Browsing Tag

dining out


On The Road iPhone/iPad App from Food Network

food network on the road app

food network on the road app

US Fans of in Food Network will be glad to know about this new free iPhone and iPad app. There are roughly 3,000 U.S. restaurants, food trucks and hot spots that you can search by chef, TV show, city, type of food from Food Network On The Road app.

food network on the road app search by chef

The app can help you decide where to eat next in your home town or to plan a road trip. As you would expect from that type of app, there is a badge system, a la Foursquare.

At first glimpse, Food Network have decided to tap into their huge content database to bring added value to its audience. You can download the app at the Apple store.

Have you tried Food Network On The Road, yet? Will you download the app? Does it appeal to you?


Food Truck Lunch: Takoyaki Montreal and La Mangeoire

takoyaki montreal

takoyaki montreal

Since the Souk at Juste pour Rire is filled with gourmet food trucks, containers and fishing cabins, I decided to make the best of it by having lunch there. Today, I stopped by two food stands.

mushroom or octopus japanese balls

I started my meal with a trio of Japanese balls. My husband ordered the octopus balls while I opted for the mushroom balls. I enjoyed them both. The balls are covered with Japanese crepes topped with mayonnaise, sauce and bento flakes. Delicious!

la mangeoire cocotte sandwich

Then, I ate a sandwich from another newcomer to the food truck Montreal scene: La Mangeoire. Their menu has 4 sandwiches made on order. I ate Cocotte, which is a grilled chicken sandwich with tomato confit and a kale pesto. That was a hit with a glass of iced green tea with lemongrass.

Until July 28th, I plan to try more places for lunch. The souk at Juste pour Rire is located in front of the Complexe Desjardins on Sainte-Catherine Street ouest between Place Des Arts main entrance and Saint-Urbain Street.


Friendly to Kids: Family Stays and Teaching Good Behaviour at the Table

family stays

family stays

By design, boutique hotels try to raise the bar in hospitality. Since I became a mom, I look for services that I never considered before. A lot of hotels claimed to be family-friendly but, unless you go to a family resort, the list of family services often stops at providing a crib on request, having a video game console in the room and a few other basic things.

I never stayed at the Kensington Hotel but I like how they described their family stays with milk and cookies on turn down, children’s magazines in the room, children’s concierge services, and a list of free activities that your kids can do near the hotel.

An Unusual Complimentary Class

What caught more my attention is a new activity they recently hosted. With the help of an etiquette expert, the Kensington Hotel hosted two Petite Etiquette classesto teach children aged between five and ten a few basic table manners. I read mixed reviews about the classes with the main complaint being that some part of the lessons were old-fashioned.  Having said that, no one will complain if you arrive at a restaurant with a polite kid. I doubt that an one hour class would be the answer parents are looking for but parents may get ideas of where to concentrate the re-education of their kids.

My Views on Learning Good Table Habits

Personally, I feel that a child’s table habits education starts at birth. In our home, all members of the family leave the table at the same time. Both my husband and I want to make sure that our son knows it.

Our first goal was to teach Zack to be patient at the table.  Since day one, Zack sat with us the entire dinner. This is part of the dining ritual at our house. I believe in one simple rule: eating time is not playing time. Many nights a week, I cook a meal that my toddler son can eat by himself; he likes his independence. If he only plays with his plate or throws food on the floor, it’s the cue that he is done eating. Most of the time, his arm movements tell us that he is full. Then, my son sits in his high chair until my husband and I finished our meal. We entertain our son by bringing him a little toy and by chatting to him. So far, my technique works. I received compliments from waiters at restaurants that are not typical places for toddlers. It seems that my son likes stylish living as much as I do.

Now it’s your turn to share your insights or wishes. Do you have any tips about teaching kids good table habits? Which services make or would make an hotel stay awesome for young children? What was the best travel experience you had as a young family?

SOURCING: + photos: family stays and Kensington Hotel Petite Etiquette Class


Tree Pod in Thailand Delivers the Ultimate Dining Experience

Tree Pod Dining at a six senses hotel in thailand

I can’t imagine a more romantic place to eat than to be on a tree pod perched 16 feet over the rainforest ground. You can  have a taste of this unique dining experience if you stay at the luxury Soneva Kiri resort by Six Senses in Thailand.

Raising the Tree Pod :: Soneva Kiri by Six Senses

The rigid woven rattan frame can sit up to 4 guests for dining. You board the tree pod dining on the ground before they elevated it. Waiters will serve you food and drinks by flying over with a zip line. And you get an exquisite view of the ocean.

Tree Pod Dining flying waiter

+ Tree Pod Dining at Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand – photos by Cat Vinton
+ via Materialicious


Gender Equally Discussion in Restaurant Service

dining out etiquette

Frank Bruni of The New York Times published a worth reading article about gender equally and old gender roles at dinner.

I am not talking about business meals where the rule should follow the business relationships and not the gender. What I have to say applies to social meals. The distinction between business and social events require more skills from servers. I admit that it is not an easy job but servers need to pay attention; they need to read the table.

Since my youth, I have been a defender of women rights for equality. But I also recognized that men and women have different tastes and expectations. I believe that many etiquette rules could prevail in our modern society without diminishing women. Called it chivalry if you like, I see it as a matter of savoir vivre.

As I grow older, I came to appreciate the value of old-fashioned good manners. Frankly, , some rules make my life easier. I look at them as a way to delegate. I take advantage of it, whenever it suits my mood. Everybody knows that I am a career woman; so I do not feel the need to prove anything to anybody.

Modernized Service

I go to restaurants to be pampered and feel special. I believe that servers should still follow the traditional etiquette of attending to the women at a table before the men, unless it is a large group. When I go for a burger or a pizza, I am less picky about the rule.

I condemn restaurants and/or servers that lower the level of services for an all-women table. Restaurants should not assume that women have necessary less money or will leave less tips. I demand that a server remembers who gave the credit card or read the name before putting it back on the table. A server who gave my card to my men companion will receive a lower tip.

Ordering wine is not a gender issue anymore. A server should not assume that the men will order the wine. The easiest way is to ask who wants the wine list or to leave the wine list in a neutral zone on the table. The person ordering the wine is the one who pays for it, unless specify otherwise. If you order a bottle of wine, the server will ask you to taste it first and you will be served last.

The Biggest Restaurant Service Offense On My Book

Sadly, North America restaurants and patrons fail to deliver on an elementary principle of etiquette. The biggest no no in restaurant service is when a server removes the plates at a table before everyone has finished eating the course. This basic rule should apply whether you eat at a corner restaurant or in a upscale restaurant. Efficacy or your personal well being cannot justify this lack of good manner. I hate this habit.

The NY Times article covers all aspects including the menu selection. Over 260 comments have been posted. How do you feel about that gender equality in restaurant services? Do you have any good or bad restaurant service experience that you wish to share with us?

+ Images by Kim Vallee from restaurants I visited – rights reserved


Lisa Kothari’s City Guide

original starbuck :: asian art museum :: trophy cupcakes :: monsoon :: lark

Here is the part 2 of my interview with Lisa Kothari, the founder and CEO of Peppers and Pollywogs.

AHWKV: When we travel, it is best to know the places where the residents hang out. Tell us about your favorites places in SEATTLE.

Lisa: Seattle is the home of Starbucks, and the original Starbucks is located in the famous Pike Place Market; try and get there to not only stroll the market, but to see where Starbucks all began. No matter what, though, have coffee at any of the vast number of coffee shops around town. My favorites are Café Verite and Uptown Espresso; there are multiple locations around town!

Seattle is also one of the most literate cities in the US, and so definitely check out a famous bookstore in Pioneer Square, Elliot Bay Book Company. This is a great bookstore with lots of local authors passing through and speaking on their latest books.

Visit Volunteer Park for a lovely stroll, a great view of the Space Needle, and to take in the collection at the Asian Art Museum. Many locals walk their dogs here, play tennis, and just enjoy the grounds on a beautiful day!

ATWKV: What is your favorite cupcake shop in SEATTLE?

Lisa: Seattle has seen an explosion in specialty cupcake stores, and Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford is the star! Stop in for a delightful cupcake and don’t forget the coffee! The owner was recently featured on Martha Stewart’s show during cupcake week too. Really unique flavors too!

ATHKV: Which restaurants in SEATTLE serve the best brunch?

Lisa: Monsoon in Capitol Hill is really wonderful. It is a French-Vietnamese restaurant and so it offers a colonial menu of traditional eggs and waffles, as well as wonderful tasty Dim Sum and Vietnamese menu as well. I particularly like the Daikon Cakes and Congee. Diverse menu in an atmosphere that is sophisticated and family-friendly all at once.

ATHKV: Which restaurant do you prefer for a romantic evening?

Lisa: Lark is just so lovely on Capitol Hill. Fresh produce, small dishes, lovely ambiance.and no reservations! Pick an off-night or go early!

ATHKV: What are the best places for dinner?

Lisa: In Seattle, you really can’t go wrong with the Tom Douglas group of restaurants. A local famous chef, Tom has a series of restaurants that range in different types of foods, some fancy, some casual, that utilize the fresh flavors of the northwest and deliver time and time again. I love Serious Pie for a taste of gourmet pizza.the sausage pizza is so yummy!

Places in Seattle

If you are familiar with Seattle, share your favorite spots on my Places.
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Dine on Design Extravaganza

dine on design at monkeytown :: notcot

As I read the outline of this amazing culinary event integrating art and design every steps of the way, I felt some envy for the NOTCOT team that went to Monkeytown for the Dine on Design event.

I wrote down this address for my next visit on the Big Apple. Monkeytown is in Brooklyn, New York.

The most intriguing is the Back Screening/Dining Room where Monkeytown hosted performances with a meal. The back dining room has 4 large screens connected to a surround sound for multimedia performances. Communal seating for 50 persons adds warmth to the place.

Ultimate Integration Of Design And Performance In A Meal

Dine on Design paired dining and design in short-lived gastronomic events where designers, artists, chefs and performers are able to present new and event specific work in a dynamic setting.

Performances change all the times like an exhibit. The one that NOTCOT attended lasted 3 nights in May.

I do not want to say too much; I left the honor to NOTCOT. But I will give you a hint about how cool and unique the food presentation was. The bread was served as a lampshade designed by Kimberly Hu. She imagined a lighted ice cream scoop to dish the smoked sea salt butter. Other items were humorous like the tablecloths/bibs.

I love too much tableware to not mention this plate with a removable bowl designed by Daina Platais. This is a great piece for entertaining.Unfortunately, I did not find the plate and bowl set on the Web site of Daina Platais.

By readings the report by NOTCOT, you will discover that every detail from tableware to the food plating has an artistic twist. The 8-course menu sounded tasty too. I wish I could have been there.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Dine on Design at Monkeytown – May 16 to 18,2008
Via: ICFF: Dine On Design- 06.15.08 [NOTCOT]