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Glasgow in May

You must try some Indian - Glasgow's restaurants among the best in the country. Banana Leaf near Kelvingrove Museum does outstanding south Indian food in completely no-frills surroundings for ridiculously low prices. Mother India's Café is also great, for more upmarket (but still casual and fun) surroundings.

Get a drink in and nibbles, too, if you have time, at Stravaigin on Gibson Street- perfect and representative West End (the bohemian, university district) atmosphere, great drinks and lovely bar.

Apr 08, 2013
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Tipping

I wouldn't ever tip a bartender but definitely have noticed in the last few years that many swankier bars now automatically add a 12.5% percent service charge when they bring you the bill (you tend to run up a tab rather than pay for individual drinks). I'd pay that without questioning it but I wouldn't myself think to add a tip to a bar bill that didn't come with one. I DEFINITELY wouldn't tip in a pub! At the end of the night you might say to the person serving you to 'have one on me' but tipping in a pub would feel extremely odd!

Similarly more and more restaurants add a service charge, which I would almost always pay without question, so no personal tipping calculations needed; if no charge is added I'd tip about 10% unless things were particularly awful, yeah.

Jun 13, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Traditional Scottish meal in Glasgow?

As far as I know there's nothing really around the airport. Obviously the airport has some of the usual food outlets but no decent restaurants as such! You'll have to hop in a cab (15-20 mins) and head to the city centre/West End. What kind of price are you looking at? You can't go too wrong with Stravaigin on Gibson Street, though, which I think is very representative of Scottish food in that it always has haggis, neeps and tatties and fish & chips on its all-day menu, but also lots of lovely curries and stuff like that (Glasgow being more famous for its Scottish-Indian food than perhaps any other!).

Jun 13, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

London - Solo dining near Piccadilly?

Thirded! Sit at the bar at Bocca di Lupo and enjoy the atmosphere, service and awesome food. I love doing this - never done it as a solo diner but imagine it would be great as we always end up chatting to the staff and our neighbours anyway!

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Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

May 10, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Great meal near Picadilly undergroud line (London)?

Oooh yes, Bocca di Lupo is quite marvellous.

Mar 30, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Cost of London dining

Personally, while I love the V&A café and definitely recommend it for tea and cake - and also rate the quality of the food - it's NOT cheap for what you get. A sandwich is about £5.

Mar 10, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Can't afford River Cafe London, where should I go?

Zucca is a great modern Italian alternative to the River Café:
http://www.zuccalondon.com/

Mar 10, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Post Theatre dining - celebrity status!

I find the atmosphere at Joe Allen's really unpleasant. It's underground, and looks dated, and ... yeah, I definitely wouldn't put it in this category. The Wolseley absolutely has the most 'star' factor out of all the places described in terms of the look and feel of the place, plus I've spotted celebs there more often than anywhere else, though I'm not really the most out-on-the-town person, so I'm not the best judge of these things.

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The Wolseley
160 Piccadilly, London, Greater London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom

Joe Allen
13 Exeter Street, London WC2E 7DT, GB

Mar 06, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Andouille Sausage [London]

A bit o'Googling indicates that at least some regional versions of the andouille do involve smoking the intestines, etc. before making them into the sausage which is then boiled for 3-6 hrs (erk) before serving. (This is a Normandy kind, apparently. Who knows what other regional variants there are - or, possibly, it doesn't vary much by region. It's hard to tell.) Le TLF gives simply 'Boyau de porc rempli de tripes, de chair et de lard de ce même animal, hachés et assaisonnés' for andouille and 'Petite andouille dont le contenu est finement haché' for andouilette.

Feb 28, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Andouille Sausage [London]

There are both French andouille and French andouillette (slightly different - as the names imply, the andouillette is a smaller version of the andouille) and then there's the Cajun andouille which is different again from both the two French sausages - spicier, for one, I believe, though I confess that I can't go within 3 metres of the French kinds even when given the chance, and that I've never been anywhere that's served or sold the Cajun kind.

Feb 26, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Andouille Sausage [London]

Good point. Are we talking about French or Cajun andouilles?

Feb 25, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

a couscous question

Generally everyone has always ordered their own dish when I've eaten at Moroccan restaurants in France, be it a couscous, a tagine dish, or whatever. If more than one person orders a couscous then often a large communal bowl of sémoule will be put on the table rather than serving each of them an individual bowl - and because you get so many different bits and pieces as part of a couscous we always share between whoever wants a taste of it all. But basically it's one dish each, more the French way, I think than the Ethiopian.

Really it depends on the habits of your group and of each restaurant though doesn't it? At many of the Chinese restaurants that I go to, each person orders their own dish, aside from a bit of swapping and sampling, whereas obv that's not the case for you.

Feb 16, 2011
chochotte in France

Need reccomendation for Indian restaurant (Glasgow and/or Edinburgh)

What kind of Indian? British-Indian, or a contemporary Indian cuisine proper, and if so, from what region?

Off the top of my head I love the Pakistani Café (on the southside) and Banana Leaf (only the West End one - the other's apparently far less good and much more expensive, but the West End one is one of my all-time favourite places to get great, cheap food).

Feb 15, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Calling all CAKE EXPERTS; is GENOISE the same as sponge cake?

Yup, a genoise is considered a variety of sponge.

Feb 02, 2011
chochotte in Home Cooking

[London] Les Deux Salons

I think the dessert menu is spot on in terms of the theme and feel they're going for, though - all solid brasserie/bistro classics, reading it made me feel like I was back in France! Anything fancier or more innovative wouldn't fit.

Jan 28, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Super excited- but don't read or speak French - Am I in trouble?

I appreciate your point about WR forums! - I agree. Anyway, don't want to derail this board further into (admittedly fascinating, to me) sociolinguistics. I think patronising was too strong a word on my part; I wouldn't really be offended very much but I would be slightly - hmm. I am simply not entirely happy with that usage; I have friends who find it far more offensive than me on political/feminist grounds, and there are equally many who have no problem being called mademoiselle if they look relatively young (and surely others who'd love to be called it more often!). It's complicated and there's no definitive answer. The actress thing's interesting because it parallels the use of the word 'actress' (now no longer used by many publications/media outlets) in English. But that's a discussion for another time and place!

Jan 28, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Super excited- but don't read or speak French - Am I in trouble?

I am indeed not French, but have lived there a lot - cannot claim to know all the nuances of the language and culture by any means, but I do know many French women of my age who feel the same.
"Mademoiselle in France is over, except for actresses. Madame is used for any woman." "A mon avis, on dit Madame pratiquement dans tous les cas, et on réserve Mademoiselle pour les très jeunes filles - ou les très vieilles filles, qui y tiennent souvent - ou pour les actrices de la Comédie Française." Just two examples from native French speakers over on the WordReference boards, and certainly not proof of correct or blanket usage - but at least proof that I'm not totally alone in my opinion, or that it's entirely due to my non-native-French-speaker status.

So, I think I can only conclude that the issue is extremely confused! Especially so because in Quebecois French I am pretty sure that mademoiselle is definitely no longer widely used.

Jan 27, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Super excited- but don't read or speak French - Am I in trouble?

I'm 25 and I wouldn't be wildly insulted if someone called me mademoiselle but it could potentially feel rather patronising. Depends on the context, but I am usually called madame. If I went, say, into a smart boutique and was called mademoiselle when I walked in, I'd feel that the staff were patronising me, for sure.

Jan 27, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Best restaurant in Paris open on Sunday night

Menu du marché (market menu) served at both lunch and dinner, includes 3 courses. Without drinks it's €65, or if you pay €85 you get a glass of wine with the starter, another with the main (chosen for you; you don't get to pick which!), mineral water, coffee and petits-fours.

Menu découverte (discovery menu) has to be served to the entire table and costs €135. Again, if you want to have the dishes accompanied by wines, add €45.

Menu dégustation (tasting menu) is €185 (again must be taken by the whole party at your table) and is an extra €69 if you want accompanying drinks.

All prices include taxes and service charges, so no tips necessary. And finally they are very clear that they don't take cheques! Hope that helps.

Jan 27, 2011
chochotte in France

Pastry Shops / Bakeries Not To Be Missed in London?

They're all ok, but as with any chain bakery stuff is mostly brought in frozen/ready prepared from somewhere off-site, so they're not really 'must-visit' type places in my book.

Jan 22, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

"It's just a fancy French word for..."

Well, historically (in the 19th century, that is, and up to the mid-20th really) menus would always be translated into French whatever was being served. So instead of a menu saying 'roast beef, roast potatoes and boiled peas' (I take a very un-French meal to make the point) it would say 'roti de boeuf, pommes de terre et petits pois à l'anglaise'. There are even funnier examples of really British things (to stick to my own national perspective) like steak-and-kidney pudding or whatever being clumsily translated into French because French was seen to be the only acceptable language of cookery. Menu archives are fascinating for this reason (look at the Titanic's menus, for example).

Now we've MOSTLY got over using French words for things just because it's considered 'elegant'. But there are some cases where it still hasn't happened, so I think it's fair enough for chefs to point out that it's 'just a fancy French word for xyz' because traditionally, French words were used where English ones would do PRECISELY because it was considered 'fancy' and fashionable and elegant.

There's a continuing reaction against this, one example of which is that crème brûlée is increasingly listened on UK menus as 'burnt cream'. (This is also to emphasise claims of it being as much an English invention as a French dish, though, I suppose.)

Jan 22, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Paula's English Pea recipe = what's wrong with Food Network

Nope, in traditional culinary terminology, 'à l'anglaise' is the term used to refer to a preparation that involves boiling and then tossing with butter. So while it sounds funny when it's translated into English, 'petits pois à l'anglaise' is exactly this, boiled peas tossed with butter. Pommes de terre à l'anglaise would mean boiled potatoes with butter, etc. Obv. mushy peas are a traditional English food but they're not strictly speaking 'à l'anglaise'.

Jan 21, 2011
chochotte in Food Media & News

Super excited- but don't read or speak French - Am I in trouble?

Duly noted... thanks!

Jan 19, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Constant restaurants - which one?

I agree: I don't think there's a strong movement for formally enforced dress codes in France. Yes, there is an implicit dress code in the sense that you will be able to make superficial, broad but probably reasonably accurate inferences as to people's backgrounds, class, etc based on what they are wearing. But I don't think that it is as clear-cut as 'what you have to wear where' in France. Clearly going to a nice restaurant in your gym clothes would not be on. But the whole ties and jackets thing is more a matter of personal choice. I just wear what I will feel comfortable in, in terms of feeling good about how I look (as a woman, though, I'll admit it's more vague).

Jan 19, 2011
chochotte in France

Super excited- but don't read or speak French - Am I in trouble?

Absolutely not. Anglophone tourism is big business in Paris and most of the time, businesses are very much prepared for this kind of situation. Also, 'menu French' is a language all its own and I've found that even native speakers sometimes struggle to make out exactly what is being described - so do not be afraid to ask for explanations! If you don't have any knowledge of any Romance languages/Latin, and so really will struggle even to get basic ideas about what's on menus, you might want to invest in a little English-French dictionary specifically aimed at diners, which would prevent you having to ask repeatedly for word-for-word translation (it would at least enable you to identify the main meat/fish/veg in a dish and the ways in which they were cooked, to whittle things down before asking your waiter/waitress for more detailed info). Something like this?
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gastronomic-D...

But if you speak Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese etc. then you can probably make out enough to get by.

Jan 19, 2011
chochotte in Not About Food

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

I like my green beans cooked really soft, and lots of chefs I've heard mention it say they always deliberately cook them till they're good and floppy, so it may have been deliberate.

Jan 18, 2011
chochotte in France

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

Merci pour vos conseils!
I think ZK is a little bit too fussy in its presentation and modern in its feel for what we're looking for, though I always meant to go before because the food looks nice (lots of seafood, miam miam).
All the things you mentioned about cafés, nice areas to stroll and your input on the restaurants is very much appreciated.

Jan 18, 2011
chochotte in France

Young, bustling, foodie dinner spots in Paris

I am really interested in natural wines, so Saturne is almost certainly on my list. It sounds like excellent value. Do I need to book ages and ages ahead?

Jan 16, 2011
chochotte in France

Oxford area recs.

One of the main arguments I am familiar with in this area is based on the fact that Britain industrialised much earlier and much faster than any other country in the world, so it lost its food traditions much earlier. It's really remarkable to compare rural-urban population distributions and their shifting over time in, say, England and France.

Anyway- I love all that old fashioned food. I love steamed puddings and steak and kidney pudding and rice pudding and trifle. I'm glad we can take the good bits, done well, and have them served up at St John's, and leave 30-minute cabbage and bread and milk behind!

Jan 14, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland

Oxford area recs.

It's statistically been proven that the British populace was better nourished under rationing than it was before to it. Not being a specialist in social history of that period I don't recall all the mechanisms and details that made it so but I think that's the accepted argument. Perhaps because certain groups ie children did have special provisions made for them and because rationing curbed the British's natural sweet tooth! Rationing forced people to distribute whatever money they did have along lines drawn up by nutritionists and not according to their preferences, I suppose.

Jan 14, 2011
chochotte in U.K./Ireland