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Am I achieving my goals? Quick trip to Paris!

Thank you for your report. We loved Les Climats too. Did you get enough time at the museums? Did you have a chance to picnic at the Palais Royal garden or the Lux.?

May 11, 2015
sfcarole in France

Septime Reservations

Maybe call them during the 5:30-7:30 pm slot of the day before the next possible reservation day. I'll check tomorrow to see if I'm seeing anything at 3pm PDT.

Apr 30, 2015
sfcarole in France

Septime Reservations

The last couple of years when I've reserved at Septime the T+21 next day's reservation appeared at 3pm west coast time, or midnight Paris. There were always lots of options for lunch and dinner. If you're still having trouble you probably should just call Septime at around 10am on days they serve lunch and ask for help.

Apr 30, 2015
sfcarole in France

Paris -- staying in the 9th for two weeks November

Mine too! When are you returning to Paris, Peter? We'll be there Sept/Oct. again and it would be great if there were some overlap.

Apr 29, 2015
sfcarole in France

First night at Pramil?

Yes I would say Pramil is more traditional, but you might want to check their carte/menu online to see if you think it will work for your son. There's foie gras, rabbit, smoked salmon, sweetbreads, but also steak and potatoes.

Apr 27, 2015
sfcarole in France

First night at Pramil?

I liked both Pramil and Les Enfants Rouges when we were there last September. But for a first night would probably go with LER because the fare is lighter and more creative. I just R which one he would choose (with no prompting) and he said LER because it was more interesting and better food. Kind of sums it up!

Apr 27, 2015
sfcarole in France

Where to eat in 6th on first night?

It's a dreadful flight - 11 hours - and then you have to contend with a 9 hour time change! I can see why you would choose H.R. for a Sunday since there are fewer restaurants open that night. But as other posts have discussed, there are now quite a few good options for Sunday: Clamato, Pramil, A.Noste, Le Mary Celeste, Les Enfants Rouges, Terroir Parisien, L'Assiette, Le Richer and Les Tablettes, just to name a few.

Apr 27, 2015
sfcarole in France

Where to eat in 6th on first night?

The first night is always tricky for us too. I don't know if I will be hungry or not, cranky & tired from the long flight from San Francisco or excited about finally being in Paris, etc. And if hungry, is it early or late? So we usually opt to eat light and generally at a place we don't have to reserve. The last couple of years we have gone to Huîtrerie Régis on Rue de Montfaucon in the 6th. We share a selection of oysters, shrimp, bread, wine, and if our appetite revives, a platter of charcuterie. They do not take reservations, at least in the past, so we just walk over when we want. There may be a line on a Saturday night, so head over when you have an appetite and are not yet famished.

Apr 26, 2015
sfcarole in France

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

I'm making myself hungry! In order to truly enjoy all these wonderful meals, I don't really eat much during the day, except maybe a small bite in a cafe. R could do a burger and fries with ice cream to follow and still enjoy his dinner. Not me - my appetite would be shot. I remember there were a number of restos in Potts Point we used to enjoy - just can't remember their names!

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Tonight we will be at Quay Restaurant. Originally there were no cruise ships scheduled to be in the harbor, but today the beleaguered Carnival Spirit finally made it to port. But it's scheduled to depart at 7pm and our res isn't until 8:30. We'll see. In any case, I've never found the view in the evening that critical. Indeed, since I walk over the Harbour Bridge most mornings (except the last two!) where the views are always awesome, I never find the views at Quay very important. But maybe at lunch, or during the light show on the Opera House. A question: is the degustation menu the way to go at Quay - or a la carte?

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Wow - thanks for all the recommendations! What we can't fit in before we leave we will definitely save for a return trip. I'll probably stay with our Quay res because it's a little late to change, but it is so good to hear that Tetsuya is still great. In the past it just bowled me over which is why we have probably been there a dozen times over 18 years, starting when they were over in Rozelle. Since Quay opened we have been there maybe half a dozen times, and each time it got better. But I'll be keeping a critical eye on tonight's menu.

Yes, I did have the Flour and Stone lamington on my first visit. Divine! This recent weather has really cut into time to go to some of the cafes you mention, but it's clearing up as I write and there's still time.

P.S. I love your blog. And the photos make me hungry!

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Our dinner at Sixpenny last Wednesday night with friends was superb. We loved the warm ambiance, friendly staff who answered our constant questions and, of course, the food. Of the ‘snacks’ the corn with sea urchin and lime was our favorite. The marron with tomato and tarragon also stood out and the pork belly topped with cidered garlic cream and slices of caramelised apple and witlof was exceptional. Other dishes were the much-written about mud crab and macadamia, potatoes roasted in fresh mustard, and a cheese course of a puff pastry barquette filled with cubed cooked apples and covered with mounds of grated cheddar. Not your typical cheese course. It tasted more like a dessert. I would have preferred some simple slices of great Aussie cheese. But all of the flavors were nuanced and refined, and indeed the flavors were the prominent feature of every course, trumping the creative combinations and beautiful presentations. Oh, the delicious bread is made in-house with their starter named Bob. I loved this because my 8-year old starter in SF is named SpongeBob. One dessert was a milk curd with honey and a dollop of grapefruit custard at the bottom. The other was an artful arrangement of plum slices, jasmine custard, prunes and malt wafers. I hated to get up from the table. It felt like we were visiting someone’s home.

Lucio’s in Paddington hasn’t missed a beat since the last time we visited. I began with a special starter of burrata cheese, fresh figs and prosciutto San Daniele. R had his favorite tagliolini alla granseola (pasta with blue swimmer crab). For mains I had a large portion of their black handkerchief pasta with prawns, cuttlefish, mussels and chilli (and finished every morsel), and R the truly outstanding zuppa di pesce. Everything was delectable. Finally, we shared the ‘banana e caramello’ which is banana gelato with malt cake, macadamia meringue, caramelised banana and salted caramel!

Last Friday we had lunch at Sepia. Everything got off to a good start with the chef’s wife Vicki Wild, who has an infectious and wicked sense of humor, greeting us at the door. Sebastian our waiter was a delight, as was Benjamin the sommelier. We talked frequently with them asking various questions about the food and wine. When we were enjoying ourselves they didn’t intrude. The five-course lunch menu started with an amuse bouche of smoked tofu, salmon roe and finger lime. Meltingly delicious. This was followed by a large ring shape of sashimi of yellow fin tuna topped with Jamon Iberico cream, avocado, radish and pork crackling. The next course was my favorite: a nest of fried shoe string potatoes topped with a poached quail egg, caviar and then a slice of fresh bonito. The flavors came together so perfectly, and the textures were great with the crunchy potato, the creamy egg and the meaty texture of the bonito. Then a perfectly tender piece of poached king crab with a small Japanese omelet rolled up, egg rice, kabosu (a citrus), etc. The kitchen then comped us an extra dish which they had served at a recent lunch they prepared at Le Bernadin in NY at Eric Ripert’s request. It was a butter poached squid with barley miso-cured egg yolk rings and wasabi flowers. It was really a tour de force of flavors and presentation. Essentially a 12 cm square of calamari is sliced in 1/32” pieces, then reformed around a cannoli mold and poached in flavored clarified butter. (See photo below). The meat course was thinly sliced piece of wagyu beef, rolled up and served with a chestnut mushroom sauce. As another commenter has said, I thought the beef would be better served not sliced so thinly, although rolled up you could get a nice mouth-feel. The intermezzo, or pre-dessert as Sepia calls it, was a two inch sphere of hardened sugar (it looked like Jupiter) filled with frozen milk sorbet and pink finger lime “caviar”, all of which came tumbling out when you broke the shell. Our desserts were two, Milks and Autumn Chocolate Forest. R is the chocoholic and he loved the latter. The Milks, with milk chocolate, coconut yogurt, rice milk pudding, goat milk dulce de leche, plus, plus, plus was heavenly. We look forward to our next return to Sydney to revisit Sepia.

Sunday night there were six of us at Surry Hills Eating House. It’s located on the 2nd floor of the Triple Ace Bar, located on the southeast corner of Campbell and Elizabeth. Our number gave us a good opportunity to share a lot of different dishes. For snacks we started with: 1) Mieng Ka Na with fresh finger lime (pork and aromatics mixture served on broccoli leaf), 2) Pak Mor Youan (steamed minced pork in steamed rice paper rolls) and 3) Hua Plee Tod (banana flower fritters). All great, but 1 and 3 the favorites. For mains we shared: 4) Gaeng Kiew Wan Nua (green curry beef), 5) Cha Kuay Teow (flat rice noodles and prawn, cuttle fish, fish & chilli), 6) Gaeng Het Pho (curry of bar cod and black mushrooms), 7) Pla Tod Kraung (deep fried whole whiting with curry paste), 8) Gai Pad Khraung Sra (dry curry chicken thigh fillet with masala spice and roasted coconut), and 9) Moo Hong (braised pork belly with five spice & dark soy). Again, all amazingly good, with 5, 6 and 9 the favorites of the group. We look forward to returning someday to try the dozen and half dishes we haven’t tried.

Monday night, the first night of the big storm, found us over in Potts Point meeting friends at Billy Kwong’s new location. It seats 120, including 30 at the no-res bar. And boy, was it fabulous. After battling the wind and rain to get there, none of us was in a mood to make complicated decisions, so we opted for the $75 banquet. Btw, despite the weather the place was packed. And despite the half hour delay of our friends - stuck in traffic on Edgecliff Road - our server was not fazed. We shared some of the Chinese pickles and mini pork buns while we waited. If my notes are correct we had the following: Ocean trout tartare, Steamed prawn wontons in a vinegar broth, Chinese-style cole slaw, Crispy salt bush cakes, Steamed prawn & crab dumplings (shumai), Crispy rice noodle rolls with braised brisket & black beans & chilli, Steamed snapper fillet with ginger, green onion & shiro shoyu, Crispy skin duck with orange and Davidson’s plums, Green beans with miso, chilli & sesame seeds, Chocolate mousse quenelle, and Ginger panna cotta. It was all scrumptious, although my favorites were the tartare, the salt bush cakes, the brisket stuffed rolls, the duck and the green beans. I think if I lived in Sydney I would be hanging out at that bar every week.

Last night, Tuesday, R and I battled the wind and rain to find ourselves comfortably ensconced in a corner table at Ester. Echoing everyone, this is some seriously delicious food. Again, to taste as much as possible, we opted for the $65 tasting menu. You get to pick a couple of things you really want to try and the kitchen then builds a total menu of 9 or 10 dishes around that. We ended up with a serving of their dark flavorful bread, Crispy squid ink dumplings, Tarthra oysters with finger lime and horseradish, Kingfish crudo with pickled cucumbers and a charred nori sauce, Beef tartare with capers and shallots with grated horseradish on a bed of fried egg cream, Roasted Jerusalem artichoke with parmesan custard and buttermilk cream, Prawns in brown butter and caper sauce, Chicken with bread sauce and roasted garlic, Roasted cauliflower with almond cream, mint and almonds, Green leaf salad, Salted caramel semi-freddo, and Three milks dessert (aerated sheep’s milk yogurt, cow’s milk ricotta panna cotta and dulce de leche on a bed of biscuit crumbs). The crispy squid dumplings, Tarthra oysters and the chicken were our faves…and both desserts.

Jardin des Plumes, Giverny -- tranquility after the crowds in Monet's Gardens

Hi Jake - Chef Guerin's advice for crowd avoidance jibes with our experience in mid-October. Very small groups, not really crowded at all - on a Saturday no less. Also, we took an early train and were picked up by our goddaughter's dad, so we arrived at the gardens just when they opened at 10 am. For future train trips, I would opt for a taxi from Vernon to the gardens to get ahead of the bus crowd. It's only a 15-20 min. drive, so it couldn't be too outrageous.

Apr 17, 2015
sfcarole in France

Porte 12 ,Paris

Btw, I finished and really enjoyed Portraits of France by Daley. R is reading it now and loves it too. Thank you. Great chapter on the Bordeaux region.

Apr 16, 2015
sfcarole in France

Porte 12 ,Paris

Bordelet's Poiré Granit sounds absolutely delectable, pairing quite well apparently with grilled meats. I'm on a mission.

Apr 16, 2015
sfcarole in France

Porte 12 ,Paris

As usual, I'm an almost-total ignoramus on the wine/alcohol front. So I had to look up Bordelet and found this interesting article:

http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-an...

Apr 15, 2015
sfcarole in France

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Yes, I believe it is the Surry Hills Eating House. Any menu items you haves particularly enjoyed?

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

Thank you - I have never been to Pinbone. The dinner menu looks more interesting, so I may try to squeeze it in. Yes, it is pretty full on eating out, which is a big change for me. Since we lived in Sydney for three years some time ago I usually fall into my regular routine and head over to the Fish Market or the butcher on Queen Street and make dinner in the apartment most nights. This time we decided to act like tourists and indulge ourselves at Sydney's so many new restaurants, and of course the old faves. This board has been majorly instrumental in creating our short list!

Three weeks in Sydney - a few dinner reviews and some future plans

We arrived in Sydney a week ago Monday and eased into the time change from SF with dinner the first night at Sailor’s Thai Canteen, close to our rented apartment in the Rocks. Tuesday night we walked over to Fratelli Fresh on Bridge Street to have some pasta at Cafe Sopra. The pasta was great as usual but the real highlight was an impeccably fresh salad of thinly sliced fennel, cut up asparagus, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto and shards of parmesan cheese. Our server steered us toward that dish which I probably would not have chosen otherwise.

Wednesday night we met friends at Gastro Park, a restaurant in King’s Cross I was a little ambivalent about. We received a very warm welcome, and service the entire evening was helpful and accommodating. We started with some “snacks” to share: goats curd tartlets, scampi and dried Wagyu beef grissini. As an entree we all split a large order of the liquid butternut squash gnocchi with mushroom consommé. Our mains were the very crispy skinned barramundi (usually snapper, but not this night) with calamari crackling, squid ink sauce and smoked potato purée; the duck breast with a soy mustard glaze and kohlrabi ravioli; and beef fillet with onion crumble. I generally never like the large flake of barramundi and ordered it only to see how someone like Grant King might make it delicious. And it really was. Of course we were big fans of Pier, so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad! All in all a delightful dinner, marred only slightly by the somewhat gloomy space with it’s bare tables mired in a nondescript area of the Cross.

Our next night, Thursday, we walked over to Fix St. James for a super dinner, starting right off with their delicious crispy focaccia. We shared entrees of seared scallops and a salad I can’t remember. For mains I had a lovely grilled mulloway fillet while R (aka DH) had pasta with pipis. Everything amazingly fresh and perfectly prepared, seasoned and complemented. A fun evening.

Friday night we had another memorable dinner at Sean’s Panaroma out at Bondi Beach. It was one of many we’ve enjoyed at Sean’s over the last 15 years or so. Even though Sean himself is spending a lot of time at his farm in the Blue Mountains, our dinner was perfect. We opted for the five-course tasting menu since we hadn’t been back in three years. We started with a kingfish tartare wonderfully balanced with herbs and aromatics. Then a salad of three kinds of roasted beetroot, beet greens and walnuts on a base of creamy goat cheese. Next a fennel purée soup with oysters and spicy bits of pork. Our main was three different preparations of lamb: braised shoulder, roasted saddle and sliced grilled leg, all served with roasted kumera squash, shallots and grilled eggplant. The dessert was a chocolate mousse with other chocolate bits on the plate and some peach leaf ice cream. Every course was delicious and the service was friendly and attentive, though all of the tables were filled. Not many non-Aussies venture out here, except maybe at the height of summer, which I can’t fathom. It’s an easy ride on the 333 bus from Circular Quay. You can make faster time by taking the train from Martin Place, then a bus from the Bondi Junction station, but we like to avoid the transfers so we opt for the longer bus ride, getting some nice sightseeing along the way.

Saturday and Sunday we dined and lunched with friends at their homes (and I have to say some of these amateur chefs rivaled the ones in the professional kitchens), and Monday we shared a surprisingly good dinner at the Glebe Point Diner. Surprising only because I hadn’t heard about this restaurant, which is easily accessible to visitors by taking the 431 or 433 bus from the Rocks or along George Street. Their bread is from the Bourke Street Bakery and everything else seems very carefully sourced. We started with some kingfish tartare and a dish of fried brassicas mixed with chickpeas, pomegranate and ricotta salata - both a marvel of fresh tastes. Our mains were the tortellini with goat curd, mushrooms, sage & amaretti, and steamed vongole with pancetta and chilli. For dessert I had to have at least one pavlova while in Sydney, and this one had a base of lemon curd under a large perfectly baked meringue slice, passionfruit purée and double cream. R had the burnt Alaska with gingerbread ice cream inside. All very traditional fare, but put together with a freshness and creativity by a clearly talented team.

Last night, Tuesday, we headed over to Cafe Paci in Surry Hills for the very opposite of traditional. A lot has been written here and elsewhere about chef Pasi Petanen’s 9-course seasonal set menu, so I won’t go over it again. I was honestly concerned that the whole experience would be too ‘intellectual’ but from the warm welcome and helpful answers to our many questions to the delicious and playful take on the dishes, we were totally absorbed from the start. Every item was sparkling fresh and there was always an element of surprise to see how much creativity could be brought to bear on the local produce, meat and fish. As Martin Benn of Sepia wrote: “Crazy good”. I hope this pop up is still around on my next visit.

So now we’re almost halfway through our three week stay. We still have a lot to look forward to and I would love to hear any suggestions you might have as to what to add or subtract. During the day I have had lunches or snacks at Flour and Stone (loved the chicken pie!), Bourke Street Bakery, Chaat Thai, Houśe, Messina and Kakawa chocolates. I’m not a coffee drinker, but R is and I have passed along to him the many coffee suggestions on this board. So far he prefers the coffee at the Fine Food Store in the Rocks to Gumption. The milk in his Gumption latte was not very aerated and he thought the coffee lacked bite, whatever that means! Anyway, here’s what we have planned:

Dinners:
Sixpenny
Lucio’s in Paddington (love Lucio, the art and the food - a tradition for us)
Eating House
Billy Kwong’s new place in Potts Point
Ester
Quay
Porteño

Lunches:
Sepia

Cafés:
Four Ate Five
Three Williams

Trip Report- A week in March

Go Cape Cod! Thank you for providing us such interesting reading. You visited some of my favorite places and it was fun to hear what they have on the menu at this time of year. You also mentioned a couple unknown to me, such as La Cerisaie, which I'm adding to next fall's (ever growing) list.

Apr 13, 2015
sfcarole in France

First time in Paris--only three days

Apr 12, 2015
sfcarole in France

Trip Report (was Another Paris planning post)

Thank you for such a totally engaging report! I felt like I was vicariously enjoying each stop along the way. No one could be disappointed simply following your lead.

Apr 12, 2015
sfcarole in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

If you're in the area you might just want to walk by to check it out for yourself. There's a charming little park at the end of the rue Récamier that is worth visiting, as is often pointed out by Parnassien. It's called the Square Chaise-Récamier (or le Square Roger Stéphane) and has winding paths, benches for picnicking and even a little waterfall. It was once part of a convent called the Abbaye-aux-Bois. Interesting history here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbaye-a...

(Updated with wikipedia reference)

Apr 10, 2015
sfcarole in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

Well, I've never dined at one of their outdoor tables, but I've certainly done so in San Francisco where it's rarely warm. Has never been a problem. Le Comptoir seems to have good heat lamps and they give everyone blankets, although if it's really windy and rainy I might be inclined to cancel.

Apr 09, 2015
sfcarole in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

The "Menu Gastronomique" which is served only weekday nights (but not during school holidays generally) is a 5-course dinner for 60 euros: soup, seafood, meat, cheese and dessert. Fairly traditional cuisine, but very refined in it's presentation and preparation. The restaurant has a wonderful ambiance on those nights since there are no lines and no rush and gracious service. Lunches and weekend nights are more brasserie style, as Parnassien notes. I would definitely go if I had a reservation.

Apr 09, 2015
sfcarole in France

Please critique this itinerary - a week in Paris, restaurants in the 6th

It's now called Les Soufflés du Récamier, I believe. Reservations are no longer taken I was told when I stopped by last October. If you read French here's a hilarious article:http://critikparis.unblog.fr/2014/10/...

Perhaps someone who lives in the 6th can confirm this... ;)

Apr 08, 2015
sfcarole in France

How Do You Celebrate Easter?

Yes, walking around in Sydney yesterday (Easter Monday) trying to recover from jet lag, I didn't notice a lot of boozing up; just lots of families looking rather beleaguered while towing around kids on extreme sugar highs!

Apr 06, 2015
sfcarole in Food Media & News

How Do You Celebrate Easter?

Thanks - yes I've been reading those threads with great interest and they've given us some great ideas. We lived in Sydney for three years about 15 years ago, but kept coming down every year for at least a month until we sold our apartment three years ago. So we're not unfamiliar with the food scene, but places like Sepia and Sixpenny are totally new to us. I'll be posting at some point on the Australian board. We're first trying to figure out when we can meet up with old friends!

Apr 06, 2015
sfcarole in Food Media & News

How Do You Celebrate Easter?

You could shoot a cannon, as they say, through most offices in the U.S. on Good Friday. Many businesses are closed the entire day (as is the U.S. stock market), but virtually all by noon. And it's a fairly somber day most places, in respect for the meaning of the day, I believe. But, OMG, the chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies and decorated eggs are everywhere, as well as card shops filled with Easter cards. It was a very big holiday for my brothers and me growing up, but less so now, unless kids are involved.

How about Australia Phil? Is it celebrated as in the UK? (Btw, I arrived in Sydney on Easter Monday and will be here three weeks!)

Apr 06, 2015
sfcarole in Food Media & News

Input/help narrowing my list please

This may explain why the last time I went to resupply Angostura bitters I saw a whole selection, including Meyer lemon bitters made here in San Francisco. Cocktails are big out here, but not necessarily fruity ones.

Apr 01, 2015
sfcarole in France