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One Dinner in Ithaca or Trumansburg: Where to go?

All, thanks for the suggestions and recs. I ended up at Hazelnut Kitchen. Indeed under new ownership - a new husband-wife team who took over the place a few months ago.

Had a very nice meal. Started with salad of local strawberries, housemade duck prosciutto, greens, and hazelnuts with fresh mozzarella. A bit in need of editing, but strawberries were clearly local and fresh and duck prosciutto was great.

Main was housemade pasta "puttanesca" - not really puttanesca, though: mussels, cockels, squid, and linguine in a spicy tomato sauce with a big chorizo-stuffed squid overtop. Again, needed editing, but everything was good, seafood clearly fresh, tomato sauce sort of addictive. Too much sauce for the pasta, but I won't lie: I sort of like it that way.

Sat alone at the bar and chatted with the chef. In no time, he passed over a small plate of his riff on cassoulet: housemade boudin blanc, duck confit, greens, white beans, stock. Simple, delicious. Probably best of the night - and gratis. It's that kind of place.

Dessert was the mocha pot de creme. Not the best flavor, but texture was great. I'd definitely go back if I'm ever in the area again.

Jun 14, 2012
tastytamarind in New York State (exc. NYC)

One Dinner in Ithaca or Trumansburg: Where to go?

I'll be in Ithaca for one night on business. I've read all the recent threads on this board and narrowed my choices to the following shortlist:

- Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg
- Simply Red Bistro
- Just a Taste
- Stonecat

I prefer local, sustainable food; I eat mostly vegetarian but enjoy the occasional steak; and I'd love to eat somewhere that has a bar or where it won't be conspicuous to eat alone. Which of the above is my best bet?

Thanks.

Jun 11, 2012
tastytamarind in New York State (exc. NYC)

NOLA Restaurant Report

We were in NOLA last weekend leading up to the Sugar Bowl (GO BLUE!), and benefited a great deal from the threads here on Chowhound in planning our restaurant itinerary, so I wanted to share our thoughts on the places we ate for others planning future trips.

Right of the plane, we went to Restaurant August. Had heard mixed things - one friend said it was the best meal of her life, another said it was wildly overrated. We were really impressed with both the food and the service at August. It's a lovely space, with dim lighting, vaulted ceilings, and a stunning wine room where lucky patrons can dine. One of us had the "tasting of market vegetables," and the rest of us ordered a la carte. We started with house-infused bourbon; bourbon was good quality, but infusions were a bit strong and overpowered the alcohol. They make a lovely old fashioned, though - it's got some sort of plum puree that isn't overpowering. It was really good.

Highlights from the evening included the broccoli rabe, which came streaked with zippy green chile harissa and speckled with the sweetest, softest feta I've ever had; the tagliatelle with truffle-cured egg yolk, which made for an incredibly silky, rich sauce for the pasta; and duck, served a perfect medium rare, with a nugget of foie gras on the side and a sauce of quince and probably red wine. It was pretty fantastic. Desserts were good not great, but in all, I'd go back to August in a heartbeat.

Second day we went to Cafe Beignet. Beignets were great; everything else was aggressively mediocre. Still, those beignets were bigger and fresher than the ones at Cafe Du Monde. I'd go back just for them.

Had second day lunch at the only place on Magazine that was open - Mahoney's Po Boy. It's nothing special, and the wait was an hour AFTER we placed the order. Fine, but with other options, wouldn't go back. Next time, we'll have to try the other Magazine spots (Lilette, Cocotte, La Petit Grocery, etc),

Second night we had dinner at Gautreaus. Pros: could accommodate a large party; had plenty of non shellfish, non pork offerings. Cons: food was unimaginative and generally mediocre; no espresso machine. We had a couple rounds of Sazeracs, the tomato crab soup (soup good, crab out of place), the pierogies (great), the halibut (not the best rendition of "halibut with Middle Eastern flavors" I've had, certainly not the thing to order), and the grouper special (fish ehh, ratatouille great). Probably wouldn't go back.

Last day lunch we went to St. James Cheese Co. Lovely selection of cheeses, and those sandwiches are wicked. The Raclette is their version of a Reuben, and I'd like another right now, thank you.

Last but not least, just before the game we were roaming the area near the Superdome in search of a bite, and stumbled upon a restaurant next door to the Hyatt. Turns out, it's a brand new restaurant from John Besh. When we waltzed in, they seemed overly eager - then we learned we were their first official customers. Yes, Chef Besh was at the bar with friends and investors, making rounds to check on everything. Yes, he's even hotter in person. And yes, he basically offered to take a picture with us. And how was the food? Well, it was the restaurant's first night, so it's definitely too soon to pass judgment. But the oyster stew and the gumbo were both deeply flavorful, the sazeracs were serious, and there's all sorts of interesting-looking stuff on the menu (Caldo Nunez; Ya Ka Mein; Frogmore stew; etc); next time I'm in NOLA, I'll be giving it another try.

Thanks again for so many helpful threads on NOLA restaurants. Hope to be back before long.

Jan 04, 2012
tastytamarind in New Orleans

ISO Lakeview area and/or downtown dinner recs that won't break the bank

I'm coming to Chicago on business mid-November for two nights, and looking for places for 2 dinners and one lunch that are legit good places but not super expensive. I'm happy to head downtown if that's really my best bet, but bonus points for places in Lakeview area, since that's where I'll be. I'd prefer not to spend more than 50 on dinner and ideally I'd like that to cover more than just an entree. I've been to a couple of Chicago's great restos -- Spiaggia, Topolo, a few more -- but from a cursory search, the ones I'd love to try -- Vermilion, Naha, Blackbird, etc -- are in the 30-something range for an entree, which is too much this time around. Would love some direction re: places I haven't tried. Happy to go cheap ethnic, if that's the best route (someone recommended JoyYee, if that means anything). Thanks in advance.

-----
Spiaggia
980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Naha
500 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

Nov 03, 2009
tastytamarind in Chicago Area

Potenza Write-up

Went to Potenza last weekend with some food-adventurous out-of-towners. There were five of us, and they gave us a nice round booth by the window. The ambiance is great; warm and intimate without that mahogany-grandfather feel, well-lit but not overly bright, with a beautiful and somewhat prominent display of grappa (that happened to be next to our table, so we were ogling the skinny-necked bottles all night).

The Potenza bread basket was fine, though considering the rumors about its amazing bakery, I was underwhelmed.

We started with several salads, all of which were pretty nice: arugula salad was standard, romaine salad also, though anchovy toasts on top were appropriately fresh and briny tasting; one of our romaine salads came without one of the toasts, and the waiter rushed back with two extra, a nice touch; and my pear salad with polenta croutons, blood oranges and hazelnuts, was a good idea in theory but just fine in reality. My big gripe with the salad was that it was advertised as having a vinaigrette, but it came with a cream-based dressing. Lots of DC restos do this, including Founding Farmers: if you advertise vinaigrette, it should be an oil-based dressing, not mayo-based. That said, salad was fine.

Four of us had pasta, the other had pizza. The gnocchi were just right -- soft and pillowy but not mushy -- and the cream sauce was good, if that's your thing. The pici with tarragon pesto were a bit bland, most of the pesto coating the plate instead of the noodles. They were also a bit dry. The ravioli were very nice, the marinara sauce tasting of fresh tomatoes and subtly seasoned. My tagliatelle with boar ragu was both a hit and a miss: the ragu was great -- boldly seasoned, with great meat -- but the tagliatelle was SO broad, and SO thick, that I had to slice through each piece with a fork and knife. I like tagliatelle that's about 1-1.5 inches broad; this was closer to three inches, for real. And it should have been put through the pasta maker several more times. Because it was so thick, it was also a little too underdone (and I like al dente, but this was overkill).

The pizza was fine. Sauce was good, but the pies here pale in comparison to Two Amys, or even Paradiso.

Our desserts were very good: cannoli were filled with coffee-injected cream that was just the right consistency, thick without being cloying. The donuts were also good, and their cherry sauce was plenty tangy.

As indicated by the anchovy toast moment above, service was great; very attentive but not intrusive. Our waitress was the blond Czech woman, and I'd highly recommend her. The wine we had was also spectacular: Primativo Vigne Vecchie. At $40, not at all unreasonable.

In all, I'd give Potenza a B. Ambiance was really nice and service was great, but the food still needs work. I'm hopeful that a few months will let the place iron out its kinks.

May 28, 2009
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Budget-conscious lunch for 20 in DC -- recs?

PS7 is a good idea, though I wonder if they'd give over their whole patio to us without charging a fee. Also, the crowd is big on meat and seafood. Any other thoughts?

Apr 07, 2009
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Budget-conscious lunch for 20 in DC -- recs?

Having a celebration lunch for colleagues in DC or Arlington at the end of April and location is my choice (they think it's a chore -- I think lucky me!) Budget is about $50-60 per person including drinks, tax and tip. Assuming the weather is nice, we'd love to be outside but not necessary. No sushi. I was thinking about Zaytinya, which is pretty spacious and not super expensive -- or Marvin, which I know is tighter but has a great roofdeck for afterwards. Would love other suggestions.

Apr 06, 2009
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Tips for an afternoon in Park Slope?

Update: famdoc, couldn't pull myself away from the food for too long, but popped into a whole bunch of cute stores while walking along 5th, stopped in trois pommes for a quick bite late-afternoon, and spent the rest of my time strolling through the neighborhood...so, so cute. And btw, Al Di La was wonderful.

Mar 18, 2009
tastytamarind in Outer Boroughs

Tips for an afternoon in Park Slope?

Spending Saturday afternoon in Park Slope and have a couple hours to kill before dinner (Al Di La). Usually like to go to Sahadi's when I'm in Bkln but thought I'd try something new. Any recs for good places to browse/get a good bite to go or some cool groceries?

Mar 13, 2009
tastytamarind in Outer Boroughs

One Pescatarian and One Foodie Take Paris

La Cagouille looks great. Any specific dish recs? How often does the menu change? And Oakglen -- all the places you mentioned look really perfect for us. Which is your favorite?

Jan 02, 2009
tastytamarind in France

One Pescatarian and One Foodie Take Paris

Thanks for the suggestions -- I'm staying in the 5th, happy to go elsewhere though...and my budget is probably no more than 175 euros for the two of us. Would love more recommendations!

Jan 02, 2009
tastytamarind in France

One Pescatarian and One Foodie Take Paris

Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary in Paris this February and need advice on restos. We need one lunch spot and one dinner place, both nice and anniversary-worthy but not bank-breakers, and -- here's the catch -- pescatarian friendly. Any thoughts on good places that have interesting menus with ample vegetable and fish options?

Dec 31, 2008
tastytamarind in France

BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant - DC

Seriously -- great post. Thanks for the descriptions of the courses and, equally important, a description of your situation and your expectations, which put your review in appropriate context. I'm off to Blacksalt tonight for a friend's one-month wedding anniv. and will definitely be trying at least one of the dishes you mentioned. Debating between the butterfish and the tuna belly. I know you said both dishes were pretty small, but I've got a pretty small appetite and often order two apps for dinner. Do you think I could make do with one of the fish dishes and a cold app?

Dec 04, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Shanghai Tea House: new in Glover Park

I hear it's being reviewed in this week's post mag...

Sep 18, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Anniversary dinner: 30 min. walk from 60s/CPW

Ok, checked back, and money is a -slight- issue. Not looking to eat on the cheap, per se (npi), but Jean Georges is too pricy. Picholine is a good rec though -- didn't think of that. Any other ideas?

Jun 12, 2008
tastytamarind in Manhattan

Anniversary dinner: 30 min. walk from 60s/CPW

Hi hounds,

A dear friend of mine is headed to NYC in a few weeks to enjoy an anniversary/birthday dinner, courtesy of her inlaws. They'll be going Saturday night, and they need the restaurant to be within a half-hour walking distance of low 60's and Central Park West, as they won't be taking the subway. Here are some of the places that have been suggested:

Davidburke & Donatella

Insieme

Piano Due

any thoughts about any of the three? Are there other can't-miss places in the same radius? Thanks in advance.

Jun 12, 2008
tastytamarind in Manhattan

Weekday Breakfast?

you say you're not a fan of traditional B,E,T breakfasts -- so what are you looking for instead? I've had breakfast at Poste a couple times and really enjoyed it. Another possibility is Le Pain Quotidien, at 27th and M, which is a delightful bistro with great breakfast-to-lunch salads, soups, tartines, pastries, omelets, platters, etc.

Apr 15, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

What to order at Bistro Du Coin?

I called yesterday to make a resy and they didn't mention it, so I assume it's a thing of the past. Meanwhile, any more thoughts on mussels? If not, I may have to order cassoulet or duck.

Apr 15, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

What to order at Bistro Du Coin?

Hmm, thanks for the recs -- can anyone else weigh in on the mussels? I was secretly hoping they'd be good here :(

Apr 15, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

What to order at Bistro Du Coin?

I'm debating between mussels, cassoulet, duck leg, and pate...also, do they have good frites? Thanks.

Apr 15, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

What to order at Bistro Du Coin?

Going tonight....thanks for the recs!

Apr 15, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

Cooking Kampachi for Dinner -- recipes?

Having a dinner party Friday night, and I just got word that the folks at Kona Kampachi are sending me a generously-sized sample of their fresh fish to try and write about (www.notderbypie.com). I need recipe ideas, and I'd like the add-ins to be as simple as possible. I'm thinking lemon, salt, pepper, butter, period. Anyone have a great kampachi recipe to share?

Mar 11, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Which of these desserts for a mexican dinner party?

Hey all, lovely suggestions. thanks a million. I ended up making chipotle-spiked chocolate ricotta pudding with nutmeg-chipotle tuilles and berries, and it was quite a hit -- but I have to try some of the suggestions on this thread!

Feb 22, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Which of these desserts for a mexican dinner party?

capirotada does sound delicious, but it sounds heavier than the others. These are all great suggestions, but -- as I suspected -- still, no resolution! what's a girl to do :(

Feb 14, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Which of these desserts for a mexican dinner party?

hmmm, sounds really tempting.

Feb 14, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Which of these desserts for a mexican dinner party?

I actually considered making that dessert! should I drop everything and do that instead?

Feb 14, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Which of these desserts for a mexican dinner party?

I want to use the fresh ricotta in my fridge to make a dessert, but I can't pick between four options that all look great. Here's the menu:

guacamole and pico de gallo with crispy tortillas
tilapia veracruz style (tomato sauce with onions, jalapenos, capers, olives and raisins)
fried plantains
frijoles refritos
zucchini and green bean salad

For dessert, I've got four options. Help me pick between them! Alternatively, if you've got a great idea for a recipe, PLEASE pass it on. Thanks!

1. Lemon Ricotta Cake with lemon glaze
2. Ricotta, orange zest and honey tart
3. Chocolate ricotta pie
4. Individual trifles - sugar cookies, ricotta, berries, liqueur, etc.

Feb 14, 2008
tastytamarind in Home Cooking

Looking for great Indian in DC for large group

Let me make one final plug for Indique. I've been a long-time fan, and I've learned over time what to order. Samosas: no. Papri Chaat (or chaat papri, whichever): YES. amazing app. baigan bartha is great, as are palak paneer and gobi masala/chana masala. lamb roganjosh is pretty good, though I've had better. they've got a great $20/3 course choice that's good for parties, and they accommodate large groups very well. give it a second thought! :)

Jan 24, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

indian near dupont (not heritage)?

yea, sushi taro on 17th and R (I think) or maybe P? is great sushi. also, mourayo is pretty good (though a bit pricy) greek, IMHO. also at 17th and r/s.

no good indian at dupont besides heritage, which as you know is so-so.

Jan 24, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore

TIME SENSITIVE--Best Dosas--Chendi Chot(???)

Being a mostly-vegetarian, I love Woodlands and Udupi Palace, and think they're both excellent. I'd also recommend many things at Indique in Cleveland Park, including their baigan bartha and their papri chatt, which are both fantastic.

Tried rasika last night. We had: something like papri chaat (can't remember the name -- essentially rice crackers with dal, raita, tamarind and coriander chutneys -- excellent; another app consisting of a potato pancake surrounded by toor dal with some chutneys on top -- good, though less happening than in the other app and all the same soft texture with no balancing crunch; alu palak something curry (mostly spinach and potatoes) -- delicious, and especially interesting that the potatoes weren't merely chunks but light, fluffy balls, kind of like kofta; and baigan barta, which, while good, is better elsewhere (including woodlands and udupi).

Jan 22, 2008
tastytamarind in Washington DC & Baltimore