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Christopher's Shrine to Auntie Mame / Dining Guide To The World

I had started a social group in Chicago (ORD) (not that I'm from ORD - I'm from Texas and California and New York and...) in order to meet some other folks into international cuisine and travel (well, domestic travel as well).  We would get four to six people together (I thought that size was best for conversation) and go somewhere that sounded fun (and generally quite reasonably priced).  We talk about travel and food and anything else under the sun!  You can e-mail me here .  Let me know if you want to be on the weekly e-mail list for dinner announcements, et al. bits.

I'll keep y'all informed of the best restaurant information I can!  Return the favor by shopping at these spots:

Travel: Hotwire , Orbitz , Orbitz (g a y t r a v e l section) , , Travelocity Dream Maps (one of the coolest features for the Desperate To Get out of Town Traveler), Travelocity Promotions , Priceline Air: - Save up to 40% or more! , Priceline Hotels: Hotel BestDeals , Priceline Vacations: Build your own vacation and SAVE! , Rental Car Itinerary Link , CheapTickets , Site59 (one of my best recent travel finds!)

Misc. Stuff: , Dell Home Computers ( Dell Promotions ), Natural Products. Healthy Advice. , American Express: Get 10,000 SkyMiles with the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card , Starwood American Express , Hilton HHonors AmEx , Sierra Club , (a favorite merchant of my friend Dirk), (good prices on vitamins), (odd assortment of stuff), FragranceNet , McAfee (antivirus software), Mission Orchards (dried fruit assortments, gifts) , Magazines , , Sale Collection   

I have arranged the restaurants (and various city information) below by airport code.  [UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Click on an airport code to jump to that area: AMS, ATL, BKK, BNA, BRU, BUD, BWI/IAD, CDG, CHI/MDW/ORD, DFW, EWR/LGA/JFK/ISP/HPN, KRK, LAS, LHR/LGW, MSP, PHX, SAN, SFO/OAK, and WAW].

Travel Tips

AMS (Amsterdam)

For Indonesian food, try Bojo , Leidsekruisstraat 14, near Prinsengracht and Leidsestraat. I think Nasi Rames is what I always order.

Hendrikse has some of my favorite Dutch chocolates .  The patisserie is at Overtoom 472 (011-31-20-618-04-72); the confiserie is at Overtoom 448-450 (011-31-20-618-02-60).  Try the nutmeg piece !  They are located on Tram Line 1.

Hotel Orfeo is a gay hotel on top of Bojo where I used to stay when I visited, but after checking out Hotel Unique (I don't have the address handy), I decided I'd stay there next time.

ATL (Atlanta)

Cafe Tu Tu Tango , 220 Pharr Rd., 404.841.6222.  I ate here in '99?  '00?  I don't remember what I had, but I remember the food was quite tasty.

Athens Pizza House , 1341 Clairmont Road, Decatur, 404.636.1100 (other locations).  I quite like their Greek pizza .  DEC01:  Not as good as I remember.  Hmmm...

BKK (Bangkok)

BNA (Nashville)

BRU (Brussels (and Brugges))

BUD (Budapest)

Vegetarium, address to be found later. I ate there for my first meal in Hungary. It's a vegetarian restaurant; I remember their mushroom barley soup.

Gold Hotel Panzio, H-1142 Budapest XIV, Ungvar u. 45, 361.252.0470, 251.6282(F).  A reasonably-priced Hungarian hotel.

BWI (Baltimore/Washington International) / IAD (Dulles) / WAS (all area airports)

CDG/ORY/PAR (Paris (and a little info. on the Champagne region))

CHI/MDW/ORD (Chicago)

CLE (Cleveland)

Steve in SFO recommends: ....Not that anyone will be traveling through Cleveland that often, but I have only the fondest of memories for a Hungarian bakery located in that city, on Woodland St. I believe, directly south of Shaker Square.  The name is Lucy's.  My mouth waters thinking of what is produced and sold there early each morning.   Poppy seed forever!!!

CNX (Chiang Mai)

Siam Celadon, 38 Moo 10 Chiangmai-Sankampaeng Rd., Tumbon Tonpao, Sankampaeng, Chiangmai 50130.  Whew!  What an address.  Janine (LGA) shopped for celadon pottery here and found some lovely things.

DFW/DAL/QDF (Dallas) (QDF is the code to use when searching for both area airports)

DTW (Detroit)

From Gina in DTW: One of our favorite restaurants in the Detroit (north suburb) area of West Bloomfield is called The Lark . Jim and Mary Lark are among the world's great gastronomes, travelers & sharers of information, as well as having extraordinary food, well recognized by GOURMET magazine and others. They have the best prix-fixe in the US for the price (about $67.00), we ordered what we love best and they are most famous for, the rack of lamb, which, like ducks in the Tour d'Argent, are numbered, and one used to get a little yellow card with your number and the recipe for the lamb. The coating includes hoisin sauce (a favorite) and a touch of curry; extradordinare! They start with a first cold course on a trolley (choose what you want, as much as you want) with some year-in year-out standards: oysters on the half shell, curried duck salad, guacamole, and they add something special/different as well. This year we must have hit the jackpot, as they offered stone crab claws. The second course is a hot one, which is ordered from a wonderful choice of three, normally including a soup. This time we had a fantastic salmon fillet (thick) in pastry with a killer sauce, and we were almost too full to go on. But duty called, and trudge on we did, with salad (mixed greens with a fruit based vinaigrette) or a romaine based salad. A sorbet was offered, a bit on the too sweet side. We think it was elderberry, but maybe it was blueberry. Anyway, then came the 4 chops of artfully-arranged lamb, which we could hardly touch. The accompaniments are the same; candied, mandoline cut carrots (caramelized more than candied with some honey, I bet), and a lovely potato cake layered with gruyere. We normally get dessert from the dessert cart (all you can eat though not included, but world's greatest bargain at about $7.00 for fabulous tortes/pies/chocolate homemade truffles, etc) and a lovely coffee service with individual press pots and accompaniments of chocolate shavings and creme chantilly. With the check they bring you lovely hand packaged choclates. One is always treated like family with just the right amount of formality.

Ann Arbor: "The Moveable Feast", belonging to my friends Carol and Dan Huntsbarger, has recently gotten a new chef and it was a real step up in what they served.  I had a mahi fish dish with truffled gnocchi that was just great and Al had an appetizer of wonton large shrimp with some sort of corn and tomato relish that was super. My appetizer was a millefeuille of smoked salmon and crab (2nd time I've had it) and they have a spectacular house salad with candied nuts and dried cherries(a Michigan standard in salads around here). Our son accompanied us and had his usual filet mignon (enormous) with truffled mashed potatoes which he loved. The presentations were beautiful, decorated artistically with sauces in "abstract" patterns.  After 2 visits with the new menu, I think they could stand up in a big city. The bread has always been outstanding at The Moveable Feast; you go through a loaf in a hurry!

NOV01: My friends who own the excellent restaurant in Ann Arbor, called the Moveable Feast, have a second restaurant in a little country town (Manchester, Michigan) called Dan's River Grill.  Dan does a superb job of "gourmet food" for about $16.00 per main course and it is a real "find" in this little town. I've gone twice now in the last 2 months. Some of the little towns around this area are starting to get some pretty extraordinary little restaurants, and the ever-popular Common Grill in Chelsea (they have a great cookbook out) has some company in a new Italian restaurant that I haven't tried but got good reviews.  I ate at another well known restaurant north of Detroit in Southfield called Morels, which was nice, but certainly not out of the ordinary.

EWR (New York/Newark)

FAR (Fargo)
You must be joking...

GPT (Gulfport / Biloxi)

The Blow Fly Inn, Gulfport.  SEP00:  I think we had fried shrimp which were quite good; can't remember what else (I waited too long to write it up!).

HNL (Honolulu)

 Eggs n Things

From Frommers : The employee cafeteria that is open to the public in a very hard (for me) to find location. Go to the Sting Ray and just before you walk into it you will see a stairway leading down to the ground level. Once there it is very close, but you may have to ask someone for help. The food is good and fairly priced. I had a chicken salad that was quite ample for $4.75. They also have a salad bar that is priced by the pound, as well as a variety of hot food. The staff was very pleasant.  Jerry Tahajian, Fresno, California

ISP (Long Island MacArthur/Islip)
(Also see LGA)

Bistro Blue, Greenport.  Open seasonally.  So far my favorite restaurant between the NYC border and the eastern end of Long Island.  Very tasty food, friendly owner, and generally good service.  Update:  I heard from someone that they were open last season (after being closed for the 2002 season, I believe).  It may be going under new ownership soon, so let's keep an eye on the place!

Alice's Fish Market, 222 Atlantic Avenue, Greenport.  Run by a brassy Long Island woman.  Delicious smoked salmon - nice strong smoky flavor.

KRK (Cracow)

Chimera Restaurant, ul. sw. Anny 3, 31-008 Krakow, tel. 23-2178.  I think this is the place with a bunch of salads - vegetarian and otherwise.  I rather enjoyed it!

LAS (Las Vegas)

Spago, 702.3696300. A delightful manager named Lana gave us a wonderfully warm welcome to this chain of restaurants!  Absolutely delicious. We had a venison entree, two appetizers, and a glass of pinot noir for the two of us, and the total came to about $65 (or was it $69?) after tip.

Bellagio .  You HAVE to see this place! The fountain/music show in front of the hotel; the buffet breakfast ($18.50 on the weekends, $8.95 during the week - we had the same stuff Sunday and Monday, so weekdays are a really good value); Noodles , their Asian restaurant; and the shops, one of which had a necklace/earring/bracelet ensemble which was but a mere $800,000.00.


LHR/LGW/STN (London) (but don't accidentally
book a trip to STN unless you know where that airport is!)

Waitrose Grocery Stores, various locations. GREAT ice cream!  Jill introduced us to Banoffee (sp?), a banana-toffee concoction that was every bit as rich as Häagen Dazs.

The Sea-Shell, 49-51 Lisson Grove, NW1, 0171.723.8703, off Marylebone Rd.  Good fish & chips place.

OXO Tower Restaurant, OXO Tower Wharf Barge House Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH, 020.7803.3888, F: .3838,  We all (Jill, Trevor, Peter & I) liked the Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I think the Polenta and Ravioli also made that list.

Usha Tandoori Restaurant, 10 Queen's Parade, Queens Drive, London W5 3HU, 0181-997 0210/8419 (looks odd to me, too).  Our friends Jill & Trevor took us to this place in Ealing; enjoyable and reasonable, particularly for London! Only drawback: The papadam tasted like it had been cooked in not-so-fresh oil.

Recommendations from Ravi: Alister Little - Fabulous Food at not too high prices. The chef goes to the market every day and decides the menu based on what's freshest and best. Consequently the menu changes every day. 49 Frith Street (Off Shaftsbury Avenue) 0171-734-5183.
Mulligans of Mayfair (Irish food) - Excellent food but high prices. They have a great selection of Irish Whiskeys. 13/14 Cork Street, Mayfair. Tel. 0171-409-1370

Farm W5, Fresh British Farm Food, 84 St. Mary's Road, Ealing W5 5EX, (020) 8566 1965, Tu-Sa 10-7, Su 10-1.  Jill (LHR) took us to this shop which has organic seasonal vegetables & fruit, artisan cheeses, org. meat & game, farmhouse bread, org. ice cream & frozen yogurt, and free range eggs.

Organic World, 0208.940.0414, 23 Friars Stile Rd, Tube: Richmond Station or Bus 371 (or 3711?).  Can't remember what I bought here now; it was one of the shops where our friend Jill took us.

MSP (Minneapolis)

The Moghals , surprisingly delicious Indian (with - if I remember correctly - Bangladeshi tendencies) restaurant on W. Lake Street.

From Scot in MSP: I have a DELICIOUS recommendation for a charming meal in MSP (actually in Downtown St Paul).  Trattoria daVinci... delightful... the gnocchi in choice of sauce ( i had the pesto) was a surprisingly good.  But the best of all was there sorbet.  With the choice of Coconut, Lemon, Peach or Tangerine, I went with the Coconut.. which was served frozen in half a coconut shell.  The peach (ordered by my compnaion) was served in a frozen hollowed peach.  I believe the trend continues in all the flavors.... And.. I got to keep the shell :)

The Wedge Co-Op , 2105 Lyndale Avenue South, 612.871.3993. Nice health food co-op in Minneapolis.  MSP is not known for its food, but you can get some good breads here; hopefully, they still carry Sonny's Ice Cream.   (If anyone sees/hears about Jennifer from Colorado and San Francisco and... let me know.  I used to work with her there and lost track of her.)

Sonny's Ice Cream is no longer available at their own store, but you can still get it at the Wedge Co-Op .

There was this horrid, allegedly Italian restaurant on Hennepin not far from the 90s called Cafe di Napoli. I complained about my pasta dish (it has to be pretty damn bad for me to say something), and was basically told that that was the way they'd been doing it for years.

MSY (New Orleans)

NRT (Tokyo) (and one place in KIX (Osaka))

From Will in SFO/SJC: Midori Sushi , voted best value in Tokyo.  I think it's in the Shinjuku area, but I'm not sure of the address.  The line to get in was about an hour long (we got there early), and it was the one night of the week when the "all-you-can-eat" special was in full gear.  The main restaurant has several small branches on the same block, and all have the same special "all-you-can-eat" special on Monday nights, so they are all pretty crowded unless you arrive early.  The restaurants are within 1/2 block of a train station, so it should be easy to find for anyone who knows how to read Kanji.  The sushi is famous because instead of the meat just fitting neatly on top of the rice, it draped over both sides of the sushi rice (roughly 2-3 times the raw fish of a normal sushi item).  I even tried the sea urchin, which most westerners consider yucky, but I had two pieces and kind of liked it.

Devon Steak, in Osaka.  Jeffrey Steingarten mentions this restaurant in the "Where's The Wagyu?" chapter of "The Man Who Ate Everything" (thank you Brigid for introducing me to his writing!).

OMA (Omaha)

I can't remember how exactly I got this link for dining in OMA , and I can't say a thing about any of the places on there, but if you're in OMA, well, there can't be that many other resources available!  :-)

PHX (Phoenix/Scottsdale)

Recommendation from Geri in ORD: "found a great Thai restaurant in Scottsdale - Malee's on Main in the Old Scottsdale area that has great art galleries - great wide noodle, chicken, broccoli dish."  She said it has a huge menu, too.

PHL (Philadelphia)

From David in PHL: The Marriott Courtyard in Philadelphia is a cut above the standard Courtyard. It is across the street from the Marriott at the Convention Center, has better views, and is in a renovated 1920's City Hall Annex-beautifully restored, great public rooms, use of Marriot facilities, and with one of the few arcaded walkways in the City.

PIT (Pittsburgh)

(Hope to visit soon and have something to put here.  For now: Information on the airport from OAG and PIT's Official Site .)

SAN (San Diego)

Bombay Express, 1417 University Avenue, 619.296.2425.  Decent little Indian place in the Hillcrest area.  I can't remember what Megan and I had.

SFO (San Francisco & Wine Country)

TYS (Knoxville/Crossville)

WAS/DCA/BWI/IAD (Washington/National/Baltimore/Dulles)

WAW (Warsaw)

YYZ? (Montreal)

Marche Bonsecours: Forget, chocolate pastry shop.  I found this bit of data scribbled on a bit of paper - have no idea who gave me the info., but if anyone runs across this place, do let me know how it is!


Flags courtesy of ITA 's Flags of All Countries .

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