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Theater District with 20 yr old First Timer?

REPORT: My niece and I had a wonderful time in NYC---we ended up with two pre-theater dinner reservations. First, LANDMARC. This was a solid recommendation, and our table was very happy with our selections. There were daily specials, and as chance would have it, on the evening we were there the special was a very basic spaghetti and meat sauce which fit the bill for my youngish companion. I asked the server for her recommendation, and she steered me to a popular creamy pasta dish with peas and bacon---I don't recall the fancy details, but the flavor and richness is memorable. The only thing that detracted from this being the sort of environment that I was seeking is the location inside a shopping center---it felt fairly ordinary, and pedestrian to approach the restaurant through the retail scene which is prevalent in so many places, including Niece's home town. I wanted something that shouted "NYC--UNIQUE EXPERIENCE" a bit more forcefully. Great food, lovely service and it was a hit with us. We had plenty of other "NYC UNIQUE" experiences as the trip continued, so this is a minor detail.

We happened upon THE SMITH as we were hungry before seeing BLUE MAN GROUP at Astor Place, and that was a nice diversion for us as well. I had a salad, and Niece decided to try "macaroni and cheese" and "cheesy jalapeño grits" for dinner. I had bites, and both were delicious---decadent for me, absolutely acceptable fare for her. Another fly by was Jacob's Pickles, on a day where we rented bikes and rode all through Central Park with many stops--including a long (interminable) one at Strawberry Fields. We took the bikes out of the park and into the Upper West Side hunting for a real meal and visited Jacob's Pickles for an enormous spread of delicious biscuits and eggs and gravy and a very unusual (to us) 8-jar pickle flight. This was such a filling and late meal that we ended up canceling our evening reservation at Osteria Al Doge, but I'm tucking away that idea for next time. Thank you all for your help. I must say that the first response on this thread, before I got into the groove of the Manhattan Board ("up your budget a bit and to Lincoln") startled me! I thought the poster was a)making fun of my cheap budget (is $30 an entree that out of line?) and herding me off to Lincoln, Nebraska where perhaps a rube like me could dine in style on my budget. I overcame my shock, though, and googled the word "Lincoln" and NYC to find the restaurant at Lincoln Center. It was a funny episode for me! Thanks again, all---

Jun 25, 2014
Biking Girl in Manhattan
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Theater District with 20 yr old First Timer?

Thank you so much for the time and effort all the responders have put in to guide me in the right direction! I'm trying to think of how to describe her taste, while still keeping the thread chow-worthy! She has not been exposed to a lot of variety in cuisine---she's a very typical, very average 20-year old in that regard. She's not adventurous in her eating---and she's not a big eater. She'll take a bite of just about anything, then politely pass on eating more (like last year, when I took her to Cinque Terra and we had sardines fresh from the sea). She really likes bread (smile). She'll be quite happy with our morning and mid-day meals snagged from hot dog stands and dashes into delis. In thinking more about it, I'm realizing that what I'm really searching for is an environment/ambience. A place with decent food for both of us, but with the trappings which place it as a special NYC dining experience, unlike what she's seen in Texas. The recommendation for Lincoln was intriguing---I couldn't get a reservation for the night I needed, but I'm going to try for another night, that looks like the type of "room" I am thinking of, but didn't know existed. And, maybe Rosa Mexicana (I remember an interesting fountain and high ceilings, and she does like Mexican food…) Thanks again. And, as several have suggested, my budget can necessarily creep up. $30 an entree is a guideline (meaning, not $75 an entree).

Jun 05, 2014
Biking Girl in Manhattan

Theater District with 20 yr old First Timer?

I'm taking my 20 year old niece on a special trip to Manhattan, and am looking for a pre-theater meal somewhere near the Theater District. She lives in a small Texas town, and I'd like to take her somewhere that is not too stodgy, but with recognizable food--- a place where she'll feel like it's a special event. I was perusing the board, and also Open Table hoping for an Italian restaurant with butternut squash ravioli (a favorite!), but haven't found it yet. Budget would be around $30 an entree. When I was her age (late '70s, eek!) my parents took me on just such a trip---leaving behind that same small Texas town, and the places that made a lasting impression on me were the Russian Tea Room, Gallaghers, and a very dark, oak filled German place where the waiter showed me how to fold a fancy napkin. She's a lot more hip than I was, and a fancy place would make her a bit uncomfortable---but I'd like for her to have a Manhattan experience of "dinner and a show" that is memorable for her. Any ideas?

Jun 04, 2014
Biking Girl in Manhattan

San Juan Islands/ Friday Harbor

Market Chef is very good---it's tucked in above the ferry, and has a very unassuming appearance, but the food is stellar. Low key, and as I recall, it is quite small---but I ate there twice and found it to be quite good---deli food done with great attention to detail. Definitely uncomplicated menu, and wonderful sandwiches/soups. They also have beer/wine.

Aug 04, 2013
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Orcas Island?

I recently rode my bike and camped on Lopez, San Juan Island and Orcas---I ended up eating TWICE at the Lower Tavern in Eastsound on Orcas----I had two different types of burgers, with sweet potato fries and I thought it was more than adequate. The service was exceptionally friendly, and the dining area was unusually clean for a "pub" type stop. I also recommend the ice cream truck---I don't know the name of it, but it squeezes in a spot across from the park and serves great ice cream. I intended to try Passionate for Pies (?) but i didn't make it there.

Jul 24, 2012
Biking Girl in Pacific Northwest

Best recommendations for Thanksgiving pies?

Deborah's pies are absolutely delicious---homemade and extremely good. She sells them on Sundays at the Ballard Farmer's Market. I'm not sure if they are available elsewhere, but it's the best pie around, I think.

Nov 15, 2011
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Staple & Fancy

We aren't wine drinkers, all I can say is that I saw most of the diners having teensy little carafes as the courses came out. Someone who is more knowledgeable will have to chime in on this aspect. Please let us all know how it works out for you.

Feb 23, 2011
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Staple & Fancy

HOLY COW I had a terrific meal there last week. It was my first visit, and I was delighted to see Ethan Stowell behind the stove. The space is very warm, and rustic---very comfortable, and I enjoyed sitting close to the kitchen. We went with the "fancy" menu, and were very, very happy with it. I had two concerns about ordering "fancy"---1) there are a few food items that I simply DON'T LIKE and I was worried that I might end up with these, and 2) would there be enough food? I needn't have worried. The server asked about food preferences, and he sussed out the things I wasn't crazy about, and offered to sub in a few things I really like. And, there was lots of food. We enjoyed the first course of 8 dishes, which were: shot of butternut squash soup, mozzarella on pickled onions, marinated olives, salami on crostini, and smoked tuna salad on crostini, tuna tartare, a beet salad which I had requested, and the most amazing fried oysters (lots of them, too) with an aoli sauce. We were quite satisfied. The second course was a cheese-filled ravioli in brown butter and sage, if I remember correctly. The "main" course was duck breast, which was my least favorite----but it was well prepared. Our dessert was a good-sized slice of ricotta cheesecake with a cranberry reduction on top.

Everything tasted really special, the evening was special and I would return in a heartbeat. Hope you enjoy it as well!

Feb 23, 2011
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Restaurant Week Raves

My companion and I visited Blueacre for the Restaurant Week promotion after I narrowed down our selections based on the posted online "specials" menus. Unfortunately, Blueacre's menu wasn't representative (at all) of their actual menu, and I ordered off the regular menu. I don't have the actual menu in hand, but the menu posted online listed at least 2 of 3 appetizers that weren't offered (the farro hush puppies, and the bisque) and they didn't offer the entree butternut squash pastini either. Those were items I had planned to order, so I was naturally disappointed. Instead, I ordered a baby lettuce leaf salad, which was delicious with lavender infused goat cheese, and the seared scallops, served with fresh corn and andouille sausage.This was cooked and served perfectly, and piping hot. These two items exceeded the $25 I had set aside for the meal, so dessert was no longer an option for me. My companion was able to adapt better to the changed menu, and had the clam fritters, trout, and warm pear tart with rum raisin ice cream. The fritters were hot and flavorful, the trout didn't have the most attractive plating, but tasted fine. The "warm" pear tart was cold, and hard as a brick. The ice cream seemed to be chilled from resting on top of it!

Our server was friendly and knowledgeable, and the pacing and service was professional and enjoyable.

All in all, the food was worth it, and enjoyable---the space is nice, the menu is interesting, but I wish the menu posted in conjunction with the online promotion was accurate---My budget allows me to visit two restaurants during restaurant week, and once I had narrowed my choices down to about 10 restaurants, the final difficult choice was made by menu offerings. My mistake, I guess.

Oct 21, 2010
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Northwest Cuisine for foodie brother

Something to consider would be FARESTART--- I noticed that this Thursday the Guest Chef is from Sky City, and the menu is Pacific Northwest inspired. I have always had a good meal there on Guest Chef night, and leave feeling very inspired by their program. Perhaps your siblings would pick up some ideas to carry back to their hometowns, and you would be contributing to a fine program. It's a very casual, feel-good, eat-good experience, in my opinion.

Aug 23, 2010
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Steelhead vs Dahlia for dinner

My preference would be Dahlia Lounge---for all the reasons mentioned above. To me, the food at Dahlia is more consistently flavorful and carefully prepared/presented, and the atmosphere is lush. It feels like a special place, swanky without a hint of stuffiness. It's quiet enough for conversation, yet there is life inside. Both are good choices, though.

Aug 22, 2010
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Breakfast for Dinner with Grandmother

Thank you for the suggestions! I didn't realize that there was close parking to Geraldine's, or I definitely would have gone there. I ended up talking her into a "bacon pizza", which she enjoyed, along with a pint of beer. She's no Chowhound, but she is a terrific 95-year old dinner companion.

Mar 15, 2010
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

Breakfast for Dinner with Grandmother

I'm taking my grandmother out tomorrow night for dinner---She's 95, and we'll be eating around 5pm. She likes BACON and eggs---none of these places are open for dinner, or they would be perfect:
Pete's or Patty's Eggnest
Mae's
Cyndy's
Original House of Pancakes
the defunct Roosters

I would like to stay on the North side, she uses a walker (so parking is critical), and if it's not super loud, that's good. Her main priority is that she would like to go somewhere "clean" (i.e., not back to the IHOP on Aurora). Any ideas of a good bacon and egg place that stays open for dinner? Thanks for any suggestions!

Mar 11, 2010
Biking Girl in Greater Seattle

BOKA or Juno experiences?

I dined at Juno last night and had a wonderful meal! My partner ordered from the promotional menu and chose: risotto croquettes (with Stilton cheese), scallops, and s'mores. I chose from the "regular menu" and started with beets---candy cane, with some feta and coriander, butternut squash dumplings with brown butter, and scallops. Everything was delicious--- The difference between the "regular" scallops and the "promotional" scallops was simply a small slice of bacon. All of the dishes involved multiple additional flavors---sunchoke puree/pears and a blood orange drizzle with the scallops, for example. My choices came in at $29, and I was able to have a bite of the s'more with ginger marshmallow, too. The staff was very friendly/helpful and professional and the evening was delightful. I recommend Juno!

Jan 15, 2009
Biking Girl in Pacific Northwest

Chowing in San Francisco: REPORT

I realized this afternoon that I'll have to break up my chow report into parts or I'll never remember all that I've eaten in town---Here's the partial report from the first half of the week:
DAY ONE
PANCHO VILLA----We headed here directly from the airport, for the obligatory veggie burrito and chips. I love this place, can't get anything like it at "home", and I appreciate the variety and the fresh ingredients. It's easy to get to on BART, and they have a lot of variety
DAY TWO
DOTTI'S TRUE BLUE CAFE---Went here for breakfast on Sunday morning and waited outside for about an hour before being seated---I expected this, and was prepared. Wasn't prepared to be waiting in front of the "housing" which attracted a steady stream of somewhat unsavory characters, many of whom canvassed the line for money. Once inside and seated, the service moved quickly and I had the black bean cakes, with potatoes and grilled cornbread. Partner had a standard eggs/bacon/toast/potatoes combination. Food was very good---my black corn cakes weren't heated thoroughly, but the grilled cornbread was fantastic.

BETELNUT---This was a last minute decision, although I did call ahead to be sure we could be accomodated. We were steered to Le Colonial, but the menu looked a little daunting, and more expensive than I desired. My choice was BODEGA BISTRO, but they were closed for a private party. I went to SLANTED DOOR the last time I was in town, and while the food was good---the atmosphere was hectic and I was miffed by a roving woman in a poncho who constantly patrolled the dining area while making copious notes on her tablet regarding the status of all the tables. It was beyond obnoxious, and we are quick diners. We would never be accused of "lingering", and her buzzing back and forth, leaning to look at plates was too much for me. So, we landed at BETELNUT---We were advised to choose 5 plates to share, so we did. We started with szechuan green beans (served promptly and they were mouth-watering delicious), then fried tofu cakes. Next we had seared scallops which were INCREDIBLE. I thought they were perfectly prepared, and the sauce on top was just divine. We had two types of dumplings: "little dragon" and one I can't recall, but it was supposed to be "really spicy". It wasn't that spicy, but it was delicious. For dessert we had fried bananas. This meal was quite good, but was not as pleasant as it might have been because we were seated next to a couple who were unbelievably loud. The woman discussed some extremely sensitive matters (boss/affair/salaries at her job---answering every prying question her companion asked, in loud, nasal detail). At one point, I stuck my finger in my ear, to try to drown her out. She was seated next to a wall, and her voice just boomed back into the room. Unfortunate. And, the tables are REALLY small, already crowded with lots of accessory items, and not really designed to hold two dinner plates, PLUS a stream of five ordered dishes. At times, it felt like we were in the circus, passing things around and keeping them airborne waiting for a space to develop.
DAY THREE
PERBACCO---What a delightful evening! We had reservations and were greeted with enthusiasm and seated promptly. I had the beet salad, which was beautiful and very tasty, my partner had the fritto shrimp, an interesting plate of fried shrimp, olives, small citrus slices, artichoke, asparagus and onions. This plate was perfect! we then shared the butternut squash ravioli, which I loved, mostly because of the delicate sweet potato flavor. For our main courses, I had the seared salmon, which was cooked to perfection---I didn't care for the bed of assorted greens/citrus that it rested on. My partner had the pork shoulder with polenta, and enjoyed it. We had the three gelato cups for dessert, and they were DELICIOUS! My favorite was the caramel with sea salt, my partner loved the bittersweet chocolate, and the final flavor was something with candied oranges (I think). Everything about Perbacco was top rate, and I'm really glad we had dinner there. The setting is comfortable, and we were able to have a nice conversation while enjoying our dinner. I thought our wait person was really special, he was engaged, helpful and seemed like a fine guy. I plan on writing the owner to commend this gentleman, he was that good.
DAY FOUR
LULU PETITE: We scooted to the Ferry Building for lunch, and although I was leaning towards grabbing a chunk of bread and a chunk of cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, we stopped at LuLu instead and I had the roasted beet salad, which could not have been better--partner had a humongous egg salad sandwich with twice cooked potato chips. It was a satisfying lunch, in a lively setting.
The rest of the week has us visiting TOWN HALL, YANK SING and a few undetermined spots. I appreciate all the leads I've gotten from CHOWHOUND, Happy Eating!

take out in north

Does Chef at Wok have seating? Sounds like somewhere I'd like to go!

Feb 09, 2007
Biking Girl in Pacific Northwest