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Rec for nice (but not too nice) in Bruges and Amsterdam

Thanks to Klary for the thoughts. Probably sticking with Speijkervet but will think about it a bit more.

Can no one suggest a nice place for Bruges for a Tues. or Wed. night? As I said above, looking for a tasty meal but not at 3 star prices. Some place lively is always good but not necessary.

Also still looking for good cocktails in Amsterdam, Bruges and Rotterdam. Thanks.

about 20 hours ago
Joanie in Europe

Top Chef Duel 9/10 Dale vs. Tiffany

What states still allow you to smoke at shows?

2 days ago
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duel 9/10 Dale vs. Tiffany

I just watched it. Won't give it away but will comment that they've both put on some pounds. Mike esp. And I still don't understand how it works, Brooke seems to be able to just sit there til the end and not battle again?

Sep 12, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duel 9/10 Dale vs. Tiffany

I was surprised at how grumpy he was, he's usually pretty quick witted. I actually introduced a White Zombie show way back, they were nice folks.

For those not in the Boston area, Tiffani's restaurant and biscuits are pretty amazing but yeah, a giant biscuit as a canape? Surprised she won that challenge but also surprised she didn't win the overall. Did she beat Mike in that follow up thing?

Sep 12, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News

What's open on Sun. in Hartford

So we did end up at Firebox cuz I remember liking their list of cocktails. It started pouring just as we drove over but we ducked in real quick and sat at the bar. What a beautiful space, and pretty huge. Friend had a sangria that was really large, I had a good negroni and we both got corn chowder and split the tempura green beans. It was all pretty good, was hoping for actual corn kernels in the soup but it was nice. A civilized drink was especially needed after hanging out in the hot Webster with all the skinheads haha. I still feel like their items are a little overpriced and don't really call my name but glad we went.

Sep 03, 2014
Joanie in Southern New England

Remember Katie Joel on Top Chef?

It's not every one tho is it? I never saw that guy Ed who I think was in the top 3 maybe the same year as Angelo? Who's the guy who said "i'm not your bitch bitch", was he in there?

Aug 28, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News

What's open on Sun. in Hartford

$15 and $16 for apps seems high to me. That's what I mean by "seems overpriced".

Aug 27, 2014
Joanie in Southern New England

What's open on Sun. in Hartford

I'll be at the Webster but J's where we ate last year is closed on Sun. I thought it was quite decent and certainly convenient to the club. I see Salute is closed on Sun. too. Anywhere else you'd recommend for a couple good apps and a drink? Firebox is open but seems a little overpriced. Thanks.

Aug 26, 2014
Joanie in Southern New England

Top Chef Duels 8/20, spoilers, Antonia vs Mike - a profane and foggy recap

How is Extant doing anyway? It's pretty interesting but I don't see a lot written about it.

I DVR'ed this episode cuz I kinda like those two but just watched the first 15 min then the last 10. This show is a yawn and with Extant and The Bridge on, no reason to pay attention.

Chicgail, I've gone to one space after periods and it wasn't so hard, but when did that become the rule?

Heavy D "Now That We Found Love" and Antonia? Wow.

Aug 26, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News

Rec for nice (but not too nice) in Bruges and Amsterdam

I'm looking for a nice meal in these cities that doesn't break the bank. The one in Amsterdam would be to thank our hosts for putting us up, the one in Bruges is my "travel agent dinner" for doing all the planning. I don't want to spend Michelin star prices but do want both evenings to be a nice night out. Not Italian, entrees in the 25-32 euro range. Refter in Bruges looks like it might be good for the travel agent dinner. Maybe De Pepermolin or Chez Albert? In Amsterdam, Speijkervet looks good. I remember going to a great restaurant on Prinsengracht a million years ago but can't find anything that might be it. Any thoughts would be welcome.

Also any thoughts on a well made interesting cocktail in these cities? Or Rotterdam? Thanks.

Aug 20, 2014
Joanie in Europe

Detroit near Hilton Garden Inn Downtown

Why can I not reply directly to the comment from aka994?

"FYI Cliff Bell's has undergone some changes lately-- new manager, new chef, new approach to dining as opposed to drinking. "Shareable small plates" presumably means more like apps than dinner? http://detroit.eater.com/archives/201...

Joanie, is the Greektown place you're thinking of Fishbones? It's not so much a seafood place as Cajun & Creole (and sushi!) but not really a good representation of that cuisine I don't think."

Ah that was announced 2 days after we ate there. Hopefully they tell the bartender to pay more attention to his customers haha. And the food stays tasty.
Yes, Fishbones was the place I was thinking of. I'm a sucker for bldgs from the 20s to 50s so that's what I liked. Not sure I even really read the menu. Thanks.

Aug 15, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Detroit near Hilton Garden Inn Downtown

Wish I had gone to Hudson during my visit but it was too crowded so we ended up at Small Plates for brunch across from the Opera House which was fine and not too far from you. Really enjoyed happy hour at Roast, the best $8 I spent in that city (grapefruit cocktail and chicken livers w/ polenta). I walked all over Detroit including one 4.5 mile walk from the Rattlesnake (whose happy hour was good but service lacked) to the Inn on Ferry St. and felt fine. We also really enjoyed dinner at Cliff Bell's which would be about a 10 min walk for you.

What about that long time fish restaurant in Greektown? That's pretty close to the Hilton. Not sure of its food rep but it has a cool old look to it.

Aug 15, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes
1

Top Chef Duels

Yeah I def won't bother DVR'ing this (esp. with two other things on at 10PM). It's nice that they focus on food but it was kind of dull without the interactions of other chefs and some sort of drama/storyline going on. I feel like they could easily do two sets of duels per show.

Aug 08, 2014
Joanie in Food Media & News

Side spam starting spontaneously

Was there a way to make these various recordings stop their automatic blurbs? I don't necessarily need/want to block all ads (after all I need to be reminded to click on Zappos every so often), but having that sound blurt out is NOT a good thing.

Aug 01, 2014
Joanie in Site Talk

Fifty Years - DTW

Damn, I remember seeing that place when I walked around Windsor last month. Always sad when long time places close.

Aug 01, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

What is up with versions flipping back and forth?

Man, the new format sucks with the little "type" icon that basically is the same conversation thing for every item. And it's harder to tell which you've read and have no new comments. (I think we're talking about the same thing.) Why do improvements never really improve things?

Bachelor Party in Portsmouth NH...

Not quite what you want but Cava is a nice tapas bar who serve larger plates including pork tenderloin for 4. They've got interesting cocktails.

Jumpin Jay's does raw bar.

Portsmouth Brewery would be good for later on. Coat of Arms is a good pub. State St Saloon if you want to see what's going on w/ sports (and the $5 lobster roll!). There's a music venue whose name escapes me but it's for bigger shows I think.

And Gilley's is def fun, right across from Coat of Arms.

Jul 24, 2014
Joanie in Northern New England
1

Best Lobster Rolls in Portsmouth NH

The only one I've had in Portsmouth was the super deal $5 roll at State St. Saloon.

http://www.statestreetsaloonportsmout...

Not claiming it's the best (haven't had any others in town) but this was surprisingly good for the price.

Jul 23, 2014
Joanie in Northern New England

Side spam starting spontaneously

I was getting these ads for eggs coming up all the time, now a new one with some happy music has started up twice today. This is not cool.

Jul 22, 2014
Joanie in Site Talk

Long long Detroit report

Hey folks, when we were searching out the former Grande Ballroom, we came across this bldg also on Grand River Ave. but google images isn't giving me an answer as to what it was. Do you know? Thanks.

Jul 21, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Lunch on the way to Boston

There's a real diner option in West Lebanon.
http://www.4acesdiner.com/

Also a brewer: http://www.sevenbarrel.com/

We used to come to this decent pizza/Italian place with our parents when we visited them in VT: http://www.luilui.com/

Jul 16, 2014
Joanie in Northern New England

Long long Detroit report

I missed my calling as a cruise director or events coordinator or concierge. I'll happily make a Boston itinerary if anyone needs it. Or any of the other cities I've obsessed over, I've been posting my trip reports since 2008 (this most recent links to past ones: http://www.bostongroupienews.com/Joan...). Downloading Detroit photos now.

Jul 16, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes
1

Long long Detroit report

But one more question which I'd asked, have you had the more firm style of polenta and not liked that either? I actually prefer that to the soupy version but obviously, am a fan either way. The other style which is a little more corn bread like might be more to your liking if by chance you haven't had it yet. Obviously, I wouldn't know who'd serve it in your area.

Jul 14, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Long long Detroit report

I thought I was heading to the Walkerville section but was on a strip of road that looked fairly sad (looking for Dr. Disc which has moved twice I think since the info I'd gotten) and when I saw Ouellette St., I just got on a street whose name I recognized. I was also curious about that Ughur (sp) restaurant but wasn't ready to eat (great breakfast at the Inn at Ferry St). My friend in Ann Arbor also refuses to take the bridge but I just wanted the view going in one direction at least.

As far as Boagman's dislike of polenta, it's too bad. Do you like it any better when it's the more solid kind rather than the soupier version? Have you actually had the $3 dish at Roast? A small investment to make to try again maybe.

Jul 14, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Long long Detroit report

Packed a lot in during 5 days in Detroit and Ann Arbor (from Boston). On my way into town I decided to try Duly's for my first Coney Island dog since this seems to be such a thing in Detroit. It was super quick and easy and cost <$2 I think. I usually prefer a basic dog w/ onion but it was good and I liked the old school atmosphere. As I was in the area, I then stopped for one taco al pastor from Lupita with some special water whose name I forget. Cheap, nice, accommodating. Happened to pass Donut Villa and got a buttermilk but it was just ok. After some shots of Central Station, I checked into the Inn at Ferry Street and eventually took their shuttle to Rattlesnake down by the water. Had no idea I'd be so far removed from things and almost switched plans but sat at the bar and had crappy service from the long time bartender who had an article about him posted (Farouk?). Nothing I hate more than when you're not even nodded at, esp. with only 3 other people at the bar. Then he looks right at me and still doesn't say hello. I should have left but got their happy hour zucchini feta fritters w tzaiki sauce which were pretty tasty. He served the negroni in a martini glass which I hadn't seen. Whatever, it was early enough that I walked all the way back to the hotel (4.5 miles!), planning on hitting the Bronx Bar but when I saw the Old Miami, I quickly had half a cold beer in their beautiful backyard then a stop at the Whitney which wasn't on my list. Such a beautiful building and a very nice bartender who charged me less for the wine than listed.

Before heading to Ann Arbor on the 4th, I felt like I had to zip into Windsor. Unfortunately, there was no zipping on the bridge that day and no reason to see Windsor. Boarded up houses and many storefronts for rent plus a hassle on the way back into the States. Got to Ann Arbor and immediately went to Washtenaw Dairy for a maple nut donut and wandered around town, did some radio with my friend at WCBN then happy hour at Mani on E. Liberty St. That was very nice, a $5 drink special similar to a negroni, arancini HH deal and 3 of us split a bacon and arugula pizza. That nite after a BBQ and fireworks, we got a drink at the Jolly Pumpkin who are known for their beer but have some nice cocktails and a very nice bartender. Took advantage of the hot dog cart outside the Blind Pig, that guy does a fine job and offers homemade sauces and cole slaw. Headed out early Sat. morning taking Michigan Ave. back to Detroit with a stop at Dom Bakery in Ypsilanti for a sour cream donut. It was good but I'm afraid the MI donuts don't hold a candle to the LA mom and pop shops. As I got close to town I saw Telstar so stopped for a tiny cheeseburger slider before 10AM (had only eaten half my donut) just cuz it was there. I'm a sucker for that kind of long standing place. Wandered around Eastern Market then drove out Woodward to Ferndale with a stop at Great Lakes Coffee for a 12 oz iced coffee. $4 was sure pricey but the place is cool and has lots of craft beers. Unfortunately, Dutch Girl Donuts was on vacation so my donut taste test was over. Wandered around Ferndale, hit a good record store and enjoyed the Rust Belt art market (and the new wave music piped in on the streets).

Back to town to check into the Westin and meet my friend arriving from DC. We immediately headed out to Greedy Greg's BBQ on Sycamore, which had been on Anthony Bourdain's trip. Too bad Greg figured everyone was done with BBQ after the 4th and his tent was empty, but we were lucky enough to talk to him and get our pics taken. We really needed food before the Motown Museum so stopped at Hollywood Coney Dog and that was fine. I mean, I can't tell the difference anymore after a few dogs. Some guy was looking out for my car while we ate inside haha. Dinner that nite was at Cliff Bell's, wow what a beautiful place. I even liked the music and I'm not a jazz gal. Shrimp and grits were good (only 3 shrimp tho for $18) and J enjoyed his steak. Too bad the bartender barely paid attention to us. Walked around downtown and ended up at the Grand Trunk bar w/ good beers and a nice bartender and a good t-shirt to take home. Next day we wandered around the Packard Plant and Heidelberg Project then ate at Small Plates downtown just cuz we could sit right down and we were starving. J's huevos rancheros were different and good, my breakfast pizza ($10) was okay but a little too thick and big. Didn't realize when I got coffee next door at 1515 Broadway it was the same café I'd seen in the doc 'Detropia'. They advertise a free coffee w/ purchase of the Wurlitzer Building, haha. After more sightseeing, we stopped at Temple Bar on Cass cuz it had a great look and J had an afternoon beer. No one else there but a cat, dog and the nice gal bartending who wants to bring chamber music there.

We regrouped and got a drink from the LONG menu at Sugartown Sun. evening. Decent bartender, good drink called the Bronx and absinthe for J. Then it was off to Hamtramck for the Polish Village Café and splitting an order of mixed pierogies and the Hungarian pancake. Good stuff for cheap, nice waitress, foul smelling by the kitchen and restrooms. Walked down to the Motor City bar where the burgers looked great, music playing was horrible. Small's was closed so we headed to Jumbo's on 3rd St, played pool and talked with the locals. Mon. morning we went out to see the Grande Ballroom and stumbled upon Dabl's African Bead gallery and his really cool glass art outside at Grand River and W. Grand. A while later we made it back to the Westin and the taste test of Lafayette vs American coney island dogs. Even tho it had the right look, the people working at Lafayette were depressing. American is all big and bright but the people were nicer and I preferred their dog (grilled bun helps). J said he'd go to both but liked the dog at Laf better. Hung out at the Roasting Plant as it rained then more wandering and a taco at Jose's on E. Grand River, only open for a week. Their taco al pastor was large, cheap and yummy. We made it to the Roast happy hour where I spent my best $3 of the trip, the polenta and fried chicken liver appetizer. That was great. Well drinks were $5 so I had a refreshing grapefruit/gin combo and J had scotch, good bartender. We then met a friend at Buhl's which I assumed was more of a "craft" bar than it was. The bartender got a kick out of me asking for herbs and Domaine de Canton, etc. Had heard that the burgers at Bronx Bar were good but being huge didn't make up for the kind of flavorless, overcooked burger I got. Fried pickles were great tho and it's an awesome jukebox as long as it actually plays all the songs you pay for. Made another stop at the Old Miami to show those guys the backyard. Had read about something gong on at Northern Lights Lounge on W. Baltimore so hit that cool 50's looking place with a pretty patio. Played shuffleboard of all things while listening to decent punk rock.

Tues. morning we headed to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn but I stopped at Hygrade Deli first to get a pastrami sandwich to take on the plane. (Hard to choose between there and Mike's Ham place next door.) After the museum, we got lunch at Al-Ameer a few miles away. The waitress welcomed me back, not sure who she thought I was. I had a basic lamb and beef schwarma plate while J had a house specialty called arayes, basically a middle eastern quesadilla that I really enjoyed. Prices were about $10 and $15 and kept us full til landing in our respective towns. All in all a great time in Detroit and as you see advertised, I'll definitely "say something nice about Detroit". Thanks for helping out.

Jul 11, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes
2

Fifty Years - DTW

In doing research for my trip over 4th of July weekend, I found a few more (didn't see them on previous lists but maybe I missed something).

Cliff Bell's: 2030 Park Ave., 1935
Elmwood Bar & Grill: E Adams St, 1932
Marcus Hamburgers: 6349 McNichols, Hamtramck, 1929

Jun 25, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Detroit for 4th of July

Thanks for those, I actually had Vince's, Green Dot, Duly's, Los Altos and Hygrade on my list. Will eat middle eastern when I'm in Dearborn, don't care about chicken wings, and added Motz's (and then saw Telstar while searching so added that). I love burgers and dogs but don't want to spend *all* my time there eating them.

Jun 20, 2014
Joanie in Great Lakes

Windsor, Ontario Restaurants

They almost sound like New York bagels which are def bigger (and my preferred style). I wasn't thrilled with Montreal style the one time I got them (at some famous place whose name escapes me, St. V...?). Do they have egg bagels?

Jun 20, 2014
Joanie in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Splurge Anniversary Weekend

Yeah I think it might be easiest to go to a city where the 2 nite minimum rule isn't in effect. Portland and Portsmouth would be my first choices cuz they have that seaside feel, Burlington w/ the lake and mountains, Providence, anything fancy in Northampton?

Jun 20, 2014
Joanie in Northern New England

Portsmouth and area report (and $4.99 lobster roll!)

Yelp reviews were all over the place but not so bad. I've only been to Bob's in Kittery but hope to to hit more of Maine this summer. (Altho I just pledged to eat healthy before I go on vacation 7/3 and plates of fried clams don't fit the bill).

Jun 17, 2014
Joanie in Northern New England