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Critique my plans (Venice, Florence, Rome)

Thanks for the recommendation on Emma. We will likely check that out. :)
We had already planned a stop at Pizzarium too for lunch before visiting the Vatican.
Would you recommend Metamorfosi over Pergola? Or Imago or Glass?

I don't feel like Calandre is really that hard to get too. It's just that we'd have to do it for lunch which I expect round trip would take us away from Venice for 2/3rds of a day.
This is one spot where my wife and I have conflicting opinions. I kind of feel it will be worth it but my wife leans to staying and enjoying the day in Venice and then having dinner at Quadri. Hopefully with a seat by the window. Guess we'll work that out. :)

Aug 24, 2015
Heeney in Italy

Critique my plans (Venice, Florence, Rome)

Interesting you mention dinner. That would be ideal but it seems like we would probably feel like we are eating at a faster pace and would worry about timing. The last train seems to leave at 11:15 ish and the first dinner seating isn't till 8pm. So that means we'd be looking at 2 hours 45mins probably for dinner.
That does seem like a long time but it my experience for a 3 star that is normal or short.
For example: our lunch at Francescana a while back was 3 and a half hours and did not feel slow at all.

Aug 17, 2015
Heeney in Italy

Flavio vs Felice

In Rome. Sorry.
Updated the original post to reflect this.

Aug 17, 2015
Heeney in Italy

Flavio vs Felice

Ate at Felice in Rome two years ago and enjoyed it. Despite it not being recommended by many in this board.
Will be returning in a couple months and not sure if we should return, or visit Flavio al Velavevodetto.

I know that has been called more popular than Felice in these boards. But have also heard it is uneven.
Also wondering if Flavio al Velavevodetto is better than Velavevodetto Ai Quiriti.

Aug 17, 2015
Heeney in Italy

Critique my plans (Venice, Florence, Rome)

Traveling to Venice for 3 nights, Florence for 2, Rome for 4.
First time traveling with another couple to these places. Our third time visiting these cities, their first.
The couple we are traveling with are not what you would call "adventurous" eaters and often balk at spending a lot on meals. So I have put together these dinner plans to try and satisfy both them and us:

Venice
Anice Stellato
Alle Testiere
Al Covo

Florence
Del Fagioli
Sostanza

Rome
Felice
Cesare al Casaletto
Roscioli
Grappolo d'oro

What are your thoughts on this?

My wife and I may try to do a night or two by ourselves in which case we may look at going to La Pergola, il Pagliaccio, Matamorfosi, or Glass in Rome.

Or we may try and do Quadri in Venice although we'd prefer to do Le Calandre. But not sure if we'd want to take off for almost a full day from Venice.

Aug 13, 2015
Heeney in Italy

Lightner leaving Atera on March 28th

What makes you think that?

Jun 30, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

No. I'm fully aware. I'm just saying if service WAS taken into account there is no way it's on par for other places that normally carry a star.

Mar 25, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

Just got back from Betony.
I'll try not to be too long-winded:
25 minutes sat at the table before a drink was delivered.
Just shy of an hour at the table before the first amuses were given.
About 80 mins at the table before the first course was delivered.
Our 4 course prix fixe took longer than a recent 17 course menu at EMP.
My wife is taking medication and had to limit alcohol intake. Her hope was to nurse her bubbles through at least the first two courses. She ended up polishing it off halfway through the amuses.
We ordered tea with dessert and ended up having to drink it before dessert arrived because it got cold.
In between delivering courses the staff were basically invisible.
Service was off the game. Not knowing who ordered what, laying down incorrect serviceware that had to be corrected. Serviceware at one point was laid down very sloppily.

Now, all that being said, the staff were very nice personality-wise.

Its a shame because the food itself ranged from very good to exceptional. Only missteps may have been dessert which was mostly forgettable.

I asked about the 195 tasting and was told it was "a selection of our favorite dishes".
That was all and pretty vague. We skipped it because after waiting so long to order we worried how long a tasting would take.

All in all I think the food is good and merits praise. I think it's single michelin star for the food fits well. But given the odd service and horrible pacing I think a star is overly generous.

I suspect maybe the kitchen was troubled with the new tasting option. I certainly think 195 is an optimistic price point for them considered that's what Atera charged less than a year ago for one of the best meals I've had in the whole city.

I expect their goal may be to move to a single tasting format and target that second star. Maybe doing that will improve their service execution.

For us, I think it'll be a while before we return. Which is a shame because some of those dishes like the foie and pork and the short rib were terrific.

Mar 24, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

Actually if you look online now there is a 195 tasting as well as the 95.
I'll ask tonight and post about whatever we do.

Mar 24, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

ellenost, going to Betony tonight and just noticed a change in the menu style. Looks to be a choice of a 4 course prefix similar to the a la carte. Or a new chefs tasting menu that is not listed.
Seems pretty new. Know anything about this or have any experience with the tasting?

Mar 24, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Lunch advice: Lincoln/Ai Fiori/The Modern Dining Room

We actually have a dinner a betony coming up soon.

Mar 21, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan
1

Lunch advice: Lincoln/Ai Fiori/The Modern Dining Room

Friday afternoon is what we are looking at.
Have had lunch at Jean George a few times and loved it. So looking for something different.

Mar 21, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Lunch advice: Lincoln/Ai Fiori/The Modern Dining Room

Looking to do a long relaxed lunch with the wife at one of these three. Leaning slightly to The Modern but would like any feedback.
Have done a lunch at Lincoln but it was pre-show and a little rushed (our fault). Food was very good.
Never been to Ai Fiori. Menu looks good but dining room seems dull and we were underwhelmed by Marea.
Have never done the Modern before.

Mar 20, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Quince 21 course menu? [San Francisco]

Ok. So this seems like a custom one just for the video. Thanks. :)

Mar 18, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Quince 21 course menu? [San Francisco]

This looks phenomenal.
http://youtu.be/5qUwEga2DF4

But I have never seen a menu of this length on their website. It's typically a smaller 7-8 course.
I realize that there are also smaller bites snuck in but doubtful this much.

Anyone familiar with this being an actual menu at quince and if so what does it cost?

Mar 18, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

If that's the case maybe so. But I was under the impression that the drive from SF to Santa cruz may not actually have enough to fill our day. I heard it was more rural area than rugged picturesque coastline.
We are actually less interested in seeing towns than we are in a great drive along the coast.
Hence our original plans for Big Sur.

Mar 10, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

We won't actually be drinking. (well, maybe just one glass). :)
And yeah, I assume we'll likely be tired after a long day.

Mar 09, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Is Waze superior to the traffic in regular Google maps? Never used it.
We would look to leave SF around 8am and our reservation at Manresa is at 6pm. But maybe I can shift that to a later time.

Mar 09, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

We couldn't head out and stay the night. But yes, we'd be open to stop further north.
How far is safer? We'd like to at least see Carmel.

Mar 09, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Ouch.
Well, the chance to switch to a weekday isn't possible given our schedule.
We'll have to plan accordingly I guess. Thanks for the heads up.

Mar 09, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Hmm. And this would still be the case on a Sunday?
Would it be better to take the 101 to Manresa instead of going back north on hwy 1?

Mar 08, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

Thanks very much for the tip.
How much of a delay would that be? And was there any specific reason? We certainly wouldn't want to miss that reservation.

Mar 08, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Chef's Counter at Meadowood [Saint Helena]

Want to top this topic because we are going in a couple months and wanting to consider the counter vs regular menu.
If we do the counter menu we would actually ask to do it in the dining room. From what we have seen the dining room is gorgeous and seems like a very nice experience as opposed to the more (inside look) in the kitchen.
So it really all comes down to comparing just the menus themselves for us.
Also, I had heard that the counter menu usually includes a glass of vintage champagne (like Krug?). Is that true?

Mar 08, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Lightner leaving Atera on March 28th

Yep. We had the duck and it was excellent. Other memorable dishes we had included a trilogy of trout snacks and an incredible dumpling.

Mar 08, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

"It seems to me like an anachronistic practice that was designed to keep poor people out of restaurants."

How are poor people going to be able to enjoy a $200pp tasting menu if we require them to dress formally?

Lightner leaving Atera on March 28th

Couple weeks till we go. It'll be almost a year since we were last there so curious to see how different the menu is.
I suspect my wife will do the tea progression. I'm debating if I'd like to do that over wine pairing myself.

Mar 08, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

I understand a dress code totally. I think eating is a multi sensory experience. The atmosphere of a dining room can directly affect the perception of a meal.
The same way a glass of fine wine can taste differently when you drink it from a wine glass as opposed to a styrofoam cup.

I am pleased to hear that we can dress reasonably casual for our dinner. But I fully understand why any fine dining location would have certain ground rules.

Manresa dress code plans [Los Gatos]

wife and I are planning on a long daytrip drive from San Francisco down hwy 1 to Big Sur.
We will be eating at Manresa on the return back to SF.
The question basically is this: we would like to be comfortable on the drive and stop to walk on the beaches around Monterey and Carmel.
But we also want to dress appropriately at Manresa.
So is there a happy middle in attire? Have never been but I know Manresa isn't a jacket required code. Yet we don't want to show up dressed down too much.

We could also try to "change" somewhere but not sure where a good spot would be. :)

Thanks.

Mar 06, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

French Laundry Contact info [Yountville, Napa Valley]

As mentioned already, TFL is closed for renovation. They are planning on reopening in a big (MAYBE by May) using a temporary kitchen in order to do so.
When they reopen they will be using TOCK in order to sell prepaid "tickets" on their website like Alinea and Coi.
Not sure if that will take place during the first reopen or the official one though.

Feb 26, 2015
Heeney in San Francisco Bay Area

Aquavit - Betony - Lincoln...help me choose

Bon bons? Or the hot or cold?

Feb 26, 2015
Heeney in Manhattan