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Everything posted by glauer

  1. Assuming that you are more interested in something artisanal, then there will be hundreds of options. Though there might be not much to see, since distillation takes usually place in he colder months. Wineries often also make eau de vie, so they could most likely connect you with a god place.
  2. glauer

    Italian Riviera

    We stayed right there just a few weeks ago. Did stay, but not eat in Santa Margharita, but the following restaurants in the area were pretty good (and 2) and 3) just 10 minutes away or 15, 1) is maybe 40 minutes): 1) In the mountains behind Chiavari is Ne, which has two very well known traditional restaurants, La Brinca being the more famous one. Since they do not have open for lunch we went to Antica Trattoria dei Mosto in the hamlet of Conscenti. Very simple interior and all the classical dishes of Liguria, lots of filled vegetables, interesting pasta shapes and sauces, braised meats, etc etc. At the end of our meal we saw some buddies of the owner come in for a few bites, to chat a bit and one of them brought a crate with the first porcinis of the season. This is how this place works, they cook what is available. For 35 Euros they serve you a variety of courses and lots of food. Don't expect anuything too refined or super light, but the taste is right. And the wine list is incredible. Everything that is good in Italy (and some top notch french wines), often older vintages and prices that make you cry...... you cannot get these wines for that price at retail in the US and most of Europe. They carry both the classics (B. Mascarello, Montevertine, etc etc) but also all the new funky ones (Gravner, Cornelissne etc). Bring friends so you can finally drink that Magnum of Pergole Torte for something like 130 Euro. 2) In Chiavari itself we liked Trattoria Il Portico. We had some fresh Bottarga, seafood salad, trofie pesto, spaghetti with seafood and as main just a plate of wonderful sauteed red min octopus. This is a great place to get really fresh unadulterated seafood. For me this was exactly the kind of food I want to eat in that region. They serve mostly wine from the Bisson winery down the street. They match perfectly with the food and cost barely over 10 Euro a bottle. 3) On the other side of the peninsula, in Camogli, we had a wonderful lunch at Rosa. http://www.rosaristorante.it/ Usually one better avoids restaurants with a view, but here you can sit on a terrace steep over the Riviera and still eat well. Very good Pesto (supposedly mortar made if you call ahead) and again simply prepared seafood. The fritto misto was the best I had in a very long time, incredibly light and crisp, something I would love them to teach our seafood shacks in New England. If you are looking for a guide, we very much enjoyed the Terroir Guide for Liguria. You will find more addresses for eating and food shopping than you can visit. Wherever we tried, we liked what was recommended. http://www.littlebookroom.com/foodwineriviera.html
  3. It says that you cannot book the arrangement on Wednesday and Thursday, because these days the restaurant is closed. But try really hard to eat one of their chicken dishes for two (they might not be available in the arrangements......but I would ask). The restaurant is overall quite good, if you like classical food, but the truffled chicken in the pigsbladder is a special treat, that very few places still offer. And to be sacrilegious (full disclaimer: I am German): you should also explore the wine area around Oberbergen. With few exceptions in Alsace, I think these days they make the better wine (and the dryer ones!) .And you won't find these at home.
  4. You could also stay on the German side of the highway. The Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen is a rather unique place in that is has not much changed in many many years. They used to be one of the first great french restaurants in Germany in the 70s (**) and have retained a * every since, without change in concept. The key to a wonderful time there is to give some instructions with your reservation a) pre-order the truffled chicken cooked in a pigs bladder and b) ask the Sommeliere to think about a special bottle to open before you come. They have one of the most extensive lists in Germany with many old vintages of Bordeaux and also Burgundy. In addition they own one of the better German wineries as well. All wine at very reasonable prices, especially the older vintages. You can also get a room there. And in good weather sit on the terrace under the wisteria. And you will get your cheese cart. http://www.franz-keller.de/
  5. Could you specify a little what kind of food excites you most? (Though it seems that you enjoy driving on highways the most...I actually think the trip is not just unreasonable, but insane......well, as long as you think it is fun all is good) In any case, there are plenty of exciting restaurants and sights on the way, far too many really, so you need to guide us a bit what you would be most interested in.
  6. In Stuttgart you can have lunch with a beautiful view (you can sit on a terrace or in a very sleek dining room) and very good food (classic, with regional and sometimes mediterranean inspiration) at Wielandshoehe. http://wielandshoehe.de The chef is famous since he has a TV show, but he is usually present and quite a character. Not your standard *. Easily reached by public transportation since it is adjacent a stop of the Rack Railway. Not everybody appreciates the relative simplicity of the food at that price level (made with top notch ingredients), but I am a fan. One of the most beautiful rooms to dine anywhere is in the Speisemeisterei. http://www.speisemeisterei.de I was not fully convinced by the food (it has a star since 2010), but I have heard of improvement. It is not in the city, however, but a few miles outside as a part of the Hohenheim castle complex that also houses the University. If you want something inexpensive but very typical, I love the Hotel Anker for regional food. Great inexpensive wine list too. This is in Moehringen, easily reached via city train. http://www.anker-stuttgart.de Enjoy your trip
  7. Oberbergen is 40 minutes from Colmar, I actually thought it would be even closer. If you want the chicken in the pigs bladder, you need to call ahead a couple of days. Without advance notice they can only make truffled chicken in salt or roasted, but the poached one is the most spectacular.
  8. In Colmar you could cross the border to Germany and eat at Schwarzer Adler in Vogtsburg/Oberbergen. Very traditional french food that can be fantastic if you order wisely. Best dish for me is the Chicken with truffles in a pigs bladder, quite amazing and so rare to find these days. Or any of the other dishes for two (or more). In good weather you can eat on the terrace. They have a spectacular wine list with quite reasonable prices. If you want to head further south (beyond Mulhouse) you should stop in Vieux Ferrette to visit Maitre Antony, maybe the best cheese affineur in the world. Incredible stuff, you will experience many well known cheeses as if you had them for the first time. They also offer a cheese ceremony on weekends, but it is always booked way in advance (though they told me last week that it is always worthwhile calling, esp if you are just two people). On the way down south Arbois in the Jura is always a nice stop for interesting wines and old school french countryside. Auberge Grapiot in Pupillin (1km away) has very good food, great wines by the glass to experience the region and is very moderately priced.
  9. I agree that B&G and Neptune are the places to go (though for me B&G is a bit ahead). Regarding prices there is actually no real difference. While not cheap, Boston has plenty of places with much worse food for significantly more money.
  10. glauer


    I ate there two weeks ago. Agree fully with felixhirsch. Waitstaff and the chef were quite nice. Food was much less impressive than the view. Bread was stale. Most dishes were pretty bland and the style was a little bit like last years fashion, with a bit of foam here and a bit of air there. Main course was veal, texture suggested it might have been done sous vide. They must have sucked the flavor out right with the air. Zero taste, including sauce and sides. Dessert was decidedly weird, almost as if a kid had thrown some goodies together. It consisted of chocolate truffles, chocolate shavings, something like roasted hazelnuts and some ice cream. Only thing missing was a spoon of Nutella. This was a place I really wanted to like, but there was not a single dish that gave me any indication that bigger things could happen here.
  11. getting a car and driving the 35 miles to Baiersbronn is by far the best option.....
  12. Indeed not an easy city for dining. Within a radius of 50km that changes dramatically though...... I have heard that http://www.seehaus-pforzheim.de/ is a reasonable option within the city. At least they seem to have seasonal menus. Good luck!
  13. oh, and in Nuernberg you should go to Essigbraetlein. Very unique ** Michelin (love or hate, but more of the former) with a cuisine heavily based on creative use of exotic spices. Another fantastic place with very special mix of Swabian and French haute cuisine is Landgasthof Adler in Rosenberg (though it is 90 mins away). One of the few places that cook at the highest level while there is no question where you are because of the strong influence of local ingredients and cooking.... their tripe with smoked eel and morels is a stunner. And prices very reasonable. http://www.landgasthofadler.de/
  14. The Michelin works well, but better or at least easier for fine dining. A more recent addition has been the "Gusto" guides that exist only for Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. http://www.gusto-online.de/ At least for the Baden-Wuerttemberg edition I find the guide extremely helpful; the judgement seems sound on the high-end level but they also cover in detail all the regional places. Highly recommended, though only in German and available there (and not yet with an online database).
  15. dangerous indeed.....I managed to create a fountain that spilled all across my (obviously brand new) jacket a few months ago. Having had a significant share of the wines I somehow lost my cool and jumped up shouting "Butter emergency". The staff worked like a well trained ER team and had everything cleaned and me under control within a minute. They even offered dry-cleaning for what was my stupidity (I declined).
  16. We were in the neighborhood and in the mood for sushi, so we stopped at the Sudbury outpost of what are said to be the best sushi places in the Boston area (I guess with the exception of O Ya). And the classical sushi pieces did not disappoint at all. Perfect fish and seafood on perfect rice (though the pieces were huge, almost tough to handle in one piece). What I do not understand is the rave these places get for their "creative sushi". Being a sceptic from a previous visit curiosity still got the better of me and we ordered a crispy rock shrimp maki roll, some lobster tempura sushi and something else that I quickly forgot. These dishes, while certainly well prepared, almost spoiled our night. Already the fried seafood is slightly problematic next to the perfect raw preparations with all their "oceany" freshness. But the mayo-like sauces and almost cloying sweet flavors killed any subtlety and taste of the original product. We had to argue who would finish these dishes..... It saddens me that such perfect ingredients get pushed in a way that reminds me of cheesecake factory, especially as perfection is already right there. I will go back happily but definitely stick to the classic stuff.
  17. glauer


    aha, is that Jamie Bissonnette? A different chef would explain things. Everything seemed a bit more precisely cooked, a little bit lighter/more elegant and many more dishes (esp with offal) that sounded extremely interesting. Young potatoes with radish and cheese were also quite smart.
  18. I always liked Toro, but yesterday evening's dinner turned it up a notch. The classics as good as always, with not a single outlier. Then there were two things I never had before: 1) A foie gras creme brulee topped with a PX creme, served in a half egg shell. Maybe a tiny bit too sweet, but otherwise a quite light and flavorful surprise and fun presentation. 2) The absolute winner of the night: Corazon a la plancha. Perfectly cooked rare pieces of grass-fed beef heart with a few sprinkles of fleur du sel on a toasted slice of baguette with creamy romesco sauce. The best little bite I had in a long time. Perfect, if simple, combination that could have not been improved in any way. As I had a non-offal-eater with me I could not try the other organ meat dishes, but will do asap. If that continues to be the standard of cooking at Toro then they go way up on my list of interesting places to eat in Boston. Everything else was business as usual. The place is annoyingly loud and the service could be right in Madrid: Not that they seem to care all that much, but you get what you want.
  19. Had my first meal at Scampo a few nights ago. I do not feel it merits a full review but I want to highlight a few things as I heard good things about the place and others might be tempted to go. 1) The menu is weird. I could not really identify a theme. Italian seems most dominant, but a lot of other stuff pops up. The design mess of the printed menu is reflective of the weirdness of it all. Mozarella "bar"? A separate "Spaghetti" section, as appetizer or what? On the top a row of "specialty" breads incl naan, followed by pizzas? 2) Service was nice, but a bit pushy towards increasing the bill. And quite clueless. Wine had to be ordered by numbers (sic!) like in a chinese takeout and was poured with the bottle resting on the glass....... 3) They only give diners some breadsticks at the beginning. When I asked for some bread with the Mozarella and carpaccio/proscuttio dishes I was told we could order some of the specialty breads. After showing disapproval more breadsticks were served. The sticks themselves are well flavored, but seemed a bit stale. 4) They seem to use pretty good ingredients, especially when it comes to meat (while the tomatoes on the Pizza Margherita were devoid of any flavor or texture). And the meat dishes were well cooked. But everything suffered from some sweet sauce or other sweet ingredient. Brussels sprouts were pretty nasty - nothing was left of bitterness, but a creamy sweet mess. With all the sweetness everywhere and the wild mix of the menu this reminded me of Cheesecake Factory, though at a higher level. 5) The crowd was weird. A little bit steakhousy with a few quite loud and obnoxious large tables. Overall the place is quite short on sophistication, both regarding food and service. One can pick a reasonably tasty meal but for the money they charge one can get so much better and more interesting meals in Boston. Having said that, they must do something right: The place was fully booked on an early week night. My feeling is they do well with the same customers that make the expensive steakhouses such a big success.
  20. glauer


    I think that was pretty clear John that this is supposed to be at a different level. But one always expects some of the qualities of the mother ship to shine through. And there is not enough of that (yet) at Sensing Boston. Though as I said, I also find his flagship not as impressive as others (and was not surprised by the downgrade to two stars). But I will try again. It is not that we are overly spoiled with smart cooking here in Boston. And I definitely saw a few indications during my meal that there could be possibilities. Only the room seems hopeless.
  21. I have only been in 2001 and I did not taste the three stars either. Having continuously heard similar stories from other people I found the demotion last year unsurprising. But two stars seemed not exactly outrageous. You think it is so bad now that he needs to go down to one? While talking about Guy Martin...he just opened a Sensing in Boston. Not at all bad (especially compared to what else is considered great cooking around here) while at the same time demonstrating that he is no Robuchon who seems to be able to pull off a surprisingly classy restaurant chain. But for those who find Le Grand Vefour's ambiance over the top this would be a pleasant surprise. Looks like the breakfast room in a suburban Marriott.
  22. actually they last a few days, up to a week...we have extensively tested this (though they tend to disappear quickly) the "du jour" means they are made the same day and never sold the next
  23. What about Craigie on Main? I thought the new place has room for private dining. Vegetarian and parking also no issue.
  24. I have only been in the airport recently so I cant tell you about some not so well known smaller places. But thinking about my shopping bills at Spruengli in the airport I am happy to report that their chocolates are still first rate. Truffes du jour are a must as are some of the dark chocolate bars e.g. with roasted almonds. Various locations in the city (and in the cafe also very nice pastries). http://spruengli.com/informationen/filialen.php?lang=en
  25. glauer


    I have no clue what the design was supposed to be about. It really looks as if they had done a last minute transformation of a soulless breakfast room into a restaurant. It is all pastel colors and incredibly generic architecture and design. I think the only acceptable option is sitting at the bar of the open kitchen. They have special cocktails and stuff, but I did not really look at them as I drink almost exclusively wine.
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