>> Can you search within a thread?
The easiest way to do that is to open the topic and then use your browser's "find" function. Many browsers (including Internet Explorer) allow a short cut to that function by pressing CTRL-F.
>> How do you narrow a search? For instance if I want to find recs for Italian seafood places but don't want a list of all Italian restaurants just the ones specializing in seafood.
There is no "two step process" whereby you can do a search and then narrow down what you already had. However, the default order for search results is "best match", and if you understand what that means, you can use it to your advantage. For example, if you search (whatever forum and whatever time frame) using a search criterion "Italian seafood" WITHOUT the quotes, your results will come back in this order:
1. Topics with both words (Italian and seafood) in the title
2. Topics with either word (Italian or seafood) in the title
3. Topics with both words (Italian and seafood) in the body of the topic
4. Topics with either word (Italian or seafood) in the body of the topic
So you're most likely to find what you're looking for by looking at search results in group 1 first, then skipping over those for group 2, and looking at those in group 3.
Hope that makes sense.