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Shep Huntleigh's Profile

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Still lovin' Sofra

For those of you who don't get to Sofra as often as you'd like (or as often as the crowds allow), this valentine today:

A photo, a paragraph, a mezze platter.

The same again, please.

RW service? Miel. Ruth's Chris. Anywhere?

This is the first time I have tried to eat out during Restaurant Week. Last week at Miel. This week at Ruth's Chris. In both places the service was really terrible. The servers seemed to have a real attitude. I tip really well. And I get along with almost everybody. But man, these servers in BOTH places were really haughty and anything but welcoming. Is it always that way? Or always that way during RW? I can't imagine going back to either place after the nasty way I was treated. Any servers out there who can offer an insider's perspective.

Miel: Restaurant Week 2011

Twice each year, I read the list of participating restos and their menus but have never actually participated. Until now.

A $33.11 three-course dinner at otherwise pricey Miel, a “Brasserie Provençal” within Boston’s Intercontinental Hotel.
From the menu (complete with its quirky spelling and punctuation):
-Pistou Soup with Traditional Provençal Vegetables and Basil Soup
-Pan Seared Salmon with Crisp Camargue Rice Cake and Lobster Nage with Tarragon
-Pear Tarte tatin Salted caramel ice cream (pictured)

The food was fine (though some menu choices had -- surprise! -- “For an Additional $8” surcharges), the room a little fancified, the hostess ill-suited for a hospitality position, the server un peu insincere (because we were discounted diners?) Fortunately the enjoyable company made up for any shortfalls. The Algerian bus boy, the most genuine person we encountered, should be promoted.

Was it worth what we paid? Yes.
Would we go back? Probably not.

I’ve since heard that during Restaurant Week, you get what you pay for.
Sounds about right

Miel "Brasserie Provencal"
510 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110

Barcelona equivalent of Madrid's El Brillante?

Thank you, I will.

Oct 16, 2010
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona equivalent of Madrid's El Brillante?

Hello, friends,

The minute I arrive in Madrid, I head for El Brillante (photo attached), a bar-sandwich place that has the best fried calamares bocodillos in Madrid. (They even have a sign in the window that says so!) Really casual, it's got a bar on one side of the brightly lit, open space, and the fry-up/sandwich station on the other. No waiters. No tables. You take your food to counters that have a few stools. Really easy, cheap. Calamares, tortillas, basic tapas selections. Students stop on their way home from school, locals, tourists.

I'm heading for Barcelona in two weeks. Anyone know of something similar there? With all that seafood, I feel certain there is a similar place that I just don't know about.

Thanks for any leads.


Oct 15, 2010
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Lisbon-Sevilla-Cordoba-Cadiz-Jerez de la Frontera -Evora

Muito obrigado. We arrive on Saturday, missing the wine-roasted goat by one day. Oh, well. A reason to return. We'll be there on Saturday night for sure. Thank you again for your great help here and elsewhere on this board.

Oct 14, 2010
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Lisbon-Sevilla-Cordoba-Cadiz-Jerez de la Frontera -Evora

Thank you, once again, vinhotinto75. I relied on your excellent suggestions last October in Lisbon. And now I'm packing my bags to go back early in November. I LOVED A Esquina da Fe so much, I want to return. Do you happen to know what night(s) they are closed? Hoping to head there on a Saturday night. .Also heading back to Cacilhas for a seafood extravaganza on Sunday night. And then one other place on the free Monday...not sure which yet. Maybe we'll be up for some Bomjardin roast chicken and potatoes at that point. Or head back to Esquina da Fe.

Oct 13, 2010
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Bergamot: yes, yes, yes. The Market (Gloucester): no, thanks

Our expectations for Bergamot were high...and they were all met extremely well. From the pleasant greeting at the door, to the excellent service, and the superb food. Small, flavorful portions that were blessedly satisfying. Combinations of ingredients that were honest and straightforward and surprising (nothing precious here.) Starters: crispy chicken and ham salad; duck, duck, duck; Spanish mackerel. Entrees: pan-seared scallops; pan-seared East Coast halibut; special--sirloin of pork. Desserts: Sweet Summer Salad (w/ olive oil gelato, black pepper financier, strawberries); blueberry tart with cornmeal crumble and herbes de provence ice cream; Guanjillo Chile Chocolate Pave with Milk Stout ice cream. Mmmmm-mmm from start to finish. Nice place, nice staff, nice job folks.

Alas, the admirable philosophy behind the latest North Shore resto to jump on the "local and sustainable" bandwagon, The Market Restaurant in Gloucester, does not seem to extend to its services and fees policies. We were told when we called that the place is BYOB as they had no liquor license yet. We were not told that they would impose a $10 corkage fee when we brought our own bottle. A corkage fee at a place that doesn't sell wine itself? And guess what?This fee, we were informed, extends to bottles of beer as well. Sorry, the menu and ingredients look good, but we can't support a place that operates in that greedy manner. When the policy changes or when they get their license, maybe. Good luck to them.

118 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

MetroWest casual for next Wednesday night?

Shiraz on Park, Worcester, is the place my Armenian friends took me for dinner.

Montreal market on Rue Ontario E near Rue Amherst?

Thank you so much.

MetroWest casual for next Wednesday night?

Thank you all for these excellent suggestions. I appreciate it.

Montreal market on Rue Ontario E near Rue Amherst?

Can someone please help me remember the name and intersection of a small outdoor market in Montreal? It is on a corner of Rue Ontario near the intersection of Rue Amherst, I believe. There are one or two indoor shops, but most of this neighborhood market is outdoors.
Thank you for any help you can give me.

MetroWest casual for next Wednesday night?

We're four food-minded ex-colleagues who get together for a meal, some conversation and lots of laughs every few months. We're looking for a place in MetroWest for this coming Wednesday night, June 9, where we can have a good, unfancy meal and where we won't be rushed.

In the past, we've met at a casual Armenian place in Worcester and at Saray in Brighton, both excellent for our purposes: good honest food, no rushing, allowed us to laugh a lot.

For reference: Stone's Public House in Ashland is perfect...except they have a band booked for next Wednesday night and we don't want to compete.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.


Best / Favorite 5 restaurants on North Shore??

I wish I could agree with others who like Duckworth's Bistrot in Gloucester. I've been three times now. The server I've had the last two times was off-putting and snidely insincere. When I mentioned that I'd liked the appetizer I'd had, she replied in a falsely theatrical way, "I'm SO glad." The resto is expensive and should provide a better overall experience than the one I had. Too bad, too, because I can walk there from my home.

Lunch in Braga, dinner in Coimbra

Many thanks to the generous folks on this board for their suggestions in the past. Now, another request.
I'll be arriving in Braga at noon on a Saturday. Any recommendations for lunch? I was thinking of going to the market and buying things for a picnic lunch, but I'm open to any suggestions you might have.
Leaving late that afternoon for Coimbra. Vinhotinto75's earlier recommendation of A Taberna sounds good to me for dinner. Anyone have any other leads?
Muito obrigado,

Sep 21, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Cheeses in Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Lisbon?

Thank you so much to everyone for these great leads. I'm getting hungry. Bread, cheese, charcuterie...I'm there! Muchas gracias. Muito obrigado.

Sep 04, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Cheeses in Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Lisbon?

I'm eager to try the local cheeses on an upcoming trip to Spain and Portugal. Can anyone suggest places where I can sample several kinds, perhaps at a restaurant or bar that offers plates of different types. Or even shops or markets where I can pick up a local assortment. Madrid, Santiago de Compostela and Lisbon are the places I'll be based. Thanks so much for any leads.

Sep 01, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Lunch in Avila?

Hola, amigos,
I will be in Avila on a weekday afternoon in October.
Can anyone recommend a place to have a casual lunch?
I am more interested in regional dishes and traditions than I am in "modern takes on, etc."
That said, I'd rather eat where the locals eat.
Thanks for any recommendations.

Sep 01, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Restaurants everyone seems to love but you don't

Via Matta is the worst restaurant I've been to in a long time. Terrible food. Worse service. And the attitude. I will never go back. Or to any other of this team's restaurants. There are plenty of good places where they treat you better.

Where have you always had a bad meal?

The worst restaurant experience I have ever had in Boston, bar none, was at Via Matta. The food was mediocre. And the attitude! One of the dishes we ordered was "roasted seasonal vegetables" and out came a sliced raw tomato and a sliced raw cucumber. We thought it was the salad but when the waiter told us that was the "roasted seasonal vegetables," we questioned it. He came back in a few minutes and said, "The chef said that if you want to wait awhile he'll try to find a carrot for you." Who needs that? I never went back. They should spend more time on their food and service and less time thinking about the cute sneakers the waiters wear.

Cheese samplings in Madrid?

Do you know of any restaurants or bars that offer a plate of various local or national cheeses? I visited a cheese store in Paris that has a few tables where you can order "lunch" of 7 or 15 samplings of different cheeses. And I was wondering if anyone knew of someplace similar in Madrid. Thanks.

May 10, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Lisbon Report - Jan 2009

Muito obrigado for your postings. I am preparing to travel to Portugal (Porto, Coimbra, Lisboa) and anticipating many good meals. You seem to think as I do: that smaller, family-run, local and traditional places are the best. Thank you for your tip on A Taberna in Coimbra. I will definitely go there. Bonjardim and João do Grão also sound great. Meanwhile, I must learn some Portuguese (beyond the lyrics to Mariza songs) and read more about the cuisine, especially the pasteis and cheeses.

May 01, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

have you ever been to Galicia

thanks. I've put it on my list.

May 01, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

have you ever been to Galicia

Hola, jnwork,
Thank you for your posting on Galicia. I will be in Santiago de Compostela later this year, and I am already reading and planning my trip. Can you recommend any restaurants for me? I have been reading about Casa Marcelo and Toni Vicente. But I would also like to know about some small, family-run places with traditional Galician food. Also, do you know where I can try percebes? Muchas gracias por ayudarme. Estudio espanol, pero no puedo escribir mucho todavia.

Apr 28, 2009
Shep Huntleigh in Spain/Portugal

Sofra Oleana: Anyone take the Dec 7 class?

DId anyone take Maura Kilpatrick's Dec 7 class on panforte, tempering chocolate and the sesame-cashew bars?
Curious about how it went.


Went three times on Opening Day. Once to check it out, again later in the morning for a sweet thing, again for lunch. Clearly I liked it. Lunch: You get five choices on a "meze platter" for $9. You can check out the menu at Ana S was at the counter beautifully doling out the portions. And Maura Kilpatrick was there, too, glowing. Almost went back for dinner, but I don't want the staff to create a nickname for me this early in the run. They're open 7am-7pm. And there is very limited seating. The food was uniformly superb. I hesitate to let anyone know about this precious jewel.

From Boston. In W. H'wood. Where should I eat?

Thank you so much for all the recommendations. You Californians are so much nicer and more generous than the frosty types here in New England. (Not a Boston native, I am also not a Red Sox fan. My loyalties are still to the BROOKLYN Dodgers.) I am leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow and I'm hungry. Thank you again.
-Shep H.

From Boston. In W. H'wood. Where should I eat?

Adventurous eater from New England (yes, we exist) coming to West Hollywood for work this coming weekend. Would love to eat some interesting ethnic food that I probably can't get here in Massachusetts. Prefer to avoid the other visitors eating along W. Sunset and would be much more interested in genuine Mexican, Asian, other LA-based meals. I've been reading the generous replies to postings here and have made a list. Would love to know where the clients can take us for a "good meal." But also would love to know where I might dine solo at the counter somewhere interesting. Was in NYC last week and ate great Thai in Queens, great Turkish in Cliffside Park, NJ. Don't suppose I can walk to any interesting places from my hotel at W. Sunset and Olive, can I? Thanks for any leads. I appreciate it.

Best Place to Get an Eggplant Sub?

Emilio's in East Watertown (across the little square from the Deluxe Town Diner) does an excellent eggplant sub. They also will prepare a take-out foil tub of prepared eggplant, cheese and sauce for a magnificent meal at home. What a great way to enjoy this wonderful food that can be bothersome to prepare at home. Plus, Irene behind the counter at Emilio's (she's his wife) is great.

NY chowhound seeks advice for one day visit

I'm from Boston, just back from 3 days in San Francisco. Here's where I ate and had a real good time:
Thurs dinner: Zuni
Fri lunch: Ton Kiang (for 11am dim sum)
Fri dinner: Chez Panisse (downstairs; reservations needed)
Sat lunch: Pancho Villa Taqueria (Mission burrito)
Sat dinner: A-16 (inventive Italian in Marina district)
Happy with all of the meals I had. Chez Panisse was the standout meal by far.