Monday, August 29, 2011

Birthday Lunch at Champetre part 2

More of my birthday many people know I'm a creature of habit and once I like something, I can get quite obsessive (specially with food). So for another birthday lunch, I decided on Champetre again, to have more of the Algerian Couscous. I figured this was more a dish for lunch rather tan dinner (since its quite heavy) so off we went again. This time, no more Domaine Tempier Bandol, so I passed by Terry's for some Otoñal Rosado to pair with the Escargot and Couscous. Oh..this time also much better pictures, since I brought my Panasonic GF1.

For starters, Escargot, mixed cheese and deli platter and Marc's Terrine. Needless to say, everything was up to par (even if Marc was not there, Chef Andreas was in the kitchen) so I was not worried.

For main, of course I had to have again the Algerian Couscous. This is such a great has Lamb Chops, Merguez Sausage, Couscous and a stew, made of Broth, Chick Peas, more Lamb, Chicken, Beef, etc.. oh and to for some heat, Harissa sauce. This goes perfectly well with a refreshing Rosé wine to help cut the heat from the Harissa.

We also had other dishes, all of them perfect in execution: Black Angus Steak(2 orders), Veal Cheeks and Scallops. The steak and the veal cheeks were excellent (was not able to try the Scallops).

One of the waiters apparently heard us toasting (for my birthday) and right after our main course, brought out a small dessert with a candle. I did not even tell them it was my birthday (since its been a week) but well that's what you get when you go to a place that has great service.

It was a nice lunch with my siblings and my Dad (my wife who is in China could not make it) and without our kids for once, so we had lots of time to chat and not worry about them running around the place. I had a great time. Cheers!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday dinner at Champetre

I decided not to have a big party for my 40th birthday this year. Instead, I choose to just have several smaller celebrations. This one was an intimate dinner with my wife. I had a great time and food was excellent. Below, a photo of the wine I had brought for the night. I have to thank Noel for letting me drink one of his bottles of Domaine Bandol Rose. This was just perfect for the food I had. I was really craving for this.

For starters, Salmon salad with cheese. The salmon was very fresh and great combination of the cheese, Salmon and arugula.

Next, Escargot Bourguignone. I love this, specially if paired with a Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose. This is a classic pairing and the wine, probably the best Rose wine in the world in my opinion.

For the main course, we had Marc's Algerian Couscous (good for 2). I've been looking forward to having this for quite some time now. With the Rose wine, it's a magical pairing. The dish is basically 2 plates. First the Couscous with lamb and merguez sausages..

Then a stew with chick peas, beef, chicken, and many other goodies. Another important factor is the Harissa, a spicy chilli paste.

One of my favourite dishes in Champetre. Chef Marc really does this well. It a perfect dish for a typical Sunday lunch, served with Rose wine. Delicious.

I had a great time. Thank you to my wonderful wife!!

More birthday celebrations to come!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Latteria San Marco, Milan

This is probably one of my favourite restaurants in Milan. Small neighbourhood restaurant. Literally sits just around 25 people max. You have to come early if not you will have to wait a while.

Started with some Culatello di Zibello and some ravioli stuffed with mozzarella and a butter sauce. Delicious!

For main, we had risso venere with julienne vegetables. This is some kind of black long grain wild rice served with vegetables and a little truffle oil. So simple yet so good.. And seemed to be healthy.

My dish: Egg, Butter, Bottarga in a silver pan (Uova al burro con Bottarga de Muggine in argento)

Look at that beauty! Such a simple no nonsense dish. 3 ingredients a voila! I could have easily had one more of this.

Definitely San Marco is a place I will always return, in fact I wanted to return the next day but unfortunately, that was their last day since they were going on summer vacation.

I'll be back there soon.

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Asador Donostiarra, Madrid

I've been wanting to eat at this restaurant for quite some time now. I jut never found the right time. It's one of those classic restaurants in Madrid that ha e been there for ages. Apparently t us also the favourite hang out of Real Madrid players and many celebrities.

For starters, I had some sherry with some chorizo and olives which is a standard starter for Asadores. We also had a platter of Jamon Iberico. We just had this to start, since we knew the Chuleton was coming next and it was going to be huge. We had this with the wine I chose also for the steak, a 2007 Muga Reservation from Rioja.

Then came the main attraction: 1 Kilo of dry aged beef which they call 'Chuleton'. Normally around 2 inches thick or even more, this is slightly seared, sliced them served. A hot plate is provided to cook it more of you like. I just put it in the hot plate for around 10 seconds to warm it up. The Steak is still rare which is how I like it. Here some pictures of the Chuleton:

The meat was one of the better ones I've tried lately. The dry ageing really gives it more flavour and taste, buttery and nutty. Served rare and with good wine, this is one of the finer things in life.

We managed to finish the steak and had no more room for anything else. We did have room though for some 'chupitos' of Pacharan and Licor de Hierbas. This is a typical digestif served in many Spanish restaurants.

This is one of the better restaurants I've been to in Madrid. Very highly recommended.

Hasta la Proxima!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Frankfurt, Germany

I was in Frankfurt for a couple of days for business. Did not have much time to go around, but was able to try a few typical dishes and sone local beers...

For lunch, Herring. I think this is more a Dutch speciality but this one was excellent. Very buttery texture.

Typical platter: sausage, sauerkraut, meat loaf, haxe (pork knuckles), etc... With lots of Kartoffen (potatoes)

All this washed down with a couple of glasses of applewein (German cider)

Some curiosities, a german mobile bratwurst vendor:

Many stalls selling chips and pretzels(very popular around here) and for some reason, popcorn too is quite popular.

Hefeweizen beer...had a few of these ...

That's all the time I had here. Til my next trip...Auf wiedersehen!! Prost!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spontini Pizza in Milan

My favourite pizzeria in Milan. This one though is thick pizza, topped with a ton of Mozzarella. This is the only thing they serve in this place.

YouTube Video

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Salumeria Roscioli, Rome

Lunch today was at Salumeria Roscioli in Rome. This was recommended to me by blogger KatieParla, who knows where all the good food in Rome is. I suggest you check out her blog if you will be travelling by that area.

It's not the first time though I try try this place. I was there a few months ago, but unfortunately did not try their Carbonara. What a huge mistake!! As some of you may know, I'm obsessed with carbonara. Making my own, trying it all over, I've even made my own Guanciale (there will be a separate post on this) and soon I'll probably make my own pasta.

Hands down for me at least, the carbonara in Roscioli is the BEST I've had. Before we get into the pasta, some pics of the other food we had...

First photo, some cheese, olives and sun dried cherry tomatoes. I must say the tomatoes are delicious. I think they make them in house. We also had a plate of mixed salumi: Parma ham, Mortadella with truffle, salami and others. All were delicious. I had this with a glass of their house red, which was a Chianti.

Now for the main attraction, the Carbonara. The menu says Spaghetti Carbonara, Guanciale, Pecorino and Paolo Parisi organic eggs. These eggs come from goats milk fed hens from Livorno. They're quite famous in Italy and I think that's what males this dish.

Anyway I order it and it comes after 5-10 minutes:

Hands down the best Carbonara I've tried. It's hard to explain, since many may think that Carbonara is such a simple dish, but this was perfection. The pasta was coated with egg yolk probably mixed with some cheese (since it was quite thick) and small cubes of crunchy Guanciale (as on really crunchy, but still soft and tasty). The Gianciale really adds the another dimension to this dish. I know this could also be do be done with pancetta, but it does not have that deep, earthy strong flavour that Guanciale has. The Pecorino Cheese, sharp and saltier than Reggiano is also a winner.

This is another shot of the Carbonara half way through:

Look at that creamy golden yolk!! Needless to say I wiped out the whole plate, egg yolk included. So far this is the best I've had, but I'll continue my quest on finding better ones if they exist around here.

Ciao! More posts from Italy coming soon.

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