Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cavalock and The Quest for Soupe de Poissons

Just like in Italy, it was so much food but so little time. Throughout the trip, dinner was always about 7pm, before 8pm at least. I was told this was pretty early by local standards but that also meant we'll always get a table.

Here's what we had for dinner near our hotel. A nice and fresh seafood meal at a little roadside restaurant, sorry but once again I forgot the name. Yah, I really suck at remembering foreign names and places.

Now when I was in Cannes, Nice a lifetime ago, almost all the joints I been to had fish soup or soupe de poissons on the menu. It was the best thing I had there back then. So when I finally returned to France, I figured I must at least try a fish soup dish and see if the whole experience could be replicated.

Well, the one I had that night was definitely tasty with lotsa seafood flavors coming right at you, but I think after the tuscan soup I had in Florence, the Italian dish is now my new all-time favorite European soup.

Everything else we had was great. Fresh oysters, hot delicious mussels and a rather simple yet gratifying salmon meal.

A bunch of random food pix and other kinda pix too as I made my way across Paris. Hope you like them! Do leave a tick or comment below! <^;^>

Unlike Italy, it was awfully cloudy on most days in Paris 

Awwww.... these just look too cute to eat
Of course I had to drop by an Apple store unfortunately I didn't get anything for myself 
This here is a pretty famous escagot place that wasn't open for lunch yet when we were there
Game for almost €12 each, I thought that's kinda expensive
Now you can't be in Paris and not try some Vietnamese food, rite?
I kinda like the narrow European streets, don't ask me why
Great festive mood along the Champs-Elysees with rows of stalls selling holiday stuff
Ah, those crazy Frenchies, they just luv to hang stuff everywhere

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cavalock and The Parisian Breakfast Dilemma


With only four days in Paris to do what I gotta do and once that deed is done, find time to eat and shop, it was pretty hectic but fun! A breakfast in Paris can be pretty expensive, I mean compared to our local breakies. It's like over €5 for a simple breakfast consisting of a croissant or baguette and a coffee. I guess it's the minimum wage thing they have that kinda works for them.

Every breakfast I had in Paris was at a different little cafe near my hotel, and I throughly enjoyed every single one of them. It was too cold for some al fresco dining so I had it nice and cozy indoors, like everyone else. But I'm a big breakfast kinda guy so that miniscule morning set ain't gonna last me till lunch so I end up buying another pastry or two.

Yup, all that is available for breakfast too!
Now before I came to Paris, I had people telling me stories bout how rude or arrogant the French are. Fortunately my experience with the locals were all pleasant. Like when we were looking at some foie gras in a shop window and wondering out loud the best way to prepare it, a nice middle-aged French lady came up and offered us some advice in English.

The only negative experience with the locals was at Rome airport immigration. The guy gave me a barely visible chop in my passport and threw it back at me. Notice I said 'locals', I don't consider the numerous gypsies I encountered in both countries as 'locals' and that's another tale for another day.

Which is your favorite Paris tower??? <^;^>

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cavalock and The Les Cocottes Liaison

Reached Paris in the evening and just in time for dinner at Les Cocottes de Christian which just happened to be round the corner from my little hotel, and I do mean 'little'. It's also within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower so it's definitely a nice dinner spot after a tour.

The restaurant doesn't take any reservations so you gotta start Q-ing if you want a seat especially if you got a large party. Anyway it's a pretty casual joint where if you are dining alone, there's a counter seat area not unlike a sushi bar counter. Even the regular tables come with high stools.

The thing bout this place is almost all the food is served in cast iron casseroles. It retains the heat and flavor of the dish. I ordered the day's dinner set. Mackerel and scallop (with a little puff pastry hanging on the side) for starters, followed by liver with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes. There's a better review here by another Singaporean!

Heh, I have more than a couple of Le Creuset pots and pans so I'm really tempted to try my hand at whipping up something. But that's gotta wait till next year, more on that in another post. ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cavalock and The Pierre Herme Revelation

I still got a bunch of stuff to writer bout Italy but I think it's bout time I headed to Paris instead. Well, if anyone wants to know how to get to some of the places like Sienna or even the ...gulp!... premium factory outlets around Florence, let me know and I'll do a post on them. :)

Now you can't be a food lover in Paris and not talk bout Pierre Herme's famous Macarons. I only got four days in Paris so I headed to Galeries Lafayette where I believe I was told I could almost everything under one roof. There are actually more than one Pierre Herme stand in the building.

And yes, they are as good as everyone said they would be.

So what else is good at Galeries? Lotsa stuff actually. Although they have a food basement like the departmental stores in Japan, it's not as big or sprawling as the ones in Tokyo. But they do have several fine gourmet food stalls on the upper floors so I guess that kinda evens it out. Like the stall selling Turkish treats on one of the upper floors and in the basement, lotsa prosciutto legs from the basement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cavalock and The European Home Shopping Experience

Two kinda snacks the Italians and French are really nuts about are Kinder Bueno and Nutella.  How do I know that? Cos it's everywhere! Kinder Bueno is available everywhere, in all kinds of flavor. And Nutella is found IN everything, in all sizes.

Tiny little bottles in a supermarket in Florence
Big ass bottle in Paris

Below are a few more interesting items I found along the way. Guess which one I bought! <^;^>

An electric bread warmer basket! 
Multi-blade herb scissors!
The most expensive dice box any gamer can ask for!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cavalock and The 1,000-Year-Old Inn

One of the nicest ‘stopovers’ in Chianti, Tuscany was at a little insolated cottage at the top of a hill and in the middle of nowhere, well alright, maybe not exactly nowhere but more like in the middle of fields of olive trees.

Torre di Ponzano is an extremely quaint place with an equally charming owner. He told me that parts of the estate were over a thousand years old and the covers of my bed were like a century old. Surrounded by furniture that's hundreds of years old? I'm back in my element. ;)

Waking up to breathtaking views like these. Popping a freshly plucked olive, pip and all in my mouth. Damn frinkin’ priceless.

Dinner was at a restaurant down the hill or was it halfway down? I can’t remember. I believe the English translation to the name of the restaurant is something like the ‘pissing monk’. Yes, I am not making this up.

This was actually where I saw my first Florentine steak, didn’t order it though. Instead I ordered my first hare. Yup, that there below was a wabbit. Was all right, a little too bony I thought.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cavalock and The Obligatory Food Collage

So many Italian food porn but so little time. Here are just some of the fantastic food I had back in Italy.

Couple of other things I noticed and found rather charming. Pet dogs are everywhere, in restaurants, luxury shops, trains, I like pets and I think it's great if we can bring dogs into places like that.

And you know how the stereotypical image of a traditional Italian restaurant usually features grandma or a matriarch figure working in the kitchen? Well, that's actually true cos I managed to take peek inside a couple of restaurants and there really is a motherly figure calling the shots in the kitchen!

Now what they say bout Rome being one big public museum is true. Believe it or not, I took waaaay more pix of buildings and museum pieces than of food. Like most geeks, I’m an ancient history buff and I kinda pride myself with being able to name some of the statues on display at the Vatican and around Rome before reaching the inscription.