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House champagne at Guy Savoy

We haven't looked at their wine list in years. And have never been charged less then 20euro for a glass. They've always poured from newly opened bottles, mostly excellent Burgundies. Not bad at 300 euros for two excellent lunches

about 8 hours ago
PBSF in France

Barcelona Report

Will you have a car? If not, nearby must visit is Montserrat but not much for eating, so pack a lunch and avoid the weekend crowd even in May. Girona, a well preserved medieval city, is worth a trip even if one is not going to El Celler de Can Roca. Almost as good is Massana. Further up is Figueres, a beautiful town with decent restaurants. A few years ago, we ate and stayed at Mas Pau just outside the city. All the above are easy by public transport.
We haven't done much driving in the past few years. In past, we've visited the Pinedes wine area and the wonderful town of Vilafranca del Penedes. The cobblestoned center of the small town is lined with wine bars, informal eating places and cafes and Saturday market. A must is a visit to the Codorniu Winery, not necessarily for the cava but the Modernista architecture.
One of our favorite restaurant in Catalonia is Can Jubany, outside the town of Calldetenes. The drive and area around the town is quite beautiful. To bad that the restaurant does not have rooms. There are hotels in town.
If you are looking for more informal eating places outside in the countryside, I am not much of help. For us, one of the primary reason to get out of Barcelona is to eat at some of the destination restaurants in Catalonia. Most of these restaurants have a open air leisure feel that is very different from urban Barcelona.

about 21 hours ago
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Report

I am not familiar with Shoreditch in London but we had an apartment in the the 3e in Paris until about 5 years ago where we spent a couple of months a year. Even before the recent influx of patisseries/boulangeries, (Jacques Genin, RDT134, Poilane), third wave coffee kiosks and restaurant and wine bars, we love the neighborhood for the food, liveliness, it's tiny narrow streets as well as the convenience of being in central Paris. There isn't a comparable neighborhood in Barcelona that have those attributes. Most of old Barcelona front the harbor and beyond that, the city is mainly laid out on a grid. These neighborhood lacked the charm of the tiny streets of Barcelona Ciutat Vella or central Paris.
If I were to look for an alternative to El Born, I would choose Gracia around c/Gran de Gracia between the Diagonal and metro stop Fontana and west of that. It has lots of food shops, the nearby Mercat de La Llibertat and Mercat de l'Abaceria Central, and loaded with informal tapas bars, everyday eating places and very good traditional restaurants. It is lively day and night, has very few tourist yet quite near to many tourists sights as well as easy metro to the old quarters. What it lack are the charm of El Born/Ribera, its old medieval architecture, atmospheric shops and tight lively partying atmosphere.
When we visit Barcelona, we usually stay with friends in Sarria. It is a charming somewhat quiet neighborhood that wakes up in the evenings. There is good neighborhood shopping and eating around c/major de Sarria. We love the local aspect of this neighborhood because we've seen just about all of Barcelona main sights multiple times.

Aug 18, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

If you are 'somewhat go with the flow folks', you'll have a great time eating in Barcelona. Just stay from places in certain tourist areas: around at the Pg de Gracia in the Eixample, the Ramblas and around c/Ferran in the Gotic, on Pg Joan de Borbo in Barceloneta. You'll know they are no good by just glancing at them.
Except for foreign visitors who are willing to jump loops to get a reservation at Tickets, there are no restaurants in Barcelona that requires booking months in advance. We've never had problem reserving for the same week if we are somewhat flexible. And that is only for higher end modern places such as Moments, Alkimia, Cinc Sentits and a few others that get frequent mentioning in the blogs. Locals almost never reserve for places such as Llamber or Suculents unless it is a larger group. To them, reserving just to eat tapas is totally foreign and mostly American. Barcelona is loaded with eating places, especially in the tourist areas of Eixample, Gotic, El Born/Ribera, Barceloneta and now the newly gentrified El Raval.

Aug 17, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

To reserve ahead or not? Barcelona

Like everything in the is world, there is no one answer to your questionL to reserve or not. Barcelona is has a variety of 'hole in the wall comfort food' place’, but none you mentioned would I consider to be in that category, maybe if you mean Bodega La Palma. It depends on many factors: day of the week, cruise ship dockings, big soccer match, the brightness of the moon, etc. It also depends on the individual's mindset, i.e. importance of not getting in at a particular place, having to wait, seating at the counter, able just wing it.
In general: if you plan to spend most of the evening at Suculent or Llamber or some other, why not make a reservation or the risk of being turned away and having to look for an alternative. On a busy night, one might have to wait some even if one reserve; that is just the nature of the type of eating places; difficult to predict how long people stay. I don’t believe Bodega La Palma take reservations. How far in advance? couple of days should be enough for most, especially if one is flexible on the time.
As for local eating hours, informal tapas/pintxos places start early in the evening (around 8pm as many locals get off work) and it gets more packed as the evening goes. One doesn't have to go at 10:00pm to experience the scene unless it is a more formal sit down restaurant.
Never been to Pakta.

Aug 16, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal
1

No-knead bread... problem with 2nd rise...help!

I use the Bittman-Lahey recipe. I found the following method work well:
After the first rise and scraping the dough into somewhat of a ball. Line a aluminum pie plate (a light weigh plate or wide shallow container makes it easy to flip later) with a towel and dust it well with cornmeal.
Use a pastry scraper to turn the dough into the towel lined pie plate.
Dust the top of the dough with more cornmeal/flour mixture.
Fold the towel loosely over the dough and let it rise the second time.
When ready to bake, unfold the towel, tuck it under the pie plate and holding the plate and towel, flip the dough into the pot. Make sure to grab hold of the towel and pie plate.
I have never experienced the dough sticking to the towel. Even if the dough is not exactly centered into the bottom of the pot, don't mess with it. The finished bread will look fine.

Aug 13, 2014
PBSF in Home Cooking

Barcelona Report

Since PLA, the restaurantt is more or less a full evening dinner place, I would reserve. I believe Bar del PLA also take reservations. We never do because we are generally more or less on a tapas/pintxos crawl, therefore, we just drop by and always able to squeeze in at the bar. If you plan to sit down and have leisurely time, reserve, maybe early around 8pm. Even sitting at the tables, you are not obligated to order any set amount. That will leave you with plenty of time to hit other places. At prime time, even with reservation, one will probably have to wait some. The others mentioned do not take reservations. Most tapas places, and just about all pintxos places do not take them. Most are too simple and informal. Exception are the barn like pintxos places on Pg de Gracia, around the Ramblas and c/Ferran both probably best to avoid.
El Born/Ribera is full of informal drop in places to eat, never have to wander far. It has a lively fun atmosphere, much more so than the Gotic which as the above poster mentioned, getting 'tire' and in my opinion, worst, especially at night.

Aug 13, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Report

I like both. Since we usually stay with friends in Sarria, we don't go don't to the Gotic much, therefore, haven't been to PLA in a couple of years. The decor is best describe as warm modern with an excellent friendly staff. Lots of locals in the evening for the Gotic. The menu is typical format: beginning, seafood, meat, dessert. The food is mostly traditional but there are lots of modern accents: tartare, sesame, curry, sous-vide. I think the menu changes every few months; last time in Autumn, we had a salad of bacala, tuna cooked rare al la plancha, pork cheek and wild mushrooms. duck with pear confit. I believe they also offer a set menu for about 40 euros.
We eat at the BAR whenever we do the El Born crawl. Very informal tapas place with a bar and some high table sitting. Traditional tapas with a few large plates. Mostly share tapas at their bar: jamon, sardines, bomb, bacala fritters, escalivada, gambas plancha. Except a few tapas by the piece, most are actually half portion, big enough to share. Never had any of their large plates. It is not inexpensive but the quality of the ingredients is good. El Born is full of tapas and pinto bars; it is probably our favorite. We usually start at La Vinya del Senyor, Euskel Etxea, El Xampanyet, Tapeo, Bar del PLA and Mundial Bar. Not all the food is great but they are our favorites for a night out.

Aug 13, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Report

PLA and Bar del PLA are owned by the same people. PLA in the Gotic is a sit down restaurant serving traditional Catalan food. Bar del PLA is a tapas place in El Born.

Aug 12, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona - Need one more dinner - Gresca or Bohemic? Other?

I have not been to Bohemic. Gresca is very good but similar to Hisop in food an ambience. Substituting PacoMeralgo would be a different experience.
I would reserve for for Fermi Puig. It may not be completely booked weeknights but it is not a places that one just drop in. Don't know if they take online reservation. Phone is easy as they speak English.

Aug 11, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Venice in April for 7 nights

Just to add a comment to my above post. Osterie and trattorie are not alway inexpensive or simple. Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane and Osterie San Marco are examples.The quality of the ingredients is high and there is finesse in the kitchen. Seafood which is the mainstay of Venetian cooking is expensive, especially the wild species and those from the lagoon.

Aug 07, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Venice in April for 7 nights

April 2015? Time fly.
Ambience: most are typical trattorie/osterie, no modern high style interior. One would expect any bar or restaurant in the Gritti, Danieli, Ca Sagredo, Baglione to be plush and decorated to the gilt with plenty of white tablecloths. If you can be more specific on your idea of great ambience, might be able to give some good recommendations.
‘Better for lunch or dinner’: all the sit down eating places on your list have the same menu for lunch and dinner. One of great charm of Venice is to be able to eat outside. April is very iffy; some years it is warm and dry, others, cold and drizzly most of the month. Bacari are best for late morning to early evening.
On your list:
Bacari: the first seven on your list are some of the best and most atmospheric bacari in Venice. Except for Do Spade and La Cantina, all are stand up only serving simple traditional cichetti. L’Arco and Al Merca are so tiny that eating is mostly done outside. All except Do Spade and La Cantina closed by early evening, around 8pm. Rather than serving individual cicchetti, La Cantina serve three different platters: mixed seafood, cured meat, of cheeses. Those around the Rialto Market will be packed during midday and quiet by late afternoon. I would avoid Cantinone Gia Schiavi on Saturday afternoon during tourist season as it is too packed to be comfortable and wine is served in plastic cups.
Osterie/trattorie/ristorante: on your list from Ai Promessi Sposi down to Fiachetteria Toscana, except for Vini da Gigio, Al Covo, Al Paradiso, and Fiaschetteri Toscana, they are either osterie or trattorie. Most osterie and trattorie are simple everyday eating places, therefore, expectation should reflect that. Vini da Gigio, Al Covo, Al Paradiso and Fiaschetteria Toscana are more or less restaurants, which means tablecloth, higher level of service and higher expectations. Except for those in the hotels and Poste Vecie, I have eaten at every place on your list, many multiple times. If your criteria is “focus on the quality of the ingredients and dexterity of the kitchen”, would recommended Alle Testiere, Vini da Gigio, Al Covo, Al Paradiso, Antiche Carampane. For simple osterie, ai Promessi Sposi and alla Vedova (very good cicchetti in the front bar). Classic and very traditional is Osteria ai Assassini and wonderful ambience at Antica Adelaide. The rest I would skip: doesn't fit your criteria, nothing special or just not good. Others you might consider are Osterie San Marco, Anice Stellato, Boccadoro, L’Orto dei Mori.
Inside the luxury hotels: no experience as they are out of my budget and elements.
Pasticcerie: all the pasticcerie in Venice pretty much make the same traditional pastries. Prices are almost uniformly 1.10 euro or so for most items and the quality only varies from decent to good. Most also serve coffee stand up only. There is sort of a schedule to them: brioches and filled krapfen of all types are eaten for breakfast (don’t eat them any other times as they will most lightly be stale), late morning to afternoon are savory items and cakes, cookies, cream puffs, etc. Heavy foot traffic usually means good turnover, which is a good thing for pastries. I wouldn’t walk long distance to search out for particular ones. The two Rosa Salva near San Marco are classic. Skip the branch on Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo though the outside seating is great (only so so gelato). Florian is certainly a ‘classic’ and for many visitors, the ultimate caffe. Da Bonifacio is fine. We never go to Rizzardini though it is one block from our apartment because I am not crazy about their ambience. Our favorite by far is Tonolo (a great Foccacia di Venezia). We are usually there at least 3 times a week for breakfast. Others that we like are Marchini Times, Didovich, Ballarin, Pasticceria Gilda Vio (one of a few pasticceria that makes a good tiramisu), Da Mas.
Gelaterie: besides Il Doge, Lo Squero, La Mela Verde, San Stae; except for Grom, Venchi and those around San Marco, gelato are inexpensive, around 1.2euros for a big scoop, therefore, try them all on your walks.
Hope the above help narrow down your list.

Aug 07, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

Barcelona Report

Thank you so much for the great post. Many wonderful inexpensive places hardly ever mentioned on this board. And different neighborhoods to explore.

Aug 05, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Cooking class/"landmark" bar: 2 Venice questions

1) Short history of Harry's Bar, see link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry&#3...
Harry's Bar is what we label as an 'institution'. The only celebrity that I admired who frequented it was Gore Vidal. Now a day, one might spot a Kardashian, but more likely one will rub elbow with wealthy Texans, Russian oligarchs, oil Sheiks, jet setting Chinese offsprings or just plain tourists wondering why a Bellini costs 27 euros and a simple three course dinner is over 150 euros before drinks. The location is a plain building right in front of the second busiest vaporetto stop. The busiest being the Santa Lucia train station. The ground floor bar with few tables is the most sought after space. Otherwise, eating is in the low ceiling second floor. No view to speak of in or out. If the name, Harry's Bar doesn't mean much to you, skip it.
2) Never taken a class or anything else other than a drink at their great bar. Like everything else at the Gritti, it is expensive. Is it worth it? if it as simple as learning to cook Venetian food, probably not. If budget is not a consideration, probably fun if the exec chef is a charmer. And if time in Venice is short, personally, I would spend my precious time exploring the amazing city, much of it free. The most wonderful aspect of Venice is not the 'well known' but the little hidden things around every corner.

Aug 04, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

First time in Venice- rec for light dinner on arrival?

Nothing wrong with staying around San Marco; there is something to be said for the Piazza since millions of visitors stay nearby. If your locanda is on the Riva degli Schiavoni, Osteria Oliva Nera is nearby on Salizada dei Greci. A little north is Vicio Canton with pretty good pizza and antipasti; haven't tried anything else from their menu. Further from your locanda, right behind the Piazza on Cp San Filippo e Giacomo is the very popular Aciugheta. On one of the most touristy calle, it is always open and does a good job with a large menu of cicchetti, pizza, antipasti, primi, etc. The same family own the often recommended Il Ridotto. One the same calle is Cavatappi, a small excellent bacaro; it might close by 9pm. Behind the opposite side of the Piazza is one of the best restaurant in Venice, Osteria San Marco. It has a front bar that serves cicchetti which is more what you are looking for. Further north is Al Mascaron and it's sister enoteca, Al Mascareta. Not much else to recommend nearby. The day of the week you arrive is important since most close one or two days a week.

Aug 03, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Tickets and 41 Degrees closing? Barcelona must visit restaurants?

The earlier posts on this thread plus the link to a recent thread have some good recommendations.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/984539
Then the usual recommendations of Hisop, Alkimia, Cinc Sentits, Gresca and the numerous tapas/pintxos place such as PacoMerago, Taktika Berri, Bar del Pla, Tapas24, Bar Mut.
"Where locals would eat" in Barcelona comes in all shapes and sizes. Families eat at home except Sunday midday where many go for seafood and rice dishes in Barceloneta. Hipsters and twenty/thirty something mostly hang out at their neighborhood tapas bars or dives On weekends, maybe down to the El Born/La Ribera and do a tapas/pintxos crawl. An expensive date might be La Vinya Roel or Hisop, Cata1.81, E Toc. Most older locals don't do tapas bars in the evenings, prefer to eat a sit down meal. They'll do a quick standup tapas during midday or early evening with friends at Quimet y Quimet, El Vaso de Oro, Bodega La Palma, Ubeda or at everyday inexpensive places such as Sant Joan, Bodega Manolo, La Cova de Fumada, Can Mano, El Clandestino, Foguer. On won't find many locals at most visitors' lists such as Cal Pep, Cinc Sentits, Tickets, Abac, Dos Palillos.

Aug 02, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Recs in Barcelona Gràcia

Gracia covers a large area. For a mix of traditional and modern Catalan food, I like Con Gracia. Two excellent traditional Catalan restaurant in Gracia are Roig Robi and FreixaTradicio (more toward St. Gervais). All three are on the expensive splurg side. More moderate are Envalira and Goliard. Very good tapas at Gatamala and La Esquinica.
We had a great time and some excellent food couple months ago at Suculent. We went there late and only tried a few of their dishes: jamon, gambas plancha and oxtail. We'll definitely return for a more extensive meal the next time we are in Barcelona. For inexpensive seafood, I like El Barkito in the Eixample.
Couple of restaurants doing modern Catalan food (not overly molecular) that doesn't get mentioned much that we love are Coure and Fermi Puig. Cata1.81 and El Toc are good moderate places for modern tapas. Excellent wines and tapas at Vinya Roel in the Exiample.
PLA is one of our favorite for traditional Catalan restaurant in the Gotic. Also like their tapas place Bar del PLA in El Born.

Aug 02, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

[Venice] Alle Testiere

If you can't check in until 3pm, by all means use the time to enjoy Venice. If you are staying at the San Clemente Palace, make arrangement ahead to have the hotel shuttle boat meet you at their dock near San Marco to take your luggage back to the hotel for storage so you don't have to carry them around. And if you are ready for coffee and a cornetto, near San Marco is Rosa Salva; better still a little further to Campo San Luca where Marchini Time is. Good pastry and get to mingle with the Venetians downing coffee on the way to work. Both standup only. Then cross the Rialto Bridge to visit the market and the Pescheria. Nearby are many old atmospheric bacari for cicchetti and a glass of wine to tie you over until lunch.
If you've already decided on Alle Testiere, make a reservation to be sure to get a table. It is a very small trattoria with about 24 seats though walk in can be possible for lunch. If you don't reserve, have an alternate plan if it is full because if you don't know Venice, wandering around looking for a decent place while jet lagged and hungry is not fun.

Jul 29, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

Barcelona next week

I haven't eaten at Can Majo in more than 5 years, therefore, not much help in that. Kaiku is good for what it is; for a Sunday afternoon at Barceloneta to enjoy platters of seafood cooked a la plancha.

Jul 29, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Tickets and 41 Degrees closing? Barcelona must visit restaurants?

Have not eaten at La Palmera (probably will give a try the next time in Barcelona) or La Clara. Went to Suculent earlier this year after an opera performance at the Liceu. Was packed; three of us managed to squeeze into two seats at the counter; jamon, gambas and oxtail, all very good. Like the lively vibe and the great staff behind the counter.
El Vaso is a classic tapas bar serving excellent beer and vermouth. Very traditional tapas made with top notch ingredients, therefore it is not cheap. Standup only and very crowded at prime time (after 1;30/8;30pm).
I have not been to Tapas24 since they first open more than 5 years ago; the tapas were a mix of simple traditional such as potato brava, croquuetes, bomba mixed with few creative ones from Comerc24 such as a McFoie Burger, BikiniC24; also a few large traditional large plates. I found it very expensive for what it is and wasn't taken by the basement space. It is not a less expensive version of Comerc24. Lumping Comerc24 with the above is like putting an orange in a bowl of apples. Totally different in every way, a place for a night out.
When we visit friends in Barcelona, we go to tapas places not just to eat. The ambience and the staff is just as important.
Unless you are spending a lot of time in Barcelona, making a long distance just to eat at a particular tapas places a waste of time. For convenience, have small list where you'll be sightseeing. If you are tire of sit down restaurants in the evening, pick an area and do a tapas/pintxos hop. Don't over research. They are not meant to be gastronomic nirvanas but places to have a good time. They are no reservation, informal, inexpensive (same for wine, beer, vermouth, cava, txakoli) and the traditional food tend to be good, therefore, just plunge in and take in the ambience. If one doesn't appeal, move on to the next, not much effort or monetary outlay. There are exceptions, those of the multi-course tapas which is more like a restaurant.

Jul 29, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal
1

How do the French get their food?

Just want to point out that the dates of the two posts were 2006 and 2007. There has been big changes in the Paris restaurant and food scene since then. And after living in Paris for another 8 years, wonder if Mr. Lebovitz's views are still the same.

Jul 28, 2014
PBSF in France

Tickets and 41 Degrees closing? Barcelona must visit restaurants?

If you are referring to the mentioning of Sauc on my earlier post, my comments on Sauc is that it is one of my favorite because my preference for more rustic and full flavor food. It was never my intention to give the impression that it is 'that good'. Barcelona is loaded with modern Catalan restaurant that one can throw a dart at and get a good meal. 'That good' depends on the individual and the restaurant's performance on a particular day.
Unlike some other international boards on CH, there aren't any locals or many repeat visitors currently posting. The same few restaurants get frequent mentions and most are based on a single visit by first time visitors. This all make decision making a bit problematic and many excellent restaurants fall under the radar. No wonder Cinc Sentits, Hisop and those run by 3 star chefs such as Lasarte, Moo see nothing but visitors at their tables. Can throw Tickets/41 Degrees into the mix. Abac hardly gets mentioned until rumor has it that the restaurant with the backing of the hotel is pushing hard for a third Michelin star. None are criticisms of the restaurants or this board. Any reporting of their visits are very welcome on this forum.

Jul 28, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Tickets and 41 Degrees closing? Barcelona must visit restaurants?

Asador de Aranda: I've only been to their Pau Claris outpost. They do one thing, roasted baby lamb in a wood burning oven and it is excellent. Since all their asadors pretty much serve the same menu, I wouldn't bother to trek up to Tibidabo unless you want to check out the fancy exterior.
Santa Maria: Paco Guzman's excellent tapas place is no more, closed last year. I think he has since opened Restaurant Santa nearby on Avinguda Meridiana. Don't know anything about it nor my Barcelona friends.
La Cova Fumada: it is a good simple everyday type of restaurant; good for tapas as well as traditional everyday food such as beans with sausage and clams, sardines, squids, roast pork.
Sagardi: it is a chain of pintxos places with so so food; also a sit down restaurant in the back. The El Born branch is great for people watching. Fine as part of a El Born tapas/pintxos crawl but wouldn't make it a destination or such. For better pintxos, go to Taktika Berri.
Fine dining: I am not much of 'ranker' when it comes to restaurants. Those on your list, I would separate them into two categories: El Celler de Can Roca and Abac are much more ambitious, more expensive (more than twice of the others), a larger, more impressive wine lists, finer table setting, more staff and splashier dining room, definitely much more of a fine dining experience. El Celler has gotten more publicity and reservation requests than they ever imagined or can handled. It is almost impossible to get a reservation without jumping through loops. Much of the food is excellent, their use of molecular technique is amazing, so is their presentation. Yet every tasting menu I have eaten there, there has always been a clunker or two (slimy smoked eggplants, overpowering mussels, onion soup with aged Comte has a bitter after taste. That seems to be the case of 3 star Michelin dining in Spain. If you can get a reservation, your budget is fine with it and able to get to Girona, go for it. As for Abac, I have not been there since Xavier Pellicer which I am a big fan of, left years ago, therefore, I am of no help regarding to food. It is a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful hotel. As for the rest on your list, my favorite is Sauc. The cooking is less molecular and the food has a right balance of refined and rustic. Every dish is full flavor, nothing is ho hum. If you decide to eat there, unless you have a huge appetite, take the shorter tasting menu. Cinc Sentits, Alkimia and Hisop are pretty much the same to me; all are very good. The food at Cinc Sentits is probably the most consistent and the service friendly and spot on which makes it a good choice if it is your first trip to Barcelona. Unlike the others on your list, Comerc24 is a highend tapas place. One can order just a few items or take the long Festival of Tapas tasting. Some plates such as a grilled baby octopus, a suquet, or a wild mushroom coca are deceptively simple, other such as their salads, scallops, eggs, are in the El Bulli style. Cinc Sentits, Alkimia or Hisop are small, low key with somewhat bland decor which after a couple of hours, can feel like a tomb. Comerc24 is bigger, dressy, lively and fun.

Jul 28, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

How do the French get their food?

There are bargains if one shop near the end of the shift at most farmers markets in the SF Bay Area. I go the Alemany on Saturday afternoon before vendors pack up or around 12:30pm Saturday at the San Mateo market, lots of discount for bulk buying. The SF Ferry Plaza might be the few exceptions. Most can't afford fruits at $4.80/lb at Fog Hollow who has become a big business.

Jul 27, 2014
PBSF in France

How do the French get their food?

In the past few years, I been shocked by the produce prices at the supermarkets such as Safeway and Lucky in the San Francisco Bay Area. I don't know if it is my faulty memory but until about 10 years ago, prices used to be very reasonable and not much more than most ethnic markets. Now, unless they are on the 'weekly sales', I see zucchini and broccoli at $2 a pound regardless of the season, peaches and nectarine at $3, run of the mill onions at $1. Many ethnic markets sell them at less than half of their prices. I think supermarkets changed their produce pricing structure/policy some years ago. No wonder, low income people can't afford to buy fresh produce.

Jul 27, 2014
PBSF in France
1

How do the French get their food?

Thanks for the facts on cherry production. Isn't much of Michigan cherry crop is the tart variety, mostly use for processing such as pie filling, jam, juice, dried, frozen. The sweet variety is used to make maraschino cherries.
Washington, Oregon and California produce more than 90 percent of the sweet cherries in America, much of it sold fresh.
My bad for not being specific on the types of cherries; also instead of Washington, should be the Pacific Northwest.

Jul 27, 2014
PBSF in France

How do the French get their food?

Why you can't get cherries from Michigan? because the the state produce a small amount where as Washington has groves and groves of cherry orchard geared toward large production. And there is nothing wrong with those cherries; they are some of the sweetest Bing cherries around. Same with strawberries, peaches, avocado and many other produce. Small farmers in American produce a very tiny amount of the food we consume.
Add to the demand issue, there is less of a seasonality to the American consumer. We expect tomatoes all year round, fruit from the southern hemisphere during the winter, Asparagus from Mexico and Peru, raspberries from Holland. This leads to developing varieties of fruit and vegetable that can stand up to long shipping and storage logistics rather than for taste.
And there is the worst American shopping habit of handling and squeezing every fruit before buying. This leads stores to stock rock hard fruit. A ripe fruit won't survive two minutes at Whole Foods. Ever try touching a peach at a Paris market, one will be put to shame and sent to purgatory or worse, missing a finger.
When we travel and if food is of interest, we tend to search for the best. Sometimes, this distorts our perception. I've had flavorless strawberries, less than stellar peaches, hard tomatoes from Morocco and Sicily from the markets in Paris. Most of the time, it is due to my weakness of saving a few cents because they are cheaper than the next vendor. And some of the produce at Monoprix and Franprix are not much above what I find at American supermarkets.

Jul 27, 2014
PBSF in France
2

Acquarello Venice

Nothing wrong with staying at the San Clemente Palace with point or otherwise. Some love the solitude. If you do dine at the restaurant, please do let us know how is. Thanks.

Jul 25, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Tickets and 41 Degrees closing? Barcelona must visit restaurants?

Your listing resembles a 'bucket' list, a hodgepodge of eating places. Most probably serve good food or serves a particular need. Maybe not Casa Danone since I have a prejudice against a restaurant owned by a yogurt company. It would be helpful if you can be more specific on the reasons those are on your list, types of food you are looking for, ambience, some idea of your budget and how long you will be in Barcelona, you'll get some excellent feedback.
As for 'must visit restaurants', there is no such thing in Barcelona unless one is hung up on eating at what is the remnants of El Bulli which would be Tickets. Otherwise, every restaurant/tapas/pintxos place can be replace by another.
Carme Ruscalleda is the chef and not the name of a restaurant. Her restaurant Sant Pau is about 70km north of Barcelona in San Pol de Mar. She also oversees Moments in Barcelona with her son as the chef.

Jul 20, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Acquarello Venice

I have never eaten at the restaurant at the San Clemente Palace. When we are in Venice, we would make use of their free shuttle to enjoy the hotel grounds and get away from the crowds in Venice. The hotel itself is a refurnished monastery and it has a cold institutional feel. Big, imposing with high ceiling and long corridors, it lacks warm of any kind. Whenever we there in April/May or October, it is mostly deserted. I think it caters mostly to business and wealthy tour groups. Unlike the much closer to Venice Cipriani, which is always busy because it has views of Venice. The San Clemente is very remote with very little connection to Venice and I can't imagine any refurbishing can make it less so. If I am staying there, I might consider eating there.

Jul 18, 2014
PBSF in Italy