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  1. Huong Viet is better than Four Sisters, you wouldn't be going for the service or the atmosphere. It's divey but delicious. Love the lotus root salad with pork and shrimp, their caramel fish and some of the noodle soups.
  2. One of my faves in the city is Piccolo Angolo at the corner of Hudson and Jane. Reservations are a must, and even then it might be a little bit before they can squeeze you in. Sometimes service can be brusque. The tasty house vino comes in a bottle with a "Grolsch top." Not that there's anything wrong with that. Nevertheless, it's really great food at a really decent price. And you never know who you might meet! Black Sheep got to wait on line for the rest room with Mike Piazza. Good thing she's a Mets fan!
  3. I visited on a beautiful day last Saturday. My three friends and I got in line at about 4:40pm, which we were afraid was too late to get one of the 40 pizzas of the day. There were about 20 people ahead of us, and we didn't know how many would be ordering multiple pizzas. The restaurant officially opens at 5:30pm, but they opened the door at 5:20pm. We placed our order for two pizzas (one with tomato sauce, cheese, sausage, and mushrooms and one arrabbiata) at around 5:40pm and were instructed to return at 8:50pm to pick up the pizzas. There's one guy (Joe Beddia) making the pizzas and a limited number of ovens in which to cook them, so the orders stack up and the pick-up times stretch later and later into the night. We arrived a little before our pick-up time hoping our pizzas might be ready a few minutes early, but they were pretty accurate in terms of the time the pizza would be ready. We ate slices of each pizza in the car, pretty much straight out of the oven. I thought the pizza was above average, but I think most pizza is good (so maybe I'm not the best judge). I'm not interested in Domino's or Papa John's, but I certainly enjoy Ledo's. I'm not sure the Beddia pizza was worth the rigamarole. Straight out of the oven the pizza kind of reminded me of Pete's Apizza with its crisp crust. The toppings were generous, and the crust stood up to them, which I appreciated. I thought the arrabbiata was too spicy, but that's probably just my personal preference. I enjoy spicy foods but maybe not spicy pizza. I don't know. I enjoyed the pizza (again, I enjoy most pizza, maybe 75% of pizza), but I didn't think it was life changing, and I'm not sure it was worth the rigamarole to obtain. But it was good. Joe Beddia and his one staff member who takes the orders and gives pick-up times seemed nice. I'm curious to know if anyone else has visited and what they think.
  4. Bob's Noodle 66 needs to be added to the $20 Tuesday list. I attended an eGullet event there Saturday night. There were 12 people and more (very good) food than we could eat, for $16 per person, including tax and tip.
  5. Today (Memorial Day), we went to one of my hubby's favorite fish places for brunch: Barbara Fishtrap 281 Capistrano Road Half Moon Bay, CA B says that this other place which is located 100 feet away from Barbara Fishtrap isn't as good since their menu is more pedestrian even though they take credit cards. Take a look and decide if you ever make it out to my neck of the woods... On to the food... Wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese Huge portion and pretty good even if the kitchen overcooked the eggs (you can tell by the discoloration on the yolk). Scallops with garlic and white wine, with rice pilaf and fried zucchini sticks Scallops had a good sear, rice was well-made, zucchini - excellent. Fair value for $26. Half-order of steamed clams, with green sauce and lemon For me, tres leches cake; for B, vanilla gelato with whipped cream. Cake was light even though drenched with milks. One of the better versions I've had. Total was $120 with tax and 20% tip. Would recommend. We left stuffed.
  6. Well! My thoughtful assistant has brought me two pounds of brisket and one sausage link, all pre-cooked in the pit, from Smitty's Market - has anyone tried this before? It was just delivered from Texas, cooked yesterday I believe, and will be reheated perhaps tonight. She went to college in Austin, and says it's her favorite brisket - she's still quite young, but is also a hardcore food-hound. (Allow me to get a plug in for Operation Honor our Heroes.)
  7. Well, I was hoping to report on 2 cheesesteaks during my 2 day trip, but unfortunately only managed one. Damn relatives. Anyway, we went to Dalessandro's upon our arrival to the area. The place is small, counter on one side and long tables on the other, with an aisle in the middle for people to place and pick up orders. We showed up during the lunch rush, and it was sort of a shit show. By the time I made it to the counter to order, told them it was "for here", the person taking orders yelled down to the waitress at the counter, and had us stand aside waiting for stools to open up. People get their subs, eat, and leave, so it didn't take long for even 5 seats to open up. We were clearly tourists and noobs, but there was none of that bullshit about how you're supposed to properly order a cheesesteak. I had selected this particular place because I read they chopped up their steak quite a bit. I ordered a cheesesteak with onion and mayo. I did not specify cheese, wanting whatever the house usual came with (also, I thought it was cheesesteak 1 of 2, and so thought I had a wiz opportunity ahead of me, alas). I was served a large sub, 12 inches (?), with very finely chopped steak, American cheese mixed in, topped with chopped (tho not finely) grilled onions, on an excellent piece of bread (and mayo). I eagerly took the first bite and... burned the roof of my mouth, hah! I was not to be denied, however, and plowed through that sub like it was my job. It was everything I hoped it would be. The service at the counter was excellent, with multiple soda refills and several inquiries into our well being. There's also a wide variety of condiments and accoutrements on the counter for people to use as needed. Note: cash only.
  8. To date my favorite burger in NYC is Minetta Tavern's Black Label Burger, although the $28 price tag doesn't allow me to splurge too often. Last weekend while on the Upper East Side my girlfriend suggested we try J.G. Melon. It was around 2:30pm so we only had to wait five minutes. I won't go in to much detail about the history of the place, although it probably deserves a spot in the Oldest Establishments thread. The burger was a close second to Minetta. Nothing fancy about it; great char on the outside, a juicy medium rare on the inside, melted cheddar, a few pickles/onions, all for $11 (see pic below).
  9. Heyyyyyyyy everyone!!! Sorry I've been gone so long I've been traveling!!! I also have been trying to do some new things with the food game such as using online less and doing restaurants when I see them rather then doing only pre research on everywhere I go!!! Don't worry I'll be doing both but I want this to feel like an indigenous effort rather then me seeing something on a food blog that someone else found etc. Anywho Khao Kang. This resto has been written about a bunch including in the nytimes and is by no means unknown. Food is cafeteria style and it isn't really like a sit down resto. Nevertheless, this shouldn't turn you off as I saw them pretty consistently bringing fresh food out and about!!! Food is Issan as I recall and I by accident got like all pork dishes. They were quite nice spicy as they should be well flavored and the whole bit. They also have like all those thai desserts and juices including a fave of mine: Thai Ice Tea!!! BUT the question is whether it is better then the others. I would say it doesn't quite reach the heights of a som tom der (in Manhat I know but I am looking at the full scope of thai over here!!) for instances but it is a nice place with good food that would be especially good if one were needing a quick sorta meal. I would say go to this one and you will be quite satisfied.
  10. What does $4 buy these days? Sadly, not much! But for $4 one can get a delicious fresh burrito made with high quality ingredients that has more flavor than the burritos as big as your head that McDonalds Chipolte serves. The green sauce is potent and has a nice amount of heat. According to the owner, they make their own sauce because commercially available salsas have too many chemicals and do not appeal to the tastes of El Charrito's target market. 2710 A North Washington Blvd Arlington VA 22204
  11. I apologize if I'm being repetitive but I haven't found a dedicated Pasta Mia thread and being that it is always packed I figured someone might have something to say about it. My real question is WHY DON'T THEY USE THE BAR??? I've been there a number of times, waited out in the cold a number of times and not until recently walked into the back of the restaurant to find a full bar, stocked, with additional tables and seating!! It seems like a huge revenue center for them if only they wanted the cash. I know what you're all thinking...nothing about Pasta Mia is run according to any efficient or sane method, but come on. They've got a full bar and they make people stand outside in the cold. Give them a drink and the people will pay!!! Also, I had thought (or hoped) that they made some of their pastas fresh and I was surprised to find out that none of them are in fact made in house.
  12. Hi all- Thank you for your advice and suggestions! I apologize for the delay in the write up.. parent/teacher conference week is a killer. So.. the blizzard kept our wanderings to Manhattan but I have one new place to put on the radar for DRers... Totto Ramen on 51st between 8th and 9th. We were looking for a hot dinner and found it on urbanspoon.. it was really great. A basement 20 seater where everyone who works there communicates in Japanese. 10 seats at tables, 10 at the bar next to 3 giant pots of broth and 3 large Japanese men assembling the bowls for all. We both had the chicken broth with chicken and minimal add-ons but I would go with pork next time after watching them crisp a tray of the pork meticulously with a blow-torch. The broth was incredibly flavorful and the house-made noodles still had a nice bite. Some notes- cash only (ramen about $10) and enter the covered basement steps and put your name on the unattended clip-board and DO NOT LEAVE. If you leave, they move on. The line moves fairly quickly as it doesn't take that long to eat/drink a bowl of ramen. I will visit this place again on my next trip, even if I am not staying in midtown/hells kitchen. http://tottoramen.com/
  13. Has anyone been to Casselli's recently? It's a popular traditional Italian-American restaurant with opera singing to boot. No reservations but if you go before 6 ish you should be fine. Very fun place. 7620 Ridge Ave Philadelphia, PA 19128
  14. Okay, this is one of those mornings where I *have to have a bagel*. Don't ask my why; I just do. Bullfrog Bagels is closed on Monday (and yes I *would* have driven to H Street to get one). I've heard good things about Bagels, Etc. on P Street in West Dupont. Can anyone vouch for them?
  15. Hugh Merwin of Grubstreet.com reports that El Sombrero aka "The Hat," at 108 Stanton Street in Lower East Side, will be closing this October after being in business for 30 years. It's going to be replaced by an Artichoke Pizza.
  16. I've seen a couple of mentions of Jack's Place (222 N Lee St, Alexandria in Old Town) on here, but I think it deserves it's own thread. If I'm wrong, feel free to fold it back in with one of the others. I highly recommend Jack's Place for breakfast. This local-centric diner serves some really great fare. The owner is a salt-of-the-earth sort of guy who is particularly fond of the Bronco's during the Elway heyday. I've read that outsiders can get a bit of grief from Jack and his crew, but I didn't find that to be the case during my visit. When I first arrived and sat down at the counter, a woman came in shortly afterwards and gave me a slightly uncomfortable (though not unfriendly) look. "Oh, is this your seat," she sheepishly admitted that it was, so I happily relinquished it. That's how local this spot is. Grab a paper menu from the counter when you arrive if you aren't familiar with the offerings. I ordered a "breakfast usual" sandwich, which had bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese and egg (i went for over-medium). I got it on Italian bread. It may have been the best breakfast sandwich I've ever eaten, and at $6, it was a bargain. I was pretty hungry, so that could have factored into my memory, though. Anyway, give Jack's a shot sometime.
  17. The wait for good ramen in D.C. and environs has finally ended: Ren's Ramen has opened inside of Daruma Japanese Market in Bethesda, serving up steaming hot bowls of Hokkaido style goodness. Ren's has taken over Daruma's seating area and, it looks like, part of its kitchen. The wife, Japanese, had the miso ramen, which she declared very good. I tried the pork shio ramen, including extra pork, which had a very good, rich broth. The pork was a little disappointing, though -- not too tender. They also have vegetable shio ramen and shoyu ramen, as well as gyoza. The noodles are fresh -- frozen or refrigerated, not sure which -- and imported from Hokkaido. Prices are on the high side -- $10.00 for a bowl of miso or shio ramen ain't exactly cheap. Plus, my extra pork set me back another $3.50. Don't plan to order that again. Egg and corn are extra. But the ramen here, while not quite as good as some places in NYC and NJ, beats the hell out of the slop served at other places around D.C., including Temari Cafe in Rockville. My wife and I will surely be regulars.
  18. Koo Zee Doo is a charming byob Portuguese restaurant in the Northern Liberties neighborhood in Philadelphia. Formerly Copper, the restaurant is now owned by the husband and wife team of David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves. The latter was born in Portugal, and visits her hometown with Gilberg, where he developed an interest in authentic Portuguese food. The restaurant resides in a cozy former store-front, with an open kitchen front and center. The menu has a selection of about 5 apps, a couple soups including Caldo Verde, several entrees and about 4 desserts. The food is generous, and served family-style. Mr. MV and I decided to give several dishes a try, since dining on authentic Portuguese cuisine is not an opportunity we get around home. We had a fridge at our hotel, so we ordered 2 apps, 2 entrees and dessert. The entrees could easily serve two, and the apps were generous. Shrimp with piri piri brought 4 large, head-on-shrimp in a sauce that was mildly spicy. Chicken gizzards were...a revelation. I'm not that adventurous when it comes to offal, but after reading online about the gizzards at Koo Dee Zoo, I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone to see if I've been missing something good. I have. Whereas I was expecting to masticate squeaky stomachs, the gizzards were meaty, deeply flavored and delicious in a rich sauce. I was really surprised! I'd describe the flavor as the richest, moist dark meat chicken thighs I'd ever tasted. They had the "essence" of chicken. We enjoyed them with slices of grilled bread. Arroz de Pato is a traditional dish of Duck Rice. A smoky chicken breast sat atop rice containing dark duck meat and pork (sausage). The duck breast came cooked to medium, as ordered. I'm on the fence about duck usually. Mr. MV orders it and I enjoy having a taste, but never order it as an entree for myself. I have to say, this duck was amazing. Feijoada de Marisco was served in a semi-cylindrical terra cotta ceramic vessal. The traditional dish had calamari, head-on shrimp, tiny clams, lobster, cod, and another fish which I can not recall right now. Of course there were delicious beans and rice, and a tasty broth. This dish was generous (again, family-style) and delicious. Coconut tart with chocolate covered figs sat upon a chocolate sauce and was topped with a cinnamon creme anglaise. Decaf coffee. With tip, our dinner (including taking away half of our entrees) came to $101. No. Libs is a short cab ride from Center City. If you drive, expect to find parking a bit challenging, since this is a residential neighborhood where most folks park thier cars on the street. If you go, ask for a table by the front window. There, you'll be able to watch life go by outside, and overlook the cooking in the open kitchen. And when I say open, I mean, totally open.
  19. Modo Mio in Fishtown **Disclaimer-my cousin's son is the sous chef here-so I'm going to gush, but I really mean it~** Mr. MV and I enjoyed the "tourista" option on the menu. Hold onto your hats folks....4 courses for $33. Modo Mio is a byob, and each server is happy to open your bottle and supply wine glasses. The restaurant is a corner space on Girard Avenue in the Fishtown section of Philly; about a 10 minute drive from Center City. Surprisingly, parking was plentiful on the streets. There ia an ante room to check in, maybe 2 seats to wait-otherwise, you and your wine have to wait on the sidewalk if you don't have a reservation (strongly suggested on the weekends). Inside, a lovely old buffet sports the house bread (I believe Tuscan- style sans salt and the size of Sasquatch's food-not kidding), ramekins of truffled evoo and ricotta (instead of butter for the bread) and a large glass jar full of Sambuca- a digestivo they offer gratis when you're done with your meal. The long, narrow space has about 20 or so tables. As we perused the menu, we were offered a bite of bruschetta with caponata. I have to say that I feel I was hitting the high notes with my menu choices: the only exception being that I would have lightened up towards the end of the meal and ordered fish for the Secondi. Antipasti- I ordered Carciofi-artichoke stuffed with aged provolone, breaded and fried, and served with a lemon and caper sauce. It was delicioius from the inner leaves to the heart. Pasta- Papardelle with rabbit and sweet pepper ragu-this was absolutely the highlight of the meal, with soft, fresh pasta, braised rabbit and the sauce, oh my, the sauce. I enjoyed every bite of this one and I must admit-this was the first time that I have eaten rabbit, having owned and loved one as a pet years ago. No more. Orchid, I'm sorry, but you're too tasty and I'm a convert. Secondi-Anatra-crispy duck sausage with fig, asparagus, gorgonzola and red wine agrodolce- this was a delicious dish; homemade sausage wrapped in proscuitto. As I mentioned, I think I will lighten up on the Secondi and try a fish offering next time, as the plates are generous small portions. Dolce-very interesting....mint (real honest to goodness fresh-picked mint, not mint oil as in mint chocolate chip ice cream) panna cotta with figs. Digestivo-Sambuca Dinner for two-$88. Put Modo Mio on your "to-do" list when you visit Philly. Bring you favorite wines and enjoy this bustling, somewhat noisy, corner gem.
  20. We were in Philly last night for the Popped festival, and for dinner we went to Cochon on the south side, a French style bistro. It's BYOB and cash only, but the food was pretty good. Pics here. For first courses, we had the sweetbreads with haricot verts and seared scallops with a frisee, lardons, asparagus and fingerling potato salad. We actually were hoping for the crispy chicken livers, but they ran out. For dinner, hands down, the best dish was pork shoulder over lentils dePuy and roasted brussel sprouts topped with a poached egg. The pork was incredible moist and juicy. The duck breast with white bean ragout and pomegranate gastrique was also good. For dessert, we a simple but solid creme brulee and chocolate cake. We got comped the dessert in trade for the 3 beers we did not drink from our six pack. Not bad.
  21. 124 Rabbit Club 124 MacDougal St. New York, NY10012 The tiniest little dive in the Village is actually a great craft beer bar (which basically only has craft beer, though there are some ciders). It has just three taps, but features a well thought out, Belgian-heavy bottle list. A true dive, it's in a brick-walled basement, "decorated" with coasters, candles made from broken beer bottles (some jagged), and, of course, rabbit-themed art. The German beers were particularly interesting to me, so, after a draft Stoudt's Pilsner (an outstanding Pennsylvania beer I've never before had on tap), I tried the Einbecker Schwarzbier - an excellent version of this style, which makes Kostrizer seem just ordinary. Keeping with that theme, my next beer was a Monschoff Schwarzbier, a very different, dryer version of the style with much darker malts for a smokier, almost grilled bread-like quality. To close out a rather long visit, I went with a Schlenkerla Marzen, a rauchbier, which is about as close to liquid bacon as you can come, without being actual, liquid bacon. If you find yourself in the Village and are at all into beer, this is a great place to know about. But also know, it only takes cash.
  22. If you are looking for soup dumplings in Manhattan, Shanghai Cafe Deluxe delivers some pretty nice contenders. This is a small place (100 Mott St., near intersection of Mott & Canal) with a fairly extensive menu. We have visited twice now and ordered rather heavily off the dumpling side of the menu. The soup dumplings are the first two items on the dumpling menu--one version is pork only and the second is pork and crab. My daughter and I preferred the pure pork version; our other dining partners found the two versions equally good. The kitchen lines the bamboo steamers heavily with greens to prevent the dumplings from sticking and every dumpling has still contained its generous load of soupy goodness. We had an excellent "cabbage and black mushroom" dish which was baby choy and shitake, recommended by our server. The baby choy were cut in half and just a bit big to eat easily without a knife, but the shitakes were perfectly sauced and had a silky, meaty texture to them. Yelp is full of complaints about rude staff, but we have not had that experience at all. Yes, they are likely to be a bit aggressive about clearing your table, but they have a tiny space and I don't blame them for wanting to turn tables quickly. Cash only, "A" health rating on the door.
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