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Paris to the Spanish border - Your ideal food itinerary?

A hearty thanks to all the posters for their thoughts and recommendations. Google maps (so unreliable, I know) told me it would be about an 8 hour drive between Paris and San Sebastián. I figured it would just be about 2.5 hours driving every morning between destinations over the course of 3-4 days, which didn't sound terrible since my husband and I do really well in the car together. But, upon more reflection, I agree that the unpacking/settling in/packing/leaving routine everyday would get tedious quickly, especially when bookended by settling into two major cities. I'll have to do more research in terms of flying-then-car vs. train-then-car. The ideas all sound so wonderful; I'll be back with more specific questions once I get a firmer idea of our schedule/means of transportation.

Dec 06, 2013
pastrychefy in France

Paris to the Spanish border - Your ideal food itinerary?

Next year, I turn 40 and my husband and I will have our 10th wedding anniversary. I want to spend 7 days eating in Paris; he wants to spend 7 days eating in San Sebastian. We have agreed to compromise and spend 4 days in each city and 3-4 days driving from Paris to San Sebastian. Sometime in the late fall. This board has plenty of wonderful suggestions on places to eat in Paris, so I won't waste your time (yet!) on Paris suggestions; I'm leaving it to my husband to research places to eat in San Sebastian.

Even though it's about 9 months away, I've began dreaming about the best route to take between the two cities. I assume renting a car is best, though we are open to a train. My ideal itinerary would be one with just several hours of driving each day, one or two fabulous meals at each place we stay or drive through, a wonderful and comfy hotel/country inn/farm/cottage (upscale or downscale does not matter) to sleep in each night, and a somewhat scenic drive between stops though I know there will be plenty of highway driving.

What would you do? Go from Paris through to Bordeaux and then to the Spanish border? Go from Paris through Burgandy and then to Lyon, and cut across France to the border? What establishments would you eat? My planning is in the very nascent stage right now. I am open to any and all suggestions, ideally with the parameters mentioned above.

Outside of Paris, I've only been to Nice and St. Tropez, and that was almost 20 years ago when I was far more interested in trashy night clubs than food. Thanks for your brainstorms!

Dec 05, 2013
pastrychefy in France

A very specific challenge regarding ambiance for my dear parents - Paris

Oh, no, no, no! They absolutely cancelled, and with sufficient notice. I emphasized how important this was before they left, and they heard me loud and clear.

Oct 16, 2013
pastrychefy in France

A very specific challenge regarding ambiance for my dear parents - Paris

I'm writing to report back on my parents' trip. After making reservations at Le Grand Vefour, and directing them to Bistro Volnay and Le Quincy, I am sad to report that they did not go to any of the restaurants I suggested. Instead, they went to Papa Pasta, the choose your own sauce and pasta chainlet. (They enjoyed it.) I am happy to report, however, that they had an absolutely amazing time in Paris eating bread and cheese, visiting museums, and walking around this beautiful, magical city. At the end of the day, I wanted my parents to have a fun trip and love Paris as much as I do, and it turns out that is exactly what happened. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry!

Oct 16, 2013
pastrychefy in France

Report on Farmer's Markets (and other eats) in Oahu

We ate absolutely delicious food on our recent trip to Oahu all due to the wisdom and generosity of the posters on this board. Thank you! Here's a rundown:

Our first FM was the Sunday Kailua FM at elementary school. Fairly small, but very great vendors. We found dragon fruit, two types of papaya, Hayden mangos, and lychees. All terrific - sweet, fresh, and perfectly ripe. My 5-year old loved the crafts table.

Next FM was on Wednesday at the Windard Mall. I was fairly disappointed in terms of the fruit offerings. All the vendors seemed identical and there was little in terms of luscious tropical fruits on a par to what we saw in Kailua on Sunday. I don't mean to knock this market - seems like a great place for a local to get weekly veggie and fruit shopping done, and my gosh those pastries from Manny's Bakery were divine. (My kids devoured the adobo and Portugese sausage pastries in less than a minute once we were in the car and resentfully asked me why I did not buy more of them.) I stopped at one vendor who had a sign for "Hayden mangos" but they looked nothing like the delicious ones I had bought on Sunday. But I loved the ones from Sunday so much that I bought four of these. They were really mediocre and tasted just like supermarket Dole mangos availabe on the mainland. I question whether they were really even Hayden mangos.

The next FM was Thursday in Kailua. Pig and the Lady rocks! I'm Vietnamese and have pretty high standards when it comes to Vietnamese food (whether traditional or modern) and this place hit it out of the park. The "pho dip sandwich" consisted a thick, juicy piece of brisket sandwiched between two pieces of freshly toasted baguette with sauteed bean sprouts, herbs, and slathered with a tasty chimichurri sauce. The pho broth on the side, i.e., the "jus," was a perfect partner for the sandwich. We also had the grilled pork meatball vermicelli, which was also very delicious, but perhaps not as creative.

Last FM was KCC. We figured we wouldn't have time with our early flight, but we got advanced notice that it was delayed by several hours so we were there bright and early. This is a world class FM. The produce was amazing - we finall found rambutans and bought several bags to eat on the way to the airport. They were everything I had hoped for - plump, juicy, sweet, fleshy. Delicious. My mouth is watering thinking of them. We also ate the grilled abolone from Kona, several ono pops (caramel shoyu was outstanding), and at Pig and the Lady again! All delicious, fresh, and just so satisfying.

We also ate poke at Nicos, Tamura's Wine Shop, Fresh Catch, and Ono Seafood. Hard to not love all the poke on Hawaii given how fresh it is, but Ono was the best. Made to order and so tender. As for shaved ice, we ate several times at Island Snow (given its proximity to our house). Tasty, but the ice was pretty hard. Shimazu's was AMAZING. Soft ice. The flavors were clean and bright. And the aduzki beans were tender.

We had a great time on your lovely island. A highlight was swimming next to a sea turtle at Lanikai Beach. Thanks for the hospitality!

Aug 07, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii
1

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

I get into Oahu tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. Looks like Chinatown is my best bet for the fruits that I am looking for. I still plan to hit several of the markets mentioned in this thread for other fruits and veggies, and prepared foods. Looking forward to enjoying the bounty that Hawaii has to offer. Thanks a bunch chowhounds!

Jul 26, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

It seems like the farmer's markets in Oahu are organized/sponsored by different groups. The "biggies" (e.g., the Saturday KCC and the Thursday Kailua) are backed by the Hawaii Farmer's Bureau. Then there are the Nalo Farms markets at Windward Mall. Then there are just a bunch of "people's open markets" throughout Oahu. Are the people's markets smaller, and less organized? Are they worth going to if what I'm looking for (as mentioned above) is yummy prepared food and tropical fruits?

Jul 25, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

79 cents a pound for dragon fruit?! That's amazing. We'll hit the Foodland for sure. Means I can eat eight times as much, and still pay less than the $8 a pound they are charging where I live for small, dried out looking ones.

Thanks everyone for the tips on the farmer's market, Foodland, and Chinatown. Will follow the advice and report back, hopefully with our tropical fruit urges satisfied!

Jul 25, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

Excellent! Thank you so much for this information. We will be staying in Lanikai so this Thursday market sounds perfect. Two additional questions:

1) I assume, given the mass hysteria that you mentioned is present at the Kailua market on Thursday, it is crucial to be there before it opens. Will getting there by 4:45 pm do?

2) Are there any farmer's markets that are just plain duds in terms of fresh fruit? We plan to visit several farmer's markets throughout the week we are on Oahu to replenish our (hopefully bountiful) supply of dragon fruit, rambutans, lychees, and mangos. My plan is to have a list of the markets happening each day, and depending on where we are on any particular day, cruise by at the appropriate time. But I would like to avoid any markets that don't have a great fruit selection.

Jul 24, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii

Farmer's Market on Oahu that is almost as good as the Saturday KCC market?

Hi Chowhounds,
It's clear from this board that the Saturday farmer's market at KCC is the best one on the island in terms of variety and quality of produce and cooked foods. The only problem is that we arrive on Saturday afternoon (when the market is closed), and leave on Saturday morning (when the market might be open, but we can't get there because we'll be wrangling two kids to the airport). So here is my question: What is the second best farmer's market in terms of variety and quality of produce and cooked foods? We have a rental car and an alarm clock. So it doesn't matter where or when this market takes. Just tell me the best one to go to, and we're there. Thank you!

Jul 24, 2013
pastrychefy in Hawaii

A very specific challenge regarding ambiance for my dear parents - Paris

I appreciate everyone's thoughtful responses so far, especially how cultural differences make the typical Parisian dining experience different than the typical American one. I've strongly encouraged my parents to learn basic French phrases, not only to make their experiences in France more pleasant, but also out of respect for their host country. They are working on it (Pimsleur cds and workbook), so I think they'll come prepared.

My parents have a very moderate budget (about 100E to 125E per dinner), and are staying at the Park Hyatt gratis, having cashed in years of collected Hyatt points. So Le Cinq is out, if only for budgetary reasons. My parents are definitely part of the 99%, and don't expect to be treated like royalty, nor would they enjoy that. I think the reason why they enjoy the banter and the joking is that they love feeling like they are part of the family or the club.

I will check out the specific recommendations mentioned, Bistro Volnay, Les Jalles, Le Florimond, and Le Grand Vefour. And I'll also take to heart the advice of finding places with the food they will like in their price range. Of the places I've eaten in the past in Paris that have the food/price point I think they will enjoy, I think they might enjoy Chez Georges (near Port Maillot) or Chez Renee. These places have recognizable items (like Coq au Vin, escargot) done well. If chowhounds have places in mind with similar type of food and price point, I would love to hear them.

Thank you again. Very much appreciated.

Apr 27, 2013
pastrychefy in France

A very specific challenge regarding ambiance for my dear parents - Paris

My parents (both in their late sixties) have charged me with the task of finding them places to eat while they are in Paris for five nights in September. They are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and will be staying at the Park Hyatt Vendome. They are mobile but would prefer places within 10-15 minutes walk of a metro stop.

Here's where the challenge comes in. My parents are retired public school teachers who have devoted themselves to educating developmentally delayed children and are good, kind, and down to earth people. (I mention this to butter you up for what comes next.) That said, they get VERY nervous in new situations and feel easily slighted when someone is brusque with them. A weird look from a waiter can ruin their meal. (I wish they had thicker skins, but they are who they are. And I love them.) While it's been their dream to go to France, they are extremely worried about encountering "rude" people in Paris. Of course, I've told them that Parisians are some of the kindest, funniest, and most charming people in the world and as a whole no "ruder" than any other cross-section of a city, big or small. (I've even told them multiple times about how a pharmacist in Paris once spent 30 minutes trying to figure out why my husband's left ear hurt.) But they still insist on being anxious about the situation.

With that in mind, can Chowhounds please recommend places where the host is warm and inviting, the service friendly and gregarious, and the overall atmosphere convivial and welcoming? When my parents recall their favorite meals, they always mention things like the owner chatted us up and then came to our table! the waiter laughed at dad's jokes! the waiter flirted with mom! they asked us to come the next night! they gave us a free dessert! The actual food for them is secondary. So long as it's French, tasty, and hot, they'll be happy. It's ambiance that matters. (And, they are not into stuffy, fancy places at all, however solicitous the service might be.)

If you sense a lot of hand wringing in this post, you're right! My dad's health is not great and this might very well be their last trip abroad. I want them to have fond memories of their trip to Paris. I appreciate all of your help.

Apr 26, 2013
pastrychefy in France

Best burger, pizza, and craft beer in Eagle River area? [Beaver Creek, Colorado]

We're back from our Beaver Creek trip. A huge thanks to the posters on this board. We had some really delicious food during our stay. Here's the rundown:

We had burgers and beer at the bar at Splendido. We started with the french onion soup, which was everything a french onion soup should be: piping hot, sweet, beefy broth, and a cheesy, crispy crouton top. It hit the spot after a long day of travels. The burger was AMAZING. The beef was juicy and full flavored. The bun was soft, but not too bready. And the gruyere was clearly high quality and aged. It was nutty and a little funky and just perfect with the beef. The beer selection was pretty good. The best part about eating at the bar was the (free) cheddar cheese crackers. These things were salty, cheesy, and highly addictive.

The next day we bought sandwiches at Avon Bakery and Deli. Service was a little slow (we waited almost 20 min for our sandwiches to go), but product was great. Bread had a nice crust and the deli meats and veggies were fresh. The smoked turkey with avo, tomato, cuke, sprouts , and swiss that I ordered tasted like a million bucks after a morning of skiing.

In the evening, we eat at Pazzo's pizzeria in Avon. What a great place. Service was friendly and efficient (even though the place was really crowded) and our pie came out scaldingly hot, which is how I think all pizzas should be served. We had a sausage, onion, and broccoli pizza that had a nice, crispy crust and tangy sauce. The pizza is not at the same level as the artisinal Neopolitan places that are all the rage these days. But it's damn good, and with a cold glass of beer after a day of skiing, it tastes really, really, damn good. We loved this place so much that we ate here the next night! And ordered the exact same thing. (We weren't feeling particularly adventurous and wanted a home run like the night before, which we got!)

We had lunch at the grill in front of the Ritz Carlton at the bottom of Bachelor Gulch. It was pricey (no surprise) and just fine (no surprise). We had the roast chicken and the buffalo chili. We checked out Mamies beforehand and it looked good. But we were tuckered out on our fourth day of skiing and grilling our own food just didn't seem appealing. But the food coming off the grills looked pretty good.

On our last night, we ate at Lark Burger. I really wanted to like this place, but was frankly disappointed. The burger and fries came out luke warm. Also, the burger meat was a little under seasoned. Overall, the burger felt a little cold and limp. It was definitely edible, and much better than any burger we could have gotten at a chain fast food. But it wasn't a great burger. The chocolate milk shake that I ordered however, was fantastic. The perfect consistency and the perfect sweetness.

Thanks for the advice Chowhounds. We had a great trip because of you guys.

Apr 26, 2013
pastrychefy in Mountain States

Best burger, pizza, and craft beer in Eagle River area? [Beaver Creek, Colorado]

Looks like we will have a lot to choose from. Thanks for everyone's input! Here is the list I have compiled so far:

Pazzo's in Avon - pizza
Zino's in Edwards - pizza
Larkburger in Edwards - burger
Spendido in Beaver Creek - burger at bar
Spago in Beaver Creek - burger at bar (not sure about this one)
Gore Range Brewery in Edwards - beer and food

And other casual places to check out if we're in the mood:
Avon Bakery and Deli - pastries and sandwiches
Northside Cafe in Avon - coffee
Fiesta's in Edwards - New Mexican
Swiss Dog in Avon - hot dogs

Any specific recommendations for what to eat or where to eat on the mountain when skiing?

Oct 22, 2012
pastrychefy in Mountain States

Best burger, pizza, and craft beer in Eagle River area? [Beaver Creek, Colorado]

Just checked and Splendido serves a burger at the bar! Anyone had this? Looks really good, and if it's on par with the rest of the food, it should be fantastic right?

Oct 19, 2012
pastrychefy in Mountain States

Best burger, pizza, and craft beer in Eagle River area? [Beaver Creek, Colorado]

Thanks to everyone for responding. Larkburger does looks delicious. Too bad there's no beer. Although Eat! Drink! appears to have a nice selection of craft beer. Maybe we can brown bag it? Or at the very least, eat in our car. (And BlueOx, we will have a car. I figured the flexibility was worth the extra cost. Zino's looks great, so we'll definitely go there.)

We'll be staying at the Park Hyatt, which appears to be in the village. Any thoughts on Blue Moose Pizza? Or the Old Forge Pizza Co. in Vail?

Oct 19, 2012
pastrychefy in Mountain States

Best burger, pizza, and craft beer in Eagle River area? [Beaver Creek, Colorado]

Hello Hounds! First time poster, long time lurker. My husband and I are going to Beaver Creak for four nights in February. We'll have a car. From my research on this board, there are several great high end places in this area that serve excellent plated food and desserts (e.g., Splendido, Grouse Mountain Grill). While we would typically be thrilled with this type of dining, when we ski, there's nothing more that we look forward to in the evening than a great burger or a satisfying pizza pie, and of course, some good beer. We love food and really appreciate high quality and sustainably sourced ingredients, so we're not looking for a pizza hut or burger king equivalent. Any places that you know of that would fit this bill? Thanks so much for your help.

Oct 18, 2012
pastrychefy in Mountain States