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great dinner near Quicken Arena in Cleveland?

Where can I get great food that's not too expensive and is within a 15 minute walk from the arena?

May 21, 2015
vonmoishe in Great Lakes

State Bird, Bar Tartine, A Cote, [something in Berkeley - any suggestions?]

Please help me fill out my trip itinerary. Already been to Chez Panisse, so what else is there in Berkeley that will blow me away?

Best chocolate chip cookie in SF, Oakland or Berkeley?

I'm wondering what everyone's favorite c.c. cookie is in the Bay Area. I prefer soft rather than crispy. My favorite ever is from Levain Bakery in NYC, so if there's something here that rivals it, I'm all ears.

Has anyone done the State Bird alcove table thing? [San Francisco]

If so, how was it? If you've eaten at a regular table, how does the alcove experience compare to it?

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

Thanks to everyone for all of the great suggestions. We went to the 34th St location, and we had the Mt. Qi Vegetable Noodles, Liang Pi, Lamb Burger and the Tiger Salad. When asked, we ordered the dishes "mild." Everything had just the right amount of spice for us - enough to make your nose run a bit but not set your whole mouth on fire. I absolutely loved the Liang Pi, and really liked the noodles and the burger. The Tiger Salad was interesting and I'm glad I tried it, but I wasn't blown away by what was essentially a mix of herbs without any other apparent flavor.

All in all a great 24 hours in NYC, which began with a fabulous dinner Friday night at Izakaya on E 6th, and also included stops for treats at Baked and Levain. The only real complaint was that the chocolate cake we got at Strip House was served cold. Who serves butter-based cakes cold?? They might as well serve their steaks cold as well.

Apr 12, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

Can you get the lamb burger not spicy, or maybe just a little spicy?

Apr 09, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

Thank you.

Apr 09, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

Turns out that my companion likes things that are a little spicy, but not any more than that. Can I order all of these things just a little bit spicy?

Apr 09, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

Two people. Can handle mild to medium spicy, and very adventurous. Don't want to order too much, but maybe three or four things for us to split. Thanks for asking!

Apr 07, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Must try dishes at Xi'an Famous? And which Manhattan location is best for Saturday sit down lunch?

I'll be there this Saturday and appreciate any advice and suggestions.

Apr 07, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Best restaurant roast chicken: Barbuto, Mighty Quinn's, other?

Any thoughts on this?

Feb 23, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

SF/East Bay restaurant and food trek report, and thanks

Marssy, I live in CT, but am coming back to SF/East Bay for a visit in late June, and am considering leading another food trek (or two).

Soho/W Village food crawl (w/ cookie focus and pre-ordered Cronuts) - Jan 24 - suggestions and companions welcome

Based on the feedback here and my changing schedule, I'll probably be starting out at Lafayette around 10, and skipping Egg Shop and Milk & Cookies. Anyone want to join?

Jan 22, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Soho/W Village food crawl (w/ cookie focus and pre-ordered Cronuts) - Jan 24 - suggestions and companions welcome

What do they do best?

Jan 22, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Soho/W Village food crawl (w/ cookie focus and pre-ordered Cronuts) - Jan 24 - suggestions and companions welcome

Thanks. What is Ceci Cela known for?

Jan 20, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Soho/W Village food crawl (w/ cookie focus and pre-ordered Cronuts) - Jan 24 - suggestions and companions welcome

Thanks for the suggestions. Are there specific items that you'd recommend at these places? I don't drink coffee, so I'm really looking for food-related recs. Thanks again.

Jan 13, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Soho/W Village food crawl (w/ cookie focus and pre-ordered Cronuts) - Jan 24 - suggestions and companions welcome

I'll be crawling through Soho and the West Village on Saturday, Jan. 24, starting somewhere between 8 and 9 in the morning, likely ending around noon or soon after. I've strategically included some savory spots to fuel up. Here's my planned agenda, which involves almost no backtracking and enables me to get to Dominique Ansel to pick up my pre-ordered Cronuts at the appointed time (10-11). If you come along, you get to share the Cronuts with me. If a place offers a chocolate chip cookie, we'll get one to try. Here's the planned route:

Egg Shop
Maman
Pi Bakery
Dominique Ansel
Old Tbilisi
Blue Ribbon
Milk & Cookies
Brief stop to check out Dominique Ansel's new spot @ 137 7th Ave
Roasting Plant
Umami Burger
Haven's Kitchen
City Bakery

When I have led food crawls in the past, here's how we did it... Everyone puts some money into a pot, including me. We pay for stuff to eat out of the pot, and everyone gets a taste. This way, you can have many tastes at many places, instead of getting stuffed if you're eating the whole portion yourself. You pay for anything you're taking home to eat on your own. When we get to the end, any money left in the pot is split up among the participants. Anyone want to come along? Anyone have any suggestions of other places to hit along the way?

In case you're curious, here's a link to a recap of food crawls I led in SF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828068

Jan 12, 2015
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Baltimore weekday lunch with a 4 yr old?

Any suggestions for someplace with great food at reasonable prices that would be enjoyed by discerning adults and a young child? Casual is better than fancy for us.

Newcastle/Edinburgh trip report

My wife and I had a great time sampling what Newcastle had to offer, as well as two pretty special meals up in Edinburgh.

We arrived in Newcastle on Sunday, and dragged our jet-lagged bodies over to the Ouseburn street market. It was fun to take a look at everything on offer, but our rabid hunger got the best of us, and we ordered pizza from the pizza truck because it had the shortest line! We had one pizza with porchetta, and another with cinghiale. Both were good, but not remarkable. We stumbled around for the rest of the afternoon, and then went to La Tasca because we were standing in front of it when we decided that we needed dinner immediately. We had the romesco chicken, the superfood salad, a third tapas I can't remember, and the fennel, tomato, orange and radish salad. The romesco chicken was good, but the other three were bland and boring. Unimpressed, we chose to skip dessert.

Monday lunch for me was at Olive & Bean, where I had a very nice sandwich of roast chicken, bacon, cheddar, chilli jam, mixed leaves and tomatoes on ciabatta. I saved half for breakfast the next day, and it was just as good then. For dessert, I had a large slice of millionaire's shortbread that was nice but nothing special. I also treated myself to a salted caramel cupcake from Pet Lamb, but the flavor didn't wow me. The girls were very nice, and gracefully accepted my suggestions on how to make their cupcakes moister and more flavorful. I squeezed in one more treat that afternoon - a ginger creme brulee tart from Cafe Royal that was excellent. Dinner that night was at The Broad Chare. Loved it. We devoured the Scotch Egg, with the most orange yolk I have ever seen. The mixed green salad was intriguing, as it came dressed with a vinaigrette AND a creamy dressing alongside. That creamy dressing was intoxicating and addictive. I found out that the secret ingredient was beef stock. We also loved the battered spring onions with cider glaze and blue cheese mayo. Perfectly fried and perfectly seasoned. We split a beautifully seared fish special with barely cooked veggies and potatoes that I kept dipping into the creamy salad dressing, even when I wasn't hungry anymore. No room for dessert.

Tuesday lunch for me was at Little Saigon. I enjoyed the BBQ pork with jasmine rice. Tuesday dinner was at Pan Haggerty. The best way to describe the food is to say it seemed like it was prepared by a young cook with big ideas that were not matched by an equal amount of skill and execution. Another way to say it? It paled in comparison to Broad Chare. My starter was a mix of spring vegetables with toasted breadcrumbs. Good flavor, but way too many breadcrumbs. They were out of pork tenderloin, but offered pork belly in its place. The problem was that they had created such a thick candied shell that it was almost impossible to cut, even with the steak knife that I had to ask for. The different sauces and accompaniments were nice if underseasoned, but not cohesive. My wife had a crab salad with grilled plums. The dressing was so strong that she couldn't taste the crabs, but she did rave about the plums. Her main was a duck breast with vanilla sauce that seemed like a good idea, but still felt unfinished. We were feeling underwhelmed, so we adjourned to The Broad Chare for dessert. My wife had the warm chocolate raspberry pudding, which she loved. I had the chocolate and salted caramel sundae, which was good but not great. The salted caramel was almost unnoticeable. We had a very funny conversation with our young waiter who tried to explain to us that salted caramel wasn't really supposed to be salty. Good times.

The Shanghai Pork with Thick Noodles I had for lunch on Wednesday at Nudo was truly excellent. I asked for the Mini Trio of Coconut Pudding, Red Bean Mousse & Mango Pudding, but they were out. Oh well. On my way back to the hotel, I picked up a banana & toffee mess pudding for takeaway from Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, and I'm very glad I did. It was my favorite dessert of the whole trip. After a nice train ride up to Edinburgh, my wife and I had dinner at Kitchin. What an experience. We opted for the surprise tasting menu with matching wines. The little dish of crudites and breads was nice, but the veggies were dried out as if they had been cut too long prior to service. Appetizer was a jellied chicken consomme with pea and crispy bacon - we both enjoyed it. The shellfish rockpool was an interesting concept - a "rockpool" of various shellfish like you'd find in a rockpool, along with sea vegetables and a shellfish consomme - but needed better execution. Three courses done, and we were underwhelmed to that point. Fortunately, from then on, they definitely raised their game. Next was a creamy razor clam "risotto" with vegetables, chorizo and lemon confit, and except for maybe needing to be a little warmer, it was excellent. This was followed by the pig's head and scallop served with a crispy pig's ear salad. Loved this - spicing was fantastic. The lobster served with escargot butter and squid was the high point of the week, definitely the best thing I put in my mouth on the trip. If picking it up and licking it clean wouldn't have made my wife squirm, you could have fit me with a bib! The last savory course was a roast rabbit saddle with artichoke, olive, tomato confit and rabbit kidneys. This too was delicious. The palate cleanser of elderberry and gooseberry sorbet was a bit too flowery for us, but it definitely blew away any lingering savoriness in our mouths. Dessert was great, a cheesecake served with macerated strawberries and strawberry sorbet that was the second best dessert I ate that week. We adjourned to the bar area for petit fours and coffee. Truly a grand meal, but I'm not sure that it was worth what we paid for it.

Thursday lunch proved to be the best meal of the trip. We feasted at The Honours. I started with the pork belly minestrone soup with a poached egg, which was as damn near perfect as it could be. My wife had the chef's salad, very similar to frisee lardons, which she loved. We each had a small plate of pasta for our main - I had the parmesan and potato gnocchi with morel pesto (great), and she had the spelt risotto with caramelized onion, mozzarella and hazelnuts (truly amazing). My wife selected the blackberry souffle with pear sorbet for dessert, and I had the almond cake with chocolate raisins, coconut ice cream and white chocolate granite. Both were excellent, but the souffle was really the top one. All in all an amazing meal from start to finish, for one-quarter the price of the prior night's dinner! After some takeaway sandwiches for dinner grabbed at the station, we took a later train back to Newcastle that night.

My last lunch was at Wagamama, which I went to based on a friend's recommendation. I had Yaki Udon, which needed more seasoning, and paled in comparison to what I'd had at Nudo. Friday dinner was at Cafe 21, which we had been looking forward to all week. What a colossal disappointment. I started with the cheddar cheese and spinach souffle, which could have used a nice sharp or acidic counterpoint. Thank goodness that there were olives on the table (came with the bread) to brighten up the souffle. My wife had the melon salad, which was slices of melon tossed with a vinaigrette. I liked the flavor, but my wife did not, and she also wasn't crazy about the texture. She was equally unenthusiastic about her main course, the fishcakes with buttered spinach. I described them to the waitress as "unremarkable", and the owner came out to thank us for the feedback, tell us that he agreed after eating it himself, and then take it off our bill. My entree was the bass, which was cooked nicely and almost properly seasoned. For dessert, I had the beautifully textured vanilla panna cotta with brandied cherries. If only it had tasted like vanilla! The wife had the raspberry chocolate pudding, and enjoyed it immensely.

All in all, a really fun week eating out in Newcastle and Edinburgh.

-vm

Jul 29, 2013
vonmoishe in U.K./Ireland

Looking for Newcastle recommendations

I'm visiting Newcastle next week. I'll be there for almost a week, and am looking for food recommendations. I love great food, and am willing to pay for it, but am just as happy at a rowdy pub with great food as I am at a Michelin 3 star with great food. I love food from all over the world, though it would be nice to hit at least one place with food specific to that part of the UK. I won't have a car, and will be staying close to the Sage Gateshead. Any suggestions? I'm looking at about 3 lunches and 5 dinners to plan for. I'd also love advice on great places to hit for sweets - bakeries, pastry shops, candy/chocolate shops, ice cream, etc. Thanks in advance for any advice offered. Cheers.

Jul 02, 2013
vonmoishe in U.K./Ireland

Chow meet up tomorrow AM at Four & Twenty Blackbirds?

Anyone interested in a pie tasting? How about meeting up at Four & Twenty Blackbirds tomorrow morning at around 9:30? We can order a bunch of pie slices, and everybody gets to taste each one. No need for any one person to eat a whole slice by themselves. Think of it - try four different pies without having to eat four whole slices!! If you're interested, email me at vonmoishe@hotmail.com. Peace.

Jan 22, 2013
vonmoishe in Outer Boroughs

Great food near Hammerstein Ballroom?

Willing to pay $50 pp. Two people one night, four the next. Would prefer to have a reservation. Would like t be within 15 minutes walking distance. Two weeks from this coming
Tuesday and Wednesday.

Jan 04, 2013
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Great food near Hammerstein Ballroom?

I'm looking for a great meal near HB. Trying to keep it from being too expensive. Any atmosphere is fine, but the food has to be great. Any suggestions?

Jan 03, 2013
vonmoishe in Manhattan

Where to find Tobagi kimchi in/near New Haven?

Tried. Nope.

Where to find Tobagi kimchi in/near New Haven?

Has anyone seen it? I've found it in Korean supermarkets in Manhattan, but am hoping to find it close to home.

Great food, fun and casual - anything in the greater Gaithersburg area?

I'm looking for great food in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. I'm in Gaithersburg, but I'd be willing to go down to Rockville or up to Frederick, and anywhere in between. I want to be blown away by what I eat without having to feel out of place in jeans. Any cuisine will do, but something new is usually more intriguing to me than traditional. Something like Oyamel would be right up my alley, but it doesn't have to be Mexican. Any nationality will do, as long as it's great. I'm also partial to places with great pastry chefs. Any suggestions?

Anyone ever get into Minibar from the waiting list?

Thanks. At least I have a shot. The sad part is, I turned down a spot at 8:30 because my wife and I agreed that only 6pm was doable. Ahhhhhh!!!!

Anyone ever get into Minibar from the waiting list?

I'm on the list for three different days this coming March. Do I have a chance in you-know-where of getting in? The woman who answered the phone mentioned that they only take ten names for the waiting list for each seating. I'm wondering if that's ten people or ten parties. Would love info from anyone out there who wants to share it. Thanks.

SF/East Bay restaurant and food trek report, and thanks

hyperbowler, when we were in OctoberFeast, I mentioned that I was comparing their reaper bun to the kouign amann we'd just eaten from Starter Bakery. The girl behind the counter said that Starter Bakery had stolen the idea from them, and that their kouign amann was a lesser version of the reaper bun. Yes, it is slightly bigger than a kouign amann.

I found Amedei Porcellana at Chocolate Covered in Noe Valley (4069 24th St).

SF/East Bay restaurant and food trek report, and thanks

First off, a very big thanks to all of the SF ‘hounds whose generous advice paved the way for me to have an absolutely fantastic time eating my way through the Bay Area. Also, thanks to the ‘hounds who joined me on my two food treks: fruti, Kayde, bertabetti, Paula, and Jessica. Here’s my report:

Wednesday dinner – Lers Ros. Had the Garlic Quail, Som Tum with Prawns, and Pad Ped Alligator. Quail and Som Tum were great, but the Pad Ped was unbelievably spicy, and I could only eat it after requesting some coconut milk to spoon over it. And they called it “medium spicy.” Um, ok.

Thursday breakfast – Boot and Shoe Café. A big thanks to the Tasting Table email that alerted me to this place. Had the Brussels sprout and potato frittata, the homemade granola with yogurt and fruit, and the cinnamon streusel coffee cake. All three were fantastic. This place had such a good vibe, and such friendly staff that we decided to return later in the trip. Thursday lunch – Mission Chinese Food. Total hole in the wall with killer food. Had the curried buckwheat noodles, the tea-smoked eel, the pork belly, and the rice porridge with oxtail and crab, and we liked them from best to least in that order, though all of them were very, very good.

Thursday dinner – A Cote. This was our hands down favorite for the entire trip. The chanterelle flatbread with pancetta, leeks and pecorino fresco was one of the best things that I have ever eaten. Relatively simple, but so perfectly balanced and incredibly savory. I will remember that dish for a very long time. We also had the wild boar and chestnut sausage with farro, escarole and cranberry mostarda, which was excellent, and a whole better than the sum of its parts. Our last dish was the scallops with beet risotto, which was very good but a bit too buttery. For dessert, we had carrot cake with cream cheese mousse, candied cranberries, ginger creme anglaise and candied walnuts, and the coconut cream pie with coconut milk custard and toasted coconut cream. Both were very good, but not great. A very honorable mention goes to the Parlor Trick, a splendid drink of old-fashioned gin, muddled Satsuma, maraschino liqueur, and lime.

Friday – East Bay food trek:
1. Starter Bakery’s kouign amann. Very good.
2. La Bedaine’s pear tart. Excellent – one of the best pear tarts I’ve ever had.
3. OctoberFeast Bakery’s reaper bun and pretzel croissant. The reaper bun was an amazing version of a kouign amann, and was better than Starter Bakery’s. I wish that La Bedaine had made their version that day for a comparison. The pretzel croissant tasted more like challah than croissant, but it was pretty good.
4. PIQ Berkeley’s apple strudel. Good, but nothing special.
5. Gregoire’s potato puffs and poutine. The puffs were very good, but the mustardy aioli was not a good accompaniment. The poutine was a complete letdown. It was watery French fries and cottage cheese. Seriously.
6. Crixa Cakes’ onion bun and Fatima’s thighs. The onion bun was stellar, and the F.t. was very good.
7. Sacred Wheel Cheese’s seared mac ‘n cheese. Very good, and served with yummy pepper jelly.
8. Cosecha’s wild shrimp taco, pork belly taco, posole, and horchata. All four were excellent, and the vibe was great in the midst of a buzzing farmer’s market crowd.
9. Shan Dong’s sesame paste hand-pulled noodles and leek pancakes. Both of these were phenomenal, which was a welcome surprise given the crappy décor.
10. Ici’s persimmon-brandied currant, brown sugar ginger snap, and crème fraiche with cherries. All three were good to very good, though the persimmon was my favorite.

Friday dinner – Ippuku. What a great place – thanks to the ‘hounds online who suggested it. Had the chicken tartare, baked persimmon, chicken hearts, congee, pork belly, Brussels sprouts, omakase yakitori, and Dungeness crab balls. All were excellent.

Friday dessert – Scream Sorbet. Before Scream, we went to Gelateria Naia. What a total disappointment. The flavors were all muted. It was the taste equivalent of watching TV through gauze. After a few weak tastes, we decided not to order anything and went to Scream. Awesome, awesome, awesome. We each tried about 5 of the flavors. My wife had the pistachio (great) and the chocolate hazelnut (excellent). I had the maple walnut and the almond-pink peppercorn. Both were fantastic.

Saturday – SF food trek:
1. La Santaneca’s corn pupusa with pork and rice pupusa with pork and cheese. These were both very good. Most of us preferred the rice pupusa.
2. El Huarache Loco’s (Alemany Farmer’s Market) lamb taco and huitlacoche huarache. Taco was very good, huarache was fantastic.
3. All Star Tamales’(Alemany Farmer’s Market) sweet corn tamale. Excellent. Buttery. Yum.
4. Sandbox Bakery’s spicy bacon croissant and yuzu marmalade sage brioche. Loved the croissant, and liked the brioche.
5. Amedei Porcellana (Chocolate Covered). Totally worth the $20 for this bar of chocolate. Experience was like this… at 30 seconds, it was “ok, not bad.” A minute in, “this is good.” 90 seconds in, “ok, this is really good.” Two minutes in, “wow, this is amazing.” The life of that chocolate bar flashed before my eyes while it melted on my tongue. It was a wonderful life.
6. Delise Jura (a soft-rind brie-like cheese), Cabrales blue cheese and Acme bread (24th Street Cheese Co). Seriously, how bad could it be? Answer: not bad at all. We waited about 30-45 minutes to eat it so the cheese could come up to temp, and it was worth the wait.
7. Humphry Slocombe’s brown sugar-fennel, secret breakfast, and blue bottle coffee. Completely awesome. We sampled other flavors that were also fantastic. Definitely the best ice cream of the trip, and it wasn’t even close. Seriously, beat everything else by a country mile, except maybe not far superior to Scream Sorbet though, in my mind, still superior.
8. Smitten Ice Cream’s crème fraiche with pear caramel, and coconut with almond brittle. Both were very good, though I preferred the crème fraiche. The coconut tasted more like coconut milk than coconut.
9. Boxing Room’s sweet potato & andouille hash and bourbon banana split. Both of these were mighty tasty. The hash was topped by a runny egg, and the split was plated over a pool of killer bourbon caramel. A great end to the trek.

Saturday dinner – Camino. Except for being seated too close to the door, and feeling every breath of cold air that came in each time someone opened it, we had a good time. Had the avocado toasts, mushroom/truffle/egg toasts, grilled Dungeness crab, seafood chowder, Tunisian orange cake with dates, mastika pudding, and apple crostata. Savory was better than sweet.

Sunday brunch – Boot and Shoe Café. For our encore here, we had the ceci and egg cazuela, and the sausage-hot pepper-panna pizza. The cazuela was good, though not equal to its hype. We loved the pizza, and couldn’t resist finishing up with another slice of the cinnamon streusel coffee cake.

Sunday snack – Scream Sorbet. Yep. We went here again. This time, I had the Szechuan pomegranate and the Cashew Chai. Wife had spicy chocolate pecan and pear rosé. All four were excellent.

Sunday dinner – Marica. Cool little place with very nice servers. We split the fried garlic calamari appetizer, and loved every bite. Entrees were the seafood stew and the pork chop. Both were cooked impeccably, and were very flavorful. They comped us a crème brulee just to be nice, but it was pretty disappointing.

All in all, a great trip. It’s too bad that none of the restaurants really knew how to make a great dessert, but at least Scream Sorbet and Humphry Slocombe were there to tickle my sweet tooth. Thanks again to all!

ps My parking karma totally kicked ass on both sides of the bay. My fellow trekkers were amazed, and frankly, so was I.