Le Bistrot, Aix en Provence, France

The weekend that we were in Aix, the city was overflowing with an extra several thousand people, there either to perform in the Half Ironman or cheer someone on. To top it off, many of the restaurants were for some reason closed on the Saturday night (?!). We got on Trip Advisor and were able to book something that looked okay… and were pleasantly surprised!

List of things not to be missed in Aix en Provence! And the menu… very cool, as each dish has a fun name… usually a French expression. Less funny was listening to the poor waiter explain the menu in English to some American girls, three times…

Finally, I went for the pate de campagne, served with a huge vat of cornichons, and Andre had the foie gras. Then, I had the special of the day, the curried monkfish with rice, while he had the beef.  All delicious, in a very charming setting… and a huge cheese trolley for the end of the meal – I would definitely come back and try some of their other dishes!

Clube Nacional de Natacao, Lisbon

An afternoon hanging out at the racket and swimming club in Lisbon, we grabbed a quite bite afterwards… a veggie quiche and a pasta with smoked salmon, rocket and goat cheese… simple food that hit the spot!


Caviar House and Prunier, Heathrow Terminal 3

After messing up my flight dates and only realizing when trying to check my bag in at Gatwick, I managed to push that flight back a few months and to book a different flight leaving from Heathrow that night… Urgh.

I had been looking forward to a chilled out dinner in Lisbon with Andre that night, but instead was at the airport… so I made the most of it. I went for the special, which included two types of gravlax (regular and dill-marinated), a salmon tartare (mixed with some nice relish), king prawns, small pink shrimps with Rose Marie sauce, an oyster, and some potato salad, covered with a spoon-full of caviar.

If I had had any misgivings about eating seafood at the airport, they were instantly squashed… this was a delicious plate and good pick-me-up before I prepared to board my flight to Lisbon!

Preserved Lemons

 

I love making chicken tagine, and the recipe calls for preserved lemons (this is the recipe that I use, it’s relatively easy and you don’t need a tagine dish to make it.)

This weekend, it was cold and rainy out, so I decided to finally make a jar of preserved lemons, as I have been telling myself I would do for the past year or so.

I used a recipe from SimplyRecipes.com, as it was the most simple (no chilis or spices).

Ingredients: 8-10 unwaxed lemons, extra lemon juice if needed*, 1/2 cup of kosher salt – sterilized jar

1. Pour 2 TB of salt into the bottom of the jar.

2. Cut the lemons. Cut any stem off, then cut 1/4 of an inch off of both ends of the lemon. Slice the lemon lengthwise

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Other ideas for preserved lemons… on top of fishes or chicken – on top of quinoa or couscous salads – in a pasta or risotto – in stews… lots of ways to use them!

* This is important. I ended up using the juice of an additional 4 lemons to cover the lemons in the jar.

Les Mandarines, Megeve, France

The last ski weekend of the season, we headed to Megeve… where a few other friends were also spending the weekend! The snow wasn’t great, as the weather was warm, so we ended up skiing one day out of three!

That day, we found our way to Les Mandarines, and stopped for little lunch… and saw that everyone was wearing black cowboy hats. After ten minutes of sitting in the sun, we figured out why… it’s that warm out! … so we followed suit!

After several days of gluttony already behind us, we decided to go straight for main courses. I had a fantastic veal chop, perfectly cooked (still tender and almost pink inside, with a luscious layer of fat on the edge), a little salad, and some grain mustard.

Oh, and that in the corner? The puree. It was good, but a bit chunky, which meant that I didn’t inhale the whole thing… it was probably for the best, as I would have, had it been smoother and mixed with more cream.. haha.

Andre had a really nice-looking piece of beef, but as is typical when my food is so good, I didn’t even taste it.

After this, we stayed out on their terrace for another hour, snoozing in the sun. NO guilt, as the snow was so slushy, we enjoyed the sunny afternoon and finally skied down!

Gerard’s Corner, Chinatown, Soho

Midweek and I’m craving both soup, as it’s cold out, and something fatty, as it’s cold out. I pop out of the office on my own and head to Chinatown, dreaming of noodle soup.. and come across Gerard’s Corner, which I have walked by before, but never entered.

As it had one of the larger selections of noodle soups on its menu, in I went!

The restaurant itself is nondescript, with a bit of colour and with cheesy Chinese ballads blasting from the speakers.

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So I ordered my noodle soup… with roast pork, which had the perfect fatty content for me! I really prefer this kind of pork to the slices that you find in ramen – they are typically much thinner and fattier, with almost no meat on them, whereas this pork is perfectly roast and BBQ’ed, has tons of flavour, and has a delicious, thick and juicy texture. Yum.

The noodles are good, as usual, and the greens… usually they toss a few stalks into your noodle soup, but here, there were several large, leafy stalks with leaves… making this a big percentage of the dish as well. It felt borderline healthy!

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So at this point, I was thinking that I had found my new place… Delicious noodle soup, with a dim sum menu as well! I ordered the special seafood and crab steamed dumplings, and was very disappointed… I’m pretty sure the crab was surimi (identified by its squishy, square texture and bright pink bits), so it gave the overall dumpling the taste of a California roll inside… which was weird. I only had two of the dumplings, as really… they weren’t very good. Maybe stay away from the specials on the dim sum menu!

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SoI’ll definitely be back, but probably stick to the regular menu (and noodle soups), as everything else that passed in front of me also looked delicious… I just managed to pick the wrong dim sum dish!

Korean Local Dishes, The Dock Kitchen, Notting Hill

I love a good Dock Kitchen special menu like here or here. They used to have them available all the time, changing the set menu every three weeks, but now only do one set menu once a month, on the last Tuesday of the month.

So… Michelle and I headed up there to try out the Korean local menu that they were serving on the last day of February.

The menu started off with a few small dishes, a steak tartare topped with nashi (Asian pear), sesame seeds and an egg yolk. Mix it all together, and this tartare was delicious, with the meat tasting light and fluffy. Delicious.

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Then, the oyster and pork bo ssam… mmm… this was such a nice combo between the fatty pork and briny oyster.

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And the fried rice cake with red dragon sauce… a gluttony goodness.

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Then, we had a stir-fried chili squid dish that I forgot to take a picture of, but it was nice, large pieces of grilled squid (not too grilled) sauteed with mini bok choy…

And then the main course, which included the three types of kimchi, below (the fermented kind and two pickled kinds). This was a nice addition to the steak, as I typically like to have mustard or horseradish or something else with a bite when I eat my steak…

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And the piece de resistance, topped with what I think was dried anchovies and peppers… the meat was delicious, fresh and had been marinated for a delicious, soy-like flavour. I chowed this down pretty quickly with the pretty plain but good rice on the side.

img_0160 And then another photo snaffu, I forgot the lemon tarte that we had at the end, served with creme fraiche and candied lemon zest. Perfect and light after all of these courses!

This was a good menu, but not one of the best so far… but I look forward to trying another one soon!