Sunday, January 31, 2010

Le 20 'eme Art Restaurant, Paris, France

Brought to this nice restaurant in the 20th district of Paris (east to north east). Though it's on the verge of 20th district, it's not advisable to walk alone in this area. However, the hunt for nice cuisine is more than anything else. The restaurant wasn't famous and as you can tell why it is in such a location. The word of mouth brought it to a talk of the town.
1. The menu is drawn on the black board every day. There is no regular menu. The Chef goes to the market to check what's fresh and good in the market and brought back to the restaurant for mix-and-match. There are about 5-6 entrees, 6-7 main course and 5-6 desserts. So the Chef can control the food quality by not over-stocking certain food. This is like what we are cooking for our family with our heart.

3. So why not for some red wine to sparkle the meal. I have no knowledge about what label and what year of wine, but this one is pretty nice. Strong and thick but not overwhelming. 4. Souffle in spinach thick soup. Tender texture with a strong baking aroma of the souffle and it tasted so good!
5. Marinated salmon in creamy dressing. Lovely! 6. My favourite French bread.
7. Today's recommendation: Mussels in onion creamy sauce. So the Chef did notice some very fresh mussels in the market. Check on how "happy cracking" of the mussels. The more it cracks, the fresher is means. 8. I was surprised to see a bowl of lemon water for rinsing hands. I thought it's only a practice in HK.

9. Steak in mushroom sauce with a bed of polenta. The portion is huge. The mushroom is very aromatic. The polenta is also very nice! 10. Today's recommendation: Roasted pork loin on tomato.

11. Pan fried red mullet filet: very nice and fresh too! 12. Garlic chicken with mushroom on rice. It looks like very Chinese but the skill is quite French. At least the chicken isn't marinated with cornstarch. I am impressed with the rice which is perfectly cooked. Tender but separate and not mashy.

13. dessert board. 14. Lemon and orange tart. So good, and no bitter at all but fresh enough with a strong zesty flavour!

15/16. Chocolate terrine with crushed pistachio. Very nice and it's not too sweet!

17. Rhubarb pudding. Really surprised with the taste. The sour flavour of rhubarb is well balanced. Nice to clean the stuffy feeling.

19. the restaurants are packed with customers. 20. the Entrance.

Le Bon Marche, Paris, France

Local native French sometimes say "Right Bank" and "Left Bank". Right bank means south of Seine River (i.e. St Germains/University area) and Left bank is north (i.e. Opera/Louvre/Champs Elysees). The Right Bank is quite touristic and foreign, especially with those busy big department stores as Lafayette and Print Temps. So I went to try this department store Bon Marche on the Left Bank. It's indeed less crowded and in harmony. Bon Marche means good market. The store has some designers' brands which can't be found in Lafayette. So it's a good alternative to try something new.

Triumphe, Eiffel, Champs Elysees, Paris, France

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1/2. the above showing this master piece of art - Arc de Triumphe and it's the first time I saw it without any scaffolding and the first time an interesting blue with grey sky. Very complicated feeling. Also Champs Elysees is very nice to stroll along.
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3. It was raining when we reached Tour Eiffel. This is Paris in January, and it's my 7th or 8th time here. 4. The subway system is around 100 years old.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France

In taking the busy time of this big department store in Paris, I finally discreetly took a few photos of the classic design. My local friend told me the local media reported that right now the no. 1 most spending power tourist is from China, second is Russia. Besides, she got some friends working in Lafayette that the mainland Chinese tourists exchange tons of Chinese dollars into Euros and spending even much crazier than Japanese. We used to say the Japanese tourists point at the items like "ticking dim dum". However, the Chinese tourists simply put a thick stack of dollar notes and asked the sales "give me whatever you have in the store.". So when I was noticed of speaking Cantonese, I was like a V.V.I.P. in the Store, and greeted with many "Ni Hou Ma!". Money drives this realistic World.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Euros or HK$, dim sum, Paris, France

Passed by this restaurant making use of the name Luk Yu (a renowned Cantonese tea house serving high priced dim sum plus "in advance tipping for a table").

1. I guess you would probably "wow" "what".... Euros 15 for a shrimp dumpling. You can actually get a nice shrimp dumpling at HK$15. Together with 5 to 6 dim sum, the bill can be easily up to Euros 100 per person.

A very warm family Japanese dinner in French traditional culture, Paris, France

After so many hectic meetings in Cannes and flight/luggage delay, I realise why people often say "there's no place like home". Miki, my best friend in Paris made a lovely dinner tonight and she is the first chef who showed me to get fresh basil to cook with pasta back in 1995 (way before I watched how Jamie Oliver did the same) at her home in Hong Kong. Since then, we chatted a lot about cooking. We also had some picnic tour with the Angel to places like Lamma Island. Miki made some sushi in a very nice box with heat-proof. So this is how thoughtful and delicate of Japanese cooking culture. There are a no of Miki's dishes the Angel and I have never forgot.... Here are some of those...

1. Olives as the appetizer. 2. the dining room.

3. the table. 4. Wow... my most missed Okonomiyaki (Japanese pan cake). I was so surprised to see it again and it's the best I have ever tasted. Miki used some scallop and fish together with bean sprouts and cabbage. The scallop and fish were nicely done without any smelly taste and I can tell it has been done in a fine water boiling that the meat texture is very crunchy!

5. I seldom drink but only on some occasion, and this red wine is awesome and so smooth in the mouth. 6. a very nice chopstick shoulder.

7/8. See how evenly the ingredients are and most of all it's very moist but not watery! This is the very skillful part. Bravo!

9/10. Chicken and bean on cold soba. Another amazing delight. At first I didn't know there are some very sweet and crunchy beans. Then the soba is at a perfect texture and chilled too. The parsley fragrance just went so well with the whole dish.

11. Gallet (French traditional pastry only available in January). As my trip to France is often in January, I used to think this is the all-year-round pastry in France. Tonight I got told of a local tradition of eating this pastry. Before cutting this pastry, the youngest person at the table needs to get down under the table. Then he will say the name of whom the cut of the pastry should be given until the last piece is given back to himself. So there is one ceramic inside the pastry. Each one needs to be cautious in chewing its cut. So the one who has the ceramic will be named as the King of the year, enjoying each one's greeting. 12. The filling of Gallet is made of almond. Very fragrant of almond.

13. see the ceramic! 14. All over the years, these are all the Kings' treasure.

15. This year is a tree as "Mon Beau Sapin" (meaning as my handsome pine tree).

Ginger, 14 years old, Paris, France

Met Ginger 5 years ago and tonight it's the 4th time I saw Ginger. A very cute and communicable cat. Ginger can hear French, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin and English. Very suitable as an ambassador cat for United Nations. Of course, my friend wouldn't let Ginger work.