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Your Signature Dish Sucks

Give me your restaurant any day............

Apr 21, 2012
Viking10 in Features

Is there any good food in the Azores?

Thanks to both of you. Very good ideas.

Jun 22, 2011
Viking10 in Spain/Portugal

Is there any good food in the Azores?

This summer we are heading off to Portugal (we supported the Greek economy last year, so this time we figured we would "help" another country). First we will be a week in Lisbon, and I see that there are plenty of posts on food there. Afterwards we head off to the Azores and will be doing some island-hopping. We are pre-warned from guidebooks that we should turn our culinary expectations way-down. This seems to be supported here as there is one (1) post that comes up with a search on "Azores" and it is not related to food on the islands.

If anybody has any experiences and/or ideas, would be very happy to hear about them. We are travelling around, so it does not really matter where on the islands.

Jun 20, 2011
Viking10 in Spain/Portugal

Dinner at Guy Savoy

We had lunch at Guy Savoy a couple of years back and thought it was excellent. We were a group of eight and were given the private room across the street from the mian restaurant. What I loved about Guy Savoy was maybe the same as you are "complaining" about. I was amazed at the "simplicity" and how straight-forward many of the dishes seemed, but they were all perfect. In addition, service was wonderful. I gues that if very visible creavity and lots of color and flash is what you want then Guy Savoy is not the place the go. I suspect that there are other 3* restaurants in Paris that I would want to try before going back to Guy Savoy, but for what it is, I thought it was excellent.

Apr 22, 2011
Viking10 in France

The roller coaster that was Le Bernardin- A mini novel

It sounds like you do not like fish. If you pair a "delicate tasting"fish with a "robust" sauce, you end up tasting the sauce. You might as well order the sauce stand alone. One of the best dishes I have ever had was at Guy Savoy which was essentially a lightly poached piece of cod.

Apr 06, 2011
Viking10 in Manhattan

Boston foodie spending 2 days in Utrecht--need help please!

Can suggest Luce, Visschersplein 75, Utrecht, phone: (030) 233 30 08

Good food excellent wines.

Feb 24, 2011
Viking10 in Europe

Tromsø - Help please

I was in Tromso two week-ends ago, abd finally got around to eating at Emma's Drommekjokken after having heard great things about it for may years (and not having been able to get a table at previous occasions in Tromso).

Overall verdict : Not amazed and fairly disapointing. We had a fixed menu with wines. The wines very either boring or did not fit the food. Also got the strong feeling the the waiters knew nothing about wine in general or the wines being served. The food varied in quality. The starter was Cod Cheeks in Batter. Great delicasy, but the cod cheeks were smothered in the extremely thick batter, and the bernaise sauce seemed to be coagulating. Cannot remeber the second course, but it was not more than ok. The main course was lamb, and this was delicious. The desert also did not make a big impression.

From people in the know (i.e. my wife who regularly spends two weeks there), the new place to go to is Fire Roser. I took a look at their wine list, which was extremely impressive.

Feb 01, 2011
Viking10 in Europe

Chocolate in blocks in Amsterdam

Do not know if you have access, but you can certainly buy bulk chocolate at Makro and Hanos/ISPC

Dec 14, 2010
Viking10 in Europe

May vacation Crete

For our May vacation we have decided to support the economy of Greece (directly instead of indirectly via taxes) by taking a weeks vacation in Crete. Any ideas/recommendations related to food / drink are very welcome. We will have a car, so we are fairly mobile.

Apr 03, 2010
Viking10 in Europe

A nice surprise and a disapointment in Maastricht

Just spent a weekend in Maastricht, and can highly recommend the town. It is beautiful, very laid back, has lots of nice pubs/bars/cafes, and also has a very good reputation for food.

We arrived late Friday night and stayed in Hotel Kind of Blue (the owner is a BIG Miles Davis fan). This is more a B&B and we liked it a lot. Based on the advice of friends and the hotel owner, we had dinner at Gio's. Gio's is an Italian restaurant where you cannot reserve before hand, but go to directly or call and give your mobile number so that they can call you when a table is free. This is an old-fashioned Italian without a menu and a limited wine choice (we were told that the house red was a good fit, and it was). The courses keep coming, and are served off big platters. The food was excellent, the waiters friendly, and the overall atmosphere very nice. At €100 for two persons, definitely worth a visit.

For Saturday we decided to splurge to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, and decided to go to Toine Hermsen, one of the best restaurants in The Netherlands. While the food was excellent, the overall service was the worst I have ever experienced in this type of top-level restaurant. It seemed that the whole front-end was having a bad day, with no coordination between the different people, but the memories that stick out include:
1) It seemed that not going for the standard wine menu was very uncommon, and while the sommelier seemed to have practiced her "story" for the individual wines within the wine menu, her knowledge of the rest of the wine list seemed to be non-existent, and she was not able to give any sensible advice regarding a white and a red to go with the menu ("all our Bordeaux go well with the lamb dish"). After we had ordered the wine, it then took numerous requests before the bottle was opened and anything was poured into a glass, and we were almost tempted to go open the bottle ourselves.
2) One of the courses was frog legs, and when it was served the plates looked very nice but my wife's plate had food-rests on one side of the plate. It looked strange, but we did not directly comment it. A moment later my wife noticed that she had two frog legs while I had three. Our hypotheses therefore was that one frog-leg had somehow slid off the plate leaving a trail of debris along it path. We raised this with a waiter, who said he would take it up with the kitchen staff. We never heard anything back............
3) It was getting late, our corner of the restaurant was emptying, and we decided to pay the bill. Getting the bill was not a problem, but then getting anybody to come pick up the credit card was impossible (in spite of different people walking back and forth). Finally, we decided to get up and go to the cash register (something that I have up to now only have had to do in "dives". When we noted our surprise at the difficulty in paying, the response was to start blaming each other for who had the responsibility (very unprofessional....).
All in all, while the food was good the service was at a level that the probability of coming back in close to zero. Luckily Maastricht has many other good choices for our next visit.

Food on La Gomera

Going for a week vacation to La Gomera. Any tips / ideas on restaurants and food highly appreciated.

Oct 15, 2007
Viking10 in Spain/Portugal

Rhine and Mosel Suggestions

Not a specific suggestion for a restaurant, but for a food/wine combination. Do as the locals and drink an old riesling auslese with your game. It sounds strange, but is ane xcellent combination, as the German tendency is to make the food a bit sweet.

Brussels beware of La Quincaillerie!

Had dinner there about a year ago, and very much enjoyed it. The food and wine was fine, and it was a pretty cool place to hang out. It was definitely on my list to go back to. However, already then it was extremely popular, and it sounds like they have started "cashing in". Thanks for the warning.

Le Reminet : What a sorry state of affairs..............

Let me add that the problem was not the American (or maybe Canadian) tourists (some of my best friends...........), rather this was my hypotheses on why the service was what it was. They were probably more bothered by us (a noisy group of Norwegians) than we were by them.

Oct 26, 2006
Viking10 in France

Le Reminet : What a sorry state of affairs..............

Bill

I understand your argument, but the alternative would have been that they brought us (at their cost) a new Chablis Premiere Cru to replace the one that was destroyed by being mixed with the standard Chablis (some of the glasses were 1/2 full). Somehow, I do not see them having done this......

Oct 24, 2006
Viking10 in France

Le Reminet : What a sorry state of affairs..............

Just back from a wonderful week-end in Paris (see separate posting). The only disappointment of the whole week-end was Le Reminet.

I must admit that some alarm bells started ringing when we walked into the restaurant and saw that were only (all due respect) Americans in the place. A restaurant in Paris without French people is a bad sign, and it appears to me that the owners of Le Reminet have now decided to move into the "cash cow" phase of operations and milk the excellent reputation of the place for all that it is worth. The food is still very, very good (with some small exceptions), but to my mind the service can be called terrible. It started with the ordering, where our group of eight felt that it was being rushed as if there was a second serving coming after us. It continued with a waitress that seemed to have come straight out of grammar school (probably big savings being made here), that did not know the least thing about serving wine, and actually managed to bring a wrong (and lesser) bottle of wine when we ordered a refill and poured it into our glasses with the existing wine. We complained about this, told her that we did not want to see the second bottle on the bill, and assumed that she would bring us a new bottle. When no such thing happened (in fact, nobody of the staff was to be seen anymore in the cellar), some of my thirsty brethren actually drank the wine (an interesting if slightly disappointing mix of a Chablis Premier Cru and a standard Chablis). When the time came to ask for the bill, I explained to the co-owner that I did not expect to see the second bottle on the bill. After a long wait she and her husband came to announce that they had (graciously) decided to take off the bottle, but scolded us having drank the wine. As I do not appreciate being scolded at restaurants (something about being a paying customer), an argument ensured about what had happened. We finally left without leaving a tip. This could have been handled in many different ways, many of which would have had us leave the restaurant as fairly happy customers laughing at a strange accident, probably leaving behind a tip that would have more than covered the cost of the wine, but this was not one of them. My theory is that this is what happens when a restaurant becomes too used to having only tourists, who are happy to have scored a table at a popular restaurant, and who are probably not in a mood to get into a negative mood over bad service.

My advice would be to keep the cook, fire the front-end personnel and replace them with staff of the professional caliber you usually get in French restaurants

Oct 22, 2006
Viking10 in France

Food in Paris for a mixed group

Just back from the long week-end in Paris, and everybody had a great time. Thanks to Chezchristine and PBSF for their input and ideas.

On Thursday night we ended up eating at Grannie. It was a bit out of the way, but was very nice indeed. The food was great (could not really detect any Fusion-y aspect to the food), service was very good, asnd the wines were excellent.

On Friday we had lunch at Guy Savoy. This was heaven...... We were seated in theur private dining room across the street from the restaurant, and though it might have been fun to be part of the restaurant scene, this was perfect for our group of eight. We had their Euro 150 lunch menu which included the oyster on ice, cod and egg, artichoke soup, lamd steak, and a "ton" of deserts (it all sounds nicer in French). The food was wonderful, what surprised me the most was the lightness of the preperation (for example the cod was just lightly steamed, and was served naked except for a poached egg and some spinach) which really allowed the quality of the ingredients to shine through. The service was excellent, and it really brings home to you the manpower required for this level of quality when you see three people working full time only for your meal the whole afternoon.

On Sauturday, the only disapointment, Le Reminet, which deserves its own post.

Today we had lunch at Terminus Nord, and it was , as allways, great. I really love this place. The food is good (not great, but honest), service is excellent, and it is just a lot of fun seeing all the people moving in and out to grab some food before catching their train.

Oct 22, 2006
Viking10 in France

Marius: The Best Restaurant in Amsterdam (LONG)

Pieterpad

Probably saw you there on Saturday, which of the big groups was you?
Marius is a great place for a number of reasons, but to characterize it as "best" brings us into a pretty complex area of defining the use of that word. The atmosphere in the place was very nice (even though there were two large groups present and the level of noice was extremely high), the level of thge service was very good (impressive, with one waitress), both the wine list and the wines chosen as housewines were very good, and the food was also very good. It is clear that a lot of thought, love and devotion has gone into everything related to the restaurant, and that the whole idea also functions well operationally. However, it is essentially a very, very good neighbourhood bistro, and should get all the credit for being so. I would personally be very careful about suggesting that people should go far out of their way to eat there (this will, of course, also make it easier for me to get a table the next time...............)

Food in Paris for a mixed group

We will be going to Paris the second week-end of October (arriving on Thursday and leaving on Sunday)with my brothers and sister. We will be a group of eight in total, with a pretty large spread of interest in food (me and my wife pretty serious (hobby) cooks, and extremely interested in restaurant food, one brother who really enjoys good food and wine, and most of the rest a bit "can take it or leave it", and one who is afraid of anything with taste). I have convinced the whole group that we "need" to have one 3* lunch, and have also taken the responsibility for the rest of the food-program. Help in the following areas would be greatly appreciated:
1) We are all arriving early on Thursday evening, and staying in a hotel in the Quartier Latin. Everybody will be tired from travelling (Norway/The Netherlands), and I figured on getting us a table at a Bistro in the neighbourhood. Any recomendations?
2) 3* lunch in Friday will be a challenge for some of the group in any case, so I am not planning to be too careful. Last time I had a 3* lunch in Paris was at Taillevent, which was great but very traditional and reserved. This time I figured to try the other end of the scale and go for Gaignaire. Any thoughts?
3) Saturday I will only plan in dinner. Maybe me and my brother will slip off to L'atelier de Joel Rebuchon for lunch, but this will not be a group thing. Dinner should be in a "nice traditional" French restaurant that is relatively relaxed. Could be anywhere in Paris within reasonable taxi distance. Any ideas?
4) My wife and I will probably be travelling back to The Netherlands by train, and that means that lunch will be in Terminus Nord, as it allways has been.............
Looking forward to your input

Aug 23, 2006
Viking10 in France