Friday, December 11, 2009

Virgil's Real BBQ

Virgil’s Real BBQ. (152 West 44th St.) There are a lot of really bad restaurants in the Times Square / Theatre District. Virgil’s offers good value and serves decent food in a great location. Don’t even think of it without a reservation. Portions are generous.

152 W 44th St
(between 7th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10036
(212) 921-9494

Trattoria Dell’Arte

Trattoria Dell’Arte (900 Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th). Boasts New York’s largest Antipasto bar. You can easily make a meal on the antipasto, so it is very vegetarian-friendly and need not be expensive.

900 7th Ave
(between 56th St & 57th St)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 245-9800

Second Avenue Deli

Second Avenue Deli. No longer on Second Avenue, make your way to 162 East 33rd and you won’t be disappointed. Everything is good and everything comes with home-made pickles, great coleslaw, and a healthy slice of Jewish attitude. Try the whitefish sandwich.

162 E 33rd St
(between Lexington Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10016
(212) 689-9000


Sarabeth’s is another great place for breakfast or brunch, also on the Upper Eastside. I’d recommend the pumpkin waffles.

1295 Madison Ave
(between 92nd St & 93rd St)
New York, NY 10128
(212) 410-7335


Norma’s (in the Parker Meridian) is the place to go in the Upper Eastside for breakfast. Make a reservation – especially if you go on a weekend. This place is full of New Yorkers eating and talking about food, so the atmosphere is as rewarding as the over-the-top food. The French-press coffee is great; don’t bother ordered an espresso drink – this will do fine. Next time I’m going all the way and ordering the “Chocolate Decadence French Toast” which looks amazing. Food like that probably should be illegal. Every second table seemed to have an order. I had the “Rock Lobster and Asparagus Omelet”, which was good but I could have made it, so I broke my rule about ordering things I can reproduce myself. The bottomless OJ was fresh-squeezed, chilled, and refreshing. This rates up there with Katy’s Place in Carmel for breakfast.

Le Parker Meridien
118 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-7460

Candle 79

Candle 79 is a well-priced vegetarian restaurant in the Upper East Side of New York. A very comfortable room and good food. I’d go again.

154 E 79th St
New York, NY 10075
(212) 537-7179

Katy's Place

I've just had a client remind me of Katy's Place in Carmel. This is one of the very best breakfast joints in the world. Go early, have a great start to your day. Enjoy that California, Carmel vibe.

Katy's Place®

Open everyday 7AM - 2PM
In Carmel-by-the-Sea
Mission Street between 5th and 6th
PO Box 7467
Carmel, CA 93921
Tel. (831) 624-0199

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vancouver Restaurants According to Frommers

Foodies, take note: Vancouver is one of North America's top dining cities, right up there with New York, San Francisco, London, and any other food capital you can think of. Estimates are that the city has anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 restaurants. What's undeniably true is that Vancouverites dine out more than residents of any other Canadian city. Outstanding meals are available in all price ranges and in many different cuisines, with a preponderance of informal Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants. Sushi lovers will be in heaven here as superlative sushi is available all over town for a fraction of what you'd pay elsewhere. For Pacific Northwest cuisine, Vancouver's top restaurants can compete with the very best when it comes to preparation, taste, and presentation.

For discerning travelers who love to dine out and dine well, Vancouver is a delightful discovery. Most of the top restaurants offer tasting menus, and if you're into food, I recommend that you try them. In particular, the tasting menus at West, C, Raincity Grill, and Cin Cin will give you a brilliant sampling of the best, freshest, and most creative cooking in Vancouver. Keep in mind, too, that Vancouver is perhaps the West Coast's preeminent city for seafood. You can dine on fresh oysters and superbly prepared local fish for less than you'd pay in any other city.

"Buy local, eat seasonal" is the mantra of all the best restaurateurs in Vancouver, and they take justifiable pride in the bounty of local produce, game, and seafood available to them. More restaurants in Vancouver are shifting to seasonal, even monthly, menus, giving their chefs greater freedom.

Be sure to try a British Columbian wine; the sommeliers at the top restaurants will be able to recommend one or do wine pairings with your meal. B.C. wines are now winning international acclaim and rival vintages from California, Australia, France, and Germany. The big wine-producing areas are in the Okanagan Valley (in southern B.C.'s dry interior) and on southern Vancouver Island. (If you have a few extra days, both areas are worth a visit.)

Restaurant meals in British Columbia carry no provincial tax, but venues add the 5% goods and services tax (GST). Restaurant hours vary. Lunch is typically served from noon to 1 or 2pm; Vancouverites begin dining around 6:30pm, later in summer. Reservations are recommended at most restaurants and are essential at the city's top tables.

The East Side -- Many of these "east side" restaurants are on Main Street, which is on the borderlands between upscale west and working-class east. Main thus has some funky urban authenticity to go with its ever-increasing trendiness.

Caffeine Nation

"I've never seen so much coffee in all my life. The whole town is on a caffeine jag," said Bette Midler, when she performed in Vancouver.

Though the population had been softened up to the idea by a generation of Italian immigrants, the recent fine-coffee explosion started first in Seattle, Vancouver's sister city to the south. The city now has more than 60 of the Seattle-based Starbucks, as well as Blenz, Roastmasters, and other chain cafes. The Starbucks franchises facing each other on Robson and Thurlow are famed for the movie stars who drop in and the regular crowd of bikers who sit sipping lattes on their hogs. The city's best java joint -- fittingly enough -- is Vancouver's Best Coffee, 2959 W. 4th Ave. (tel. 604/739-2136), on a slightly funky section of West 4th Avenue at Bayswater.

Nearly as good and far more politically correct is Joe's Café, 1150 Commercial Dr. (tel. 604/255-1046;, in the heart of the immigrant- and activist-laden Commercial Drive area, where lesbian activists, Marxist intellectuals, Guatemalan immigrants, and little old Portuguese men all sit and sip their cappuccinos together peacefully.

For the best lattes, see the review for Caffè Artigiano.

Tea for You? -- Everyone knows Vancouver runs on coffee, but now drinking tea has become the latest craze. The quality of tea depends on its growing region, soil, weather, harvesting season and ways of processing. You can see (and taste) the difference at T, a tasting boutique located on the West Side at 1568 West Broadway (between Granville and Fir; tel. 604/730-8390;, where over 100 varieties and blends of tea from the four corners of the world are available. Visitors can sample whole leaf, premium leaf iced, and whole leaf pyramid teabags. The boutique also sells spa kits including the popular Jetlag AM and PM packs. Moonstruck Tea House, 1590 Coal Harbour Quay (tel. 504/602-6609;, located across from the Westin Bayshore Resort right on the water, has a vast selection of teas, edible flowers and herbs direct from China's best tea farms. Moonstruck also offers Chinese tea ceremonies for two to four people.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Red Mill Burgers

Red Mill Burgers
Phinney Ridge
312 North 67th St
Seattle WA
(206) 783-6362

Back at Red Mill Burger, this time we tried the location in Interbay. Same great burger and onion rings. Five minutes before opening at noon on Sunday there was a line up. We were the first in and happy. The food is consistently good.

This Phinney Ridge, Seattle burger joint makes the best veggie burger in the world. They say the meat burger is good too. I could drive Vancouver to Seattle for this burger.

Al Natural

Restaurante Vegetariano Al Natural
Calle Zorrilla, 11
Tel. de reservas. 91 3694709
CP.28014 - Madrid - España

Great veggie food, some meat dishes but the focus is veggie. A short walk from Paseo del Prado or Plaza Santa Anna, this was my favourite veggie restaurant in Madrid.


C/ Bordadores 3
28013 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 480 811

Yerbabuenna is an excellent vegetarian restaurant very close to the Plaze Mayor in Madrid.

La Bardemcilla

La Bardemcilla
C/ Augusto Figueroa 47
28004 Madrid, Spain
+34 915 214 256

Javier Bardem and family own this restaurant in the Chueca area of Madrid. It's a fun place with friendly service and good food. Definitely try the Anchovy Loins, they are addictive. The Salt cod stuffed in red peppers is a traditional dish the can be awful but was excellent at this restaurant.


4 Erskine Road
Primrose Hill
London NW3 3AJ
020 7722 8028 (ph/fax)

The oldest veggie restaurant in Europe. Celebrating 40 years in Primrose Hill, London. Try the bangers and mash.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Taxi Dining Room

Transport Hotel, Federation Square
Flinders St
Melbourne 3000 VIC
Phone: (03) 9654 8808

In Melbourne, for a night of fine dining, try the Taxi Dining Room, in Federation Square. Taxi overlooks St. Kilda Road & the southbank. A Japanese inspired menu not to be confused with a Japanese restaurant, offers traditional Australian foods with a Japanese flare.

Japanese and Modern Australian
Try a glass of local red wine with a porterhouse, it melts in your mouth.

Taxi Dining Room was designed by Peter Maddison Architects The high ceilings soar above the banquette seating and are lit up with globe lighting reminiscent of Gotham city.

Chef Michael Lambie teams up with Japanese chef Ikuei Arakane to create Japanese inspired mod-Oz dishes that stun the diner with their simplicity of concept and complexity of flavour. Like Fed Square itself, Taxi pushes the boundaries and challenges perceptions in many ways, but still ultimately remains accessible.