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Everything posted by robyn

  1. P.S. For some reason - the web site I linked only refers to locations in California. The original Versailles is on Calle Ocho (8th Street) in Miami near the airport. Robyn
  2. Versailles would be a natural based on your time and other limitations. It isn't far from the airport - and your child won't be the only one there. Plus - whether your cab driver speaks English or Spanish or Creole - he will probably know where it is (but print out a mapquest just in case). It's a Miami icon - and if you haven't been there - you should try it. Robyn
  3. Thanks for these suggestions. I think we will stick with JG for Saturday - but I'll make a note of them for the days we don't have plans for lunch. Robyn
  4. If I tell him it's a steakhouse - he definitely won't go! We aren't big beef eaters - perhaps a steak cooked on the grill maybe once a month in grilling season. He's not conservative when it comes to food. We have eaten some pretty strange things during the course of our travels - and the only rule of thumb he has is if it tastes good - he likes it - e.g., he's a big fan of offal. Perhaps the only 2 exceptions are he doesn't like food that is very sweet - and he doesn't like to "work" for his food (like peeling shrimp and boning fish). He just doesn't like weird for the sake of weird (why freeze dry and pulverize a perfectly good sweetbread and turn it into a smoothie ?) - and that is the impression he has of MG restaurants. FWIW - it took both of us a while to get used to the Japanese food concept of texture without much taste (and - even when we got used to it - we didn't much care for it - particularly with regard to certain textures). Robyn
  5. No I have not. I have to tell you that I made the dumbest mistake in the world in this regard. My husband hates the idea of molecular gastronomy. And the first time I took him to such a place - it was an extraordinarly mediocre one where the meal was pretty bad. Mea culpa - I should have started at the world class level. And now - getting him to go to another would be like getting a mule to move if he didn't want to move. I can say however - that even if the food were great - the Fat Duck kind of thing - like using ipods for the Sound of the Sea - would be a total non-starter for him - if for no other reason than he hates using ear buds with his ipod . I think my best chance of ever dragging him into another MG place would be in Spain - if we ever go there again. Because he speaks excellent Spanish and likes to practice. Robyn
  6. As a retired lawyer - I agree that allegations and settlements aren't proof of anything. Still - where there is smoke - there is usually at least a bit of smoldering brush. Robyn
  7. I agree with you about Bacchanalia. It is not only one of the best restaurants in the south (I live about 5 hours south of Atlanta and try to get there once a year or so) - but certainly near the top of "best of kind" in the US. FWIW - the last time I was in Atlanta there was a new local (skinny) magazine devoted to locavore restaurants/food in the area. I suspect it has hit the dust (as have many magazines recently) - but it showed that people in the south take their local stuff pretty seriously. Robyn
  8. I read about both - and don't disagree. But I kind of started with the idea of going to Blue Hill - and I think I'll stick with it. I am perhaps late in terms of its being new. But it apparently hasn't worsened with age. I didn't get to Chez Panisse for the first time until a couple of years ago - and whether it was better or worse than it was 15 years ago - it was pretty darn good. Robyn
  9. I did a little research on Blue Hill and Telepan - including looking at pictures of food - which I don't usually do. And I can understand Sneakeater's point. The food at Blue Hill seems - for lack of a better word "unadorned". Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with this. One of the best dishes I ever had was an appetizer of fresh raw English garden peas in the shell at Anchor & Hope (gastropub in London). When you live in Florida - "fresh" peas are weeks old - without a hint of sweetness. If one were blind-folded - it would be easy to confuse them with potatoes. OTOH - the peas at A&H were a 4 buck appetizer. Blue Hill operates at a much higher price point. Telepan food is more "adorned" - and therefore probably less bland. I'll tell you that one thing I didn't like about Telepan is I ran across articles about complaints made by servers about tips - the lawsuit - and the ultimate settlement of most of the lawsuit (although a small part of it apparently remains pending - one server refused to settle). Now I have zero idea whether any of the allegations in the lawsuit (management taking part of servers' tips and servers being charged when customers use credit cards) are true - but I had not heard before of this kind of mickey-mouse stuff happening in higher end NY restaurants (it happens here where I live with some frequency - we'll run across servers we used to see in other restaurants - ask them why they left - and this is a frequent reason). No one would ever accuse me of being a liberal - but fair is fair when it comes to how an employer treats employees IMO. Anyway - these articles left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended). Anyway - I have to sit and think about this one. One problem is Friday night is a horrible night to go out anywhere - and getting a cab at dinner time in New York on a Friday night tends to be a PITA (and a bigger PITA if it's raining). Perhaps I'll do a geographical search and see what's within walking distance of the hotel. Anyway - thanks for all this input. Robyn
  10. Sneakeater - From what you say - it would be interesting. When you deal with a place like Bacchanalia - well it is southern cooking - like I do at home. Except with a lot more competence and much better ingredients. Hard to get anything - including veggies - that isn't cooked up with at least a little fat back or ham hocks or the like. IOW - it's far from bland. OTOH - I eat at all too many restaurants which commit the crime of oversalting (I like all kinds of herbs and spices and flavorings in food - but if all I can taste is salt - yuck IMO). If the service is pleasant - that is a big plus. At least I know if I don't care for the food - I will have been treated nicely. In fact - I sometimes think my impressions of food at a restaurant are very much colored by the service. Really good service can improve an otherwise lackluster meal - and bad service can ruin a great one. Robyn
  11. I am talking about the Blue Hill "outpost" in Manhattan. And the main dining room at JG is now open for lunch on Saturday. Robyn
  12. I am up to my eyeballs in paperwork - and a quick search didn't turn up any comments you had made here about Blue Hill. In a nutshell - why didn't you like it? I am thinking it would be like the New York equivalent of Bacchanalia in Atlanta - and similar places I have dined at elsewhere. Robyn
  13. As seems to be the case quite often, I'm in agreement with Sneak. I like Daniel quite a bit, but I've never been blown away by a meal there. They didn't do anything at all wrong any of the times I've been there, but there was no "wow factor" for me. Although it's seemingly less formal than the ones you're considering, you might want to include L'atelier de Joel Robuchon in your consideration. Although there is some disagreement, I think the food there is more exciting in many ways than Daniel or EMP. The lack of formality is more theme and pretense. In actuality, it's a serious meal. ← We're staying at the Four Seasons and definitely dining at L'Atelier the night we arrive. It's a good match. We'll be tired - won't feel like going out - and L'Atelier looks like fun with really good food. There is another wrinkle in our plans. We were planning to go to dinner Sunday night with friends at Blue Hill. But since the Mrs. has to go to work Monday morning - they suggested brunch and some afternoon sightseeing. Which is fine by me. But if we have Sunday brunch - no way I can do another big deal meal at dinner. I have really enjoyed "locavore" restaurants in other cities - and was looking forward to Blue Hill. How about Blue Hill instead of EMP? Seems that Corton and EMP are somewhat similar in terms of food - and Blue Hill would be a nice change of pace. Then lunch at Jean Georges on Saturday (yet another change of pace). And we are thinking of doing Sunday brunch at Aquavit (something totally different). Our friends haven't been to Aquavit - but we dined at the "outpost" in Minneapolis before it closed and enjoyed it. And the Sunday brunch (a buffet) seems pretty authentic. Anyway - I know that EMP and Blue Hill are totally different kinds of restaurants - but I'm inclined to do Blue Hill instead of EMP because Corton and EMP are similar - and no one here has listed EMP as a favorite over Corton. Any thoughts about these plans would be welcome. Robyn
  14. Why not La Grenouille or Le Veau D’or if he loves classic so much? Make the guy happy. ← Perhaps I misspoke. Our idea of "classical French" is Robuchon or Senderens - more 80's than 50's or 60's. FWIW - Le Veau D'Or was over the hill IMO the only time we dined there - which must have been 15-20 years ago. I understand La Grenouille has been "refreshed" - and looks prettier than ever. But I don't much care for the menu. Robyn
  15. Hi Pan - Thanks for the link to the EMP thread and what you wrote in it. Now you have me thinking - kind of like when an optometrist is fitting you for glasses - which looks better - this one or that one . And since we are still more than a month away from the date when most of these places will take reservations - I am looking around. EMP didn't seem to be at the top of anyone's list. So perhaps I should "86" it? Was browsing through some NYC food stuff this afternoon - and Daniel hit me. We have never been there - it has has gotten good media reviews (mixed on this forum) - and my husband is the kind of guy who thinks fine dining goes with a suit and tie. So if I could change the question a bit - which do you think is better - EMP or Daniel? We have been to Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach a few times and liked it a lot. Didn't much like Cafe Boulud in NYC (so-so food - tables elbow-to-elbow). But Daniel should be on a different planet than those restaurants. FWIW - in terms of price to value ratio - since our last big trip was to Paris - the prices in NYC seem like a joke. We took 2 friends to dinner at a 3 star in Paris - and wound up spending $2000 for 4 people without big deal wine. So a 3 course dinner at Daniel for $108 seems like a real bargain (i.e., easily wiithin our budget). My husband likes classical French food - and doesn't mind a bit of formality. His favorite meal in Paris was at Guy Savoy. And although I have read reports here about varying degrees of service at a place like Daniel - I suspect we would get pretty good service on a weekday if we booked through the concierge desk at our hotel. Just as an aside - Daniel (based on what I've read here) sounds very much like Guy Savoy - where a majority of the diners are "regulars". When we dined at Guy Savoy - we were the only people in the room who didn't dine there at least once every week or so. Anyway - perhaps I will substitute Daniel for EMP. Any comments would be appreciated. Robyn
  16. I will take your word for it - because I lack the expertise to dispute what you said. FWIW - I got sick as a dog last night as a result of eating something. But what and where - who knows? I had lunch at a nursing home where I attended a yahrzeit (memorial) service (in the chapel) for my late mother. Then did food tastings at Whole Foods while shopping there. Then I had dinner at our golf club. Got sick about 30 minutes after getting home from dinner. Who knows what did me in? Robyn
  17. Thanks for the information. I happen to like my family members in New York. Especially one cousin who managed to get us a great table at Nobu on a Friday night ages ago for all of us cousins - about 12 of us - when we were in town for my late grandmother's 100th birthday. Didn't hurt that he was the dentist for the chef's children . The last time we got together - I think it was 2004 for a Bar Mitzvah - we had a dim sum lunch at Shun Lee West for a party of about 15 (the restaurant was relatively close to the synagogue) - and it did a very nice job for us. Robyn
  18. robyn

    Orlando Gems?

    Fine dining and Orlando are hard to put in the same sentence. But I really liked this Japanese restaurant. Pretty close to the convention center. Elegant - and not inexpensive. IOW - not your normal tourist trap. I haven't been in about 4 years - so I would check current reviews. Robyn
  19. Hi Pan - I took a look at Degustation. I wish it was open for lunch - because it is in/near a neighborhood where we will be looking for places to catch lunch. But I will keep it in mind. I am trying to hook up for dinner with some family members who live in the general area - and will suggest it if they want to get together. I am surprised you didn't like EMP - because almost everyone else here seems to think it's quite good. What didn't you like about it? I wasn't overwhelmed the only time we had dinner at JG - almost 10 years ago. But the menu seems more interesting than the lunch menu at 57 in our hotel. It is an amazing bargain (a little more than we'd pay at a high end chain restaurant for lunch here in Jacksonville). The surroundings are pleasant (we'll be meeting with old friends - and just want time/space to catch up) - and it is conveniently located a short distance from the hotel - and MOMA (we'll probably go to MOMA after lunch). I suspect there is perhaps better/more interesting food in the neighborhood. But this meal is with my husband's old college roommate - who he hasn't seen in almost 30 years. The food is almost an afterthought. Above all - I don't want to get into one of those no-reservations - wait on line - tables elbow-to-elbow - and we're trying to turn our tables over 2-3 times during lunch situations for this get-together. Considering what I'm trying to do - I think it's a good choice. Do you disagree? Robyn P.S. You've been around long enough to have heard the sequel to our original JG dinner - but perhaps others haven't. About 2-3 years after our original meal - we decided to give it a second chance - on our 30th anniverary - Monday 9/10/2001. We made a reservation on the patio. It rained like cats and dogs that night. We were offered a small table in the bar - but - it being our anniversary - we declined - and walked out. Then we thought of ADNY - just a few blocks away (back then a very hot ticket). We walked in without a reservation - got the single remaining table - and had a memorable meal. We all know what happened the next morning. So I guess this is our second chance to give JG a second chance. Quite frankly - after our 9/11 experience - and recent events in places like Mumbai - going to New York (and other big cities around the world) still makes me a little nervous. But I refuse to stay home until I am too old and feeble to travel.
  20. Re Margaret's message - I had previously mentioned the possibility of people getting sick from eating too much rich food. That has happened to me before once. And once was enough. So now I eat in moderation. Also I'm not sure what Michelin stars have to do with hygiene. Michelin inspectors dine anonymously. They don't show up and say - "Hi - I'm here from Michelin and I'm here to inspect your kitchen." When I read our local restaurant health inspection reports - there seems to be absolutely no correlation between the type of the restaurant (fine dining versus fast food - etc.) or the quality of the food - and the marks a place gets in terms of its health inspection. BTW - I have not read any articles which give the timeline over which people became ill. Was it over a period of a couple of days - or weeks - or months? The Norwalk virus is killed by cleaning with things like a chlorine disinfectant. Something that would/should be done nightly in a place like a restaurant. In a closed environment - like a cruise ship or nursing home - people who become infected can then spread it to others. But - in restaurants - people who get infected go home - and don't infect future restaurant patrons (unless they happen to be friends). So - in a restaurant setting - if it's a Norwalk virus or the like - one would expect all of the cases to occur in a relatively compressed period of time. Robyn
  21. I think you're wrong here (in general - don't know about France). I see evidence of it everywhere both at home and in terms of planning my travel. Closed restaurants (locally everything from our best high end restaurant to Ruby Tuesday). Special discount menus. My golf club has started a new Happy Hour - 50% off all drinks (from well brands to the tippy top of the shelf - the $150 a pop cognac) - and bar food items - 7 days a week from 4 to 7. Etc. And you know what - I think - from what I've seen - that being realistic about the current environment works. It has actually been kind of refreshing planning our trip to New York this spring (as compared to our trip to Paris last fall). There are some outrageous bargains (like lunch at Jean Georges for a little more than I'd spend for lunch at Maggiono's at our local mall) - but mostly there are just lower costs. Which in turn has resulted in my making more reservations than usual. I'll wind up spending the same amount of money - I'll just get more for my money. Robyn
  22. As an American - I could never understand spending big money (or any money) on water. On the other hand - I much prefer gin to water (and am willing to pay for it ). Robyn
  23. The flipside of all the new people reporting illnesses is that sometimes people have a mild problem - or pre-existing medical conditions - or figure maybe they had too much to drink - and simply chalk up their experiences to bad luck. Since I have GI problems - that is what I do most of the time. But when my husband and I both get sick - then we know it is probably not my GI problems - but something we ate. Of course - there will always be some people who are faking. But even if someone assumes a 50% "fake rate" (a rate which I consider unlikely in the UK - I've been there about 6 times and it always seemed to be a pretty honest country to me) - the numbers are still worrisome. FWIW - if I were a health official - I would be in the foie gras factory tomorrow - and investigating the fresh produce sources. Maybe the cheese sources too. Perhaps I am mistaken - but isn't March too early for any produce to be obtained locally in the UK? What country does it comes from? Here in the southeast US - much of our produce (whether produced locally or in countries in central or South America) - is produced under unsanitary conditions. When you don't have porta-potties in the fields - well where do you think people go to the bathroom? And that doesn't even take into account unfenced fields which local animals use as bathrooms. I would still bet better than even money that the problem was caused by food that was bad when it arrived in the restaurant. Robyn
  24. I knew it was really close - that's why I asked the question . You know what - I may do both. I assume that Corton is the hotter ticket - so it's better to do it on Thursday (which is my husband's birthday) as opposed to Friday (which is when we will do EMP). Yes? Robyn ← Yes -- although I'm afraid you're going to find that Thursday isn't that different from Friday. Call soon. ← I plan to call the hotel concierge tomorrow - and give them the lineup. Robyn
  25. Alternately, you could just think of it like an athletic event, and do all tasting menus, and just "recover" later. Just like running a marathon, you have to push through the fullness wall... ← That would make me sick as a dog - and probably ruin our trip. I will sample some here and there. Hope to have some great food - and a good trip. Robyn
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