Archive for July 18th, 2019

July 18, 2019

Restaurant: the Marne and Loir et Cher!

And to continue on my short series of family memories on the restaurant visits of my belle France I bring you to two far and distinct places, a contrast of choices! In my road warrior ways around my France I have come to enjoy many restaurants of all sorts and price levels. These two are on a higher echelons and both very good indeed!

Let me tell you briefly on the restaurant of the Marne dept 51 in Epernay, and the one in Blois dept 41 Loir et Cher.  Hope you enjoy them as we did/do.

Les Berceaux, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Epernay is one of the reference tables in the East of France. The winery knows how to find the good and great classic references in most regions, to match, in abundance and quality, with the rich cuisine of the most renowned chef of the city. The locals on a chic outing know no other destination in the city, to find their treats. And us too! Memories forever!!!


A discreet Alsatian named Patrick Michelon. This Mulhousian, formerly trained at Haeberlin and at the Auberge St Barnabé in Murbach, also spent at Reeb in Marlenheim, once had his two stars at Fère-en-Tardenois Castle. He was also the good Michelin-starred chef of the Arms de Champagne at the Epine in the time of good Mr. Perardel. Master at home for sixteen years already at the Berceaux, he has made an old-fashioned inn a place of varied pleasures, with its modernized rooms. just a stone’s throw from the glorious Avenue de Champagne, which is perhaps the richest avenue in France. In short, Les Berceaux contain a table of great class, to discover in its juice, its precision, its discretion.



For lodging/eating  we have stayed at the beautiful gastronomic and wonderful Les Berceaux 13 rue des Berceaux in Epernay, just sublime and romantic, as well as exquisite French food done right with a Champagne twist, you wont go wrong here,tops. More info here: Official Les Berceaux restaurant

The quaint traditional Le Triboulet, 18, place du Chateau, just to the right coming out of the castle of Blois ; great local cuisine and wonderful views over the Loire river from the terraces. More info here: Official Le Triboulet restaurant


Easy-to-find restaurant,in the parvis of the Castle of Blois, overlooking the city, you can’t miss it! By choosing its name, the restaurant makes a nod to the madman of the king who officiated under the reigns Louis XII and François I, Févrial better known as the Triboulet, the latter had costume to entertain the king with his good words. The cozy atmosphere is conferred by the narrowness of the room, by a decoration made of beams and exposed stones, and a pleasant fireplace to brave the cold of winter. The property offers a small but quality menu, traditional cuisine in an exceptional setting. During the summer, both terraces are very popular.


More on the tourist office of Blois Chambord: Tourist office of Blois Chambord on the Le Triboulet resto

There you go the fancy of my France, nobody does it better and it shows each year by the number of visitors. Hope you have enjoy this marvelous combination of the Marne and the Loire (both rivers too). The les Berceaux and le Triboulet are a must indeed.

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!



July 18, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXII

So on a rainy cloudy day in my neck of the woods and 19C or about 65F and a much better sunny 29C or 84F in my Madrid! Let me tell you some news of my beloved  Spain!

Let’s start with something we love to do and I will again next month! Neighborhood bars and taverns are reborn with more quality and atmosphere than ever before. The best in my opinion to go out of the ordinary in Madrid.

El 5 de Tirso. Fans of Madrid tapas and typical dishes and stews of the capital will find their place in El 5 de Tirso. Plaza Tirso de Molina, 5.

The La Embajada de Embajadores.  Around a large bar full of stools and an area of ​​low tables, revolves the life of this  place. It is the typical bar where you are going to have a beer with a good tapa after visiting El Rastro. But it is also the perfect place to go to pick up portions or dine informally.  Calle Embajadores, 66

Gran Clavel . It is a wine bar, a food house of the 21C and a vermutería (vermouth bar). An all in one that was born with the aim of vindicating Madrid’s culture in a single space. That is why its essence has been materialized jointly through dishes, snacks and drinks. Because Gran Clavel is a cañí (by the glass cool place) site and its menu is a must for all those who love gastronomy. Gran Vía, 11

La Botijeria In the heart of the Madrid of the Austrias and located in one of the oldest buildings of Madrid housing (17C), is La Botijería. Its tasca concept is based on two pillars: good wine and tapas to share. Hence, its menu, castiza (local Madrid persons) but with a modern turn, is made and thought based on rations. Plaza Conde de  Barajas, 2.

Already mentioned in my blog but it is worth commenting again. The Summer Festival of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, scenario Clece (stage), has as a theme the literature, through versioned premiere works by Lorca, Cervantes and Sophocles, in addition to those presented by contemporaries Elvira Lindo and Jesús Ruiz Mantilla. Madama Butterfly (July 25 and 27) has the leading role of the soprano Ainhoa Arteta, in the famous character of Cio-Cio San. Puccini’s dramatic opera, about the geisha in love with an American sailor, moves in this version of director Emilio López until 1940, in the middle of World War II, with Giuseppe Finzi at the head of the Verum Symphony Orchestra and produced by the Palau de les Arts of Valencia. Also,

Yo, Farinelli, El Capón (August 7) is a musical monologue, the fruit of the union of artistic-literary talents. Inspired by the novel by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla, it is directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, on his return to the theater, and features the Baroque orchestra Forma Antiqua. The actor Miguel Rellán and the countertenor Carlos Mena put voice to the famous castrato favorite of Felipe V and Fernando VI, who introduced the great opera in Spain and stayed more than 20 years at the service of the Spanish court.

More info on the Festival of San Lorenzo de El Escorial here:

Some wonderful arts to see in Madrid this summer!

La Corona de Margaritas or the crown of daisies: A large family father, Maurice Denis included his children in his work in a recurrent manner. In this case, the girl is inspired by her daughter Bernadette. The mottled that is seen in both the dress of the girl and the girl respond to the years in which Denis made use of stippling, a common feature with Édouard Vuillard, with whom he shared a studio. As for the wreath of daisies that gives title to the work, it is another frequent motif in Denis’ painting. In fact, there are similarities between this work and others such as Figures in a Spring Landscape (1897) or Virgin Spring (1899). Maurice Denis 1905-1906 at the Thyssen-Bomemisza National Museum, Paseo del Prado, 8. More info here:

Las Floreras or the flower girls: A contemporary flower offering, framed in a mountain landscape reminiscent of the Sierra de Gredos, where Goya spent two summers working for the infant Don Luis, is the scene represented by the painter in this canvas, also known as La Primavera (spring) . As explained from the Prado museum, the tapestry resulting from this cardboard was part of those that would be used to decorate the dining room of El Pardo Palace. It was foreseen that the series included a total of 13 tapestries, all of them dedicated to the four seasons of the year and to other country scenes, described as paintings of jocular and pleasant subjects. However, the death of Charles III in 1788 prevented the tapestries from finally hanging on the site that had been thought for them. Francisco de Goya, 1786; Prado National Museum at Calle de Ruiz de Alarcon, 23. More info here:

Kudos again for tio Pepe! Another recognition. The International Wine Challenge  is celebrated in London and gathers the best references from all over the world competing to become the best wine in the world. In the 36th edition, its jury, made up of professionals from the sector, has valued the quality and uniqueness of an enological marvel of Jerez that has achieved this recognition for the first time in its history. This award places it as the Best Wine of the World for 2019.  This very old amontillado, which shows the ability of the Palomino Fino to age with elegance and nobility. It comes from just one of the six boots that remain, for 53 years, in La Constancia Solera González Byass Museum awaiting its moment to dazzle the world. The result is Tío Pepe Cuatro Palmas, a clean and bright Jerez wine that has an intense mahogany color with amber reflections. The nose is complex, deep and awakens aromas of antique furniture, cedar, lacquers and varnishes. His mouth is strong, very dry, direct and wild, ending in a stunning final reflection of the perfect balance between acidity and old age. Tuna and salted meats, very old cheeses or the contrast of a pure cocoa are highly recommended experiences to accompany this legendary wine. More info here:

And the official Gonzalez Byass bodega:

Beers to get at the supermarket! And we will load up in our trip next month  ,these are to look for !  Cruzcampo Andalusian Pale Ale 4,6% 1 euro (33 cl.). Manila de San Miguel  4,2% 1,05 euros (33 cl.), and  Mahou Barrica 12 Meses  7% 2,95 euros (33 cl.). these are supermarket prices on bottles of 33 cl. Tercios!

One major event to celebrate worldwide indeed! The commemoration of the V centenary of the first round the world sail. The naval school ship, Juan Sebastián Elcano, traces the same route that the fleet of Fernando de Magallanes made 500 years ago, to now do studies of ocean pollution by microplastics, films, documentaries, shows and a great exhibition, The longest trip, which will open the Kings in Seville on September 12.  The story of the 247 men who, five centuries ago, left the port of Seville towards the unknown. Of the 247 crew that departed on August 10, 1519 with the sail boats Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria and Santiago , they only returned to Spain 34. By nationality, Spaniards were 147 of the original crew, 29 Portuguese and 27 Italians, while the rest came from several European countries: Germany, England, Greece … Almost half of the Spaniards were Andalusians, 21% were Viscaya, 6% were from Burgos and 5% from Gipuzkoa.!!! More info here:

And now a popular dish with many implications I have given the leyend of it before in my blog from the fisherman of Valencia and now what not to do with a Paella , a dish that we enjoy at lunch. The quintessential Valencian recipe and one of the most popular dishes  but not the most of the Spanish tradition raises as many passions as heated discussions about how to prepare, what are the canonical ingredients and what is the proper way to taste it. These are the most common mistakes we should avoid.

The socarrat or overdone effect is an exceptional complement and should never be missing. That’s right: when you do not know how to burn. First the look: it’s dry, it smokes but it’s water, it’s not burning. After the listen: when drying and begin to toast you can hear the crackle of the rice with the fat, it is toasting. And finally, the smell: you have to remove it before you smell it burning!.

Not eating paella at night because it is indigestible well a dish of paella brings a heavy digestion because the oil with which it was made was reheated or even burned.  Do not eat it freshly made: You have to eat it immediately. The closer you are to its preparation, the better!  Calling paellera to the paella container when  is the word for both the container  and the content the same.  To spend a lot on seafood and little on rice But we forget that a paella is, in essence, a plate of rice!.

White wine is the best paella accompaniment: In the case of paella, although a young or dry white wine will always perfectly accompany a paella of fish, seafood and vegetables, a semi dry and cool rosé will harmonize very well also the rices of this type and also those that take meat. These can taste better with a corpulent rosé with a merlot base. Red wines with fish or seafood  are not usually advisable because the iodine they contain adds a metallic note.

Pay a fortune for a dish in a restaurant (no matter how good it is). The paella must be accessible to almost everyone, because paella was never a luxury dish, it was a dish that was made with the ingredients of the garden, more accessible and every day. The average ticket for the diner goes out for 30 or 32 euros, in other places it is 40 and in other 25. Stick to the average and you will find very good ones in Madrid.

Falling into the controversy of the ingredients: the Valencian paella consists of 10 very specific ingredients: large white beans, tomato, flat green beans, chicken, rabbit, salt, olive oil, rice, water and saffron. What comes out of there may be paella, but not Valencian paella. The one with seafood and fish etc is call a Marinera or marine paella and other words to mix and match. The original is a Valencian Paella ok.

Another mistake is to insist so much that the grain has to be loose that in the end we are short of cooking. The key is to know the grain origin, how long it takes to cook and how much liquid is able to absorb without going over. To underestimate the value of the fire when the only way to do it was with orange wood; the grill impresses the final dish with aromas that cannot be achieved with more modern cooking methods. So, if you can, paella with firewood. And better still if tasted outdoors.! There you go now go for it!!! Paella (para ella pa’ella= for her ;see my post on the history). Others take it from a variation in the Valencian language meaning frying pan!

More history and recipes of the Paella in Spanish here:

An anecdote and history that I was able to see on site in my beloved Florida USA and from beloved Spain!

The cloister of the ancient monastery of Sacramenia province of Segovia now  in North Miami Beach Florida!!! The cloister of the Ancient Spanish Monastery, whose origins go back almost nine centuries, is located on the outskirts of the very young city of  North Miami Beach , founded in 1926 and renamed as today in 1931.

The medieval cloister, together with the refectory and the chapter house, was part of the Cistercian monastery of Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles (Our Lady Queen of Angels), located in the Segovian town of Sacramenia, which began to be built in 1133 and was completed eight years later. in 1141. After the canonization in 1174 of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, it was renamed in honor of this influential French saint. For almost seven centuries, the monastery was inhabited by Cistercian monks, until in the 19C, with the confiscation of Mendizábal (Spain anticlerical minister), was sold and converted into a warehouse, barn and stable.

William Randolph Hearst, the great tycoon of the American press who inspired “Citizen Kane” to Orson Welles, noticed it and acquired the cloister, the refectory and the chapter house with the intention of taking it to one of his mansions in California. To this end, its walls, arches, statues were dismantled stone by stone Each piece of the new Hearst acquisition was packaged in a total of 11,000 wooden boxes padded with hay and numbered for later identification. They were then transported by ship across the Atlantic to the United States.  Meanwhile, Hearst’s financial problems led him to let go of his Spanish caprice and sell it at auction. However, the stones of the dismantled monastery remained buried in a warehouse in Brooklyn ,New York city for 26 years.

It was in 1953, a year after Hearst’s death, when two entrepreneurs turned their eyes to the thousands of forgotten pieces of the old monastery and bought them to create a new tourist attraction in flourishing Miami. The complexity of the reconstruction meant that the operation was invested for 19 months and what today would be equivalent to 20 million dollars. It was a matter of recomposing the greatest puzzle in history, as Time magazine pointed out at the time. In 1964, Colonel Robert Pentland Jr., a multi-millionaire philanthropist, bought the old cloister and gave it as a gift to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Located in the town of North Miami Beach, about 25 km (12 mi) north of Miami, exactly at 16711 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, FL,  the ancient Spanish  monastery is now one of the most picturesque attractions in a county marked by hedonistic beach and luxury tourism. You can visit it, and it has as well kept for religious function, with masses in English and Spanish. But, in addition, it is a coveted framework for the celebration of weddings, birthdays and social receptions of various kinds. In addition, it is rented to host photo shoots, video clip recordings and even scenes from Hollywood movies, such as the music and dance performance starring Catherine Zeta Jones in “The Rock Age” (2012). The official webpage is here:

There you go another dandy from Spain, everything under the sun and it goes beyond its borders to the world. Enjoy Spain!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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July 18, 2019

Restaurant: Brazil!!

So here I continue my saga of my memorable restaurants in my travels amongst many. This time I take you to lively Brazil and three different cities and restaurants. Hope you enjoy them as I did

Taverna do Chef Nico Rua Pardais, 490 – Jardim Italia, Vinhedo, State of Sao Paulo.  We eat very well!! The atmosphere was nice. ! The waiters were nice. ! A great selection of excellent Italian meals!! Very good wine . There is a large table of good choices of salads, hot dishes, grilled meats. The story of the memorable moment is that I was visiting the city and had a friend there who was welcoming his daughter’s in laws so I was left to walk around alone at first. Feeling hungry and knowing the language decided to take a walk a spot one place to eat. There I came across this lively place and some it seems known regular customers so I settled in to eat. Later I told my friend what I did, and he weeks later decided to bring a group of local friends here as he had never been! And it turn out the friends agree it was a great place to eat. So I told my friend if need to know where to eat in his town to call me jejejeje!!! I still joke about it with him lol!!!


In total, the tavern menu contains 50 dishes between antipastas , pasta, risotos, meats and fish. It is one of 60 Brazilian restaurants with the Ospitalità Italiana label granted by Unioncamere (Chamber of Commerce of Italy). The certification is granted to establishments with 70% of the wine list composed of Italian labels, which use Italian raw material, have Italian ambient music, decoration that refer to Italy, at least one official who speaks Italian fluently and Italian-Name dishes. Recipes prepared by the matriarch of the family of Angeli.

Nicoló Ferdico was born and studied in Palermo. He traveled to Italy from north to south and specialized in Mediterranean cuisine. The chef also commanded kitchens in the United States, where he lived for a few years. Its restaurant, the Taverna of Chef Nico, in Vinhedo , State of Sao Paulo, is one of the 60 restaurants with the seal Ospitalità Italiana of Brazil, and it’s also accredited by FIC – Brazil (Italian Federation of Cuochi) .

They have a page in Facebook here: Taverna do chef Nico in Vinhedo


Churrasqueria Estancia Grill, Avenida Albino Jose Barbosa de Oliveira 271 Jardim Santa Genebra II, Campinas, State of Sao Paulo.

The story here was that coming over I was to meet an old friend who had invited me to eat here. I was with another couple of local friends and they tag alone. Well so happened my old friend knew them as they were in the same line of business!! Needless to say the conversation was lively and technical afterward many caïpirinhas!

The Churrasqueria or steakhouse with the best Rodizio of Baron Geraldo, with the best choice of noble meats. Complete Rodizio with Buffet at will! Hot table, cold table and salads, pasta table, Sushi and Sashimi, Experience their Picanha steaks, that painted on the Ember, and the most succulent Lamb of Baron! And on Sundays, come and taste the salmon in the caper sauce. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The buffet also includes freshly made pasta dishes and other hot dishes. Price of the Rodizio on weekdays, 35.50 BRL, lunch or dinner and 45.50 BRL for the weekend.

Official webpage of Estancia Grill Campinas


Pinga Com Torresmo , Avenida Princesa do sul 29 A, Varginha, State of Minas Gerais.  Varginha is a municipality in southwest Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Varginha stands out as one of the major centers of commerce and coffee production in Brazil and the world


The memorable story here was that was taken to Café Com Pinga by a local friend to a place specialising in Pinga been a rum alcohol base drink similar to Cachaça but cheaper. It is another term for it a bit cheaper. And the place was great with pork ribs, fry fish, and great Itaipava premium beers. The views over the city as the night fell was fantastic and live music playing oldies but goodies was a king size top off to a wonderful night . I should be back here::)



A bit of explanation to some Latin American readers as the Portuguese word can be dirty. But is not the thing I can assure you ::)

Cold beer and good bar food with live music on Fridays. No doubt, the best bar of Varginha! Service note 10 and the wonderful menu!!! All done with excellence… Cozy atmosphere, perfect! That’s a restaurant where you can go and try every food on the menu.  I have done twice since 2015  and food still the same as first time. If you want to eat really good food and drink the best Caipi in the State of Minas Gerais you should considered going there. Really good food and services!!!!

They have a Facebook page here: Facebook page of Café com Pinga or Torresmo


And there you go , some happy memorable moments in lovely Brazil. Always waiting to be back and see these again in Vinhedo, Campinas, and Varighina!!! Enjoy restaurants in Brazil!

And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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