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Padova on a Sunday/Monday?

There is 'such a thing as cichetti caldo'. Most bars will use the microwave or a small countertop oven to reheat or a steam counter to keep items warm. Some bars have a deep fryer for certain items. In Venice, many bacari do not serve 'cicchetti caldo'.

Mar 04, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Eight thoughts for food-crawling with children in Rome and Venice

Thank you for reporting back on your holiday in Venice and Rome. Glad that your trip went so well. Your kids are wonderful travelers. I've observed so many kids that are either bored to death in Venice or so pre-occupied with their mobile devices to look up.
Renting an apartment and eating in some of the time give everyone a chance to sit back and relax. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner out day after day is tiring. Finding Antiche Carampane can be an adventure, a wrong turn and another dead. The area was once a notorious red light district, now mostly occupied by plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, eerily quiet at night.

Feb 24, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Best value 3* or 2* lunch in Paris

There are no 2 or 3 star in Paris that cook the classic cuisine if one is referring to Escoffier/before nouvelle cuisine. A few dishes at Michel Rostang might fall into that category. As for modern, just about all others can be classified as that. If your preference is very modern/molecular, then Thiery Marx at Sur Mesure would be it. Some might consider Pierre Gagnaire molecular but not in my opinion.

Feb 23, 2015
PBSF in France

Not to Miss Eateries in Rome

Jen Kalb is always polite and diplomatic. This is the Italy board, not the France board. Still, the same 'best' gets ask frequently.

Feb 20, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Why is "the best" so important

Not everyone can parse out language as well as many posters on this board. I can understand why some guidebooks use the word 'best': to give a sense that their contributions are insiders that 'knows' so to sell their guides. But for many posters, it is one of those innocent words that is common and they might not think of Webster's meaning when they use it. When people are asking for suggestions and recommendations and they use the word 'best', they may not be necessarily looking for the gold medal, the number one. They may be looking for a category of excellence which the adjective 'some' preceding the word might lessen the irritation to some posters on this board. When I use the word, better or best, it is not necessarily a competition but as a comparison. There is nothing wrong with stating that Boulangerie A makes a better croissant then Boulangerie B or Boulangerie A makes the best croissant among the half of dozen that I've tried.
For those who live in Paris and those have visited dozens of times, it is understandable that the literal use of the word has little meaning. Not many people who ask for recommendations and suggestions on this board are as sophisticated eaters or the use of language as you who can use metaphors and references so readily. For first time visitors who are a bit clueless, it might be that they are looking for places that are merely excellent and has misused the word 'best'. I am sure that are a few that only the 'best' will suffice and good luck to them in their search.

Feb 17, 2015
PBSF in France
1

Venice on my own

Sorry that there were couple of spelling errors on my above post.
da Aberto should be da Alberto
Anice Stelleta should be Anice Stellato

Feb 16, 2015
PBSF in Italy

Green beans with Potato - Spanish recipe

The beans in the photo are not snow peas, look more like cut Spanish musica beans or Romano beans.

Feb 16, 2015
PBSF in Home Cooking

Venice on my own

Since the Cipriani is in the Giudecca, there aren't many options. Besides, you would probably like to explore Venice a bit during your free evenings. It is true that some restaurants are not welcoming to single diners. Most often, being comfortable eating solo much depends on the individual. For less high end (assume you mean less expensive than Al Covo or Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane. etc. as none are 'high end in terms of service and ambience, and definitely less than the Cipriani), might consider alle Vedova, Ai Promessi Sposi, La Cantina, Osteria al Diavolo e L'Aquasanta, al Sacro e Profano, della Bottega, da Aberto, Anice Stelleta, alla Frasca(seafood only). Don't expect a lots of 'wows' from them.. All are more or less osterie serving good traditional Venetian cooking with friendly staff. Depends on how ambitious you are in the evening, except for Anice Stellato and Alla Frasca, all are near a vaporetto stop. Anice Stellato (the best of the group) and Alla Frasca requires a bit of a walk. The Ciprani water taxi will transport you to and back from San Marco. Too bad not much to recommend around there.

Feb 15, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Fiftieth Birthday Dinner in Venice

"Romantic and befitting a milestone birthday" is difficult in Venice, especially if one is looking for great food. If cost is no object and ok with non traditional Venetian cooking, I would choose Da Pisis in the Hotel Bauer. The cooking is an inventive take on Venetian recipes and one of the few grand hotel terrace that actually feel special and not just a series of outdoor tables packed together.
A truly special traditional Venetian restaurant is Da Ivo; the romantic aspect is not the great view (none) but the small intimate dining room with beautiful lighting and the smart service. It is very expensive and no Italian spoken in such intimate space can put off some but that is the nature of Venice.
The above mentioned Al Covo serves very good Venetian food in two comfortable dining rooms. The staff is friendly and accommodating and there are a few outside tables on a small non-descript campo. If being in Venice is romantic enough, it is a good choice without being over the top expensive. Two similar restaurants that I like are Osteria Santa Marina and L'Orto dei Mori; both should be open Monday nights. In terms of food, all three are better than Bancogiro.

Feb 10, 2015
PBSF in Italy

resaurants in san sebastian

For better or worst, I think Arzak has changed over the years. Although it still has the feeling of a big old house with its 'rustic family' elements: the first floor bar and lounge, the uniform of the serving staff, the country decor of one of the dining rooms and the creaky stairs, lots have changed over the years. Elena Arzak is now in charge of the the kitchen taking over from her father, Juan Mari, the redone of the second dining room a few years ago and the food even before the change has always evolved, from the simpler Juan Mari classic Basque cooking of the 70's to the current almost entirely molecular technique. It might not 'surprise' to those that have been around the Michelin 3 star circuit. Personally, the big old house, the non-starched waitstaff uniform and less of an 'international' feel have an emotional appeal. This is not to take anything alway from Azumendi, the current favorite of the Michelin 3 star.

Jan 25, 2015
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

resaurants in san sebastian

"read in many places that it is not necessary 'to try' every 3 star restaurant in San Sebastian": don't go to a Michelin 3 star to try but to treat yourself.
Arzak is the only one actually in San Sebastian. All others require a car or an expensive taxi/driver service. There have been many previous posts on all of them. Just type in the names on the upper right 'search function' box and you'll have reading material for days.

Jan 15, 2015
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Venice - June - When to make dinner reservations?

In general term, dinner, even the tiny 24 seat Alle Testiere, one month in advance should be sufficient even for weekends. For Al Covo and just about all others frequently mentioned on this board, couple of weeks should be fine. For weekdays days, I never had a problem just a couple days ahead. It also depends on how flexible one is in terms of the day and how fixated one is on a particular place. If one is in Venice for only Friday and Saturday night in June and is set on a certain place, the more lead time. No place will deal with reservations months ahead.

Jan 14, 2015
PBSF in Italy
1

Venice at Christmas

Thank you for the write up on your holiday in Venice. This board gets tons of inquiries but very few posters report back their experiences. Great that so many good places were opened. You dined at 'Restaurant da Fiore'; was it Osteria da Fiore in San Polo or Trattoria da Fiore near Campo Santa Stefano?

Dec 30, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

For New Year Day in Venice,
There might be a couple exceptions but most of the bacari and osterie/trattorie with front cecchetti bars mentioned on this board will be closed. Places that are opened are mostly around the tourist/high traffic areas: San Marco, Strada Nuova, Campo Santa Margherita/San Pantelon, Campo Bella Viena near the Rialto market. My advice is just to find a place opened where you will be strolling; can't be too picky. In the meantime, give a short list to your hotel desk and ask them to check what is open that day. Nothing is firm when it comes to Venice.
Popular cicchetti eating will be on New Years Eve, therefore, if you have dinner plan that night, do the crawl during midday. Those around the Rialto market will be great and the market itself will be mob before it close for business at noon.

Dec 16, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

Foods unique to France to buy in Paris?

For Bonne Maman preserve, we bring back rhubarb and mirabelle from their inexpensive regular line. We prefer our jam on the sweet side. If you are flying, preserves and jam are not allowed in carry-on bags.

Dec 16, 2014
PBSF in France

Critique/revise my rough Italy itinerary (Rome/Florence/Venice)

For Venice: finding a good trattoria/osteria open on New Year's Day will be difficult. It is a day that only visitors eat out. If you have the patience, you might just as well email or telephone what is on your list to check for sure. Better if you are staying in a hotel, give the list to the front desk ahead and ask them to telephone for you. My advice is just make that it a 'no reservation day' and eat simply. There will be places open around the main tourist areas: San Marco (Aciugheta is always open and reliable, Florian is open for midday, Quadri, operated by the Le Calandre group will have a bar menu); around Campo Santa Stefano and Strada Nuova are also good areas. This might be a good time to see what Harry's Bar is all about: order a Bellini, carpaccio and munch on grissini on the ground floor bar/table. I wouldn't eat their upstair dining rooms. Since there is always an afternoon performance at La Fenice on New Year's Day, the nearby Vino Vino is probably open. To get the lively vibe for that day, eat early or it will probably be deserted later on the evening.
Since you have reservation for Antiche Carampane, finding a place to eat for your other day shouldn't be a problem. Many good suggestions on this thread as well others earlier posts on this board. If you are looking for traditional Venetian cooking, my choice would be Vini da Gigio or Fiaschetteria Toscana. The former is more of a trattoria, latter borders on 'fine dining. FT has a great selection of seafood antipasti and Vini has more non-seafood choices, especially good non-seafood secondi. Just a comment on an earlier post for Anice Stellato, it is not 'fine dining' but a very good simple trattoria.

Dec 05, 2014
PBSF in Italy
1

What's up with Acme? [San Francisco]

I've never inquired about their ingredients for their pain de mie. Most recipes for that bread has sugar to to make it slightly sweet. I do taste sweetnest in their pain de mie.

Nov 27, 2014
PBSF in San Francisco Bay Area

What's up with Acme? [San Francisco]

The pain de mie from their Ferry Plaza location has been baked in open loaf pans for at least the past three years. I find their pain de mie much too airy and sponge like and expensive for what it is. For sandwiches and about $1.50 less, I like their sweet rustic loaf. It has a denser crumb and slice beautifully. The sweet batard is the same dough as their sweet rustic baguette. Besides the difference in crumb, it is less sweet than the pain de mie. I buy bread there several times a week and have not come across the 'long' or 'giant' loaf.
I haven't found any recent decline in quality; generally very good for what they charge for their breads.

Nov 26, 2014
PBSF in San Francisco Bay Area

Da Roberto

You have nothing to redeem, except a good story and a wonderful report. I posted because I was puzzled: who would ever care on this board if Da Roberto was closed for maintenance and that if you meant da Alberto, we were at their front bar a week ago. Anyway, it turned out well with Fiaschetteria Toscana. Glad you enjoyed your cicchetti tour and Osteria Alla Ciurma. You got the royal treatment.
Now you got me curious about the noodle take away place. Interesting if it is Asian inspire noodle rather than Italian pasta. If you can recall approximately the route from Da Roberto to FT, it would be helpful. We don't set foot around San Marco much.

Nov 05, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Venice- New Year's Eve

Sorry, I haven't been. There was a post couple months ago on this board. Just type in CoVino on the top left "search" box and see what comes up.

Nov 04, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Disappointed in L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (Sainte Germaine)

Golden Chopsticks, where can I get a pair?

Nov 04, 2014
PBSF in France
1

Da Roberto

Are you referring to Trattoria Da Roberto, a pizzeria east of Piazza San Marco. it never gets mention on this board.

Nov 04, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Disappointed in L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (Sainte Germaine)

How and who ranked L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon around #200 among French restaurants in Tokyo (of about 2500)? There are 2500 French restaurants in the city?

Nov 04, 2014
PBSF in France
1

Venice- New Year's Eve

Venice, tourist or not, is like any popular city on NYEve. Just about all the better place will offer a special NYEve menu and raise their prices. The simple osterie may not offer a special menu or raise their prices but they will packed the dining room. Those are the best bet if you don't want to spend 200e per person. It is the worst evening to dine out not just the expense, but also a higher chance of getting less than good food and service. The link below is a recent post on this topic; too bad that not more people post their experience. Venice dining scene has not changed much in the past few years, therefore, older posts are not outdated. If there are places that interest you, might post on this thread to check if those are still good or not. As for reservation, better places such as Al Covo, Antiche Carampane, etc, sooner is better. The simple osterie probably won't take your reservation this far in advance.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/992701

Nov 03, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Disappointed in L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (Sainte Germaine)

"No amuse bouche, which I found odd, as I've had them at other fine-dining restaurants in France"
I think you were disappointed mainly because the restaurant did not meet your expectation of 'fine-dining'. Robuchon's intent was to open a number of L'Ateliers, using a single blue print. It was to be informal, small plates (served in no particular order), bar seating with a no-reservation policy. I have only eaten at the St. Germain outpost when it first opened and it adhere to the above, including no amuse bouche, no pre-dessert, no petits fours or mignardises. Then, the menu was only a la carte with about 15 small plates and 4 large plates. Shortly after, Michelin awarded the restaurant a star, then a second, subsequently, a second L'Atelier opened in Paris with Michelin 2 stars. Michelin 2 star in Paris pretty much denote 'fine-dining', but L'Atelier does not conform to that.
"All-in-all, my four courses were probably served in an hour and a bit more. Then it took 45 minutes for the rest of the meal -- the wait for dessert, then the wine and coffee."
My experience with restaurant dining in Paris is that, after ordering, the entre and plat are served without a long pause. Then it slows down, a times to a crawl, with cheese, dessert, coffee, etc. The first two plates may take 40 minutes, but we rarely get out in less than two hours.

Nov 02, 2014
PBSF in France

Places to try in Milan / Venice

In order to get some valid recommendations, you need to be more specific than "awesome food, or open to anything, or no restrictions". What is your budget? how much time you allow your meal, the ambience, For one day you also need to be specific as to what day of the week (restaurants close on certain days), the time in the evening you have to leave Milan for Venice. From reading your post, you will be in Milan for less than a day; what part of the city will you be in, how long it will take you from the airport, and will you have luggage. Same for Venice as eating places have specific times that they serve lunch and dinner and it might not fit your traveling schedule.

Oct 30, 2014
PBSF in Italy

Le Cinq or Guy Savoy?

Comparing high end Michelin star restaurants is useless. Each of these restaurants offers an unique experience. It comes down to personal preference and expectation. This board is a wealth of great information but when it comes to high-end dining, there are better sites that have in depth write ups. Most of the posts on this board are too brief to be useful. If someone plainly picked one over the other, does that make it the better choice for you? Le Squer was cooking excellent food at Ledoyen, therefore, why the sudden interest when he moved to Le Cinq. If he branch out on his own and open a 30 seat restaurant, then I'll be interested.

Oct 29, 2014
PBSF in France
2

Is La Mere Brazier in Lyon still worth a try for lunch?

Wait for black truffle season.

Oct 27, 2014
PBSF in France

Favourite pintxos places in Barcelona right now?!

Unlike pintxo places in the Basque, Barcelona pintxo bars basically serve the same simple items, mostly food served on a pick or on slices of bread. From my recent visits, I don't know if anything very special openings. Couple of 'oldies' that I like are in Eixample: Takitka Berri and Maitea. I wouldn't make a special trip for either one. In the Gotic, might try Bilbao Berria. Sagardi and Euskal Etxea are both part of the Groupo Sagardi with basically the same food. I do like ambience at Euskal Etxea much better and they seem to take more care of the counter. Sagardi el Born can be great for people watching on the Placa de Jacint Reventos.
If you are looking for newer places that serve tapas: Suculent, Llamber, Bohemic, La Palma, El Canota (seafood only), Saboc. All are either in the old city or Eixample. An 'oldie' that I like is Gata Mala up in Gracia, a bit far.

Oct 27, 2014
PBSF in Spain/Portugal

Christmas Dinner in Rome

I believe eating seafood on Christmas Eve has been an Italian tradition and the Southern Italians/Sicilians brought that tradition to America. They may have named it Feast of the Seven Fishes. A few years ago, we spent the holiday with a family in Rome. They served a multi seafood feast, more than seven courses, including the traditional spaghetti alle alici, eel, bake seabass, steamed clams, stuff squids, etc. We've spent the holidays in Venice and for Christmas eve, we always had an all seafood dinner with our Venetian friends. A number of trattoria in Venice do a Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. True that most of the diners are visitors as families celebrate at home. Hope others on this board can make some recommendations for the OP.

Oct 27, 2014
PBSF in Italy