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VaPaula's Profile

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"Tip and Tax not included." A new trick on visitors unfamiliar with Paris restaurants?

I've had this happen, too, Busk, and I try to warn newbies about it, i.e. don't let them guilt you into anything!

I remember seeing something similar to what Ptit mentioned upthread (service non compris) but it was a long time ago. I asked the server about it. I can't remember his exact answer, but he definitely intimated that it meant I should tip. I ignored his counsel.

Oct 23, 2014
VaPaula in France

Balducci's new york

Yes, and I liked it a lot. I used to buy their focaccia, back when that was new to me. There always seemed to be friendly, happy people working there.

Oct 21, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

Good Chinese in NoVa

We just had another good experience at 100 Degrees over the weekend. I'd say we've been there 5, 6 times and order 2 dishes each time; we've had maybe 1 or 2 clunkers in the whole lot -I remember something insanely salty. We stuck with the specials this time around: jumbo shrimp with asparagus (locavores, close your eyes) & pork kidneys with chiles. The shrimp were fresh, sauce was delicate but loaded with ginger and garlic, perfectly cooked asparagus. My husband is the bigger kidney fan (hit or miss for me) but these were good: tender, tasty with just the perfect spice in the sauce.

our list/your opinion-- we've done our homework (i think!)

Well, I'm no Californian - just a piddling New Yorker - but my experience, at that time, was more like phrederic's and onzieme's. Was I ordering "wrong?" Maybe. Was I going to the "wrong" places? Maybe. All I know is after every trip I took to France (and several other countries in Europe), I came away happy and satisfied and wanting so much more of it, but craving vegetables like nobody's business. I'm not saying they didn't exist. Of course they did. They were in the markets, I saw them. As a hotel person back then, I didn't cook with them so my opinion is merely based on places where I ate out - which I did at every meal during that time. I'm sure I was eating at more traditional places, and perhaps that's why I had the experiences I did. I never ordered vegetables à la carte. Was I supposed to? I ordered a plat, and many of them were lacking green vegetables, especially for someone who considers meat/fish/poultry a "side."

Regardless, this has not been my experience in probably 15 years - and I was still staying in hotels then, so it has nothing to do with cooking. So what can I say? Apparently I missed the abundant vegetables offered in restaurants at that time, but so what? (See above statement regarding happy and satisfied and wanting more). I'm just glad I can enjoy all the wonderful options now. And none of us can deny we all have more options now - no matter where we hang our hats. For this I am grateful.

Oct 14, 2014
VaPaula in France
2

Major change of plans... will I be blacklisted at places when I cancel???

It's looking like November 20, at least for the lights on the Champs-Elyseés.

I know MRS doesn't need yet another vote, but I'll add that this will be my 5th November trip to Paris coming up next month. (I think I've been every month save January and July.) It's typically Thanksgiving week because I only have to use 2-1/2 days of my precious vacation time to spend as much as 8 nights in Paris. There's so much to like in November, much of which has already been mentioned, but at the top for me are fewer crowds and better prices for airfare and accommodations.

Weather has never been a factor for me when planning a Paris trip, but after freezing my tuchus off over the last weekend in MAY in 2013 (I know of some Parisians who were using their fireplaces during that time!), it just confirmed for me that you really never know what you'll get.

So yes, go next month, and you'll barely remember how disappointed you were to have to reschedule!

Oct 14, 2014
VaPaula in France

Caius

Quel dommage! Next time, I hope...

Oct 02, 2014
VaPaula in France

Paris from mid-September to mid-October!

Happy to hear about your visit to the market on Rue l'Olive. It was on my list last trip, but we never made it there. You don't hear much about that one.

Still enjoying your reports, thanks!

Oct 02, 2014
VaPaula in France

Caius

Yes! I need to drop them an email then so we can try to connect. But you will be sorely missed!

Oct 02, 2014
VaPaula in France

Caius

I hope you didn't try to bring your crocodile again. ;-)

Thanks for the thoughtful review, Laidback. So much sounds so appealing, but at this moment, I am honing in on "spices" and "comfortable seating." And reasonably priced.

Tomorrow, I get to say we'll be in Paris next month (in the 'hood, of course, but for way too short) but I am guessing you and Mrs. L will be long gone by then. Enjoy the rest of your stay, and do share more reviews - I love your descriptions.

Sep 30, 2014
VaPaula in France

Paris from mid-September to mid-October!

Aww, c'mon, you two. I love ya, but have either of you been to Portland, OR or Austin, TX? Weird is the ultimate there.

Sep 20, 2014
VaPaula in France

Paris from mid-September to mid-October!

Parigi gets all the credit for that one. She took my husband and me there personally the very first time we met - many moons ago. We've never had a clunker from that market, save for some so-so tomatoes, but that was more our fault for buying them much too early in the season. Enjoy!

Sep 19, 2014
VaPaula in France

Paris from mid-September to mid-October!

I might be too late if you're out & about (as you should be!) but if you see this, do check out the Place d'Anvers market in the 9th. It's an afternoon market - I think it starts at 3:00, but you should verify- only once a week.

I've been enjoying your posts and was totally jealous of your dinner chez vous last night. :-)

Sep 19, 2014
VaPaula in France

Favorite wine shop recs?

I really liked Maslow 6 in TriBeCa. If I lived in Manhattan again, I'd be a regular here. They do have a sit-down area, but it is most definitely a wine shop with knowledgeable and friendly people.

We went for a rosé tasting back in May, but I don't see any tasting events listed on their website right now.

https://www.maslow6.com/

Sep 16, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

Paris by district (review)

You did it! I remember your original thread, thinking what an interesting way to approach eating in Paris. You clearly have excellent note-taking skills. Thanks for reporting back, and looking forward to the more extensive reviews from you and your son.

Sep 16, 2014
VaPaula in France

Great lunches but also not too far from Tourist attractions?

Google is your friend. :-) Seriously, I would just google-map the above and see what's nearby. I would also search this board using the name of the tourist attraction since this has been discussed many, many times.

Paris by Mouth has a nice feature where they list favorites that are near tourist attractions. Scroll down a bit and on the right you'll see "Best Eating Near..."

http://parisbymouth.com/

Enjoy your first trip to Paris!

Sep 16, 2014
VaPaula in France

Sat wedding rehearsal lunch near Vienna, VA

+1 for the Maplewood Grill. We've eaten there numerous times and have never been disappointed - I'm remembering a very good scallop dish, in particular. I don't know if it would meet your "local food" criterion, but Wildfire (which has been hit or miss for me) wouldn't either. Really great service, too.

2 Burn-Your-Face-Off Spicy Dinners?

Get the Ma La chicken wings at Yunnan Kitchen and then come back here and let me know if they were able to finish them. :-) My husband and I couldn't and we love a lot of heat.

Sep 05, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

First date in Arlington area...

Given the title of the post, I thought you were pronouncing your date as gummy. ;-) I've never been to the CC one (but might if going to a show at the Synetic) but that sounds pretty bad.

Normandy Report - Bayeux, Port-en-Bessin, Granville

:-) Strolling around with a baguette anywhere in France sounds wonderful right about now...

Aug 27, 2014
VaPaula in France

Beaunne/Paris (with kids) Trip report

OK, so a few bumps and bruises, but it sounds like you all went along with the flow and had a great trip anyway. Nice report! (I'm a sucker for a Seinfeld reference anytime, anywhere.) And you didn't starve in August! While you did eat air one night, I see it had nothing to do with August closures. :-)

Aug 15, 2014
VaPaula in France

Are Next "Trio" tickets going to surpass $200pp?!

I made that request twice at North Pond for this past Sunday (well once via the reservation on OpenTable, and when asked if it was a special occasion when they called to confirm the day before.) I know they can't guarantee anything, but we ended up in a booth which felt like a diner to me. Disappointing for an anniversary dinner. Anyway, I swapped seats with my husband so I could at least see the room and not just the host/ess stand. The front room was full.

Much to my chagrin, some were dressed well below business casual - and after I swapped seats, I got to see two guys in shorts and sneakers, and one in flip flops in my direct line of vision - so the diner again, ha ha.

Regardless, the food was very good, despite some of the plates just having way too much going on - for me, anyway. Service was excellent. But had we not walked around a bit outside, we never would have known there was anything special about the space/ambiance.

Aug 14, 2014
VaPaula in Chicago Area

Are Next "Trio" tickets going to surpass $200pp?!

North Pond takes reservations six weeks out.

Aug 14, 2014
VaPaula in Chicago Area

Which 4 breakfasts in Lower East Side would you choose?

It's definitely only Sundays, and I don't mind being quoted on that. :-) And I have absolutely been refused more than once on a Sunday before 12 (I always forget and order something.) It never ceases to crack me up, given that NYC is a pretty secular place.

Jul 17, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

Local lemoncello

Thanks for posting this! I got hooked on walnut liqueur in the Dordogne. And I had the same reaction she did the first time I tried limoncello - ick, lemon pledge. I have given it a 2nd (and possibly 3rd) chance, but I would definitely give it a shot (no pun intended) here.

Four Sisters Grill (Clarendon)

I like the caramelized tofu with lemongrass and chili in a clay pot. For $12, it doesn't look like much, but I actually couldn't finish it (the pot was deeper than I thought!). I wasn't crazy about the rice crepes, though.

Private room rec - near 42 & 9, Italian, for 60th anniv. party

How about Il Punto? It's been a couple years, but they did a great job with our party of 10-12. Good food, excellent service. We didn't have a separate room, but I see from their website that they have two "intimate party rooms." Good luck!

Jul 16, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

Legal Seafood Montgomery Mall

There's actually one in Penn Quarter. I found myself there a couple months ago, trying to kill time before a show or some such. I didn't eat, but partook of some good happy hour drink specials. Who knew?

Long Gone But Not Forgotten! Manhattan Memories

I loved Paris Commune!

I've seen no mention of La Metairie nor Chez Michallet (which is where The Little Owl is now, I think) so I'll add those. I wonder what happened to Jessica, the owner/chef at CM. She was very sweet, from Grenoble, hated Paris, I remember.

There was also Cal's in Chelsea - just a nice, neighborhood joint - not destination-worthy. It was near a friend's workplace so we met there pretty often, always sat at the bar. Tom the bartender treated us well.

Jul 15, 2014
VaPaula in Manhattan

Best Seafood Dump on the table in Baltimore

We had decent steamed crabs at Mo's on Saturday, dumped on the table as OP requests. I am far from a crab connoisseur, but others at my table were, and enjoyed them. And yes, it is definitely touristy as evidenced by the tour bus outside - thankfully they put them upstairs, although I'm sure the large party I was with was no picnic for other diners either. :-)

Traditional foods for la fête nationale française?

Thanks for the the link, lagatta. Some nice-looking recipes in there. I don't bake much, nor eat a lot of desserts, but clafoutis is one dessert I like to make - and eat, of course. I usually think of cherries or berries for clafoutis, but I like the idea of plums.

Jul 14, 2014
VaPaula in France