Saturday, July 31, 2010

Royal Bar - Paris

Laying Back in Cut
You realize that Paris is a ghost town in August, right? I hope you didn't just arrive here on vacation! I'm escaping sleepy-ville in a few days myself before everything shuts down. It's time for vacation! I've started the downshift from work-think to non-think and found a venue that was up to the task: Royal Bar. I enjoyed the soothing jazz soundtrack, soft lighting, coffee and desserts. Most of all, I got a kick out of the characters.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Le Train Bleu - Paris

Why God Created the "Per Diem"
As I've explained before, I'm spoiled - my company covers my costs in Paris. I try not to overdo it but every once in a while I splurge a bit. I mean, it's my duty to help support the French economy, isn't it? Le Train Bleu is a fancy, Frenchy, high-priced restaurant perched in the rafters of Gare de Lyon. It's the type of place that long-ago travelers would sup in style before boarding a train to "summer" in Tuscany. They gracefully made room for the kid and his band of freeloaders, errr, I mean colleagues. Now all I gotta figure out is how to scheme and scam the accounting department to accept a dinner of a couple hundred euros....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guilo Guilo - Paris

Giving Food Blogging a Bad Name
My girlfriend lived in Tokyo for spell, where she learned enough Japanese to get herself in trouble. One step into tiny Guilo Guilo and she was all "sumimasen" and "oishi-des", bowing and smiling. Showoff! There's no menu, just an eight-course degustation and each course is described by the chef or one of his helpers as it's laid in front of you. Thanks to Dodo, our explanation came in Japanese. So the evening went something like this, me: "what he say it is?" her: "I dunno, fish or something." I tried eavesdropping nearby but I couldn't decipher the thickly Japanese-accented French either. So I don't know what half of it was but I can tell you this, most of it was good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bonchon - Manhattan

Tasty, Overpriced, Confused Korean Yardbird
I'm not impressed with any of the 'chons - not this one, not Kyochon. Kyochon sucks taste-wise and price-wise - at least Bonchon tastes pretty good. We took a walk over to the newish 38th Street edition and learned that the chicken wait was 20-30 minutes. This was at 1:30pm when the place was relatively empty. Manhattan lunch and a 20-30 minute wait? Not a recipe for long-term success. We got our order slightly earlier but alas, it was somebody else's, which we had to return. I agree with how Pingles put it: "this place needs help."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brooklyn Farmacy - Brooklyn

Sweating to the Oldies
I'm an ogre, a grump or if you prefer - a malcontent. Keep that in mind as you read. Brooklyn Farmacy is an old idea brought back - the soda fountain. I went there on a blistering hot day to get some ice cream. Twenty steps from the front door I noticed it was propped wide open - something you don't want to see on a blistering hot day. No air conditioning. Look, I get it - it's a soda fountain, circa 1950, before air conditioning. Yes, you got ceiling fans stirring the hot gravy air. I simply never recovered from this disappointment, I've spent way too many meals in Paris with a puddle of sweat collecting around my ball sack. This one thing, rightly or wrongly, colored my entire experience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Boqueria - Manhattan

Tapas and Sandwiches in the Flatiron
Whenever I come back to NY I'm amazed by the choice of new restaurants to try. I don't even pretend to keep up, I browse and pick them using a variety of rules, the most of important of which is the "it's close to work" rule. This is how we found ourselves at Boqueria, a Spanish tapas spot that also serves sandwiches. I spent a summer in Madrid between college and grad school and was hoping to find some eats that were more than a pale imitation. We didn't get off to a good start with the quail eggs and chorizo on toast. I don't know how they managed to make this tasteless - but luckily things picked up from here.