Fancy dining

Old Jul 28th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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Fancy dining

Last night our family had a wonderful dining night at the Rialto Restaurant in the Charles Hotel (Cambridge). Certainly an interesting menu with selections enjoyed by various family members. But as I looked at the entrees I realized that I am a meat and potatoes Midwesterner when it comes to taste. I had not quite realized this. I still resist this. But my DW made the call. On the menu listing roasted duck, rabbit, lamb, bass with calamari, eggplant, scallops with parsnips, I chose grilled chicken which was delicious. Yes, the Rialto has a prize chef. I just hadn't realized how unadventuresome I may be.
www.rialto-restaurant.com/menus/dinner/
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 08:55 AM
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You paying?...

Primo
POLPI… citrus braised octopus, potatoes, Taggia olives, hot pickled celery, walnuts

Secondo
BUCATINI… lobster, green and red tomatoes, chilis, saffron (half order)

Third
GRILLED TUSCAN SIRLOIN STEAK… portabella, arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, truffle oil

Dessert
FROZEN CHOCOLATE AND LICORICE TRUFFLE… dark chocolate gelato, Calabrian black licorice gelato, hazelnuts, blackberry sauce 13
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Eleven Madison Park at the top of the list. They were actually nominated as number one in US by World's 50 Best Restaurants, and I think a few more NY restaurants made the list. Some info on who made the list in the US here: http://believebelong.com/diners-club...rant-united-st
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 09:40 AM
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Is it only chicken that you eat?

Or only the other things on the menu that you wouldn't like?

I must admit that some places put so many unusual items in each dish that you need a dictionary to figure out what some of them are. I remember one episode of Chef Ramsay in which he tried to convince the victim of the week that the salad didn't need 23 ingredients - but 5 quality ones that blended well.

But - if all you really want is chicken or steak - and you don't want to explore further - then check the menus before you go out to eat.
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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Using a gift card at Rialto I dined with family. Otherwise, checking ahead of time a good idea when coosing a restaurant. I do like ham and pork and beef and tuna fish besides chicken. And various sea food entrees OK. Guess I would list these main dish yummies: ham and beans, scalloped potatoes and ham, fried chicken and mashed potatoes/gravy, Irish beef stew, tuna fish salad, BBQ pork ribs, sausage and kraut, hot dog with mustard, New England style clam chowder, pea/potato/bean/chicken noodle soups, ham and cheese hot pockets, ground beef in stuffed peppers, bacon and eggs, chicken pot pie, creamed chipped beef on toast, roast beef, chicken and noodles, chili, ham and candied sweet potatoes, beef tacos and tamalies, lasagna, sweet and sour chicken, Thai noodle bowl, beef kabobs, shrimp with cocktail sauce, orange glazed chicken. Of course I could list pizza although pepperoni not on my diet. Yes, there is a problem with a salt free diet.

So I really do like a variety of entrees after all though some not on "fancy" menus.
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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Well, you can take the boy out of he Ozarks, Bill, but . . . .

I remember when the Air Force transferred my father's whole wing from urban Tampa to rural Indiana. We had Cuban Sandwiches and yellow rice with chicken on our school lunches in Florida and were suddenly faced with ham and beans, white beans ( soup beans) not pork and bens.

My 9year old granddaughter ordered fried calimari on her first outing in Boston and she eats octopus, oysters and mussels as well. It is a bigger world!
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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Well you listed a bunch of items but they are all sort of basics of old fashioned home cooking. Or one Italian item, one chinese item etc.

VERY limited if you are going out to eat in most anyplace I can think of except a diner.
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Old Jul 28th, 2014, 05:09 PM
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Sorry - I consider myself very picky since I won't eat organ meats, game - or mutton (tasted it once - just ick!).
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 01:39 PM
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nytraveler, yup, I'm realizing my taste limitations...and I used to think I liked everything! Oh yes, why didn't I include spaghetti and meat balls, sloppy joes-ground beef on a bun, turkey and dressing, chili mac, corned beef hash, jambalaya.

BUT in all fairness to myself, I have actually enjoyed cuisine of various kinds in various restaurants. After all, when you are dining with younger family members you do as they do (and often paying the bill). But I protest kale!
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Old Jul 29th, 2014, 06:17 PM
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I agree about protesting - the now trendy (but to me awful) brussels sprouts. I like almost all veggies - but draw the line there.
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Old Jul 30th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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I'm of a few minds regarding this.

First: If you select a high-end restaurant with a highly specialized menu, you basically accept what you'll be offered-- a caveat to be added in a bit. What I mainly mean is: I don't go into my favorite sushi joint and complain when I don't see baba ganouj on the menu. (Mmmmmmm... baba ganouj!), even though the owner is a brilliant fusion chef (the style for the place is sushi and sashimi with clear Italian touches and a sense of humor). He'd make it, and it's be good, but so what? I'm there for my beloved deep-fried prosciutto-wrapped California-roll-and-chèvre lollipop.

The caveat is: At a certain high price point, you should be able to request allowances for food allergies and certain preferences. I was at Japonais in Vegas with my husband, a business colleague and her lovely Indian mother, who was vegan; the kitchen actually whipped up gorgeous, completely-improvised vegan courses for her, and even better-- absolutely delicious (I got a little taste).

My other mind is: Dining out should be a little adventure sometimes. I give myself permission to try stuff I won't make or have at home. In San Francisco for my birthday last year I had tapas at Canela in Duboce Triangle; I never have mussels as a rule, but I had their mejillones con cava and enjoyed them immensely. My beloved sushi place occasionally sends out amuse-bouches as they try new items; I am not a fan of octopus (rubbery most of the time, albeit tasty rubber), but this kitchen managed to put chopped octopus and an herbed cream sauce into a phyllo cup, and it was out of this world. Hell, I'll even eat their broiled brussel sprouts with garlic butter. They're that good.

As far as Midwestern tastes: Nothing wrong with that. You know what you like. I'm a bit restless and like to taste new stuff, although I do have favorites that I keep going back to. Still, my tastes have expanded tremendously since I moved out here (southern CA); aside from that wonderful sushi place, my favorite fun place to dine is a fusion Vietnamese joint with the richest, most fragrant phở outside of Westminster (or Vietnam). And of course, the Mexican place that catered my wedding, owned by a classically-trained chef from Guadalajara.

I'm Cajun, so go figure.

Bottom line: It's fine to stick to your guns and enjoy familiar food cooked by a pro, but it's OK to be a little brave once in a while when you're dining out. Who knows what you'll find?
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 01:36 PM
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This has been helpful. Really. I have indeed recognized my own taste preferences which I hadn't thought about. But also I am realizing what a great variety of menu selections are possible when dining out. I will indeed be more adventuresome. In the Boston area, likely also where you are, we have such variety, including of course sea food such as lobster.

Today for lunch at Not Your Average Joes in Watertown where we have indeed enjoyed interesting menus choices. From the special menu we ordered: 1) watermelon-tomato gazpacho with cucumbers, black olive relish. 2) korean BBQ ribs, sweet and spicy glaze with kimchi pickled cucumbers 3) tomato tarte tatin-puff pastry layered with tomatoes, sweet basil pesto, zucchini and creamy ricatta, sherry vinaigrette dressed greens. Plus the usual delicious foccacia or sourdough bread with olive oil and parmesan cheese. Didn't order drinks as all I wanted was to gulp down some ice cold water. We dined in a nice shaded outdoor patio.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 12:05 PM
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I had some wonderful sweetbreads at Rialto lat year. Always pleased when people tell me they wouldn't eat them -- more available for moi.

Bill, for a fantastic chicken, please do try Hammersley's Bistro in the South End. It's excellent high-end food in a comfortable setting, and they always have roast chicken on the menu. It is delicious beyond belief. [A Hammersley's story: some years ago, my ex- and I and another couple went to HB for dinner. I had a cassoulet, which was orgasmic, but I didn't finish it to save some room for dessert and asked them to wrap up the leftovers. When the waiter came with the check, she explained that they'd inadvertently thrown out the leftover cassoulet -- there weren't but a few bites, so it wasn't a big deal ... but the chef had cooked me another full order to take home. Wow.]
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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I like your lunch menu, Bill. It's interesting to follow your thoughts on evaluating your favorite foods. It has started me thinking about my own.

And yes, Hammersley's Bistro chicken is deservedly famous.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 12:29 PM
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It's been too long since I went to Hamersley's Bistro, sounds like it's time to go back.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 12:39 PM
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I had no idea what parsnips even tasted like until I had them in a Norwich (UK) restaurant and they were wonderful.

I have had that "tuscan steak" and I am sorry but Nebraska has little to worry about IMO.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 12:42 PM
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I just had pureed parsnips for the first time last night at 8407KB in Silver Spring, MD. They were so good.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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We specialize in good value for the quality restaurants. We will eat at an upscale restaurant once a year and when we travel we will select a splurge restaurant. There is often great value in genuine ethnic, not chains, or pretend ethnic. I was very finicky when we first married but I have become extremely adventurous. Let's take Indian food. There is a whole world of food beyond curry that is delicious and different but many are afraid of curry and thinks the world ends there.

Either go with friends who are adventurous to cuisines that are new or try something different as an appetizer, so if you do not like it, it is not wasteful

Try tapas were the portions are small. There are other cuisines such as Turkish mezzes and Chinese dim sum that offer traditional small dishes, which you can try. And a number of places of hopped in the tapas band wagon and offer small plates.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 10:30 AM
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It is pretentious for me to share a lunch menu...so many of you enjoy fine dining with much variety. I do find as I grow older favoring some foods but at the same time willing to choose different menu items (though sometimes I do wonder where chefs get all their strange ideas)

Here's something that might be of interest. From a nearby corner of Arlington and Mt. Auburn in Watertown I can count sixteen eateries within walking distance. This includes the Deluxe Town Diner and Jasmines (Persian) and Uncommon Grounds (brkfst-lunch) and Red Lentil (vegetarian) and Conleys (pub) and Andrea's Pizza, etc. And half a dozen or so a few blocks away or down at Arsenal Mall area. And we have some favorites in Watertown Square vicinity like Not Your Average Joes and Stellinas and The Talk.
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