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Oct 18, 2010 10:28 AM

The unexpected...smack in the face find.

You know how sometimes, you have this really high expectations on certain eateries and when you actually taste the food, you go, ehhh...I came here all the way for this??? That's how I felt when I tasted Laduree's macarons for the first time.
But there are times when you take a bite of something and you go, wow, I did not expect this from this place at all!! Like you walked into a random restaurant and the food happened to be so good...and you feel like you are the luckiest person alive.

My brother in law brought a pear tart from a bakery called Salzburg patisserie in Rye, NY and wow, I remember being wanted to swim in that pear tart because it was so good.
do you have a similar experience?

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  1. The biggest dissapointment I've ever had was when I went to Smith and Wollensky's. My steak was terrible. Nothing I haven't had better from a supermarket. The biggest surprise (and I'm not surprised anymore) was when I got chicken marsala from the (spanish) deli down the street from where I work. Better than any I've tasted at any Italian restaurant. They also have the best Chicken Francese and stuffed pork loin I've ever had.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhopp217

      Aren't you in Westchester? Of which deli are you speaking? I must know.

    2. Just about everything that I ate in France in a restaurant, unfortunately. :( Although the portion sizes were a nice change!

      What was weird is that I saw all these amazing veggies in markets, but why aren't they used more in restaurants?

      10 Replies
      1. re: serendipity3

        haha, that's funny because that's exactly what i said when i was in south of france last month.
        When I thought of Provoncal food, i thought of hearty meat stews with lots of vegetables but did not find this at any of the restaurants we went....just a lot of fish and duck..which i didn't mind either..haha

        1. re: Monica

          I'm a vegetarian at home (in the US) but when I travel, I'll try everything. France was hard on my stomach. WAY too much animal protein. My favorite meals were bits of things that I picked up at the markets and shops and picnic-ed in parks.

          So, the food wasn't as good as I had hoped, but by and large, the locals were really, really nice. I'll take kindness over good food any day.

          If you want both amazing food and people? Go to Thailand.

          1. re: serendipity3

            Where in France did you go?
            I thought people in Paris were rude and not friendly at all but people in south of France were very nice. A lot of restaurants in south of France had vegetarian options and all had fish dishes.

            I have never been to Thailand but thai food is my favorite. I've been to Bali and they had the most amazing food fresh and flavorful.

            1. re: Monica

              I was mostly in the north and west of France, I wasn't able to make it very far south.
              I don't know if I was totally reading the Parisians wrong, but it SEEMED like they were being polite with me and was generally treated very well. I was surprised since my French is non-existent, but people were really great about helping me find my way around. I guess I just tried to ask people who didn't look like they were really busy. The folks in the country were straight up Midwestern friendly.

              1. re: serendipity3

                French people get a completely bum rap as being nasty and unfriendly. I'm sure they were being polite with you. I worked for a French company for 10 yrs and made several very close friends there (Paris) during that time - we visit back and forth even now, 10 yrs later.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Well, obviously, not all french are rude and unfriendly...just as not all muslims are terrorists.
                  I've had some bad experiences in Paris. People who were trying to cut the line at Laduree and acted as nothign happened...people trying to cut lines at the airport and spatting when confronted...rude services at restaurants.
                  I believe stereotyping is based on some truth.

                  1. re: Monica

                    I have seen people express reluctance to go to Paris (even on Chowhound) because they think people there are rude because they have been told that so many times.
                    I thank that's a damn shame. There are rude people everywhere.
                    I've spent at least 6 weeks in Paris over the past 10 years and can only remember one unpleasant incident (a nasty market vendor).

                    1. re: Monica

                      Ugh, that sucks. I'm sorry you had to deal with that when traveling.

              2. re: serendipity3

                How could you go to Provencal, renowned for its cuisine, and say the food was bad? I don't think you made a proper effort...

                1. re: observor

                  I didn't go to Provencal, Monica did. I was up north for most of my trip to France. I didn't say that the food was bad, it was the restaurants that were rather disappointing. I wanted to be blown away and it was just 'eh'. Food in Spain and Italy was overall better.

                  The markets and shops were great though.

          2. Marinated anchovies in Istanbul. Some of the best I've ever tasted.

            1. The first time I ever tasted REAL Italian food, as opposed to boilerplate red-sauce Midwestern stuff. What an epiphany.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mamachef

                What did you have? I want to go to Italy just to see what all the hype is about, because American-Italian food has become so boring and bland.

                1. re: jhopp217

                  I had herb "drugged" porchetta (woodburning oven), and we started with a soup of what I'm pretty sure was Escarole with white beans in an amazing stock. Grilled bread at the bottom of the bowl, garlic rubbed;a salad tossed at table of bitter and mild greens, olive oil and mild vinegar. That meal changed my life.

              2. My first blood orange, in Rome, at lunch in a youth hostel, when I was 17.