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Buenos Aires - Restaurant Wine and a few for the Road

Thank you, that's exactly what I'm looking for.

And this Gaucho100k knows that of which he speaketh re the grape
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/argent...

Oct 01, 2010
fast eddie in Wine

Buenos Aires - Restaurant Wine and a few for the Road

I'll be in Buenos Aires for the first time in a couple of weeks and would like some advice on what to order from restaurant wine lists. Obviously malbec which my wife and I love, but from what I've heard from friends who've been there a lot of the pricier reservas you'll find on the lists are too young. Haven't decided where we're going to eat yet, I guess the timeout list would be representative of the type of places we'll be eating

http://www.timeout.com/buenos-aires/s...

What should I be looking for on a list as far as malbecs I'll see on restaurant lists, and should I be asking the waiter/sommelier for something special that might not be on the list they drop in front of a tourist? I know enough Spanish to get a smile out of a waiter.

Also, I want to bring a couple styrofoam shippers back with me. Any suggestions on a couple of mixed case of reds I should bring back that I wouldn't be able to find back stateside, and which store I should buy it from - and preferable a store that also sells the styrofoam shippers? Preferably drinkable sooner rather than later.

tyis

Sep 19, 2010
fast eddie in Wine

Four meals decided, but one bourbon-fueled wild card left

I got crunked in New Orleans.

Where to begin? Tried to fit in the high and the low, the traditional and the new, the raucous and the sedate.

Had a fine Friday lunch at August, as mentioned here numerous times the prix fixe is an incredible bargain at $20 for three courses. One thing to note is that the kitchen loves pork. Waiter says the kitchen tries to sneak some into as many things as they can. Which is not a bad thing, but you might not want every course to have pork undertones, eg, you wouldn't expect a shrimp bisque or fried oysters to have a pork component, but here they do. Best dish was the prix fixe main course of lentils with bacon (of course), outstanding.

Friday happy hour started at the Hermes bar, part of the Antoine's complex. Beautiful room, all tiled and wooded and mirrored and brassed like you would expect from an Antoine's. What I didn't expect was a pimply kid wiping down tables to put his rag in his pocket and take our drink order, then saunter directly behind the bar and start lifting his elbows to concoct us a Sazerac and whiskey sour. Out came some gloppy, syrupy $5 pre-mix abominations that might as well have been dumped straight into a go-cup. Nice room, but I'd suggest ordering a beer instead of a proper cocktail.

Now for a proper cocktail in the Quarter, may I suggest to you French 75 at Arnaud's. Now this, this is a bar. Very sedate, scratchy old Edith Piaf and Parisienne accordian music in the background. The stately bartender in his crisp starched whites commanding the bar like an admiral. The eponymous French 75's were magnificent - champagne, cognac, lemon and bitters sounds like an emetic, but this is a pretty amazing cocktail, a really magical potion. A really balanced symphony of flavors, very crisp and dry and citrusy. So good we ordered a second one, and so well-prepared that I thought it was indicative of the care they would take in the kitchen so we changed our dinner plans and made a reservation for dinner at Arnaud's the next night.

Walked past the Old Absinthe bar and that was a total zoo so we took a pass. Next was the Carousel Bar, which was also packed but we were able to get a table. The room looks a little tired, the carpet is pretty worn and the walls are unadorned - I was expecting something grander than this. My Manhattan was decent, but it's pretty hard to mess that up even in a busy bar.

Mr B's bistro is right across the street, so we ducked across for dinner. This is a big raucous high energy room, long wait at the bar for a table even though it was late. I started with the fried oysters, which came out cold - but to their credit they immediately replaced it with a hot order. Delicious. Main course I had the barbecued shrimp. Eh, my bad - I know how these are prepared, you just take a pound of margarine and melt it down and add some seasonings and throw in the shrimp. In my addled condition I thought they'd be fun but it's just a greasy one-note mess that doesn't really taste all that good and the sauce overwhelms any subtlety a good shrimp would have. I suspect some genius came up with this recipe as a way to unload overripe shrimp. Scratch that dish off the list of been there, done that.

Breakfast next day was quick bite at the hotel club lounge, then a stroll through the French Market. Saw a couple people walking around with bloodies and thought, ooh that looks like a good idea. I forget the name of the place but it's indoors, and if you enter the market from Esplanade it's the first bar that you encounter walking upriver. This was a beautiful specimen, properly prepared (not stirred, but poured from cup to cup to mix), one of the best bloodies I've ever had. Not sure what kind of tomato juice you use as a base in New Orleans, but it's a huge improvement over the Campbell's we're stuck with.

Lunch next day was Parkway Tavern. Shrimp and roast beef po-boys. And uh, jeez, I just don't get it. The roast beef was a really bland sleepy boiled down pile of blah, and it took half a bottle of hot sauce to wake it up. The bread completely disintegrated halfway through the sandwich, so I had to finish eating it with a fork. These are the best of breed? Those Zats creole potato chips were the bomb though. IMO a Chicago Italian beef or a Philly roast pork easily shove aside the po' boy for a place in the pantheon of great sandwiches.

We lucked into some tickets for the Saints game, so that was next up. I'm a big Michigan Wolverine and Chicago Bears fan, but these fans blow away anything I've ever seen in the Midwest. I'm a traditionalist and not a big fan of piped in music at games, but that "Get Crunked" is perfect for New Orleans, loved it! Great fun, great crowd. I know how much the Saints mean to this city, and I really felt privileged to be part of that. Plus they just totally stomped the guts out the Cardinals - Geaux Saints!

Then what? Oh yes, dinner at Arnaud's. Another gorgeous room, beautifully lit. We started with a couple French 75's again, they were good but the service bar isn't nearly as adept at preparing these as the bartender in French 75. Had the shrimp Arnaud (in a remoulade) and oysters Bienville to start. Can't say that I'm a huge fan of the oysters Bienville, although tasty the oysters kind of get lost in the mountain of bread crumbs. Shrimp remoulade were very nice, heavy on the creole mustard which I like. But the real star was the "gulf fish Amandine". Waiter said that they had speckled trout that night, so I got lucky and had the dish prepared with the correct fish. I had this before at Galatoire's and thought it was jusk ok, but here I was blown away. You'd think that in a healthy dose of brown butter sauce and a thick fried crust smothered in a pile of roasted almonds the fish would get kind of lost, but in each bite you still had the fish in the forefront even though it was a fairly thin piece of fish. Everything just worked together in perfect harmony. There's a reason some of these recipes haven't changed in 100 years - once you achieve perfection, why change anything?

Sunday morning left time for one last meal before flying off. Decided to go to Luke, and glad we made that choice. The morning menu is more of a breakfast/brunch/lunch combo, and shrimp & grits is one of the offerings. Lord have mercy, this was awesome. Stonegrond grits mixed with just a hint of mascarpone cheese, some beautiful sauteed shrimp and a silky sauce made from a shrimp & andouille sausage reduction. My wife had the country breakfast, but that was just your regular ho - hum plate. These shrimp & grits were unbelievable, just a fantastic way to cap off a truly enjoyable weekend of great food and drink.

Love New Orleans, what a treasure.

Jan 18, 2010
fast eddie in New Orleans

Four meals decided, but one bourbon-fueled wild card left

You can watch a game at Antoine's? Awesome, I'm all over that. This press release is hilarious, I love the last line:
===========================
"New" is not a word one associates with Antoine's. The 169-year-old French Quarter restaurant is a fierce guardian of Creole tradition. But anyone who recently strolled past New Orleans' oldest eating establishment couldn't help but note a major addition: a bar that opens onto St. Louis Street.

The Hermes Bar at Antoine's (725 St. Louis St.) debuted the Friday after Mardi Gras. The official grand opening, though, will be Friday, April 17. Stop by for free Champagne and hors d'eouvres starting at 4:30 p.m. and stay for the 6:30 p.m. ribbon cutting.

"We just waited until after Easter," said Wendy Chatelain, Antoine's director of sales, "for those people who gave up drinking for Lent."

The new bar also has a menu with a new dish: an oyster Foch po-boy, made with fried oysters, Colbert sauce and pate de foie gras. It's the first time Antoine's has offered a po-boy. Customers can also order from the restaurant's full menu.

Will we soon see other changes at Antoine's?

"No, not at this point," Chatelain said. "This is enough."

Jan 13, 2010
fast eddie in New Orleans

Four meals decided, but one bourbon-fueled wild card left

Just curious - New Orleans is such a tradition-rich place, and one of the traditions I greatly admire is the booze-drenched Friday luncheon. I've witnessed what goes on at Galatoire's, so please tell me what do y'all do after you settle up the bill at 4pm? Do you go home and sleep it off, or just move the party elsewhere?

Jan 13, 2010
fast eddie in New Orleans

Four meals decided, but one bourbon-fueled wild card left

Thanks for the heads up on Mr. B's, it doesn't seem to get talked up very much but the menu looks great. That picture of the fried oysters on their website should be censored. I'm assuming the full restaurant menu is available in the bar?

You mention Ernst Cafe, La Cote Brasserie, Luke and Allegro as popular tailgating places. What are the chances they'll clear out some and leave some seats available come kickoff?

Jan 12, 2010
fast eddie in New Orleans

Four meals decided, but one bourbon-fueled wild card left

My wife and I will be returning to New Orleans this weekend. On our last trip I made the mistake of honoring a dinner reservation at Bayona after a gluttonous Friday lunch/martini fest at Galatoires (I distinctly remember being stunned that it was still daylight when we stumbled out at 3pm). Through no fault of the restaurant, the subtleties of that evening's meal were lost upon me - although I still remember that delicious garlic soup, which cut right through any palate fatigue.

We arrive this Friday and have a 1pm reservation at August. I suspect the atmosphere is much less debauched than Galatoires, and I promise I shall behave in a more civilized manner. After that we were thinking of taking a break in the hotel room, and then roaring out for a late afternoon/early evening tour of some of the classic bars in the FQ (eg, the Sazerac, French 75, Old Absinthe, Carousel). What would you suggest as a proper meal (or snacks) to accompany fairly sated bellies and a head full of amber fluids?

On a similar note, Saturday's lunch will be at Parkway Tavern and then the Saints kickoff at 3:30. What bar/tavern would you recommend for a couple of adults who'd like to GET A SEAT and watch the game. We would prefer not to be swallowed up by a sea of frat boys. A relatively civilized oasis, some jewel of a place that they could mix up a decent cocktail and serve a memorable snack during the game - but not as as dead as a mortuary. Does such a paradise exist in your fair city?

fwiw Dinner that night is at Cochon, and Sunday breakfast will be at Stanley's.

TYIA

Jan 12, 2010
fast eddie in New Orleans

3 Nights in Strasbourg

Restaurant au Pont du Corbeau is a couple blocks from the cathedral. My wife and I were in Strasbourg a couple years ago with another couple, and we liked this old woody winstub so much that it blew all our eating plans to hell - we had lunch there three days in a row and worked our way through the entire carte, everything was delicious and prices extremely reasonable (pre dollar collapse of course). Their specialty is jambonneau grille' (roasted ham hock). Lively atmosphere, very cozy in the winter, echt gemütlich. Plus it's beside the bridge where they used to execute patricides and infanticides by tying them in a sack and drowning them in the river, how cool is that?

Restaurant au Pont du Corbeau
21, Quai Saint-Nicolas
Strasbourg, France
3 88 35 60 68

Jan 23, 2008
fast eddie in France

Portugal March 2005

Just returned from three nights in Lisbon. Great city, and great food. We also were in Madrid and Sevilla on this trip, and we found the food in Portugal to be infinitely better. If you're on the peninsula and want to eat well then make sure you fit Portugal into your plans.

Some highlights:

We drove from Madrid and targeted Mealhada in mid-northern Portugal as our stop for lunch. The scenic drive alone is worth the trip, but this is the epicenter of leitoa - roast suckling pig. We ate at "Pedro de Leitoes", which is on N-1 just north of N-234. I guess the restaurant has a menu, but I didn't see anyone bother with it - you just order the leitao and some wine. Spectacular pork, a thing of beauty. The skin is roasted to a golden brown crackly crust like a good roast duck, and the meat is garlicky/peppery savory, juicy and delicious. Served with a spicy molho (sauce) on the side which is a great complement. Comes with a better than average tossed salad, good fresh fried potato chips, some bread and that's it - simple and perfect.

Would be tough to top this meal, but "Tasquinha de Adelaide" in the Campo de Ourique barrio of Lisbon did. The place is tiny, maybe ten tables so make sure you make a reservation. They have a rather extensive menu, but you come here for the roasted leg of lamb. This is a remarkably good dish - maybe the finest red meat I've ever eaten. It only comes as a portion for two, so if you come with your spouse beg/plead/bribe them into agreeing to split this dish. My wife doesn't like lamb but she loved this, they won't regret it. Comes to the table served in its roasting pan, and the meat has a crunchy deep dark addictive crust. The meat is juicy, garlicky and herby, sweet and tender without a hint of gaminess. A sneakily major amount of garlic is used in the rub, along with fresh herbs dominated by rosemary and some mint. Accompanied in the roasting pan by superb portuguese yellow potatoes and a generous portion of what I think were braised dandelion greens, everything swimming in the pan juices. Really nice wine list with some great and very reasonably priced reserva Douro's. Just an awesome meal. The kitchen is the size of a pantry, I popped in after dinner to thank the chef and she showed me where all this magic takes place - an old cast iron oven maybe the size of what you find in a home. Amazing. I have no idea how they fit all these pans in the oven, it's a loaves and fishes thing.

We arrived on May Day, so three of our planned dining choices went out the window because they were closed due to the holiday. Concierge finally got us a reservation at "Lisboa a Noite" in the Bairro Alto. I'd heard it was touristy, but it was a pleasant surprise. Not nearly as good as Tasquinha de Adelaide, but it was a very decent meal and a huge wine list - plus you're surrounded by lots of eye candy, plenty of model types accompanied by their "uncles". We ordered pork, which was ok but I saw a lot of people ordering the roast leg of lamb - which came to the tablesides looking suspiciously like a copy of Tasquinha de Adelaide's. The couple at the table next to us were eating it and they said it was pretty tasty. By the looks of it I believed them.

If your wife wants to shop, the "Cafe a Brasileira" on Rua Garrett is a great place to while away the time as she hits the stores. This is in the middle of the Chiado shopping district, and if Hemingway would have made it to Lisbon this is where he would have drank. Great people watching on the outdoor terrace, bring your mirrored wraparound shades. The "pasteis de bacalhau" (deep fried cod fritter) is a tasty snack, even though they served it cold. I had to ask the waitress three times for some piri-piri sauce, but do NOT eat these without it.

The restaurant in the Castelo Sao Jorge is also surprisingly good for a tourist place. The view is incomparable, you sit on the castle ramparts and have a remarkable vista of the entire downtown of Lisboa and the Tejo river. The clay-tiled roofs of the old whitewashed houses sweep out below you on the hillside, and you can sit there for hours mesmerized by the beauty of this city. Oh yeah, they have a pretty ambitious menu too with some nice fresh fish simply prepared. Expensive and I'm sure there's better fish to be had in Lisbon, but given that view I think it was fairly priced.

We tried making it across the river to Cacilhas for lunch. Our hotel gave us a map that showed two ferry boat routes going to Cacilhas - one from Praca de Comercio and the other from Cais de Sodre. I mentally flipped a coin and went to the port at Praca de Comercio...wrong. The watefront is under construction at that point and the only ferry to Cacilhas leaves from Cais de Sodre. So if you want to combine a trip to Belem with lunch across the river, make sure you get off the electric tram at Cais de Sodre before you get all the way back to Baixa.

Memorable place, great good.

Jul 08, 2006
fast eddie in Spain/Portugal