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Everything posted by spanky

  1. Well, if we're elasticating the remit and talking the past 365 days, I'd have to say the porcini and ricotta tart on a chickpea veloute I had at the Buca di Sant'Antonio in Lucca. More recently, a plate of braised ox shin at Rogue Restaurant here in Ra Burra. Oh, and some amazing burgers my better half rustled up one Friday night. Don't ask me what was in them--I don't know. To paraphrase Isaac Hayes, if eating them was wrong, I don't want to be right. Cheers, Spanks
  2. I had a wonderful birthday meal at Restaurant Aurelia on Wijngaardstraat. It's a small restaurant--about 20 covers, maybe?--but the service is wonderful and the food (as far as I can remember after two or so years) was delicious. As for being relaxed or formal, I suppose I might call it formal with a relaxed feel. Cheers, Spanky
  3. And now I come to think of it you can get some very nice cakes, chocolates and many different types of tea at Plaisir du Chocolat on the Canongate (the lower part of the Royal Mile). Have a great trip! The weather's glorious today. Cheers, Spanky
  4. I believe the French deli in Canonmills is called Au Gourmand (and it also has a cafe).
  5. I J Mellis -- huge range of cheeses and sundries (including Poilane bread), lovely service.
  6. Hello all-- I don't mean to hijack this thread but as an aside has anyone tried Le Timbre in the rue Sainte-Beuve in the 6th? We stayed in the Hotel Sainte-Beuve last April (v nice!) and always meant to try this postage-stamp-sized restaurant. Of course, we never got round to it, what with food poisoning etc. Thing is, I'm getting married in October and we're thinking of going back to the Sainte-Beuve for a lunette de miel. If we do, we'll probably go to Le Timbre anyway, but I'd like to hear anyone's views of the place...if there are any! Cheers, folks Spanky
  7. As an aside, in Northern Ireland, you can get what's called a filled soda at any Belfast greasy ladle which is basically a large piece of soda bread halved, dipped (fried on one side) and then--as per the name--filled with whatever manner of fried breakfast clobber you can care to name. These fat-monsters are wonderful about three or four mouthfuls but they make your arteries fur up like bearcubs.
  8. From a UK perspective... Oloroso, Edinburgh. Tignanello 2000 -- £150. Available in Valvona and Crolla (Edinburgh's best Italian deli) for £40 a pop--and a quick scan of some other restaurant websites suggests that it sells for below £100 elsewhere. Maybe it comes to your table in a diamond and ruby-encrusted decanter strapped to the back of a unicorn.
  9. Let me make a quick but heartfelt plug for the original Marque Restaurant in Causewayside. Intimate (where Marque Central is a bit barn-like for my liking), with great food, excellent service and--I believe--a BYOB policy on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Oh well since I'm here I might as well add that, over Christmas, I had a great time at Nargile Turkish restaurant in Hanover Street (meze-tastic, but no Buzbag unfortunately); a pretty patchy and, for what it was, horrendously expensive New Year's Eve meal at Merchants Restaurant; and I plan to take the Beyonce for a birthday meal at Rogue Restaurant this Saturday. I haven't had anything less than a good time there and now it's reopened its cocktail bar I expect my pleasure to be redoubled. No doubt more anon. Cheers all Spanks
  10. On a flying visit to Leeds this weekend, I went to La Grillade on Saturday night with five chums. Not a fine start to the night - the taxi company lost our booking and despite phoning the restaurant and telling them we'd be half an hour or so late for our reservation we were still kept waiting at the bar for half an hour (or so. We managed to down two bottles of wine in that time, so could have been longer ). Starter: Scallops in lobster sauce. Both were tasteless. Not good. But managed to cadge a slice of chum's boudin noir, which was excellently spicy. Main: Venison in pepper sauce. Hmm. This combination was new to me. Venison medallions nice and pink in the middle, as I'd asked for. In contrast with the tasteless lobster sauce in the starter, the pepper sauce was overpowering (tongue of fire syndrome) and the accompanying bubble and squeak was acceptable filler, but no more. Someone else's rare steak, on the other hand, was very good. Again, I jumped the wrong way. Tant pis. Dessert: Chagrined by the lack of tarte aux pommes, I plumped for the tarte au citron. Not bad. Very good cheese board, for those who like that sort of thing. Have to say that at this stage, after a bottle and a half of very nice Madiran and a glass or three of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, critical faculties were getting somewhat clouded. Then the service, which had been frustratingly erratic all night (we think the owner was in and everyone was uptight about it), disappeared totally and we were left to grumpily rescue our own coats. All in all, a night of bad to middling choices (for me) and annoying service. Perhaps we should have gone to No 3 York Place instead.
  11. spanky

    Worst Beer Ever Tasted

    It's a long thread and my eyes were starting to go, so I don't know if this has been mentioned or not but there's a Polish "stout" called Belfast which has to be one of the most disgusting liquids I have EVER had in my mouth. It was the colour of raw sewage mixed with diesel, smelt like you were downwind from a true Guinness fart and caught you in the back of the throat like you had half-managed to suppress a sudden urge to boke. God. And I'm from Belfast. It was certainly a true taste of home. Graah. I need to clean my teeth now.
  12. My girlfriend and I stayed in Lucca in July and fell in love with it. (Probably the fact that we got engaged there had something to do with that, but still...) Although there are tourists around, you do get a sense of local people going about their daily business. It's a small city and you could probably "do" it all in two or three days--if you walk slowly--but it also has some great restaurants. (I'd recommend the Buca di Sant'Antonio for dinner and taking a big picnic up onto the city walls for lunch.) It's also a great base for exploring places to the north like Barga and the Garfagnana and it's a fairly short train ride to Pisa, the coast and Firenze, if that takes your fancy.
  13. Lordy, it's been ages since I ate at the Monachyle Mhor--maybe almost 10 years ago--and I can't remember much about it apart drinking too much wine and whisky and having to stand in the middle of the bar and recite poetry for the stalkers. I believe it was a great meal. (Maybe I should also add this to the "Great Meals I Can't Remember" thread. Is there one?) Does anyone know if it's been done up and/or extended recently? Great place and--as I remember--totally out of the way at the end of a single track road. Fabulous.
  14. At the Ristorante Buca di Sant'Antonio in Lucca, I had the capretto (roasted mountain goat). It was lovely, a bit like gamey lamb. We ate at that restaurant twice during our four-day stay and couldn't fault it--although my partner found their ice-cream filled buccellato (fruit cake with aniseed) an acquired taste. No idea why, myself.
  15. spanky

    Eating Firenze

    Managed only to have a one-course lunch at the La Rendola (blistering temperatures and ratty travelling companions). The owner was a lovely man. Some friends went for the menu degustazione a couple of nights after we left for Lucca and said it was one of the best meals they'd ever had. Quite gutted we missed that.
  16. Don't think anyone's mentioned the Atrium yet. One of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, although its 90s decor (and its tiny toilets) could do with a refresh. I haven't heard anyone say a good word about the Tower, apart from its views--but you can get the same, if not better, views munching a Pret a Manger all day breakfast sandwich in Princes St Gardens. On Dalry Road (a bit out of the way, I know, but during the festival the centre of the town will be hoaching with people) there's a brilliant Neapolitan restaurant called La Partenope--excellent seafood specials and a good blustery trattoria-style ambience. Across the road, there's a very good bistro-style restaurant called First Coast which does magical mussels and a fried jam sandwich dessert. (It is Scotland, after all!!) For Festival atmosphere, you should get yourself down to the Traverse Theatre Cafe for some pretty good bistro nosh--if you can stand the crush of braying meedja luvvies. Word of warning: One of the best veggie restaurants, David Bann's on St Mary's Street, isn't taking reservations for the month of August.
  17. Ohmigosh! This was my absolute favorite wine last autumn! The PLCB had apparently bought up a ton of this and were selling it in one of their "Truckload" sales for the ridiculous price of somewhere in the neighborhood of $14/bottle (I don't remember exactly). It was transcendently good for the price. Actually, it was just plain freakin' delicious - no qualifications necessary. It tasted like it cost $50/bottle. I fooled quite a few of my friends with it. I must have drank at least a case and a half of it, before other folks got wise and it sold out Just got back from Tuscany, where we stayed a few minutes up the road from the Fattoria Petrolo. The Terre di Galatrona was €9 a bottle at the fattoria! Stupidly, we hoovered up the six (wonderful) bottles we bought while we were there and just brought back a bottle of their Torrione 2000. Aaargh!!! If I had three legs, I'd use two of them to kick myself with! My girlfriend and I got engaged while in Tuscany and had a bottle of Tignanello with our celebratory dinner, so it'll always be a special wine to me. As for other Tuscan wines, I think the Tenuta di Valgiano Palistorti from the Lucca area is a pretty damn good bottle.
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