The Stanton Social, May 30, 2005
Our friends Sue Ann and Doug, recently engaged by the way (congrats again), and ourselves have dinner together (more or less) every Monday. Doug cooks one Monday, I cook the next, and its really an excellent tradition that I look forward to each week.This week, with having BBQ'ed all weekend all over the tri-state area, we decided to go out to dinner together instead of messing up our recently spring-cleaned homes.The trick was finding a place that fit our credentials on Memorial Day. No easy task. Jasper - no one picked up the phone but suggested if we want to make reservations to go to OpenTable.com - however - they aren't members of OpenTable. Punch and Judy - nothing but endless ringing. Alias - another "please leave your reservation request after the beep". No one seems to understand the concept of changing one's voice mail message to say whether or not they are open for Memorial Day. I've also been trying to place OpenTable reservations for The Stanton Social for more than a week but the restaurant's system is "currently offline". So eventually I decide to pick up the phone and call The Stanton Social. Eureka! A friendly voice on the other end of the line. We ask if we can make reservations for 7:30 for four. No problem. Apparently they had several available tables as the entire city left for the weekend.Initial impression was that it was much smaller than I expected it to be. We even walked past it at first. But once you get inside and see the space (as well as the beautiful space upstairs), it is of comfortable size. Actually, it's the size of restaurant (and style for that matter) that I would love to own for myself. I imagine working there is enjoyable just for the atmosphere. Great job AvroKo. We sat at the round table right smack in the middle of the main dining room and soon enough, the place was filled to the brim, with the exception of the upstairs which was completely neglected of potential patrons.Without much difficulty, we decided on the following:Dozen oystersFour each of Blue Point, Malbec and Kumomoto All were very good, the Malbecs being a bit more salty than the others. Very fresh and tasty. They were served with your typical horseradish and cocktail sauce as well as with a champagne mignonette, ginger mignonette and a citrus salsa of some kind. The latter being the weakest of the bunch. I really liked the ginger one.Duck EmpanadasThese were made with whole wheat tortillas and made the dish look overly cooked, however one bite in and you knew otherwise. The blood orange dipping sauce was a needed accompaniment. The duck wasn't dry, but the sauce definitely livened it up. It would even go well with, oddly enough, mozzarella sticks - although that was the farthest thing from my mind at the time. These came four to a serving.French Onion Soup DumplingsI guess this will soon become (if it hasn't already) a signature dish or rather a dish that makes you think of the restaurant. Other examples, for me anyway, are the bone marrow at Blue Ribbon, the oysters and pearls at Per Se, the soup dumplings (variation on a theme here) at Joe's Shanghai, the olive oil gelato at Otto, the pork belly at WD~50 and others. The dish itself is served in an escargot crock that holds six of these tiny dumplings. Inside the dark colored (colored by the onions and broth no doubt) dumplings are piping hot onions and a trace amount of broth. I think I'd like this better if they were bigger, but alas, they were very good.Kobe Beef SlidersCritics might bemoan..."$5 for the smallest burger I've ever seen" but those at our table couldn't get enough of these. I believe at one point I said something along the lines of "eating 20 of these would be perfectly acceptable". Truly delicious. It is unlike any regular beef burger and the pickle slice hidden inside added a nice little kick to it as well. The brioche buns were okay, if not a bit harder than they should have been, but overall the sliders were excellent. These are a must get. And don't be ashamed to order more...but do yourself a favor and put in a double order of them at the get go.Herb Dusted FritesThe red chile mayo that came with the fries was excellent and went well with the burger too. The fries themselves were average at best. Not worth ordering. For a bigger and better portion of similar frites, get the sage dusted frites at Eleven Madison Park.Lobster RollDoug wanted to try this, so he ordered one and quickly finished it off, seeming to enjoy it immensely. Having made lobster rolls (enough to feed an army) last week for a party, I'd eaten my fare share of lobster rolls for the week and chose to pass on this.Lobster, Chorizo & Artichoke Paella CakesThese came three to an order, and knowing that Danna would love this, split mine with her. Doug had one for himself and Danna and SueAnn shared the other. Indeed these were very good and even came with a perfectly steamed mussel on top of each cake. I liked it, and know that Danna will probably want to order this next week when we return with our other friends Sonia and Brian, but I would try something different simply because of the serving/portion size. Lamb Shank Soft Tacosw/refried white beans, manchego & tomato relishThis might have been the richest/heaviest dish of the evening and was the dish that really started to fill our stomachs. Up until the entrees we were still kind of hungry. Wondering when we'd get a feeling of fullness. This started it. I really liked the presentation of this dish. Four soft tacos folded like napkins surrounded a pile of dark and rich pulled lamb shank. A second dish with the refried white beans (excellent), manchego, tomato relish as well as another citrusy salsa (just okay) was added to the table. Making the tacos was somewhat "fun" and the results were delicious. I will certainly order this again.Wasabi Pea Crusted Wild Salmonwith Asian pesto & Soba noodle-beet saladThe two portions of lightly cooked salmon created a nice base for the flavorful wasabi peas and Asian pesto. I think the salmon, had it been cooked slightly longer, could have been better, but the flavors were a bit more than subtle and pleasant. Not something to rush back to and a slightly awkward dish to share but would be a good reserve item and worth trying at least once. Our waitress had offered the chance to order a third piece of salmon (but strangely not a fourth) to let us all try it. Ancho Caramel Glazed Pork Tenderloinwith barbequed black beans & vidalia crispsMy interest in pork has long been lacking, and I think it has to do with preparations I was given by my parents during my childhood. It was always rough/overcooked and flavorless and served with unappetizing side dishes. But I am starting to become more acceptant of pork in my meals, especially if it is only a part of my meal, and was again encouraged to try more pork dishes after this last one. The glaze was thick , as were the black beans, and the vidalia crisps could have been doubled in quantity as they were so good. The texture of the pork was reminiscent of my days of youth, but the accompaning flavors made it passable. I'm still not a fan of pork tenderloin to the point of ordering it as a main entree, but I'm getting there. Decent dish and an (unfortunate) alternative to the Braised Short Rib Ravioli that was 86'ed this night.DrinksI had two orders of the Pulled Punch - a concoction of rums and orange juices. Pretty good but didn't hold a match to the cocktail I had at WD~50.I tried two other drinks that my wife ordered. The first was a champagne mojito of sorts (I can't remember the name) and the second was The Social Tea - a tea-based cocktail that I think was recently featured in TimOut New York. This was a touch bitter and nobody was able to finish theirs (Doug ordered one as well). Skip this cocktail. In fact, I would recommend going to WD~50 for drinks before going here and then just have the non-alcoholic drink on their menu which looked excellent...or perhaps some wine.ServiceService was good. Our waitress, however, was easily readable. She asked us if we'd been there before, and then upon a "no" answer, steered us toward some of the less loved dishes (by Chowhounds and other critics) on the menu (peking duck quesadilla, a seafood dish of which I can't remember, and some others) . She was clearly following the chef's instructions to get rid of certain items. Fortunately we knew better and didn't get caught in an obvious trap. Even the others in our party noticed that she was a bit obvious in her intentions.The hostess was, despite in somewhat of a dither (the place was all of a sudden swamped), very kind, genteel almost, and helpful. Prior to our seating, I asked if I could be credited for the OpenTable reservation as the restaurant's system had been down and wasn't able to make a reservation using the service any time last week. She said she would look into it and as we were leaving, said that someone will be in touch with me about it. It will be interesting to see what happens.The SpaceThe space is beautiful. All of the positive comments about the design are well established. The upstairs "Cherry Blossom" room is possibly one of the most beautiful rooms I've ever been in - at least in a restaurant. I love it. My wife does too and has already expressed an interest in having her birthday in there. Note: They only rent the upstairs space for private parties Mon-Wed. In SummaryA great night. I look forward to going back there next week with other friends, who will hopefully be interested in other dishes. I left full but not stuffed with unmemorable drinks. Slightly pricey but altogether reasonable for what you get. The bill with a "special 10% discount" I have to keep nameless, but before tip, came to $179.
Daisy May's, May 26, 2005
photo credit to Noah Kalina
Spring is just not showing its good side quite yet, so on a cool, rainy day, a bowl of chili from the Daisy May cart on Wall Street seemed like a good idea. I find myself online behind four people at quarter to 2pm and wait until each remarkably friendly conversation is over. Then it's my turn. Not all that hungry, but hungry for more than just one option, I order a bowl "o" red chili with large chunks of sirloin and a pulled pork sandwich, both with a dask of chipotle sauce.I don't know how they do it, but the chili gets better exponentially each time I order it. Today's chili might have been the best bowl of the hot stuff I've ever ordered...and I opted not to pay the extra dollar for rice and beans (which is a ripoff if you ask me). It is so flavorful and rich of a "soup" that I can honestly say I've yet to have better.The pulled pork sandwich, on the other hand, was uninspiring. The roll seemed to expand more as you ate it...making it difficult to take even bites of bread, pork and (I added it to the sandwich) coleslaw. A sloppy meal, which isn't a really bad thing, but the pork was somewhat flavorless, despite being well pulled.I've had the sweet tea before, but, like most sweet tea, I found it too much for my palate. The menu has definitely increased since last year when they started getting popular. Today's menu also had the brisket (which I've had before but wasn't blown away by), BBQ chicken sandwich and the soup of the day was a gaspacho served in a mason jar with hard boiled egg and bread. That chili is amazing. If you haven't had a chance yet...go for it...and ask for the hot sauce...but just a little. A little dab'll do ya.
Alto, May 19, 2005
Once I finally found Alto (can it be any more tucked away and secluded?), I was pleasantly greeted by two hosts and an astute bartender. The space was quite different than L'Impero in that it had very tall ceilings (large, empty wine bottles stored on tall racks behind glass acting as objets d'art) but was similar in its muted tones.photo courtesy of the New York Times
I was brought to my table where my father was already sitting with a bottle of wine (a really nice, crisp wine that I have to ask him what it was) one glass of water and one menu. We waited a good three minutes before anyone came by and when they did, they were offering us more/some water. Another 2 minutes went by before our waiter showed up and asked us for our order. Sharing one menu, we proceeded to order the prix fixe lunch. I had the smoked trout and tagliatelle, my father had the pea soup and pike. The pea soup was bright green and was poured tableside. It looked wonderful and having had Scott Conant's soups before, it probably tasted great. Dad certainly finished it quickly enough. The smoked trout was, unfortunately, unevenly cooked (the thicker part was not at all cooked through and the thin part still warm) and had very little smoke flavor (subtlety is one thing...). The good news is that the fish was remarkably fresh, simply but well presented and was cut nicely. If the ovens were working properly (or "seasoned") I think this would have been an exemplary dish. Instead, it was just good+. Before our first course, the wait staff changed our place settings, not once, not twice, not even three but FOUR times. I have never seen such confusion. After the fourth time I was like "what seems to be the issue". It was really disappointing. Dad, after removing the skin of the pike ("I'm not a fish skin kinda guy"), finished every last bite of the skinless fish...having enjoyed all of it ("there isn't any left is there?"). My tagiatelle with cockscomb was good. The pasta itself was really nice, the idea of cockscomb (texture too) was a bit troublesome, but in the end was fine. Nicely presented, colorful and aromatic, this was a solid lunch dish but nothing awe-inspiring. For dessert, dad had the chocolate pudding with chocolate cake dome (?) and was gone before it hit the table. I had the pumpkin seed roulade and caramel something-or-other. It too was very good. Chef Conant came around to say hello and was still at the host area when we left. Very pleasant fellow and his ideas are really solid. However, I think this place has a lot of improving to do. The potential is clearly evident but the poor service of which there is no excuse, the unevenly cooked and hardly smoked trout that left much to be desired and the price for all of this is neither a value nor something I would encourage others to try just yet. If you have an expense account (or otherwise not paying), enjoy Scott Conant's previous work and overall character, are looking for a fresh take on Italian cooking and/or like to be the first of your friends to have tried a restaurant...then by all means check it out. Otherwise, wait a few months so that they can get their acts together. I do regret not asking about the hummingbird tongues. I wanted to know what the deal was about that during their grand/pre-opening dinner and simply forgot.
Suba, May 18, 2005
109 Ludlow St.
I found myself in my new favorite area (LES) of Manhattan for dining out once again, this time with Suba acting as host for the evening. There were several factors that attracted me to decide on Suba. Haven't had tapas/Spanish food in awhile, I've had success in the neighborhood as of late, the website was well laid out, the 1000pts on Open Table didn't hurt and the unknown factor was also key. No one on Chowhound, at least recently, has mentioned it, and I haven't heard the word from any friends...so it was time to check it out.Walking down Ludlow, you start to wonder if you haven't passed it already, as the storefronts turn from a mini restaurant row (bet. Houston and Stanton) into dumpy buildings and bodegas, but then outdoor seating and a red awning tell you that you've arrived.Once inside, a host, wearing, unfortunately, too casual an outfit (Fred Perry collared shirt just didn't fit it - for guests, okay) pleasantly greeted me and had a hostess-in-training show me to my table. As we walk through the street level tapas lounge with red chairs, a square bar with lilys (which always seem to remind me of funerals), I'm soon surprised by the change in scenery. As we turn a few corners we end up on a wide, steel grated staircase (stiletto or heel-wearing women, take note) that leads us to a dining platform on top of a pool of water. The water, constantly moving, creates playful reflections against the brick walls that make up three sides of the room. Steel beams above, with several speakers - none of them seeming to be on (maybe the ones at the far end of the room) and intermittent lighting round out the room.Let's talk about the food. I went with the tasting menu...but we'll take everything into account.Bread2 types of bread, a country white and a wheat were just fine and acted as a good vehicle for delivering the salty, almost anchovy-like and simply tasty olive oil.Amuse
English pea soup with manchegoVery cheesey but didn't wash out the flavor of the pea. This came out piping hot and was a pleasant start. One issue with this was the extra small demitasse spoon they provide. It took more than a dozen dips of the spoon to finish the amuse and I find that the motion of eating (spoon to mouth) that many times triggers your mind to think you are eating more than you are. Which, at a tapas joint, might be the point.Crudos de VierasScallops with horseradish cream and pickled radishes"Covered" seafood makes me nervous. In this case, beautiful greens (possibly from Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket) were the culprit. The pickled radish was only noticeable in taste and the horseradish cream was a bit too much like mayonnaise in consistency and texture. All of it tasted good though, the scallops being remarkably fresh. I am not a scallop person, despite the fact one of my best friends, Wes, is a scallop fisherman, but I was encouraged by this dish to try them again in the future. I've avoided them for years...no more. They were very thin slices, or probably tenderized down, which was cause for the split (no longer round) pieces of scallop hidden under the greens.Gambas con Arroz CremosoPoached shrimp, creamy manchego rice, chorizo sauce and crispy Serrano hamOne bite of this and I was won over. Delicious. The rice was creamy but al dente with excellent flavors of ham and chorizo. The two shrimp were expertly poached and attractive in both color and display. I thought to myself that I would order this again in a heartbeat...but was disappointed to see the a la carte appetizer version of it. Instead of in a shallow bowl with a nice amount of manchego rice like the one I had, it was in a line on a rectangular plate, with four shrimp (good) but with what looked to be less rice. For shame. Anyway, this dish proved to be a winner.Bonito al SesamoSesame seed crusted tuna with pea shoots, onion soubise and Vizcaina sauceThis was fine. Three pieces of tuna crusted with black and white sesame seeds blah blah blah. Nothing at all new with this dish as far as the tuna was concerned. Tuna may have finally lost its place in dining out...at least for me. The tuna was fresh, the sauce was nice, but all in all it's a dish I've had a dozen times over...at home or eating out. Good, but nothing to laud about.Carne con Puree de Camote BlancoGrilled hanger steak, pickled ramps, corn, fava beans and English peasThe only extended delay between courses was between the tuna and this dish. Whether that was as a digestif or because the house started to fill up is up for debate. Either way it suited me fine. The three pieces of crispy edged and rare in the middle beef had a great flavor that was enhanced slightly by the sauce it sat in. However, the ramps made this dish. Ah, gotta love spring. The ramps, most likely from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm (again, Union Sq. Greenmarket) added the perfect zing to the dish. The fava beans, though dry in nature, had the same effect the black soy and turnip had on my Pork Belly dish at WD~50 which added a needed texture to the dish. Ramps!Dessert AmuseWhite chocolate soup with raspberry foamWow. I can bet that this could seal the deal for a second date with your lady friend. The soup, as far as I could tell, had three levels to it. The first couple of bites were sharp raspberry flavors, then it almost took on a cotton candy-like flavor and then it gradually became a strong white chocolate cream. I like white "chocolate" but only for a few bites. After two bites or so, it becomes grating or harsh on my palate toward the end. It might be better as a milk chocolate soup. Again with the demitasse spoons...but this time necessary.Sopa de Frutas de TemporadaWarm spiced wine soup with raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and vanilla ice creamThe spiced wine soup was very good but the fruit didn't hold up and actually tasted flat and the ice cream was average at best. Not a great dish...and where was rhubarb? Seemed like a natural fit for this. I guess they thought otherwise. Dessert, at least by this display, could be skipped. Too bad il Laboratorio del Gelato wasn't open at this hour.Drinks
Montecristo (12 y.o rum) MojitoI just bought a bunch of wine for home, so I felt guilty buying a glass or two this evening, so I went for an old favorite...the mojito. This was fine...certainly not the best I've had but the rum was nice and the cane sugar wasn't too overbearing. I had two and barely got a buzz (I'm usually mumbling after two) and for $12 a pop, I was hoping for one.The wine list is remarkably user-friendly and consists of wines from the Iberian peninsula and South America. The whites, for example, were listed by "dry and crisp", "aromatic", "rich and smooth", etc. The reds were listed by "elegant and balanced" and "dark and powerful".ServiceJoseph (I only know from the bill), my waiter, was a doppelganger of my friend Alex, even in voice, and so I was taken aback slightly. He definitely knew the menu up and down and wasn't shy about favoring certain dishes over others but kept loyalty to the chef's catalog. All diners within listening distance seemed to trust his comments implicitly. He seemed to be a seasoned server and was very accomodating and eager to please and not cloyingly so. Refreshing for sure. He might fit in perfectly at Hearth.OverallThis was a different dining experience. I wouldn't necessarily encourage friends to rush over there but I would recommend it as a first date place. Maybe even a second date place and definitely a place you could go with say, three coworkers you just had happy hour with nearby and you don't want to wait on line for inoteca. The easy-to-navigate wine list will certainly help on a first date. The space downstairs is both surprising and fun and provides an added element to the dining experience. Despite the brick walls, the sound was balanced nicely, probably because of the water. Overall level of noise was moderate. The tasting menu was $55 and I think it was worth it. I am pleasantly full and got to sample several different dishes. I wish that some of these dishes had more aroma to them. The Gambas being the only dish to truly hit the nose before hitting the mouth.Unrelated WordAnd speaking of inoteca, I walked by afterwards and got to see a wonderful Italian version of "Happy Birthday" sung to a guest sitting by the open windows facing Rivington by one of the Italian busboys. Bravo.
NYC Burgers - Several Reviews
The recent fervor regarding the best burger in Manhattan on the Chowhound Message Board (as well as a copy of an older New York Magazine) got me to try a few of what people have been talking about. Here are my reviews...
Ordered a burger, medium, with cheddar and bacon for take out (I live around the corner). For $14 and change, you get a pretty good size burger, tomato, onion, lettuce, three round pickle slices and a jumbo bag of fries.
I was told it would take 25 minutes. I got there on time and waited another 10 to get it. But, I guess it was better to have it hot, then getting there late and it cooling down.
Go home, and find myself biting into a nearly completely cheese covered burger (I like that) with a huge bag of fries of which the consistency leaned toward that of Burger King, rather than McDonalds. Granted, they were far better than BK fries, but not as good as McDs (amazing that they can be a benchmark for something). The burger was excellent and even leaned on the very slightly salty side (must be in the seasonings), which was fine by me. A truly delicious burger that was just the right size. I was sated by it and just a handful of the fries and pickle. Seemed wasteful to give that many fries. I only ordered one burger afterall. Value-wise...expensive, but worth it by NYC standards.
We ordered delivery from this organic burger company. The burger they delivered was nicely sized, smaller than Blue Smoke, bigger than a single Shack Burger at the Shake Shack, but a bit on the dry side and definitely not as warm as I like my burgers upon arrival. A nice beefy flavor to the burger. You can tell the meat is of good quality, which, however, kind of works against it. Burgers need the fat to have that "burger" taste.
I loathe delivery service in the city...delivery people tend to be either late or they harumph that I don't tip them more (and I'm a decent tipper). This delivery guy was actually happy to be delivering the burger - a rare sight. (Pinch Pizza delivery guys are always pleasant, although I refuse to eat that "pizza" anymore and I swear I've never had quicker service than what I got from Totonno's recently - 8 minutes flat). Unfortunately, the Better burger was room temperature. I'll try this again, but I'll have to pick it up myself.
I've been to the Shake Shack three times so far this Spring. Each time I ordered a Double Shack burger. The first time was phenomenal and I declared it to be my favorite in the city. The second time was equally as good. The third time was remarkably poorer. But here's why...I went, in the rain, the second night of their extended hours, at 9:00pm. I was, at least for five minutes, the only fool in Madison Square Park. Now granted, they should be prepared if they are going to be open for another 2 hours, but the crappy service and still frozen in the middle burger was disgraceful. I thought they were fresh? I made sure I remembered the chef on duty for future decision-making (he is a VERY large man) of whether or not to order a burger from him again. Lousy burger, lousy slow service. A solitary mar on a place I deem to be a favorite.
Last word...I still love making my own. No burger in the city comes close.
WD~50, May 4, 2005
50 Clinton St.
Getting to WD~50 via subway is easy from work, but getting out of there to go home is no small feat, at least to where I live...but who cares...
Castillar Cooler (rum, apry, soda, palo cortado and apricot paper). I still have to look up most of these ingredients but I can tell you that this was wonderful. A very sophisticated drink. Certainly as sophisticated as one can get using rum. Wow. Off to a good start.
The flat bread, which was very non-uniform in shape, size and seasoning, was quite good. It was light enough not to weigh you down, although I ate the whole box of them (really not that much). Covered in black and white sesame seeds, these were just fine to start with.
Corned Duck, rye crisp, purple mustard and horseradish cream. Three small hors d'oevre sized pieces were served. Not sure how to put this...but there was no guess work on this one. It tasted exactly as I'd imagine it would taste. I mean, to the point where it seemed I'd had it before. This is neither a compliment nor a critique, however I would say that this is a great "safe bet" option for those less adventurous. Still very good. Lacks the wow factor though. Although perhaps the rye crisp was better than I thought it would be...a little.
I was completely unsure of what I wanted. I reviewed the website several times before going today (and in the past) trying to determine what it was I'd order. I was lost. It was either the pork belly (I'm not a big pork fan, but love bacon), the lamb or the short ribs and flatiron beef. In the end, Gina's (my waitress) description of the pork belly as being "decadent" won me over. Let me just say...decadent is the tip of the iceberg. Holy moly! I was in shock after my first bite. I truly was. The pork belly was crispy, tender and plush all in the right spots. The black soy and turnip added a really interesting, albeit dry-ish, contrast to the pork. The thing that was so remarkable (I was still floating from it for hours after eating it) was the tomato based sauce that accompanied it. It was made with pork sauce, star anise and tabasco and I have to tell you, I hope I never ever forget that taste. Wow.
I wasn't going to have dessert, but felt that it would be an injustice to pastry chef Sam Mason. So, I ordered the milk chocolate hazelnut parfait, with orange reduction. Basically, this was a glorified kit kat bar. It was very tasty, but like others, I feel compelled to argue the value of this dessert. It was very good, don't get me wrong, just not sure if it was "worth" it. I could have easily been satisfied with a walk over to Il Laboratorio del Gelato and saved 6 bucks. Whatever.
Last but not least
Curry almonds. YUM! They served me, with the bill ($69.53 before tip, but including tax) about six of these and they didn't stand a chance. Yum. It was like taking a bite out of Kalustyians.
Service was perfect. Not pushy, not too fast, not too slow, water filled a bit overzealously, but I'll look past that. The pork dish required water anyhow. The hostess, for those that watch Deadwood, reminded me of Joanie Stubbs (in a very good way), and quite frankly took me by surprise a little.
The space was interesting. It made you focus on the food. There isn't really much to look at. The fireplace is nice and the "portrait" of petrified-wood-looking granite (I think, I really don't know) along one wall was fine, but everything seemed to bring you back down to your plate. The lighting was definitely a culprit in that as well.
I sat at the third to last table on the left
Well, its in a strange neighborhood, or rather one that seems as eclectic as the dishes. Worth getting to.
The "Small Portion" Debate
I have to say, I like to eat. And sometimes I overeat because I enjoy the food so much. Well, after tonight's dinner, I was more than satisfied. Man I can still taste everything in waves (I just got a wave of the curry almonds) and I'm really enjoying it.