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Graduation Dinner for 12 ppl in Pasadena - Need advice!

Parkway was booked. :( Maison Akira has lots of good prix fixe so thats convenient. Going to try there. Thanks for the suggestion!

May 10, 2008
jb8765 in Los Angeles Area

Graduation Dinner for 12 ppl in Pasadena - Need advice!

I'm graduating from college (yessss) in a week and a half and need to make arrangements for dinner. Pasadena is the most central location for family from lots of different areas and I'm confused as to where to reserve. As this dinner is for graduation and birthday, budget isn't too much of a concern. Nothing too exotic, and definitely good service and an upscale feeling are what I'm looking for. Most important is that it is quiet and accommodating of large groups!

I was thinking of:

- The Dining Room @ The Langham
I ate here one four years ago when it was the Ritz. How is it now? Overpriced? Called to request they email me the menus, no response yet. Is The Terrace--the other restaurant in that hotel--nice enough?

- Parkway Grill
Was good last time I ate there in January. Good for a large party?

- JJ Steakhouse
Worth the hype? Overpriced because of location right on Colorado Bl?

- Madeleine's
Had good dinner here once, definitely quiet, but is it good for groups?

Any other suggestions?? So many of the large, seemingly upscale restaurants in Pasadena have mediocre food and are really noisy. (e.g. Mi Piace)

May 06, 2008
jb8765 in Los Angeles Area

Margarita Recipes [Split from Margarita bar thread on Calif]

The agave nectar and agavero is a great premium touch--I will have to try that some time! Also, reposado is a nice (medium in flavor and body) tequila to use. Anejo is for sipping after dinner and shouldn't really be mixed into margaritas, IMO.

Jul 29, 2007
jb8765 in Spirits

Gotta Take This Call

possibly worse than answering one phone call is having the CRACKberry out and checking your email all night! I don't care what you do---if you leave the office for a 9pm dinner, you shouldn't still be checking email!

Call me selfish, but it really disrupts an entire meal if it's on the table. Everyone gets distracted when it beeps, vibrates(!) or flashes.

Jul 29, 2007
jb8765 in Features

Dumb Question about Avocados

Thanks so much everyone! This will be so helpful as I love dishes with avocado.

May 14, 2007
jb8765 in General Topics

Favorite Summer Drink? (Alcoholic)

For me, it's simple, a modified cape codder:

Highball glass, fill with ice
1.5 oz vodka
0.5 lime, juiced
Fill with equal parts Cranberry Juice and Soda (Seltzer).

Light, refreshing, a bit of a kick but not too much.

What are you summer drink suggestions?

May 13, 2007
jb8765 in Spirits

Margarita Recipes [Split from Margarita bar thread on Calif]

I worked in an NYC Mexican restaurant (like that has any authority), but we were known for having some of the best, and without question, strongest, margaritas around. We sold so many that we would make them by the "tank" in the back in the mornings and early afternoons. When I make them for friends at home, I just adjust the proportions with shot glasses.

That said, one "tank" called for:
3 750mL bottles of tequila (We used a terribly cheap wholesale brand for the house stuff.)
3.5 750mL bottles of TripleSec
2 large size (that they have in any supermarket--maybe 32oz?) bottle of Lemon Juice

For the tanks we put in the frozen machinese we would later add water. Obviously, if you are doing the blender method, you add ice, so same effect...

I also noticed, but this depended on the customer, I would add less triple sec if the customer requested Grand Marnier, since it's so sweet.

For the flavored margaritas, we just add the flavors to the basic mixture, whether it be flavored shnapps (sour apple, peach, wild berry, raspberry, etc.) or fruit puree or juice (strawberry, pomegranate, guava or my personal favorite--blood orange).

Another in home tip--if making the margaritas for a few people, and not pitchers for a party, then skip the bottled lemon juice, buy a bunch of limes, and squeeze it yourself! I usually do one whole lime per drink to offset how strong it is with this recipe. Sometimes I'll up the lime and reduce the tequila a bit if my guests can't hold their liquor well.

Trick to making lime squeezing easier if you are sans juicer---slice it in half down the middle the short way (so each half has one pointy end, not the way you'd do it to make wedges for garnish), take an old fork you dont care much about, poke the flesh of the lime a bit, then hold the half-lime in one hand, using the fork to poke with the other hand, twisting hands in opposite directions.

I have no idea if that explanation made sense. But I picked that up watching our waiters make tableside guacamole at unbelievable speeds.

As for tequilas, if you want to make it on the cheap, do NOT ever use Cuervo. It's really just crap. Sauza (gold and blanco) are much superior and often cheaper because so many dumb people by cuervo that liquor stores lower the prices on Sauza to get rid of it. I personally am a fan of both El Tesoro and Corazon.

also-- DO NOT EVER BUY THE PREMADE "MARGARITA MIX"!!! (of any brand) It's terrible and the artificial flavorings and sweeteners will give you a hangover that is quite deadly and unfortunate.

May 13, 2007
jb8765 in Spirits

Dumb Question about Avocados

In the supermarket they have "Hass Avocados" and just plain old avocados. What's the difference? What do you use each variety for? What about other varieties?

(Can't believe I asked this when my first job in the food business was in a Mexican Restaurant, but I was bartending!)

May 13, 2007
jb8765 in General Topics

Ottomanelli Mystery - Franchise or Different Buisnesses?

I live near Ottomanelli Brothers and have read about the one in the West Village.

A quick trip over to citysearch reveals that there are in fact multiple throughout the city with different names, does anyone know if it is all the same family or what? (They have separate websites, too!) What's the best meat at each? Any of you use Ottomanelli as your neighborhood butcher?

1. Ottomanelli Brothers
395 Amsterdam Ave at 79th St
http://www.ottomanellimeats.com/

2. O. Ottomanelli's & Sons Prime Meat Market
285 Bleecker St at 7th Av So

3. Ottomanelli Meat Market
1549 York Ave at 82nd St
http://www.ottomanellibros.com/

Okay maybe I'm just a bit too curious about obscure NYC history...

May 13, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

Grom cometh

I live around the corner but have yet to go because there has been 25 people on line minimum every time I pass! Nuts. I had a taste of my friend's after she went there and it was not bad. But I still like Cones (Bleecker St. just off wash sq park) better, more to come when I finally taste it for real.

May 13, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

Help me pick the resto for Birthday Dinner! (wd~50?)

Interesting! Forgot about Blue Hill---the all-Hudson Valley food seems like a fun idea for a family that prides itself on a small lake house in the region before it was the cool new artsy destination. If I choose something more quaint/intimate, this could be great.

May 09, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

any suggestions for upper west side sushi?

The sashimi at Tenzan is excellent quality for the price! Definitely a step up from most of the other UWS sushi joints all of which are average (Haru, Sushi Hana, Planet Sushi, Roppongi, the list goes on....)

May 09, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

looking for UWS lunch, carib or mid-east

It's not Carib or Mid-East, but Nice Matin fits the bill for the other characteristics you are looking for. It's French. Another "ladies lunch" and definite UWS institution is Isabella's on 77th & Columbus. Great outdoor seating, upscale but not pretentious.

Calle Ocho doesn't really have the ladies who lunch vibe, but it's a great place (as UWS goes) and has that glamorous/sexy NY restaurant feel you probably want.

May 09, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

Help me pick the resto for Birthday Dinner! (wd~50?)

I'm a young foodie, so I tend not to eat at the big shots often, if ever. For my big 2-1, my fam said let's go out to dinner somewhere really nice, you pick, anywhere, within reason. So no Per Se, Masa or $60 entrées (family of five three-course meal at those prices is just too much).

First idea I had was wd~50 because it's supposedly so innovative, and really unusual. My mother said it friend called it "too weird." But I have an interest in the weird. I'm leaning towards Western food over Eastern food. And it shouldn't be too noisy.

Was also considering eleven madison park, Gotham Bar & Grill, Lever House (partially for the architecture), davidburke&donatella (where my friend is a reservationist), etc...

Suggestions anyone?

And oh, anywhere in NYC, Manhattan preferred.

May 09, 2007
jb8765 in Manhattan

French Kiss

not to mention the French Kiss is often wrongly mistaken as the French Martini.

French Martini has .5 oz Chambord, 1.5 oz Vodka 4oz Pineapple Juice (that makes a pretty weak one, up the vodka, lower the pineapple to add more kick).

Can't wait to try this "French Kiss", but the classic French Martini is one of my all-time favorites!

May 09, 2007
jb8765 in Recipes