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toqueville v Italian

Sadly, I can't report on how the food was: we decided on Del Posto, but I ended up being very ill with a nasty virus and unable to eat (I can attest first hand that the toilets and bathrooms are clean!) My husband hurried through a few courses - octopus and chickpeas, which he liked; 100 layer lasagna, which he said was "very good" but overhyped; and a Flinstonian veal chop. Under those conditions, I think it's hard to judge the food, because you're not eating in a relaxed manner.

I will make these comments about the decor and service: it feels like you're in a huge cruise ship dining hall, with the wide staircase and the circular upper level balconies perching over the lower level. It's quite nice for that kind of thing, but not our style. On the service: waiters were *everywhere*. I couldn't get over it. Often two or three fussing over a single table. You never didn't see waiters. And yet, we had to ask twice for a ginger ale, which our waiter informed us was in the "queue" (note: it was a bottle of Canada Dry). Very slow even though we let the waiter know I was sick and we wanted to make it a quick meal.

All in all, we might consider going back for the tasting experience; but we are still blown away by the meal we had at Babbo's two and a half years ago and the charming atmosphere there. I'd probably plan our next celebratory New York Italian meal there, with Lincoln as a back up.

Thanks for everyone's inputs!

Nov 27, 2013
edub in Manhattan

toqueville v Italian

Thanks everyone for the recs! Lincoln sounds wonderful, putting it on the list for next trip. Del Posto is perfect because we are staying in the neighborhood, can take a nighttime stroll on the high line, and the 100 layer lasagna will be divine - lasagna is hub's favorite. The five course tasting strikes me as not unreasonable at $126 - but is the wine tasting ($155) only available with the 8 course captain's tasting? That price point to accompany a five course tasting would be extravagant.

Nov 19, 2013
edub in Manhattan

toqueville v Italian

No reservations via Open Table - I will try calling. I am not opposed to the price at Del Posto if it's totally worth it - thoughts? Do you recommend one over the other? We had a tremendous birthday dinner a few years ago at Babbo and it's still our standard.

Nov 18, 2013
edub in Manhattan

toqueville v Italian

I have birthday dinner reservations for my husband this Thursday eve at Toqueville but I'm getting cold feet; my husband really likes food with Asian influences, but he LOVES Italian. What's a hidden gem special occasion Italian we could check out? I was thinking about Maialino but no reservations available. Thanks!

Nov 18, 2013
edub in Manhattan

weekend cooking projects

I meant rest. The recipe (from a recent Bon Appetit) called for letting it rest while tightly wrapped in plastic for 1 hour.

I'd even be open to something multi-day - for Indian, maybe making a chutney on a Thursday night, doing naan bread on Friday night, and making the main curry on Saturday night ... I want it to be "event" cooking even if it's just for the two of us. Our kids certainly won't eat it so it's one meal all week that will be all about us!

Nov 04, 2013
edub in Home Cooking

weekend cooking projects

I wanted to revive this almost 10 year old thread! My husband and I made orecchiette this weekend and loved it -- it was so fun and satisfying to make, and yet very simple and rustic. What we needed was the time of a Saturday afternoon/early evening to knead the dough, let it rise, form pasta by hand, while slowly simmering bolognese sauce. Does anyone have ideas for future projects to share?

Nov 04, 2013
edub in Home Cooking

VietFest?

Has anyone been in past years? Trying to decide if the food is worth the trip. I can't get any menu or food booth info on the website.

Aug 22, 2013
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

Trip report June 12-16, Part I

Sorry for the delay in posting. Thanks to the wonderful folks who provided me with insight and last minute information as we rushed to our "appointments." Now, back in the real world of making mac and cheese, going to work and counting calories, it's almost painful to write this, but I will do my best.

We went straight from the airport to the Windmill location of Bachi Burger. We were really, truly hungry and our first few bites of burger were absolutely sublime. My husband's Miyagi-san, in particular, had the most perfectly fried onion ring whose crunch contrasted with the beef and various ingredients and sauces. But after a few minutes, my husband said, It's just too rich - and that really encapsulated the burgers. My Ronin burger had a myriad of truly lux and rich ingredients -beef, fried egg, caramelized onions, two sauces (miso and a yuzu aoli, coleslaw - that none of them really could shine. The truffle fries were good. I'd never tried banana ketchup and liked it; husband liked the aioli it was meant to go with. Pickles were also a fun starter with six different kinds including whole garlic cloves and what I believe was burdock (very yum). I'd definitely go back, probably pick (maybe customize) a burger to share, and get some of the bao buns for variety. Still, a fun place the likes of which we don't have on the East Coast.

Our dinner that evening was at The Barrymore. Actually, I'd hoped we'd go for happy hour half price apps, but that didn't work out, so we kept our 7pm reservations. We liked getting off the Strip and going to a good to very good steakhouse without paying exorbitant strip prices. The octopus starter was really nice - we liked that the patatas bravas, which obviously stand alone as a dish (we have Jaleo here in DC and these were as good as theirs) really complemented and augmented the octopus in texture and in flavor. I had a kale salad - good - with bites of my husbands rib eye - great - and a side of creamed corn with lobster - not so good; the flavor was great when hot, but as I searched in vain for pieces of lobster, the cream of the corn also started to congeal, and it really wasn't all that tasty after the first few bites. And for $13 I expect at least a *little* lobster. My husband's ribeye was good but fatty, as I suppose that cut tends to be. We skipped dessert but enjoyed the free macarons. The atmosphere is fun, retro, cozy for a steakhouse. It would be great for a cheaper alternative to an on-the-strip bachelor party or group dinner. I'd go back for half price apps - the patio is quite cute, and the view of the parking lot effectively blocked - but probably not for dinner.

We had a virtuous breakfast in anticipation of LOS, where we showed up around noon to a half empty dining room that was packed when we left. Inevitably, starting with the nam kao tod leaves you with little direction to go but down. It is just so good. It's just so flavorful! As we were finishing it we were already plotting to get an order to go. We also got the green chili dip, which we'd never gotten before, and enjoyed it quite a lot.

Here's where things got hairy. We had ordered things at a 4 spice level, and when we ordered our main course - after a LOT of debate, sea bass on drunken noodles, and crispy duck on chili mint leaves - he asked us what level of spice. We said, 5 - 4 had been tolerable and we really like spicy spicy food, especially since we rarely have it at home because of our toddler eaters. In anticipation of the spiciness, and because the list is so celebrated, I got a glass of Riesling, the JJ Plum Kabinett. I don't normally care for Rieslings though admittedly have drunk them indiscriminately; the wine was really, really lovely and balanced, and a powerhouse when eaten with the few remaining bites of the green chile dip. I savored enjoying the rest of it with the main courses.

When they arrived, the sea bass was truly delicious - and heatless. I could have easily served it to my kids. I'd never had any kind of fish on drunken noodles, and the frying and the flavors were brilliant, but the lack of heat was breathtaking, and not in the good way that spicy food is. We debated with each other: did he not hear us? Didn't we clearly say, did we get a four for the appetizers? Because we'd like it a little spicier. Did he not believe us because of our extreme whiteness and obvious tourist-ness? By the time we realized it, we were halfway through the dish and the waiter was so hard to track down, we didn't feel it worthwhile to send it back. The duck was equally unspicy. We were underwhelmed with it. The duck was actually a little mealy-tasting in some parts. The sauce was probably the wrong choice (I KNOW that Dave Feldman and others sang the praises of the cognac sauce but it just sounded so rich for a warm day.) I found it was improved when I really pressed it into the sauce to saturate it with flavor. It wasn't terrible, but not anything I'd ever order again, even at appropriate heat levels. The sea bass I'd eat either way - it was still really delicious - but my lovely mid-day Riesling indulgence was wasted on the unspicy food.

Bonus points to the waiter for being honest with us - when we attempted to order the nam kao tod to go and asked if it would be good later, he told us it truly wouldn't, that it would be soggy by then (which is when it dawned on me that part of the reason it's so good is that it's so fried). We had loved the idea of eating it late night with a cold beer.

My verdict on LOS after this second trip: we probably will go whenever we are in Vegas when we have a rental car; but in a lot of ways, it's only a truly special experience if you are a local, who can pop in once a week; or if you have a large enough party to appreciate the breadth of dishes offered. If they make a mistake (kind of a big one in our case, I'd say) with one or two of your few dishes, it's harder to appreciate the restaurant as special. I've now done my research into nao k t and seeing that it's offered in a Laotian restaurant and Northern Virginia and sometimes at the esteemed Little Serow, which we haven't visited yet, I am somewhat less saddenned not to live in the same town as LOS.

That evening: Raku. Certainly one of the highlights of the trips with one or two special standouts. We loved the cold appetizers: the creamy tofu was truly game-changing, especially for someone like my husband who has only despised tofu his whole life. I had done a bit too much reading for my own good and all the talk about its textural similarity to burrata had me jonesing, without realizing it, for actual burrata, so that I was slightly let down by the first bite or two. But we loved the element of adding ingredients, especially the green tea salt, and then the green onions, bonito and soy sauce. I loved also getting that level of direction from the wait staff (basically, direction to do it yourself and mix it up). I also loved the sparse but warm elements on the table - the four condiment jars lined up just so with information beneath the jars; the soy sauce canter that let out just a drop or two at a time (where can I get that for my house!) Really special and different from the izakayas we've tried here.

The kampachi was my favorite of the night, one of my favorite bites of the trip. I can't really describe it - so fresh that it's sweet, creamy and pristine - I could have eaten it steadily for an hour in between sips of beer. I could have eaten nothing else. Also from the specials, the corn cob with mashed potato center - very good. More visually alluring than delicious if you were to measure the two against each other, but also very good.

From the grill we had the iberico pork: I broke my rule of no pork to try a chunk (when in Vegas!) It was scrumptious. Husband loved both but preferred the steak with Wagyu, was was very good but less primal and juicy than the pork. We got a whole eggplant, which I enjoyed, husband didn't care for; I liked it loaded with bonito shavings. While I hadn't loved them on the tofu, I came to enjoy their chewy, almost Parmesan-like flavor.

I could be forgetting something - I know we decided against the green tea soba because it was more than we could eat (we were still pretty full from LOS lunch). It was all excellent. We will definitely, for sure, return again next time.

Next up: poke lunch, appetizer crawl, Le Cirque and what I did for love (hint: sandwiches.)

Jun 23, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Thanks Dsve and QAW. Will write up LOS and full trip Monday - we had a sad snafu with spice levels that dragged down our experience.

Le cirque tonight - prob doing a la carte. Please suggest away! Ellenost, couldn't find your last trip report but would love to know what you had on your special degustation.

Jun 15, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Thanks! Favorite sauce for duck? How about the catfish salad?

Jun 13, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Dave - does crispy duck come w a specific sauce, like Penang? Going for lunch today - thinking duck over fish and khaki soi, maybe the off menu chicken dumplings w crispy rice. How's green papaya salad?

Jun 13, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Our trip is fast approaching! Does anyone want to share their favorite meals at Bachi and The Barrymore? I'm super interested in hearing about your most loved burgers at Bachi.

What do people love at the Barrymore? Has anyone been for happy hour when they have the great selection of discounted apps?

Based on reading the site, I'm thinking crispy duck and sea bass at LOS (probably crispy rice, which we had last time - husband is allergic to shrimp so the crispy shrimp is a no go). But would always welcome other recs. I'm all about being a glutton there and bringing back leftovers for late night eats. Also based on reading other threads, I'm thinking we will probably do a la carte at Raku, partially because of hubs' allergy; I know we'll do wasabi beef, fresh tofu, poached egg w urchin and check out the specials. Going to look more closely at Le Cirque and Kabuto choices when we get there but looking at doing set menus at both.

We might do a tacos el gordo lunch b/c we loved it last time. Any thoughts on China Poblano for a lunch or late night snack? Anything else outstanding for a lunch on the strip that I'm missing? We won't do Milos again - liked it fine but not love.

Thanks chowhounders!

Jun 07, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Thanks Zach! We are definitely keeping both Kobuto and Raku. What a wealth of different and exceptional Japanese restaurants you have in Vegas.

We did the lunch special at Milos last time -- it was quite good, but probably not enough to merit a return visit for us. I'm haven't heard much about Comme Ca, thanks for the suggestion!

And thanks for the happy hour list! Love Eater!

May 20, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Help me with my (Asian heavy) food itinerary

Hounds, please take a look and share your thoughts. We are in Vegas for four days and will have a car. Still, we want to do some drinking. At least two of these dinners are off strip, but thinking to eat on the early-ish side so we can do our drinking in pedestrian friendly areas. We are staying at MGM signature. My husband thinks it's a bit "Asian heavy" - but to me the three experiences are so diverse that it works. Appreciate thoughts!

Wed lunch - Bachi burger on way from airport
Wed dinner - reservations at The Barrymore (has anyone been to happy hour?) or, Lotus of Siam

Thu lunch - Lotus of Siam if not for dinner
Thu dinner - reservations at Raku

Fri lunch - ?? (take it easy by the pool)
Fri dinner - Le Cirque

Sat lunch - ??
Sat dinner - Kabuto

I feel we're missing a good Italian meal ... and we were also thinking of doing some happy hour eating for dinner and getting a late night snack if needed. I wish either Kabuto or Raku was open for lunch!! Is one of them missable?

Thanks friends!

May 17, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Sage?

We ate there on our trip last year and I remember not a thing that we ate. I put it on the list of places where we might stop by on this year's trip to have a bite in the lounge, but I doubt we'll do it. Our splurge meal is Le Cirque (per ellenost's recommendation!)

May 17, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

New restaurants sine June 2012

Making a second annual June trip - what's new and exciting since last year? Thanks!

Apr 27, 2013
edub in Las Vegas

Edge brunch

Is it worth it? $65 without cocktails or $80 with? Is it truly a food truck surrogate experience? (hard to believe at the Four Seasons). How isthe stone crab? Could you get your money's worth with fresh fruit, fresh seafood, and some choice entrees like short rib chilaquiles? I don't mind paying for top notch food, but I don't plan to gorge myself or eat overly decadent food just to get my monet's worth. But I'm intrigued by the concept and reports of top-notch ingredients.

Mar 09, 2013
edub in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Corduroy

Does anyone know if they still do the $30 bar menu? Has anybody been lately and have any feedback on either the bar or the prix fixe?

Feb 28, 2013
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle - Report

Oy, aren't we all mispacha?

Seriously, though, I just caught wind of this place a week or two ago, and it reminded me of the restaurant concept that Sheldon had on Top Chef - refined, reimagined Filipino cuisine. Isn't that what they're doing - taking some of the homiest elements of a homey cuisine (Ashkenazit Jewish), and reimagining it with flavors and traditions of other branches of Jewish and American cuisine. Or like Raskia is to Indian (just about to post my review from there).

Feb 10, 2013
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

1st Trip to NYC, input/suggestions needed for Michelin stars, ethnic food and bars

Hi Ellen - any thoughts on Bouley for lunch? It seems like a pretty extraordinary deal.

Feb 06, 2013
edub in Manhattan

pick your own figs

Is there anywhere in the area where you can pick your own? I know it's late in the season for figs, but would be good to know if such a place exists for next year.

Oct 04, 2012
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

Food itinerary - thoughts

ellenost, I read your posts extensively before planning our food itinerary to NYC last year. I wish I had had time to write a trip report. I was the most excited about EMP and the most disappointed. We went for lunch, perhaps that was the problem?
Have you had any other more delicious Italian meals in Vegas?

Apr 26, 2012
edub in Las Vegas

Food itinerary - thoughts

So the highlight of this trip is almost food, but the number one goal is total R&R without kids. To me that's very closely tied in with food -- so I have a somewhat crazy foodie itinerary with lots of possibility for scaling down when sleeping or lounging by pool -- but still don't want to squander a valuable meal to room service.

We like to mix in a lot of authentic ethnic and "low brow" eats with a few splurges -- usually not more than one out-and-out splurge. For the super-splurge I'm thinking Le Cirque and/or Scarpetta. Le Cirque sounds more all-out divine, but on our NYC trip last year we favored Babbo over Eleven Madison Park, for example.

Arrive very late Wednesday -- if we are hungry, thinking about late late dinner at either China Poblano or tacos el gordo. Normally we'd go for the more authentic possibility, but we are from DC and huge Jose A. fans so I'm dying to see this concept. I understand they also have a take-out menu -- will be miss out by not staying in?

Thursday am may be a Bouchon breakfast. I'm really interested in trying poke, per my previous post, and thinking about Hawaiian Style Poke, which looks like it's about a mile off the strip -- could combine with a jog there if not too hot? I'm down with eating it by the pool for a late breakfast if they open at 10am as promised. Lunch is Milos: $20 menu looks great. Does anyone know if the signature dish -- many-layered eggplant and zucchini -- is worth straying off the set menu for? Dinner that night looks like Scarpetta or Sage.

Lunch Friday has got to be Lotus of Siam. Dinner Le Cirque. Saturday brunch Border Grill. Saturday dinner before an 11:30p plane -- Sage? Enough time?

There's still so much on my list I would love to do -- Chinatown dim sum, Raku, the ramen place people rave about, Hash house for fried chicken eggs benedict, sushi samba which is a usual fave ... thoughts? additions? Also, all I've read about even the better buffets like Wicked Spoon leads me to not include them, but I must say I'm entranced by the pictures of the desserts. I'm an absolute fiend for macarons. Any recs for substitutes?

Thanks! Going off to eat my lean fish, spinach and quinoa lunch -- doing my best to look good in a bikini in Vegas while planning to totally bust any weight loss during the trip!

Apr 25, 2012
edub in Las Vegas

poke

Hello all,

I'm planning a food itinerary in early June and will be sure to have more questions. One concerning poke: are the places to get poke in Chinatown worth a special trip? Hubs and I are big sushi/tartar fans and have never had poke, and don't have anything like this where we live. If so, where would you recommend?

Thanks!

Apr 25, 2012
edub in Las Vegas

Zoofari?

I'd love to hear what others think. I'm on the fence this year. I've gone twice, both times pregnant, so while I partook of the "all you can eat" aspect with reckless abandon, I've never gotten to enjoy the adult beverages. This year, trying to lose the baby weight and one day send my kids to college, I'm trying to decide if we can justify the cost ($150 for FONZ members, $200 for non -- hannikins, where have you seen lion lounge tickets at $175? That's the "VIP" version -- did it last year, somewhat worth it.)

Oenophiles, any thoughts on these wines and wine providers?
WINE
Between gourmet fare, enjoy wine from local and international vineyards. Featured vintners include:

•Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
•Barrel Oak Winery
•Constellation Wines US
•Dry Creek Vineyard, Left Coast Cellars, Toad Hollow Winery
•Freixenet USA
•J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
•(Oops) Wines, Santos Sangria, Chocolato
•Pearson's Wine and Liquor
•Pedroncelli Winery, Donati Family Vineyards
•Prestige Wine Group
•Terlato Wines International
•The Seeker
•Treasury Wine Estates
•Veritas Vineyard & Winery
•Willowcraft Farm Vineyards
•WJ Deutsch & Sons

On the restaurants, is it just me or is the quality of participants going down? They have Citronelle, Marcel and Restaurant Eve -- don't have Vidalia, and I'm quite sure they participated last year.

Apr 23, 2012
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

sour cherries at farmers markets?

Have I missed the season entirely? Has anyone seen them at a local farmers market or other store? Usually I go pick my own but I'm a little too pregnant this year. Thanks!

Jun 22, 2011
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

homemade tonic

Has anyone made tonic at home? Any recommendations for where to find cinchona bark locally as well as citric acid? Also a great recipe would be appreciated. I got a carbonation device for my husband for father's day and would love to serve him a great G&T that afternoon. Thanks!

Jun 10, 2011
edub in Washington DC & Baltimore

last-minute Saturday night reservations

Hello fellow Hounds,

I'm going to be in Montreal this Saturday night, and unexpectedly will have a babysitter, which is a wonderful change from our plans to eat peanut butter sandwiches with our toddler. Of course, I haven't made reservations so I know my chances with L'express or Garde-Manger are slim. Any recommendations for a low-key, easy-to-get Saturday night reservation somewhere near our hotel -- between Peel and McGill stations? I'd love some bistro-type food but we really aren't picky, especially on short notice.

Thanks!

May 23, 2011
edub in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Outdoor brunch recs

i'm looking for a great outdoor brunch place with outdoor seating options, anything sidewalk, patio, garden, or even street side tables with the accordion window/doors that make you feel like you're outside. I'm not willing to sacrifice food for atmosphere (and in that vein, can I even consider the boathouse in ctrl pk?) but on the other hand, have no problem grabbing doughnut plant and sitting outside if I can't find a worthwhile place for a sit-down brunch. Does Public have such outdoor options?

Thanks!

Apr 19, 2011
edub in Manhattan

Marea -- lunch or dinner?

Thanks steak -- was your trip a recent one? It sounds lik the prix fixe for lunch is 2 courses not three. Did you get the three courses or did you share with a dining companion? I'm sure two courses is enough food, I'm just wondering if dinner is the better bargain (although $89 is clearly not cheap!)

Mar 15, 2011
edub in Manhattan