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Berlin food meetups?

Hi linguafood,

Thanks for the tip. I read your posts here and also check your blog from time to time, and I'd secretly hoped you'd reply to my post :)
I didn't realize you weren't in Berlin anymore, though! Schade.

But, I will check qype and hopefully meet some people there...

Thanks again.

Sep 02, 2010
hongry_hippo in Europe

Berlin food meetups?

Hi,

I don't know if this is the appropriate section for this post, but I looked around and couldn't find a more suitable category...

I'm wondering if anyone in Berlin is interested in meeting up for various food-oriented adventures -- whether it's trying new restaurants, visiting old favorites, venturing far for a particular specialty, or anything else food-related, really.

Maybe an activity group of this kind already exists, in which case I'd love to find out more about it. I've done the Berlin Dinner Club before, and it isn't exactly what I'm looking for. I'm hoping for something a little more casual, impromptu, and not entirely confined to restaurant dining.

I am totally food-obsessed, and I realized that, after living in Berlin for 1 1/2 years, I actually don't have any friends here who are also food-obsessed. Which means that I don't spend enough time doing what it is I enjoy doing most -- discovering new food and eating it.

Does this sound fun to anyone?

Sep 01, 2010
hongry_hippo in Europe

Leaving NYC Dinner celebration...where to go??

Hello Chowhounds,

I am moving out of the country and therefore leaving NYC indefinitely. I can't seem to decide where to go for my farewell dinner. Intuitively, I think that I'd like to go somewhere I've been before, but due to a couple of constraints I'm drawing a blank on suitable favorite restaurants. Therefore, I'm open to any suggestions anyone has on a fun place to go to dinner with 6-8 close friends, probably next Monday or Tuesday (I'm flying out on Wednesday).

Here are a few thoughts/criteria:

- Should be fairly inexpensive (< $20 per entree, or family style might be a good option)
- Would prefer not to do something in Chinatown, as I just had a group dinner there last night with many of the same people for Chinese New Year
- Would prefer a downtown location
- A couple places that have come to mind are Frank (mostly because it's casual and seems quintessentially New York) and Ippudo (mostly because it's big and casual, and not too expensive).

Does anyone have any ideas? I feel like this should be super easy, but I'm not coming up with much...

Thanks!

Jan 27, 2009
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Carnegie Hill/UES Grocery Shopping

I live on 89th and Lex and a few months ago, suspecting that the grocery business might be one of the biggest scams in NY, I actually did a comparison between all the neighborhood grocery store options (in a spreadsheet! I know, uber-nerdy). The results were exactly as you're all reporting...Gristedes, Pioneer, and Food Emporium are all horribly overpriced. Key Foods was the best of the major chains in the area, I think, but it was still WAY more than FreshDirect or Fairway. On countless items, Gristedes, Pioneer, etc. had prices that were double what Fairway was charging! Fairway was by far the cheapest, and it's definitely my favorite store. I know it's not in the neighborhood, but I determined that if doing a major shopping trip, it would actually be cheaper to go there and take a cab back than to shop at one of the local options. I also eat pretty healthily, so for everyday shopping I can usually get what I need at either the health food store on Lex and 87th, or the bigger one on 3rd and 92nd. Also, Nature's Gifts for produce is pretty decently priced as someone mentioned.

Jul 30, 2008
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Wondee Siam I or II?

I agree that the food is better at WS I. Did you know there's a WS III now on 10th Avenue? I haven't been, but I've heard it's more expensive, so presumably the ambience is a little better.

Jul 30, 2008
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Dishes that wowed you

Basil chicken (with ground chicken) from Wondee Siam
Portuguese egg custard from Egg Custard King
Roasted chicken w/ green sauce (the chicken is just a vehicle for the sauce) from Pio Pio
Fresh greens with butter encrusted farm egg; the chicken; and the chocolate peanut butter sundae from Blue Hill Stone Barns
Jasmine rice w/ black and adzuki beans and basil from City Bakery
Black & White cookie from Moishe's
Irish soda bread from Amy's Bread
Hummus & eggs from Cafe Mogador
Balthazar Salad from Balthazar
Canneles from Balthazar or L'Occitane
Hummus from Hummus Place

I concur on:
Square slice from DiFaras
Rock shrimp tempura from Nobu
Tapioca dumplings from Dim Sum A-Go-Go
Truffled egg toast from 'inoteca

Dec 14, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

who sells the best hummus

I also vote for the Hummus Place. It's my favorite in the city. I agree that Sabra makes the tastiest store-bought version, but be warned that they do use preservatives, and I've found that a day or so after opening, the hummus starts to taste a tad chemical.

Dec 13, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Union Square basic workday lunch ideas?

Hi,
I've been working in Union Square for years and am desperately in need of new workday lunch ideas (ideally less than $10). This is for a regular takeout, non-sit down lunch. Here are my current standbys:

Rainbow Falafel
City Bakery
Manna
Chipotle
Maoz Falafel
Whole Foods
Barocco
Medina
Zen Palate (now closed)
Choshi
Republic
Trevi Deli on Park/17th (their ABLT sandwich is good)
Green Cafe on Park/17th (their udon lunch is ok)
Tisserie

I've also been to: Cosi, Mandler's, Enjuu (sp?), Chop't, Tossed, and others that I probably can't think of right now. I don't often venture over to 3rd or 2nd Avenues, so I'm hoping there are some gems there. Again, I'm hoping for suggestions on a non-sit down meal; something that can be brought back to the office for that perennial desk lunch. Please help save me from my lunchtime gloom!

Dec 06, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

German/Euro style doner kebabs in NYC?

Reviving this old thread because I'm having a craving and haven't found much in the way of updates on the topic in the past year. I saw a thread in which the now defunct Kebap G (on the UES) was mentioned as a purveyor of the German-Turkish style of doner kebabs, as well as Ali Bab on 34th Street, but are there any other existing places serving these that you know of?

Dec 06, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

no tap water - and no good food - at Trattoria Pesce Pasta

I noticed this thread and feel compelled to add my comments. I went to the Pesce Pasta on the UES (3rd and 87th) this past weekend, and the food was unbelievably terrible. I was truly astonished at how bad it was. Appetizers of fried calamari and broccoli rabe were ok, but our two entrees -- the Lasagna and Fettuccine Amatriciana -- were awful, awful, awful. Just unfathomably awful! The lasagna filling resembled refried beans, and the dish was so unappealingly rich and dense that it was seriously inedible after a few bites. How can lasagna be bad?! The Fettuccine was overcooked (it tasted like soggy egg noodles), and the sauce was so bland as to be completely unrecognizable as an amatriciana sauce (not spicy, no semblance of bacon flavor whatsoever). It's not like I have high standards or am being snobby; this food was simply and unequivocally bad. I will never go back there again.

Nov 27, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Bun on Grand Street -- anyone been?

Hi,

Has anyone been to Bun on Grand Street yet? I just found out about this new restaurant and was surprised to find zero posts on the restaurant. It has the same owners as Bao 111. I like Bao 111 a lot, but had read some negative reviews of their newer venture Mai House (I've never been), so I'm wondering how this new place fares. They serve Vietnamese small plates, so I'm kind of hoping it's in the vein of Kuma Inn (which I love)...anyone?

Nov 27, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Thai Milano (UES)

Hi MMRuth,
I've been doing a lot of searches on the UES (just moved to the neighborhood -- I'm on 89th between Lex and 3rd), and have seen a lot of your posts. Looking forward to trying some of your recommendations. I ordered from Thai Milano last night, and I am completely open to it having been a bad night, or just bad luck, but I have to say it was disappointing. We ordered the Basil Chili sauce w/ chicken, and many of the chicken pieces were severely undercooked (it was quite disconcerting). I also ordered the Thai fried rice, which was ok. It was definitely missing that nice charred taste that you mentioned and that typically makes for a good fried rice dish. Maybe the woks were underheated that night or something! We also got the red curry w/ tofu, which was pretty good. Taste-wise, everything was ok I guess -- maybe just an off night for execution. Anyway, just wanted to make a note of it. Since you've ordered from them several times, hopefully my experience was just a fluke. Thanks again for all of your UES posts!

Sep 27, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Wondee Siam 3 (UES) - New Owner Alert

On 3rd Avenue, between 80th and 81st streets. On east side of avenue.

Sep 26, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Best Upper East Side Diner

I just moved to the area (89th and Lex) and am in search of a good neighborhood diner. I've done a search and seem to have identified some clear favorites (Mansion, Viand) but thought I'd start a specific post on the subject to make sure I was exhaustive.

In my early exploration I've tried Highlands (on 3rd and 85th I think) and also Midnight Express (around 2nd and 89th). Both were fine, but not particularly memorable. I walked by the Jackson Hole on Madison yesterday and thought I might give that a try next. Any other suggestions? I would love to hear your votes on the best!

Sep 24, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Wondee Siam 3 (UES) - New Owner Alert

I passed by the other day and noticed they'd changed both the menu AND the name of the restaurant (it's now called "EAT", and it's got that hyper-designed look that's typical of many Thai restaurants in the city these days). I haven't tried any of the other Thai places in the area, so I'll take your word for it that this one's one of the better ones.

Sep 24, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Wondee Siam....what am I doing wrong?

I think the Pad Kra Prow with ground chicken (you have to request that the chicken be ground) is superb. I think it might be their signature dish.

Sep 18, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Wondee Siam 3 (UES) - New Owner Alert

I've been a big fan of Wondee Siam in Hell's Kitchen for awhile now, and so I was thrilled that they'd opened up a 3rd outlet on the UES (where I just moved). I've ordered delivery from them a couple of times, and it was good, but not as good as the original. Recently when I ordered the Pad Kra Prow (with ground chicken -- absolutely essential), I was told they'd no longer be offering it with the ground chicken option. That was disappointing, and it raised a red flag (I've been getting the ground chicken for years from the original location). When I later stopped in to pick up a menu, I was told that there was a new owner (of just Wondee Siam 3 -- not the others) and that they'd be changing the menu in the next week. I love Wondee and am really sorry to hear that they sold off #3 so quickly. I guess I'll keep my fingers crossed that the quality will remain (or even improve; like I said, #3 has been good, but not great).

Sep 12, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Chicken & Waffles place in Clinton Hill

Has anyone been to the chicken & waffles place on Clinton Avenue (off Myrtle) in Clinton Hill? I noticed it for the first time recently (they might have just put the big "Chicken and Waffles" banner that I saw). In doing some searches, I think it might be called Little House on Clinton. Has anyone been?

Jul 11, 2007
hongry_hippo in Outer Boroughs

I need coconut water AND coconut milk

The Vietnamese sandwich place on Broome & Mott sells fresh coconut juice. Maybe you could place a bulk order with them.

Jul 08, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Stuffed Lotus-leaf "jungs" for May 5 Festival?

Does anyone know where to get zhongzi that does not have MSG in it? I love the ones at May May, but they're loaded with MSG (I get that horrible MSG feeling whenever I eat them, and the store conceded that all of their varieties have MSG). I would love to find some that are tasty and MSG-free, if possible.

Jun 23, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Ramen Setagaya (らーめん せたが屋) 1st Ave (btw 8 & 9)

Went today for dinner a little before 7pm and got seated right away (Minutes later there was a line out the door that wrapped around the restaurant). Had the shio ramen and concur with Silverjay. I especially liked the noodles -- they were super chewy. It appeared as though the noodles w/ the dipping version were much thicker, but I can't be sure.

Jun 21, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Black & White Cookies?

Had a very good black & white at the Naked City cafe in Hell's Kitchen (on 9th avenue, around 53rd I think). It's a pretty small cafe that serves some baked goods and some items from Balthazar, but the black & whites are made in house. Good cakey texture and firm, tasty frosting. Not sure if I'd say they're the best in the city, as I haven't done a comprehensive survey (eg, never tried Pick a Bagels, etc), but it's worth trying if you're in the area. Also had a black & white from the Bread Company further down 9th (around 43rd), and that one was terrible.

May 31, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

BIRDIES ON FIRST AVENUE

I went there with a couple of friends about a month ago, and we all liked it (been meaning to post a review, as I'd seen a couple negative ones on here). The fried chicken was salty and crispy, and the jerk chicken was delicious (although EXTREMELY spicy). We also tried the vegetarian chicken nugget-type things, and those were just ok. The vegetarian smothered chicken, however, was amazing (surely good enough to satisfy meat eaters). Apparently the veggie chicken used in the smothered dish is 100% soy-based, even though its texture was almost indistinguishable from seitan. Fried okra was good, green beans were excellent. The apple pie was great, as was the banana cream pie. Both had really good crusts. And the proprietor is nice and friendly too. I recommend it!

May 31, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Where to find Korean rainbow cake (mujigae ddeok?)

Hi surly,

I know it's been awhile, but I hadn't logged in in months and just read your reply. Thanks for the info -- will definitely check out the rice cake specialists if I'm ever in the areas you mention.

Thanks again!

May 30, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Amsterdam May 2007 reviews

Just got back from a week in Amsterdam and ate at the following places:

Snackbird Thai restaurant (Center): fairly reliable Thai. Went here a couple of times and got the basil chicken (good), green curry tofu (good), vegetable fried rice (good), and noodles in beef soup (this either was pho or very similar to it. I'm not a fan of pho so I didn't like this too much). Not as good as, say, Wondee Siam in NYC, but definitely good. Entrees (except for fancy meat dishes) tend to be in the 8-10 euro range.

Warung Spang Makanda (Pijp): I got a great vegetarian dish here, the Veg. Roti Speciaal. It came with a roti, curried potatoes, diced tempeh (I think it was tempeh, anyway), hollow green beans, and bok choy. I think it was around 8 euro or something, and totally delicious. Oh, and the vegetarian saoto soup was really good too. My boyfriend got some kind of sampler of chicken, nasi goreng, mee goreng, and vegetables that was totally upstaged by the food I ordered.

Van Dobben (Rembrandtsplein): The krokets are amazing!! They're 2.25 euro each and come on a buttered roll (to which you can and should add mustard). They basically taste like pot pie filling with a superbly rendered crispy crust (doesn't feel super greasy or anything). Also tried the tomatensoup which you can avoid. Didn't know what anything else on the menu was.

De Kas (outside city center): This was my second visit, and it was pretty good, but I don't know that I'd go back again. It's good, but definitely expensive (our total bill came to 162 euro), and I can't say it was otherworldly or even particularly exceptional. I'm a huge fan of Blue Hill (at Stone Barns) in New York, so in theory De Kas has always appealed to me. The setting is very nice, and this time we had a drink in the garden before dinner. It was just the right time of day, and the light was perfect -- I definitely recommend getting a drink out there beforehand if the weather is nice. Their snacking olives are really good. As appetizers, they served a zucchini lasagna, asparagus two ways (fried and w/ hollandaise foam, and in a salad), and halibut (I think it was halibut anyway; I'm bad with identifying fish) w/ fresh herbs and an olive tapenade. All were pretty good but not outstanding. I opted for a fish entree, which was prepared well and came with delicately seasoned potatoes. My boyfriend got the lamb, which he said was delicious. We got the optional cheese plate, which was served with raisin bread and pretty good. Dessert was strawberry sorbet (w/ fresh strawberries) and panna cotta w/ lemon curds. Again, very edible but nothing to gloat about.

Japanese Pancake House (Jordaan): I concur with the reviews on this board that say this place is excellent. Had the Osaka okonomiyaki with marinated beef, and a Hiroshima pancake with courgettes. Both were delicious and not overly doused w/ sauce or mayo (which I tend to find).

Green Planet (Spuistraat): I'd been to this vegetarian restaurant on a previous visit and loved it. This time, I have to say I was a bit disappointed, although I still love the laid-back atmosphere and general concept of the restaurant. There are only a few staple dinners, and most of them sound pretty boring. Every night they have a special entree for 10.90 euro which includes a salad, but they were out of that night's special when I got there (it had been Gnocchi Bolognese). So, I resorted to one of the staples, a Coconut vegetable curry, and it was fairly bland and definitely overpriced at around 16 euro. My boyfriend got the lasagna, and that was pretty good.

Pasta di Mamma (Museumplein): This Italian sandwich chain got good reviews in a Netherlands restaurant guide (similar to Zagats), so I thought I'd give it a try. Nothing special, although the sandwiches (one caprese, one salami & peppers) were perfectly edible.

Noordermarkt organic market (on Saturday): I loved this market. All of the stalls looked delicious. Of particular note, there was a vegetarian pate stall that was my favorite. I got the vegan spicy mushroom pate, and it was excellent.

Nieuwmarkt organic market (on Saturday): We were staying in this area and so got a chance to check this market out as well. It wasn't as fun as the Noordermarkt, but still pretty good for cheese, bread, and vegetables and fruits.

Albert Cuyp Market: The two times I've been to Amsterdam, I've visited this market and been wholly disappointed. Maybe I'm missing something, but most of the stalls seemed to be selling cheap clothing, perfume, housewares, and the like. The few food stalls that were there weren't particularly interesting. Maybe it depends on the day that you go? I went on a Tuesday, so maybe the weekend is better?

Food, Drink & Restaurant Suggestions for Aachen, Germany

How funny -- I just returned from Aachen a few days ago (perhaps we were there at the same time). Before I left, I'd checked here for any suggestions, but nothing came up. Was only there for a few days, but would definitely recommend the printen. The Nobis bakery has pretty good stuff (I tried printen from a couple of places and this was my favorite). The dark chocolate covered printen (either with or without peanuts) was the best, in my opinion, although the regular glazed printen was pretty good too. If you like it, stock up (I regret not buying more!), because it apparently lasts for about 3 months. I stayed at the Novotel there, and across the street was something called "Sultans of Kebap". Their Chicken Doner sandwich was amazing, and only 3 euro. I had dinner at the Aachener Brauhaus (I'll admit I learned of it through an ad aimed for tourists), and while I don't know much about German cuisine, we were perfectly satisfied with our meal. We tried the schnitzel with mushroom sauce, the fried sausage w/ sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, and had apple streudel for dessert. Again, I have no idea if it was authentic or not, but it was pretty tasty! If for some reason you're also staying at the Novotel, avoid their room service for sure. Also avoid the many little ice cream shops (not sure how to describe how to best identify the ones I'm talking about, but these are places where a single cone will run you about 50 cents); I found them to be very artificial tasting. Finally, if you come across a little shop in the Markt area selling dessert waffles, definitely try one -- they're kind of glazed/carmelized and they are fantastic. I was only there for a few days, so that's all I have. On a non-food related note, I would highly recommend the Carolus Thermen spa (the sauna is crucial if you go) if you have time. Enjoy!

Mochi??

Thanks so much -- I hadn't seen that thread. The fresh mochi I've been making seems to harden way too fast (within hours), and the extent to which it hardens was surprising to me (it's not so much a "staleness" as an actual rock-hard shell that hardens). I'm starting to think perhaps making mochi from the glutinous rice flour might be better for my tastes. Thanks again for the link.

May 01, 2007
hongry_hippo in Home Cooking

Mochi??

I too am a mochi enthusiast and actually found and purchased a mochi maker (Tiger brand) a few months ago in NYC. Does anyone actually own one? I am having trouble finding usage tips on the internet (and the instructions aren't very helpful). The mochi I've made so far is pretty good, but I think I need to work on perfecting the texture. Also, it pretty much needs to be eaten right away, or else it hardens pretty quickly. Can anyone offer advice?

May 01, 2007
hongry_hippo in Home Cooking

Where to find Korean rainbow cake (mujigae ddeok?)

Hmmm, that's good news, and very plausible, as I've not checked there in awhile. I'll make a point of checking next time I'm in the area (possibly for that korean fried chicken I've been hearing all about!). Thanks again.

Feb 28, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan

Where to find Korean rainbow cake (mujigae ddeok?)

Yes, Woorijip is where I used to see it. Haven't checked Hanyang Mart though, so thanks!

Feb 28, 2007
hongry_hippo in Manhattan