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Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare remains an uncelebrated gem with seafood worth celebrating.

I have to agree with Zin that Bartolotta was a disappointment for me after reading
these boards and watching TV coverage of the seafood purchased for this restaurant.

First, my wife and I did enjoy the pasta and would sit at the bar for a small portion pasta selection during a future visit.

Second, the prices are way over the top, easily exceeding Marea in NYC. We were stunned. The seafood was good but nowhere near that good. We'll go back to Marea many times. Not so to Bartolotta.

Third, the atmosphere was totally corporate with most guests still wearing their lanyards from their afternoon breakout groups. No hint of a romantic atmosphere for a special evening. Rather, it's a place for a splurge by a group of 8 or so business colleagues to discuss conference news. No thanks.

Jul 14, 2015
cortez in Las Vegas

Denver recommendations?

OP here. Just returned from 36 hours in Denver, our first visit. Highlights:

* arrived 3 hours late in Denver on Friday night due to Amtrak delays which I'm told are typical. So, missed dinner in favor of 10pm cocktails and snacks at the Nickel Bar at the Hotel Teatro (outstanding) where we were staying. I admit to being a Negroni freak and this bar was amazing. The Nickel ages its Negronis for 6 weeks in a wooden cask before transferring the mix to its cooled, on tap device. The Negroni is served in its personal carafe and poured over one large cube in a rocks glass. The remainder of the Negroni carafe sits in its personal wooden box awaiting your second pour. Absolutely delicious. My wife enjoyed her glass of Chablis as we shared two enjoyable choices from the charcuterie menu: Jamon Iberico ($11) and a jar of Spicy Giardinera ($5) made up of pickled vegetables. Great job.

* Saturday during the day was reserved for a cultural dunk into Denver's official culture: Denver Botanic Garden (outstanding and very worth the Uber trip); Denver Art Museum (fine, one and done); and, the Clyfford Styll Museum (not fun, no return). During this dunk, we had lunch at Palettes in the DAM which had received some good press as a good choice while visiting the museum. We were very disappointed. My wife had seared ahi salad over jasmine rice with green curry. Dull with no hint of spice. I had the cioppino with an heirloom tomato salad. The cioppino had the slightest whiff of seafood rather than the chocked full Italian seafood stew I expected. No fish. No garlic. No taste. The whole event felt like a caterer's pre made menu rather than semi fine dining. No return planned.

* Saturday evening took us to The Source for strolling, shopping and dining. Very fun. Bought flowers at the meat store (who knew?) and had a cocktail at the Rino Yacht Club in the middle of the grand space at the Source. Excellent. The friendly, personable owner/bartender is devoted to top artisanal cocktails and it showed.

* dinner was at The Acorn recommended by so many on this board. Had a great time. Shared 4 small plates: fried pickles with green goddess aioli; steak tartare; chopped kale salad with slivered apples and candied almonds; and carrots with Burrata, pickled onions and poblano chile jam. A great variety of dishes all enjoyed in the buzzing space. The waiter was a bit shaky about wine list (he mumbled a few catch phrases), so we settled for a terrificly chilled bottle of Arneis from Northern Italy. Excellent evening

* Sunday brunch, we drove to Boulder just for fun and sat at the bar of Brasserie Ten Ten. This French inflected, lively restaurant was jammed and quite fun. My wife chose a Sunday egg scramble with bagel (fine) while I had brick pressed chicken over a fresh garden salad. Very good. A glass of Sancerre as we watched the Men's Final at Wimbledon helped end a very pleasant 36 hours in Denver.

Next time, we want to go to Mercantile, ChoLon and the Kitchen. Just ran out of time on this trip.

Thanks again for your recommendations.

Jul 13, 2015
cortez in Mountain States

Denver recommendations?

Thanks single. Great list of spots.

We've got a reservation at Acorn for two weeks from tonight. Chose it for the menu and it's interesting venue at The Source.

Playing the rest by ear as we check out the Art Museum, Botanical Garden, etc. This is our first visit to Denver -- 42 hours in Denver!

Jun 26, 2015
cortez in Mountain States

One lunch in Bangkok: Nahm or Gaggan?

Staying at Como and then moving on to Chengdu (pandas) and Tibet. Nepal was on the tour but unfortunately had to be cancelled after the earthquake.

Jun 18, 2015
cortez in China & Southeast Asia

One lunch in Bangkok: Nahm or Gaggan?

Thanks Mikey.

My wife is leaning towards Nahm (when in Thailand, eat Thai) while I'm leaning toward Gaggan (never seen or tasted molecular Indian).

By the way, am loving your reports from Paris re losing your abs. We are going there in January and I'm mapping out an eating plan. Your posts are most helpful.

Jun 17, 2015
cortez in China & Southeast Asia

One lunch in Bangkok: Nahm or Gaggan?

Later this year I'll be passing through Bangkok enroute to Bhutan. The recent list of the "best 50 restaurants in the world" has two Bangkok restaurants in the top 15: Nahm and Gaggan. I've known about Nahm but had never heard of Gaggan and its progressive Indian cuisine.

For a special lunch for two, any strong Chowhound preference for either of these two restaurants?

Thanks very much.

Jun 17, 2015
cortez in China & Southeast Asia

Good bars for out-of-towner to go to alone

At the W Hotel in the Art Deco Foshay Tower, there's the classic steakhouse bar in Manny's restaurant just off the lobby. Dark, wood paneled, Twins game on the TV, bartenders who have been there 20+ years. The waiters wheel the entree cart for you to see your possible choices before your order. Enormous cuts of raw, wrapped beef together with the required live lobster. Fun and a Manny's signature.

When visiting Minneapolis, we always eat at the bar for fantastic steaks and salads. Friendly mix of locals and visitors, including the visiting pro baseball team. Easy to strike up conversation. Crowd is varied but mostly older than twenties. Order a cocktail and relax for evening. No need to hurry.

Jun 15, 2015
cortez in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Thoughts on best cocktail bars in Paris?

Costes for sure. Atmosphere alone is worth the visit. Dark red and mysterious environment. Very fun. Take a peak at the underground pool and spa. A secret.

How's this for a walking 3 venue cocktail crawl, all very close together:

* Park Hyatt Paris Vendome for cocktail.
* Hotel Costes for cocktail and perhaps dinner in the wonderful courtyard.
* Mandarin Oriental Hotel bar for post dinner closer.

Taxi home after a very fun Parisian evening.

Thinkaboudit.

Jun 14, 2015
cortez in France

Thoughts on best cocktail bars in Paris?

I love the carefully crafted cocktails at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. The bartenders take great pride in the execution of the classics as well as experimentation with top ingredients in new concoctions. The evening crowd mix includes stylish Parisians and international travelers.

Not as formal as Le Meurice or the Ritz, though clearly not a dive bar. Worth a stop.

Jun 14, 2015
cortez in France

Basque Country recs?

Mangeur,

This asador looks unbelievably delicious. Thanks so much for the rec.

I'll now try to create a route their over hill and dale from St Jean Pied de Port, Spain. Could be a driving adventure.

Jun 10, 2015
cortez in France

Basque Country recs?

OP here. Thanks for the terrific recs.

We've been to Pamplona and Bilbao on a previous visit. For a six day stay in the Basque Country (France and Spain) we are thinking of 2 nights each in:

* St Jean de Luz with forays to Bidart and Biarritz
* Arce for rural drives and village restaurants
* San Sebastián for beach walks/runs while grazing our way across town. Not thinking so much of the Michelin experience (eg Arzak).

Any thoughts on this allocation of our time? Also, any recs as to where to eat, stay or go are most welcome.

Thanks again.

Jun 10, 2015
cortez in France

Basque Country recs?

I'm researching a trip from Bordeaux to San Sebastián for me and my wife. The NYT travel article today got me crazy. Maybe we should not hug the coast but linger awhile in the Basque countryside.

* as a base for countryside exploration with forays to the coast, any towns or hotels you would recommend?
* for fairly casual but delicious lunches while exploring, any must stop stop places?
* as we enter Spain via the Pyrenees, any villages, restaurants or hotels we should consider?

Thanks very much.

Jun 07, 2015
cortez in France

Why am I constantly logged out when swapping between open tabs??

Agree completely. I'm logged out frequently within 10 minutes of logging in. Frustrating.

Jun 07, 2015
cortez in Site Talk
1

Itinerary- would love your feedback!!!

Lupa,

Sounds like a wonderful trip and very solid plan.

My wife and I are planning a later one week visit to Paris with a similar focus on lunch. Staying in the 6e, dinners will be at L'Avant Comptoir, local wine bars or the like.

Lunch places we are looking at:

Allard, some mixed reviews but must give it a try. For 2, the sole or the duck get good marks.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 7e version, as a single sitting at the bar is perfect. And alone or with your daughter, don't overlook a shopping stop at at Deyrolle across the street. My daughter (much older than yours) always asks for a butterfly or other scientific treat from this world famous taxidermist/science boutique across the street. She still has her "product map" posters from this totally charming shop purchased 25 years ago.

In the Palais Royale area, look to Verjus, its wine bar and new cousin, Ellsworth. Ellsworth for lunch looks like fun and a bargain. My wife insists on a visit to Epices within the Palais Royal each time we visit Paris. For scarves only, this Parisian boutiques will allow you to peruse and purchase beautiful scarves for yourselves and for gifts at prices way south of Hermes. Must see.

Hotel Costes for lunch. Yes, it's a scene of the beautiful and stylish. But, you will feel comfortable at your own table in the bright patio. Delicious and simple food.

If your daughter is homesick for "American", don't ignore Ralph at the Ralph Lauren flagship store. Hamburgers and Caesar Salad attract even the most chic Parisiens.

For Josephine Chez Dumont, put us in the "very negative" camp. We liked it 15 years ago but are now totally turned off by indifferent service, terrible wine service and gargantuan proportions of stereotyped classics. Our last and final visit ended with our cramped table next to the heavily frequented and infrequently cleaned toilet. I had to get up three times during our meal to close the toilet door after its usage. No fun.

Have a great trip!

May 31, 2015
cortez in France

Breakfast in Summerlin?

Grand Cafe. Menu was fine. Space ok. Service abysmal.

May 24, 2015
cortez in Las Vegas

Allard, Paris?

OP here.

Has anyone been to Allard in the last 2 months? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks.

May 21, 2015
cortez in France

Breakfast in Summerlin?

OP here.

Had a great time in Vegas, as always. In Summerlin, went to breakfast at Red Rock Casino. Just so so. Caught a break in the shifts and was ignored for 15 minutes by the covering staff. Food was fine. Experience was not. Will not go back.

Hit the Apple Store where my wife ordered an Apple watch (smaller face, blue band) for June delivery. Happy Mother's Day! Checked out Lululemon just for fun.

Viva!

May 21, 2015
cortez in Las Vegas

Denver recommendations?

Stay tuned, escargot!

May 20, 2015
cortez in Mountain States
1

Denver recommendations?

Single,

I don't arrive in Denver until July. We are actually taking the train from Emeryville (Oakland/SFO) to Denver just for fun. Bringing wine with! We are meeting friends at their Colorado ranch. Shipping wine in. Can't wait!

From your profile, we do indeed have the same tastes. Wood Tavern is my favorite place when I visit my birthplace, OakTown.

May 20, 2015
cortez in Mountain States

Allard, Paris?

The multiple reviews I read about Allard that form these polar opinions are all two months old or newer.

May 03, 2015
cortez in France

Allard, Paris?

My wife and I have booked an upcoming trip to Paris and are drawing up our list of possible restaurants to visit. We're steering away from the 3 star experience (no Le Cinq this time) in favor of less formal places featuring more updated options (eg Spring, Frenchie) or more classic choices (eg Benoit, Paul Bert). One name that intrigues us is Allard by Allain Ducasse in the 6th, near our hotel.

Our research reveals a strongly split opinion on Allard via the various feedback we've read on food/travel sites.

On the positive side:

* Allard is classic bistro lovingly updated by the Ducasse group. Atmosphere is intimate and the traditional strengths (duck for 2 with green olives; sole for two) remain and are delicious. Wine list is interesting and fairly priced. Place to return to again and again.

On the negative side:

* Allard is modern facsimile of what tourists think a Parisian bistro should be. Food is routine and service can be rude. It's a former classic that now caters to tourists (no Parisians to be seen) where the food has declined. It now falls into the "tourist trap" camp of the formerly interesting Brasserie Lipp and La Coupole. Avoid.

Ok, Chowhounds, can I hear your comments on Allard? Which camp are you in? Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

May 03, 2015
cortez in France

Breakfast in Summerlin?

Nest month, I'll be in Vegas for 4 nights. Early one morning, we'll be off for a hike in Red Rock Canyon. Thereafter, we want to go to the Apple Store in Summerlin.

Is there a recommended place for breakfast in Summerlin that we could go to post hike and pre Apple?

Thanks very much.

Apr 13, 2015
cortez in Las Vegas

2 dinners in Shanghai?

My wife and I will be spending a couple of days in Shanghai on the front end of a Himalayan adventure. We have two open dinner slots for this first time visit to Shanghai and would appreciate your recommendations. Some details:

* we are staying on the Bund and would prefer to walk or not drive too far for dinner.
* on the first day, we are taking a walking tour of the Bund followed by a high end Cantonese lunch.
* second day is a walking tour of local food markets followed by lunch at a traditional Shanghai style restaurant
* for the two dinners, we are looking for a glimpse of modern Shanghai. Any style cuisine is fine. Price point is flexible. Prefer it not be too formal or staid. Lively, fun, delicious beats exquisite and quiet. Want to have fun and come away with an impression of Shanghai as a future oriented international city.

Any Chowhound recommendations?

Thanks very much.

Mar 11, 2015
cortez in China & Southeast Asia

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Not really a Bama Backer. But, for your post, you deserve a "Role Tide."

Nov 30, 2014
cortez in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Caroline,

Your VCR comment made my day. For a true sports fan, recording a game is done only if you want to see it twice or see it in its entirety after you learn the score. It's just about impossible to screen yourself from learning the score (ESPN, Yahoo, etc etc). So, watching it later has none of the suspense, drama or immediacy of seeing the game live.

To get a bit geeky on this topic, the power of sports on TV is increasingly related to the fact that fans need to see it live and will not stand for a delayed or recorded broadcast. This is in strong contrast to movies, serial shows (eg Downton Abbey) or regularly scheduled programs. You can watch those when you want and in bunches.

Not so with sports. You need to see it live! This gives sports programmers (eg ESPN) enormous clout with advertisers who know that their commercials will be seen vs skipped over when viewers are watching a taped version of a show. With this power, more and more sports make it onto TV where the networks compete for and pay big bucks for live programming.

A long winded response: a true sports fan will not be satisfied with a game recorded on the VCR!

Nov 27, 2014
cortez in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Again, thanks LeoLioness. This stereotyping of fans as pretzel and beer types is ignorant and a bit insulting. When I watch games at home, sushi/sashimi with French Champagne is the normal fare. My grown daughter expects and enjoys this when she watches games with her dad.

For Thanksgiving this year, I mentioned this thread to the hostess of tomorrow's dinner for 20, my sister in law. She doesn't watch much football. But, she stated clearly that she would never think of having the TV off. For her, this is a day of thanks, celebration and togetherness, not a solemn presentation.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Thanks Brook. Very kind.

Nov 24, 2014
cortez in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Amoule,

Your original question centered on "am I being snobbish?" in your disapproval of your friend's request to check the score of his favorite Thanksgiving football game.

Sorry to report, but "yes", you are being snobbish. You need to have more than 5 minutes of conversation with guests you invite. Sorry that you feel that football is below your threshold for that commitment to conversation.

Nov 24, 2014
cortez in Not About Food

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Bravo Leo.

Why does "how I was raised" evolve to become a firm rule as to how you treat your guests decades later? Seems inflexible, unnecessary and perhaps a bit condescending (at least those who enjoy football and thus are labelled as "bubbas").

Football during Thanksgiving dinner - am I a snob?

Bubba type here. IMO, your reaction and advice is way out of line.

* football is an established Thansgiving tradition for millions of people.
* Thanksgiving is not a Christian event. It's a civil, non sectarian celebration. Non Christians, non Americans and non believers particularly enjoy this very "Americaness" of the day. Why impose your prejudices and style on them?
* relax, enjoy the day and don't lay a guilt trip on guests who don't share your preferences.