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robert brown

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  1. Having just come back from Nice, I was reminded of one restaurant that if you have good dining luck can be the best seafood around: Bacon in Cap d'Antibes, Note,however, that it is expensive and a haunt of well-to-do foreigners. You have to be alert, ask the right questions, and not be intimidated as the servers can be somewhat arrogant at times. I have had some of my better fish meals there, however. Also they don't offer every type of fish or crustacean on the menu that they have, as exemplified by the time we were able to order a cigale de mer. Le Bistro des Viviers (or Les Viviers) in the center of Nice is likely the best seafood restaurant in town. We returned there after a lull and found it to be more memorable than before. The chef is a veteran, trained even by the great Alain Chapel in the early 1980s. The fish soup is our favorite one in the area. The selection is copious and rather reasonably priced. Ask, though if the fish you want is farm or wild as I suspect two dorades we ordered were the former. Our dessert of an authentic old-time chocolate souffle was a really good one. Restaurants like this are falling by the wayside.
  2. For years it has been no secret why Jewish peoples go out for Chinese food and almost always early Sunday eve. They eat a late breakfast of bagels, lox, CC, whitefish, sturgeon, and sable such that they get hungry around 5:30, six o'clock and crave an antidote to all that appetizing. What more polar-opposite than Chinese food, especially Cantonese. So-called European/American fine dining is out of the question if only because these restaurants open later, whereas the Chinaman is open all day. Japanese food is also out of the question since lox, sturgeon, etc. are a form of sashimi. Eastern European food is too heavy even though you would expect the Jews to have an affinity for that, given their roots. So there's your answer. Or as my grandmother used to say, "That's it and settled."
  3. Dave, if the names are the same (Guide Gourmand de la France), then Gault and Millau used the name of 1970 book for its annual guides. The book is 1112 pages long, had six collaborators besides the two men, and 128 itinerairies with many sub-itineraries, long essays about each region an, d major towns and cities, an index of regional dishes, a restaurant list, and on and on. It even dwarfs the Slow Food publications in its scope and detail. I see that it is published as one of the books in the "Bibliotheque des Guides Bleus". No doubt much of what it describes and documents no longer exists.
  4. Dave, I'm not talking about the annual Guide Gault-Millau. The work I am recommending pre-dates their first restaurant guide (Guide Julien, I think) and the first one, soon after, under their names. This one-time-only book covers gastronomic France town-by-town and road-by-road exactly like the Guide Bleu. It was never to be replicated or updated again: an amazing piece of work. I don't think it has even been made into a reprint, which it so obviously calls out for.
  5. Although written 40 years ago, nothing comes close to what you want than "Guide Gourmand de la France" written by Henri Gault and Christian Millau. It's laid out like the Blue Guides and covers every bit of France in terms of its culinary landscape. It's in French. To get it, try the big antiquarian book sites like ABE Books or Alibris. Maybe Amazon has a used copy. It's unbelieveable.
  6. I recently shared the veranda at La Pineta with the son-in-law of Giacomo Bologna who strongly recommended Ciau di Tornavento, saying that since the restaurant changed hand five years ago, the food has gotten to be very good. Any fresh visits anyone can report?
  7. For all the fish lovers on eMullet, here's what the gurnard, sea bream, turbot and pandora ("pageot") look like just off La Pineta's own boats. I hope to elaborate soon. http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/12409508..._6664_20965.jpg
  8. hazardnc, now and next month is the best time for shellfish, but even so, it is really hard to score it in Nice, at least for me. Cafe de Turin has hit the skids badly, and to tell you the truth, I don't go to the Negresco anymore. That place may be your best bet in Nice. Hostellerie Jerome does a good job with shrimps of San Remo, which I believe are available much or all of the time. This restaurant is in La Turbie, about a 25 minute drive from downtown Nice. White fish such as dorade, loup de mer, and pageot end up best around Nice, say La Mere Germaine in Villefranche. Rouget as well. Nice just isn't as satisfying as Italy. I always tell people to hop across the border to Balzi Rossi just a stone's throw from the old border crossing on the sea at the Menton Veni8tmiglia line. Even better for fish, but about a 75-minute drive from Nice is La Conchiglia in Arma di Taggia, the next town after San Remo. If I get good fish at a few new place I want to try this month, I'll let you know.
  9. For what it's worth, I recall from my lunch two years ago that the folks there were really very accomodating when they let me and my wife order whatever we wanted. If memory serves me right, it was pretty much a la carte ordering from more than one tasting menu since there were dishes I had read about that weren't all on the same menu. Fat Duck is really a very nice place and we had one of the best meals we have had in several years.
  10. Let's figure it this way then: If Richard can return to Normandy in the not-too-distant future (and since he apprently lives in Belgium, he can easily do so), then he can take it or leave it now as far as Sa Qua Na is concerned. However, if such is not his situation and his trips to Normandhy will be few and far between, I can't see why he would want, given the vagaries of life, to pass over a chance to visit a young chef considered by the cognoscenti to be a genuine future great. I don't know or can't tell which posters have been to Sa Qua Na, but I have had two meals there that made me glad I did, and I would recommend it to anyone. And I'm glad to hear that Ptipois enjoyed Les Vapeurs recently.
  11. I went last summer to Sa Qua Na where I had two very interesting meals. The chef was in charge of Michel Bras' restaurant on Hokaido and served time in Laguiole as well. It's stupid not to go there since you're not going to find him anywhere else. By all means you should go. While I am not a partisan of forced feeding, I found both his large and small fixed menus captivating. Also an intrepid international eater just came back from France raving about the place. The large menu is now 80 euros. On the same trip, a re-visit to Les Vapeurs in Trouville was depressing. It had been years before that we had the moules a la creme of our lives. This time ( last June) the place was sad and empty. So be prepared and hope otherwise. Still, maybe it was a fluke this last time. Who am I to tell you not to give it a whirl? It's a classic situation regardless. And it's just one meal.
  12. Having been obliged by the internationalization, democratization, and economic forces that have altered the face of great dining during the past 20 years, I've had to change my destinations away from provincial France to Italy, where I now seek out rigor, tradition, discipline and impeccable material, nowhere more so than along the Ligurian and, especially, Tuscan coasts. In so doing, I have belatedly concluded that fish/seafood represent the brass ring of eating, and nowhere do I find it better than in that part of the Western world. As I am about to spend a week going from Nice down to Maremma and back, I have started playng around with Microsoft Autostreets mapping restaurants. There's no shortage just from my putting down pushpins based on 'Osterie d'Italia" and "Gambero Rosso". While this isn't my first trip down there, I've barely scratched the surface. Therefore anyone from Fortedei to whomever who wants to make suggestions for me and the readership will have my great appreciation.
  13. I ran through the Google translator a recent story in an Italian wine publication that semed to say that the restaurant has been closed, but without any insight as to why, or if and when it would reopen. In 1995 I had one of the top two or three meals I have ever had in Italy at the restaurant, but upon returning two years ago, my meal (and my wife's) were pretty much a disaster. The chef has no successor in the family as one of his sons was helping out in the dining room, which he told us he did from time to time. It sounds ominous to me. I am sure someone will have an better answer later. I, for one, will be just north of San Vincenzo later this month to have several meals at La Pineda in Marina di Bibboni. The article recommends doing likewise.
  14. I can see now that the distribution of names on the list (indeed the entire exercise itself) is predicated on the vagaries of each participant’s restaurant-going for the past 12 months( or is it really 18 months?). It is at its core a random walk through Gastroplanet that has no rhyme, reason or rigor. Rank-ordering or codifying restaurants of the world flys directly in the face of the axioms “There is no accounting for taste” or “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. As I’ve stated before, each person needs to evolve into his own best gastronomic critic, and having mumbo-jumbo like this from so many people who are shilling, sucking up and on the take contributes nothing to this end.
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