Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Mexican Food in GIFs: Dining at Las Alamandas Jalisco, Mexico

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The shrimp tacos became a daily must have at Las Alamandas

My recent trip to Mexico involved my first visit to Jalisco’s Costalegre, where my husband and I stayed at Las Alamandas. We’re both fans of good Mexican food and arrived hungry and ready to eat a late lunch at La Palapa Beach Club.

Shrimp Tacos

 Shrimp tacos GIF

We were quickly served our first round of excellent (and inexpensive) margaritas and were very surprised when we saw the menu and found very little Mexican food on it. Instead selections included dishes like Asian shrimp and pasta. Who comes to Mexico to eat Asian shrimp? We asked our waiter to speak to the chef and Head Chef Alejandro Morales quickly arrived to chat with us.

Gazpacho

Gazpacho GIF 

Chef Alex (as he’s called) was very friendly and had no problem letting us order off the menu. He prepared chicken enchiladas, shrimp tacos, and guacamole for us. He even honored my request for no raw onions and the dishes were all muy delicioso. We continued to order off the menu for the rest of the trip, and Chef Alex had no problem serving whatever we asked for.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros with green tomato salsa GIF

The breakfast menu featured many more Mexican specialities– eggs a la Mexicana, Eggs Machacha with dried beef, onion and poblano chile. Chilaquiles were on the menu as well as what became our go-to favorite, the Huevos Rancheros, served with either red salsa or green. The green salsa was outstanding and Chef Alex remembered our preferences.

Fresh Fruit

Tropical fruit platter with Mexican lime GIF

The breakfast menu also had a host of other non-Mexican options, including organic oatmeal, muesli with coconut milk, French toast, pancakes and waffles.

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Coffee con leche with a hammock at La Palapa Beach club

The coffee was tasty and the views of the pacific from La Palapa were a great way to start the day. The space is beautiful and also includes a lovely hammock should you wish to hang out while you’re digesting.

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Top notch margaritas for $6 US at Las Alamandas

I don’t think the menu at Las Alamandas would work for serious foodies who are looking to explore the vibrant and happening Mexican food scene. Chef Alex had no problem accommodating all our requests, which is great since the resort is so private and isolated that there are not a lot of other options for dining nearby.

Las Alamandas Resort
Carretera Federal 200 km 83.5
Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico

Toll Free US: 1888 882 9616
Toll Free Mexico: 1800 8366640
Tel 52 322 285 5500

info@alamandas.com

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Where Foodies Dine in Sydney, Australia: Gastro Park

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The Arctic Scampi was the standout dish for me at Gastro Park

I always like trying out new restaurants when I visit Sydney, Australia. Since I was dining with my friends, Justine and Brenton of the RoomCritic and the Offen Store, I knew we’d want a place with great food and drinks and a civilized decibel level so that we couldn’t enjoy our always lively conversation. Jonathan Fambert, the amazing concierge at the Park Hyatt Sydney, suggested Gastro Park in Potts Point.

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Wagyu Beef Grissini

Self described as a“ playground of Gastronomy,” Gastro Park certainly hit the mark in terms of a great place for a sophisticated double date. The molecular gastronomy was fun, but not overwhelming and technique didn’t dominate the flavors of the restaurant’s modern Oz style cuisine. But the presentations were fun and made for interesting dinner conversation. The Wagyu Beef Grissini was served sticking out of rock, Flintstones-style.

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We started with garden tartlets served like a Japanese rock garden

The seared arctic scampi was less flamboyant in presentation, served with coconut, kaffir, and apple sorrel but was such a standout, I wound up ordering two in lieu of an entree.

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A delicous version of pork belly

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Kingfish carpaccio served with pomelo, fennel and nectarine vinaigrette

Gastro Park prides itself on changing it’s menu frequently. You can get an idea of what they serve from the menu section of their website as well as their Gastro Park Instagram.

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Robata duck breast, soy & mustard glaze, kohlrabi ravioli, abalone mushroom

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Grain fed beef fillet onion crumble

The liquid butternut gnocchi and mushroom consommé  (A$30) was playfully delicious and fun. Unfortunately, due to second round of cocktails, failed to capture a picture of it in focus. I can vouch for it’s deliciousness.

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dessert was steep (A$22) but well worth it for the table to split

For dessert we shared the chocolate honeycomb sphere with cardamom and  saffron ginger A$22.

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Fun and flavorful inspired food and cocktails like those at Gastro Park do not come cheap. But it’s memorable cuisine and clean and contemporary dining space make it a great choice for special meal dinner for foodies in Sydney.

Gastro Park Sydney

5-9 Roslyn Street 2011 Potts Point, Sydney, NSW

info@gastropark.com.au

Phone: 02 8068 10 17

Official Instagram

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Where to Eat in Sydney: Mr. Wong For Dim Sum

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The house special: pork and asparagus wontons

Sydney is one of my favorite cities to visit and I always enjoy checking out the food scene when I’m there. But unlike New York or LA where reservations are essential if you want to dine a hot foodie spot, many of Sydney’s of-the-moment restaurants don’t take reservations at dinner. The last thing I want to do when I’m traveling is wait in a line for over an hour for a meal.

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Solo diners can eat at the counter at Mr. Wong

Fortunately, Jonathan Fambart, the amazing concierge at the Park Hyatt Sydney, pointed out that many of these same restaurants do take reservations for lunch. So my husband and I switched our plans to make lunch the primary meal of the day. Jonathan got us a table at Mr. Wong, the contemporary Chinese restaurant run by the Merivale group.

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Craft cocktails at Mr. Wong focus on Shochu and fresh ingredients

While we had a table reserved, we opted to eat at the bar downstairs because it was slightly quieter. This is not a restaurant for serious conversation, as the brick walls and loft-like space make it rather loud. I started with a Yin martini made with shochu, vodke, Aperol, apricot brandy and fresh peach. It was not overly sweet and not Mad Men-strong, making it a nice choice for lunch.

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Dim sum being prepared in the kitchen at Mr. Wong

Dim sum is only available at lunch, and we ordered a few different things to share. I very much enjoyed the pork and prawn shumai (AUS $12). The duck spring rolls (AUS $12) were also a nice alternative to an entire Peking Duck.

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The oysters at Mr. Wong go for AUS $4 per piece

My husband very much enjoyed his rock oysters served drizzled with a ginger rice wine vinaigrette.

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Duck Spring Rolls at Mr. Wong

There are also a wide variety of roast meats and live seafood on the menu at Mr. Wong, should you be in the mood for mud crab, rock lobster or a whole roast duck.

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The Yin Martini at Mr. Wong

The atmosphere is stylish and the Central Business District location make Mr. Wong a popular spot for business lunches as well as dinners.

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The decor is Cantonese contemporary chic

The standout dish of the meal was the special pork and asparagus wontons (I can’t remember the price). They were exceptional and had the right amount of smokiness and heat. I was expecting the duck to the highlight of the meal but I can’t stop thinking about those wontons!

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The downstairs dining room and bar at Mr. Wong

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Mr. Wong exterior tucked away on Bridge Lane

If you don’t want to wait for a table for dinner, head to Mr. Wong for lunch. The pork & asparagus wontons are not to be missed.

Mr. Wong

Address: 3 Bridge Lane, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Phone:+61 2 9240 3000

Hours:

LUNCH Mon – Sun 12:00pm – 3:00pm
DINNER Mon – Wed 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Thurs – Sat 5:30pm – 12:00am
Sun 5:30pm – 10:00pm
YUM CHA Sat – Sun 10:30am – 12:00pm

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Where to Eat in Paris: L’Ecailler du Bistrot for Oysters

The shellfish plate at L’Ecailler du Bistrot

Looking for a great oyster bar in Paris? Head to rue Paul Bert in the 11th. There is Bistrot Paul Bert just down the street, and the unpretentious maritime-themed L’Ecailler du Bistrot, which has combines classic French ambience with excellent seafood.

Plateau de Fruits de Mer Time Lapse at L’Ecailler Du Bistrot Paris, France

It’s all about the seafood here. While my crab and scallop allergy kept me from the shellfish platter, my friends devoured it over the course of an hour.

One of L’Ecailler du Bistrot’s maritime-themed rooms

The fresh oysters from Normandy and Brittany, cockles and various other crustaceans all received rave reviews from my friends. The sole muniere was a standout, as was the half lobster served with frite, and the linguini with clams.

The half-lobster at L’Ecailler du Bistot

The entire meal was complemented by a few bottles of reasonably priced (for Paris) wine from the menu.

The oysters are ready for their close-up

Left: the empty shells Right: oysters on the half shell

Linguini with clams

This was a meal I had absolutely no expectations about, and wound up one of my favorites of the trip. The cozy atmosphere and good service did not hurt.

The Sole Muniere (before and after)

No doubt– L’Ecailler du Bistrot is a seafood standout.

L’Ecailler du Bistrot

22 Rue Paul Bert 75011 Paris

phone +33 1 43 72 76 77

Opening hours:
Monday-Friday, noon to 14h30 and 19h30 to 23h

Closed Sundays & Mondays

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Where to Eat in Lake Como, Italy: Crotto dei Platani

The Aperol Spritz: perfect for an Italian summer evening

Located in an old grotto situated on on the lake, Crotto dei Platani is a charming and romantic restaurant with great outdoor spaces as well as a natural grotto. It was a 20 minute drive from Cernobbio, where I was staying, but well worth the drive. It was one of the most memorable meals of the trip.

The exterior of Crotto dei Platani

In the summer, it’s all about dining on the restaurant’s panoramic veranda and garden. When I visited, it was raining, so we ate in the covered patio overlooking the lake.

The gorgeous view of the lake from Crotto dei Platani

The food was delicious. The menu focuses on fish caught in the lake, offering dishes like Mixed Lake Fish Hors d’oeuvres (€ 14) and White Fish Tartare with Black truffle (€ 18). We had the Assorted Salami with Vinegar Vegetables (€ 14) which was delicious and paired nicely with Italy’s summer cocktail of choice, the Aperol Spritz.

Pea soup with crispy black rice and citrus cream was € 13

Next I had the fresh Pea Soup, which was fresh, light and delicious and had a lovely texture with the black rice and citrus cream. It hit the spot on a rainy evening.

The Assorted Salami with Vinegar Vegatables was a winner

We moved on to a bottle of Tignanello Super Tuscan before our mains arrived. I went for the house made Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella and Eggplant (€ 13). It was served al dente and had the correct sauce-to-pasta ratio.

Left: The house made pasta Right: Beef with foie gras and red wine sauce

My husband loved the Beef with Foie Gras and Red Wine Sauce (€ 23). We usually skip dessert, we couldn’t pass up the Peach Semifreddo with raspberries and honey (€ 8). It was worth the splurge.

Our waiter turned our wine cork into a key ring souvenir

With excellent service, great atmosphere, and fantastic food, Crotto dei Platani is a great choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner. You can even arrange to arrive by water taxi.

The docks outside Crotto dei Platani lit up at night

Crotto dei Platani

Via Regina, 73
22010 Brienno (CO),
SS 340, km 16

T: (+39) 031 814038
E: info@crottodeiplatani.it

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