Tag Archives: foodie

Craving Parisian Cuisine

18 Aug

Where does one go for some of the most incredible dining experiences ever? Paris has got to be a foodie’s paradise, and dining at four three Michelin starred restaurants while in Paris was like dying and going to food heaven. After the marathon dinner at Arpege (the first of the four restaurants with three Michelin stars), we knew that we had to pace ourselves and set aside at least three or more hours of our day to get the full experience of the Parisian restaurants that require some planning (or possible last resort pleading) to get a reservation to and multiple emails or phone calls for double or sometimes triple confirmations to assure our bookings. The term “Michelin Star” is a hallmark of fine dining quality, and since three stars is defined as “exceptional cuisine and worth a special journey”, we were looking forward to discover what all the hype was about, and what we found was those stars were given for very good reason, and them some.

Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee

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A friend of our’s described a dinner at Alain Au Plaza Athenee as one of two of the best meals he’s ever had, and we found out why. As soon as you walk into the hotel and into the gorgeous restaurant with magnificent chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, we wondered if the Michelin stars came from the decor. I looked it up, and the reviewers are supposed to concentrate on the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food, and not on quality of service, table setting, or ambiance. One we began eating, we agreed that the food was just as spectacular as everything else in the restaurant. We had the langoustines rafraichies with caviar, I ordered the Homard, Pommes de mer, and for Les Desserts, we shared the Baba au rhum and all of the other additions that came to the table, including the pre and post dessert desserts that we made sure to make room for.

Epicure
Le Bristol

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Men must not forget their dinner jackets at many fine dining Parisian restaurants. Contrary to what we think casual may mean in America, in Paris, causal means a suit jacket, preferably with a collared shirt and optional tie. While dining at Epicure in Le Bristol Hotel, I can see why people must dress up to dine there… the food looks just as fashionable. The food is presented so beautifully, it made me feel under-dressed. Just like the Paris runways are updated with new styles, Epicure’s menu was presented according to the season, and I ordered the seasonal tasting menu, which included the Mozzarella and Tomato souffléed with olive oil and salt, ox’s heart tomato, “green zebra: tomato, and pineapple tomato, Rock Pool Red Mullet with a roasted eggplant in a zucchini flower, and yellow pepper sauce perfumed with argan oil, and Carribean Chocolate with creamy, emulsion of spicy caramel, and roasted coffee ice cream. The palate cleansers between courses, fresh Madeleines, and dessert bar with marshmallows, caramels, candies, and macarons were great treats, but the fine seasonal cheeses offered before the desserts (as many and as much as one could handle) were incredible! In collaboration with two master cheese makers, Marie-Anne Cantin and Bernard Anthony, Epicure’s cheese board had a number of new selections of impeccable quality and taste that had me craving for cheese like never before.

Guy Savoy
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Guy Savoy was where we dined the last night of our trip in Paris. Like many of the other restaurants on our trip, I started with a coupe de champagne rose, and with extensive wine lists and breads at all of the restaurants we went to, it’s impossible not to notice how each place demonstrated attention to the perfect compliments of wine and bread to it’s food and cheeses. We took the recommendations from our server and ordered the Autour de la tomate, Bar en ecailles grillees, soupe d’artichaut, Selle, carre et epaule d’agneau, Poelee de girolles, fomage, and dessert. If I wasn’t already convinced, Guy Savoy completely sealed the deal on Paris being the city with the most crave-worthy restaurants on the planet. Im sure we could have probably spent another week in Paris and continued to be impressed by the quality of food and pure genius of the chefs. My taste buds were completed enchanted with Parisian cuisines and although I don’t know when I’ll return, I’ll forever be inclined to seek out the gastronomic delights of Paris.

Craving Arpege

25 Jul

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Where can we find a culinary artist that creates beautiful and insanely delicious masterpieces? In Paris, on Rue de Bourgogne, there is a chef by the name of Alain Passard, who designs picturesque dishes looks as good as they tastes. When my bf and I dined in his restaurant, Arpege (which is not the easiest to make reservations to BTW), Alain Passard came out of the kitchen and said hello, asked where we were from, and asked if we liked vegetables. Of course we liked vegetables, but after having the dinner that was served at Arpege, I am now in love with vegetables. I’ve always heard that Paris is the city of love, and now I’m an official believer because I fell head over heals in love with the incredible and unique recipes at this Parisian restaurant and Arriere-Cuisine that satisfy cravings as well as the visual appetite. AP’s designs and technique have given life to probably the most gorgeous food I’ve ever laid my eyes on and if we think something can’t taste beautiful, well we’re wrong. Either the way AP’s food tasted made the food look better, or the way AP’s food looked made the food taste better, or both, or neither. All I know is that I felt like I was looking at a super model physicist, confused because it never happens… food should never look and taste that good. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. My bf said that it was the best meal he’s ever had in his life (and this was only 5 dishes in to an over 15 dish meal, not counting the dessert).

Just to make our lives easier, we both had the tasting menu of AP’s specialty and signature cuisines, and I had a glass of their recommended Riesling. The menu included Coquelier, Collection de tomates, Aiguillette de homard bleu nuit acidule au miel nouveau, Fines ravioles potageres multicolores, Turbot de la pointe de Bretegne grille entire au, Robe des champs, Rostisserie, Fomages Bernard Antony, Mille, Sucrereis, and several surprises that I can’t pronounce or repeat even if I wanted to. The only reason I can even list the items on the menu was because the staff gave me one to take home. I tried keeping track of the courses, but after the 10th item, I was already I delirious (with joy and satisfaction); however, even when I thought I could eat no more, I found that I kept clearing my plates. During my meal, I told my bf that Arpege is the true “Happy Meal,” because it can really make a person happy. The funny thing was we actually left with a “gift.” Arpege gifted a souvenir, which was the dinner knife we used during dinner. The staff cleaned it and folded the blade into the handle like a pocket knife. Engraved in the wooden handle is “Arpege 2013.” Although already an unforgettable experience, I now have a remembrance of my Arpege love affair of pure indulgence and bliss.

Craving Passadis Del Pep

23 Jul

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What kind of restaurant doesn’t have a menu? The kind of restaurant that doesn’t need one, which is exactly what Passadis del Pep is. Once we found this hidden gem down an alley and through a little passageway (a passadis in Catalan) in Barcelona, which can be a little hard to find, we were so happy that when we got seated, we didn’t have to order our dinner. Everyday, Passadis Del Pep prepares a new selection of beautifully presented, fresh mariscos (seafood) and whatever is brought to the table is what we get. After receiving a half bottle of cava (local champagne), dishes come straight from the kitchen to the table, as if we were guests in some one’s home. The courses; however, don’t ever seem to end. First, came the clams and sea snails, then the gambas (shrimp) and calamari, and after that a plate of salted shishito peppers. Two different kinds of prawns came next, and then we were warned that after already devouring seven amazing dishes, there was one more course before the main dish. Most people stop there, but we didn’t. We got the rice with squid and then we were asked to choose a main course, “pescado or carne?” I had the fish and my bf had the meat, which came out with a side of potatoes. For dessert, we shared the crème Catalan and chocolate profiteroles. We each had a cup of Café Americano, they brought out a few bottles of chilled dessert wine, which we could pour for ourselves and we were also offered any other alcoholic drink of choice. I could only handle a few sips. Passadis Del Pep was an unforgettable, almost 3 hour, dinner experience. Barcelona saved the best dinner for last, when I thought it couldn’t get any better.

Craving Los Caracoles

22 Jul

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Where do we go when dinner plans don’t go as planned? We try plan B, which turned out to be more than fine by us… In Barcelona, many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so a few of the places on top of my food list got crossed off. My bf got a suggestion from a friend back home and we headed about a mile from our hotel to Los Caracoles, which is located in an alley off La Rambla. Outside of the restaurant is a huge wood-fired oven, blazing and sending scents of food through the street, enticing passerby’s to have what their kitchen’s cooking . Right when we walked in, it looked like a tiny bar and restaurant, but after walking past the ovens and chefs, up the stairs, and into the dining area, we were surprised to find that the establishment could seat well over 200 people. We got some great suggestions from the server, who started us off with bread in the shape of a snail with olive oil and vinegar. We ordered most of his suggestions: the verduras salteadas (sauteed vegetables), gambas al ajillo (shrimp fried in garlic), paella de mariscos (seafood “paella”), navajas a la plancha (grilled razor clams, and of course los caracoles especiales (special snails), which we had to try since the name of the restaurant is Los Caracoles (although I could only handle eating 2). For dessert we had pastel de fresas con maracuya (strawberry cake) and crema catalana (“Catalan” cream caramel, which is very similar to creme brulee). The ambiance and decor of the restaurant is as lively and flavorful as the food. Before we finished dinner, we got a nice surprise and got serenaded at our table by a Spanish band. The dinner experience was awesome, and I especially could not get over how tasty the vegetables were; Delicioso! They were the first thing I tried and even if I just had the vegetables, I would have still made up my mind that Los Caracoles beat anything and everything I could have possibly had at any “Plan A” restaurant on my list.

Arola Craves

21 Jul

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What’s a great way to kick off a stay in Barcelona, Spain? Eating great food is always a great start in my opinion, which is exactly my bf and I did on our first night together. Located on the 2nd floor of the Hotel Arts, our home for the next few days, we dined at Catalan chef Segi Arola’s restaurant, which overlooks the ocean, located in front of Frank Gehry’s giant wale. We were given a few complimentary starters and a bread basket, with garlic, tomato, olive oil, and salt. For the bread, we were instructed to cut the garlic clove and tomato in half, rub the garlic on the bread, then do the same with the tomato, add a little olive oil, and a dash of salt, and eat. The bread was delicious, a perfect teaser for the tapas we about going to enjoy. We ordered White Asparagas with mayonnaise, olives from Aragon and sprout, Eggplant flame roasted, with arbeguina olives and pine nuts, Arola’s Patatas Bravas (mmmm, yum), and White Shrimp prepared with garlic. Our server advised of of ordering 4, maybe 5 items to share, but we didn’t stop at 4, we continued to order the Langoustines grilled with truffle vinaigrette, Mussels in brine with vitelotte potato chips, Crab prepared in Wontong pasta ravioli and dashi, and my bf had the Nebraska Beef loin, marinated with Xerez, vinegar and citrics with vegetables and sprouts. All of the tapas were amazing. Our great dinner, which started off our trip, also ended well with dessert or cocina dulce, pumpkin cake, passion fruit, and white chocolate. If this dinner was an indication of what to expect, I can’t wait for more of what else Barcelona has to offer.

Craving Pinkberry

14 Jul

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What’s the best place to get frozen yogurt in town? In my town, it’s Pinkberry, hands down. The first time I had Pinkberry a few years ago, I was hooked. My bf and I were steady regulars and when our local Pinkberry began delivery service, we had the business card posted on our refrigerator (it was the only thing posted on the refrigerator) and in addition to going into Pinkberry locations, the phone number of Pasadena’s Pinkberry was practically on speed dial. Since we were going there so often, we started stocking our freezer with pints of fro-yo from Pinkberry. My fro-yo crave craze died down significantly since first being introduced Pinkberry. Actually, it had been a while since my last Pinkberry craving, but on a hot summer day over the weekend, the craving came back with a vengeance. I made it a point to head to Pinkberry to order my favorite, the original frozen yogurt with mangos, strawberries, and gummi bears. My second choice wasn’t available, which is green tea (seasonal) with granola. If that flavor was in season, I would have ordered both. It was just as yummy as I remembered, and my craving for Pinkberry was definitely satisfied. What satisfies your cravings on a hot summer day?

Craving Quality Food and Beverage

11 Jul

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Quality is always better than quantity, right? Well, when it comes to quality food, we may tend to crave a lot of it. When having brunch at Quality Food and Beverage in Los Angeles with a group of friends, I learned that a large quantity of quality food is like having the best of both worlds. After hearing so many great things about this restaurant, I was excited to finally try it out. While deciding on what Quality food to order, I drank my Quality beverage: my normal orange and cranberry juice mix. There were a few things on the menu that I wanted to order, so I did just that… ordered them all. I had one of the specials, the Hawaiian Papaya, Blueberry, and Cottage Cheese served with two perfectly poached eggs and a slice of house banana bread pudding, a side of Blueberry Biscuit (with butter), and since I couldn’t decide on the chocolate chip or banana pancakes, I requested chocolate chip AND banana pancakes (with syrup and butter). The server and chef granted my request, and everything was delish! Quality definitely lived up to it’s name, which means the quantity of my visits there will definitely be increasing.

Craving Nicki C’s

23 Jun

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Ever go to a restaurant two days in a row? My first time was this weekend, when my bf introduced me to Nicki C’s for lunch, and then again the following day for breakfast for the second time. For lunch, we had a complimentary seasoned bread basket, the Brucshetta, a delicious Caprese Salad, and the best fish tacos I have ever had. After chatting with our server, we learned that Nicki C’s was actually known for their breakfast, so we had to try it, and it was goooood! They have fresh squeezed orange juice, which tasted incredible mixed with cranberry juice. My bf had the juevos y chorizo (eggs scrambled with chorizo, onion & cilantro, served with corn tortillas), which he ate in what seemed like a minute. I had the chiliquiles verde (eggs, tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, cheddar cheese, and verde sauce) with a side of fruit. We shared the banana walnut pancakes with butter and maple syrup, which I had with a nice cup of black tea. Needless to say, we found a new breakfast and lunch spot, and I’m sure we’ll be back to Nicki C’s soon to try their, you guessed it, dinner!

Craves and Savors From The Original Pantry Cafe

9 Jun

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Who loves breakfast? I do! And so do a set of four year old twins that already know what their cravings are in the mornings. My bf, his sister, brother in-law, the kiddies and I went to The Original Pantry Cafe in Los Angeles for breakfast and there was a line that almost wrapped around the building, it was so long. It’s safe to assume that every one waiting to eat also loves breakfast, and they all must also love The Original Pantry. While waiting to get in the door, I hear Evita say, “I want pokey eggs” (eggs sunny-side up, that you can poke and the yoke runs out) and DeAngelo say, “I want pancakes.” After the wait, we all wanted anything and everything on the menu! We finally made our decisions, and ordered. My cravings for coffee, apple juice, two eggs over easy, breakfast potatoes, and French toast overpowered the other cravings, but having an option for a combination of three items and two beverages also helped. Those potatoes are honestly the best breakfast potatoes ever! I think I know why so many people were lined up out front. The French toast with maple syrup was also savory, but nothing was savored more than the time spent with the people I shared breakfast with. What’s not to love about a delicious breakfast when we’re with people we love?

Festival Craves & Savors

4 Jun

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Doesn’t every one love festival season? It sure looked like it based on the number of happy festival goers who went to the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino this past weekend, where Mumford and Sons headlined. While I like the band, what really had my bf and I sold on the concert were the food trucks and the fact that we wanted to spend time with Jax and her husband Ste, our music festival partners. There were so many food trucks in this large outdoor amphitheater, and the first thing we did was eat at the Wicked Kitchen, which I had been craving since trying it for the first time at Coachella. I had the same thing I had before, “I Pity The Tofu’l.” Not long after, my bf and I shared some nachos at one of the taco stands. We also tried the Chunk-n-Chip Cookies Truck, which was my favorite. I had the pistachio ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies. The ice cream was delicious, there were little chinks of pistachio mashed in the ice cream, and it was so good, I forgot about the cookies, and neglected them almost altogether. I always enjoy being able to try a variety of food cravings at the trucks and vendors that have become almost as popular at music festivals as the bands themselves. I enjoy savoring time with friends, the great music, and the great vibes from the people there having a good time. It’s also nice to be inspired by festival fashion, and there isn’t any one more fashionable that I know than my friend and festival partner, who can be followed on Instagram @Luna_spoon (named after her beloved Boston Terrier).

So, what festival or concert is next on the list? Which band or musician is a must-see this season and where?