Hugo’s, Houston, 11/22/17

entrance
entrance

Hugo’s is a large Mexican restaurant with tons of seating at tables as well as bar seating and party rooms.  They have a huge wine list and you can see the bottles displayed in the cabinets showing on the second floor balcony.  There are actually a number of wines from Mexico on the list.  Staff is friendly and directive in your ordering.  They make a lot of variations of margaritas which are put in a shaker and shaken and poured tableside.   Unfortunately our waitress was not skilled on filtering the ice coming out of the shaker and so my glass was filled with so much ice there was no way not to get your nose wet when drinking.  It also meant some of the drink got passed back to the bar and diluted the mixture an unpleasant amount.  At the price of these drinks I would steer you to wine or beer.  The menu at lunch offers the appetizer plates at 2 for $22 which is a good deal as they range from $10 to $15.  Also, they don’t serve chips and salsa so you might want something to snack on before the plates arrive.   Continue reading

At Sara’s Table/Chester Creek Cafe, Duluth, 11/9/17

front
front

At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe is a large place on a corner, that used to be Taran’s Market.  It attempts to use local products and grows some of its own in their garden.  When you enter you have the choice of doors, one to the restaurant and one to the bar.  A bit of the kitchen in visible when you enter the restaurant side, as are some shelves filled with souvenier and  books.  There is also a counter that sells baked goods and hand dipped ice cream as well as a small seating area near a fireplace.  The restaurant itself winds around in a “U” shape around the rest of the kitchen.  There are booths and tables and finally the end is a library room lined with filled bookshelves and windows to the parking lot.   Continue reading

Lake Shore Cafe, Ashland, WI., 9/29, 11/11 & 11/15/17

IMG_4017
building

You could drive right by Lake Shore Cafe, it is that non-descript.  On the main highway coming into Ashland, Wisconsin, it does have a lovely view of Lake Superior and a crew of regulars who eat there.  The large menu covers breakfast and lunch as well as having chalkboard daily specials.  Prices are pretty reasonable and try to snag one of the fresh iced cinnamon buns on the counter if they’re still there.   Booths line the walls with the lake view windows and the rest of the place is filled with tables and some low stools at the counter opposite the pass through window to the kitchen.  Staff are super friendly and efficient.   Continue reading

Here, Dallas, 11/4/17

neon sign
neon sign

Here is a good sized, very stylish bar and restaurant.  The small, closely set tables are in the middle of the lowly lit room.  Around the edges are cozy round booths that match the elegant large arc shaped bar.  Comfy chairs and bar seats finish out this amazing looking space that is located in a very non-descript strip shopping center.  The menu offers a range of small plates and larger ones but the beverage service is mostly liquor.  Portions run on the large side, so be prepared to split even the small plates.  A good selection of beers is available but the wine list is very small (one thing that would really improve this place). Continue reading

Flaveur, Nice, 10/21/17

exterior
exterior

Flaveur is a fairly small place, seating about 20,  with a very styled and pretty bright interior .  It is striking but a lot of hard surfaces that could make the noise level high in addition to the soft background music.  Steel and wood cutouts decorate the room in various patterns, one being a fish skeleton.  The small tables are nicely spaced and appointed with a runner rather than a full cloth but a wonderfully large napkin.  Service is friendly and helpful but some of the pacing is a bit slow, probably to folks like me who ask a lot of questions and our waiter never rushed us off.  But trust me, the food is worth waiting for.  The menu is a tasting one and you can pick 3, 4 or 7 courses.  Wine pairings are available.  We chose the 4 course and selected our own bottle of wine. Continue reading

Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse à L’Hôtel De Paris, Monaco, 10/21/17

hotel
hotel

Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse in à L’Hôtel De Paris is a 3 star Michelin restaurant.  While the hotel is undergoing renovation the restaurant is in a temporary location, but if you didn’t know that you’d never guess, as the room is decorated in an elegant modern decor.  This spot will eventually become a breakfast and lunch restaurant which seems perfect as the doors from it lead onto the lovely terrace and ocean view.  One interesting feature, besides the well spaced tables and comfortable leather seating, was the large oval shaped linen napkin. Service is attentive without being intrusive and as chatty as you desire, with most speaking perfect English.  At lunch there is an a la carte menu, and of course the ladies menu’s don’t have prices, and a 4 course lunch special with an option of 2 glasses of wine for 30 euros. As there were 2 choices for 3 of the courses we were able to try a number of their dishes at a reasonable price point.  As expected with this caliber restaurant your dining experience will also include lots of off-the-menu items.   Continue reading

La Merenda, Nice, 10/20/17

exterior
exterior

La Merenda is a small place with a chalkboard menu and you either have to go by or try and get someone to answer the phone to get a reservation, which is a must.  Tables are covered by a paper runner, small and closely put together along each of the facing walls.   They are close enough that you will probably end up in conversation with your neighbors which really adds to the experience as a number of nationalities were represented there that evening.  At the end of the room is a tiny kitchen which produces all the food served by one nice waiter for seatings at 7:00 or 9:00 at dinner.  He was friendly, helpful and amazingly efficient – attending to your needs yet not making you feel rushed.   The wine selection is limited – about a half dozen wines.   Portions are generous and we ordered way more than we could eat but wanted to be able to sample a number of the chef’s dishes.   Continue reading