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Kids' Menus

You have an unusually wide palatte-GOTW. However it happens, some adults prefer to expand their own palettes while their kids are not open to expansion. No pets, no endurance.... just a way for some parents to go out with kids not quite as advanced, culinary-wise, as you.

Feb 12, 2015
saticoy in Austin

Dai Due, Austin, TX

Marinated in a decent texmex flavor {{meaning what? cumin? ancho chile? Stubbs rub from HEB?}} but could have used a go {??} with a jaquard {??} before they cooked it {{how?}} and threw it unceremoniously {{you prefer ceremony?}} on the plate with five unseasoned potato wedges {{cooked how? tasty?}}and two fried/poached {{wait - fried, or poached?}} hybrid {{hunh?!}}eggs

Feb 12, 2015
saticoy in Austin
1

Dai Due, Austin, TX

Also based on this rave review, and with hopes tempered by others, my family went for dinner tonight. And. loved. it.

Cold meat board: we had tasted the house-made mortadella at the butcher counter, and were thrilled to find its goodness on the board (it is like terrine in a sliver), along with outrageously umami rabbit braunschweiger, wonderful unsmoked "city ham," smoked "country" ham, and some pickled beets and pickled egg. We (me, husband, chowpup) all agreed that the chicken liver mousse, with mincemeat chutney, was the best. Great, especially served with pecan sprouted wheat bread, grilled.

Venison ceviche - what a sophisticated, subtle, beautiful dish. Lightly marinated rough-cut venison, seasoned beautifully in tangerine, with dried jalapenos & fresh mint, accompanied by house-fried purple potato chips. This was so, so, so good. Citric sweetness with a hint of spice and the (good) mush of the (excellent) meat against the crisp of the chips.

We did the "supper club meal"for one, with an additional app and main. The supper club meal was a hearty plate of 1/2 a Dewberry Farms chicken (cooked the way a chicken hopes to be cooked) with kale and potatoes. I mean, this sounds so plebeian, right? But it was incredible. Every part, but especially the green aiolli that covered the three elements. I consider myself to be an excellent home cook, and I would come back here for roasted chicken and potatoes, and sauteed kale.

The other main we got was the grilled quail/smoked pork loin with sauerkraut and apples. Wow. The sauerkraut made a cabbage lover out of my husband. The apples were "perfect with the meat" according to the chowpup. I was skeptical about getting a slice of smoked pork loin....but this made me rethink everything I knew about pork loin. Crispy, fatty, lean and meaty, and with this overriding invitation to come and be initiated into porkdom. I went.

And then there was the quail - I'm not sure if there are words. Juicy, my husband said. Yummy, my kiddo said. The succulent meat was tinged with smoke and spices - it was moan out loud good, for all of us. Tiny morsel = Big Yum.

We also ordered the beef tartare. So, let me say up front that the Dai Dui distinction between ceviche (venison) and tartare (beef) might be too subtle for my radar. THAT said, the beef was top grade (toothsome, if I can borrow an overused word from VBW, but use it judiciously and correctly) and the pickled chard stems, Fireman's 4 mustard, and quail egg made this one of the best tartares I have had in Austin.

I am not a dessert person. We got the Supper Club meal so the chowpup could end on a sweet note (increasingly important, with puberty). He chose the orange/cajeta cake - and it was so good. So good. With the tisane...soooo good.

So, after I read Harry Potter for the chow pup, I am going to find a piece of honest bread, smear it with rabbit braunschweiger, think about the lovely blue booths at Dai Due, and know where my next restaurant experience will be.

Feb 12, 2015
saticoy in Austin
1

Fresh, local specialities - lunch between Orlando and Fort Myers

Thanks for this - I didn't make it to your recs, but I'm so glad you mentioned the grouper sandwich, which seems to be a "thing!" We had a fried grouper sandwich at Wards, which was pretty darn good - flaky and fresh, with a cracklingly (I think I just made that word up) crisp exterior.

We were not in charge of our time in Fort Meyers, but again, when our hostess mentioned grouper, we said "let's do it!" She took us to Gramma Dot's on Sanibel Island. The fried grouper sandwich was great, with their dill sauce, and the homemade potato chips, but the mesquite grilled grouper was mindblowing!

I will keep Peace River and Olde Fish House in mind for our next visit - thanks again!

Jan 07, 2015
saticoy in Florida

Fresh, local specialities - lunch between Orlando and Fort Myers

Thanks so much for this input! Although I wasn't able to get to any of your recs, I'm keeping them in mind for our next trip. I actually passed el rincon (while on a whirlwind car tour of the area) so next time, when I'm craving cuban, I know where to go.

Jan 07, 2015
saticoy in Florida

Fresh, local specialities - lunch between Orlando and Fort Myers

Sorry for the delay in replying! Yes, I'm aware of the difference between Cuban and Puerto Rican food, but also of their similarities, and was seeking something different. I found devil/deviled crabs/crab rolls at Ward's Seafood in Tampa, and at Brocato's - missed those on the menus of Cuban restaurants I've been to around the states - but makes sense given the fritura tradition in the Caribbean islands. At Wards, the crab and bread mixture was stuffed into the carapace shells, at Brocato's, it was like a fried oval. Both good!

We were headed for Frenchy's on your recommendation, but the traffic was insane - lovely warm day + holiday weekend = tons of people heading for the beach! We headed for Ward's Seafood Store instead, and whew - you were right about the prices! $32.00 per pound for stone crab claws, which was about 4 claws! I enjoyed them, especially with the housemade mustard sauce.

Thanks for the guidance!

Jan 07, 2015
saticoy in Florida

Puerto Rico - asopao query - no more Bombonera!?

Just returned from PR, and found a very good asopao at Bebo's Cafe in Santurce. This is comfort food at its finest, although much lighter than a lot of other options.

Also, at Casita Blanca, they serve a type of asopao as a complimentary appetizer, with bacalaitos and tostadas. Theirs doesn't have the sofrito flavor that I think is essential, but it was still a soulful cup of soupy rice and juicy chicken.

Puerto Rico report - long!

Thanks to everyone who has posted about Puerto Rico - the research I did on this board paid off, and I found some other places well worth a mention.

Casita Blanca (Santurce/San Juan): Mentioned quite a bit here, with good reason! We were actually not that hungry, but polished our plates, because it was such soulfully delicious food. The filete de mero (grouper filet) was very flavorful and flaky, the picadillo de carne (ground beef with sofrito seasonings) was addictive, and the carne frita (fried pork chunks) was moist and crisp and very porky. The bacalaitos (codfish fritters) were thin and fine, but not my favorite. The sangria de mavi was delicious, and their house made pique (hot sauce) and herbed vinegar were fantastic. I loved that they held the stacks of napkins down with potatoes and onions! I loved this place, and will return whenever I can. Thanks for pointing me to it, chowhounds!

Bebo's Cafe (Santurce/San Juan): I found my asopao here...a rice soup flavored with sofrito, with juicy pieces of chicken. It was very good. Also had mofongo de carrucho (conch) with a garlic sauce which was also very, very good - the mofongo was loosely packed, with big chunks - just the way I like it. This meal was a choice between this place and Casa Dante, and I chose Bebo's Cafe because of the lechon we had at their sister place. Disappointed that they didn't have lechon/pernil (roasted pork with crispy skin) but the chuleta kan kan (crazy huge cross section chop) was good.

Bebo's BBQ (Carolina): excellent lechon and the ribs were amazing. Morcilla (blood sausage) was good, and the chicken was moist and flavorful. The arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) was fine, but the yuca with onion and garlic was incredible. Cheap, delicious, long lines, but worth it!

Kasalta (Santurce/San Juan): Medianoche (pressed sandwich) was great, but I really loved the marinated octopus salad, and the baby conch salad.

Cafeteria Mallorca (Old San Juan): Delicious pressed breakfast sandwiches on mallorcas (sweet bread) and excellent coffee.

El Parilla (Loiza): This is a little mom and pop place in a non-touristy town. We ordered the ubiquitous chillo entero frito (whole fried red snapper) and it was phenomenal - crispy skin, moist and flaky flesh, with an amazing garlic herb sauce and fresh onion slivers. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Their mofongo was too dense and smooth for my liking, but their habichuelas guisadas (red beans cooked with sofrito) were so good I ordered a pint to bring back home - a flavor wallop! These beans were one of the best tastes of the trip. Less successful were the tostones (double fried smashed green plantains) with lobster - the lobster was flavorless, rubbery and dry. Still, if in Loiza, I recommend this place.

In Loiza, we had mofongo from a food truck right across from the Shell station, and it was terrific, with strips of beef and a great garlic sauce. We got some pan de agua (puerto rican white bread loaf) and a quesito (puff pastry with sweet cheese) at Lirey's bakery - both good, but not destination-worthy. My favorite breakfast in PR is pan de agua smeared with the huge, juicy, local avocados...I got mine at a little store/shack called El Cocotero, which was a mini-emporium of Puerto Rican delights, including mavi (the mildly alcoholic, fizzy sweet drink of fermented mavi-tree bark - SO good), all kinds of sweets, fruits, canned goods, and coco frio, the fresh green coconut with the top chopped off so you can drink the water.

In Rio Grande, on the way to El Yunque Rainforest, we stopped for breakfast at La Familia Bakery #2. I think yelpers have put this little place on the map, because there were plenty of tourists as well as locals, but it didn't matter because the food was great. We had a revotillo completo (scrambled eggs with ham, onions, cheese and tomatoes) which was good, and the breakfast sandwich of egg, ham and cheese on pan sobao (soft, sweet bread that is their specialty) was excellent. We split a quesito here, and it was sooooooo good that we ordered three to go - had them for our final breakfast and they were insanely good. I would seek these out again.

In Luquillo, we of course stopped at the kioskos. So, when I came here years ago, I don't remember the restaurant-style ones like La Parilla and El Jefe burger...I remember a bunch of fritura (fried snacks) stands - there are still some, but the whole thing seems so much more developed and tourist-centered now. That's the bad news - the good news is that with a little picking and choosing, we had a fantastic experience. First piece of advice - look for the little awnings in the parking area. At one, we had excellent and cheap oysters and clams on the half shell, served with a watery homemade pique that was perfect. At another, we had superb pinchos de cerdo (pork chunks skewered and grilled) that were astoundingly delicious, served with a tangy, sweetish sauce. We also had good bacalaitos and a mind-blowing alcapurria de jueyes (plantain batter fritter filled with crab and sofrito) from La Roca Taina - a kiosk on the eastern end of the strip.

In Piñones we found a kiosko experience more similar to what I remember at Luquillo years ago. This is a strip of beach (west of Loiza, east of San Juan) we bypassed the line at Kiosko El Boricua and found a beautiful little cluster of shacks, each with a wood fire powering their cookery. This was the best bacalaito of the trip - HUGE and delicious. Alcapurria de jueyes was a close second to La Roca Taina. We had a great arepa with bacalao guisado (salt cod cooked in sofrito) and a wonderful pionono, which is a mini version of the piñón - a casserole of sweet plantains and ground beef.

I'm miserable that I cannot remember the name of the little roadside trailer near the Playa Seven Seas near Fajardo. The arepa with marinated octopus was incredible - we were fighting for the last pieces. The pastelillos (fried turnovers) - one of ground beef, one of carrucho - were also very good.

Also forgot the name of the little house-front fritura place in Naguabo. We got the pastelillo de chapin - fish cooked with sofrito. The fish mixture was absolutely delicious, but there was like a teaspoonful in the hand-sized pastry. I think they must do a booming business, though, because she asked if I wanted a box of frozen ones, or one of the freshly fried ones.

I think that's it, except for one last food memory. The mangoes in PR are amazing, and the best place to eat one is at the beach, in the water, where you don't have to worry about the sticky juices, because the water washes it away. The salt water on your lips and skin makes the mango taste insanely sweet, and if you are lucky, when you are done, a school of fish will be swimming in and out of your legs.

Planning my next trip already....

Where's the boudin?

I was underwhelmed by Stuffed too - both boudin and gumbo were meh, and made me appreciate the Evangeline more. I don't know where Curtis sources his boudin, but it is great - they serve it with crisp, seared casing, and it bursts open to reveal a deeply delicious interior, with bits of pork meat, and a subtle liver flavor. Great with the green bottled hot sauce. I like their gumbo too - dark, smoky, a flavor wallop.

Dec 20, 2014
saticoy in Austin
1

Puerto Rico - asopao query - no more Bombonera!?

Thanks for the reply - not looking for "traditional" food in general, looking for great asopao....

Fresh, local specialities - lunch between Orlando and Fort Myers

Hello,

We will be traveling from Orlando to Ft. Myers (and back again) in late December. Would love recommendations for lunch spots. Happy to hook over to Tampa area and go down the gulf coast for some soul-satisfying Floridian delights!

Would love some fresh gulf seafood - particularly preparations distinct to the region. I was reading about crab rolls, stone crab claws, and "swamp cabbage." Any thoughts there?

Also would be delighted with some excellent southern home cooking, or outstanding ethnic - extra points if it is something I cant get in Austin, TX!

Not looking for Cuban food this time - we will be headed to Puerto Rico afterward.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Sep 21, 2014
saticoy in Florida

Puerto Rico - asopao query - no more Bombonera!?

Hello - I'm headed back to Puerto Rico after much too long. Crushed to learn of the demise of La Bombonera. Will replace the mallorca experience with Cafeteria Mallorca, but where oh where am I going to find some soul-satisfying asopao? Preferably served in individual calderos? Any ideas?

You're leaving Austin for good, take one taco with you and tell us why.

I had the best al pastor taco I ever had at Fruta Feliz, but the second was not transcendent - ready for the third try, though, and this time, with the green salsa! I love how they have their salsas in squeeze bottles that travel from table to table...

Sep 04, 2014
saticoy in Austin

You're leaving Austin for good, take one taco with you and tell us why.

Barbacoa de chivo on flour from La Fruta Feliz, with a bacon/egg on flour from Marcelino Pan y Vino in close second.

Can we make this a top 5? Deshebrada or carnitas on corn from Mi Ranchito, machacado and egg from Mi Madres (gotta try the carne guisada next time).

ps-taco de birria from El Borrego de Oro.

Sep 03, 2014
saticoy in Austin

you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

Ohhhhhhh noooooo....yes, it was overpriced, but there was something about that meat - and the cantelope and pepperonccini. When I lived on Silliman, I used to save receipts to get their merch. This is the spot we always made time for when we came home, for the burger, and the hang. I'm SO BUMMED.

It is kind of a beautiful thing that the business retires with Joe, but I was headed there tomorrow with my fellas. Don't quite know what to do now. I know there are many other great burgers out there....but that isn't the point. Sigh.

Joe no longer grinds his fresh chuck daily.

Sigh.

Ippuku Teuchi on Monday and Tuesday evenings with limited yakitori menu available - how limited? [Berkeley]

I have the mochibacon to eat at Ippuku again whenever possible!

Ippuku Teuchi on Monday and Tuesday evenings with limited yakitori menu available - how limited? [Berkeley]

Just in case anyone searches for this - we went tonight and they basically had the whole yakitori menu available. The hostess said "we might run out of certain things..." but handed over the whole menu. We had an amazing meal, and the place was hopping on a Monday night 7:30. We never got to try the noodles, because we couldn't stop eating everything else.

We had:

minced chicken skewer with egg yolk - a beautiful combination of crumbled and unctuous, of grilled and raw, of savory and sweet.

ume shiso maki - this was surprising and great - chicken breast wrapped around shiso, topped with pulverized salty/sweet plum....

bekon mochi - I wanted not to like this, but I loved. LOVED - what a great contrast of mushy and crisp, of salty/fat/smokey with sweet and bland (in a good way)...

beef tongue - great, especially with togarashi...

chicken skin, gizzard - perfect...reminded me perfectly of the yakitori-ya in Japan...perfect with the draft Asahi - did I say perfect...

mackerel - this was incredible...served with grated daikon like saba shio, but the freshest, moistest, and most un-fishy/fishy fish under salty crispy skin...with the head and jaw for extra yum...

dashimaki - my kiddo loves tamago sushi, so we got this, and what a lovely surprise...delicately seasoned egg omelette...came with grated daikon, but we found the tamago wonderful on its own....

gyoza - this was another concession to the kiddo, who loves him some dumplings, but MAN - these were a cut above. The noodle was thin, flavorful, and crackling crisp on the pan fried end...supple and savory throughout...and the interior actually tasted like flavorful meat, rather than a ball of flavor reminiscent of meat...

The.

Squid.

Get. The. Squid.

We were all full, and thought we would slurp some cold noodles for the last dish of the night (handmade soba on M & T) but even though we were full, the hokkaido squid was beckoning...and are we ever glad it did. Even though we thought we would taste a piece or two ... it was soooooo good that we inhaled the whole thing. I don't even know how to do it justice in words. When you are full to bursting, and you taste something that tastes as good as if you were STARVING...that's good food.

Loved Ippudo - thanks to all the Chowhounds who led us there - and to all who are headed there - enjoy!

you go away for a week, and the food you miss most is....

Can I play, as an ex-pat? Born and raised in SF (5th and Balboa), in Austin, TX since 1999? So, I go away for 15 years, and the food I miss most and seek on my beautiful vacations home....

Mission Burrito
Farmers Markets (Alemany was always my fave, now I am happy for the littlest fresh market, especially if they have fruit!)
Wing Lee chicken bao & char siu bao (actually, csb from city bakery)
Cinderella Piroshki
Bread. Acme #1, with every other great local bakery close behind
Little gem lettuces
Izakaya
A proper sandwich on a Dutch Crunch roll
Dungeness, if I am coming in season
Joe's Cable Car Burger
Giorgio's
One of the wonderful, amazing, beautiful Italian restaurants: Bacco, La Ciccia, Incanto (RIP), Perbacco...
Coffee - Philz, Ritual, Peet's, Blue Bottle...

I had a longer list going, until I realized that most of it was stuff I have learned from you all that arrived after I had left.

fun - great thread - thanks for the memories and summer realizations!

Ippuku Teuchi on Monday and Tuesday evenings with limited yakitori menu available - how limited? [Berkeley]

Hello all,

Making plans for our annual pilgrimage to my homeland. Ippuku is calling my name this time, and I have read the threads. Their website says they do the special soba on M/T evenings now, with limited yakitori menu.

So, my questions for you all is - has anyone been during these hours? Any ideas as to how limited is the yakitori menu? Would love to kill two birds with one early-week early-evening meal, but I am so enthralled with the yakitori possibilities, I may opt to do it on a full yakitori menu evening.

Thanks in advance for any advice/guidance...

Countryside Farms sausages, et al

Never been out to the farm, but have been delighted three times now with purchases from CF at the Hope Farmer's Market. Country pate was delicious - inspired me to try and make it myself, and, uh, I will be returning to CF's stands! I found the Italian sausage quite good, with a lovely balance of the savory (garlic, pork) with the aromatic (fennel, oregano) that can be tricky.

I tasted duck rillettes that scared me - so amazingly, meltingly, meatingly good...the taste was enough to let me know that if I bought....well - you know.

The thing is, in this frontier, saying you do meat, sausage, and charcuterie is enough to get a lot of people foaming at the mouth. Was not impressed with Kocurek, Salt & Time, and shied away from others, after those experiences.

But CF enticed me, and CF delivered, and CF is what I crave for properly delicious (to me) pate, rillettes, sausage, and confit.

Aug 08, 2014
saticoy in Austin
1

Trip report-family with 9 year old, cheap to spendy, near museums - LONG!

I also need to return to Casa Mono! When, oh when...?!?! I went back to Essex Street Market and got some smoked fish from Nordic preserves. Trout was good, but peppered mackerel, oh MY!

Jul 04, 2014
saticoy in Manhattan

Trip report-family with 9 year old, cheap to spendy, near museums - LONG!

Hi Pan -

Don't know if I can speak to an "average" slice - don't really get slices in Austin, or SF, much. It was saltier than Patsy's, but I didn't find it overly salty. Really rang bells for the slices I had in the 80s in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens when I just grabbed random slices on the go.

The uptown Gazala's was to fill a need after visiting the American Museum of Natural History - close-by, sit-down, interesting. Not sure I would make a special trip during a week-long vacation just to try the Hell's Kitchen branch, but like you, I won't go back to the uptown one.

I didn't try the whitefish at BG, but mentioned that it looked good. How does it compare to Russ and Daughters? I just had some on an Absolute Bagel and heard the angels sing - one of my favorite things ever, anywhere. Funny, but eating in the BG restaurant, with its vintage wallpaper and dishes, and the great people-watching, was one of the high points. The sturgeon, for which they claim to be royalty, was weird, and I did not enjoy it.

Jul 04, 2014
saticoy in Manhattan

Okonomiyaki Flour

I've gotten okonomiyaki mix at MT and at Asahi. IIRC, it was in a box - it came with the flavored flour, plus the nori julienne. I tried it with flour once, and was disappointed. Until I figure out the seasonings, I deal with the mix. Don't forget the sauce and kewpie!

Jul 03, 2014
saticoy in Austin

Trip report-family with 9 year old, cheap to spendy, near museums - LONG!

Ooh - thanks for the freezing tip, c oliver! I will dole these out to myself (oh, I guess to my guys too...if they insist) and ration my whitefish salad and lox and sable. Gotta go get some good cream cheese - although I suspect a toasted everything Absolute bagel with plugra might bring tears to my eyes.

Jul 03, 2014
saticoy in Manhattan
1

Trip report-family with 9 year old, cheap to spendy, near museums - LONG!

Yes, it did, villainx - thank you for steering me to one of our favorite experiences!

Jul 03, 2014
saticoy in Manhattan

Trip report-family with 9 year old, cheap to spendy, near museums - LONG!

Hello –

So, I just spent a week in Manhattan – all my research was done using Chowhound. You guys rule – thanks so much for all the recs! Paying it forward with a report targeted at tourists with kids – not aiming for the hottest/newest, just aiming to eat well while enjoying a beautiful sojourn in your amazing city.

We stayed in an apartment in Hamilton Heights. I hyper-planned, after checking in, to take the bus to Patsy’s, swinging by Cuchifritos 116. Our delayed flight nixed that plan, so I reverted to plan B – order from Uptown Veg for delivery. I thought I had confirmed that we were in the delivery zone, but got an error message from GrubHub saying otherwise. So, I plugged the address into GrubHub, and from the “available” restaurants, chose Harlem’s Floridita. Same error message. My 9 year old and I were losing it – my husband was out getting some staples for the apartment, so I called him and asked him to pick up food from Harlem Public – right across the street. I was skeptic – they seem famous for fried avocado and a peanut butter burger…but the Public burger, medium rare, delivered in spades! Perhaps because we were starving and exhausted, but also because the meat was flavorful with a great seared crust, the bun a perfect consistency, nicely dressed, with a lovely salad on the side. The scene is hipster - the burger is solid.

More about Hamilton Heights – Jumbo Pizza for egg on a roll - bacon egg and cheese in my case. If you are visiting, and you like bacon, eggs, cheese, and bread products, and you need a quick hand held breakfast – this was great. Breakfast tacos are the breakfast sandwich of Texas – cheap, hard to mess up, easy to elevate. Also, the Chipped Cup is a sweet little coffee shop with pastries from Ceci Cela. Great croissant – huge, nice balance of flaky crispy to moist and buttery. But, I have read about CCs almond croissants and I am here to say that if what I had is truly representative, then I don’t know what to think. Flat, oversweet, with a weird, wet, almost custardy interior. My son, who has never, ever, turned down a sweet treat, gave me most of his. I didn’t eat it.

Pizza: We were interested in old school pizza slices, the kind I subsisted on as a student in the ‘80s. First up was Sal & Carmines – I loved the whole experience. The ancient guy and the ancient cash register and the proper, proper slice. Slices taken from pizza on the counter – warm, not hot. Walked back to tables to consume. Crust was foldable but sturdy – great flavor and crunch with just enough pillow-y yeasty softness. Perfect balance of cheese and sauce. My boys were floored…and it did the trick for me. Just can’t get this kind of pizza many other places.

The other slice was at Patsy’s East Harlem. Totally different animal. They seem to sell these slices as fast as they can make them – and with good reason. Everything tasted so fresh – fresh tomato sauce, excellent cheese, and the crust was very thin – and absolutely delicious. Ate in the window, chatting with other slice eaters – one told us he had been getting pizza there for 22 years. Great hang, great pizza – although I would recommend letting the slice cool a bit before tearing into it. Yeah, right.

Jewish deli/appetizing: We went to Barney Greengrass, and were extremely underwhelmed. Got the sturgeon appetizer with a bialy and cream cheese, plus an extra everything bagel. The breads were fine, the cream cheese was industrial, and the sturgeon was bland, with a bizarre wet texture. Is this what they are famous for? Yuck. I saw some people eating a sturgeon-egg scramble, and it looked good, but if it is the same fish I had, I would pass. Also saw a couple sharing bagels and huge mounds of chopped liver and whitefish salad…looked good, but my own chopped liver is my bar, and I knew I was going to Russ and Daughters soon after – they never have disappointed. The belly lox is salty and unctuous, the sable is silky and savory. The salmon/whitefish salad is sooooooooooo good. The best part, this time, is since I got a quart of pickles, the beautiful blond woman who sliced my fish gave me her recipe & technique for half-sours.

Bagels: Tried Absolute Bagel and Kossars. Both good, but we all thought Absolute Bagels were pretty special. We got one with a garlic/scallion shmear, and found it a little soft. Went back and asked for a well-done bagel, and found nirvana. The little bubbles on the crunchy, crunchy crust – the yeasty flavor of the soft interior – just great. Kossars bagels and bialies to me are kind of the standard – the kind of stuff you eat and take for granted until you find yourself somewhere you are unable to get anything close. I’m taking a bunch home.

Proper sit-down meals: I have been obsessing over Casa Mono for years, and this was one of the most magical, delicious, amazing meals I have ever had. We went early, with the kiddo, and they were as welcoming as can be. He had his first taste of foie gras (what was I thinking? Should have waited until he was a LOT older!) and we all swooned. Not just ‘cause it is perfectly seared foie, but because the “cinco cebollas” accompanying it were an inspired accompaniment. Charred green onion, an onion reduction, marinated red onions…I mean, the sweetness of the onion is a perfect match for foie, and the different onion preparations ensured a riot of textures. My favorite dish of the night was the skirt steak – the romesco was good, the onion mermelada was good, but that meat. Sweet fancy moses – I live in Texas, and I have never had beef as good as I had this week. The chorizo meatballs were also amazing. I found the flavors in the duck egg dish a bit odd – I mean, it was like seeing Chaim Soutine painting where you understand that the vision is perfect, but you just don’t quite get it. All told, the service was awesome, the food was mind-blowing, and I will be thinking of that skirt steak for years to come.

The other sit-down meal was after the AMNH – I chose Gazala’s as a place to hopefully encounter soulful, interesting food after an exhausting day. The thin pita, which was one of the big draws for me, was basically flavorless. The platter was plebian – boring dolmas, bland hummus, decent labne, over-fried falafel and kibbe, and the spinach boureka was downright bad – stinky spinach, unbalanced. The “tahini” looked like watery ranch dressing and had no sesame taste whatsoever – when I asked what it was and she said “tahini” I said “really?” I saw her mention it to another server. Then, the table next to us questioned the beans on their plate – they didn’t recognize them as fava beans. The server assured them they were, but offered to take the plate back. Something hinky there. Would have been better off standing in line for Shake Shack, I reckon.

Random notes:

Fraunces Tavern: Great atmosphere, great beer! Mediocre fish and chips, but here’s the excellent deal – a pint of outstanding oyster stout with 3 oysters on the half shell for $12. PERFECT! A short walk from the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island boats, and a worthy historical/museum destination in and of itself.

Red Rooster: kind of a let-down, but I only had snacks. Lovely white sangaree (white sangria with st. germain and sage – perfect on a hot day). Deviled eggs were good, and the chicken skin mayonnaise was incredible, due to the berbere seasonings. SO good. But, “smoked” ceviche was dull and not smoky, and the plantain chips were either store bought or stale, cornbread was ok, tomato jam was great.

Vanessa’s dumplings: I would eat here every day if I could. CHEAP, delicious. The chive and pork pan fried dumplings were great, with thick (but not too thick!) skins, great crunch, and fresh, meaty, juicy filling. The spicy wontons were wonderful, with big chunks of fresh shrimp in delicate wrappings, topped with smoky chili oil and fresh cilantro. The duck pancake was amazing both as a value and as a taste treat. Very close to the LES Tenement Museum.

Uptown Veg: The first time I went here, I was blown away. This time, I was happy and satisfied. I think maybe expectations played with my mind and taste buds….? Perhaps the first time, I wasn’t expecting much from vegan soul food, and I was blown away. Perhaps this time I was ready to be blown away, but it didn’t feel like the first time. Still - very good! Curry chicken drumstick, collards, sweet potatoes…all yummy, and leftovers were even better. Close to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

Pok Pok Phat Thai: There is no more perfect drink on a hot walk through the LES than the pomegranate drinking vinegar. The food was excellent – my boys don’t like Thai food that much, and so maybe it was because it had been quite a while since I had it, but I found the fresh cold and crunchy lettuce and scallions were delightful against the warm, savory, soft and crispy noodles and proteins in the kuaytiaw Khua Thaleh. Love that they serve on banana leaves. That toasty rice water was awesome too.

Essex Market: NORDIC SANDWICH from Nordic preserves is fantastic. Lovely Norwegian smoked salmon, crème fraiche, red onions, capers, fresh dill, and black caviar perfectly balanced on a crusty hero roll. $10. One of the best sandwiches I have ever had. This is one of those things I will try to recreate, but I suspect I will fail miserably. Formaggio was a disappointment – I got some Creminelli, Fra Mani, and Biellese salumi, but between the super thin slices and the fact that they were kept in a pretty cold fridge, everything was kind of crumbly and weird texture for salumi. Saxelby cheese was great – the knowledgeable and fun attendant steered me toward Nancy’s camembert (luscious) and The Lady in Blue – the perfect mild bleu. Jessica at Pain D’Avignon was a kick, but I wasn’t wowed by the baguette (a little chewy for me), picholine mini-baguette (only one bite with discernable olive flavor), cheese bread (fine) or croissant (bready and heavy).

The best part of Essex came at the Brazilian meat stand. The stall owner had the World Cup on – the Brazil and Chile game, and he was selling feijoada for $5.00 a bowl. About 20 people gravitated to the little screen, and such an impromptu little community of futbol lovers emerged. Brazil won, and everyone was high-fiving and smiling…it was neat. What was even NEATER was that they had Armandino Batali’s amazing salumi there, and they knew how to store and slice it. That mole sausage is an absolute wonder. The smoked paprika was also delish.

So, for anyone who actually reads this and sees something they recommended or reported on – thank you very, very much. I read y’all just for fun, and you helped us have a great week in a great city.

Jul 03, 2014
saticoy in Manhattan
1

Houston Asian Markets - Tarako?

90% is just about enough to head me down I 10, mogster11, thanks! Glad also for the Korean name, I will prowl some Korean groceries here in town too!

Jun 16, 2014
saticoy in Houston

Houston Asian Markets - Tarako?

I'm OK with not spicy, but am interested in the whole roe sac, not jarred and brined. THANKS!

Jun 16, 2014
saticoy in Houston

RIP VIII

I may be wrong, but think that space gave way to Kin and Comfort.

To me, Kin and Comfort was a qui-esque stall with good, if derivative food -and since I'm not a huge fan of uchiko or most things qui, I chalked it up to a fine experience - no need to return.

Jun 15, 2014
saticoy in Austin

Houston Asian Markets - Tarako?

Sorriest for my delayed reply!

So, absurdnerdbird - I will put Nippon Daido on my list for my next trip! Thanks a million!

Houcasey - I did a little more digging and found out that it is also called karashi mentaiko. Here is a link to a blog with a picture of the package:

http://shichimi.wordpress.com/2013/03...

Scroll down to the second picture, and thank you SO much for keeping my quixotic desire in mind! I found places to order fresh frozen, but with exorbitant shipping charges...rather spend that money on gas to Houston!

Thanks again!

Jun 11, 2014
saticoy in Houston