Monthly Archives: August 2013

[Paris, France] Chez Marie Louise

11 rue Marie Louise
75010 Paris
France

Tel: +33 1 53 19 02 04

 

Hours:  Monday to Friday Noon to 2:30pm (lunch) & 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m (dinner)

 

Closest metro station is Goncourt, which is on the Brown 11 line

 

Restaurant’s website:  http://www.chezmarielouise.com/

Trip Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d1741036-Reviews-Chez_Marie_Louise-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

 

I found this restaurant while perusing through the Trip Advisor reviews.  It had a lot of great reviews, and seemed like a cozy neighborhood bistro, so I was sold.  The restaurant itself is small, with only a few tables inside, and a few tables outside, so it’s best to make a reservation for dinner.  The restaurant also requires that you reconfirm your reservation 24 hours in advance.  By the end of our dinner, we saw quite a few people getting turned away due to no reservations.

The bistro is run by owner and proprietor, Christophe.  Christophe is a very friendly and wonderful host, who is knowledgeable and passionate about the food.  Service was attentive and the food was spectacular. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip!

 

The menu is in French, and is written on a chalkboard, which is then displayed near your table.  But do not fret!  Christophe can translate the menu in detail, in English.  Of course, for those of you who’d like to research before-hand, the menu is available on the restaurant’s website.  Just Google Translate it!

 

Terrine de foie gras – a huge chunk of foie gras with warm crusty bread, and a small side salad.  The sis loved it!  EUR 12 (approx USD $15.60)

 

Salade d’artichaut truffée – artichoke slices with truffle oil, topped with a rocket salad.  Yum!  I haven’t had artichoke prepared like this before.  It was a warm salad, but really refreshing.  EUR 9  (approx USD $11.70)

 

Rognon de veau, orecchiette aux fèves et basilic – veal kidney with fava beans and orecchiette pasta.  The veal kidney was cooked medium, so it was really tender.  The pasta and the fava beans had great flavor.  People who like kidney would love this dish!  The portion was pretty generous – I couldn’t even finish~  EUR 15 (approx USD $19.50)

 

Ravioles de St Jacques fraiches au beurre citron et courgettes sautées – scallop raviolis.  The sis could not stop raving about this dish!  This was her ultimate favorite from of the Europe trip.  Inside each ravioli is a giant scallop (the size of each ravioli).  It was juicy, succulent and the light sauce was excellent as well.  Must try!  EUR 20 (approx USD $26)

 

At this point, we were so full, but figured since we’re in Paris, we might as well try the dessert.  This is the Millefeuille Marie Louise à la pistache or the millefeuille with pistachio cream.  It was really light and flaky, but the entrees are definitely the show stoppers!  EUR 8 (approx USD $10.40)

[Paris, France] Le Comptoir

9 Carrefour de l’Odeon
75006 Paris

Tel:  01 44 27 07 97

Hours:   Mon-Thu, Sun 12 pm – 12 am

Fri-Sat 12 pm – 2 am

 

 

Hotel/Restaurant website:  http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/flash/us/index.html

Yelp reviews:  http://www.yelp.com/biz/le-comptoir-du-relais-paris

Trip -Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d715026-Reviews-Le_Comptoir-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

 

This is yet another Anthony Bourdain haunt (featured in No Reservations Season 6 episode 19, on Amazon free for Prime members).  In addition to it’s TV fame, the restaurant also came highly recommended by one of my bosses.  So I penciled this into my Paris itinerary.

Just a stone’s throw away from the Odeon station, the restaurant is a part of the Hotel Relais Saint Germain.  Be warned, dinner reservations are very difficult to snag, unless you are a hotel guest, or are making reservations 6 months in advance.  That being said, lunch is a no reservations deal and is first come first served.  From the reviews online, it seems that the best time to arrive for lunch is either just before noon, or after 2pm, to avoid a long wait.  There is a queue right outside the restaurant.  I arrived around 1:40pm and waited 20 – 30 minutes to be seated.  Yes, seating is limited and Parisians take their time while dining, so be prepared to wait.  I think the restaurant is also featured in many of the guide books, so on the day that I was there, I’d say more than half of the patrons were tourists.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, other than what I had seen on the No Reservations episode.  I just knew that the menu is in French, so I was prepared to use my very rudimentary French.  The waiters / waitresses only speak limited English, so it’s a good idea to look up the English translations of the menu before-hand.

The restaurant has both indoor and al fresco dining, like most restaurants in Paris

 

The menu, in French.  It’s almost at the end of the red-bound menu, featuring mostly wines.  Use Google Translate!  🙂

 

The bread was crusty, a bit too crusty for me.

 

Oeuf mayonnaise – deviled eggs.  This was mentioned in the No Reservations episode.  It’s basically boiled eggs, covered with a rich mustard sauce and topped with some bacon bits.  The eggs were good, but I didn’t expect so many to come in 1 order!  EUR 5 (approx USD $6.50)

 

Toast foie gras – like the name says, it’s basically foie gras slices on toast.  The foie gras was rich and creamy, the toast was really crunchy —  it was just a great dish.  It’s funny that this dish and the oeuf mayonnaise had the same garnish.  EUR 13 (approx USD $16.90)

 

When in Paris, of course I had to order the escargot!  Baked in garlic pesto sauce, these escargot were not like the ones I’ve ever had before. These escargot were really fresh — the chewy and meaty texture is just different than the ones I’ve had in the States.  Yum!  EUR 9 (approx USD $11.70)

 

I had food envy when I saw the neighboring tables order the octopus salad, the bone marrow and the stuffed squid.   Will have to make a return trip to Le Comptoir to try those next time!

[Berlin, Germany] Bayrischer Leberkäse

You can find a variety of eateries at or around the S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations in Berlin.  Just like Asia!  This deli/ eatery is located in the Friedrichstrasse station, I think it was on the third floor.  It’s small, but there was a bit of a line.  So we figured we’d give it a try… especially since we saw prime rib!!!

 

 

The small menu is in German and prices are reasonable, about EUR 3 – 4

 

Lots of different slabs of freshly roasted meats!  So pick and choose~

 

So we got what most people were ordering.  Just point and say “Same”  🙂  It was a thick slab of hand-carved prime rib, topped with tangy slaw and mustard, held together by a kaiser roll.  It was seriously some good eats.  The prime rib was perfectly cooked at medium, tender and juicy.  I wish they have this in LA!!!  EUR 3.50 (approx USD $4.50)

[Prague, Czech Republic] U Medvidku

Na Perstynu 7

Prague, Czech Republic (Praha 1)

 

 

Restaurant’s website:  http://www.umedvidku.cz/

Trip Advisor reviews:  http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g274707-d1118159-Reviews-U_Medvidku-Prague_Bohemia.html

 

A friend had recommended this place, when she learned that we were heading to Prague.  I also wanted to check it out because it was featured in one of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” episodes (season 6, episode 4 available on Amazon, free for prime members!).  It is one of the oldest breweries around the world, established in 1466.

 

The store front.  Seating is separated into smoking and non-smoking sections.

 

The non-smoking section upstairs.  The restaurant was pretty crowded, but most people were in the smoking section.

 

       

U Medviku is best known for 2 of their beers — Medvidek is a regular brew with the same recipe from 1466, the other is a darker brew called Blackgott.  Beer is so cheap in Prague that it costs less than water.  A small glass of beer at U Medviku is about USD $1!

 

The kegs, with the beer on tap.

 

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but figured since we’re already in the brewery, might as well try both!  Couldn’t really tell the color difference between the Medvidek and the Blackgott…  but both were good!  Icy cold and smooth.  No wonder this place has been around since 1466~~  This is the small or regular glass.

 

Anthony Bourdain recommended some of the traditional Czech dishes, so we tried this dish — homemade smoked pork neck, potato dumplings and spinach.  It was quite tasty, although the potato dumplings by itself was a little bland.  CZK 139 approx USD $7.

 

Mr. Breweres pork steak on beer with baked garlic and French fries.  The pork chop was juicy and delicious.  CZK 190 approx USD $9.50.

 

Sausages with “OLDGOTT“ semi-dark unfiltered beer from the minibrewery.  This was a fail — the sausages were cold (not even warm!) and was kinda blah with the sauce.  CZK 78 approx USD $4.

[Vienna, Austria] Nordsee

Kärntner Straße 25

1010 Wien, Austria ‎

 

 

http://www.international.nordsee.com/en/

 

Nordsee is a fast-food chain specializing in seafood.  There are a few of them in Vienna, but mostly are in Germany.  The one we went to was in the Neuer Markt.  Even though Vienna is not near the ocean, the seafood was surprisingly fresh and delicious, not to mention very reasonable!  Service was fast and friendly.

 

The restaurant’s sign.

 

There are a lot of different seafood salads to choose from.  You can either dine in or buy them to-go, and is sold by weight.

 

Assorted seafood sandwiches too.  The price is in Euros per sandwich.

 

Dine-in options include baked seafood.  Portions are pretty generous.  This was the baked cod covered with mushroom sauce, with potatoes and steamed veggies.  The baked cod was so good!  This was about EUR 10 (approx USD $13).

 

Fish chowder was pretty good too and comes with bread. About EUR 3.

 

I think the special of the month was the shrimp caprese sandwich which was very refreshing.  I will have to try to make this!  EUR 4.

[Vienna, Austria] Gerstner

Karntner Strasse 13 – 15,

Vienna 1010, Austria (Innere Stadt)

 

http://www.gerstner.at/en/gerstner-history.html

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g190454-d1127351-Reviews-Gerstner_Cafe-Vienna.html

 

Just about a 2 blocks walk from Stefanplatz or better known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral in central Vienna.

 

I’m not sure how I heard about Gerstner.  We were strolling along Karntner Strasse, on our way to Naschmarkt when I saw the store front.  The signage looked familiar, as did the name, so I asked my friends to stop in with me.  Come to find out, Gerstner’s was an imperial confectioner back in the 1800s.  Nowadays, Gerstner continues to make chocolates but also makes delectable desserts.  It’s a must when visiting Vienna!

You can either purchase the goodies to go, or wait for a table in the cafe.  Seating is limited, so we didn’t have much luck on both our visits there (yes, it’s that good!).  Light meals, ice cream/ sundaes, and coffee are also served in the cafe.  The various desserts ranged from EUR 3 – EUR 5, and the macaroons were around EUR 1 each.

 

The store front.  Gerstner has been around since 1847.

 

Assorted chocolates

 

The mouth-watering desserts

 

Strawberry eclair and chocolate cake.  The strawberry flavor on the eclair tasted similar to strawberry Poki sticks.  The chocolate cake was really good – rich but not overly sweet.

 

One of my friends got the strawberry crepe, which was filled with fresh strawberries.  She almost didn’t want to share but we made her… haha

 

I really liked the macaroons (coffee and pistachio).  I think they were better than the ones from Laduree in Paris.

 

I think this was almost everyone’s favorite:  banana custard with passion fruit gelee.   The bottom layer is a chocolate mouse, which balanced really well with the banana custard.  The passion fruit gelee gave the rich banana custard a tangy edge to round out the flavors.  Yum!

Taiwanese Food!

For anyone who’ve always wondered what Taiwanese food is all about, CNN Travel has compiled the top 40 Taiwanese eats.  I think it’s pretty much en pointe, although there’s 1 or 2 on the list that even I haven’t tried.  Read it here:

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093