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Can I do anything about this?

Yup.

Dec 12, 2008
Chao in Not About Food

Can I do anything about this?

So, I called the place from which I obtained the gift certificate for my boss. It happens to be his favorite restaurant. The manager there was unwilling to replace the certificate, but fortunately I was able to wheedle a replacement out of him. As he handed it to me, he said"try not to let this one get stolen." Oh, how I adore being patronized. (I'm sure he didn't mean it that way... the events of last night have made me edgy)
The other gift card was from Borders and one of my co-workers is looking into replacing that.
So, lesson learned. Never leave gift cards out on the table. And we'll be finding a new place to host next year's holiday party, just in case.

Dec 12, 2008
Chao in Not About Food

Can I do anything about this?

Ok, this helps a lot. I have already called one of the places where a gift card originated, and will phone the other one today. I appreciate the advice from everyone. To answer some questions that have been raised, our group was one of 50 or so people who have all worked together for the past few years. It is, of course, possible that one of our group took the cards. Strange that they would contribute, sign the holiday card, and then walk off with said cards under the boss's nose, but I guess it could happen.
The restaurant where this occurred was staffed with young holiday help, and the cards were conspicuous in their value and in plain sight lying on the table, although the value of each was not announced. But it's true that I have no proof of wrong-doing by the restaurant employees.
Thanks again for the advice everyone!

Dec 12, 2008
Chao in Not About Food

Can I do anything about this?

Thanks for your comment; it really gets to the root of my frustration. Clearly (to me at least), the fault lies with an individual who most likely works at this restaurant (unless one of my co-workers was at the party took the cards, which is highly unlikely). My query is what, if anything, I can do about this situation. Do I alert the restaurant owner in writing that the situation occurred? Do I let my co-workers who weren't at the party know that they should guard their valuables when they go to this place (it is close to my workplace)? Or do I just write this off as an example of how crappy people can be?

Dec 11, 2008
Chao in Not About Food

Can I do anything about this?

Tonight we held our Holiday party at a local restaurant. It was a lovely evening until shortly after we (a close-knit group of about 50 people) presented our boss, as well as his boss (who was visiting from the UK), with sizable gift certificates to a local and an international business respectively. Roughly twenty minutes after receiving the gift cards, these cards “disappeared” from the table during the clearing of the dinner dishes.
I alerted the manager on duty, who began a sweep of the soiled linen bags as well as the trash. No sign of the gift cards was found. The manager assured me that this was a “closed room” situation; none of the trash, dishes, or linen from our party would have been mixed with that of the rest of the restaurant. Both managers on duty were unable to explain to us how they would handle this situation; they were only able to offer apologies for what might have happened.
Unfortunately, all signs point to the fact that the gift cards (value totaling $275.00) were stolen from the table.
I don't really know what recourse I have, short of writing a sternly worded letter (which will achieve nothing but may allow me to vent a bit).
Any advice?

Dec 11, 2008
Chao in Not About Food

Pond

My husband took me to dinner at Pond last night for our first anniversay. We had not been before, but after reading some reviews posted here, decided to give it a try. The setting is lovely; we spent a few minutes on the bridge watching the (gigantic) white swan float around the peaceful pond before heading into the restaurant. We entered the very nice foyer (Bistro Cassis on one side, Pond on the other) and were greeted and seated at a window seat.
We had a bit of trouble trying to decide what to order, and ended up taking the server's suggestion to try the tasting menu. And were very happy with the results!
We started with an amuse bouche of one very fresh oyster on the half shell with scallions and sour cream. To be honest, I would have preferred a different flavor combination, as this reminded me of potato chips, but the oyster was great. Then we had an asparagus salad with a diver scallop. This was tremendous. The scallop was warm and perfectly seared on the outside, as well as perfectly seasoned. The asparagus had just the right amount of crunch.
The next course was salmon (and some sort of white fish) wrapped in proscuitto. Divine (but then, I think anything wrapped in proscuitto is good!). This was served with a baked tomoato and a black bean garnish.
Following this was a braised lamb shank served with rosemary polenta in a parmesan basket. Wow. The best of the four dishes, and the best lamb shank I've tasted. Unfortunately, I was too full to do the dish justice, but the taste was wonderful.
The emal ended with a choice of a cheese plate or a sweet. We went with the sweet option, which turned out to be a molten milk chocolate cake. swhich I thought was just ok, but my husband loved it.
As far as ambience and service, the restaurant was almost completely empty, except for a table of enthusiastic pharmaceutical reps seated near us. The serivce was attentive but not obtrusive, and we really appreciated our server's suggestion of the tasting menu. We will definitely be going back to Pond, and I'd like to try the Bistro Cassis brunch as well.

May 02, 2008
Chao in Pennsylvania

Cooking Classes

I've been looking for the same thing. Recently, I found that the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill has Community Education course ranging from one-day intensives to one-night-a-week seasonals. Might be worth looking into...
http://www.walnuthillcollege.com/comm...

Aug 09, 2007
Chao in Pennsylvania

Organic-ish Markets near KoP?

Great, thanks! We're actually hoping to move closer to the city soon, but we do make trips to the Headhouse farmers market when we can. We're just looking for something closer to KoP until we move. I'll check out the links... thanks again!

Jul 31, 2007
Chao in Pennsylvania

Organic-ish Markets near KoP?

This past Sunday, I cooked a gargantuan Perdue roaster for dinner for the two of us. While eating this overgrown, flavorless bird, we came to a decision. We're going to stop just going to Genuardis or Acme and buying whatever meat is on sale and start trying to source fresh or frozen meat that is hormone-free and does not come from a feedlot/factory farm. Our options so far include frozen meat from the Trader Joes off 202, the Farmers market in Wayne (and potentially the nearby Whole Foods if not too expensive), and possibly mail order (but I'm thinking this may prove prohibitively expensive).
Am I missing anything? We're not that familiar with the surrounding areas (even though we've lived here for almost two years...shame on us!). If anyone knows of other farmers markets in the area or other spots to go to for year-round, affordable organic-type food, please let me know!
Thanks!

Jul 31, 2007
Chao in Pennsylvania

Help me decipher cookware set lingo!

Hi AnjLM... just a very small note in favor of (limited!) sets... when I moved into my first apartment by myself and started grad school, my mom bought me a set of Belgique. It consisted of two saucepans, a large saute pan, and a large pot, which could use the same lid as the saute pan. All stainless steel. Ten years later, I'm still using them (hoping to upgrade soon, though!). I've moved four times with this set, put it through the dishwasher almost every day, and still everything works great. Might be worth thinking about as a "starter kit."

Jul 27, 2007
Chao in Cookware

Dinner Party Blandness: Advice Needed

Thanks for your replies... I think I did get carried away by the thought of an impressive menu and fancy (for me) food. And ended up driving my poor husband crazy and myself a bit ragged, and lost sight of the fact that the evening was supposed to be FUN! I'll just have to practice more! And, thanks to Chowhound, I'll never run out of ideas. Now to get my cooking abilities to match my aspirations....

Jul 23, 2007
Chao in Not About Food

Dinner Party Blandness: Advice Needed

My husband and I threw a small dinner party (for 6 people) this past Saturday night. As usual, I got a little carried away. I had originally planned to do a very simple roast chicken/asparagus risotto/salad/chocolate raspberry tart/cheese plate. All of which I have cooked successfully many times before (and am rather bored with). But then I, unfortunately, got fancy. I made several dishes I'd never tried before that night, including gazpacho, Moroccan Cornish game hens (recipe from Epicurious) and couscous. Everything turned out... okay. Nothing spectacular, most of it pretty bland. One of the sauces was a disaster because I got my timing wrong and it was still reducing when we sat down to eat. The only thing that worked was the dessert, which I've made roughly 5,000 times before.
So, my question is this: how many of you practice what you are going to prepare for a dinner party before the actual event?
I haven't thrown many dinner parties (I fell like I'm just now entering the "grown-up" stage of being able to cook for people, instead of inviting folks over for pizza and beer), and I'd like to learn the elements of timing, poise, and how to cook good food for good friends. Any advice gratefully accepted!

Jul 23, 2007
Chao in Not About Food

Bitter Lemon Soda

I second Limonata... has a lovely bite to it! Very nice on a hot Philly day; hopefully it would be as good in Jersey. :)

Jul 19, 2007
Chao in General Topics

Best alfresco dining in Seattle

The patio at Aqua Verde is very nice (perhaps that's already a haunt for you?).

Jul 10, 2007
Chao in Pacific Northwest

Laid back in Bradenton Beach/Anna Maria

The Sandbar! Right on the beach, great food, and I can't say enough good things about the friendly staff. We had our wedding on the beach just in front of the Sandbar in May; they catered and the food was great! We also spent some time there for lunches and dinners during our week-long stay. Great seafood, very nice patio.
We also really enjoyed Rotten Ralphs (excellent Bloody Marys!).
Both on Anna Maria. Have fun!

Jun 15, 2007
Chao in Florida

What do Chowhounds do for a living (besides eat of course)? [old]

I'm a PhD research scientist who took out a loan in graduate school in order to be able to eat, drink, and be merry. Just now paying it off, but being able to get out and enjoy good food and be in the the company of sane, non-sciencey people? Priceless.

Jun 06, 2007
Chao in Not About Food

Ft. Collins/Loveland, CO Recs?

I compare every dish of chile rellenos to the ones I used to enjoy at the Rio. With black beans and rice? Can't get any better! One of my favourite memories is sitting outside by the fountain in the back, eating the rellenos, sipping a fabulous strawberry margarita (also the best I've ever had) and looking at the stars.
Caveat: this was a few years ago, but I really hope things haven't changed that much there!
Another Old Town rec from the recesses of my memory: Coopersmiths. Have a Horsetooth Stout and the artichoke dip. In fact, if you have time and like beer, definitely sample other microbrews from nearby microbreweries (O'Dells, New Belgium, etc).
Breakfast rec: Silver Grill (if it's still there). Outstanding waffles (again, IIRC). Or, if you have time and want to travel out to the Bellevue/LaPorte area, Verns has the BEST cinnamon rolls ever.
Man, I miss Ft. Fun!

May 23, 2007
Chao in Southwest

Wedding Dinner in Sarasota (or nearby)?

Just to update, we ended up going to Euphemia Haye for a post-wedding dinner, just my new husband and myself. Absolutely loved walking through the garden before and after the meal, and liked the interiors of the restaurant. The service was excellent. The food... not so excellent. We started with tuna sashimi, which was good, and then my husband ordered the steak while I had the duck. I didn't realize that we needed to order veggies a la carte (I'd had a glass of champagne and may have overlooked this in the menu:)), so we ended up with just the steak and duck. My husband's steak looked quite good, and he enjoyed it. My duck was not good at all, to be honest. Overcooked, and overfull of stuffing. It probably didn't help that it was hot day and the duck would probably have been a better autumn/ winter-time dish.
After dinner, we went upstairs to the dessert room. This was great, although the (very young) hostess neglected to give us drinks menus. The triple berry glaze was outstanding, as was the chocolate cake (slices as big as your head!). The music was good, too.
I'd definitely go back, but would stay away from the duck and order more veggies.
Thanks again for all your help.

May 15, 2007
Chao in Florida

Martini ordering question

During a recent sojourn in NYC, I ordered a martini at a bar. I asked for a Sapphire martini, straight up, very dry, with olives. The friendly, if harried (it was a busy night) bartender explained that if I ordered a martini straight up, asking for it to be dry was redundant.
Is this true? I thought ordering it "straight up" was meant to differentiate from martini served "on the rocks."
Can anyone clarify?
(Apologies if this repeats any recent posts... I did search for the answer first; it's possible I did not search assiduously enough).

May 15, 2007
Chao in Spirits

Nathanson Creek

Hmmm... sound advice. I picked up a bottle (1.5 liter, the only size my local store carried, which is not a good sign) of cab yesterday, will try tonight.
Thanks!

Apr 20, 2007
Chao in Wine

New Asian restaurant in KOP

Do they have their liquor license yet?

Apr 19, 2007
Chao in Pennsylvania

Nathanson Creek

Hi, (just did a search for this and nothing came up, so I don't believe I am re-posting)
The venue where I am holding my wedding reception serves Nathanson Creek as their house wine. I have not had this before, and would very much appreciate any feedback on this brand. I'm told the venue offers chard, pinot grigio, cab, merlot, white zin (feel free to disregard the latte!).
Thanks!

Apr 19, 2007
Chao in Wine

Wedding Dinner in Sarasota (or nearby)?

Thanks for the great info! I'll try emailing yuo, too, but one quick qestion: does Beach Bistro allow children? My god-daughter is 2 and a half, and her sister is only 9 months and they may try to make it (their parents want to both be at both events) to both the ceremony and the dinner afterwards...

Mar 08, 2007
Chao in Florida

Wedding Dinner in Sarasota (or nearby)?

Thanks for the recs... I've had another recommendation for Euphemia Haye from a friend of a friend, but I didn't get details. I've not been able to track down a website for the restaurant... can you tell me anything about the food there? Thanks.

Mar 05, 2007
Chao in Florida

Wedding Dinner in Sarasota (or nearby)?

(I did a search on this topic before posting and was unable to find any recent posts, so please forgive me if this post seems redundant at all)

My fiancee and I are planning a very informal wedding on the beach near Sarasota (poss. Longboat Key) on May 1 (late afternoon/evening) of this year. Can anyone recommend a nice place for dinner? This would be for approx 10-15 people, and while type of cuisine would be fine, there will be two people with dietary restrictions (nut allergies, gluten sensitivity) in attendance.
Thanks in advance!

Mar 05, 2007
Chao in Florida

Brewpub near Reagan International Airport?

Just to update, we ended up going to the Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington. We ordered the hummus for starters, which was great, then I had the grilled salmon, my friend had the ribs. No complaints about the food, and the beer (Sour Puss for me, Amber Waves for my friend) was really good. The only issue occured about halfway through the meal. We were seated in a booth towards the back, across the walkway form the bathrooms.My friend, who was facing towards the bathrooms, noticed that a waiter was sitting on a stool by the entrance with a can of air freshener that he would spray around every 3-4 minutes. This ended up really annoying us, so we decided to leave. I got up to use the bathroom before we moved on, and ended up getting almost tackled by two waiters as I made my way to the Ladies room. Apparantly, their bathrooms were "closed" and I was asked to use the facilities at the restaurant "down the street" instead (it was 9pm and frigid outside, btw.). We left, and, as we passed the hostess stand, we asked the hostess what was going on. Apparently, something catastrophic had happened with their plumbing ... "it's a feces thing" said the hostess with aplomb. I think they had to evacuate the restaurant; when we walked by on the way back from the restaurant down the street (Bistro Bistro - excellent bartender and nice selection of single malts), the place was empty and signs were posted saying the place was closed due to plumbing.
I don't blame Cap City for a plumbing accident ,of course,and we had a great time there before the "accident." Just thought I'd relate the anecdote and say thanks again for all the recommendations.

Feb 26, 2007
Chao in Washington DC & Baltimore

Brewpub near Reagan International Airport?

Thanks for the link... I think we're probably going to go with Capitol City for tonight, but I appreciate the tip on where to find real ale... may have to make a side-trip to pick up a six-pack to go (as mentioned on the website) or a quick pint, esp since I see they have Lefthand Milk Stout on tap!

Feb 23, 2007
Chao in Washington DC & Baltimore

[PDX] wedding cupcakes & gorge groom's dinner

Not sure if you want to go this far into the Gorge, but when we were planning a wedding at the Maryhill Museum (had to move locales so that East Coast grandmothers could make it!), we planned to have the rehearsal dinner in Bingen at Viento. Extremely nice people run the place. http://www.vientokitchen.com/

Feb 22, 2007
Chao in Pacific Northwest

Brewpub near Reagan International Airport?

Looks good, just printed out directions. Do you know if parking will be an issue? Thanks!

Feb 22, 2007
Chao in Washington DC & Baltimore

Brewpub near Reagan International Airport?

Oop. Sorry. In my defense, I posted before drinking my coffee (silly, just silly).

Feb 22, 2007
Chao in Washington DC & Baltimore