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  • Article

    Hidden Treasure

    Lila's Bistro, though only a weekday lunch place, is a find. But that doesn't mean it's easy to find. It's not. Not even if some food-savvy friend has been kind enough to provide you with a copy of the menu, which includes these directions: "Inside p...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on November 25, 2004
  • Article

    Dreaming in Puerto Rican

    I had figured my wife would be thrilled at the prospect of dining at Benny's Seafood Restaurant. After all, a reliable source recommended it to me as a "real Puerto Rican joint," and my wife is a real Puerto Rican gal. As it turned out, her reaction ...

    by Lee Klein on November 18, 2004
  • Article

    Labors of Love

    Every once in a while diners will come across a restaurant that makes them feel happy the minute they walk in the door. Crabby's is such a place. A lot of the cheerfulness derives from the homey look: warm knotty-pine paneling reminiscent of a rec ro...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on November 18, 2004
  • Article

    Hotel Dining Checks Out

    The history of hotel dining in twentieth-century America was dominated by a period we'll call the Reign of Duck l'Orange. During this time, which covered many decades, you couldn't walk into a well-regarded hotel restaurant without encountering this ...

    by Lee Klein on November 11, 2004
  • Article

    Chewing on Picasso

    You can buy a Felix Perdomo painting for $5800. Or at Orange Caf, a self-described art caf that opened earlier this year in the Design District, you can get a Picasso for $6.45. And the latter comes with crinkle potato chips. Unlike the Perdomo, a ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on November 11, 2004
  • Article

    A Tale of Two Menus

    While it's true that Chinese food isn't as favored in this country as it was before the Asian invasion of Thai and Japanese eateries, it remains a staggeringly popular dinner choice. According to a recent article in the New York Times, there are near...

    by Lee Klein on November 4, 2004
  • Article

    The King of Sandwiches

    A chivito is an Uruguayan sandwich that could give a Philadelphia cheese steak a run for its money -- that is, if you're talking about potential to become a fast-food classic. And if you're talking about size, a chivito could leave a Philly in the du...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on November 4, 2004
  • Article

    At Last a True Trattoria

    It's similar to the regular chicken," a server at Casa Toscana explained, describing a nightly special of sage-stuffed roast chicken breast with porcini cream sauce and gorgonzola. "But with more attitude." Attitude, at least in a restaurant, is no...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 28, 2004
  • Article

    Memories of Orange Umbrellas

    According to the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield, there was only one piece of advice his mother gave him as a kid: "Never eat a frankfurter from the man on the corner with the orange umbrella. Those hot dogs are made of snakes." Many of us who gre...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 28, 2004
  • Article

    Missed Mark

    Some years ago, while living in Boulder, Colorado, I took my parents out for dinner in a former mining town called Gold Hill. After a harrowing car ride up a steep, twisting, barely illuminated mountain road, we arrived at the tiny community. There w...

    by Lee Klein on October 21, 2004
  • Article

    Tea for You

    Coffee usually does the trick. But some days it takes a shot of Formosan Gunpowder to get a person going. Since last November it's been possible to supply oneself even more easily than buying an AK-47 by visiting Lea's -- which is a tea shop, not a g...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 21, 2004
  • Article

    In the Heart of the City

    Dining establishments tend to be busiest at night, more relaxed and inexpensive during lunch. La Loggia Ristorante & Lounge is the opposite, which can be attributed to its location across from the county courthouse in downtown Miami. If you enter the...

    by Lee Klein on October 14, 2004
  • Article

    Gone To the Dogs

    Just because something is fast food doesn't mean it has to be bad food. What's invariably bad is food that has no individuality, no regional identity, no pride behind it -- in other words, when it's safe, standardized food that aims for the bottom li...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 14, 2004
  • Article

    American Classics Reconsidered

    Few things are scarier, early in the morning, than glancing blearily over one's coffee cup and seeing a plate of big sunny-side-up fried eggs staring back at you, all bright-eyed and chipper. Somewhere between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., though, such b...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 7, 2004
  • Article

    Crazy for Crpes

    A truly authentic ethnic restaurant can be like an acid flashback -- a good one, that is: A diluted but still evocative sensory return to a foreign country you once visited. When the visuals and sounds, as well as the smells and tastes, are vivid eno...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on October 7, 2004
  • Article

    Very Ritzy Comfort Food

    Arranged on a white plate, the slender four-ounce medallion of American Kobe beef tenderloin and the dwarfish five-ounce standing rectangle of American Kobe meat loaf, with an insubstantial squirt of white potato pure in between, looked to me like a...

    by Lee Klein on September 30, 2004
  • Article

    Rooftop Tapas

    While "appetizer" is generally used as a synonym for "hors d'oeuvres," it really isn't synonymous. The French term means "outside of the work;" originally it was an architectural term for outbuildings. So at a meal, it's any other bit of food except ...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on September 30, 2004
  • Article

    Creatively Ambitious to a Fault

    There is no plant on earth that promises a broader plethora of purportedly restorative properties than sage, which comes from the Latin "salvia," meaning "to cure." As far back as Greek and Roman times this pebbled, silvery green leaf has been used t...

    by Lee Klein on September 23, 2004
  • Article

    Haitian Heritage

    Just as herbs and spices season food, so does history. Thus "Caribbean cuisine" is a misnomer, more convenient as a sound bite than useful as truth. What the islands' cuisines historically had in common was influence from their African slave populati...

    by Pamela Robin Brandt on September 23, 2004
  • Article

    Simple Italian, Simply Delicious

    Our initial twenty minutes at La Gastronomia foreshadowed nothing more than a middling dining experience at a moderately priced Italian restaurant. The 50-seat room was comfy enough -- bright yellow walls adorned with scenic, blue-hued photos of Ital...

    by Lee Klein on September 16, 2004
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