Oysters Huitrerie Regis Other fish Clamato (also open on weekends) Meat Hugo Desnoyer An old style bistro Le Cafe des Musees A new style bistro Bistro Volnay & Pirouette Bistronomique Les Bistronomes An old style resto Le Florimond A new style resto Goust & Les Tablettes An elegant resto 110 Taillevent A bar a vins plus Le Verre Vole One by a Japanese chef Abri One by a French chef with Asian Ingredients Ze Kitchen Galerie One by a Brazilian chef Le Pario One by a Yankee chef Spring One by a Korean/French chef Pierre Sang Boyer in Oberkampf A brasserie Garnier
The Bernards Inn (I know, it's a grammarian's nightmare) in Bernardsville NJ is a place we've heard about for years and despite its crusty heritage is a quite lovely, modern place.
The menu was very appealing, albeit pricy and since arriving back in the USofA we've been aware of "Supersize Me" portions in America, so we ordered 4 firsts: - a gaspacho with interesting ingredients - sauteed Hudson Valley foie gras with zippy relish - sauteed octopus with mild curry and eggplant/etc vegetable side and crunchy chick peas and - fried sweetbreads with pickled peach slices and a great tasting green.
Finally, Colette ordered and I helped her consume, a stubbing salty caramel ice cream parfait with a funnel cake atop.
With no bottled or filtered water or coffee, our bill was $111.30 before tip.
Return? Hummm, not so sure. Although our wait-guy Luis was terrific, the process of ordering, delivery of dishes and check-getting were not flawless. They need to cross-train the huge staff to take care of tables outside their own.
After a perfectly lovely tour of the recently renovated Smith College Museum or Art and viewing of the stunning "landscape architectural" photos of Anne Whiston Spirn, we headed off to lunch with a Professor friend from Paris days. We'd heard about Zen from some other Professorial friends and its menu was huge and pan-Asian which sounded nice.
Our pal had the Thai noodles (called pasta), Colette had a sashimi plate and I a sushi-sashimi bento. all were adequate, albeit not dazzling.
The bill, with one Kirin, no bottled water and no coffees (our friend treated us to coffee at the Foundry across the street) was $39.59 before tip.
To stoke us up before our music at Marlboro at night (Brahms' String Quartet in A Minor & Mozart's Serenade in B-flat Major) we went to the Anchor Seafood Restaurant in Wilmingon VT. We chose it in large part because with our family having substituted 2 weeks in Tuscany for our traditional 1 week in Maine I needed a serious lobster fix.
We started off more less sharing a raw fish display and 6 oysters - so far so good.
Then after an OK salad for us all - the others had fish - swordfish and red snapper respectively - which I deemed good but heard no huzzahs from the table; I had the most bland lobster I've ever had with ersatz melted butter.
The desserts, made by the charming owner, were spectacular - a lime pie and carrot cake - and they made up for all the rest.
With 1 bloodless Mary, 2 bottles and a glass of wine, and 3 coffees, our bill was $114.20 a couple before tip.
First a rant - No one reads paper newspapers anymore. In the heart of Williams Collegetown, one of America's academic gems, the last bookstore/magazine/newspaper shop shuttered its shutters, what are we coming to?
Anyway, we spent the day immersed in art and very good art indeed at the Clark in Williamstown MA (great abstract paintings from the Mellon Collection, as we called it), the Williams College Art Museum (which showed the 90 works it lends out each semester to students to decorate their dorm rooms. (What a great idea!), MASS MoCA (I was bedazzled by Izhar Patkin's works [best exhibition of the decade say I] and Colette loved the works by Teresita Fernández - question - Why cannot the Whitney's Biennale do stuff like this? - and the Amherst College Mead Art Museum's precious albeit small collection.
But then one must feed the other beast, so to lunch, at the Gramercy Bistro @ MASS MoCA where we've been dining since 2008 at their various locations. It seemed to me today that the menu was lighter (and healthier) than in years past.
Colette had a chicken Waldorf salad (not bad) and I had a rabbit pot pie (better than I expected) but the topper was a super chocolate dacquoise, quite incredible.
Our bill, with a bottle of wine, no bottled water, no desserts but a great grappa, was $84.55 before tip.
Diversionary query: How many times in one's life does one get to dine with two bestselling authors who have published bestselling books this past week? Huh? Never, right? Wrong.
So, does it really matter that Colette's camera sucks (it's all her fault the pix are blurry, right?), that you have no idea what we ate: but wait, the calamari, fried onions, chicken tamarind, scallops, breads and papri chaat (offered) were out of sight. We will be back, we hope with our Amherst writer friends.
Our bill, with one big beer, 2 bottles of wine, one iced tea, no bottled water, desserts or coffees, was $171.31.
The Secret-Hidden Kitchen in Stockbridge MA is not exactly a pop-up, having been in the same family since 1956, but we've only been coming for a few years; and today we had a "simple" fish soup and an Italian White after a huge groaning board of amuses and afters of salad, cheese and berries with lemon curd along with delicious chocolate cookies made with the egg whites left over from making the lemon curd. A delicious luncheon with long time friends.
The Gala Steakhouse & Bistro at the Orchards between Williamstown and North Adams MA was a place I had the most astonishing dish of 2013 but tonight was another matter.
We started off with Colette's quail which was undersalted and my cherrystone clams which (with veggies) were oversalted - humm, salt problem in the kitchen?
Then she had good product, very nicely cooked scallops with a ?kumquat relish/marmelade and I three thick, good product, very nicely cooked lamb chops.
To finish off (we had purchased two $45 3-course meals) Colette and I shared a so-so Key Lime Parfait and I am taking my fresh fruit tart to our favorite coffee/breakfast place in town tmrw.
Our bill, with no bottled water (altho' there are two freebies in our room) or coffee, was $120 before tip.
Return? I dunno; I don't think the chef was on duty tonite as he was last year when I had the best dish of the Year. The meal lacked soul. On the other hand, the music was appropriately pleasant and in the background.