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NYC for 3 days!

if you're going for a tapa and a glass of wine, el quinto pino works...particularly theyre front bar. if you're looking to go for a full tapas dinner, id go with casa mono in gramercy.

dont go nuts for crif dogs...its good mainly for a snack.

about 14 hours ago
sam1 in Manhattan

Cuban coffee in Manhattan?

margon on 47th street is a pretty well known dominican/cuban lunch counter that makes some strong coffee. great cubanos and pernil. does a brisk lunch business.

about 14 hours ago
sam1 in Manhattan

Barcelona Trip report

agreed...gracia wasn't central but it was also our favorite neighborhood on our last visit.

i dreaded crossing over ramblas and did my best to avoid the people trying to sell me cans of beer and hash in the street.

1 day ago
sam1 in Spain/Portugal

NYC for 3 days!

i much prefer keste to motorino for pizza but asking for pizza favorites will get you many different responses.

depending on your price point, sushi dojo in the east village may be a mid-tier sushi alternative to jewel bako. on the high end is 15 east though id strongly suggest the bar over the table there as in most places.

minetta still is my choice for steak in manhattan. id recommend that if you havent been. for pasta, im a huge fan of i sodi on christopher street. dell'anima is a good option for pasta in the west village as well.

high line area doesnt have great restaurants since its been overrun with tourists but a little further into chelsea is el quinto pino which i like for tapas. cookshop is right by the highline and is mobbed but is decent if you want something close. make a reservation if you can.

east village for dinner...there's so many choices. huertas is enjoyable for tapas but don't reserve for their back room tasting menu. stick to the front room for tapas. staff sadly isnt as sophisticated on the food as the chefs make it but it reminds me of many of my london tapas places.

l'apicio is a good option for pasta in the east village as well...

1 day ago
sam1 in Manhattan

Lunch/brunch 3 days in nyc

im not a typical fan of brunch but if you want something buzzy and popular...and willing to deal with the wait...try jack's wife freda...the west village one is larger than the nolita/soho one. bluestone on greenwich ave is also pretty buzzy for brunch...their coffee is pretty awful though.

l'artusi is a decent option but not as 'in' these days. via carota or i sodi would be some great alternatives...both for you and your mother...

Jul 23, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Lunch/brunch 3 days in nyc

your list is a bit all over the place...some old places that no one talks about anymore (telepan, market table), some places that are more tourist scenes (stanton social, saxon and parole) and some decent options.

of the ones you listed, clocktower is buzzy and solid. upland as well. estela is good but can be cramped and loud. i have a reservation at dirty french but im hoping its not filled with screaming girls on a bachelorette party.

Jul 23, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Suggestions needed for Menton, Ste. Agnes, Gorbio, Nice et al...

very helpful...thank you.

Jul 23, 2015
sam1 in France

Shuko Just Cancelled My Husbands Birthday Dinner- Alternative?

neta these days looks like it's on death's door since the shuko guys left.

havent been to soto in years and while they have inventive cooked and raw seafood dishes, it doesnt strike me as special.

i usually get taken out for omakase for my birthday and never really had a better time than at 15 east.

Jul 22, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Which would you choose to host a group dinner?

have only been to l'apicio. the food is actually pretty solid. it's a big space and i think they have some private rooms but the biggest negative is HOW LOUD THE PLACE IS. i remember it being deafeningly loud and im in my mid-30s.

like dell'anima, i usually stick to appetizers and pastas but the entrees are solid if i recall.

Jul 22, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Suggestions needed for Menton, Ste. Agnes, Gorbio, Nice et al...

thats quite helpful...thank you.

a few follow-ups...with the situation in ventimiglia, will it be hard to go into italy and back into france at the border or will that not be an issue?

as for cycling in nice...im renting a bike at a shop and going to try col d'eze and madone and col vence and the roads north of there.

Jul 21, 2015
sam1 in France

Suggestions needed for Menton, Ste. Agnes, Gorbio, Nice et al...

I'll be staying in Menton for 6 nights in the first part of September and looking for some advice. I've scoured this board and would like some advice or comments on a preliminary itinerary while we're in town. We'll be staying in Menton the entire time but planning on a day trip to Gorbio and Ste. Agnes as well as two days in Nice...one for museums and culture...the other for cycling and then the beach in St Jean Cap Ferrat.

I'd really like some help for Menton. I have at least two dinners to fill and I havent found much.

Does anyone have any opinions on the following:

-Maison Martin et fils
-A Boire et manger
-La festival plage
-Port Garavan
-La Bar Huitres

Wed...arrive by car around mid-day so we're planning on relaxing, walking into town and having dinner on the beach in Menton. Any suggestions here for a simple, relaxing meal?

Thu...we planned on walking into town for a coffee and pastry for breakfast...maybe at the market or Au Baiser du mitron or Les Cafe Des Arts and spending the day at the beach in Menton. Thursday night, we have reservations at Mirazur.

Fri...we planned on taking the car into Gorbio in the morning followed by lunch at Restaurant Beau Sejour. After lunch, we planned on visiting Ste. Agnes. If there's a better lunch spot in either place, please let me know. That night, we planned on getting back to Menton and having dinner in town so we need another Menton restaurant idea.

Sat...we planned on driving into Nice. Is there any advice on parking in Nice? Is there a free parking lot where everyone leaves there car to head into the city? I've never been and don't want to stress about driving down tiny streets. We would love a recommendation for lunch and dinner in Nice. We were interested in Comptoir du Marche but is there any preference between that place and Bistro d'Antoine? La Merenda? Chez Fabian?

Sun...I have a morning plan to go cycling in Nice and then meeting up with my fiance to go to St. Jean Cap Ferrat for beach and dinner at Paloma Beach.

Mon...our last full day in Menton...we want to go to the market and the beach again and just relax. That night we were contemplating dinner at Hostellerie Jerome in La Turbie. Good idea? Is this place in the similar price range at Mirazur?

I'd appreciate everyone's insight and thoughts. This is a trip that we're both very exciting about and eating of course would be a big part of that. We don't like huge, long meals...we love food but are more interested in taking in the local culture and cuisine. Mirazur and Hostellerie Jerome are on the price-y side but how much would dinner cost on the low end at these places?

Thanks in advance.

Jul 20, 2015
sam1 in France

Maison Kayser Tribeca

theyre also opening on christopher and bleecker in the future...ive never been and i suppose i prefer a bakery to a citibank but they are expanding significantly.

Jul 19, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

St. Jean Cap Ferrat mini-report: Paloma Beach restaurant

I decided to go here for the beach and dinner when I spend the morning cycling in Nice in September. Glad to know everyone is a fan.

Can you share prices for the grilled whole fish? These beach front restaurants tend to charge quite a bit more for fish and wanted to get an idea of what to expect.

Also, how was parking over there? any issue?

Jul 15, 2015
sam1 in France

Joe Beef - Yay or Nay?

i mentioned in my trip report that i cancelled my joe beef reservation because i was enjoying my dinner at le vin papillon too much to want to leave.

ive been to joe beef maybe 4-5x...with friends, a bachelor party and my girl. its a gut bomb...if you like steakhouses and the feeling afterward, then you should give it another go.

ive found that all 3 restaurants have gotten so popular with tourists that they've affected the staff. they think everyone who visits are tourists with picky appetites who watch anthony bourdain. its very unsettling but ive seen this happen in nyc and other celebrated restaurants.

once you relax and get on the same page with them, they open up and offer great service.

Seamore's

i dont understand the meatball shop success and think their meatballs are chock full of filler but i walked by last night (sunday) and figured id see how the wait would be. i was quoted 45 minutes at 7pm which wasnt bad but i didnt feel like waiting. ill check it out another time. place was full but seemed comfortable inside.

Jul 13, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Milan Expo

are any of these giant expo/events ever any good? not entirely easy for a restaurant to recreate their food or ambiance in some convention hall.

Jul 10, 2015
sam1 in Italy

best lower-end restaurants in the Villages/Soho

funny enough, the first time was moist and tender...the second time was a bit overcooked and dry.

when it was on, it was quite delicious. huge amount of spice in there.

Jul 10, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

best lower-end restaurants in the Villages/Soho

i was there twice. first time i had the lobak, char kway teow and the lamb rendang. the second time, i had the chicken rice, the hokkien mee and the lamb rendang.

id say i preferred the 3 items from my first visit over the 2nd but overall, its an enjoyable spot...particularly considering that food isnt really available in that area.

nice staff, comfortable environment. ill be making it a regular spot...particularly come winter when i dont want to travel far.

best lower-end restaurants in the Villages/Soho

westville...both 10th street and hudson street
elephant and castle...very quiet at night but calm and nice
grey dog
tavern on jane
taim
keste
risotteria
chomp chomp (from cafe asean owners)
jacks wife freda (though its usually mobbed)
ottos tacos on 7th ave and 10th
spunto for okay thin crust pizza
grand sichuan on 7th ave is actually pretty decent
nourish kitchen for healthy options
da andrea for awesome italian
num pang on 12th street if you're closer to union square

Jul 09, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan
1

Barcelona Itinerary. Thoughts?

i think i had lunch at la pubilla on a thursday so i cant speak for the weekends. i think the place was maybe 40% people who work or are associated with the market across the street, another 40% are locals who go there regularly and 20% are tourists who got a good tip.

Jul 08, 2015
sam1 in Spain/Portugal

trip report for montreal

came back from 2 nights in montreal and wanted to share my thoughts for anyone interested:

-got into town much later than originally planned due to a long wait at the border. pushed our dinner back at le filet with no problems at all. le filet was full at 930pm and had a nice, friendly crowd of all ages which was nice to see. it was late and we werent tremendously hungry so we opted for 3 dishes and then dessert. the tuna tartare, the scallop with pork flap and the cavatelli were all fine enough but i wasnt tremendously impressed with any of the dishes. the maple square for dessert was tasty but not enough for me to consider going back unfortunately. service was totally fine...friendly waitress and everything came out at an appropriate time.

-had wine at buvette chez simone which continues to be a favorite of mine. the by the glass offerings are good (not great)...had some decent bourgogne rouge but the vibe is great and the staff are friendly. its become a mandatory stop for us when in town.

-brunch at olive and gourmando. its crazy how popular the place is and yet im still ok with waiting for a table here. i just love the food so much. the ricotta salad with charred brocolli was perfect on grilled toast, the smoked trout sandwich was fine and their iced coffee (or iced americano) was perfect. strawberry rhubarb muffin was the best muffin ive had in some time. was also surprised at how friendly the host was considering how packed they get.

-stopped by patisserie kouign amann and couldnt resist having a slice of their signature pastry...especially since it was warm. it was as perfect as the first time ive had it.

-dinner was supposed to be at joe beef. i had reservations for nearly 3 months if i recall. but we decided to have a glass of wine and some cheese to start at le vin papillion and ended up cancelling joe beef and having dinner in the back garden. ive been to joe beef maybe 4x over the years and just knew id feel awful when i left. we were having such a good time in the back garden, that we figured we made the right decision. roasted carrots in garlic butter, chopped brocolli crostini with anchovies, some sort of urchin dish in what tasted like a caesar dressing, ricotta with peas and toast and one of the best cheese courses ive had in ages. service was a little awkward at first but excellent by the end of the meal.

Jul 07, 2015
sam1 in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Good vineyard with real food near Seneca Falls

looks like a 45 minute drive from seneca falls but hermann weimer is the finger lakes' best source for reisling.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/hermann-j-wie...

Milan Sunday -Wed. Eating well the priority.

i appreciate your review. ill be in milan in september and was contemplating rebelot and ratana. do you think the staff was overwhelmed by the large party or did you get the sense that the place is overrated?

can you share what you ate and enjoyed at rebelot please?

and how far in advance did you make reservations for both places?

Jul 02, 2015
sam1 in Italy

Fish Burger/Sandwiches

yep, ground up...its done really well though. kind of craving one now actually.

Jul 01, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

When in Montreal, eat Foie Gras

just make sure you get kouign amann from the patisserie on mont royal. and buvette chez simone is a favorite place for a glass of wine outdoors.

Jun 30, 2015
sam1 in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

When in Montreal, eat Foie Gras

funny...ill be at le filet on friday and joe beef on saturday night as well.

Jun 30, 2015
sam1 in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Fish Burger/Sandwiches

westville...particularly westville chelsea has a great seafood burger as a special quite regularly. has scallop and shrimp and fish in it if i recall.

Jun 30, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan

Decent restaurants near Jacob Javitz?

larb ubol for thai on 9th ave does the job.

Jun 29, 2015
sam1 in Manhattan
1

Barcelona Itinerary. Thoughts?

i wasnt able to make it but one place that looked nice for a bite and a glass of wine was bodega bonavista in gracia...near diagonal if i recall. its a wine shop that turns into a wine bar and tapas bar in the evenings. really regret not being able to check it out...maybe you'd be interested.

Jun 25, 2015
sam1 in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona Itinerary. Thoughts?

go to the bar portion...not the restaurant at canete...totally different vibe. everyone who's had mixed experiences at canete went to the restaurant and not the bar. apparently the restaurant is much more formal.

id go to gresca for lunch and not dinner btw. its small and pretty sedate if you ask me. lunch was 60% full...some people on a business lunch...others just having a pleasant lunch like myself.

Jun 25, 2015
sam1 in Spain/Portugal