White Barn Inn, Kennebunkport ME

Excellent dinner at the White Barn Inn !! Every course was incredible !! Amuse was a squash soup followed by Lobster tagliatelle, Lobster Bisque (perfect) and Kenebunk Lobster. Desert Soufflé and Lemon Olive Oil Semifredo. Food 9.0, Service 8.0 and value 8.0

 

 

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Ristorante Babette, Tuscany, Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

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 amusebouche 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.

Ristorante Babette

Presso Casale di Brolio
Località Brolio, 74
52043 Castiglion Fiorentino (Arezzo)

Tel.: 0575 652054
Fax: 0575 652254

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El Almacén, Avila, Spain

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.

El Almacén
Carretera de Salamanca, 6
05002 Avila, Spain
920 21 10 26

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Max’s Harvest, Delray Beach, Florida

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.

Max’s Harvest
169 NE 2nd Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444
561-381-9970

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L’As Du Fallafel, Paris, France

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Located in the heart of the Marais one can usually locate L’as Du Fallafel by the line in front.  You maybe taken back at first by the person collecting for your Fallafel in advance while you are in line but i can assure that this is standard procedure.  It’s worth the wait in line for a take away or for a table inside. This is the best Fallef you will have even by Middle eastern standards.  This is certainly the best 5 Euro lunch you can have in Paris…I highly recommend it, I have never been disappointed!

 

34 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France +33 1 48 87 63 60

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la Fontaine de Mars

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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.

 

Restaurant la Fontaine de Mars

129, Rue Saint-Dominique
75007 PARIS 7ème
Tél: 01 47 05 46 44

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RISTORANTE IL LATINI

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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.

RISTORANTE IL LATINI

Address: via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai) – 50123 – Firenze
Telephone: (+39) 055 210916
Email: info@illatini.com

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Angelina, Paris

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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.

Angelina
26 rue de Rivoli – 75 001 Paris

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Atlantic Grill, Delray Beach Florida

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Sunday Brunch at the Atlantic Grill, Delray Beach Florida:
Located in the Seagate Hotel the Atlantic Grill is an attractive looking place. The food was hit and miss, basicaly there was no consistency from the kitchen. Ingredients were of average quality and preparation hap hazard. The service was pleasant however unprofessional. My poached eggs arrived very overcooked when I returned them they were returned in better condition however the English muffins were soggy and cold.  Many of the dishes lacked any inspired flavor including the Trio Benedict and Fried Brie. The presentations were not bad and Lori’s lobster frittata was pretty good although very small for 19 dollars. The Pineapple Cake with Coconut Ice Cream desert was made the prior day and was very soggy. We recommend coming in for happy hour this way you can enjoy the lovely ambiance and some of appetizers.

Located at The Seagate Hotel & Spa
1000 E. Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33483

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L’Avent Comptoir, Paris

Is a small standing room only wine bar that serves outstanding French hors d’oeuvres and crepes. WARNING: if you are interested in eating something healthy don’t come here! It’s one of my favorites!

They serve the most delicious grilled pork fat(lard) that I have eaten and the beef carpaccio is excellent . The menu hangs from the ceiling with pictures for those that don’t speak French. This is a great place to hang out relax and enjoy several small plates of food. It’s great for a” light” LOL and inexpensive lunch.

 

9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris, France

+33 1 44 27 07 97‎ · hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com
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Le Comptoir, Paris

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!!!

9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris, France

+33 1 44 27 07 97‎ · hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com
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La Crêperie de Josselin Crêperie

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This is a long time favorite of ours. Josselin features a huge assortment of Brittan style crepes. My favorites are the bacon, egg, spinach and cream cheese and the Martinique which comes out Flambe. Upon arrival you will get in line there is almost always a line. It moves very fast so don’t worry! When called you will be shoe horned into the smallest table and seating area you have seen. This seems to just add to the ambiance and charm of the place. I ordered the the bacon, egg, spinach and  cream cheese first. I was a little reluctant to order the Martinique for desert fearing they might consider me an American pig however when the Frenchman who had the same crepe as I, ordered another for desert, I felt at ease and ordered mine.  These Crepes are amazing and I place this on a “MUST VISIT” list if you go to Paris. For those of you on a tight budget this is your dream come true!!

 

La Crêperie de Josselin

67 Rue du Montparnasse, Paris, France+33 1 43 20 93 50

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Le Petit Troquet, Paris France

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A very small and romantic bistro off the beaten path Le Petit Troquet.

The most difficult part of the evening will be finding it. Rue Expostion is a small alleyway off the Rue Saint-Dominique adjacent to Les Fables de La Fontaine. Rue Saint-Dominque is the home of Christian Constant’s empire.. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the Chef/Owner’s girlfriend that is the manager and server in the dining room. The ownership has changed this year and if you have been there in the past you may be pleasantly surprised by the new owner. The menu changes daily and has something to please everyone. The food is prepared with a french flair including quality ingredients. I enjoyed the scallops that where seared to perfection. Save room for desert they are all made in the house. I would not recommend the place for children or large parties. This is great for date night or perhaps two couples.

 

 

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Cafe Boulud, Palm Beach, Florida

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On a lazy Florida summer morning, I decided there has to be something to eat in this state. I went to my computer and signed in to my Zagat.com subscription. I started searching for places to dine in Palm Beach county.  I noticed that Danial Boulud had a Cafe in Palm Beach.  We have been to a couple of his places in NYC and enjoyed them as well as meeting him during lunch at DBGB. I made a reservation for lunch.

Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach has an amazing 3 course lunch for 20 dollars. I’d pay the 20 dollars of the dessert alone it was so good. The service team was highly professional lead by  the manager Andrew.  As one would expect from one of Chef Daniel’s establishments everything is beyond first class.  As you can see from the photos we have returned several times and have been delighted each time

 

http://www.danielnyc.com/cafebouludPB.html

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Canta Napoli, Camucia, Tuscany (near Cortona) Italy

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Several years ago we asked our friends that live in Camucia to take us to a local place where people go to eat for everyday food.  They took us to Canta Napoli and we LOVE it….I have been reluctant to place anything about this place on the internet fearing it may ruin such a wonderful place unspoiled by tourists.

It’s a Neapolitan style pizzeria as the name implies.  They feature a large variety of pizzas.  We always have one however we never miss some of the freshest seafood available anywhere.  I recommend the calamari salad and mixed grilled seafood.  Both of these dishes are featured in the pictures above.  Let’s not forget the fresh Neapolitan pastries driven up from Naples almost daily.  The Baba Rum or Baba au Rhum is my personal favorite and I rejoice when they have them……..

I wholeheartedly recommend Canta Napoli and we will certainly return hoping that not too many of my followers are taking all the tables.

 

Canta Napoli – Ristorante – Pizzeria

Loc. Le Piagge, 33 – Camucia Cortona (AR)

http://www.cantanapoli.net/chisiamo.htm

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Osteria La Porta, Tuscany, Italy

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Remotely located in the small village of Monticchello is this jewel of a restaurant,  Osteria La Porta. Traveling to this town requires a 30 minute drive off the beaten path.  If you follow your GPS you may end up on some unpaved roads.  Don’t worry about the unpaved road just drive slowly and enjoy the scenery.  Plan your route in advance and you can stay on pavement.

Once arriving at Monticchello,  Osteria La Porta is to your left as you walk into the town. I would plan on arriving during the daylight and strolling around the quaint town.  Try to get seated on the outdoor patio in time to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Once you’re seated you will be presented with a menu that includes fresh local seasonal ingredients.  For starters, the Burratta is amazing…. don’t pass it up.  The PICI is a favorite of ours.  It’s a thick rolled pasta that they make in-house.  I’d recommend any of the meat or tomato sauces on it(Cheese is a bit heavy).  The white Tuscan pork is also very interesting with a truffle cream sauce.   It’s hard to make a wrong choice at La Porta so be adventurous and try some of the local specialties .

 

We have been to Osteria La Porta several times and highly recommend it…

 

Osteria La Porta
Wine Bar – Enoteca – Caffetteria
Via del Piano 1 53026
Telefono e Fax +39 0578 755163
Ristorante La Cantina
Via San Luigi 3 53026
Telefono +39 0578 755280
Monticchiello di Pienza (SI)
email: osterialaporta@valdorcia.it

http://www.osterialaporta.it/monticchiello.en.php

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Roscioli, Rome, Italy

Just a couple of blocks from the Campo de Fiori in the heart of Rome lies this wonderful bakery. Forno Riscioli  features a world renowned pizza. It’s one of our favorite stops for a lunch while we are wondering about the picturesque alleyways around the Campo. The next time your in Rome don’t miss this pizza. We are sure your going to love it as much as we do. Roscioli also has a restaurant that I’ll discuss in another post.

Here is a link to their website: http://www.salumeriaroscioli.com/Roscioli_Eng/homepage_eng.htm

The bakery and the specialities
Via dei Chiavari, 34
00186 Roma
Tel: 06 6864045

 

 

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Tryst, Delray Beach, FLorida, USA

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We have dined at Tyrst a couple of times. Today we enjoyed a great Happy Hour with 2 for 1 drinks including everything except bottles of wine and a special food menu. We found most of the items to be of high quality and prepared well. The Chilled Mellon Soup was a really outstanding, Pad thai although not very authentic was tasty, Mussels were very good and the Fish Tacos are awesome. The small plates at happy hour allowed us to enjoy a nice variety of dishes without being stuffed or breaking the bank. Service was outstanding!! I have seen a few reviews that panned the service but  weekends in season  are trying times at all the places in town.  Locals like ourselves really enjoy the laid back atmosphere this time of year.  There is an extensive beer and wine list with a nice variety of choices at various price points. We will certainly recommend Tryst and visit again.

Tryst
4 East Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33444-3723
(561) 921-0201

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Trattoria al Vecchio Forno, Tuscany, San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy

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Trattoria al Vecchio Forno, Tuscany, San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy

Owned by same owners of the Palazzo del Capitano in San Quirico d’Orcia, This charming ristorante feaures truly authentic Tuscan food. Wonderfully simple dishes of tuscan beans teased and pleased our palettes.  Fresh tri-color pasta was tossed with cheese and  candy like tomatoes. The wine list include some of my local favorites like Biondi-Santi. All this is just a short walk around the corner from the hotel so have a second bottle of wine.

http://www.palazzodelcapitano.com/ristorante.php

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Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici; Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY

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Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici “Italy’s Authentic Flavors in a Magnificent Tuscan Villa Setting”

I have been to Italy about 150 times visiting Tuscany many of those, basically I know a good  authentic Tuscan meal when I have one. Unfortunately the most authentic part was it’s name,  Caterina did not live up to it’s claim.  The ambience was wonderful however the food was lacking.  The Hudson River Valley is know for it’s outstanding food. Spotted with excellent restaurants, Caterina has not been worth a second visit.  We did enjoy the enthusiastic service of the students and the meal although not what it claimed to be was still enjoyable. It’s been a while since our visit, so one can only hope that it has improved.   If anybody has been there recently, I’d appreciate their input.

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