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La Rocca's Restaurant & Pizzeria

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Postby depinmad » Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:02 pm

maybe it's a queens vs brooklyn thing, cuz i couldn't disagree more about einsteing. it's all about boiling the bagels, and einsteins doesn't.
agree with you about chang jiang insofar as they have the best little containers of duck sauce and hot mustard to go in all of madison.
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Postby snarky » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:59 am

depinmad wrote:maybe it's a queens vs brooklyn thing, cuz i couldn't disagree more about einsteing. it's all about boiling the bagels, and einsteins doesn't.
agree with you about chang jiang insofar as they have the best little containers of duck sauce and hot mustard to go in all of madison.


we'll just have to agree to disagree then. bagels are bagels in ny whether you are in queens or brooklyn. I wouldn't say Einsteins bagels are amazing or anything, but I think they come the closest (if by a long shot) and that Bagels Forevers reminds me more of Lenders or something.
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Postby Thusnelda » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:17 am

I miss Madison Bagel Company :(
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Postby cubanat » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:48 pm

Thusnelda wrote:I miss Madison Bagel Company :(


I have to admit that MBC did have some good bagels, until I bit into a poppy seed one and got a bite out of a cigarette butt, that actually had red lipstick still on it! If they were still open I would go back cuz they were good.

Bagels forever is just slightyl better than a Lenders frozen bagel, and although not great I have to admit that in Madison, it doesn't get much better than an Einstein's "everything".

Ian's is great as is LaRoccas in that I haven't been disappointed by their food. I've had good pizza at glass nickel(atwood) delivered and as far as those types of pie go, that's where I draw the line. Roman candle is awful as are all the others in town.

Lombardino's & Greenbush are the best in town for Neopolitan super thin crusts.

As for Chinese, I like Ruby's in Monona, Imperial garden's gas station bbq counter, and the soups/noodles from the place in Hilldale mall. Their fried rice tasted like toxic liquid smoke for some reason, but the noodle dishes are top notch. The chow fun from Hong Kong cafe is ok but a bit salty. I also had some decent steamed bbq pork buns fron Wah Kees stand at Taste of Madison, but the stuff I've tried from the restaurant was only marginal.

When you guys go back to NY, you must go to Province & Momofuku. The new wave of Asian places that are just fantastic. Try everything they have if you can, you will not be disapponted!
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Postby depinmad » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:57 pm

just to clarify. i am talking specifically about the bagels forever store/bakery on university avenue. not what you can buy from them in supermarkets.
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Postby cubanat » Sun Sep 10, 2006 3:51 pm

so am I. Their store ones are ok at best. I never buy frozen.
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Postby TAsunder » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:18 am

I never understood the love for bagels forever either. I'm not from NYC but when I went last year the bagels were closer to einstein, minus all the weird toppings of course. If bagels forever is what most new york bagels are like, then I'm not missing much. Lender's is an apt analogy, I'm glad I am not the only one who noticed the similarity.

I can't believe anyone is recommending Chang Jiang after coming from new york. Admittedly, I only went to chinatown for chinese food (except once to shun lee aka the snooty PF Chang's), but Chang Jiang is about the furthest thing from anything I had in new york. There are a few items at China Palace that are sort of, kind of close.

I have always felt that the "new york slice" is overrated. I prefer chicago deep dish or chicago thin style.

Anyone tried the place in butler plaza yet? I got a takeout menu that mysteriously disappeared in my car. Seemed decent.
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Postby cubanat » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:41 pm

Where is Butler plaza? NYC does have mediocre bagels also, so if you found that Einsteins is close to what you had there then you found one of them! Go to H & H for a true bagel (the H&H's you get here are not fresh enuff) or better yet get a lox and cream cheese on a poppyseed bagel with fresh onions from Russ & Daughters and then you will certainly be on board the NY Bagel Bandwagon.
Shun Lee has decent chinese if you can tolerate the hammy waiters that think good service is slapstick Catskills comedy every time they approach the table. Great NY Chinese is inexpensive, well made with fresh ingredients and if needed- able to be delivered without degrading the flavors. Shun Lee is way too expensive. PF Changs should not even be uttered on a discussion of good food let alone Chinese food. If you like fried rice and sweet & sour anything then there are places in Madison that come through for you. I'm looking for places that can do edible dim sum(I'm not asking for even cart service), Peking pork chops, sauteed pea shoots with garlic, and crispy whole fish and maybe soft shell crabs with a ginger & scallion sauce, oh and really good chow fun studded with bbq roast pork. When I moved back to Madison, I was deeply saddened by what passes/is advertised as dim sum by Hong Kong Cafe and Chang Jiang. They were both on the threshold of being wretched. The only hope I now have after tasting his Chinese bbq is that the owner of Imperial Garden said that he will be starting dim sum service eventually.
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Postby depinmad » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:50 pm

h & h is awesome so is ess-a-bagel on 1st avenue. so are dozens of neighborhood bagel bakeries in brooklyn.
einsteins has absolutely nothing to do with a ny style BOILED bagel.
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Postby Slick Willy » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:10 pm

I already kind of wrote this under a different thread before I saw this one.

La Rocca's Restaurant & Pizzeria was really good. The owners, who are the cooks, are a Sicilian husband and wife team and their daughters (who are very pretty by the way) wait tables there. We had beers to start off with served in frosted glasses for a nice touch. My buddy had the meat lasagna, and I ordered the veggie lasagna. We tried each other's, and both were delicious. We had these wonderful breadsticks called pull aparts for an appetizer and cherry cheesecake for dessert, which were both homemade. The service was prompt and friendly, and the atmosphere was simple, but nice. This place is definitely going to give the pretentious Roman Candle down the street a run for their money because the food at La Rocca's is superior in my opinion. The place is kind of small and it was a used appliance store before this. It's located next to the Heartland Credit Union if you want to give it a try. Since there isn't too much good Italian food here in town other than the Greenbush and maybe Lombardino's, I would highly recommend checking it out.
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Postby mrak » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:24 pm

Sorry to see La Rocca has reduced their hours a little since their info was last updated in the Daily Page dining guide.

On the strength of the recommendations in this thread, I went there for lunch Saturday, only to find they don't open until 4 now on Saturdays. I ended up going to the Candle instead.

I'm still looking forward to giving them a try. For those who wish to do the same, they're still open for lunch weekdays, and then close at 2. Then they open for dinner at 4.
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:13 am

depinmad wrote:h & h is awesome so is ess-a-bagel on 1st avenue. so are dozens of neighborhood bagel bakeries in brooklyn.
einsteins has absolutely nothing to do with a ny style BOILED bagel.


Is boiled bagel what causes it to be chewy to the point of feeling like bagel-flavored gum like at bagels forever, or is it that you overlook the gum texture because the boiling results in some other nice-ity?
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Postby depinmad » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:17 am

the chewy texture is what makes a bagel a bagel. complaining about chewiness in a bagel is like complaining about squeakiness in a cheese curd.
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:38 am

cubanat wrote:Where is Butler plaza? NYC does have mediocre bagels also, so if you found that Einsteins is close to what you had there then you found one of them! Go to H & H for a true bagel (the H&H's you get here are not fresh enuff) or better yet get a lox and cream cheese on a poppyseed bagel with fresh onions from Russ & Daughters and then you will certainly be on board the NY Bagel Bandwagon.


WTF are you talking about? You yourself said basically the same thing I did, that bagels forever is garbage and that einstein was CLOSER (please note the R at the end) to new york. I didn't say they were the same thing. Next time, before you go off on your long diatribe holier-than-thou bagel speech, you might want to read my post a little more carefully.

Shun Lee has decent chinese if you can tolerate the hammy waiters that think good service is slapstick Catskills comedy every time they approach the table.


Not my experience at all. My waiter was more like one from a fine dining place. Actually, there is (used to be?) a waiter at china palace (tommy?) who was similar. He was a bit louder and more personable than the guy at shun lee, but they both shared a similar depth of knowledge of the various ingredients being used and accurately described the dishes they recommended. I had a length discussion with the guy at shun lee over the various forms of tea and why I prefer green tea over oolong, but oolong is harder to screw up by overheating or oversteeping.

Great NY Chinese is inexpensive, well made with fresh ingredients and if needed- able to be delivered without degrading the flavors. Shun Lee is way too expensive. PF Changs should not even be uttered on a discussion of good food let alone Chinese food.


I don't think there's any truly good food that can be delivered without degrading flavors. Even pizza tastes better right out of the oven. Unless you live within a block of the place, or you don't mind food that's 30 minutes old or more.

Shun Lee is not way too expensive, nor is great chinese food necessarily inexpensive. That's just a dumb thing to say. It may not be random dump in chinatown cheap, but it is also not chinatown ugly or full of chinatown crap service. Even though I had excellent service for the price at Oriental Garden's dim sum in chinatown, itself a rather upscale place, it did not even approach the level of service we received at Shun Lee. Actually, the service at China Palace was better too.

This attitude that cheap chinese is somehow tastier is the exact type of thing that annoys the crap out of me. It is equivalent ot saying that good mexican costs $2 and is wrapped in a tortilla. Maybe you like it more because you can get a full meal for the family with that $20 and still have enough left over for the cash tip... I don't know. It makes no sense. Even the good places in chinatown cost a bit of money. Such as the aforementioned Oriental Garden, about $20-$30 for a dinner entree.

I find it dubious to claim that PF Chang's is crap when people are extolling the virtues of the vomit in a bucket that is chang jiang and oddly awful stuff like Ruby's.

If you like fried rice and sweet & sour anything then there are places in Madison that come through for you. I'm looking for places that can do edible dim sum(I'm not asking for even cart service)


So is everyone else in madison. If your idea of good chinese is BBQ pork, though, I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. Although I'm sure you can find good BBQ pork at any random place in manhattan for $5.

When I moved back to Madison, I was deeply saddened by what passes/is advertised as dim sum by Hong Kong Cafe and Chang Jiang. They were both on the threshold of being wretched. The only hope I now have after tasting his Chinese bbq is that the owner of Imperial Garden said that he will be starting dim sum service eventually.


I have no reason to expect it to be any better than hong kong cafe. I'd be more excited by china palace dim sum. At least they have some interesting items on their menu.
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:40 am

depinmad wrote:the chewy texture is what makes a bagel a bagel. complaining about chewiness in a bagel is like complaining about squeakiness in a cheese curd.


No, the chewy texture is what makes a pretzel a pretzel. Bagels should not be excessively chewy. I don't see why you don't just eat lender's bagels at this point. They are plenty chewy.
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