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Everything posted by sumac

  1. We have so many wonderful choices these days. I agree with all the suggestions so far, including Cosmos and Levain. I would also add Five, La Belle Vie, 20.21 at The Walker Art Museum, Cue at The Gutherie Theater, Solera, Auriga. If you go to City Pages, and search for Restaurants, most of the listings link you to their websites. Then you can compare and select the one from our recommendations that best suits you. Let us know where you end up and how it was for your group.
  2. I totally agree with snowangel.....none of those restaurants would be on my list. Admitedly, 15 is not always easy. However, I would suggest: Peninsula Restaurant Alma Krua Thailand Broders Pasta Bar Vincents Solera Fugaise Town Talk Diner
  3. He might just be taking some time off, but I know he has been there longer than he originally planned. My husband and I are fans of his also, so I will post any information I get.
  4. He and his family are in France. I don't know where exactly, and I think he plans to come back to the States at some point. I will post if I have any news from him.
  5. I have heard you can get casings at Everett's in Minneapolis, 38th St. E. near Cedar Ave., 612-729-6626. Ready Meats on Johnson St. NE would be another good place to try, 612-789-2484.
  6. Tria is in North Oaks. Joan Ida, the pastry chef from Goodfellows, is the head chef there and I've heard she is doing quite well. I haven't been though. My Le Hoa is on North Rice Street in Little Canada and is best know for Dim Sum. Does your area include Stillwater?
  7. Why is there no mention of Campton Place? A year or so ago they were red hot. Did they lose their chef or what? We are going to be in SF this January, as we are every year. We eat at the top restaurants and have our favs, but I was just looking for some updates. Quince is new for us and we'll definitely try it. We love Fifth Floor and Elizabeth Daniel (sorry to see it close, any word on his new spot?). Any advice, west coasties??? We also love the Asian restaurants. sumac from minnesota Here is our list of favorites, not in any order: French Laundry Bistro Don Giovanni's La Toque Taylor's Refresher Bistro Jeanty Mustards (lunch) Fifth Floor Elizabeth Daniel (gone, sad) Slanted Door Aqua Gary Danko Jeanty at Jack's
  8. sumac

    Oregon & Washington wines

    We just returned from 3 days of tasting at the IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) in Oregon, which featured lots of good wines from all over the world, but specially Oregon. One of our favorites has always been and continues to be Domaine Serene Domaine Serene. They make excellent Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
  9. bcnchef, thank you for your thorough response. We had pretty much the same experience that you had as we also did not see the sparks of vitality and life in the dishes. Thus we wondered.....is this a new shift on purpose? We have always seen that spark before and it was not there this time, which is why I started this thread. I am sad that the excitement we had experienced on other visits seemed to be gone. Thank you all on this topic for helping me through this analysis. We were concerned it might just have been us being too demanding. Simon mentioned that a new chef may be the reason for the changes. I would ask whether that is making the difference or is Santi just too preoccupied with his expansions and all that entails to be able to give his full attention to his cuisine?? And by the way, Simon,.....why is a chef other than Santi driving Santi's cuisine? Thanks, sumac
  10. Thank you, Simon, for explaining that to me. As I mentioned, that is exactly what we experienced, straight-forward, and perfect quality of ingredients. I am looking forward to your reaction, bcnchef. Thanks to both of you for answering me. sumac
  11. We have eaten the tasting menu at Can Fabes 4 times and the first 3 were amazing. Late last April was our fourth time there and it did not even seem like the same cuisine. On our first three visits we had many more courses, smaller in size, wonderfully inventive combinations of flavors, and the highest quality of ingredients. On our last visit the courses were larger, simpler, more straight-forward, yet still absolutely perfect in quality of ingredients. Has Santi Santamaria changed his cuisine on purpose? What do others know about this? I will list two of our menus. The first is from March, 2003, and is typical of the kind of menu we were served on our first three visits there. The second is our most recent visit in April, 2004. Tasting Menu -- March 2003 1. Amuse Platter with 12 small bites apiece 2. Oyster shooter in oyster water with chopped zuccini, asparagus, and peas 3. Sea urchin and mussels, sea urchin broth, served in the urchin shell 4. Pigeon tartare with dried artichoke hearts or Truffle 3 ways: on polenta, stuffed with foie gras, shaved on potato crepe (we had both between us and shared) 5. Sauteed calamari and octopus with baby asparagus, peas and carrots in a seafood sauce 6. Cabbage cream soup with poached egg and root vegetables 7. Hake in comesco (red pepper)sauce 8. Glazed goat in a reduction sauce 9. Sweetbreads on potato puree au jus 10. Local cheeses with truffles 11. Marscapone with truffle puree 12. Trio of sorbets, blood orange, mandarin, pineapple 13. Chocolate souffle with banana ginger ice cream Tasting Menu -- April 2004 1. Amuse platter with 7 small bites apiece 2. Cold foie gras poached in port wine and served with mache 3. Frog legs in a garlic, white bean sauce 4. Spiny lobster served in the shell with a butter sauce 5. Sea bass, scallops and peas in a light broth 6. Sliced beef and turnips (sliced table-side, no sauce, huge portions) 7. Cheese selection 8. Trio of sorbets, pear, orange, pineapple 9. Frais du bois with coconut ice cream 10. Toffee cream parfait What we have experienced is two very different styles of cooking. Has he changed or was it maybe just a temporary lapse from his extremely ambitious and inventive cuisine we'd had in the past? Unable to be regulars there as we live in the States, it is hard to know. Our first 3 times there were all extraordinary (1996, 2001, 2003). Last time was good, solid, but nothing to blow us away. Thanks, pedro, for encouraging me to share this experience. sumac
  12. sumac


    You are so right, Pork's Neck. I guess that apostrophe just gets in the way of dangling little fingers.
  13. Sorry I didn't reply earlier, I've been out of town. My husband took care of all the arrangements, and he worked directly with Vincent and Michael to come up with a pre-set, 6 course menu. We started with Champagne and passed canapes, had pre-selected wines for each course, and yes, private servers. We are doing another, less formal one this summer and will offer a set three course menu with each guest pre-selecting a particular fish, meat, or vegetarian main. Again we will start with cocktails and canapes and will offer a red and a white wine throughout the dinner. So, as far as I know, you always have to choose the menu beforehand, but they are great to work with and very flexible. You can custom design almost anything you want and they can do it. They really do a FABULOUS job! It is a great setting and a fun way to dine being able to mix around during the cocktails and enjoy peering into the main restaurant, then once you are seated it feels totally private. And BTW the food is superb!!
  14. We recently hosted a private dinner there on his loft level. He is awesome and having dined there regularly since it opened, we think he just keeps raising the bar. Go Vincent, "Le Grand Fromage". Have you ever seen his name on his chef's jacket?
  15. When we are in that area, we love lunch at The Rio Grill, Hwy. 1 and Rio Rd, Carmel. We also love the french fried artichoke hearts in Castroville. They are served with a variety of dipping sauces. Buy a bag full and eat away. We either go to Pezzini Farms (which might be closed?) or The Giant Artichoke, but there are lots of other places and roadside stands. Have a nice time.
  16. As a fellow tourist to New Orleans, my advice is to find a hotel in the French Quarter. We stayed at one in that ridiculousy expensive category, but we have also stayed at one of those ($$$$) just outside the French Quarter. No comparison to our experience. For us it is so nice to have the French Quarter right outside our door! The only taxis you will take are when you go to Upperline and Jacque's Imo, which I am sure you will! This advice from a tourist, not an insider, but then tourists often have different needs than the locals. Have a great time.
  17. If you are in the mood, Bill's Drive-in serves "the" Chicago hot dog. I have heard that Kuni's Japanese on Main St. is one of the best sushi restaurants in Chicago. Also, if you have a car, a really interesting site to visit is The Bahai Temple about 1 mile north of Evanston in Wilmette and on Sheridan Rd. I agree about Northwestern University. It is a beautiful campus and a great place for a long walk. We had dinner at Trio in November on a Friday night, walked the campus for 2 hours Saturday morning, but then headed into the city for lunch at Frontera Grill, dinner at Blackbird, Sunday dinner at Arun and flew home. It was an awesome weekend and I do think Evanston has interesting things to offer.
  18. Two different cures I have witnessed but not tried personally: 1. Fernet Branca (a liqueur made with 40 herbs), straight up or with Coke, taken as the last drink of the night. This is a fav with chefs and they swear by it. 2. In the morning drink the following: 26 freshly shucked, raw oysters, tomato juice, Tabasco, 1/4 a bottle of Mexican beer, made as a drink and chugged as fast as possible. We actually saw a bartender drink that as we sat at the oyster bar/ bar in Shaw's Crab House in Chicago, nursing our own hangovers with traditional Bloodys and a huge platter of raw oysters. He said it is fool proof and he does it every Sunday.
  19. I think the bar at NOLA's is the best table in town, but with only 6 seats, it was already taken at 5:30 by us and the 2 couples who arrived 30 seconds after we did. They also have a "kitchen" bar which faces the kitchen, but it is by reservation only and was fully booked. If I needed a sure thing, that is where I would book a reservation. Any reaction from any one to my Brigtsen experience?
  20. Mayhaw Man, Our whole experience at Brigtsens was okay, but nothing special compared to that wonderful Joanne at Upperline, the way she treated us, her hospitality, her fabulous food. We ate dinner at Brigtsen's on Friday, December 26th, so they might have all been "holidayed-out." We arrived with a gift for Marna and Frank, a special bottle of wine, gave it to Marna, she thanked us, seated us and said she'd be over later to talk to us. Although she was around, she never even acknowledged us again, and when we asked to say goodbye to her, we were told she had gone home. The food was good, very solid, not great. The service is a team approach and was not always the smoothest, rather inattentive at times. I will admit that our mediocre experience there was only magnified by the amazing experience we had at Upperline. We arrived with the same gift of wine for Joanne and you would have thought we were Santa Claus. She was super friendly and attentive all night, kept sending out extra courses for us to taste and even brought the chef to our table to meet us. By the end of the evening we felt like family. Ahhhhh, southern hospitality and definitely the best food of the trip. We had a great weekend and can hardly wait to come back. A funny part of our trip: we took a taxi to Jacque's-Imo and arrived at 5:00 all prepared to stand in line (with a drink from the bar next door). Oops, closed for the Holidays. After much discussion, we had the taxi take us to Nola and became first in line for one of the six seats at the bar as the restaurant was fully booked, but we had a great meal and loved eating at the bar, so a near disaster became a huge success.
  21. We were just there the weekend after Christmas for a short get away from the cold deal (also in MN). Thanks to all the advice from eGullet, our food was fabulous. Our top place, hands down, was Upperline. I would not miss it. Jacques'-Imo was closed, but I would go there also. We had a great lunch at Mr. B's (gumbo, BBQ shrimp and Bloodys) and also Sunday Jazz Brunch there. We love that place. We had another wonderful dinner at NOLA, but dinner at Brightsen's was very disappointing. We did mid afternoon snacks of a beer and oysters at Acme and shared a Bloody and a bowl of Jambalya at Coops. Don't miss that either. Breakfast one morning was sharing a mufeletta at Central Grocery. Get there early, the line is long. We love lots of little tastes so we can experience it all. I would go back in a flash if I could and again graze my way through that wonderful city. Lucky you! Sumac
  22. sumac

    Hideous Recipes

    I have toyed with the idea of doing an all White Castle dinner party using recipes that call for Sliders...........my husband's one junk food weakness and passion. I would do White Castle appetizer meatballs, nachos, Vidalia onion dip, turkey with White Castle stuffing, brocolli and White Castle casserole, macaroni and White Castle casserole, twice baked Slider potatoes, to name a few. My husband thinks it is a great idea. I hate them, so have not yet put this together (notice I have avoided the temptation to abbreviate as WC). Our friends would think it was a riot, specially since we are usually haute cuisine types and the most fun of all is that the wine would still be wonderful. No Ripple at this party!
  23. Regarding Beaune, we have eaten at Ma Cuisine 3 times. The first time we ordered the prix fixe and were also disappointed. Some wine makers told us they do that for the tourists and we should order the Burgundy specialties (such as Jambon Persille) off the menu. The next two times we ate there we ordered off the menu and it was wonderful. Les TonTon was also a favorite of ours and also as empty as when you went. We have eaten there twice and are always pleasantly surprised. Consider yourself lucky that Le Jardin des Remparts was closed. You dodged a bullet. We also enjoyed La Ciboulette for traditional Burgundian fare.
  24. I could help with contacts in the Twin Cities. My husband and I attended the first fundraiser here at Vincent; it was a great turnout and we are friends with a couple of the organizers. PM me.
  25. Thanks for the advice. I hope to try Dara Thai and Foodsmart in February. The Chef at True Thai actually used to be at Dara Thai and if you check out www.truethairestaurant.com, they also have a store where you can buy that curry.
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