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Palm Springs Area - Where to host a great wedding rehersal dinner?

I am getting married in the Palm Springs area and am looking for a place to host a rehersal dinner. I am looking for someplace that has GREAT food and drink , but is casual and fun and can accomodate up to 150 people. Ideas, people. I need ideas.

Nov 06, 2009
cgutstein in California

12 Day trip To Italy: Venice, Verona, Florence, Rome, Positano/Sorrento, Capri. Where do I start???

My girlfriend and I just got back from a 10 day trip to Venice, Padua, Florence, Cortona, Sienna and Rome. There are many amazing places we tried in all of these places, including Il Rodotto, Le Calandre, Cibreo and Rosicoli, just to name a few. Please check out my blog at for details, pictures, menus, etc. And have FUN!

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Eat and be merry in Tuscany

We just got back from Cortona and Sienna in Tuscany (and other places in Italy). Hostaria La Bocaccia in Cortona may have been my favorite place in all of Italy. Check out my blog at for details on where to eat and what the food looks like.

Hosteria La Bocaccia
Cortona, Italy

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Porchetta in Florence? And Dario Cecchini ?

I just got back from Florence. I didn't find a great porchetta sandwich there, although you could certainly visit the Central Market, but I did find one in Cortona, in Tuscany at it's Saturday market.

Check out my blog at for all the details on where to eat in Florence, Cortona, Sienna, Venice and Rome.

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Florence Recommendations

My girlfriend Sasha and I just got back from 10 days in Italy, including 3 in Florence. We found really great places in Florence, including La Giostra, Ringo's and Cibreo and more. Check out for details.

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Le Calandre - A 3 star experience, Rubino/Padua, Italy

So, after spending a morning with Giotto and his magnificent frescoes, Sasha and I grabbed a cab to Sarmeola di Rubano, just outside of Padua, to visit Le Calandre. Run by brothers Massimiliano (in the kitchen) and Raffaele Alajmo, Le Calandre is a 3 star Michelin rated performance art experience hiding out as a restaurant. Only 28 when he received his third star, Massimiliano is a true artist, whose surface is the palate instead of the canvas.

Lunch began with a collection of amuses. The first was three tastes: a mini pizza margherita, cod fish salad encased in fried polenta and sprinkled with curry power, and an amazing little ball of Fassone beef carpaccio on a stick topped with shrimp crudo, chive and pink Peruvian pepper. There was something inside the Fassone ball that gave it a Rice Krispie-like crunch; I have no idea what it was but it was delicious.

For much more about this restaurant, including pictures of what we ate, please visit

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Il Rodotto - Venice, Italy

Il Ridotto is a little restaurant located on a precious square (more of a triangle) near San Marco. There are a few excellent enotecas nearby, including one catty corner to the restaurant also owned by Bonaccorsi called Acciughe (the spelling is off, but it means “anchovies”). Sasha and I ordered the Chef’s testing menu (which had a wonderful description that I wish I had written down); at E50, it’s a feast and a bargain. The amuse bouche was potato wrapped roasted prawn on a bed of creamed potatoes, extra virgin and chive. The prawn was succulent and full of flavor and the crunch of the julienned potato wrapping combined with the cloud-like creamed potato was a winning combination.

For more on this restaurant, including pictures of what we ate, please visit

Il Rodotto
Venice, Italy

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Osteria San Marco - Venice, Italy

This is the first place we ate in venice. It is a small enoteca near piazza san marco on frezzaria. The food was excellent and the service perfect. The waiter recommended a few reasonably priced white wines, and we chose a young (2008) pinot grigio that was perfect.

For more on this restaurant, including pictures, please visit

Osteria San Marco Srl
Sestiere San Marco, 1610, Venice, Veneto 30124, IT

Jul 04, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

HELP: A Few Days In Italy

Here's the deal. My girlfriend and I are spending a few days in Italy. Venice for 1 night, Padua for an afternoon, Florence for 2 nights and Rome for 2 nights. I need IDEAS people. Secret hideaways, classic dining experiences, romantic extravaganzas. I'm not scared by prices, but need ideas all across the spectrum.

May 20, 2009
cgutstein in Italy

Bachelor Party Dinners

I am planning a bachelor party in Montreal. The bachelor is a big foodie and we will be a group of 12-15 people. Can someone please recommend some foddie friendly places with great food and great atmosphere? We need 2 dinner and 1 lunch spots.

Jelllyfish Restaurant in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Well, since no one replied to my post, my girlfriend and I were on our own with respect to the food options here.

First of all, let me say that we are staying at the Paradisus Palma Real The Reserve Resort. The reserve is the new "5 Star" part of the resort. It opened 2 days before Christmas, and it is definately not 5 stars. The staff, although very nice, is completely untrained. Complaints written down and ignored. The rooms, while spacious and nice, have many things wrong with them (non-working lights, showers, jacuzzi tubs, no AC in the bedroom, etc.). And worst of all, the food is simply uneatable, with the worst service (over 1 hour for a hamburger) you can imagine. I would not let our dog eat here.

That being said, we have so far found 2 amazing local places to eat. Real chowhound experiences. The first is called Jellyfish. It is on the beach and is a two story structure built to look like a jellyfish. The appetizers are respectable, my seafood salad was fine and my girlfriend had a passable greek salad. The drinks are well made. They bring out some oil and balsamic with shredded mozzarella cheese as a side with teh bread. I would avoid this as the cheese is costco quality.

The main courses are very good. I had the house lobster, which are 2 lobster tails totaling 2 1.2 pounds, served in a house sauce. I had the fried plantains as a side. The loberster was perfectly cooked and huge, yet very succulent. The sauce is buttery and tangy, but not at all oily. The plantains were perfectly fried, nice and crunchy on the outside with a chewy, sweet center, and made a perfect companion to the lobster,

My girlfriend had the cajun shrimp These are medium (fresh) shrimp in a spicy, tangy red sauce served with white rice. The rice is perfect with the sauce, and really beings down the heat of the sauce. The shrimp are very, very good, and their meaty-ness is well balanced by the spice. A side of well braised vegies rounded out an excellent meal. Please note that Jellyfish does not take credit cards, so bring lots of cash. They also sell fish and lobster by the pound, but I recommend the house specialities,

Jellyfish Restaurant
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

HELP in Punta Cana, DR

We are in Punta Cana Dominican Republic at an all-inclusive and the food is un-eatible (i'm talking cruel and unusal punsihment here).

PLEASE does ANYBODY have any recommendations for some good fodd (preferably local cusisine) in the Punta Cana area? I'm heard of Capitain Cook, Jellyfish and La Yola, but don't know anything about them.

Help me, Obi're my only hope...:-)

3 Nights in Napa w/ Fiance; Suggestions Needed

My fiance and I are spending 3 nights in Napa and I need suggestions of great places to eat. We love italian, mediterranian, and most other cuisine. I love french, but she is not a big fan. We want places from both the "money is no object" and "hidden gem" categories. Please help!