Archive for January, 2011

January 15, 2011

Best restaurants in Florida, my selection.

To complement the shopping in Florida, will give out my best selection of restaurants in the areas that I lived, 18 years in Florida USA.

The restaurants have usually  hours that start with lunch around 11am and continue straight to dinners open until about 23h. You have cafes, and restaurant that do the same thing, and then bars, the tipping is not included. Some restaurant come up to me already figuring the tip at 15%;18%;and 20% on the bill. The pay is low, so tipping is expected, but not obligatory. I tip if the service warranted it, and if I am a regular client I tip a bit more than just a casual passer-by. Again the choice is yours, and if you are visiting the State than tip if the service is beyond the call of duty.

Some of my favorites were/are:

Columbia restaurant, the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA. I have visited the properties in Saint Augustine and the original from 1907 in Tampa. 98 St. George Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 . Tel +001 904 824 3341. And , the original in the Ybor city area of Tampa at 2117 East 7th Avenue ,Tampa, FL 33605. Tel +001 813 248 4961. Fantastic Spanish cuisine with flamenco performers at nights in a quaint Spanish hacienda setting, very romantic and cozy. The best of Spain. webpage http://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

TGIFriday’s chain of restaurant is fabolous for its spared ribs a la jack daniels, simply great and couple with great cocktails. The setting is Americana with lots of objects hanging out and frame to its wall of yesteryear. I have taste the ones in Ormond Beach (ocean shore blvd) , Sunrise (13350 w sunrise blvd) , Orlando( international drive) , Miami (s dixie and dolphin mall) , and Tampa(fowler ) the webpage is http://www.tgifridays.com/home/welcome.aspx

Applebee’s, a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Miami. I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers. webpage http://www.applebees.com/default.aspx

Quiznos, a great sandwich chain, with succulent big sizes and great prices ,wonderful for lunch and on the go eating. the taste is definitively great and fast service; to eat on site or take home.  Its a chain and even with international locations, my favorite location is near old home at Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Sunrise. webpage http://www.quiznos.com/index1.html

Barnacles’ seafood at Ormond Beach, a great place with fresh product perfectly made all the time and right on the Atlantic Ocean. One of my all time favorite, and keep coming back when in the State. Fish and Chips, Schooner sampler or just a nicely made fish, great ambiance like a fisherman village. webpage http://www.barnaclesonline.com/

Julian’s, for the best steaks in the area, many times recognise by the leading ranking houses. You just come for those juicy steaks in a upscale ambiance of old New York. IN Ormond Beach since 1967, now with new owners since 2005 but still all is good I am told. webpage http://www.julianslandmark.com/

Aunt’s Catfish, on the river intracoastal at Port Orange, just south of Daytona Beach, an institution in the area, you can have a better fish resto with southern hospitality. Try the blue crabs!!! webpage http://www.auntcatfishontheriver.com/menu.htm

The Oyster Pub, a tradition of mine since college days, still going strong, the IN place to be in Daytona Beach. oysters of course and plenty of good beer and good cheers, with great sports TV screen , the place to be and to be seen. Families ok for lunch. webpage http://www.oysterpub.com/

Razzles, if you want to party late and have fun while a block from the Atlantic ocean come here, another area institution visited since my college days. Great ambiance to please until late hours.  Dance, Drink, and be happy here. webpage http://www.razzlesnightclub.com/

Maison & Jardin is no longer a restaurant but it was French back in my days in the State, and now its an event planning place for all your business or weddings, etc needs, worth checking it out, you never know if you need a place like this and its sentimental neighborhood for me (same owners thus). At Altamonte Springs, alond I4 goings towards Disney and before reaching Orlando. webpage tells you more , http://www.maisonjardin.com/

La Crepe en Haut, Ormond Beach, the ultimate French restaurant in my old town, a place to practice my French while dreaming of visiting France again, you will be in France, French owners; webpage http://lacrepeenhaut.net/

Mr Wich deli, is without a web, tuck away in a tree laden place in Ormond Beach, the best place for lunch in the area, and the best pastrami south of 45 st NYC ! sandwiches are huge, try the combo with chips and drink. 21 N Nova Rd Ste A,  Ormond Beach, FL 32174; tel +001 386 677 1106. just go from I95 direction Ormond Beach on the SR40 or Granada Blvd, same road, when reaching Nova Rd turn left and the deli is right on your right hand side.

New York pizza, the ultimate NY pizza in my times done ably by wonderful Marie of NY. Still going strong after so many years for good cause. You wont eat a better pizza in the area. Now at new location than on my days but taste it good in 2009, 725 E International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32118. tel +001 386  257-2050.now web of course.

Alfies restaurant in Ormond by the Sea next to the ocean, an institution near one of my old hangouts, indeed the best breakfast in the area, and a great opportunity to catch the latest in the world with the regular customers of many years. webpage http://www.alfiesrestaurant.com/

Mr Dunderbaks, the German sausages and beer place, an institution still going strong after so many years and again for good cause. Inside the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speeway Blvd.tel +001 386-258-1600.webpage http://www.dunderbaksdaytona.com/

Inlet Harbor Restaurant and Marina, an institution in the south Peninsula, south of Daytona Beach, just great catch of the day straight from the fishing boats.  A great complex, webpage http://www.inletharbor.com/

Hemingways inside the Hyatt Grand Cypress hotel, a wonderful time past of old Florida conch ambiance and great raffine seafood cuisine by the best in Orlando ,http://grandcypress.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/entertainment/restaurants/index.jsp

Bill Wongs Super Buffet,Chinese perfection at great prices in Orlando, 5668 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. tel +001 407 352 5373.  No web near Disney off I4.

Wolfgang Pub  Cafe, 1482 East Buena Vista Drive,Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. tel +001 407-938-9653. Great exotic cuisine with an American/Japanese twist. A renown chef in a wonderful ambiance. webpage http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/

Bongos Cuban Cafe, 1498 East Buena Vista Drive,Downtown Disney,Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. tel +001 407-828-0999. the best Cuban resto in the central Florida area, a resto own by Gloria Estefan ,famous American singer of Cuban origins(Miami sound machine). The latest in mojitos and daiquiris with modern succulent cuisine avant garde. This was the original location now at South Beach Miami and others too. Webpage http://www.bongoscubancafe.com/

Pacino’s Italian Ristorante, a great Italian with wonderful decorations and ambiance, mamma mia in Kissimmee, near Disney . 5795 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Highway 192, Kissimmee, FL 34746 tel +001 407-239-4141.  webpage http://www.pacinos.com/

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament , an event to have dinner without utensils as in middle times with horse shows of lancers. A great family time, always remember well.  4510 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Tel +001 407-396-1518. webpage http://www.medievaltimes.com/

Shells seafood ,in Tampa, seafood with hollywood history, it has been reorganised lately so need to verify the decoration, but it was a great family time there. 202 S Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33609 tel +001 813 875 3467.  webpage http://www.shellsseafood.com/

Bennigan’s, an Irish resto experience, popular locations my initial contact was in Tampa around the Univ of South Florida and then continues to Miami locations.  The monte cristo sandwich is huge and yummy with a nice beer alongside, Guinness blue bacon hamburger is awesome. IN Miami it is near the airport on Le Jeune Rd. webpage http://www.bennigans.com/

Croissan’time, a French institution in Ft lauderdale area, and our little piece of FRance there, the owners are from Avignon. You can have a bistro type setting next door and a delicatessen store next with all the goodies to take home from France or made by French in America. Sunrise Square, 1201 North Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale,  Florida 33304, Tel +001 954-565-8555    webpage http://www.croissantime.com/

Joe’s Stone Crab, a miami institution of greater culinary sensation. One of my favorites and should be yours too…. 11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139 . tel +001 305-673-0365. You guess it stone crabs and lobster the finest, webpage http://www.joesstonecrab.com/

Joe Allen, was in Miami and we met again in Paris, great American steaks, burgers,and Americana deco. In Miami Beach at 1787 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139. Tel +001 305-531-7007. webpage http://joeallenrestaurant.com/Joe_Allen/Miami_Beach_home.html

News Cafe, the ultimate gathering place for talk coffee and know it all be seen and see in Miami Beach.Open 24 hrs !!!  800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. tel +001 305-538-6397. webpage http://www.newscafe.com/

Restaurant St Michel, yes refine and French, excellent cuisine in a old world ambiance. In hotel St Michel same refinements. 162 Alcazar Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134. tel + 001 305-444-1666. webpage http://www.hotelstmichel.com/

Los Ranchos, for Miami best steaks Latin style, come here its an institution with several locations. My favorite was at Sweetwater(Miami) the original. webpage http://www.beststeakinmiami.com/

La Carreta, the best Cuban original and typical, the real thing if you are looking for that. A family tradition try again in 2009 on my visit back home. the Platters combinations are sublime. My best is at 106633 NW 12 street, next to International Mall, webpage http://www.lacarreta.com/

Hooters, in Coconut Grove at CocoWalk, the Americana sexy in you, for an American bar with burgers and nice girls.  3015 Grand Avenue,Suite 330
Miami, FL 33133. tel +001 305-442-6004. webpage http://www.hootersflorida.com/

The Rusty Pelican,steaks but best seafood on Key Biscayne overlooking the bay of Miami, best views in Miami. Lovely evenings with locals, and the fishterman,yatchmens of the area and beyond. 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149. tel +001 305-361-3818.   webpage  http://miami.therustypelican.com/

Latin American Cuban Cuisine, at Bayside Marketplace downtown city center Miami by the port of Miami, Great sandwiches and vaca frita, the Cuban staples. 401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. tel +001 305-381-7774. webpage http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/dining-entertainment/latin-american-cafeteria

P.F. Changs, Mary Brickell Village, 901 S Miami Ave., Suite 104, Downtown Miami, FL 33131. tel +001 305 358 0732.  In the former fire dept house and previous Fire House four cigar bistro, there is the chinese cuisine par excellence. This is a chain, and the setting and ambiance here is special at least here. webpage http://www.pfchangs.com/index.aspx

Little Havana Restaurant, 12727 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, FL 33161. tel +001 305-899-9069. The best Cuban in the north of the county, really nice setting with fish tanks and inner patio. The food is well done and authentic. Try the stuffed fish dishes or the ropa vieja dish. webpage http://www.littlehavanarestaurant.com/

Red Lobster, a chain of seafood restaurants but very good, my favorite in the area was at 1750 West 49th Street (Palm Springs Mile shopping road that is NW 103 St for Miami), Hialeah, FL 33012. tel +001 305-557-3088. webpage http://www.redlobster.com/

Chili’s Grill & Bar, tex mex at its best with a great selection of cocktails, my gathering place at lunch whle at work in the area. Still meet old friends there when visiting like in 2009. 8696 NW 13th Terrace, Miami, FL 33126. tel +001 305-471-8187. The Beacon Center park, webpage http://www.chilis.com/EN/Pages/home.aspx

Flanagan’s Seafood Bar & Grill, another hangout about a block from the above place at NW 12 street, this is seafood, and buffalo wings, Spare ribs with great beers and sports screen all over. Best at nights, when the action is hot and fast.  webpage http://www.flanigans.net/nw_12th_street_miami_map.html

94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, the old hangout for Eastern airlines employees and locals, now the best view of the airport landing fields at MIA/while listening on earphone of the air traffic control tower . You have great drinks and burgers, steaks, and the ambiance is aviation. 1395 NW 57th Avenue Miami, FL 33126. tel +001 305 261-4220. webpage http://www.94thmiami.com/

Le Bouchon du Grove, real French guy from Lyon will transport you to the bouchons of Lyon France. Exquisite cuisine in a wonderful village like setting. 3430 Main Highway – Coconut Grove FL (Miami) Tel +001 305  448 6060. webpage http://www.lebouchondugrove.com/

Cafe la Bonne Crepe, another wonderful French ,this one in Las Olas blvd of Ft Lauderdale, fine expert cuisine from the best in the area; 815 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. tel +001 954 761 1515. You missed those crêpes from France well here they do it as identical as can be. webpage http://www.labonnecrepe.com/

Olive Garden, italian and greatly made dishes , it was near us so we took many partakes here and never disappointed. In the Pembroke Lakes Mall property outside, but locations everywhere in FL.  11425 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026. tel +001 954-432-5529. webpage http://www.olivegarden.com/default_f.asp

The Hurricane, at St Pete’s beach on the west coast just west of Tampa. A wonderful laidback Florida lifestyle ambiance with great seafood sandwiches and beer to go along your trip on the west coast. 807 Gulf  Way,St. Pete Beach, FL 33706. tel +001 727-360-9558. webpage
http://www.thehurricane.com/

Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill, an exquisite extention of great seafood fingers, drinks, sports bar, and great local ambiance you will love in your stay in Florida. This one was after an indoor soccer/football match,and it was great memories indeed. 12370 West Sunrise Blvd, Plantation 33323. tel +001 954-423-4197. webpage http://quarterdeckrestaurants.com/v2/

The Globe, great bar and ambiance, sophisticated,business casual , evening dress to kill. The IN place in Coral Gables and sooo many years at the top. Cant missed it if in the area. 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables Fl 33134. tel +001 305 445 3555. The mojitos, daiquiris and classic Champagne cocktails are wonderful to go with Spanish chorizos and manchego quesadillas. webpage http://theglobecafe.com/

Churchill’s, the British in south Florida, great drinks and great sports venue. My favorite soccer/football matches were always here to go alone with a great pint ::) 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137. tel +001 305 757 1807.webpage http://www.churchillspub.com/

Piccolo Pizza, a great pizza place and more run by folks from Nice,France. On your way to North Miami Beach,   2104 Northeast 123rd Street, North Miami, FL 33180. tel +001 305 893-9550. webpage http://www.piccolo-pizza.com/

Versailles, THE Cuban resto in Miami Little Havana neighborhood, the in and out of the city and all the political, economic ,arts discussions you can handle. You know it first here. The food is authentic and the ambiance very latin.  Name in all travel guides to the city as a must stop. 3555  SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. tel +001 305 444-0240. No web but the whole world knows where it is.

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, not verify if still there but if they are, you need to go right away. We had our buche de Nôel always done here. 7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143. tel +001 305 665-6631. no web just off Sunset Ave or nw 72 st. No web

Le Provençal, French and from Provence, you cant go wrong here, exquisite refine cuisine with a mediterranean flair. One of our stops while living there, and keeping in touch with France. 266 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134. tel +001 305 448 8984. webpage http://www.leprovencalrestaurant.com/

Casa Juancho, when my tastebugs switch to Spain ,this is as genuine as it can get over the ocean. Great Spanish cuisines in a fabulous deco and ambiance.  Codfish, shrimps, and tapas with great Spanish wine as well, all originally done by Spaniards. 2436 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135. tel +001 305 642-2452. webpage http://www.casajuancho.com/

Well these are the ones that comes to mind, of course they are not all, just what gives me memory to be my most memorable moments eating in Florida. Photos are hard to come by as was not in the habit of taking photos at restaurants back then, but have some anyway to share. Hope you enjoy them too when in the Sunshine State. Bon appétit, Buen Provecho.

 

January 14, 2011

Best shopping in Florida, my selection.

Continuing with the shopping/resto food posts,  I like to share with you my best selection from my 18 years of living in Florida USA. An experience that I would never forget ,and last visited in 2009.

Shopping is a ritual, especially around the malls or shopping center. Its a way of life, social, dating, just having a good time all takes place while shopping under the Sunshine State of Florida. Some of the shopping is so near a beach a combination is sublime. Hours are usually from 10h to 21h some open at 9h and others closed at 20h. The hours are continuosly no closing for lunch as in Europe. All properties have heating and air conditioned housing. The only drawback is that public transportation is limited and the automobile is the way to go.

These are some of my favorites places, starting with malls aka shopping centers.

Aventura Mall, north of Miami. 19501 Biscayne Boulevard
Aventura, FL 33180 tel +001 305 935 1110. An upscale wonderlust of stores and restaurants, over 250 stores and 24 cinema screens, with favorites like Barney, Bakers,fossil, gap, and Macy’s, JC Penney, Johnny Rockets burgers, and the Cheesecake Factory resto. webpage http://www.aventuramall.com/

Bayside Market Place, on downtown city center Miami by the port of Miami. 401 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33132 tel +001 305 373 54 37. a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great Latin American Cafe. webpage http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/

Cocowalk Shopping Center, in the small chic community of Coconut Grove right in the middle of Miami by the bay.3015 Grand Avenue Miami, FL 33133 tel +001 305 444 0777.  The cinema, the walks in a quaint village, Hooters’ on a nice breeze Florida night is sublime. webpage
http://www.cocowalk.net/

Broward Mall, right in the middle of Plantation a city near FT Lauderdale and close to the beaches. A huge place with wonderful stores to browse and eat. 8000 West Broward Boulevard ,Plantation, FL 33388 tel +001 954 473 8100. You have my favorites stores Dillard’s and Macy’s plus eating at Cajun Grill. webpage  http://westfield.com/broward/

Dadeland Mall, a huge shopping center south Miami and you can get there on the monorail public transport from city center Miami. 7535 N Kendall Drive, Miami, FL 33156 Tel +001 305 665 6343. You have here the Disney store, and Sephora, plus eating at Cafe con Leche, and Tango Grill. webpage
http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=138

Dolphin Mall, an excellent place west of the airport, you can get there by the Dolphin expressway from Miami Beach to NW 107 ave the mall is right up the street to NW 114 ave .11401 N.W. 12 Street, Miami, FL 33172, tel +001 305 365 7446 . My favorites here were the JC Penney store, plus the cinema, the outdoor live music events under the Florida sky, just sublime. come to shop or come to party is all here. Gap, Banana Republic, the Borders Book store, FYE Entertainment for great dvd,cd, and video games purchases, Mojitos Cuban Cafe, TGIFridays, for food eating, a great place for the whole family. webpage http://www.shopdolphinmall.com/

International Mall, another dandy right next to the Dolphin Expressway coming from Miami Beach at NW 107 ave. you see it from the Expressway. One of my favorite restaurant is here La Carreta, Cuban Cuisine at its best. 1455 NW 107th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172, Tel +001 305 593 1775. They have a friendly JC Penney store here, a Toys R Us on the parking property, Dillard’s, and Mayors Jewerlers. webpage http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=141

You will find great bargain and more city life shopping at downtown or city center Miami away from the port of Miami (cruise capital) and Bayside MarketPlace by going on Flagler street and meandering the little side streets around it, loads of stores there at bargain bazaar prices.  They have an association at Downtown Miami , Biscayne Boulevard to 3rd Avenue, SE 1st Street to NE 3rd Street, Miami, FL 33131 Tel +001 305 379 7070. webpage telling you all about shopping eating and nightlife plus hotels around this area is
http://www.downtownmiami.com/

Way down on Miami southern tip going towards Key West but still Miami you will find the Falls shopping center, an open air mall of great chic stores right off US 1 main road, they claim to be the biggest in the USA. Here you will find Bloomingdales ,Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, as my favorites stores with eating places like Los Ranchos, PF Changs China Bistro, and TGIFridays. A wonderful shopping experience under the sun, but nice AC in the stores ::) webpage http://www.simon.com/mall/default.aspx?ID=1232

Lincold Road, this is right on Miami Beach , a very nice shopping place right off the beach for about 10 blocks of stores, restos, art galeries ,nice. Go for the upscale YUCA restaurant while there. The News Cafe is a place to talk and mingle with the locals and visitors alike and start your day fresh with all the news!!! Not to forget Joe’s Stone Crabs restaurant, and the beautiful Art Deco hotels lining up Ocean ave. webpage
http://www.lincolnroadmiamibeach.org/

Sawgrass Mills shopping center is huge, I mean huge  ,one of the biggest if not the biggest mall in the USA, and Florida’s largest. It is in my home county of Broward, north of Miami and west of Ft Lauderdale. In the city of Sunrise, 12801 West Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise, FL 33323, Tel +001 954 846 2300.It is an outlet mall per excellence, with many visitors and locals alike filling its magnificent array of stores. Saks Fifth Avenue outlet was my favorite, as well as Book-a-Million bookstore, Burlington Coat, Bed- Bath & Beyond, Dockers, Levi’s, and K-Bee toys, they have a wonderful role playing games complex center in Wannado City , The Regal 23 theaters cinema is excellent, Gameworks arcade for children, and the TGIFridays restos, around it, the Walmart store just outside, Rainforest Cafe inside, plus many additional shops and centers around it make it one of the biggest one stop shopping in all of Florida. webpage http://www.simon.com/mall/?id=1262

Pembroke Lakes Mall, the closest to my house in Pembroke Pines , this is a nice family mall, very nicely done in a  belle epoque art deco style inside. 11401 Pines Blvd., Suite 546, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33026, Tel +001 954 436 35 20. The great Toys R Us store, the JC Penney, American Eagle, Bakers, Bath & Body Works,Macy’s, Sears, Radio Shack, GNC, Churromania resto with Spanish churros pastries! An excellent food court with Nathan’s famous hot dogs, and Godiva Chocolatier. Come on in and relax. Webpage
http://www.pembrokelakesmall.com/

Volusia Mall, by the international speedway in Daytona Beach, 1700 West International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida 32114. My old reliable place while in my college and post college days in the area. JC Penneys my old nice clothing place (purchase my wedding ring here lol!) , Sears for all those tools, American Eagles, the Applebee’s resto with succulent ribs, Radio Shack, and eat at Wetzel’s pretzels, Mr Dunderbaks german eatery, and Sbarro’s pizzeria. Great memories here, Webpage http://www.volusiamall.net/shop/volusia.nsf/index

Altamonte Mall, Altamonte Springs, just before reaching Orlando coming from Daytona Beach on the I4 inter state highway on your way to Disney. Better prices ,great surrounding, nice place. 451 East Altamonte Drive
Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701, Tel +001 407  215 51 00.  Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Bahamas Cruise resto, Barnie Coffee & Tea, Perfumania, and nice surrounding. webpage http://www.altamontemall.com/

The Shops at Pembroke Gardens, another distinctive location of fine shops and eateries near my old home and a family favorite. Here you will find the great burgers Fuddruckers, DSW shoe warehouse, Barnes & Nobles bookstore,and old Navy store.  527 SW 145th Terrace, Pembroke Pines, FL 33027 , tel +001 954  450 15 80.  webpage http://www.pembrokegardens.com/

A great area to do shopping,eating, drinking ,partying ,and all family fun in Ft Lauderdale is at Las Olas blvd area, in a quaint village atmosphere.  Gourment farmers market, galleo belgian chocolates, are two of my all time favorites there. Mango’s , Cafe la Bonne Crepe ,and the Café de Paris are fine eating habits of the family when in the area. You will find in the link info on hotels ,art galleries ,and many other tidbits of the area, if need more let me know, dont want to write a book ,its just a blog Lol!! http://www.lasolasboulevard.com/

Centro YBOR in Tampa is another wonderful Florida combination of shopping, Food, and games for the whole family. Another favorite when visiting relatives or Busch Gardens. An escape when coming to play soccer at the Univ level Div 2,and summer leagues semipro Lol!!!  One of the oldest and the oldest Cuban enclave in the USA.  1600 East 8th Avenue, Tampa, Fl 33605. Get on the Muvico theater for great movies, try Hamburger”s Mary for the real beefeater in you, try a homemade beer at Tampa Brewing. See a Cuban cigar being roll in front of your eyes ,and many more. Webpage http://www.centroybor.com/

St Augustine Premium Outlet, its an outlet stores mall in the historical city north of Daytona Beach, was a family hangout for lunches many weekends. The city of Saint Augustine is the oldest city in the USA, founded by Spaniards in 1565. Jockey, banana republic,levi’s are all great here, as well as Van Heusen shirts, Carters  and Oshkosh B’ gosh were our daily routine for our kids growing up ,Bass shoes were my favorites, and the Book Warehouse. 2700 State Road 16, St. Augustine, FL 32092, tel +001 904 825-1555.  webpage   http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=55

A similar outfit was visited too in International Drive, Orlando near Disney, at the Orlando Premium Outlet mall, 4951 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 . tel +001 407 352 9600 . Favorites here were façonnable, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Samsonite (where I bought my first luggage for Europe!) , and the usual Sbarro pizzeria chain. webpage http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=96

Town Center at Boca Raton, to go up and get some French goodies we usually stop at this shopping center, great stores in a very nice setting. For Sephora and Godiva Chocolates indeed !!! 6000 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431. tel +001 561  368 60 01. You go there from Miami on best by I95 north to Glades Rd exit and follow to mall at town center drive left. webpage http://www.simon.com/mall/?id=144

My regular all time wine stores were ABC or Crowns in Florida, I became a wine aficionado while working at an ABC store in Ormond Beach while my college years, and was in charge of stock and ordering the wine section. 725 South Yonge Street, Ormond Beach ,that is the US 1 highway near the intersection with Granada Blvd going to the beach about 6 miles. I did shop in their Aventura, Fl store at 16355 Biscayne blvd.. , so the overall webpage is  http://www.abcfws.com/. Later on as I moved south, my interest turn to Crown a more French look and friendly folks which I entertain for years there, guided by able senior wine purchaser Chip Cassidy. My favorites stores were in the north Miami area at 12555 Biscayne blvd, North Miami ,33181 tel +001 305-892-9463. and the most frequented for wine tastings and shopping was at 1590 South Dixie highway, Coral Gables, 33146 tel +001 786-621-9463. webpage here http://www.crownwineandspirits.com/

Well the list is endless if I get to it, but I think these will give a pretty clear picture of shopping in Florida from central to south of the State. And I just got some Tommy Hilfiger polos for my kids from the family yes!!! Happy shopping everyone ::)

Needed to come back as tourist ::)

 

Tags: ,
January 13, 2011

Some news from France VII

Ok so the bug is on, blogging is catchy. Here I am long lunch guys are out in meetings so, fire away new stuff. Just to show not all is old around here, something are cropping up new all over, Paris is forever, not to mention France ::)

La Gaité Lyrique, close for a long time is due to reopen March 2 2011. Built in 1861 this theater has seen its glory days gone before now been brought back alive. It is to be  a center of research ,studios, and concert halls (70-750 pers capacity), boutique, café. The place will be flexible as the walls will be the screens! 3 bis rue Papin, 75003, webpage http://www.gaite-lyrique.net/

The Pinacothéque will have expanded space (3000 sq meters) and new stuff by January 26 opening. It has about 60 works of arts presented to the public for the first time . Collections from the Esterhazy family on loan from the museum of Budapest, work from the Romanovs tzars of Russia coming from the Ermitage, and the L’Or des Incas or the gold from the Incas . 28 place de la Madeleine, 75008. webpage http://www.pinacotheque.com/

The musée de Luxembourg ,closed for 6 months and now reopens again on February 9 with an exhibition of German painter Lucas Cranach.  19 rue de Vaugirard, 75007. webpage http://www.museeduluxembourg.fr/

previously mentioned on Some news from France V, the musée de la Grand Guerre at Meaux is opening November 2011. The site is a rememberance to WWI and with emphasis on the battle of the Marne. More than 50 000 uniforms, objects, paintings, documents and weapons will be permanently exhibit. Route de Vareddes, departamentale road 405. webpage http://www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu/

The Club David Lynch, a very seclusive and private club Paris Social Club, will open by April 2011.  All concentrated around culture it will be by invitation with a member card.  The place will have a cinema MK2, library, arts gallery, and a large programming scheme of events with world renown arts. 142 rue Montmartre, 75002.webpage http://www.parissocialclub.com/

Théatre de Trianon, a fantastic place inspired by Julien Labrousse, Abel Nahmias with a showroom of concerts with a small restaurant.Opening March 2011. 80, boulevard de Rochechouart ,75018.  webpage http://www.letrianon.fr/

The restaurant inside the Opéra Garnier is soon to finally see its day. As the site is a historical monument many arrangement had to be made to do so, but it seems that now by spring 2011 it will see the light .Many chefs are going for it, notably Alain Senderens. 8 rue de Scribe, 75009. webpage http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/

In the process of renovation around quai de Conti, the Hôtel de la Monnaie,is going to have under chef Guy Savoy a new beginning . He will transfer to the hotel his restaurant of rue Troyon, and will open a metal cafe in the ground floor as well. opening expected for the Fall of 2011.  11 quai de Conti, 75006.webpage http://www.monnaiedeparis.fr/

Around Porte de Lilas, the Ciné Lilas will open by end of 2011. It will have 7 theaters of arts and essais . Rumors that it will ,also, have a créperie with new ingredients that cause no odor, smell and no noise to eat on site.  Place du Marquis du Vercors, 75020.webpage of the mayor’s office of the 20th arrondissement de Paris, (French) http://www.mairie20.paris.fr/mairie20/jsp/site/Portal.jsp?document_id=13782&portlet_id=2757

Some stores of name will rise up by the chic Champs-Elysées Paris 8éme arrondissement notably the likes of Le Royal Eclaireur, 39 avenue Hoche. rendevous of Fashion Week, starts early March with the arts, fashion and design. webpage http://www.leclaireur.com/#/fr/6

And finally what many were expecting Abercrombie & Fitch will come in the old building of the Thai airlines at 23 avenue des Champs-Elysées. Making it the principal store for the marque and its European HQ. Opening expected late April early May 2011. not on webpage yet ::) webpage www.abercrombie.com 

Banana Republic has also chosen the avenue to come on board, expected before end of 2011. By the current Adidas store on the avenue, nearby (22 ave C-E). not on webpage yet ::)  webpage http://bananarepublic.gap.eu/?tid=BRFRINT

Levi’s will be here too by the old Planet Hollywood building at 76 avenue des Champs-Elysées. Opening for this year is uncertain as work has not begun, but its expected, so follow it up ok. Its coming to the AVENUE. webpage http://eu.levi.com/fr_FR/store-locator.html#

New hotels like the Hotel Hi Matic, rue de Charonne, Bastille area, will be the new ecolo-techno place to stay in Paris with 42 rooms ,expected by March 2011. webpage http://www.hi-matic.net/fr

Mandarin Oriental will have its first hotel in France by next summer 2011. 247 rue Saint-Honoré, close to the Ritz and Costes. Expect to pay about 800€  per night, Paris is worth it. The hotel will have  138 rooms and suites ,a pool of 15 meters long ( 49.50 ft), and two restaurants, one a gastronomic one with 45 tables by chef  Thierry Marx,and a counter Asian style  Le Camelia where goodies from  Thaïland, China,  and Japan. In addition to a Champagne bar and cake shop where the pastries can be tasted on site or take home. webpage http://www.mandarinoriental.com/about_mo/media/press_releases/development/paris.aspx

W  Paris Opéra hotel, the chic brand from Starwood will come to the Opéra area by end of 2011. by rue Meyerbeer, 75009 .The ground floor and  mezzanine will have view over the Opéra Garnier and the lobby will be like a real living room where evenings will be celebrated. The service conciergerie promise to be a « whatever, whenever », worthy of the palace hotels. The decoration will be done by  Rockwell (with Diego Gronda as head of the team of designers)  ambiance « show off »will be the rigour. webpage http://www.wparisopera.fr/

There you have it all the latest from Paris1972 and the French media Le Figaro. Hope you enjoy it. See you in heavens , I mean see you in Paris/Versailles soon.

January 12, 2011

My college days in Florida USA-ERAU

I was visiting Florida since 1973 from my home state of New Jersey. When it was time to choose my university studies, leaning towards a career in aviation ,hopefully with an airline, and by reference from a friend who was going to the US Navy, I heard of ERAU=Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida ,USA.

That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship or love with the state of FL. I was admitted to the school fairly quickly and arrive at Daytona Beach, ERAU campus by August 24th 1977. In time to get me into dormitory No I (later call Doolittle) and began freshman classes.

I was totally new to the place, the area, the habits, so my first year spent going to the beach, “the worlds most famous beach” almost daily, becoming a beach bum ::) Going to the Daytona Connection, Mocambo, Big Mamma, and Oyster Pub greatly enhance my feeling for the area.  Seeing my first Spring Break in the spring of 1978 was awesome, never seen so many girls in one place !!!! I quickly learn the best way to enjoy the area is to have your own place off campus. The school has limited space on its campus dormitories so changing was easy and the area landlords were nice to us, we had a nice “reputation”.

My second year or sophomore, I was already renting a house by Winchester St, Holly Hill an inland community just to the north of Daytona Beach. This was a 3 bedroom home so I found myself 2 roommates to share the cost, and have a whole room for myself, plus lots of more freedom. Great place to study too, the school demands were very heavy, focus on learning and little space for entertainment or sports inside of it. I was on the Aviation Management degree curriculum for a BS=bachelor of science degree.

While hanging around a field that look like a soccer field, kicking my soccer ball around, a grey older men approached me and ask me if I had previous experience playing soccer/football. I told him learned with a team call Real Madrid in Spain lower divisions, played with ethnic leagues in New Jersey semipro and with the high school, so he immediately sign me up for the team, he was the purchasing manager, named John C Butler, from Leicester ,England and a former player of that city’s team. From then on we had an interesting relationship, one of which ,was getting together at the end of each year to schedule my classes for the next year so my free time was available for the soccer team.

The school soccer/football team was composed of many international students like England, Holland, Trinidad and Tobago,Iran,Portugal, Venezuela, Spain,etc all playing for the love of the game, no scholarships. We played NCAA div 1 and 2 team on an open schedule, by the end its was club level as the school ERAU refuse to sponsor a team for lack or simply not wanting to offer funds. We organise the games ourselves with the other schools. I did played in the Central Florida Soccer league out of the Daytona Beach YMCA complex (which was actually in the city of Holly Hill).

My third year began at a new rental house closer to the center at Magnolia Avenue and Charles Street. It had two bedroom and the other was rented to a friend from the soccer team so we both can have same interests. School was taken its toll as the subjects became more complicated and more study time was needed, however , the soccer continues and trips to the beach and other parts of Florida. the Razzle disco was on as well as the country music place Finky’s on Grandview. The weekend trips to the Nickels alley place in Gainesville home of the Univ of Florida was great escapades with lots of fun dont want to go into it ::) I was checking out the same chain Nickels alley in amelia ave, Orlando too as well as going down to Miami at Tiffany’s in the Sheraton at Bal Harbours, and Limelight by the Hollywood dog track area. Participating in spring break activities was great, in addition to our Spring FLing festivities on campus, I visited the Univ of South Florida River riot festivities by the Hillborough river. As well visiting my family in the Miami area for the weekends, the Christmas breaks were still spent in New Jersey with my parents, and some summers too.

My last year or senior year, again was the time to try another housing, and closer to the action, so I moved to a two bedroom house in Hollywood ave and Main Street, Daytona Beach surrounded by bikers Lol! My neighbors were the Pagans gang from NJ and I guess my car plates were from NJ so they were friendly ::) I could use their hoses to clean my car Lol!!! I was by this time very involved in the school with the Management Club, and was its Treasurer my last year there. Under me and with the help of Professors Rudi Knabe , our club advisor, William Chamberlain ,our accounting prof and Peter de la Rosa, our Finance prof; I was able to implement a scholarship doing fund raising events to help pay our members book expenses while investing the proceeds with Merrill Lynch, and did established the club as a non-profit organisation.

The soccer/football continues at the club level playing by mutual agreement with other Universities in FLorida under our new coach who had played for the Seattle Sounders of the old NASL and was from Liberia, but unfortunately forgot his name; this was our last year as a school team.  Playing with the Daytona Beach team in the amateur league as well. Another popular activity was playing intra mural volleyball and softball where we finish second place on both sports as the Management Club team.

The school had gone thru some transformation and new buildings were erected, the student body reach 5000 on campus and they had purchase another campus in Prescott ,Arizona, (near Phoenix). The city had some lesser crazy spring breaks as the city fathers decided to put more efforts on family vacationing. Of course, the Daytona International Speedway was always a great event to go to, and my Chevy Monte Carlo was a sight in fire red in and out Lol!!!

Graduation came eventually on April 24 1982 at the Peabody Auditorium ,Daytona Beach, where 396 of us graduated with college degrees. What it seems so yesterday, it became a reality we were now going into the “real world”. I went back to New Jersey for work at EWR  Newark International Airport, Newark, with an outfit called Butler Aviation an FBO doing ticketing for charter flights from England and Greece as well as the UPS second day air delivery contract. This only lasted for about a year, as I realised I missed Florida !!!!!

The following summer I took myself my spring break visiting the area alone, and then on January 5 1985 arrived for again this time living at Seaside Drive, Ormond by the Sea (North peninsula) on a house my parents had bought for their retirement ::) Beach bum boy was using it first Lol!!! Living was great as I could use the school library ,and became active in the soccer/football team that was playing in the Daytona Beach YMCA fields. I did obtain sponsorship with Coronado Title Co for a Co-ed indoor soccer team that finish Champion in 1986.

My jobs went from the initial stint at the ABC wine and liquor store in Yonge st, US 1, Ormond Beach under the able JD Brandy as store manager. Great group of people and lots of experiences especially with the wine, as I was in charge of stock and orders for it. Finally my break came while being hire by the Aqua Sun Investments Inc timeshare condo builders/management as assistant to the controller Mike (who crashed his Ferrari on Anderson Drive against a tree !!)  and later collection manager, Arthur ,whose wife was my bank counselor at Barnett (today Bank of America). This took about a couple of years before moving on to Senior Supervisor with the Equifax ARS in Holly Hill (part of the Credit bureau organisation in the USA); working with a group of people who donated a Bond EE for my son’s birth I never forget it the folks like Barbara,Terry, and Angie. Once they closed the office I move to Miami with Equifax and thats another story.

While living in this beautiful area of Daytona Beach where by now its a sweet history for me, I encounter in one of my trips a nice lady from Meaux, France, we were married  December 26, 1990 at City Island govt building in Daytona Beach. We had our first son at the Halifax Hospital on March 9, 1992. We all moved down south after Equifax office closing.

So even thus I am now far away, I want you all to know, I love you Daytona Beach, you have been very good to me and my family and we always mentioned you, never forgotten all the folks we encounter there and many still keep in touch,so if you read this; this post is for you.

 

some links, like Daytona Beach tourist office at http://www.daytonabeach.com/

Daytona Beach welcome center at http://www.daytonawelcomecenter.com/

ERAU Daytona Beach campus at http://www.erau.edu/db/index.html

ERAU alumni link at http://www.eraualumni.org/s/867/splash.aspx

Volusia county where the cities mentioned are in Florida, official webpage at http://echotourism.com/

Daytona, Flagler webpage for the YMCA at http://hollyhill.vfymca.org/HollyHill/HollyHill_1.htm

The Daytona Beach area newspaper, DB news  journal webpage at http://www.news-journalonline.com/index.html

January 12, 2011

Some news about France VI

well just got off as wednesdays is half day of school ,decided to come home with the family lol!!! so off to my blog I go, well the visitors have been inmense beyond expectations really, but the comments are a bit off, dont be afraid make my day!!! No tengan miedo de escribir en Español dejen sus comentarios en todo. Vous sont trop timide de laisse vos commentaires mais je sais beaucoup de visiteurs déjà !  feu vert n’a  pas peur d’écrire des commentaires!!!. Sei que você é muitos para ler o meu correio mas não temer escrever os seus comentários!!!!

So here are some updates gathered in my trip to the city of Paris today.

The first fountain giving sparkling water or gas water is allow in Paris. The 1 rue Albinoni, 75012 in the jardin de Reuilly, the fountain is call La Pétillante. It is totally free !!!!

Many ask for family activities in Paris and France, well my kids are now adult teens but the experiences here are great, the first site dedicated to children, family activities is out (AlloFamille or hello family) , in French, of course, but all is here original, if need help let me know.  In association with the movies site AlloCiné you can see the webpage here http://www.allofamille.fr 

Some wonderful exhibition of the boat FRANCE, from the old cruising lovers, will be on displayed at the marine museum or musée de la marine. The dates are from February 9 to October 23. more info tel +33 01 53 65 69 53. webpage http://www.musee-marine.fr/  you can ask for the program by hitting “demandez pour le programme” on the above link.

In Versailles, the opera will host on the 14 january CARMEN, and also, many activities to come and plan your visit when they are on, again in French but if need help let me know ,webpage http://www.chateauversaillesspectacles.fr/spectacle.php?spe=64

the nearby musée Albert Kahn, is showing its clichés japonais  from now until august, photos by Albert Dutertre, showing the soul of nature to the Japanese civilization, poetry of gardens, total 94 reproductions, 6 montages of films and an smartphone app plus a children tour of games. Leaving the English direction the above is in French on bottom right,”clichés japonais”. http://www.albert-kahn.fr/english/

Until January 31 at the museum (musée) Guimet you have an exposition of Mean, Beast, and the gods of the steppes. This is the first time will be shown in France, the history and heritage of the people of Kazakhstan. webpage http://www.guimet.fr/Kazakhstan-Men-beasts-and-gods-of

At Fontainebleau, the museum castle is holding an exhibition on Henri IV and the time of splendor at the castle in honor of his 4 century of his death. Until February 28 , webpage in english at http://www.musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr/spip.php?page=sommaire&lang=en

At the musée du Petit Palais the first expo on Giuseppe de Nittis, friend of Manet,and Degas, first time done since 1886. The life of boulevards in contrast with his native Italy. Until January 16. webpage http://petitpalais.paris.fr/en/home

In the musée de la Poste, an exhibition on famous women Calamity Jane ,real name Martha Canary. It will be until March 12. webpage http://www.ladressemuseedelaposte.com/Expositions/Calamity_Jane_-_Memoires_de_l_Ouest/index.htm at 34 bd de Vaugirard, metro montparnasse-bienvenue exit place Bienvenue.

A new museum in Meaux dept seine-et-marne 77, to open in November 2011 will do a prelim at the musee Bossuet (bishop confessor of king Louis XIV and city of Meaux), cité episcopal in city center. easy to get from Paris gare de l’Est train station, you get the musée de la Grand Guerre. and an exposition on women in the war. Until March 31st.  The beginning of many expo and exhibition on the grand guerre or WWI . This is the area of the Battle of the Marne, and my wife native town. webpage http://www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu/fr/exposition-les-femmes-dans-la-grande-guerre 

At the musée Baccarat back in Paris, you will have an exhibition More real than nature, until May 15, the museum was redone by designer Philippe Starck. Crystal collection signed by great names of Designing/Art, nearly 300 works will be presented from the 19C to our days.  11 place des Etats Unis, metro Iéna, webpage  http://www.baccarat.fr/fr/univers-baccarat/musees/gallery-opening-hours.htm

expo from February 1 to May 31 on fabrics sewing and haut couture at the Musée Bourdelle. Inspired on the stylist of curtains antiques, sort of sculptures of artist Alix Grés, you can see 200 pieces of the collection of the museum of or musée Galliera. 15 rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 metro montparnasse-bienvenue. in French for this city museum webpage  http://www.paris.fr/portail/loisirs/Portal.lut?page_id=6408&document_type_id=2&document_id=93538&portlet_id=15833

Go to La Geode to see until February 2nd, the Sea Rex 3D for a trip across time which is spectacular, you go thru the eras Triassic, jurasic,and Cretacea to find animals very much still unknown like the Mosasaure or Liopleurodon see it is a must while here. webpage http://www.lageode.fr/cs/Satellite?c=Page&cid=1195225355259&pagename=Portail%2FGEODE%2FPortailLayout&pid=1195225172433

From February 8 to March 15 at the musée du Quai Branly, you will have expo on Christian Lecroix collection on women of the East. Dresses from Syria,Jordan, Palestine,and the Sinai Desert with magnificent dresses to showcase the women of the region. webpage http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/programmation/exhibitions/soon/l-orient-des-femmes.html

Versailles ,again, from March 1 to June 19, the Thrones, in the Grands Appartements of the chateau come to see mythical and luxurious chairs and thrones of the world, about 50 of them from all civilisations.  Not yet translated to English i think, see it in French webpage http://www.chateauversailles.fr/les-actualites-du-domaine/evenements/evenements/expositions/trones-en-majeste

At the théatre Comédie de Paris, see Ary Abittant a la Folie from January 13, this is a great producer and you will love his plays. This one is about a happy man that ask for divorce and ask for cooking recipes to learn with a tenor voice to boot, really crazy and funny. from January 13, hurryup or I take your place !! webpage  http://www.comediedeparis.com/spectacle.php?id=93

Théatre de la Madeleine is another wonderful theater! Showing from January 15 to April the diplomacy of André Dussolier as ambassador of Sweden to Paris in 1944 facing Niels Arestrup as Gen Von Choltitz. webpage http://www.theatremadeleine.com/index-avenir.html

and from January 21 at the Théatre des Bouffes Parisiens, you will have an ordinary day or Une Journée Ordinaire. With not but only Alain Delon with his daughter Anouchka playing !!! Playing as father and daughter and the difficulties of life but they are real !!! marked::) webpage http://www.bouffesparisiens.com/

And if you need to try get cheaper theater tickets in Paris for the above or others, go to Le Kiosque Théatre at these locations, place de la Madeleine, Parvis Montparnasse, Place des Ternes in Paris. You can get same day playing for half the price plus 3€ commission per placing. From Tuesdays to saturdays 12h30 to 20h, Sundays 12h30 to 16h. webpage in French, http://www.kiosquetheatre.com/

If you have a group of friends (up to 25 maxi) visiting or partaking Paris and like movies with dinner, you can try renting from these people, I had two events there and they are wonderful. Cine privé Le  Germain Paradisio 75006. 25/27 rue de Bucci. You choose the film you want to see from a selection offered could be classics, contemporary or sports events with a next door cafe restaurant Thierry Costes with a set menu served in a private room. webpage contact http://www.legermainparadisio.com/3.aspx

and well since I shop at H&M there is a new Lanvin line to be sold in the stores for men and women plus accessories. webpage for paris stores http://www.hm.com/fr/magasins__storelocatorhtml.nhtml# 54 bd Haussmann is near the great dept stores.

for those parfums lovers or perfums lovers, the ones that are claimed by fashion magazines here to be still in vogue are Fleur de Cristal by Lalique, Trésor by Lancôme, Shalimar by Guerlain, Boucheron, Midnight in Paris by Van Cleef & Arpels, Private by IKKS, Belle d’Opium by Yves-Saint-Laurent, Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolph, Azzaro Duo, La nuit de l’homme by Yves-Saint-Laurent, Burberry Brit Limited, Play for here by Givenchy, L’eau de l’Amour by Kenzo, Big Pony collection by Ralph Lauren, and J’Adore l’Or by Dior.

A new bar à hors-d’oeuvres  that is just dandy open recently call L’Avant-Comptoir, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006. tel +33 01 44 27 07 97. open 12h to 23h. This was an old créperie. Tapas a la French in small portions from cold cuts to macaron au boudin noir, and a great croque-monsieur with beef and rocquefort cream that is delicious. You can stand up by the bar or reserve a table.  This is a relation to my previous mentioned Le Comptoir du Relais next door and same owners, webpage  http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/

and last my favorite products and a recipe from the Maison Lafitte foie gras experts, store in Paris at 8 rue Jean du Bellay,75004 on the I’Ile Saint-Louis. tel +33 01 43 26 08 63. webpage http://www.lafitte.fr/pages/paris.php cant go wrong here, the best from France ::)

Foie Gras de Canard poélé aux raisins (its with duck) ,ingredients are

1 foie gras de Canard, (duck) extra Lafitte, 1 can of sauce aux raisins Lafitte,1 small can of raisins without seeds Lafitte, 1 glass of Porto wine,2 big spoons of Armagnac (French brandy cousin of cognac but not the same Lol!), 2 big spoons of fine sugar, salt and pepper to taste. And you do it as such,

put on a casserole ,deep pan ,etc, the armagnac,porto, and fine sugar a day before, next day reduce it to about half the quantity in it with slow  cooking fire. Take out the foie gras and put them in slices along with sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste separated by about 1 cm, close together but not touching. Take out the liquid from the raisins and make them come slowly on cooking fire with some butter melted with it. Warm up a big pan anti stick surface and make roast the foie gras on the two faces for about one minute and take them out squeezing out the grease. Add to the pan the reduce porto, and the sauce aux raisins. Let them boil along with the heat from the previous step, while rubbing the foie gras above it. Add the seedless raisins, mix in all softly and serve on hot dishes. Use plastic spatulas on the foie gras to handle gently and softly while serving them. Bon Appétit !!!!

January 10, 2011

Some news about France, V

Well it seems flooding is becoming constant recently, on the events worldwide, we need to tell you France ,also ,has its flooding especially in the North. The departments of  Oise , Aisne, Nord, and the Ardennes are on Orange alert or the medium serious level of warning in France. This in addition to last week in Fourmies in the dept Nord, where evacuations were needed. So if thinking of going in the area check the weather reports.

In general the weather has been mild lately with temps even at 12°C high and lows of 0°C.  Rains will play a role on several days to come so bring an umbrella ::)

We are getting ready for the Census of the population in my area from January 20th to February 26 2011, census takers will be stopping by our houses to take information. Already estimated the population in my region of Ile de France will grow by 10% in 2040 due to births while more adults will leave the area. It is estimated the population will be by 2040 at 12.7 mill from the current 11.6 mill.

The luxury hotels in Paris are getting ready for a facelift due primarily from the increase in tourism and the arrival of some heavy hitters like the Shangri-là, Royal Monceau, Mandarin Oriental, Majestic Peninsula will be done by 2012. The regal grands to have some renovations done so ask for rooms and direct info if planning on staying on them are as follows:

Crillon ,under new owner saudi arabian prince Mishal, they will put about 60-70 Mill € on the hotel.  Plaza Athénée just purchase 3 adjacent buildings for expansion of rooms and meeting salons.  George V is ongoing renovation by block of floor for 2 years and only! 20M€ for carpets, electricity, and decorations. Prince de Galles is going to close for one year from February 15  to do a complete make over trying to obtain the five stars nomination.  Meurice is going to renovate its kitchens,and columns for about 2M€ while already renovated the ground floor with designer Philippe Starck. The Bristol, already 15M€ invested with new rooms, and a new restaurant.  Only the Ritz stays without, waiting for a buyer to do so….stay tune. Info taken from the Le Parisien newspaper in French of today January 10 2011.

Ryanair will close its hub at Marseille effective tomorrow,no more flying there. There allegations by French authorities of using sub normal hiring practices and under pay employees some even illegals, when face with allegations, the airline chose to leave !!! While Air France traffic increase 2% in December 2010 from previous year.

Voyages-SNCF the travel site in France connected with the public transportation system but allows you to book almost anything on it, and I use regularly, has now come up starting today with the “google of travel” call Hexago, a search engine that will allow users to find information more easily according to the journal on travel Quotidiene du tourisme.

The hotel Méridian Montparnasse will now be call Pullman Paris Montparnasse from now on. Manage by the French group ACCOR.

ETA the terrorists in the Basque country of Spain has announced a cease to hostilities, one more time. Permanence that will be able to be verify by the International community. Hope it lasts.

One great actor and one of the oldest living Real Madrid FC socios in the world Juanito Navarro passed away today at age 86 in his native Madrid, RIP.

and last but not least, we just finished having our traditional Galette des rois or king pie with the family done every epiphany where we eat the pie with almond paste or apple strudel type and hope to find the figurine inside that make us king or queen for the day! I won this year for the first time Lol!!! I am the KING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 9, 2011

My best restaurants in Versailles, my selection

Well since I am with the resto bug, might as well continue. Versailles is my area where I lived for 10 years, and it’s time to update this list now that I come back just to visit from Brittany. The original post was done in 2011!!! Looking back, I realized was not into going out so much as cooking in house but then again there are a few.

By now, I have done Restaurant lists in some of the mayor areas I have been so see France, Brittany, Madrid, Mexico etc in my blog. The France post I did some into times for eating habits here ,but for the rest I just tell you about the names of my favorite local restos,bars, cafes, etc.

Le Boeuf à la Mode, 4 Rue au Pain, 78000, ,this is the sublime cozy romantic, French traditional restaurant of old I like to seek and keep. tel +33 01 39 50 31 99. very near Castle on the marche Notre Dame area tuck away in rue au pain ,but well known.  You wont go wrong here for an evening in Versailles. See the update webpage for more here: http://www.leboeufalamode-versailles.com/

Relais de Poste, 2 Rue des Etats Généreaux, tel +33  01 39 50 10 25. Well this one is a simple clasic old post relay place tuck by the direction of the Chantiers train station ; but close enough to the Rive Gauche station too. If you want simple inexpensive French food amongst locals then come here, its one of my favorites for lunch. More info here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/relais-de-poste-versailles

Broadway Cafe, 15 rue Ducis, tel +33 01 39 53 90 01 ,also by the marche Notre Dame around the old bays of the market the street goes around them.Tex-Mex well done and nice Coronas, great for lunch and inexpensive. More here:https://www.yelp.fr/biz/broad-way-caf%C3%A9-versailles-2

Sister’s Cafe, 15 rue des Réservoirs, tel +33 01 30 21 21 22.An American in Versailles. hamburgers, big juicy like back in the old home all made to order, plus big salads another great lunch suggestions. Right by the street on the right side of chateau looking at it,cant missed it right past the théatre Montansier same sidewalk. More here: http://www.sistercafe.fr/sisterscafe/

Au Chien qui Fume, 72 rue de la paroisse, Tel  +33 01 39 53 14 56,
near church Notre Dame and marché Notre Dame. A great institution of the highest French culinary experience, great for dinner,you can’t go wrong here.  Here since 1839 serving delicious oyesters dishes. webpage http://www.lechienquifume.com/

Angelina, Cour des Princes, pavillon d’Orléans, Chateau de Versailles.  Tel  +33 01 39 20 08 32.  It also has a coffee shop at the Maison du Suisses in the Petit Trianon building inside chateau properties. Refine as the Paris legendary store, a must for pastries and hot chocolates for me! More here: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/facilities/angelina-petit-trianon

La Flotille, Parc du Chateau, by the Grand Canal inside Chateau property. Tel +33 01 39 51 41 58. Another classic in the Chateau de Versailles with great views over the Grand Canal in the terrace in summers. Great menus from 26€ but try the monkfish dish delicious . webpage https://laflottille.fr/en/

Taverne de Maitre Kanter, 5 Rue Colbert, tel +33 01 39 50 02 50.  Tuck away right to your left coming out of chateau, little street, cozy with great views over the parvis ,and splendind Alsacien cuisine, I go for the Choucroutes Lol! More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-taverne-de-ma%C3%AEtre-kanter-versailles-2

Brasserie du Théatre, 15 rue des Réservoirs, Tel +33 01 39 50 03 21. just next to you guess it, Théatre Montansier(marie antoinette love it), I love the food and be in history right in my city, cant go wrong for the ambiance and decor. more here:http://www.brasserietheatre.com/en/

Bistrot du Boucher, 12 rue André Chénier, in the marché Notre Dame area as well. tel +33 01 39 02 12 15 . its a chain but great, traditional old fashion French cuisine and great cuts of beef par excellence. webpage here : http://www.bistrotduboucher.fr/nos-restaurants-bdb/restaurant/28-versailles.html

Le Montbauron, 23 rue Jouvencel, tel+33 01 39 02 15 21. This is the perfect place to have a nice simple dinner and a great evening of pool playing American and European styles. Great ambiance.  Best way to get here is come up chateau on ave de Paris straight past govt building on your left ave de l’Europe, continue 100 meters and the next street to your left is rue Jouvencel. More info here: http://lemontbauron.fr/

Le Saint Claire, 2 Rue de Satory, right by castle on the Sceaux side to your right coming out of Chateau. Tel +33 01 39 50 11 42. Great terrace in summers looking at Chateau for wonderful views, service is continous. Live music. Traditional French cuisine, webpage: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/saint-claire-versailles-2

La Crêperie Royale, 5 Boulevard du Roi, tel +33 01 39 50 36 20. If you want something light and very French try a Crêpe, great tasting with different combinations, and wont bulge your wallet. Walk to your left from Chateau, continue going around it and you will get to rue des Résérvoirs stay on this road that changes name to boulevard du Roi ,the crêperie is on your left hand side. Easy walk and see the city Lol!!! webpage: http://www.creperieroyale.com/

Chez César, 6 avenue due Général de Gaulle, Tel +33 01 39 53 02 29. When you want to eat pizza but not from the chains, this is it, and live karaoke music too, great ambiance especially in the evening, and great for the budget menus from 14,50€ to 18€ in the evenings. From rive gauche train station RER cross the street and its on the Les Manéges building. webpage: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/chez-c%C3%A9sar-versailles-3

Subway , 35 rue du Maréchal Foch, tel +33 01 39 53 62 05. Yes you got it its the American sandwich chain, all over Paris but has one in Versailles, when my rave for the old calls for this is the place to go ,close to me and my kids school. Very friendly fast service. So bring your simple big inexpensive appetite to this store. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/subway-versailles-6

Pub O’ Paris, 15 rue Colbert, Tel +33 01 39 50 36 20. the place for sports and beer and have a great time very near the Chateau just to your left going out. This is the rugby and football/soccer place to be in the evenings, live music, and just great friendly time. Come and be merry; webpage http://www.puboparis.com/contact.php

Les Caves du Roi Soleil, 5 Passage Géole, tel +33 01 39 02 20 36 . An old institution of prison for reformers,now a bar/danse club, great ambiance and very quiet normal people great for all ages. you have different themes with especially the Tuesday evening champagne soirée. Just by the marché Notre Dame north area to your left. Something to let you loose while in old Versailles ;more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/les-caves-du-roi-soleil-versailles

Planéte Food, 7 Rue du Général Leclerc, tel +33    simple kebabs Lebanese and Greek foods well done, clean, inexpensive delicious for the lunch taker or quick bite family. Many students come here including mine. Very near Castle, from train rive gauche turn right on second street turn right the resto is on your right hand side. From castle ,turn right take first at Sceaux left then on Satory turn right into Rue du Gen Leclerc turn left , resto on your left hand side. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/plan%C3%A8te-food-versailles

Le Canard d’Or, 30bis rue des Résérvoirs, tel +33 01 39 50 56 56. The best Chinese resto in town, very near Castle just go around to your left coming out and take the last street as rue des résérvoirs turn right and the resto is on your right hand side about 200 meters. webpage http://www.lecanardor.com/

Not really a full restaurant per se, but as the only hotel that I can recommend because been there as a tourist and now as a resident and know it very well is the Hotel du Cheval Rouge off the Marché Notre Dame. You are in the middle of it all ,walking distance maybe 7  mins to the chateau, it is an old horse stables of the king and now a hotel with breakfast and inner court private parking. webpage http://www.chevalrougeversailles.fr/fr/

Well these are my favorites, and still there in 2017!!. There are many more to explore! Hope you can enjoy them when stopping by Versailles.

January 8, 2011

My best restaurants in France, my selection

Well I would like to talk about dining in the rest of France ,outside my area of Versailles/Paris. I need to do some catch up so will list the ones that have remained memorable for me and my family and some repeat often. It is a difficult task as there are so many good ones here, food is king or queen, and choices are endless. However, I will again dare to give my choices;hope they will become yours in the years to come. This was written in 2011 originally,so I have given it a refreshment in 2017 ::)

French follow a light breakfast, continental style , and lately some yougurt, are thrown in there. Sometime you see heavier placing but this is only in tourist places or buffet style. Lunch is the main meal of the day, heavy and hearty, usually between 12h-15h where you need to be there on time or be square, place is closed or chef is out having lunch! Then dinner starts by 19h in most cases onwards to about 23h generally speaking. I know in some place nice folks have stay open for me until 01h00 when gathering with a group, but most like to leave by 23h and in some chains they stay until midnite 00h00, this is a lighter meal than lunch, but sometime hard to distinguish the two. Sundays lunch is our big gastronomic time, and we either go out or cook a big meal at home. More and more places are opening with Brunch , with one price all you can eat.

There are many places where you can eat in France, these are call Auberge, hostellerie,relais (all a coaching inn or alternative to restaurant); a bar,a bistro,a cabaret or boite de nuit, brasserie,cafe,buffet restaurant,hotels,pizzerias,libre-service(cafeteria style self service usually in hypermarches and autoroutes), rotisserie,salon de thé, and restaurants. The hours again, varied a bit as to more tourist big city areas to provincial inland towns,but normally are open from 11h to 23h or later in brasseries, cafes:bars are from 06h-07h until midnite 00h00, but they can be license to be open as late as 02h00. Restaurants are open for lunch between 12-15h but usually stop seating by 14h30,dinner is between 19h and 22h with some staying as late as 04h00.

The menus are displayed outside every restaurant or eating place, sometimes the meal of the day or plat du jour is posted in a board inside main lobby of the place. You can have a set menu call menu prix fixe where for one standard price you can get a combination of entree and main dish or main dish and dessert or other combinations.  Some places will have a menu conseillé or advice menu which is often the cheapest combination available or you can have the other side of the most expensive with a menu gastronomique. The idea  of tipping is often raise by visitors, here there is something call service compris , meaning the total price including the tip and tax (VAT) is included. If it is not mentioned you can assume it is or ask. If the mention is only prix nets it means nothing extra has been added so you should tip. The tip is not obligatory, and it should be given with several variables in mind; like, what type of place you are in, if you will be a regular customer or just passing visitor,and the amount of services offered, as well as of course the excellence of the service. Its a personal choice. Mine take is ,if the service is good beyond reproach at a passing establishement, I tip a bit a few coins, if indeed is one of my regular joints where I am treated like a family then I tip as much as 15% of the bill. Again ,its up to you.

Some of my favorite places outside my area are:

le Lotus d’Or, 7 rue Bac, 92150, Suresnes; tramway suresnes-longchamps.tel +33 01 40 99 07 10. Just before mounting the highest hill in the Paris area at 162 meters in Mont Valerien, surrounded by the beautiful sight of the river Seine overlooking the bois de bolougne on the other side. Oriental chinese, vietnamese, thai food serve by an entire family with great service and prices,menus from 10€. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-lotus-d-or-suresnes

Donatello, 24 Esplanade Courtieux, 92150, Suresnes. tramway Suresnes-Longchamps, no web tel +33 01 42 04 41 67. An oasis of good inexpensive Italian food just over the bridge pont de Suresnes other side of bois de boulogne and on a courtyard where the market of Suresnes is held. Pizzas from 9€, and real Italian products and chef! More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/donatello-suresnes

Chez Clement, 15bis quai Requenequin Sualem, 78380, Bourgival. a chain that have gone thru bad times due to owner personal problems but the one in Bougival is still open , our classic, and had my oldest son b-day celebrated here. French cuisines in a painter’s old house cant be more romantic, and overlooking the river Seine,really French. You can take RER A to le Vésinet-le Pech and walk here. Tel +33 01 30 78 20 00. More here: https://www.lafourchette.com/restaurant/chez-clement-bougival/289487#reviews

Le Duc de Guise, 13-15  place Louis XII, 41000, Blois. traditional pizzeria and huge salads that wont break your bank and serve very good food. Near the Houdin magician museum,and castle. Tel +33 02 54 78 22 39. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-duc-de-guise-blois

Le Triboulet, 18 place du Chateau, 41000, Blois. French traditional in a house warming cozy setting with wood stove and fireplace. Just across from castle with a great view. Enjoy it, the family love it. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-triboulet-blois-2

Cafe des Arts, 138 cours Victor Hugo, 33000, Bordeaux,tramway musée d’Aquitaine gets you there. tel +33 05 57 95 94 51. Traditional French cafe of old, nicely decorated, good food, if a bit slow at lunch times. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-caf%C3%A9-des-arts-bordeaux

Le Kayoc, 2 allée Pierre Ortal, 33680, Lacanau-Océan. great view right on the beach, and seafood galores ! an oasis our family trek practically every summer. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/kayoc-lacanau

Le Colibri, (closed now) 12 rue Chanzy, 51100, Reims. great piano bar restaurant right by the Cathedral.Very cozy French traditional, and elegant. Our family love it. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-colibri-reims-2

La Scala, 1 Place Planchat, 18000, Bourges. Great food, ambiance, decorations like you were in Italy, the servers are Italian and you cant eat any better listening to Eroz Ramazzotti! and the waittress singing alone!!!! The reason for the name maybe .We have it mark. More here: http://www.la-scala.org/

Le Palerme, 8 place de l’Eglise, 11990, Hourtin. The medoc again, central plaza overlooking the marché on your way to the beach. Nice setting ,simple but great pizzas good food, great service even in busy summers, you wont be disappointed.  tel +33 05 56 09 18 46. more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-palerme-hourtin

Le Meridional, 27 ave Pierre Curie, 78210, St Cyr l’Ecole. Recently open and it was a surprise, great Italian dishes at good prices, and family fun, the owners are on board daily. Real Italians for that home cooking we seek always. no web, tel +33 01 39 42 02 95. right on road D10 coming into the city from Versailles. Bit more here: https://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pros/08119610

Brasserie Paul, 1 place de la Cathédrale, 76000, Rouen, a local gourmand place of French traditions. Open in 1898 and the quality continues, friendly fast service even at lunch. Great food and ambiance at the side of the Cathedral of Rouen. tel +33 02 35 71 86 07. More info here:https://www.yelp.com/biz/brasserie-paul-rouen-3

Ty Breiz, 59 Quai Henri IV, 76200, Dieppe, a great creperie in the best area traditon all done on order by mama and son themselves ,right by the harbor. Cant make it any better than like home. tel +33 02 35 82 86 56. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/ty-breiz-dieppe

le Crystal, 3 Rue Haute, 14600, Honfleur, a beauty try the second floor inside a house on the pedestrian street out of the harbor to your right, left hand side. great seafood place. tel +33 02 31 89 12 02. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-crystal-honfleur

Le Bistro du Port, 14 Quai de la Quarantaine,14600, Honfleur. whether its a seafood pizza or a plat from the ocean this is to be seen and be seen with great ambiance, friendly service always for many years. tel +33 02 31 89 21 84. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-bistro-du-port-honfleur

Le Queen , (closed now) 3 Place Gambetta, 80000, Amiens ; very nice terrace near hotel de ville, to be seen and be seen in town, great views, and ambiance. Come for a pint or a nice steak and fries, good prices,great service, a stop a must. tel +33  03 22 92 60 33. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-bistro-du-port-honfleur

Le Bistrot des Brasseurs (3 brasseurs) , 18-20 place de la Gare, 59000,Lille,  a place to taste the beer made next door at the 3 Brasseurs and use here with some moules and frites, great people , come enjoy it.tel +33  03 20 06 37 27. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/les-3-brasseurs-lille-2?osq=le+bistrot+des+brasseurs

Le Vieux Comptoir, 10 rue de la Rôtisserie, 37000, Tours, great family place, in an old street of Tours, very nicely decorated. French traditional of great estime locally, and wines of the Loire valley. very sympa. More here: http://levieuxcomptoir.free.fr/accueil.html

Taverne de Bois de Maitre Kanter, Rue Georges Méliés, 41350, St Gervais la Foret. on the road D174 towards the A10 or Blois. Great setting in the middle of the forest to sample Alsacien cuisine. A great tour to continue your journey with a great ambiance. More here: http://www.bloischambord.co.uk/organize/restaurants/french-brasseries/246183-la-taverne-de-maitre-kanter

La Fontana, 2 Rue de la Croix de Fer, 78100, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Great traditional Italian resto with Italian natives at the kitchen and serving. You will taste like mamma mia and just with the junction of the N186 to the A15 and Paris or the train at Saint Germain en Laye bel air-Fourqueux. no web tel +33 01 34 51 67 66. More here:https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-fontana-st-germain-en-laye

J’Go, 16 Place Victor Hugo, 31000, Toulouse. they have it now in Paris too, the best of the southwest with an unique local flavor, my favorite in the city of roses. good webpage for all, here is  Toulouse http://lejgo.com/toulouse

Le Louchebem, the butcher of Toulouse in the covered market of place Victor Hugo, great cassoulet toulosain, ambiance, service and great views on the second floor over the place.Cant beat it. 21 different meats to choose from but keep at the cassoulet ::) More here: http://www.lelouchebem-toulouse.fr/

Bar Les Clip’s , 1 place de la Trebaille, 81000, Albi . Great prices good view underneath the cathedral by the parking below its back. Cassoulet was good,and the service very family friendly. Good to go; no web, Tel +33 05 63 54 90 68. More info under the brasserie here: http://www.tourisme-tarn.com/restauration/brasserie-du-clips

Les Berceaux,  13 rue de Berceaux, 51200, Epernay. Sublime Champagne resto gastronomic French cuisine at its best, cozy, ambiance sublime, regal, one of the best in the area. right in central town off  rue Eugéne Mercier, More here: http://www.lesberceaux.com/

La Cave d’Artagnan, 4 rue de la republique, 32000, Auch. Great tapas selection and ambiance, friendly service. The products comes right from the owners farm, great foie gras tapas, enjoy it ,more here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-cave-d-artagnan-auch-2

Some new additions as years go by are:
La Vieille auberge, at Mont Saint Michel. Lovely architecture overlooking the bay, good food friendly service in an area loaded with tourist is to recommend. More here: https://www.lavieilleauberge-montsaintmichel.com/fr/restaurant.html

Le Phare in the island or Ïle de Ré, wonderful quaint seafaring town of St Martin de Ré, and the place was just great: more here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-phare-st-martin-de-r%C3%A9

La Brasserie Royal at Pau. Grand placeof Pau historical chic good ambiance right on the square Place Royale. More here: http://brasserie-royale.com/

Le Suisse, St Jean de Luz right in the pays Basque, great location near all at place Louis XIV , and good times in family. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-suisse-saint-jean-de-luz-2

Pizzeria Nota Bene at Nantes. excellent location , nice architecture, good food and soft prices. more here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-nota-bene-nantes?osq=pizzeria+nota+bene

Crêperie Le Blé Noir at Noirmoustier en L’ïle. A wonderful location by the place Saint Louis and good galettes! More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/creperie-le-bl%C3%A9-noir-noirmoutier-en-l-%C3%AEle

Le Pub du Ralliement at Angers. nice central location good food and nice ambience; nice. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-pub-angers?osq=le+pub+ralliement

Crëperie La Flambée at Guérande. In the old town just next to the ramparts walls; good old fashion ambiance good service good food nice; more here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-flamb%C3%A9e-gu%C3%A9rande-2

Le Café de la Plage, Batz-sur-Mer. Overlooking the sea cith by the harbor at the beach or plage Saint Michel.Very good family ambiance good food good prices nice. More here: http://www.ot-batzsurmer.fr/le-cafe-de-la-plage.html

I have try to update as many as usual some were already out of business, a very common thing here where competition and the tourist season are fierce , and of course, these are those still open that I like. Of course, you must verify before hand at the time of your travel if they are still open.

Hope it helps and bon appétit dans la belle France::)

 

 

 

January 7, 2011

Real Madrid, the greatest club in football/soccer

I will be talking about something personal, it is my club since many years, and never really had the initiative to write something about it until now in my blog. I lived in Madrid for four years between 1970 to 1974, and played for the Real Madrid in baseball,volleyball ,and football/soccer in the alavin division. Once a Madridista, always a Madridista to the grave. There is no other team club alike in the history of the game of football/soccer.

I was just a young kid that was introduced to the organisation by a baseball umpire to play for their junior baseball team at the parque de la Elipa, from my home at Calle Alcala, Quintana neighborhood or barrio it was just a bus P13 to it. While there, friends used to go to see the team different sports  played, Ciudad Deportiva (the old one by the paseo de la Castellana now has four skyrises call towers as torre Espacio, torre Repsol, torre de la Mutua and torre Sacyr).

While going to these games, some kids who were already on the different sports organisations and had played football with me in parks like parque Calero and Retiro ,asked me to come to the Ciudad Deportiva installations for a tryout that was open. With the help of my baseball contacts that included member “socios” of the Real Madrid football team I got my first tryouts. Before long, I too, was wearing the white shirt of the football team, and move up from benjamin to alavin status. Those were wonderful memories even if just what is left is memories. Never forget that day in 1972 when I first enter the Real Madrid FC .

From then on it has been a love affair whenever I may be living, trying for all means to obtain news of the team, and enjoying every second of my visits to the city from 1977 on to today. I am active in several forums that talks about the team, and go to the stadium often in season to see football and basketball games from Vistalegre to Caja Magica to Valdebebas to Santiago Bernabeu.

The team , a bit of history. The team was born out of educators who sat around and found a club in 1897 around the Vallecas barrio or neighborhood. Quickly it became more organised by several of the members of the team in 1901 and eventually  Julian Palacios as first President officially  registered the club in 1902 as the Madrid Foot-Ball Club in 1902. By 1920 the king Alfonso XIII give it the royal rank of Real or royal as he was a follower too ::) ,and honorary member =socio. From June 1920 it became the Real Madrid FC that we know today. The team participated in the first Spanish league organised in 1929 finishing in second place.  The first league came on this period in the 1931-32 season, the first title !

The greatest period came after the war when on September 15 , 1943 when ex player and ex coach ,Santiago Bernabeu was named President of the club. After organising an international tournament in Colombia in 1952, they saw what was in 1953 their greatest signing that of Alfredo Di Stefano( Argentina) , considered by many the world’s greatest player , as well as the Spanish Francisco “paco” Gento from Santander and the league championship came back to the Real Madrid in the 1953-54 season.  They were the start of an amazing run of Five European Cups in a row (record) .  With player like Amancio and Velazquez the club again wins the European Cup in 1966 while continuing to pile up Ligas and Cups at home, these were the Ye-Ye years . The sad news came in June 2nd 1978 with the passing of Don Santiago Bernabeu, the greatest president ever, and today the stadium bears his name as well as the metro stop to it on line 10.

The team follow with the 80’s “la Quinta del Buitre” nickname given to Emilio Butragueño as well as Mexican Hugo Sanchez (Hugol), and many more Ligas however no European Cup. The team from the farm system delighed many and remains one of the most popular periods in the club history even without winning an European championship.  The team continue to wins Ligas in the 90’s with the incorporation of perennial and crowd favorite Raul Gonzalez Blanco, probably the best player ever from the farm system. Finally in 1998  the team came back to win again its trophy , the European Cup now call Champions league. In 1999 the great coach and former player Vicente del Bosque arrive promoting to the first team the legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas ,and with it winning again the Champions league in 2000.

With the election of 2000, a new president came into being the entrepreneur Florentino Perez, (those who follow me know he is not of my liking possibly guilty of the lack of titles of the club in the last few years) ;this was the so call Galactic era, where millionaires dotting shorts and representing the Real Madrid razzle dazzle the world without any title in Europe but huge paychecks from uncle Florentino. Ligas were won but not sufficient due to the expenditures made and another Champions league was won in 2002 with player like Figo, Zidane,Ronaldo, and Beckham. The chosen succesor made it look like an election was Ramon Calderon who created many administrative problems for the club,and was made to resigned in 2009. Ironically , it was Florentino Perez who replaced him single handily without opposition due to no changes in the club by laws where the rich wins, and the second Galactic era began with signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, the signing from England of Spaniard Xabi Alonso and from France Karim Benzema all very expensive contracts and no titles as I write.

Nevertheless, the club is the most winning club in the history of the sport in Spain and abroad regardless of the so call media frenzy of popular teams with a lot less history due to ever increasing publicity and media manipulation.  The Santiago Bernabeu stadium was built in 1947, with a capacity of  80 354 spectators today. The new sport city or  Ciudad Deportiva is today at Valdebebas just outside Madrid and the basketball arena at Caja Magica inside the city and recently chosen from Vistalegre.

The club has participated in all 80 season of Spanish first division football, and has won 31 Ligas,by far the most. The player who has obtained the most titles with the club are Francisco Gento and Manuel Sanchis with 21 titles, and the player with most games is Raul Gonzalez Blanco with 741 games. These are the club titles,

Spanish Liga (31): 1931/32, 1932/33, 1953/54, 1954/55,1956/57, 1957/58, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1963/64, 1964/65, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1968/69, 1971/72, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1985/86, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1994/95, 1996/97, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08.

Copa del Rey or Kings Cup  (17): 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1917, 1934, 1936, 1946, 1947, 1962, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1989, 1993.

Super Cup of Spain (8): 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008

League Cup (1): 1985

Eva Duarte Cup (1):1947

Regional Championships and Community trophies (23) 1904/05, 1905/06, 1906/07, 1907/08, 1909/10, 1912/13, 1915/16, 1916/17, 1917/18, 1919/20, 1921/22,1922/23,1923/24, 1926/26, 1927/28 ,1929/30,1930/31, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36.

vice Champion of the Liga  (19): 1928/29, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36, 1941/42, 1944/45, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1980/81, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10.

vice Champions of the Kings Cup (19): 1903, 1916, 1918, 1924, 1929,1930,1933,1940,1943,1958, 1959/60, 1960/61,1967/68,1978/79 ,1982/83,1989/90, 1991/92,2001/02,2003/04.

vice Champion Super Cup of Spain (3): 1982, 1995, 2007

vice Champion League Cup  (1): 1983

International done just the same as good thank you;

Champions League  (9): 1955-56, 1956-57, 1957-58, 1958-59, 1959-60, 1965-66, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2001-02.

UEFA Cup (2): 1984/85, 1985/86.

Super Cup of Europe (1): 2002

Intercontinental Cup (3): 1960,1998,2002.

Ibero American Cup  (1): 1994.

Latin Cup(2): 1955, 1957.

Club Small World Cup  (2): 1952, 1956.

vice Champion Champions league UEFA  (3): 1961-62, 1963-64, 1980-81.

vice Champion European Cup of Cups  (2): 1971,1983

vice Champion Intercontinental Cup  (2): 1966,2000

vice Champion Super Cup of Europe  (2): 1998, 2000.

The team has an inmense farm system or Cantera, that allows to maintain teams in many divisions and with excellent championship records as well such as Real Madrid-Castilla, and Real Madrid C team. It ,also has an excellent basketball section with 9 times champions of Europe.

some links of interest

The official club webpage http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/es/Home.htm

if you want to be part of the family, then become a Madridista here http://madridista.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/Madridista/es/HomeNacional.htm

if you want to shop online or find the store in Madrid webpage http://www.realmadridshop.com/stores/realmadrid/default.aspx , for on site stores there is the stadium store on avenida Concha Espina puerta or door 55 or the calle Carmen 3 near Sol in city center,metro sol.

if you want to keep up and or join the opposition to the current administration and one who believe in the old traditional values of the club, farm system grow and long term sport plan then see this Plataforma Blanca at http://www.plataformablanca.com/

if you want to buy ticket onlines ahead of games and pick up yours at the stadium, very easy then see this http://www.servicaixa.com/nav/en/deportes/index.html

if you want to discuss in Spanish the latest trends in Spanish football and especially the Real Madrid join me in this forum Foro Real Madrid at webpage http://www.fororealmadrid.com/index.php

If you want to watch the games an dont have a TV you can watch the games and more here at http://www.rojadirecta.org/

For the best sport journal ,in Spain and extensive coverage of football see AS at http://www.as.com/ in Spanish thus.

 

January 2, 2011

Best Shopping in Versailles, my shopping

Everybody’s favorite subject,and the family past time ::) Having a large family shopping is an event, and one to have patient and enjoy it. I would like to share with my readers some of my favorites hunts in Versailles and nearby, these are my choices for a local living point of view but it can be use by visitors too. Of course, will leave you the shopping inside the castle to you. Hope it helps.

We are big fan of the L’Occitane for many many years, the store in Versailles is very nice and friendly getting you nice products from Provence. 39 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 02 06 74. It is very near the collegiale Notre Dame church. Open from tuesdays to fridays 10h-13h30 and 14h30-19h, Saturdays 10h-19h; Sundays 10h-13h and English is spoken. webpage  http://fr1.loccitane.com/FO/Home.aspx

For jewerly, watches, etc the favorite in town is ‘Eté Joaillier, 38 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 02 38 38. next to l’occitane store. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h15 to 19h, English is spoken too ! webpage http://www.bijouterie-horlogerie-joaillerie-versailles.com/indexanglais.html

Bags ,handbags, leather, and travel accessories the ultimate is the Le Tanneur,7 place Hoche, tel +33 01 39 67 07 37. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h to 1çh30, Saturdays and Sundays from 10h -19h30, always remember to leave that hour for lunch time ::) webpage http://www.letanneur.com/Magasins.aspx

For gifts, souvenirs, t shirts , you come here Select Souvenir, 10 ave Charles de Gaulle, in the Les Maneges building across from RER station rive gauche. Tel +33 01 39 02 34 97. no webpage but plenty to see on way in or out of Versailles.  Open tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h to 19h. And you might meet a member of the family there ::)

For designs and comtemporary tools for the kitchen,bathroom, living room, or office with gifts galore try my cute Désir d’Intérieurs, 17 rue Carnot, tel +33 01 30 21 39 19. open tuesdays to fridays from 10h to 19h Saturday 10h-19h30. English spoken. Webpage http://www.desirdinterieurs.com/

For flowers a bit away but worth it near Chantiers train station, Symphonie Florale, 42 rue des Chantiers, tel +33 01 39 50 20 22. open Mondays 14h-19h, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8h to 20h30, Sundays 9h-13h. English spoken. No web.

For toys, kids games of European and French design and fabrication you cant beat the La Maison des 3 Ours, Carrés Saint-Louis, 24 rue Royale, tel +33 01 39 49 47 66. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h30-13h and 15h-19h. English spoken. webpage http://www.jouets-versailles.com/

For wines ,other than going to the chain Nicolas, my favorite is at  4 rue Royale, tel +33 01 39 50 17 03. open tuesdays to fridays 9h30-13h and 15h to 20h , Saturdays 9h30 to 13h30 and 15h-20h ,Sundays 9h30 to 13h.  You can definitively be satisfied at Aux Caves du Chateau, 9 place Hoche, tel +33 01 39 50 02 049. wines, spirits,champagnes, with gifts in mind too, and artisan beers all since 1840. Open tuesdays to saturdays from 9h-13h and 15h-19h30. Sundays in the mornings 9h-13h too. English spoken. webpage http://www.caviste-vin-versailles.com/

For cheeses go to Fromagerie Le Gall ,in the marché Notre Dame building named Carré à la Marée; tel +33 01 39 50 01 28. open tuesdays to sundays 7h30 to 13h. tuesday to thursdays 16h to 19h, Fridays and Saturdays 15h30 to 19h. English spoken. the best cheeses in town from all regions of France including the real ones from the farm to you ! webpage http://www.legall-versailles.com/

For teas from around the world and to find that rare one, the one to visit is La Route du Thé, 26 rue de Satory,on the ave Sceaux side of chateau, tel +33 01 39 53 12 07. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h30 to 19h, English spoken:webpage http://www.larouteduthe.com/#

For chocolates try the real thing from a local chocolatier, Maiffret Chocolatier, 37 rue de la Paroisse, near church collegiale de Notre Dame, tel +33 01 39 02 71 01. all is made in house from 100%cocoa beans of the best regions, also try the macarons and pâtes de fruit. webpage http://www.maiffret.com/

Of course could not forget, the market or marché public, my all time favorite, and regular as noted above in the cheese store is the Marché de Notre Dame and Halles Notre Dame, the difference is the Marché is open air, fruits,veggies, etc alternating with a clothing market while the Halles are covered market dating from the domaine de Clagny (1665 AD). There in the carré Notre Dame (from chateau follow straight out to your left and take ave Saint Cloud to the corner of ave de l’Europe and rue Marechal Foch,you take a left and the marché is right in front of your eyes). Marché open Tuesdays,Fridays,and Sundays from 7h30 to 14h , and the Halles open tuesdays to saturdays 7h to 19h30, some Mondays and Sundays from 7h to 14h.

If you prefer buying flowers in a market to take home, then the best is at sidewalks on ave Saint Cloud just by the underground parking Saint Cloud corner ave de l’Europe. Open Tuesdays,Fridays,Saturdays all day and Sunday mornings. There are ,also, flowers at the Marché Notre Dame see above.

For all your Cigars needs, and pens, and wallets, and the best advice from all over the world products of great quality. Gifts, pens, and English spoken try La Havane, 21 rue Hoche, tel +33 01 39 50 66 11.webpage http://www.stylos-maroquinerie-cigare-versailles.com/

For all your telephone questions, needs head for Orange, the best in France in my opinion. the Store is at 2-4 Rue au Pain, right around the Halles de Notre Dame market, webpage is online, the store you can get more information especially if a visitor. http://boutiques.orange.fr/

For fish and seafood, of course I know, you need to have a kitchen but so what I also know many of you do when visiting so I am giving away my poissonnerie or fish market L’Espadon, Halles Notre Dame, Carré à la Marée, open as the Halles Market above. webpage http://www.poissonnerie-fruits-de-mer-versailles.com/index.html

And of course the bakeries cannot be forgotten, several are good, but my choice for the blog will be Boulangerie (Maison) Guinon at 60 rue de la Paroisse (district of Notre Dame yes), doing it since 1802 and still the best, go for it when in town. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 7h To 20h, Sunday 7h to 13h30. tel +33 01 39 50 01 84, webpage http://www.boulangerie-patisserie-artisanale-versailles.com/index.html

For coffee lovers try La Finca, 15 rue de deux Portes, tel +33 01 39 50 33 52.  At the area around the marche de Notre Dame on the chateau side as you stand in the center. Go around the Halles Notre Dame and it is there its a tiny place full of coffee grounders machines. No webpage.

For groceries there are the Leader Price chain store at 58 rue de Chantiers (near train SNCF station) http://www.monleaderprice.fr/magasin/index.php  ; Marché U, 4 rue du Marechal Foch  http://www.superu-versailles.com/portailu/local/pg_d_sysu_magasin_accueil   ; Monoprix, 5 ave Georges Clémenceau (also by ave de l’Europe entrance) http://www.monoprix.fr/trouver-mon-magasin/monoprix-versailles-versailles-156.html ; 8 a Huit, 6 rue Royale   part of Carrefour ;  and Franprix, 5 rue Rameau. http://www.franprix.fr/v2/site/  You have bigger markets outside if you have a car, but these in town are pretty good for your needs.

There are several good libraries or book stores in town , however, my favorite is Gibert & Joseph, 62 rue de la Paroisse, near church Notre Dame,  chain also in Paris, webpage http://www.gibertjoseph.com/magasins/versailles.html

For photo info ,and developement head for Photo Station,  50 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 67 02 74 no webpage but just near church of Notre Dame.

For clothing I shop sometimes at Damart or Burton. Damart is a chain webpage http://www.damart.fr/shops_info.php?shops_id=57 and Burton is at 11 rue Georges Clemenceau, tel  +33 01 39 53 70 78 no web. simple shoes at Eram, 13 rue du marechal Foch, webpage http://www.eram.fr/magasin .Haircuts at Jean Louis David, 15 rue du marechal Foch, webpage www.jeanlouisdavid.com

Pharmacies are many but my is at Pharmacie de la Paroisse, 33 rue de la Paroisse, near Notre Dame church. tel +33 01 39 50 78 85. For the press other than on Relais H at the train stations, my is at Lolita Presse, 83 rue du marechal Foch. near rive droite train station. Several post offices too the one I use most is at La Poste ,47bis rue du Marechal Foch; between the market of Notre Dame and the train station rive droite. Several banks including the HSBC and Barclays but I do BNP Paribas along rue du Marechal Foch.

If you have problems with your laptop or computer while here the pros at  VART electronique will definitively help you, either direct you to a reputable repair store or do it or give you the parts you need. they are at 42 ave de Saint Cloud, tel +33 01 39 51 56 33. Any country will do, they do them all !!!  just north of the ave de l’Europe and ave saint cloud you go right to a side street call allée de l’avenue saint cloud. no web there have been there for ages …

if you are looking for antiques, head here first The Antiquaires de Versailles , you might save yourselves time. The site has all the info you need in English here http://www.antiques-versailles.com/up//@@sites@2@Products_xx_searchType–Rubric__iDRubric–29250@@.htm

If you want to walk in a quaint old fashion street full of goodies and feel like in times past while enjoying nice little restos like the creperie A la Côte Bretonne and small misc stores like Cachemise ready to wear clothing,then head for the Rue de deux Portes off rue Carnot to the the marché Notre Dame .

Well I think I touch the basics most, if left anything else you want to know, let me know. If in town do let me know please, would love to meet you if possible. Cheers and happy shopping.

 

%d bloggers like this: