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About lekkerwijn

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  • Birthday April 25

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  1. Aldo Sohm isn't my style either. And I completely see what you are saying about the wine list, service and decor. I also recognize that for people looking for a wine bar and heavy nibbles near the theater district there are not a lot of choices. FWIW... my preference close-ish to the theater district for excellent seafood and natural wine at much more approachable prices and a more relaxed atmosphere is Gloria at W53rd and 9th. Another good alternative for a wine bar more similar to Aldo Sohm, but still in that neck of the woods, is Morrell near Rockefeller Center.
  2. lekkerwijn

    Basque Country

    After nine years, we returned to San Sebastian. I seriously question our sanity in waiting so long to return. If you love food, wine and beaches it is paradise on earth. As always, more detailed photos and info on wine available on my Instagram. Fine Dining: Nerua, Guggenheim Bilbao - This meal was just weird. Despite a "seasonal" menu, every dish was a mushy ball in some sort of broth. It was a strangely monochromatic (mostly brown and white) menu with the sole truly fresh seasonal dish consisting of tomatoes. We drank their last bottle of Prevost - no joke, their Somm made a big fuss about it. Service was slow and inattentive. Arzak - We wanted to love this meal, but didn't. The issue wasn't the food. We generally really enjoyed it, although some dishes for the same course varied very differently in quality. That said they have the most incredible wine list that is so bizarrely and cheaply priced that it took us 45 minutes to make a selection. Their senior somm was not working the night we were there. The somm who was on service that night had nominal interest in engaging us in a conversation about their deep cellar of older Spanish bottles. The bottles he did recommend were all pretty pedestrian and marked up 300%. If we ever went back it would be to sit in their bar and drink wine. Etxebarri - This was our second visit, actually 9 years to day from our first visit. We loved it on our first visit and its still excellent. But its become much more polished over the past nine years and has lost some of its more rustic charm. Be sure to tack on the caviar and percebes additions. Make a request at the start of your meal for the warm cheese flan. Note, they have two wine list - one that is more pedestrian and another that has some older, more rare vintages. Also, on Sundays they serve pintxos in their downstairs tavern on Sundays from 11-2. They're offal focused prepared by a junior somm (no joke), but it sounds fascinating and someone needs to try this. Azurmendi - This meal was absolute perfection. By far our favorite in the region. You can order off of two menus - one classic and one more experimental. We went with the classic menu. We also ordered some gorgeous bottles of wine and their somm is delightful to work with. I can't speak highly enough of this meal and if you go for one splurge this should be it. Rekondo - We went for the wine to be honest. Their cellar is one of the biggest in the world and the wine is exceptionally well priced. We were very pleasantly surprised by the food. The seafood is really excellent - we really loved the white shrimp in particular. They will also make you a beautiful plate of cheese and jamon iberico. We didn't get desserts but they looked excellent. Pintxos, San Sebastian: La Cuchara de San Telmo (open Monday, website says they arent) - Excellent seafood options. We enjoyed the razor clams, foie gras (huge chunk for cheap), octopus Bar Martinez - More options on the bar, including an awesome tuna stuffed pepper Ganbara Bar - If you go to one place for Pintxos, this should be it. Order off the menu rather than choosing from the bar (though the Jamon Iberico on medialunas is excellent). We loved the confit tuna collar with onions, percebes, and mixed mushrooms with raw egg yolk. Note they also have a downstairs bistro. Atari Gastroteka (open Sunday/Monday) - We went here twice, again order off the menu rather than the bocadillos on the bar. Excellent options included - lightly cured salmon with fresh cheese and salmon roe, platter of tuna with olives and pickled peppers, octopus, patatas bravas Bar Bergara (open Sunday/Monday) - They have some of the prettiest bocadillos in the city. Bar Restaurante Hidalgo 56 - We ordered lots of stuff off their menu including the tuna tataki, mushrooms and black pudding volcano Bar Antonio (open Sunday/Monday) - We ordered a ton of stuff both bocadillos and off their menu. We weren't super impressed with their kobe burger (it was gristly) but their seafood offers were excellent. Note they also have a lovely downstairs bistro that some say is better than Ibai. Tips: 1- Many pintxos bars are closed on Sunday and Monday. Plan accordingly. 2- If you go and you are a wine drinker, plan around visits to Rekondo, Arzak, Elkano and Kaia-Kaipe. Make a stop at Goni Ardoteka, which is an excellent wine shop. 3- If someone offers you percebes, order them! Goose barnacles are a local delicacy and can't be found anywhere else in the world. 4- Coffee sucks in this town. We found one acceptable place called Old Town Coffee. Others say Sakona is excellent, we disagree.
  3. lekkerwijn

    Copenhagen, Denmark

    Just got back from a 5 day food and wine binge in Copenhagen . Pics are on Instagram including specifics on wine. Higher End: Noma: This was our 6th Noma meal (1 in the old space, 3 pop-ups, 1 Justin Timberlake party) but the first in their new space. The new space is stunning. The all vegetable meal was exquisite, and may well have been our favorite of all of our past meals. We didn't miss the meat or seafood. I'm aware that having been so many times we get a little extra attention, but the choreography of their meals is something to behold. Wine pairing was catered to our tastes and included our favorite white Tschida. Amass: Very fun meal - really enjoyed their roast chicken 3 ways that included a chicken salad made of offal. Slow cooked tongue was also delicious. We ended up going back the next afternoon for their 5th birthday party where they were serving hot fried chicken on croissants. Restaurant Barr: Least favorite meal in CPH. We had basically their entire menu. Their mains are much better than the starters - schnitzel and roast chicken are excellent as was the smoked mackerel. 108: A visually stunning tasting menu. Very vegetable forward, fresh local ingredients. Excellent natural wine list. Second favorite meal after Noma. Stylistically very similar. Palaegade: Famous smorrebrod. Definitely get the shrimp. Relae: This was our second trip to Relae. Their summer menu is not as enjoyable as the one we had in winter. Note their Prevost champagne is very well priced. Casual: Gasoline Grill: They make a seriously excellent burger and fries. We preferred the cheese burger over the butter burger. DOP - Den Okologiske polsemand: Best hot dogs we have ever had. The whole wheat buns add real heft. Snappy casings and interesting toppings. The Corner at 108 - We ended up having breakfast there with Rene Redzepi who had also stopped in for an espresso on his way to the office. Pastries are excellent as is the Tim Wendelboe coffee. My favorite meal item was the coddled egg with caviar. We also went back to buy wine to sit and sip while dangling our feet in the river. They have an excellent selection of high end natural wines. Hija de Sanchez - People go nuts over these $8 tacos. But we felt that it was good but not excellent in comparison to the quality of tacos we can get in the US. The cocktails on tap are so fun. 10 Ved Stranden - Our favorite wine bar anywhere on planet earth. We made it a daily stop. They have an excellent natural wine selection and serve really delicious food as well. Lovely setting with outdoor seating. Alice, CPH - Excellent ice cream. Homemade cones. Try the raspberry and pistachio. Coffee Collective - Famous CPH coffee. Their coffee softserve affogato is the thing of dreams. They also make kombucha now, which is very refreshing on a hot day. Den Vendrette - another well known natural wine bar. We weren't super impressed.
  4. Pineapple and Pearls was very new when we moved away from DC in early 2016. Despite the accolades to motivate us and regular trips back to the area for both work and pleasure since then, we had our first meal there over the weekend. For obvious reasons when we are back in town we usually hit up our nostalgic favorites but we were able to get relatively last minute 9:30 pm seats at the bar. We found the most memorable aspect of the meal to be how unsatisfying it was. I don't think it lived up to the hype. It would be entirely fair to @ me because we were seated at the bar and that isn't the same thing. But I am someone who believes the bar experience and quality should be as good than the dining even with a slightly different or truncated menu. A bar menu should make you want to go back for the full dining room experience. This is especially true of you are still paying high end tasting menu prices. I left the dinner thinking the food was a lot of overwrought gimmick not backed up with flavor. To be clear nothing was bad or offensive. The technical execution was there. I just didn't love the meal.
  5. We had lunch in the newly remodeled EMP a couple weeks ago. It was our third visit in four years; we have now been for dinner, lunch and dinner in the bar. As it is in the neighborhood, we have also popped in for their uber-excellent cocktails on special occasions. The food and service was impeccable, but for intangible reasons that I can't fully articulate it wasn't quite as enjoyable as our past meals. At this point our firm recommendation is to go for the bar menu rather than the full tasting menu. The price point to quality ratio is much stronger and while the experience isn't quite the same as the dining room, it is still very enjoyable and a bit more relaxed. Note to those who might consider this option. You can book (and thus prepay) the bar menu in advance. BUT they keep seats available for walk-ins and the bar is now open for lunch. The bar was basically empty when we were there. So, if you show up at 11:45 when they open you are highly likely to get a seat/s. Similarly we were told after 9 pm it opens up as well, particularly on a week night.
  6. Possibly because we live across the street, Cosme is a place we go fairly regularly. It is definitely not the best value for the price point if you go for dinner. BUT brunch prices are much more reasonable with a similar menu. I also strongly recommend their cocktails. Another option would be to visit their sister restaurant Atla. To be honest, I prefer Atla which has an all day menu, tons of outdoor seating and a more relaxed atmosphere. The menu is stylistically similar but much less expensive.
  7. lekkerwijn


    I'm currently in Amsterdam for business meetings, but in the name of controlling travel costs flew in 24 hours early, sacrificing some personal time for a day of "workcation". Been eating very well... Rijks - The weather was stunning (70 and sunny) and we were able to sit outside. They have a price fixe option €47 for four courses which was a perfect way to experience their menu paired with their excellent cocktails it was a fantastic lunch. The first course was a green gazpacho with crudite, avocado and burrata that was a pretty huge portion for a lunch tasting menu. Second course was steamed chicken with a light curry sauce. Cheese course was an ice cream made of Gorgonzola paired with different preparations of cherries. The dessert course was made with coconut, basil seeds and mango. Guts & Glory - They don't publish a menu and offer five, six or seven course menus. They're currently celebrating their third anniversary with a "best of" their various chapters or menu themes since they opened. The meal started with an amuse including more green gazpacho, first course was ceviche, second was asparagus, third fish in a saffron sauce, fourth ramen, fifth lamb, a pre-dessert made with eggplant and chocolate, and the dessert was a play on lemon meringue pie. Each course was very different but all were excellent. Scandinavian Embassy - Its a tiny coffeeshop that serves an excellent all day breakfast menu. Their beans come from various Scandinavian roasters including Koffee Kollective. I was with a colleague and we shared a large pour over that was very delicately extracted - almost tea like. For breakfast we shared their graved lox with poached egg and lots of lovely vegetables and the mushroom pancake. Both items were STUNNING. Sprudge wrote that this could be the first Michelin starred coffee shop and I can completely see what they're saying. The coffee reminded of what we had at Fuglen in Tokyo the food was as good or better than what we had at coffee shops in Sydney or Melbourne. Van Wonderen Stroopwafels - They make them fresh in front of you with different interesting toppings. A warm, fresh stroopwafel is a divine thing.
  8. lekkerwijn


    We just got back from our annual trip to Tokyo. If you are something of a omakase neophyte but want to try without going somewhere that is intimidating, unfriendly to foreigners or prohibitively expensive my strong recommendation would be lunch at Sushi Iwa Ginza. $80 per person, approachable and will make attempts at English.
  9. lekkerwijn

    Suggestions for a Long, Hamiltonian Weekend in NYC

    Midtown is a tourist-hell dead zone, especially on weekends. My suggestion is to focus on points south where there is more interesting stuff happening from a dining and city wandering perspective. Some other recommendations: Gloria (https://www.gloria-nyc.com/) W. 53rd btwn 9th and 10th is one of our favorite places right now. It is the tiny, quiet neighborhood gem that you dream of in Manhattan. The food is excellent and they have a well-curated natural focused wine-list. The menu and wine list is comfortably priced. Simon & the Whale or Studio in the Freehand Hotel E. 23rd & Lex --> super trendy right now. Studio does all-day dining and excellent brunch. Atla W. 3rd & Lafayette --> Another all-day dining spot. If you go at early brunch on a weekend or breakfast on a weekday there is no challenge getting a table , though they do also take reservations. I live and work in Nomad and agree with the Nomad hotel recommendation. I'm not a fan of Pecora Bianca, personally. The Quality Eats that just opened in the neighborhood is very good and has a really approachable menu and cool ambiance. Vini e Fritti, Marta, and Cafe Marcchio are also right near by and very on trend. Other cool places worth considering: Nur, Union Square Cafe (a classic), Wildair, Contra, Atoboy, Prune, Olmsted (Brooklyn)
  10. lekkerwijn


    Our most recent trip to Israel was in June. I agree with the recommendation to spend Shabbat in Tel Aviv unless of course you want to have a traditional shomer shabbat experience in Jerusalem, which if you have family to spend time with is very relaxing. Hotels We stayed at the Mamilla hotel in June 2017 and January 2014 trips to Israel and very much recommend it. The rooms are relatively large and modern as are the bathrooms. Hotels in Tel Aviv you have two options - big corporate or small boutique. There is nothing in between. I personally NEED to be near the beach. We stayed at a cute place right near the Carmel Market called the Hotel Nordoy. It is new and very cute/chic. Restaurants The food in Israel is actually really excellent. More traif delicacies are available in Tel Aviv than Jerusalem. @the.hungry.tourist on Instagram is Israel-based and his social content is a font of helpful ideas of where to eat and food tourism. On our most recent trip to Israel we had a family wedding in Jerusalem and didn't get a chance to eat more than some street falafel and a quick visit to Machaneh Yehudah. However, we spent a few days on our own in Tel Aviv and can recommend: Miznon, OCD TLV (its very trendy but it was good), al-Ashi in Yafo (probably our favorite meal of the trip), Hummus Abu Hassan (I hope you like raw onion), Claro, and Mashya. Definitely try both green and red shakshukas at breakfast and watermelon and Bulgarian cheese on the beach. If you want a good private tour guide, DM me and I'll provide you with a name. I really do recommend having someone take you around. Not for safety, just for context.
  11. We ate at Le Grill with friends shortly after the restaurant opened. The food was both well executed and yet utterly unremarkable at the same time. It was exactly what you would expect from a well-run corporate chain. It was a Saturday night and the room was buzzing but not noisy. My feeling was that the menu and experience at Le Grill is designed to please a more conservative palate and/or the business diner looking to be in but not actually experience a hip NYC neighborhood. Two points additional that might further help to provide additional context to the dining experience there. 1- I think we were the only people eating there that night who lived within walking distance. I doubt that the majority of the diners spent any time that day or any day in the Meatpacking neighborhood or Chelsea. If they lived in Manhattan they lived north of 34th street (our friends live on the UWS). But most likely they lived outside of New York City. 2- The sommelier said we were the first table to express a preference for either grower Champagne or natural wines. Both products he personally prefers but doesn't think will sell well in that venue and thus there was a limited selection. But we did enjoy his suggestions. For a serious diner coming to visit New York on even a semi-regular basis, it would not be on my "must try" list. I really have nothing negative to say about the food or the experience, but I don't see us making any effort to return. Frankly it isn't the kind of restaurant in any city that would get us excited, but we didn't pick it either.
  12. lekkerwijn


    IMHO... The best bagels in NYC right now are a cross between Montreal and classic New York. Like Montreal they're smaller with a bigger, defined hole. But like New York they're boiled and a bit bready. The best of this style are found at Sadelle's and Blackseed. For a more traditional New York bagel, I like Russ and Daughters or the mini (only the minis) at Ess-a-Bagel. Eater posted a map of their top bagels a couple weeks ago: https://ny.eater.com/maps/best-bagels-nyc However, I fear this line of questioning fails to also consider that the quality of the bagel one must be complemented by the appetizing offer - smoked fish, cream cheese and other delicacies. Bagels do not exist in a vacuum. In this case Sadelle's continues to remain a top choice as does Russ and Daughters. Zucker's similarly does appetizing very well.
  13. Realizing I haven't posted in over 2 years since we moved from DC to NYC. Not sure what made me decide to sign in tonight... I think I've missed this. We've been to both Le Bernardin and Batard recently. They are very different restaurants and I think the answer to your question totally depends on what you are looking for. Batard is going to be a much more relaxed meal from the food to the atmosphere. I like the format of the menu at Batard and the flexibility it offers to create your own adventure. If you are going on a Monday night, Batard has free corkage. We usually go there on a Monday night for that reason, though their wine list is exceptional and well curated.
  14. We move to New York on Tuesday and our "last meals" in DC tour plans have had to change with the storm. Having BreadFurst literally in our backyard is something we will miss. I was there at 8:30 am to stock up before the storm. Good thing I was there early because they were already running out of loaves of bread and there was a line almost to the front door. As always, it was worth the wait. I managed to snag a couple warm-from-the-oven baguettes, pain au chocolate, monkey bread, chocolate layer cake and English muffins.
  15. I'd describe this as a lesson in how not to do crisis PR when you have a food safety problem and have made people sick. So much so, that I'm going to save it and use it as a training tool with my team. This is also why if you have a nationwide outbreak from your restaurant and the CDC is involved and you don't continue to use your publicist who does lifestyle PR and hire an agency experienced in crisis and litigation communications who won't put you in a situation like Mr. Galy was put in with Carman. This interview should never have happened. He should have called me and my team.