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Do you recommend a particular table at The French Laundry?

thx for your input, everyone. that's reassuring to know that seating won't detract from the culinary experience. it seems that the BEST views will be on my plate! can't wait for this much anticipated dinner event.

Do you recommend a particular table at The French Laundry?

I realize I should just be thankful that I scored a table at TFL, but I was just wondering: are the tables better upstairs or downstairs? Are there window tables w/ a view?

It seems that they allow ppl to tour the kitchen during their visit. Do you simply ask your server, or does it require special advanced requests?

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Birthday rec in DC?

blueduck tavern, charlie palmer steak, bistro bis, and agree w/others on blacksalt. cityzen is gorgeous, but may be too over-the-top? central is nice, but too loud for grandparents.

Napa Winery Question: Barnett Winery (vs) Quintessa

thx for your input, guys. @ svL: is the windy road annoyingly treacherous, or manageable? I'm leaning towards Barnett

Napa Winery Question: Barnett Winery (vs) Quintessa

Have any of you folks visited either of these wineries or tried their wines? I have a short visit coming up to the Napa Valley, and I want to try out a nicer winery with quality wines (cabs or chardonnays) and exceptional views and ambiance. We've been to Napa more times that I can keep track, and want to avoid the mainstream crowded wineries.

Bastille in Ballard -- Reports?

I must say that there is definitely a common theme with all the replies so far, and that validates my own experience at Bastille.

1. Most of the food is good : esp liked the duck confit, grilled octopus and pork belly (my friend who's a pork belly connoisure, thought it could have been crispier).

2. Restaurant is gorgeous with the dark mahogany wood, large windows, floral arrangements, and open kitchen.

1. service is terrible. waitress was gracious, but that didn't make up for the fact that our food took FOREVER to come to our table. we were so used to waiting so long for our dishes, that a half hour later, we asked where our other 2 dishes were, and the waitress forgot that we ordered it!!! if we never asked, we would have sat there all night as she certainly wouldn't have come by to check on us!!!! she comped us on the runny lavender creme brulee.

2. LOUD. this restaurant is so freakin' loud, i couldn't hear my friend sitting next to me, and i couldn't hear my friend sitting across from me.

Overall, the food is quite good and the decor is swank. Unfortunately, these two factors do not make up for the poor service and noise problems. If I want good food, I could cook at home. I find dining an "experience" all the way from the decor, ambience, and service.

A note to you Bastille owners. Maybe you could hire more waiters, or at least hire waiters that are more experienced.

DC picks

I'm heading to DC for a quick visit, can you recommend your top 3 picks? I'm flexible on the type of cuisine.

Tom Douglas Gift Card: What To Do?

Of all the TD restaurants, I still like Dahlia the best---the food won't disappoint, and the ambience and service makes for a complete dining experience. Serious pie has unique pizzas, but the communal tables and the loud background noise and a rushed waiter took away from the dining experience. You're better off ordering a pizza to go if you want to try the unique pizza creations (the crust is amazing, by the way).

If you're flexible on your timing, you'll get the most bang for your buck by going to Dahlia for lunch. You can get the same wonderful salmon and crab cake dishes, but for nearly half the cost. Furthermore, you won't feel guilty splurging on dessert afterwards b/c you end up spending less for the entire meal. I don't go out of my way to get donuts, but those made-to-order donuts on the menu are beyond anything I can describe in words.....

have a fabulous time!!!

Coconut Cream Pie

Cooks Illustrated has a fabulous recipe. My friend made it last summer, and I still think about it today....

Apr 24, 2007
domestic diva in Home Cooking

2 Nights in South Beach - Ideas?

If you're looking for casual and not very swanky, then I'd have to say GRILLFISH is a sure bet for fresh fish. Specifically, I LOVE the grilled grouper there. It's always consistently good, so whenever I'm in Miami Beach, I order that, and I haven't been disappointed yet. The side dishes are ok, but it's the grouper that I love since I can't get that out on the west coast as readily.

For Key West, you can get more grouper at Conch Republic. Great restaurant looking out onto the pier. I liked their Key lime pie there too.

Can you tell I am a big fan of grouper???

Apr 12, 2007
domestic diva in Florida

Dim Sum or not to Dim Sum - that is the question?

Hmmm, thanx for your input. If you're saying Dimsumgogo is similar to Vancouver's dim sum style (which has been my best experience so far) b/c of the Hong Kong influence, then I think it's worth checking out.......Good to know.

Apr 07, 2007
domestic diva in Manhattan

Dim Sum or not to Dim Sum - that is the question?

I saw Dim Sum GoGo on the food channel, and it looked really good. But then I got scared off after reading several mediocre reviews on the place. Has anyone ever tried it, and if so, what'd you think?

Apr 06, 2007
domestic diva in Manhattan

Favorite Barefoot Contessa Recipes?

Yes! I love the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic too. The first time I made it, however, I didn't use a nonstick pan, so it made a mess. However, I have made it several times since then in my Le Creuset dutch oven, and it really does make a difference in how the dish turns out. If you don't have a dutch oven, then definitely use a nonstick surface pot!!! This is a great recipe.....I'm getting hungry thinking about it.

Apr 06, 2007
domestic diva in Home Cooking

Favorite Barefoot Contessa Recipes?

Ina's recipes are foolproof. I have so much faith in her recipes that I often try new recipes w/o experimenting beforehand when I'm entertaining or having dinner parties b/c I know it will turn out great....

I've lost count of how many times I've made the asian grilled salmon (from the "parties" book), I have had numerous requests for that recipe. It is so easy too!!! I like to garnish it with lemon and chopped scallions.

The other recipe that my friends still talk about (even 2 yrs later!) is the beef bourguignon. One of my friends ordered that dish at a french restaurant and was disappointed b/c it wasn't as good as what she remembered when I made it for her.

In her newest cookbook, one of the recipes that stands out in my mind was the "omelette for two". easy and incredibly good. The mexican chicken soup is fabulous and healthy.

I have noticed that a lot of her recipes that ask for heavy cream can easily be substituted with half and half or even milk for the nondessert recipes, and I often use half the salt that her recipes call for. You won't miss the salt or the fat when it comes to flavor or your health conscience.

Apr 05, 2007
domestic diva in Home Cooking

Truffle oil

You guys are awesome! Thanx for the suggestions as well as the tips on how to buy truffle oil in the future. Can't wait to try out your ideas. Keep it coming if you have more thoughts....

Apr 05, 2007
domestic diva in Home Cooking

Truffle oil

I just got a bottle of white truffle oil for a gift. I plan on using it on pasta and risotto, but what else can I use this on?

Apr 05, 2007
domestic diva in Home Cooking

Culinary trip suggestions in U.S. for the fall?

If you decide on Napa, be sure to stop by Mustards Grill. Have been there several times and the food is consistently amazing, generous portion sizes----save room for dessert. The chef, Cindy Pawlcyn, is a James Beard award recipient.

If it's the view you're looking for, then Auberge Du Soleil will capture it all for you along with awesome french-inspired food. I'd recommend lunch since it's quite expensive there, and you'll get the same view at lunch anyways....

Apr 04, 2007
domestic diva in Not About Food