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Experiences with Abigail Kirsch or recommendations for other large event caterers?

This is wonderful information, ManhattanLawyer. We actually sampled around quite a lot, but then ended up having to go with Abigail Kirsch after all because of the event space we chose. (Pain in the ars, really.) I don't think AK is as good as Creative Edge, but their food is fair -- better than average, probably, for the genre.

Again, I appreciate everyone's suggestions. This thread was just incredibly helpful to us.

Jan 22, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

aburiya kinnosuke or sakagura?

I strongly disagree with you (as usual). To each her own.

Jan 22, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

French for a Francophile

Thanks for the very nice write-up, Ora.

Jan 22, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

sides for this pork tenderloin

I've made this recipe (or a very, very similar one), too, and agree with trenterelli: potatoes (I do roasted baby reds) and roasted Brussels sprouts work very well. I've also served with sauteed Swiss chard and parsnip puree. A bit of bitterness is a nice contrast to the sweet and creamy elements.

Jan 21, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

aburiya kinnosuke or sakagura?

The food is better at Aburiya; the sake is much better at Sakagura. If you drink enough, you'll think the food is better there, too.

Atm. if very different. Aburiya is brightly lit, more restauranty in feel. Sakagura is dark and sort of feels like the (fairly nice-looking) hole in the ground it is.

Jan 21, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Tonight: Fatty Crab or Mary's Fish Camp?

Fatty Crab -- because I want to get into Mary's Fish Camp, tonight.

Just kidding.

IMHO, Fatty Crab is not even remotely in the same league. Much of the menu is not well prepared: the Hainan chicken rice is a horrible bastardization of one of the most simply beautiful dishes in the world, pork belly preps come out rubbery more often than crisp. OTOH, Mary's Fish Camp can be a pain in the ars to get into oftentimes, since there's usually a long line at the door. The food is competent to good, there, though.

[I should note that my assessment of Fatty Crab is based almost completely on my experiences at the UWS location; I've only been to the downtown location once. I don't know if the quality of the food varies by location.]

If Mary's Fish Camp is too full to get into, Extra Virgin down the block is not a bad option for Italian. And across 7th Ave, there's a new Scottish pub called the Highlands that serves a beautifully prepared wine-braised leg of lamb and nice cocktails.

Jan 21, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

French for a Francophile

Ouest is probably best described as nouveau-French or heavily French influenced new American. The kitchen uses a lot of traditional techniques and ingredients, there are lots of traditional French sauces and dressings at play on the menu, and the fresh-from-the-oven mini baguettes for the table are as delicious and perfect an example of the genre as you'd find anywhere in France (or at least as I've found anywhere in France).

I don't know how traditional the gravlax with chickpea pancake, caviar and mustard oil is -- maybe the chickpea pancake is based on southern French socca? -- but it's a fantastically good appetizer. The house smoked sturgeon with lardons, frisee and egg *is* very recognizeably French and it's very well made, here.

Here's the full menu if you want to make your own determintion: http://ouestny.com/dinner.html

----

Really, any Boulud restaurant would fit the bill. Daniel isn't too far away across Central Park.

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Big group for restaurant week

I've been to the 21 Club for lunch with a group of ten and ordered off the RW menu. I thought the food was pretty mediocre and unexciting, personally, but maybe it is more to your taste.

Happy birthday. :)

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Chinatown

You could try a variety of Chinatown experiences. A few that I like:

-- Xi'an Famous Foods for the hole in the wall experience. Only two seats there, so be prepared to take out and eat in the 88 East B'way mall. All the soups I've tried have been wonderful. It's well known for the lamb 'burgers' (actually stewed lamb or pork on flatbread) and cumin lamb noodles.

-- Red Egg or Dim Sum Go Go for more modern styles of dim sum. Red Egg is also a good place to go for cocktails. They have a happy hour with dim sum items are half off and cocktails are two for one.

-- Bubble tea (especially taro) and egg custard tarts on just about every corner. I personally really like the tarts at the Manna House Bakery on Mott St.

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Do You Need to Cook Canned Pumpkin?

Canned pumpkin always tastes a bit 'raw' and unfinished to me (there's that sharpish, sourish flavor that I associate with raw produce), though I think it has been cooked to some degree. I'd cook it a bit to mellow the flavors.

Bittman has a decent recipe for savory pumpkin custard if you're looking for ideas.

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

French for a Francophile

Ora, look into Ouest. The food -- especially the red meat preps -- is very good. Cafe Boulud might also be interesting, especially for charcouterie.

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Cabrito

It's a pretty small restaurant, but I don't think they've been doing great business lately, so there's a good chance they'd accommodate you.

Re: food, the cabrito is inconsistent and often not very good / oversalted. But I've had pretty good luck with the lengua and fish tacos. Drinks are inventive and decently mixed.

Jan 19, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Vegetarian Meat Analogs

Dragonfly closed a few years ago, if we're talking about the one that used to be on 7th Ave. in the WV. AFAIK, they haven't reopened at a different location.

Jan 18, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Northern Chinese / Taiwanese Breakfast in MANHATTAN

China Fun on the UWS has:

shien dofu nao
sau bing you tiao (congee with thousand year eggs also available)
sau bing stuffed with sliced roast pork
glutinous rice rolls filled with rou sung

They don't have niu rou jia bing or lou buh su bing. Saint's Alp Teahouse has lou buh su bing, I think.

Like Lau said of the UES location, the UWS China Fun is just fair, not actively good. But it's nice if you can't get out to Flushing.

Jan 18, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

I have enough Kimchi for all my friends, now what?

hannaone covers pretty much all my bases (and then some), except that I also stuff it in the middle of omusubi / onigiri and use it in bindae duk (similar to kimchi jeon, except made with mung beans instead of wheat flour). this is the only recipe for bindae duk i've tried and it seems to work out well: http://kitschow.blogspot.com/2009/04/...

I'll also put in an extra plug for kimchi jichae. It's really easy to make and incredibly nice to eat when it's cold out. And since you're in Chicago... it *is* really good on hotdogs, no joke.

I had the same problem a while after making a family sized vat for my family of three (one if you consider that the SO and the dog don't eat kimchi). You'll eventually just start adding it to everything: sandwiches, pizzas, soups, breakfast cereal.

[hannaone's blog has solid recipes for most/all of the korean dishes he mentions.]

Jan 17, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Making butter with tweens

They might find butter-making delicious, but there's a good chance that they've done this on many occasions already. Just about every elementary school and Sunday school class I ever attended as a kid made butter at some point.

I like small_h's suggestion of a cheesemaking demo. Maybe you could try making yogurt cheese? I know it takes a while, but you could bring in an example of the finished product and have the students set up a strainer during your visit, with directions on when / how to finish it up.

You could also have the kids plant indoor herb gardens during your session.

Jan 17, 2010
cimui in Not About Food

Interesting meals based around eggs?

I just had oeufs en meurette for the first time in a long time this a.m. and was reminded of how fabulous this dish is. It's a slightly more involved dish to whip up.

Also noticed this older thread, which might be helpful: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/597780

Jan 16, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Interesting meals based around eggs?

Very nice, Sir 'dixit. I'm convinced at this point that runny yolk eggs are the next bacon: Everything is better with it.

Why do you let it rest for a minute? Is it to let the yolk trickle down?

Jan 15, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Interesting meals based around eggs?

Mmm... My favorite fried eggs are really, really basic: leftover white rice + a few eggs + chives and a sprinkle of sesame seeds or drizzle of toasted sesame oil just before serving. Good stuff, chef c.

Jan 15, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Interesting meals based around eggs?

I do so love a good Chinese tea or marinated egg -- but that's more of a snack or side than a meal. I also make a highly inauthentic migas, sometimes with stale corn chips (chilaquiles style). It's actually probably just safer to call it a tortilla chip, egg and salsa sautee, topped with cotija.

If you've an adventurous palate, how 'bout a sliced thousand year egg with congee?

Jan 15, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Interesting meals based around eggs?

>>I just posted this on another budget eating post, but a favorite meal is steamed/roasted/sauteed/grilled asparagus w/ a poached/fried/soft boiled egg over it, topped w/ parmesan and black pepper and maybe a touch of lemon.

This is a ridiculously, mind-blowingly good dish! I love it, especially when the egg yolk is still a bit runny and you mix it in with everything else. Usually served in my house as an appetizer, but if you're a light eater, it could be a meal.

Jan 15, 2010
cimui in Home Cooking

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

I equate slow roasting on a spit with what you call spit grilled. Perhaps I'm being fast and loose with the term, but I think both involve exposure to direct heat. How are they different?

Sorry you don't like Sobre Ruedas (it's the same thing as the Super Tacos truck). I think it's usually quite good for Manhattan. I guess everything is always better in Queens and Brooklyn, but the OP asked about Manhattan and alas, here we are.

I'd love to hear what your picks are for this borough.

Jan 15, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Quality evening meals in Manhattan for under $70 per person

Russbear, take heed! These are all excellent suggestions and daveena has some well honed tastebuds. (Tastebuds of steel, as they were.)

For restaurants close to where you're staying, I'd also add:

- Aquavit Cafe (Swedish / Scandinavian)
- The Modern Bar Room (note: smallish portions)
- The London Bar (tapas / snacks)

For slightly less expensive, solid (though not amazing) options, there's also Landmarc at the Time Warner Center (59th St. Columbus Circle) and Sarabeth's on Central Park South.

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

Hmm. I'm working from (frequently faulty) memory, but I do seem to remember it being "Super Tacos" in the plural. And there does seem to be some Google backup for this impression: http://events.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/... , http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/...

Hungrycomposer, if looking for the plural or non-plural version of the truck is too confusing, just look for the words "Sobre Ruedas" emblazoned on the truck. Don't think any other taco truck uses that in their name in NYC.

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

Ah, sorry -- I didn't mean to call you just any old "someone". :)

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

Sobre Ruedas is at 14th and 7th Ave (southwestern corner) during the day. I think around 5 or so, they head up to the UWS to park at 96th St. / B'way. I like the taco fillings there (and the guys who work there) a lot better than the ones at El Idolo: Sobre Rueda's meat fillings tend to be a lot more tender and nuanced in flavor. (For the record, El Idolo does have better tamales.)

I'll have to look for Paty's -- thanks!

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Giving little kids expensive food -- am I off base?

catherine, are you really 14? you might win the award for being the most precocious (posting) chowhound, ever. :)

welcome!

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Not About Food

Giving little kids expensive food -- am I off base?

I think your issue might be with food waste more generally and not necessarily with children.

I feel a little twinge of remorse everytime I have a dinner party and, when I'm clearing plates, notice that a guest (generally adult) took a huge helping of something I worked very hard on and/or or something that was very expensive, and then left most of it uneaten. I have a dear friend whom I love dearly and is in almost all respects one of the best human beings I know, but she's always dieting. She often takes a large portion onto her plate so it looks like her plate is full, but throughout dinner, she'll cut up all the food and shove it around, hide it in a baked potato, etc.., but not actually eat it. It is sad to me, but by now, I've learned not to give her as much of my white truffle risotto as I want her to have if I'm plating for her.

I can understand the discomfort you have with children wasting good food, as well, though I don't think I would personally consider a taste of an expensive item at my home a waste.

As a slightly analogous aside: on the occasions where we've been invited to dinner parties with our dog and I want to feed my pup a bit of cartilage or other food off my plate -- at home, we often give him bits of our food so long as he's not begging and the food is not very salty or spicy (or oniony or chocolate covered, etc..) -- I always ask the person who cooked whether they'd mind. Maybe as a parent, it's good practice to ask both the child whether she'd like a taste and the host or hostess whether they'd mind. That way there's less likelihood of the food going to waste.

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Not About Food

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

>>When I first moved here a pig couldn't get arrested in the East Village.

A few years ago hardly anyone could get arrested in the EV.

Anyway, which 14th St. taco truck are you talking about? I've noticed Sobre Ruedas parked there during the day on several occasions, but I think there are others, too.

Sobre Ruedas does have a pretty decent version most of the time, though it varies wildly in quality, I guess depending on who's at the grill and how busy they are. They do include little bits of pineapple and at its best, the meat is tender, though I'm pretty sure not slow-roasted. (At its worst, the meat is dry and tough from having been reheated on the grill one too many times.) Tacos are served with a sprinkle of cilantro and onions if you want them. Tortillas are packaged, but most of the guys who work at the truck do a nice job of grilling them before serving.

Jan 14, 2010
cimui in Manhattan

Tacos Al Pastor in Manhattan?

Hey, maybe it would be helpful to you to explain what you mean by "best". Do you require that the pork be spit roasted? Do you have to have pineapple and homemade tortillas? Do you like / mind 'gringo' additions like lettuce?

Sorry, I don't mean to be obnoxious in throwing these questions back at you, but the word "best" means so many different things to different people!

Anyway, for whatever it's worth, my favorite tacos al pastor are (like a_and_w) from Tulcingo del Valle and Noche Mexicana, where the pork is really tender and is cooked with bits of pineapple. I don't remember seeing a spit at either place, though someone in this older thread claims that they saw one at Tulcingo: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/209314

Both places just use plain ol' store-bought tortillas.

[Grain of salt: I haven't eaten at many places in the East Village and I know there are supposed to be a number of good Mexican / taco places in that nabe.]

Jan 13, 2010
cimui in Manhattan