Last year, The Dogs opened on Hanover Street. It has since been established in the eating scene here in Edinburgh, sparking ecstatic reviews from most critics and was nominated for the prestigious Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland award for best restaurant. The prices are correct (very affordable at lunch time); the menu is unique; the atmosphere is relaxed. Most importantly, however: the food is delicious.
Hanover Street is just off George Street. The location of The Dogs is thus central, within a few minutes walk from most of the major hotels. Its position next to George Street also makes it ideal for a pre-clubbing meal (not that it’s really that kind of place, but perhaps a few short-skirted girls would add something!).
December 28, 2008
Although for many of my friends there is never a reason needed, nothing at this end of the year holiday season seems more festive than champagne, at least in the alcoholic beverage realm. Oh yes, there's eggnog, but how much of that can you really drink without feeling sated, and, besides, it's terrible with smoked salmon or foie gras. Whereas a good bottle of champagne can see you right through an entire celebratory feast.
Good Reds for under $16
December 19, 2008
Perhaps you're in the throes of the annual frenzied ritual of Christmas shopping. Whether you're feeling a pinch in the wallet, or only have time for a quick supper before you dash back out to the mall, you may still want a glass of wine to go with that quick supper or, beginning the day after Christmas, that turkey sandwich. And it's not going to be Gevrey-Chambertin. This seems like a good time to look at some red wines for those on a budget.
Dry White Bordeaux, Crisp, Complex, and Neglected
November 13, 2008
A friend called me the other evening, she was enjoying a glass of wine and wanted to know if there was a Bordeaux grape. I was momentarily taken aback as I perhaps wrongly assume that most wine drinkers know the three main grape varieities that go into red Bordeaux: cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc. But when she mentioned it was a white Bordeaux, a whole new avenue of consideration opened up. My first thought was how long it had been since I deliberately sought out a white Bordeaux. Next, that it might surprise some wine lovers to know that they're produced from sauvignon blanc, semillon, and, in some cases, a small amount of muscadelle. After concluding our conversation, I realized my interest had been piqued. I'd have to start looking for some of these wines to try.
Geraldine Ramer on Wine No. 2: Discoveries in Wine and in Life
August 26, 2008
Probably everyone who gets hooked by the intrigue and challenge and pleasure of wine has one of those aha! moments that marks a turning point in their appreciation of it.
Mine came about in the early 1980s and involves a bit of a tale. I was on a beach in Greece in late July and a few pages of the Herald Tribune came hurtling along, driven by a strong wind. Nobody came running after, so I laid hold of them and began reading. One item was a review of a new wine bar in the sixth arrondisement, the area of Paris I was most familiar with. I’ve got to go there when I get back to Paris, I said to myself. But I still had a few more weeks in Greece. The temperatures were extremely high, even at night. I began to tire of Greek salads and vowed never to eat them except when in Greece. I longed for lettuce.
Wellfleet is named after England’s Wallfleet oyster beds by the River Crouch in Essex. Daniel Defoe said of them that they are “...the best and nicest, though not the largest, oysters in England.” One might well express a similar judgement of their Wellfleet cousins without an exhuastive study of American Ostreidae, since their crooked, narrow shells house smallish creatures in which all the bite and tang of New England waters appears to have been concentrated. The visitor can savor this heady fragrance on a walk over Uncle Tim’s Bridge at low tide, as he follows a leisurely route from the center of town towards the juncture of Main Street and Route 6, where the Wicked Oyster has been serving Wellfleetians with local specialities and first-rate new American cuisine year round since 2004, when Eliza Fitts and Kenneth Kozak bought the building. It is a community favorite which, in addition to dinner, serves weekend breakfast year round and lunch off season, which is sophisticated and ambitious, however informal it may be. It is one of the few serious restaurants on the Cape that is open out of season.
Geraldine Ramer on Wine, No. 1: Importers
August 4, 2008
Even the most disciplined wine consumers - never mind the rest of us - must from time to time find themselves with a dilemma. You may have a highly organized wine rack or even a wine cellar at home, but what about when you're visiting Aunt Betty for the weekend and everyone turns to you to go do the wine purchasing at the nearest store? Faced with an unfamiliar selection and perhaps a clueless clerk, how do you maintain your reputation for connoisseurship?
A rule of thumb for making the guesswork easier is to turn the bottle around and look at the back label. Why? Because that is where you'll most often find the name of the importer. One of the greatest aids to choosing a bottle you know little about is getting to know some importing companies whose selections you have confidence in.
23 Marshall Street, North Adams, Massachusetts
Prices, moderate: starters, $7 to $12; entrees, $18 to $26
Hours: 5 to 9 every day but Tuesday. Bar hours; 5 to 10.
All major credit cards accepted
Committed to providing creative American fare using only the finest and freshest ingredients around. supporting independent farmers locally and abroad, we buy organic, farm-raised meats and locally grown produce. Member of Berkshire Grown.
Gramercy Bistro in North Adams has been a favorite of ours for some time, and it’s not because the bar and dining room remind me of the chic little places I remember from my Park Slope days, although there must be plenty of people in North Adams who are eager to promote that illusion. There is nothing about Gramercy Bistro that isn’t genuine. The pale walls and dark wood trim suggest culinary seriousness, as do the well-populated tables and a certain quality to the rumble of the diners’ voices, which I’ve learned to identify with a whole-hearted enjoyment of food, as well as one’s companions. In the bar you’ll see some fine black and white photographs of Menton and its inhabitants by David Auerbach, a local photographer, who gave them to chef-owner Sandy Smith and his wife Sarah as a wedding gift, and in the dining room works by local artists are periodically rotated. But ultimately its what’s done in the kitchen that matters. I was especially happy to come back to Gramercy Bistro for review and to focus on Sandy Smith’s creations with a critical palate. Lucas was equally keen, back from Edinburgh, enjoying a break from his customary diet of vegetarian haggis and Bruichladdich.
Set Lunches About London
July 21, 2008
Lucullus goes to lunch...
In an earlier entry on cheap eats in London I made passing reference to the institution of the set lunch. They are great theatre at their best, when someone with a Sears Roebuck upbringing (raise your hands with me) can mutter French phrases off the menu to someone else who is pretending to be your servant for an hour. Traditionally, the grandest London restaurants were a required stop-off for Parisian waiters, who spent a year here to complete their technique serving proper gentlemen and ladies. Or so I was told a decade ago. Now we’re lucky if the waiters, still mostly French, don’t spit in the soup the way fancy waiters did in Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris.
Cheap Eats in London: Huntley's Recommendations
July 16, 2008
Cheap eats is still good eats. A petite English woman sitting next to me at the ballet looked like Miss Marple and spoke so softly I needed an ear trumpet. . Sheremarked that London was the dearest city in Europe. She wasn’t being affectionate – she meant the prices. This is a metropolisof perpetual sticker shock. A movie ticket is $21, a can of Coke one dollar each in the grocery store, and a sandwich with orange drink $24 at the Royal Opera’s splendiferous, glass-canopied Floral Hall. I grit my teeth and pay, but the urban strategist in me has outwitted the gouge.
If you want to eat cheap but also feel that you are eating well, the following are tried and true. I’m not giving reviews, just tips, and am leaving location and hours to the reader who is willing to consult Square Meal, the best online restaurant guide to London.
Rating: 4/5; Price: moderate; main courses $23-$39. Open seven days a week: breakfast served in the Dining Room from 7:00AM to 10:15AM daily; Sunday Brunch from 11:00 AM to 2:15 PM; Lunch 11:30AM to 2:15PM (entrees $6-15); Dinner from 5:30PM to 10:00PM (entrees $16-28); Lighter fare in the Bar from 5:30PM.
May 21, 2008
As summer visitors converge on Williamstown, beginning with the Williams commencement and continuing on through the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which will conintue through late August, it will hardly occur to many that a refuge is available from whatever mild stresses the largely depopulated college town may offer. The Orchards Hotel, with its recently reinvented and renamed restaurant, Gala (formerly Yasmin’s), has stood on Main Street (Route 2) for some twenty-five years, just at the point where the town proper begins. Hotel, restaurant, parking, and their attractive landscaping are surrounded by a massive wall, which shields the buildings from traffic noise most effectively, but has in the past encouraged among locals a sense of exclusivity—borne out in the past by Yasmin’s ambitious and pricey menu. With new owners and the arrival of Chef Peter Belmonte, a Berkshire native, all that has changed. The new menu, which changes regularly, maintains a neat balance of the familiarity and innovation, and prices are refreshingly accessible. Festival regulars will also be pleased to learn that the popular Cabaret, absent from the Orchards for several years, will return in July and early August.
San Domenicowill close in June for six months. It is said that it will reopen at a midtown address, and that the Mays plan to make it a larger, less formal establishment.
Arlene B. Isaacs
March 11, 2008
At the westernmost end of Central Park South, where you find the towering Time Warner Center and Columbus Circle you also find an elegant avenue of luxury condominiums and world-class hotels. Steps from Columbus’ statue, you will find San Domenico Restaurant. There you will experience dining in the most elegant Italian tradition. The ingredient-driven food is at once simple, flavorful, light, and always very Italian. San Domenico consistently earns its reputation for the top-quality materials supplied by its purveyors and the refinement of chef Odette Fada’s cooking. (Fada, a native of Brescia, is one of the most respected chefs in the United States and has received numerous prizes and honors, including winning the White Truffle Competition in New York in 1999.) Tony May established his internationally renowned restaurant with authentic cuisine and its impeccable service in 1988 and his daughter Marisa has since joined him in the enterprise as Director, General Manager, and Co-owner.
Coq au Vin, photo Renée Dumouchel (Click photo to enlarge.)