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Bar for 40-50 person party

Thanks! These are fun and creative ideas.

Bar for 40-50 person party

Looks great -- I'll definitely investigate further as to size.

Affordable Space for a Rehearsal Dinner in NYC ~ 20ppl

I was about to recommend the place I'm having a wedding-related lunch next week, which is The Harrison, on Greenwich St. in Tribeca. They've been great to work with, and lunch is $40/pp, which is not bad. But according to the info they have up on their website, dinner's much more expensive... I'll mention it anyway since you don't say what your budget is.

Quiet Bar - Chelsea/West Village/Flatiron

ok, it's not *super* super quiet, but how about VBar, on Sullivan St? I also feel old saying this but that's one of the few places downtown that I can tolerate on the weekend. (There's also an East Village branch that recently opened -- I can't testify to that one.)

Also, Grape & Grain and its neighbor beer bar Against The Grain in the East Village are also worth checking out. All of these places are, like, normal bar volume, meaning you do have to talk louder than usual, but you can have a conversation with a few people.

I will be following this thread with interest!

Cook the Book: 'At Home with Madhur Jaffrey'

Everyday? Chickpea curry - if particularly lazy, with canned chickpeas/tomatoes.

Where To Eat Near: Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center

Can anyone confirm that Eggs Travaganza is still at 52nd and Park? Or what their days/hours are? I've been looking for them for a while, on different days, but they're never there--maybe I'm just going too late in the day?

Bringing my pescatarian brother to the city...

Thai food can be easily pescatarian, and depending on where he's coming from, more novel than sushi (which is obviously a good choice too -- I don't mean to knock your suggestion @billyburgwife). Sripraphai in Queens is delish; I haven't been to Rhong Tiam (Manhattan) yet but lots of people recommend it as well.

Have You Ever Had Airline Food You Actually Liked?

British Air NYC to Edinburgh: I preordered the "Muslim meal" (that's what it was called, not "halal") and got a delicious veggie/tomato curry over rice. I was traveling with my mother, and the best part was that she had the kosher meal and I had the Muslim meal. I think our peaceful relations confused the flight attendant mightily.

hudson river or inwood recommendations?

If you're in the mood for more of a straight-up diner when you get to Inwood, the Park View Cafe is a great one. (Dyckman St., just west of Broadway)

African food

Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook "The Soul of a New Cuisine" is his attempt to introduce Western audiences to African (and African-inspired) cooking. Although I find some of the rhetoric in the book a little over the top, all of the recipes I've tried are really excellent, and it has introduced me to some new flavor combinations and techniques.

The recipes are adaptations, rather than attempts at strict authenticity, which is both a plus and a minus: you don't get the sense of one cuisine as a whole, but you're likely to find most of the ingredients at your average supermarket. I'd recommend it.

Help: baking strawberry-rhubarb pie in tough circumstances!

@CatBoy: Thanks! I won't really have access to a kitchen before serving, so the less last-minute prep, the better. Your method sounds delicious, though... I think I will save it for when the farmers' market people start selling strawberries and I know they will be extra tasty! Plus then I can eat the whole pie at home without having to share it with party guests. Ha. Ha.

Help: baking strawberry-rhubarb pie in tough circumstances!

Folks, that is exactly what I needed to know -- thanks!
@Suzzanne: I love the tulip cutout idea -- the pies are for a garden-themed party and tulips would be perfect. :)

@bobcatsteph: you have a point -- I was thinking that the frozen shells come with their own pans, but maybe I'll just pick up some disposable pie plates at the supermarket along with the refrig. dough!

@emgroff: your grandmother must have a (delicious) secret recipe for crumb topping...!

Idiosyncracies and Cooking/Eating (just curious)

Bananas. Their weird mushy texture used to gross me out to the point where I couldn't eat them alone or in cereal. Now I can do it, but I still kind of have to steel myself up for it!

Craving Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I know this is not exactly what you're looking for, but I just tried Ciao Bella chocolate-jalapeno gelato (available in pints at my supermarket) and it was quite good, with a lot of dark chocolate flavor. You have to be into the spicy, though -- it definitely leaves you with a tingly mouth!

Feeding a hungry guy (almost like a hippo)

Burritos/tacos: start with beans and/or sauteed or roasted veggies and/or low-fat meat for you; add cheese/sour cream/guacamole to his. (Or the same meal on top of rice or lettuce for a "burrito bowl" a la Chipotle.)

If you don't mind cooking in 2 pans, fried rice is infinitely customizable: you can add eggs and/or meat to his half and stick to veggies for yours.

This is a super delicious recipe for lentils with fennel and sausage, where the sausage is easily added or subtracted at will:

There's a thread going on right now about fancifying sandwiches which might have some dinner-worthy possibilities as well.

Good luck with your balancing act!

Pandan extract for kaya, OR general info on extracts/essences

Thanks everyone! This is really helpful.

@Dcarl: yeah, I might try the canned type next time, or just using much less of the essence. The frozen leaves are just less purchasable nearby, and much more expensive.

@elisaday: St Patrick's Day, or just for fun? And what DID your husband do with his bowl of green oats? :)

@ chalmers: All the recipes I've found for kaya just mentioned "a bit of pandan extract," so I had no idea how much to use this first time out. Mine was more the viscosity of vanilla extract, though.

@Meat guy: Thanks for the chemistry. Good to know that there's nothing inherently "wrong" (or less good) with the product I have now.

Question on Middle Eastern Cookbooks (specifically Israeli)

Claudia Roden's _New Book of Middle Eastern Food_ is totally a delight to cook from -- a good range of complexity and ingredients, and usually very clear instructions. It doesn't cover Israeli food specifically, but you'll find a lot of overlap, especially if you're interested in generally "Mediterranean"/Middle Eastern flavors.

Cook the Book: Moroccan-Style Braised Vegetables

This sounds delish. One question about the recipe: why do the carrots and turnips need to be cooked separately if both take about 5 minutes? (I would imagine carrots and parsnips could be cooked together, too.) Is there something I'm missing about the carrot/turnip combo?

Cook the Book: 'Molto Gusto'

Taqueria y Fonda La Mexicana on Amsterdam and 107 - was just there last night for delicious tacos. :)

Great Tasting Menu for Celebration

The tasting menu at wd-50 is currently $140, and would definitely be worth it for adventurous eaters! I haven't actually had the tasting menu, but the food there is fun and crazy and delicious. (Although if you're hoping for $150 total per person, it's a little over your budget.)