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Tokyo & Kyoto - restaurants which specialize

I'll be spending a few days in these cities, and I'm wondering if anyone can recommend any restaurants with a very narrow focus or specialty. One of the things that intrigues me from what I've researched so far is how entire restaurants will focus, e.g., just on tonkatsu, tempura, or what have you. I've already flagged some places for ramen, tonkatsu, sushi, izakaya experience, kaiseki, and soba. I still need to research other stuff, maybe yakitori, teppanyaki experience and/or wagyu beef in general, and I'm sure I'm not even scratching the surface! More generally, as an adventurous food lover visiting Japan for the first time, what kinds of weird and wonderful foods am I in danger of missing out on? E.g. I'd never have known to look out for deep fried eel bones w/out seeing the recent post here.

Dec 11, 2012
joshlh in Japan

itinerary advice - kin shop, vandaag, maialino, or john dory

Lots of good advice and suggestions from everyone -- thanks. Moved Del Posto to lunch time, and Vandaag for dinner. Reviews on Vandaag seem mixed, but the dishes all sound totally different from what I could find anywhere else, so I'm pretty keen on trying it. Ditto Kin Shop. I haven't totally nailed everything down yet, so probably I'll leave some of it to circumstance. Zabb Elee sounds awesome. Awesome enough for an after-dinner dinner? We'll see.

Jun 14, 2011
joshlh in Manhattan

itinerary advice - kin shop, vandaag, maialino, or john dory

Thanks -- I'd read some conflicting information about what menu Kin Shop serves during lunch. Definitely more interested in the a la carte menu than the prix fixe I'd seen somewhere.

Some of the recommended Vandaag dishes are there for brunch -- pickles, bread, hete bliksem, bitterballen. Not sure I'll find a dinner slot for it. Is it worth it for these, or better to try Maialino or John Dory?

Jun 13, 2011
joshlh in Manhattan

itinerary advice - kin shop, vandaag, maialino, or john dory

I've got two and a half days to spend, and I'm trying to cram in as much good food as possible. Would love to hear anyone's opinions on some of the below:

lunch at jean-georges
dinner at del posto
dinner at fatty cue
snack at saltie - must have the scuttlebutt again
brunch at maialino or vandaag

I really want to find a way a way to fit in dinner at Kin Shop or a snack at John Dory (I've wanted to try the oyster pan roast since forever, and I love eccles cake), but there's just no time! Any advice, thoughts, dish suggestions welcome.

Jun 13, 2011
joshlh in Manhattan

Laduree's Reputation Well Deserved

I've got to agree, the macarons are terrific at Laduree (as are the tarte tatin, the people watching, and the overall experience). Maybe I'm biased since Laduree's were the first I tried, but I was relatively unmoved by the equally famous macarons at Hermé. Sprüngli in Switzerland makes a very nice version called Luxemburgerli.

Anyone have any other favorite sources for these? Good recipes?

Jul 03, 2008
joshlh in France

Nice & Antibes--Cheap & Tasty?

I left disappointed from every reasonably priced restaurant I tried in the area. It's not exactly a sit-down lunch, but my favorite bite to eat was socca from a street vendor at the Antibes outdoor grocery market. My blog, linked from my profile, has some more details.

Check out this thread too: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505625

Jul 03, 2008
joshlh in France

Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo

Of course "Le Louis XV is the best restaurant in the world" can't be taken literally, no matter who's saying it. I'm mostly just curious to find out if Richman's opinion is an outlier. Do others agree, disagree? It doesn't get the same level of hype (positive or negative) as so many other places in blogs and boards. It may not be especially new or innovative, but it's still an impressive experience.

May 31, 2008
joshlh in France

Unmissable fine dining, chicago?

I settled on Schwa when Alinea was closed during my last visit, and I wasn't disappointed. I've never found any other place as laid back as Schwa with the same level of food. The dishes are mostly about crazy flavor combinations, but they're very well conceived and executed. You can check out a more detailed recollection, but no pictures unfortunately, at my site.

Also, the pork belly sandwich at Blackbird is worth the trip.

http://noshalot.blogspot.com

Apr 15, 2008
joshlh in Chicago Area

Nice, France

yep, we certainly did. i'm not saying it wasn't there, just that somehow it didn't jump out at me. also, i wasn't blown away by the market in Nice old town, and again preferred the one in Antibes. don't know if it was a bad day, or i wasn't paying enough attention or what...

Apr 10, 2008
joshlh in France

Dinner for 2 in Paris @ $80 USD a night?

If you could stretch it a few more Euro to 30 or 35 per person, it might open up your choices considerably. L'Entredgreu is at the top of a lot of bloggers' lists for affordable Paris bistros, and I think their 3 course menu is 32E. I went recently, and loved the food and the homeyness.

Apr 10, 2008
joshlh in France

Nice, France

I wish I'd found these tips before my own recent trip...

I'd definitely recommend socca as well. I wasn't on the lookout for it, and I never saw it in Nice, but I tried some from a vendor in the Antibes produce market, and it was wonderful. Plus, it was very cool to see the portable wood-burning oven they cooked it in.

Apr 10, 2008
joshlh in France

Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo

Alan Richman wrote an article for GQ a few months ago where he featured his favorite five restaurants in the world. He highlighted Le Louis XV as not just his personal favorite, but "best restaurant in the world" when food, ambience, and service are all considered.

I had the chance to visit recently myself, and was pretty much blown away. I've been to my fair share of hyped restaurants in the US, good and bad, but for me this was a wholly different experience, and I felt very much inclined to agree with Mr. Richman.

I'd love to hear opinions from others, particularly from those who can compare it to a broader experience of other Michelin three stars or Gault Millau almost-20s.

josh
http://noshalot.blogspot.com

Apr 08, 2008
joshlh in France

Locanda dell'Isola Comacina in Lake Como

I think the price is up to 60 Euro/head now, and with the weaker dollar, that may be a tough sell to American tourists, even Chowhounds. The website for Locanda dell'Isola Comacina also cheeses it up something fierce, which is kind of a put-off. On the other hand, there are very few places to get a good meal around that part of Lake Como, and it's such a beautiful setting that some extra expense and romance can be forgiven, if the food is good. And it certainly is, simple and good, just as the other replies describe. I have some more details and a picture on my site, but in short, it's worth a visit.

josh
http://noshalot.blogspot.com

Apr 08, 2008
joshlh in Italy

Socca

Very nice points on national vs. regional identity.

Anyway, tried this stuff recently in Antibes, and loved it. It was cooked in a very cool, portable, wood-burning oven. Never seen one of those on wheels before. Curious to try the stove-top version at Zola and see how it compares.

Apr 07, 2008
joshlh in Recipes

Non-perishable food that's hard to find in Switzerland

Don't forget to include a printout of this thread so she knows where to shop for some of the things not included ;). Here's my take, as a newcomer to Basel from Boston trying to overcome similar food frustrations:

chocolate chips: handy, but as mentioned earlier, can be subbed by chopped chocolate bars, of which there's an abundance. butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, toffee chunks, however, are a complete no go here

mexican food: most grocery stores have a tiny section of "mexican" products. it's always the same hokey sounding brand, and always the same terrible selection and quality: flour tortillas, canned refried pinto beans, crispy taco bell style corn tortillas, some bottled salsas. black beans are not in any grocery stores, but there's a shop (to all appearances from the front, a doo-dad and gift shop) on nadelberg which curiously has a small store of better mexican ingredients in back (dried black beans, corn tortillas, i think also some chiles). i've heard there's also a specialty mexican food shop near the dreispitz tram stop. masa flour is curiously somewhat more widely available, at globus and maybe some other grocery stores. tortilla chips are available in a couple brands, but absurdly expensive, and not very good.

mayonnaise: is widely available, but not the same. a jar of hellman's would probably be appreciated.

cheddar: is nowhere to be found! globus has exactly two (not very tasty) varieties available, and that's it for all of Basel as far as I can tell. same goes for jack. while i miss aged, sharper cheddars as well, what i really crave is any good, medium to sharp melting cheese. cheddar, jack, whatever. closest i can find is the pre-grated "pizza cheese" at migros (and co-op) i think.

mild cow's milk feta: also hard to find. coop seems to be the sole carrier.

unsweetened chocolate: i'm sure i've seen it, if not in the grocery stores, then in the specialty chocolate shops (e.g. Chocolatl).

canned pumpkin: globus sells the libby's canned pie mix, but not the plain pumpkin (which is necessary if you have a preferred recipe/spice mix for your pumpkin pie).

beer: maybe bud is good for novelty, but there are plenty of crappy beers here. if anything, i miss the variety of good micro-brews and places to drink them that there is back in the states.

in general: favortie junk foods, bottled sauces, condiments, etc. almost always, the brand of choice won't be available here.

i tried hard to keep this from degenerating into a rant and reminiscence post...

Apr 02, 2007
joshlh in International Archive