Your favorite restaurant?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by midlifebear, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. midlifebear

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    What's your favorite restaurant? One of my "top five" has been Mary Macks (sp?) in Atlanta, Georgia. But I haven't been there for over a decade. I'm not certain that it even still exists. I do know that the establishment moved about ten years ago and set up business in another location not far from their original 1950's strip mall collection of store fronts. And I'd like to return. It was a low-key place where you were given your "check" when you walked in the door, then filled in what you wanted to eat from the day's menu and gave the check to a charming elderly Atlantean woman who would approve of your selections or suggest changes so you'd have a good dining experience. It was just plain and simple Southern Cooking. Nothing expensive.

    This spring I need to check up on old friends nearby in Alabama and will spend four or five days in Atlanta. So, I've been dreaming of the Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie that was/is a hall mark of that establishment's menu.

    Do any of you Atlanteans know if Mary Macks is still in existence and the address?


    It's migration time for me and the squeeze. We return to Spain at the end of this month. He'll fly directly on Areolineas Argentina (Argentines get a discount just for being Argentine). I'll fly from Buenos Aires to Atlanta, then LaGuardia, find my own ground transportation to Kennedy to continue the same flight to Healthrow, and wait 1-6 hours for the connecting flight that gets me to Barçelona. It's use Delta or spend $1,800 on a direct flight ticket with Air France. I have so many Delta Sky Miles I'll probably be dead before I run out.

    Still among my "top five" is Chez Panisse in Berzerkely, CA. Even though it has become impossible to book a table in Alice Water's restaurant and the prices have escalated to about $500 for two (compared to $50 when she first opened her doors to the original eatery), it's without a doubt the best food I've ever eaten.

    I used to have a favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City (me, the hate all things Ewetaw person), but Max Mercier (the French hunk) closed the doors to Max Mercier's, his authentic Provence-style cookery many years ago. It was a place where the minute you walked in the door you knew it didn't matter what you ordered because the place smelled so good. Max had a mild heart attack and changed his menu to nouvelle cuisine, eventually going out of business. That'll larn ya. As Julia Child would often say, "You can never use too much, butter, cream, cheese, and garlic when it comes to French cuisine." But Max, himself, didn't close his doors a poor man.

    Now, when I'm stuck at Salt Lake International for a 24-hour layover I arrange to have old friends meet me at The Red Iguana, a Mexican restaurant started by the Cardenas family 30+ years ago where the food is authentic central Mexican cuisine. No TexMex or Californicated Mex. Their encortidos (miniature chile relleno-style Jalapeños stuffed with shrimp and bitter cheese) are guaranteed to make your ears bleed. And their salsa ranchera (red tomato-based sauce that accompanies most dishes) is made from fresh tomatoes, perfectly sauteéd yellow onions, and the right mixture of Mexican spices is made in bulk, daily. They could easily buy it in No. 9 size cans, but they don't.

    And to the horror of many, I LOVE Luby's (there are over 100 of them, but the one at the original site is the best) in San Antonio. It's a cafeteria. But it's a GOOD cafeteria with genteel Texas waitresses constantly interrupting your lunch or dinner conversation by asking "Sweet or unsweet?" in reference to the bottomless glass refills of ice tea at your table.

    Anyone else?
     
    #1 midlifebear, Apr 12, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  2. D_CountdeGrandePinja

    D_CountdeGrandePinja Account Disabled

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    My own kitchen! Come on over!
     
  3. nudeyorker

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    #3 nudeyorker, Apr 12, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  4. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    toss-up between Greens, and Millennium, on Geary St., I believe
     
  5. jason_els

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    A layover in New York? Hmm....

    A cab is about $35. There's a shuttle that runs between the two (stopping at each terminal) for $15 and takes about the same amount of time. You can take the subway, but don't do that. It really sucks.

    A better option would be to send your bags ahead and then come into Manhattan to see the NY Mafia, and then take the subway to the airtrain which goes straight to JFK. Maybe we can add to your favorite restaurant list. I think that's an offer you can't refuse :wink:.
     
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    My favorite restaurant is Aquavit, Marcus Samuelsson's neo-Swedish place. What Marcel Duchamp did for painting, Samuelsson does for herring.
     
  7. nicenycdick

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    This is not an easy question! Some of my favorites, in no particular order:

    Château Les Crayères, Rheims, France - an unbelievable six course meal in a most beautiful old chateau in the Champagne region. The service is over the top and the champagne simply flows!

    Cafe di Roma, Burano, Italy - a spectacular restaurant located on Burano, an island off of Venice. You haven't eaten until you've had their Risotto Nero (risotto in squid ink sauce).

    Finnegan's Cellar Restaurant, Tralee, Ireland - yes, really, a good restaurant in Ireland! Contrary to my serious expectations, the food in Ireland was great! But can there really be five different kinds of potatoes on a menu? Yes...and they are all spectacular.

    Peter Luger's, Brooklyn, New York - I have never had a better steak anywhere. Ever.

    Stone Bar Inn, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania - a great tavern/restaurant in the Poconos...amazing find in an out-of-the way place.

    Neeley's BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee - I've eaten in a lot of BBQ places, but Neeley's was just fantastic! The pork was smoked to perfection and the sides were outstanding.

    Anchor Bar, Buffalo, New York - the place where Buffalo Chicken Wings were invented! Order 'em Suicidal if you dare!

    Mother's, New Orleans, Louisianna - a great place for lunch...try the Seafood Gumbo and Shrimp Po'Boy.

    Any Mexican Burrito Stand on the Corner of a Gas Station/Strip Mall,Los Angeles, California - and I'm not kidding.

    El Metropol, Fajarda, Puerto Rico - very good Puerto Rican and Cuban food...outstanding Cubano Sandwich! Had it 3 times!

    Cassell's Patio Hamburger, Los Angeles, California - every hamburger made fresh and to order as you watch...in minutes. It's one of the best hamburger joints in the country, hands down!

    Of course, the two best places I've ever eaten in were in Italy...and I have no recollection of the name or exact location!

    One was in a small town south of Genova called Lavagna, I believe. We had just driven from Nice, France down the coast past Genova when we decided to stop for lunch. There wasn't much in this town but we found a small hotel that served food across from the railroad tracks. The place was empty and the menu was limited. But we were hungry and ordered what we thought was run-of-the mill meal. Damn! I had a Minestrone Soup that was unbelievable and a Pici (egg-less pasta) with Broccoli Rabe Pesto that I'd kill for right now. And the old woman who owned the place and cooked all the meals came out to make sure it was all OK. I told her in my broken Italian that she not only looked like my grandmother but could cook ten times better.

    The other we came across driving between San Gimignano and Poggibonsi in Tuscany, if I recall correctly. It was the middle of the day and on the off-season - nothing was opened at 3:00PM. We hadn't eaten, so we were ready for anything. We noticed a small sign on the road that said "Ristorante" with an arrow pointing up a mountain road. We climbed and climbed and finally came to what looked like a tree house in the forest. We had an unbelievable meal...fettuccini con prosciutto e porcini, the classic bistecca alla fiorentina (a thick cut from Chianina beef, a tuscany bred cattle) and an amazing Chianti! I wish I knew where the hell we were.

    There are so many more! But who has the time....
     
    #7 nicenycdick, Apr 12, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  8. midlifebear

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    Ah yes, Mr. els: It's not a layover as such. It's actually the same flight number, but Delta insists that the connecting flight at Kennedy is more than two hours after I land in LaGuardia and uses that as an excuse not to include airport to airport transportation. However, I don't have to recheck my luggage. The luggage is treated with better respect than the passenger and is spirited away never to be seen until I pick it up at the luggage carousel in BCN.

    Yes, once I show up a La Guardia I'm instantly recognized by the goombahs in the black ties, white shirts and black suits, wearing full-length black wool coats (accentuated with dirty, blasted out athletic shoes?) who think "This guy's a rube, let's herd him into my triple black for $80 and make him pay all of the toll fees!" A dear friend who didn't know better found himself shuffled into one of those town cars and complained to me how long it took to get to Kennedy via downtown Manhattan and the Queensborough Bridge! Yes, I guess if you're the mob that is one kind of a short cut.

    The last two times I've been stuck on this "milk route" I've gone to Delta's luggage desk and innocently asked for my bus coupon for Kennedy. The guys working the counter are just glad I'm not filing a complaint for lost luggage and ask "How many do you need?" That's an odd drive on a bus with 4 or 6 passengers from Long Island out past Flushing to Kennedy. Once inside the old Eastern Terminal now run by Delta it becomes a matter of correctly dosing myself with enough Valium that I don't kill anyone as they change the gate for the connecting flight to Heathrow a minimum of four times, making everyone walk from one end of the terminal to the other at least twice.

    Last time I had this same flight itinerary I think it's worth noting that as a very unenthusiastic bartender plunked down a draught beer in front of me, a sparrow made a bulls eye hit dropping bird shit directly into the glass. The bartender still expected me to fork over ten bucks which gave me one of the few opportunities to calmly stare someone down and use "Listen, buddy, this isn't my first god damned rodeo!" (quoting Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest supposedly quoting Joan Crawford). It's a good line and it works.

    I don't mean to insult your fine City and State, but Manhattan and surrounding burroughs are places I no longer bear to visit. And I've felt this way long before 9/11. I'd rather walk across the bridges from San Iysidro to Tijuana (beer's better). But I do have some fond memories of early morning hangover repasts at the Empire Diner after leaving my reputation at the old St. Marks Baths. I used to live in New York.

    I think it's a much better idea that once you're through with all the crap you're dealing with you come and stay with me and The Squeeze in Barçelona. There's room for Bbucko, too. The Squeeze and I can host the two of you for a 23:00 PM dining experience at El Castro, where the food is not only excellent, but the beautifully muscled waiters all sport form-fitting chain-maille T-shirts and lucious fitting 501's. Then a round (maybe two) of Absinthe at the Absinthe Bar, a taxi ride to The Bear Factory for frivolity with the gentle hirsuit set until they close at 3:00 AM whereupon we walk to El Metro and sip mineral water and take turns getting lost in the labrynth of sexual mayhem that leads to the central bathroom just to pee where Europe's finest gay porn is displayed on monitors above each urinal, and then fight the heavy, sweaty, panting morass of catalunya's friendly hunks in the other labrynth that is the exit to the mens room. It gets real crowded from 5:30 until 7:00 AM when they close down the place. Then it's time for a light breakfast of salchiches, huevos a la plancha, y pan ajo at Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. And that would be a Wednesday night.

    We'd make sure you both had plenty of time for naps and beauty sleep.:tongue:
     
  9. SpeedoGuy

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    Well, any place that encourages supersizing ranks high on my list. Drive-thru is a big plus.

    I also like fixed-in-place plastic seating, flourescent lighting, sticky floors, and formica tabletops.

    Pulpy paper napkins, plastic utensils, and self-service beverage bars with condiments are, of course, de rigeur.

    Squalling or rampaging children only add to the ambience of fine dining...as does the roar of traffic on the Interstate just outside.

    Errors in ordering, pricing, and delivery by the non-English speaking staff add adventure to the experience.

    The opportunities are boundless....

    :biggrin1:
     
  10. midlifebear

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    LOL! SpeedoGuy, you sound like my older brother, especially now that he has three grandchildren all under 3 years old. However, you've probably got much better common sense.

    My brother regularly goes to the same McDonalds and tries to customize the same breakfast combo meal. If he would simply ask for the items separately, he would not have a problem. But no. He refuses to pay the extra pennies for the extra service. So he slowly explains to the frightened cashier how he wants a particular combo meal "but leave off the (blank) and I want (blank) instead of (blank). Ya got that?" And of course his order never arrives exactly how he asked for it. Then he fumes (literally, I've seen steam rise from his fat head) and ends up throwing everything away as he peels out of the parking lot.

    His idea of haute cuisine is Applebees. But that's OK as long as he's happy. He's the one with the concealed weapon, so I avoid pissing him off.
     
  11. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    Ah, you found a place for the null set.:cool:
    Your posts, always good, get better and better, mlb.
    By what wizardry?
     
  12. Bbucko

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    If I could send myself in a FedEx package I'd be so there :biggrin1:. Barcelona is simply my idea of heaven on Earth. I'm glad to hear that El Metro is still open. It was new the last time I visited. I also always enjoyed Martine's, though I'm sure that, by now, it's hoary with age.

    When I lived in NYC, I lived in TriBeCa back when it was still an affordable option. Fabulous restaurants came and went with the tide, it seemed, but with so many incredible options at my doorstep I indulged with wanton abandon. I went more often than I'd care to admit to The Odeon, because it was fast, dependable and, by the standards of the day, not absurdly overpriced (I routinely paid $100-$150 for dinner eaten alone: it was one of my favorite indulgences) and there was the occasional star sighting.

    In Boston, my two favorite spots were Icarus in the South End and Harvest
    in Harvard Square, both happily still around. They strike the right chords of superb cuisine, subdued atmosphere and the best, discreet-yet-knowledgeable serviceStandards for HIV/AIDS Case Management [FONT=&quot], which in my mind is second only to the quality of the food itself.

    NOTE: please forgive the weirdo font change in this post. It is not intentional.

    [/FONT]
     
  13. Drifterwood

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    Le Gavroche is special.

    I can recommend a very long lunch in Les Set Portes, Barcelona if you get a chance.

    I used to love the fish and chips in Geales, Notting Hill area of London. There is something appealingly decadent to enjoy our national dish with a premier cru Chablis. That sounds a bit pretentious, but it is delicious.

    My favourite Italian is bizarrely in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is really up there for food.

    Then there was this Sri Lankan Chef in Vietnam. His king prawn curry was unbelieveable.
     
  14. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    AH! My sister is taking me to Jean Georges in three weeks! YAY! My first 3-star Michelin restaurant in NYC!

    Thank you Cynthia!
     
  15. DragonPenis

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    Hmm Well I live in the Outskirts of Baltimore and they have a nice mom and pop restaurant...Granted it's not really the most fancy or exclusive but some of my best memories especially with my dad were had there.
     
  16. crescendo69

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    It was Hawkeye's in Knoxville before it closed. First place I tasted yammers, or french fried sweet potatoes (or were they yams?). Ye Olde Steak House is nice.
     
  17. B_Nick4444

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    when I first posted I was thinking in terms of food

    but, if we're to include memories, then special memories obtain with John Dominis in Honolulu, a Mexican place in Waimanolo on Oahu, and a steak and lobster place in Lahaina on Maui, a gourmet place in either Denver or San Antonio (memory is fuzzy, as its not the place, but whom I was with that made it special) by the name of Rattlesnake something or other ...
     
  18. sdbg

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    My own kitchen is my first choice. My food is healthy gourmet vegetarian, and I'm not shy with the garlic.

    When I go out, Alfonso's of La Jolla (Mexican) is my favorite place. I've been going there for over 30 years. Try Alfonso's when you visit San Diego.
     
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