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Mount Desert Island Eating Report

No, it was all by land. We went Bolt Bus to Boston, Concord Coach to Bangor then the Bar Harbor Shuttle to Bar Harbor. It ended up costing about $140/person return. We booked it on the same day we left, if we had booked earlier we would have found a better price on the Bolt Bus.

Pok Pok Wing – Delicious New Thai Chicken Wing and Other Thai Specialties in the Lower Eastside

I went in their first week. The phat thai (pad thai) was fantastic, but I was disappointed to see the menu change so drastically. I was a massive fan of their papaya salad and the sweet pork that they did, and I especially loved that the old Pok Pok Wing had 3 things on the menu but they were three very different things. Now there are more things on the menu, but they're all variants on a theme.

But, as I said, the phat thai was fantastic. It's just that I don't always feel like it.

Sep 03, 2012
chowmania in Manhattan

Mount Desert Island Eating Report

Hi All,

I'm just back from a great weekend in Mount Desert Island (pronounced Dessert, apparently) and I thought I'd share my experience. Although I never posted any questions here, I learned a lot from reading past threads so I'd love to add to the knowledge out there.

First things: my boyfriend and I are from New York and we got to MDI by public transport, and never had a car while staying there. So I wanted to say that that is possible! We rented bikes and used the bikes and the Island Explorer to get around, which definitely made all our eating guilt free. I'm happy to share more details about where we stayed and prices, but I thought you'd be most interested in the food:

Thurston's: We were staying in Bass Harbor, so this wasn't a long ride home. The lobster was great - we got soft shell - and there's plenty of seating with a great view. The crab cake sandwich was fantastic and the steamed clams were great (once we got the hang of how to eat them, we're newbies). And the lobster roll was beautiful. Also, I was introduced to Old Soaker root beer, which is delicious!

Beal's: We only got fish and chips here, as it was an afternoon snack (see above about biking=guilt-free eating). The fish was haddock and in nugget sized pieces. The batter wasn't as thick as I prefer, but it was still nice. The chips had a coating on them, like a light batter, and they were delicious. Another fun place to eat as it's right on the dock.

Cafe This Way: This eclectic cafe in Bar Harbor reminded us of somewhere in Boulder CO or upstate New York. Books line the walls and lots of people were dressed in hiking gear, ready to get adventurous. The coffee was great and it served what I consider diner-style breakfast, eggs, omelettes, corned beef hash... Very tasty and quaint.

Sips: This cafe in Southwest Harbor is similar to Cafe This Way, but not quite as successful, in my opinion. The food was fine, although my bagel/egg/bacon sandwich had the smallest, saddest rashers of bacon that I'd ever seen adorn a breakfast. But the service was nice and the room is pretty cozy, so it's fine.

Red Sky: We couldn't get reservations for this popular Southwest Harbor restaurant, but turned up and were able to get seats at the bar (where they serve a full menu). This place was fantastic, simple yet stunning food with great ingredients and a really comfortable atmosphere. We came after a day of hiking and kayaking, in our outdoor shoes and with my messy hair, and we were treated as nicely as the well dressed folk around us, a fact I really appreciated. The crab cake here was heavenly, truly all the best bits of the crab with no effort involved. The BF was eating it with his eyes closed to savor the experience (and that's saying a lot, as he's normally satisfied with anything I put in front of him). And the gingerbread dessert was so good I wanted to bottle it and cuddle up with it to get me through the winter.

Morning Glory Bakery: We were riding past this place on our last hours in Bar Harbor and I decided it would be our last meal. I had no input from the Chowhound gallery so I was flying blind. Luckily, it all worked out. The place is pretty tiny, with just a few tables inside but there's an back courtyard and chairs out the front as well. We had bagel sandwiches, which were great, and also got a sandwich for lunch later. The meatloaf sandwich was fantastic, however didn't really survive the bus ride as it got too soggy. Coffee here was good too, and the place makes note of the different local purveyors that they utilize. I would definitely go back here.

And that was our whirlwind MDI eating adventure! Thanks Maine, you're pretty tasty. `

Dinner delivery service for a week

And that's exactly what I've done! I'm going with Spring Natural (uptown relative of Spring St Natural). I explained the situation and they're happy to fulfill the request.

Grubhub/Seamless only allow you to order a couple of days in advance, so I'd have to update the order twice during the week.

May 16, 2012
chowmania in Manhattan

Dinner delivery service for a week

I'd love the CH brain trust on this query. I know a family (2 adults, 1 young child) who are having a situation where cooking is the furthest thing from their minds. I'm trying to organize a week's worth of dinners for them—something where each evening a hot dinner was delivered, ready to eat.

Does anyone know a service that offers this? Price is not really a problem - there are a bunch of people contributing and we're more concerned with high-quality, great-tasting food than we are with cost.

My first thought was Fresh Direct, but we want to go slightly more high end and with better food. Another thought was Fairway and I'll be contacting them to see if they can do it.

The family are in the UWS, but I'm hoping that places across Manhattan would be feasible. I'd really appreciate ideas on a service of this nature!

Thank you!

May 16, 2012
chowmania in Manhattan

Ice cube tray

Fun fact: make ice cubes with cooled water that has been boiled and you'll get less cloudiness. It has to do with the amount of oxygen in the water, they cause bubbles which look cloudy. Boiled water has less oxygen and doesn't have the same affect.

Mar 09, 2012
chowmania in Cookware

Photo booths in Manhattan?

Bubby's in Tribeca has a pretty big space, a solid and varied menu... AND a photo booth! The photo booth is downstairs on the way to the bathrooms, so it's not like it's next to your table. Not sure if that matters. I went to Bubby's a few weeks ago and was very pleasantly surprised by the food. I didn't try the photo booth, but noticed it on the way to the restrooms.

Bubby's Pie Co.
120 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

Mar 07, 2012
chowmania in Manhattan

Pok Pok Wing – Delicious New Thai Chicken Wing and Other Thai Specialties in the Lower Eastside

They put pandan leaves in the water, it's an Asian leaf that is often used to flavor desserts and drinks. First time I've seen it in water! I found it took a little getting used to. But I liked it.

I thought the white stuff in the salad was pickled daikon, but I must be wrong. Not sure what it could be then. Jicama?

Feb 24, 2012
chowmania in Manhattan

Della'annima : The good, the bad and the ugly

I've now been to L'Artusi! I loved it, and will definitely go back. We sat at the bar and just ordered salads and pasta, and it was all done fantastically (sorry, it was a few weeks ago now and I can't remember what we had). And there was absolutely no ventilation problems at all - so I was super pleased.

228 West 10th Street, New York, NY 10014

Sep 11, 2011
chowmania in Manhattan

Della'annima : The good, the bad and the ugly

I went there last night and I have to agree with The Ugly - the entire place was full of smoke and today my clothes stink! It was so noticeable that I had to ask our server if it was always the case. She said yes. By the end my eyes were stinging and my throat was sore. I'm so glad it's not just us that had this weird experience.

The service was great, always there when needed and non-obtrusive.

The place is really loud; they must have soundproof glass at the front because every time I've walked past I've thought it looked just the place for a quiet meal. It's not.

The bruschetta was great - they bring (unlimited) toasted, oiled bread and the toppings in separate dishes so you can mix and match. The bone marrow was fantastic, a really beautiful mix of flavors. I had the Pollo Diavolo, which was good but not spectacular. Glad I tried it though, And the mascarpone panna cotta was beautiful - creamy and luxurious.

Overall, I would not go there again as the smoke was actually unpleasant. However, it was a nice night.

Aug 26, 2011
chowmania in Manhattan

Can I Take My Baby to a Restaurant?

Congratulations Helena! I really enjoy your columns (and the debate they inspire) and I wish all the best for you and your baby.

Nov 03, 2010
chowmania in Features

Single White Vegan Seeks Same

I think Helena is referencing the movie Single White Female... I doubt there was a desire to stir up controversy (at least not controversy about the heading).

Feb 10, 2009
chowmania in Features

Which magazine or other websites to browse for Sydney restaurants? [moved from Australia/New Zealand board] is a site where diners can leave their own reviews about restaurants. It is quite an extensive site with most restaurants covered, however it's important to read the reviews with a grain of salt as they aren't monitored. It is a useful site though.

I second checking out the smh good living section already mentioned, they have many reviews listed.

Another blog I like reading is which is a Sydneysider's look at many budget-high end dining places.

And if you feel like buying a book the Sydney Eats guide is readily available from bookstores and newsagencies. It lists a larger variety of places than the Good Food Guide, more ethnic and cheaper joints are reviewed.

Good luck!

Dec 10, 2007
chowmania in Food Media & News

Sydney Burgers

Not sure if they are the best in Sydney, but a newish place in Newtown, Burgerfuel, has mighty fine burgers. The place has a car theme, resulting is some burgers with silly names, but the CN Cheese burger and the Ringburner are my favourites. The burgers are large, moist and juicy, and they have fries served with aioli. I believe it is a NZ chain, however I think the Newtown store is the first in Sydney.

so much leftover chili - what to do with it?

If the chili isn't too liquidy make pasties. Buy ready make puff pastry (in Australia it comes in squares, I'm sure it's similar for you). On each square spoon some chili onto the pastry, fold in half diagonally and press down on joined edges with a fork. Wrap and freeze these pastry goodies and when hungry pop one in the oven for around 20mins. You can brush the pastry with milk or beaten egg before putting in the oven to give a nice brown topping.

I do these pasties with leftover thick lentil soup as well. If it is too liquidy I cook it for a little bit to reduce the liquid, then let it cool before making the pasties.

Mar 14, 2007
chowmania in Home Cooking

Chocolate in Sydney (or perhaps wider)

I have found in Sydney there are a few excellent places around doing speciality chocolates, eg Haighs as above, Colefax in Haberfield, Belle Fleur in Rozelle, Adora in Earlwood and a few more, however not sure if this constitutes having a specific chocolate culture. All of these boutique stores are small businesses, and many are not widely known about. However, Lindt 70% is getting more and more popular in the supermarkets, and as this article says, tastes are changing away from conventional milk chocolate and towards smaller, richer servings of quality chocolate.

I know this article is a bit old, there have been more recent writings on the subject but I couldn't find them straight away.

I know Simon Johnson, a popular, expensive food shop sells single origin chocolates, however few places advertise where their beans are from, as public knowledge isn't strong enough for that to matter. Yet.

As it is now commonplace for speciality stores to label the origin of gourmet coffee, I am sure education on different chocolates is in the near future.

Help with packaged foods: Have you been to the US?

I'm an Australian who has been to the US, and what I love is the crazy, sugary cereals that you guys have. We don't have nearly the same range here, what I miss most is those ones that look like little pieces of toast and are cinnamon flavoured. I have also noticed the little oreo cookie cereal as well.

I know that boxes of cereal are bigger than candy, so may be more expensive, but it sure is a fun, frivolous food gift.

I also agree with the hot sauce option.

This is a great partnership to have with an interntional friend!

Moving to Sydney. Best Place to Live?

Hey, another Sydneysider checking in. Much good advice has already been given, but I will add my two cents.

I live in Glebe, which is very handy, (15min bus, 30 min walk) to the CBD. Nearby there is the Broadway Shopping Centre, a regular mall with Coles and Bi Lo (supermarkets) Harris Farm (speciality green grocer) and other food stores, including a butcher, fish shop, deli etc. Oh, and there are other stores as well, selling boring necessities such as clothes.

Also nearby, a 15min walk, are the Sydney Fish Markets, which are just fantastic if you like seafood. Freshest fish in Sydney, straight from the boats, as well as a deli, greengrocer and plenty of stores selling cooked fish. They also have highly respected cooking classes conducted here.

I agree Surry Hills has the best restaurants, but I don't think the produce is the best in that area. Farmers markets are another great thing, I know of three within a ten minute drive of Glebe. These are held only on the weekends.

Excellent, hope you find somewhere you love!

sydney best value eats

There's a few fantastic cheap places in Chinatown. The Chinese Noodle Restaurant in the Prince Centre, Quay St is wonderful and cheap. Great noodles and dumplings. Next door is Menya Japanese, also cheap and tasty.

The website has almost all the restaurants in Sydney with user reviews. You can search based on price, location and many other factors.

I second the suggestion for Indian in Surry Hills. I especially like Sagar on Cleveland St and Maya which is across the street. The Turkish place Erciyes, also on Cleveland is excellent as well.

Newtown has many many Thai restaurants. Almost all of them have a lunch special for around $7. It is a fun, vibrant part of the inner city to walk around in as well.

Good luck and hope your visit is great!