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bill_in_dunn's Profile

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Vegas report

Thanks for an interesting report. I agree about the Mesa Grill and look forward to trying the Country Club. However, I've tried the dulce de leche brioche at the Jean Philippe Patisserie and found it to be not all that great. Perhaps its only good with a steaming caffe latte.

Jan 12, 2007
bill_in_dunn in Southwest

HELP... fingers are burning from cutting jalapenos. Remedies?

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer, which is mostly alcohol, next to the sink and apply it liberally to my hands, especially my finger tips, immediately after chopping jalapenos. Then I wash my hands with soap and water. This works well for me. But note this is to prevent a burn, but is not appropriate to cure a burn.

Jan 12, 2007
bill_in_dunn in Not About Food

Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. Las Vegas

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I went to Joël Robuchon at the Mansion about a year ago and thought it was the best restaurant in the US, in my experience. Went to L'Atelier in NYC four times in October and found it to be similarly wonderful. For reference I also like Jean Georges and Le Bernardin in NYC and Alex in Las Vegas. I strongly disliked Alain Ducasse in NYC and was not happy with Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas last year (although liked it a lot four years ago). I drink no alcohol so don't notice wine prices.

Jan 10, 2007
bill_in_dunn in Las Vegas

Cheese! Glorious Cheese!

One of my favorites is Parmigiano Reggiano (I'm using the fancy term rather than just parmesan, to indicate the good stuff imported from Italy), eaten and savored in small pieces. I cut thin wedges and break them into little "straws." If you like sharp cheddar you may like this. Expensive for sure, and more familiar on pasta. But so good eaten plain in small bites.

Jan 07, 2007
bill_in_dunn in Cheese

What is your favorite tomato/marinara sauce in a jar?

I use Muir Glen crushed fire roasted tomatoes (comes in a can rather than a jar) and add red wine, olive oil and a little sugar. Thicken it a bit by boiling.

Jan 04, 2007
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

what is it about eating out?

I generally prefer to eat at home, where the food is delicious, healthy and available when I want it. This often means a pizza, pasta or my sauté of chicken, peppers, onions, etc at 7 or 8 AM, shortly after finishing my morning bicycle ride. Hard to find these options in restaurants.

I do enjoy good restaurants while traveling, and keep a lookout for dishes to learn how to make at home. But even traveling I like to be able to prepare meals. If I'm staying with friends, its fun to cook together. Many hotel rooms provide fridges, enabling my standard breakfast of bran cereal with berries, walnuts and milk, with orange juice. Residence Inn provides a full kitchen, which I've occasionally used to throw little dinner parties for friends. In great food cities like New York and Las Vegas, I usually have such a long list of restaurants to visit that its hard to squeeze in any home cooking.

Jan 03, 2007
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

Port Washington, Wis

In 1968 I enjoyed Smith Brothers, mainly seafood and as I recall a bit scenic on the harbor.

Best Steak House in NYC?

They both had great flavor and were both tender. The Robuchon steak had a bit more visible fat and was more tender. One nice thing about Robuchon is that you can order your steak by the ounce, to get the size you want. You can also choose between US and Japanese Wagyu beef. At Per Se you just get a couple ounces as part of a long tasting menu.

I'd be interested to hear other opinions on the comparison between these two.

Dec 31, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Manhattan

Best Steak House in NYC?

The best steak I've had in NYC was the Wagyu rib eye at L'Atelier Joël Robuchon. The little piece of Wagyu steak at Per Se was great, but was only a sample. Perhaps they'd let you order a whole steak off menu, but it would have to be very expensive. I love the steak house feel at Keens and loved their mutton chop the one time I went there. Want to go back and try their steaks. Del Frisco has good meat and is also fun because its so large and busy. I enjoyed the steak house feel at Peter Luger and liked the food. But the fact that their porterhouse comes pre-sliced and sitting in a pool of melted butter suggests that they are trying to compensate for a lack of marbling in their meat. I've tried a few other steak places in NYC, but these are the highlights so far.

Steaks aren't hard to prepare, so the final result mostly depends on success at the butcher shop. You can make steaks at home as good as any you can buy in restaurants, if you can find really good meat.

Dec 31, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Manhattan

Phoenix restaurants - what's good? also scottsdale and tempe

Rancho Pinot Grill in Scottsdale. Try Nonni's Sunday Chicken.

Also, Los Sombreros in Tempe on North Scottsdale Road.

Dec 29, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Southwest

i am -gasp- hounded OUT!

During a Gourmet Death March in Vegas, I go to Noodles in the Bellagio every day or two for a nice big serving of their steamed veggies. Also try to do a lot of walking.

Dec 29, 2006
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

What Are The Best Dishes In The Whole World ?

One of the nominees would have to be Nonni’s Sunday Chicken at Rancho Pinot Grill in Scottsdale.

Dec 29, 2006
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

American breakfast - the meal still stuck in diners?

Hotels with international business travelers often include Japanese breakfast items in their buffets. I've seen this at the Hilton on 6th Avenue in NYC, and the Savoy in London (years ago, may have changed).
Also in NYC, check out Norma's in Le Parker Meridien hotel, where you can get unusual breakfast choices such as Foie Gras French Toast (I can't help but think of it as Foie Gras, Foie Gras, Foie Gras, Eggs and Foie Gras).

Dec 29, 2006
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

I don't see anything unusual here, do you?

Brings to mind the old Far Side cartoon, Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.

Thomas W's 2006 Las VegasTrip Report. Includes Mon Ami Gabi, Delmonico, Bradley Ogden, Lotus of Siam and much more

Great report, Thomas. You've sold me on Delmonico.

I had the Kobe steak at Bradley Ogden 3 or 4 years ago and it was great. But had it again a year ago and it wasn't so good. Last year my overall impression was a restaurant in decline. Loved the Mesa Grill, also at Caesar's.

By the way, Chinese New Year is a good time to visit Las Vegas if you like to see high rollers.


Dec 27, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Southwest

Good eats in Reading

I spent a couple months in Reading in 1998 and liked the fish and chips from a place called Top Table. Not sure if its still there.

Dec 25, 2006
bill_in_dunn in U.K./Ireland

White Castle

Hi Moz, it appears you don't have an "Underrated by Chowhounds" in your Profile. Perhaps White Castle is the answer. When I'm in a city with a White Castle I'll sometimes eat a couple of sliders because I get them so rarely. But I wouldn't steam hamburgers at home.

Dec 25, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Chains

Secret Ingredients

Around our house "the secret ingredient" is code for butter or cream. Not much of a secret, but they do have a magical effect.

Dec 25, 2006
bill_in_dunn in General Topics

disappointed with Alain Ducasse, but many NYC gems

I take an annual fall trip to NYC because it is the greatest city in the world, with fine food. I always want to try every Michelin 3 star in cities I visit, so this year went to Alain Ducasse for the first time. What a disappointment. My entre of New Zealand Bass with vegetables was very bland, and my appetizer of foie gras and tapioca ravioli with celery broth wasn't much better. My dessert was nothing special either. The bread, the cheese and the madelines after dessert were all good, but at a Michelin 3 star it is a shock to not find any inspiration in appetizer, entre or dessert. The first sign of trouble came during the ordering process, when our server brought a large truffle for us to smell in the hopes of luring us into ordering the $320 truffle tasting menu. That made it feel like just fancy a clip joint. I wonder how they got 3 stars?

This year I also tried Jean Georges for the first time, and it was a real treat. I ordered five dishes plus dessert and they were all delicious and interesting. For example, an earthy soup of mushrooms and root vegetables, contrasted by a maple foam. It was fun to try to guess the chef's intention with each dish, sort of like being a judge on Iron Chef. The servers were friendly and helpful in understanding the thought behind the food.

I went back to Le Bernardin a couple times and it was great as usual. Delicious food and very friendly people. Tried Per Se last year and it was great, but not worth the hassle of getting reservations when there are other equally good places that are easier to get into (I have heard folks say the same about the French Laundry).

Before this trip the best US restaurant in my experience was Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, in Las Vegas, so I was anxious to try the new L'Atelier Joël Robuchon in NYC. The food is just wonderful, and the counter seating is great. I ate there 4 times in 2 weeks, and had interesting conversations with other diners each time. Everyone who eats there is like a Chowhound. One lady sitting next to me wanted to eat lightly so shared part of each of her dishes with me - she and her husband are from Kentucky and also own an apartment in Manhattan. There was a recent thread about the best steakhouse in NYC, and I would say that the best steak I've had in the city is the Kobe rib eye at Joël Robuchon with their truffle mash potatoes. They even have a great seasonal vegetable salad you can eat as a starter and great desserts, to create a reasonable steakhouse experience.

Of course, NYC has great food beyond the Michelin 3 stars. I always go to Katz's for pastrami, ordered "juicy", and to Barney Greengrass for smoked fish. I also love Suzu Sushi on 1st Avenue near 58th. Went to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn for pizza and they do have great crust. However, I prefer the pizzas I make at home (sacrilege?) but their crust is better. Waiting for the loo is a chance to watch them putting pies into and out of their very hot coal oven. Nice walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on the way there and back, too. The morning beignets on the lower level of Grand Central are nice.

Last year I tried Peter Lugar's Steakhouse in Brooklyn. The steakhouse experience was great, but I'm sorry to say the meat itself was nothing special. Sliced and sitting in a pool of melted butter is not a substitute for good marbling.

My wife is generally not interested in NYC, although I have lured her there several times for Atlantic crossings via the QE2. In Sept 2000 we went to the Windows on the World, rest in peace, where the food and the view were just wonderful. Her brother said it was the best restaurant he'd eaten in. I'd say the old Lucas Carton in Paris was the best I'd eaten in, although the best meals I've had have been in private homes. Not that my friends are better cooks than the great chefs, but it's hard for a restaurant to match the personal attention paid to home meals.

I'm always happy to hear about good places to eat in NYC.

Dec 24, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Manhattan

suggestions for lunch after Metropolitan Museum

If your feet aren't sore from a morning at the museum,
you can walk across the park to Barney Greengrass on
Amsterdam between 86th and 87th.

Dec 23, 2006
bill_in_dunn in Manhattan