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Mrs. B

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  1. You get what you pay for, specially when it refers to wine. The Basa from Rueda , IIMHO was excellent for the money. Clean, with a hint of a floral bouquet, easy drinking and great with the salty anchovies. The red "Abrazo", also inexpensive at $30 needed airing, it was a bit harsh, it got better towards the end of the meal. We should have had the waiter decant it into a carafe and it would have been ready to drink sooner. But if you don't like red wine then there is nothing more to say. Besides the Piquillo peppers, my other favorite was the wild boar with Escalivada (similar to the French ratatouille). One cannot go to Casa Mono expecting to leave satisfied and get out under $60 per person including tax, tip and wine; all those small dishes add up. I thought it was funny when Pan said he had brought his camera to take photos of the meal, it is so dark in there one can barely see what you are eating. Even though I was disappointed with the buñuelos the last time there, I ordered the Crema Catalana with buñuelos and this time the crema was too liquidy. The buñuelos with the bay leaf inside should come with a warning, to the unsuspecting diner, not to eat the bay leaf. It is there only to give taste and shape to the buñuelos. I have two theories about restaurants with excrutiatingly loud music - it is a "first date" place since you cannot really speak to your date because she can't hear across the table (even though the tables are so small you can play kneesies) then you have to have a second date; and everybody wants to get to the second date, no? The second theory is that they want you to eat fast and get out of there and not dawdle at the table so there is a big turnover, and that is how you make money. Don't get me wrong, though, this is the third time we have been to Casa Mono, you just have to be in the mood for a loud and dark place with good food.
  2. Bourdain raved about it, but then, I think he went there with Adria
  3. I was curious to find out when the Hauterive Saint James in Bouliac was last renovated. I searched several sources at my fingertips and was unable to get that information. It is still a Relais Chateaux so it must be kept up. In their website http://www.saintjames-bouliac.com/ they mention the chef Michel Porto, Amat is long gone. Another suggestion for Bordeaux if you prefer to stay in the center of the city is the Hotel Burdigala with more reasonable prices. There are several one star places to eat within walking distance. If you want a superb but not starred dinner, try La Tupina. I am sure that if you do a search here you'll find several reviews and comments.
  4. When are you planning on going? You might check Air France, Iberia and Air Europa, they have flights from CDG to Barcelona for $174 (round tripincluding taxes), then you can take a train or drive to Girona. There are all sorts of fares depending on when you are leaving, and how long you are staying.
  5. In NY I happen to eat at Pret a Manger very often, almost daily and it gets very boring having the same sandwiches, salads and soups every day. They do not vary, other than the soups, they add a couple of cold soups in the summer. So, in all fairness, I must say that the Fast Good with daily specials works for me. Also, not everybody has 2-3 hours lunch time to have a nice leisurely lunch. Spain, and perhaps mostly Madrid is changing and businesses are running more European or American with hours for lunch 1-1 1/2 hours long. What I did not like was the decor, specially the color used, too green for me.
  6. On our recent trip to Spain we bought some canned Lodosa brand piquillo peppers. I opened them the other day and served them cold with fresh boquerones we had also bought at the market in Madrid. To all of our surprise they were very, very spicy, like scotch bonnets or something hot like that. Wow, they were hot. We have other jars of Lodosa brand piquillo peppers and they were not hot, how is that? There is no indication on the box that they would be hot. And it was not just one, but all of them! Anybody have any comments?
  7. "cabrito" in Spanish is definitely eaten in PR in fricasee and also roasted. I had some at La Casita Blanca in PR when we were last there. They make a very good stew with it.
  8. We have a Silvia and have struggled with it for a long time until I have figured out the routine. We use an old hand-me-down Braun grinder mostly because I had been having so hard a time getting a good thick crema that I did not want to invest anymore on my morning coffee. Anyway, we use Danessi Gold mostly , bought in a 1kilo bag in the beans. At one point the crema was not very good but, then where we buy the coffee-Di Palo in Little Italy, NY-received a new shipment of the coffee & the crema has been incredible. So, to make a short statement long - IMHO the freshness of the coffee is VERY important. Now that I am getting good crema, I don't see spending a lot on getting a new grinder
  9. Why not just call Babbo and make the reservation for two persons for dessert and let them know what the situation it, maybe they will be accommodating
  10. There have been a zillions of threads on eating in Barcelona, top restaurants, cheap eats, etc with personal accounts and reviews. Do a simple search in eG for Barcelona and I am sure you will find lots of suggestions.
  11. Perhaps the railroad network should treat luggage and people the same way the airlines and airports are now doing...you have to go through securitywhere they must xray, baggage and people How are they going to stop a suicide bomber by closing the luggage bins?
  12. I think it is hard to trust 100% any one guide. We usually check two or three guides for suggestions and recommendations. The Michelin Guide which is very good for France is a miser when it comes to stars in Spain. I just went to the site of "La mejor gastronomia...." and found that all the reviews of the restaurants I chose sounded almost all the same. I found them generally boring. The critic did not seem to get excited about anybody in particular except for Las Rejas in Pedroneras. BTW, the Campsa also has tourist information and wines. It is unfortunate that the CD that comes with the two books is only PC formated and not for Mac users. One fault it has is that it does not indicate on a map where the "soles" are located, one has to go city by city. But nobody is perfect right?
  13. Have you ever used the campsa guide? http://www.campsa.es/esp/infinito/gcampsa/...guia_campsa.asp I think their "soles" rating seems to be right on the mark. Check them out.
  14. Perhaps you should drop off your mom at Oceo on 49th St betw 7th and 8th Ave in the Time hotel, the food there is bland for sure. Then you guys run over to DB Bistro for a real good dinner.
  15. The problem for us with la Hacienda Benazuza in Salucar la Mayor (El Bulli hotel/restaurant) is that they only serve dinner from Spring to summer and it is 18 kms from Sevilla. Don't like the idea of driving late at night after a big dinner with wine. About an hour's drive South of Sevilla is Sanlucar de Barrameda and in the port there are two highly recommended restaurants for seafood: Mirador Donana (we ate there last Spring-very good) and El Bigote just next door.
  16. Thank you Rogelio, but we drove the Ubeda-Jaen-Granada-Cordoba-Malaga-Ronda-Sevilla way and did eat at Tragabuches last April.
  17. It really depends on wether you want modern or old world. Here is a one or two word description of each: Claris - sophisticated, sleek, a designer's dream hotel Condes de Barcelona - Art Nouveau Avenida Palace - Old World spanish, lots of antiques in the lobby Majestic - Belle Epoque, eclectic lobby, a favorite of visiting dignitaries If you want modern I would go to the Claris, otherwise, my choice would be the Majestic and third the Avenida Palace
  18. The breakfasts I remember most were the ones in "winter" when my mother used to make natilla which was the only way I would have eggs as a very young child. Otherwise, we used to have "mallorcas or suizos" an eggy-soft-sugary bread dunked in hot chocolate (later as I got older it was dunked in cafe con leche). When I was in high school I was too far from home to go back there for lunch so I used to have lunch near my school. There was a small place, almost like someone's house where they served a plate of the day and it was usually something like rice and beans (the color of the beans varied from day to day-black, pink, red) tostones, some sort of stewed or fricaseed meat-chicken, beef, or pork chops and dessert usually flan or "casquitos de guayaba" (stewed, candied guava shells served with white farmer's cheese). I was usually half asleep on the second half of the school day
  19. Cod fish and conch fritters seem to be a common food in all the islands. One very good rendition of cod fish fritters are the "accras" of Martinique. Similar to the Puertorrican "bacalaitos" but with chiles to make them spicy and very jummy I wonder if jueyes are unique to PR. The jueyes place Bux referred to in his last post is called Richards and is in Carolina. As a young girl my family used to make the trek from our house (near the airport) by the beach dirt road (sometimes getting stuck in the soft sand and having to push the car out of the ditches) and across the river on a very rustic raft ( one guy pulled a rope and another guy pushed with a pole ). Then we arrived in Carolina and at Richards. We feasted on jueyes done in different ways, simply boiled, with rice, in "alcapurrias" or salmorejo (the meat stewed and placed back in the shell for presentation). It was a whole day occassion and a memorable one. Now, you can take the "expreso" and or go by the beach and cross a bridge, into Carolina. Richards is still there.
  20. Mrs. B


    Last night there were two sommeliers, Paul Grieco and a very knowledgeable young woman who approched us while Bux was looking at the wine list. She knew about the St. Joseph Grippa. and spoke to Bux at length. I don't think she was a server, she was wearing a different "uniform" and was not serving only taking care of wine orders and filling up wine glasses. I hope that clears up the confussion.
  21. Mrs. B


    I'm glad you were concentrating on the wine, and did not notice that the sommelier was a SHE not a he
  22. I received this message in my office email and thought I would pass it on to all interested:
  23. My preferance in Barcelona is to stay near the upper Ramblas (Gran Via de las Corts Catalanes) and as far away from the lower Ramblas as possible. If youare staying only one day, it is essential you stay in a central location, as mentioned above. There are several upscale and beautiful hotels there, are you looking for a modern looking hotel or one more traditional looking so you know you are in Spain and not at a Sheraton in middle America? I do not feel the Ritz there is worth the money they are asking. Some suggestions are the Majestic, Condes de Barcelona, Claris, Avenida Palace.
  24. A couple of years ago we visited El Convento, did not stay there. Just a month ago I sent a client there and they loved it. They liked the accommodations, the location They also mentioned that the staff was very friendly and helpful and that the hotel included several unexpected ammenities in the room, like bottled water at no charge. Don't know the date of the bad or mixed reviews you read but since the hotel was taken over to be represented by Small Luxury Hotels they need to comply with stringent qualifications. I am sure you will love it.
  25. Now you know why I don't drink water You know what WC Fields said about water
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