Bill Hunt's Profile

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Foodies First Trip to NOLA

I will give a +1 for avoiding Drago's (Hilton in the CBD), but it gets tons of love on this board.

Another +1 for perhaps doing CDM, perhaps after a meal, when the tourists are looking for booze on Bourbon Street, and not queuing up for a table. Instead, I would add the the Old Coffee Pot (nee Maxie's Coffee Pot) http://www.theoldcoffeepot.com/

I also did not see either Restaurant August (Chef John Besh), or Galatoire's for the dinners. Also, nothing by Emeril Lagasse, either Emeril's, or NOLA, and would consider those.

Enjoy!

Hunt

Feb 07, 2014
Bill Hunt in New Orleans

Le Cirque - Bellagio - Great!

Thanks for the kind words.

It had been on our "must-do" list for some time, but because of some urging from CH Board regulars, we moved it up several notches, and are glad that we did.

The experience was excellent.

Hunt

Jan 29, 2014
Bill Hunt in Las Vegas

Best New Wine of 2013

Yves Gangloff's '09 Condrieu.

Hunt

"po boy done right"!

The "warmed French bread," was common at Frank's Deli, back when Frank's M-I-L did much of the cooking. Not sure what the children are doing now?

There was an older toaster oven, that was used for most sandwiches, but it's probably long gone now, too.

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in New Orleans

Shrimp supply

"Vermillion Bay Sweet White" sounds like something that Eric Bolling ("The Five" & "Cashin' In") of FoxNews might talk about... [wink]

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in New Orleans

60th birthday dinner

This thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/961534

will have some of my top choices.

Enjoy, and Happy Birthday to your mom!

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in New Orleans

New Yorkers visiting for the first time!!! Help!

While these do not even come close to covering the great food of New Orleans, it's sort of my "short list:"

Galatoire's - old-school New Orleans cuisine, done as well, as one might ever find. Upstairs can be reserved, while downstairs is from the line outside only. Downstairs is a bit more of a show, but the food and service are the same. First time? I recommend downstairs.

Restaurant August - Chef John Besh's stellar tribute to New Orleans Cuisine, through his eyes. Lovely, and he normally "knocks it out of the park," with his Tasting Menu.

Brigtsen's - up River, in the River Bend Area, but Chef Frank Brigtsen is a master of New Orleans Cuisine, through the filters of his life and experiences.

Something by Emeril - Chef Emeril Lagasse has several options, and any new visitor should do one. I like Emeril's (Warehouse District), or NOLA (in the FQ), over Delmonico, in the upper CBD/lower Garden District.

MiLa - CBD, and a bit of an oddity, but worth the trip - it features a combo of Mississippi & Louisiana Cuisine - chefs are a couple, and from MS, and LA.

Commander's Palace - Lower Garden District, and a great restaurant. It might be better for Brunch, and in the Garden Room, if available.

That's my personal short list, but I have to say that there is not much overlap.

Enjoy!

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in New Orleans
1

Local Lu'au

It is elements like that, which make a "local" lu`au so very special. Too few ever get the opportunity, though they would most likely attend, and support the "cause," if they only knew.

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in Hawaii

Bill Hunt's Mama's Trip report?

Kathryn,

Mahalo for posting that link. It is also the only CH, Mama's review, that I can find too. I know that there is a later (the following year) one, with mention of the Inn, as well as the restaurant. I know that I posted that review here, but will also search a few other dining sites.

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in Hawaii

Bill Hunt's Mama's Trip report?

There was another report, from the time that we stayed at The Inn at Mama's Fish House, and dined there for two lunches, and two dinners, and then I staggered back to my cottage at the Inn, but I cannot find it, nor can I find my document, that was basically Copied/Pasted to Chowhound. Not sure why that later visit is not coming up on any search, that I have run?

As that initial review was 2010, the second should have been 2011, since the Ritz-Carlton graciously provided us with a magnificent 2 bedroom condo, free of charge. We passed on the last two nights, and moved, at our expense, to the Inn, just to dine at Mama's, and delve deeply into the wines, and not have to drive back to Kaplua - there were also some new photos, IIRC.

If I find that, I will link to it.

The gist was that dinner was even better, two nights in a row, than the lunches had been, both on the earlier trips, and even that one.

Hunt

Jan 27, 2014
Bill Hunt in Hawaii

Le Cirque - Bellagio - Great!

During a business trip to Las Vegas, with my wife, I chose Le Cirque at the Bellagio Resort for one of the two nights.

We have dined at Picasso, also at the Bellagio, Guy Savoy, both Joël Robuchon Restaurant and L’Atelier at the MGM Grand, Michael’s at Southpoint, Andre’s at the Monte Carlo, Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris-Paris, AquaKnox at the Palazzo, Aureole, SeaBlue, Commander’s Palace, Michael Mina’s, Emeril’s, and several more. To this point, our favorite had been Joël Robuchon’s flagship restaurant, but its position received a serious challenge from Le Cirque.

I had also received several recs. for Le Cirque from Chowhounds, and greatly appreciate those.

Le Cirque is situated along the short side of the lake, with Bellagio’s famous fountains. One enters via a small, elegant, but understated door - one that’s easy to miss amidst the bright lights and busy promenade of the casino. Once inside, one is presented with an intimate dining venue, decorated as though you are dining in a small French circus tent. With the interior trappings, the noise level is very low, just as it should be in a fine-dining venue. The “windows” are really narrow, floor to ceiling, fully glazed French doors, looking out onto the lake. There is a view of the fountains, but the angles of view are somewhat limited, by the narrow nature of those French doors. However, we did not feel deprived of any “fountain view,” because of the lovely room, and the wonderful presentations of the food to follow. It was tough to tear our gaze from our table, when the fountains “performed.”

We had secured a first seating at 5:30PM, as we had dined long into the night before, and had an early flight the next morning. We were seated promptly, upon arrival, at a nice 4-top, set for two. My wife was given the more direct view of the fountains, and Maurice greeted us, with offers of cocktails, or wine to start. We launched into the evening with a half-bottle of Champagne, while we perused the menus. After a few moments with the menus, the Dégustation was chosen. Immediately, it was pointed out that the first course could be prepared just for my wife, omitting the bi-valves, with which she has problems - they remembered that issue, and had already made arrangements - nice touch.

Le Cirque offers three “levels” of wine pairings: the Sommelier’s Selections, a Premium and then a Prestige Selection, featuring some exotic wines, served via a Coravin, to allow for B-T-G glasses of wines that never make a B-T-G list, but at a US $425 premium. We opted for one of the regular, and one of the Sommelier’s pairings, giving us different wines, for each course. In addition to our initial Champagne, we added another glass, the Maury Pla du Font (think a Port-styled wine made from the Granache grape), to accompany the Maple and Balsamic Glazed Foie Gras, which was paired with a Royal Tokaji 5-Puttonyos Tokaji.

We basically ordered different Dégustation menu for each of us, and with slightly different wines for each.

Because we hang onto our wines, usually through most of a meal, we were glad that the table was a 4-top. This also worked well, in that I was able to substitute my dessert for a Cheese Course, and some of the sweeter wines from the Foie Gras Course worked beautifully with a slice of Roquefort.

There were no weak wines, and having at least two for each course added to the fun. Each pairing was excellent, whether from the Sommelier’s Pairing, or from the Premium Pairing. The Sommelier made one substitution, predicated on our previous wines, and our courses, and that indicated great attention, on his part, to me - lovely.

Our courses ran thusly:
Panko Crusted Farm Egg, Osetra Caviar, Lemon Créme Fraiche, Scottish Smoke Salmon, Fingerling Potato and Pepper Magnoette (Supplement $15), paired with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, NV Champagne.

“Le Cirque” Lobster & Avocado Salad, with Black Truffle Vinaigrette, which was paired with Ruinart, Blanc de Blanc NV Champagne.

Maple and Balsamic Glazed Foie Gras, Puy Lentils, Mirepoix Caramelized Apple and Duck Redution, with the 5 Puttonyos, Royal Tokaji, plus the Maury, Pla del Fount.

Carnaoli Risotto, Parmeasan Reggiano and Seasonal Truffles with the Périgord Black Truffles supplement of US $40, paired with the Puligny-Montrachet, Jean Charton, ‘11.

Paupiette of Potato Crusted Mediterranean Sea-Bass, Braised Leeks in a Pinot Noir Reduction, with the Pethel Heights, Willamette Valley ‘11 Pinot Noir.

Prosciutto Wrapped Atlantic Monk Fish, Turnip Purée, Lobster Mushroom, Jerusalem Artichoke, Roasted Peewee Potato and Sauce Poivrade, served with a Gevrey Chambertin, Vielle Vignes, ‘09, from Marc Roy.

Berkshire Pork Tenderloin, Soy-glazed Pork Belly, Chestnut Confit, Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash Purée and Marjoram Cider Cream Sauce, accompanied by Ch Giscours, ‘06 Bdx.

Red Wine Braised Veal Cheeks, Creamy Polenta, Thumbelina Carrots, Baby Zucchinin, Pearl Onions, Daikon, Haricots Verts and Herb Salad, with La Sughere di Frassinello ‘10.

A pre-dessert was scheduled at this point, but my wife chose the Camembert.

Here, I opted for the Cheese Course, and she the Dessert Fantasy, with the Ch Lamothe Guignard ‘10 Sauternes, and then the Le Tertre du Lys d’Or ‘05 Sauternes.

From the culinary side, the only slight disappointment was the Carnaroli Risotto with the Périgord Black Truffle, which was a $40 supplement - very good, but not quite great. Not much of a “disappointment,” but compared to the other dishes, it was noticed.

All dishes were served in unison, and always after each wine course (some restaurants get the food ahead of the wines, but not Le Cirque), and were beautiful presentations, and all with proper flatware. The portions were adequately small, allowing one to experience the six courses (plus the canapes and an amuse bouche), and not become stuffed, prior to the end of the meal. I deem the portions to have been perfect for us.

While not inexpensive, by any criterion, at US $650 for two (remember, we did have additional wines) is right in keeping with Guy Savoy, and a bit below what we spent at Joël Robuchon Restaurant, but there, we delved more deeply into the wine cellar, as we were a party of four - food-only costs were comparable.

The service was a perfect blend of fun, and professionalism, with just the right amount of familiarity. We felt that we were “regulars,” dining with old friends, rather than as first-timers at Le Cirque. The balancing of excellent service, with the lighter interaction with true professionals is difficult to achieve, but Le Cirque did so, and never missed a beat.

The only complaint that I had was the spacing of the tables in the intimate dining room. Our table was just a bit too close to a 6-top, behind my chair, and the servers brushed the back of my chair, while serving that larger table. I was about to request that the staff move our table, just a few inches in the other direction, when the party of four, at that table left, and it was quickly converted into another 6-top - I understood why our table was placed, where it was, but it was still too close to the table behind me. For wanting about 8" more space, a perfect dinner had this little glitch.

If one is doing the Dégustation Menu, I would allow a full 3 hours for the evening. We finished in just under 4, and did not feel the least bit rushed, at any point, though the dining room was full. The staff understands fine-dining, at a very high level.

Everything considered, the evening was great fun, filled with great wines, refined and friendly service and a very good value. We will return to Le Cirque to dine again.

Hunt

A. Rafanelli 1998

I would carefully decant, but then quickly taste. Give it some time, and taste. Perhaps, taste a bit later. When YOU feel that it's right, go for it.

I find many discussions on decanting time to be off - and in both directions. Only you will know when YOUR bottle is ready for the guests.

Enjoy!

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Haut-Brion owner to open Paris tasting room

I could not find the actual address, but will just walk all around the Grand Palis, until I locate it.

Merci,

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Global Champagne demand dips in 2013

Dang! This surprises me, just based on our last visit to Searcy's at St. Pancras Station, before heading to Paris. I though we would have nudged the 2013 figures up. Gotta' do better in 2014.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Is an Ultrasound Wine Tasting Helmet in Your Future?

Using the principles of Phrenology, here is my profile:

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Is an Ultrasound Wine Tasting Helmet in Your Future?

I use something like this:

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

Hey, they copied that move from me!!!!

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

But only from the "Small Producer Exchanges!"

I would sign up for the Platinum Plan now - if the Web site were to work.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

I wonder more about Toilet Paper Insurance - is that like a Homeowner's policy rider, or something separate????

Hunt

BTW - over the top.

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

Josephnl,

I agree - no drinkers should be injured in the opening of the Champagne!

Now, I like to twist the bottle, while holding the cork fairly stationary, but that is probably just me.

If I cannot get a slight "poof," I feel that I have failed - or the cork leaked, and the wine is now flat - any loss of the wine, and I am not happy with myself (though that HAS happened).

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

Wow - so glad that I revisited this thread, or I would have missed this post! Worth the trip back.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Correct way to open a bottle of Champagne

That is not my technique. I do not want the cage getting in the way of my towel, and my hands, but perhaps that is just me.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

The rabbit?

Sorry, but image did not post.

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

The rabbit?

I have a Rabbit, plus three units that are similar. I have two designs of Ah-sos, plus several dozen other types, including two "injection" units (gas and pump). I use my "waiter's friend," with a Teflon-coated, long worm, for 99% of my bottles. Maybe that is just me?

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

The rabbit?

Midlife,

I have yet to see that design with a real "worm." All that have crossed my desk have an auger, which I find inferior, and it can also shred the cork on the bottom, depositing pieces into the wine.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

‘Doyenne’ of women wine writes dies

When last in Oxford, we sat at a dedicated table, with her named mentioned, at the Eagle & Child. She was mentioned behind Tolkein and Lewis, but perhaps because my wife, and our traveling companion both wanted wine, the barkeep gave us a bit of the history of that table.

RIP.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

June Texas BBQ Wedding Reception - Inexpensive White/Red Wine Recommendations

Do you have a Costco near-by? If so, do they have Orin Swift's The Prisoner? If they do, is US $32/btl. too much to spend?

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Spanish winery hosting "Wine & Sex" events

Actually, they are mimicking me - I hold such, every time my lovely wife and I travel... Maybe I should sue?

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine
1

Riedel introduces new glass

Jason,

Will there be plans for a "Pepsi," and a "Dr. Pepper" glass, in the near future... ?

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine

Riedel introduces new glass

Well, when I read the headline, I thought - "oh shoot (or similar), just when I had all of them, along comes another... "

As I cannot recall the last time that we served a pop (or soda, or soft-drink) here, I think that I can safely skip this one.

Hunt

Jan 21, 2014
Bill Hunt in Wine