Sunday, November 3, 2013

Northern Spy Rocks (so does my Mom)

Here's Cover tweeting the short piece


My friends at Cover posted a restaurant review I authored about Northern Spy.  Cover (also known as Pay With Cover) is a terrific app that lets diner pay for dinner seamlessly via their phone (no waiting for a bill, no messy credit card transaction at meal time).  Disclosure: I'm so impressed with these folks that I invested in the company.

Cover edited my restaurant review for size.  In doing so -- and their edits are totally appropriate -- we lost a little of the character of both my mom and Northern Spy.  Here then is the unedited version (so mom doesn't get offended).  Oh, and my mom is pretty badass! And so is Northern Spy...

Northern Spy
My mother isn't my culinary guiding light.  In fact, I'm not sure what convinced me to follow her recommendation to Northern Spy.  She was equally incredulous when I told her we'd taken her recommendation.  That was 20+ visits ago.  

Ingredients are seasonal and their provenance from local farms is often referenced on the sheet of paper that constitutes each day's menu.  While this is not a "vegetarian" restaurant, the smoked carrots are so mouthwateringly fantastic that they've convinced me that vegetarians will dine like royalty here.  The kale salad, replete with pig meat is, however, another wonderful way to eat your veggies here.  I love the lamb-multiple preparations of it provide different experiences and the rich flavors of the confit must include cinnamon...there's a sweetness that recalls Moroccan food. 

Service couldn't be friendlier and the atmosphere is casual.  So much so, that you're almost surprised by how professional and efficient the staff is - relaxed excellence.  

At some point, my mom, with pride that she had finally led me to culinary gold told the staff that I was her son ("my son is the bald guy who brings his own wine"). On my next visit, our server told us "hey, I met your mom...really nice lady...uses the f*bomb a lot"

Please tell them my mom sent you - you know how to describe her, right? Oh, and pay with Cover!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Betsy's Favorite Paris iPhone Apps

My wife Betsy is a much more sophisticated iPhone user than I am, admittedly that bar is low.  A friend  just asked her for the best iPhone apps Betsy has found for Paris (did I mention that we love Paris?).  Betsy rapidly fired off this reply (which is premised upon her friend staying in an apartment with wifi) -- please do add to this list if Betsy has missed anything important!

Dear ____:
Here are some apps to check out.  Keep in mind that your cell phone bills will be super high if you don't access these via the apartment's WIFI.

A final note:  DON'T take your iPhone out on the metro or in a crowded tourist area to check out too much without being well aware of your surroundings…  some iPhone swipings reported there, especially in the very touristy spots like the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.  ALSO, there's a very common scam on a lot of the pedestrian bridges that cross the Seine.  Someone drops a "gold" ring and then asks you if it was yours.  They get very insistent.  Then they offer to sell it to you for a "good" price (or a colleague picks your pocket during the conversation).  Keep walking - don't engage!  In general, Paris is VERY safe, much safer than most American cities, but there are pickpockets.


Here are some great apps:
  • Food Lovers Guide to Paris (probably my favorite) - by the famed food writer Patricia Wells (we think she lives in the 7th)
  • Time Out Paris
  • Paris Pastry, David Lebovitz's app, which directs you to his favorite bakeries, chocolatiers, ice cream shops, etc.
  • Louvre and Orsay museum apps
  • Velib, the Paris public bike system, which is awesome; the app tells you where to find a bike, how many bikes are available at any particular station, and how many slots are available when it’s time to return it.
  • mPassport, an app that helps you find a french doctor/dentist and make an appointment.  Also helps you translate such tricky medical phrases as "he cannot move his penis" (LOL)
  • Larousse French-English dictionary, as well as Google translate
  • there is an app called Whizzer that is an awesome idea; unfortunately it's a little short on execution.  It tells you where you can take a pee in Paris, but I've heard it's not too accurate.  You should be forewarned that if you want to use a cafe's restroom you must order a drink beforehand, or you will get screamed at.  And I am not kidding. [Ed's note: one of our children, when very young, darkened a few walls in Paris...I won't mention any names and I am sorry]
  • RATP (if you actually plan to take these modes of transport, spring for the paid version, not the lite one) - this is for the bus, metro, and light rail system - find maps, but also create a journey, find out when the next bus is coming, learn what stations are near you, which stations are under renovation, get traffic information (including strikes and demonstrations), and read timetables.
  • Yelp works just fine in Paris if you like it in the states.... 
  • Paris M&M app (free) – gives all of the latest information about the Paris museums and the current exhibitions, times, entrance fees, etc.
  • Patrimap (free) locates where you are and tells you what famous buildings or sights are in the vicinity. It’s really helpful when a visitor asks, “So, what’s that building” and you don’t know the answer.
  • “Paris Movie Walks” by My Tours offers four guided walking tours through the heart Paris that take you past sites where famous movie scenes were shot. “Bourne Identity,” “Charade”, “Amalie,” “The DaVinci Code” are just a few of them.