Helpful ReplyHot!December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London

Page: 1234 > Showing page 1 of 4
Author
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
2018/12/27 23:47:15 (permalink)

December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London

December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, 
and Paris and London
 
Wednesday, December 5th
 
 
An opportunity came up for me a few weeks ago to go on a “pre-tour” for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for a European tour we will be going on in January, 2020. A pre-tour is done when we will be playing in a city outside the United States that we haven’t played before, or played in a long time, or if there has been an issue with any of the hotels we’ve been staying in. I’ve been on our tour committee for about 20 years and had never gone on one of these before (they don’t happen too often), but decided to go this time. Our little group consisted of only three of us, the CSO’S Director of Operations, Heidi Lukas, our travel agent, Guido Frackers, and me. Our destinations were Cologne, Paris, Lugano and Milan. We haven’t played in Cologne in about 20 years; the hotel we have stayed in for some time in Paris won’t be available; we will be playing in Lugano for the first time; and although we were in a good hotel in Milan in 2017, we will look at a couple of other hotels there. I also happened to have a week of rotation following the pre-tour and decided I would go to Paris and London for the week following the pre-tour. 
 
Heidi and I left Wednesday late afternoon for the flight to Frankfurt. Understandably, the CSO was not willing to pay for a business class seat, but I’ve gotten to a point in my long life that I just don’t want to travel in coach for a long flight, and it turned out I was able to upgrade the flight that was booked for me, using cash and miles. Considering I was going on a vacation after the pre-tour, I didn’t mind at all. 
The United Polaris business class lounge is very comfortable, and the food is quite good. I think it’s been improved since the last time I was in it, which was just a few days after it opened, before my last flight to Europe. 

 
A great lineup of cold cuts, mini sandwiches, cheese, some hot dishes, etc.

 
Gumbolaya, a cross between gumbo and jambalaya. 

 
Smoked salmon sandwiches.

 

 

 

 
While the business class seat is fairly comfortable, and the food on the plane is good, it’s actually a bit claustrophobic. Getting in and out of the aisle is awkward and a bit uncomfortable for business class. I was very happy to be there, but United really should have looked at some of the Asian airlines as they were redesigning their business class. The service was quite good and the flight attendants were very nice and helpful. 

 

 
Narrow getting in and out, but comfortable once you get in.

 
Red wine and warm mixed nuts.

 
Appetizer: Smoked duck, farro salad with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

 
Salad: Mixed greens, fennel, bell pepper, pomegranate seeds.

 
Main course: Seared beef short rib, wasabi grits and bok choy.

 

 

 
Dessert: a pretty bad mini apple pie.

 
Ice cream sundae with hot fudge and m&ms.

 
Breakfast: Omelet with herbed cream cheese, which I didn’t like, with sausage, potatoes, fruit, and a really mediocre croissant (not pictured, but I only took one bite).

 

 
 
.....much more to come.
 
(Photobucket has been acting very strangely which will make it much more difficult for me to complete this trip report.)
post edited by Davidsanders - 2018/12/31 13:47:25
#1
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 01:09:59 (permalink)
Thursday, December 6th
 
 
Our flight arrived more or less on time Thursday morning. After getting off the plane, I boarded the bus for the 10 or 15 minute ride from the plane to the front of the airport, and then continued with the 15 minute walk to customs and the baggage claim area. Heidi arrived a few minutes later, we got our bags and entered the public area, and there was Guido, waiting for us. He always instills a lot of confidence, because he always seems to know what he’s doing. There were a couple of trains to choose from depending on when we got our bags, so we got on the next one with just a few minutes to spare and headed to Cologne. It turns out that we haven’t played in Cologne since 2000, so it will be 20 years between visits. The train was delayed about a half an hour, so our schedule was a little off by the time we arrived and walked the five minutes from the train station to the Hilton Hotel. 

 

 
Not the nicest area.

 
Our hotel inspection began almost immediately and lasted over an hour. We were offered a couple of decent sandwiches and some cookies.

 

 
We ate a little, and went on to the next hotel, the Marriott. After about 45 minutes we walked past the Cathedral…..

 
..... and across the bridge to the Hyatt.

 
Thousands of locks attached to the bridge.

 
We had stayed at the Hyatt during our four previous visits to Cologne. This is a terrific hotel and was our hands-down favorite. The view of the Cathedral from the Hyatt across the river.

 
We still had one more hotel to check out, so we headed back across the river to the Dorint, formerly an Intercontinental. On the way we walked through one of the eight Christmas markets going on in the city during the holiday season. 

 

 
We hadn’t had much lunch, so we stopped at a wurst stand, and I had my first bratwurst. I had tasted them before, but never had my own. It was very good. 

 

 
Heidi with a bratwurst.

 
Me with two bratwursts (I’m holding Heidi’s while she takes the picture!).

 
We inspected the Dorint and then headed back to the Hilton, where we were staying the night. On the way, Guido took us to the food court in the basement of a department store. They had various little food stands, and we went to Gaffel Kolsch, where they had very good large and small glasses of beer, and sandwiches and snacks.

 

 
Guido, Heidi and I relax at the bar.

 
Guido ordered steak tartare, which he and Heidi shared. Guido was disappointed when I told him I don’t eat steak tartare.

 
Guido ordered me a cheese sandwich. The bread was excellent (as was the cheese).

 
Walking back to the Hilton it was now dark, and the Cathedral was spectacular. 

 
I spotted a bakery on the way that Guido had talked about earlier and stopped for a quick treat while Heidi and Guido went back to the hotel. We were meeting at 7:00 to walk to dinner, so I didn’t have a lot of time. 

 
They had a great selection of chocolates and other smaller pastries.

 

 

 
Their selection of tortes and pies was a bit limited, probably because of the late hour.

 
I had a very good piece of chocolate mousse cake. 

 

 
 
Café Reichard
Unter Fettenhennen 
http://www.cafe-reichard.de/index.html
 
 
In preparing for this trip I had looked at some German restaurants I thought we might try. But Guido knows the town very well, and he suggested a Turkish restaurant, which had been introduced to him by a friend of his, a Turkish driver that he uses while in Cologne. The place was amazing, and the portions humongous. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, even though they don’t serve alcohol.

 

 

 
Some spreads to start. 

 
A plate of pita bread.

 
A fabulous salad.

 
An immense platter of meat, rice and peppers.

 
 
 

 

 
Dessert was kanafeh, a traditional Arab dessert made with thin noodle-like pastry or semonila dough, soaked in syrup, and typically layered with cheese. 

 

 
Oz Harran Doy Doy
Weidengasse 28-34
Cologne
http://ozharran.idealdergisi.de
 
 
We ended the evening by going to the Ice Bar in the Hilton, where the bar actually is coated with ice. Interesting, and my beer was very good. 
 
 
Taken earlier in the day.

 

 

 
A nice end to a very long day.

 
 
..... much more to come.
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2018/12/28 01:42:05
#2
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
  • Total Posts : 13914
  • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
  • Location: Knoxville, TN,
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 07:13:58 (permalink)
A great write and well put together.  Thanks for sharing.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville TN
#3
buffetbuster
Fire Safety Admin
  • Total Posts : 12543
  • Joined: 2002/05/09 13:42:00
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 07:20:24 (permalink)
Your travels are inspiring David.  Love the photo with the bratwursts, since sometimes one just isn't emough.  Looking forward to more...
#4
will_work_4_bbq
Double Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 690
  • Joined: 2006/01/11 16:50:00
  • Location: Birmingham, AL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 08:23:58 (permalink)
Love it!  And there you go with finding the best sweets in any city!
#5
ScreamingChicken
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 9095
  • Joined: 2004/11/05 14:36:00
  • Location: Stoughton, WI
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 08:46:33 (permalink)
Davidsanders

 

One of these flights is not like the others, one of these flights just doesn't belong...
 
Does Guido ever get mistaken for Fred Armisen?
#6
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 08:47:58 (permalink)
Thanks Paul.
 
Thanks Lynn. There's lots and lots of pastries to come.
 
Thanks Cliff, being told by you that my travels are inspiring is like being told by Pablo Casals that my Bach is extraordinary. 
#7
ChiTownDiner
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 5394
  • Joined: 2006/07/09 10:58:00
  • Location: Westmont, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 09:22:18 (permalink)
David -
 
WOW!  Fantastic photos!  As a fellow Roadfooder, it's hard to believe your line about holding someone else's brats!  
 
Was a waiver granted from The SUltan for Non-Regionally Appropriate food and was a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Mr Rogo?  
 
You and I should split more Steak Tartare....I like my odds! 
 
Also....what hotel made the final cut...thinking the Hyatt?  
#8
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 09:35:06 (permalink)
Friday, December 7th
 
 
We got started with a very good early breakfast at the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 
My first plate: pretty good croissant, very good salami, scrambled eggs, cheese, hash browns, lox and bacon. 

 
After breakfast we checked out of the hotel and walked to the train station, catching the 8:44 train to Paris. The trip was very comfortable, and the 3 hours and 20 minutes passed quickly, especially since they served us breakfast and then a snack about an hour out of Paris. This was the “sweet” breakfast.

 
Close-up of the apple pastry.

 
The “savory” breakfast, which Heidi chose.

 
The snack before arrival in Paris.

 
Some kind of a custard with meringue, which I tasted. 

 
The impressive Gare du Nord in Paris.

 

 

 
Guido had arranged for a driver for us and off we went to the Hilton. It was quite a long trip, because traffic was very heavy. Once again, we started our hotel inspection almost immediately, which took about an hour. We then walked over to the Intercontinental, about 10 minutes or so away. It had started raining, so it was a bit uncomfortable. After the Intercontinental we went across the street and did the inspection for the Scribe Hotel.
 
After the Scribe, we went back to the Intercontinental and had lunch at the restaurant in the hotel, the well-known Café de la Paix. They told us that they would be closed the next day, Saturday, because of the planned protests. They were also boarding up all of their windows, because of all the damage the protesters had been doing. We had a very good lunch, while we discussed the pros and cons of the hotels we had seen so far. 

 
A beautiful room for this lovely restaurant.

 

 
Lots of possibilities.

 

 
The menu.

 
A small pre-appetizer. 

 
Heidi’s club sandwich and fries.

 
Guido’s steak tartare (also came with fries).

 
My terrific onion soup. I shared the fries, and also had a quarter of Heidi’s club sandwich.

 
The wonderful rolls and butter.

 
We shared a Succès noisette, a hazelnut and meringue layered buttercream cake, milk chocolate ganache and a praline crisp. As good as this looked, it was even better.

 
 
After lunch, Heidi and Guido went back to the Hilton, but I went off to one of my favorite patisseries in Paris, Sebastien Gaudard. It was almost closing time, and I was worried they wouldn’t have much to choose from. I got a croissant with some trepidation, realizing that it couldn’t possibly be as good as it was when I had been there in the late morning on my last trip in 2017. Unfortunately, I was right, and instead of being fantastic, it was just really good! The pastries that I had didn’t have any issues at all, and they were wonderful. 
 
Decorations along my walk.

 
 

 
Too much to choose from.

 
The wonderful apple tartelette. I had one on my last visit.

 
 
 

 

 

 
My (only) very good croissant.

 

 
My three pastries.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Sebastien Gaudard
1 Rue des Pyramides
http://www.sebastiengaudard.com
 
 
We went for a late dinner to Le Bistrot Paul Bert, a restaurant I had seen on the Food Channel, and had been to in 2017. It’s a wonderful little restaurant and we had a great dinner and a great time. 

 
It’s a very small restaurant with interesting rooms.

 

 
 
While we were waiting for our table, we ordered some champagne. (Click on link for video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndDqiTotKa4&feature=youtu.be
 
 
Heidi and Guido perusing the menu.

 
Mushroom combo starter.

 
Egg and truffles starter.

 
My half. This is not normally my kind of dish, because I normally don’t eat sunny-side up eggs, but it was very good.

 
A lovely salad.

 
Heidi’s filet de boeuf au poivre. I had had this in 2017 and it was great. And the piece that Heidi gave me was also wonderful.

 

 
Guido and I shared the Cote de Boeuf for two. It was normally prepared with Béarnaise sauce, which we had on the side, and also had a side of au poivre.

 

 
Excellent frites.

 
Fabulously creamy mashed potatoes.

 
Our three desserts, soufflé, floating island and choux pastry with chocolate cream.

 
 
Bistrot Paul Bert
18 rue Paul Bert
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bistro-paul-bert-paris
 
 
 
..... much more to come.
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2018/12/28 14:21:18
#9
ChiTownDiner
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 5394
  • Joined: 2006/07/09 10:58:00
  • Location: Westmont, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 09:39:14 (permalink)
Love your breakfast plate at the hotel.  Mine would be a duplicate of yours...just a bit heftier!  
#10
ScreamingChicken
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 9095
  • Joined: 2004/11/05 14:36:00
  • Location: Stoughton, WI
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 10:42:11 (permalink)
I wonder if any American Hiltons set out a breakfast spread like that!
#11
ChiTownDiner
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 5394
  • Joined: 2006/07/09 10:58:00
  • Location: Westmont, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 10:45:32 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken
I wonder if any American Hiltons set out a breakfast spread like that!




I've been to Hyatts that do but at a hefty price.  
#12
MetroplexJim
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 7247
  • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
  • Location: McKinney, TX
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 11:41:33 (permalink)
Beautiful photographs of magnificent foods. 
 
Simply wonderful.
#13
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 12:14:34 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2018/12/28 12:28:13
ChiTownDiner
Love your breakfast plate at the hotel.  Mine would be a duplicate of yours...just a bit heftier!  

Remember that it said my first plate......... (I guess I was too busy eating to take pictures of the other plates.)
#14
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 14:25:37 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2018/12/28 15:03:50
ChiTownDiner
David -
 
WOW!  Fantastic photos!  As a fellow Roadfooder, it's hard to believe your line about holding someone else's brats!  
Gregg, I just have no idea what you mean..............
 
Was a waiver granted from The SUltan for Non-Regionally Appropriate food and was a Certificate of Authenticity issued by Mr Rogo? 
No, I didn't have time for the waiver. It takes months and months.  I'll have to write to Mr. Rogo with a letter of apology for not checking with him first.
 
You and I should split more Steak Tartare....I like my odds! 
I'll take the bread, you can have the raw meat.
 
Also....what hotel made the final cut...thinking the Hyatt?  
Absolutely the Hyatt, hands down first choice.




post edited by Davidsanders - 2018/12/28 14:26:41
#15
ChiTownDiner
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 5394
  • Joined: 2006/07/09 10:58:00
  • Location: Westmont, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 14:26:52 (permalink)
Souffles are my weakness and so difficult to find truly authentic examples on menus nowadays.  Your Cote de Boeuf reminds me of a dish at Gibson's I've had a few times!  
#16
phlmaestro
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1010
  • Joined: 2006/03/15 13:32:00
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 14:56:41 (permalink)
Very nice! That custard-meringue pastry looks so up my alley.
 
By the way, I have a bet on a classical music message board over your next Music Director.  My money says that when Muti steps down, Honeck steps in.
 
Sorry to slip in a little music armchair quarterbacking.  I follow conductor moves like most people follow sports transactions.
#17
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 15:02:09 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner
Souffles are my weakness and so difficult to find truly authentic examples on menus nowadays.  Your Cote de Boeuf reminds me of a dish at Gibson's I've had a few times!  


A dish for one? I liked the filet better, but it was still great.
#18
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 15:03:19 (permalink)
phlmaestro
Very nice! That custard-meringue pastry looks so up my alley.
 
By the way, I have a bet on a classical music message board over your next Music Director.  My money says that when Muti steps down, Honeck steps in.
 
Sorry to slip in a little music armchair quarterbacking.  I follow conductor moves like most people follow sports transactions.


Interesting. What's your connection Mr. Maestro?
#19
phlmaestro
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1010
  • Joined: 2006/03/15 13:32:00
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 15:07:08 (permalink)
Davidsanders
phlmaestro
Very nice! That custard-meringue pastry looks so up my alley.
 
By the way, I have a bet on a classical music message board over your next Music Director.  My money says that when Muti steps down, Honeck steps in.
 
Sorry to slip in a little music armchair quarterbacking.  I follow conductor moves like most people follow sports transactions.


Interesting. What's your connection Mr. Maestro?




Just a big music fan. I started going to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts when Muti was here as extra credit for a music appreciation course I was taking at the time and it really connected for me. I've been a frequent concertgoer ever since and have seen you at both the Kimmel Center in Philly and Carnegie Hall.
#20
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 15:48:26 (permalink)
Saturday, December 8th
 
 
Saturday began early again, with breakfast at 6:30, as soon as they started serving. They seemed to be having some issues that early, and the water for my hot tea never got above lukewarm. The selections at the buffet didn’t compare to the breakfast the morning before in Cologne.

 

 

 

 
 
We left for the airport at 7 am, which was a good thing, because there was a steady stream of cars headed for Paris and the latest day of protests. We were lucky to have had our day in Paris scheduled for Friday, because many of the places around the hotel, including the restaurant we had lunch in, were boarding up their windows in preparation for the protests. At the airport while waiting to board we found the bakery chain Paul. We were waiting in line, but it was getting closer to boarding, so Heidi and I went to the boarding area and Guido stayed in the line to bring me back a few things, starting with the good croissant, much better than the one at the hotel breakfast.

 
This sweet roll was wonderfully sticky.

 

 

 
A Palmier, which is made with a dough similar to what is used for croissants, but without the yeast. It was quite good, and very crunchy.

 
 
We arrived at the Milan Malpensa airport at around 10:30, and after a few false starts with our rental car, we headed for Lugano. It’s a beautiful city, on Lake Lugano, between the mountains. We looked at two hotels, and at the second one we were offered a snack.

 
A very good sweet cherry and raspberry torte. 

 

 
We also visited the concert hall and met with the administrator. It is a smaller hall than most of the halls we play in, only seating about 1000. 

 

 
It’s very beautiful, but also touristy and very busy, with lots of traffic.

 

 

 

 
 
Guido had an appointment with an old friend, so Heidi and I went to dinner at a restaurant recommended by the hotel concierge. It was very good, but also fairly crowded, and there was live music and lots of people right outside, so it was a bit noisy. I thought we had salads, but since there are no pictures, I guess we didn’t?

 
Perfectly prepared al dente spaghetti with garlic and oil. 

 
An excellent spicy salami pizza.

 
 
Ristorante Tango
Piazza Riforma
Lugano
http://www.tango-ti.ch
 
 
We walked back to the hotel. A Christmas tree in the town square.

 
Lots of people out on a nice night.

 
Back at the hotel we ordered dessert in the lobby. This was a made to order chocolate cake, which we thought would have a molten center, but they must have overcooked it, because it didn’t. It was still pretty good.

 
The ice cream was good.

 
 
..... much more to come.
 
#21
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 16:36:35 (permalink)
Sunday, December 9th
 
 
We allowed ourselves a little more time in the morning before driving to Milan, because our first hotel visit wasn’t until 1 p.m. The view from my room in the early morning.

 

 

 
The breakfast was much better than the one in Paris the day before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Before leaving Lugano, we looked at one additional hotel, a hotel the administrator of the concert hall had recommended, because it is used by other visiting orchestras. 
 
 
After the approximately hour and a half drive to Milan, we checked into the hotel we had stayed in last time, and walked over to La Scala, where we will be playing our concert in 2020. Guido wanted to see how long it would take from the concert hall to the hotels we were looking at, since the hotel last time is walking distance to the hall, and the others we were going to look at are not. It was incredibly crowded in Galleria near the Duomo.

 
 
 

 
We looked at two very nice hotels in a different part of town than where we stayed the last time, much farther away from La Scala. We came back to the Duomo area, and once again Guido took us to a hidden gem of a food court on the top floor of a department store, directly across the street from the Cathedral. The restaurant he suggested for us, Obica, has a mozzarella bar, antipasto, and pizza, and we had some of each and shared. 

 

 
View of the Cathedral from the outside patio of the restaurant (too crowded to get a table).

 

 
It was an interesting pizza, with good flavor. I liked the olives. The very thin crust and style of tomato sauce they used was a bit odd for me, but I still liked it.

 
Guido’s five-mozzarella tasting plate. It was really wonderful.

 
Heidi’s antipasto platter, also wonderful.

 
 
Obricà Duomo Milan
Food Hall 7th Floor
Rinascente Piazza Duomo
http://www.obica.com/restaurants/milan-duomo
 
 
Across from Obica was a stand in the food court where they had sweets, and Guido insisted we have them!

 
La Sfogliatella.

 
Look at all those layers!

 
 
Il Baba. This was soaked with rum, so I only had one bite. Way too strong for me.

 
 
Il Batuffolo

 
I’m not sure if this is la Pastiera or not, but it was really good.

 
On the way back to the hotel.

 
 
 
While Heidi and Guido went back to the hotel, I went to look at the new Starbucks, previously banned from Milan. This is like no Starbucks I have even seen, in an old Post Office.

 
A long line to get in, but it moved quickly.

 

 
Wine tasting at Starbucks?

 
This Starbucks is as much about food, from the Princi Bakery, as it is about coffee. The Princi Bakery is also now in Chicago.

 
Lots of pizza.

 
And lots of pastries.

 

 
I think this is a coffee station, but it was hard to tell. There was so much going on.

 

 

 
I didn't get anything, but there was a standalone Princi Bakery on the way back to the hotel, so I stopped off there. 

 
Also lots and lots of pizzas….. 

 
and pastries.

 

 

 
I had a piece of the brownie (in pie/cake format), and it was very good.

 
On my walk back to the hotel.

 

 
Christmas tree in the plaza.

 
 
 
The three of us met at about 7:30 to discuss what we had seen during the last four days, and how to proceed. We were going to meet for an hour before dinner, but there was so much to discuss, we pushed back our dinner about 45 minutes so we could keep talking. For dinner we went to a place that one of my colleagues had found during the last tour, and I wound up going three times. It was good to go back for this, our last dinner of the pre-tour. 
 
My beer.

 
Guido studying the menu.

 
A very nice salad for two.

 
Guido and I split an order of spaghetti with garlic and oil. 

 
And we each also had a steak dish, with cheese and vegetables on a hot plate, a bit like fajitas. 

 
Click the links to see the sizzling plate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4g_dWds2iw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VilITptCDX4
 
Somehow, I managed to miss a photo of Heidi’s tagliatelle with pesto. It looked great.
 
A very good tiramisu for dessert.

 
The walk back to the hotel. A beautiful sight.

 
 
..... much more to come.
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/01/03 14:33:35
#22
phlmaestro
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1010
  • Joined: 2006/03/15 13:32:00
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 16:38:18 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby ChiTownDiner 2018/12/29 14:11:35
We should liberate Europe of its pastries.
#23
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 17:04:26 (permalink)
phlmaestro
We should liberate Europe of its pastries.


Amen!
 
#24
leethebard
Porterhouse
  • Total Posts : 10055
  • Joined: 2007/08/16 17:35:00
  • Location: brick, NJ
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 18:50:40 (permalink)
Wow, David. I sure am enjoying your trip. Amazing sites, beautiful pictures, great food, and for this teacher, great prose. Refreshing. Quality report. Thank you so much!
 
#25
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/28 23:21:45 (permalink)
Monday, December 10th
 
 
Once again, we had breakfast at 6:30 so we could leave for the airport at 7 am. This was a pretty good breakfast, although some of it wasn’t ready to go by the time they opened at 6:30.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Sunrise on the way to the airport. Traffic coming into Milan was backed up for miles.

 
The Starbucks at the airport had only been opened a couple of months.

 
Looks pretty much like Starbucks. 

 
A familiar sight.

 
A pre-flight snack from one of the airport concessions. Not bad.

 
 
Heidi flew back to Chicago, Guido was headed for Beijing, and I went back to Paris. I took a cab from the airport, having read and being told that it would be about 50 Euros. It turned out to be 77 Euros, but I was happy to be back in Paris for a few days.
 
 
My first stop, after checking in at the hotel, was to walk down to the Champs Elysees, make sure that the Arc de Triomphe was still standing after all the protests…..

 
…..and then head to the first of the patisseries I had been reading about and was hoping to visit on this trip. The first one, 86 Champs, is the newest outpost of Pierre Hermé. 

 
I wasn’t interested in the large selection of macarons in the front of the shop…..

 
….. but definitely in the dozens of incredible looking pastry selections. I wanted to try three of them and asked if I could take them to one of the tables. I was told I had to be seated and place an order. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but to order at a table and eat it there was almost twice as expensive. 

 

 

 

 
The carryout window outside the shop in the little mall.

 
I got two of them to go, had a couple of bites at their stand-up counter outside the shop, and took them over to the Starbucks just down the street. They really were incredible. 
The 2000 Feuilles, a flaky caramelized puff pastry crust, crispy praline with Piedmont hazelnuts, and mousseline cream. Stunning. 

 
 

 
The Plaisir Sucré, a dacquoise biscuit with crunchy hazelnuts, hazelnut crisp, thin wafers of milk chocolate, milk chocolate ganache and milk chocolate chantilly. Extraordinary. These two pastries were among the best things I have ever had.

 

 
 
Pierre Hermé
86 Champs
86 Aveneue des Champs-Elysees
http://www.86champs.com/sweet-treats.html 
 
 
I continued with my walk along the Champs-Elysees. It seemed to be less crowded than at other times, and I wondered if it was because of the ongoing protests.

 

 
I arrived at the Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI was executed by guillotine in 1793. The 3300-year-old Egyptian obelisk, a gift to France in 1829 from the Egyptian government, was placed in the center of the square between 1836 and 1840.

 
Walking along the Rue de Rivoli I passed the Gardens of the Tuileries. The sign had been defaced in the protests.

 
 
My next destination was another new-to-me well-known place, the Angelina Café. They are famous for their hot chocolate and other pastries, so I decided to give them a try. The chocolate was excellent, as was the lemon tarte that I had with it. Not quite up to the experience of Hermé, but very good just the same.
 
 
It’s a wonderful space.

 
The menu.

 
The famous hot chocolate.

 
And whipped cream.

 
 

 
 
A very good lemon tarte.

 

 
 
Angelina Café 
108 Rue du Bac
 http://www.angelina-paris.fr/en/
 
 
I walked back the way I came, and by now it was dark. There were some great sights along the way.

 

 

 
 
For dinner I went to another restaurant that I first read about on Roadfood.com, the Paris landmark Les Deux Magots. They were actually closed for inside seating, but I was able to get a seat at one of the covered outside tables. I’m so glad I tried this place. I loved the atmosphere and I loved my dinner.

 

 
The olives and pretzels were a nice touch.

 
There was no small side salad on the menu, but they made this combination of tomatoes and greens for me.

 
Wonderful rolls and butter.

 
The filet de boeuf, sauce poivre, with pommes frites was fabulous, the filet incredibly tender and prepared perfectly.

 

 

 
 
Le Deux Magots
6, place Saint-Germain-Des-Prés
http://menuonline.fr/en/deux-magots/carte-du-soir
 
 
..... much more to come.
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/01/03 14:58:00
#26
Davidsanders
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1093
  • Joined: 2008/01/20 21:21:00
  • Location: Evanston, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/29 00:57:48 (permalink)
Tuesday, December 11th
 
 
I began Tuesday with the breakfast at the hotel, which was pretty good. I had thought maybe I would skip it, because I had planned to visit three patisseries this morning. 

 

 
A platter of bacon.

 
I’m pretty sure the Chinese noodles is a new addition to the breakfast buffet. 

 
The bread was great.

 

 
My first plate: a croissant, Chinese noodles, bacon, mushrooms, potatoes, scrambled eggs and some really good cheese.

 
My second plate: more bacon, more cheese, and great bread, plus some kind of breakfast pastry, which I didn’t love.

 
A little fruit. The grapefruit was very good. 

 
My first stop of the day was La Patisserie des Reves. 

 

 

 
I got my usual plain croissant, always my benchmark, and a pastry. Unfortunately, there was no place to eat, although they did let me take a few pictures.

 
The croissant was different than the usual shape, but it tasted very good. I ate it on the street.

 

 
The pastry looked very good but would have to wait until later. 

 
 
La Patisserie des Reves
93 Rue du Bac
http://lapatisseriedesreves.com/en/
 
 
The next one on the schedule, Des Gateaux et du Pain, was closed, which I had actually known in advance but forgot. It would have to wait.
 
I was looking at my list and realized that one of the other places I wanted to go to, Hugo & Victor, was just a few blocks away, so I went there instead. 

 

 
Great looking choices.

 

 

 
I got another croissant, which was great.

 
A La Truffe. 

 
A small sample of their chocolate, which was very good.

 
 
Hugo & Victor   
40 Blvd. Raspail
https://hugovictor.com
 
 
I ate the croissant on the street again, and then went back to Starbucks so I would have a place to eat both of the pastries. I really liked the cream filling of this pastry from La Patisserie des Reves, but didn’t love the pastry part.

 
This was a terrific pastry from Hugo & Victor . 

 
The cream filling was wonderful. 

 

 
 
I had planned on one additional patisserie this morning but changed my mind. 
 
After Starbucks and the two pastries I walked around Paris again, and headed towards Notre Dame Cathedral. I saw some evidence of the protesters.  

 

 

 
The Seine.

 

 

 

 
The world-famous Shakespeare and Company book store.

 
It’s amazing to look at Notre Dame Cathedral and realize that the construction began in 1160, over 850 years ago. What an achievement. 

 

 
Christmas at Notre Dame.

 
One of the 13 information boards describing the construction process.
 
 

 

 

 
 
For lunch I went to a restaurant across the street from the Cathedral, with a great view, and had a light lunch of onion soup and fries.
 
 
A great view of the Cathedral from my seat in the window.

 
Very good onion soup.

 
And very good fries.
 
 
Some good bread.

 
My next stop was a bakery I had loved in 2017. When I got there at 5 pm last time they had baguettes fresh out of the oven. 

 

 

 
 
My next stop was the Eiffel Tower, which is always a thrill for me. This is the view when you turn the corner from the train stop, still several blocks away.

 

 

 

 
It took a very long time to get through the line, but I’m glad I did it.

 
 
Last time I was here the top level had been closed, but this time it was open. 
Click the links to see the trip up to the top of the Tower.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyT7tzbMMcY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUz1pl3oeCc
 
Views from the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 
When I got down from the top, it was dark, and the lights of the tower were on.

 

 
I was so tired from walking and standing in lines that I took a cab back to the hotel. I had some of the baguette and a little chocolate for dinner. 
 
 
 
..... much more to come.
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/01/03 15:58:13
#27
will_work_4_bbq
Double Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 690
  • Joined: 2006/01/11 16:50:00
  • Location: Birmingham, AL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/29 01:17:52 (permalink)
WOW!!
#28
BuddyRoadhouse
Sirloin
  • Total Posts : 6560
  • Joined: 2004/12/10 20:06:00
  • Location: Des Plaines, IL
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/29 04:33:23 (permalink)
I knew I should have kept up my music lessons.
 
Thank you for a lovely report,
 
Buddy
#29
leethebard
Porterhouse
  • Total Posts : 10055
  • Joined: 2007/08/16 17:35:00
  • Location: brick, NJ
  • Status: offline
Re: December 2018 CSO European “Pre-tour”, and Paris and London 2018/12/29 06:43:06 (permalink)
Amazing!
#30
Page: 1234 > Showing page 1 of 4
Jump to:
© 2019 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.5