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Jonathan Day

Gastrotourism, travelling to eat

33 posts in this topic

It is far more fun with my wife, or even better in groups of 4 to 8.

Interesting, Jonathan. While Mazal and I always enjoy the company of others who share our interest in eating well, we very much prefer to eat alone together. I wonder about others.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Robert, Melissa and I often dine alone, and we frequently go out to eat on our own when we travel with the children. But the dynamic is different: we do talk about the food and enjoy it, but gastronomy isn't the only focus. With more people, the tempo of the conversation is faster, there are more riffs and cross-comparisons of items, and there are often more dishes on the table.

OK, this raises another question: suppose you are dining with friends, and the primary object of the meal is gastronomic rather than just having a good time or catching up on news. Perhaps you have travelled to Paris together and snared that elusive table at Astrance.

Now:

  • - Do you get nervous if some diners are more food-obsessed than others? What if some are eGullet members and some are not? Do you explicitly try to balance the makeup of the group between foodies and normal people?
    - Do you relax and let everyone order whatever they want, or do you insist that everyone chooses something different? Or does one member of the table try to direct others' choices?
    - Do you insist on tasting others' dishes? Do you try to get others to taste your dishes even if they don't want to?
    - What happens when diner A says "This is really good" and B tastes the same thing and criticises it?

-


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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If we're out with other people whose taste we respect, and with whom we share an interest in food, then my goal is to try to learn from them. What are their impressions? What do they like, what don't they like? Why? We also prefer to have different dishes, with tastes from the plates of others. Increasingly, I prefer this to a tasting menu, even if two different menus are served at once, because the portions are so small as to obviate the possibility of getting a good taste. If I see something that looks good on someone else's plate, I'll ask for a taste, and will willingly give one in return, except for ice cream. I don't share ice cream. Once at Harry's Bar in Venice, I got a waiter to give me a taste from a risotto he was serving to the next table.

If our companions are friends but not food nuts, then the critical aspects of the meal are relegated to near nothing. It is often freeing to have this kind of meal, which ties in with another recent conversation on being a critical diner all the time, and being disappointed as a result, or something like that.


Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

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Then there is Istanbul  :biggrin:

Could you tell us more -- lots more -- about eating in Istambul?

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The Search Engine will take you to many threads on dining in Istanbul (including some about dining in restaurants with the name "Istanbul" that are actually located in New Jersey).

Some interesting ideas are here.

I share your hope that Anil will contribute more on Istanbul dining, but the place for them is probably the "Elsewhere in Europe" forum.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Do I take it from the foregoing that some people travel for reasons OTHER THAN to eat? Why? It seems so pointless! I am of the view that sightseeing is something you do to walk off a meal...


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

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Slowly catching up with e-Gullet, and "discovering" fascinating discussions. Just recently, I heard myself comment on the kind of travel I like to do, in response to a couple who prefers to go hiking everywhere around the world, from Cinque Terre to Ayers Rock or the jungles of Indonesia; yet those are the same folks I often meet in Manhattan or nearby to have lunch at Bouley's, Boulud's, VonGerichten's restaurants!

My priorities are the arts, world class or local, food and, if the nature's displays happen to be worthy of a detour, all the better.

In Paris, I don't go to the Louvre much, I prefer the lesser known museums like Les Gobelins, or Marmottan, or Jeu de Paume, or Musee de Sevres, or the retrospectives at the Grand Palais. French provinces have excellent museums with emphasis on local art: from painters and sculptors to furniture and china -- I especially like the one in Dijon. And, because I like contemporary arts, I haunt Lille, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Toulouse and the Pompidou Center to name a couple.

Mind you, it's not that they lack superb restaurants :raz: ... We were just in Saint-Etienne three weeks ago, and stayed at L'Hostellerie de la Poularde in Montrond-les-Bains, where Gilles Eteocle plies his trade with the help of his wife who runs the inn. That visit satisfied all senses, as on the way back from Ardeche, a visit to Lyon, where we discovered a new restaurant, L'Oxalis (Lyon has two major contemporary art museums, and superb galleries, in addition to the Beaux-Arts). Over a year ago, we treated ourselves to the Saint-James in Bouliac: hotel, designed by Jean Nouvel, and New Year's Eve dinner by Jean-Marie Amat, not forgetting, on the way back from Barcelona, a stop at Le Pastel in Toulouse, where Gerard Garrigues treated us elegantly, from his wife's personal welcome to the degustation menu... Has anybody tried Georges at the Pompidou Center? Paris is the star there, but the informal lunch menu is delicious, and the decor surprising and stunning -- a matter of taste I suppose, appropriately enough.

When e-Gulleteers say they don't travel for art, what do they imply? That gastronomy is not art? I thought it had to do with culinary arts? :biggrin:

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Really enjoyed the thread and it got me wondering if you were looking to move abroad for a job,retirement ,sabatical whatever if the cuisine would be enough of a reason to jump.

Iwas lucky enough to have been sent to live in Korea,Japan the US and Brazil for work and the food was a large factor.Italy is looking tempting but have not foundthe job to match it yet. :biggrin:

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