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Everything posted by robyn

  1. Hello Daniel - Thank you for replying. I am not sure how it is possible to have regulars when dinner has to be booked months in advance. Although I live in a place that is certainly not anywhere near Paris standards in terms of food - I couldn't be a regular at a restaurant if I had to book months in advance. I am not even sure I could dine at a restaurant in a country far from home where I was a visitor if I had to book 6 months in advance (because of scheduling vacation time - hotel and air bookings - etc.). Anyway - it is food for thought. As a note - I have read elsewhere that you would like to take a trip to Japan one of these days/months/years. We spent 3 weeks there in 2006 - and enjoyed it a lot. If you do go - write me a personal message or email (just click on my name to find me) - and I will be glad to put you in contact with the people/restaurants we know/met/found there. We loved the country - and the food - and would be glad to share what we discovered with you (or anyone else planning a trip there). Robyn
  2. robyn

    Guy Savoy

    I have only one thing to say about this restaurant. Dine there. It's wonderful. My husband and I had lunch there yesterday. We put ourselves in the hands of the maitre d' (Hubert) - and the sommelier - and you should too. We had a mix of the 100 euro lunch - plus a fair amount of paired wine and champagne - and it wound up costing 400 euros. You should expect to spend that amount for 2 to get the most out of this restaurant for lunch without worrying. Basically - what Hubert did for us as novices in the restaurant was to give us some of the chef's signature dishes - combined with mains we said we would enjoy. Fish for my husband - the best bar with the best crispy skin I have ever tasted. Game for me - a dish of pigeon - wild pigeon and pheasant poached with cabbage in an iron pot sealed with a strip of bread. Plus a multi-course dessert course it will take me weeks to work off! My husband went to heaven on the yoghurt sorbet with the best marinated prunes in the world (a French specialty we have encountered for breakfast on other trips). I have to tell you. This meal saved our trip in terms of high end dining in Paris. Although we had had some very good meals before this one - none had approached what we thought was a 3 star level (at least as we remembered it). This one hit the mark - and exceeded it. Not only was the meal exquisite - the service was both friendly and extremely professional. Chef Savoy was there to say hello - and au revoir. And the room we dined in - the first dining room near the front - was lovely. Note that I think it is easy to "overthink" meals when one believes he or she knows a lot about food without knowing about a particular restaurant. But - in a great restaurant - it is best to stop thinking and put yourself in the hands of the people who know their restaurant best. So - if you go - ask for Hubert. And don't try to show off. Just tell him what you like. And he will see that you get that. As an interesting aside - I had forgotten about the references to Chef Savoy and rugby here. I told him this was the best meal we had had in 4 years. When he asked about the last one - well it was a lunch at Gordon Ramsay RHR. With another great maitre d' like Hubert - and the obvious rugby connection. Turns out Gordon Ramsay apprenticed at Guy Savoy. Small world. Anyway - we all have different tastes - but these restaurants are my idea of heaven. Perhaps they are yours too. If they are - just remember to ask for Hubert . Robyn
  3. robyn


    I really didn't care so much about the money (our hotel room at the George V cost 860 euros a night - and it was worth every euro we paid for it). I wound up thinking there was perhaps something wrong with the restaurant - or perhaps the way we approached the restaurant. I'm not sure now - and never will be. Whatever - I didn't care for the service (in terms of attitude). I disliked it when the maitre d' looked down his nose at my husband and asked if he knew what some kind of offal was before offering his opinions about whether it was a good choice (I guess he thought my husband was looking for a steak). And I thought a lot of the food was "blah". Note that I like traditional French food - but the little red fish (forget the name) on a bed of minced mushrooms was almost tasteless. I had those little red fish a couple of times at a couple of places at various price levels - and my favorite was the little red fish on a bed of braised spinach at a one knife and fork kind of place. Just as an aside - I had dorade on multiple occasions - and it was always a good choice (if you like fish). Although my husband's bar at Guy Savoy was the hands-down winner in terms of fish courses we ate. At the prices l'Ambroisie charges - the food should sing - and it barely hummed. Unfortunately - since I don't live in/near Paris - I will never know from multiple visits whether we got the most we could have gotten from that restaurant. Finally - regarding the concept of regulars - I can well appreciate it. And disagree somewhat with Julot. Good/great restaurants everywhere depend on regulars (when we dined at Guy Savoy - everyone in our dining room was a regular except for us). I don't mind if restaurants won't book the whole restaurant with tourists 3 months in advance to accommodate regulars - or if regulars get somewhat better treatment. But non-regulars should be treated well at these places too. Like guests at a private club they dine at perhaps once in a lifetime. I do feel that I got that nice treatment - that special feeling - at Guy Savoy - but did not at l'Ambroisie. C'est la vie. Robyn
  4. Just some general impressions. I do agree about the economy and the anti-smoking laws. I think Spring may be largely an English speaking chatboard phenomenon in terms of the difficulty in getting reservations (at a small place which is closed almost more often than it is open). Perhaps the food is good - but it is easier to get reservations at high end 3 star restaurants than Spring. Doesn't make much sense to me. As for l'Ami Jean - it had been recommended to us - but we passed by the place by accident one afternoon while walking in the neighborhood. It is tight and cramped inside and looked uncomfortable to me. Especially if it is trying to do 2-3 turns per table per night. Perhaps it is a question of my age (over 60) and my dining sensibilities (I enjoy being at least a bit pampered and having some "space") - but it was definitely not my cup of tea. At least not for dinner. If I want to be crowded among a lot of other people - I much prefer a cafe setting for late afternoon/early evening drinks. We went to Les Philosophes (?) in the Marais Sunday evening for drinks outside after a day of sightseeing. Elbow to elbow under the canopy with some heat lamps watching the light drizzle with lots of other people who also wanted an early evening drink and a cigarette. It was a very friendly atmosphere - we talked with lots of people - and we had a good time. The cafe also seems to have a relationship with a cab company - so it is no problem flagging a cab without paying a "show up" fee when you're prepared to leave - kind of unusual for Paris. Note that one should not try any of these cafes outside unless one isn't offended by cigarette smoke (I smoke so I liked them - but I heard complaints from some American guests at our hotel). Also - in the Marais - I would be a little careful about the "vibe" of a place. It is the GLBT heart of Paris - and there are perhaps places where couples like me and my husband are not welcome. That was not the case in this cafe. But I am sure that there are places where people like us would feel uncomfortable (based on some pictures I saw in the windows of some places). We are not into leather bars . Robyn
  5. Guy Savoy had the dish on the menu today. I recall that it was priced at about 95 euros. Robyn
  6. We tend to avoid Friday/Saturday dinners whether at home or abroad. Friday night we had room service - and Saturday we dined at the hotel (if your hotel has a good restaurant - and ours did - it is usually easier to dine there on a weekend than elsewhere). I can tell you that some of the evidence for my statement is anecdotal and/or based on some personal observations. Anyway - if you can reserve in advance - do. And - if you can't - there's no harm in trying in terms of securing a last minute reservation. Robyn
  7. We had lunch today at Guy Savoy - great lunch - best meal of the trip. And I would be pretty sure you don't have to reserve 1 1/2 months in advance. Robyn
  8. With world economies going the way they are - I think those time frames may change. Robyn
  9. I don't think pigeon is considered to be "game" in the traditional fall sense (it's a year round dish). We were told at our hotel that its game menu will not start until October 8 - official start of game season (at least in the hotel). Robyn
  10. I've never been to Michy's. Have been to Cafe Boulud a couple of times (and liked it). But the most important thing is that being in Boca - you are asking for a big headache trying to drive to Miami or Palm Beach for dinner because the traffic is horrible. You will spend more time driving than eating. I recommend trying to find a dinner place which is closer to where you'll be staying. Robyn
  11. We went to the market on Avenue du President Wilson this morning (Saturday). It starts near the Place de L'Alma and goes on for a fair number of blocks. If there were lots of tourists there - they were tourists with shopping bags buying things to cook in their rooms for dinner . If you want to buy and sample things that can be eaten standing up - like yogurt - bring a spoon (the stands don't have any). A lot of the food stuffs looked terrific. Also - there are 3 lesser known museums in the area that I can recommend. Musee du Quai de Branley - the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris in the Palais de Tokyo - and the Cite de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in the Palais de Chaillot. The first and third are relatively new - and worth seeing for their architecture as well as their contents. The famous Musee Guimet is also in the neighborhood - but we haven't seen it. Robyn P.S. Another nice thing about the Wilson market is that right in back of the Joel Thiebault stand (which is fine - but looking at veggies isn't the same as eating them) is a restaurant called Tokyo Eat (in the museum). You can get a starter of some Thiebault radishes (several varieties) plus Bordier butter plus nice bread for 8 euros. There aren't many places where you can sample Thiebault veggies and Bordier butter for 8 euros. Our mains (veggie plate and grilled dorade) were also relatively inexpensive and quite good. We kind of stumbled on the restaurant - not knowing what to expect (all I know is I liked the decor and was hungry) - and were very pleased with our lunch. Robyn
  12. Why not do lunch and dinner? Robyn
  13. I agree 100%. We eat a lot at our golf club. It is a large (77,000 sf) corporate place (part of the TPC) that caters to a lot of tourists and business groups and events - like weddings (as well as us individual members). And - right now - it is tinkering with its price points and its offerings. For example - it has a drinks/snacks menu - most items at $11-12. Now it is offering a 3 item combo (any 3 on the menu) for $30. I think it will sell well. It recently raised the Sunday brunch price from $20 to $25 - but then dropped it back to $20. I suspect the combination of offerings is a bit different (like there is only shrimp or crab on any particular Sunday - instead of both) - but the changes are subtle - and designed to make sure that the number of diners stays the same. To keep one's head above water these days - a restaurant will need someone who knows how to order food and use a spreadsheet. Robyn
  14. Mmmm....have you been recently? IMO - It really isn't very good at all, safe, boring and predictable, I find the food bland and not at all like any place I have visited in Asia. I understand it was far better when Alan Yau first started it all those years ago, but since he sold it it has become a place that provides cheap food for students. ← I only went once in 2004. Didn't say I was overwhelmed. But for $5 - we had some simple stuff (like bowls of noodles) that was fine. It was also a fun place - with long tables where lots of unrelated people sat down together. Good place to chat with people. I have only been to Asia once (Japan) and I agree that there is no comparison. Then again - I didn't have too many $5 meals in Japan - and the ones I did have were at cheap noodle places where the food wasn't too different from that at Wagamama. Robyn
  15. I always thought that the purpose of a UNESCO World Heritage designation was to encourage preservation of a particular place or structure. To the extent that it goes beyond that - the designation is meaningless - even if one can preserve a sausage for a very long time . Unlike an area of natural beauty - or a building - where historical designations can help to prevent their destruction - if people want to preserve a dance or a type of food - they will - and if they don't - they will disappear. Even places with historical landmark status can be destroyed. For example - in war (the current UNESCO sites in Kyoto were saved in WWII not by their history or significance - but by love of the city on the part of - if I recall correctly - an American military person who was in a position to bomb it to rubble). And UNESCO sites can also be harmed by "love" (e.g., too many tourists in the Galapagos). Anyway - there are many cuisines in the world that are worth preserving. Not in museums - or on the UNESCO website - but by chefs and diners. Use them or lose them (although some should be used sparingly as special treats because they aren't healthy). Robyn
  16. Thanks for the preliminary report. I think we will eat there more than once . Robyn
  17. I wasn't expecting much at La Defense. Hoping for a place like Wagamama at Canary Wharf - which is kind of like the "mom and pop" noodle places one finds in countries like Japan (although it is a corporate venture on a much larger scale). It's a fun - relatively inexpensive place to get a quick tasty lunch. IMO - the recession in the restaurant industry is probably global - at least in the first world (I am not that familiar with the second and third worlds). Here in the US - it is translating into a fair number of middle of the road chains going bankrupt/out of business. I do agree - from what I've read - with Ptipois. There seems to be a lot of price compression. If lunch at Clocher Periere is 30 euros - and lunch at the George V is 85 euros - well I would rather have one lunch at the George V than 2 1/2 at Clocher Periere. Not to mention 1 1/2 lunches at middle of the road places where lunch is 50 or 60 euros. Robyn
  18. What is the Cnit? Robyn
  19. Too bad the place you recommend is up the hill - and the place you don't recommend is down the hill! Robyn
  20. This seems very typical of dining in high end department stores. Generally good - sometimes better than good - but it is easy to drop a lot of money. For those of us "shop 'til you drop" people (which I am when I am in a place with good shopping - at home - we have great golf - terrible shopping) who are married to husbands who wilt easily - the restaurants are usually a good bet even if they are somewhat overpriced (when your husband is wilting - the last thing you want to do is hit the streets and spend 30 minutes searching for a decent place to eat). I think the most expensive meal we ever had at a department store was at the Harrod's food courts. Fresh seafood - including lots of oysters. Delicious. Robyn
  21. Don't worry about which is best - I will probably hit both . Although it looks like I could spend a week wandering around the neighborhood near Bon Marche (it's called Sevres-Babylone - yes?). Curious that it seems like almost all stores - including big ones like Bon Marche - are closed on Sunday. Planning for Sunday will be tough. We have tickets for the auto show - but I have been told that the auto show on weekends is ridiculously crowded. Also - a lot of museums are free that day - so I assume they will be very crowded too. Perhaps I will stay up all night for Nuit Blanche and sleep all day Sunday! Robyn
  22. Maybe there are too many restaurants charging too much money for mediocre or worse food? Just look at my last inquiry about La Defense. Thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of people work there every day and people here are hard-pressed to recommend a single decent place where we can eat lunch. Paris wouldn't be unique in this regard. We've been to many cities where most middle-of-the-road restaurants are lousy. That is why we tend to "bar bell" our meals - very high end - or very simple. It's hard to find places in the middle that are worth the price. Note that after looking at the prices in perhaps hundreds of restaurants in Paris - I think they're high compared to other major cities. And that is even when I view them through my "currency neutral" eyes (I've found that what costs a dollar in the US usually costs a pound in the UK - a euro in Euroland - 100 yen in Japan - etc. - regardless of exchange rates). To me - a restaurant that charges $30 for lunch (without coffee or drinks) is expensive for a middle-of-the-road place that is rather spartan (I looked at the pictures) - off the beaten path and not even listed in Zagat's (which has many more restaurant listings than Michelin). So if it is "holding the line" at 30 euros - I can only imagine what people think about other middle-of-the-road restaurants that are charging a lot more. And if this is what I think about these restaurants - I can only imagine what average working people who live in Paris think. Just like the depreciation of the dollar hasn't really hurt people in the US who are earning and spending dollars - the appreciation of the euro doesn't help the people who are earning and spending euros in Euroland. What has hurt average people everywhere is the rising cost of living in terms of groceries - gas - rent - etc. No matter what currency they are earning and spending. As for the cafes - they seem hit the worst. Do you think this has anything to do with the smoking ban? I suspect it does in part. Another part may be that when people are cutting back - it's easy to cut back on the 4 euro coffee before work - or the 6 euro drink after work. Just like most financial advisors here tell people they can save money easily by eliminating their daily dose of Starbucks. Robyn
  23. Everyone has heard of the Louvre. Doesn't mean it's a "tourist trap" (although there are a lot of tourists). We had only one driver in Europe. My husband. I was the navigator. Worked out fine (I am a lousy driver and my husband is a lousy navigator). Note that it is only 529 miles (851 km) between Paris and Milan - so you really aren't talking about a lot of driving. The point is to get off the "beaten path" and explore (both in terms of sightseeing and eating). Robyn
  24. But you *have* to ask things like truffle season, asparagus season, etc. Assuming you can travel any time you want to travel - what do you want to eat - and what kind of weather do you like? On my part - I can barely stand winter in northern Florida - so you're not going to find me in Paris in December (which is probably one reason I've never had a black truffle and the hearty braises I eat then are those I cook at home). On the other hand - I love asparagus - so I timed our trip to Germany last year so we would be there during spargel season (which is almost a national festival as opposed to a vegetable season - I think I had at least 15 different spargel dishes in places ranging from trains to 3 star restaurants). Likewise - I went to Japan during cherry blossom season (because I love spring flowering trees). One year we went to London in the spring in part to eat farm fresh English peas (by the time fresh spring peas get to my local markets from more northern places - they are worse than frozen). We will be going to Paris next week because I also love game - and fall in Paris is game season. I agree with Julot about things like berries in the summer. I call things like berries and melons the consolations of summer (because the weather where I live is extremely hot and humid and the fruit we get makes up for the bad weather). But I can get great berries at home. I can't get spargel or game or fresh peas or see cherry blossoms! So the real issue isn't what I - or anyone else here - likes. It's what *you* like and want to see and/or eat. So - assuming you can travel at various times - what are you most interested in eating? Robyn
  25. Is "there" Lafayette Gourmet - or Bon Marche? Robyn (a little confused)
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