Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

October 26, 2020

Pontivy and L’Aiglon!

Well guest what I found out!lol! We went out enjoying that we are still able to go out anytime and went to the north of Brittany (more later). As we were going to arrive at a time when restaurants are closed here, I decided to eat lunch on the way. Most smaller towns the choices were limited so I entered Pontivy, a town that we have visited several times as less than an hour from us. Of course, in the Morbihan dept 56!

Once in city center I remember a restaurant by the castle of the Rohan and decided to have lunch there. This is the L’Aiglon restaurant. Looking back in my blog I had briefly mentioned in post of Nov 26 2017 best restos in Bretagne)!!! Oh oh my , well we were back! I told you the choices are too many here and you are bound to take time between one and the other. We were glad to be back!

pontivy l aiglon resto facing castle oct20

This beautiful restaurant will offer you creative traditional cuisine, homemade, fresh and gourmet with a menu that is revised every three months, according to the seasons. These are varied and original dishes that this Maître Restaurateur offers, in a very contemporary decor, with natural sources that are mentioned on a board as you enter ,so you know where the ingredients comes from!. L’Aiglon has been run by the Morvant family for more than 10 years.

pontivy l aiglon resto side arriving oct20

We, of course, had no reservation but the seating was fast on a high table for 5 as took my Dad as well. He usually likes beef but in his condition I gave him fish and he ated well! The setting of course is contemporary with impeccable cleanniness and nice friendly attention by servers. Even the chef owner comes around to ask you on the meal. Very traditional indeed!

And we started with an old familiar a bottle of red côt or malbec red wine from Poiron-Dabin of Château Thebaud! Funny we have visited the winery and are a frequent buyer of these wines, we have them at home too! Of course very good quality/price wines. Here is the wine from the source: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/fr/product/cot-malbec-2014/

pontivy l aiglon resto dining room oct20

We follow with the entrée which was a frosty egg soup type, very innovative light and good! the main dish was roast codfish with white butter and risotto rice, very nice. And the finish was the dessert fig pudding in red wine flambée! delicious. I finish with a coffee expresso, my sons skip the dessert and had the café gourmand coffee expresso and small desserts. All for about 27€ per person, nice and easy.

pontivy l aiglon resto cave a vins oct20

The official webpage of the L’Aiglon Pontivy: http://www.laiglon-pontivy.com/

pontivy l aiglon resto facing the castle oct20

We spent quite a bit of time here and had a look at the castle of the Rohan across the street! We continue our route towards the coasts of the Côtes d’Armor of my Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the resto trip and story.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

October 25, 2020

Florida,the Sunshine State!!

I am changing? do not know, but have some lately posts without photos. Well, you need to search because they are here in other posts. I am just updating very old posts that I feel the text is good to refresh , update for the history of my blog and me! Hope you enjoy them as I do!

A wonderful 18 years in the State of Florida, my biggest chunk of life! In one region/area.  Memories that will not go away easy. The State is sunshine, family, friendly, and happy; so many things to do it will take an entire blog history to tell. Florida is University studies, work life, marriage, fatherhood, joys and tears , the human struggle! I will hit the highlights of my favorites.

Starting with the Daytona Beach area, NASCAR ,the 500, the Pepsi 400 ,the moto 200, the 24 hrs of Daytona, and the Spring Break, the beach season from Memorial day but all year for our snowbirds from the North. You see the Daytona International Speedway, you are now waiting for the Daytona 500 ,in my time I used to sneak in to see the races for free (inside the car trunk!); those were the good old university days.  You have my University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University the best in the air, Eagles Soar. Go Eagles. That I visit as much as possible now far away. I was for a while until moving to Bretagne, the mentor for my alumni assoc in France, about 3 high schoolers from France who went there got the complete rundown from me. ERAU, the founding chairman of American Airlines (1934) , trained in civilian disguise the British pilots in four Florida airfields to be able to defend Great Britain in WWII; and lately about 50% of US pilots graduates with college degrees from there! Awesome experience!

I have my memories with the  Aquatic park (now call Daytona Lagoon) and an unlimited amount of water activities, not to mention the Angel & Phelps Chocolate factory and store tour, the Bulow plantation ruins, Sugar Mills Botanical Gardens, Ponce Inlet lighthouse, Jackie Robinson memorial park, the Casements (old Rockefeller house now museum), and Tomoka Indian Mound. The hotels are plenty in which either have stayed later visiting or had school or business conferences in them such as Treasure Island Hotel, Daytona Hilton, Daytona Inn, Acapulco Hotel, etc, Glorious eating establishements like Barnacles (now gone); Alfie Restaurant, Aunts Catfish, Oyster Pub, etc, and a wonderful Daytona Beach International Airport,for the ins and outs.

Out west along the SR 40 you reach Ocala, old home of Tarzan and Silver Spring park where the first movie was film with Johnny Weissmuller. Cousin lives there!

Up in historical Saint Augustine, you have the oldest city in the USA founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565! Here you have Lightner Museum, Ripley’s Believe or Not, Fountain of Youth ,where the great Pedro landed; Fort Matanzas , trolley tours, horse wagon tours, the oldest House in America, and the Bridge of Lions,old world setting. The Spanish Columbia restaurant ,like you were in Spain.  So many weekends spent in this town, I can walk it again blindfolded. See the beautiful Cathedral, with its Spanish mudejar construction.

Moving to the west along the I4 expressway, you reach the Orlando magical area, what can I say here, Disney, Universal, Medieval Times, International Drive, Lake Buena Vista drive, the Florida Gator Bowl, the lake at Eola, so much that is impossible to list all.  You have the more affordable area of Kissimmee just by the Disney entrance with many hotels, and restaurants  to choose from; my favorites were the Santa Fe Disney hotel, and the Caribbean Hotel too. The restos were the Hemingway at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel, Bongos Cafe (now closed), Rainforest Cafe, Wolfgang Puck, Red Lobster, etc. The best location for staying other than inside Disney property or Universal official hotels is to find a property by Lake Buena Vista.

A bit further in Kissimmee you have restos Applebee’s, Chili’s, Dennys’s Friendlys , the choices are endless here.  You have shopping at Florida Mall, Pointe Orlando, and The Mall at Millenia, and International Premium Outlets, in addition to those in the theme parks areas. The area is very well serve by the Orlando International Airport which have used. Cousin lives in Orlando now!

Moving further west still on the expressway I4 you will reach the Tampa area, more wonders, like Busch Gardens,the aquarium at St Petersburg (now closed) ,wonderful beaches like Fort De Soto National Park, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island,St Pete Beach, and Ybor City in Tampa, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, etc etc . You get nice hotels like the Grand Hyatt, Marriotts, Intercontinental,Embassy Suites, and Holiday Inn Busch Gardens locations.  The Tampa international airport never got to use it. I have several cousins living here!

At Ybor City you will find the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA ,est, 1905. Columbia our home away from home wherever they were in Florida.  Also Shells, and shopping at Channelside, Hyde Park Village, Westshore Plaza,and Ybor City own stores.

Going even further west , you have the wonderful Saint Petersburg greater area, the Sirata Beach Resort is marvelous to stay in, and restos like Sloppy Joe’s, and PJ’s Oyster Bar are great.

Coming down on the I75 you will reach the Cape Coral area, where I spent many times because my parents used to owned land there. However this area is best known for the Sun Splash Family Park, great rides in water and else Hotels the Holiday Inn Express at the entrance to the city is great, as well as the Casa Loma Motel (now management and new name OYO reviews are not good).  Shopping best is by the Coralwood Shopping Center or the outlet mall by the I75 road at Miromar Outlet. I have cousin living here now!

You will head down on the I-75 and east on the Alligator Alley to Miami area ,and the wild Miami Beach. You can see the Miami Seaquarium, Miami MetroZoo, Barnacle historical Park, ancient Spanish monastery (North Miami Beach), Vizcaya castle and gardens, Fairchild Tropical park, Everglades Alligator Farm, Island Queen Cruises, Miccosukee Indian Village,Wings over Miami museum (aviation museum) , etc.  there is more the above are just my favorites.

The beaches the nightlife is awesome , so much to tell, Lincoln Road is great down to South Beach at Miami Beach, then up north Bal Harbour is nice and trendy. Coconuts Grove is quaint and chic, as is Miracle Mile.  Shopping /resto is wonderful in the places above as well as  Bayside Marketplace and  Miami downtown or city center area offers plenty, by the port of Miami . Plenty of Restaurants, from La Carreta, Joe Allen’s (gone), TGIFridays, Puerto Sagua, Smith &  Wollensky, Joe’s Stone Crab,  Bongos Cuban Cafe (now Estefan Kitchen I am told),Versailles,News Cafe, so many good ones over the years,but I can narrow them down further see post. Shopping you have International Mall, Dolphin Mall, Aventura Mall, Dadeland Mall, Bayside Marketplace as my favorites

For transportation best is get in by Miami International Airport, so many times by here even if it has change quite a bit in the last few years. You can see a great basketball game of the  Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in city center. I have aunt and cousins living here!

My last footprint here was moving a bit north to Miramar in Broward county, main city and near was Ft Lauderdale. In this area, you have for shopping the very best Sawgrass Mills, then Broward Mall (part of group Westfield now) , Pembroke Lakes Mall, and Galleria Mall as best known over the years. The Las Olas blvd area is fantastic,

You should pay a visit to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Visit the Bass Pro Shops (Dania Beach) for fishing gear par excellence. More such as the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Boomers (closed), Butterfly World (Coconut Creek), CB Smith Park, Seminole Indians Casino, Billie Swamp Safari, Flamingo Gardens, International Game Fish Association museum (Dania Beach), Jungle Queen Riverboat, and Anne Koln Nature Center as some of the best sights.  The sports enthusiast can watch a game of ice hockey at the Florida Panthers BB&T Center  in Sunrise.  Plenty of restos such as TGIFridays, Cheesecake Factory, China Grill (closed), le Bistro (Lighthouse Point), le Cafe de Paris (closed after 50 yrs!!) , Quarterdeck Bar and Grill with great munchies and beers always No hotels as this was my last home before leaving for France. Great times in the Ft lauderdale/Miramar area of Broward County. Ins and out on Ft Lauderdale airport!

But Florida goes deeper into the keys , wonderful heaven off the Caribbean and closer to old home! The Florida Keys, my fondness for Key Largo, Marathon (fam kept boats here), and Key West. Plenty of water sports, fishing, and good laidback eating. The best is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park the first underwater park. Everglades National State Park,and the Biscayne Park, all great nature lovers heavens.  Have a bite and great beer at Coconuts Restaurant (now closed), you could have rented fishing accessories and boat out of here too. Marathon is better for scuba diving, and has the keys Airport as well as the nicest beach at Sombrero Beach, a huge popular conservation program of turtles and dolphins, a city marina with 224 berth. For that leisure back Florida conch living and nice meal try the Porky’s Bayside BBQ, and still open!!!

And then we have Key West, the southernmost city in the USA, only 90 miles (145 kms ) from Cuba . Try the Dolphin encounter charters to chase and see them in the wild, get a seaplane adventure and head out for Tortugas isle even further from the mainland USA, at the Dry Tortugas National  Park, and see Fort Jefferson, get on the Trolley or Conch train for a ride thru the streets of Key West, and of course don’t leave without seeing Ernest Hemingway house and museum, Key West Aquarium, San Carlos Institute (a Cuban heritage center founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles who came to Key West to plan the campaign for Cuba’s independence),  the Mel Fisher Maritime museum, and Mallory Square  amongst the best.

For eating, we are regulars of Kelly Caribbean Bar & Grill, the old actress of TV and movie fame (Kelly McGillis) no longer owns it , and there is a new name as well First Flight , the site is the founding hangar of Pan Am airline. Then head for the El Meson de Pepe, and Sloppy’s Joes.

Hope you have enjoyed this overview of the great State of Florida with lots of memories for me. Some of the places are gone, others change names, and others still there. And of course, the faces do change and landscape. Do not know when our feet will cross again but the memories will stay for the rest of my life. Again, hope you enjoy this nostalgic post and do visit the Sunshine State!

And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 25, 2020

My best restaurants in Florida!!!

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, but folks there are used to so they tip.

I am updating this post done first in 2011! and of course, things change indeed, my last time there was 2016. 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 . And , the original in the Ybor city area of Tampa at 2117 East 7th Avenue ,Tampa, FL 33605.. Fantastic Spanish cuisine with flamenco performers at nights in a quaint Spanish hacienda setting, very romantic and cozy. The best of Spain. webpage  https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/Menus-By-Location

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  https://locations.tgifridays.com/fl.html

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  as now part of a group Dine Brands Global that cannot be access from France! https://www.dinebrands.com/en

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; even if these branches are now closed. webpage  https://restaurants.quiznos.com/

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.  This has closed here for the memories.

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.  Well eventually they closed for good, just for the memories.

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/

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 in Daytona Beach came 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; unfortunately closed, here just for the memories.

Mr Wich deli, is without a web still but confirm still there!, 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; 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 2009,637 N. Grandview avenue , Daytona Beach, FL 32118.  https://www.newyorkpizzasubs.com/

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  https://alfiesrestaurant.com/story-of-alfies/

Mr Dunderbaks, the German sausages and beer place, an institution still going strong after so many years and again for good cause in 2009. Inside the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speeway Blvd. unfortunately this has closed, here just for the memories.

Inlet Harbor Restaurant and Marina, an institution in the south Peninsula, south of Daytona Beach, at Ponce inlet .  Now the resto is separate from the marina and call Off the Hook at Inlet Harbor. just great catch of the day straight from the fishing boats.   https://offthehookatinletharbor.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. Even if now closed due to the virus. https://www.hemingwaysorlando.com/

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. This is now closed, here just for the memories.

Wolfgang Pub  Cafe, now just a bit further at 1518  East Buena Vista Drive, Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Great exotic cuisine with an American/Japanese twist. A renown chef in a wonderful ambiance. webpage  https://wolfgangpuck.com/dining/orlando-bar-grill/

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.  This one is closed, here for the memories.

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  https://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. Now at 4510 W. Vine St.  webpage  https://www.medievaltimes.com/plan-your-trip/orlando-fl/index.html

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.  webpage https://www.shellsseafood.com/locations

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. At Miami it was near the airport on Le Jeune Rd. Now all closed except at Melbourne Florida! webpage: https://bennigans.com/bennigans-locations/locations-domestic/

Croissan’time, a French institution in Ft lauderdale area, and our little piece of FRance there, the owners are from Avignon, France. 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,  Now closed, here just for the memories.

Joe Allen, was in Miami and we met again in Paris (still open diff owner), great American steaks, burgers,and Americana deco. In Miami Beach at 1787 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139. Now closed here just for the memories.

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  https://www.hotelstmichel.com/zucca-dining

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  https://www.beststeaksinmiami.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://lacarreta.com/locations/

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. No longer at this address but in others around the area. https://hootersflorida.com/locations/

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   https://www.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  https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/directory/restaurants/item/latin-american-cuban-cuisine-2

P.F. Changs, Mary Brickell Village, 901 S Miami Ave., Suite 104, Downtown Miami, FL 33131. 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  https://www.pfchangs.com/locations/us/fl/miami/901-s-miami-ave/9931-brickell.html

Little Havana Restaurant, 12727 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, FL 33161.  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/n-miami

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.  webpage  https://www.redlobster.com/?locationSelect=1&rlid=10246

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. The Beacon Center park, webpage  https://www.chilis.com/locations/us/florida/miami/beacon-center/

Flanagan’s Seafood Bar & Grill, another hangout about a block from the above place at NW 12 street, Miami (Doral). 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  https://www.flanigans.net/location/doral/

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. webpage  https://www.94miami.com/location/94th-aero-squadron/

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). https://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.  You missed those crêpes from France well here they do it as identical as can be. webpage  https://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. webpage  https://www.olivegarden.com/locations/fl/pembroke-pines/pembroke-lakes-mall/1409#restaurant-hours-reload

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. 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. Now only one left at 1035 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale.  webpage  https://quarterdeckrestaurants.com/

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. The mojitos, daiquiris and classic Champagne cocktails are wonderful to go with Spanish chorizos and manchego quesadillas. webpage  https://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. webpage https://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. the webpage mentioned closed but cannot tell if it is just now or for good, https://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. webpage: https://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/

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. Just off Sunset Ave or nw 72 st.  It is now closed, just here for the memories.

Le Provençal, French and from Aix-en-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. This is now closed, here just for the memories.

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. webpage http://www.casajuancho.com/

Well these are the ones that comes to mind, of course they are not all, just what brings back my most memorable moments eating in Florida.  Not prone to take photos at restaurants but have written on some of these properties elsewhere in my blog. Hope you enjoy them too when in the Sunshine State.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 24, 2020

My shopping in Florida!!!

I like to share and update this post on my shopping in Florida coming from my 18 years of living in Central and South Florida USA. An experience that I would never forget ,and last visited in 2016.

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; however, that is no problem for me ::)

These are some of my favorites places, starting with malls aka shopping centers. The photos are in some of them individual posts in my blog.

Aventura Mall, north of Miami. 19501 Biscayne Boulevard, Aventura, FL 33180 . 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. This has been improved and enlarged since my time there webpage http://www.aventuramall.com/

Bayside MarketPlace, on downtown city center Miami by the port of Miami. 401 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33132. 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  https://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 .  The cinema, the walks in a quaint village, Hooters’ on a nice breeze Florida night is sublime.  This one has been torn down to re do a complete new complex . More on Facebook for the new Cocowalk: https://www.facebook.com/CocoWalk1/ 

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:  https://www.simon.com/mall/dadeland-mall 

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 old 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,  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, now with 9 properties! They had a friendly former  JC Penney store here, a former Toys R Us on the parking property, former Dillard’s (still clothing from here!), and former Mayors Jewerlers. webpage https://www.simon.com/mall/miami-international-mall

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 https://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 would see old names wow!! do not see these there now Bloomindales,Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, as my favorites stores with eating places like Los Ranchos, PF Changs China Bistro, are still there but TGIFridays is not!. A wonderful shopping experience under the sun, but nice AC in the stores ::) webpage  https://www.simon.com/mall/the-falls

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 now gone!. The News Cafe was 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. It is an outlet mall per excellence, with many visitors and locals alike filling its magnificent array of stores.  Some of the former were Saks Fifth Avenue outlet was my favorite, as well as Book-a-Million bookstore (still there!) , 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 (still there!)  is excellent, Gameworks arcade for children (still there under Gamebox arcade) , and the TGIFridays restos,(still there)  around it, the Walmart store just outside (still there!) , Rainforest Cafe inside (still there!) , plus many additional shops and centers around it make it one of the biggest one stop shopping in all of Florida. webpage  https://www.simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills

Pembroke Lakes Mall, the closest to my house in Miramar , 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 former JC Penney, American Eagle, Bakers, Bath & Body Works,Macy’s,  former Sears, former  Radio Shack, GNC, Churromania resto with Spanish churros pastries!(still there!) An excellent food court with Nathan’s famous hot dogs, and Godiva Chocolatier. Come on in and relax. Webpage: https://www.pembrokelakesmall.com/en/directory/ 

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. former JC Penneys my old nice clothing place (purchase my wedding ring here lol!) , former 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  https://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.  Former Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Bahamas Cruise resto, Barnie Coffee & Tea, Perfumania, and nice surrounding. webpage https://www.altamontemall.com/en/directory/

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. Former Mango’s , Cafe la Bonne Crepe (still there) ,and the former 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!! https://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 Gametown, (still there) the Muvico theater for great movies, tried former Hamburger”s Mary for the real beefeater in you, try a homemade beer at the former Tampa Brewing. See a Cuban cigar being roll in front of your eyes ,and many more. Webpage  https://www.centroybor.com/directory

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 , former Bass shoes were my favorites, and the Book Warehouse (still there). 2700 State Road 16, St. Augustine, FL 32092, tel +001 904 825-1555.  webpage https://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/st-augustine/stores    

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:  https://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlet/orlando-international

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  https://www.simon.com/mall/town-center-at-boca-raton

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.  The store is here , still there!!! wow!!https://www.abcfws.com/product/23

I did shop in their Aventura, Fl store at 16355 Biscayne blvd.. ,now this store has move a bit south to North Miami Beach so their webpage:https://www.abcfws.com/product/51

I later on, as I moved south, my interest turn to Crown Wines & Liquors 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 where I came to lived nearby initially in the area,this store seems closed,   and the most frequented for wine tastings and shopping was at 1590 South Dixie highway, Coral Gables, 33146.  https://www.crownwineandspirits.com/store-locations/

Well the list is endless if I get to it, but I think these will give you a pretty clear picture of shopping in Florida from central to south of the State. And I am surprise what so many years from the day to day shopping can do with so many property changes, webpages and especially stores. Hope you have enjoy the tour and find it helpful for your future visits.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 24, 2020

My memorable restaurants in France!!!

Well I would like to talk about dining in the rest of France ,outside my current living area of Morbihan Bretagne. This is an updated old post done when I started blogging but many moons have passed and need to update. My initial post was in 2011!

I need to do some catch up so will list the ones that have remained memorable for me and my family and some repeat. 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; hoping they will become yours in the years to come.

A bit of the ways that never change. The French follow a light breakfast, continental style , and lately some yogourt, are thrown in there. Sometimes 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 places 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 hypermarkets and autoroutes/expressways), rôtisserie,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 00h00.

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, call the ardoise. 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. My 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 10% of the bill. Again ,its up to you, and your habits.

Some of my favorite places over the years in France were/are:

le Lotus d’Or, 7 rue Bac, 92150, Suresnes; (this one is closed unfortunately here for the memories many times for lunch while working nearby) 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€.

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.suresnes-tourisme.com/donatello.html

Chez Clement, 15bis quai Requenequin Sualem, 78380, Bourgival. a chain that have gone thru bad times due to owner personal problems and now closed too here for the memories even my oldest had his birthdays there.  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.

Le Duc de Guise, 13-15  place Louis XII, 41000, Blois. Now closed, here for the memories.  traditional pizzeria and huge salads that wont break your bank and serve very good food. Near the Houdin magician museum,and castle.

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:  http://www.letriboulet.com/

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.lecafedesarts.fr/

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:  http://www.restaurant-lacanau.com/

Le Colibri, 12 rue Chanzy, 51100, Reims.  Closed here for the memories. Great piano bar restaurant right by the Cathedral. Very cozy French traditional, and elegant. Our family love it.

La Scala, (now la Scaleta same owners) 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:  https://la-scaleta.fr/restaurant-bourges/

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.facebook.com/Lepalermehourtin/

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. Cannot confirm if open or not but here for the memories anyway.

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.brasserie-paul.com/

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. Cannot confirm if open or not, here just for the memories.

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. No web but confirm still open!

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:  http://www.bistro-la-grenouille.fr/le-bistro.php

Le Queen, 3 Place Gambetta, 80000, Amiens (closed now but here for the memories) ;it had a 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.

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://restaurants.3brasseurs.com/fr/3-brasseurs-lille

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/index.html

Taverne de Bois de Maitre Kanter, Rue Georges Méliés, 41350, St Gervais la Forêt. 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:  https://www.la-taverne-blois.fr/

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.  We love but now closed, just for the memories. I put what they put out in their Facebook page: “Despite the announcement of the reopening of restaurants on June 2, we are announcing the definitive closure of La Fontana.
After 25 years of good and loyal service, unforgettable memories, loyal customers in each decade of this great adventure … it is time to give back our apron!” Another sad story!

J’Go, 16 Place Victor Hugo, 31000, Toulouse. they have it now in Paris rue Drouot 9éme. The best of the southwest with an unique local flavor, my favorite in the city of roses. Good times ever roll. 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 but still open.

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. Cannot confirm if open or closed, here just for the memories.

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: also, lodging available. More here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/Le-Phare-Bar-Lounge-Restaurant-%C3%AEle-de-r%C3%A9-222568304547053/

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

Le Suisse, at St Jean de Luz right in the pays Basque, great location near all at place Louis XIV , and good times in family.  Cannot confirm if open or not so here for the memories.

Pizzeria Nota Bene at Nantes.  3 Rue Saint Denis near Cathedrale; excellent location , nice architecture, good food and soft prices. more here:  https://www.notabene-restaurant.fr/

Crêperie Le Blé Noir at Noirmoustier en L’ïle. A wonderful location by the place Saint Louis and good galettes! More here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Cr%C3%AAperie/Le-Bl%C3%A9-Noir-II-328855830658053/

Le Pub du Ralliement at Angers. nice central location good food and nice ambience; nice. They went thru a fire back in June 2020 but under control and back on. More here:   https://www.facebook.com/PubRalliement/

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.facebook.com/pages/category/Cr%C3%AAperie/La-Flambee-373563996161994/

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:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/Le-Caf%C3%A9-de-La-Plage-162010783975192/

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, there 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!

And remember, happy travels, good health , and good cheers to all!!!

October 23, 2020

Wines of France, simply the best!!!

I will update this post initially done in 2011! in my blog. I have written several wine posts ever since as it is my other passion but this general entry would like to update for you and me! Hope you enjoy it.

It is a passionate subject for me as I am a wine enthusiast. It is ,also, a very diverse and subjective issue as wine is today the center piece of many individuals and countries tastes and habits. Even if most if not all take their modern beginnings from France…I would like to concentrate on my personal experiences and share them with my readers.

My first recollection of drinking wine was when I was 8 years old and my maternal grandmother (Amparo from Tenerife) had me taste a couple of fingers of Spanish wine. I recall it tasted very bad, but she insist it was Spanish wine!!! I took it again on and off for several years until already a young adult in Florida and wanting to be once again part of the beach bums in Daytona Beach moved to the area to get whatever job I could lay my hands on.

The first job was as a store clerk at the ABC wine and liquor store in South  Yonge St almost to the corner of Granada Blvd in Ormond Beach, Florida (store still there!)under the watchful eye of store manager JD Brandy!  This was about January 1985. Once in a while I had to serve as bartender in the adjoining bar which didn’t like too much. In the store, most were gear to heavy drinkers and wines were put at a disadvantage; so much that I end up in charge of orders and inventory keeping of the wine section in the store. This allows me to mingled with other wine lovers, and go to wine pool parties as server, gaining valuable knowledge in the world of wines.

It was the beginning of something magical that has continue to my now life in France. I was instrumental in working with SOPEXA ,Food and Wines from France (now in NYC) organisation in helping French wine sellers introduce themselves to the south Florida market. At the same time passing a rigorous test on French wines from the organisation. I worked with the Commercial Office (ICEX) of Spain in NYC under director Julio Becquer to bring about Spanish wines bodegas and restaurant under the beautiful Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables for an evening of wines and tapas as an introduction to Spanish wines. I participated tireless into many wine tastings events done by the stores like ABC, Crown,and Gourmet Spain (no longer there) in South Miami under Alberto Mueller writer for the newspaper El Diario de las Americas (still going on!).https://www.diariolasamericas.com/contenidos/cultura.html

ICEXhttps://www.icex.es/icex/es/index.html

SOPEXAhttps://sopexa.com/en/

Many French , Spanish, Italian,American, Chilean, Argentinian wine growers would come to showcase their wines there in Miami. I was able to meet many of them, the most popular and biggest players in their respective countries. This contacts later materialise into visits to their wine operations in their respective countries. One memorable was meeting Pierre-Henry Gagey of Maison Jadot , Beaune, Burgundy in Miami on a Crown wine tasting evening. This was followed same year with a visit to his company in Beaune, France, and even thus he was not in house, I was treated like royalty and taken by able Commercial Manager-Europe Marc Dupin on a family personal tour of the installations and tasting 5 reds and 5 whites of great international renown. A pleasant encounter that has lasted thru time.  I was able to visit Concha y Toro in Santiago ,Chile and realised the original owners were French immigrants, the tour was personal only me and my Chilean wine salesman friend, I still have souvenirs wine glass and t-shirt from this trip in 2002!! and of course, the river has overflown since then on many visits including Michele Chiarlo in Piemonte Italy! and Ramos Pinto in Portugal and others in the Americas and Europe!! Too numerous the beforehand were the firsts!

By 2011, I was subscribe to the leading magazines of wine in the world,keep a healthy wine cellars in my house, and especially, travel and visit the very best wineries in France and Spain, and realised that after tasting wines from the rest of the world including even brand Viñales from Cuba !!! the very best are indeed the French ::) My concentration in the last years have been exclusively French with some bottles tasted of Spanish, and Portuguese wines. And like I notice, all of these wines are made with French wines mostly, the ageing barrels in most are purchased used in France, the method of production and winemaking are French, and many use French advisors to help them improve their wines, like Michel Rolland of St Emilion in California. Yet some dare to say their wines are better lol!

Tasting wines is an art form with over 900 identifiable smells and nuances available,you need years of top level tasting to arrive at this level of proficiency, is an ongoing learning experience even for me. Usual lenght of guarding these wines depends on the year and the producer as well as the grape varieties. Usually Champagne,Alsace, Beaujolais, Loire Touraine are between 1-5 yrs, up to 10 years are the village appelation of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone valley, Loire Chinon etc, then,  up to 20 years you can cellared Burgundy premiers and grand crus, Rhone valley Cornas, Châteauneuf du Pape, Côte Rotié, etc Bordeaux  crus bourgeois ,and Medoc etc, Loire sweet wines like Bonnezeaux, and finally those over 20 yrs are  the Jura wines, L-R Banyouls, south west sweets like Monbazillac, Jurançon, and the Bordeaux grands as well as Sauternes sweets. The grape varieties are many indeed from the well known Cab Sauvignon/Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Gamay, Pinot Noir, to the the less known Tannat,Malbec,Sauvignon blanc,Semillon,and the rare Duras (consider the oldest grape variety southwest France), Carignan, Cinsaut,Grenache, Grolleau,Mourvérdre, the list is endless it seems ::)

I will give you the wine official sites for the regions I like best, lots of official information can be found there. If you have any question on a particular wine don’t hesitate to contact me ok. In English when available,but  in French it has more information.

wines from the Loire region: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en

wines from the South West (Sud Ouest): https://www.vignobles-sudouest.fr/#

wines from Bordeaux region: https://www.bordeaux.com/us

wines of Champagne region: https://www.champagne.fr/en/homepage

For sentimental reasons my first and still drink from there, the Spanish site Apoloybaco , also a link on my blog roll bottom of main page on Spanish bodegas , which I collaborated many years ago at the start of the site on wines/vinos. In Spanish: http://www.apoloybaco.com/vinos/

The best magazine in France is La Revue du Vins de France as here in my blog roll : https://www.larvf.com/

My favorite online shop is Vinatishttps://www.vinatis.com/

And have visited the mains châteaux but now usually buy online the wines of Château Mouton-Rothschild and family under la Baronnie : https://www.labaronnie.fr/fr/

For wine stores here everywhere ; I look and member of  Nicolas stores.   https://www.nicolas.com/

While in the Paris area I, also, shopped at Lavinia , a Spanish chain but wines from all over and tasting bar as well at 3 boulevard de la Madeleine. https://www.lavinia.fr/fr

Or passing by going home made the effort several times to stop and shop at the  La Cave de Passy, 1 rue de Passy,16éme arrondissement. not far from the Pont Bir-Hakeim. No webpage. tel +33 01 46 47 77 12, metro Passy line 6. Over 2600 bottles to choose from.

And of course, many others over the years that we buy online usually after we visit the property far away like the Cave de Gan of the Jurançon etc. The choices like I said are endless. En Vino Veritas!

Hope you have enjoy my entry into the world of Wines, French wines continue to be a reference point for all others to follow, with French advisors, grapes, methods, and investments all over the World. China is the next frontier and already the French are there even the magazine La Revue du Vins de France has an office.  The potential for wine is great and if carefully chosen a good enjoyable investment ::)

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

October 23, 2020

France: Christmas and New Year’s!!!

Ok so this is a nice subject and the best part of the year for many including us.  I have several posts on the festivities over the years, but in some older years I like to condense them in this post. Anyway, today everything starts earlier lol! And of course, the text has been modified and update with current information.

This was 2012, Happy New Year to all my readers and friends. Walking Versailles is always glorious and seeing its vibrant streets again is super, now at Christmas time,the lights, the ambiance is great. The ice skating ring at the Hôtel de Ville for the kids is nice too. The city seems full, lots of folks to catch the last days hours of the wonderful castle museum. It was a wonderful visit back to our old home!!

Well just arrived from a wonderful trip to Brussels and its almost 21H or 9pm here in Brec’h Morbihan Bretagne France!!! rainy all way and all week but we didn’t feel it lol!!! Just want to write a post without a picture to say thank you all for following my humble blog and wishing you the best for 2013 to you and yours. And wait until i get those photos loaded for more posts from Brussels.

This is a wonderful period anywhere we were. Mine for the last 9.5 years have been held in the Paris/Versailles region with exception years in Madrid, Brussels, Trier(Germany), and now Pluvigner in the Morbihan breton. The Christmas dinner or the menu de Noêl is a wonderful family dinner that many can recreate in many restaurant all over France just with a special menu for the occassion.  Here we eat oysters, salmon, rooster, leg of ham, roast pork as the main dish, depending on the region; with the famous Bûche de Noêl dessert , or Christmas yule log as best translation can find in English.

Some of the places to be part of it in Paris that we have particularly enjoyed were:

Chez Françoise, Esplanade des Invalides  Aérogare Air France,  rue Robert-Esnault-Pelterie if you come on foot or rue Paul et Jean Lerolle if you come by automobile, 75007. webpage: https://chezfrancoise.com/

Cuba Compagnie Cafe,48 blvd Beaumarchais ,75011. Webpage: https://www.cubacompagnie.com/

Restaurant La Gare,19 Chaussée de la Muette  75016 .webpage: http://www.lagare-paris.com/

For a New Year’s meal and party I love the memories on these ones:

The Revéillon at New Morning club is fantastic, 7-9, Rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010. webpage: https://www.newmorning.com/

In addition to those above, I had like the Blue Elephant thai food par excellent in Paris. at 43-45 Rue de la Roquette Paris 75011. webpage: https://www.blueelephant.com/

I love this one and in the news for the sad events of terrorism in Paris, it has come back. The best events in my opinion, was held at the Bataclan, 50 bd Voltaire, 75011. All starts from 21h45 until 06H, several packs available. DJ sexy show, dancers, lights, confettis,dance floor of 1000 sq meters, with giant screens all over. Wonderful place for many years .webpage: https://www.bataclan.fr/

Le Ciel de Paris, 33 Avenue du Maine, 75015.  at the 56th floor  Tour Montparnasse with wonderful views of Paris! webpage: http://www.cieldeparis.com/fr/infos-pratiques.html

If you prefer the compounds of a hotel surrounded by history of France, then I suggest the Westin Paris Hotel, 3 Rue de Castiglione, 75001. metro Concorde or Tuileries lines 1,8,12. Here servers were dressed in grand Siécle or century style with dresses from the times of the 17C and 18C accompanying each dish, and music of the times. This was the old Intercontinental hotel I was based there to cover all of France for IHG. It is now name the Westin Paris Vendôme part of the Marriott chain. webpage here: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/parvw-the-westin-paris-vendome

At the other property , we had the Le Grand Intercontinental and the Café de la Paix, unique, wonderful, still is. For the New Year’s Day or January , the Cafe de la Paix (decorated by Charles Garnier... ) offer an exceptionally great buffet brunch from 11h to 17h call brunch gargantuesque. Rose champagne and small dishes tapas style created by the Chef. For the kids a special place will be reserved with accordingly portions. Of course, read it is under renovation and open early 2021. webpage: https://www.cafedelapaix.fr/fr/

Another memorable spot was the Les Pavillons des étangs, 50 rue de l’Etoile, 75016. From 20h to 05h. Les deux étangs will open the door exceptionally  in a monument historic of Paris with a majestic park,  400 m² of dancefloor, 300m² of winter garden, 600m² of green garden heated area,a decorated chalet, 2 bars, space VIP  ,and a vast free parking. webpage: https://www.pavillonsdesetangs.fr/

And of course why not talk about my beloved Versailles, where the great ice skating ring was always an event and still does. Next to the Hôtel de Ville , it was opened  from November 23 to January 6 2013 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays,and Fridays from 14H to 19H and on wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10h-12h and 14h- 19h. During school vacation it was opened every day from  10h-12h and 14h-20h.

There were many events from chocolate making to theater playing at Monpensier theater, and the town is fully light up for the season, magical indeed. The district or neighborhoods will be the events of Noël aux Carrés Saint-Louis (Cathedral St Louis side) usually from  December 15 and 16 from  10h to 19h,  the merchants will have a real Christmas market or marché de Noël  with oysters, food and entertainement.

And yes! my district had the Noël  in  Notre-Dame (my old home!!) events at  place Charost , December 15 and 22, musical entertainment outdoors by the rue de la Paroisse on Dec  22 and 24 .  Noël in the district of  Montreuil : music of Noêl by rue de Montreuil with customs dresses and snow man as well as Noêl arriving in carriage on the 22 December.

For the serious side of Christmas there were a Christmas Mass held at Eglise Notre-Dame (the collegiale) Dec 24 at 18h, 20h, 22h. Dec 25 at  10h30, 18h30. Inside the chateau at the Chapelle Royale, Dec 24 at 22h ,and at the Cathédrale Saint-Louis, Dec 24 at 19h, 22h15  awaiting and mass at  23h, and December 25 at 11h.

My favorites restaurants such as Au chien qui fume, 72 Rue de la Paroisse 78000; always had  a special menu . Webpage: https://www.lechienquifume.com/

And our all time favorite Christmas, New Year’s or otherwise was the Le Boeuf à la Mode ,4 rue au Pain 78000; webpage: https://www.leboeufalamode-versailles.com/

For the comfort of visitors and Parisiens alikethe public transport system was always opened for extended hours and FREE!! this was usually from Friday December 31 at 17h to Saturday january 1 at 12h (12 midday).  This includes all bus, trains, trams, or RER in all of the Ile de France region not just the city of Paris but all its region.  Most metro stations will remain open until 02h15 (2:15 am), and some like the lines 1,2,4,6,9,and 14  will remain open all night until 05h30 (5:30am) . The Noctilien night transport service will be adapted to go in extra renforcement of needed areas of the SNCF/RATP system all night from 0h30 (12:30 am) to 05h30 (5:30am). Check for this year, schedules at official webpage: https://www.ratp.fr/en/visite-paris/english/visiting-paris-and-its-surrounding-areas

In my new area the festivities are less, at Auray , at the historical Chapelle St Esprit ,Place du Four Mollet,  they had a Christmas market or Marché de Noêl , for several years. Usually, Friday December 14 from  10h -19h, Saturday December 15 and Sunday December 16 from  10h -19h. Many artisans artist will show their work with gourmet ,food,and gifts displays for the season. Webpage: http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/auray/chapelle-du-saint-esprit/tabid/8474/offreid/7e87038d-cd73-49e0-a688-32991827b894

And there you go a sampler, historical but repetitive, looking forward to 2020, and hope things will be better than now with the virus. The period is special and hope it continues to be this year. Best wishes for all

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 23, 2020

San Sebastian/Donostia, Basque country!

Ok this is an oldie from when started blogging and would like to give it fresh text as photos are already in my blog. Must be my new look, writing a book and no pictures lol! Anyway, hope you bear with me and enjoy the post on San Sebastian Spain or Donostia Euskadi.

One of the most lively cities in Spain, rich in Basque tradition and close to the French border;you can’t ask for more. The city is well connected to Madrid and Barcelona as well as Paris. Capital city of the province of Gipuzkoa. From the 1914 it was built up following Haussmanian architecture as in Paris. That is why is so beautiful…!

How to get there is best from major cities by air to the San Sebastian airport, about 20 kms from the city. bus network Lurraldebus E21 Hondarribia – Airport – San Sebastián (Plaza Gipuzkoa) takes you there and back regularly from Plaza de Gipuzkoa. By train from the Estacion del Norte at Paseo de  Francia, and for local transport use the local basque system Euskotrain from train station de Amara at Plaza Easo. By road, take the N-1 from Madrid dir Irun or from Paris take the A10/ A63 direction Irun. Parkings in the city best at Zurriola beach, Parking Txofre at Segundo Izpizua,26 underground and safe close to all on foot.

The railroad station was done in 1864 inspired by Gustave Eiffel, and the city grew out into the neighborhood of Zurriola, now a nice beach area. You have the old section or casco Viejo wedge between the harbor and the river Urumea ,the area was rebuilt from 1813 after a fire previously devasted it. Here you find the center of the city and people watching in the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Church of Santa Maria del Coro , and the Monte Urgull or hill with a Christ on top plus the ruins of the castle Castillo de Santa Cruz de la Mota.

On the beaches side you start from Monte Igueldo to the beach or playa de Ondarreta, very fashionable , to the more popular Playa de la Concha, and between them the palace or Palacio Miramar built in 1889 ,the summer residence of queen Maria Cristina. Finally reaching the aforemention beach or Playa de la Zurriola looking up the third hill in the city that of Monte Ulia.

Some of the sights to see here are, the Museo de San Telmo at plaza Zuloaga, a large museum in a former monastery underneath Monte Urgull. It has many basques tombstones from as far as the 15C with items typical of the area including paintings by famous basques from old to the newer Ignacio Zuloaga.  Palacio del Mar, paseo del muelle, 34, basque architectural design to house the aquarium opening in 1828 as the headquarters of the Guipuzcoa Oceanographic Society. It has an unique collection of marine life from the local waters.

Monte Igualdo, has an attraction park at the top built in 1912,with all rides and sights. There is a cable car. Monte Urgull ,has a lot more such as the aforemention aquarium, the Bateria de las Damas as it was an old fort with cannons, Bateria Gobernador with a children section in its old cannons grounds, the aforementioned Castillo de la Mota built in the 12C now in ruins but still parts of it visible. The English cementary or Cementerio de los Ingleses in honor of these soldiers who died helping Spain in 1813 from Napoleon’s troops. Church of San Vicente, one of the oldest in town, Club Nautico, or Yacht club, the Museo Naval or Navy museum,. You have the Plaza de la Constitucion, as built in 1722 it was a former bullfight arena, city/town hall, and library, now its the center of it all. Plaza de la Trinidad, where the famous international film festival takes center stage.

Casino Kursaal, yes a real casino by the main artery Boulevard, at the old section of town for a bit of luck and some relaxing time. Really for adults only Kutxa espacio de la ciencia, a Science museum just outside the city, with a planetarium, you get there from city center bus 35 which took once. The famous International Film Festival is a happening needs reservation well in advance but once to it you will be back, its a happening in the city, I yearned to go back again.

Two building that is worth mentioning to step inside at least is the Hotel Maria Cristina ,the regent queen of Alfonso XII, And the other being the Theater Victoria Eugenia, from 1912 it has carried the artistic expression of the city and its beautiful inside as outside. The people seeing is best off Boulevard the grand artery along the bay, this gets you into many side streets of old world treasures and shops, plus great restos and bar, walking is a must here, you will see more.

For shopping you can do some along Boulevard to calle Legazpi left or at Calle Mayor right or a bit before left on Garibai Kalea street. By plaza de Gipuzcoa do not forget to have a mouthful of Basque pastries at the bakery Pasteleria Barrenetxe.  My favorites over the years are , Casa Alcalde in the old section at calle Mayor near pl de la Constitucion .Another good one is Bernardo Etxea, by the sport/fishing club near playa de la Concha, and Juanito Kujoa, sublime cellars type resto, great service,and excellent seafood ,doing it good since 1947 at Calle Puerto,14 toward the fishing port from plaza de la Constitucion,many family memories here!

Hope it helps discover this wonderful city of San Sebastian, that I would love to visit again once the situation allows it. Memories of my beloved Spain! Hope you enjoy the book post like a black and white photo dream on!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 22, 2020

My restaurants and bars of Madrid!!!

This is a daunting task as there is so much good choices. However, as in Madrid will love to share my past culinary adventures with you all. Reminder, some of these have already a post in my blog, this is a revision of a much older post.

First,the cheapest and quickest way to eat in Madrid or Spain for that matter, is at the bars and cafés that serve tapas. You have to check that some bars more of the pubs style do not serve food. Family runs places like Ventas, Posadas, Mesones, and Fondas all old words for different types of inn serve inexpensive sit down food so look for their names.

Second, eating habits are way different than anywhere else I have notice in my travels outside , the breakfast is two (desayunos) ,the first is light meal of biscuits toasts,coffee with milk or cafe con leche, butter or jam ; then the second is more substantial between 10h to 11h,there you may have a bocadillo (sandwich) with sausage,ham or chorizo or cheese or a tortilla de patatas (potato omelette),fruit juice, coffee or beer. Then by around 13h some will start to have a drink at a bar then by 14h you sit down for the Almuerzo or lunch which is the main meal of the day. The  Merienda follows by 17h30 to 18h with some pastries ,sandwiches or cakes with coffee,tea,or juice as well as snacks like churros (fried batter sticks). By 19h bars are crowded with folks having tapas with sherry, beer or wine. The dinner or la Cena  begins by 21h ,and sometimes in summer service begins earlier for tourists. Spanish families tend to eat even later, I have had dinner as late as 23h30 start time!

Some bargains can be had by choosing the platos combinados or mix dish or the menu del dia, menu of the day. The platos are given in less expensive places  as the menu of the day is more formal. Some expensier places offered nowdays a menu de degustacion or tasting sampler menu. The menu in Spanish is call the la Carta.  All places welcome children who are the king/queen there,and if ask will offered smaller portions for them. For paying you say La Cuenta por favor or the bill please. Tipping is not obligatory and the service charge is enough included in the bill, however, I always tip a small amount and if one of my regular places as much as 5% extra.

Now let’s get to the details and tell you of my favorites over the years.

La Bola, calle de la Bola 5, the best cocido madrileño in town, stew dish from Madrid. Resto goes back to 1870. http://www.labola.es/

Casa Patas, Calle Canizares 10, tapas bar and flamenco, the best of both worlds. http://www.casapatas.com/

Casa Ciriaco, Calle Mayor 84 tel +34 91 548 0620; near the Royal Palace and known for a great gallina en papitoria (chicken with eggs and saffron). https://www.casaciriaco.es/

Botin, Calle de Cuchilleros 17, oldest restaurant in the world from 1725; traditional Castilian roast lamb and pig.  https://www.botin.es/

La Barraca, Calle de la Reina,29; Valencia style paella, first class one of my family favorites. http://www.labarraca.es/

Casa Paco, plaza Puerta Cerrada,11. great cebon de buey thick juicy steak forever Lol!  https://www.casapaco1933.es/

La Taberna del Pescador, Calle Manuel Pombo Angulo,18, the fish is king here, seafood galore freshly done, the owner is a fisherman lol!  tel +34 917 504 794. metro Las Tablas near autopista M40 beltway of Madrid. No confirmation if still open, to check.

Casa Mingo, Paseo de la Florida,34 near Principe Pio. Asturian ciders and more open started from miners from Asturia, the real thing in Madrid. Many anecdotes here with the family and friends over the years. webpage is at http://www.casamingo.es/

Las Cuevas de Luis Candela, calle Cuchilleros 1, Castilian and roask suckling pig at its very best in wood oven. A family tradition going back to my grandparents that I continue with my wife and boys. http://www.lascuevasdeluiscandelas.es/

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Casa Alberto, calle de las Huertas, 18. Castilian good for years and years since 1827. Another favorite really ! http://www.casaalberto.es/

L’Albufera at Melia Castilla hotel, not often hotel restos but this one was different. Capitan Haya 45, Cuzco. Valencian cuisine and rices galore !  https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/spain/madrid/melia-castilla/albufera.htm

Cafe Gijon, Paseo de Recoletos, 21 ;One of the classic for literary discussions and a light meal over a drink talk with friends, one of my meeting places in Madrid. tel +34 915 215 425; Metro Colon line 4. https://www.cafegijon.com/

Café de la Opera, calle Arrieta 6, in front of Teatro Real or royal theater. Excellent and refine, opera style, they sing lol! https://www.elcafedelaopera.com/

Florida Park, inside the Retiro park, spectacles and fine dining with a show, the very best, and very nostalgic. Way back in my youth this was a community center where dances were held, now if you had a girl you could come here . I did ::) And after some ownership changes it is back strong with several layers of choices in the new Florida Retiro.  https://floridaretiro.com/

Asador de Aranda, castilian at its best and still going strong, at Plaza de Castilla 3 and other locations in the city,and elsewhere in Spain.  My spot here: http://asadordearanda.net/es/content/madrid-plaza-castilla

Cafe de Oriente, one of the traditional and a nice area. Plaza de Oriente 2, near Opera and royal Palace.  http://cafedeoriente.es/

Real Cafe Bernabeu in the magnificent best Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with full view of the field. Metro Santiago Bernabeu line 10, can’t missed it as a long time Madridista, for lunches is tops. And now full renovation of the stadium will be even better!now only catering. https://realcafebernabeu.es/

Posada de la Villa ,from an old posada or inn of 1642. exquisite. Calle de la Cava Baja,9 http://www.posadadelavilla.es/

Taberna del Capitan alastriste.Calle Cava Baja,9  La Latina, try Chuletadas al Capitan or chops of the captain, delicious. http://www.tabernadelcapitanalatriste.com/

Los Galayos, Calle Botonera 5, plaza Mayor, the Madrid of yesteryear ,doing it here since 1894.http://www.losgalayos.net/

Marisqueria Ribeira do Miño, Calle Santa Brigida ,1.Best seafood fresh and daunty, with a great ambiance always until very late. And one of the best meeting places of Madridistas (Real Madrid followers)  Galicia in Madrid.  http://www.marisqueriaribeiradomino.com/es/des-752-inicio

Cañas y Tapas, the best beer place with the locals in mind and modern. Several in town, the Vaguada shopping center ,a great reprive from all those shopping attack by the family. Other locations as well. Always  great ambiance.  https://www.canasytapas.es/restaurante/c-c-la-vaguada/

VIPS, the best cafeterias in Madrid for a quick bite and soft landing on your money, several all over town. I have been coming here since at least 1990. Last was at Calle de Alcalà 200 across from Las Ventas Monumental bullring. More on VIPS here: https://www.vips.es/

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Cafe Restaurante El Espejo, paseo de Recoletos, 31/another institution on a well travel road, my first taste of Madrid with my new wife back in 1990 and one of our sure stops always after that date. You wont go wrong here while watching Madrid walk by you on Recoleto that continues north passing Plaza de Colon towards Castellana and then south to Cibeles fountain and plaza.  http://www.elespejonouveau.com/carta/

Asador de la Esquina, another Real Madrid institution at the stadium by door 44 ,and ave Concha Espina 1. Exquisite Castilian with great cuts of meat.  It is closed due to the virus and renovations in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium but will be back even better! http://asadordelaesquina.es/

Pasteleria Mallorca, has the best pastries in Madrid for years…lately it has gone into restaurant too, the one at Calle Serrano 6 is a dandy not to miss. The store at Puerta del Sol sell its pastries yummy too. https://www.pasteleria-mallorca.com/listado-de-tiendas

La Giralda, calle Claudio Coello, 24, metro Retiro. Andalucia in Madrid. other locations in the city. Great pescaito frito or fry fish. http://www.restauranteslagiralda.com/

Mercado de San Miguel, plaza de San Miguel metro Sol, great for tapas and old ambiance of Madrid. This is a must one time to see a landmark of Madrid, and then evenings is great for tapas and take home.  Events every week for tasting of different tapas and wines. http://www.mercadodesanmiguel.es/

El Pescador, Jose Ortega y Gasset, 75 the great Madrid seafood place always good. Another Galician beauty in Madrid. http://www.marisqueriaelpescador.net/

Pinocchio, Italian at excellent value and great ambiance at Calle de Sànchez Bustillo,5  metro Estacion del Arte (former Atocha) Metro line 1. https://pinocchio.es/

El Rodizio, when I want to go back to Brazil, this is it. great cuts of beef here,and with samba ambiance lol! Calle Medea 4, just cornering Calle Alcala out of city center a bit but easy on metro line 5 Suanzes, my neck of the woods for non tourist area too. Now under a new concept of Guanabara El Rodizio , Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/GuanabaraMadrid/

Taberna Antonio Sanchez, founded in 1830 by a torero of the same name who died in 1964. painter Ignacio Zuloaga had paintings here. Calle Meson de Paredes,13, metro line 1 Tirso de Molina. tel +34 91 539 78 26. no webpage but by now on many press clippings. do not missed the rabo de toro or bulls oxtails stew yummy. http://www.tabernaantoniosanchez.com/?lang=es

TGIFriday’s, the American in Madrid, an old time favorite of mine, and conveniently located at the Esquina del Bernabeu Real Madrid complex first floor. ave Concha Espina,3. This is now gone due to renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium however, there is a nice we have been too at Calle Virgen de los Peligros corner with Calle de Alcalà 21, Metro Sevilla and Sol, near Puerta del Sol:  https://www.tgifridays.es/restaurantes/fridays-peligros

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Cerveceria Los Timbales, Calle Alcala 227.metro Ventas Line 5. a bullfigher delight next to the Monumental, and a hangout of old. very richly decorated and great ambiance in the evenings.  https://www.restaurantelostimbalesmadrid.com/blank

Chocolateria San Gines, Pasadizo de San Gines,5, near Puerta del Sol, a must as it is nostalgic for me, my mom used to take me there when as a kid love those churros dip in hot chocolates ,yummy. An institution if now too much touristic. Metro Sol line 1,2,3, cercanias train. https://chocolateriasangines.com/

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Museo del Jamon, Gran Via 72; metro Plaza de España line 2,3,and 10. And my latest at Atocha and carrera de San Jeronimo, photo . https://museodeljamon.es/en/historia-del-museo/museo-de-atocha/

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Many many others of just passing and stopping, Madrid has more per sq km than any other city in Europe.  Hope you try them and see for ourselves, the good life of Madrid. Buen provecho, vale. Enjoy it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 20, 2020

Dusseldorf for the memories!

So here I am on a cold sunny day in my neck of the woods and remembering trips passed, trying to bring them to life again. Of course, I have written before on Dusseldorf, Germany but this is new text and new photos. Hope you enjoy it.

I  admit, Germany always is a gravity pull, and been there on business and family trîps, and cousin married to one.. This time went for a short spell on business to a new city on my map, Dusseldorf, wonderful! I like to tell you briefly and remind myself of the souvenirs of the visit.

It was during the Christmas season ,so plenty of Christmas markets in the zentrum or center, and we did walk the nights away. The Konigsallee area is gorgeous, and the hotel I stayed is the best, know it well because worked on them in management years ago in France. The best way is by taxi only 21 euros at the time, the train is about 6 euros at the time, but need to have changes, and no need to start your trip stress out with these taxpayer supported schemes.

The airport was great too, very clean, and friendly even without speaking German. I try the restaurant on the travel gallery on the E3 level , Das Gasthaus , more chow, this time flaky meaty fish, mashed potatoes, and the same nutty walnut cake type with a large Becks beer lol! A different way to arrive at a city lol! then went out to my hotel! Always goood to revise the posts as again another that bites the dust the resto is no longer there!! So again ,just for the memories.

The Dusseldorf airport webpage is here in English: https://www2.dus.com/en

dusseldorf airport departure level stores nov11

The airport has connection by train, bus, taxi, etc very well connected to city center. The site above will tell you only the S-Bahn S11 train stops at the Düsseldorf Airport Terminal station in the basement of the terminal building. There are several buses too to different locations. Eventually did not tried any of these. I use the taxi , even recommended by the local Germans! However, I saw the rate already up I paid 21 euros and now it says 28!!

The walks in the zentrum old city center was great, full of life nothing left unseen, the people were in their best moods. The bars were full, we had a great time at the Intercontinental Hotel lobby bar, and then went on to check out the two next ones that are a must for everyone visiting the city. The hotel webpage in English: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/dusseldorf/dusha/hoteldetail

I like the fact that just out of hotel the Konigsallee street and district is very nice to walk even at nights. The Düssel river passing was perfect with good friends and good cheers and a bit of Paris! Too bad this time not enough time to see much other than the culinary delights which are always welcome by yours truly.

The tourist office of Dusseldorf in English is here: https://www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de/en/

And the city of Dusseldorf page on Konigsallee district is here in English! https://www.duesseldorf.de/international/tourism/discover/koe.html

However, the highlight of the visit was going with friends to eat at a wonderful steakhouse with great wines selection. For the best steaks western style and wines galore head for the The Classic Western Steakhouse, Tubmannstrr 12 with top US beef with sound of country music and old western photos all over the walls,huge and delicious. I had the regular cut of juicy steak, mashed potatoes, nutty cake for dessert which I even forgot its German name, and share a bottle of 2008 Errazuriz Chilean red wine. More info here in German: https://steakhouse-duesseldorf.de/

Dusseldorf The Classic western steakhouse resto nov11

The next evening we went for old German chow, of beef and potatoes and green beens at a place where the beer never stop coming, I had ten glasses!!, and it was delicious, we walk home lol! This was at Brauerie Schumacher, Oststr 123. The brewery been there since 1838, pub with beautiful wood carvings, we went to the back a special room for us lol!!. More info here in German: https://www.schumacher-alt.de/index2.html

And it was time the next morning to say goodbye. Always tough to leave a place you had such a good time. I am very attaching and probably will find it well to even live there already!! nahh just kidding….

I started my return to Nantes airport direct flight , easy quick in and out place, and then my car home in about 1h30, on the N165 expressway. In all a very nice trip, and a discovery is made to come back to Dusseldorf. Hope you share with this post ,for the memories of old and travel thrills!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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