When I asked Lori what she wanted for her birthday this year she said she’d like to go to Tuscany and visit our friends at the Villa di Piazzano. We’ve been to the Villa many times and always return because to leave the Villa is like leaving relatives behind in Tuscany. Many places can offer a nice room but few can make you feel like family. The Villa itself is a virtual landmark with a long and rich history. The Wimpole family has managed to upgrade and modernize the Villa in tasteful manner adding all the modern amenities you would expect but still maintaining the “Old World” charm. They have recently added a new Sommelier and do wine tastings in the afternoon. We always are sure to dine at least one evening at the Villa with our friend the bubbly Chef Gabriella. Well I can go on forever with our pauses for the Villa but as they say “TRY IT YOU”LL LIKE IT”.
Owner/Chef Gabreile Bonci wrote the book on Pizza. They use only the finest ingredients for his creative toppings. This is a small local take-out pizza shop that you may eat in standing up. The pizza is great and the assortment is very special.
Located in a neighborhood that is about a 1/2 mile from the Vatican which is rarely traveled by tourists you will have to go a bit out of your way but it’s worth it.
On a rather cold day when sightseeing around Avila, Spain we decided to have lunch at El Almacen. One advantage to going in the winter is that you can go any place you want and not have to deal with crowds. The staff at most places is a lot friendlier due to the fact they are not so stressed by many tourists. El Almacen has great food and amazing views of the walled city of Avila. We were lucky enough to meet the Chef that came out personally to say hello to us. The food was all great especially the deserts. This is a place that should not be passed by when in Avila.
Carretera de Salamanca, 6
05002 Avila, Spain
920 21 10 26
This is a great spot for an authentic Vietnamese Pho. They have many options including vegetarian and of course several different meaty ones with meaty sides as well… The broth is good and the portion huge. Try the Spring rolls they are great! That being said this is a great stop for an expensive and hearty meal.
1436 Park Rd NW
(between N 14th St & N Kenyon St)
Washington, DC 20010
Neighborhood: Columbia Heights
Lori found this wonderful place a few years ago. Unfortunately it got lost in the backlog of photos to be blogged. The food was wonderful and its great for a romantic evening. The presentations and food were executed with the French flair you’d expect at a high end establishment yet Le Reminet was very reasonably priced…..It’s on the list for a blog update!
Le Reminet, Paris
Address:3 rue des grands degres,
75005 Paris (See map)
Telephone:01 44 07 04 24
We had high hopes for Max’s Harvest but it really failed to deliver the goods. The Pork Belly appetizer was outstanding however the rest of the meal was downhill from there…..The Mac and Cheese failed the “Kraft Test” being that Kraft from the box would have tasted better….The Lobster Shepard’s Pie was very rich, lacked any distinctive flavor and really just wasted a good Lobster. The deserts were adequate but nothing really outstanding. I must say that the concept of “farm to table” is great it just need a little more refinement. They are really tiring hard but there is a lack of professionalism in the food and the service.
169 NE 2nd Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444
Locate in the heart of Chinatown, Pho DC produces a very high quality PHO and some great appetizers. The Shrimp wrapped in bacon are a great starter to warm up with prior to the PHO. This is an attractive clean restaurant to enjoy your traditional PHO with many fresh ingredients. I highly recommend PHO DC.
To say we were pleasantly surprised by Apotheca is an understatement. We were really impressed by the decor, you walk in to a very sexy lounge area then go down the stairs to the wine cellar where the dinner tables are set. The food is all of the highest quality, creatively prepared and the presentations are on the highest level. The Chocolate and Foie Terrine was not only beautiful to look at it tasted better than sex…..the Ancovy from Canabrai were really a special treat. Lori had the Monk fish wrapped in bacon and everything is better in bacon! I had the suckling pig which really was not my favorite. The deserts were OK, next time I think, I’ll just have another Foie for desert….LOL There will be a next time because Lori dreams of the Mazapan of Toledo. There is a great place for it, I’ll discuss in another post. Please do visit Apotheca it is a very Special!!
Prior to our visit to Tuscany we had discussed some new restaurants in the area with our local friends Bianca and Enzo. They had mentioned a place had opened but they have not tried it yet. So prior to leaving Lori decided we are all going to Babette. Locate in the Casale di Brolio outside the small town of Castiglion Fiorentino. This is remotely located but the roads are good and it’s easy to find.
We arrived at Babette and it was a very quite evening because of the rain and the time of year, Tuscany really starts to slowdown in October. It’s an attractive place with clean Tuscan appearance. We started the meal with an amazing amuse–bouche of foie gras. It was nice to have four of us dining so we had a chance try many dishes. Our appetizer was scallops that were perfectly seared and presented with several sauces. I’m not sure how I felt about the Foie and scallop combination. The Pasta course was Pici a local hand rolled thick spaghetti with Wild Boar ragu its was excellent and on my list of must have again dishes. I had a really interesting suckling pig in a Chocolate sauce, Lori had a perfectly prepared Sea Bream, Bianca an amazing Monk Fish and Enzo his standard Beef Fillet which was so tender no knife was required.
We did of course save room for desert, this is a good plan!! The deserts were on par with any Michelin 3 star restaurant. The presentations were amazing and they tasted even better than they looked. The Tiramisu was absolutely the best!! Perhaps my favorite all time desert!
When in Tuscany or even within a 12 hour flight don’t miss a dinner at Babette. The service was excellent and they do speak English well for those that are concerned.. This is truly fine dining in Tuscany.
We decided to have dinner out locally in Delray Beach this evening. Brule Bistro has gone through a major renovation the past year. It was previously a self serve lunch and to-go place. Now it is a full service Bistro. Overall the food was pretty good. The wine list was adequate although the servers really have not had any formal wine training which is to be expected at a small establishment. The Zucchini blossom tasted great however arrived at the table a little on the cool side. The Salad with goat cheese was good but a little bit of a cliche. I had the Tile fish special with lobster risotto and wine sauce reduction. The fish was excellent and cooked to perfection. The risotto was good however the wine sauce was a bit overpowering. Lori had the Diver Scallops which she loved I tasted them and they were ok, a bit over seared their not supposed to be “Southern Fried” Scallops. To the chef’s credit they were not overcooked in the middle and still remained tender. For desert we had banana bread pudding with Bourbon ice cream it’s excellent! We will definitely return and recommend you give it a try. This is about as good as it gets in Delray Beach.
Here are the details of our lunch
Crème fraîche de Normandie, onions pickles, Banka Truit’eggs
Fried black sausage form Pays basque, apple compote, mustard sauce with lime and cream
Vegetable broth with leeks and smoked potatoes
Maquereau Tataki, mustard shoots, dill, apple juice vinaigrette and buckweat
Lamb saddle from Lozère, olives from Kalamata, sheep milk yogurt & herbs, celery purée & chips, watercress, pigeon juice
& lamb neck with raisins de corinthe
Vacherin : vanillia ice cream, meringue & passion fruit
Pineapple & litchees salad with lime
Mango with crispy honey & pistachio.
Le Comptior is situated on a very busy corner in the Latin Quarter idea for dining outside when weather permits and enjoying the favorite Paris pastime of people watching. Inside the bistro is small and attractive. The food however is excellent!! I suggest if you want to avoid waiting for a table you arrive for an early lunch about 1130am and wait in line until they open. There is always a line ever since Anthony Bourdain featured the place it has been very popular with tourists from around the world. Do not fear, they have not become a tourist trap!! I stared with a Squid sauteed with sweet onions and a balsamic reduction which was absolutely fantastic. The main was a simple roast beef cooked rare and so tender I cut it with a fork. The mashed potatoes were velvety smooth loaded with that wonderful French butter. The desert was a nice waffle accompanied by some fruit compote. I might suggest a crepe for desert next door at L’Avent Comptior. I will discuss that in detail in another post.
I can’t wait to return and try some more of the extensive menu!!!
Full Kee is what you expect to find in any Chinatown in a large metro area such as NY. The food is all home made and excellent. The Noodle soup with roast pork is amazing! Wonton are made fresh daily and very good. This is a great place for a good and cheap meal.
We always stop by to have a souffle at Le Souffle at least once during our visits to Paris. Located at 36,rue du Mont Thabor,it is a little tricky to find and even the taxis have trouble at times. Although some say it’s touristy and the service is lacking. We have had nothing but lovely experiences here.
The Grand Marnier is our favorite accompanied by a bottle of Grand Marnier and encouraged by the staff to pour it on how can you go wrong.
If you desire more friendly and prompt service, I recommend bringing a beautiful women with you… the Frenchmen love them. Vive la différence
Tél. : 01 42 60 27 19
36 rue Mont Thabor
75001 Paris (France)
It’s been a while since I had lunch at la Foutaine de Mars. This is a classic French Bistro with very solid food. The quality of the food is very good and preparation professional. The portion size is large probably geared towards the American tourist crowd. I had an appetizer pastry stuffed with goat cheese it was excellent and large enough for 4 people. The Scallop entry also was very good, cooked to perfection and large. I certainly would recommend it anyone that likes a lot of good food.
We go to Angelina on a cool day to warm up with a cup of their world famous “Hot Chocolate” it tastes similar to a gourmet chocolate bar melted and served with a side of whipped cream. They are also well know as a place for “Ladies to Lunch” while taking a break from wearing out their husband’s credit cards. While it’s our primary “Hot Chocolate” destination the food is also quite good as well.
We learned about S.Anna from some locals siting besides us at Da Francisco. Since then we have visited several times. S.Anna is a nice local everyday Italian restaurant. Pasta are house made and great. The anti-pasta bar offer a good assortment and is very good. Once in a while they have this special cake that they bake it’s really a treat. I can’t think of the name of it but I do remember having it a couple of times then being disappointed one day when they ran out of it. Do visit for solid and unpretentious Italian food.
While staying in the lovely countryside of Tuscany, Lori decided to have me, drive us to Florence to visit a restaurant recommend by her doctor that is known to love his food. I was reluctant to drive in Florence because this usually involves driving down one way streets the wrong direction , driving in traffic restricted areas and a host of other moving violations. This time was no exception so after the “drive” we arrived in Florence, parked the car and found IL Latini.
IL Latini is known for their Florentine Steaks which can be some of the best beef found in the world. Two of the best steaks we have eaten have been Florentine however sadly to say this was not going to be one of those heavenly days. The restaurant is very casual, crowded with many tourists and the servers really did a great job of working the crowd. We ordered the Steak , Tuscan beans and salad. The kindest comments I have was that the food was OK or perhaps they had an off day.
Across the street from the entrance to the Vatican Museum is Lori’s favorite gelateria in Rome. In fact I think it’s religious experience her! Old Bridge is one of the top shops in Rome their specialty is fruit flavors. We learned about this shop many years ago from a cab driver late one evening heading back to the hotel when Lori decided it was time for one more Gelato. We always stop here as well as Gelareria dei Gracchi my old favorite. I have a new favorite to introduce Lori to on our next trip. While doing this post, I notice they have plans on selling franchises…I’m ready.