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    Berkeley, CA USA
  1. Well, it's a book. But it's not a typical guide book; you don't find the best restaurants listed, but you do find some great ones that you probably won't find in the books catering to "the best" (whatever that means). But they have a viewpoint: local, traditional, slow. It's the kind of book where, if you had no agenda and were just wandering around and suddenly found yourself hungry, you can look up what's nearby and have high confidence that you can get a well-cooked meal, as opposed to finding that your Frommer's doesn't have anything nearby and just winging it randomly. It's a good enough resource that you can imagine using it as a reason to drive down a particular road in a particular direction, just to get to eat at the other end
  2. I really enjoy Osterie & Locande d'Italia ... is there anything out there that's similar in approach for France?
  3. Here's one: TGV to Dijon, about an hour and a half. Go in the morning, walk into town, try to go on a market day, work up an appetite and have lunch at Bistrot des Halles across the street or get a cab to Le Pré aux Clercs ..
  4. Gack! It's $59, with a $29 wine pairing. Sorry for the typo Also: the NY Times has an article about Oakland Restaurants today that's worth a read.
  5. Berkeley has four great major food areas; here's some of my favorites: Gourmet Ghetto (North Shattuck): Chez Panisse (upstairs cafe, downstairs restaurant); César (tapas); Grégoire (mostly take-out upscale French-ish); Cheeseboard Collective (great "pizza", cheese and bread); and relative newcomer Corso (rustic Italian). And get a cupcake at Love at First Bite. Solano Avenue -ish: Rivoli (California); Lalimes (Med/French); Ajanta (Indian). West Berkeley: Cafe Rouge (California/French with meat counter attached; best burger in the East Bay); Bette's (modern California diner); O Chame (country Japanese); Picante (Oaxaca burritos and plates); Vik's (Chaat). Elmwood (College Avenue): Shen Hua (modern Chinese); Wood Tavern (technically a few feet into Oakland); ici (ice cream). Other standouts: - La Note (Downtown Shattuck) for Provençal fare, especially brunch - Kirala (South Shattuck) robata grill, sushi, good sake list - Oliveto (Rockridge) Cal/Med, still great even after Paul Bertoli's exit - Commis (Piedmont) Michelin 1-star with a fantastic $29 3-course dinner Incomplete list
  6. If you want to stick to the trains, I think Beaune would be a good destination; the TGV goes from Gare de Lyon to Dijon in less than 2 hours, and a 20 minute connection through some of the storied towns of Burgundy will drop you a few blocks or a quick taxi ride from the center of Beaune. Beaune is a nice, compact walking town with lots of good restaurants and hotels -- you're sure to find one in your price range, but I can't help recommending Hotel le Cep. Let us know what you do!
  7. And, as I rudely found out two years ago, sealed mustard!
  8. What is Paris like on Christmas Eve? I've been there many times, but mostly between March and November. When I lived in NYC, I found that Christmas Eve was very festive, I think -- and this might just be my Crackpot Theory -- mostly because people live in small apartments and so in order to get to be with their friends, you have to go out. Last year, after many years of living back on the West Coast, we went to NYC for Christmas and had a great time: getting a table at the Spotted Pig at 10pm on the 24th was a madhouse; an hour of drinks before we got a spot, every minute worth it. Is Paris "open" on the 24th, or is it closed? Thanks!
  9. Howdy, Berkeley neighbor! If a nice lunch and a bunch of great wines sounds like a good idea to you, try to have lunch at la Table d'Olivier Leflaive: http://www.olivier-leflaive.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=5 (last time I was there, Olivier himself came out near the end with a breathalizer ...)
  10. I did get a response: "Ok, we fixed something; try again!" ... which failed. They asked me to try onemore time, and then gave up: I sent in my credit card over email and they sent me a PDF of the 'stampa @ casa' tickets.
  11. I'm probably not the only person who wants to know: what web sites!? If you're interested in wine, lunch at Olivier Leflaive's table is a lot of fun: many wines, decent lunch. It's about 10km from Pommard.
  12. Has anyone else tried to buy tickets online? I can't seem to get member prices for the last day (though I can for other days). I sent in a note to ticketone, but I'm not hopeful for a reply ... Is there any chance they'll sell out? The recent San Francisco event did, which was a shocker. Also: many of the events within the show are already sold out, so if you're interested in that kind of thing, I'd book now.
  13. Has anyone been to Don Carlos recently? I'm having a hard time finding much on the web about it, but the little I have seen looks good. We're headed to the Salone del Gusto in Torino in late October and are spending one night in Milano beforehand. It seems we're never staying for long there, but last year we unexpectedly showed up in the city for one night and got to talking with the folks in the cafe at Peck in the late afternoon and somehow finagled an 11pm (!) table at Cracco that night which was a fantastic surprise, even though we had to be up at 6am the next day for a flight. We ordered the menu and made our way through nearly all of the desserts, the excellent staff stayed with us until we were ready to leave. I'd love to do it again, of course, but we're staying at the Grand Hotel and I wonder if we shouldn't just take it easy this time and simply come downstairs for dinner ... thanks!
  14. I had a great lunch at le Bristol last fall with all the attributes you listed: great price, not too much food, beautiful room. Lunch started (and we got there) at 12:30 and most everyone was gone by the time we left. I think some of them had to go back to work or something
  15. Why do you have to choose?
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