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St Martin dining help! Where to go for Christmas Eve Dinner?

anyone? no thoughts at all?

St Martin dining help! Where to go for Christmas Eve Dinner?

Two adventurous 20something foodies from Los Angeles. We will be joined by my brother for Christmas eve and Christmas day, he is more of the steak and potato type, but still open to trying things.

We are staying in Orient Bay and will have a car over Christmas for 5 days and need some dining help! Specifically:

-Budget friendly dinner in Orient Bay (under $80 total for 2 ppl)
-Super romantic top not food splurge anywhere - food of outmost importance, but beautiful setting also great :)
-dinner on Christmas eve and Christmas day - somewhere solid and not insanely expensive would be great.
-bakeries and dessert/ pastry shops not to be missed! I have a really really strong sweet tooth, particularly for flaky pastries of the french persuasion!
-any parties/fun nightlife beach bars? Not looking for any crazy clubbing but more a fun casual beachy party vibe to dance a bit

Also, should we make reservations?? We will be there Dec 19-26, so it's coming up soon - should i be emailing these places or can we wing it?


Paris: your advice re Frenchie and Spring

try google translate - type out your request and and try your best at pronunciation. Generally if you keep it simple, I would think you should be able to figure out his end of it - if they have the time of not. Another idea would be to type up a sample conversation - with the possible replies that they might give you, that way you can see what he might say in french and it would be easier to to decipher. Or get a french friend to help! If you are staying in a decent hotel, I would also try asking the concierge to call- that's what they're there for, right?

Feb 16, 2011
nataliya.v in France

Itinerary review and a few suggestions for two LA hounds in Paris in March 2011

Thanks Nancy - any ideas for Monday - is JeanneA our best bet?

Feb 16, 2011
nataliya.v in France

Itinerary review and a few suggestions for two LA hounds in Paris in March 2011

Hello All,

I've been doing my research and slowly putting together my dining itinerary for our upcoming trip in late march. We are both in our late 20's, adventurous eaters, have lived in NYC prior to LA so are not scared off by small/cramped/loud places, and love a good value when it comes to food - this does not nessesarily mean cheap, but more of a good use of money and calories! One thing to consider is that all of our dinners during the week will have to be relatively early affairs, since we will need to be back in our room from 9pm to 10:30pm for my husbands work (he needs to trade, so he is tied to the New York stock exchange closing hours!)

Our budget goal is under 200EU/dinner with one bottle of wine with the exception of the splurge at Le Cinq - please let me know if this is reasonable given our plans.

Here's what I have come up with:

Arriving Sunday at 3pm - staying in the 11th near Saint Ambrose metro

JeanneA for first night's dinner (Sunday)
We want a cute casual cafe/bistro type setting, close to our apartment. We will be getting in around 3pm from L.A., so I'm pretty sure my husband will be starving. We are seasoned travelers and usually handle jetlag quite well, so not so much a concern, but still wanted something easy in our neighborhood or a nice walk (up to 30min) that would be a good start to our trip and get us in the french spirit. Also open to something in the Marais.... looking to keep this relatively cheap and casual...

MONDAY: Les Violon d'Ingres - thinking since it is open on monday and have read good reviews - would this be a nice choice for a traditional (food-wise) bistro type of meal? What can we expect for the bill with one bottle of wine for two people? Anything you would recommend instead? Also thinking maybe this would be a good day to try a morrocon/algerian place instead - any recommendations that would be open on monday?

TUESDAY: Considering L'ami Jean, Josephine Chez Dumonet, or La Regalade - what would be the best bang for the buck food quality-wise?

WEDNESDAY: Frenchie (confirmed reservations)

THURSDAY: Spring - Would this be very similar to Frenchie? If so, which one would you pick?
Also thinking of doing their wine class for 60EU/person that they offer on Thursdays - anyone try this? Was it good (the wine class)? If not, what would you recommend instead?

FRIDAY: Trying for Chateaubriand - told to call closer to the day

SATURDAY: dinner at Le Cinq (reserved) - our final meal in Paris and also our one big splurge - would this be the best bet? We are hoping to stay around 500 EU total with a bottle of wine - is this a reasonable expectation for dinner? Is there another option you guys would recommend that is of that grand/fancy/beautiful setting/excellent food persuasion?

Planning to snack throughout the day for lunch/breakfasts.

Need recommendations for a good morning stop for pastries/bread/cafe close to where we are staying near Metro Saint Ambrose in the 11th.

Does this list of restaurants offer a good variety in terms of style of cooking/ambiance? Also, where would be my best bet for duck confit from all of these options?

Thanks again for all of your help!!

Feb 16, 2011
nataliya.v in France

gift certificate for a foodie-but-usually-broke friend! Where to send him with $100?

Hi guys,

So our really good friend is moving to Austin in January, and we want to get him a gift certificate to a really really awesome place. He is a true chowhound, LOVES food, will eat/try anything and is all about finding the out of the way tiny local eateries. He is a musician and travels EVERYWHERE, but due to profession usually totally broke, which means he's all about dives and the amazing hole in the wall kinda places. And there's nothing wrong with that, those are some of our favorite spots too. BUT. We'd like to get him a really nice dinner out. Somewhere that has amazing food but maybe he wouldn't go to on his own due to budget.

So, geography is not a constraint, cuisine is wide open too. Basically, where can he get the most amazing meal for around $100/person? We're thinking some sort of tasting menu/multi course kinda deal.... something fancy, but most importantly REALLY REALLY good.

Thanks in advance!!

PS: we are not from Austin and have never been, unfortunately, so totally clueless as to the dining scene other than the fact that Austin seems like a pretty hip fun little town.

Dec 01, 2009
nataliya.v in Austin

Westside Tavern!!! OMG!!

Seriously?? It's in a MALL. I mean I just can't wrap my head around the fact that a place this good can be in a MALL for chrissake!

Run, don't walk, to Westside tavern. Had dinner there with some friends last week and I can't stop thinking about it. It was absolutely amazing.

Make reservations, becuase it's packed. For good reason.

Started with some cocktails at the bar - excellent and not too sweet, can't remember what we had... one of them was a blackberry julep, which was great.

What we ordered:
Corn and cherry tomatoes with pesto - so good and so fresh - the pesto was divine
Artichokes with parm - amazing. the flavor was so fresh and delicious, it just melted in your mouth
I had the portobello sandwich, hubby ordered the BLT, and our friends had the lamb au jus and the ravioli.

Everything was mindboggeling good.

The portobello on my sandwich was juicy, tender, and full of flavor - i think a hint of balsamic marinade.

The lamb sandwich was definitely the star - it was tender, exploding with juicy meaty flavor

Ravioli was also excellent - very light

Had a bite of my hubby's BLT and while it was good, I think it was probably the weakest of the entrees.

But you have to make sure to leave room for dessert. Because it is spectacular. Like a mini food orgasm in your mouth. I"m sorry, but it's just that good.

I'm talking about the chocolate toffee cake with caramel sauce. It's sex on a plate. A little chewy, moist, kinda sticky in a wonderfully chocolaty way, on top of some sinfully good caramel sauce that complements the cake and brings out a depth to the chocolate that is undescribable. Also totally big enough to share for 4 people.

I was planning my return visit halfway though the meal. Can't wait to go back. Best part are the prices - all of our entrees were under $18, and the sides and dessert was about $6-$8

Aug 06, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Westside New

Haven't eaten a full meal but stopped in for some pie and was seriously dissapointed. We had the peach raspberry - it was overly sweet and tasted like the peaches were straight out of a can - all you could taste was sugar, nothing peach about it. And that was the one the server recommened too, saying it was fresh. The atmosphere is cute, and the other diner's entrees looked good, so we might stop in again for a light dinner, but will definitely skip the dessert.

Aug 06, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

2 night in Vegas: Picasso, Mix, or Stratta for one; and Aureole or Fluer de Lis for the other?

Hi All,

Hubby and I are headed to Vegas this weekend - he got some promotion for 2 free nights at the Wynn, but the catch is that it can't be on the weekend. So we'll be coming into to town on Sunday and checking out Tuesday.

I need one amazing dinner rec for either of those nights, so far I was thinking Picasso, Mix, or Strata. I'd love to do Alex at the Wynn, but it's unfortunately closed when we'll be there. Our budget is around $115/person (without wine) and we'd probably do the prefix menus.... also, not a a big fan of seafood or sushi..

Food quality is most important, but a lively-ish hip feeling would be nice too (i know, it will be sun or mon, and with the recession and all, but still)

For the other night, I found restaurant.com gift certificates to either Flyer de Lis or Aureole. So what would you guys pick? I'm pretty sure I'd like to use the gift certificate, since it would save us about 1/2 off our bill. So far i'm leaning towards Aureole, just based on the pics of the decor and the menu, but totally open. Also, which do you think would be more lively?

Also, good but affordable (under $40 without drinks, maybe sharing an app) lunch recs would be appreciated... most like sticking to the strip.

Thanks in advance!

Aug 06, 2009
nataliya.v in Las Vegas

Capri on Abbot Kinney in Venice - any good?

Has anyone every tried this place? Hubby and I have passed it several times, and always wonder if it's any good.... prices look very reasonable. I've googled it, but can't come up with any reviews....

What do you guys think?

Jul 10, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

TSA just confiscated.... (aka "my creole mustard is contraband")

I actually had my one serving container of yogurt confiscated, even though i had put it inside a plastic baggie with my shampoo bottles and whatnot. The most annoying things was that the guy that took it then proceeded to ask his fellow employees if anyone wanted some yogurt, and after not getting any takers, promptly popped it open and ate it himself. I was so furious i couldn't even say anything. Only thing that prevented me from making a fuss was that i was late for my flight.

May 07, 2009
nataliya.v in Not About Food

Help! Casual dinner w/ inlaws in Santa Monica/Venice!

Hi All!

Just wanted to pop back in and leave a quick note about Beechwood the other night - was not too impressed, unfortunately.

Great atmosphere, the drinks were yummy, and it was fun people watching, but the food underwhelmed. Not that anything was bad per se, just not amazing and particularly great.

We shared the lamb meatballs which were ok but a little too salty and had a wierd gluey texture... like they needed more breadcrumbs in the mixture or something.

Hubby had the halibut, said it was alright but nothing special. I had the coq au vin, which was pretty good, the meat was tender and moist, but the suace it came with was too salty.

The dessert was the best part of our meal, we shared the peach turnover with salted caramel ice cream, which was delicious.

The service was very sloppy - they kept bringing out dishes that were ordered by another table to our table instead. Didn't mind it the first time, mistakes happen, but this happened 3 times. The waiter that took our orders was nice and helpful, but that was the only time we saw him - the food was always brought out by a very hurried bus boy with limited English and plunked down in front of us without asking who had what - and half the time it wasn't even our order, but the table next to us.

Also hubby and I have a sneaking suspicious that they overcharged us, because the bill came out to be about $30 more than when we added everything up in our heads later, and we think maybe one of the entrees from the other table got charged to us? strange...

So we will probably go back for drinks, but not for the food. Also, we sat in the main dining room, and I would stick to the bar area for the future.

May 01, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Chic Birthday Lunch with Mum in Beverly Hills

Also was looking at the Belvedere or the roof garden in the Peninsula Hotel... Just looked at Spago and it might be a little too pricey, it's $55 for food alone, so with a drink for me and tax it's getting pricey (and i'm feeling guilty lol)

Apr 30, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Chic Birthday Lunch with Mum in Beverly Hills

Hello all,

My birthday is coming up and my mother would like to take me out for lunch. I get to pick the spot.

I'd like something in the beverly hills area that has a nice upscale atmosphere, pretty and chic. A little prim and proper almost...If it has an outdoor area, that would be great too.

Price wise i'd like to get out the door under $100 with tax, tip, etc. Mum doesn't drink, so i'd probably just get a glass of wine or a cocktail.

As far as cuisine, I really enjoy fresh/simple/market driven menues that are popping up all over the place, as well as contemporary french/italian/california. Something light, delicious and elegant. Mum loves seafood, but it can't be a seafood "place" becuase i'm allergic to all seafood (sadly).

Any recommendations? I was thinking Spago... but is it overrated?

Thanks so much!


Apr 30, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Help! Casual dinner w/ inlaws in Santa Monica/Venice!

Hi Guys!

Thanks so much for all the recs! We will definitely be checking out Baby Blues, going to Urth for Lunch, and Library Ale House for one of the dinners (all are already our favorites, and we hope they will impress the Michiganders as well) ;-)

Also we're thinking about going to Duke's in Malibu as well. We love the place, and they'll love the view, and the food is a about as nonthreatening as it gets.

We personally loved primitivo, but i think it would just be too trendy for them.

Will definitely check out Lares and 17th street cafe, if not with them, then at some point on our own.

Going to beechwood tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes. Looks awsome, but maybe not for the inlaws. (they just don't like the whole loungey/bar/modern thing... forget about the food... they think arugala is some new-agey fad so...)

Thanks so much guys!

Also, any amazing brunch/breakfast recs? I'm thinking i'll cook one of the days, we'll go to Urth another day, and maybe Lilly's? But that still leaves me one day short... so any ideas?

** disclaimer: if any of this doesn't make sense, forgive me, i've had one glass of vino too many tonight and should most likely not be typing while under the influence...**

Apr 25, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Help! Casual dinner w/ inlaws in Santa Monica/Venice!

Hi All,

So my inlaws from Michigan are coming to visit, and hubby and I are scrambeling. We LOVE food and they are.... let's just say they think the Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse is great dining. They like very simple, casual, Americanized, not pretentious, utilitarian food. To them, food is just something you eat when you are hungry, nothing more.

Hubby and I are are total foodies. Places we've loved... Axe, Gjelina, Primitivo, The Library, Urth Cafe, Mellisse, Josie's, Jiraffe.....

So i'm looking for a place that will be simple/unpretentious/midwesten enough for them, yet yummy, delicious, and interesting enough for us.

We'd like to stay to the Malibu/Santa Monica/Venice/Marina Del Rey area... maybe stretch to Manhattan Beach

Our price range is around $15-$25-ish/entree (pre-tax).

We're thinking of going with either american or italian.. mexican might work too (have been to Lula's, and altough we've enjoyed it in the past, our last visit wasn't that great... won't be going back) but anything similar to Lula's might be perfect.

So far I"m planning on taking them to Hal's for one of the nights (hubby and I have been and we loved it), and to The Library Alehouse for lunch.... So something along those lines? Maybe more casual? Also was wondering about Lobster off of Ocean right by the pier? Is is any good? They love a good view, but is it overpriced?

They don't like weird/fancy ingredients, menus in other languages, small portions, or cramped tight tables. Also should be quiet/mellow enough that we can have a conversation.

Your help largely appreciated!

Apr 24, 2009
nataliya.v in Los Angeles Area

Parents Dinner near the Met for pre-opera dinner

I'm looking for a place to get a gift certificate for my parents for their anniversary. I will be getting them some tix to the Opera at the met, and would like to add dinner to the mix. Needs to be very convenient to getting to the theatre (my mom is paranoid about being late, and gets stressed out) Preferably within a 10 min walk .

Mom loves seafood, dad will eat pretty much anything. They just moved from LA to greenwich ct and I want to treat them to something distinctly NY and special. Moms a sucker for a great view, but I know places with a great view tend to have mediocre food. Wondering about Asiate.

Budget is around $200 total excluding wine (they don't drink much). Last time they were in NYC they loved Perilla. So something similar in terms of food would be nice, but the atmosphere could be more formal. Any suggestions would be great! THANKS!

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Dinner for two on New Year's

LOVE Caracas as well. Try BarBosso in Nolita. It's a casual brazillian place with delicious food and very reasonable prices (mains are $13-$18). Try the coconut curry chiken or the Fajioda (spelling??) Don't miss the coconut tapioca dessert.

House at Irving Place is really really romantic and nice. Might be slightly above your budget. Maybe. Not sure if they're doing a NYE prix fixe thing...

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Aniversarry Dinner, please help!

I've been wanting to go there for a while now. Would i be out of place in a cocktail dress? Also same with EMP. hmm decisions decisions.

Now I'm leaning towards Chantrelle, Adour, Picholine, or EMP.

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Romantic Dinner in E. Village, Gramercy or Chelsea

Go to House in gramercy park. It is like something out of a story book. Little carriage house that's not covnerted into a resteruant. Very romantic, small, intimate. The food is contemporary american/french-ish. We went there for our anniversary dinner and loved it.

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

NYE dinner downtown?

BarBosso. Awsome brazillian food, and everything on the menu is like $12-$18. Dessert is great too. Make sure to get the coconut tapioca and the amazing passion fruit tart.

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Reasonably Priced, Adventurous and Healthy Food

Hampton Chutney in Soho. This is more of a place for lunch, but i absolutely get craving for it.

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Boyfriend's surprise birthday dinner.

How about thai? Lantern in the east village is delicious and you can get out the door ordering curry + and app for like $12-$18.

Not asian, but totally delicious and cheap if you go during happy hour (drinks are like $8 and it's 2 for one) is Paladar in LES. Has my favorite empanadas in the whole city. Order off of their tapas menu, make sure to get the empanadas and the sopes. yum.

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan

Aniversarry Dinner, please help!

Hi All, please help us decide where to go for our 1 year anniversary. We would like something very romantic, formal (i'd like to wear a sexy cocktail dress, don't want to feel like a overdid it), don't mind if it's a *little* on the stuffy side. In terms of food we're looking for something French or Nouveau american, i'm (sadly) allergic to seafood, so something that's not solely focused on fish. Would prefer something downtown, but that limits things. Budget is around 150/person (excluding wine/drinks). I also LOVE dessert. So it has to be fantastic.

Places we've loved:

The Modern - one of my favorite meals in NYC
Blue Hill - so simple and delicious
Cyrus ( not in NYC i know, but in terms of food, it was to die for)
Melisse (ditto. actually it was heavenly, is there a place like this in NYC??)

We've been to Bouley and thought it was overrated - the server dissapeared halfway through our meal, the food was good but not that inventive

Gramercy tarvern. sigh. where do i start? HATED IT. felt like it was compleatly not worth the money. Simply not enough food to justify a $400 meal. And what we had, while it was delicious, underwhelmed. So now i'm paranoid of places that are supposed to be amazing but leave you hungry.

OK, so after all that, my current short list includes:

Eleven Madison Park - is it romantic enough? formal and grand-feeling?
Jean Georges
La Grenouille
Adour Alain Ducasse
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Chantrelle - but i wonder if it's too "quiet" ? Is the food very traditional?
A Voce?

Which of these would you consider the best bang for your buck (in terms of food?) Most romantic?

Anything i've overlooked?? (esp. downtown) Anything to rule out categorically?

Thanks so much for all of your help!

Dec 24, 2008
nataliya.v in Manhattan