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Midtown Cafe [Nashville]

I was in Nashville for a quick trip to meet with a client - - just one night in town. Thanks to tips on this board, I narrowed down to a few choices near my hotel and ended up at Midtown Cafe. I had a lovely meal of creamy artichoke and lemon soup and an appetizer portion of shrimp & grits, accompanied by a very nice glass of Vouvray. The waiter was kind and charming - - just the right balance of chattiness and privacy for a solo woman diner.

I Trulli or La Zie

Had a nice dinner at I Trulli. We opted for the taste of Puglia menu (a great deal at $48). The two appetizer courses were -eh- but the pasta was wonderful, the zuppa de pesce was delicious, and the dessert was very original and out of this world fantastic (prickly pear sorbet on a pillow of panna cotta). Thanks for everyone's advice.

Dec 10, 2012
purplescout in Manhattan

Coming to Time Square next Thrusday

This post was really helpful to me, a solo traveler staying near Times Square. I had a great dinner tonight at Yakitori Totto. Loved the chicken meatball skewer and the nasu eggplant in particular. And the Totto soup was wonderful, too. Thanks!

Dec 09, 2012
purplescout in Manhattan

I Trulli or La Zie

Thanks for the tips. Appreciate the input.

Nov 29, 2012
purplescout in Manhattan

I Trulli or La Zie

I am hosting a casual dinner with some former colleagues and I've narrowed it down to these two options. We want an Italian meal we can enjoy over a few glasses of wine without breaking the bank and both of these seem to fit the bill. Anyone have some insight that might break the tie?

Nov 27, 2012
purplescout in Manhattan

Great dinner at Momocho [CLE]

As a native of Southern California, I was skeptical when my colleagues suggested Mexican food for dinner. It turns out they were right to suggest Momocho. The whole meal was terrific. We especially enjoyed the guacamole trio and the green bean sofrito. I had no idea that green beans could be so yummy! The margaritas were also delicious. I had a cucumber margarita and a spicy mango margarita. My colleagues tasted several other flavors and everyone enjoyed what they ordered. I expect a few more business trips to Cleveland so I'll probably return here.

1835 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

Feb 22, 2012
purplescout in Great Lakes

Help! Best hamburger in DC?

Thanks for all the tips. We greatly enjoyed Good Stuff Eatery. My son said it was the best food of the trip. I had the Barack Obama burger which was a fantastic combination of bacon, blue cheese, onion marmalade and horseradish sauce. The onion petals were also fantastic. Wish we'd ordered the marshmallow milkshake....maybe next time!

Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

Quick visit - Staying near Dupont Circle with kids

Based on the input here, I had dinner last Saturday night at Firefly with a friend and our two 10 year old sons. It was a hit for everyone.

Early in the meal, the restaurant brought the boys a raw sugar cookie in the shape of a gingerbread man along with sprinkles and chocolate chips to use for decoration. At dessert time, their cooked creations were served. The boys loved it. They also loved the cheeseburgers "as big as your head" from the kid's menu. Between the fresh bread, the burger and the cookie, my son left in a food coma!

Meanwhile, we moms enjoyed our meals immensely. I had the soft shelled crab which was delectable. I ate every morsel of food on my plate. My friend had the pot roast, which was tender, rich, and delicious.

I'd definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for a nice dinner, with our without kids!

suggestions for week in paris with two kids

In case you haven't heard of it, the Cite des Enfants - - a giant science museum for kids - - is amazing. My kids (7 and 9) said this was the best museum they ever visited. You must buy tickets in advance for the section with the best hands-on interactive activities (available on line). The tickets are for a specific time, when they let a whole flock of families in, and after the specified period they turn you out....which is a great opportunity to visit the snackbar. It's stocked with typical kid-friendly stuff, but what makes it special is the furniture. Giant, brightly colored, molded plastic sofas!

Jun 19, 2010
purplescout in France

suggestions for week in paris with two kids

This is a simple place, but my kids enjoyed it: La Reserve de Quasimodo. Definitely within your price point.

It's not far from Notre Dame Cathedral, but for some reason seems full of French rather than global tourists. We enjoyed open-faced sandwiches of foie gras and apples and a fondue. They have a wine shop, and you can pick a bottle from the shop which they will serve to you in the restaurant, (Handy if you want to buy some wine to take home on your last day). It's in an old. old building with a lot of atmosphere. Located on the Ile de la Cite. 4 Rue Colombe

Here's a blog post about it with photos (not my blog):

Jun 18, 2010
purplescout in France

Calabasas supermarkets or kitchen shops

Don't miss the Calabasas farmer's market on Saturday morning! You can graze your way through, tasting everything on offer. I second ozhead's recommendations of vendors, particularly Etheridge's stone fruit. There is one stand that has Chandler strawberries ($8 for three baskets) but they sell out fast, so get there early!!

Jun 18, 2010
purplescout in Los Angeles Area

Seoul, South Korea - Single Diner ...

Thanks everyone for these links!

Seoul, South Korea - Single Diner ...

I'm in Seoul June 1-4 for work, and planning to be solo on June 3-4, so I'm also interested in this topic.

RacerX, if your time in Seoul coincides, I'd consider a meal meet-up.

Ladyface Alehouse & Brasserie in Agoura Hills

We are trying it tonight. Will report back pronto.

May 01, 2010
purplescout in Los Angeles Area

Anna's in WLA to Close (not that most of you will care)

So sorry to hear this news. My parents have lived in the same house in West LA for 40+ years, and this has been one of our family's regular restaurants for most of those years. I'll make a point of getting over there for a last supper.

May 01, 2010
purplescout in Los Angeles Area

HK trip - Fu Sing Sharkfin, Tsui Hang, Yee Shun, Manor Seafood, Qiao Tei Chili Crab, Ho Hung Kee, Xiao Fei Yang

Wow - great report. I'm bookmarking this for my next trip to HK!

Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong

I had dinner at Din Tai Fung, and it was so good, I went back for lunch the next day. This place is more expensive than many dim sum restaurants...not sure it's worth the premium, but it was near my hotel and I really enjoyed my meals.

The xiao long bao were truly excellent. Great wrappers and fantastic filling...full of flavor but not greasy.

The steamed pork buns were also a highlight, as were the spicy wontons.

There are a couple of locations in Hong Kong. The one I visited was in Causeway Bay, just a few blocks from the Causeway Bay MTR station.

Makuhari suggestions?

I'm on a business trip this week and staying in the Makuhari area. Any suggestions for good eats in walking distance from the New Otani hotel?

Feb 08, 2010
purplescout in Japan

Sushi in Tokyo

I'm going on a business trip and will be staying at the New Otani in Chiba. It sounds like I need to visit the place across the street from the fish market. Do you know the name or can you describe the place? Any other suggestions in Chiba?

Feb 02, 2010
purplescout in Japan

Seeking recs for Bangalore & Kolkata

I'm heading to Bangalore and Kolkata for a business trip later this month. I'm staying at the Leela in Bangalore and the Hyatt Regency in Kolkata. I'm interested in restaurant suggestions near both of these venues. I'm also planning to do some shopping in Bangalore on Commercial Street, so recs in that are would be welcome as well.

Seeking Shanghai Pudong Recommendations

I'm coming to Shanghai the first week of September for a business trip, staying at the Crowne Plaza Century Park in Pudong. I'm a California chowhound who eats a lot of Chinese (and other asian) food. I'd like some suggestions for places around the area I'm staying for great bao, handmade noodles, or anything else local and delectable. Thanks!

Beijing, Shanghai & Hong Kong. What are the essentials?

Here are the pictures from Noodle Loft

Beijing, Shanghai & Hong Kong. What are the essentials?

On my last trip to Beijing, I had meals at both Da Dong and Noole Loft. Here's a link to the thread.

I've got amazing pictures from Noodle Loft - will try to find and post them.

I'm heading to Shanghai the first week of September for work, staying in the Pudong area, so I'm eager for replies to your post.

Marseille report

As monchique suspected, it was a fish soup served with rouille. The pictures below give you a sense of what they served.

As for the daughter (in the photo) is a budding gourmand and loves to try all kinds of new things. You can see her eager to try my lunch in this photo. The other two kids will give a few things a try, but they mostly stick to what's familiar. I'm not giving up on them, though! The family with whom we exchanged homes has two sons, and apparently they only ate pancakes and t-bone steaks the whole time they were here. ;o)

Aug 07, 2009
purplescout in France

L'Oulette Report + a few other Paris notes

It was the restaurant. We've been tot he bistrot in prior years, too, but not on this trip.

Aug 07, 2009
purplescout in France

L'Oulette Report + a few other Paris notes

We had dinner at L'Oulette on July 29 ( We've enjoyed this restaurant on many previous trips to Paris over the years, and we were looking forward to a night out, away from the kids, after two weeks of constant togetherness. (Side note: provided an English-speaking sitter who came to our hotel and we were pleased with their service.


The meal was good, and if I had never dined before at L'Oulette I might have been quite happy. Overall, the tone of the place has completely changed and so has the food. I missed the old L'Oulette. I don't expect to return on future trips to Paris.

The amuse was the best part of the meal. It was a tiny cup of cold tomato soup with herbs. The flavors were jumping out of the soup. This was accompanied by a perfectly cooked shrimp.

For starters, I had grilled sardine crostini with a little cup of anchovy froth. My husband had an interesting variation on the traditional melon and ham combination. It was a cold soup with tiny cubes of melon and a couple of other fruits (maybe apple-pear) accompanied by a toast with a bit of ham. It was very light and fresh...something I might serve to ladies attending a bridal shower.

My main was a fillet of carrelet, a flounder-like fish, prepared with star anise. I misunderstood when I ordered this and thought that it would be flavored with the other kind of anise (and I now realize that would have been called fenouil). It was a fine dish, but not a flavor that I'm crazy about. My husband had pork accompanied by chanterelle mushrooms. His dish was succulent and delicious.

The cheese course was interesting. It was a spoonful of very soft fresh chevre - - like yogurt in texture, but tasting of chevre, with a generous grinding of pepper on top.

My husband's dessert was three different chocolate confections. I had a praline parfait, which was served on a chilled plate rather than a parfait cup.

We opted for vin compris, and the wine was a not very interesting merlot.

So why was this disappointing?

The fellow who used to run the dining room, Alain, apparently left a few years ago. He was an amazing guy - always remembered me as a repeat guest even though I only visited every couple of years. The new maitre'd is fine, friendly, and was kind enough to speak in both English and to tolerate my poorly accented French. But he just didn't create the same kind of ambience.

The menu items that I loved are no longer offered...the grand aioli or the braised oxtail stuffed inside cabbage.

The wine has totally gone downhill. They used to give you two different half-bottles (at a table for two), so the wine accompanying each part of your meal was more specific and more interesting.

The coffee service has also gone downhill. There used to be a coffee menu, with choices of coffees from around the world, which was then prepared at your table in a press. And accompanied by mignardises and sugared almonds. All of that is gone.

My sense is that they have opted for a slightly less expensive formula. The complete tab for our dinner, which included two aperitifs and everything described above, was 112Euros...not a bad deal.

A few other Paris notes from this trip....We were accompanied by our three kids, aged 4, 6, 8, and we were spending four days in Paris after a two week house exchange in the south of France. We focused on doing kid-oriented stuff and trying to minimize the amount of walking we asked them to do (after a near-disaster trekking to and from the Eiffel Tower). The Jardin du Luxembourg was a highlight for the kids - - both sailing boats in the bassin and playing in the for-a-fee play area - - and the adults were surprised that the food in the little restaurant/snack bar wasn't bad, though the swarms of wasps were a problem. Despite best intentions, we never made it to Berthillon or to Angelina with the kids, so I guess we have to go back!!

Aug 05, 2009
purplescout in France

Marseille report

My family's HomeLink exchange in Marseille was a success! My kids were sick for the first 10 days, so we didn't get a chance to do as much chowhounding (or day tripping) as planned, but I do have some finds to share.

Our house exchange was located in the Montredon neighborhood, which is a southern suburb of Marseille. Someone on the board wrote about Chez Didi, which was just a few blocks away. The prices at Chez Didi were ridiculous, considering the offerings, so we didn't go there. Our best neighborhood meal was at the Trottoirs de Marseille in the square at Point Rouge, a local restaurant far beyond the main tourist track. We went for a Sunday lunch and it was packed with locals. We sat on the patio, where intermittent blasts from a water mister on the ceiling kept us cool. I had an excellent bouille (not the whole bouillabaisse, but the essentials) and my husband had mussels. We were delighted not only with the main courses, but also the desserts. This restaurant is known for its homemade desserts. There is a case inside with 20+ different desserts. You can choose a single one, or an assiette or 2, 3, 4 or 5. We had a plate of three - - a rich chocolate gateau, a rhum baba with strawberries, and a coffee-flavored whip cream pastry. There was a 10Euro kids menu that included chicken nuggets, fries, a drink, and an ice cream, so my kids were happy, too.

Also located in the square at Point Rouge is a little artisanal ice cream place. We enjoyed ice cream cones from the take-away window, and also sitting down inside for a real treat. They have fancy serving pieces to match the theme of various creative combinations. My son says that this ice cream place was the best part of the whole trip.

In Montredon, we thoroughly enjoyed wood-fired pizza from Bella Pizza, delivered right to our door by a fellow on a moped. It was still so hot when it arrived that I burned the roof of my mouth. A large pizza was 9 Euros. Crispy crust, delicious fresh toppings...perfect vacation food. Our favorite was the pizza with a sunny side up egg in the middle.

We tried all the local boulangeries and Pain du Harmonie is by far the best in the area. The "o-tentique" baguettes were fab, as were the ham and cheese fougasses. My kids converted from pain au chocolate to brioche sucre about half way through the trip because the brioche were so unbelievably delicious.

Chez Marcel, one of two local boucheries/charcuteries, was exceptional. His homemade pates were wonderful, especially a smoky Corsican variety called pate figatelli. When my kids were sick, I bought a farm chicken from him to make a pot of chicken soup. It was ridiculously expensive (about 15 Euros) but so, so good. Rotisserie chickens were 7 Euros and also quite tasty.

Once a week, there is an organic produce market at Cours Julien in central Marseille. I thoroughly enjoyed gathering up a feast there that included all kinds of fruits and veggies, a basket with a variety of fresh chevres (10 Euros for the whole basket), organic breads (including a dense wholewheat raisin bread that was the perfect match for the chevre), and a couple of octopus pies. The organic farm eggs were unlike anything I ever get in the U.S., including the eggs from my local farmer's market...dark yellow/orange yolks, rich taste, and just more satisfying overall.

We tried quite a few local wines, mostly rose, and ended up drinking mostly Bandols during our stay. I wish we could find the same wines here in Los Angeles (at the same reasonable prices!). We also polished off an entire bottle of Pastis over the course of two weeks, sitting in the evenings on the patio of our house as the temperature began to drop.

More to come, separately, on the Paris leg of the trip.

Aug 02, 2009
purplescout in France

Hummus Bar and Grill

It's quieter on their patio outside...but a summer day in the Valley might be too hot for outdoor dining for some people.

Jul 03, 2009
purplescout in Los Angeles Area

Hummus Bar and Grill

Yes, you can. We were there a few weeks ago with our own bottle of wine and it was fine. No charge for BYOB.

Jun 29, 2009
purplescout in Los Angeles Area

Marseille Report

Thanks for the tip! I can't wait to report back after my upcoming trip!

Jun 17, 2009
purplescout in France