Saturday, September 29, 2007

Laduree, Paris - September 2007

We were hungry at about 5pm and since Laduree was just ahead of us, we stopped by to have afternoon tea. The queue to purchase their famous confectionery for take-away went all the way to the street and people kept coming and coming and coming.... Many took pics at the front of shop too!

If you are going to dine-in, make sure you push your way through the queuing crowd at the entrance and into the tea salon. It is a great experience though service leaves very much to be desired. Just make sure you allocate enough time to enjoy your afternoon tea. It is that impersonal and that s-l-o-w. The decor, however, has an old world charm to it.

Quoting their website :

"Ladurée Royale
This tea salon created in 1862 and decorated with wainscoting and frescos depicting angelic pastry chefs and voluptuous ladies, became a favorite address for people from all walks of life.
Since then the tea room’s habitués have rubbed shoulders with tourists and personalities from the world over."

Ladurée Royale
16, rue Royale - 75008 Paris
Tél : +33 1 42 60 21 79 - Fax : +33 1 49 27 01 95


Ispahan - it really is beautiful to look at - but a tad to sweet for me since it was a sandwich of 2 bigger-sized, thus thicker macarons. Love the rose and lychee flavoured cream and raspberries though. Warning : if not too hungry and not a fan of sweets, don't attempt to down one of these on your own. EUR7.70 each
Mini macarons (clockwise from left) - cassis-violette (blackcurrant-violet), caramel a la fleur de sel (salted butter caramel), framboise (raspberry), chocolat. EUR6.90/choice of 4 pcs For drinks, the order was for Cafe Liegeoise and Chocolat Liegeois at EUR8.40 each.
2 gift boxes for staff (6 pcs in each - See the red one? I think it was called Ruby Kiss or Red Ruby or something along the line. They were all delicious! Personally, I love the fruits ones and caramel with fleur de sel.

The black box is the limited edition as stated on their website :

I quote : "The Ladurée 2007/2008 Autumn Winter collection takes its theme from the Theatre. Throughout this period, Ladurée will pay tribute to Opera, Dance, Music and Theatre.
The year-end holidays will offer a particularly baroque celebration, fusing these Arts with gusto into a dazzling array of Epicurean delights.
The products and packaging in this collection will be delicate yet intense, sweet yet powerful. Reds, blacks, golds, pinks, and blue-greys provide the colour scheme while silky, changing, crunchy and spirited will be the keynotes of this season’s new creations."

Thankfully, the closest store is thousands of miles away or I would have to stand in queue pretty often and spend quite a bit of moolah on them AND will likely be diabetic.

Paris - September 2007

Cheesy picture just for the Parisien feel..... been there many times.

We spent quite a bit of time at Opera and Madeleine area because I had a couple of stuffs to get.

For lunch, Irene wanted Chinese, I said no and we had Lebanese instead at Noura.

29, Boulevard des Italiens
75002 Paris
Tel : +33 1 53 43 00 53 - Fax : +33 1 53 43 83 53

My choice of mixed grill

Tabbouleh - so refreshing after the near fresh-veggieless Burgundy diet.
OM goodness!! Hummus! So deliciously creamy with fragrance of sesame...
These pickles made me very happy!

We visited Fauchon and Maille before stopping at Laduree for macarons. Too bad my luggage hadn't the space to spare since I bought some clothes, bags, Belgian chocolates and Burgundy wines (we were also each given a bottle after dinner at Chateau de Mersault).

Post on Laduree next!

Le Creusot & Beaune - September 2007

Le Creusot is also another work, work, work place. Lunch was at :

CAFE RESTAURANT LA GRIMPETTE
38 RUE JULES GUESDE
71200 LE CREUSOT
Tel: +33 3 85 80 42 00

No pictures as we had some important customers from Korea seated at the next table with the Commercial Director while I was seated just next to the COO.

Anyway, during dinner in Beaune, I was still seated at the same table as the COO but he loosened up a little and encouraged some picture-taking. He even posed with his platter of escargots for me! Nope, his photo is not going to be featured here!
Baby lobster tails
Local jambon slices with melon
Roast duck breast in its jus
Veal
Thon Rouge - basically, red tuna
Frog legs... seems to be the French's favourite dish

Personally, I feel that traditional Burgundy dishes are pretty much on the heavy side... on top of that, we had cheese platter each before dessert. Epoisses, a traditional Burgundy cheese is a must-have.
The next day, we had a very quick lunch at Novotel, Beaune where we had the seminar -pretty crappy food....

However, for dinner, we were sent off to Chateau de Mersault for some wine-tasting (of which we got to keep the wine glass as souvenir - a colleague of mine gave me his since he was over the moon with winning the grand prize (REALLY grand prize since the 2nd prize was an Ipod Nano 4GB) for the quiz we took earlier in the afternoon. Told me its better as a pair. Awww.......

We tried 2 types of white wines pre-dinner and another 4 whites + 2 reds at dinner (2 types at each course). Was way too much alcohol for me.... Foie gras, chicken and asparagus terrine - mixed feelings for me this one - love the liver but I don't like savory jelly thingy....
Wrapped veal and morel mushroom on a bed of mash - delicious except that veal was overdone - was told that the whole dinner was catered - that probably explains why.
Cheese platter.... told you it's one of the courses....
Raspberry creme brulee... too tart.. too much sauce....pass.

Back to Le Creusot the next day and just before leaving, we had our dejeuner at :

Le Café du Théâtre
Espace François Mitterrand
tél : +33 3 85 56 19 01

Starter of ham and tomatoes - I skipped mains of steak americain....
Mixed nut creme brulee.... basically, I was creme brulee-ed out...

Fully stuffed! That illustrates how I felt during my time there.

Was glad to finally see Paris again - ahhh! The city! Lighter and contemporary food at last!

Charleroi - September 2007

Charleroi means work and meetings but food is great here though and most of my Belgian colleagues are a delightful lot.

Lunch at Le Trois Petits Bouchons, a small but charming little place. Since there were about 8 of us, arrangements were made in advance for set meals which were excellent!

Cured Mackerel and Couscous Tower - surprisingly I liked this dish - extremely flavourful without the fishiness. Coming from a person who shudders at the thought of cold herring, it is THAT good!
OK, this may sound odd but this dish was made specially for Nathan, a Belgian colleague who is allergic to "white fish". All shellfish and other coloured fish are OK. Strange....
Our steak - I am rarely disappointed with steaks in Europe - this chunk was so tender and moist without the bloodi-ness. And the gravy...Yum!
My stomach always protests come dessert time but I couldn't care less - the homemade raspberry sorbet was divine. So was the slice of layers of cake, strawberries topped with creme brulee. The slight tartness from the berries was just the right finishing for the rich meal.
Apart from the wines we had to imbibe over our meals, coffee is always a must before asses can leave the chairs. What I love most about coffee time is not the coffee but those little Belgian chocolates, artisan cookies or even macarons that ccomes with the hot cuppa. Though I never order coffee (allergic to it - haha!), I almost always get somebody else's choc or cookie.

This restaurant was kind enough to provide 2 platefuls of these little jewels of macarons. They were utterly delicious - small yet not dry and best of all, not unbearably sweeeeet!

By dinner, jet lag set in again on me and I finished my dinner quietly in a daze. Somewhere along the line I know I had a comforting warm lamb soup, Parma ham with melon and a fried sole. Remembered but vaguely a comment made by my colleague about my huge appetite judging from the 2 starters I had...Most memorable of all was the vision of bed I had.....

Brussels - September 2007

The post on my trip to Europe is long due.....

I didn't take pictures of food onboard as it was midnight flight and I fell asleep as soon as the plane took off - didn't even eat a stick of my favourite satay! I smiled sheepishly at the air stewardess when she said "Ms Lim, you slept like a baby." on waking up. I do wonder sometimes if I snore...

I will start with Brussels. We left for Brussels as soon as we reached Charles de Gaulle. First stop, breakfast!

We took a short stroll from the hotel in Brussels and stopped at Perle Noir for a cuppa, some croissants and juice to jumpstart the day.

For lunch, I made plans with Cecile, whose husband works for Le Monde to meet up and she brought her cousin. The best thing about dining out here is that establishments are extremely well-versed in splitting bills. Probably in Asia, EVERYONE always seem to be offering to pay the whole bill!

Resto Lola :


Tourelle de crabe, remoulade de céleri rave, tomates séchées
15,00 €
Tomate aux crevettes grises
9,00 €Croquette de crevettes grises (one of my favs!) - love it!
13,00 €
Tranches de filet pur, roquette et parmesan, pommes grenailles
18,00 €
Foie gras d'oie maison 'cuit au torchon', oignons confits au Porto, raisins sec
17,00 € - Though I love foie gras, I can't take too much of it cold... and it definitely was too big for me esp. with the jetlag...
Fricassée de volaille aux morilles, tagliatelles (Irene ordered this and loved it esp. the shrooms)
22,00 €
For dinner, we went to Aux Armes des Bruxelles for their Bisque de Homard (Lobster Bisque), Cocktail de Homard (Lobster Cocktail) and Sole Meunière. If you like seafood, this is one of the places to be. No pictures as seats were pretty close to other restaurant guests on our right and left. Further, by dinner time, we were ready to fall asleep on our plates.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Engagement

Barry proposed on 20th Sept 2007 (my birthday), I said YES and we are now engaged. I am still very much above cloud 9..... it was a great surprise and it was perfect!
More details later!!

P/S : So many events to blog about and so little time!!!