Join Me in New Orleans!

The bartender's bartender, Chris Mcmillian and his Ramos Gin Fizz

The bartender’s bartender, Chris Mcmillian and his Ramos Gin Fizz

Gumbo, andouille, Sazerac, cochon, po’boy, second line, creole, boucherie, Ramos Gin Fizz, muffaletta, fried chicken, tasso, crawfish, bahn mi, oysters, redfish, jazz, tiki, boudin, gulf shrimp, Cajun’, Frenchman Street, bayou, French Quarter, Zydeco, beignets – if these words don’t get you salivating, check your pulse! These words and others represent some of the wonderful culture that is found in the very special and unique American city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Experience the people, food, booze, music and sights of NOLA! If you’ve never been, come Travel With Doc Culinary Insights Tours and get a crash course in some of the very best that the city has to offer and if you have been, come experience it as you most likely never have before! I’ll be leading a culinary excursion to the Crescent City at the end of March, 2017, along with travel and distillery expert, Charles Grabitzky of Travel Directions and The Still Trippers. We are working closely with star chefs Alex Harrell of Angeline and Michael Gulotta of Mopho to create a very special experience crammed into four amazing nights at the newly refurbished Ponchartrain Hotel on classic St. Charles Avenue. This is an intimate, small group trip. Space is very limited, so don’t hesitate! Details and sign-up here.


Posted in Bistronomic, Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Hotels, New Orleans, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Southern Food & Cooking, The Southern USA, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Brilliance of Damon Baehrel

img_0195Make no mistake – chef/owner Damon Baehrel of his eponymous restaurant is an accomplished cook. His food is good, very good, but neither he nor his restaurant are brilliant because his food is revelatory or life changing. Delicious? Mostly, yes. Sublime? Here and there. In and of itself, from a purely culinary taste experience, worth the tariff? I can’t honestly say yes. From this perspective alone, not even close. A unique, somewhat bizarre, but ultimately enjoyable dining experience? I’m glad I went. The real brilliance of the chef and the restaurant comes in the form of how he has constructed the total package of the visit. This is dinner as theater with the show starting well before the arrival of the diners. Continue reading


Posted in Cheese, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Musings, Restaurants, Upstate NY, Wine | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

London Called – Day Four – Part 2 – Nightlife at Nightjar

Nightjar 129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB, UK www.barnightjar.com +44 20 7253 4101

Nightjar
129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB, UK
www.barnightjar.com
+44 20 7253 4101

It had been a helluva great day in Seasalter and Whitstable. The nice thing about the train was that it was very convenient for a quick nap. That was necessary since we had a reservation for the evening at Nightjar, one of the London bars I had most wanted to visit, especially since it was conveniently located within an easy walk of our apartment. It took longer to return than we had anticipated, but we managed to make it to the nightclub in time to claim our reservation. Continue reading


Posted in Cocktails & Libations, Food and Drink, Great Britain, Places, Top Tastes, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day Four – Part 1 – A Day Out of London – The Sportsman – A Genuine Delight

The Sportsman Shepherd Neame Faversham Rd, Seasalter, Whitstable CT5 4BP, UK www.thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk +44 1227 273370

The Sportsman
Shepherd Neame
Faversham Rd, Seasalter, Whitstable CT5 4BP, UK
www.thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk
+44 1227 273370

It has held a high spot on my Restaurant Wish List for years, ever since I first heard of it during the heyday of eGullet over a decade ago. The reports I had heard and the photos I had seen depicted a very special, old world place. The food was never really too fancy and the setting was never described as over the top luxury. Those things were never the base attraction though the food was fancy enough and the restaurant quite comfortable without pretension. The place, along the Thames estuary, was beautiful enough and the food was always prepared with great skill, but it wasn’t either of those things specifically that attracted me (or others). Those elements certainly counted, but pretty places and good technique are abundant commodities in the high end restaurant world. The same can be true of high quality ingredients. Important? Absolutely! What made The Sportsman, a glorified gastropub under the umbrella of the Shepherd Neame brewery, located in the hamlet of Seasalter near the coastal town of Whitstable, such an attractive destination was the fact that it appeared to be the perfect restaurant for its location. Continue reading


Posted in Cheese, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Great Britain, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Top Restaurant Meals, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Called – Travels With Doc – Day Three – Ozone, Gymkhana, Sipsmith & Noble Rot

Ozone Coffee Roasters 11 Leonard St, London EC2A 4AQ, UK www.ozonecoffee.co.uk +44 20 7490 1039

Ozone Coffee Roasters
11 Leonard St, London EC2A 4AQ, UK
www.ozonecoffee.co.uk
+44 20 7490 1039

We had a little trouble getting going in the morning and so had to rush a bit. That meant no sit down to savor a nice cup of coffee. Instead, we stopped on our way to the Underground at the very busy Ozone Coffee Roasters and got take-out. It’s a big place and a nice place with plenty of seats and their own in-house roasting facility. It would have been nice to linger, but I took my nicely made double espresso and downed it. Continue reading


Posted in Bistronomic, Cheese, Cocktails & Libations, Coffee, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Great Britain, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Called – Travels With Doc – Day Two – Brooklyn, Gunpowder, Bar Termini & Lyle’s

20160801untitled-EF28-90mm f-4-5.6BU4A0786086By the time we returned to our apartment the prior evening, we were thoroughly and ridiculously exhausted, though quite content from a superb first day of the trip. That contentment spilled over into a fine night’s sleep and the next day we arose reasonably refreshed. That sleep, however, neither dispelled a need nor a desire for coffee. Prior to the trip, I asked my friend, coffee savant and Drift publisher, Adam Goldberg, if he would recommend coffee houses in London. The one he specifically pointed to was Brooklyn Coffee, which was located not too far from the apartment and along the path we would take to our first destination of the day. Continue reading


Posted in Architecture, Bistronomic, Cheese, Cocktails & Libations, Coffee, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Great Britain, Pastry, Places, Restaurants, Slow Food, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Called – Travels With Doc – Day One – Origin, Dandelyan & Dishoom

IMG_5880London called. They said, now is a great time to come see me with this Brexit thing and so on. The value of your dollar has not been better in a long, long time. Hmmm, I said. You are quite right! Jolly good! Arrangements were made to put together and lead a private trip and the time arrived. Continue reading


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Raising the Bar at Betony

 

Betony 41 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019 betony-nyc.com (212) 465-2400Restaurants often get a bad rap as cocktail bars and frequently that is a valid criticism. That said, some of my favorite places to enjoy well conceived, constructed and craveable cocktails  is in restaurants and NYC happens to be home to a number of them – places like Eleven Madison Park, The NoMad, Estela, Cosme and Mission Chinese to name a few. Those places combine wonderful, delicious cocktails with great food. Another restaurant that clearly belongs on my list of favorites combining spectacular cocktails with sensational food, and maybe at the very top of this list, is Betony in mid-town Manhattan. I have previously written about the restaurant, it’s dedication to details such as clear ice and how they make what may be their signature cocktail, the Milk Punch. Eamon Rockey and chef Bryce Shuman have not been standing still, however, and continue to evolve and hone their respective crafts – Eamon in the front of the house including the bar program and Bryce the kitchen. I was recently invited to sample some of their recent work and I left blown away by what they’ve been doing (and just slightly inebriated). Continue reading


Posted in Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, New York City, Restaurants, Slow Food, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Interview With Albert Adrià

Albert Adrià at Tickets

Albert Adrià at Tickets

The world is full of excellent restaurants and excellent chefs, while a few rise above the rest to create consistently extraordinary experiences for their guests and produce food that fully transcends its basic nutritive purpose. It is an extraordinarily difficult endeavor to be successful at running just one restaurant, let alone a number of them. When a group of restaurants is totally distinct in concept one from another, yet all under the guidance of a single chef, it has to be even more difficult, if not impossible, especially when each of those restaurants is absolutely world class/ best of class level in its genre. Albert Adrià has been hailed as a creative genius over the years initially for his contributions both as the Pastry Chef and as one of the main creative forces behind the cuisine of elBulli. He left elBulli in 2006 to open Inopia, a casual restaurant in Barcelona. Though never fully divorced from elBulli, which closed its hallowed doors in 2011, Albert eventually closed Inopia and opened a series of restaurants in Barcelona and most recently in Ibiza, while also having just finished a pop-up in London. The 41º Experience, a cocktail bar extending the spirit of creativity of elBulli, was the first to open. It arrived in 2011 followed shortly thereafter by Tickets, a creative tapas bar, as the mothership began its historic wind down. With elBulli relegated to history, 41º evolved into a replacement of sorts before it evolved further into an even more involved concept, the soon to open Enigma. In the meantime, Albert opened Pakta, a Nikkei Peruvian-Japanese restaurant, Bodega 1900, a classic turn of the 20th Century Spanish vermuteria, whose cooking is both classic and not in the inimitable Albert Adrià fashion, and a combination of Mexican restaurants, the taqueria Niño Viejo and the fine dining Hoja SantaEach restaurant is absolutely extraordinary, producing delicious, beautiful and unique food that absolutely adheres to the spirit of its inspiration, yet all stamped with Adrià’s unrivaled creative touch. Each is amongst the best of its genre that I have ever experienced and each is amongst my very favorite restaurants anywhere. He has proven himself to be not just a genius pastry chef, but a genius chef period and perhaps, the world’s finest restaurateur. Below is the transcript of a brief interview that I recently had the honor and pleasure of conducting with him. Continue reading


Posted in Bistronomic, Culinary Personalities, Current Affairs, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Pastry, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doc & Gerry’s Jamón Ibérico Tour – Coming November 2016! Book Now!

BU4A0103

This is a part of Spain that most tourists don’t get to and that’s a real shame! This is mostly because to really experience the best of Spain’s southwest Jamón Ibérico country one has to really know where to go, whom to see and what is best to eat and drink. The rewards, however, are truly great as there is no better eating and drinking anywhere and the country is beautiful and full of history too! The good news is that Gerry and Doc know the right people and know the country. Come on this the second Docsconz Culinary Insider’s Tour of Spain featuring Mr. Spain, Gerry Dawes! Continue reading


Posted in Bistronomic, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Hotels, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment