Category Archives: Food

Ate at Delmonico’s in NYC

I was helping out a customer with some backup issues in the Wall street area and they happened to be literally across the street from Delmonico’s.

At the end of a particularly long day I thought I’d reward myself with a nice steak, and the proximity to the steakhouse made it hard to resist.

Delmonico’s is one of those places that have been around forever. Bit stuffy inside, I didn’t opt for the wet-aged Delmonico cut but instead went for the T-Bone (dry-aged on-premises). I also had a rather excellent salad with roasted tomatoes, herbs and mozzarella.

This is not going to be one of those inspired entries – the steak just wasn’t that good. It was undercooked, underseasoned and just lacked flavor. I probably should have gone for the house’s signature cut (the famous Delmonico cut) but any decent steakhouse should have no problems making a proper T-Bone…

Maybe I’ll give it another chance. Prolly not.


Ate at the Staghorn steakhouse in NYC

At the insistence of my colleagues (that seem to enjoy the steak posts more than the high-falutin’ technology ones) I decided to visit another NYC steakhouse.

It was raining, I didn’t feel like going further so I went to a place near the office at 2 Penn Plaza (Madison Sq. Garden).

It’s a newer place called the Staghorn on 36th, just west of 8th Ave. Really nice and modern inside, unlike most other NYC steakhouses. Almost totally empty.

The prices are a bit below other joints, probably because the cuts are not quite as colossal.

I opted for a T-bone this time and a house salad. All the cuts had the same price, BTW.

The salad had an excellent vinaigrette with a touch of oregano. I fortified it with a tiny bit of blue cheese.

The steak was truly excellent, dry-aged, with a wonderful nuttiness and caramelization, exhibiting slight undertones of hazelnut.

Not perfect though – had the cut been a bit thicker it would have been juicier, another 4-5 oz wouldn’t be too much to add. Nonetheless, a wonderful piece of beef. In the thicker parts it was amazing in tenderness, texture and flavor.

I finished with a rather good tiramisu that was a touch on the oversoaked side but very tasty.

Recommended. This place shouldn’t be as obscure.


Ate at The Old Homestead in NYC

I’ve been hopped up on uppers all day (relax, just a huge amount of chocolate-covered high-test espresso beans, though the amount of caffeine was surely enough to get me disqualified from competing in any sport – every time I pee it smells like freshly-brewed coffee). Needing something to relax me, and since my bowel movements have been altogether too easy lately, I thought I’d go for steak. Two birds with one stone.

It’s been a while since my last red meat extravaganza, and, at the behest of my buddies, I tried The Old Homestead, on 14th and 9th.

The place is a bit old-fashioned, as befits most NYC steakhouses. There’s this weird old sign, stating this place is “the king of beef”.

I bumped into Odin on the way in, he was ordering takeout for the lads. We exchanged knowing nods, told him to say hi.

I was served by a decrepit waiter with a handlebar moustache, he probably was almost too old to fight when he was drafted in WWI. He had an accent so I asked him where his pith helmet was. He, in turn, recommended the 36oz ribeye, priced no more than lighter fare on the menu. Once again, I asked for an internal temperature between 145F and 150F, once again I got a blank stare. So far, only the people at Emeril’s Delmonico in Vegas have been able to respond to this request without batting an eyelid. But that is a story for another day.

I also ordered a chopped salad since I’ve been told I need some roughage. The salad was amazing, and enough for two. I ate the whole thing, not one to ignore roughage consumption guidelines.

Then the steak came.

Oh dear.

The bone wasn’t even that big. The rest was all meat and a bit of fat. This is, to date, the largest single steak I’ve had (though not, alarmingly, the largest amount of meat I’ve consumed in one sitting). And was it good! It was served with a roasted head of garlic, French style. Not quite the consistency of the steak in Flames (that was almost like good Ahi) but still awesome.

I almost couldn’t eat the whole thing. But I did, it was that good. By the end I felt like Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. And I did not have the “waffer thin mint“.

On the way back to the train, it was hot and, after all this food, I started sweating profusely. I passed by a funeral parlor on 14th and the proprietor eyed me appreciatively. This is not hot-weather food!

Highly recommended.


Ate at AJ Maxwell’s in Manhattan

Once more, dear reader, I place my colon’s health at peril for your reading pleasure and culinary edification.

I could have gone to Via Brazil for a proper feijoada by walking a few yards from my hotel but, instead, I sacrificed variety on the altar of dedication and had another bone-in ribeye. It is my mission to eat at all the decent NYC steakhouses.

For those who don’t know me (and many who do): I don’t eat steak all the time… indeed, I consider myself a veritable gourmand (and I do know the difference between gourmand and gourmet, as do my belts).

Anyway: ordered a medium-rare ribeye. They chargrill their steaks at AJ Maxwell’s so if you don’t like them that way don’t go. If you do, the steaks are good. The meat was tender and flavorful. It looks colossal but it is (they say) just 22oz. It looked huge and was over 2in thick. Probably 22oz after cooking.

I read some reviews and typically the people that complain asked for medium or medium well. If the piece is that thick and they chargrill it, rest assured the exterior will be pretty crispy if you want medium. By the same token, getting medium rare could mean some parts are pretty rare indeed. Not the place to be if you like medium and above.

I actually thought it was better than Bobby Van’s though still not as good as Flames. However, eating once someplace is not enough of a statistical sample. It’s beef after all, not purified water. Not the easiest thing in the world to be consistent with. Hence the incredulity of most people when I tell them that I had the best steak of my life at Wollensky’s. Maybe I got lucky. Hey, at least I said Wollensky’s, not Appleby’s… it’s a legitimate steakhouse.

After a few months I’ll definitely need colonics to get rid of the barnacles.

BTW, if you just want to read about technology you can select the topics at the top of the screen so you don’t have to read about my steak-eating adventures. Or vice versa.


Ate at Bobby Van’s in Manhattan

After the glowing reviews of a colleague I ate at Bobby Van’s on 230 Park. It’s considered to be one of the better NYC steakhouses (there are 4 in the chain, most in NYC).

I got a bone-in ribeye and some mushrooms.

I asked for a 145°F internal temperature and the decrepit waiter looked at me like I had three heads. “What does that mean?” I said medium rare…

The steak was pretty good, slightly overcooked but not as flavorful as what I had at Flames. It was also a bit dry for a ribeye and totally unseasoned. Still, not a bad cut.

The mushrooms provided some lubrication.

Not a religious experience, I’ll try the Old Homestead tomorrow hopefully.


Ate at Murphy’s Style Grill, in Red Bank, NJ

Will be demonstrating Cisco’s WAAS tomorrow in NYC, so today we spent some time going through a testing protocol so we can show people different things.

After we finished we had dinner at Murphy’s in NJ. Strange place. It’s not a classy steakhouse or anything – nor does it have aspirations to be one.

The menu is, to quote Kipling, as immutable as the hills. Apparently any substitutions or deviations are swiftly and sternly stamped out, as though they signify an impending revolution that threatens all that we hold holy. Dressing on the side? Heresy! Burn!

I got the 24oz Delmonico. I was urged not to ask anything about it, lest they bring out someone to take me to the back. He also suggested generous amounts of A1.

At least it was inexpensive (about $17) and properly cooked. If you’re looking for flavor and marbling, look elsewhere. Much of it looked like solid marble, though. Had to surgically remove a good amount of gristle.

Better than the steak at Bowling Green, I have to admit.


Ate at Flames in Manhattan

I was helping a client in the Wall Street District today with some rather obscure CIFS performance issues (Opportunistic Locks anyone? Berzerk BDCs causing issues? Multi-user Access DBs over WAN?)

Had to stay overnight (unplanned) so after putting in some solid hours I decided to get some steak, and NYC is the place to get decent steak.

Did some research and found out that Flames was walking distance from my hotel, so I went.

Got a T-Bone this time (usually go for strip or ribeye but the waiter insisted, even though they had far more expensive cuts on offer). Some creamed spinach and a small salad and I was set.

Flames is one of those fancy places where they cut your steak for you. At least they don’t feed you or, indeed, help you masticate.

Not that they would need to – the dry-aged steak had fantastic flavor and was reasonably tender (not the most tender but good). I wish it had been a tad less cooked but it was still great, and I devoured it in atavistic glory, almost beating the man-pelt on my chest in ecstasy. It’s been a while since I’ve had proper dry-aged beef.

The creamed spinach wasn’t too creamy or salty. The salad was just OK, I typically use salads for intestinal lubrication anyway and it served the purpose.

I did overhear some patrons asking for well done steaks, this is one of those places where they won’t try to talk you out of it, sadly. I think steakhouses should make you actually sign a waiver if you want to commit such culinary atrocity.

I also overheard a waiter trying to sell some $100 “Kobe” steak to some ladies, telling them how they massage the cows 4 times a day. I discreetly shook my head at them and they got the message.

Anyway – long story short, strongly recommended, and don’t dare order anything beyond medium-rare.

Now back to washing and drying my Superman underoos – I had no change of clothes and I’m writing this naked. It kinda is an appropriate image for this review though…


IBRIX at EMC World

I’ve known about IBRIX for a while, but it was refreshing to talk to a decent techie that knew the product. They have improved it a lot over the past year.

For the uninitiated, IBRIX can be either

  1. A network-based filesystem using the IBRIX client and protocol
  2. Also accessible using NFS or CIFS
  3. SAN-based parallel filesystem

The product’s claim to fame is it’s scalability and performance (realized by adding extra nodes “hot”). Their most famous client is probably Pixar, they replaced a ton of NetApp boxes with an IBRIX cluster and realized huge performance benefits and vastly reduced costs. I always liked cool filesystem technologies and this definitely falls under the realm of “cool”. Some highlights based on notes I took on my Blackberry during the session and questions I asked:

  • No limits on filesystem size (they have deployed single namespace filesystems several PB in size).
  • 300mb/s read, 200mb/s write on small box per node. Bigger boxes can do 1.2GB/s per node, of course your storage needs to be able to keep up.
  • No limit on the number of nodes.
  • Automatic rebalancing of data over time. When you add new disk you rebalance to keep things humming.
  • Dedicated ibrix backup node, works with 3rd party backup SW, can have many backup servers for backup speed.
  • Has snaps now (global), this was a failing of the product before since it was lacking snapshots.
  • No real limit on the number of files per FS.
  • Biggest file size they have tested on production is an 8TB file, no software limit.
  • Nodes use FC to access storage, clients use Ethernet.
  • Client on Windows or Linux, otherwise general NFS and CIFS. Client is fastest.
  • Your prod servers can be the ibrix nodes but very compute-intensive. They recommend the client (IP-based, bonded). or get an 8-core box.
  • There is no single lock manager – this is the coolest thing. There is global metadata and global locking, all nodes participate equally.
  • How are node failures handled? All nodes interchangeable. All see same storage. Storage allocated to remaining servers if you lose a node.
    Can lose all but 1 server.
  • Back-end storage size per node? Unlimited.
  • Multipathing per node? Powerpath works. Can do bonded GigE up to 8 ports per.
  • How are files allocated? The file inode contains the info concerning which node it needs to go to. Round-robin allocation or preferred servers per file type. Also if server over 50% full then it’s skipped.
  • All volumes accessible by all nodes.
  • Can stripe huge files across many nodes.

I’m stoked! I can think of so many uses for this product:

  1. Data mining
  2. Digital media
  3. Oil and gas
  4. Backups


Storage Virtualization – is there a point?

This has been bothering me for a while, and I think I’m not alone.

Hitachi has been making great progress with their virtualization gear, as has IBM, Falconstor before them, etc.

They claim you’ll be freed from the vendors’ shackles, achieve greater utilization of your arrays, simplify administration, cure cancer etc.

Well, here’s what I think:

  1. You will instead be shackled to the virtualization provider
  2. You won’t have a clue where your stuff is
  3. If you want to retire an array you could have problems (imagine creating a LUN composed of LUNs from 3 different arrays)
  4. You STILL have to use the management interfaces of the back-end arrays, since you still have to provision the storage. Instead of provisioning to hosts you provision to the virtualizer.


So, what have you gained, exactly?


EMC World: Replication Manager and Exchange 2007

Just attended a session. Seems like the new rev of RM supports 2007 fully. They also support Recoverpoint clones (or will, later this week).

For whoever is not aware of it, EMC Replication Manager is like a front-end that manages local replicas of your salient Exchange data for the purposes of backup and restore.

Can be fiddly to set up but if you have EMC gear and Exchange, you really should look at it.