Sunday, December 13, 2009
Black tea, thick cream and fluffy scones, you can't lose.
At the Lilac Restaurant in Edinburgh...
This last one, I ate before I remembered to take a photo, it was soooo good. A fennel tart with spices and onions.
3.5/5 not half bad.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The star dishes of the night...
1. Patatas con slas piquante y aioli. Simple and satisfying.
2. Lacon de cerdo (pork shoulder) con anise seed paste, served cold. I have never tasted anything like it.
For the wine nerds out there...
1. Valmiñor, Rias Baixas, Albariño
Lovely, fresh, yet complex golden white wine. Pinapple, honey, lemon and a bit of minerality. Great with green olives, cuts any rich foods. ie. the patatas above
2. Basa, Rueda, Verdejo, Viura y Sauvignon Blanc
Big nose on this fruity bombshell. Less complex than the Valmiñor, but still a great patio sipper. Pinapple, lemon dominate.
3. Al Muvedre, Alicante
I wanted this one to be since it is from a region near to Valencia. I love mouvedre, usually, but this wine disappointed. Great nose of earth and cinnamon, but the bottom dropped out with a flat palette.
4. Dehesa Gago, Toro, Tinta de Toro
This one is big. It reminded me of a cali zin, but with a gorgeous old world flare to boot. Mild tannins made this ready and easy to drink. Strawberry jam, caramel, cloves... ok I love it already. Add a dusty desert sage not to the mix... cigar and bitter lemon finish!!!!
4/5 Valencia, solid food and wine selection at a really cool location
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The town of Beaune is tiny and really pretty. Wandering about we found a bounty of cellars which stock many of the standout wines of Bourgogne(Burgandy) for you to taste.
For 10 Euro at Marche aux Vins, we tasted a fabulous Pouilley-Fuisse, Merasault, Pommard, George St.Nuit... the list goes on. You pour your own tasting in their cellars which was fabulous. You get to wander around on your own, but there is a sommelier about if you have any questions. November was a perfect time to visit, we were the only people there. Great place to really start to understand Burgundy if you are new to their wines. Pinot noir dominates and refined chardonnay for their whites; the range that these simple two grapes stretch will blow your mind.
Merasault; rich and buttery with great acidity and pear notes.
Pouilley-Fuisse; clean and crisp fruit with an astonishing mineral bite.
We were told by our lovely French hosts in Lyon to visit Domaine du Monteillet in Chavanay. Driving up a lonely country road, we barely found the house, a tall stone walled farmhouse. We rang the bell and waited 10 minutes, worrying that no one was home. Luck was ours, dogs barked and we were in. Once inside the small wood tasting room, the magic began.
After the tasting, I cried inside while thinking of my 2 bottle take home maximum at the Canadian border. I hate Canada! Then, we drove off to Chateauneuf du Pape to cheer me up. Advice for travellers to this region: Park the car, get a room in a hotel in town, get out and walk to one of the billion tasting houses, try spitting when you taste so you will remember which wines you actually liked. The tasting is mostly free, so you can get into some real trouble, or fun depending on your nature. Grennache takes the lead here for reds, and the lean is towards fruit, but in that special old world way that makes it good.4 /5 for Cote du Rhone. Simple, quiet, rustic, fabulous wine. The mark off is for the food.. saucisse avec frites. Sausage and fries, pretty boring, I'm sure it's my fault for not finding better grub.
4/5 for Edinburgh. It´s restaurants are fabulous but it´s local cuisine is lacking seriously, except for the scotch.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Me: They're not very friendly here.
Him: What do you mean? Parisians are really nice!
Me: No, they aren't, they never smile. Jamais!
Our stalemate went back and forth like a vigorous, verbal washing machine.
The day before my perfect day...
It pissed rain; all the galleries we walked to were closed; my supposedly waterproof shoes sprung leaks.
Struggling through with my crappy French was an embarrasing and tiring experience like two smacks in the face with a pretty glove.
The next day...
1. Like a cool breeze through my stuffy anglo heart, Reubens loomed up and stole my soul away to an exceedingly less rainy place. The Louvre... Brueghel, Goya, Van Goyen, Rembrant... Stop and have a tea break or your head will start spinning... Delacroix, Delaroche, regardez le Venus de Milo, oh my. 5 hours later. Tired? I was.
2. Off to Androuet Fromager to sample the Brie, the Chevre, the roquefort. Get old french cheesie guy to recommend a wedge or two for lunch or a French style dessert for later. Pick up some pastries and lovely baguettes from any Paul Boulangerie.
3. Stop for un verre du vin as much as possible; and soak up the view of the city and its people strolling by. 3 times a day minimum for this recipe to work!
4. Take metro. Squash happily into multicultural human sandwich of Parisians (all of whom are way cooler and prettier than I; even when squashed).
5. Enter the dark and cozy interior of L'Ecluse wine bar in Place de la Madeline. A top tier wine list with an exclusively Bordeaux bent awaits. Sample une petite verre du Saint Julien (vin rouge) & Saint Emillion both Grand Cru for around 7 Euro each! The wine is served with free nibblies; a delicate anise kissed salami.
6. Have a lovely Parisian waiter suggest places in Paris to 'Rock out'.
7. Get happily drunk on two glasses of wine for a change.
8. Agree with boyfriend. Paris is the food & wine lovers cats meow.
4/5 for Paris, it´s kicking Londons ass, but London still beats it with fabulous cheese shops surprisingly.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Ps. Last nights dinner was average at Le Restauranrt on Rue Veron. Chantrelles and prawns should have been ravishing, but was dripping with salty sauce. When I get served fragrent, subtle chantrelles, I like to taste them, but maybe that`s just me?
The excellent Red Burgundy almost made up for it though.
Another restaurant tonight, wait for it.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The first baguette was thusly made...
Flaky, crunchy exterior; soft, stretchy on the inside and slightly warm. All that is needed is butter to satisfy.
When the first baguette was thrown out of Eden, it was thrown towards North America. Hard livin' made it dry and calous; by the time it arrived in Vancouver it tasted of cardboard.
Notice to any bakers in France:
Please move to Vancouver! If you like skiing and maple syrup; it's a solid decision. You will be worshipped, there is no doubt.
The baguettes in Paris are so beautiful they make me angry.
5/5 for Paris, on the solid proof of their baguettes and pastries
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Brits are always blethering about the amazing Indian food in London. I am unconvinced as of yet, but I would love to be proved wrong! I've been to a few recommended spots and have been extremely underwhelmed. The last spot was an out of the way sit down spot called Templebar, the several dishes we tried were strangely sweet, not in a good way. Please, I'm begging you to comment at the bottom with some good to retardedly amazing Indian in London that I can try on my way back home.
2/5 London... working it's way downward.
If you are a foodie looking for a cheese shop in London... Neal's Yard Dairy!! I almost peed my pants the moment I walked into the shop. Gorgeous rounds of cheese peering at me from every corner. Drop by for a tasting(near Boroughs Market), pick a few cheeses, grab a baguette and some British or Spanish quince paste and your golden for a picnic lunch.
We had some Isle of Mull cheddar and some Dorstone unpasturized soft goat cheese with Spanish quince paste. Dreamy.
5/5 LONDON... how you have grown!
Fabulous cider and puff pastry are what made an impression on me in London. From pasties to steak & mushroom pie; flaky, impossibly thick chunks of buttery pastry nestled on my fork. Serious lack of the veg, also, made an impression on me. The potato rules in these parts which isn't bad, but I find that filling yourself with too much of our yellow friend likens itself to packing a canon. Cider cuts the heaviness of British food well. I found it wise to have a glass always in hand.
Visit - The Cove in Covent Garden, really nice pub for tourist watching, yummy cider too.
3/5 for London so far..