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Saturday, September 3, 2022

Marlins got skunked even with Alcantara pitching and Serena lost her third round match. Not a good day in sports. More about Serena soon.


Did you pay attention to Trump’s support of the January 6 rioters? Of his saying he is seriously considering pardoning them if re-elected?

Former President Trump, still sending out materials referring to himself as “President”, is certifiably insane. I really want him in jail! At the very least, he should be stripped of all the benefits afforded Past Presidents. He has brought shame to us all.


Even Bill Barr has come out on two television shows and talked strongly against Trump’s actions with respect to classified documents.


Yesterday Barbara and I travelled to Nassau to spend a couple of days with Barbara’s Brother Joe Bankman. He has a fantastic house right on the beach about 100 steps from a great bar and restaurant. Joe is a tenured law Professor at Stanford, also has a Ph.D. in Psychology and is the Father of Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX fame. We will probably see Sam tonight for a few minutes.

Joe is now spending a great deal of his time working for FTX, which is based here in Nassau, but is not yet ready to retire from teaching. His Wife Barbara, also a tenured law professor at Stanford, is now retired from teaching. I think she arrives tonight .


There was a time in our lives when I was totally into great three starred Michelin restaurants throughout France. I received weekly news letters and went to Paris at least once or twice a year.

For many decades, the greatest restaurant in the entire world was considered by most critics to be Taillevent. The food, the setting and and the service was unparalleled. We could never get into Taillevent for dinner. Very few Americans could.

The service was unbelievable. As you took your last sip of wine, more wine appeared. As you took your last bite of the best roll ever created, another roll appeared on your plate. It was all seamless.

Everything was the best. If one ordered sorbet, there was a machine in the kitchen that made it to order from scratch.

In 1988, I ran for President-Elect of The Florida Bar. Barbara planned a trip to Paris to either help me get over losing my hotly contested election or to celebrate winning. I won a close race due mostly to the fact that I did everything Barbara told me to do.

Anyway as part of that trip we were able to make a lunch reservation at Taillevent. I preordered an expensive bottle of wine hoping to get their attention. Sure enough. we were given a table in the best of the three rooms.

As was his custom, Mr. Vrinet, the owner of the restaurant, would walk around inspecting everything as it came out of the kitchen and greeting people. He came to our table and, for some reason sat down, apparently for one unknown reason: taking a liking to us.

He understood the importance of being the head of a major bar association and gave us a gift of avery special bottle of Taillevent Cognac which we have treasured.

Barbara explained that although we had tried many times, we could never get a dinner reservation. Mr. Vrinet said we would never have a problem again and gave us a special number to call when we wanted to come. We never had a problem again.

He did say we might not want to come on a particular night, I do not recall which one, because that was the night men customarily brought their mistresses.

One time, while shopping, we met some Americans who worked at our Paris Embassy. Somehow the fact came out that we were eating at Taillevent that night. They found that hard to believe, telling us that they could not even get the American Ambassador a table.

Mr Vrinet and we became friends. When we were attacked on September 11, he wrote me a personal letter offering to help anyway he could.

Not long after he died, Taillevent lost its top Chef to George V and then lost its third Michelin star. It still has two stars. We have not been there now for several years, mostly because Barbara rarely eats dinner and when it comes to $1000 multi-thousand-calorie meals, her attitude is, “Been there, done that”.

Nonetheless, in its heyday, Taillevent was “it” in the entire world. We had many, many great experiences there that would be impossible to duplicate. One time David Boies and I snuck off for lunch at Taillevent while Barbara and Mary went shopping, and then went back for dinner with our wives. The restaurant never turned over. The table you booked was yours for the evening.


Why did I choose to write about Taillevent today? Last night, Joe took us for dinner to one of his three favorite restaurants, called Island Brothers. We all had a great dinner and I had, unusual for me, two cocktails they called a Rum Manhattan. You can blame any typos and the lateness of this post to those drinks.

The first food presented to us was the most delicious bread. It was so good, I asked if they made it themselves. The answer was, “No, we flew it in from France”. That sure got my attention.

Joe said even if I did not eat French fries, the potatoes were to die for. He was right.

I could not believe how good all the food was. Barbara had grilled octopus and fish, Joe had red pepper soup, chicken, some fries, and an apple tart with ice cream. I had a burrata salad and hangar steak.

When the owner came over to see if we liked dinner, I raved. I raved particularly about the bread and said only at my favorite restaurant in the world, Taillevent, had I had better bread.

The owner started shouting, “Come with me, come with me”. He took me to a wall on which was hung a framed copy of the menu from Tailllevent. He had trained there for six years, knew all the people I mentioned by name and we started exchanging stories about why we agreed there never has been as good a restaurant in the world for haute cuisine.

Now French food has evolved. A lot of it is plant-based, vegetariarian, what I call “fou fou” food. I start looking for a kielbasa stand right after dinner. Taillevent was classic French before all the bullshit.

Anyway, we had a great evening. Joe was already a great customer, well liked and respected and treated as a VIP, but my love and knowledge about Taillevent, the owner’s favorite restaurant of all time, raised Joe’s stock even higher.


Go Ukraine and vote as if your life depended upon it.

Le Taillevent

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Thursday, November 9, 2023

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1 Comment

I loved all your stories today, Jim. Everyday is interesting, but today gets ❤️❤️❤️. (Three hears is a very, very high rating!)

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