s

syb's Profile

Title Last Reply

Why are some Parisian restaurants *really* brightly lit?

I love coming to Paris and I hate wasting a meal. When I read up on places I feel I learn a lot about the food and nothing about the ambiance. While the quality of the food is my priority, I have had experiences where I'm really excited to try a restaurant but when I walk in, I am shocked by the lack of ambiance. I gather there are laws requiring them to be energy efficient, and I applaud this. But I wonder why more restaurants don't do anything to enhance the atmosphere by dimming, adding candles or putting gels on the CF lights. Is there a way of finding out whether a restaurant is illuminated thoughtfully or if they just flick the switch on the florescent tubes?

Does the lighting bother anyone else? Does anyone have some tips for restaurants with great food and a bit of ambiance?

Some spots I like that have both:
- Septime
- Grazie
- Glou

Some spots that have offensive lighting:
- Brasserie Balzac (couldn't bring myself to sit in the lighting)
- Tan Dinh (love the food, will come back with sunglasses)
- Philou (great food, terribly bright spot lighting)

Thanks!

Nov 30, 2011
syb in France

Etiquette question: if your chicken is not hot and not wholly cooked, what do you do?

Thanks to all for weighing in on my chicken conundrum. Indeed the chickens in France are different and have taste, which is why I ordered it several times while in Paris. This particular chicken was pink in a semi-translucent way, which is what made me think it was questionably cooked. I forgot to mention that the skin looked crispy, but was rubbery.

When the chef brought it back it was cooked through, the skin was crispy and the temperature hot. I wonder if the kitchen cooks the chicken half way, then finishes them to order? Or maybe they fired it way before the fish and it was just left sitting...

I don't send food back often but in this case, I felt right about it. Even though I shouldn't be concerned with the waiter's reaction, a server's attitude is part of the experience and it affected the tone of the meal.

Nov 30, 2011
syb in France

Etiquette question: if your chicken is not hot and not wholly cooked, what do you do?

I had this experience tonight and would love feedback on what I should have done.

I should preface this by saying it was in a restaurant run by a local darling chef. Dinner for 2 was 105 euros.

My chicken arrived lukewarm and questionably cooked. It sat before me for a minute before my husband's fish arrived piping hot. When I cut into my chicken it was pink inside. When I put it in my mouth, it was tepid. The combination of temperature (I like hot food to be hot) and underdone poultry made the dish unappetizing to me. I couldn't keep eating it to be polite, I would have just left the chicken untouched. Not knowing the etiquette in Paris, I debated saying something. But then I decided to do what I would have done at home in NYC.

When the waiter walked by, I politely mentioned my food was tepid and that if possible, I'd like it to be warmed and cooked a bit more. He gave me a look as though I'd insulted his mother, took the plate to the kitchen without a word.

A few minutes later, the chef personally returned the plate to me with apologies and a smile. The chicken was piping hot, cooked through, and all was well. Or so I thought. The waiter (who was pleasant and engaging for the first half of the meal) refused to talk or look at me for the rest of the meal.

My questions to you:

- Are dishes ever sent back in Paris or did I violate French etiquette?

- What would you have done?

Nov 22, 2011
syb in France

Fish and Chips in Melbourne

Does anybody know if there's somewhere to sit down and eat at Carlisle? Or is it a strictly takeaway spot?

Dec 08, 2010
syb in Australia/New Zealand

Big group dinner, mix of veg/omnivores - izakaya suggestions please!

Thanks for your suggestion, I'll definitely look into it. Our concierge recommended a place called Hokkaido that's supposed to be near Nihonbashi that he said was good. Do you happen to know it?

Nov 14, 2010
syb in Japan

Place with non-pork ramen in Tokyo, Kyoto

Sorry, I should have been more specific. No pork, beef or chicken, but seafood is ok for broth. Are there any 100% veggie broths out there?

Nov 11, 2010
syb in Japan

Place with non-pork ramen in Tokyo, Kyoto

Does such a place exist? I know lots of ramen-heads will be turned and eyes rolling at this request, but I'm traveling with someone who doesn't eat pork. Do you know of any great ramen spots that have broths made without pork? Seafood and vegetable are fine.

Nov 08, 2010
syb in Japan

Big group dinner, mix of veg/omnivores - izakaya suggestions please!

Thanks for the suggestions. Is there a place to see pictures of these places? I don't read kanji so tabelog and asku are not options for me.

I'm not sure what's considered expensive, but we'd probably want to stick between ¥6000 and ¥8000 per person for food (alcohol not included) but would pay more for a great experience.

Nov 08, 2010
syb in Japan

Big group dinner, mix of veg/omnivores - izakaya suggestions please!

I'm traveling to Tokyo this month with family. Our group is made up of vegetarians (who eat fish), sushiphobes (who don't eat raw fish) and omnivore gaijin (who eat everything but will be trying a lot of foods for the first time). There is one Japanese speaker amongst us.

I'm trying to find a place for this picky group of 11 people to dine together on Sat Nov 20. We're staying near Nihonbashi but are willing to travel for a place that has great atmosphere and food. It would be a plus if it's not over-the-top noisy as we'll have a grandpa with us.

I chose an izakaya with the thought they would have something for everyone. I seem to remember they cater to groups well and I like the lively atmospheres that come with izakaya. That said I don't think we want to be at one of the more raucous ones where office workers get out of hand.

If non-izakaya ideas come to mind that would keep everyone happy, I welcome those too. Thanks so much!

Nov 07, 2010
syb in Japan

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Le Derrière was perfectly described by vielleanglaise. The food is indeed inoffensive and unmemorable but let's say I've had worse. The fun atmosphere and boho people-watching kept us sufficiently distracted from our meals. The party of 6 next to us spent more time in the smoking room than at the table...I guess that's the best way of enjoying it.

Well I'm back in NY now, with a longer list of veg friendly restaurants in Paris for my next trip. Thanks for all who made suggestions and feel free to contact me if I can be of help if you're ever in NYC.

Nov 03, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

We wanted to go to L'Arpege on this visit but it's closed for "maintenance". Do they really use meat stocks? Say it isn't so! I have veg friends in NY who raved about L'Arpege and would be really upset to find out. Can you confirm this is true?

Oct 31, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

I'm willing to make the sacrifice but didn't think I had to, that's all. I'm not used to vegetarians being relegated to their own category of restaurant, never to dine in a "normal" establishment. I wonder if the day will come when omnivores and vegetarians can dine side by side (as equals) in the same spot in Paris? Places like Rose Bakery (granted, an English import) and Breizh suggest this might be in the cards.

I have lots of respect for the French culinary culture and would never suspect a chef of trying to cheat a diner. That said, I was surprised the waiter at Quai Quai didn't mention the bacon when he knew he was dealing with a vegetarian. My boyfriend is veg for ethical reasons-- he doesn't suffer from an allergy-- but imagine if he did. I don't believe the waiter was motivated by malice, he was just oblivious.

Thanks for your suggestions, I've noted them for future visits. And feel free to suggest some of your favorite places for when I come back for a girls trip with my omnivore girlfriends!

Oct 31, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Thanks for your honest assessment, I'll adjust my expectations accordingly. And maybe pickup smoking and ping pong... I will report back!

Oct 31, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Thanks for these links. I've already been relying heavily on David Leibowitz's site and suggestions (incl the veg link). The other two sites are a welcome addition. I was hoping there was some intelligence out there about "normal" restaurants that could accommodate vegetarians...

Oct 31, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Yes-- we're finding it to be very difficult. Just came from dinner at Quai Quai tonight. My veg boyfriend explained he was a vegetarian (clarified no meat, chicken, fish, etc) and ordered the lentils with poached egg followed by a vegetarian main plat (the waiter said the chef would put something together). The lentils arrived with huge chunks of bacon and the special vegetarian plat was a mound of the side veggies that came with my fish.

It baffled us that the waiter could fail to mention the bacon, also that there are no additional vegetables on hand in the kitchen to make up an inventive main without meat.

We live in NYC where we find vegetarian main courses on the menus of every restaurant we go to (and we do not limit ourselves to hippie macrobiotic or ethnic spots). I'm not trying to be the ugly american who wishes for everything to be the same as "at home" but I'm surprised to find so few options for "veggo foodies" as PhilD so aptly puts it.

Any recommendations would be welcome...even if we can't visit them on this trip, it'll at least make another trip to Paris a possibility for us.

Oct 30, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Thanks for the wonderful suggestion, we'll try it another night. It is a pity we've hit the trifecta of Sunday/B'day/Veg. But since that can not be changed, the question remains, where should we go?

I've done some more research, perhaps you can help me choose between these:
- Bouillon Racine
- Glou
- La Derriere (is the food any good here or is it all just a scene?)

...or suggest another spot that might be open tomorrow night.

Would also love a suggestion for a good bar to have a drink at. We're not smokers so we don't need to sit outside on the street somewhere.

Oct 30, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

Thanks for the ideas...part of the reason why I posted is because i've searched "vegetarian" already. I try to list the types of places I like in hopes someone will relate to my taste/aesthetic and be able to suggest other ideas based on my preferences.

We are at home in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 10th (or downtown nyc) and enjoy funky design places with food that isn't strictly vegetarian (I adore fish and would like to eat it even if he won't!) While we enjoy haute cuisine every now and then, we're more casual and not looking for the "typical" parisian formal experience.

Hoping additional info helps!

Oct 28, 2010
syb in France

Sunday b'day dinner for Vegetarian boyfriend

I know that sounds like a trick question...but I'm seeking a restaurant that would be able to cater to my vegetarian boyfriend this Sunday night. We will be a party of 4.

He eats cheese and egg and doesn't mind if others are eating meat all around him, but he doesn't eat fish. As NYers we appreciate excellent quality food and ambiance. Our preference is not fancy classic French, we are open to funky, new-wave French, other cuisines too.

Friends had recommended La Derrière. If we can't get in here, where else would you send us?

Spots we've enjoyed are: Le Timbre, Glou, Briezh Cafe, Bob's Kitchen, Rose Bakery, etc.

Oct 28, 2010
syb in France

What's the grey residue on my new aluminum muffin pan?

Great information, thanks. I will try seasoning mine pronto!

May 11, 2010
syb in Cookware

What's the grey residue on my new aluminum muffin pan?

Thank you for all of this fabulous feedback! I took the pan back today and they gave me a new one (same brand, finish). They were surprised to hear about the grey residue-- they'd never seen that before.

The label on the new pan says it is "dishwasher safe". EWSflash might be onto something with those enzymes. I checked my detergent for ingredients (Cascade with Dawn) and get this-- there are no ingredients (but it does say the bottle is made with 25% recycled plastic). In the caution notes it says it contains Chlorine Bleach as a warning not to put it on your clothes, so I guess that's the active ingredient?

Out of curiosity, do you ever bake eggs or muffins in aluminum pans without liners? I bought the aluminum thinking it was safer than the non-stick. I'm so confused about which is "better" for us?

May 10, 2010
syb in Cookware

What's the grey residue on my new aluminum muffin pan?

Oh no! Thanks for letting me know.

May 06, 2010
syb in Cookware

What's the grey residue on my new aluminum muffin pan?

Yes, I ran it through the dishwasher...

May 04, 2010
syb in Cookware

What's the grey residue on my new aluminum muffin pan?

I just bought an aluminum covered steel muffin pan made by Chicago Metallic. As I was greasing the tray with melted butter, I noticed my brush was turning grey. Then I tried to clean the pan with a sponge. That turned grey. I washed the pan again (as I'd done the night before) and this grey residue continued to stick to my sponge, brush, paper towel. It was at this point I abandoned my frittata preparation to pull out a non-stick version I had bought as a backup.

What is this grey residue? I've heard non-stick pans have toxins that people avoid by buying cast iron or aluminum pans. Has anybody else had this problem?

May 03, 2010
syb in Cookware

1 night in Kyoto next week, comfort food wanted!

We'll be in Kyoto for one night only. We're seeking some comfort food near Shijo-- soba, ramen, izakaya, even delicious tempura (not sure if that's comfort...it is to us!). We arrive around 7:30pm and won't be up for venturing across town, but a taxi ride would be fine.

We're spending our other nights in Japan in ryokan around the country where I'm sure we'll get to eat some delicious seasonal kaiseki. Hence the request for something low-key for our night in Kyoto...

Welcoming any breakfast suggestions too!

Thanks!

Apr 12, 2010
syb in Japan

best brekkie in melbourne?

new yorker looking for a delicious brekkie in melb. tried to go to MART this morning but it's closed!!

to give you an idea of what we like, we just came from sydney where we love BILL's and their emphasis on fresh ingredients.

any reccos appreciated!

Dec 27, 2009
syb in Australia/New Zealand

brooklyn bowl: is the food really by blue ribbon?

went there tonight and honestly, the best thing about the restaurant is the menu. i mean, the physical menu-- the fonts and graphic design are great. but the food was really disappointing.

fried calamari: more batter than calamari, tepid and hard
wedge salad: so much blue cheese layered between leaves and dressing it was inedible
corn on the cob: ok but nothing special
fish spread: minimal amounts of smoked fish drowning in cream. i prefer these ingredients in inverse proportions
mac and cheese: bland and boring
french bread pizza: the best thing we ate-- it brought back memories of the frozen version we ate as kids.

all in all, the space is great, the bowling is fun, but the food is terrible. i was excited to eat there as i am a big fan of all the other blue ribbon restaurants. but if i were them i'd remove the blue ribbon name from this establishment. it tarnishes a name that's always been synonymous with quality, reliability and success.

Sep 12, 2009
syb in Outer Boroughs

Aussie Bars in Manhattan for early 20's

go to the Kingswood on W.10th btw Greenwich and 6th Avenue. Also Aussie-run but cool people hang out there too.

Sep 09, 2009
syb in Manhattan

Intimate Wedding ceremony and reception venue

i went to a lovely intimate wedding at shorty's 32 in soho. the space (with the help of a great staff) was flexible enough to have the ceremony, dinner and dancing. shorty is a fantastic chef-- he tailored the meal to the tastes of the party and took care of flowers and even the cake. music was easy-- the wedding party brought an ipod and plugged it in!

it's definitely worth stopping by to speak to shorty-- he'll probably work within your budget. stop by for brunch or dinner. it's a real hidden gem in soho.

congratulations and good luck!

Aug 02, 2009
syb in Manhattan

Restaurant Sugg for Small Informal Wedding

congrats! i recommend shorty's 32 in soho. i went to a wonderfully intimate and delicious wedding there a couple of months ago. my friends had about 20 seated with room to dance. i'm not sure how many he can seat, but you should definitely call and find out about that and pricing. i know he was really easy to work with and his staff was warm, friendly and professional. your foodie friends will be extremely satisfied! my friends also had the ceremony in the restaurant. easy!

Jul 09, 2009
syb in Manhattan

fish tacos?

five points has them on the lunch menu and they are delicious!

May 31, 2009
syb in Manhattan