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We spent the morning in Vacherie, touring the Oak Alley and Whitney plantations for two vastly different experiences. Oak Alley is stunning – the picturesque row of huge oaks lining the front entrance to the main house is a sight to behold. The tour focuses on the lives of the plantation owners – the guides are dressed in historical costumes and go to great length to make visitors feel like they are being transported back in time to the period. Mint juleps are served on the porch to the throngs of tourists wandering by.
Dead and gone to seafood heaven. That’s what happened to us when we visited Swan Oyster Depot in SF a couple weeks ago. The 100 year old SF institution is known for its insanely fresh raw bar offerings, the casual and informal dining style and the long lines of locals and tourists eagerly waiting to get a taste. Named by the James Beard Foundation as an American Classic in 2000 and featured by Anthony Bourdain on The Layover, the restaurant receives hundreds of visitors a day that come from far and wide.
It’s not often you arrive at a restaurant and find out your server has been with the group for over 6 years. This was the case at Sushi Taxi, a restaurant group that has been around since the dawn of Quebec sushi
Le Serpent is Montreal’s newest restaurant from owners Hubert Marsolais and Claude Pelletier of Club Chasse et Pêche and Le Filet. Given the management’s pedigree – Le Serpent has a considerable amount of hype and expectation behind it already.
Crossing the bridge into Montreal’s most prized summer event, Oysterfest, feels like the perfect way to culminate months spent tipsy and sunburnt. From afar, Ye’s N*ggas in Paris is heard fading into a remix of JT’s Suit & Tie. Before even encountering an oyster, there’s a sense of bougie aphrodisia.
Tsukiji Fish Market is the central hub for the buying and selling of fish and seafood in Tokyo. Anything that lives in the sea can be found here – from above average quality to the most premium sashimi grade kind of stuff that is not only hard to find but costs an arm and a leg too. There are also fish auctions that are held here. If you’ve seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the scene where Jiro’s son attends the tuna auction at the market is pretty spot on.
Overlooking the park, restaurant Le Filet is situated in a beautiful spot. Fully equipped with a small terrace for warmer days, the restaurant embodies haute cuisine in almost every way thanks to the careful attention to detail in the meticulous presentation of food, the well-trained servers and the overall decor of the place. Walking in, you immediately notice the long bar, the open kitchen closer to the back and the mesmerizing three-dimensional photographs of seafood, illuminated by a backlight behind the bar. Very cool.
One of the best fresh seafood eateries in town, hands down. With no menu, the food offerings vary depending on what’s in stock. Diners walk to the back of the Poissonnerie et Restaurant Rayan, pick out the fish they want and order it done the way they’d like – grilled, baked or fried. We started with a big plate of salad and a few dozen grilled shrimp with a tasty garlic sauce. Butterflied down the back with half the shell still on, we used our fingers and dug right in. We had a large plate of smelts and calamari, rubbed in garlic, salt and pepper. These were absolutely divine. I think the freshness of the product was key to the deliciousness of every plate. We also had some octopus doused in garlic sauce (same as in the shrimp dish). We loved it so much, we dipped our bread in the sauce to mop up the remaining juices. Mm, mm, mm.
Steps away from the financial district, Hakata Ramen has become a somewhat popular lunchtime spot for shoppers, passerbys and especially office workers of the Golden Square Mile. I know I saw more than a few suits coming in and out! The menu is surprisingly quite varied – the section of ramen was smaller than I had anticipated as the place is named after the noodles. No matter. We had three orders of the seafood ramen (lunchtime special!), a tenderous ribs ramen and one eel on hot stone. The seafood soup was apparently average – not bad, but not very good either. I had the rib ramen which I thought was quite nice as what they served really delivered on the ‘tenderous’ aspect. I got a lot of tendon in my bowl – which I love – that was soft and not chewy at all. Service was relatively fast and courteous and the place hardly makes a dent in your wallet. Not a bad place to consider going for a sit down lunch to catch up with a friend!
Yes, yet another all you can eat fancy buffet in Taipei, this one is within walking distance from the Dapinglin MRT station. The Splendor Hotel is particularly famous for its sashimi as well as its seafood section so that was one of the most consistently popular counters of the night. Particularly outstanding were the pig tail, (with the actual bone intact, you eat the meat around it), the frog legs and the moji for dessert. While the place does ask for a bit more cash for entry, it is well worth it – just check out the pictures – that should do the place some justice. The options as to what you can eat are endless!
Mundo Trattoria is probably the ‘hottest’ restaurant in the West Island – the place to see and be seen, if you’re into that. The outdoor seating area is limited (fits less than ten) but is quite pleasant to look at, what with an immaculately manicured patch of grass and perfectly trimmed bushes. The windows stretch up to the ceilings – at least twenty feet high, giving the restaurant the illusion of being bigger than it really is (not a bad thing).