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Drip Coffee / Baked Goods near West End

Wow, thanks. Filter Coffee sounds great, as does Baked and Wired (I just looked at their web sites.) This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Drip Coffee / Baked Goods near West End

I'm coming to DC for a week in early October and I'd like recommendations for good drip coffee and for baked goods (ie, bakery/pastry shop/croissants, that kind of thing). As for the coffee, I really like a good strong drip coffee; I'm not a big espresso fan.

I'll be staying at the (apparently somewhat inaccurately named) Westin Georgetown, which is on M street two blocks north of Washington Circle. Anyplace in that area, or in Georgetown, or really anywhere near the touristy areas would be fine; (or if the baked goods are THAT good, then I'll travel for it; Food is at the top of my list when traveling - ok, anytime.)

I've seen mention of breadline in a few places so I'm planning on trying that out; I realize it's not exactly next to the hotel (0.8 miles according to google maps) but that's certainly walkable.

I'll post separately about restaurants recommendations. By the way, I did a search for coffee and didn't find anything other than espresso recommendations.

Thanks,
Tony

UPDATE on BEST Coffee Beans, Pref. around Oakland/Berkeley

I don't know if Bittersweet (on College ave) is still roasting beans, but it was fantastic a year ago when they were. I don't get out there very often to check. FYI, Bittersweet is a chocolate store/cafe and they used to sell/server blue bottle, but they started roasting their own beans a while back (about two years? year and a half?) and it was simply incredible.

Dec 20, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

What are the places/things that SF does better than Boston? [moved from Boston board]

I haven't been there in about two years, but I have been there about four times (over a multi year period) and every time I ordered a cheese plate - includes manchego and brie and some olives, and I"m not sure if anything else.

I never saw anyone bring in (to consume) anything from Cowgirl Creamery (or anywhere else, though to be honest, other than the first time, I wasn't looking for that, so it might have been going on.

Oct 07, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

What are the places/things that SF does better than Boston? [moved from Boston board]

I grew up in a Boston suburb and I went to school in Cambridge, but I moved out to the bay area shortly after college so I don't know the fine dining options in Boston well. Nevertheless, my thoughts:

1. Tartine is a unique bakery - highly recommended
2. Boston is the winning ice cream town, but Bi-Rite is tasty, no doubt about it. Haven't made it to HS yet.
3. We take produce for granted here, and in Boston you have to look for it in special places; I'm not saying the produce at Safeway is great, cause it ain't; but I think there are many more options for fresh producer in the bay area. I do remember in Boston if I wanted to make guacamole I had to plan it three days in advance to give the avocados time to ripen.

My favorite Bay Area stuff:

Gary Danko for a splurge meal
Tartine for pastries (especially the frangipane croissant/tart)
LIttle Star (deep dish pizza)
Nopa - yes, what a great place (especially, but not only, the pork chop!)
The french toast at Il Fornaio.
The clams at Hog Island Oyster Company (ferry building)
Aziza
Delfina's pretty darn good too.

I can't speak about Flour + Water yet (but happily have reservation in about a month!)

but the biggest thing that differs, in my opinion, is the variety of wine, particularly (but not only) california wines - and the wines are priced much better here too. Being able to buy decent wine at Safeway is such a great thing. And wine stores! Golden Gate Wine Cellars is my favorite, but K&L is great too;

A glass of expensive (but really) good wine at the ferry building wine bar is really nice; you'll get introduced to something you never would have and it will be fantastic. And you can get some great cheese to go with it.

Acme bread! how could I forget that? Especially the Epi, wow that is some bread.

Have a great trip!

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Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Gary Danko
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Oct 01, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

Gary Danko or The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton?

Thanks for the jacket info, ieatstuff, I apologize for my ignorance.

T

Oct 01, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

Gary Danko or The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton?

I have not eaten there, but I think you might need to wear a tie for the dining room at the Ritz. I'm pretty sure you at least need to wear a jacket. You can get by at Gary Danko without a jacket or tie.

(this could, of course, be a negative or a positive to you).

I love the food at GD. My only complaint is that the menu doesn't change much; it's seasonal, so the winter menu does differ somewhat from the summer menu, but year after year I see the many of the same dishes on the menu.

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Gary Danko
800 N Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Sep 30, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

Disappointing Lunch at EMP

Gary Danko is great, I really enjoy it. The service is as polished and professional as possible - but not at all stuffy or pretentious. You don't get the over the top "stream of servers", as you say, that I did see at EMP (and I also saw at Daniel when I was there in the past).

Sep 30, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Disappointing Lunch at EMP

The crumble did not seem different to me, but I can't say that with certainty.

Sep 30, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Disappointing Lunch at EMP

I see a lot of positive reviews here of the new EMP format, and I wish I could join in, but I have to say my lunch last week was a huge disappointment.

I was visiting from out of town, and I'd never been to EMP before, but based on the reviews here on chowhound I was really looking forward to the lunch.

Most importantly, I didn't think the food was great, overall. I had the four course menu, and I chose Foie Gras, Lobster, Pork, Chocolate. I did ask a little about the courses but I didn't have a "conversation" with the waiter about them as some have mentioned. I asked about them, I got a short description, that was it. So the one word listings on the menu didn't really work for me. Seemed gimmicky. Anyway, the food:

The foie gras was fantastic, no doubt about it. It wasn't a chunk of foie gras that had been pan seared (as is usually the case when I order it at restaurants) - it was a chilled "smooth" preparation; I would say "mousse", except it was denser than that, it wasn't light and fluffy. I would say "pate", but it didn't have any kind of "chunks" in it, and it didn't really seem to have anything else in it (though I suspect it had something in it, just not sure). At any rate, it was one of the best foie gras appetizers I have ever had. It was a very small portion, so that was not ideal, but it was so good I was happy. The "crumble" on top was a little wierd - but a little sweetness with foie gras is a good thing, though I think fruit is better than a sweet "crumble". (The weird thing about the crumble is that it appeared in at least three of the dishes! Odd that it was so repetitive.)

The second course, lobster was just ok. I had never had butter poached lobster, which sounded great to me, but it just tasted like a piece of lobster (claw/knuckle). It otherwise didn't have any discernable flavor. I could just steam a lobster at home and it would have been as good; actually, it would have been better since I would have had a ramekin of butter to dip it in. Anyway, it wasn't bad in any way, but disappointing that it wasn't special in any way at all.

The pork was good to very good. It was a small piece of belly and a piece of loin. The belly was just ok; I know others have rhapsodized about the crispy skin of the belly - it just seemed fatty to me. I am sure it was supposed to be fatty, but it didn't add any big flavor, at least not to me, so the belly was just OK. The loin was very good, I was really happy with it; but it was a small portion; I expect that size portion in a tasting menu, but this wasn't a tasting menu, so I was disappointed. Actually, it even seemed small for a tasting menu.

The chocolate was the most disapointing because it was chocolate with mint. I don't hate chocolate with mint, but I don't particularly love it, and I would never order it in a fine dining restaurant; but because of the one word menu description ("chocolate"), I had no idea it was mint. Three kind of ice creams, two were some type of mint and the third was menthol! Ick, that was wierd. The one thing I would say about the dessert is that part of the base of the chocolate part included a piece of cookie (kind of looked like a chocolate wafer) and that was fantastic.

what about the "extras"? Well, it didn't seem like there were that many, and of the ones that there were, I wasn't really impressed.

Tomato "tea" and piece of "wafer" - the wafer (I call it that, since I don't remember what they called it; it was the thickness of a papadam) was a little spicy and the tomato tea did have the taste of tomatoes, but it didn't do anything for me. It really needed some fat or something to make it taste good - it just tasted like tomato flavored broth. I know at least one person on chowhound has raved about it, but it just didn't do anything for me.

Same thing for the celery "lollipop"; first of all, it was coated in cocoa butter, which just wasn't tasty with the celery. Although the celery DID need some fat, the cocoa butter was the wrong fat, it just didn't go with it. Secondly, the celery ice cream was a wierd ice-crystal consistency. I always wondered how ice cream made with liquid nitrogen turned out - if this is how, then it's not worth doing. Let me say that the ice cream in the dessert was smooth the way I expect ice cream to be - no crystals - and the two "lollipops" presented during the meal were both more of a cross between ice cream and "snow cone"; in other words, I'm not saying it was ice cream with a few ice crystals in it; I'm saying that the entire consistency of the ice cream was ice crystal-ish. but overall, for the celery, it was a flavor disappointment. And I have to say that I really do like celery and especially celery root, so it didn't seem to be an issue because of the flavor per se, just that it didn't work.

A parmesan "tuille" (or whatever it was called) was ok, at least, I *think* that's what was presented, I'm getting a little foggy now; and either before or after dessert there was another lollipop - I honestly don't remember what it was, though I know it was NOT coated with cocoa butter - but it was not memorable, and a piece of brittle (I think it was sunflower seed brittle) which was ok to good but not earth shaking.

There were no parting gifts, no macarons, no granola, etc. Maybe that's done only for dinner. Overall I expected more "treats" (extras) during the meal, and, more importantly, I expected them to be great.

The wine pairing was disappointing as well, none of the wines blew me away, and in particular I was disappointed with the pairing for the pork; I had hoped for a pinot noir but it was something from the rhone, I think; i think it was compared with a gigondas, and it wasn't a clash but it did not especially go with the pork.

As for service, it was fine, it didn't blow me out of the water, but no complaints.

I was so much looking forward to this meal, maybe that was my mistake, making it the highlight of my trip. I have to say that my dinner at Daniel (about three years ago) blew this out of the water. My meals at Gary Danko (SF restaurant) have all been better than this lunch.

And why did they get rid of the tasting menu? I still don't understand the rationale. I don't eat at restaurants of this caliber very often - maybe once a year - and so I don't get to have many tasting menus; I would have really liked it, but I could only go with 3 or 4 courses. I just don't get it.

T

Sep 30, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Scarpetta: any info on new vegetarian menu?

I was drooling over RGR's blog today and saw a reference to the pasta from Scarpetta, so even though I said I was going to limit my upcoming trip to one nice place (can't wait to try the 8 course lunch menu at EMP!), I'm starting to think of maybe having a second "really nice" meal - and since my partner is vegetarian, the new vegetarian menu at Scarpetta looks interesting.

So I'm wondering if anyone has tried it yet - looks to be only a few days old.
Here's a little info on Eater: http://ny.eater.com/archives/2010/08/...
And here is Scarpetta's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?i...

According to the facebook page, their website has undergone some changes, but alas, no prices are listed on the menus. Fortunately eater.com has the vegetarian menu with prices: http://ny.eater.com/uploads/2010_08_v...

Thanks!
Tony

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Scarpetta
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014

Sep 02, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Just got a Per Se res, now I need a new lunch place.

EMP and Per Se on the same day. OMG, my brain can't handle it, but I am so jealous of you.

I hope you have a great time!

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Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Aug 29, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Near/in Tribeca breakfast, lunch and dinner eats?

I should preface this with the fact that I'm not a New Yorker, but in planning my upcoming visit, I've been reading a lot of the postings here and also have been looking at other reviews/info that I can find. One place that I think is in Tribeca and seems to get very good reviews is Locanda Verde; they look to be pretty high end, so it may not be what you are looking for, but they also have breakfast (not so common in really nice places, I think) and I've read very good things about that. You might do a search here for it to see what people have written.

Good luck, and I hope you have a great visit.

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Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Aug 26, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Need a special place that is both veg friendly and not too dressy

RGR, I wanted to give you an update.

I booked lunch at EMP yesterday online, and a few minutes later I phoned to ensure that the vegetarian request was known and that it would not be a problem. I already suspected that the lunch menu was changing since the "menu" link was taken off the website.

(aside: last week I noticed that the menu link was missing from the web site; when I viewed the page source in my browser, I saw the javascript command for menu had a flag set - something like 'hidden'; I wasn't sure if this was an error but I suspected that there might be a menu change coinciding with the short upcoming closure of the restaurant. At any rate, I sent an email to the restaurant alerting them to the fact that there might indeed be an error - or that they might want to change their hidden javascript to prevent people from accessing the menu if that was intentional - and I received a prompt and courteous reply that the omission was intentional and that the menu was changing.)

Anyway, I called and the hostess said they had no problem accomodating a vegetarian. She said there are two options for lunch: a three course ($56) and an eight course ($95). I THINK the three course was described as "prix fixe" and the eight course was described as "tasting menu" but I am not 100% sure of that; I asked if either could be made vegetarian and was told yes, as long as I told them in advance which one I wanted. I hesitated - I really want to try the tasting menu but don't want to make my partner uncomfortable - but took a big breath and say yes, the 8 course menu! I now have something to obsess over for the next four weeks.

Although I had been thinking about planning two big (that is to say, expensive) meals for our trip, I now think I will limit it to only one. First of all, this is what I really want: to have the "full" experience at one really nice place. EMP sounds exactly like what I want: an exciting meal, with a vegetarian option, getting to try many courses, and having a beautiful setting. I guess I'm really excited about this meal and I don't want to dilute it by planning a second big meal out. Also, I think my partner will find a big blow-out meal more tolerable - maybe even really enjoyable - if it's the one special meal we have planned. I ate at Daniel when I was in NY about three years ago; it was wonderful but at the time - and since - I really wished I could have tried the tasting menu - but I was with two friends, both of whom thought it was excessive - and ever since I have wondered what that would have been like. Now I've found a tasting menu I want to try even more, and this time I won't have any "what if" regrets of not having tried it.

So RGR, thanks for your advice; also, I really enjoyed your photos, they have given me an idea of what to expect and have contributed to my excitement about this meal. I will be sure to post afterward and maybe even take some pictures. I also thought you would be interested to know about the new pricing for lunch. Although I am sure you will be disappointed in that, I have to say that I am not surprised: I am always surprised that nice restaurants are even profitable at all: there is so much labor involved in every step, so many people, so much service, and so few tables (with slow turnover) that it's a miracle they make any money. So while I am cost-conscious - especially because of my partner's frugality - I don't begrudge the restaurant its due.

One quick question: Is 20% tip standard for a place like this, or, if the service is as good as I expect, should it be even higher?

Tony

Aug 24, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

NYC recs for casual yet memorable food

kathryn,

thank you so much for enumerating the various Momofuku establishments. I've been confused about the differences between them, and this is a big help!

Tony

Aug 17, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

best pasta in nyc?

Wow, great site, thanks for the link.

Aug 12, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

best pasta in nyc?

Speaking of Babbo, do you know if the pasta tasting menu can be made vegetarian? I just looked on their website and only one of the dishes looked to have meat, though I may just not understand the dishes from the names.

Never mind, I just saw this:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/361747

Thanks anyway!

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Aug 12, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Point Reyes Dining

I've been to Nick's cove three times and it's been disappointing each time. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't particularly good, and it wasn't worth the money - it's fairly pricey.

Last time was with a group of four people, one of whom is vegetarian. There were no vegetarian entrees on the menu, which is surprising for bay area restaurant. There was a pasta dish on the menu which they said they could make without the fish - and they did, but they still charged $19 for it, which seemed quite high for a small portion of pasta.

I really *want* to like this place, it's such a great concept but it keeps disappointing me.

I have heard fantastic things about the italian restaurant in Point Reyes Station.

I have always had good to very good experiences at the Station House Cafe. Admittedly I have eaten there only once in the past five years - was about four months ago - but I liked it then and I always liked it in the 90's when I went there about once a year.

I think there is a bakery in either the town of Tomales or Marshall, and I seem to remember liking it, but that was about 5 years ago.

Good luck! It is such a beautiful area over in west Marin.

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Station House Cafe
11180 State Route 1 N, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Aug 12, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

Pop Tart Shop

I disagree. The key point isn't that Pop Tarts are bad for you, but that they are bad for you AND they don't taste particularly good. There's a case to be made for eating junk food if the junk food is good. But to eat something that's bad for you AND not particularly tasty is just wrong.

Of course taste is subjective. Personally I think cupcakes are much tastier than Pop Tarts, and of coure you are welcome to your opinion on that. But consider:
a) since you say "stores selling cupcakes", I'm focusing on non-mass-produced cupcakes, ie, the ones made and sold by bakeries. There is lots of room for variability there - and at least many of them use natural ingredients; to me - and many others - butter is a much preferred ingredient to vegetable shortening. Are you denigrating all cakes, or just small ones? Or is there something else inherently wrong with cupcakes? I like cake.
b) they aren't selling well - at least in the eyes of the company that makes them since they feel the need to improve sales - and so it looks like many people agree that they don't taste particularly good.

Bad for you AND not tasty. That certainly sounds to me like "a flagship for what's wrong in American dining".

Aug 11, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Pop Tart Shop

I'm not a resident, so take this as you will, but I have mixed feelings. I do think that Times Square is crowded and boring - but on the other hand, I'm not sad that the grit is gone. I also think it's nice to "put all the nuts in one basket", and I can easily avoid the area, except when going to a show - and I can live with it then.

So yes, it's tacky and gross and symbolic of what's wrong with America. But on the other hand, it isn't hurting me, and it's giving (some) people what they want, and it might even be good for the local economy;

I do think this is interesting: when I read about this in the NYT yesterday, the article stated (or implied) that PopTarts brand wasn't doing well and that this was an attempt to improve sales. What's interesting is that this approach does nothing to improve the product itself. If the product isn't selling, maybe you should fix the product. (maybe they realize it isn't fixable).

Aug 10, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Breakfast in SF

Wow, thanks ssfire, now I'm dying to try Butler and Chef.

Personally I've never had a bad order of french toast at Il Fornaio, though I have had it more times in Palo Alto than in SF. But that's not doubting you - either I'm not as discerning about it or I've just been luckier.

Aug 07, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

Breakfast in SF

I know that many people will disagree with this, but I really like breakfast at Il Fornaio. Yes, it is a relatively small chain - about 20 restaurants - but the food is really good, and I especially love the French Toast there. If you are there when they have the outdoor patio open, it's quite lovely to sit there, so close to the Levi Plaza fountain - a nice way to spend an hour or so on a weekend morning.

I like the french toast so much I always get it, but I have taken others here (both local and out of towners) and they have enjoyed other things (and if you order something savory they bring a great bread basket).

I posted about it in the past and got some negative feedback ("why would you choose that when there are better places") and although I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I do wonder if the criticism is due to it being a chain or to the food itself. I've been going there for years and it has been consistently great. (dinner there is fine, but breakfast is what I really love there.)

When I hear someone say "Town's End" it really confuses me. I've eaten there twice and it seemed fine but there wasn't anything particularly great about it. It was a decent yet somewhat ordinary breakfast. I tried Dottie's once and it was ok. Il Fornaio is the only place in SFwhere breakfast really "wowed" me. (well, Tartine too, but that's pastries, not a full breakfast; the pastries, especially the Frangipane tart and croissant, are great, so there's another hearty recommendation).

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Il Fornaio
1265 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Aug 05, 2010
atjsfo in San Francisco Bay Area

11 Madison Park, Nougatine, or Gramercy Tavern???

uwsister, I found your review and it turns out I had already read it! (i've been trying to do my homework). Sounds absolutely fantastic, and I love the fact you tried a little of everything on the dessert (tart) cart. Is that a standard option or did you ask for that special?

for anyone else who wants to see the review, here it is:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7193...

Jul 25, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

11 Madison Park, Nougatine, or Gramercy Tavern???

Thanks so much for your detailed report. I am going to have lunch at EMP on my upcoming trip and I can't wait!

Jul 22, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Looking for best places for breakfast pastries and strong coffee

Wow, thanks for the suggestions.

I should have said: I am looking for hot brewed coffee, i.e., drip or press pot, not espresso or espresso-based beverages.

Jul 22, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Looking for best places for breakfast pastries and strong coffee

I'm coming to NY for a visit in September and I'm looking for places with great breakfast pastries and strong coffee that is preferably NOT dark roast.

I like croissants and reading the croissant threads makes me think that Bergamote, Petrossian and Ceci-Cela would all be good choices. But I also like sticky buns and cinnamon rolls and other breakfast pastries (coffee cake? filled almond croissants? etc.), so I wanted to ask about breakfast pastries in general. It could either be a sit down restaurant or a bakery with (or without) a counter to sit at. It is hard to describe what I like in a pastry since it depends on the type, but in general buttery and flaky are good attributes of most pastries - though I wouldn't call a sticky bun or a cinnamon roll flaky, so maybe that's too much of a generalization.

We'll be staying downtown but I have no problem going anywhere in Manhattan for a great breakfast pastry.

I've been to City Bakery on past trips and it was ok. I'll go back there if there isn't something better to try.

Oh, and any places that have strong coffee? I don't expect this in the same place, but that's ok, I can stop at one place for the coffee and another for the pastry.

Thanks!
Tony

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Ceci-Cela
55 Spring St, New York, NY 10012

City Bakery
3 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

Petrossian
182 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019

Jul 21, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

What to order at Blue Hill?

Let us know what you ordered and how it was. I'm strongly considering dinner at Blue Hill during my upcoming trip in September. Thanks and good luck.

Tony

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Blue Hill
75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

Jul 21, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Need a special place that is both veg friendly and not too dressy

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice.

As of now, I am leaning toward lunch at EMP since it is so inexpensive and a dinner at either Cafe Boulud or Blue Hill, although I am still considering Grammercy Tavern. Based on what I have read (and looking at their web sites) I am leaning toward Blue Hill because I think he would like it best. I think two meals of this caliber (and expense) will be the limit for this trip (but there's always a return visit).

I will be sure to post a follow-up after the trip.

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Cafe Boulud
20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

Blue Hill
75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

Jul 21, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Need a special place that is both veg friendly and not too dressy

Veggieyummie,

I looked at the restaurant's website and it definitely looks interesting, but I'm not sure if my partner would like; I may show him the website and menu this weekend and see what his reaction is.

Jul 21, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan

Need a special place that is both veg friendly and not too dressy

Thanks, Kathryn. I had not seen those - mostly because I was not specifically looking for vegetarian places and I did not think to look for vegetarian tasting menus.

Jul 21, 2010
atjsfo in Manhattan