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jesteinf

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  1. We got back from an outstanding trip to Spain a couple of weeks ago. Some thoughts on the places we went in Barcelona...

     

     

    Dos Palillos

    A fun meal with some definite highlights (razor clams, do-it-yourself toro handroll, ankimo) and one truly puzzling dish (stir-fried veggies). I would return just to see how the menu evolves. As someone upthread mentioned though, not terribly exciting if you're coming from a city with plenty of Asian food.

     

    Paco Meralgo

    Probably my favorite meal in Barcelona. I would eat here constantly if I lived nearby. We ate a pretty serious quantity of food and had a perfectly nice bottle of wine for 87 euros. Incredible oysters, razor clams, and anchovies. Also a pretty fantastic "french toast" for dessert.

     

    Rias de Galicia

    Incredible seafood but I really disliked the atmosphere. Very stuffy (and very empty). The mixed shellfish grill was a lot of fun to eat, kind of like dragging a net through the ocean and eating what you happened to pick up.

     

    Cal Pep

    We did Cal Pep for lunch one day and had a great time. The plate of fried mixed seafood we opened the meal with was great. Also did a whole monkfish that rounded out the meal nicely. Our barman, Paco, could not have been more helpful

     

    Hisop

    Mixed. Excellent appetizers. I had the foie gras "after eight" (chocolate and mint). The combination of the foie and the chocolate worked, but the mint came in foam form and was totally overwhelmed by the rest of the dish. My main course was some type of fish in a summer truffle soup. The soup was good, but the fish was slimy. The wife's main course of raw scallop with caviar and pig jowl was outstanding though.

     

    Comerc 24

    Probably our worst meal of the trip. This may have been because it was the last night of a 10 day trip that included way too much food. Flavors were flat and the dishes just came off like the restaurant was trying too hard. The best dish we had was tuna tartar, which really sort of sums up the experience.

     

    Although most of our trip was spent in Barcelona, we were in Madrid for about 48 hours. There we had some mediocre paella at La Barraca, and a great night of tapas on Cava Baja. The real reason for our trip was dinner at El Bulli, which absolutely lived up to the hype (IMO). The night before El Bulli we were able to go to Rafa's, which was a lot of fun (honestly, I enjoyed it more than Rias). If people are interested, I could post my El Bulli pics here but they are also over on eG if you want to take a look.

  2. People here will not be calling it the Willis Tower. It will be the Sears for years to come. There are still plenty of people who refuse to refer to where the White Sox play by its actual name.

  3. Watching Larry King last night, those close to the family said that Janet was supposed to talk but couldn't. That's when Michael's daughter took the microphone and spoke. I thought it was sweet and heartbreaking.

  4. So we're finally off to Spain in a couple of days. While in Barcelona we'll be eating dinner at the following restaurants:

     

    Dos Palillos

    Paco Meralgo

    Rias de Galicia

    Hisop

    Comerc24

     

    Can anyone give me an idea of what sort of attire would be appropriate for men and women at these restaurants (never been to Spain before, so not sure what would be viewed as appropriate)? We're just trying to figure out what to pack and I don't want us to stick out like a couple of rubes.

    Can't speak for RdG, but in general Spain is more casual then the US. Certainly no jacket or tie for any of these places (especially the first 2). Neat, clean, long pants, collared shirt and you are good to go I think.

     

     

    You know Dos Palillos is asian (japanese fusion really)? I'm not sure I'd rush to go there unless I was in the nabe. It was good, but if you live in a big city in the US not standoutish. We went because our apartment was steps away. You might want to sub Gresca or one of those kinds of places instead for a more Spanish experience. Just my opinion.

     

    Thanks for your comments. I figured Spain was more casual, just wanted to be sure. One question, though...are "nice" jeans acceptable for dinner? I really only ask for my wife, as I'll probably be sticking with pants and collared shirts.

     

    On Dos Palillos, I know that it's fusion, but I thought it seemed interesting. I'm probably going to stick with it for now, but maybe we'll pull a switch at game-time if something else strikes our fancy.

  5. So we're finally off to Spain in a couple of days. While in Barcelona we'll be eating dinner at the following restaurants:

     

    Dos Palillos

    Paco Meralgo

    Rias de Galicia

    Hisop

    Comerc24

     

    Can anyone give me an idea of what sort of attire would be appropriate for men and women at these restaurants (never been to Spain before, so not sure what would be viewed as appropriate)? We're just trying to figure out what to pack and I don't want us to stick out like a couple of rubes.

  6. There is this show in Chicago called "Check, Please." It's actually a wonderful show that should be here in NY..

     

    Obama was on it and they replayed it a year or so ago.. It was surreal watching him review a restaurant.

     

     

    That was pretty neat. They actually never aired the episode because the other guests couldn't get a word in edgewise.

     

    Anyway, you should all be thankful you didn't work in downtown Chicago during the transition. Presidential-level security every single day in the heart of the Loop. Not good times.

     

    But, better safe than sorry, regardless of who occupies the office.

  7. I took the bus from Barcelona in 2007 without any problems, we just showed up at the bus station about an hour before it was scheduled to leave.

     

    I would also re-think spending a few days in Roses, there is an old fort you can tour which is nice but we didn't find that much to do. I would go back to Barcelona or go somewhere else on the coast in the morning.

     

    Dinner is on the 24th, so we're planning on arriving in Roses on the 23rd and then leaving on the 25th.

  8. I've got a reservation at El Bulli in a few weeks, and the Wife and I decided to build a 10 day trip to Spain around the dinner. We're spending a couple of days in Madrid first, and then taking the AVE to Barcelona. Our plan is to stay in Barcelona for a few days, head down to Roses for a couple of days, and then come back to Barcelona for a few more days before heading home.

     

    The question is, what's the best way to get to Roses from Barcelona without driving? It looks like there is a bus, but you can't buy tickets in advance and obviously I don't want to risk getting stuck without a way to Roses.

     

    Thoughts?

  9. Yes, Kara's song was a complete disaster. But really, why should it be any different than the other Idol finale songs?

     

    "Kara... you're goin' home"

     

    As far as I'm concerned, that would be great. She annoys the hell out of me.

     

    Why, because she thinks "Cryin'" is "early Aerosmith"?

  10. Yes, Kara's song was a complete disaster. But really, why should it be any different than the other Idol finale songs? It sounded to me like something that would play over a montage in an 80's movie.

  11. Very interesting finale last night. I thought Kris was just a little bit better than Adam, but I'll be happy either way.

     

    As I said to my wife as we were watching last night, you could make the case that Kris and Adam are both equally good, they're just two different types of artists. The only question is which do you prefer, not which is more talented.

  12. I own a Kindle and I love it.

     

    I read on my commute every morning and evening, so it's fantastic not having to lug around a book. Also, when I go on vacation I usually schlep 4 or 5 books with me (sometimes all hardcover), so not having to do that anymore is great. There's no eye-strain because of the technology behind the display, so it really is just like reading an actual book.

     

    These probably aren't great reasons for everybody to buy a Kindle, but because of the amount of reading I do and the fact that a lot of it goes on outside of where I live, it's perfect.

  13. I am going to be in Chicago tonight, and I will have a couple hours free to get dinner on my own. Anyplace particularly worthy within a few blocks of the Loop near the river?

     

    Thanks

     

    If you're going to be alone, go to Avec and sit at the bar (you may have to go a bit on the early side to avoid a long wait). Depending on where in the loop you're coming from it's either a good walk or a short cab ride. You could also do A Mano, which is just north of the river on Dearborn. I think most of the menu has gone a bit downhill lately, but their pizzas are still excellent.

     

    If you want to head towards Michigan Ave, I would recommend either The Gage (gastropub) or Mercat a la Planxa (tapas).

     

    Avec

    www.avecrestaurant.com

    615 W. Randolph

    (312) 377-2002

     

    A MANO Trattoria

    www.amanochicago.com

    335 N. Dearborn St

    (312) 629-3500

     

    The Gage

    www.thegagechicago.com

    24 S Michigan Ave

    (312) 372-4243

     

    Mercat a la Planxa

    www.mercatchicago.com

    638 Michagan Ave.

    (312) 765-0524

  14. I would put Adam as my favorite to win it right now. At first I thought it would be Lil, but she just hasn't gotten it done the last couple of weeks. If Allison can develop any sort of fan base, she should be right there with Adam on finale night.

  15. So, Danielle looked to be 18 in 1988, why does she look 45 in 2005?

     

    it's all the smoking the french do.

    No moisturizer.

     

    No sunscreen.

     

    Time travel stories make my head explode. Like wouldn't have Danielle recognized Jin when she saw him in 2005?

     

    EW.com posts a wrap up of each episode after they air. These are extremely helpful for processing what just happened, pointing things out that you missed, pointing things out that you never would have thought of, etc.

     

    Anyway, today's wrap up took on that issue:

     

    Remember when Rousseau totally freaked out when she saw Jin again on the beach? ''I saw you disappear!'' she exclaimed. In her shock, I saw a simple answer to the time travel noodle-cooker that many of you have been puzzling over since last week: Did the French Lady recognize Jin when she first met the castaways in Season 1? The answer could very well be: Does it matter? For Rousseau, Reappearing Jin was one more scary, inexplicable thing in a scary, inexplicable situation that was about to become a way of life. By the time their lives intersected once more in her future timeline, seeing Jin again (if she even recognized him), the significance probably just bounced off her. ''Oh. You again. Whatever.''

     

  16. I read tons of books. Sometimes I read 2 or 3 books at a time. If I'm going on a week-long vacation I'll sometimes bring 4 or 5 books (mostly hardcover). So honestly, I have no qualms buying a Kindle. In fact, I already did. I put in my order shortly after Thanksgiving, only to find out I wouldn't actually get the thing until end of February/beginning of March. Today Amazon sent me an email to let me know I would be getting a Kindle 2 instead of a Kindle 1 since my order hadn't shipped yet (which I thought was pretty nice).

     

    Jason, I read your article and see your points, but I really don't care about the thing being open source or connected to my Facebook account or anything like that. This thing is going to save me a ton of money on books, and will save me some serious schlepping on the bus and on vacation.

  17. Marv Albert is obviously fantastic for basketball. He also does a wonderful job calling football games on the radio (not sure if he still does, but he used to do Monday Night Football with Boomer Esiason).

  18. Unfortunately the bar dining scene in Chicago isn't that great. Your best bet is probably Avec.

     

    Some other options for bar dining:

     

    Graham Elliot Bowles (formerly of Avenues in the Peninsula) just opened a new place (it's called Graham Elliot) and you can definitely eat well at the bar there. They've also got a great cocktail list.

     

    Powerhouse - The Chef used to be a sous chef at Alinea. The restaurant is sort of steakhouse-esque, but with far more ambition and creativity.

     

    A Mano - Italian small plates. Owned by the same people as Bin 36 (a wine focused restaurant located right above A Mano). Great pizzas, pastas, crudo, etc.

     

    If you're ok not eating at the bar, one of my favorite places is Sweets & Savories. It's a small, store-front place located at the southern end of Lincoln Park. Really well executed French-influenced food in a casual, laid back atmosphere. They do a $60 tasting menu that's an absolute steal.

     

    Finally, you should try to get in to Schwa. Just start calling now and call everyday until you get someone. If you're willing to eat on a weeknight you might have a decent shot at getting a table. Schwa is BYO.

     

     

  19. Yeah, Vancouver has been another strong candidate, but there is that whole dollar thing. I have heard great things about Victoria, as well.

     

    Is Chicago really a "windy city"? Because maybe I could stand it if I could rely on a breeze. I suppose most of the buildings have air conditioning, too, right? I just have hellish memories of summers spent in Washington DC in my youth and I start sobbing uncontrollably.

     

    Thanks for all the thoughts so far! If you think of anything else, pipe up!

     

    Also, restaurant/food suggestions if I do go to Chicago? Or Vancouver?

     

    Cheers!

     

    The "windy city" refers not to how breezy weather conditions are, but rather the bluster that typically comes from Chicago politicians (in one famous case, lobbying for the 1893 World's Fair).

     

    But, yeah, it also gets pretty windy here.

     

    The best new restaurant in the city right now is hands down L2O, Laurent Gras' new seafood focused spot. Blackbird and North Pond are also great higher-end spots.

     

    If you want ethnic, you can't go wrong with Thai (TAC Quick, Spoon Thai) or Mexican.

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