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well researched Basque food trip in June--help fine tuning?

Many thanks for this wisdom.

Jun 03, 2014
Honoredb in Spain/Portugal

À la carte at Asador Etxebarri?

Thanks for the 411 (and for your info on my post about my upcoming trip with the Noma finale). Envious of your Provence trip. Last time we were there we had some fantastic one-star meals at the Relais Chateaux properties. We also ate well in St. Remy de Provence and in Arles. If you can swing it and can score a rezzy, you absolutely MUST take the haul of a drive to Bras. It's one of the great food experiences.

Jun 02, 2014
Honoredb in Spain/Portugal

well researched Basque food trip in June--help fine tuning?

Thanks for this! I certainly am curious about Etxanobe but didn't think it was possible, in terms of stomach space, after Azurmendi. (But then, we're major gluttons.) Where did you stay in Bilbao? The Domine was sold out. I'm a little worried about the Carlton. Any thoughts about Iturregi after Etxebarri, maybe with another dinner in that neck of the woods? Or too far off course? Yes, a great foodie trip! (PS We cancelled L'Astrance--were planning to drive to Paris and fly to Copenhagen. So considering that, very restrained....)

Jun 02, 2014
Honoredb in Spain/Portugal

À la carte at Asador Etxebarri?

Have you taken your trip yet? We also scheduled the Mugaritz-Etxebarri-Azurmendi back-to-back-to-back (this is for June 10-12), so I'm curious to know how your experience was.

Jun 02, 2014
Honoredb in Spain/Portugal

well researched Basque food trip in June--help fine tuning?

Thanks to all those who have provided me with invaluable information as I plan my trip, which begins in Madrid on June 6. Below if my itinerary. Is there anything I ought to change?

Sunday, June 8
Drive to San Sebastian
Lunch: Akelarre
Dinner: pintxos (La Cepa, Cuchara de San Telmo, etc)
Hotel: Maria Cristina

Monday, June 9
Lunch: Elkano
Drive to France:
visit Hondarribia, Zigarramurdi, Espelette, Ainhoa, Aldudes, Sare?
Hotel: dine and stay at Hotel Arcé (or Freres Ibarboures or Ithurria?)

Tuesday, June 10
farmers' market in St. Jean de Luz
Lunch: lunch at Totta or or Chez Mattin or Kaiku (or somewhere else?)
visit Espelette, Ainhoa, Aldudes, Sare?
Return to Spain:
Dinner: Mugaritz
Hotel: Hotel Londres or Villa Soro

Wednesday June 11
Drive from San Sebastian to Extebarri
Lunch: Etxebarri
Dinner: ???
Hotel: Iturregi versus Castillo de Arteaga versus Mendi Goika versus return to San Sebastian versus Bilbao

Thursday, June 12
Lunch: Azurmendi
Drive to Bilbao
Dinner: pintxos? Zortziko? Extanobe?
Hotel: Carlton

Friday, June 13
fly out of Bilbao for Copenhagen (last hurrah dinner at Noma!)

Other restaurants I wonder if I should consider:
Zuberoa
Kokotxa
Casa Julian

I wonder where we should spend the night following our lunch at Etxebarri--whether we should return to San Sebastian for a light dinner, stay at Iturregi and go to Elkano (instead of for lunch Monday), stay at Castillo de Arteaga and eat there or somewhere nearby, or simply stay and dine at Mendi Goikoa. (Or maybe there's something I'm not thinking of.) Any ideas about the above--things to add, change, or omit--would be much appreciated.

Jun 01, 2014
Honoredb in Spain/Portugal

where to dine alone in Rome this weekend?

Thanks for these--helps me to have a bit of a distillation. If you had a friend in town from New York who was serious about food and wanted a real encounter with Roman food, what three places would you take him?

Dec 05, 2013
Honoredb in Italy

where to dine alone in Rome this weekend?

I'll be in Rome unexpectedly for work this weekend, and I don't know a soul there. Can anyone suggest a few very delicious places where I won't look too pitiable if I'm eating by myself? Maybe a place where one can eat at the bar (or is that just something we do in New York)? Foodwise my priority is stuff that is wonderful and typically Roman, whether high, low, or in the middle. Place can be a dive or a temple just so long as the focus is what's on the plate. Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm staying on the Via Veneto, by the way; the recommendation of a place where I could walk for dinner Saturday would be lovely....

Dec 04, 2013
Honoredb in Italy

restaurants that are worth the day trip from Paris?

Thanks to everyone for this useful information. And thank you, John, for your input. What can you tell me about the Auberge des Saints Peres and La Table de Blot?

Sep 19, 2012
Honoredb in France

restaurants that are worth the day trip from Paris?

wow- strong endorsement! so better, you think, than les crayeres? i'm also curious about hostellerie les clos in chablis. and l'arnsbourg (which I'm guessing I can get to fast enough on the TGV). thoughts?

Sep 18, 2012
Honoredb in France

restaurants that are worth the day trip from Paris?

Wow- those menus sound fantastic! Thanks so much. Which would you choose between them foodwise, and which is a lovelier setting for lunch?

Sep 18, 2012
Honoredb in France

restaurants that are worth the day trip from Paris?

What are people's thoughts (Souphie et al) about fabulous restaurants that might justify a day trip from Paris--lunch at Les Crayeres, for example, or dinner at L'Arnsbourg? I would love to know which restaurants within two hours by car or train are most worth visiting for a grand meal. Thanks!

Sep 18, 2012
Honoredb in France

Paris 2 stars or 3 stars

Very much appreciate the reminder about Carre des Feuillants. Piege also intrgues. Friends tell me Bigarrade has become annoying, though I'm not sure what that means. I went under Pele; what's the word about the new chef? Now that we've explored 2 stars, does anyone have anything passionate to say about the 1 stars?

Sep 07, 2012
Honoredb in France

Paris 2 stars or 3 stars

Thanks. I had in mind the restaurants that are either on the ascent or are happy to be where they are, as opposed to the fallen three-stars such as Taillevent and Le Grand Vefour (both of which I visited when they still had all their stars). With the exception of Passage 53, which I visited a couple of years ago when it had, I think, 1 star, the list above is mainly of rather fancy restaurants that have been around as they are for a long while. As I understand it, there are two new 2-stars: Sur Mesure and l'Abeille. How are these?

Sep 07, 2012
Honoredb in France

Paris 2 stars or 3 stars

Comparatively little has been written here about Paris' Michelin two-starred restaurants. I've had some of the best meals of my life at two-star places around France, but it seems that in Paris I'm either at a place like Arpege or Gagnaire, or I'm at a little bistro. Is there anything truly special in the two-star (or one-star) category? I'm planning a trip for November. Many thanks.

Sep 07, 2012
Honoredb in France

Vienna lunches and dinners: looking for advice!

Sturmi- What is your opinion of Andreas Doellerer, outside Salzburg? Several people here in Vienna have recommended it. There appears to be a formal restaurant and a wirtshaus. I don't think we need another luxury meal (Steirereck last night was superb), but if it's a nice and intriguing place, perhaps we would go for lunch at one of the restaurants there. I'd love to know what you think.

Oct 20, 2011
Honoredb in Europe

Vienna lunches and dinners: looking for advice!

Thanks again. I'm leaning toward the camel over the cat tonight, since it sounds as though the camel provides the better overall experience, with good food AND atmosphere. The cat's food is very intriguing, but the room itself sounds dreary. On the other hand, having spent so much time in the first district, it might be nice to drive somewhere different.... A difficult decision. Just back from a delicious lunch at Meierei, by the way.

Oct 18, 2011
Honoredb in Europe

Vienna lunches and dinners: looking for advice!

Sturmi- I cannot thank you enough for this! I'll certainly provide a report of our gastronomic adventures. Two questions: If you had to choose for tomorrow night, which would you pick--Schwarzen Kameel or Schwarzen Katze? We have reservations at both. My interest is in delicious food--classically Viennese or otherwise; a nice atmosphere helps, but it's what's on the place that matters most. Also, do you have any advice on Salzburg? Many thanks.

Oct 17, 2011
Honoredb in Europe

Vienna lunches and dinners: looking for advice!

I have read through the Vienna postings on the site and am grateful for all that I've learned. Sturmi, your knowledge, as has been said before, is most impressive--though I sense that you have an anti-luxury streak! So please forgive the fact that I'm planning to go to Steirereck on Wednesday and Landhaus Bacher on Thursday for lunch when I take drive through the Wachau.

I would appreciate some advice on a few remaining meals. So far we have been to Figlmuller, Strieznevski, and Plachutta. We have three lunches and three dinners to plan. Here are some places I have in mind: Zum Schwarzen Kameel, Zur Schwarzen Katze, Motto am Fluss (the restaurant, not the cafe), Waldschenke Staar, and Wieninger. Thoughts? What is missable, and what needs to be added?

Also, we're going to Salzburg for a night. Can someone recommend a place for lunch and dinner?

Thanks so much.

Oct 17, 2011
Honoredb in Europe

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

Souphie- or anyone else: have you been to les crayeres under chef Mille? Thoughts/opinions? Considering a trip for lunch.....

May 24, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

Thanks, laidback. This is quite helpful. And I gather that the lighting at Chez Grenouille is rather merciless, too. Speaking of atmosphere, which isn't usually a consideration for me--are Carte Blanche and Aromatik at all romantic? I'm also looking for a bistro--can be anywhere--for one delicious dinner in a cozy environment.

May 23, 2010
Honoredb in France

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

Do you feel that it will garner a third star? You are clearly a huge champion of Briffard, and you have made me awfully curious. I'm a bit sorry to deprive my friend of the pleasure of saying she ate at a three-star while in Paris (especially as she's paying), but if the food really is on a whole other level from Savoy, then it's a no-brainer. Perhaps Le Meurice would provide a similar experience with the addition of the third star factor (silly, I know), but I've been there often enough.

Another question: What are people's favorite bistros for a romantic dinner? That is to say, where the lighting is low, the environment is hushed and cozy without being stuffy, and the food of course is delicious..... Your thoughts are much appreciated.

May 23, 2010
Honoredb in France

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

Thanks. It sounds as though the prevailing opinion is very much in favor of Passage 53. People do say that it has quickly gotten much more expensive. Does anyone know how much that means?

May 23, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

Thanks, John. And let me say that I've enjoyed getting to know your blog over the last 24 hours. I arrive in Paris on June 2nd, and my good friend Zeva, who has a blog of her own about by-appointment-only services in Paris, tells me it's a shame I'm not arriving on May 31, when there's a big foodie gathering where one could meet the likes of you....

How late, I wonder, can one arrive for lunch at Chez Grenouille or L'Aromatik?

May 23, 2010
Honoredb in France

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

You make a very good point. We congratulate chefs like Passard and Veyrat and Bras (and in New York Boulud) for using the vegetables from their own backyards, but isn't it amazing sourcing that ought to distinguish the very best food? Souphie, what is your opinion of le bristol? A friend had lunch there recently and said that the poularde de bresse was exceptional, as was a fraises de bois dessert that needed to be ordered in advance.

So my sense is that l'ambroisie and ledoyen may be too grim to provide the full "wow" that i'd like to give me friend (though you've certainly whetted my own appetite for their food). In a sense, Gagnaire it seems could provide a good balance between excellent food and total experience, but I have had two dinners there, one truly a revelation, with several real challenges to my palate, and one full of admirable misfires. I don't need to go again. So that leaves Le Cinq (not actually a three-star, but who cares?) and L'Arpege and Guy Savoy. What about Le Pre Catalan, after all? Is the food any match for the environment?

Regarding Passage 53, actually my Times food editor friend had dinner there with Alec Lebrano. They both hated it! But that's just two mouths on one night. I'll still go.

May 23, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

Le Bouchon et L'Assiette has a terrific-sounding menu. Thank you. John, what are your favorites in (or near) the 9th?

May 22, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

Not sure which place you're referring to! (Gazetta? L'Ami Jean?)

I don't want to return to Chez L'Ami Jean--it's always been a good experience, but, and I realize this is heresy on this board, I don't find it the "perfect bistro" that it's always described as: the food comes too fast, everyone there is a tourist (including lots of Americans with strollers) and, really the only important thing, the food is very good but no longer exciting, and not remotely challenging. And I think it's reasonable to want to be excited by a bistro. (Revelations are another matter.)

Meanwhile, I'd like to be able to drop in places at 2pm for a late lunch. Can anyone vouch for La Bigarrade, Jadis, or the new Saint-Honore Regalade for a late lunch?

May 21, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

I've been to Chez L'Ami Jean too often...excited to try some new stuff. Is Bigarrade attainable at short notice? And is it a stuffy place? Perhaps I could drop by for a late lunch the day I arrive....

May 21, 2010
Honoredb in France

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

I'm really fascinated by your strong feelings for the "not fun" ones ingredient-wise. Hard to imagine that those ingredients could be head and shoulders above what passard and others can obtain...but I do take your word for it.

I did not find my lunch at L'Arpege short; it was in fact among the most perfect lunches of my life--one of those special moments (as at Michel Bras) when each dish just sings out at you, and when the stark, pared-down, elemental presentation of ingredients makes you feel that all other gorgeous food you've ever had is almost tacky in its over-wrought-ness (which is not to say that L'Arpege's food is not effortful). But I was curious about the longer tasting...sounds like it's more of the same.

Incidentally, I just made a dinner reservation at Passage 53, but my good friend who is the NY Times food editor says that it's just not good. What's your opinion? I tried to get Bigarrade on the phone but failed. Is the new location of La Regalade very wonderful? Perhaps I'll try that. And is Chateaubriand really a place you can walk into on a Wednesday night at 10pm?

May 21, 2010
Honoredb in France

paris three-stars: best choice for one seasoned and one inexperienced diner?

Thanks, Souphie, for your reply. I must say that I always find your comments thoughtful and illuminating.

My dining companion, while inexperienced in the ways of grand Paris dining, is certainly a sophisticated person, cooks well and has eaten well in her life, and has made clear that brilliance of the food is absolutely her top priority in the selection of the restaurant. I want this to be best meal (really the best FOOD) of her life so far; if you think Guy Savoy is up to the task, then I'll reserve there.

Regarding L'Arpege, however, where I do already have a table: My previous meal there was the lunch menu (four courses maybe), and I wonder whether you or anyone else can comment on their more exhaustive degustation. Is it a very difference experience? Returning to the restaurant for a longer tasting might allow me to add some depth to my appreciation of the restaurant while sharing with my friend something already special to me....

May 21, 2010
Honoredb in France

where in paris should i eat if i don't have a reservation at chateaubriand, frenchie or comptoir?

Thanks for the reply. New isn't essential--old would be nice, in fact, if the food has held up. I've done a lot of eating in Paris, but this trip is a bit spontaneous and I didn't have time to plan ahead, and so I need places that can accommodate me June 2-4. Yes, quite curious about La Gazzetta....

May 20, 2010
Honoredb in France