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Appropriate Dress in Paris

I have to say that I did not encounter a single rude person in any of the trips to European destinations in the last two years. The level of service offered in Paris at the department stores and restaurants was AMAZING.

I live in a year round tourist destination. My advice to those who live in tourist destinations and those who don't is the same: be patient and compassionate.

Apr 17, 2014
marthak in France
1

Appropriate Dress in Paris

My mistake sir, so very sorry...I should have said sport jacket.

Apr 17, 2014
marthak in France

Milan dinner recommendations?

Update: We ate at BYS in Milan for dinner and it was really good. Its adventurous, but also well prepared. I tried a grapefruit risotto with shrimp --- yes, it sounds off putting but I was really looking forward to the citrus and it was lovely. My main was lamb with yogurt and a small pastry of roasted garlic. Also wonderfully prepared and tasty. I think this was our best meal in Milan so far.

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

tipping in Milan?

I really appreciate the clarifications :)

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

tipping in Milan?

Thank you! I do feel better.

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

Milan dinner recommendations?

@jnwall: I noticed you ate at One in Chapel Hill, anything like that kind of dinner in Milan? I really want some farm to table food and am not sure if I can find that in Milan. Any suggestions? Any help you can give me is very appreciated! Even if it is to say, respect the way Milan prepares dinner, get a nice bottle of wine and just "go with it" :)

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

tipping in Milan?

I am getting mixed signals/info on restaurant tipping in Milan. I have heard everything from no tip to 5-10 euros for excellent service to 10%. Anyone know the answer?

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

Milan dinner recommendations?

Thank you, David! We have been in Milan this week and its been an up and down food experience. All restaurants have been friendly, generous, with impeccable service. But rarely have we gotten great food except dessert which is consistently outstanding. La Locanda Gatto Rosso in the Galleria was pretty good - although like most restaurants the seafood is prepared to a degree of doneness past what we prefer in SF. We also tried a number of Trip Adviser restaurants with less success. Prime and El Barbapedana both have wonderful hosts, generous to a fault and while the food is good, it is not prepared in a way that I prefer. The prevailing view in Milan I believe is to cook it a bit too long and oversauce for my taste. I am having a wonderful time, but would like to experience one evening of perfectly cooked food in more of a farm to table SF style. Is that possible here?

Jan 29, 2014
marthak in Italy

Milan dinner recommendations?

I saw this restaurant reviewed and am very interested, too, especially since you loved it! Thank you so very much. Did you find anything near any of the canals?

Jan 18, 2014
marthak in Italy

Milan dinner recommendations?

We also got some great help here from blogs for a trip this past summer to Berlin - had some amazing food in that city!

Jan 16, 2014
marthak in Italy

Milan dinner recommendations?

I have looked on these boards, through books and on blogs and am having trouble choosing 4-5 dinners in Milan, any help we can get would be much appreciated. It seems as if every magazine, blog and post recommends different restaurants.

We are from SF and love lots of flavor that comes primarily from the freshness of seasonal ingredients cooked beautifully, and preparations that allow ingredients to shine. We enjoy finding restaurants with talented chefs while traveling, but do not want to pay more than $200-250 for dinner for the two of us and would be happy to pay less :).

We are not looking for Asian or burgers this time around. I love risotto and although I don't know if Milan has wine bars with amazing chef-y appetizers, if they do, please share! We loved Dans les Landes in Paris and read about that restaurant in Paris by Mouth and a few other great blogs. Does anyone know similar blogs in Milan or the region?

Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thank you in advance! My husband and I will be staying at the Enterprise Hotel near the Milan Convention Center, and while most of our dinners will be the two of us, one dinner will be in a larger group and another will be with us entertaining his boss who LOVES great wine and impressive food.

Jan 16, 2014
marthak in Italy

Recommendations for dinner in milan <100$ person, seasonal w/ exc risotto?

Dinner recommendations requested: Traveling to Milan staying near Milan Convention Center in the Enterprise Hotel (between 1-2 miles northwest of the city center). We are looking for one celebratory meal with 3-4 courses with seasonal local ingredients, and a chance for excellent risotto. We would like the per person cost for the food (not including alcohol) to remain under 100$ per person. We are not famous or thin or very young, but we are celebrating for the first time in Milan and love excellent food and good wine. We have seen recommendations for Cracco but would like a more reasonably priced experience. Any suggestions?

Jan 12, 2014
marthak in Italy

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

By the way - Hugo's a michelin star restaurant with a phenomenal view of the city is closed for a month so that chef and staff can be creatively recharged from late July to August 19 this year.

Jul 30, 2013
marthak in Europe

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

We had the Duroc pork, but went with the polenta, mushrooms, and heirloom tomatoes as side dishes. The app was a mixed green salad with goat cheese. Loved the restaurant, absolutely beautiful and the people were really good. Unfortunately, while the appetizer salad, side dishes and deconstructed black cherry chocolate cake was amazing (!) --- the pork itself was overcooked and a bit dry. I smoke a lot of meats, preparing slow cooked dishes for family and friends (I grew up in the south where slow cooking is a big deal), so my husband had trouble getting past that. I always have fun, so I was happy with the entire experience. He was only disappointed because the slow cooked pork with a side order of polenta (very similar to smooth grits) is something he has had in my own kitchen. Whoops! I didn't realize it would be so easily compared. This was a very new south way to prepare pork with side dishes, extremely similar to our home cooking.

But I loved the restaurant and wish I had taken pictures - if my house looked like this I would be absolutely thrilled! And the cocktails - for any who ask - are fabulous.

Jul 30, 2013
marthak in Europe

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

Yes, it is INCREDIBLY helpful - as are you. Thank you so much for your kindness! You are truly making this first trip to Berlin absolutely memorable. So far the people have been open, joyful and welcoming and the food has been terrific.

Lokal is an incredible restaurant with a minimalist but welcoming decor, its clearly a favorite in the neighborhood. The neighborhood has a lot of art...everywhere - a great neighborhood to experience. The apps were the best dishes of the evening, very well composed, layered in flavor, beautifully prepared and served. We had the pork belly, and the goat cheese plates. Desserts took a close second for a cheesecake with blueberries, and strawberry ice cream. These are followed by a very inventive set of vegetarian entrees. Not everything in the entree round made for a harmonious plate - but massive kudos to the chef for pulling together cheeses, fruits and vegetables. For mains we had a homemade noodle entree, and a goat cheese with beet puree. This is a fun place for food. Service was awesome. Our menu was read and described to us in English by a young man with wit and joy. He, along with the bartender and other servers were welcoming and engaging. So thank you!

Even on a 95 degree day the evening was amazing. Tonight it will be katz-orange and after reading your blog we hope to visit Osmanya tomorrow night. Again - thank you!

Jul 29, 2013
marthak in Europe

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

I liked the blog links a lot. Thanks for letting us know the Weinbar Rutz is non-smoking that helps a lot. As for flavors --- we are fairly modern, like fresh ingredients without a lot of heavy sauces, and we love flavor. We are not huge fans of Michelin restaurants with lots of heavy food. Gastropubs and awesome tapas bars give great flavors from some really awesome chefs - who just might end up drinking with you and telling you about how they were cooking in Hong Kong when it went back to Chinese control. That kind of night is really cool. Great food, sometimes killer music, and amazing people.

Yes, I like going to a place that offers a lot of small plates - they tend to have more flavor and innovation in small bites. No on things like foams, or food that looks like an undersea castle, or traditional food that slows me down so much I can't move. Yes on well cooked fish, or ahi poke, or pork belly. Basically we love food, but we want to enjoy the night, too. Does this help at all?

Jul 21, 2013
marthak in Europe

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

Turkish sounds wonderful! What Turkish restaurants would you suggest?

As for flavors --- we are fairly modern, like fresh ingredients without a lot of heavy sauces, and we love flavor. We are from California, and are fairly eclectic in taste - everything from Burmese to Mediterranean.

I will definitely look through the threads and I will also see if Hugo's is available for one night. It would be nice to be able to walk back after a meal at least once. The Berlin Bites blog is terrific! Thank you for the links!!!

Reingold is a welcome suggestion. Does Berlin have a music scene that also has great food? We just got back from New Orleans and enjoyed combining music and tapas-like modern NOLA cuisine. It was an experience that is unique to that city. If there is a suggestion on where we can go to experience Berlin, that would be great. I like going to a place that offers a lot of small plates - they tend to have more flavor and innovation in small bites.

Does this help at all?

Jul 21, 2013
marthak in Europe

Has anyone been to Hugo's in Berlin? staying at Intercontinental, recs?

I want to thank Chowhounders for any assistance they can give us while traveling to Berlin. We are staying at the Intercontinental for a week long conference. I have three questions for the group:

1) Has anyone been to Hugo's? It is nearby and has good reviews and a great view so we would like to check that out.

2) Do they allow smoking in wine bars? We are from California and have gotten used to a lack of smoking.

3) Any recommendations for other restaurants in Berlin? We have reservations for the winebar at Rutz and dinners at Lokal and Katz Orange. Any other recommendations?

Thank you for your help! It is our first time to Berlin and we are excited.

- Martha K

Jul 20, 2013
marthak in Europe

NOLA for NYC & Philly foodies

We just returned this morning after being stranded in LAX on the return flight to SFO late last night. Had an amazing trip and I have some lunch suggestions based on recent experience.

Best Sandwiches EVER: Cochon Butcher, hands down. They have the best BLT in the city, and the buckboard bacon melt with collards sandwich and the porkbelly with mint and cucumber transported us to heaven. No kidding, best ever. Cochon for dinner was terrific, the food was honestly great - from oysters to pork belly and that killed red velvet dessert. You pay for the inspiration and joy of the chef and his team and it is clear that Donald Link and his team have a joy, respect and love for their art. When you sign your check, you won't care about the cost.

EAT on Dumaine in the quarter had a terrific brunch, awesome sorbets, amazing eggs on mustard greens with a side of grits, fried green tomatos and homemade jelly. Loved the service, the decor and the food - their art installation this month is phenomenal. Just a lovely afternoon. We also had a good breakfast at Ruby Slippers in CBD, but EAT was better by far - more southern and inspired, and darn it, we require flavor which EAT has in every dish. RS was a little too bland.

Best music and gastropub eats: Three Muses on Frenchman Street. The music was great, drinks were darn good and the food was terrific - lots of small plates packed with flavor and easily shared. We waited almost two hours for a table in this small but magical place and it was wonderful - my voice was hoarse the next day from singing, my hands ached from clapping and my stomach was still content. When we left the club that night it felt good to get into the rain, having danced and enjoyed Frenchman Street.

Sobou had incredible drinks also - our best in NOLA, really amazing taste, they were smooth, refreshing and beautifully served. Love their mixologist...whoever she is... The food was less consistent. Some dishes were amazing, others were less so. Yes to the stone salad - tuna cones and alligator sausage, resounding yes to the drinks, ok to the squash beignets - mom's gumbo and the bisque. Inconsistent seems to be the word on CP restaurants.

Quarter Grocery for fast food, if you need a good catfish po'boy for take out at subway prices and you want to sit in Armstrong park or on a stoop somewhere in the quarter but you can't take another long line, or you have very little cash left - this is a great hole in the wall deli with a great sandwich, dressed with pickles and a little hot sauce. But I am from the south and sometimes I just like it cheap, down & dirty.

Although Commander's Palace and R'evolution (darn good little biscuits, gumbo and phenomenal sorbet) were outstanding for service AND drinks plus food was very good, (good lord let's not talk about that fantastic wine list at CP) - I believe our expectations for food were a teeny bit too high as were the prices for the dishes we received. The bread pudding at CP is not amazing although its darn good. The turtle soup is lovely but not revolutionary.

In short, we were a little underwhelmed with CP and R'evolution. While happy with the evening meals --- and my husband like R'evolution a lot more than CP, we experienced more "flavor" (both food and overall) elsewhere. New Orleans is a city of heat and music, but CP and R'e are like the girl in the really expensive designer lingerie - on those evenings she was not real enough and hot enough to match her city. Her delicious mystery lies in finding and experiencing what's hidden and giving back as good as you get, not in her fancy clothes. New Orleans is meant to be enjoyed fully.

Prices at R'evolution were a bit of a damper, plus the duck skin was not crispy and the fat not worked well - although their pastry chef is incredible and the sorbets some of the best I have ever experienced, the food was inconsistent and hardly worth the cost. But when it comes down to it, I love the sensual passion, outright humor and rich joy in our other dining experiences.

Jun 12, 2013
marthak in New Orleans

Birthday Party help w/ chefs menu at home

Thanks Jilly! I was looking to hear if anyone had done this. But upon further investigation I went with the private chef concept. I think local markets and season will determine the menu. I made it more complicated than it was.

May 01, 2012
marthak in San Francisco Bay Area

Birthday Party help w/ chefs menu at home

Hi Bay Area Boards!

I am turning 50 and decided to bring in some chefs for a party at home. This is late May so I would love some feedback for menu planning, ideas and logistics on how to structure this. Have you done it? What advice do you have?

My thoughts are staying with local and fresh. I was thinking a few offerings for drinks and some tapas for starters while we are gathering. Then sit down for a first, main and dessert with coffee. There are some vegetarians including my daughter, so I will be building in some alternatives. I think family style builds an intimacy which is great for celebrations, but would love feedback.

I like the idea of hanging out with people I think are fun, fascinating and many of whom - I love. We can spend some time with each other, have great control over the food and quality of ingredients. We love inventive, fresh food. Has anyone else done this?

- Martha in Fremont

Apr 30, 2012
marthak in San Francisco Bay Area

Dans Les Landes and LeFooding

So glad to hear that, because that is what happened to us when we chose to stay at the Matisse exhibit. It's such a tough choice because the experience of Paris is so precious, but Paris is more than food and the evenings out, it is also the art that can only be seen here in this one place, the happenstance of weather and the sounds of music drifting up from the young singing twenty somethings far below you in the square. We only had this one opportunity to visit the Pompidou Center and the sun was setting over Paris. It was warm and beautiful and from the terrace we could go in and out of the art exhibits and watch the city come to life at dusk. Dans Les Landes was a perfect alternative and probably far better for the two of us that evening with the kind of spontaneous magical circumstances coming to life around us.

I am 50 next month, but have liked edgy music for over 30 years. My husband does not hear as clearly as I do and with the restaurant "roar" couldn't really identify the music. Not hearing the music was a bit frustrating for him, but he loved the restaurant. We left the next morning for Amsterdam. What a great trip. I which I was still there!

I loved the interesting food combinations and the joy and playfulness in the plating. The dishes were a surprise with the possible exception of the deep fried polenta and smoked duck. It was tasty, but I had not expected the rectangle of deep fried steaming heat. I made a decision before heading to Paris this trip, to try whatever came up regardless of my likes and dislikes and to be adventurous. WOW! I had mussels, oysters and duck, eggs that were not cooked all the way through, fruits and foods I could not identify and threw myself with joyous abandon into the care of chefs and servers I had never met. What a great time we had! I did not get sick once, ate everything I was served, and learned some valuable lessons.

Learning tip 1: In the states I like a medium bodied red to full. In France that will be so dry as to be swallowing the Sahara, wait until it breathes or ask for a pairing to the chef's taste.
LT2: Natural wines take longer to breathe and change taste a lot over the course of the meal.
LT3: By the glass is more expensive and has fewer choices, but the variety can be a revelation and wine bars are wine bars for a reason, the bottles behind the bar are fun to drink.

Apr 04, 2012
marthak in France

Dans Les Landes and LeFooding

Very very very hot, and they smile and nod and serve drinks and beautiful food. Hopefully my husband will not read this (wink). And I did love the music, but they played many bands I enjoy.

Did you try their homemade armagnac drink? WOW...loved it!

The french couple next to us were regulars and having a birthday celebration, they told us about the first restaurant in the 15e and encouraged us to proceed there, apparently its "even better". We were at the bar, watched the food being arranged for service and were exceedingly well placed for sampling, bar service and lots of great explanations on what the food was, which items were excellent and stories on why the Basque house wine was perfect with what we ordered. I had a great time!

Apr 04, 2012
marthak in France

Dans Les Landes and LeFooding

Had reservations at Les Papilles but was voluntarily delayed at the Matisse show at the Pompidou Center. In trying to change to a later time, it was suggested we find another resto for dinner. *sigh* Called Dans Les Landes, recommended by the LeFooding site and went there. Dans Les Landes was amazing.

All daily specials are on a chalkboard. It's inventive tapas, so you need not order appetizers, plats and desserts. Mix it up, try what you wish and ask for wine recommendations. The service is terrific, the restaurant is hopping, the music is excellent. Highlights were duck and oysters served on the half shell on a bed of sea salt, grilled suckling pig slices, quail, and the house made armagnac digestif. We were made to feel phenomenally welcome and in the end, this evening was one of the highlights of our Paris journey.

The restaurant was begun by the same guys who founded Afaria in the 15e.

Check out LeFooding, a kind of hip and cool french recommendation site in Paris. It's a little anti-michelin, but as a tool this site is worthwhile and having gone to a couple of their recommended restaurants and with relatives in Paris who have also enjoyed some of the recommendations --- I think this is worth a look. They provide an additional approach to eating your way through Paris, stress the new french approach to food and many young french chefs.

Apr 03, 2012
marthak in France

Appropriate Dress in Paris

Sorry, didn't mean dinner jacket. He brought a jacket which we used to call a sports coat. And it is cold in Europe right now. When we left Amsterdam this morning it was really very cold. He wore his black cashmere sweater or black leather jacket over work/dress shirts probably every single dinner out in Paris and Amsterdam. For those of you from California, Amsterdam is darn cold, bring gloves, warm scarves and gloves.

Apr 03, 2012
marthak in France

Appropriate Dress in Paris

Is that your way of saying better to overdress than underdress? My husband brought his dinner jacket on the trip. Although he never had the inclination to wear it, he had the opportunity but he chose not to wear the jacket as it was not required. Knowing this, we still would have brought the jacket. It does not take up a lot of room in the suitcase. And if I were a different woman, I might have wanted to see him in that jacket. I just like his black sweater better. So sometimes, we dress for our date.

Apr 01, 2012
marthak in France

Trip report: Le Verre Voles (10e), Fish-La Boissonnerie (6e), Chez l'Ami Jean (7e), Reed (7e), Rollet Pradier (6e)

I have an update. We did not make it to Les Papilles. We went a couple hours before the reservation to the Centre Pompidou which has a fabulous modern art collection AND a Matisse show, and a Dance exhibition, and a very interesting thought provoking vintage tv exhibit. We got involved and wanted to delay our 7:30pm reservations to further absorb the magic that is the Pompidou Centre.

This did not go well for our original scheduled dinner time. In our defense, the architecture of the center is overwhelmingly cool, the sun was setting over Paris and we could hear laughter and singing from the young people in the square below. There was some Paris magic going on that in many ways felt remarkably seductive. The art at the Center is rare, so rare for Americans that you can't help but feel you have been beamed into a collection that alternates between the precociously absurd and the incredibly moving, but you aren't quite sure which is dominant but you want to see more so that you can decide.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that I owe those who value and preserve modern art a great debt --- for saving not only the rare artwork that reveals genius, but the contemporary examples of the art that moved genius to create and added to that moment in time (I am referring to art that may not be timeless genius but still...). That's the Pompidou Center, its a lot to take in and well worth your time. There is no place in the world like this.

At any rate, we called at 7:15pm to seek an extension on our 7:30pm reservations. Les Papilles felt all would be better served to simply cancel, which I didn't anticipate and although it makes sense I felt pretty worried about it at the time. My husband was not quite as worried.

It occurred to me that I was free to contact Dans Les Landes, one of the restaurant wine bars I had been unable to work into the schedule. SO so so glad we did. The food is incredible, the service and wine did that amazing dance between phenomenally tasty, hip, romantic and cool that made our evening. Because this is tapas you are not restricted to the standard 2 or 3 or 9 course meal. You get to order whatever strikes your fancy, in whatever quantities, and in whatever order. JOY!!! We had quail, grilled suckling pig, oysters and duck on the half shell, fried polenta and smoked duck, the equivalent of Caesar salad and sardines, and ended the evening with two amazing desserts of madeleines with chocolate sauce AND profiteroles with cream and a caramel dipping sauce. We requested wine that went with the meal from our hosts and enjoyed the Basque house wine, then ordered 2 expressos following dessert and the house created digestif before the espresso.

This restaurant has chefs that create their own amazing dessert digestif of armagnac and what seemed like an incredible raspberry puree. An amazing meal to end our Paris journey and the opportunity to recommend to other Chowhounders is you want a great evening out in the 5e, get thee to Dans Les Landes. It is well reviewed by Le Fooding, John Talbott, Paris by Mouth and others. These guys (easy on the eyes - trust me) started Afaria. It would be great to find out how good that is for the next trip to Paris. At this point I would definitely return to Dans Les Landes, possibly with more people just so I can try more food offerings. Tapas for all!

On your last ---or even first--- night in Paris there should be more than food, and there was. A convivial, hip atmosphere. Knowledgable and joyful wine/food guidance. Impeccable timing, great service and for those of us seated at the bar --- the joy of watching the chef plate and serve the phenomenal culinary offerings.

And again there was more. They all, patrons and chefs alike reached out to us strangers in their Parisien homes. There was a convivial atmosphere, joy and people telling us they love their homes in Paris, but they also want to visit us in our home of San Francisco. SO there was that moment when everyone goes home thrilled, not only having had an incredible evening, but someone asked us about our own lives and told is they wanted to return the favor. Now that is cool.

Mar 29, 2012
marthak in France

Trip report: Le Verre Voles (10e), Fish-La Boissonnerie (6e), Chez l'Ami Jean (7e), Reed (7e), Rollet Pradier (6e)

David's book is enormous. It has chocolate shops, pastry shops, alsatian pastry shops, bread shops, ice cream shops, etc. all over Paris. I am glad I downloaded it to my kindle prior to leaving the states. The data alone would have killed the sim card purchased before arrival in Paris. The best part of the book is that it is arranged in the back by arrondissment and that it has a variety of pictures to help you make up your mind. We chose Rollet Pradier because we were at the Orangerie just across the Seine from the National Assembly building. This is a well heeled neighborhood and the cafe pastry seller is literally a few doorways from an entrance to the assemblymen. Accordingly the shop is big on decorum and a more formal level of service. And I love savory pastry. Tomorrow I will search for macaroons in the tenth on the way to the train station. Thank you for the encouragement on dinner! I love dressing and going out, its so much fun here. We have had a wonderful time. Paris service in department stores, restaurants, taxis, shops - literally all over Paris has been lovely, kind and overwhelmingly open.

Mar 28, 2012
marthak in France

Trip report: Le Verre Voles (10e), Fish-La Boissonnerie (6e), Chez l'Ami Jean (7e), Reed (7e), Rollet Pradier (6e)

This is a trip report from Paris for week March 25-28 based on information and suggestions gained from Chowhounders and followed up on line. Reservations were made using our concierge prior to arrival, or by me. The report includes dinner at Le Verre Voles in the 10e, Fish-La Boissonnorie in the 6e and Chez l'Ami Jean and Reed in the 7th and take out pastry lunch from Rollet Pradier (6e) that was carried across the bridge to the Orangerie before taking in the Monet (awesome). We planned a balance of meals, all with great food, but some with a higher creativity level than others and to balance our experience for the week. We want a great trip and planned for different experiences with the common denominators being great eating.

Le Verre Vole: Wine bar with really good food in a hipster hard to get in resto in the 10th. Small tables, loudish, good music, cool vibe. Parisian friends of ours were surprised we knew about it, and that we were able to get reservations because it's "in" with a hard to get cool vibe going for it - people are very serious about service and quality of food here. Cool street, fun to walk around near the canal, lots of Parisians for dinner, a great staff and helpful for wine choices and settling on dinner options. Dinner with a bottle of wine, starters, plats and dessert was about 109 euros for 2. We had reservations, and dress ranged from jeans to dressed up locals headed to the back room for what was clearly a dinner party. The restaurant sells wine and people came in choosing wines on their way home to eat. Dinner was excellent. This is the new french bistro cuisine, not so heavy on the sauces, locally sourced and sustainable meats, poultry and seafood, nicely presented and served rich in flavors. Scallops were the best dish of the night but in a couple grit remained marring a heavenly offering. The young pork loins served beautifully seared and still moist served on a bed of wild greens were excellent also. Wines are naturel so they need to breathe. Another couple decanted theirs which we were kicking ourselves for not having done. The sausage was too much and we would not order that again, its just too much of a good thing without the creativity of the other dishes. Wine selection and service are great. Its all men here.

Fish-La Boissonnorie: Great location, terrific food, service to die for with a lovely bathroom, great dishes and one of the best dishes of the WEEK! Lots of visitors, great decor, small tables, close together and little loud. Pork belly, I licked my spoon and wished I had even more and there was more than enough. Again, the mackerel ceviche was wonderful, champignon veloutte was yummy comforting and my husband was thrilled he chose wisely thinking he picked the best dish of the night - my ceviche was a little artfully arranged and bordering on the deconstructed and possibly precious...until the pork belly arrived. Then I won hands done. Yes, it's a stupid game, but fun to note later which dishes surprise, delight and continue to impress. This one was phenomenal. If I could have I would have stolen more from the kitchen and licked the plate clean. Wonderful. Chocolate dessert was so dense as to be almost one incredibly large solid truffle - that was not easy to eat. The poached pears and sabayon on the other hand was perfect! Tonight it was wine by the glass, fairly decent and not quite as initially bitingly dry as Le Verre Voles.

Chez L'Ami Jean: Phenomenal meal and probably our favorite of the week. Jego and his staff are SERIOUS about service and food. They efficiently seat you, help you order dinner and wine, serve with impeccable presentation and make service a bit of a production and later check in to see if all is well. It is. It was. Small tables, eating next to strangers, a little loud, the servers are well instructed and work as a group. And despite flying broken glass once and the dutch traders next to us in their suits ripping a rival a new one sotto vox into a cabled cell phone, the meal was beyond expectations. Baby scallops are a wry twist on the emperors new clothes, trust me the staff has a sense of humor that they will test you with. I was served a plate with small tiny nuts like seeds in what appeared to be a smeared pesto sauce. Patrons around me and my husband didn't know how to react, so laughter and ribbing followed stunned silence as my incredibly miniscule baby scallops became the joke. I had faith. After Larry's oysters and pork appetizer with fois gras was served a plate of beautifully prepared amazing scallops still in shells arrived to be placed artfully on my green plate. Wow. So worth it. These should be eaten as a layered series of flavors and are truly amazing. Fois Gras with lobster followed, plus a beautifully prepared turbot and then...of course...Jego's rice pudding. I shake my head with the glorious memory of that delectable concoction served with two accompaniments that must be used to gain the taste of heaven that has arrived. Order the sauterne with this. What a surprise! Yes it was sweet, but not too sweet - this sauterne was a revelation. Jego and his staff are the epitome of new Paris cuisine.

Reed: Reed is the anti-male chef dominated evening. Catherine Reed's restaurant is set up as a beautifully decorated kitchen and dining area - you feel as if you have been welcomed into this elegant and beautiful woman's home and she is preparing a wonderful meal just for you. It's all really well done, comfortable food beautifully prepared and served. Beautifully relaxing lovely restaurant, very quiet, romantic even, good service. And while it is not a crazy combination of the new Paris cuisine, it is wonderful and extremely nicely prepared, as if you are sitting in the lovingly designed home of your neighbor the chef and allowing her to please your palate in a setting that allows you to visit with your companions too. It's not all about the chef, but about the company --- which is perfect for a Paris visit - honestly it should be about you. My asparagus risotto was wonderful, but the revelation for me was a tie between the first green and red tomato starter sliced thin with olive oil and parmesan on puff pastry and the dessert of citrus cheesecake - lovely! The restaurant is gorgeous with a stove that I would kill for. I took a picture. Check it out on facebook. Larry's poulet was very well prepared, and his Chocolate Mousse Pie was quite tasty. This was the best pick of the week for wines, Catherine knows her stuff and was willing to pull in a wine that wasn't even on the menu. Amazing!

Rollet Pradier: While in Paris choose a lunch of pastry in the park one day, it's SO WORTH IT!!! We chose Rollet Pradier behind the National Assembly in the 7th, near the d'Orsay and across the river from the Orangerie. Run to this place, their macaroons, the fluffy savory pastries of chevre and tomato, and an AMAZING champignon tart one of a kind experience that will remain with me always. Paris is known for this. Take advantage. Phenomenal presentation, a little fancier than most, very serious about pastry here. We downloaded David Lebovitz's Paris Pastry book arranged by arrondissment and have made great use of it. You only live once and you can diet later. Wow.

That's the trip report. Tomorrow night is Les Papilles. Friday on to Amsterdam for Bathazar's Kitchen, De Kas and Blauw.

Mar 28, 2012
marthak in France

Appropriate Dress in Paris

We are in Paris now and this week have gone to Chez L'Ami jean, Le Verre Voles, brunches and dinners and 2 "hip seen and be seen" restaurants with relatives (not as great), plus Reed and will head to Les Papilles tomorrow night. We are 49 and 48 and I like to look good. So I tend to stick to the fashionable but cool side - gorgeous japanese silk kimono style pants in black and white silk, great jewelry and a silk black cowl neck seater top plus a sheer long grey scarf and nice shoes. Husband wears grey or black Levis, nice shoes, a hipster dress shirt and his nice older hipster black leather jacket. We range in the middle to upper end of dress for Paris this time. I have seen business suits to jeans, to casually elegant dresses to kind of slutty tourist clothes. Its all good. Smile, use some french, truly appreciate the food. The people we have encountered have been amazing, professional, kind, wry and fantastic all around. Food is phenomenal. Everyone is nice. And honestly I am dressing for myself. I have seen some dinner jackets, but they have not been the norm so far. They dress us far more at lunch, that's work hour and almost all men wear suits while they ride bicycles.

Mar 28, 2012
marthak in France