Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s – Orange County, Los Angeles

Monday, June 9th, 2008

South Coast Plaza
3333 South Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Opening Hours:
Lunch: Monday – Sunday 11:45 to 2:30
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 5:30 to 10:30
Friday – Saturday 5:30 to 11:00
Tel. 714.352.2525
Fax. 714.474.2368
Credit Cards: All Major
Expensive-Very Expensive

Charlie Palmers at Bloomingdales, Rendering: Courtesy of the CMS DesignI first sampled Charlie Palmer’s cooking at the River Cafe in New York at some point during the mid-eighties and thought it was very good.

After Palmer served some time at Georges Blanc in France where he was impressed and inspired by the small artisan producers that brought their home-grown or produced goods to the kitchen door of the restaurant. It so happens, that I have spent a few nights dining at Georges Blanc and spent the night in the well-run hotel on the premise in Vonnas, and previous to that I dined at his mother’s famous restaurant in the same location called La Mere Blanc, one of the great gastronomical shrines, at the time, of France.

In 1988 Charlie Palmer opened Aureole in New York and a collection of other restaurants followed across America.
He firmly believes in using produce from small farms and is inspiring farmers, cheese producers and others in food production to keep quantities small and quality high.

This reiteration of Charlie Palmer has just recently opened at the South Coast Plaza and I trust that the tradition will live on in Orange County and I will keep tabs and report on the results.

Swiss Food Restaurant – Pattaya

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Tel. 038 423504
Soi Diamond 175/29-30, Pattaya, Thailand
Open daily from 4 pm – midnight
Credit Cards: Visa, MC
Prices: Moderate

Dining Room

I do not recommend this restaurant as of October, 2009.

Since shortly after its opening in 1985 I have been dining in this small restaurant hidden on Soi Diamond and it is with great regret that I have had to downgrade this establishment. It is surrounded by all types of bars from girlie go-go bars to lady boy bars. In spite of this small annoyance, it is was in earlier days worth the effort to walk there, and in fact the only way to arrive at the door, since a car cannot drive down the narrow walking street. Being subjected to raucous noise and a carnival-type atmosphere on the way was really a small inconvenience to pay for the good experience that followed in the good-times of this restaurant. Remember, this is Pattaya where there are not a great many establishments serving good-quality food combined with a pleasant atmosphere as they have here.

Inside, you will find a charming dining room and bar with a friendly service staff; the manager/owner is from Switzerland. It is unfortunate that about a year ago after the long-time owner took leave, the European chef disappeared, and I was withholding comment to see if the cooking might improve, over one year later it has, if anything, deteriorated. It is always a mistake to replace a farong chef with a Thai sous-chef and expect that everything will remain the same; as it inevitably will not. I wrote one year ago: The salad bar, offering many varieties of fresh salads and other starters, has survived unscathed, although the rest of my former recommendations that follow after the colon, are mostly “hit and miss” these days: cheese fondue (400 gr.) for 2 persons with mixed salad, Geschnetzeltes “Zürcherart” with rösti, wiener schnitzel with pommes frites, pork fillet with morel cream sauce, beef fondue ( 400 gr. ) for 2 persons with (French fondue bourguignonne) beef imported from Argentina, “steak tartar” (raw beef fillet with combination of spices) prepared at your table. The wine list has been pared down and filled in with less-expensive Chilean and Argentinian wines (this is a fact not a criticism) and the house wines are barely adequate. Presently, in the Autumn of 2009 I am afraid that the salad bar has now deteriorated and all the above suggestions are no longer valid. I do not recommend dining at this restaurant at this time.

Desserts & Liqueurs
Hot cherries with ice cream and whipping cream
Liqueurs and eaux de vie: Grappa, Poire Williams, Kirschwasser, Obstler, Vieille Prune

Settha Palace Hotel, La Belle Epoque Restaurant – Vientiane, Laos

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Settha Palace Hotel,
6 Pang Kham Street, P.O. Box: 1618, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Tel: (856-21) 217581-2.
Fax: (856-21) 217583.

Built at the turn of the century as a private residence and later transformed into a French-colonial style hotel the French architecture is set off with colonial decor and period pieces. In 1999 the Settha Palace Hotel has been restored to its former glory. The pool, which has a pool bar and terrace offering light fare is surrounded by large landscaped gardens, in the center of Vientiane, only a ten minute drive from the airport.
The charming dining room of the La Belle Epoque Restaurant offers excellent French cuisine as well as seasonal Lao food or you may enjoy a drink at the Colonial Bar open throughout the day and evening. There is also a Sidewalk Cafe.

You have the choice of luxurious suites or choose from 29 graciously appointed rooms and suites with separate shower and bath. Each suite features a 4-poster bed, hardwood furniture, marbled bathrooms, It is interesting to point out, that this hotel has all the modern conveniences, satellite color television, electronic in-room safe, mini bar, large writing desk, wireless Internet throughout the hotel and IDD telephone; in a city that has not one glass high rise building!

Seafood Market & Restaurant – Bangkok

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

The Line of Chefs at the Entrance89 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Sukhumvit Rd.
Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110
946 Rama IV Road
Bangkok 10500
+66 (0) 2 2661 1252-9
Fax. 02-2661-2073
Opening Hours: 11:30 am – 11:30pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Moderate – Expensive

A battery of chefs are cooking on a long kitchen line, just to the left of the main entrance, where you enter an enormous room filled with literally hundreds or tables and chairs. Models of various fish are suspended from the ceiling and a large fabricated orange tree is plunked in the center. A vast counter, filled with crushed ice, is at the rear of the dining room that holds all the different fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. A sign in large letters above the fish counter states: No Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Added, which pleases me and one of the reasons I keep coming back. To the far right of the fish counter is a wine room where you may purchase wine and water.

At the Checkout Counter The system works like this: you are seated at a table and then you arise and follow a girl to the fish counter, she then helps you to pick out the fish, vegetables and places them into a supermarket cart along with any fruit, if you are so inclined. Then, you are led to the checkout counter and pay for the food, the wine is paid for separately at the wine store. You are led back to the table where after you are seated you tell the captain how you wish to have each ingredient prepared, and you then receive another bill for the cooking fee.

We typically order: clams cooked with garlic, basil and chili; red snapper sweet and sour style (in Thailand it is not the sickening sweet & sour found in some inexpensive Chinese restaurants); sautéed morning glory with chili; mixed vegetables (pea pods, bean sprouts, large round special variety mushrooms in oyster sauce); whole crab in curry sauce; large river shrimp or rock lobster simply grilled.

The service is usually very attentive and they have a large staff to accomplish this; the cooking is consistently good and seafood always fresh.
If it is available, we order a bottle of Muscadet of the latest vintage, at this writing 2006. We always enjoy dining here even though it is considered somewhat of a tourist spot.

La Capannina Restaurant – Capri, Italy

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

CapanninaLa Capannina Restaurant
Tel. +39 081 8370732
Fax. +39 081 8376990
Via Le Botteghe, 12bis/14
80073 Capri (Napoli)
Credit Cards: All major
Prices: Expensive

If you walk down a narrow street leading off from the piazza of Capri called Via Le Botteghe you will eventually arrive at the restaurant. It is on the right side of the street and the De Angelis family or one of the staff will greet you. Try to arrange to be seated downstairs as this room is more fun than dining upstairs, in my view.
The menu features typical specialties of the region, as do most of the restaurant on the island, although there is a more diverse selection than in some other establishments.
The wine list is very extensive with many Italian and foreign listings.

Faraglioni Restaurant – Capri, Italy

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

FaraglioniVia Camerelle, 75
80073 Capri (Napoli)
Tel. +39 081 8370320
Credit Cards: All Major
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate – Expensive

The Faraglioni Restaurant is about a two minute walk down Via Camerelle from the Grand Hotel Quisisana, and in the evening it is a very popular place to be seen, it means booking is essential. You can choose to sit outside, very pleasant or inside not as ideal. The restaurant attracts an international crowd and you may sample all the Caprese dishes as well as cooking from other regions and in addition they have a very comprehensive wine list to accompany the menu. Try to book one of the straw covered tables on the other side of the street, this is the A section.

Le Bouchon – Bangkok

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

37/17 Patpong soi 2, Surawongse Road,
Bangkok 10500
Tel. 02-234-9109
Credit Cards: AE, MC, V
Open for Lunch and Dinner Noon-midnight, Mon-Sat; 7pm-midnight, Sun
Prices: Moderate

The Dining roomLe Bouchon restaurant is located in the heart of Patpong, the famous entertainment area in Bangkok.
It is located in a one floor shop-house with a large bar, small dining room, and an even smaller kitchen and toilet.

Seerge behind the BarThe amicable owner, Serge Martiani, is usually at the bar and you may have a chat with him. It has been very popular over the last ten years especially with the French crowd, and the main draw is not the menu but the real bistro feel of the place, it seems that everyone feels comfortable here and I would advise advance booking, due to the popularity and limited seating. You can always eat at the bar, if you can find a spot to squeeze in.

During a recent lunch and after looking at the very extensive blackboard menus, which are propped-up in front of you by the friendly tri-lingual waitresses, I chose to start with what turned out to be a very fresh tomato salad drizzled with vanilla scented, olive oil and sprinkled with pink peppercorns from Madagascar, and my dining companion ordered lentil soup for the first course. I followed with lamb shank with white beans while my friend had duck confit. It was all washed down with a good bottle of red Cahor wine.
This was followed by a couple of eau-de-vie Poire William to finish.

Indigo – Bangkok

Saturday, April 26th, 2008


Open: Daily from 11:30 lunch dinner 5:30pm
6 Convent Road
Bangkok, 10500
Tel: 02-235-3268
Owner: Alain Le Roy
Credit Cards: All major cards
Prices: Moderate

A couple of minutes walk from the BTS Saladaeng station and hidden at the end of a small soi off Soi Convent directly across from Molly Malone’s Irish Bar you will find this delightful French restaurant in a converted Thai house. It has a large bar with French doors that open out onto a courtyard where umbrella covered tables make a nice place to be seated in good weather. Snoopy the resident bartender is a friendly sort who is willing to entertain you with some magical tricks or prepare an excellent cocktail, he performs both equally well. The bar is a meeting place for French ex patriots and others who are informed enough to find this obscure location in the first place.

P4040047Khun Nok (Snoopy)P4050004Bigorneax


In season they import fresh oysters, bigorneax, bulots and shrimp from France. Overall, I really like the place and I always feel comfortable having a drink at the bar or a dinner in the dining room with friends. The rooms are laid out well, with tables not too far apart to kill energy levels and not too close that you feel that you are almost sitting in your neighbor’s lap.

The cooking tends to vary from good to acceptable depending on, I have not figured out exactly what, during the reign of several chefs over quite a few years.

Oysters from France

Komagata Dojo – Tokyo

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Tel 3842 4001
Taito-ku, Komagata 1-7-12
Open 11:30am-10:00pm
Credit Cards
Prices: Expensive (due to the rarity of the specialties)

This restaurant is an institution and it stays open all day without a break until 10pm. The two items they specialize in, whale and small fresh-water eel are now so rare that prices have kept escalating over the years.

It opened its doors in 1776 the same year America gained its independence. While they have a menu with some classic Japanese dishes most everyone comes to eat the white part of the whale, with plenty of burdock root and green onions displayed in side-dishes, which you may add to the steaming pot in the center of the table, and Dojo, which is a small fresh-water eel found in the rice fields. In my two visits over the years I have never seen anyone order anything else but these two items.

In the main dining room on ground level everyone is seated on the floor downstairs offers some table seating, however.

Frontera Grill, Topolobampo – Chicago

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

445 N. Clark St., Chicago
(312) 661-1434
Closed Sunday & Monday
Quality Mexican
Prices: Moderate

Both restaurants are located in the same building, Frontera Grill (seating 65) is the more casual of the two restaurants and Topolobampo, the higher-end operation, seats only 45. They both share the same entrance and both have outdoor seating. Chef/Owner Rick Bayless is nationally acclaimed for his authentic cooking that represents many of the important gastronomic areas within Mexico. He is relentless in his quest for the finest ingredients and to truly reproduce Mexican cuisine on the highest level. Tamales de Pescado Yucatecan tamales flavored with achiote, filled with fresh catfish, steamed in bananas leaves and served with fresh tomato sauce; Garnachas small homemade tortillas topped with savory pork pibil, pickledonions and habanero salsa; Cazuela de Borrego al Cascabel charcoal-
seared lamb simmered with woodland mushrooms, potatoes and Mexican vegetables; Guacamole fresh and chunky, served with tortilla chips; Tostaditas made-to-order tortilla chips with two salsas; three-chile (cascabel, morita, guajillo) and roasted tomatillo with serrano and cilantro; Puerco en Salsa Roja grilled pork tenderloin in spicy New Mexico red chile sauce with grilled red onions and black beans.