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Decadent/boozy brunch/lunch downtown

Thanks for all the suggestions. A little more formed in plan, so now looking mainly for SoHo, W. Village, or Tribeca. Love Locanda Verde, but have been a few times.....anything new and cozy? How do people feel about Recette?

Dec 20, 2012
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Decadent/boozy brunch/lunch downtown

Want to pamper a friend who's had a rough go recently. Looking for a weekday brunch/lunch spot that is decadent but not toooooo outrageous in price. Was going to do Norma's, but we're going to be downtown--looking for somewhere E. Village, W. Village, SoHo, Bowery, LES....

Great cocktails or wine list would be an added bonus, though would also take suggestions for cozy wine bars in the Anfora/Terroir model.

Thanks!!

Dec 20, 2012
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Siena and surroundings in later November?

Y'all were SUPER helpful in my attempt to eat my way through Florence--I just sent an email to our hotel to see if they can help us make the reservations!

Now, on to Siena. We are staying in Siena itself for 3 nights; we will have a car for one or two of the days and are planning to do some day trips. Looking for musts for lunches and dinners, either in Siena or its surroundings.....We'll be there the 3rd week of November.

Much thanks!!!

Oct 31, 2012
PetiteSyrah in Italy

Narrowing down in Florence

My husband and I are taking a 5th anniversary trip to Florence (and Tuscany) over Thanksgiving (11/17-25). I've read lots of the Florence threads, so would love your advice on narrowing down for dinners. We have Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, and a Saturday night. I am a pescetarian (so, no meat, but fish) and my husband has no dietary restrictions. I think we'd probably go for two "fancier" dinners and two more casual dinners. And, I think a mix of "old school" and more modern Florentine.

So, we're thinking:

Sunday night:
Tre Soldi OR Cibreo Trattoria (or should that be a lunch?)

Monday night:
Sostanza (will there be anything for a non-meat eater?) OR Al Tranvai

Tuesday night:
Santo Bevitore

Saturday night:
Ora d'Aria OR Osteria Personale

Thoughts? Anything we should definitely skip, or anything we MUST substitute? I have a separate lunch list which I most post later, though for lunch tend to like to stumble upon a great place.

Thanks in advance for any advice.....

Oct 20, 2012
PetiteSyrah in Italy

Fun group dinner in Berkeley?

A grad school friend is getting married in Berkeley at the end of June--a whole bunch of us are going to be out there, and we don't get to see each other too often. We're staying at the Doubletree at the Berkeley Marina, and I have volunteered to plan dinner on Saturday night....

So, I turn to you! Here is what we need:
--can accomodate 10-12 people
--vegetarian friendly (also, fish--but not shellfish)
--reasonable (entrees ideally in the $20-$25 range, rather than the $30-$35 range)
--good cocktails
--not Indian or Vietnamese food

Other than that, pretty much anything goes. We will have cars, but the more convenient to the hotel, the better.

Thanks in advance!!

PetiteSyrah (from NYC)

May 30, 2012
PetiteSyrah in San Francisco Bay Area

UWS Lunch Place with ROUND tables

I've read most of the threads on round tables, which focus mostly on downtown. Looking for a place for a large business lunch (10 people), ideally with round tables. Needs to be UWS, north of 75th, south of 90th (I know, small area!). We ate at Bistro Citron last week, but was very hard to carry on a conversation at the long table. Any suggestions??

Jan 19, 2012
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Solo dining?

I actually had read most of the recent threads, thanks. T

hanks all, for the recs. Looks like Mr. B's, Coquette, or Emeril's. Leaning towards Mr. B's or Emeril's, just bc Coquette feels more like something I can get in NYC. Boucherie is intriguing. Clearly, need to be planning a longer trip again soon!

Jan 19, 2012
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

Solo dining?

I am heading to NOLA in a couple of weeks, working with a group of teen students. Because of complicated logistics, I am actually arriving several hours ahead of them on a Thursday evening....giving me the opportunity for one meal in peace and deliciousness.

My husband and I were in NOLA almost 2 years ago, and we hit: Herbsaint, Lillette, and August. I've also, on separate occasions, been to NOLA's. Looking for a recommendation for a place where I would enjoy dining alone--either somewhere that one can eat at the bar, or just generally wouldn't feel out of place. I have some serious dietary restrictions, so a place like Cochon or Luke's is not ideal. I'll be cabbing it no matter what, so location is flexible (Quarter or not).

Thanks, all!!!

Jan 18, 2012
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

Calmer request---critique our eating plans

OK....despite my disappointment about certain restaurants, y'all assured me (as did some internet searching) that we'll be fine in BCN next week. So, here's what we are thinking. Would love suggestions/advice.

Sunday:
Arrive 10:30. Figure by the time we check in/get settled, it'll be a good time to head to Barceloneta for a late lunch (3ish). Where should we go? So far, I've collected 4 recs. Any obvious standouts? Doesn't need to be fancy, does need to have non-shellfish fish options....

Merendero De La Mari
http://www.merenderodelamari.com/

Eix al Moll
http://elxrestaurant.es/en/menu

Can Ramonet
http://www.elnouramonet.com/eng/CanRa...

El Rey De La Gamba
http://www.elreydelagamba.com/

Kaiku

Sunday dinner: Paco Meralgo (close to the hotel, open on Sundays

)

Monday:
Lunch--figured we would just find something near Sagrada Familia, or buy some cheese/bread/jamon and take it to Parc Guell.

Dinner: Tapas crawl: El Born

Tuesday:
Breakfast/Brunch--La Boqueria
Dinner: Comerc24 (they gave us a 9:45 reservation--will we be the only people there)

Wednesday:
Lunch????
Dinner: Currently booked at Casa Calvet. Should we switch to Alkimia? Fonda Gaig? I feel like we'd like to have one more "traditional" meal and one more creative/molecular gastronomy (Cinq Sentis and Tickets are both closed while we are there). Also--is two big "sitdown" dinners a waste with only 4 nights?

What are we missing? As typical Americans, we are assuming more casual lunches (like I said, we're pretty happy with some combo of bread/cheese/jamon or a tortilla somewhere) and more substantial dinners.

If there are must try dishes, or must try stops we are missing--bring them on. Getting excited!! Thanks in advance for all your help.

Aug 09, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Spain/Portugal

BCN August---are we going to starve?!?!?

For complicated reasons, we are going to Barcelona August 21-25. Being a good 'Hound, I was online months ago to get a reservations at Tickets--only to discover it is closed for two weeks in August. As is Cal Pep. Quimet y Quimet is closed the entire month. Every recommendation we have gotten is for somewhere that is closed in August.

Help!!!! We have 4 nights--Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I imagine us doing one upscale, "creative Catalan"--it was going to be Cal Pep, only not. Where might be open in August that is worth going to? I imagine the other nights will be more tapas based---need recs for that. We're staying L'Eixample, but we'll go anywhere for good food and a place that doesn't close for August!

We land early enough Sunday that I imagine we'll head to Barceloneta for a late lunch---recs for that? Again, open in August?

I am so upset---we are mainly going to Barcelona to eat, and even though I know we'll go back, I feel like our experience is going to be really negative with everything closed!!

HELP, 'Hounds!

Thanks in Advance.

Aug 04, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Spain/Portugal

Outdoor dining in Queens--tonight?

Meeting up with friends in Queens tonight--would love to eat outside. Patio or garden preferred, will do sidewalk. Ideally would take reservations, be vegetarian friendly, and be in LIC/Astoria/Jackson Heights, but all of those are flexible:-) Not Indian or Thai food (trying Zaab Elee tomorrow night!), but anything else.

Thanks!

Jul 02, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Outer Boroughs

Recs for 40th birthday dinner for 12 people (tapas or family style preferred)

I haven't been in years, so not sure if the food is still good, but how about Alta on W. 10th. Small plates. Not sure they specifically have patatas bravas, but that fried goat cheese was AMAZING!!

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Alta
64 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011

Jun 21, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Accademia di Vino UWS--name change, or more?

Noticed walking by that they are changing the name to Trattoria di Vino, there is wine boxed up, etc. Anyone know if they changed ownership? Is it becoming something totally different?

It's one of our neighborhood go-tos....hope it changes only for the better.

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Trattoria di Vino
2427 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

Jun 20, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Birthday Restaurant - end of June?

It's small plates, so I could imagine the bill racking up above the budget, but Tolani on the UWS has a small garden/patio and a nice atmosphere.

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Tolani
410 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Jun 04, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

STEER CLEAR LIST - Worst Meal You've Had in the Last Six Months

I posted about it at length, but the worst meal I have had in the last 6 months HAS to be at Graffit. Totally uninspired food, poorly prepared, with AWFUL (laughable) service.

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Gastroarte
141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

Jun 04, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Friends in from LA....next Saturday night

Guess it is actually THIS Saturday, but yes on the budget. Been to LocandaVerde...

May 25, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Friends in from LA....next Saturday night

Looking for a place to go with friends next Saturday night.

Would like it to be somewhere new for me and my husband, so I have nixed Hearth, Apiary, Perilla, Kinshop, Peasant, Balaboosta, Colicchio and Sons, Dell'anima, and a bunch of other places I can't think of at the moment.

Tried but failed to get reservations at Imperial No. 9, ABC Kitchen, and Barbuto.

Our friends are staying Midtown West, so anywhere on the west side (Tribeca on up!) is fine; would go east if it's worth it:-) Since they are from LA, I am thinking Japanese and Mexican are OUT, but open to anything as long as they have some fish/veggie-friendly options. Would love to keep the budget at $60-70pp with wine......

Would love your ideas! Thanks.

May 24, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Graffit/Upper Westside

We went last night, and here's my take: space is gorgeous, food is sub-par, and the service was lackadaisical at best. There were 4 of us, with a reservation. We got seated 25 minutes late, even though the place was packed, and even with a reservation, we were put at one of the bar tables rather than the nice back dining room.

We ordered 4 tapas, and then each of us ordered from the tasting menu. Overall, I was visually disappointed that all of the dishes basically involved, as someone below said: dotting sauces into micro points of pretty formations (that serve no purpose due to their lack of substance). They were all the same sauces on basically of the dishes--something reddish (roasted red pepper, maybe?), something green, and something gel-like. It was like the early '90s threw up on the plates. As for the taste, I can only comment on what I ate:

Patatas Bravas: Aside from the aforementioned "sauces," the potatoes were poorly cooked. Most were undercooked (as in, basically raw), and none were crunchy. No spice to the sauce, either. Very disappointing.

Tortilla Espanola: This was the highlight for me---despite the unidentified gloop on top. I thought the flavors were good, and I enjoyed it.

The others at my table got the empanaditas and the arroz with lobster. See: tri-colored sauces, again.

Main menu. Before getting to the dishes, I should note that it was a good 35-40 minute wait for these dishes after the tapas, which came out relatively quickly. Also not quick--our drinks. Each time my cava came, it had been sitting on the bar long enough to lose most of the bubble. Our friendly but clueless waitress assured us the food was "coming soon." Eventually, we asked a manager, and lo and behold...we got our food:

I went with two appetizers, the carrot cake that someone below raved about and the squash soup. The carrot cake COULD have been great, but as it was cold, it tasted like the carrot souffle I have bought at Supersol. The soup itself was good, though could have used some acid. The bacalao was rubbery.

My tablemates got the scallops (undercooked), the suckling pig (terribly underseasoned), and the filet mignon, which--after the waitress made a big deal out of the bone marrow ravioli--came out without the ravioli. By this point the night had become humorous in how badly everything went. The not funny part: the bill.

On a related note---Tolani was excellent! Inventive, great space, can't wait to go back.

Apr 10, 2011
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Restaurant for Private Dinner for 10 in Flatiron?

Craftbar has a private room, though I assume that would be budget-busting. Another option might be Bar Stuzzichini. The food is decent--nothing amazing, but certainly fine, and they are easy to work with. I did a party there with not many more than 10 people and we used their private room.

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Bar Stuzzichini
928 Broadway, New York, NY 10010

Nov 29, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

MIL birthday dinner...

My mother-in-law will be in town this week, and we're looking to take her out Saturday night for a belated birthday dinner. She likes trendy but not painfully so. Most kinds of food work--I think New American/upscale comfort food would be ideal. I always like to try someplace new, so here are few we have been to that I would have thought of for this dinner:

Apiary
Perilla
Hearth

Any suggestions in this general vein and price point? Anywhere in Manhattan works!

Thanks.

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Perilla
9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

May 31, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

JBR.....still full. And Herbsaint was thumbs down.

I would maybe call ahead? And Southerbelle, I would have HAPPILY had fish, had they had a fish option without meat or shellfish, or been willing to adjust.

That said, I do still think it was a particularly off-night with the service!

May 31, 2010
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

JBR.....still full. And Herbsaint was thumbs down.

With thanks for all the suggestions, a quick report back.

I'll say from the outset that I am not the ideal NOLA eating customer--basically a vegetarian with occasional fish-eating and no shellfish. Husband eats it all though, and since I'd been before my food choices changed, this trip was really for his eating. So, here goes....

COOP'S
Arrived Thursday, and headed to Coop's for lunch. I got a veggie burger and fries, with Abita Raspberry. I'll give our waiter credit for not laughing at me for ordering a veggie burger:-) Husband got a shrimp po-boy. I tried to steer him towards the jambalaya based on the recs here, but he was having none of it. We then wandered the Quarter for a while; I needed to "sample" pralines to determine the best.

Thursday night, we had reservations at Herbsaint and Bayona, and totally torn, we took the advice we saw most on this board and went to Herbsaint. BAD CHOICE.

HERBSAINT
As I said, I make dietary choices that I know make things a bit more difficult, particularly in a place like NOLA. That being said, we are pretty big foodies, and I have NEVER been to a restaurant where there was nothing on the menu that I could eat, or modify a bit. And the attitiude of the server left something, a lot, to be desired--given that it's not a dive restaurant. The guy at Coop's was more helpful!!!

We were sitting near enough to the hostess table to hear her say to one of the waiters: "We're falling apart," so we knew something was off. Don't know if someone called in sick or what, but they were clearly shortstaffed and the service was awful. Slow, slow, slow. But on to the food.

My husband got a crawfish appetizer, with squid ink pappardelle and asparagus (I think?). He said it was fantastic, and it looked delicious. For his main, he got the Muscovy duck leg confit with dirty rice and citrus gastrique, which he said was: "Okay." When I ordered the arugula salad with walnuts and burrata in a walnut dressing, they said they would make me an entree sized portion. They of course charged entree prices, and this was NOT a $20 salad. The arugula was great and peppery, and I've never met a burrata I didn't like. Too bad the whole thing was slimy with totally flavorless dressing. Sigh.

I'd also ordered a side of fries...After our server forgot to put the order in until well after our entrees came, they came out so salty as to be inedible. We sent them back, and I'll give them credit for taking them off the bill.

Dessert was also hit and miss on the very same plate. We got the banana brown butter tart with fleur de sel caramel, a la mode. The tart itself, and the ice cream, were delicious. The bananas, though, tasted like bitter alcohol. I am going to assume that they were just having a really off night, but we headed to Vaughn's, wishing we had gone to Bayona instead....or just about anywhere else.

NEW ORLEANS FOOD AND SPIRITS
We spent the next morning doing some volunteer work in Gentilly, and one of the locals we were working with took us to New Orleans Food and Spirits. She got the eggplant Pontchartrain, which looked pretty awesome (and like more food than I could consume in a whole day!). Husband got gumbo (yay, more crawfish!) and another shrimp po-boy (he just can't get enough). I got a good ol' grilled ruby red trout and sweet potato fries. Solid meal.

LILETTE
Despite being a compulsive planner (we had restaurant reservations before we had plane tickets!), I had not made any set plans for Friday night dinner. We were in Uptown, and asked someone where we should eat. She said Lilette without a second thought, and give her another comments about food and eating--we knew she was someone we could trust. And she was not wrong.

We got there around 7:30ish, and decided to eat outside since the night was pleasant enough. We sat up on the porch, and there were just two other couples eating outside. I started off with a passionfruit bellini--could have used a kick more lillikoi flavor, but it was lovely and our waiter used the ingenious line of: Can I refresh your bellini? How could the answer be anything but yes:-)

I started with the white bean and roasted garlic soup with homemade croutons, minus the duck confit. It was delicious, though I would have liked more roasted garlic flavor. My husband had the white truffle parmigiano toast with wild mushrooms, marrow and veal glace. As he said, his first impression was that it was a messy looking piece of bread, but he said that it was so rich and unctuous....really a first rate bit or 4.

Mains--I got the aneed black drum with Israeli cous cous, leeks, tomato and ver jus mussel butter (minus the mussels, but with butter:-)). It was really excellent. Husband got the fried Kurobuta pork belly with a salad of melon, sweet onion, cucumber, peashoots and herbs, which he promptly declared the best "salad" he'd ever had.

For dessert, we shared the nutella custard with fleur de sel, caramel cream and chocolate-hazelnut brittle, which is pretty much my dream come true...and did not disappoint. Only complaint of the night---I got eaten alive. Next time--inside. But Lilette was really a lovely little restaurant!

CAFE AMELIE
We spent the next morning walking along Magazine St, but knowing that we had dinner at August that night, decided not to splurge on a big lunch (despite being tempted by Coquette and Mahoney's Po Boy's). We headed back to the Quarter and caught Cafe Amelie just as it closed. It was perfect for what we wanted. I had the salad with grapes, bleu cheese, and apples. The citrus vinaigrette was delicious, and their lemonade is outstanding. My husband got the orange-chili grilled shrimp. It was just the light lunch we needed, and I topped it off with an iced 'au lait' from CDM.

RESTAURANT AUGUST
We've been wanting to go to August for years now, and as I said, I made this reservation before I made our plane flights. I was not coming to NOLA and not eating here!! There was a benefit in the upstairs room, so Chef Besh (and some other celeb chefs) were in the kitchen, though not cooking for us hoi polloi:-)

We were shown to the middle room, and service started off iffy---but improved greatly throughout the night. Burned by my Herbsaint experience, I had called ahead and the waiter knew about my food issues and said they could basically modify whatever I needed off the menu. We decided not to do the degustation (I know, I know!). I started with the field greens salad with the pumpkin seed brittle and bleu cheese. Um, why don't I have pumpkin seed brittle in ALL of my salads. It was delicious. My husband got the "other" salad, with beets and bacon. He asked: Why don't I have pork in ALL of my salads:-) I had a sparkling Shiraz with my appetizer, and then a Pinot Meunier with my main.

For mains, I told him he was crazy if he got anything but the cochon de lait, and he did. He said it was outstanding in all ways, and given the richness--just the right quantity of food. He also says that each of the three cuts were markedly different in taste, but all worked well together. He went on in more rapture about it, but I wanted to describe my dish. I got the speckled trout "Pontchartain," though without crab meat. It was a pan fried trout fillet with morels and hollandaise. I am STILL trying to figure out what seasoning it was in the breading that made it so delicious, but it was just great. The hollandaise makes every other hollandaise I've ever had taste like a weak, broken imposter. It was so "fluffy," and the pepper and Creole seasoning gave it just the right kick.

I cannot even remember the dessert menu, because once I had seen the chocolate peanut butter brittle on the degustation menu, I knew there was no other option. It was like a homemade candy bar, crunchy and chocolatey and peanut buttery. The night was only capped off by meeting Chef Besh when I had to go upstairs to use the restroom. All in all, August was a just a fine, fine dining experience--and by New York price standards, not even the pocketbook blow I was expecting!!

CENTRAL GROCERY and CAFE DU MONDE

Stopped by Central Grocery Saturday for a muff for the plane, and CDM this morning for beignets and au lait before heading to the airport.

***********
My thoughts on the trip overall--I really missed doing one of the "classic" NOLA experiences---Commander's or Galatoire's. While August and Lilette were both really excellent, both are ultimately restaurants I could see existing here in NY. We're already planning our next trip, since the list of places we did not get to try (Boucherie, Patois, MiLa, Brigsten's, Dick and Jenny's, Parkway, Dookie Chase, and more) keeps getting longer and longer.

Thanks for the advice, 'hounds!!

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Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

Lilette
3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

May 30, 2010
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

What MUST we add?

I posted last week re: Bayona, but figured I should pick your brains overall! We are going to NOLA Thurs-Sun of Memorial Day weekend. We're staying in the Quarter, but happy to go anywhere via streetcar or cab

Here's what we have currently:

Thursday lunch: open

Thursday dinner: Bayona or Herbsaint-- QUESTION: should we ditch both and get tix to the NOWFE stroll?

Friday lunch: open

Friday dinner: open (Dick and Jenny's, MiLa, Coquette?)

Saturday lunch: open

Saturday dinner: August (still great? What is the ONE fine dining restaurant you would pick??)

We're not looking for huge lunches--more local/neighborhood type places.

Thanks for any advice!

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Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Herbsaint
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

May 16, 2010
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

Bayona--yea or nay?

Been reading some of the recent threads on where to eat, and haven't seen Bayona mentioned a whole lot.

I've been to NOLA a few times (though not for pleasure since before the storm), and my husband has never been. We're heading to NOLA for Memorial Day weekend--planning to do two upscale dinners, one low-key dinner, and then have 3 lunches to consider also. We're staying in the Quarter, but happy to hop in a cab or a streetcar. Right now we have reservations at August and at Bayona. Is there somewhere we should go other than Bayona??

I'm reading the threads to get ideas for our lunches and lowkey dinner, but would love some advice on that second fancy dinner....

Thanks!

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Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

May 03, 2010
PetiteSyrah in New Orleans

96th St. Taco Truck, gone forever?

Noticed the taco truck (Super Taco?) wasn't there this weekend....anyone know if it was just a one time thing or if it is gone forever?!?

Thanks!

Apr 18, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Chol HaMoed in LA?

Are any of the kosher restaurants in LA (or the Valley) open during chol ha-moed?

Mar 30, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Kosher

Good restaurant with pizza on the menu?

Otto
Accademia di Vino

Apizz--I have never been, but it always gets great reviews here.

Feb 04, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Gift Certificate Recs ($250)

Probably too late for this year, but we received a GC to Daniel and were thrilled!

Jan 09, 2010
PetiteSyrah in Manhattan

Chiang Mai Cooking Classes

We have so much else going on in Bangkok that I thought it would be good to do in Chiang Mail, but I'll take the rec!

Oct 15, 2009
PetiteSyrah in China & Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai Cooking Classes

My husband and I will be in Chiang Mai for about 4 days, and want to take a full day Thai cooking class. Ideally, we'd like one that includes the market visit, and can accomodate vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Any suggestions? Favorites?

Thanks in advance!

Oct 11, 2009
PetiteSyrah in China & Southeast Asia