Biondi Santi, MONTALCINO, ITALY

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We were honored to have a private tour and tasting at Biondi-Santi the birthplace of Brunello di Montalcino. Private tours are the only type available at Biondi-Santi.  I recommend booking well in advance because they are very limited. Our tasting included a 2000 Brunello. This is the epitome of wine tasting in Montalcino.

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Osteria Il Tinaio,San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy

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It was truffle season and how could we resist this small Osteria right down the block from Palazzo del Capitano. I think Lori was fascinated by the whole truffle weighing and slicing procedure. The owner personally came out to slice and weigh this delicacy, all I could do is imagine how much these cost. LOL, We really enjoyed the pasta with white truffles and a bottle of local wine.

Osteria Il Tinaio
Via Dante Alighieri 35/A
San Quirico d’Orcia (SI)
Tel./Fax 0577 898347

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Franchi, Roma, Italy

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Franchi is not a restaurant but more of a gourmet deli that allows you to enjoy a meal standing up at the counter.  I have not been there lately much as I used to however I always stop in to say hello to  my friends and have a bite to eat when in Rome. I have a large group of friends that always request I bring them the CHEESE that is the Parmigiano-Reggiano from Franchi.   I don’t no why but it is simply the best. I have searched the world including many other places in Italy however the CHEESE from Franchi is always the best.  Quite frankly you can’t go wrong with anything you get at Franchi!!!   They only have the best of the best of Italian foods in their shop. Yes, some people find it expensive however you get what you pay for.  Let me clue you in on the Rice Ball procedure.  Rick Steve, the budget travel writer has recommended Franchi for a quick bite. I personally wish Steve would send these tourists elsewhere however they come in droves in the summer for Rice Balls which are amazing. To accommodate all these tourists and collect their money Franchi has instituted a pay at the cashier then get your Rice Ball policy.

Via Cola di Rienzo, 204
00192 Roma (Lazio), Italy
+39 06 687 4651

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The Grand Central Oyster Bar, New York, NY

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Located in Grand Central station this NYC classic has quite an eclectic mix of patrons.   There is a large variety of fresh oysters from around the country. We found the highly touted Panroasts to be disappointing however the oysters are sublime.   This is not an establishment for haute cuisine but rather for simply prepared fresh seafood.
They have an adequate wine list and plenty of beer to wash down some of the giant oysters.   This is certainly one of the best train station dining experiences, I’ve had.

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Le Soufflé, Paris, France

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

Le Souffle
Tél. : 01 42 60 27 19
36 rue Mont Thabor
75001 Paris (France)

 

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Chez Shea, Seattle, WA

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Located across the street from the Pike’s market Chez Shea is upstairs and a bit difficult to find however it is worth it. The food of Chef Benjamin Knutsen is creative and tastes as good as it looks. There are several menus available at all times including many vegetarian choices. We chose to dine in the more casual bar area. For first and second courses we chose Seared Artisan Sonoma Foie Gras( I love Foie Gras) and a stuffed artichoke. Entrees were Scallops and an interesting Purple Potato with fiddleheads. The Potato was a surprisingly nice presentation that also tasted heavenly and the scallops were seared to perfection. There was a very nice selection of local beer as well as wine. Shea Lounge provided a fine dining experience in a friendly unpretentious manner.

http://www.chezshea.com/

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Ristorante di Poggio Antico, Tuscany, Italy

The Ristorante di Poggio Antico is located on the vineyard Poggio Antico and is run independently by Roberto Minnetti is another true fine dining experience in Tuscany. We enjoyed Lori’s birthday lunch out on the patio so much we returned with Josh and Kelly the next year for dinner inside. The firsts included traditional Tuscan bread salad and a foie gras accompanied by rock candy. Pasta was made in the house and had that marvelous texture you find only in homemade pasta. Wine choices are easy being as the house wine is Poggio Antico for lunch we had the light Rosso(very nice) and for dinner my favorite Brunello(Heavenly). The pork, lamb and fish mains all received universal accolades. The Minnetti’s made us feel very welcome and we will surely return as soon as possible.

Ristorante di Poggio Antico directly (phone/fax +39 0577 849200, email ristorantedipoggioantico@gmail.com).

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Palazzo del Capitano

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Located in the center of the small Tuscan town of San Quirico d’Orcia is this charming boutique hotel Palazzo dell Capitano. San Quirico is conveniently located near MONTALCINO, PIENZA, MONTEPULCIANO making it a nice hub for wine tasting. The room we stayed  in was rather large and decorated in a Tuscan fashion. In town, there are two wonderful restaurants (that I will review in a future post) one independently owned and one that is owned by the hotel.  Each morning at the hotel they put out a wonderful breakfast buffet including these awesome baked goods. I recommend after dropping your bags, parking outside of town and walking up the stairs. The Hotel did offer garage parking however it’s only large enough for a SMART car,LOL, I dented the side of our BMW trying to get it in. We both enjoyed our stay at Palazzo del Capitano and would highly recommend it to others.

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