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Solo in France - Reservations?

Merci John! I am calling Chez l'ami Jean today and have decided on Cafe Constant for my other dinner. CC, Huiterie Regis and Frenchie wine bar do not accept reservations so wish me luck with winging it!

K

Mar 07, 2013
kireland in France

Solo in France - Reservations?

Oakglen & ChefJune, thank you for your replies! I had been meaning to look up Cafe Constant and jsut did so. They have just the dish I've been craving - Volaille «Patte Bleue» rôtie au beurre d’herbes, petits oignons, lardons et champignons - and that has convinced me! It is also closer to my hotel than Cafe de Flor, one of my objectives. I will just have to visit Flor one afternoon instead for a glass of wine and people watching - poor me!

Mar 07, 2013
kireland in France

SushiSamba Miami on Memorial Day?

LargeLife - we must have been posting at the same time! Did you see my update? We survived (not trying to be insensitive, I know there has been terrible violence associated with UBW in the past). I think some of the wind has been taken out of UBW's sails with the security clamp down. Not saying I would make a point of going in the future but our coincidental booking at the tail end of the party was not marred by any of the bad behaviour that may have occurred in past years.

Mar 07, 2013
kireland in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

SushiSamba Miami on Memorial Day?

Was posting about something else and realized I never updated on this! Our experience with the tail-end of Urban Beach Week was pretty tame (lame?). Got to Miami and had no trouble getting to the hotel - there were some road closures/forced one-ways - but no traffic. Hotel was quiet and we spent a nice day at the pool. Our reservations at Ola were a bust - they closed down for the week due to UBW and failed to tell us - luckily I called ahead to confirm. Ended up going to Smith & Wollensky to watch the cruise ships go by (amazing Mojito's and a decent dinner in a great setting). No trouble getting cabs and no craziness on the streets - a few bikini & high-heels sightings, but it is South Beach!

Our conclusion is that the crack-downs have turned this event into a non-event, though I imagine the disruptions are still annoying to locals.

Mar 06, 2013
kireland in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Solo in France - Reservations?

I am going to be in France this month for four nights tacked on to a business trip. My husband can't join me so I will be solo. I've travelled in Europe before but never on my own. When I travel solo in North America I usually dine at restaurants with nice bars as I prefer to sit at the bar when dining solo (feels less alone). I tried to book my hotels in France close to restaurants I want to dine in so that walking alone at night isn't an issue (my thinking is late night dinners so that I can be out and about during daylight hours and closer to 'home' later at night - all the better after several glasses of wine)!
- I have one night in Kaysersberg ( Alsace) and I am staying at Le Chambard, which has it's own very good restaurants so I'm covered there (going to dine in the Winstub).
- In Reims I am staying for one night at the Grand Continental, which looks like it is close to many restaurants though I've yet to book one (Assiette Champenoise does not look like it would be that close/safe to walk to).
- My last two nights are in Paris and I am staying at Hotel du Cadran in the 7th off the Champs de Mars.

While I am interested in recs for Reims I am most concerned about Paris. I will be there in just over two weeks, on a Friday and Saturday and I haven't made any reservations yet - sacre bleu! I had tentatively been thinking of drinks and oysters at Huiterie Regis on the Friday followed by a light late-ish (9:30) dinner at Cafe de Flor (craving something simple and well prepared like roasted chicken or a great omelet). On the Saturday I was thinking of going more upscale and nouvelle - drinks at Fenchie followed by a late dinner at Chez l'ami Jean or Reed's. I know both of these restaurants are small/popular but as a solo diner I am hoping that might make it easier to slide in. Am I delusional - should I make reservations somewhere before leaving? If not at the places I've mentioned then where?

Thanks in advance!

Mar 06, 2013
kireland in France

SushiSamba Miami on Memorial Day?

Too late - we're booked! We're only staying one night and that is the actual holiday (Monday the 28th). We have a private poolside cabana already rented where we plan to spend the day - so hopefully things shouldn't be too crazy. I'm off to google "Memorial Day Miami"!

Apr 05, 2012
kireland in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

SushiSamba Miami on Memorial Day?

Does anoyone know what is up with this restaurant for Memorial Day (May 28th)? Opentable shows no availability so I called the restuarant and the woman I spoke with said the date is blacked out on their reservations book and she doesn't know why. I am thinking this means wither a) theya re closed; b) they aren't taking reservations until closer to the date; or, c) they aren't taking reservations at all. I thought this would be a fun place for us to go for our one night in SOBE before driving to Key West. We are staying at the Kimpton Surfcomber, arriving early that morning and plan to relax by the pool most of the day, but want to have a fun,casual dinner that night (two couples). I have reserved Ola in case SushiSamba is unavailable, but was just wondering if anyone knew the dealio on this. Thanks!

Mar 21, 2012
kireland in Miami - Fort Lauderdale

Last Minute Business Trip to Nashville - 1 day only!

Thank you! I wish I had more time - it looks like it would be cool to walk around over by elliston Place and Music Row too. I think I'll stick to downtown though and see the Hall of Fame and Ryland Auditorium.

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in Kentucky & Tennessee

Last Minute Business Trip to Nashville - 1 day only!

Thank you! Sounds like a plan! Anything on the walk between Crema to Arnold's that is noteworthy?

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in Kentucky & Tennessee

What Did/Does Your Dad Cook Best?

My Mom was a stay-at-home-Mom so Dad hardly ever cooked, but when he did it was usually mac and cheese (from a box) that he would dress up with hot dogs - including a happy face on the casserole made from them. Another go to was steak fried in a cast iron skillet with lots of onions, mushrooms and green pepper. He made amazing big breakfasts too - though the mess afterward was even bigger. There was also one dish he made - I think he clipped the recipe from the newspaper (such initiative!) - that was called pizza soup or pepperoni soup and it was pretty much what is sounded like! My sister and I loved it, but I was never able to find the recipe after he passed away.

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

Oooh! someone's mention of corn on the cob brought back a really fond memory of mine. During the dog days of summer my Mom liked to get up early and make salads to be eaten at dinner - potato salad, macaroni salad with tuna, coleslaw - the idea being that the heat from the stove wasn't so bad first thing in the morning and we'd have yummy cold salads for dinner. When corn was in season though she would fire up the stove even in the worst heat and make a huge pot full of corn on the cob that we'd eat with butter, salt and pepper and nothing else. On those nights Mom would come to the table in her bra - apologizing all the while, but saying it was too hot for anything else!

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in General Topics

Last Minute Business Trip to Nashville - 1 day only!

After doing some research here I should mention I'm totally willing to forego the nice lunch with wine if I should be focusing more on Nashville "treasures"! I could see going to Arnold's for lunch (meatloaf, mac n' cheese, yams and greens!), but maybe a lighter breakfast would be in order!

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in Kentucky & Tennessee

Last Minute Business Trip to Nashville - 1 day only!

I just booked a one day trip to Nashville leaving tomorrow! Never been before so I am landing first thing in the morning for a 3:00 meeting, that gives me time for breakfast, walking around/shopping, and lunch before my meeting. My meeting is downtown (5th & James Robinson Parkway). My plan is to hop in a taxi from the airport and take it to a place downtown for breakfast and then walk around unitl lunch (nice lunch with a glass of wine), then off to my meeting. Any suggestions for breakfast/lunch and where to walk around in between?

Thanks for any last minute advice you can offer this newbie!

Feb 27, 2012
kireland in Kentucky & Tennessee

Tonight! APDC or Garde Manger?

We ended up going to Garde Manger and it was superb! The deciding factors were : time, the later reservation was less of a rush; distance, our hotel is close to Old Montreal; and the fact that neither of us eats foie gras.

We arrived a bit early for our reservation at GM thinking we could get a drink at the bar, but it appears that they book the bar for diners as well as the tables. They did seat us where we wanted at the bar though, we just didn't move to a table for dinner. It turned out that this was a good thing - the tables look cosy and romantic, but the music is so loud I don't think we could have carried on a conversation across a table without screaming (as the other patrons were doing), side by side at the bar we could put our heads together and be easily heard. After a while the loud (and good) music kind of faded into the background, though my husband said he didn't hear a word our server said all night! Aside from weirdly loud music the vibe is really cool here. Beautiful lighting, gorgeous old building, quaintly furnished. Very nice.

The chalkboard menu above the bar was easy to peruse while we had a drink. I had the daily creation, an Italian Mojito, which was fresh mint muddled with lime and topped with Prosecco. Delicious and something I will be recreating at home. Husband had a very competent gin martini. Their house speciality is a giant crab Caesar, which looked like fun with a giant snow crab leg sticking out of the glass.

In addition to the six or seven first courses, and six or seven main courses there were daily seafood specials - broiled clams as a starter and a seafood medley of shrimp, oysters, snow crab legs and scallops. The couple beside us had the seafood medley, which came not as a tower, but served in a wooden trough filled with ice. It looked amazing and abundant, but not what I was craving on a cold winter night. I started with the lobster poutine, which not only had lobster on the top but the poutine sauce was also infused with lobster bisque, it was delicious and rich. Husband had the tomato and cucumber salad with fried cheddar. The fried cheddar looked like croutons, but we're puffy breaded chunks of sharp white cheddar - awesome! Their bread was excellent as well - chewy with a dusting of cheese on the crisp crust served with a slightly spicy roasted red pepper butter. For dinner I had the beef short ribs (a house speciality) with cauliflower purée and Brussels sprout leaves. The meat was outstanding, with a slighlty smokey sauce and the accompaniments were perfect - the purée was silky and the leaves were garlicky and still crisp. I think they may have run short on the cauliflower purée though, as there was only a schmear on the plate and they added some potatoes that weren't listed on the menu (skin on, cracked and cooked crisp like they had been flattened with a brick on the griddle with a liberal amount of bacon drippings). Hubby had the boneless chicken thigh, with fried shrimp, mashed potatoes and a maple, cippolini sauce. Rich, rich, rich and the shrimp were lightly tempura battered for a nice contrast to the roasted chicken. The sauce was to die for. Servings are large and we couldn't finish or save room for dessert.

Absolutely no complaints on the food - a wonderful meal! Nice wine menu, though prices were high. We got a nice bottle of Washington State Shiraz. Service was well executed except for the timing. Our first courses came out just as we finished our cocktails, which was perfect, but there was a loooooong wait for our mains. Not a deal breaker though and we would highly recommend Garde Manger. Our dinner came to $242.

A note on reservations/seating - when we arrived at 8:00 pm it wasn't too crowded - with four open seats at the bar (if going as a couple I suggest sitting at the bar) and several open tables, which were apparently booked. By 9:00 people were streaming in the door and waiting for tables six deep! The bartender was serving drinks to those waiting for tables, but given that there is a very small entry way people were standing between the tables near the front door making things very crowded for those diners. I would ask to be seated away from the front doors if you can.

Okay - that turned into a lengthy review! Now I have to figure out what to eat today. It's our last day and I haven't had a bagel or smoked meat yet! Dinner tonight at Joe Beef. Happy days!

Feb 02, 2012
kireland in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Tonight! APDC or Garde Manger?

My wonderful husband brought me to Montreal for my birthday and although it was fairly last minute managed to get reservations at both restaurants. Unfortunately both reservations are for tonight! We have 7:30 at the bar at APDC and 8:30 at GM. Which would you keep? If it helps - we're eating at Joe Beef tomorrow night, had steak at The Keg last night (we were supposed to go to Steak Frites, but decided on The Keg due to the snowstorm that hit yesterday - we were able to walk underground from our hotel)!

Also wanted to mention that we went to Bistro-Brasserie Les Souers Grises on Monday. It was empty ( really cold and a Monday), but we sat at the bar and chatted with the owner and had a great time. The pulled pork sandwich was amazing as was the Oka grilled cheese with chorizo and fig jam. Top notch ingredients and a smoker on the premises = yummy goodness. Now that I've had their smoked potato salad I'll never be able to go back to normal potato salad again. Beer and cider on tap also excellent!

Feb 01, 2012
kireland in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Can anything good come from cocktail weiners?

So after some research to find recipes for Vienna Sausages, in spite of the fact that the ones I have are supposed to be the best type (Armour Brand), I am going to go with wyogal's suggestions and keep 'em in the car for emergencies! Definitely not something I'm willing to serve to guests!

Jan 27, 2012
kireland in Home Cooking

Can anything good come from cocktail weiners?

I bought some tinned Vienna Sausages a while back - thought it would be fun to serve them for Oktoberfest, but never managed to put them out. I'm thinking there 'might' be something that can be done with them for a Super Bowl party I'm having. Any real life experience with them being yummy?

Jan 27, 2012
kireland in Home Cooking

What did your Mom always have on hand, that you NEVER do?

I am sooo trying this! Thanks!

Jan 27, 2012
kireland in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

I know Tang isn't a treat now, but when we we're kids we wanted it soooo badly! My sister and I used to come home form friends houses and complain that they had all the good stuff - like macaroni and cheese from a box and cookies from a bag! What brats we were!!

Jan 23, 2012
kireland in General Topics

What did your Mom always have on hand, that you NEVER do?

LOTS of things, but the following come to mind:
- cinnamon honey butter (I loved this but have never bought it, not sure if it still exisits)
- molasses (I think they were pre-war era, kept on the door of her fridge with the antique condiments and salad dressings)
- shaky cheese (Kraft grated parmesan)

Jan 23, 2012
kireland in General Topics

What was the worst food you HAD to eat as a kid?

I'm a pretty good eater and I think I always have been. I have really early memories of going over to friend's houses and hoping their Moms' would feed me something!! As a child there were things I couldn't stand though (and I think most have been mentioned here). Number 1 on the list was boiled potatoes! Something about the dryness, and the way the skin cracked was awful to me and no amount of butter or salt could help it. I still won't eat boiled potatoes on their own.

Many people have mentioned liver and the funny thing is that I've never had it! My Mom and Dad loved it, but Mom wouldn't cook it with us kids in the house (I guess we complained too much and took the pleasure out of it for them). She'd wait until we they had a night to themselves and cook it - I could remember smelling it when we got home though!

I didn't have to eat peas as a child either - apparenlty I had choked on one once and my mom thought it was because my esophagus was too small so I was never subjected to them. I love fresh peas now.

My Dad & sister loved fish and all things seafood and I hated it! I can remember going out to restaurants and having to stand a menu up between my plate and theirs so I wouldn't see the shells/scales/bones and so forth, which for some reason made me sick! When I was in my 20's I went on a trip to Mexico with some friends and we took a day trip to an island where the only thing they served at lunch was fish. A lot of tequila and screaming got me though a lunch of shrimp with the heads on! Now I love anything from the water (with the exception of sea urchin) and I wish my Dad was still alive so we could enjoy some oysters together!

Lots of things I wouldn't share with my Dad though - even if he were still alive! He used to eat some really strange things - penaut better and Spanish onion sandwiches, tartar sauce on pancakes at breakfast! My sister and I thought he did it to get a rise out of us!

My sister was a much pickier eater than I was though - and I think there are some things I didn't like just because she did! To this day I can't stand Dr. Pepper or Cream Soda, her two favourite drinks!

Good memories!

Jan 23, 2012
kireland in General Topics

What are you cooking for Valentines day?

It's mine! All mine!! Just kidding - here you go:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Jan 23, 2012
kireland in Home Cooking

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

My Mom would die if she heard me describe the meals I had growing up as 'poor people food', but now that I cook for myself, I know how frugally she fed our family! I tend to think of my childhood dinners as having been ordered from a very limited menu with daily specials: Friday was always fish (though we weren't Catholic) 'fried' in a cast iron skillet and the leftovers were fried up with eggs the next morning. Saturday evening was always "Italian" night - spaghetti with sauce made from Ragu and ground beef OR English muffin pizzas (my sister and I loved when my mom cooked "Italian" because we had her convinced that we couldn't drink milk with tomato sauce as it would curdle in our stomachs, so we got to have pop!). The other nights were invariably some form of meat and potatoes - meatloaf, "Swiss steak" (eye of round cooked to death and smothered in an onion gravy), hash (ground beef with water to make a 'gravy') served over mashed potatoes, pork chops "Catalina" style (basted with Kraft Catalina dressing), breakfast sausages with canned stewed tomatoes over the top, and every steak I remember having was cooked in a cast iron skillet with 'mixed gill' (a mixture of green pepper, onion and mushrooms).

My mom was just being frugal, but my Dad was a different story! He had served in the army and had had his share of mess food so he would not tolerate anything that was "convenient" - only butter was allowed, no margarine (my sister and I were so bummed when we didn't get to have squeeze margarine on our pancakes), only whole milk, no Tang (awww man!), no instant anything! Canned vegetables were okay though and I remember he used to have my mom drain the liquid from the peas into a juice glass and he'd start his meal with that! He was also the one to 'clean' out the fridge, which meant scraping any mold off of things he deemed to be good and returning them to the fridge!

My mom is in her 80's now and lives alone, but she still cooks for herself every night - usually the old standards (which I now love - though seldom make), but she delights in the cooking I do with fresh vegetables and choice cuts of meat (she is always saying things like "my goodness you can AFFORD brocolli?!!). Good memories (whether the food was good or not)!

Jan 23, 2012
kireland in General Topics

food prep tragedies

I was taking some culinary arts classes at a community college and we made ravioli. It was really involved, making the pasta one night and then roling it out and stuffing them the next night. I took the completed ravioli home, prepared a kick-ass sauce and put the water on to boil while setting the table for nice dinner with my husband. While fussing over the table I heard a crash in the kitchen, I ran in and found my beloved Rottweiler polishing off my prescious raviolis. She got every last one. (I once tried to pry a turkey carcass out of her jaw and have the scars to prove it - I didn't dare get between her and cheese stuffed pasta pillows!) Husband and I had boxed spaghetti that night and I never attempted homemade pasta again!!

Jan 20, 2012
kireland in Not About Food

What are you cooking for Valentines day?

Reviving this topic for 2012!

I saw a recipe on Epicurious the other day for toasted bread with chocolate, olive oil and sea salt. Sounds like a foodie version of Nutella on toast and I'm in!!

May start with that in the morning or do it for dessert. Looking for other inspiring ideas...

Jan 18, 2012
kireland in Home Cooking

Frist timer looking for help with dining strategy for 2.33 days!

Thanks! I see they serve dinner in teh bar until 11:00 pm so that will be perfect! I am soooo looking forward to this trip!

Jan 18, 2012
kireland in New Orleans

Funniest Thing a Server Said to You

BTW - Regarding my earlier post about the French/english language funnies, speaking phonetically the French waiters words were 'vegetal' and 'autruch', which were easily discernible as 'vegetable' and 'ostrich' by us (though it would have been even funnier if he had pantomimed 'vegetal' as well)!

Jan 18, 2012
kireland in Not About Food

Funniest Thing a Server Said to You

I was driving from Toronto to Ottawa and stopped for gas at a highway station with a Tim Horton's (donut shop). I wanted a coffee and, trying to be good, just a couple of Timbits (donut holes). I ordered the coffee and two Timbits from the young server. He seemed confused and asked if I was sure I only wanted two Timbits. I replied that I did and he proceeded to tell me they were usually sold in sixes and he didn't know how to ring up only two. A manager had to tell him how to do it. Having completed the task (30 cents for two) he handed over my coffee and a bag of six Timbits and told me in a whisper that he gave me the whole six even though he only charged me for two. Apparently he couldn't conceive of someone only wanting two and must have thought I couldn't afford the half dozen!

Jan 18, 2012
kireland in Not About Food

Frist timer looking for help with dining strategy for 2.33 days!

Good tip. H leaves REALLY early on Sunday so I think yhe'll be packing a day old Muffaletta in his carry-on! Thanks!

Jan 09, 2012
kireland in New Orleans

Frist timer looking for help with dining strategy for 2.33 days!

Now there's an idea! I think that would give us time to hit up Mr. B's earlier in the day for BBQ shrimp and Bloody Mary's too. Thanks!

Jan 09, 2012
kireland in New Orleans