The Fish People Café was recommended to us by trusted sources, one of whom had invited me to be a "witness" (witness in Scots apparently means oldest expert left standing not someone in the witness protection program) at a conference convened by an energetic historian at the University of Strathclyde. Don't ask, it's not rainy/sleety/haily/snowy/floody Paris, it's summer, it's sunny, 70 degree Glasgow. Anyway, their oysters and fish soup, all with locally sourced seafood were exemplary. The bill; sorry, the historian genius who dreamed the conference up, paid.
The Ingram Wynd was another place our host suggested, which touted Scottish food in cool surroundings. Colette and I had gravlax, haggis, salmon and sticky pudding and were quite pleased. Our host, again, picked up the bill.
The Ross Priory is a Conference Center that rivals the now sold-off (by the State of Colorado) but not forgotten Given Institute in Aspen that the University of Colorado Psychiatry Department used for so many years; but that's another story. Our coffee breaks were enhanced by great cookies and the one lunch I attended featured herring and onion rollmops, salmon, split multi-pea soup and a great strawberry tart. Cost = no idea. View over Lock Lomond = priceless.
Gamba represented our last real meal in Glasgow before heading back to puddled Paris. Again, they featured the great products of the seas and rivers of Scotland - hand-dived scallops, halibut with mussels and a chocolate tart with peanut ice cream. Except for spotty service (which they told us not to tip for since it was rather haphazard) our meal was great and the price right = 101.90 pounds.
Back story and disclosure: Almost 30 years ago Bryson Keens spent a year in one of my daughter's school classes, then left and suddenly reappeared in our lives this year, opening the well-received Points South with chef Scott Stauber. When another of my daughters' birthday loomed, the family decided we should eat there; thus we were known to the house and received unusual attention, but perhaps that's the way they treat all customers.
Points South Latin Kitchen is located on the terribly crowded and popular Thames St (1640 Tel:443-563-2018) but we entered and found in the interior warm and quiet, excepting the music, which was quickly turned down. We were seated in a lovely wine cellar room by the owner and given glasses of bubbly - a Gougenheim Sparkling Malbec from Argentina. He indicated that it would go nicely with the fiery grilled octopus with olives, a dish I thought was the highlight of the night. One quibble: it's too bad it's not served with gluten-free tacos or bread (I forgot to mention the resto is gluten-free).
Next we had small plate portions of fried plantain chips with an Aztec pumpkin seed dip and a Peruvian-Chinese style salmon with green beans and almonds; which came with two Sauvignon Blancs; a Cousino Macul from Chile and a Leyda from Chile that was almost sweet.
The introduction to the main course was seared fresh cheese with chorizo and the main - Argentinian beef (NY strip) steak, which the chef delivered two ways at our request - medium rare for everyone but me - mine was perfectly cooked blue; again with wine pairings of an Argentinian Callia Alta Malbec and a Chilean Casa La Postolle Cab.
Finally, the crew had Venezuelan chocolate and dolce de leche marble cake and I had a lovely deconstructed flan; these with a Portuguese Taylor Fladgate 10 year tawny port.
The bill for 6, with these superb and spicy offerings, with water and generous wine pairings, but no coffees, was $466.96, thus $148.98 before tip.
Go? Despite my conflict of interest, I say a strong "Yes." I think we got the same superb food as the rest of the house (he has 204 covers) although Bryson's attentiveness and the wait-staff's diligence certainly were special
I rarely break my format of reviewing restaurants and summarizing media reviews but the two articles in the New York Times and New Yorker this week have prompted me to seek to bring some science to this issue.
We do not know why Chef Benoît Violier killed himself this week but we do know that Bernard Loiseau killed himself 10 years ago while depressed and with a gun his wife had given him.
It sells publications to romanticize suicides among famous people, attributing them to pressure or losing a star or some other external reason. The truth is that most suicides are the result of mental illnesses, most frequently depression, and it is disappointing that two of the US's major media, the New York Times and New Yorker, have fallen into the trap of 1). making premature conclusions, pre-autopsy and 2). romanticizing suicide rather than appreciating its usual cause(s).
John A. Talbott MD
Past President American Psychiatric Association 1984-1985
Some time ago, with the death of dear friends, my wife and I have honored them by having a dinner alone with the nicest cut of beef available and the finest bottle of wine I could dig out of my cellar. With the murder of so many innocent people Friday I decided it was time to open our last 1921 bottle of Charmes-Chambertin.
The Little Moss in Padararam MA is new this year and already off to a rip roaring start. The vibes are young and lively and we 4 started off sharing a "sea-board" of weird items - salmon mortadella, striped bass rillettes and beet cured salmon.
Two of us had a nice piece of wild striped bass, one the bouillabaisse and I had the surprisingly good fried chicken starter.
For dessert we shared the bourbon and blackberry/rhubarb ices - quite good.
With a bottle and glass of wine and two coffees our bill came to $96 a couple pre-tip.
The Providence Oyster Bar looked like a place nearer our gate at the airport than Legal Seafood so in we went. Colette's beet salad was OK; but my sampler was disappointing, starting with huge frozen shrimp, pathetic sauces and bivalves lacking character.
With 2 glasses of wine and no coffee our bill was $65.32 before tip.
The Eventide Oyster Co in Portland Maine is a place touted highly in Fine Cooking this month and with good reason. Without a doubt the oysters are fabulous, all 4 varieties (of the 11) we tried; and the other items we ordered were tweaks of the traditional (for instance kimchi ice in addition to mignonette sauce with the oysters and a lobster roll with a hot roll and hot lobster) as well as inventive dishes such as a crab roll, BBQ'd octopus, cucumber with crab salad, fresh tomato salad with aioli, kimchi and homemade tea with vodka). Our bill was $300+ for 12, thus $50 a couple.
Duck Fat has been a favorite in Portland and despite the horrendous crowd at 11 AM, was still fun. Colette had a tomato panini without the bread and I the confited duck with bread. Excellent with some beer, wine and blueberry milkshaken for $50 before tip.
Ard's Farm Stand Restaurant, Lewisburg PA was halfway between Ithaca and Baltimore, thus ideal for a break point, lunch and picking up of dinner.
One fork of the family was just finished eating and I picked up a delicious fried boneless chicken wing and the remains of a blueberry lemonade and decided we were in the promised land. Colette had a California salad with everything from lettuce to avocado and bacon to chicken and I had pulled pork with chips.
The bill was complicated d/t the addition of fruits and veggies, etc. but I'd definitely stop again if on this route.
The Moosewood Café, open now for some 40 years, was a revelation when it opened and I recall a meal shortly thereafter as well as its famed cookbook. For better or worse it hasn't changed much, serving vegetarian and fish food from largely local sources with bio-natural-etc wines & beers.
We were 21 or so, spread out a bit (but more on that later) and I'll just record what Colette and I had: terrific corn chips with just OK guacamole; ab-fab poached and chilled shrimp with a divine classic zippy tomato sauce; a locavore plate (local goat cheese with honey and bread and apples); and a cheese-mushroom quesadilla that was disappointing and characterless.
I have no idea of the bill since my wonderful daughters picked it up.
Go? Well, as of last night, Colette received a nasty call from the snarky reservation queen who said that her colleague should NOT have combined 3 reservations when Colette consulted her two days ago. Having 3 reservations for 8 each was OK, but combining them was a "NO NO". She said that having a 'large party' was not possible on a holiday, that we could pay $1000 to rent the porch dining room. When told that Colette had been encouraged to combine the reservation by her colleague, she 'huffily' said the reservation would be honored. Aside from that unfortunate interchange, the staff was wonderful, e.g. service was very good.