Isabelle et Vincent

1903 Post RdFairfield, CT 06824 • (203) 292-8022 • isabelleetvincent.com

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I’m not sure what people are smoking, handing out stars to this place like it’s the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Maybe it’s the baguettes? I mean they are good, but not sure they’re worth smoking. What I am sure of is that the rest of the stuff isn’t even worth eating. The croissants are doughy, not flaky. The chocolate isn’t even partially melted in the chocolate croissant and the marzipan in the almond croissant tastes like actual paste. Oh, and the pain raisin doesn’t even hold up to an Au Bon Pain.

Yes, I know the chef is French, but it’s not like being French automatically makes you a good baker anymore than being American makes you automatically shitty at electing presidents. So my advice, for much better croissants just up the road, I definitely recommend SONO Baking Company over this place. Their croissants aren’t amazing either, but they are far superior to Isabelle’s. That said, if you truly want to taste the croissant mastery of a French baker head to La Tulipe in Mt. Kisco where I used to live (wistful sigh). Their croissants are so good we almost didn’t move.

My mother always told me to try to find something nice in everything though, so I will say that there is a semi decent vanilla bean and chocolate pastry amongst the losers and shockingly enough, they do have some winners, their wide selection of baguettes, which I mentioned above. We tried the parmesan and thyme and it is money. Not sure I’d ever make a special trip just for that, but it’s the only thing I will ever buy there if I return.

2 teeth

Ariel Sands

34 Shore Road Devonshire P.O. Box 334 Hamilton HM BX, Bermuda • +1 441-236-1010 • arielsands.com

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The hotel is owned in part by the Douglas family. As in Michael Douglas. As in the actor. As in why you’ll see photos of him and Catherine Zeta Jones on the walls around the hotel and all over the website. But don’t let that sway you into thinking this place is a Hollywood gimmick. It’s actually quite charming and dare I say, a bit understated. It’s also very authentic, with it’s colorful, icing-topped bungalows.

But posh it isn’t, so should you choose to stay here, don’t expect anything glorious. Scratch that. Don’t expect anything glorious from the hotel. The restaurant, however serves up a glorious codfish and potato breakfast (pictured). It looks bizarre, no doubt, but somehow it all just works, especially when you mix it all together into a crazy delicious mush complete with spicy tomatoes, avocado and onions.

Unfortunately that was the only meal I had here though, so I can’t speak about much else on the menu. But even so, l will say that it was the best meal I’ve had in Bermuda, both trips combine (which includes a dinner at the widely acclaimed Four Ways), and all meal occasions considered. But don’t just take it from me, take it from the highly aggressive sparrows that will try to steal it right off of your plate should you dare let down your guard between bites.

Oh, the ocean view from the restaurant is mighty impressive as well.

4 teeth

 

Rosa Mexicano

61 Columbus Ave. New York, NY 10023 • (212) 977-7700 • rosamexicano.com

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I’ve been going to Rosa for years. All three locations in the city, and multiple times at that. So I think it’s fair to say that we have some history together. And while there are many things I still love about Rosa, like any long-term relationship, we’ve had our rocky times as well.

The first time we met, I was instantly smitten by her fresh-made guacamole right there table-side. But this was back in the day before Dos Caminos and virtually every other Mexican joint copied them. Since then, however, I’ve learned a trick or two on how to spice things up, literally. Although the innuendo does work nicely. So, if you’re like me and you want more heat in your heat in your guac, you can ask them to double or even triple the chopped jalapeno count in the bowl. And if you’re into oral masochism, again like me, you can even ask that they go in the back and grab some habaneros instead, to give it more kick than a mule with a soccer fetish.

But man cannot live on guac alone, and fortunately Rosa does many other things very well. Some classics like empanadas, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and poblano dishes, and some with a modern twist, like their skirt steak sandwich on ciabatta with caramelized onions and cojita cheese or their incredible bunuelos served with chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces that make them even more ridiculously addictive than they already are (a borderline Ultimate Doughnut).

Sounds like a Hollywood romance, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t always that way. A while back at their Upper West-ish/Hell’s Kitchen location, I took my cousin and his fiance who were in town for a visit. And let’s just say Rosa treated us like mierda. First they made us wait at the bar for about 45 minutes for our table, and that’s with having a reservation. Fortunately, they have great drinks, but the bar was so over crowded it felt more like being on the subway at rush hour with a margarita in your hand.

Then, once seated, we naturally ordered the fresh made guac, and everything was going deliciously as always… That is, until the entrees came. When a few of us ordered the paella risotto, and while it was tasty for the first several bites, it was also filled with shards of PLASTIC!!! Yes, several bits of plastic were mixed all throughout the dish. And when we told the waiter, they literally did nothing about it! They didn’t comp a single dish. The manager didn’t even come over apologize. Nothing. And just like that they lost a customer for over almost a decade.

However, forgiveness is divine, as they say, and a few years back I decided to let Rosa back into my life. The one near Union Square. And slowly but surely, she earned my trust back and we have been together happily ever since… end scene.

3 teeth

 

The Ivy

113 N Robertson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90048 • (310) 274-8303 • theivyrestaurants.com
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The valet parking is more impressive than the restaurant, hence the reason I chose the picture above. You get to see just about every exotic sports car on the planet, as well as a guaranteed star sighting. But if it’s food you’ve come for forget it. Nothing is worth mention. So mediocre I find it shocking that Hollywood royalty still bothers to eat here when they have the means to eat at far more expensive and exclusive restaurants. I can only assume that they do it because they are narcissistic and like being seen in vehicles that cost more than most people make in a year. Or maybe it’s contractual with their agents? Maybe they just like the shopping on Robertson and no one has told them yet that Newsroom Cafe across the street is WAY better? Whatever the case, my advice to you, unless you’re hoping to photo bomb a shot of Ryan Seacrest in People Magazine, don’t eat here. You can see everything you need to see simply by walking down the sidewalk. The cars are all parked out front on the street and the celebs are all sitting outside, just on the other side of that white picket fence.

2 teeth

Giorgio Baldi

114 W Channel Rd. Santa Monica, CA 90402(310) 573-1660giorgiobaldi.us

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I know it’s probably blasphemous to say this, but I honestly find LA to have better high end Italian restaurants than NYC. Now with that said, Giorgio Baldi is not among them.

Terrible service. Rude and affected. Which would’ve been semi-tolerable had the food at least been worth the abuse, but in all fairness there are so many other great Italian options in Santa Monica alone, that I’m not sure why anyone would ever bother with a blowhard like Giorgio’s? I assume the prima donna’s there are doing it because Hollywood royalty eats there. Whatevs. It’s LA baby. Hollywood royalty eats everywhere. So lose the tude pisan!

Not one dish we had was memorable. Whereas places like Capo, Via Veneto, Piccolo and even Valentino’s all managed to wow far moreso than Blah-di’s.

2 teeth