ejcsanfran's Profile

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SF Trip 2015

I'm not going to say skip The Progress. But my experience there was rather disappointing - some of the food was very good (Treasure Chest was my favorite), but none of it was spectacular. The price-to-value ratio was way off. When I went to State Bird with the same group of friends, we spent less, had more variety and left full. Several of the six family-style shares at The Progress had a just a couple of bites per person. And the drinks? Cocktails were really tasty, but not cheap. And no bottles of wine less than $50. It adds up quickly and the final bill ran $160 per person (OK, we do like to drink, but still). Had it been closer to $100-120, I'd've been much more inclined to recommend.

With that being said, the service was very good and I think they did a fantastic job with room - it's great looking and does not look like every other place in town.

I went with the same group of friends to Foreign Cinema in December. We all thought that meal was excellent and had a great time - though the service from the hosts during our arrival and seating was a little sloppy. And they still serve the most reliably excellent brunch on weekends if you can get a reservation.

L'Ardoise may be my favorite "regular" restaurant in the city - though I'm a die-hard Francophile, so I may not be particularly objective. The place has a charming neighborhood feel, though you could easily imagine yourself in a neighborhood in Paris. IMO, their filet mignon is the best steak in the city - always perfectly cooked to order and seasoned properly. It comes with fancy potatoes, but I always just get it with frites. Every time I visit l'Ardoise, I say I'm going to try something else (it all looks and smells delicious on other diners' tables) but I always get the steak.

Something not on your list: Hooker's Sweet Treats. Tiny coffee shop in the Tenderloin making amazing salt caramels.

Trip Report: Tel Aviv

Thanks for the tip re. Miznon - I've updated my post!

Trip Report: Tel Aviv

My pleasure! I've gotten a lot of great advice from the boards, so I try to pay it forward.

Cafe 48 seems to do an especially good job with their Asian-inspired starters - that was my experience certainly. It is one of those places I had a hard time deciding what to order, since so much of what's on the menu sounds good. And the list of specials was quite large.

As for Gedera 26, really great food. I thought the service was a little iffy (though the chef very, very friendly and personable) - but I hesitate to make too much of my impression of the service, since it could just as easily be a product of the language barrier - I don't speak any Hebrew.

Trip Report: Tel Aviv

I spent nine days in Tel Aviv in mid-October. I've written on my blog in a bit more detail about where and what I ate (including photos - some are better than others!)


With that being said, I can say that Tel Aviv is one of the best eating cities I've been to - fresh and local ingredients, really innovative preparations that reference both local cuisine and others from around the world.

I think my favorite meal was Gedera 26 - amazing house-made bratwurst. Plus a cilantro pesto served before the meal was phenomenal.

And Cafe 48 had really great food, along with the friendliest service I encountered. It was the one place I visited twice!

Solo Dining in Istanbul

I'm a 40-something gay dude making my first trip to Istanbul in early October. While I'm perfectly happy to eat at a table by myself, I'm especially interested in places that have a bar or counter - tends to be a lot more fun for the single diner. Here are a few of the places that have made it to my list so far:

Asmalı Cavit
Meze by Lemontree

Any feedback on solo dining at any of these places or recommendations of others would be much appreciated.

Also, I'm staying near Galata Tower - is it worth a trip to Kadikoy for lahmacun? According to Istanbul Eats, Borsam Taşfırın Lahmacun is the best. Or can I get something nearly as good closer to home base in Beyoglu? Thanks!

Sep 22, 2013
ejcsanfran in Europe

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

Hi everyone - A hearty thanks to all for your suggestions. Looks like I'll have plenty of good options for my visit!

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

Thanks for the info! I look forward to hearing more from you. :-)

To be clear, I'm not worried about the appropriateness of dining alone (I don't mind eating anywhere on my own!) - just that there are some places that are probably more fun for a solo diner than others. And I'd appreciate your suggestions.

Princess cake

Keep in mind that Miette uses white chocolate fondant for the exterior. This is neither good nor bad (and I love Miette!), but I prefer the traditional marzipan.

Believe it or not, for my sister's birthday a few years ago, we had a "Princess Cake-Off" with versions from Schubert's, Fillmore Bakeshop and Victoria Pastry in North Beach. There was no clear winner in the voting, though my particular favorite was the Schubert's version.

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

Good to know, bcc. It's funny - the more I look into H Samuel, the more mixed the reviews. I suspect it'll wind up on the "maybe" list. But I had not heard of Habasta - it looks great and just my kind of place. Thanks!

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

Thanks, cresyd, this is super-helpful. This isn't the first time I've heard Nanushka recommended, so that'll definitely get added to the list. And Hamitbochon looks great.

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

There's a post here on Chowhound re. Tel Aviv with many, many replies - it's very helpful, but a lot to wade through. Trip Advisor is useful, to a degree - but you have to take it with a grain of salt. A couple of places were mentioned to me by friends who've visited. And the rest were just the result of various Google searches online.

The one place that seems to get consistently favorable reviews is Herbert Samuel, so you might want to add that to your itinerary first.

Solo Dining in Tel Aviv

I'm a 40-something gay dude planning my first trip to Israel. I'll be spending most of my nine days in Tel Aviv and I'll be on my own. While I'm perfectly happy to eat at a table by myself, I'm especially interested in places that have a bar or counter - tends to be a lot more fun for the single diner. From the research I've done so far, these are some of the restaurants that have made it onto my list for "good food and/or fun atmosphere":

Orna & Ella
Herbert Samuel
Gedera 26
Cordelia/Noa Bistro

I suspect some may be better for solo dining and I'd appreciate any feedback pro or con for any of these places - as well as any suggestions for other restaurants. I should also add that I cannot speak or read Hebrew (I know! I'm terrible) so places without an English menu could be problematic...

A few places that I've ruled out are Catit and Mul-yam (probably a little hoity-toity for solo dinner) and Manta Ray (the reviews seems really mixed).

Any and all assistance is welcome and appreciated!

Dining for One in Paris

Also check out Paris By Mouth. http://parisbymouth.com/

I found it to be a very helpful supplement to Chowhound, since the posts typically include address, map, phone number and other useful info - along with links to other online reviews. It's search features are pretty robust, too. Was often able to help me when I had a "tie-breaker" between two places...

And FWIW, my recent post "Nine Days in Paris" on here was all based on solo dining.

Oct 20, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Nine Days in Paris

Well, I hope I'm not committing a huge faux-pas here on Chowhound - my trip report is mainly going to consist of links to own my personal blog. But here's the short version...

Chez Jenny - Hearty and tasty choucroute a mere stone's throw from my apartment. Easy and satisfying after 18 hours of travel...

Le Galopin - Extraordinary food by any measure... Creative, delicious, complex, beautiful. All the more so with a breathtakingly reasonable price.

Terroir Parisien - Quality ingredients, simple preparation, open on Sunday. Dessert was a miss...

Le Severo - Excellent steak, disappointing frites

La Bourse ou La Vie - Steak was good enough, frites better than last night. The convivial owner makes this plate a treat. But no need to cross town for it.

Bistrot Victoires (lunch) - Several slices of bread topped with potato, lardons and cheese then put under the fire. Superb on a blustery day and not too far from Louvre.

Chez Dumonet Josephine - Worth every penny for amazing boeuf bourguignon in a postcard French setting (save for all the Americans...)

Restaurant Pierre-Sang - Sensational food at a tiny and rather boisterous place. Fun, delicious, great wine pairings and another shockingly low price for a 6-course menu.

L'Office - My favorite steak of my visit. Casual but with lovely and modern dishes.

Café des Musées - Old fashioned place in the Marais serving tasty and traditional dishes. Pork was great.

If you're inclined to read more, here are links to my more detailed reviews, along with photos.

Le Galopin

Chez Dumonet Josephine

Restaurant Pierre-Sang


And some less detailed posts (though still with some photos) that also include lots of blather about all of my tourist activities - you've been warned...

Chez Jenny

Terroir Parisien, Le Severo

La Vie ou La Bourse, Bistrot Victoires

Café des Musées

Oct 16, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Aidez-moi! Need Suggestions for Dinner Tomorrow (Saturday) in Paris

I was seated right next to the door and found it rather hilarious that people kept showing up requesting a table and being advised they could have one, but ONLY if they were gone in one hour to accommodate those with later reservations. The maitre d' wasn't yelling - though I'd hardly describe his demeanor as "jolly"... I think most folks realized that at 8PM on a Saturday, they'd better take what they could get.

Oct 15, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Aidez-moi! Need Suggestions for Dinner Tomorrow (Saturday) in Paris

Short answer: great smoked salmon, followed by a tasty echine de porc - an enjoyable last evening. I'm still catching up on my notes. I'll be sure to include more details on this when I provide an update on my week in Paris soon...

Oct 15, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Aidez-moi! Need Suggestions for Dinner Tomorrow (Saturday) in Paris

Thanks for the suggestions. I called several places with no luck, then gave Café des Musées a jingle - I was sure they'd be booked, since they seem to be both well-reputed and well-known by locals and tourists alike. Happily, I got a reservation for an early dinner with no problem. Phew!

Oct 13, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Aidez-moi! Need Suggestions for Dinner Tomorrow (Saturday) in Paris

BarAPain at 134 Rue de Turenne - close by my place and very good!


Oct 13, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Aidez-moi! Need Suggestions for Dinner Tomorrow (Saturday) in Paris

In a shocking display of unpreparedness, I neglected to reserve for dinner tomorrow evening - my last night in Paris after a week. So far I've called Paul Bert, Le Chemise and Pirouette - they're all booked.

I'm here on my own, so a seat at a counter is fine by me and I"m staying in the 3me - don't mind traveling a bit but prefer to stay on the Right Bank. So far this week, I have eaten at Chez Jenny, Le Galopin, Terroir Parisien, La Bourse ou La Vie, Le Severo, Josephine Chez Dumonet, Pierre Sang Boyer and l'Office.

And if it's any incentive to help me out, I plan to share my impressions of all my meals while on the train to Amsterdam on Sunday. Here's what I thought of Le Galopin (short answer: superb).


Oct 12, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Chocolatier in Paris with house-made "Nutella"?

Ah! Found it! Jean-Charles Rochoux. Here's the original article I read:


And I was obviously completely wrong on the location...

Sep 05, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Chocolatier in Paris with house-made "Nutella"?

A few months ago, I read about a chocolatier in Paris, one of whose specialties was chocolate spreads - one similar to Nutella, another made with dark chocolate and raspberry. And now, with my trip imminent, I can't remember the name of the place!

For some reason, I think it may have been on Ile St Louis or Ile de la Cite - but my online searches in those neighborhoods haven't helped. And I may be completely wrong in my recollection of location.

Anybody know what shop this might be? Thanks!

Sep 05, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Solo Dining in Paris?

That's it? Well, I suppose it's better than nothing...

I kid, of course. I really appreciate your detailed response and taking into account my specific question. The apartment I'm letting is on Rue de Corderie, so I'm not quite in the thick of all the madness of the Marais - a good thing, I think. And I've just discovered I'm a short walk from Jacques Genin...

Now I only need to figure out how to eat at 30+ restos in 9 days. Eh, a good problem to have. Cheers!

Jul 23, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Solo Dining in Paris?

I'll be spending a bit over a week in Paris in October. I'm a gay dude, traveling on my own and staying just north of Marais. Since I've visited Paris before, I'm hoping to explore a few parts of the city that are bit off the well-beaten tourist path - in other words, I'm happy to seek out restos outside my neighborhood.

I don't have any qualms about solo dining. That being said, given a choice, I prefer places where I can eat at a counter or bar (is this even something typical in Paris?). It tends to be a more convivial setting for the single diner. But it's only a preference - I'm happy to sit at a two-top.

Would be nice to keep meals somewhere in the €50-60 (including wine) range, but I certainly plan to splurge at least a few of times. And I'll be seeking out great French food, of course, but I'm looking forward to trying local takes on ethnic cuisine as well.

I hope this isn't too vague a request. I'm already making a list, thanks to the boards, but I'm particularly interested in any feedback on places that offer great food along with a welcoming atmosphere for a single guy.

Jul 19, 2012
ejcsanfran in France

Palm Springs Restaurants?

Spent Christmas in Palm Springs and had a fabulous time - in fact, we're going back in May. That being said, I don't know that there are any "can't be missed" restaurants - I didn't get the impression that it's a much of a foodie destination...

Places we enjoyed: Zin American Bistro; El Mirasol; Sherman's (for lunch); Norma's at the Parker (for brunch).

We also went out for a "fancy" dinner at Johannes and found it to be pricey and underwhelming.

More details on my blog: http://completeoutrage.wordpress.com/...

Apr 03, 2009
ejcsanfran in California

Christmas in Palm Springs

UPDATE: We had Christmas dinner at Johannes - and found it to be pricey and not all that good. Prix fixe that evening was $65 - which was fine. What was not so fine was a mandatory 20% gratuity for all parties regardless of size. Why not just make the prix fixe $80? Very tacky...

As for the food, my starter of smoked salmon and beets was very good. My main of trout was a bit too trouty for me... A little fish and just not all the interesting. My partner had chicken with a savory fruit sauce - it was tasty, though rather dry and the stuffing alongside was tepid. Apple strudel for dessert was uninspired and unmemorable. And we were seated in the back room (i.e. Siberia) despite my requesting otherwise when I confirmed our reservation.

Next night we ate at El Mirasol. Really fun atmosphere, very strong margaritas and good Mexican food - though the strength of the margaritas makes for a rather hazy recollection of dinner...

Saturday night had dinner at Zin American Bistro. I quite enjoyed my sweet-and-sour meatballs and the accompanying Belgian fries were fantastic. Manager recommended some great wines by the glass too - we really had a good time at this place and liked the food.

Other spots:

Hangover cured by waffles at Elmer's. Next day's hangover cured by cabbage soup and pastrami reuben at Sherman's. Also enjoyed both the food and the setting for Sunday brunch at Norma's at The Parker.

I should also add that while PS may not be a foodie's paradise, we loved our long weekend there - beautiful mountains, amazing mid-century architecture and late night Jacuzzi soaks. We're going back very soon...

Jan 22, 2009
ejcsanfran in California

Christmas in Palm Springs

Does anybody have recommendations for Christmas dinner in Palm Springs? We were going to try the Purple Palm, but they just called me and said they'll only be offering their lunch menu that evening.

Right now, I'm deciding between Circa 59 and Johannes. Sounds like Circa 59 may be more a scene (not necessarily a good thing) and Johannes may be better food. I'd prefer someplace with good food and good service - if it's also "see and be seen", that's fine, but not a requirement...

Dec 19, 2008
ejcsanfran in California

Best tables at Bix?

Thank you both for the 4-1-1... Looks like I'll try for an upstairs table...

Best tables at Bix?

I'm talking my honey to Bix for dinner on Saturday night, to celebrate some recent achievements in his career... First time for both of us and I'm just wondering if sitting upstairs or downstairs is better - or is there no difference? Hoping for a romantic, yet still lively, location - by which I mean, I'd kind of rather be in the thick of things than off in a secluded corner... Thanks!

Rome Restaurant Itinerary - Feedback Requested

My partner and I are spending ten days in Rome (Oct 9-19) – first time there for the both of us. Needless to say I can’t wait to arrive. And, after much agonizing on my part, I've come up with our dinner itinerary.

If it helps, here’s some background: we’re staying in an apartment, just north of il Colosseo, but we’re happy to walk/bus/cab anywhere; pasta and risotto are highest on our list, with salumi, pizza and fish closely following; love wine, though don’t know as much about it as one might hope; and are hoping to keep most dinners under €150, though we’ll want to splurge on a couple of nights.

So, here’s our current resto itinerary. I’ve also included a list of other places I’ve heard about via the boards (esp from mbfant – grazie mille!) and Time Out (which has always served me well when traveling). Any recommended revisions or other feedback would be much appreciated.

Oh, and if it’s any incentive to share your views, I plan to blog about the trip, which’ll undoubtedly include many food-centric posts. I’m happy to share my site with any who are interested.

Thu, 10-09 - Checchino
Fri, 10-10 - Antico Arco
Sat, 10-11 - Paris (followed by late night clubbing)
Sun, 10-12 - Uno e Bino
Mon, 10-13 - Trattoria Monti
Tue, 10-14 - L’altro Mastai (is this a good romantic splurge choice?)
Wed, 10-15 - Da Felice
Thu, 10-16 - Lunch: Crudo or GiNa
Dinner: pizza (where?)
Fri, 10-17 - Agata e Romeo
Sat, 10-18 - La Piazzetta

Other places I’ve heard about:

Al Ceppo
Da Francesco – for pizza
Enoteca Ferrara
Est! Est! Est!
Giuda Ballerino
Il Fico
Osteria del Rione – Inexpensive prix-fixe; any good?
Ristorante da Ottavio
Vladimiro Ristorante

Aug 16, 2008
ejcsanfran in Italy

Toast on 24th Street

I ate there with Mom for Sunday brunch and found it decidedly "meh". I had corned beef hash - I found the corned beef to be not very tasty, too chewy and rather greasy. The hash browns were not impressive either - not much potato flavor and a suspicious resemblance to frozen... Mom enjoyed her eggs florentine (and the hollandaise was quite tasty). But all in all, I can't see making a beeline back here - especially since I'm not from the neighborhood (though Mom is). I'll stick with Chow...