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shakti2's Profile

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Great desserts in Hong Kong?

Try a post-dinner stroll around Tai Hang, a former neighbourhood of auto repair shops near Causeway Bay well on the road to gentrification. I can't go pass Xiao Tian Gu for trad canto desserts myself (steamed milk, tong yuen) but there are also some cool-looking places for ice cream and 'artisanal' sweets.

Seeking advice: Week long foodie trip from Japan to somewhere else.

HK and Singapore are a win as eating cities in Asia if the criteria are well-covered by traditional media and accessible for visitors relying on a modern metro network and English-speaking cabbies. They are a fail if the criteria includes access to quality local product, cost and local licensing structures which support independent establishments and a discriminating local audience for both traditional and innovative cuisine at different price levels.

My picks : Taipei, Bangkok and a special mention for Ho Chi Minh City for the visitor up for all street food all the time. For a first-time visitor, I wouldn't obsess unduly about research unless there are specific items you want to seek out. Quality is high and prices are reasonable, rather than a reflection of high rents. In Taipei, try a night market if you must, but the good stuff is in regular sit-down establishments.

KL isn't as bad as seems to be made out but the good stuff is indeed a challenge to get to without a willing local driver.

Paris - one night, meal for one, in hiking boots...

Fun question ! You can store your bag at Gare de Lyon and try the bunch of options approx. 10 min on foot around the Aligre market - try Will for modern French w. a nod to south-east Asia by way of seasoning elements, Cotte Roti or l'Ebauchoir for modern bistro (there are others, these just happen to be the ones I know). Or a bit further, les Deserteurs or Clande for modern French w. seasonal limited-choice menus.

All should fit in your budget with a glass or two of wine, Cotte Roti and l'Ebauchoir a bit cheaper. Your hiking boots will raise eyebrows amongst those folks who didn't get this memo on dining in Paris with sporty shoes (halfway down the very long comments) but I think you'll be able to bear it :

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1012698

Your bigger issue will be trying to conclude your meal in time. Best look for somewhere that starts serving as early as possible, 7 or 7.30 pm, and call first to confirm that they can get you out the door in time.

May 19, 2015
shakti2 in France

Paris trip report!

Terrific report, thanks !

May 15, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Price performance is pretty dreadful though, even in comparison with other properties within the Four Seasons or Dorchester groups, all of which are likely to turn out impeccable breakfasts, similarly populated with suits talking shop plus the occasional prosperous tourist.

Get a cafe to fry you some eggs while you bide time till dinner, then award yourself a more generous wine budget. Or take yourself out to a nice lunch the next day with the 60 or 70 euros you saved from breakfast.

May 11, 2015
shakti2 in France

Report: Comptoir des Canailles

Sounds terrific, thank you. Have to say I especially love recs based on multiple visits !

May 11, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

At an establishment informal enough to dispense with reservations, I'd take my chances with good humour and a complicit smile over dressing to impress.

May 10, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Clipboards/ velvet ropes/ door b*tches of either gender = you aren't there for the food.

May 10, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Yes, they're doing amazing things, improvements in size and lustre every time I look.

May 10, 2015
shakti2 in France

Restaurants in Nice

I'd go straight to Cafe de Turin which has all-day brasserie service and reliably good seafood. Plenty of tourists - that's the Côte d'Azur for you - but lots of locals too.

May 10, 2015
shakti2 in France

Elkano - when to book?

No problems so far with getting my hotel in San Sebastián to ring a day or two before. I would only make arrangements further in advance if I had a bigger group intent on eating something specific (a large turbot in season for example) and then we might be talking a week or so in advance so the restaurant can do its best with coordinating its buying accordingly.

There is indeed a narrow terrace with tables, though I haven't seen it in use when I've been in May.

May 09, 2015
shakti2 in Spain/Portugal

La Cagouille, Paris 14ème -- Bad Report

He's still on the website fwiw. I've had the same excellent and consistent experience over the years, maybe once a year, as Chef June. But we do tend to stick to specific things : fried small fish (anchovies, sardines, rougets and the like), grilled razor clams, a large grilled whole fish for the table if something good is available, the mackerel with mustard sauce otherwise. Always Sunday lunch.

The one time I went off-piste was not so great - rebarbatively over-cooked and bouncy cheeks, can't quite recall if cod or monk-fish.

May 09, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

'Pearls'

These days I save mine to wear with my swimsuit, like Nicole Diver ...

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Context is a good start. A Paris eating establishment exists within specific modes of food production and supply, industry training and hierarchies, usage and cultural context by its customers and often but not always, the culinary heritage of France. Folks who don't see this end up fretting that their dining destination isn't Parisian enough because it lacks the checked table-clothes and the service staff in berets and striped shirts.

It'd be a pretty long article though :)

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Amen to #3. I especially don't get the oft-seen reprimand to avoid sneakers, when sporty shoes can be spotted pretty much everywhere (including designer variants thereof).

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

Folks travel for many reasons - I think the best you can aim for is to inspire your reader with excitement, confidence and interest to explore further, rather than induce FOMO or terror by presenting one way as 'THE way' or even worse, 'the ONLY way'.

You clearly love Paris, so be sure to let that come through !

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France

Le Cinq (Paris) - Report

In fall 2014, you may have caught the downdraft of this transition :

http://www.restaurant-lecinq.com/en/c...

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France

Tips for Dining Well in Paris

This seems like a very intimidating pile of homework for your novice-traveller first-time visitor to Paris. How are they going to squeeze all this in while figuring out how to exit the airport or use the metro or avoid the pick-pockets or take the best photos or navigate the queue at the Eiffel Tower or ... or ... or ... ?

When I look at your long list of do's and dont's, I think of friends who extracted some very carefully-considered restaurant recommendations from me for their first-time visit and then failed to visit any. Instead, they wandered around being young and in love and in Paris, and at meal-times they used the booking app la Fourchette to dial up whatever was nearby and reasonably-reviewed, and made out like bandits.

I suggest replacing the do's and don'ts with links to the right resources and let your reader figure out what's important to them. Etiquette and restaurant usage for American visitors are covered in any number of books by Paris-based food writers (Patricia Wells, Alec Lobrano etc). Restaurant recommendations are covered in everything from Rick Steves to Michelin to blogs - maybe you'll want to point the sight-seers, the conservatives, the hipsters, the big spenders to the guide that suits best ? Fourchette is another good resource obviously and there are probably to be more map-based apps you can recommend too.

And if all else fails, a first-time traveller should be prepared to live a little - avoiding faux pas and bad eating decisions are things to aim for on your 20th or 100th trip :)

May 08, 2015
shakti2 in France
1

Classic French, Sunday night in Paris, near 1st Arr.?

Surely you must have had good reasons for seeking reservations for these places in the first place ? What's changed since then ? If it's too much information + FOMO, I'd say to relax - your logic of sticking near your hotel for a first night makes good sense. Perhaps you might fit in your more-trad meal at lunch time ? Parnassien provides a good list of current options here :

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1011926

May 06, 2015
shakti2 in France

Are There No Good, Inexpensive Places In Paris?

Chezaline has a pretty diverse customership :
http://www.gillespudlowski.com/66935/...

And there's good shopping 5 min away on Charonne if your tastes run to arty frocks and (camargue) cowboy boots.

Apr 25, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

Sadly agree with all of this. Dijon I happily re-visit enroute to a friend in the Morvan, Beaune I happily miss except for the occasional transit.

But for OP, I do know from friends that the Beaune area can make for a very successful visit for first-timers - a quick train ride from Paris, a very well-groomed small town, cuisine which conforms to many people's idea of 'French food' (snails, beef in red wine), easy access to pretty countryside. The likelihood that you'll encounter wine that blows your socks off may be low, but the local style of light cool-weather reds is not so common outside France and will broaden your experience and perhaps inform your preferences in future (they are generally my favourite with food).

If you think of your 2 days as an introduction and the first of many subsequent trips outside Paris, I reckon you'll have a great time.

Apr 24, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

The Meursault château and the Oliver Leflaive operation in Puligny-Montrachet have well-established well-oiled tasting set-ups for visitors (includes lunch at Leflaive). Google their sites for details and search here for reviews (no first-hand experience myself).

Otherwise it really can be very random - certainly not difficult to blow through Pommard, Volnay etc without seeing any commercial activity, depending on the time of the year. Or you may come upon random spots open on the road in between villages. Meursault probably has the liveliest commercial centre of the ones you mention - a boulangerie, a couple of cafes, a folkloric-looking mairie (or maybe that's the post office).

Hard to say on finding english speakers - I wouldn't count on it but then again, there are proprietors in the area who speak classier english than many of us.

Apr 23, 2015
shakti2 in France

Ellsworth: 3 of us took a hit for the team.

What a tough readership you've got ! Seems a bit much to expect you to research staff CVs on top of putting your tastebuds and tummy out there as a service to readers ...

Apr 22, 2015
shakti2 in France
1

Bakeries, Pastry, Bars and more!

'Fraid not. It's open Saturday afternoon for sure and there's a small notice attached to the 'closed' sign of the Turenne shop which redirects you round the back. Much reduced selection though, I suspect it's there for trade customers who open on weekends.

Apr 21, 2015
shakti2 in France

Bakeries, Pastry, Bars and more!

Yes and yes for 134RDT and marche Popincourt. For 134RDT, their croissants are terrific too and it may be helpful to know that they have a 2nd storefront at rue Saintonge open for at least some of the weekend when the main shop is shut.

For cheese, Jounnault on rue de Bretagne is probably handier for upper Marais and if you are schlepping to rue St.-Antoine for Dubois, you should check out the Beillevaire branch there too - they sell cute sampler packs of very acceptable quality and interest, and they have their own production of soft cheese, probably coming into its best in the warmer months.

Apr 21, 2015
shakti2 in France

Restaurants open May 1

Ya, that's a classy move !

Apr 21, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

'Getting a sense of place is part of the reason to visit a wine area.'

'Best approach is to hire a car, go for a drive, explore for a day, understand to layout [sic] of the wineries in the area, get a sense of placer [sic], and don't drink a lot. Then the next day spend the day in town drinking your fill with the geographic knowledge and understanding of the area to know which wines come from which area.'

These 2 sentences are not equivalent. I can't argue with the first one. The second one may be best for you but isn't helpful for others who may have practical restrictions or different preferences to yours.

Apr 21, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

Yes, I'm afraid you'll need to plan around closures. I suspect the important sights will be open and busy (the hospice in Beaune, the ducal palace in Dijon) but at least some smaller businesses will make an entire long weekend of it.

Heading into the country may be a nice back-up plan after all - I'd discuss what's open with a tour operator and if it doesn't sound promising, you may want to forget about tasting and consider cycling instead. The Grands Crus route is 60 km of dedicated cycle paths passing through the classiest vineyards and prettiest villages from Dijon to south of Beaune - you could assemble picnic supplies the day before to avoid being hostage to unforeseen closures. Friends of mine have used these folks to rent bikes and organise tours :

http://www.bourgogne-evasion.fr/

Apr 21, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

'Best approach is to hire a car etc etc'

Phil, here's the problem with 'best' - yours is fine for you.

NOT best for me - I love to drink, but shop talk about wine bores me and one sunny hillside with vines looks exactly the same to me as the next.

And probably not best for OP who's said her interest is tasting reds in a specific zone characterised by small production and high prices, and for which she does not have a friendly merchant to set up introductions. We've not even raised potential practical aggravations like 'can you drive manual ?'

A wine tour may well be best for her and I'm glad someone was able to provide a personal rec above (rather than our not-so-helpful sidebar).

Apr 20, 2015
shakti2 in France

Please help plan trip to Burgundy

'Staying in town and sampling in what is basically a shop seems to mess [sic] the point of travel to a wine region.'

Actually, this seems to be missing the point of OP's circumstances, which are that she is spending 2 days in the region, out of a 7-day first-time visit to the country, doesn't speak French, doesn't want to drink and drive.

Apr 20, 2015
shakti2 in France
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