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Gargle's Profile

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Help me narrow down the Madrid list

I'm guessing they're not releasing most seats in the new hotel location yet.

about 2 hours ago
Gargle in Spain/Portugal

Help me narrow down the Madrid list

Thanks! La Venencia never gets old(er), of course.

Apr 19, 2014
Gargle in Spain/Portugal

Help me narrow down the Madrid list

With only 7 days this trip, which would you keep, which would you skip, which would you add? (already been to Sergi A's places one time too many, and I couldn't stand Santceloni without Santi, and to many of the old school tapas places (casa labra and so on))

O'Pazo
El Oso
Triciclo
DiverXo (on their waiting list already, but I doubt it)
Punto mx
Lakuntza de Miguel Ansorena
La Manduca de Azagra
La buena vida
Viridiana - we went before and weren't impressed but I hear there's new help in the kitchen that is doing great stuff
Sacha
La Tasquita de Enfrente
Al trapo
Nakeima
Viavélez
Los Asturianos
Alabaster
Taberna Badila

tapas:

Txirimiri
Taberna Tempranillo
Taberna dolores
La venencia
Streetxo
Melos
Docamar
Laredo
Arzabal
El fogon de trifon
Catapa
Evboca
Poncelet Cheese Bar
Puerta 57
Pulperia villalua
San mames (callos)
Casa santona
Jurucha
Sylkar
Hevia
La barra de canadio

Apr 18, 2014
Gargle in Spain/Portugal

Review of my trip to Japan (thanks to all the tips here)

"You walk around the city, eating snacks to keep up your energy and then you wonder, "Where can I throw away my garbage?""

The answer is of course that you don't walk around eating snacks. But since Japan is good at... err... picking stuff up from foreigners, who are in turn more plentiful than they once were, it's become somewhat acceptable recently to nibble on the go. As a result, the streets in young people neighborhoods aren't as clean and the big electronic sign at the Omo/Hara intersection has to show all kinds of passive aggressive strips about keeping it clean. :)

Sorry for the off topic post, thanks for the trip report!

Apr 18, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

That's a great post. Their kitchen is still a modernist one, but the techniques are now used as they probably should be - to enhance flavor and texture and obtain uniformly great results, rather than for show... It's out of fashion to make them obvious on the plate, and people in Tokyo seem to like this style much better (as reflected in their stellar ascent on tabelog, for example)

p.s. they added a third table long before they updated their concept.

Apr 06, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

I haven't been to Flatiron and can't imagine why I'd want to go considering the reviews.

I'd skip Tapas Molecular Bar - it's okayish, but there are so many better things to eat in nicer places that it's really hard to justify. Other than Takazawa, MG is really not a genre of significance in Tokyo, and the places that dabble in it (Narisawa, most prominently) don't seem to have anywhere near the level of understanding of what they're doing as you'd find at Alinea. There are even restaurants that started off winning praise for MG-ish cuisine but have moved away from it - Ryugin being the best example.

Apr 05, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

Afaik, Takazawa is your best bet and the only one that won't be disappointing (but there'll still be a lot of familiar dishes).

Apr 05, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Recommendations near Meguro station, also Shibuya - budget recommendations welcome....vegetarian friendly even more so

Wasosaku-ta is nice, and very friendly (no English, though), but it's a course place so any dietary restrictions should be communicated in advance.

Apr 04, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto Honeymoon - Help! Totally Confused

Please try and call the places that seem like they may be English enabled, or bug your one friend, or else pay for a not too sophisticated concierge service, e.g. the one that comes with the more expensive AmEx cards. Walking in is difficult.

Apr 04, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Are the following restaurants all okay for lunchtime walk-ins with assurance of seating?

The point is that these strong opinions are usually detrimental to providing contextually-useful advice. They're obviously always right and very important but perhaps modulating them a bit is helpful.

I don't know that four examples of opinions recently expressed here constitute a litany, but ymmv.

Apr 03, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Question re. multiple kaiseki dinners at ryokans

I was offering you what I think is useful advice. Stress is really bad for you. However, I don't see how it is relevant to the discussion that you're stressed about spending money.

eta: personally I would want to scream if I had to go through a series of these ryokan stays, and would prefer more/longer stays in cities where you have access to a wider variety of experiences, but it's hard to reconcile that with saving money. It seems like staying in ryokans AND refusing their meals is both not going to save much money (as you'll need to go somewhere to eat) and be great fun, but hey - maybe you'll find out you love it and end up moving to a Japanese house in the countryside.

Apr 03, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Are the following restaurants all okay for lunchtime walk-ins with assurance of seating?

Neighborhood based requests are helpful, if only because of the sheer number of options, I agree.

I think the best you can do in a CH like environment (which offers more flexibility than if you're writing a guidebook or newspaper article, knowing nothing about your audience) is try to offer someone suggestions based on both the content and tone of the requests (how high of a priority is food for them? does it seem likely they'll manage to get fed at a no-English, no course Izakaya without making a scene? or even in any serious Japanese restaurant? have they done no research, a little, or a lot? (but maybe with incorrect conclusions)), while trying to (gently, or not, depending) undo some of the misconceptions.

Sometimes people (not excluding myself here, not by a long shot) have very strong positions on a right way to do things (like they'll be convinced that high end dining is for suckers, or that ramen is junk food that shouldn't really be consumed after age 20 unless you're a taxi driver, or that the street atlas is much better than google maps, or that if you don't speak fluent Japanese you can't manage at Honoka, orwhatever) and they'll offer those opinions regardless of the posted questions. Some posters just can't be helped, but most can, but only by providing answers that are likely to be useful to them. I think.

Regarding the last paragraph - not to worry, I hear Steve Plotnicki is coming to town and he'll tell everyone where to eat and more importantly - where not to eat!

Apr 03, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan

As it did to me, hence the quote of a response by Contra suggesting the same, but then it didn't seem like they were trying to show off their Japanese skills, so perhaps trying to do that in response is a little Perryesque too ;)

That's all I was saying.

(I have an incredibly funny story about this, but it's from privileged sources, I'm sure it'll come out during their stint because some of the people involved won't be able to hold back)

Apr 03, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Akasaka (Izakayas, ramen, casual places, etc...) recommendations

It's a korean/yakiniku restaurant, but not the sort where you grill by yourself at the table, rather the kitchen will deliver a series of raw and cooked beef dishes (meat and offal) as well as some korean dishes like chijimi (the name they use here for what you probably know as Pajun/Pajeon from the US). There are some yakiniku places that serve more expensive beef, like Yoroniku:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1306/A130602/13042979/

(and many other examples, but Yoroniku is foreigner friendly and excellent)

And some that aim lower, but can still be fun if very, very smokey (your jacket will smell like pastrami even though it's placed in a plastic bag), like Yuuji:

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A13030...

But I think the service style at Horuchan really lets you focus on the food and it's not a bad thing that someone who knows what they're doing is grilling. Plus of course it's right there in Akasaka.

Apr 03, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto Honeymoon - Help! Totally Confused

You can enjoy some top notch meals in tokyo for $100 a person, for example lunch at seizan mita is $85 iirc, an it's no bento, and other very serious kaiseki places offer options well under $400. I think if you felt like $600 was too much for manresa, you'd feel the same about getting the $200+ course at one of most expensive places, but it's hardly necessary to do so to eat extremely well.

One point of guidance - with the exception of some places that add a fixed service charge, there are no extras, and if you dont drink, a $100 menu will produce a check of exactly $100. If you're looking for wider coverage than what you find here, you can consult both the michelin guide (free online) and tabelog (with the help of google translate and the tutorial previously posted here , i think by silverjay)

Apr 02, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan

Making fun of someone trying to do their best just because someone else thinks they know more than they actually do is the dismissive element. Then having no sense of humor about it is the abbrasive part.

And when a Japanese person is probably, but not certainly, going to see someone in 9 months or more, does Sayonara really make no sense? are you sure? need counterexamples?

p.s. are you the same poster as Tripeler, because I was responding to their post, not yours.

Apr 02, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Akasaka (Izakayas, ramen, casual places, etc...) recommendations

Speaking of koreatown, the owner of Horuchan speaks perfectly good English. It's not a walk-in place but can probably take you same day if you call (or hotel staff does), most days.

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1308/A13080...

Apr 01, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan

How would "goodbye" make more sense than trying to do as well as you can in Japanese? Try and put it there and see if it does.

Showing off a little bit of Japanese knowledge (like thinking Sayonara is only for permanent departures and that now you think you know that you're not a silly gaijin anymore) is exactly the sort of sensitivity I was missing when...

That they come across as pricks is a different matter altogether and would not require any kind of salutation.

Apr 01, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Question re. multiple kaiseki dinners at ryokans

relax

Apr 01, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan

1. I was kidding.

2. Machine translation wouldn't come up with sayonara unless the original said goodbye, which it wouldn't, because that would be as weird.

3. The error in usage pattern of sayonara predates publically available machine translation.

4. I really can't wait for them to finally do something with all that pristine winter produce.

Apr 01, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Big News For All You Japan Chowhounds: René Redzepi's NOMA to Japan

Why would they need machine translation? They speak perfect English.

I think Contra responded very well (although with misplaced apostrophe) on twitter:

Contra ‏@ContraNYC Mar 30
Contra and it's staff are moving to Boise, Idaho for the summer of 2020. We will see how the potatoes can be cooked. See you guys there.

Mar 31, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Need Sushi help traveling with non-fish eater

"Culinary Ball & Chain" makes me think otherwise.

On the other hand, maybe the need for non-fish sushi can be combined with other needs:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787887

Mar 27, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Failed to book lunch at Quintessence.... alternatives? Edition by Koji Shimomura?

The menu is a laundry list of dishes from famous restaurants with no attribution (e.g. hot to cold tea) and with no improvement/personal take. When there is an attempt to outdo the original (e.g. their version of gargouillou) it comes off as mostly boasting (they use 26 veggies? we'll use 50!).

But the room is beautiful, and I'm pretty critical of this type of me-too restaurant, so it's probably not as bad as I make it sound.

Mar 27, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Need Sushi help traveling with non-fish eater

Dropping the wife still seems like the practical option.

Mar 26, 2014
Gargle in Japan
3

Failed to book lunch at Quintessence.... alternatives? Edition by Koji Shimomura?

Yes at Florilege. Yes at L'Ef (you can even book online). I don't know about Tirpse, I'll bet you can.

Mar 26, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Failed to book lunch at Quintessence.... alternatives? Edition by Koji Shimomura?

Off the top of my head - Tirpse, where I haven't been yet, or Florilege, or L'Effervesence which isn't my personal cup of tea but is also not a bad option at all.

I think they all meet your criteria. L'Ef should be easy to book, Tirpse hit or miss, Florilege probably difficult.

Quintessence is always booked by regulars well in advance, but if you're persistent they may give you a hint as to when their waiting list is very short.

Mar 26, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Soba in Japan (Outside of Tokyo)

I don't know much about soba and where it's famously made, but I'm surprised to hear about the expensive flights. Right now Skymark is offering flights from Haneda to Sapporo on April 7 for $129 each way, slightly less from Narita. AirDo is at $140. These probably don't show up in most international flight search sites, but you can find them on skyscanner, for example. Asahikawa (if that's more convenient to the soba wizards village) is $170 or so.

Mar 26, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Are the following restaurants all okay for lunchtime walk-ins with assurance of seating?

Are any of these open on Sunday?

Mar 25, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Are the following restaurants all okay for lunchtime walk-ins with assurance of seating?

I was joking, a little.

If you believe michelin (which seems to cover about 25% of Tokyo restaurants at all levels), there are about 10 times as many notable restaurants in Tokyo as there are in the SF bay area. But that just doesn't sound as funny.

Mar 25, 2014
Gargle in Japan

Are the following restaurants all okay for lunchtime walk-ins with assurance of seating?

You can pretty much fit all of the Bay Area's culinary scene into Ginza 8-Chome. :)

Mar 25, 2014
Gargle in Japan