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The World's Priciest Meals? Hardly.

Short of the Robb Report, which is really a magazine for those who aspire to be rich, there's no magazine who has a greater claim on having the pulse of the wealthiest in the world than Forbes. Thanks to a link from Luxist this week, we are treated to Forbes list of the world's most expensive restaurants. But before anyone with cash to burn prints out a list and jumps on a plane, I've got to point out one thing:

The folks at Forbes have no idea what the heck they're talking about.

First of all, and most glaring, the prices that they are quoting are laughable. Take for instance, the most expensive restaurant in the world -- according to Forbes: Aragawa. Now it just so happens that I've actually been to this little restaurant -- a small carpeted, Victorian lounge in Tokyo that is supposed to be the world's best steakhouse. Forbes quotes a price of $277 for this restaurant (presumably without wine). Ignoring the fact that I have had meals more expensive than that in US restaurants that don't even make their list, my meal at Aragawa ended up being $575 per person, and my dining companion and I only ordered half-orders of steak! Granted, that price included a $125 bottle of wine, but even so, it's clear that the folks from Forbes need to brush up on their research, or, God forbid, actually visit these restaurants. (In case you were wondering about that Kobe steak -- it was fantastic, but it wasn't worth the money.)

Secondly, and a failing of any list like this, there are tons of restaurants that they missed, especially in Tokyo and Hong Kong, where bills can be so astronomical they run credit reports at the door (OK, not entirely true, but you get the idea). Also, while I'm not an expert on the Michelin three star restaurants of Paris, from what I've read I don't think that Arpege is actually the priciest of them.

In any case, the list is at least good for a laugh or two, as well as putting a few new restaurants on your mental map (like the ones in Budapest and Mexico City). My advice though ? At least triple the prices.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud