eating out

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Brunch at Local 188 (Portland, Maine)

[Translate] Local 188 is a mainstay in Portland since 1999, originally located across the street from its current location, this laid-back eatery is one of the original farm-to-table trendsetters in the area with owner Jay Villani at the helm creating an innovative menu that draws on Spain and the Mediterranean. Local 188 has a relaxed, bohemian vibe with mismatched lounge furniture, including big, comfy couches and retro chairs. It’s a spacious restaurant that can accommodate a variety of needs – dinner, drinks, appetizers, late-night munching – and a mix of patrons. (more…)

Union Restaurant (Portland, ME)

[Translate] Union Restaurant is located within the Press Hotel, just across the street from Portland’s City Hall. It’s a beautiful and inviting, contemporary American farm-to-table restaurant led by Maine native Chef Josh Berry. The menu is thoughtfully designed and divided into broad categories of small plates, large plates, sides and on the bottom of the menu, must haves. We were informed by our waitress that all of the dishes err on the generously portioned. (more…)

Fantastic “New Indian” Fare at Badshah (NYC)

[Translate] We recently had a delicious dinner at Badshah in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a fairly new restaurant with Executive Chef Charles Mani, an alum of Babu Ji, and he was present throughout the entire evening we were there bringing out the food to various diners. He is an effusive, warm chef who deeply cares about how his food tastes and putting an ancient cuisine (Indian) and taking it in a different direction. We started off with drinks of Indian Rose and mango lassi. The latter is self explanatory and we appreciated the yogurt drink wasn’t too sweet but had enough..

Restaurant Lakasa (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] One of our dinners was at Lakasa in Chamberi. We were pretty excited for this dinner as we have heard good things about this restaurant that does cook according to the seasons and Chef César Martín and his team cooks meat very well (this is to appease one of my picky diners). This restaurant is a beautiful, open dining space with large windows and a large bar/lounge room when you enter. We sat by the windows and our waiter was thoughtful to leave us a tablet with the English version of its menu. (more…)

Tapas at Restaurante Jose Luis (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] We had one of those nights where we wanted to stay in close to our hotel, Barceló Emperatriz since it was a long day of sightseeing Madrid. Our concierge has suggested Restaurante Jose Luis for tapas and it’s about a ten-minute walk. An institution for over 50 years, Jose Luis has locations throughout Madrid, as well as in Sevilla and Barcelona. But the original is in the prestigious Calle Serrano in Madrid. A fashionable establishment of the 60’s, artists, writers, and professionals were drawn by the ambient and the large variety of tapas. Today’s crowd is a mix of..

Hermosos y Malditos (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] Hermosos y Malditos is located in Totem Hotel in the upscale Salamanca district of Madrid. Spanish for ‘The Beautiful and The Damned’, Hermosos y Maldito is a culinary hotspot that nods to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel, the morality tale, ‘The beautiful and damned’ about elite urban socialites, the decadent lost generation. Food, by Rodolfo de Bernardi and Nacho Tirado’s is health-conscious Mediterranean home-style cooking, while the damned comes in the form of a round-the-clock Prohibition-style bar, featuring a vast menu of classics along with bespoke creations by mixologist Fran Camino. The menu is an intelligent mix of Mediterranean..

Boconó Coffee (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] When I was researching for my trip to Madrid, I have realized there aren’t many specialized coffee shops in the city. Though coffee has long been ubiquitous in the city, it’s consistently been of poor quality–over-roasted and drenched in milk. Like many traditional European coffee markets, the idea of “third wave” is new to most locals. However, I have found Boconó on Plaza de Cascorro, at the start of the Rastro flea market. This coffee shop reminds me of most Brooklyn coffee shops – part hipster and cozy with the exposed brick and furniture and art pieces that are..

Lunch at Sobrino de Botín (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] Sobrino de Botín is one of the oldest restaurants in Madrid operating since 1725. First opened as an inn, the landmark eatery was founded by French cook Jean Botín and his wife. It is the world’s oldest restaurant according to the Guinness Book of Records. Today, Botín is famed for its rustic Castilian cuisine, including succulent roast meats fired in an wood-fired oven made of cast iron that’s close to 300 years old. Botín has four floors and the air of a traditional Spanish tavern. There are three dining rooms: the bodega (“cellar”), the Castilla room, and the Felipe..

Pasteis de Belém (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] One of the days when we were in Lisbon, we headed out to the historic town of Belém that’s about 30 minutes out west by tram. This particular town is picturesque and has the most important tourist attractions. Belem is situated on the northern banks of the River Tagus and from the ancient harbors of Belem, ships set sail around the world, and many of the 14th century “voyages of discovery” departed from here. The Belem Tower was constructed to guard Lisbon from sea bound attacks and was positioned in the centre of the Tejo Estuary but today, due..