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Piemonte 2014, Part II

Thanks for letting me know. I'll certainly report back. We're spending 3 nights in Verduno so Dai Bercau might make sense for dinner on one of them.

1 day ago
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte 2014, Part II

allende, I wondered if you had heard of or been to Dai Bercau in Verduno? I can't find anything out about it on this board but it has been recommended to me. I also read about it in this more wine-oriented article from the Art of Eating:
http://www.artofeating.com/tt/pelaver...

1 day ago
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte 2014, Part II

Really enjoyed the reports so far and am greatly looking forward to the rest of the story. You have given a truly personal account of your dinners and the photos are great.

1 day ago
johannabanana in Italy

Trip report: Emilia Romagna & Rome

Thanks you for letting me know. We'll certainly consider going for lunch.

Jul 16, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Trip report: Emilia Romagna & Rome

allende, you reference Villetta in this slightly older report. I wondered if you're still as much of a fan of the osteria?

Jul 16, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte 2014 and some links to previous years

Even more salivating than your last report. Thank you allende! My Italian menu vocabulary is improving, too, by looking up the dishes you've helpfully listed.

Jun 16, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte 2014 and some links to previous years

How grateful I am for this report! Can't wait to try out a number of these places when in Piemonte at the end of the summer. You have made me very hungry.

May 02, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte: drinking barolo and barbaresco and September reopenings

Thank you very much for the September information. Your recent dinner at Conchiglia d'Oro sounds amazing. Very useful to know about the rooms there, too.

Mar 30, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Must Eat Restaurants in Piemonte

Thank you! Looking into it.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte: drinking barolo and barbaresco and September reopenings

That's very kind of you.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte: drinking barolo and barbaresco and September reopenings

allende, as a regular visitor to the Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna, I wondered if you were familiar with the August/September closures? We just heard from Amerigo dal 1934 that they expect they might be closed for their summer holidays during at least some of the first week of September, which is when we planned on eating there. I'm now worried that the other restaurants we were excited about (all your recommendations on this board: Da Ivan, La Buca, Del Belbo-Da Berdon, Il Centro, Osteria Veglio, and La Conchiglia d'Oro in Liguria ) might be closed too.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte: drinking barolo and barbaresco and September reopenings

Thank you DavidT and allende. DavitT, I'm not sure we'll manage two bottles between us but I absolutely love dolcetto and will be sure to drink some in Piemonte. I'll ask about double decanting, allende.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Must Eat Restaurants in Piemonte

Thank you Allende. I think we will try to eat at Bardon twice but will see where we can find to stay that's more practical than Asti but not too far from Bardon.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Dining in beautiful Brittany (and a few quick notes about Paris) in September 2013

Jake Dear, thank you for the further thoughts about your Brittany eating, and the helpful pictures.

Mar 28, 2014
johannabanana in France

Must Eat Restaurants in Piemonte

allende, would you see much sense in staying around Asti to be near Da Bardon or is that too isolated from all the rest of the action?

Mar 27, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Piemonte: drinking barolo and barbaresco and September reopenings

My husband and I are travelling to Piemonte and Emilia Romagna at the very beginning of September for the first time and have learnt so much from this board. We're looking forward to reporting back on our trip.

I wanted to ask the more experienced travelers to those regions if they think that the restaurants will be up and running as of 1 September (a Monday this year), immediately after whatever August break they take?

I also wondered what approach people like to take when ordering barolo and barbaresco in Piemonte? My experience from drinking these wines at home has been that they often benefit from a few hours of air prior to drinking. Do people familiar with a restaurant's wine list in the Piemonte sometimes call ahead to say that they'll be ordering a particular wine and to ask if it could be opened ahead of their meal for them?

Mar 27, 2014
johannabanana in Italy

Paris and Lille trip report (with a foray to In de Wulf)

To answer my own question, Gastromondiale reports that you can bring your own wine to la Table d'Aki for a 35 euro corkage.

Mar 26, 2014
johannabanana in France

Cordes-sur-Ciel, Tarn

Café Joubert is a lovely café/wine bar/restaurant in Fayssac, between Gaillac and Cordes-sur-ciel. Our favourite place we ate at in the Tarn two years ago. Really fresh food, inexpensive and charming, situated in the middle of a pretty village, with lots of outdoor seating. They hold concerts some evenings -- you could ring them to ask the schedule. Delicious lunches. Might well need to reserve. Not sure if they serve dinner.

I second Parigi's recommendation of Vigne en Foule, very reasonable wine prices by the glass if you want to try a selection from their list. The main courses (better than the starters) are large: we had an excellent steak and a pork chop on dfifferent nights, big enough to share. They also sell their wines at retail prices if you want to take some back to where you're staying. You would probably want to reserve ahead.

Also recommended is the "Nature et progres" market in Gaillac on Tuesdays from 4-7:30 pm in the place du Griffoul. (In Gaillac, the easiest place to park is on the place Saint-Michel, next to the church, from where it's a short walk to the market.) There's also a smaller "Nature et progres" market on Tuesdays from 4-7:30 pm in the place Fernand Pelloutier in Albi. The one in Gaillac has all sorts of delicious cheeses, fruits, meats and vegetables and has a fun atmosphere.

Feb 19, 2014
johannabanana in France

Dining in beautiful Brittany (and a few quick notes about Paris) in September 2013

Jake, although you say Cancale was the highlight, you don't go into that much detail about your dinner at Roellinger's Le Coquillage. Was it as good as you'd hoped?

Jan 15, 2014
johannabanana in France

Paris and Lille trip report (with a foray to In de Wulf)

mangeur, I agree that you'd expect some misses but sadly the misses were all among the larger meat courses (with the exception of an excellent crispy trotter) and desserts. As this represented the final third of our tasting menu, it left a slightly bad taste.

My New Year's resolution is to stop eating long tasting menus. Our two most enjoyable recent fine dining experiences were at Yoann Conte and Michel Bras, ordering à la carte even though both restaurants offer tasting menus.

The bed in our fancier room at In de Wulf was comfortable, and we were particularly impressed by the huge wooden bathtub with high sides like a wine barrel. Would love one of those at home.

Nancy S., perhaps you should retry La Table d'Aki's sauces -- the meat sauce they serve with John Dory is very impressive. Dessert is indeed an afterthought but we don't mind at the prices charged.

Jan 02, 2014
johannabanana in France

Paris and Lille trip report (with a foray to In de Wulf)

This trip was over two days and nights, the first night spent in Paris, the following night in Dranouter.

Septime:
Second time eating here, our last meal was dinner, this one was lunch. The food wasn't great, the service was excellent. Good if simple squid a la plancha starter. Good chicken and weak pollock main courses. Very good cheese plate (particularly the Salers) and a weak baba dessert. The pollock was the worst dish, both the fish and its eel sauce lacking flavor. There was some scattershot plating on even the better dishes, with cubes of raw turnip and so on, where the various ingredients didn't come together. We weren't expecting fireworks from the relatively economical lunch menu but still felt it was lacking in refinement. The dinner tasting menu on our previous visit was considerably better, although this time I noticed that the table near us ordering the more expensive lunch tasting menu received largely the same preparations as us, if sometimes using different proteins. Fantastic, well-priced wine list if you like the genre of wines Septime specializes in. Such a handsome restaurant.

La Table d'Aki:
Third time eating here and everything was exceptional, particularly an ethereal cod dish. The saucing was, as always, complex and beautifully complemented each fish. The atmosphere wasn't as good as it has been before and I think can be reliant on how full the restaurant is (it was only half full) and your fellow diners. Funnily enough, we thought that the American couple on one table asking for a wine that was "like a rich California Cabernet" were typical tourists with no idea about the delicacy of the cooking or about variety in wines, but then the French table next to us asked for a full-bodied red as well. (The only difference was how loudly and in what language they asked.) The bad thing about La Table d'Aki is the wine list, which is too amateur for the cooking and doesn't list the name of the producer for some of the 10 or so wines. Does anyone know if you can bring your own wine here for a corkage fee?

In de Wulf:
This was our big splurge. I won't go into too much detail but thought I'd briefly describe the experience as the cost dictated the kind of restaurants we ate at in Paris and our going to Alex Croquet in Lille. The tasting menu had some excellent dishes but overall was slightly disappointing given our high expectations. I think we might have been unlucky because the "main" course in particular, a five-week aged duck, was simply not to our taste. We had expected the cooking to be more Michel Bras but it seemed more Mugaritz, with some dishes that pushed the limits of palatability. The breakfast, however, was wonderful, more of the incredible bread from the night before, and the dining room and bedroom were very pleasant.

Alex Croquet in Lille:
Had high hopes for the pastries and breads here but wasn't amazed. The breads (Pain Zébulon and Pain Paulette) were certainly good but not in the same league as the bread at In de Wulf. A chocolate eclair was dreadful: soggy pastry, cloying filling, a far cry from Jacques Genin. The "pudding" (similar to a bread-and-butter pudding, with candied fruits) and kouign-amann were good but we wouldn't rush to schlep them and the breads to the train station and onto London again.

Jan 01, 2014
johannabanana in France

Arpège or not?

I don't think you would regret trying l'Arpège once. I recommend showing up at 12:30 and saying you're happy to give the kitchen "carte blanche". These were our best lunches there:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885256

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796842

Nov 27, 2013
johannabanana in France

Lunch between Montreal and Stowe, VT?

We actually ended up eating at Misery Loves Co twice for lunch because of the way our flights worked out. The first lunch was a little disappointing -- the fried fish yum yum sandwich was unbalanced, with a ton of sweet sauce, while the eggplant (Aubergine Dream) sandwich was dull tasting. From one extreme to the other! Our salad was hopelessly overdressed, the leaves completely soaked. We had a great lemon curd doughnut, though, and felt that the restaurant could do much better -- we could see that the owners weren't cooking. They were planning something, seated at a neighboring table to ours.

On our second visit, we had the fried salt cod (Saltie) sandwich and the fried chicken (Rough Francis) sandwich, both much better composed. Although most everything appealing at Misery Loves Co. seems to be fried, which makes it slightly heavy-going, the execution was greatly improved for our second lunch and we loved both our sandwiches.

We also ate at Hen of the Wood for dinner, near Stowe, which was excellent. Fantastic wine list. And at the Parker Pie Company in West Glover, VT, which didn't live up to high expectations, raised that high by a positive write-up in the Art of Eating some time ago. The dough on our pizza was undercooked towards much of the center. The fresh tomato and spinach topping was very good, though, and we liked the vibe.

Aug 27, 2013
johannabanana in Northern New England

$500 - $600 special dinner in Paris

Also, l'Arpège at lunch when the menu is 130 euros per person. Well-priced wine list for that category of restaurant. Including a good bottle of wine, you would have change from $500 (remembering that you don't need to tip.) I know it's not dinner but there's really nothing quite like a Parisian three star, lunch will last a long time, and you'll have eaten enough that you won't need dinner afterward. You could walk around in the evening instead, go to a few wine bars.

Aug 24, 2013
johannabanana in France

Lunch en route to Stowe from Montreal?

Halfway would be good! St Albans is placed about right -- where were you thinking of?

Aug 06, 2013
johannabanana in Northern New England

Lunch between Montreal and Stowe, VT?

Thank you for all the suggestions. Prohibition Pig looks promising. We're actually flying into and out of Burlington and driving to Montreal-Stowe in between. It's almost 3 hours drive from Montreal to Stowe if we cross the border at Morse's Line. We'd hoped to find somewhere around halfway or a little before -- Burlington's a bit further than halfway if you take that routing. We'll already be eating there immediately after and before we fly, and I think it might be nicer to take the smaller roads, too. We had hoped there was somewhere in Canada, before the border...

Aug 06, 2013
johannabanana in Northern New England

Lunch en route to Stowe from Montreal?

On Friday, my husband and I will be driving from Montreal to Stowe, VT, probably crossing the border at Morse's Line. Is there anywhere en route in Vermont that would make a good stop-off for lunch? (We can't wait to eat at Misery loves Co. and Hen of the Wood later on during our Vermont trip.)

Aug 05, 2013
johannabanana in Northern New England

Lunch between Montreal and Stowe, VT?

On Friday, my husband and I will be driving from Montreal to Stowe, VT, probably crossing the border at Morse's Line. Is there anywhere en route, outside Montreal, that would make a good stop-off for lunch? (We can't wait to eat at APDC and Lawrence when in Montreal.)

Aug 05, 2013
johannabanana in Northern New England

4 hours enough time for l'Arpège Lunch?

Thanks for the info souphie. Maybe we'll give Ledoyen's lunch menu a go in that case.

Jul 20, 2013
johannabanana in France

4 hours enough time for l'Arpège Lunch?

4 hours is plenty of time.

When I recall my husband's and my lunches at l'Arpège (six of them since 2010), every lunch featured protein: turkey, chicken, pigeon, lamb, salmon, lobster, monkfish (the latter almost every time).... Perhaps protein has featured more in recent years than it did when Delucacheesemonger ate lunch there. As Ptipois says, the protein portions in the lunch menu are often very small, and I don't think we've ever received more than 3 protein courses (not counting the egg dishes). Certainly, you feel jealous when somebody orders, say, the lobster à la carte and you glimpse it going past in all its more substantial glory.

Passard does schmooze a lot but I doubt this impacts the cooking! The kitchen can operate very well without him -- our very best lunch at l'Arpège was on Bastille Day a couple of years ago when he was most definitely absent. The person really in control of your lunch is the maîtresse d'hôtel, Hélène Cousin the last time we went. (I actually preferred Nadia Socheleau, who seemed to have taken over for a spell but then moved to the Jardin des Plumes in Giverny -- a restaurant worth trying perhaps?)

Our last lunch at l'Arpège was disappointing. Next time we go there we'll probably order à la carte -- do you know if the à la carte at l'Arpège is cheaper at lunch than at dinner souphie?

Jul 19, 2013
johannabanana in France