Archive for April, 2010

strawberries and melon!

April 14, 2010

Seasonal changes are wonderful. Fresh blooms, sprouting leaves and changing weathers. The type of fruits they sell in the market and pastries in the  boulangeries change as well! With Spring, these are some new kids on the block. Strawberries and Melons!

Strawberries cost a bomb in Singapore. BUT. This big crate here costs only 3euros! Can you believe that! They are also sweeter than what we have back home. WY told me there are even sweeter ones coming out in June! I can’t wait to try them coz the batch I have now still has a sourish tinge to it. The melon is different. Though small, it is very sweet and juicy. I am addicted to melons now! I devour one melon on my own!

When I saw this Fraissier in the boulangerie, I just HAD TO EAT IT! It tastes sooo good! It has a thin layer of chocolate at the bottom, followed by a thin sponge cake and loads of cream and strawberries!

The bright red roses in full bloom in the courtyard garden. They are so huge!

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Au fil des saisons

April 12, 2010

Our friends from London, QT and XH popped over to Paris for a visit over the Easter Weekend. We decided to meet up over dinner and once again, I revisited the many blogs and reviews webpages and decided on Au Fil des Saisons. Also, I had a secret mission to suss out the BEST Duck Confit in Paris (other than chocolates, macaroons, croissants, baguettes, escargots, foie gras, coq au vin, pot au feuille etc etc). Hence, after reading about THE Duck Confit that was slow cooked for 7 hours and topped with a slab of Foie Gras, I decided that this shall be the first duck confit to try.

Despite the reviews and all, I was surprised at the relatively empty restaurant. In fact, by the time we left, there were only us and 2 other couples. On a Saturday night! Needless to say, I was pretty worried that the food might not go well with our friends.

For entree, I ordered the escargots and for my Plat, the Legendary Confit de Canard (Duck Confit). W decided on an entree of foie gras with salad and the same Plat. YES. That is a humongous amount of foie gras and duck. Not exactly good for his heart! Gosh.

The escargots were tender though I would prefer them to be more savoury. But it’s addictive. W’s foie gras was huge! The texture was so smooth and tasty that I kept pinching it off his plate to go with my warm bread (They serve nice hot bread on skewers)!

To be objective, this is the first Confit de Canard I had tried in Paris so I am not sure if it is the best. BUT I really liked it. QT went ‘Wow, this is good!’ and proceeded to work on the dish leaving the bone bare and plate VERY clean. I remembered the one I had in Singapore was tough and dry. Au Fil des Saisons’s Confit had crispy skin with tender savory meat that comes off the bone easily. The melting foie gras added more depth to the flavour which I cleaned up with the meat and potatoes. I LOVE the potatoes and ate W’s share as well! The potatoes were nicely sauteed and had crusty edges to them! Gosh, I am drooling just writing about it!

For dessert, we ordered a trio of chocolate (white, milk and dark chocolate) that comes in egg cups with a cake on top and smooth liquid chocolate below. I love them all whilst the Dark Chocolate was the favourite with the rest.

I liked the food although W preferred the food at Le Timbre. I think this is traditional French whilst Le Timbre creates modern French Cuisine which is more interesting to him. I suspect the restaurant was empty because of its location (situated in an empty dark street) with a ‘country’ interior decor and raised prices. Hence what used to be ‘good value for money’ no longer apply. A 2 course meal now costs 31 euros (26 euros previously) whilst a 3 course meal costs 36 euros (31 euros previously) for dinner. Perhaps, they could only do the duck well. XH had ordered a chicken dish for her Plat. However, it was tough and wasn’t exceptional.

Nevertheless, I still think it is worth trying since I am still thinking about the Confit de Canard and chocolate trio until now!

AU FIL DES SAISONS
6 rue des Fontaines du Temple
75003 Paris
01 42 74 16 60
M° Temple ou Arts-et-Métier

been there, done that & SCOOP

April 12, 2010

This is the first time W had been to France so I made sure he would see the sights before we return home to Singapore. After the wonderful meal at Le Timbre, we moved on to the Louvre where we caught a glimpse of the Mona Lisa (of course), the majestic Italian Artworks and beautiful sun-lit Sculpture Garden with its bigger-than-life sculptures. I was surprised. Twice in the past visits to the Louvre, I had never stepped into the Sculpture Garden. It felt ethereal to walk into the huge covered courtyard space surrounded by beautiful huge sculptures. W liked this the most.

After the Louvre, we were off to Champs Elysee to see the Arc de Triomphe. I had wanted to try out the afternoon tea and legendary macaroons at Laduree situated along Champs Elysee but was too caught up with shopping for maternity jeans at GAP (only the branch at Champs Elysee has them!) that it was soon time for dinner!

SCOOP CAFE

We had decided to adopt a cost savings strategy in our attempt to try out the food in Paris. Go for the Lunch Menus or Formules which are way cheaper than dinner sets. So after splurging on lunch at Le Timbre and not wanting to eat MacDonalds where a meal costs approx 6euros, lacklustre sandwiches at 8-10 euros or MORE kebabs, we settled on SCOOP which according to reviews, serves very good burgers in Paris. A Burger set with Potatoes and a Salad costs approx 10-12 euros. Of course, the lunch set at 15 euros which includes a very good milkshake is cheaper too so I am intending to go back for their lunches!

W had the Scoop Burger whilst I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with a veggie patty because we were worried that the beef would be rare (a big no-no for me). I love the veggie patty! It was so good I intend to recommend it to my vegetarian friends!

We were surprised to find out that the American owner actually attended 2 weeks of school in Insead Fontainebleau, before giving it up to attend to urgent family matters. She used to be a lawyer with an international bank before setting up SCOOP! That’s hope for some of us. Heh.

SCOOP
154, rue Saint Honoré (1st)
Tél: 01 42 60 31 84

le timbre

April 11, 2010

Finally. With my food aversions gone. I am hankering for some serious French cuisine. I checked out some websites and found a few restaurants that I would love to try every weekend (provided W has no homework. Bleah). The weather is fantastic these days and I would love to throng the streets of Paris EVERYDAY to check out the nooks and crannies before I go back!

Le Timbre

We went to Le Timbre 2 weeks back. It was really good and it should be good since most customers were French except for us and 2 other Japanese ladies. Le timbre is in the michelin guide but I guess the reason why they don’t get stars is because you sit shoulder to shoulder, to the next guest. Yes. The restaurant seats only 24 persons and is so small that you stack the tables side by side. So to get in, you push the table out so that your partner can move in! But we’re fine with it. In any case, we were more happy to score a seat at 1pm (we called an hour earlier to reserve a seat though) because by 1.30pm, the restaurant was full!

Not in a fantastic chi chi location or wonderful front! OK. Maybe I was too hungry and impatient to get a better shot.

First time in a French Restaurant. Naturally I was excited but worried about stuffy french wait staff. However, the waitress was very friendly and made an effort to explain the menu to us in English. To do this, they’ll hold up an A1 size chalkboard with the day’s special, place it on the table and explain each item on the menu which is pretty amusing to me. After which, you’ll hold the board whilst she attends to something else and you make your decision. A 2 course meal (entree+plat OR plat+dessert) costs 22 euros whilst a 3 course (entree+plat+dessert) costs 26 euros. Very reasonably priced for the food that was to follow. W also ordered a glass of Cahor ’04 (4 euros) which the waitress recommended would go well with his food.

For the entree, I ordered a Pate made with bits of the pig’s head and fried. For the Plat, I decided on the duck’s breast which is cooked rose and is amazingly soft and juicy. To my disappointment, THE HUBBY insisted that I should eat thoroughly cooked food and so my duck went to his tummy instead! Argh.

W ordered a terrine which I very much preferred (W loves my Pate) and the Roast Pork for his mains. As a result, we swopped our orders completely. But I ended up liking the Roast Pork sitting on a bed of turnips which was soft and smooth. Nice.

Dessert!!! The jasmine infused chantilly cream on cone was amazing (pic left), so much so the elderly French couple next to us went ‘tres bien!’ and went on to talk to the chef. My millefeuille was good but alas, it was overshadowed by the stellar cream on cone. Mind you, the cone is not any normal cone but a biscuit that is fragrant and crispy.

The amazing 3 person team at work. And guess what. The chef (on the left) hails from Manchester which amused the elderly French couple next to us quite abit. I love such homey restaurants and I want to go back to Le Timbre to try out the other dishes too. Boudin Noir Pudding? Ok. Only when I muster enough courage to stomach a mound of mashed blood sausages.

Le Timbre

3 Rue Sainte Beuve Paris. Tel : 01 45 49 10 40 Nearest Metro : Notre Dame Des Champs

our wonderful hosts

April 11, 2010

It was a wonderful dinner hosted by our Japanese friends, Jun-san and Yoshimi-san.  I had mentioned to Yoshimi-san that I loved Japanese food. She took note of it and invited us to a dinner of Sukiyaki! It was so good (restaurant standards!) and heartwarming. They had placed great effort to ensure a good dinner for us. We were really touched. Jun-san has an amazing personality whilst Yoshimi-san is a very talented florist who used to work in the Ritz Paris (flower below : poppy). Despite their accolades, they are very humble and sincere. We were really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet them in Insead.

The really yummy Sukiyaki and the ultra smooth Chawanmushi. I have never had Chawanmushi like this except in Japanese Ryokans! Apparently it was slowly steamed to maintain it’s silky smooth texture. Yoshimi-san also prepared a potato stew, daikon & bacon salad and a carrot salad in sesame paste. Wonderful.

Dessert time! Fresh Strawberries that are in season in France now. Chocolate Orangettes from Marco Parcolini, caramels, biscotti from a boulangerie and belgian waffles. They prepared various teas for us to wash down the sweet treats. Yoshimi-san specially prepared the non-caffeinated teas for me. The tea pictured below is Rooibos Tea. It went really well with the sweet treats.

It was such a lovely meal. Thank you so much Jun-san and Yoshimi-san! We would love to invite you over for dinner soon!