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Jules101's Profile

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Looking for Foodie Wisdom ! - Tokyo 19 Dec - 2 Jan

I follow chowhound maybe a bit too religiously and have just a word to say about Birdland...Have just been for dinner and it's not for entry level Japanese food enthusiasts. I can see how other people might be happy to pay 12,000 yen (for 2) for the privilege of eating raw chicken and every other internal organ you can imagine but if you are not someone that's hugely into Japanes food just be warned when you order the set menu you are ordering every part of the bird. I was not aware raw chicken was a specialty in Japan and felt under terrible obligation to eat it, then wolf down chicken liver pieces and smile politely and pay quite a bit for it all. The restaurant was nice and service lovely but I felt they were very disappointed when I left a piece here and there on the plate. I was disppointed also, I didn't find any of the food especially tasty and most of it largely inedible. I love sushi, ramen, shabu shabu and soba but I'm sorry but I don't think this is a restaurant for everyone.

Dec 03, 2010
Jules101 in Japan

Living in Turkey--what grocery items, spices, particular dishes, etc., should I make sure to try?

Just recently spent 3 weeks in Turkey and did a cooking class with Selin from Turkish flavours in Istanbul which was excellent. If you are in Istanbul I really recommend it as Selin takes people to the markets to buy ingredients and then does a comprehensive cooking class. I'm sure you could email her for recommendations in Ankara also - she used to be a travel agent and has connections all over Turkey. I know in her class we used Kaymakli cream to stuff in poached apricots dipped in crushed pistachios - delicious. Whilst travelling through Turkey I loved the kofte and of course kebaps. It was hard to find the dishes we made in the class - like stuffed eggplants and chilli buttered king prawns but obviously they are part of the cuisine. The flavours were so much better in Turkey than any Turkish restaurant I've been to in other countries so you are lucky you get to unlock those secrets by living there!

Oct 27, 2010
Jules101 in Europe

Croatia - Zagreb, Dubrovnik, mid/south dalmatia islands

In Dubrovnik there is a great Bosnian restaurant called Taj Mahal, it's one or two blocks off the stradun and have the cevapi they are great. Also the prosciutto and cheese sandwiches from Skola are excellent, up a laneway off the stradun.

Sep 11, 2010
Jules101 in Europe

Sevilla Tapas Question

Hi Jenny,

I'm jumping on this late but we just spent 3 nights in Sevilla and I really have to put a vote in for bodeguita casablanca which we visited twice for lunch and thought it was outstanding both times. We were disappointed at enrique becerra, even faithfully following a list of dishes to order listed on chowhound (3 of them were not on the menu) and las teresas was ok, not excellent. Casablanca was not cheap but amazingly good - our favourite tapas restaurant on our 3 week drive through spain. We had the Conquitas (spelling may be off!) - little clams that were delicious in olive oil and citrus, paella, argentinian beef that wasn't on the menu but a spanish friend helped us out - if you can get this it's beautiful, and then shared a gorgeous chocolate tart. Honestly do go - it is really fantastic food.

In terms of quantities - we found if we asked for half raciones or stuck to tapas portions we were good for 3 or 4 plates. Enjoy!

May 11, 2010
Jules101 in Spain/Portugal

Chowhound from LA seeking restaurant recommendations for Sydney and Melbourne

Wait!!!!!!!!!!! I forgot to add that THE best coffee I have EVER had was in melbourne at a small cafe in the city (I don't think they even serve food) was Brother Baba Budan !

Lastly - fish and chips is a bit of an aussie take away icon especially in sydney at Balmoral beach. Actually - another good restaurant to add for an amazing view is Bathers Pavilion at Balmoral beach, the restaurant is expensive but there is also a cafe, definitely book for a brunch or lunch.

May 07, 2010
Jules101 in Australia/New Zealand

Chowhound from LA seeking restaurant recommendations for Sydney and Melbourne

Hi KTLA,

Just on price - I have also travelled through the US recently and thought although the food started out as initially affordable (and unsurprisingly the portions were large) once you add tax, tip and wine, a simple meal became quite expensive. In NYC it became extortionate!!!! Forget 15% tip, it was 18 - 20% standard. 10% is standard in Australia and only more if the service is excellent.

A good trick in Australia is to bring your own wine, even at the high end restaurants this is completely acceptable, although I would always check when booking or on the website. You'll be charged between $20 - $25 corkage but you will get far more bang for your buck in terms of wine quality as that's where our restaurants really overcharge, I think. Our produce is almost unparalleled (opening a can of worms here) and I think you can find an amazing meal for an affordable price quite easily, especially if you BYO. Of course the big names charge for their reputation and the view, but if you are looking for more mid priced restaurants there are plenty, particularly as mentioned above in Melbourne.

There are bottle shops everywhere but a couple of goodies are:
Ultimo wine centre (expensive but the real deal) - 20 min walk from Sydney CBD
Best cellars - Darlinghurst - 15 min walk

If you like thai and really like spicy food - I mean really spicy, not the US standard, but a thai standard, then Spice I Am on Elizabeth street is fantastic, but I warn you, extremely spicy!!! You can't book and it's very casual but it's exceptional.

I second the Spice Temple vote, the cocktails are gorgeous, food great (numbing chicken is a must) and the restaurant has a great ambience.

In Melbourne, a fab italian in st kilda is cicciolina, you need to arrive earlier put your name on the door then wait in the cool little bar area. Do not eat in the bar unless it's something small as the portions are large and delicious in the restaurant and you will want serious room to fit it in!!

Definitely go to City wine shop (melbourne) and have some cheese and wine. Pick your own bottle from the racks then drink it at the bar. It's pretty small so mid afternoon is probably a good time to go.

Also you must go and have a beautiful glass of wine at the supper club in melbourne, go after dinner and soak up the film noir feel.

May 07, 2010
Jules101 in Australia/New Zealand

Chowhound from LA seeking restaurant recommendations for Sydney and Melbourne

Hi,

In Sydney I think an absolute must is Icebergs overlooking Bondi beach - it would be a great lunch spot also. The view is incredible and the food excellent. They have a great little bar also.

I second Quay for another amazing meal - leaning towards a dinner.

Wolloomoolloo wharf also has some fabulous restaurants with a lovely waterside view. If you like Chinese fusion - China Doll is fantastic (you should try Asian food in Sydney it's our standout cuisine I think!) or Otto is also great.

Definitely have a drink at Opera bar underneath the opera house, amazing view.

Unbeatable Italian for me is Buon Ricordo in Paddington. They have a truffle egg fettucine that is to die for.

Sydney also hosts Tetsuya's - one of the top ten restaurants in the world (depending on which list you look at) It's a 12 course degustation and it's foodie heaven - a Japanese/French fusion. Last time I went it was $185 for the food and an additional $85 for wine matches and soooo worth every penny. But you will need to book that in now and I don't think there would be any hope of getting in on a weekend. They also do lunches.

Ripples in Pyrmont (in front of star city casino) has beautiful seafood and a more relaxed vibe. If they have the crab spaghettini on the menu that is awesome.

Surry Hills is a good place to wander for great coffee, rocking pubs and excellent little cafes.

In Melbourne you really should go to Bar Lourinha, it is fabulous, I have just been to Spain and I still think the kingfish carpaccio at lourinha beats any tapas I tried (and I tried a lot)

I'd be booking all of these resturants in advance and definitey avoid eating in Darling Harbour and most of the restaurants around Cirqular Quay - unless they're the big names. Enjoy - I think Australia truly stacks up as one of the best foodie countries in the world.

May 03, 2010
Jules101 in Australia/New Zealand

Help me, Ronda (and Carmona,Cordoba,Granada)

In Ronda - our favourite of all the towns so far, you MUST go to Almocobar restaurant it is excellent! Highly recommend the prawns al pil pil (chilli and beautiful oil in a steel pot) and if there are 2 of you share the veal which you cook for yourself on a heated stone, amazing!!! We were recommended this restaurant by a winemaker from Ronda we met in Malaga and she goes there to drink her own pinot noir as they have sold out. This wine was amazing and went beautifully with the veal, it's Los Aguilares and the only pinot noir on the menu.
In Granada we loved Los Diamantes, have the lettuce hearts with garlic they are incredible!! The fried prawns are also fresh and delectable.

Apr 27, 2010
Jules101 in Spain/Portugal

Restaurants in Valencia.

I definitely second the reference to msmarabini. We wanted to try authentic paella and went to El Palmar, to the restaurant she recommended L'establiment and it was incredible. We let the waiter, who I think was actually the owner, pick the menu out for us. We had fantastic starters which included mini vongole and prawns whilst we waited for our seafood paella to cook and it was so worth waiting for. There were lots of big groups around us and they had extra large paella's cooked for them so I imagine it would be quite cost effective. This place is nothing fancy but it's absolutely authentic and tricky to find but soooo worth it. Give the restaurants by the beach a miss, we tried the paella there and it was very average. There was no atmosphere and we were surrounded by tourists. It's a must go to, if you are gong to valencia.

Apr 17, 2010
Jules101 in Spain/Portugal

Vegas on 400 dollars a day

That's a good budget! I can defintely recommend Le Cirque at the Bellagio after eating there tonight. The degustation menu was $125 per person which is only slightly more than the 3 course fixed price menu of $98, but soooo worth it. The food was divine and service excellent. Our total with wine and a pre dinner drink was something like $400, so maybe eat something cheaper for the other 2 meals that day! We also went to Jasmine - the Chinese restaurant in the Bellagio and it was excellent but quite expensive also.

Feb 25, 2010
Jules101 in Las Vegas