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Eleven Madison Park wine pairings: yes or no?

My husband and I ate at EMP about a week and a half ago. Before I get started, let me say that this was the meal of the year for me. I loved it. But it wasn't because of the drinks...

We did the eight course menu, and we had the pairings. I'll tell you upfront that we're major wine snobs, and we have a really hard time paying restaurant markups for the types of wine we normally drink at home. We studied the wine list before we went to EMP and didn't see any bargains there on the wines we enjoy most (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Champagne, Mosel). So, we decided to give the pairings a shot.

We told the sommelier what we typically liked/did not like, and off he went. We were served a cider from Normandy, a beer, and a few wines from all over the place, all of which went well with the courses they were served with, but none of which I felt were particularly special or would buy for my cellar at home. Pour sizes were average. Definitely not skimpy, but not overly generous. Just enough to get you through the course. I'd say that the sommelier pretty much ignored my likes/dislikes in flavor profiles when it came to the wines, so that makes me think that he'd pretty much set the pairings in advance and that there was little room to change them. Again, they were fine, just not very special, and definitely not worth the $290 for the two of us. We did get exposed to several new drinks we'd never had the opportunity to try before, and that was fun.

I wasn't disappointed at all in the pairings because I didn't expect much going in. Usually the wine is a BIG part of a special meal for both of us, but at EMP, it faded into the background, the food and service came to the forefront, and we ended up having a lovely time. If I lived in NYC, I would probably bring my own bottle next time. But I don't, and I'd still be willing to give the pairings another try when we go again.

Hope this helps, and have a great time at the restaurant!

Eleven Madison Park
11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

Jan 09, 2012
2FlyingYorkies in Manhattan

First night in Maui

I ate at Nick's, Mama's, and Spago earlier this month. They were all fine, but the only one I'd call "memorable" was Mama's Fish House.

We also stayed at the Fairmont, and ate at Nick's on our first night there. The food and service were both fine. They have a good wine list. We had a fun flaming strawberry dessert there that was probably the highlight of the meal. Two complaints about Nick's: it's outside, and I was getting bit by bugs during the entire meal, and it was VERY dark at our table. It would have been nice to be able to see our food and read our menus. The rest of the food was decent, but nothing special.

We ate a Spago a couple nights later. I had a delicious tomato salad there. Warning: the portions are ridiculously oversized. We ordered a couple of mediocre drinks from the bar, and a couple of mediocre wines off their by the glass list. The service was... strange. I have a food allergy, and they were over the top annoying about it. The setting was nice. We were there after dark, but I think if you get there early enough to see the sunset, you'll have a nice show. There were a bunch of big groups there the night we were there, so that may have had something to do with the odd service.

We went to Mama's Fish House on our last night on the island. It's got a gorgeous setting, and the restaurant itself is decorated with a really fun motif. The staff was welcoming and professional. Drinks were decent, wine list was decent. We had a couple of the raw fish appetizers and they were both excellent. Again, the courses were way too big. I could only finish about 1/3 of my main course after eating the appetizer. It was just ok.

Ko was closed during our visit, so I can't report on that.

So, to sum up, any of the places you mention would be fine places to enjoy a meal, but I think hanging out on the beach and watching the sunset there before you go to dinner is probably a better way to set the tone for your trip than trying to do it at any of these places. Hope this helps, and I hope you have a great time on your trip!

Mama's Fish House
Paia HI, Paia, HI

3900 Wailea Alanui Dr, Kihei, HI 96753

Sep 28, 2011
2FlyingYorkies in Hawaii

Lunch/Snacks In Paris

We found the little sandwiches and pastries available at Gerard Mulot to be quite tasty. They box them up to go.

Mar 07, 2011
2FlyingYorkies in France

Most profitable attitudes in top tier restaurants in France

I wouldn't generalize quite so much about French waiters. We had dinner at L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon in Paris and had a great conversation with one of our waiters. He overheard us mention where we were from when another couple seated next to us asked about it. It turned out that he had a connection to our area and he jumped in and started chatting with us. It was totally initiated by him, and totally welcomed by us. We had a similar experience at a restaurant in the Loire, and another at different starred restaurant in Paris. Sure, most of the waiters will maintain a purely professional relationship with you if they sense that that's what you want out of your dining experience, but the really good ones can tell if you're the sort of person who doesn't mind a little social interaction as well.

Feb 08, 2011
2FlyingYorkies in France

beer and kids in Prague & Germany

I'm pretty sure I remember seeing small children drinking beer with their parents last time I was at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. They had tiny little steins that matched their parents' giant steins.

Feb 01, 2011
2FlyingYorkies in Europe

Wichita/Haysville Restaurant for Gift Certificate for Family

Try Chester's Chophouse or Yia Yia's Eurobistro.

Yia Yia's Eurobistro
8115 E 21st Street N, Wichita, KS 67226

Dec 20, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in Great Plains

Reasonable chicken?

I start drooling immediately when I think about those potatoes. They're awesome.

Dec 16, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Loire Valley Restaurant and Winery recommendations?

We enjoyed a great dinner at L'Epicurien in Monnaie (north of Tours) a couple of weeks ago. It's tiny, but the food was excellent and reasonably priced.

A visit to the Huet winery during harvest was also a treat. They have a nice tasting room, and we met the winemaker and the owner who were both very friendly.

Oct 20, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Help please! Hays, KS.

Actually, Al's is on the south side of town, and is about as far away from I-70 as you can get... though in Hays, that's only about a 5 minute drive.

Aug 24, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in Great Plains

french three star restaurants

Go to

In the second paragraph, you'll see a link to a press release - click that, and open the file to see a list of all the 1, 2 and 3 stars in France for 2010.

Jun 06, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Best charcuterie/butcher shops in the 6th?

Good to know... I will admit that proximity to Bon Marche was a major factor in deciding which apartment to take in Paris, and I'm definitely going to return there on this trip! I'm just trying to make an effort to expand my horizons and venture in to the neighborhoods a bit more this time around.

Jun 04, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Best charcuterie/butcher shops in the 6th?

Thanks for the great suggestions - it's the recommendations for the little personal shops like these that I was really looking for. We've been to Bon Marche in the past to pick up snacks for a picnic lunch, and I'm sure we'll be visiting there again on this trip. It's a feast for the senses!

Jun 04, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Best charcuterie/butcher shops in the 6th?

Thanks! We'll be staying on rue Jacob, but we don't mind a metro stop or two to get to the good food. We've actually strolled the Raspail market in the past, though we weren't really paying attention to the quality of everything at the time because we were stuck in a hotel on that trip.

Jun 04, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Best charcuterie/butcher shops in the 6th?

We've rented an apartment in the 6th for a week and we plan to visit the local shops to stock up on tasty supplies. We've found great recommendations for fromageries, patisseries, and boulangeries, but I've only found a couple mentions of charcuteries on the board (Gilles Verot). Is this shop still the one to visit in the area? If not, where should we go to buy high quality charcuterie and other meat in and around the 6th during our stay?

Jun 04, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Advice on our reservations at Pierre Gagnaire and L'Arpege - and a few questions

1) I've eaten at several Michelin restaurants throughout Europe and have had the tasting menu at all of them. I'm allergic to nuts. When we make our reservation, I always let them know about my allergy. It's never failed that they're ready to accomodate me when we arrive. I usually don't even have to remind them - as soon as we're given the menu, they usually say something to the effect of "we heard about your allergy" and I confirm it, and we discuss the possibility of substitutions where needed. They'll tell me which dishes will need to be changed, and I've always just let them surprise me with whatever they choose to substitute (occasionally resulting in jealous looks from my husband). I also bring along a card with a note for the chef in the native language of the country specifying my allergy, just in case.

2) We've only been to one restaurant that had set pairings for the menu. The others didn't offer pairings. We usually just order our own bottle or two after a short discussion with the sommelier. If you know what you prefer to drink, you're probably better off doing that anyway.

3) Everyone gets the bottled water at the places we've been.

4) We started hitting these restaurants in our mid-20s as young, unexperienced Americans, and have never experienced anything but exemplary service. Learn some key phrases in French that will allow you to be polite (please, thank you, hello, goodbye, excellent food, etc.) and you'll be fine. Take your cues from the diners around you as to how to behave, then relax and have fun!

Jun 03, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in France

Piz Gloria in Switzerland

I was there in June 2009. We ate lunch in the restaurant. It's a fun place to visit, but the food is nothing special. It's your typical hearty Swiss fare, and it's expensive compared to what you'd pay for something similar elsewhere. Count on about 30 CHF or more per person, which when compared to price of actually getting yourself up to the top of the mountain, isn't really too scary. The restaurant has an outer ring of tables that rotates, and an inner ring that does not. There are windows all around, and the views are incredible.

It was pretty cold up there in June, so I'm sure it will be incredibly cold up there in December. Be sure to bring gloves/hats/scarves/etc. I don't know how long you plan to stay in the area, but it can be hit or miss whether you'll be able to see anything up at the top of the mountain. We stayed in Lauterbrunnen for a week, and more often than not, the skies were clear and sunny early in the morning, then it clouded up around lunchtime and stayed cloudy the rest of the day. It may be completely different in winter. The day we visited Piz Gloria started out clear, but by lunch time we were completely socked in, which was kind of cool, though not as cool as being able to see the surrounding mountains.

Here are pictures of our meals... my husband had the "meat on a stick" plate, which I believe also came with a salad course. I had the chicken. They were both fine, but keep in mind that the main attraction of Piz Gloria is the site itself and the incredible views, and you won't be disappointed with your visit. Have a great time!

Jan 21, 2010
2FlyingYorkies in Europe

Best German Christmas Market Eats?

Glühwein is the key to staying warm at the Christmas markets. Trust me. It's not gross, it's just different. The mugs make nice souvenirs.

Dec 14, 2009
2FlyingYorkies in Europe

Switzerland: Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Murren

We spent a week in this area about a month ago. We based ourselves in an apartment in Lauterbrunnen, and we ate most of our meals there. However, we did eat dinner in Lauterbrunnen a couple of times. The first meal we had there was at Hotel Restaurant Schutzen. They had "BBQ" night on Fridays, and it was great. They did a bunch of different meats on their grill out on the patio. We had a plate of mixed grill along with a pot of their cheese fondue. Both were good and made for a fun and hearty meal.

Our second meal out was at Hotel Oberland - I wouldn't recommend it. There wasn't anything wrong with the food, it was just nothing special.

We went back to Schutzen again for our third meal out and had some more meat - this time served on a hot stone. It was fun, but not quite as tasty as the BBQ night grilling extravaganza. I'd still recommend it.

Our other non-apartment meals took place up at the top of the Schilthorn and the Jungfrau. We never ate in Wengen or Murren, though we walked through both towns. We didn't make it over to Grindelwald.

Good luck, and bring lots of money! (Restaurants in Switzerland are CRAZY expensive!)

Aug 05, 2009
2FlyingYorkies in Europe

Wichita Cheese/Dairy

I was at Green Acres this morning (near 21st and Rock) - they had Greek yogurt.

Wichita Cheese/Dairy

The only place I've found in town that has a decent selection of cheese is Dillons at Central and Rock. They have about 4 times the selection than the other Dillons stores. After that, I'd try Piccadilly, which is across the street from Dillons on Central.

I don't recall seeing Greek yogurt anywhere, but you might try calling the market at N&J to see if they have it.

restaurant Bareiss

I'm a bit late to this thread, but I'll go ahead and chime in. My husband and I ate at both Restaurant Bareiss and Schwarzwaldstube a couple of years ago. We spent 5 days in Baiersbronn and we stayed at Hotel Bareiss. Both Bareiss and Schwarzwaldstube were outstanding, and I'd agree that both were better than anywhere we've eaten in France or in the US, and they were absolutely great values for the price they charged. Bareiss just had 2 stars when we were there, and it was a notch below the 3 starred Schwarzwaldstube, but really only in service, not in the quality of the food. The service was good, but a bit stuffier than the service at Schwarzwaldstube. The hotel manager told us back then that they were expecting their third star that next year (in reality it took them 2 years).

We had the menu one night for dinner at Restaurant Bareiss (6/7 courses, we each tried a different one) and it lasted about 3 hours. We had the menu for lunch at Schwarzwaldstube (5/7 courses), and it lasted 5 hours, but we were the last ones there. Other guests who ordered off the a la carte menu started trickling out after about 3 hours. Each restaurant had a few dishes on the menu that were memorable, and I don't think either of us ever had a single course that was uninspiring.

When staying at Bareiss, we were able to eat breakfast and dinner at the various restaurants throughout the hotel every day as part of the hotel package, and they were all really good. The breakfast buffet was awesome, and we got our choice of 4 or 5 courses for dinner each night. We actually managed to get in another 2 courses for dinner back at the regular Bareiss restaurant after lunch at Schwarzwaldstube, not because we were hungry, but because the food was just too good to pass up. We stuck to soup and salad that night. LOL

In summary, I don't think you can go wrong with either of these two restaurants. We keep trying to find restaurants on the same level as these two, and have been unsuccessful so far. They are definitely worth a detour or a special trip to visit.

A 2001 red wine to keep for years to come?

We also got married in 2001 and are collecting bottles for future anniversaries. We've purchased all of these bottles in the last two years. Here's what we have so far that will fit your aging requirements and then some:

2001 Domain Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage
2001 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline
2001 E. Guigal Hermitage Ex Voto
2001 Chateau Haut Brion
2001 Elderton Shiraz Single Vineyard Command

2001 Chateau d'Yquem
2001 Toni Jost Bacharacher Hahn Riesling TBA
2001 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese

You've already gotten great advice on which regions to look in, but I thought you might like a list of some specific wines that have been available recently. We picked up several Brunellos as well, but I don't know that they're "special" enough to save specifically for anniversaries.

May 24, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Wine

Best Wine Shops in St. Louis

I'm pretty sure that Brown Derby closed their store in St. Louis over a year ago. The one in Springfield is worth a visit if you ever go that way.

The two stores we must visit each time we go to St. Louis are The Wine Merchant (we go to the one in Clayton, excellent Burgundy selection, good Champagne selection, decent German, Aussie and American selection) and The Wine Chateau (in Chesterfield, great Bordeaux selection, good selection of everything else).

If we have extra time, we go to The Wine & Cheese Place and Starr's, both conveniently located near The Wine Merchant in Clayton.

I just turned 21 and I want to try a nice shiraz

I'm assuming that since you used "shiraz" you're specifically looking for something Australian? I'm a fan of John Duval Wines and of Two Hands. You should be able to find John Duval Wines Shiraz Entity for about $35. The Two Hands wines are more expensive but you might be able to find them under your $50 limit. I haven't had much that I'd recommend in the under $30 price range, but hopefully others will be able to point you to some. Happy Birthday!

Apr 18, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Wine

Roadtrip notes: Kansas

I guess I get stuck with the servers when I go. I've had "guy who forgets to bring the extra side dish my sister ordered even though we reminded him about it when the food arrived and again halfway through the meal" (it never arrived), and "guy who is more interested in talking to girl server, causing both to forget to refill drinks".

Even with all that, it's still one of the better non-chain places to eat in Hays.

I also had a surprisingly good dinner at a place called Jalisco Mexican Restaurant. We've only been there once, so I don't know if it's consistent, or clean, or anything like that. Anyway, we had some sort of house fajita plate, which had shrimp, beef, chicken and pork with peppers and onions and possibly mushrooms. It was good, and the serving was HUGE. The margaritas were also quite good.

Roadtrip notes: Kansas

I've been to Gella's at least twice, maybe three times in the last year or two. I didn't think it was all that great - just your standard "upscale" brewery fare, not especially well prepared, and served by college students who obviously don't have a clue how to serve. The beer was decent. Of course, I can't really recommend any better places to go in Hays, either. (I grew up there.)

We never went to Al's Chickenette when I was growing up because my parents thought it was too smoky. That should have changed with the new no smoking rules in the county. My friends all liked it.

1989 Veuve Clicquot- need help

I wouldn't go quite that high. You can still buy magnums online for $276 and 750's for under $100.

Feb 19, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Wine

Cookbooks for newlyweds first time out of home?

Another Mark Bittman fan here. We have had "How to Cook Everything" for several years, and recently picked up "The Best Recipes in the World". Both are great.

Feb 19, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Home Cooking

Vail, CO Restaurant Recommendations???

We stayed at the Sonnenalp resort a couple of years ago and enjoyed several of their restaurants. Ludwig's for breakfast was great, Ludwig's for dinner was good and peaceful, Swiss Chalet was fun and good, and Bully Ranch was good and reasonably priced for lunch. Have fun!

Feb 15, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Southwest

Your opinion please! Best rieslings to get right now?

Wow, there are TONS of great wines from the 2005 vintage in Germany available right now. Look for Donnhoff, Joh. Jos. Christoffel, Joh. Jos. Prum, Fritz Haag, Josef Leitz, Selbach Oster, Willi Schaefer, or Keller. The 2006's are starting to show up in stores, too, and they should be good from all of these producers.

As for domestic, the only US riesling I've ever sort of liked was Chateau Ste. Michelle's Riesling Eroica. 2004, 2005 and 2006 are all decent years.

Feb 06, 2008
2FlyingYorkies in Wine