Le Violon d’Ingres, Paris

We celebrated Lori’s Birthday in 2018 in Paris ! We decided to visit our old friend Christian Constant at his flagship on Rue Saint-Dominique, Le Violon d’ingress.  This is his Michelin Starred fine dinning establishment. Christian greeted us prior to the meal as he is the omnipresent host at all of his restaurants. The food was excellent however the star of the evening was the Mille-Feuille , we crave it to this day !! its amazing !!!   We highly recommend all of Christian Constants restaurants especially my favorites Cafe Constant and Les Cocottes. Sorry for the delayed posting but too many restaurants too little time ….

http://www.maisonconstant.com/fr/les-restaurants/

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Dal Bolognese: Rome Italy

One of our favorites in Rome. Dal Bolognese is the place for special occasions in Rome. It’s frequented by celebrities The food is all high quality and wine list surprisingly has many great choices in the 25-40 Euro range. The meal in general is less expensive than a meal of equal quality in NYC. Food 9 Service 9 and value 9.

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Tocqueville NYC

We had a great dinner with friends at Tocqueville. The Truffled Grits with an egg was outstanding !! Mushroom risotto was rich and creamy. I hear the fish was perfectly executed. The Short ribs were as tender as butter and tasted great. Deserts also outstanding. Wine list was large and focused towards the higher price points however there were some nice choices at reasonable prices. Corkage at 55 dollars a bottle is also an option with most NYC restaurants charging a 4X markup on wine bringing your own favorites is a good option. Service was friendly but could have used a bit more polishing. Food 9/10 Service 8.5/10 and value 8.5/10.

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Union Square Cafe , NYC

 

Our first visit to the “New” Union Square Cafe…I wish it were still the old USC !! It has a very corporate vibe to it unlike the warmer local cafe of days past. They have insituted a non-tipping policy which has some advantges to the employees but certainly the extra wages are pasted along to the consumer in the pricing. We sat at the bar on a very slow afternoon and service was just OK, friendly but not very professional.

We had an excellent: Fritto Misto at 24 dollars:
Calamari, Oysters, Asparagus, Peppers.

We also tried 3 Pastas:(prices are for full orders, half and mid course sizes available):

Pappardelle 37 dollars
Cacciatore Ragu, Castelvetrano Olives, Pecorino Romano

Ricotta Gnocchi 33 dollars
Tomato Basil Passatina, Pecorino Daniel Romano

Tagliatelle 35 dollars
Snow Peas, Pea Leaves, Lemon Ricotta

All the pastas dishes were good but not nothing worthy of returning for. These are not Marea or Babbo level pastas.

Dessert: Stores Pavlova was sick in the best way !!!

Beverage Program is huge: they have a great selection of local beers and creative cocktail program as well. The house wine list is poor to say the least I couldn’t find a wine that I would drink at the 25 dollar a glass and below level. The wines and cocktails are designed to max out the profits per square foot. Certainly nice for a special occasion but the pricing would wear on you if you frequented the place.

The scores are Service 7/10, Food 7.5/10 and value 7/10.

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Lavo NYC

We had a fun night at Lavo !! It’s a large and loud room. Food is average with a few fun items to share like the Basket Ball sized Meatball and huge 20 Layer Cake. Eggplant part was not bad. The vegetable sides had so much sodium my blood pressure spited just short of a stroke…..LOL  Drink and food prices aren’t not bad for NYC it’s not Kansas…Service was actually pretty good for such an active place.

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Spring, Paris

One of my favorites in Paris: DO NOT MISS SPRING

Here are the details of our lunch
Apetizer:
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

Starter:
Maquereau Tataki, mustard shoots, dill, apple juice vinaigrette and buckweat

Main Course:
Lamb saddle from Lozère, olives from Kalamata, sheep milk yogurt & herbs, celery purée & chips, watercress, pigeon juice
& lamb neck with raisins de corinthe

Dessert:
Vacherin : vanillia ice cream, meringue & passion fruit
Chocolate tart
Pineapple & litchees salad with lime
Mango with crispy honey & pistachio.

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Bobby’s Burger Palace, Washington DC

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I checked out Bobby Flay’s (grill-boy as Ari of Entourage calls him) new venture in the burger joint frenzy. I grabbed my camera and walked a mile or so on a great day in DC. Once I arrived at Bobby’s, I viewed the menu on the wall and ordered several items including a milkshake which I don’t have very often. You order, pay, sit and wait for your food to arrive.

The shake arrived first, disappointing there was an option for “REAL” whip cream however no option for a “Real” shake.  It was basically flavorless and tasted one step below a McD’s mix shake.  The burger arrived with the fries next. The burger was good but nothing I’d go running back for.  The fries were not worth eating, in fact, I stopped at FIVE GUYS for some very good fries to fill that square on the way back to the hotel.  My recommendation would be take the Bobby’s Burger to go and get some fries at FIVE GUYS for a good meal.

Bobby’s Located around the Northeast

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Les Cocottes, Paris, France

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This is another great establishment owned by Chef Christian Constant. Les Cocottes is the french equivalent of eating at a causal diner. Seating is either at the counter or at counter height communal tables. There are very nice daily specials as well as the standard menu both are reasonably priced. I have returned to Les Cocottes several times some of the dishes that I enjoyed the most were: Arugula salad with bacon and a poached egg drizzled with balsamic sauce, Lamb parts and potatoes stuffed with pigs feet are both great choices for the main. DO NOT PASS on the Waffle with caramel for desert!!

I’m getting hungry just thinking about this place !!!

 

Les Cocottes
135, rue Saint-Dominique, 7th

The restaurant Les Cocottes is open
every day from noon till 3:00pm
and 7:00-10:30pm

http://www.maisonconstant.com/eng_cocottes.htm

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Cum Quibus, San Gimignano, Italy

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Probably the finest traditional Tuscan meal we’ve eaten.

We walked into a packed restaurant without a confirmed reservation. There was one table for two or deuce for those in the business available. We were told that it was previously reserved however they have not arrived yet,  they were 20 minutes late. I started a conversation with the restaurant staff and convinced them to give us the table.
BTW: they never showed however there was a never ending stream of walk-ins turned away.

Primi:  The most delicious poppardelle with a wild boar ragu imaginable. The wild boar was so soft it melted like butter in my mouth. The tagliolini with white truffle was excellent with a very delicate flavor of truffle.

Secondi: I decided to try the Tripe stuffed with sausage. Tripe has a bad rap at times of being rubbery. This tripe however was anything but it cut with a fork and melted like butter. In fact I even applied the tripe like butter to the bread.
Lori had the Florentine steak for two. It was cooked to perfection and  possibly the most tender meat, we have consumed. BTW: we let them serve it as it should be without issuing any temperature preference.
This was better than a Peter Luger’s steak and we consider that to be the best porterhouse in NYC.

I noticed the table of local next to us all ordering the Cantuccini so we followed their lead. The Cantuccini was hard like a rock however it absorbed the vin santo like a sponge and was special.

Needless to summarize we love this place and will return.

Com Quibus

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Agape Substance, Paris

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Highest quality ingredients, prepared perfectly and elegantly plated. I’m usually not a fan of the tasting menu fearing that after eating 10 tiny plates, I’ll leave hungry and seek out the nearest Pizza I can find.  This was not the case at Agape Substance the tasting menu included several substantial courses that met your visual needs as well as fill your stomach. The plates were all painstaking prepared by the chef owner David Toutain. David actually personally handles every plate that leaves the kitchen for the tables.this is quite a feat considering the huge number of plates.

The service was excellent yet not stuffy and I really enjoyed the whole experience. The prices of the meals are very reasonable especially at lunch. This is a real value in a city were a fine dining dinner can set you back a thousand dollars.  I highly recommend you visit Agape Substance and see what surprises David and Laurent have in store for you.

Agape Substance

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Botin, Madrid, Spain

 

 

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I picked up a trip to Madrid. Being a fan of the Travel Channel, I remembered Andrew Zimmern eating at Botin.

I love roast pig! and the Baby roast suckling pig was amazing.

 

This is the oldest restaurant in the world and THE place for Baby roast suckling pig in Madrid.

 

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Prosperity Dumpling, NYC

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Low budget dive called Prosperity??.. Dumpling Shop in NYC. They have managed to get a “A” grade from the NYC Health department so they must be clean.  The Dumplings are 5 for a dollar which explains the line that is always in front of the place.  The dumpling are pretty good and for a dollar who can complain.  Cheap snack after a night out on the Lower East Side.….

 

Prosperity Dumpling

46 Eldridge Street NY NY

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Cafe Nero, Edinburgh and several other locations…

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I have discovered this Italian style Coffee shop in Edinburgh. Their coffee is great.  It’s much better than the American brand X.  They also have a great Hot Chocolate Milano which is worth every delicious calorie it contains.

 

Cafe Nero

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Dundee Manor B&B, Dundee, Oregon

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The Dundee Manor

8380 NE Worden Hill Rd
Dundee, OR 97115
(503) 554.1945
(888) 262.1133

We visited the Dundee Manor while I was in Boeing school in Seattle. I had the weekends off so Lori and I decided to visit the Vineyards of Dundee in the world famous Willamette Valley. Lori selected the Dundee Manor. She had spoken to Brad on the phone and was convinced this was our kind of place. Some inn keepers run there places for money and other because they love it. Brad and Dave fall into the ladder category. They place has beautiful grounds that are meticulously maintained by the inn keepers. The rooms are all decorated lovely and kept immaculately clean.

Brad so proudly displays his culinary prowess by preparing a wonderful breakfast. They do taste as good as they look. Speaking of breakfast on our first departure I had to leave at 5am to be in school early, Dave got up early and prepared scones and coffee for us to take on the road. Lori immediately informed me not to expect this at home. I just mentioned our first departure we enjoyed ourselves so much we went back the very next weekend.

When we departed the second time, we felt like we were leaving our long lost friends behind and can’t wait to return.

We highly recommend the Dundee Manor to all.

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The Painted Lady,Newberg, OREGON

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Located in the Heart of the Willamette Valley wine country. I think the food speaks for itself. Elegant dining, great wine and excellent service.

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Eisgrug Brau, Mainz, Germany

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A favorite with overnighting airline crews from around the world. The portions are large, beer is great and it’s cheap. What more could you ask for?? I have had better food for a few Euros more but it’s still a fun place.

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Da Bolognese, Rome, Italy

If you feel like dinning among the world’s celebrities then when in Rome do as the Roma’s do and people watch at Da Bolognese.  On our way in for lunch one day we saw “Sly” on the way out.

 

We have dined here several times and while not excellent it is consistently good. The most outstanding dishes are the Bolognese of course, pounded veal as well as the fruit Gelato dessert which is also very picture worthy.

 

The service is excellent although they do tend to cater to the celebrities and regulars.  I could recommend many restaurants in Rome with better food at a more reasonable price however If you want to be seen and don’t mind the large check for adequate fare then I would recommend Da Bolognese. It’s a bit stuffy so leave the children at home this is not a family friendly place unless you are Tom Cruise.

 

Lori’s loves the pounded veal so I know I will be returning soon, so I have to go to work……      CIAO…

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Welcome to the new Photo Gourmet

I’ve changed the format of The Photo Gourmet to allow the public to comment on the food photos and reviews we publish. Please feel free to join in the on conversation of restaurants, wine and food…

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