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Archive for the ‘Dining Reviews’ Category

Eating your way around the world

March 10th, 2008

Food is my #1 passion in life and travel #2. However, sometimes I think the only reason I like to travel is to find different foods to fuel Passion #1 - I even keep a restaurant journal. When I travel, I research the restaurants and make someone else research everything else. I then record the details of the foodie-adventures in my journal.

Some lessons I have learned along the way:

  1. Ask locals for recommendations – obvious, but there are a few caveats.
    1. Your hotel front desk is usually the first place to start, but beware. If they recommend a restaurant with a business card and instructions to give it to the restaurant and “tell them we sent you,” DON’T GO. This happened to me in Barcelona, and we were so upsold at dinner it was the most unrelaxing part of the trip.
    2. Ask the right question. Don’t ask, “What restaurants do you recommend.” Ask, “Where do you eat with your friends/family?” and follow that one up with “What kind of food do you like” to ensure their tastes aren’t completely off from yours.
    3. My favorite people to ask are taxi drivers and locals working at bars or restaurants where you have had a good experience.
  2. If you are traveling within the US, the internet will be your best friend in pre-planning, but web sites aren’t as common among international restaurants. I like www.chowhound.com for national and international.
    1. One thing you can research online before is what is considered local cuisine and drinks. Research tipping practices while you are at it.
    2. If you go to a restaurant that you like, and there are a lot of other restaurants in that same area, grab a business card – that way, you can hand the taxi driver the card the next night instead of trying to explain.
    3. Look for restaurants that are already busy – it will be worth the short wait.
    4. Ask for an English menu, you would be surprised how many places have them – and they usually give you a good laugh with the spelling and translations.
  3. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone this – but try to avoid chains. However, some local chains, are usually pretty good.

So actual recommendations in random locations?

Tokyo: Garlic House – order the garlic French bread for the appetizer, amazing!

Madrid: La Finca de Susana (chefs in training, so great, inexpensive food), and ENE (funky posh, a little pricy)

Dublin: For me, the food in Irelandtastes as dull as the weather, but I managed to find one good place: Chatham Brasserie (Chatham street Dublin– try the burger and chorizo brushetta). Diep Noodle Bar (Ranelagh Dublin 6) is also good.

Madison, WI:I know, not very ‘jetsetter’ of me, but this is an all time favorite and easy to miss and there is only a small black sign hanging on a grey door: Muramoto (106 King Street; Asian fusion)

Barcelona:Barceloneta (L’Escar, 22 moll Dels Pescadors) – pricey, but the view is to die for! Try the cod Carpaccio and don’t skip dessert.

London: Too many great restaurants to count, but Ping Pong is great. All Dim Sum! Order Jasmine tea for a nice surprise too!

Berlin: KaDeWe is a department store in Berlin – like Harrods in London, at least when it comes to the food. Take a few hours to wonder around the upstairs section and sample oysters and champagne!

Santiago: Nau Kana - unbelievable Asian, Middle East fusion! Try their version of the Mojito - vodka & basil.

lvolcheff Dining Reviews, Travel , , , , , , ,

“La Isla del Encanto” - Dining in Puerto Rico - The Best Food on the Island

March 3rd, 2008

 Puerto Rico

Buenos Dias,

My name es Cesar Castro and I’m going to tell you a little bit about dining in Puerto Rico; the best food on the Island. I was born and raise in Puerto Rico and lived in the island for 22 years, so who better to tell you what to eat while you are enjoying the beaches during your next vacation to Puerto Rico.

Asopau de Camarones - You can find this delicious dish in Isabela, PR right near the beach where many restaurants serve this plate. This dish is made of fresh shrimp, potatoes, sofrito, and tomato sauce and it’s serve with fried plantains. You can enjoy this dish for about $10. Believe me if you are a seafood lover, you can’t miss this plate when you visit the Island.

Bacalaitos - You can also find these near the beach or in any restaurant. Bacalaitos is basically fried cod fish, but these taste like no other. While being fried in peanut oil in huge pans, near the salty windy air of the beach, their crunchy taste of cod fish you can’t only have one, definitely 2 or 3. This go for about $3 each.

Rellenos de Papa - These are a “must have”. These curious looking potato balls stuff with meat are the best. You can find these anywhere in the island. These usually go for a $1 a piece and like I said, they are so delicious that they are addicting.

Well, there you have them my top 3 picks for dining in Puerto Rico while you are visiting my beautiful Island, Puerto Rico. Until next one “Y que pasen un buen dia”

cesarca Dining Reviews, Travel, Travel Guide

“La Isla del Encanto” - Dining in Puerto Rico - The Best Food on the Island

March 3rd, 2008

 Puerto Rico

Buenos Dias,

My name es Cesar Castro and I’m going to tell you a little bit about dining in Puerto Rico; the best food on the Island. I was born and raise in Puerto Rico and lived in the island for 22 years, so who better to tell you what to eat while you are enjoying the beaches during your next vacation to Puerto Rico.

Asopau de Camarones - You can find this delicious dish in Isabela, PR right near the beach where many restaurants serve this plate. This dish is made of fresh shrimp, potatoes, sofrito, and tomato sauce and it’s serve with fried plantains. You can enjoy this dish for about $10. Believe me if you are a seafood lover, you can’t miss this plate when you visit the Island.

Bacalaitos - You can also find these near the beach or in any restaurant. Bacalaitos is basically fried cod fish, but these taste like no other. While being fried in peanut oil in huge pans, near the salty windy air of the beach, their crunchy taste of cod fish you can’t only have one, definitely 2 or 3. This go for about $3 each.

Rellenos de Papa - These are a “must have”. These curious looking potato balls stuff with meat are the best. You can find these anywhere in the island. These usually go for a $1 a piece and like I said, they are so delicious that they are addicting.

Well, there you have them my top 3 picks for dining in Puerto Rico while you are visiting my beautiful Island, Puerto Rico. Until next one “Y que pasen un buen dia”

cesarca Dining Reviews, Travel, Travel Guide

Fette Sau!

February 28th, 2008

You can certainly satisfy your appetite in millions of restaurants in New York City so why paddle over from your Manhattan accommodation to Williamsburg (Brooklyn)?

BECAUSE…you need to visit Williamsburg once anyway and it is even more fun at night as this neighbourhood is full of cool bars, cafés, restaurants, speakeasies and clubs - which are not frequented too much by tourists from Idaho or Germany. If you don’t want to pay big dollars on Four Seasons or Jean Georges and fancy a cheap chain diner then there is a real alternative: Fette Sau (means fat pig).

The closest subway station is probably Metropolitan/Lorimer on the L line. Go on Metropilitan opposite direction of subway, pass under the highway and find a driveway equipped with picnic tables on the left hand side, close to Havemeyer Street. You’ve arrived! This joint is a former garage and still kept its industrial style. Not big, but cozy.

They offer earthy, greasy but solid pork, beef and lamb through a self-service butcher’s counter which is paid by weight. The staff puts your meat directly on a sheet of paper on your tray. You can choose from a few sides that are not overwhelming but you have at least something to chew on besides your meat (potato salad and such). You are probably terrified when you see black pieces of meat coming from the smoke apparatus which is the heart of this place. You’ll find a changing variety of ribs, leg of lamb, belly of pork, steak and pastrami. Accompanied by one of the local brewed beers and a shot of digestif, bourbon or whiskey from the über-equipped bar and you will be happy (not you, veggies and vegans!) There is a handful of different home-made and creative sauces for your meal as well. The meat is greasy, tender and aromatic. Their staff is nice and folks around you may be students, young families from the neighbourhood and some southerners who swear on this unpretentious cuisine.

Fette Sau

Those who do not flinch from eating at Fetta Sau earned an interesting experience away from the Times Square pack and can call themselves “hip”. Find your way back to by continuing further in direction of the East River with a final visit to a chic watering-hole in Wiliamsburg before boarding the L-train back to “civilized“ Manhattan.

carsteng Dining Reviews, Travel