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  1. Some here that a few of us have eaten in before but I think some new ones too. La Corte del Principe I thought had gone downhill a bit last November. El del Frente is very nice, Tocamadera of course and Beirut Shawarma is nice but not brilliant. I hear good things about their new place, Amir Shisha.
  2. @nino just gave me the idea for this. Quite a few of us have just returned from Havana and some members will be going in the next few months, February etc. Any new paladares to recommend? Or any that have gone downhill since the last visit? Here's my, short, list to begin. Michifú It's very new, not even on the Alamesa app yet. I was brought there by a friend who lives and works in Havana. It's about 1/2 block east (towards Habana Vieja) from La Guarida. Great spot, smoking indoors and out with no complaints, in a courtyard style setting. I was there 3 times for dinner on the last trip. The food is Cuban/Spanish/French fusion. The mixed chicken/pork skewers are very good. So is the ratatouille. A friend had the pargo (red snapper) and was very impressed. It was opened by the original owner of Sia Kará (one of my favourite cafes in Havana). Very cheap. Starter, main and a couple of beers won't be much more than $20. Casa Nostra Currently my favourite Italian in Havana. Very close to El Sauce. The owners have another place (Il Rustico) in Habana Vieja. They have their own herb and vegetable garden in the back. I test Italian restaurants with a plate of penne and pesto, with the thinking that if they can get simple right... The pasta is homemade as is the pesto from basil they grow on site. It was brilliant, as good as I have had anywhere. They have a wood fired pizza oven. I was told by a friend in the know, to order the octopus. They put the octopus on the pizza spade and shove it in the pizza oven for less than a minute. It comes out crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside, extraordinary. I was in the mood for a White Russian (not on the menu), they apologised that they had no cream, until they magicked up a bottle of cream from somewhere about 15 minutes later. Great service. I highly recommend. On the downslope Unfortunately, La Corte del Principe I hate saying this, as it was one of my favourite restaurants in Havana. I was going there with a friend on one of my first days and was warned by some ex-pat friends in Havana that it had gone downhill. There was still a good crowd there. The grilled eggplant and cheese is still very good. But the pasta was stale or poorly cooked and the prices have really gone up. Service wasn't great either. Some of the staff are still the same and I believe it is still owned by Sergio but something has changed. We were charged $66 for two for lunch, what would have been $40 in February. 2 starters, 2 mains, 4 beers and coffee. Honourable mentions of other good places. Tocamadera, ate here a few times again, met @nino there one of the days. Good dining, but I really like the hamburger there, new comfortable outside furniture. Owner and staff are great. La Guarida, still brilliant. Was there for Punch Joe's birthday. Those marlin tacos.. Bone'Ma, I can't remember where I heard of this place, none of my Havana resident friends had heard of it. On Calle 21 between L and M. A block uphill from the Hotel Capri. Very nice spot, lovely staff. Very clean. And they do a doner kebab. Some people will disagree, but I sometimes get an urge for one and had never seen one in Havana. Very decent. They do chicken kebabs but had lamb on the menu in a different dish, they were happy to make lamb doners for us, and the chips/fries were great too. A rare thing in Havana. I brought Stuart there on his first night. I think I saw a tear. Muelle There is a new fairground area at 1 av and 70th in Playa. Bouncy castle, rides for kids etc. It is surrounded by bars/restaurants, chiringuito style on the beach (it's a rocky/concretey beach but nice view of the sea). Muelle is the one closest to the Hotel Panorama (to the west) and is owned by the same people as Espacios. Obviously very new and they're still shaking it out but service was great. Drinks cheap and a great view. I didn't eat there but I heard decent reports. Very nice spot for a sundowner, along the lines of 7 Dias. Espacios Still great staff, good drinks at a reasonable price and very decent pizza as a quick bite. Espacios was our launch pad on many nights.
  3. This is my first trip report and review, it is a bit long but the TL:DR of what we smoked and notable eating spots of the trip is at the bottom. I've always looked forward to my trips to the big Apple, the food is great, the buzz gets me going and most importantly getting to meet up with friend and BOTL @torsion. There have been a couple trips previously but this was to be the final meet up in NYC (also, his wife was away?) as his time in the city is done. This meant a celebration like no other, cigars, food, drinks, in that order. The goal was not to smoke as much as possible but to smoke as well as we could. The final total was 22 cigars in a week, although we had planned to sample some NCs we never got round to them. The rules were laid out, we would smoke the same cigars and compare notes and experiences. On arriving, I was greeted with a bag of choice sticks, ranging from Por Larranaga to custom Canonazo. We started the evening with ramen and sake on the Upper East Side before heading to Cigar Inn. We started our first night with a Trinidad Fundadores, the lounge was pretty crowded and smoky which may have affected our smoking experience. The fundy was my first and I was greeted with what everyone raves about. Following that we sparked a custom canonazo doble. At this point the room was pretty smoky, I had a pretty plugged draw and we were not getting the full flavours. But day 1 was in the bag and the question what are we smoking next” became the recurring question throughout the trip. Saturday/ Day 2 to a headed to Nat Shermans Town House on to visit our favourite salesman Adam and smoke. The Nat Shermans team have always been hospitable and have no airs, they make anyone feel welcome and never scoff at your budget, but Adam is the main man. We were invited to the Johnson Club Room and we knew we were going to be there all day. The day started with a connie B which was another first, mid to full body throughout, big flavours which made the big ring gauge a bit more tolerable. A quick lunch at Chipotle before getting back to business and starting a Romeo Y Juiletta Churchill. This has been one of my favourite cigars because of the sweetness and format, this did not disappoint. Dinner was going to be phenomenal as we were booked for Cote, korean BBQ place, @torsion had hyped this up to me well before the trip. The pictures don’t do any justice to the food, we had the butcher block, an additional steak and a bottle of wine before proceeding to the courtyard of the the Lotte Palace Hotel. This time we sparked a Custom Behike 54 and were let down as the cigar seemed to have no oomph, the flavours were mild, muted and had no evolution. Granted it was an easy smoke but would be the last boring cigar of the 22. We wrapped up the day with a Club Allones which was a stark contrast from the custom Behike, both in format and flavour. We started Sunday/ Day 3 at Davidoffs kicking things of with a custom double robusto monster although we had a bottle of Iwai Mars blended Japanese whisky I didn’t want any of that. This cigar raised my expectations of what a cigar could be, this was followed by a Bolivar Royal Corona from 2014. We had a brief intermission and acid trip at Mission Chinese before heading back up to Lotte Palace for a PLPC, which amidst all these insane cigars really held it’s weight. On Monday/ Day 4 we started late after @torsion was done with work. We headed straight for Club Macanudo where I was treated to a custom double perfecto. This cigar was complex and had great evolution throughout, a real treat. Despite the format it smoked with little issues and was really quite different throughout. This was followed by a custom Alex lancero before finally wrapping the night up with a Ramon Allones Hermitage RE Rusia. Both of which paled in comparison to the custom. Christmas Day/Day 5 this was going to be our rest day as all the lounges were closed. we started the day slow with a bottle of Pierre Jouet and smoked salmon and capers before getting bundled up with our thermals and hand warmers in tote to sit outside of Central Park west to smoke a custom robusto extra. After a brief lunch of scallop linguine we continued with a pleasantly complex Des Dieux before calling it a day to make way for more drinking and eating. Wednesday/ Day 6 straight to Davidoffs where we started with a custom lancero from a BOTL, this was followed by a Siglo iv at this point we were joined by a friend who wanted to be introduced to the world of cigars. @torsion set her up with a SCDLH el Principe which she enjoyed as her first ever cuban. From there we moved on to a Partagas 2017 LE which seemed rather uncharacteristic of a Partagas and imo a little underwhelming. We adjourned for dinner at Nom Wah, egg tarts from a bakery (it’s a little tradition that we have) before heading to Existing Conditions for drinks. The Toki Lowball was totally unassuming, it was made with a variety of teas and Suntory Toki but it drank like a heavily peated whisky. i had the Saratoga Paloma and Waffle Turkey 101, the Saratoga Paloma was light and very refreshing and the salinity of the Saratoga springs water really stood out, the Waffle Turkey was a waffle infused bourbon with maple syrup and not only does it taste like waffles it had a rich buttery mouthfeel as well. After this brief intermission, we headed back to Macanudo where I had a ’18 Lusi while torsion had a Don Alejandro. Lusis, to me always paled in comparison to the 898 which I think has more punch and flavour and this was no exception. On the other hand the Don Alejandro was a complete let down, poor draw, moderately interesting and overall mediocre cigar. Thursday/ Day 7 was slated to be a big day (yes after smoking all those amazing cigars torsion somehow managed to top it). We had intended to head to Nat Shermans and pick up an order for a BOTL and had hoped to be invited to the Johnson Club Room to spend the day. However, plans had changed and we were denied access so we started our day with a CoRo and boy was I pleased we started with that. This was the ultimate morning smoke, paired with our dark roast Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I could not ask for more. We moved on to Davidoff to start on a Vintage H.upmann from 1960s which was wildly different from anything else we’ve had. Although medium body the flavours were clearly from a different time, the construction was phenomenal not needing any touchups or relights the entire time. As my first vintage this really blew me away. This was followed by an El Rey Tainos. Before we headed back to grab another bottle of Pierre Jouet, some halal and a custom Canonazo. This was also a doozy as on the cold draw it tasted nothing like how it smoked but once it got going I could not put it down, finishing it in 45 mins. There was not a better way to wrap this absolutely bonkers trip and I am glad that this was how we were going to remember our meet ups in the big apple. As I write this in the Canadian winter I think to myself, wtf am I going to smoke next Cigar rankings 1. (Tied) Custom double robusto, Custom Lancero 3. Custom Canonazo 4. CoRo 5. 1960s Upmann 6. Custom Double Perfecto 7. H. Upmann Connie B 8. Trini Fundy 9. RyJ Churchill 10. Custom robusto extra 11. HDM De Dieux 12. Boli Royal Corona 13. Custom canonazo doble 14. RA Club Allones 15. PLPC 16. ERDM Tainos 17. SIglo IV 18. RA Hermitage RE Rusia 19. Custom Alex Lancero 20. Partagas Lusi 21. Partagas LE 2017 22. Custom Behike Notable places we ate and drank at Cote Korean BBQ Mission Chinese Nom Wah Existing Conditions Places we smoked at Nat Shermans Davidoff Club Macanudo Cigar Inn Bench outside of Central Park
  4. Hey brother and sisters I am traveling to Cuba Sept 10-15 and asking if anyone has advise for food, drinks, music ,art and of course where to "if any honey spots" for and to find Cuban cigars? Any help is greatly appreciated! My first time going to Cuba from US. Thank you guys! Robert Rogers
  5. Hi guys, Heading to Vegas in a few weeks, and its been several years since my last visit. Looking to mainly relax--I'm staying at the Luxor. I have a couple of questions for the better traveled: 1) Can you smoke cigars at tables, walking around the casino, etc... 2) Best cigar lounge to chill out for a few hours and have some drinks? 3) Best restaurant for some BBQ or a steak? 4) Any activities you recommend (non-club)? I would love to stay on/near the strip, but would venture away from the glory if necessary... Thanks guys!
  6. Just wanted to start a thread on your favorite cheap places to eat whether locally or in your travels. Similar to the C&C section I hope this will give a good listing of places that botl's can step inside for a quick, cheap, relatively healthy, and delicious meal. Being an economics major, I am thrifty (cheap lol) and constantly think of my end utility from what I eat and if I am satisfied. Likely because I go to the wrong places I constantly am dissapointed paying 20-30$ an entree and leaving hungry and not experiencing what I expected or hoped for. I am not ashamed to say that some of the best meals ive had hands down everytime are at places only known to locals where appearances, comfort, and service come second to the fantastic food that they produce. Cheap here would mean a good single person entree no more than approximately $10 CAD plus taxes. No fast food franchises, just little cute places (sometimes dingy lol) with close to no room for dining in, but is run by moms and pops and usually made from scratch. No hipster places like Frank's Hotdogs who charge a ridiculous13$ for a friggin hotdog just cause there's chipotle mayo or garlic aioli on it. Just list the City and the name of the joints you know and love and consistently give you a good meal any time of day or week. Toronto - Swatow (Chinese Restaurant in China Town) Toronto - Eat a Pita (In one of the affluent parts of the city - Yorkville - this place has best Falafels; line up out the door) Vaughan - Via Panini (Was there on Saturday and their Sauce kills any tomato sauce I have ever tried; I could eat this everyday lol) Toronto - Messini's (Authentic Gyros, line up out the door kinda joint found in the Danforth/Greektown; eat it almost every sunday) Toronto - Square Boy Burgers (Great food, Kitchen run by four or five grumpy old men that know how to handle a long line) Mississauga - Watan Kabob (Best Afghan food i've tried, family run and packed every night.) Buffalo NY - Papa Leos (Never had better Buffalo Wings in my life) Buffalo NY - (Viola's Subs - Best. Subs. Ever.) Can't wait to hear the experiences of other botl
  7. Just booked a vacation for 2 weeks in the end of Sept, we're landing in Paris CDG and will be staying a few days there, after that we might rent a car and head south, stopping at anything that's interesting (for now we have Reims, Dijon, Avignon, Marseille on our brainstorm list), hopefully we can do a day trip to Andorra before heading out to Barcelona. Having only been to France for 3 day in my previous trip I think it is best to ask our more-experience members for suggestions. How would you distribute your cigar purchase in this trip? Should I just buy everything in Andorra or should I save some quota for cigar shopping in France/Spain? I will be flying to Amsterdam (and layover for a few days there before heading home), will I have trouble for having 5-6 boxes of cigars in my luggage? The cigar shops in Paris has been mentioned numerous times before in this forum, I am wondering if there any other shops in other cities that are worth a visit? (in Lyon, Marseille, Barcelona etc?) ST Dupont lighter- buy in France or in Andorra ? Any local food/drinks I must have before leaving the country? Basically any tips on how to enjoy the trip are welcome, thank you very much in advance!
  8. A perfect Portmann Week-End We, Frank and I, were surprised to learn that it was not going to be the small, uncomplicated affair we expected, but a "Portmann Havana Group Reunion" dinner at a Michelin rated restaurant in St Gallen / Switzerland. Oh well, worse things can happen in life ... Like the traffic jam we saw on our way down, stretching basically for three-quarters of the way but fortunately on the opposite direction. We arrived on time for a glass of champagne and a Robusto at Portmann Cigars in Kreuzlingen, then just a quick pick up of the hotel key, no changing, and off to St Gallen and the highly rated "Segreto" - a one star Michelin restaurant belonging to the Abacus software group. For more text and pictures : http://flyingcigar.d...rtmann-weekend/
  9. I am thinking of taking a trip to somewhere in Mexico with my girlfriend for her birthday. I've been looking at Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Cozumel, and Cabo San Lucas. Every one of them has an LCDH (I checked, haha, it's my one requirement). For those of you with experience, which one would you prefer, where are good places to stay (We can't afford anything real expensive, but don't want to stay in a dump either), etc.?
  10. Attention to All! This is the announcement you've all been waiting for...MONTREAL HERF 2013! This year`s event will be held on March 9th 2013. There will be a pre-herf dinner (yes we will make sure to have steak on the menu this year) then the actual Herf will take place on the private floor of Stogies Cigar Bar. Raffle and auction will be held to raise funds for The Nicaraguan Children's Feeding Mission yet again. We will also do a pre-herf on Friday March 8th for anyone coming into town on that day. Locations, hotel rates and prices still to be determined, but we are trying to work on something special...stay tuned! Last year’s event was a great success, I think everyone had a blast and we raised money for a great cause. We would love to have a great turnout from our Ottawa and Toronto brothers once again. What we would like to know is the following in order to help with the logistics to plan this event: -Are the dates good for you? -Will you be planning on Saturday only or Friday and Saturday -Will you be attending the dinner and the herf or herf only? Please reply in this thread, if you have any questions you can address them here or via PM to myself or Strada (Simon) We are very excited about what is in store for this year and we hope

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