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Important news flash: Denmark is now serving more than just herring and pork! If, with good cause, you've thought Danish cuisine was one of the poorer exports of the country, you might be surprised on your next visit to Copenhagen, if the theory of a New York Times journalist is true.
After centuries of Danish food being about as bland and uninspiring as a long, sunshine-less winter day in Scandinavia, there's been a sudden revolution which even has Michelin stars starting to adorn the city's restaurants.
The only two-star restaurant, Noma, comes with hearty recommendations. Noma's current menu features a bunch of dishes we probably wouldn't order outside Denmark, but are nonetheless intriguing: Danish lobster with seaweed or musk ox and glazed beet roots, to name a couple. And for dessert, the apparently untranslatable Øllebrød and skyrsorbet. Yep, two of those, please.
[Photo of Noma: trixieskips]
Budapest / Europe Travel / Restaurants / Restaurant Reviews / HOWTO / Websites / Travel Websites / → All Tags
There's just a month to go until the Budapest Spring Festival kicks off, so we thought it time to tell you how to find a place to eat in this pretty city. We suggest trying a neat website called Chew.hu.
We're already quite taken with the name, but the content is also terrific. Chew.hu has a Top 33 list which they describe as a "No-PR, No-BS List of Better Budapest Restaurants." The list--and, no, we can't figure out why 33 is the magic number--features a large variety of cuisines from Indian to French to Hungarian to Bavarian, and each restaurant is linked to Chew's sister site Caboodle where you can read what others have to say about the place.
Chew.hu also publishes regular blogs and updates about the wining and dining industry of Budapest. They're not afraid to pursue what they think is right, having recently got pretty upset at a popular restaurant that was including large "suggested tips" on the bills. They also keep an eye on where scandalous rotten meat is ending up--it's an ongoing saga--and tell you where you can get your jellied pigs' feet.
When we noticed a sign for a new restaurant a few months ago tucked behind other notable Santa Monica restaurants on Ocean Avenue (Ivy on the Shore, Tengu, Il Fornaio), we thought it read "Adobe." So we just figured it was some sort of casual Mexican cafe in the back and not really anything worthy of checking out.
But we were probably having a dyslexic moment because our friends started gushing about this new place called Abode. Then just last night, we were catching up on our Vanity Fair--the Nicole Kidman issue--and whaddya know? The mag mentioned it in their Fanfair section, calling out its "swingy, sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere."
Normally, we wouldn't pay much attention to a Vanity Fair plug but our friends loved it. They recommend doing a chef's table tasting with wine pairing ($135 per person) which includes a little bit of everything on the menu. Although the chef, Dominque Crenn, doesn't do the explaining, a waiter will.
Speaking of the menu, it's described as "artisanal, sustainable and seasonal" which basically means its organic done in a high-end way. Which isn't for everyone. Blogger The Delicious Life writes:
I wasn't paying much attention to whether ingredients were truly locally grown, seasonal to summer, or sustainably prepared. I was, however, paying attention to how everything tasted and whether they were worth Abode's fairly high prices, which is often inevitable with "eco-friendly" and an oceanfront address. They weren't worth it for me.
[Photo: Caroline on Crack, who has her own Abode review]
These guys are the proprietors behind other celeb-spotting spots like Dolce, Geisha House and the nightclub Les Deux. So we had a good grasp on what kind of crowd we would find sitting in Ketchup.
I'd never been to the Gramercy Tavern. I feared I had missed the joint at its prime, what with Danny Meyer busy opening restaurants, Tom Collichio gone AWOL opening sandwich shops and Craft clones, and the kitchen adrift with no clear direction and no iron chef to steady the pans on the piano.
Then I read NY Times food critic Frank Bruni's revisitation treatise on the nascent revival of this Gotham classic. According to the controversial Bruni (many foodies hate his reviews), Gramercy Tavern was back on track thanks to the steadied hand of Michael Anthony, a chef who made a name at Blue Hill (aka Chez Panisse East).
So on this trip to the Big Apple I thought I'd test drive Bruni's three-star review. The verdict? Bruni was right on.
The reviews are trickling out for Cassis, Chef George Mavrothalassitis' second restaurant in the islands. He located it in a cavernous downtown space that was decorate in a vulgar glitzy manner by a corporate restaurant company. Mavro has to turn tables to make this space work -- it's that big. He also, apparently, has to charge top dollar for what two reviewers for local publications found to sporadic culinary offerings.
Not to worry. Mavro is a tenacious restaurateur and he knows how to tweak things relentlessly until they work. All of that said, it will be hard to get the locals hyped up about lunch with entrees priced at $25 and above. NYC, SF, LA -- sure. Hawaii? Ugh. We hope he can pull it off and make this work, as we love his smaller, ritzier flagship and we love his cooking. Besides, the Lost cast has been feasting here, and they will need good food on the islands for at least three more years.
[Photo: Jeff Widener]
Anyone who watched Jeffery Chodorow and Rocco DiSpirito battle back on NBC's The Restaurant knows that they are both certifiably nuts.
However, these days Chodorow has taken his act to a whole new level. He has had enough of New York Times critic Frank Bruni and his unfavorable reviews. Subsequently, Chodorow issued a public ban of Bruni from all 29 of his restaurants.
This after he took out a one page ad in the Times as a rebuttal to Bruni's zero star pan of the Kobe Club. In his ad he announced, amongst other things, that some people believe there is such a thing as the Rocco DiSpirito curse (someone ping Dan Shaughnessy there is another curse to write about!), and that he also, "loves his mother." And finally, Chodorow adds:
I'm telling my staff that the first person to recognize Bruni at any of my restaurants will be given a free trip for two to the Caribbean." The Kobe Club owner, who bought a full-page ad in the Times blasting Bruni over a zero-star review, will also post Bruni's photo on his Web site.
Welcome, Jeffery to what idiots and venture capitalists call "the blogosphere" Oh, and feel free to steal our above Bruni wanted poster for your own use, we don't care.
In the interest of fairness, I am introducing my personal blog, which will be a compilation of my food-related experiences and musings and a special section entitled Following Frank and After Adam, in which I will make a follow-up visit to the restaurants they write about for the purpose of reviewing their reviews. My blog will appear at www.chinagrillmgt.com/blog/. My friends in the restaurant business have warned me that there will be further retaliation against me for speaking up. So be it.
· Hunt the Critic [Page Six]
· Chodorow Blog [Official Site]
· Bruni Digest [Blogspot]
Weren't we led to believe that bread is the devil's food?
South Beach, Atkins, doesn't anyone remember the early 00's anymore? We were confused to recently find the semi-new (opened late last fall) Breadbar in Century City was teeming with skinny, beautiful people eating bread at three in the afternoon...on a Wednesday.
Recent Breadbar patrons had to say about the place:
I am one of those people who is scared of carbs. I love them, I do, but I have to force myself to love them in moderation or things can get out of control.
I was a bit skeptical of Breadbar simply from the name, but I figured I'd give it a try. It is also organic and big on the healthy.
wow. I just got back from lunch and am so glad I finally tried Breadbar.
omg. one of the BEST club sandwiches I have ever had. it was on this crusty on the outside perfect on the inside baguette that was lightly sprinkled with some sort of cheese. the turkey was fresh, avocado perfectly ripe, nice red tomatoes, bacon, lettuce and onion. (I took my onion off). It came with a basic mixed greens side salad with a balsamic dressing. I was full off of half but it was too good not to eat so I snarfed the whole thing down!
What does this mean for the future health and weight of American young adults? Is bread back on the "good for you list"? It is so damn hard to keep up.
The Century City Breadbar doesn't have a liquor license yet, but we suspect, once it does, there will be a nary a spot at this location to nibble your bread and drink your booze.
· Breadbar Century City User Reviews [Yelp]
At behest and via the courtesy of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Jaunted spent the weekend in 6th Borough for a sleepover and tour--meaning this trip was on Ben Franklin, Rocky, and Boyz II Men--or something like that. Our thoughts are scattered below. Enjoy.
Can you tell the difference between those two pizzas? No, but can you really tell the difference? It's not as simple as you think. One will get you a verbal lashing and the other won't. That would be the plain versus the spinach-mushroom-and-peppers, and it's the former that will keep your ass safe.
At Tacconelli's Pizza, a famous casual pizza joint in Philadelphia, it pays to plan ahead. In fact, as you may have heard, if you don't order your dough in advance here, you won't get any food, period. And because a major Tacconelli's strong point is the crispy, brick-oven-toasted crust of its pies, the menu specifically states that you basically aren't allowed to order more than three toppings on any one pizza. If you try to, your server will snap you back into place. Even the three-topping pie pictured above drew some hesitation from our waitress ("too many toppings and the crust starts to get soggy," she said), though she eventually let it slide because it was a three-vegetable pizza. She'd be happy to know that the crust on the plain did turn out to be the crispiest, and we ate three slices of it.
· Philadelphia Field Trip coverage [Jaunted]
You are looking at what is, quite possibly, the best bagel sandwich on earth. This particular model is the Ham and Swisser--soaked in just the right amount of honey dijon mustard. Fantastic.
Where can you procure such an edible delicacy? Charlotte North Carolina. Yeah, we are serious. Owen's Bagels & Deli, a non-descript breakfast/lunch joint, makes these steamed bagel sandwiches.
The story goes like this--it is a husband wife shop. Geoff Owen and Missy Owen received a bagel steamer as a wedding gift from their former boss, Ned, the owner of the original Bagels & Deli in Oxford Ohio.
Now, "Owen" slings bagels down south giving patrons a reason to head to Dilworth, South End, Charlotte area.
Here is one of the testimonials from Owen's site:
"This is by far the best sandwich I have ever had." -- Kevin & Liz , Dilworth Yuppies
The best part? This family friendly deli is right next door to a place called Leather & Lace.
But forget all that, we are hear to tell you Owen's steamed bagel sandwiches are real...and they are spectacular.
Looking for cheap eats in NYC and sick of pizza, falafel, and Chinese? Head to Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village. This bustling spot, started by two Venezualans, specializes in tasty arepas, little sandwich-like treats of cornflour-based shells filled with meats, cheeses, and veggies. Somehow they seem healthier for you, fill you up, and offer something new taste-wise every time.
We'd recommend the La del Gato, a perfect combo of Guayanese cheese, fried sweet plantains, and sliced avocado. Each day Caracas offers new special arepas and empanadas, as well as fresh squeezed juice combos (think papaya/guava...) And if you have a combo in mind that's not on the menu, they'll still probably whip it up for you.
Waiting for a tiny table at Caracas used to be an exercise in patience, but since expanding earlier this year, the bar offers lots more seating and even a take-away window one storefront over. They just got their beer & wine license, and now offer some great imports from Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico to wash it all down with. One of the best parts of the Bar? An arepa will only set you back about $5, so buy a couple and pretend you just cruised in off the beach in Venezuela for the perfect post-surf snack.
Last week we had some friends over and were scared stiff when we thought about what to order in. Pizza? Snooze. Even the new thin crust stuff that's popping up in every neighborhood can be disappointing and overpriced. Then it dawned on us as we discovered Vanessa's Dumplings on 14th Street. The latest contestant in NYC's "dumpling wars," Vanessa's is damn good.
Snack on (steamed or fried) veggie, chicken, pork, or shrimp dumplings. Ten of them will only set you back about $5. Vanessa's also makes delicious edamame, strangely served cold, but covered in a spicy pepper mixture that was new to us but a crowd pleaser all around. The sesame sandwiches are also killer, and not too greasy or heavy. Next time we're going to call ahead, though. Standing in the brightly colored place gave us a slight headache.