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  1. Chez Panisse was where I had hoped to go, but they are closed on Sunday. Thanks for the suggestions.
  2. It's been my experience with higher end restaurants in Spain that they allow smoking, but they typically have very good ventilation systems so that the smoke is a non-issue.
  3. Heh, he accurately predicted my reaction. I find myself enjoying the travel scenery, but the tedious conversation and lack of concentration on the food disappoints. My reaction to the show's principle characters is as follows: Mario - I enjoy watching him. He's well informed and seems to be enjoying himself. Bitman - I find him irritating. He doesn't really add much to the show other than being a foil for Mario. I guess he's taking over for that Rudy character from one of Mario's older shows. Paltrow - I'm sure very she's nice in person, but I think she's a complete waste of space on this show. How many gratuitous closeups of her do we have to endure? It's really awesome that she's such a committed mom, but they don't need to keep hitting us over the head with it. I get that she's Mario's friend, but the only reason I can think of for her being on the show is her celebrity. I'm fairly certain that Mario has other friends that would be far better informed and more interesting. And, yeah, she's got a retarded diet (even though she claims not to "believe" in diets), WTF! Claudia - Hot, but that seems to be her only qualification. She seems really uninformed about Spain and Spanish food; and she's spanish! Ratio of good stuff to eye rolling crap is all wrong. As someone above said, it would have been a better show with Bourdain and Batali.
  4. If I go for Sunday lunch, should I expect a long wait in line around, say, 1:00pm?
  5. Then you should check out La Venencia, address: Echegaray, 7. It's an old sherry bar that's been around for something like 98 years. Looks like it hasn't been painted since it opened. The walls have a great patina from all that smoke over the years! Fun place for a quick drink.
  6. I was recently in Madrid and had great meals at the following (all have quite good wine lists): Arce - rather upscale, but informal. Everything we ate here was great. Inaki Camba's geniality is a real treat. http://www.restaurantearce.com/ Casa Julian de Tolosa - should you feel like trying the amazing beef from the Basque region go here for a chuleton. http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/restaurant.../736_ficha.html Asturianos - pretty basic, but very good, taverna specializing in dishes from Asturias. Also, a unique wine list in that it has some interesting french offerings. The owner is worth speaking to if you're interested in wine as he was very enthusiastic about his cellar. http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/restaurant.../107_ficha.html Coque - it's a Michelin *, though it's arguably underrated at that. Located about a 1/2 hour taxi ride out of the centre of Madrid, it's worth the trip if you're interested in trying what has to be the best roast suckling pig on the planet (only the most minor hyperbole here.) http://www.restaurantecoque.com/coque.htm Astrid y Gaston - Peruvian restaurant with very high quality cevice, among other things. http://www.elmundo.es/metropoli/restaurant...2936_ficha.html Madrid's a great city for walking around. Have fun.
  7. Both of these places have good peking duck: http://kingsgarden.sites.toronto.com/ http://www.metropolitan.com/lwh/ or their uptown "sister" http://www.laitohheen.com/
  8. La Paz Market in Madrid has a vedor located in the middle aisle who sells high quality iberico and will vacum seal for you. I bought 2 joselito legs, 4 lomo, and 2 chorizo from him (it was about 20 kg total.) He deboned the hams and double vacum sealed everything for me. I was a little nervous going through customs but all went well. Good luck!
  9. Cheese Boutique, Cumbrae, Oliffe, Whole Foods, Pusateri...
  10. Thanks so much for the suggestions Victor and Pepe. That's exactly what I was hoping for. When I said casual I wasn't referring to atmosphere but rather style of cuisine. I love long, multi-course dinners, but sometimes something very simple but well executed is preferable. Victor, in the past I've had great results with your recs (Coque, Combarro, Casa Lucio, L'Hardy, and Tinin sprig immediatley to mind), so I really appreciate your input. And, as always, the hairier the better! Culinista, I was hoping the commute would be a walk.
  11. I'll be in Girona for a few days in April . Our plan is to have dinner at Can Roca one evening, but we'll have 2 other nights free where we would like to something a little more casual. Any suggestions would be welcome. Also, where would one be advised to stay when dinning at Can Roca? While in Girona we'll be staying at Hotel Ciutat. Would it be best to stay there that night or is there anything located in the countryside that is suitabley close? I've looked at Mas Pau, Mas Torrent, Mas Falgarona, and Castell d'Emporada, but they all seem to be a little farther away then I would like (I'm hoping to make it to Mas Pau later in the week.)
  12. Some of my favorites are: Starfish Jamie Kennedy Terroni Dynasty Chinese Cuisine I concur on Lei Wah Heen. Enjoy!
  13. Dean & Deluca has Spanish canned tuna, which is also very high quality. Both regular tuna as well as belly (Ventresca).
  14. Bux, a couple of links as suggested: Link 1 Link 2
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