might still be a location in Narita Terminal 2, but I'm hoping for something before I leave...

Any other specialty shops? Prefer Shinjuku (we are staying at Sunroute Plaza) but could be open to other large areas. Mentions of department store basements would be helpful if you could confirm the specific store name and whether the store is still there as I've wandered a bit through several already with no luck.


Nov 28, 2009
bluepig1 in Japan

Zhongshan - Chinese returns to Baltimore - Dim Sum too!

Hmmm, xiao long bao in Baltimore is indeed exciting. I look forward to trying them, especially as my review of the other dim sum from above was less than excited.

OFF SEASON DEWEY/REHOBOTH: what's open/ladies weekend?

We'll be a group of 6 ladies (early 30s) having a girls weekend this weekend. We'll have fun but we're not looking for a rowdy bachelorette experience (it's not a b-rette party). We're staying in Dewey but willing to drive up to Rehoboth. We're looking for:

a) casual dinner Friday
b) nice dinner Saturday
c) fun bar option Saturday night -
Our group has various tastes (some more chowhound-y than others) and as long as there's a variety on the menu (mixture of meat or seafood, at least 1 veggie option) we should be ok.

Researching on the boards so far I've come up with a few options but I think a lot of the recommendations I've seen are actually closed now for the season. Here are a few of the ones we're considering that appear to be open:

a) El Dorado for casual tacos/burritos. Go Fish! fish & chips. Big Fish Grill.

b) Eden, Nage, Espuma, Lupo di Mare or Blue Moon.

c) no ideas yet.

Any adds/deletes/other opinions about this list?


23 Baltimore Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

28 Wilmington Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Big Fish Grill Restaurant
Highway 1, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Go Fish
24 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

19730 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

El Dorado Restaurant
18766 John J Williams Hwy Unit 1, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Nov 09, 2009
bluepig1 in Mid-Atlantic

HELP! Need help finding a Baltimore restaurant I saw featured on a cooking show!

This sounds familiar. The name of the show was "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network. A quick search on their website shows the episode was about breakfast foods, and the Baltimore restaurant in question was Golden West Cafe, with Duff Goldman's favorite Huevos Montelenos. I recall watching this, I think, though I haven't been to Golden West myself.

Volt, Table 21: A Return Visit

We have reservations for Table 21 in December (we made them 3 months out!) and your review continues to get me excited for it.

Is Chef Bryan in the kitchen every day? Is he directly involved in the preparation of the Table 21 courses?


I like it quite a lot as a great option in the chain-mecca that is Hunt Valley for lunch. I've also been for dinner. They are quite the "fusion"-y place -- there's Thai, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian influenced cuisines on the menu, but they seem to do each one pretty well. They do have a yaki bop in a hot stone bowl and good sushi. I haven't tried many of the dinner entrees though my dining companions seem to have enjoyed them. The full menu is at

Looks like Elizabeth Large will have a review of Umi Sake in the Baltimore Sun this weekend (per her Dining @ Large blog).

Baltimore/Loyola area/Towson: LATE NITE EATS?

Belvedere Square is at the corner of York & Northern Parkway, very close to Loyola.

Mochi (just mochi, not ice cream) in DC

It's sold at H Mart in Catonsville; perhaps the local H-Marts in DC will also carry? Refrigerator section.

Baltimore/Loyola area/Towson: LATE NITE EATS?

I believe Pho Dat Thanh in the Towson Circle doesn't close till 11pm on Saturdays. May want to call and check. They don't close till 10pm on weeknights. You could get passable pho or other Vietnamese choices, and it certainly meets the definition of lite and interesting.

Gourmet bakery - cakes in Raleigh?

Just a quick follow up - I ended up ordering a 6" round from Cake Dreams by Sally. -- we got the almond cake with raspberry mousse filling. Custom made, affordable, beautifully decorated, and most importantly tasty! I'd recommend them in the future.

Re: Visiting Honolulu

Do a search for Ono Hawaiian foods on this board -- great place for traditional Hawaiian foods. Cheap, quick, and delicious variety. It's a small place (might be cash only?) and plan to wait in line a little bit (but the line moves and there's a nice bench outside to wait on).

Leonard's malasadas is just down the block (walkable) -- a bakery offering the delicious local treat.

Sep 03, 2009
bluepig1 in Hawaii

Recent Herons experiences? Tasting menu?

It's Mom's 60th b-day this weekend so commensurate with the occasion, we (just the 4 of us in the family) are considering splurging on the tasting menu at Herons. We have not yet been to Herons but have heard pretty good things from moderately foodie friends, but I wanted to check out the opinions of chowhounds!

Has anyone been lately for dinner? Has anyone actually had the tasting menu (5 courses, $70 per person)? Are we better off ordering a la carte? Saw the thread from Jul 09 but that was more about the prix fixe lunch there.

I can manage the cost but want it to be worthwhile -- I'd rather not spend this much only to find it "passable".

If not Herons, where? Fearrington House? We're in North Raleigh but are willing to drive (30 minutes) for good food. Mom is open to most any cuisine (Dad prefers not spicy). Mom loves a good paella (she has fond memories of Parizade's version in Durham from about 10 years ago so unless we find a suitable alternative, that may be one of the options for this weekend as well). We're a little over Second Empire and have done Magnolia Grill, Nana's, The Mint, Coquette, Savoy, 18 Seaboard... (which seem to be the most common suggestions among other threads).


Recent Cincinnati picks?

Thanks everyone! So on Thursday night I made it to both Honey and Chalk. Unforunately, only one of them was open!! I went to Honey first based on the strong recommendations only to find that they had closed for 10 days on vacation. Oh well - that's what happens with small family-run places.

So despite being somewhat crunched for time - I headed down to Chalk (calling them from the car to make sure they were open!) in time for a nice dinner in the bar area. Started off with the summer roasted beet salad -- interesting (unusual) presentation with hazelnut butter underneath, but the wildflower honey was lovely and the garrotxa cheese (first I'd ever had) was really yummy. The different cheese added a little bit of a twist (and a lot of flavor) on the standard goat cheese & roasted beet salad that's so common in other restaurants. The lobster risotto was really terrific -- a relatively small portion for $13, but really rich, flavorful and creamy with a few small chunks of lobster tail. Just the right balance of slightly al dente and cooked through for my taste. Had a nice Riesling paired with it. I didn't try any of the entrees as I was meeting a friend for dessert later on and the 2 appetizers with bread were adequately filling.

Speaking of dessert - we went to Yagoot in Kenwood Mall. The good news is Cincinnati now has a tart frozen yogurt chain to rival some of the big East and West coast chains -- the yogurt itself was quite tangy and good (I had the original & strawberry flavors swirled). The bad news was that I ordered mochi, a favorite topping of mine and a fast mover in other cities. Apparently not so in Cincinnati - these mochi had clearly been sitting out for days on end as they were very hard to bite into vs the nice soft chewy texture they're supposed to be. I should have said something to the clerk but we'd already walked elsewhere in the mall.

I ended my trip with a quick Skyline stop on my way to the airport :) . Thanks again for all the great recos - I'm excited that Cincinnati is starting to try to support some new exciting dining and hope that they won't go the way of a lot of other restaurants from my time in Cinci 5 years ago (Pigalls, Bella, Maisonette, La Normandie, Bangkok Bistro).

Recent Cincinnati picks?

Thanks for all the recommendations! I've had a great dining trip so far. Started off at Nada for dinner last night and thoroughly enjoyed my lovely sparking sangria and 3 different types of tacos -- the carnitas was my favorite, the crispy pork belly second, and the barbacoa was great as well. I ordered a side of mashed plantains which were just ok -- they were recommended by the waitress, but she didn't mention until I was eating them that they were actually (at least) half mashed potatoes mixed in with the mashed plantains.

Enjoyed a reminiscent dinner at Baba India tonight (their saag really is head and shoulders beyond any I've had elsewhere).

So, my dilemma is my last dinner tomorrow night -- Chalk? Honey? Nectar?
I can't decide! Hugo sounds terrific but I'll be in the Carolinas next week so can get my fill of good southern food there.

Upscale Chinese in Baltimore?

I'm not sure Bamboo House in Cockeysville qualifies as upscale - the atmosphere might once have been upscale-ish, but it very much reminds me of a lounge from the 1970s or early 1980s, with the salmon pink and beige decor and sepia lighting.

Either way, I found the food there very average Americanized-Chinese.

Recent Cincinnati picks?

Visiting Cincinnati for 3 days this week on business -- used to live there but moved away 5 years ago for Baltimore. What's new and exciting since I've been gone? I'll be staying downtown but will have a rental car. Don't need the touristy stuff (no need for Skyline or Montgomery Inn). Any and all cuisines are fine. My price point is flexible -- on expense but need to keep it within reason - don't want to spend money just to spend it.

Quick search online suggests some good options may be: Nada, Boca, JeanRo Bistro or Nectar. I'm intrigued by reviews of Cuba Cafe (love little cheap, hole in the wall places like this). Thoughts on these?

I've been to Slims', Nicola's and Mesh and while they were good, would love to try something new. I have some nostalgia for Ambar/Baba India, Lemongrass, Sabor Peruano, as well as Andy's Mediterranean, so one of those may be in the rotation while there. Not really feeling expensive steaks like Jeff Ruby's or Precinct.

What other options should I consider?

Brazilian in Baltimore - South American Grill

Bummer... just saw on South American Grill's website that they've closed the Cockeysville restaurant due to financial difficulties. Not sure how long ago, though I was in/around that shopping center a few weeks ago and they still looked open at the time (though I didn't actually go in). They do indicate that some of their signature dishes (feijoada, pao de queijo among others) are available for ordering online - shipped frozen or ready to cook.

I'm sad to see the only Brazilian option in/around Baltimore close, and have one fewer ethnic option in the Cockeysville/Timonium area. Plus the owner/chef was very nice - sorry to see him not be able to stay open even 6 months. Wish I'd made it back a few more times, as of the 2 latin options in that shopping center, I prefered this place to the Salvadorean place next door.

Dim Sum Park Ave Baltimore

Not sure why my original post was deleted. I assume you are referring to Zhongshan, which opened up in the space formerly occupied by Chinatown Cafe on Park Ave.

See this thread: which includes my review. I found it ok/passable. Not really something to get excited about.