Paris – 11/24/17 – Buvette, Le Syndicat and Chez La Vieille

I stopped at Buvette for some vegetables to offset the cheese I was eating for 3 meals per day.  They were delicious but the service was truly horrible to the point that I considered leaving before I had even ordered and again after I finished my glass of wine and couldn’t seem to get another.

Le Syndicat
I have had several disappointing experiences at places on the Worlds 50 Best Bars list but had a fantastic experience at Le Syndicat.  It looks like an abandoned storefront in a slightly sketchy neighborhood and you could easily walk by it.  Very cool menu, great drinks and service.  I can’t wait to return.

Biggie Smalls Door
Marc de Bourgogne, Cap Corse Mattei, liqueur de gentiane, et cordial de pamplemousse & d’aneth

Eau de vie de framboise, Cap Corse Mettei, vermouth rouge, et sucette maison au piton

Chez La Vieille
Thank you Daniel Rose for reopening this spot, staffing it with amazing people from Spring, and creating such a fantastic environment.  Perhaps the best time I have had at dinner while traveling and if I lived in Paris I would be here once a week.  I could easily eat poireaux vinaigrette every day of the week and this version was excellent.  But the chicken was quite possibly the best chicken I have had in my life.  Yes everything in Paris seems better, and the chickens are different, but I have thought about this so often since.

Poireaux vinaigrette

Poulet fermier et puree de pomme de terre


Paris – 11/25/16 – Pages and La Bourse et La Vie

I had an absolutely lovely lunch at Pages.  In retrospect I am not sure i would have enjoyed it so much at dinner.  It has nothing to do with the restaurant itself, but most people seemed to be out to business lunches and so for me it truly felt like a vacation day.  As is too typical I did not take notes but everything was delicious and I always love having a view of the kitchen.

La Bourse et La Vie
It seems that Daniel Rose can do no wrong. As expected truly excellent versions of dishes that I love and could eat meal after meal.

Leeks and hazelnuts

Steak, fries and salad

Paris – 11/24/16 – L’Assiette and L’Arpege

L’Assiette is exactly what you expect a French bistro to be. This was a perfect lunch although I did eat my body weight in beans.

I have been trying to reconcile my experience at L’Arpege with some of the less than stellar reviews and think perhaps I just had more realistic expectations.  Just looking at my photos you can tell that there is no crazy plating, modern technique, nothing that is not what it appears to be.  If anything this is 3 star version of comfort food.  So if you come in expecting something different you will likely be disappointed.  Not that such assumption is not warranted by starts and rankings.  What makes Arpege is personality.  It is a dinner party and there is so much energy in the room it is difficult to not have fun if you give in to it.  Before I even sat down Alain Passard kissed me on both cheeks, complimented my dress, and whispered “I am going to cook for you tonight.”  It was impossible not to be completely smitten and subsequently ignore the flaws.  For me this was an absolute perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

NYC – 12/17/15 – Benoit

My first trip to Benoit for lunch was a success so I decided to give it a try for dinner as it was in the necessary location for this particular evening.  A lovely pate en croute and I haven’t had escargots since the Next Bistro menu in early 2015.  Its always great to have solid midtown options as I am often too ‘down’ on the neighborhood.

Pate en croute 
Escargots, garlic & parsley butter
 Hanger steak, frites & bordelaise sauce

Chicago – 2/15/15 – Next : Bistro

2015 is certainly off to a good start for Next.  I was super excited about this menu when it was first announced.  As I started seeing photos pop-up online from my many friends who were able to get there before me I knew I was going to love it.  I think the menu substitutions were a super smart idea from the restaurant’s perspective.  There are very few Next menus that I have done more that once but I left this meal already trying to figure out when I could return because there were too many dishes I desperately want to try.  The beef tenderloin was amazing….four of my favorite components on one plate is hard to beat.  And I very much enjoyed the beverage pairings for this menu…perhaps next time I can just have a dish of the armangac soaked prunes please??

Ceuf a la Beran (chicken custard with crispy chicken skin and chives)

Soupe de Poireaux et Pomme de Terre de Jules Gouffe (jules gouffe’s potato and leek soup)

Foie Gras Au Torchon (foie gras with brioche toast points, huckleberry, murray river salt, and black pepper)

Aile de Raie Meuniere avec des Capres et des Choux de Bruxelles (skate wing with capers, brown butter, lemon, and brussels sprouts)

Tarte a l’Oignon Caramelisee avec Gruyere et des Anchois (caramelized onion tart with gruyere and anchovies)

Tournedos Rossini aver use Puree de Pommes de Terre (beef tenderloin with foie gras, black truffle, and potato puree)

Escargots de Bourgogne avec du Pain et du Beurre Maitre d’Hotel (burgundy snails and herbed butter topped with bread)

Champignons Sauvages (wild mushrooms)

Prune Armangac, Punt E Mes, Angostura

Pear brandy, Cocchi Rosa, Grapefruit

Patisserie du Jour

Assiette de Fromage

The Betty

A huge thank you to the consummate gentleman John Schafer for escorting us down the street to the Betty in our inappropriate heels on extremely snowy and icy sidewalks.   Very big shoes to fill at Next!  I love all of the new additions to the West Loop.  Love the space and the vibe at the Betty and my drink was quite good.  Looking forward to going back!

Life During War Time – genever, green tea syrup, aperol, fennel bitters, bitter lemon soda