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Instead of Passadis Del Pep?

We will be in Barcelona in two weeks and are almost done planning our food attack. My husband and I have eaten at Passadis Del Pep previously (about 5 years ago) and enjoyed it very much. We were considering it for a meal on this trip, but are a bit apprehensive as we will have our 4 year old daughter with us (very adventurous eater, but might be a long meal for her) and my mother who is bizarrely somewhat averse to "fixed" menus.

Do you have any suggestions for us to replace this meal? Ideally it will be seafood centric, somewhat kid friendly, not as expensive as PdP, and allow for a bit more choice. We will mostly be doing casual/tapas and will eat at Comerc 24 as well.

Apr 21, 2012
KaCHing in Spain/Portugal

Bringing an Infant to La Table de Joel Robuchon?

Thanks, Souphie, that's exactly what we're asking. We will ask when we call for reservations - we would need an extra chair for her, definitely (but we could leave the pram behind).

May 17, 2008
KaCHing in France

Bringing an Infant to La Table de Joel Robuchon?

My husband, daughter, and I will be in Paris for the weekend and would like to try to eat at La Table for the 55Euro lunch. My daughter is 3 months old, and generally sleeps in her pram or carseat when we take her out.

We have no issues taking her out in London, but are wondering if it would be inappropriate to bring her with us to this restaurant specifically in Paris (we have other plans for other days/nights that I don't worry about).

Any thoughts?

Also, is the 55E lunch menu offered on Sundays?

May 17, 2008
KaCHing in France

Preggers in Paris

I was pregnant in Paris last winter, but in my second trimester so I did have a glass or two of wine. I stuck to Coke and "deca" (decaf coffee) and water. Lots of water. In fact, isn't there a water bar at Colette? That might be fun.

You could order hot chocolate - you could seek out hot chocolate, in fact...that would be fun too - less guilt-inducing when you're drinking for two.

To be honest, I found Paris difficult when pregnant (and I've been there many, many, many times) - but I lost a bit of my palate in general, so YMMV.

On a completely unrelated note, may I suggest Monoprix for great baby clothes? Cheap cheap cheap onesies (e.g., Petit Bateau for Monoprix brand - 6-7 euros for a 3 pack) and basic clothes, bibs, etc. (and lovely older options if you know the gender, which I did not).

May 17, 2008
KaCHing in France

Sunday lunch at Spitalfields? (London)

You could also try to book at St. John Bread and Wine, St. John's little sister restaurant out the back of the market. I personally prefer it to Canteen.

May 16, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Amsterdam with baby - help!

My husband and I will be returning to Amsterdam in a few weeks, this time with our infant daughter in tow. She will be just over 2 months old.

We have been to Amsterdam many, many times so are familiar with the city, but we're having a hard time trying to think of places that we can go for lunch and dinner that will be "easy" with our buggy and baby. It's a quick trip, so we're not looking for anything special, but would like some suggestions for meals where we won't disturb the world with a stroller and an infant in her carrier seat.

She's a very good baby, goes out with us in London often, and will likely sleep the whole time, but I can't imagine trying to wield a buggy at, say, Tempo Doeloe.

Thoughts?

Mar 31, 2008
KaCHing in International Archive

THE Best in Amsterdam

I'm not sure why no one has mentioned De Kas. We've had wonderful meals there on a number of occasions and the setting is lovely. Do a search on these boards for it - I know it's been discussed a number of times.

Mar 31, 2008
KaCHing in International Archive

Cheap restaurants in 4th, 5th, 6th?

For lunch, one of my favourite places in Paris (and thus the world) is the Au Sauvignon wine bar on the corner of Rue du Four and Rue des Saints-Peres. It is certainly nothing fancy, but serves excellent simple sandwiches on Poilane bread (think sausage, ham, country pate), a great plate of foie gras, nice cheeses from Barthelemey and lovely tartes for dessert. Cheap, easy and great people watching.

You might also want to try Juveniles in the 1st (another wine bar, run by the folks who own Willi's) for lunch, though I remember having dinner there ~10 years ago as well.

A great value option for dinner will be L'Os a Moelle - their prix fixe menu is outstanding.

Jan 10, 2008
KaCHing in France

Where can I find a great steak?

Not a "great steak" but we satisfy our cravings at Bar du Marche in Soho. Great steak frites. Easy walk from the National Gallery - have a drink beforehand at The Endurance right across the street.

I am one of those who has had excellent steaks at the Hawksmoor in Shoreditch and at the top floor of Smith's. The top floor of Smith's was particularly outstanding, I'm sorry to hear that it can be hit or miss.

Jan 10, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Finishing My London Plans

I would definitely add in another Modern British - St. John would be my top choice, but Great Queen Street is a great idea as well. Arbutus (never been there, but supposed to be great) or Magdalen (lovely) would fit that bill as well.

If you don't want to do Fryer's Delight, you're quite close to Rock and Sole Plaice on Endell Street - 5 minute walk from Holborn Tube and highly HIGHLY recommended.

Jan 10, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Spitalfields Market Area on a Sunday

Our favourite is St. John Bread and Wine out the back of the market. It's especially nice to sit after wandering, and depending on what time you get there you'll get some brunch or lunch or roast...

Jan 10, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Brasserie in 7th or 6th, Paris

We are big fans of the Brasserie de L'Ile St Louis on (you guessed it) the tip of the Ile St. Louis just behind Notre Dame. It's not going to win any awards for innovative cuisine anytime soon, but it manages to have a neighborhood feel despite the location, the interior is a trip, and the waiters (many of whom have been there forever, at least in the 9+ years I've been going to Paris) are alternately brusque, hysterical, friendly, and annoying. It's a delightful place - great for kids. The steak tartare is a personal favorite, but I believe they do Alsatian-focused food as well.

Allard might be a good option as well - though it is more expensive. Bofinger would be fun with kids - again, don't expect a revelatory culinary experience.

Jan 04, 2008
KaCHing in France

New Yorker going to London: Help me plan my trip!

You have two options for St. John - the full restaurant in Smithfield/Clerkenwell (which is basically between Covent Garden and Shoreditch, and St. John Bread and Wine which is out the back of Spitalfields Market between that and Brick Lane. If you want to do a dinner I'd suggest the former, but my husband and I love Bread and Wine for Sunday brunch/lunch - they have a "rolling" menu so depending on how early/late you go you might get brunch-y type foods or a more lunch/roast menu. Both restaurants are some of our favorite places in London (try the Eccles Cake for dessert).

Some other East London suggestions: Bacchus (molecular gastronomy "in jeans and trainers") gets a lot of love on this board - we liked but did not LOVE it. Cool experience, though. Second the recommendation for Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes (bar) on Kingsland Road. Loungelover is DEFINITELY sceney (you need to reserve) but we've always liked it and I admit to craving their cocktails from time to time.

Sunday is your best bet for roaming the neighborhood. As a poster mentions above, strolling Brick Lane, the Sunday UpMarket, then over to Spitalfields is wonderful. You could also add the Columbia Road Flower Market to that walk. Canteen (in Spitalfields) is good, solid British fare, but will be overflowing on a Sunday unless you can reserve.

On Saturdays, we like to head over to Broadway market further up in Hackney (you can take a bus easily from Old Street) - do a little shopping and then lunch at the Cat and Mutton. Much more of a neighborhood feel than Borough Market (don't get me wrong, I love Borough Market, but Broadway is more local) with lots of the same produce and goods. Don't miss the cupcakes from Violet (especially the salted caramel).

Also, local (gastro)pubs are a good choice - we like the Princess off of Great Eastern Street, the aforementioned Cat and Mutton, and the Northgate in Islington which is in the middle of absolutely nowhere you'd want to be tourist-wise but which we love for Sunday roast.

Jan 04, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Kitchen knife sharpening in London?

We had our knives sharpened at Divertimenti on Marylebone High Street and were quite happy with the results.

Jan 04, 2008
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

[Dublin] Getting a turkey and other Thanksgiving foods

yes please, do report back. that's not that far from my 'hood, so if it's worth a trip, I'd love to know.

Dec 07, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Help me finish my London plans please

Oy...you know, I don't specifically remember what I've really loved seafood-wise at Barrafina lately. I usually go for whatever the special fish a la plancha is and the langoustines (which were so fresh they kept flopping off the seafood). Unfortunately, due to my pregnancy, I'm not being seafood adventurous right now and there's a lot I'm not eating, so I'll be returning post-baby to play.

I'm a big fan of the chipirones (sp?) and have very much liked their fresh veg and salads. I have heard a few complaints about simple things like pan con tomate, but it was more of a personal taste question (my colleague prefers less "tomate"). I also found the ham tortilla salty, but really enjoyed the normal one.

And yes, we ate at Arce again last weekend and it was fantastic. It's such a delightful experience in general, and the quality of the food is outstanding.

Dec 07, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Looking for Paris restaurant open Sunday night

We ate at Mon Vieil Ami two Sundays ago and it was delicious. If you don't want to be all Americans, I would recommend the later seating. Food is homey and well prepared, service is lovely.

Nov 22, 2007
KaCHing in France

Help me finish my London plans please

I would go to the Anchor and Hope for lunch after the Tate...I believe it's walkable (or there's likely a quick bus).

I second the recommendation for St. John - it's very easily accessible from your hotel and truly a great London experience. I would NOT do it the same day as Anchor and Hope, though, as the food might be too similar (they're nothing like each other, really, but they are modern English cooking). Perhaps Wednesday night?

Near Holborn tube you can always pop into Pret a Manger for takeaway breakfast. Extremely cheap. I would also suggest to walk up Holborn and drop into the Seven Dials area (less than 10 minutes up the road) and hit Monmouth Coffee on Monmouth Street for coffee and pastries.

I personally like Wagamama - no, not authentic, but cheap and cheerful every once in a while. I would also recommend Barrafina on Frith St. in Soho for authentic tapas. It's very seafood heavy, though, so it depends on what your wife is eating (I myself am 7 months pregnant and do just fine there, though I do forgo much of the shellfish!).

Near Buckingham Palace you might try Inn the Park in St. James's Park. It's a lovely location and good - if not exceptional - modern English food. Would be ideal if the weather is nice, probably a pass if it's yucky out.

I've never been to Fryer's Delight, but Rock and Sole Plaice on Endell Street is highly recommended, delicious and - again - a 10 minute walk from your hotel. I personally prefer cod for my fish and chips, but don't know if that would be considered the most "authentic"
Have fun!

Nov 22, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Fine dining in West End?

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon might work for this. We had a lovely meal there last Christmas Eve.

Nov 22, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Blind Lunch Date on a Tuesday - Liverpool St Station

What about Canteen in Spitalfields market? Are they open for lunch?

Nov 22, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

[Dublin] Getting a turkey and other Thanksgiving foods

I'm in central London, and yes, I've bought pecans at Waitrose with no issue before. But little bitty bags...not Trader Joe's size...and for the aforementioned pecan pie, stuffing with pecans, and sugar spiced pecans (our traditional holiday gift to friends) it's impossible to get the needed quantity without breaking the bank.

I would kill to find somewhere in central London to find BULK foods. Whole Foods...OK...but that's not exactly cheap.

Nov 16, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Yes - another "Where to Eat" ...

I'm truly glad to hear that you had a good experience...my husband and I have discussed more than once about what a lovely place it was and how it would be great to see it pull itself back up to one-star standard. However, having been to Barcelona many times since 2001, it still stands as my most disappointing experience - and in a city that has so many exciting food options, I'd have to hear a LOT of buzz about a regeneration at La Dama before I returned.

Nov 16, 2007
KaCHing in Spain/Portugal

Help with Helsinki

We actually ended up at all four of the places mentioned above and were pleased to VERY pleased with our choices.

We went to Perho for dinner our first night - it's a teaching restaurant so EVERYTHING from the service to the food was uneven, but we had expected that to be the case. I had a crayfish soup and a very nice cut of meat, however I wasn't asked how I wanted the meat cooked and it came much rarer than I would have liked. I'm currently pregnant so am cooking my meat longer than I normally would...my husband had to eat the center of the filet, sadly (note: had I not been pregnant, this would have been beautifully cooked, but I didn't like not being asked). We were tired and skipped dessert. This was definitely not a destination, but fun for what it was.

We ate at Kosmos the second night and really enjoyed it. I had artichoke soup and salmon (I think), my husband had a Finnish appetizer plate that was lovely (smoked fish, roe, a potato, some sour cream) and reindeer. We had a lovely bottle of Barolo (he had most...we've now become fans of Barolo with game) and enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. It's rare for a "classic" restaurant to retain the classical atmosphere but still feel buzzing and updated. Would definitely recommend.

I was disappointed with Lappi - we liked the interior and it was buzzing, etc., but I was not "feeling" the menu (again...pregnancy has messed with my foodie-ness somewhat, so take me with a grain of salt). I had a mushroom soup that was nothing special and fried Lappish cheese that was OK. Not great, but I was sick of fish and game isn't my favorite. My husband had a roe sampler which he loved (definitely delicious, the highlight of the meal) and elk.

Just a note on Lappi - despite what we thought was a smoking ban, the table behind us lit up after their appetizers, and EVERY SINGLE TABLE around them, including a birthday party of about 10 people followed suit. This ruined my meal entirely - we hadn't thought to request non-smoking, as it hadn't been an issue anywhere else and I am super-sensitive to smoke lately. Normally I would have borne it much more good naturedly, but this was oppressive. We did not have dessert.

The highlight of our Helsinki trip was Ravintola Nokka - we had wanted to do a high-end meal that was Finnish (as opposed to French or Asian, which we can get easily in London or San Francisco). We both had the "Helsinki" menu (http://www.royalravintolat.com/nokka/...) and enjoyed it immensely, along with a lovely bottle of Riesling (Zeltingen Sonnenuhr Spätlese Trocken 2002 from the Mosel). It was an extremely well executed dinner, probably not quite at a one star level, but exactly what we were looking for as far as comfort, service, quality of food, and a great way to end our trip. As northern Californians (living in London), we were quite taken with the commitment to "local" (read: Finnish) produce and farmers and found the quality of the ingredients to be outstanding. Also, this meal made me quite a fan of cloudberries and bilberries...the yogurt sorbet with marinated berries was quite sophisticated (cloudberries have a unique perfume-y flavor) while still being light and fresh.

We also had a quick lunch at Sundman's Krog - herring bar and pike perch...unplanned and quite tasty (though a bigger lunch than I might have liked). I did like the number of "serve yourself" lunch places and cafes in Helsinki - it was a nice change of pace.

Nov 16, 2007
KaCHing in International Archive

Yes - another "Where to Eat" ...

We had quite a memorable meal at Passadis del Pep last February in Barcelona. I would say that it's probably a restaurant to do with a larger group than 2 (not sure how many you're traveling with), but we had and outstanding, leisurely meal that I was given to understand was as good as Cal Pep (we haven't been there, but have never really heard a bad thing about it), but without the bustle of the bar. Course after course of fresh fish, vegetables, lobster...lots of champagne and some Orujo to top it off.

I have also been to Abac and was not overwhelmed. I thought the food was good but was not blown away and found the place to be stuffy. I was with a larger group, though, and think my companions may have overshadowed the meal. I would return on someone else's dime, probably not my own.

My husband and I went to La Dama in 2001 on our honeymoon and were very very VERY underwhelmed. We still discuss it as one of those "what were we thinking?" choices, even 6 years later. At that time, it was truly a fading glory, not worthy of a star at all. It's too long since to remember what we ate, but we found it uncreative and really quite boring. It's a gorgeous restaurant though, so it would be good to know if their standards have improved since then.

I would definitely lunch at Pinxtos in La Boqueria (maybe even both days! :) ).

As for Madrid, we had a memorable meal at Arce (we're returning to Madrid in 2 weeks with friends and are going back). The decor is nothing to shake a stick at, but the food was outstanding: fresh, creative, not overwhelming (I think we had 9 courses?) and we enjoyed the little tete-a-tete with the chef beforehand.

We mostly grazed on tapas for the rest of the time - we especially enjoyed El Bocaito.

Nov 16, 2007
KaCHing in Spain/Portugal

Lunch in Madrid

We will be in Madrid for a quick weekend in two weeks and are looking for one or two good recommendations for lunch. We're set for dinner - will be having tapas one night and re-visiting Arce the next (had a tremendous meal there in September 2006 and would like to go back with friends).

I'd love suggestions for once "nice" lunch (preferably open on Saturday, which I know is difficult) and one mid-range or cheap option.

We are somewhat familiar with the city and staying just off the Grand Via, but happy to travel anywhere that's accessible by public transportation.

Nov 16, 2007
KaCHing in Spain/Portugal

Dinner in London on December 24th?

It's a family tradition to go out to a "fancy" dinner on Christmas Eve. Last year we ate at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden, this year we're eating at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. GR will be a set menu, more expensive than usual b/c of Xmas eve, but Joel Robuchon was a standard menu last year.

We did find that many of the more mid-range nice restaurants were closed - The Wolsely, J Sheeky, Les Trois Garcons...none were serving when we called last year. This year we were set on GR, so no problems.

Nov 08, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Foodie "must have" gifts from London -- need advice

I've been bringing Monmouth coffee and McVitties back for my foodie friends in the US. The McVitties are a comfort thing, and the Monmouth Coffee is probably the best coffee I've personally ever had....

My British friends in the US are missing mince pies, Heinz baked beans, and PG Tips!

Nov 08, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

[Dublin] Getting a turkey and other Thanksgiving foods

Hi Lina-

I don't live in Ireland either, but we called around a list of good organic butchers our first year here to find one who would supply us with a turkey before the "turkey rush" of Christmas. We had no problem ordering one, and our local grocery would have done the same (granted, we're in Central London, so it's a bit easier).

I found most Thanksgiving basics at Waitrose or Tesco, with a few "speciality" items (tinned pumpkin, Karo corn syrup, Crisco) at Selfridges.

This year I brought back a number of bags of pecans from Trader Joe's in the States because that's always been the hardest thing for me to source economically. Pecans for stuffing, pecan pie, and spiced pecans almost broke the bank last year!

Nov 08, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

American Breakfast in London

Wait - are you KIDDING? Part of the SF chain? How did I miss this? How does it compare?

Oct 24, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland

Mexican Food in London

Green and Red in Bethnal Green! (http://www.greenred.co.uk/index.asp

)

It's not Tex-mex (that's in short supply, though Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden will do in a pinch), so no burritos, but it's very, very good. They have a great tequilla bar, and I think their guacamole is top-notch. We often go eat at the bar and have small appetizers (carnitas, guac, etc.). It helps that we live down the street, but it's easy enough to get to.

We're Californian ex-pats too, so I feel your pain...I've actually brought our favorite burritos back from San Francisco on the plane once or twice.

Oct 24, 2007
KaCHing in U.K./Ireland