Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

December 10, 2017

The wines of Portugal ,and the best Porto

I will talk about the wines of Portugal and especially about Porto. I have tried several Portuguese wines over the years and in Portugal. My best souvenirs have been drinking the porto wines. This post is about them.The wine producing Douro region is the third oldest protected wine region in the world.  In 1756, during the rule of the Marques de Pombal the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro or C.G.A.V.A.D., also known as the General Company of Viticulture of the Upper Douro or Douro Wine Company, was founded to guarantee the quality of the product and fair pricing to the end consumer.

https://www.ivdp.pt/

Port wine  or vinho do Porto (Portuguese) are fortified wines produced exclusively in the Douro Valley in the northern provinces of Portugal. It comes in sweet red wine often served as dessert wine although it came come as dry semi dry and white varieties. The wine produced is then fortified by the  addition of aguardente (an eau de vie from sugar cane or grapes) in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content.  The fortification spirit is sometimes referred to as brandy ,but it bears little resemblance to commercial brandies. The wine is then stored and aged often in barrels stored in a Lodge (meaning “cellar”) as is the case in Vila Nova de Gaia just across in the douro river ,before being bottled. Also, in the area around Pinhâo and Sâo Joâo da Pesqueira considered to be the center of port production, and is known for its picturesque quintas— estates clinging on to almost vertical slopes dropping down to the river.

The area is sub-divided into three official zones: the Baixo (lower) Corgo, the Cima (higher) Corgo and the Douro Superior. Over a hundred varieties of grapes (castas) are sanctioned for port production, although only five Tinta Barroca, Tinta Câo, Tinta Roriz (tempranillo of Spain), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional are widely cultivated and used. The Touriga Nacional is widely considered the most desirable port grape but the difficulty in growing it and the small yields cause Touriga Francesa to be the most widely planted grape. White ports are produced the same way as red ports, except that they use white grapes such as Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Câo, Folgasao, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.

Briefly as much as possible the varieties are Ruby port is the cheapest and most extensively produced type of port. Aged tawny ports (my favorite) are wines made from red grapes that are aged in wooden barrels exposing them to gradual oxidation and evaporation. As a result of this oxidation, they gradually mellow to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine, which is blended to match the house style.

A Colheita Port is a single-vintage wine fortified and aged in tawny style for at least seven years. Instead of an indication of age (10, 20, …), the actual vintage year is mentioned. However, Colheita Port should not be confused with Vintage Port (see below): whereas a Vintage Port will spend only about 18 months in barrels after harvest and will continue to mature in bottle, a Colheita may have spent 20 or more years in wooden barrels before being bottled and sold.

Garrafeira is an unusual and rare intermediate vintage-dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. It is required to spend some time in wood, usually between three and six years, followed by at least a further eight years in glass, before bottling. In practice the times spent in glass are much longer.

Reserve port is a premium ruby port approved by the official regulating tasting panel, Rose port is a very recent variation on the market; it is technically a ruby port, but fermented in a similar manner to a rosé wine, with a limited exposure to the grape skins, thus creating the rose color.

White port is made from white grapes and can be made in a wide variety of styles. Lagrima, meaning “Tears”, is the name for the sweetest style of white Port. When white ports are matured in wood for long periods, the colour darkens, eventually reaching a point where it can be hard to discern (from appearance alone) whether the original wine was red or white.

Late bottled vintage (or  LBV) was originally wine that had been destined for bottling as vintage port, but because of lack of demand was left in the barrel for longer than had been planned. Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past. Vintage port is made entirely from the grapes of a Declared Vintage year and accounts for about two percent of overall port production. Not every year is declared a Vintage in the Douro. Single Quinta Vintage ports are wines that originate from a single estate, unlike the standard bottlings of the port wine houses which can be sourced from a number of quintas.

The drinking of it Port, like other wine, should be stored in a cool but not cold, dark location (as light can damage the port), at a steady temperature (such as a cellar), with the bottle lain on its side if it has a cork, or standing up if it is stoppered.  With the exception of white port, which can be served chilled, port should be served at between 15-20C(59-68F). Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler. I served mine chilled without ice. Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine, but it is still best consumed within a short period of time. Tawny, ruby, and LBV ports may keep for several months once opened; because they are aged longer in barrels, these ports have already been exposed to some degree of oxidation. Old Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening, but young Vintage Ports can be kept open for several weeks, if not months when very young.

Cruises and tour official info here: http://ctdouro.pt/index.php/en

The tourist office is here: http://www.visitporto.travel/Visitar/Paginas/default.aspx

Ok so now let me give some houses to look for them when buying porto as my favorites of course.

Fonseca, http://www.fonseca.pt/en/port/

Quinta do Noval , http://www.quintadonoval.com/

Sandeman, http://www.sandeman.com/age-check

Ramos Pinto (my favorite), http://www.ramospinto.pt/Default.aspx

Taylor’s , http://taylor.pt/en/visit-taylors/port-cellars/

Graham’s, http://www.grahams-port.com/wines

Cockburn , http://www.cockburns.com/home.php

Ferreira, https://eng.sograpevinhos.com/visitas/cave/6

Rozes, https://www.rozes.com.pt/

King’s brand name of Nicolas stores for Warre’s, https://www.warre.com/our-port/tawny/8

Some pictures still around and one from the  Ponte de Arrábida over the Douro river that links Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia.

There you have a bunch to enjoy the wonderful world of porto red or white, we drink both. Right now using a Lagrima white Ramos Pinto, and a red tawny King’s. Cheers and enjoy your Sunday.

Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto Porto

December 7, 2017

The wines of Champagne, oh yes they are just done differently !

Yes, this is another post trying to expand on wines; and of course Champagne have been put into a sort of different category but we talk about wines it should mean Champagne too. They are just done with the sparkle in it you know…

And believe or not, the area which can be call Champagne ,also includes areas in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ::)  The areas really are The Montagne de Reims (dept Marne 51) with the dominant grape Pinot Noir. The valley of the Marne (dept Marne 51, Aisne 02, and Seine-et-Marne 77) with the dominant grape Meunier; the ladders or hills call côte des blancs (Marne 51) with the dominant grape Chardonnay; and the vineyards of the ladder or hills call côte des Bars (around times of Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine in the Aube dept 10.

All this thanks to a monk , Dom Perignon (1638-1715) cellarmaster of the abbey benedictine of Hautvillers that handle different crus and the control of the must in the second fermentation. Of course, sparkling wine was done way before, but this event is the one that really took off the name and the pleasures of it for all of us. It is done basically with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. Although some lesser known grapes are authorize but seldom use such as Arbane, petit meslier, pinot gris or fromenteau and pinot blanc; also , the gamay  in the dept 10 Aube.  By towns you can tell the quality as some towns are Grand Crus, and many more Premier Crus and then there are the Autres Crus or others.

There, is also some others like red white, and rosé wines in the coteaux champenois especially in the towns of Bouzy, Vertus and Damery. The Rosé des Riceys produce in the town of Riceys in the Aube dept 10. the sparkler crémant de champagne  with a smaller sparkler and less pressure in the fermentation. The grapes to make champagne is also, use to do an aperitif call Ratafia and hard liquior marc de champagne.

All officially about Champagne you can find here in English and many other languages; https://www.champagne.fr/en/discovering-champagne-region/tourism/cellar-visits-tastings

The tourist offices of the area are http://www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk/

The main towns for visits ,tastings and just plain Champagne are in Epernay and Reims. Their tourist office are here:

http://www.reims-tourism.com/Discover/Champagne

http://en.ot-epernay.com/

The last year with statistics is from 2016, that indicates that France is still the leader in volume of Champagne with  157,7 million bottles of the total of  306,1 millions bottles coming out of there or simply the French market represent 51,5% of the Champagne production.

Some distinction on how the wines should be drank in a progressive way  from the lighest to the heaviest or richer. We start with a Champagne or body white whine like a blanc de blancs or muscadet and finish with a red wine sharp like Bordeaux or sweet wine such as a Vin Doux Naturel (muscat, rasteau or banyul) . OF course, you can keep the same wine for the entire meal. And as far as temperature goes served the dry whites between 8-10°C (about 50F), the more body whites such as Chablis, Vouvray, Montlouis, or Montrachet between 10-12°C (about 54F), the body fruity red like a côtes du Rhône villages, Chinon, Bordeaux Supérieur between 15-17°C (about 6OF) and the more complex full tannic reds like a Bandol, Côte Rôtie, Haut-Médoc, or Margaux between 16-17°C (about 65F), after decanting.

And some of my favorites in addition to the Mercier,Môet & Chandon, etc etc that we can enjoy here and I believe ,also, abroad are these:

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée, from the former football/soccer player Michel Fauconnet in the house for 40 years with a mixing of crus avg 15 years and with  50- 55 %  chardonnay, 30-35 %  pinot noir, and  10-20 % meunier,including about 20-30 %  of reserves wines for about 38 €

Drappier Carte d’Or done in the town of Urville,in the border of the Aube and the Haute-Marne with impressive views of the cemetery of  Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises (Charles de Gaulle resting place). In addition to the regular bottle they do a Melchisédech a bottle of 30 liters good for about 150 persons a record of France and the World with an unique bottle for 4295€; the regular bottle is 32€ ; the blend is 75 %  pinot noir, 15 % chardonnay and 10 % meunier.

Leclerc Briant  Brut Premier Cru ; the house became a seller of Champagne of 50 years and settled in Epernay; finally in 2012 it was sold to an American couple that gave the management to the local Frédéric Zeimett. The innovation this year is a line of Classiques . The Champagne has mostly a blend of pinot noir 70 %, coming from three villages of premier crus. They are pioneers in the bio and biodynamic agriculture; bottle goes for about 48 € here.

Perrier-Jouët, Blanc de Blancs, done apart from the cuvees Belle Epoque, and showing the most of the chardonnay; done with a mix of several parcels of land on an extention of 65 hectares own by the house; mostly from Cramant and Avize; bottle goes for about 60 €

Ayala B de B 2010, the house settle in Aÿ from which the mark is not related to the name of the town but to a Colombian diplomat who  married a local and inherited the property. The house was purchased in 2005 by the group Bollinger. The brand is well appreciated in the UK. The winemaking is done by Caroline Latrive that gives it a soft dosage in the blends such as chardonnay that receives 6 grams of sugar per liter.  A blanc de blancs  brought out in small quantities from the best crus such as Chouilly, Cramant, Oiry, and Vertus). Goes here for about 49 €

Gosset Noir and Blanc, the oldest Champagne house since 1584! This year they come out with a Grand Blanc de Blancs brut fine and elegant and a Grand Blanc de Noirs Brut.  Doing an homage to the elegance of the pinot noirs where at least five crus goes into the elaboration of this wine with dominant areas of Ambonnay, Aÿ  ,and Verzy.  The wine spend 9 years in the cellars. the price here is 75 €  for the Blanc de Noirs ; and 54 €  for the Blanc de Blancs.

Piper-Heidsieck vintage 2008, queen Marie-Antoinette one day in 1785 received a bottle from the founder of the brand, and she will appreciate this bottle too. We cannot be sure but the cellarmaster Régis Camus, that blends this wine grape by grape and cru by cru has done a blend to dream of . It comes from 20 crus blending  chardonnay (52 %) and pinot noir (48 %) for about  39 €; one of my favorite Champagnes.

Tsarine Millésime 2012, the brand is of recent making but it comes from an old Champagne house founded by the canon  Frères,created in 1730.  It was purchased in 1991 by Philippe Baijot (Lanson). Tsarine  is done with a pretty bottle in twisted leaves . It is a blend of three grapes the usual ones and the winemaker done it the final twist with the pinot noir to built it , the meunier for the round fruity aromas and the chardonnay  to give it finesse; all for  33 €.

Enjoy the bubbly ,this is the season to be merrier or bubblier ::) Cheers

PS. Some nostalgic pictures I like to add here.

Epernay Epernay Epernay Epernay

 

 

 

 

 

December 2, 2017

My best restaurants in México

Hey,  I like these posts on restaurants that after doing  a few it’s time to do one on the other culinary delight that is Mexico. I have gone to the country since the 1990’s and from 2011 every year.

This is my treat on the Mexican cuisine, over the latter last few years, restaurants in no particular order or place. These are My favorites! Buen provecho !!!

I had gone to the Wing’s Army bar on Insurgentes Sur to see the football/soccer match between the PSG and Bayern Munich as a French team was playing and won 3×0, the ambiance was nice and plenty of good Miller High Life beers by the liter which have been a long time not drank again, this was neat and the Army hamburger great with good company I later came back in the week and it was equally impressive, definitively will be back here. More here: http://www.wingsarmy.com/mx/cuarteles#

I had another lunch at a great find: Restaurante La Bella Lula , Oaxaqueño style food (Oaxaca) and had a very nice Tasajo de Res con Enfrijoladas with another nice set of local Dos X beers, nice flan dessert to kill for as well. Ah the dish is about four slices of beef with a tortilla spread in black beans soup, delicious! More here:  http://www.labellalula.com.mx/home.php

El Bajio for my first dinner there, nice place if a bit hurry up to get rid of me lol! The lady kept giving me dishes to try and I keep saying no thank you have enough, endless, but the food panoches, chicharones, and the pork dish with black mole and sauce and drinks were good, bohemia black beers or negra bohemia. More here;  http://www.restauranteelbajio.com.mx/bajio_english/locations.php

I had lunch at Los Bisquets de Obregon Ecatepec Edo de México, local cuisine restaurant with a great cecina steak (salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke) with mashed potatoes, Mexican rice, and mango/papaya juices here ! More here https://bisquetsobregon.com/sucursales/ecatepec/

After doing some walking around safe in DF! lol! I met some old friends at the Olive Garden in the Patio Universidad shopping;  here with ravioli stuff champignon and a great Trapiche malbec Argentinian wine, coffee nice, great memories fun; more here: http://www.olivegardenmexico.com.mx/ubicacionUniversidad.php

On another night went for TGI Fridays hahaha yes very original , I remember this resto from back in USA and love them. Found them here with a nice big burger and try Victoria and Pacifico beers !! This was ,also, in the Patio Universidad shopping!  More here: http://www.fridays.mx/tufridays.php?idres=6

Hoot hoot anyone? well did stop by at another old timer joint, this one in DF; Hooters another of my old favorites ::) Great Indio beer and nachos snacks with cheese and the action was good with friendly crowd. More here: http://hooters.com.mx/sucursales/universidad/

And yes, sometimes you have to eat at the airport, and my good one there is this one at Wings in the Guadalajara airport. Can’ t find webpage but was ok for an introduction before leaving. Guadalajara airport is small and nice ,here is the airport page; https://www.aeropuertosgap.com.mx/en/guadalajara-3/food.html?limitstart=0

Had lunch on the road at Birreria Chololo with goat meat and beers Indio oscura. An institution in the area, they are at Carretera  Chapala Km 17, Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, no webpage but a nice page to describe it a bit further, here: https://es.foursquare.com/v/birrier%C3%ADa-el-chololo/4bf9560b8d30d13a8f010218

A wonderful place for dinner Bistro 77 right in city center of Tepatitlàn, Jalisco,near the wonderful Cathedral and kiosk in the park. Wonderful Pulpo beers and pizzas with hot chili mexican here, great tv screens and wonderful friendly service, more here: http://www.bistro77.mx/

I was introduce to the restaurant Don Kmaron, in Tepatitlàn,Jalisco.  The sport TV all over, the friendly service, good food, good company was all it took; I came back always to eat here!!! It is at Dr. J. Ricardo Alcala Iñiguez 284, Alameda, 47650 Tepatitlán de Morelos Telephone +52 378 715 5140 a web to speak of it is Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/grupodonk/

Down in Quintana Roo had lunch as well in Las Tortugas resto in Calderitas just next to Bacalar, along the Bay of Chetumal, wonderful fresh fried fish, fries, sweet bananas, yellow rice, and beers Modelo Especial, nice. More here: http://www.guiacalderitas.com/restaurants/restaurant_12.html

I had my drinks here at Hotel La Laguna in Bacalar (Quintana Roo) gorgeous place with wonderful views of the lake and I was allowed to roam free afterward, the site picture tells it all !! More here http://www.hotellagunabacalar.com/restaurante.html#top

El Paisa, a more rustic restaurant in a working class area with a nice second floor terrace, a very nice welcome with lots of Mexicans families there; nice ambiance and great conversation with many. The area is nice around a corner, and serve in the terrace in the back upper level. One of the places to go when you know the area and want to get away from tourists. Here we had more goodies of the Mexican cuisine such as the alambre with meat and cheese melted sort like a pizza but chewy and yummy, pacifico beers and coffee expresso, first we had some chicharones and all good. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-paisa-m%C3%A9xico-3

At the corner of Hamburgo and Niza streets, there is El Lugar del Mariachi, its a restaurant with live music pop and mariachis alternatively, and a dance floor !!! This is right smack in tourist central so a bit high price but very good food, secure,and a very good group of musicians playing from pop to bolero to cha cha cha and then a group of mariachi singers playing their songs as well; a very good ambiance with romantic overtones or in family. More here: http://www.ellugardelmariachi.com.mx/zona-rosa.html#

The wonderful Tezka restaurant basque cuisine of Spain and next to the Royal hotel in Amberes street, Zona Rosa close to Chapultepec always good chic reliable international cuisine. The hotel has been my central for many years, and it has an indoor door directly to the restaurant. More here: http://www.tezka.com.mx/

Los Panchos in Condesa, Tolstoi 9, Col. Anzures, open Mondays to Sundays from  9h to 22h authentic Mexican food, I try all different dishes from tacos de carnitas, chicharrones, stuffed peppers , etc etc so much food down with agua de jamaica and agua de leche delicious.  More here: http://www.chilango.com/comida/restaurantes/los-panchos-2/

The Sanborns,is a chain very popular in Mexico, my old firm used to sell to them and we of course stop there many times to eat and also to buy essentials electronics. Always had a wonderful time eating at the Peña Pobre mall, by Av. Insurgentes sur y Av. San Fernando, its a shopping center with many stores and restaurant ; clothing, electronics , music, gifts are sold here too. It is one of many all over the city. There is a sanborns site but the resto is better shown here: https://es.foursquare.com/v/sanborns/4c7ef4c701df3704b0fce4ac

Puerto Lapice, here it was the filete tampiqueño (Tampico) real beef that was the plate with Mexican wine chateau Domecq. Located at Poniente 128 647 ,Azcapotzalco, corner of Norte 45 , hours Monday to Saturday from 13h to 18h. tel (55) 55 67 68 09. More here http://www.chilango.com/restaurantes/vallejo/puerto-lapice

I went north into the Sonora State at Ciudad Obregon, and had my lunch here at Los Arbolitos de Cajeme . A great mero fish with butter here. More info: http://www.mariscoslosarbolitos.com/

Back to CdMex at Cambalache, an Argentine jewel small but all kinds of cuts beef that is, at Insurgentes Sur 1384. More here: http://www.cambalacherestaurantes.com/#insurgentes

Taqueria Senele at Polanco great tacos alambre and taquitos al pastor,,,,calle Leibnitz, Col Anzures, 11590 just at the corner coming out of hotel Camino Real Polanco back door. More here:http://www.taqueria-selene.com/about

I had to have my Spanish even in Mexico! Wonderfully refined great food and wine service of Spain at the Centro Castellano inside the Camino Real hotel,in Polanco where I was staying. More here: http://grupocastellano.com.mx/camino-real/

I had a wonderful lunch while watching a football/soccer game France vs Germany, and really this is heaven around you of natural beauty and the food and cold beers was great; a must. Cenote Azul restaurant in Bacalar , Quintana Roo. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/restaurante-cenote-azul-bacalar

Up in CdMex I had repeated good experiences at the steakhouse Angus Butcher House, Copenhage 31 , steaks are big, beers are cold, and the ladies are all beautiful ! Many other locations. More here: http://www.angus.com.mx/restaurante/angus-zona-rosa/galeria/default.htm

Café Paris in the Grand Hotel of Tepatitlàn de Morelos, Jalisco, there is an old world ambiance with the hotel rooms decorated with a theme from Europe like I stayed in rooms Napoléon, and Rangel, and ate at the café, upper floor chic nice refined and all made to order. More here: http://www.grandhotelboutique.com/english/restaurant/

Another wonderful Argentinian resto with huge delicious burgers Angus beef, while looking the nice world going by is El Diego, Insurgentes Sur 1581; more here: http://eldiego.mx/

I am sure there are others but these are the lattest ones in my blog now condense here. Again, the city has a world of food and culinary delights to offer; these are the ones I know from personal experience. Enjoy it, buen provecho and vive la vida!!! Enjoy your weekend. Cheers!!!

Tepatitlan de Morelos Tepatitlan de Morelos Tepatitlan de Morelos Bacalar Calderitas Chetumal  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico  Mexico

November 30, 2017

My Best Restaurants in Paris still around!

Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Ok this is a heavy issue with Paris been a culinary delight and gastronomic excellence there ought to be a lot of differences of mind in choosing one restaurant. However, I emphasize this is My list ::) I think that visiting the city every month , worked in it for 10 years , while living in royal Versailles put me in a good level to express an opinion on the subject.

I have written similar lists for Madrid, Versailles, France, Brittany and even my old Florida USA in my blog. It’s about time for Paris !!!  And here they are in no particular order, and just contact information for space’s sake.

We step into the La Flamme 6 avenue de Wagram, tel +33 (0) 1 42 27 85 25. It has a colorful ambiance in purple and red, with terrace and French traditional dishes. Right down from the Arc de Triomphe on Avenue de Wagram right hand side. https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-flamme-paris-2

There is Pizza Pino. The pizzerias are very popular and found in several locations in Paris. My favs are in 57 bd de Montparnasse and the 33 Avenue des Champs-Elysées. More here: http://www.pizzapino.fr/restaurants.php 

Café bar La Marine for a taste of some fish and chips with cold Carlsberg beers and a new taste of  IPA rather sweeter brew; just nice ,,,,as always. Great cozy tables and great sports match ambiance; more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-marine-paris-4

I had always good service at my now routine place ,Brasserie Porte  Océane, inside gare Montparnasse on grandes lignes level for the TGV train. https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frpmo/paris-montparnasse/boutiques-et-restauration/brasserie-porte-oceane-0

A wonderful find at   Restaurant A Table in Levallois Perret, right off the rue Georges Pompidou and at 43 Rue Baudin. Service was wonderful and so was the company. webpage here: http://www.restaurantatable.fr/

This is a chain where I have been to the Place de la République and Avenue du Maine locations. The  Indiana Café , great crowd, wonderful service and a great pastrami burger with a good Affligem beers. http://www.indianacafe.fr/restaurants-clubs/46/republique.html

Café L’ Imperiale, 240 rue Rivoli, 75001. open from lunch and dinner long hours,  tel +33 01 42 60 73 27. Metro Concorde or Tuileries lines 1,8,12.  This was and is my stop for a quick meal, coffee or a drink with a magnificent location across from the jardin des tuileries. I used to work nearby so for an after lunch coffee or an after work quiet happy hour it is great. Quick meal on your way to the Louvre too. no web but cant missed it intersection of rue de Rivoli and rue Rouget de Lisle. More here https://www.yelp.fr/biz/l-imp%C3%A9rial-paris-3 

The Charlie Birdie chain by the quais looking at the Seine and Bois de Boulogne,or at Place Etienne Pernet 15éme.  https://www.yelp.fr/biz/charlie-birdy-paris?osq=charlie+birdie

We had our drinks at La Terrasse resto on the place de l’école militaire, all there in the square is good and sublime.  http://www.laterrassedu7.com/

I stop for dinner a few times here at Restaurant Le Carré at 12 pl Saint Augustin; wonderful modern ambiance and inventive fusion food, tops, chic, class, well done. http://www.restaurant-le-carre.com/

It had some personal problems with the owners so some of the chain has closed out I believe this one still open and it was my favorite with the one in Bougival where had my kids birthdays. Chez Clement, 9 Pl Saint André des Arts, just around the corner from the place Saint Michel  .Sublime with nice ambiance, belle epoque deco,and well serve, all perfect.  https://www.yelp.fr/biz/chez-cl%C3%A9ment-paris-36

I can’t tell you enough about this place, I worked in management of the chain Intercontinental Hotels Group and they were and are attach to the Le Grand Hotel at Opéra. Historical, grand and magnificent meals to remember forever. The Café de la Paix at http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/en/

Lastly ,used to work by Montparnasse before moving to Brittany and here the  Cafe Montparnasse was tops More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/caf%C3%A9-montparnasse-paris

My fav La Gare in the 16éme ; several times here and even some visiting friends taken. It is an old train station several years ago converted into a wonderful resto bar in a great area of Paris chic. More here: http://www.restaurantlagare.com/

We had a get together at the Institut du Monde Arabe, 1 rue des Fossés Saint Bernard, 5éme; very nice views of Paris and the food is great too. The Zyriab Restaurant that is. More here: https://www.imarabe.org/en/practical-information/restaurants-and-cafe

Casa del Campo,  ironically the one I frequent was at the pl de la Republique and it closed to moved to Bercy Village. Right at 55 Cours Saint Emilion, and tapas and cruzcampo beers . More here: https://www.casadelcampo.fr/contact.php 

The Bistro Saint Ferdinand is part of a group of Bistro run by Dorr ,and it is just around the corner from the Porte Maillot on 275 Bd Pereire.   The concept is simple a fixe menu per person including sharing a bottle of wine for two, entrée, plat, and dessert, plus coffee. the price is ok for Paris , and the food has improved from my first visit here a few years back. http://www.legrandbistro.fr/fr/restaurant-maillot-saint-ferdinand.php#restaurant-maillot-saint-ferdinand.php 

The Moulin à Caffé ,  22 rue de Caumartin ; not far from the Grand department stores at Haussmann. Nice place indeed, recall one day took 10 of my colleagues here and was a bash!!! Very nice service ,great food, funny actics of the owner server, and the fun for everyone nice prices. More here:  http://www.restaurant-lemoulinacaffe.fr/ 

We had to go out with a bunch of colleagues this time to introduce me to this gem, been over and over . The Au Petit Riche, 23 rue Le Peletier,9éme walking from the grand dept stores on Haussmann to rue Le Peletier left , and it was a great choice. We were on the second floor or 1er étage in France, nice view over the window on the street below, and away from the more noisy street level area. More here: http://www.restaurant-aupetitriche.com/en/ 

One local gem à la Americain with nutty entertainment to boot, usual sports bars and great service will do at the American Dream, 21 rue Daunou, 2éme . more here:http://www.american-dream.fr/

The a world beater of the Hard Rock Café , 14 boulevard Montmartre 9éme; good stuff food anywhere with live sports, music TV. More here: http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/paris/

The Le Café des Musées, 49 Rue de Turenne. deco 1900, nice and good views ;1930’s look. more here: http://lecafedesmusees.fr/fr

Go high up the Tour Montparnasse and find the Ciel de Paris , entrance by 23 avenue du Maine, good food too and of course the best view of Paris… More here: http://www.cieldeparis.com/

Then, if you want a bit of Brittany in Paris go by the Little Brittany neighborhood and try Creperie Josselin, 67 rue du Montparnasse, metro edgar quinet line 6. Deco a la Breton, very popular its always full. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/la-cr%C3%AAperie-de-josselin-paris

Some exotic try a cigar and mojito ,and salsa at Cubana Cafe, 47 rue Vavin, metro Vavin, line 4 with webpage  https://www.cubanacafe.com/

Montparnasse 1900, 59 bd du Montparnasse, great selection of beers for a happy hour or just chat with friends, good views of the plaza in front.  A historical jewel of Paris.  More here: http://www.montparnasse-1900.com/fr/

You entered the resto by avenue Winston-Churchill, pont Alexandre-III, the resto call the Mini Palais  inside the Grand Palais, with great views over the pont Alexandre III, more here: http://www.minipalais.com/?lang=en_us 

The brasserie Chez Eugene is an old family favorite, my first meal ever at the Butte de Montmartre was here back in 1991! Still going strong… More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/chez-eug%C3%A8ne-paris-2

O’Sullivans Pubs several all over like by Clichy and rue des Lombards, even visited the St Germain en Laye , however my favorite is the one at the Grands Boulevards, 1 blvd Montmartre, metro grands boulevards lines 8 and 9. sports tv all over, even some music, best second floor up to your left in front of bar counter. More here: http://www.osullivans-pubs.com/en/bars/osullivans-grands-boulevards-cafe-bar/

Le 7éme Vin restaurant,68 ave Bosquet, tel +33 01 45 51 15 97 .  This place rocks ,never a let down all handle by able friendly courteous service by the owner Olivier. Near école Militaire, more here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-7%C3%A8me-vin-paris-2

Belushi’s Bar, The Americans in Paris, a chain with many in various cities in Europe. In Paris at 159 rue de Crimée,  inside the Christopher’s hostal 19éme. tel +33 01 40 34 34 40.Metro Crimée line 7 or Laumiére line 5. Five big screen TVs for all the action and great burgers, an American diner in Paris. Now by Gare du Nord as well. More here: http://www.belushis.com/bars/paris/canal

The Great Canadian Pub, 25 Quai des Grands Augustin, 6éme.tel +33 01 46 33 54 20.Metro St Michel line 4. Great ambiance very popular with expats get togethers in Paris.  More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/the-great-canadian-paris

One of the nice places to eat and dance is at Cuba Compagnie Bastille, 48 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 11éme. salsa ambiance, mojitos, and Cuba. More here:  http://www.cubacompagnie.com/photos/

 Au Trappiste, 4 rue Saint Denis, 4éme. open from 11h to 02h Monday thru Sunday and from 11h to 04h on Fridays and Saturdays. Tel +33 01 42 33 08 50.  metro Chatelet line 4,11. Here you are in Belgium with the monks; lots of good beer, simple good portions of food, moules or mussels and fries,and grill sausages. The first or ground floor is more noisy ,the second floor more calm and better views!of Chatelet. no web but its just by the metro exit and rue Rivoli. Best way is the metro ,the RER is too crowded to get here. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/au-trappiste-paris

Au Métro, 18 bd Pasteur, 15éme, Open from 7h until there is nobody in the place ! even Sundays during world cup plays. Tel +33 01 47 34 21 24. metro Pasteur lines 6,12. The cradle of rugby in Paris, if you like beers,and good fun, great ambiance,friendly people and can see a match of rugby than comes here you wont be disappointed. Always something happening.  Great for a start of your evening here and then go for more substantial restaurant or a very late night snack .More here: http://www.aumetro.fr/

This is a good one, closed for a year and now the site says will try to open again, anyway same owners so check it out when it opens again at different location….Agua Limon, (old)12 rue Theophile Roussel, 12éme Metro  Ledru Rollin line 8 or Gare de Lyon lines 1,14. The best Valencian in Paris, the food of Valencia paella per excellence and Horchata drink. Great ambiance and welcome by the owner ,natives of Valencia,Spain. More here: http://www.restaurant-agualimon.com/

La Perla, 26 rue François Miron, 4éme. Open from Mondays to Sundays from 12h to 02h Tel +33 01 42 77 59 40. metro hotel de ville line 1,11. behind the Hôtel de Ville de Paris. Tequila I found you in Paris, great bar, and fast texmex food, huge selection of cocktails and beers. A great chic crowd after work, and a fantastic place to start or end your day in Paris. More here: http://www.laperla-paris.com/

Le Comptoir du Relais, 9 carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006.Open mondays to fridays from 12h to 23h. Tel +33 01 43 29 1 05.  Metro Odéon line 10 or Marbillon line 10. a great location ,great food and great service cant ask for more. People passing spectacle in a nice area; relax after a long walk in Paris or come after work. In the bottom of the excellent Relais Saint Germain hotel. More here: http://www.hotel-paris-relais-saint-germain.com/savourez-les-restaurants.html

 Joe Allen, 30 rue Pierre Lescot,75001. Open  Sundays to Wednesdays from midday to 00h30 ,and Thursdays to Saturdays from midday to 01h. Tel +33 01 42 36 70 13. Metro Chatelet lines 11,4. The New York address in Paris and a great place to meet with me and other Americans in Paris. .Other locations in New York and London . More here:  http://www.joeallenparis.com/joeallenparis.com/Home.html

Bistro Romain, 122 ave Champs-Elysées,75008  open  11h30 to 15h and 19h to 23h weekdays and Saturdays.  Tel +33 01 43 59 93 31 . Metro George V line 1 near Lido.  A nice cozy Italian chain that wont break your bank and allows for a nice family meal. This is the location of my first date with what today is my wife!!!, so its an annual pilgrimage for us too. It was not expensive ::)  Several locations throughtout  . More here: http://www.bistroromain.fr/restaurants-a-paris.htm 

And the latest find in Paris,  Villa Verdi Italian restaurant. Very friendly , got even to practice on my Italian a bit ::) Very nice indeed, and  good reviews by all; More on the restaurant here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/villa-verdi-paris

The restaurant do have their own webpage here:  http://www.villaverdi.fr/en/

There, I think I remember them all to post here, some already were gone unfortunately, that is the restaurant business anywhere and in Paris we do have our share of out of business.  Enjoy Paris, it has these and a whole lot more to taste and sip::) Some pictures I still found around my hard drive lol! Cheers….

November 26, 2017

My best restaurants of Brittany, Bretagne!!!

A few years back , I started a post on my best restaurants in France,  Paris and then of Versailles only etc. Well ,I have been a few years already in Brittany, gone to many restaurants, and will like to tell you about my better ones. Of course , always check for availability and times, and these are only the ones I think were good.

All of them are in my previous posts on the particular city or area I wrote, and they will be in no chronological order, the webpages will be found online, and some of them will be from National and International chains. I hope that as the season to be merrier is coming along , you find your way to enjoy one of the them while visiting very Christmas followed territory like Brittany.

La Boucherie, zone océane 3 ,rue de Danemark, Auray 56400

La Boucherie, Rue du Gay Lussac, Zone du Parc lann, Vannes 56000

Le Bistro du Port, 7 place Saint Sauveur, Saint Goustan, Auray 56400

L’Armoric, 1 Place Saint Sauveur , Saint Goustan, Auray 56400

Restaurant La Fromentine, 10 rue du Chateau, Auray 56400

Au Coin du Feu, D768, Camors 56330

Crêperie Saint Sauveur, port de Saint-Goustan, 6 rue Saint-Sauveur, Auray 56400

Le Grand Voyageurs Hôtel restaurant ,facing Ville Close ,Concarneau  29182

Kreiz An Aval, 1 avenue de la chapelle, Carnac 56340

Restaurant Le Cosy, 2 rue Saint Cornély, Carnac 56340

A l’Aise Breizh Café, Port de Plaisance du Moulin Blanc, Brest 29200

A l’Aise Breizh Café, Port de Plaisance, le port (above harbormaster house) Vannes 56000

La Gazzetta (italien) 4 rue de Siam, Brest 29200

Da Franco (Italien) 18 place Edouard Vaillant, Douarnenez 29100

Le Lion d’Or , 5 place Adrien Le Franc, Elven 56250

La Villa Toscane ,15 Place Jaffré, Guidel 56520

La Moule que Saoûle , Centre Commercial la Falaise, Guidel plages 56520

Le Guéthenoc, 11 place Notre Dame, Josselin 56120

L’Escale Hôtel Restaurant le port (harbor) facing the ocean, Locmariaquer 56740

Hôtel Restaurant Les Voyageurs, 10 rue de Cadélac, Loudeac 22600

La Terrace, 31 place des Otages, Morlaix 29600

O’Brothers 7 quai des Cabestans, Arzon 56640

Le Voilier, 8 quai des Voiliers, Arzon 56640

Les Trois Etoiles, ZA de Tréhuinec , D779 road Plescop 56890

Crêperie de l’Enclos ,51 place du Général de Gaulle, Pleyben 29190

Crêperie du Chateau de Rimaison, 6 rue de la Gare, Pluvigner 56330

Crêperie Restaurant Le Vorlen ,rue de la Gare, (across from above) Pluvigner 56330

Restaurant Le Martray, 32 rue du Pont/Place du Matray, Pontivy 56300

L’Aiglon, 42 du Général de Gaulle, Pontivy 56300

Restaurant Crêperie du Pont Fleuri, 5 rue Ellé, Basse ville, Quimperlé 29300

Restaurant bar Les Cariatides, 4 rue du Quéodet, Quimper 29000

La Taverne de  Maître Kanter, 14 quai du Steïr, Quimper 29000

Back to the 60’s American Diner, 58 rue de St Malo, Rennes 35000

Café Hoche, 15 place Hoche, Quiberon, 56170

Le Vivier (seafood), Côte Sauvage, Quiberon 56170

Au Goüt du Jour, 5 rue St Michel, Pluvigner 56330

Pizzeria Le Scampi, 11 Place du Marché, Pluvigner 56330

Crêperie des Bés, 4 rue Thévenard, St Malo 35400

Crêperie La Metairie de Kéroser, Allée de Kerozer, Saint Avé 56890

Crêperie Les Ajoncs, 4 rue de Vannes, Saint-Anne d’Auray

La Pataterie, ZAC Parc Lann, Rue Gay Lussac, Vannes 56000

Le Scoop bar brasserie, 60 rue Théophaste Renaudot, ZAC Kerlann , Vannes 56000

Le Gavroche, 17 rue de la Fontaine, Vannes 56000

Don Camillo Pizzeria, 20 rue du port, Vannes 56000

Les Remparts, 6 rue Alexandre le Pontois, Vannes 56000

Restaurant Anna & Paul, 23 Place du Général de Gaulle, Vannes 56000

Balade en Crepanie, 21 rue de la Fontaine, Vannes 56000

Chez la Mére 6 sous, 11 rue Thomas de Closmadeuc Vannes 56000

La Saigonnaise, 2 place de la Madeleine, Vannes 56000

Les Oliviers, 60 avenue du Verdun, Vannes 56000

Villa Valencia, 3 rue Bienheureux P Rene Rogue, Vannes 56000

Le Petit Belon, 3 place de la poissonnerie, Vannes 56000

Crêperie de la Tour Trompette, 4 rue Venelle, Vannes 56000

Le Gambetta, 1 place Gambetta, Vannes 56000

Lecocq & Folks, 5 rue Saint Vincent, Vannes 56000

Restaurant Poivre Rouge, Rue Aristide Boucicaut, Vannes 56000

TablaPizza, ZAC du Parc Lann, 6 rue Jacques Rueff, Vannes 56000

L’Orée des Monts, 5 place Charles de Gaulle, Sizun 29450

Pizzeria del Castello , 5 rue Maréchal Joffre, Hennebont, 56700

 brasserie Le Carré  15 place Aristide Briand ,Lorient 56100

Café Breton , 8 rue du Porche, Rochefort-en-Terre 56220

Ok these are the ones I like, no particular order, and only those I kept a business card ::) the rest if missed , are on the posts lol!!! I think you have plenty to choose thus…… bon appétit, and drink wines, cider, beers all in moderation , good for the economy and the traditions of France. Unesco World Heritage Intangible lists :Gastronomic meals; Cheers!

PS. I added some photos and dare to put some personal ones as well. No copying please, thanks.

Dinan Brest Concarneau Quimper Pont Aven Landerneau Douradenenez Quimperle Plougastel Dauolas Dinard Rennes Auray Auray Auray Auray Carnac Elven Guidel plage Hennebont Josselin La Gacilly La Roche Bernard La Trinite sur Mer Larmor Baden Le Roc St Andre Locmariaquer Locmariaquer Lorient LE Govello Plescop Plumelec Pontivy Quiberon Quiberon Quiberon Quiberon Rochefort en Terre Port du Crouesty  St Gildas de Rhuys Pluvigner  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 19, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, L

We are on Sunday another cool autumn day in the Morbihan or petite mer or small sea in Breton language. Dept 56 of the region of Brittany/Bretagne or Breizh in Breton. My region; I live a bit in the center just above the wonderful beaches of Carnac ,La Trinité sur Mer, and Quiberon; past inland harbor Auray into the Breton lands of Pluvigner or the parrish of Guigner, Saint Guigner once a king in Ireland disagree with Saint Patrick and came over here to set up his followers; way way back in time.

I like to tell you of what is going on in my area and some suggestions to eat here.

At the great Cinéville cinema we go to in Vannes, there are schedule to show in March 8 (Thursday) 2018 the ¨Le petit-maître corrigé” of Marivaux at 20h15 and then on July 5 2018 “Britannicus” of Jean Racine also at 20h15.  This is at the cinema by the ramparts or cinéville Garenne, Keep an eye on it here: Cineville Garenne

On December 1st 2017 the entertainment complex Le Chorus at the parc du golfe is showing the great entertainer Patrick Sebastian in French of course, but a great way to dwell into French joie de vivre! Then on December 7 2017 they are showing Irish Celtic with a whole new spectacle of Irish , celtic music similar to what we have here as Breton. More here: Le Chorus Patrick Sebastian     and Le Chorus Irish Celtic

Two wonderful performers coming over are Cirque Farouche Zanzibar, with 18 artists and 5 musicians for an homage of Fellini!!! December 7-9 2017 at the Théatre Anne de Bretagne. Also, on December 12 2017, invited artist Rufus Wainwright of Canada who has collaborated with artists such as David Byrne, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Wilson etc. at 20h both programs. More here: Theatre Anne de Bretagne circus   and  Theatre Anne de Bretagne Wainwright

We have great casinos in the area and with proper moderation they are great places to entertained many we go for the ambiance and to eat ::) Others enjoy the roulette tables and money machines lol! New and modern ones are installed at the Circus Casino de Carnac, more here; Casino de Carnac

The wonderful Casino d’Arzon in the peninsula or presqu’île de Rhuys is near the harbor and nice restaurant too. More here; Casino d’Arzon

There are encounters with artists such at the library l’archipel des mots (archipelago of words) with Véronique Durruty December 11-24 2017 the story of “Mondes Indiens” or the Indian worlds. This is an old quaint district of Vannes, near the oldest Church of St Patern facing the government building or prefecture du Morbihan.  15 Place du Général de Gaulle. Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h to 19h. New event see it here posting soon. L’Archipel des Mots library

Also , at the library Le Silence de la Mer (silence of the sea) we have Anne Godard coming November 23rd soon, with a recount of the French literature on the mis interpretation of others to every day life according to the writer’s experience; it is facing the wonderful Cathedral of St Pierre at Place St Pierre (St Peter’s). Here is their facebook page: Librarie Le Silence de la Mer

At the nice quaint old museum of fine arts or musée des Beaux-Arts of Vannes; the La Cohue you can see until January 7 2018 the exposition of Regard(s) Jeanne-Marie Barbey from the photography to the paintings. This is a collaboration with the musée de Bretagne of Rennes where the photographs are kept and the musée du Faouët where the expo will be shown in spring 2018. There will be a conference presentation of the artists on November 24th 15h. more here: La Cohue JM Barbey

Now if you come here looking for some nice places to eat our local delicacies especially in our capital city of Vannes (my work city) well let me tell you a few of my favorites, jog them down ok

a wonderful heaven in the place du poids public the place of the market on Saturdays and great ambiance with great oysters of the island of Arz (gulf) local Breton andouilles and the Breizh tiramisu! This is Di’Vin at 15 bis rue Noé. Closed Sundays and Mondays. See here: Di’Vin

Another good one is Bibovino, 18 rue Emile Burgault in the old town very nicd quaint street to get lost in time. Here you have small tapas like dishes with fine wines bag in a box system and cubi of 2-3 liters of wine from great names such as Chateau le Tap, Cave de Clairmont (crozes-hermitage), etc they have 43 wines labels!  a great way to munch and enjoy a great glass of wine; also take home available.  A concept that is catching up all over France: more on Vannes here: BiboVino Vannes

One dear to me just celebrated my twins sons birthday there is la Crêperie du Château in the Château de Rimaision at Pluvigner. Recently compensated in a local TV TF1 program on arts of cooking. All ven with a Chapel of the 13C! You like to eat good Breton food in a castle ,then come here. More in their Facebook page here: Créperie du Château

Another crêperie brasserie is the Moulin du Roy at 14 place Gambetta facing the harbor pleasure marina all is done locally and on site and bio as well as burgers, fish and chips homemade and bagels on beef!!! great views over the canal and marina too.  More here: Moulin du Roy

Another one facing the harbor and canal of Vannes is the L’Atlantique this is fish and seafood delights all fresh from the local waters and 140 wine labels to choose from! It has a terrace just facing the harbor a great people watching spot and the food is top quality and prices to boot menus start at just 12€! More in yelp here: L’Atlantique

Another in old town just passing the porte Saint Vincent gate and around the corner from the fish market halle aux poissons is the Lecocq & Folks at 5 rue Saint Vincent. This is a brother and sister restaurant offering the bistronomique where dishes change every day and all done homemade on site. There is a Brunch every Sunday and Vegan dishes as well. All formules from 17€ !! More here in their facebook page: Lecocq & Folks

Going along the canal and before the harbormaster or Capitanerie you find the wonderful Le Vent d’Est a regular for 17 yrs here by same owners. The deco takes you back to a small street in Strasbourg with beautiful views over the sailing boats in the canal . The best is upstairs and has AC; the thighs of pork or jarret de porc au Münster with a Kougelhopf or the cheese Münster is golden here. More here: Le Vent d’Est

One I go every time my local colleagues decides to eat lunch out is the Anna & Paul, 23 place du Général de Gaulle not far from the Church of St Patern.  This is nouvelle cuisine almost very refine and nicely serve. The name is after the children of the owners….The foie gras au Serrano (ham) is done on site homemade as others nothing like a family of cooks aficionados to serve you. Menu Paul 25€ is sublime along great wine labels. More here: Anna & Paul

Going over  a bit to Auray, you have the Le Café qui Fume 22,place Joffre. Here coffee is king and you will be in heaven. A couple owners homemade making from the best coffees in the world. You see the roasting of your coffee live and can show you class tour on Saturdays at 10h30. There is a boutique side with all the parts and ingredients needed to do the same at home; professionally done as we do ::) There are ,also, teas,and local gourmet products from Brittany as well as wines and liquors from the region. At the restaurant, on site or take home from 8,90€ dishes;Closed Tuesdays from October. More here in their Facebook page : Le Café Qui Fume

To stay with coffee and I am a great café lover I take you to Columbus Café & Co 11 rue du Mené, Vannes. Many outlets in France as well. You find all kinds of cookies, muffins, donuts, brownies as well as coffee and chocolate drinks, teas etc there are sugary and salty menus all year long. More here Columbus Café

And why not finish the post with the le Qu4tre, 3 place Henri IV, very old quarters of Vannes next to the Cathedral St Pierre. Very relaxing in medieval surrounding and people watching, wooden houses from the 14C.  Nice terrace on the square; great sporting events shown . more here: LE Qu4tre

There enjoy the arts and food of the Morbihan and especially my capital and working city of Vannes/ Happy Sunday and health to continue enjoying our World. Cheers!

 

November 17, 2017

It’s birthday time and on off day we had a blast ::)

Ok silly post title but what’s the heck it is a birthday of my twins sons, now 24 yrs young. We had a double celebration one outside and one inside.

We had a pastry maker do a cake for them as a surprise; that we took home. At the same time, we went out to our fad place in town to eat out with them and I took my old father along;total of 6. Me, my wife, father and three young men.

We make the cake at boulangerie/Pâtisserie Delumeau in our town , richly cream of chocolate with one layer of pistachio cream and other of strawberry cream, then eclairs of both flavor thrown on top. All with the local Le Guelin cider brut from nearby La Gacilly.  They have no webpage but has been our bakery since moving here; very good on the main road rue de la Gare into town also the D768 before the traffic circle of Vorlen

The out was at the Créperie du Château in the Château de Rimaison in our town. This is a castle built from scratch here and now belonging to a wonderful family who work it , a couple and six children…. More on it here:  http://lacreperieduchateau.blogspot.fr/

and ,also, their facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/LaCreperieDuChateau/

The castle is from the 18C destroyed and rebuilt with the stones of the old, until now. It has a wonderful garden and gorgeous enclosed terrace veranda. Recently they even have room to rent or chambre d’hôte. It is right across the street from the above bakery. However, with a car the entrance is on the back on the road D16 Route de Landaul.

It is a worthy detour for the good food , reasonable prices, great welcome and chat with the owners and history all around you. The property has a fountain with a figure of a Virgin and a Chapel where celebration are held on special dates.

We always have a great time here and well fed all local products of Brittany done by locals. You are wise to stop by and eat here. We had our usual wonderful time with the boys and plenty of Breton cider brut and doux (sweeter).

The meal was right off the menu with a galette of goat cheese and honey, brown cook onions in cider sauce and Andouille the local Breton sausage. Follow by a crêpe of bouganville or bananas on chocolate sauce and coconut ice cream. The start was aperitif of various sources from Breizh cola (the rival coca cola brand) , non alcoholic fruity drink, porto red to whisky and scotch. Along the meal 3 bottles of cider and many other dishes for about 27€ per person. A wonderful 24 birthday celebration.

Enjoy your weekend I am caught up and ready for more tomorrow. Have a great weekend. Cheers!!!

October 22, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan XXXVIII

Ok so this is another Sunday October 22nd, on a cloudy sometimes sun and temps still mild for our period in the 60’sF. We had a bit of football/soccer activity but not much, oh yes tonite is the French classic Marseille vs PSG; and my Real Madrid plays Eibar in Spain. In Europe things are moving right along as usual, we in France are going thru some changes with the new President trying all kinds of new things, so strikes are in the horizons ,nothing new.

I stay close to home this weekend, needed that ,after a bit of business travels and hectic travel plans due to strikes oops yes . We are vaguely sitting around the couch watching TV ,but did went out yesterday to do some errands.

Saturday morning we went to Auray, so close to us but it looked weird to be there as not been back in a while. We went in to the parking Keriolet, the closest to city center/downtown. We find one right away which is a lucky omen, and we walked past a nice convenience grocery store we go when in need call Spar supermarché.  Here is their webpage but lol! the street name is wrong on their webpage..should be Rue Jean Marie Barré.. https://www.spar.fr/bretagne-magasin-spar-morbihan-56/commerce-auray-groupe-casino/magasin-tz851.html

The Rue Jean Marie Barré was nice and vibrant as always and so was the place de la République near the city hall or Hôtel de Ville. Our intended need to be by here however was to find mussels, and we were headed for the covered market here; however, it was already almost empty of goods been smaller on a nice size town, the goodies go quick. The city of Auray official page is here in French: http://www.auray.fr/accueil/?no_cache=1

We went on to get our Belgians/Germans beers at V&B in the parc Océane near the N165 in Auray. Here we practice the bottle deposit thingy for recycling purposes and you get new ones so about 20 beers were load up for the house. Their webpage is here: https://magasin.vandb.fr/766390-v-and-b-auray

We had to run to Vannes for the mussels. My first choice always, but the family always has other ideas ::) We did got there in time. I parked by the canal in Le Port harbor area is free and just about 200 meters walking so not bad at all. After parking we went straight for the covered fish market or the Halle aux Poissons at place de la Poissonnerie. Bit more here in French from the city hall of Vannes here; http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/marches/halles/

There is a huge open market here by Place du poids Public and Place des Lices (Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8h to 13h30). and right on the last one you have the covered market Les halles des lices.http://www.halles-des-lices.fr/  I have written extensively on these before. The fish market as well but this is the best place to get fish/seafood in the department unless you go direct to the fisherman which you can do here too. The market many fishermans family brings their goods for the day here to sell all day and in the week too.  This is heaven, all fresh direct from the local boat and local stuff.

Taking advantage of getting our mussels in Hûitres Richard ,Route de Badel, Séné ; we stop by our Vietnamese vendor just outside the market on the open market street and got all our Cantonese rice, pork nems, and beef dishes we all like.

Being around here shopping in a medieval surrounding and just next to a Canal port anchoring about 3000 boats of all sizes is always a wonderful family experience for us here.  This is Le Port area. Lot more info from the city of Vannes in French here: http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/port-de-plaisance/

Facing out from the Porte Saint Vincent that behind it takes you into the old town and the markets mentioned above, you give your back to the gate or Porte and going left of the Canal you find the before mentioned parking at the end passing  the harbormaster and some very nice restos bars that we frequent too, like Dowds Irish pub, Le Vent d’Est and Le Tarmac all good. Right here in the Le Port area on the right side with your back to the Porte Saint Vincent you have a great underground parking, the carrousel, the tourist office and many more restos/bars.

It was then time to come back home and cook those mussels or  Moules de bouchot from the Pernef area just in our department 56 Morbihan, that we purchased just this morning in the fish market in Vannes. We do it with wines from the Loire whites of course, onions, and tomato sauce light; we combine it with home made fry potatoes (yes we do it from scratch), and accompany with great Loire white like a Vouvray sec. Just a perfect family meal for the day, 9 pounds of mussels plenty of white wine, and camembert cheese raw milk from Normandy, this is la belle France.

We settled into some TV leisurely at home and waiting for those big football/soccer matches and try the Asian cuisine with nice beers. Enjoy life, it is indeed short. Happy travels and enjoy your Sunday, Cheers.

Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Pluvigner  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes

 

 

 

 

 

September 10, 2017

The wines of La Mancha, Castilla La Mancha that is !

I like to make my small contribution to the wines of La Mancha, and a bit story on wines of Spain in general.

My first ever taste of wine was by my maternal grandmother at my tender age of 8, and of course , it was Spanish wine from Tenerife. Ever since, my love for the drink has increase exponentially to the point of taken professional courses from the ICEX commercial office of Spain, and SOPEXA Food and Wine from France government entities over the years. I have tried tasted it wines from many countries and even arrive of having my own small cellars averaging 50-100 bottles in the cave or basement cellar of my home as I write.

Wines are part of us, part of our culture ,and accompany with food of any kind they are always sublime, even on a hot day a glass of white or rosé is very good. Studies have repeatedly shown that the anti oxidant in red wines especially is good for your health, of course in moderation.

Spain has a strong old tradition on wines going back especially to the Romans. The wine business developed slowly with small families and the quality shows deficiency. However, as the country move up the ladder and investments came in, and more technically educated families began to get involved the quality has increase exponentially. Now the wines of Spain are all over the world even here in France my wine merchant has Spanish wines! And we buy them too!!!

My recollection of Castilla La Mancha was of very high alcohol content wines, cheaply made and quantity prime. As the years went by ,and my visits to the region increase, my tasting grew to the point that now there are several properties worthy of me buying and can recommend very good to all.

La Mancha is a Denominacion de Origen or DO area , an area designated to be of quality wines and you can see on the bottles the grayish black label on the back.  The areas are Toledo, Albacete, Cuenca, and Ciudad Real.  Going irrigated by the rivers Guadiana, Tajo, and Jucar ,and you have the biggest vineyards in the world with  about 400-600 000 hectares of grapes of which about 170 000 are under the DO La Mancha denomination. This makes it into the biggest vineyard area in Spain ,and it is known as the winery of  Europe or  “La Bodega de Europa”.  There are about 182 towns and more than 250 bodegas in it ,some with huge sizes. It is ,also, the biggest Spanish exporter of wine with 22% of their production exported.

You have them as in Spain in general the reds or Tintos  (we do not say red tinto comes from how we name the grape tinto del pais ! that here it is call tempranillo ::)) . You have them jovenes or youngs, 60 days of ageing minimum, and crianza with 6 months ageing minimum, and reserva with 12 months of ageing minimum and gran reserva with 18 months ageing as minimum.  Of course, also, rosé or rosados, white or blancos, sparkling or espumosos, naturalmente dulces or naturally sweets. The region uses many kinds of grapes such as the whites: Airén, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Moscatel, Pedro Ximénez, Parellada, Torrontés, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Viognier. The Reds or tintos such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlo, Petit Verdot, Graciano, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. The last few years the harvest have been great and very good wines were produced, such as 2010 (Very Good) 2011 (Excellent), 2012 (Excellent); 2013 (Good) 2014 (Excellent) and 2015 (Very Good).

The official wine regulation DO webpage is here in English: http://lamanchawines.com/en/

Some of the pioneers of this region and the most famous is the Marqués de Griñon ,Carlos Falcó. Here is a brief story:  There is about 43 years ago that he planted the first grape in the area; it was a cabernet sauvignon that he hidden in his apples as at the time it was illegal to bring foreign grapes into Spain. Within the olives and flower trees of Toledo he set up the winery in the farm call  Pagos de Familia Marqués de Griñón, an extension of his family since 1292. The denomination of  Valdepusa, as his wines are label for the first simple wines bottled in Spain and today export to the world.  More here in English: http://www.pagosdefamilia.es/html_en/home.html

There is the cooperative or Cooperativa Virgen de las Viñas, the biggest in Europe and maybe the world, presided by Rafael Torres.  In the bodega of Tomesollo, (Ciudad Real) built in 1961 with 17 farmers and 300K kg of grape, following year 6M kg and now more than 200M kg of grape!  Managing an area with 3000 farmer associates and about 7000 families in  Castilla-La Mancha. More here in Spanish: http://cooperativarua.com/

An anecdote, the wine labels  Oristan Crianza , and  Marqués de Toledo Reserva  from the Bodegas Lozano, were prized with double gold and silver at the  Sakura Wine Awards 2017,the most important wine competition in Japan and Asia with a jury all of women; they tasted almost 5000 wines!! More here: http://bodegas-lozano.com/

However, these are some of the more famous. We drank the local La Mancha wines that were superb! all purchase in Cuenca at the La Licoreria store here: http://www.lalicoreria.es/index.asp

There is a wholesale store just entering Cuenca by the bottle or box, we purchased there, and there is a regular liquor store of them in city center Cuenca.

We tasted/purchased  a bottle of Finca La Estacada, from the Uclés area year 2014 red tempranillo Crianza 5,57€!  this was great yummy full and crafted in an old farm belonging to the descendants of queen Maria Cristina of Spain and widow of king Fernando VII. Acquired by the current owners in the mid 20C the family Cantarero Rodríguez ,winery from 2001. The complex now has bodega, hotel ,and restaurant. The wine like said is heavy powerful red full with raspberries and vanilla, light fruity tannins in mouth full body , great yummy in the end. Excellent price: quality value to grab by the case! The webpage is here in English: http://www.fincalaestacada.com/bodega/13_vinos

The, we attack the Finca Antigua recommended by the rental house owners.  This winery is part of the great Spanish winegrowers Martinez Bujanda, very well known to me. The wines of Finca Antigua were first time tasted and we got several bottles due to the knowledge of the winemaker and the local recommendation. The winery is in the town of Los Hinojosos practically in the border of the provinces of Cuenca and Toledo in Castilla La Mancha of course. We first tried the Finca Antigua Cabernet Sauvignon Crianza 2014 and it was a bit light for our tastes; mineral hints from the cabernet but with nuances of dairy and undergrowth, indicating the freshness we obtain due to the altitude of the estate; grapes from Las Mejias lot. However, only 5,12€! worth it for the price.

We moved up to the Finca Antigua Unico Crianza 2011, with cabernet sauvignon ,syrah, tempranillo, and merlot grapes.  This one was much better for our tastes. Highly intense dairy hints of yoghurt, toasty character with woodland hints oak spicy nutmeg clove and tobacco and slight toasted sensation. smooth creamy on the mouth, full bodied and rounded, well integrated acidity/alcohol and very balanced, long creamy finish, very fresh . Just fantastic at only 6,38€ to grab by the case!

Finally, we have drank the Finca Antigua Reserva 2010 cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot.  Very intense, delightful sensations of fallen leaves with fresh mint, thyme, eucalyptus to the front. Touches of vanilla and dairy ,oak well integrated with the fruit hints of tobacco, leaf, juniper, aniseed, very elegant complex suggestive. The taste full and powerful great body with backbone very rich and pleasant, great for rich cuisine. We love it, and only 10,24€ to grab by the case!!

More on Finca Antigua direct link in English here: http://www.fincaantigua.com/en/

Then, we drank the unique Alejandro Fernandez  (Grupo Pesquera) a winemaker very well known to me and have met him, this was again a first time drink on the El Vinculo 2011 Tempranillo red. The winery is near the windmills of Campo de Criptana (of Don Quijote fame) that was purchase a manchego typical house that was modernized into the winery or bodega in 1999.  The name of the wine is to make it close to the original bodega of the family in the Duero region ; El Vinculo= the tie end or link.

The wine El Vinculo 2011 red tempranillo was aged for 18 months in American oak barrel and 6 months in the bottle. In the mouth has sweet tannins mark with a mature fruit and an explosion of cherries, blackberries and blueberries. Wonderful and price at 10,16€ is a bargain to grab by the case! More on it in Spanish here: http://www.grupopesquera.com/index.php/es/bodegas/el-vinculo/k2-categories

Well as I finish this post, my sneaky sons already had the  Calzadilla Classic 2010 out for drinking and we did!  This is the property we tried to visit twice in last two years and always closed in August even if we did call ahead to see it. Well , we purchase the bottles at La Licoreria and try today the red wine.  Their site tells us in Spanish and I translated, the Bodega under the name of Bodega Familiar Uribes Madero is born in 1980 and the first bottle under Calzadilla does not come than in 1992. Today at  PAGO CALZADILLA  you have 26 hectares of which 20 are dedicated to the vineyard with a production of 100K kg of grape to produce the tintos or reds.   The Calzadilla Classic 2010 is done with Tempranillo 60%, Cabernet-Sauvignon 20%,  Syrah 10%, and Garnacha 10%. Harvest from land parcels name Fogón,   Aldehuela, Bildorado, Chocilla del Vinagre, and Viña Olivos.  The taste is of the lighter variety,not our favorite on this bottle but nice nevertheless.  The color is deep red with aromas of prune, raspberries, and white fruits like pear. You see the eucalyptus and tobacco, vanilla, and glycerine. Fruity sensation by the mouth from beginning to end Round  , balance with good acidity , long and expressive final. I just need to add was light texture with hints of wood, and high tannins still in it. Price at 12,71€ is ok but can do better cheaper.  More on the webpage here in Spanish:http://www.pagocalzadilla.com/web/es/nuestros-vinos/calzadilla-classic.html

Of course, all these wines were purchase and brought home !!! and we are not yet done drinking them all lol!! But we have still in bottle (if you care to stop by hurry up ::)) Wines from Cuenca, La Mancha area Dominio de Valdepusa Cabernet (Marqués de Griñon ), Pago Calzadilla Allegro 2007, and from other regions the Viña Real crianza, Ramon Bilbao Edicion etc. We do buy here Jumilla area the Petit Clos Taja that are about 6-7 euros and when they come to our store Nicolas in Vannes we scoop all the bottles!!! own by Frenchmen Mahler Besse of Bordeaux fame ::)

Again, all these wines are great to buy and drink, the price/quality ratio is huge, and bargains of gastronomic proportions; La Mancha is it, and Spain is stepping out. Drink with moderation but drink wines is good for you too. Enjoy your Sunday y’all, Cheers!!!

Cuenca

 Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  Cuenca  CuencaToledo

 

May 30, 2017

The medieval wonderful Krakow Poland or Cracovie Pologne!

I heard about Krakow from a group of travelers once, and almost made it, but decided  elsewhere. Too bad ,but that is the art of travel, never enough time. You never know where you will be next, and after over 40 years of doing so and 79 countries, visiting one more is always an exciting moment indeed. The food was great with a wonderful quality/price ratio to envy.

This was the case of Krakow, Poland or Cracovie, Pologne, this past mid May 2017.  I was there for a short 4 days but enough to make it one destination to dream of come back to it. Krakow is nice, more on the tourist sites here:

http://www.krakow.pl/english/visit_krakow/2601,glowna.html

http://visitkrakow.com/

http://www.krakow-info.com/information.htm

http://www.staypoland.com/about_krakow.htm

My stay consisted of arriving at Krakow airport and taken a taxi to the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/

http://www.sheratongrandkrakow.com/

While there had time off to see the main areas of the city in the old town. Krakow is compact and very nice indeed in the center.

The main thing is not to missed the Wawel castle, which I did as the tour would have taken too long for my time and on a first visit wanted to touch as many places as possible to better understand the city and hopefully be back for in depth look later on with the family. The castle is wonderful bordering the Vistula river or wisla. Again, plan to see it, the major place to see here. More on the castle here: http://www.wawel.krakow.pl/en/

In the Saint Mary Madeleine square where the existence dates from 1257 ; see the imposing façade of the Church of St Peter and Saint Paul as well as the statue of abbot Piotr Skarga the principal representative of the counter reformation in Poland, writer and preacher in the court of king Sigismond III Vasa ; Piotr Skarga is resting in the Church. The Church itself was built between 1597 and 1619 in baroque style, and it has the 12 apostles statues outside dating from the 18C.

There are many wonderful historical Churches and Monasteries  in and around Krakow, the renown town of Pope John Paul II (Saint John Paul II since 2014);such as the Wawel Cathedral, Corpus Christi, St Mary’s Basilica ,and many to name here. It certainly will take you more than 4 days to see them all ::)

The Wawel Cathedral and the museum of John Paul II are another must to see here time permitting. The museum info is here : http://www.museums.krakow.travel/en/muzea/id,243,title,the-cathedral-museum.html

and the Cathedral site is here: http://www.katedra-wawelska.pl/en/

The Cloth Hall (Sukiennice) is another must see right in the main Grand square or Rynek Glowny. wonderful line up of paintings and gorgeous architecture again for more time on it. More here: http://mnk.pl/branch/gallery-of-the-19th-century-polish-art-the-sukiennice-the-cloth-hall

There are wonderful horse drawn carriages in the city center with beautiful mounts and decorated , a nice ride in the city to make up time for it. Much more info here in English: http://guide-krakow.com/krakow-from-the-horse-drawn-carriage/

the bustle and hustle of Mariacki Square is wonderful with great ambiance, there were demonstrations of all kinds very peaceful and colorful even in the rain when I was there.

The St Mary’s Basilica is another gem to visit while in the city. Goes back to 1222 and many historical moments of the city took place here ; more here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/instcbi/36882,inst,12407,1241,instcbi.html

You can take a look at St Andrew’s Church, from the 11C with Romanesque architecture, Baroque interior of the 17C.  More here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/instcbi/18303,inst,12708,1381,instcbi.html

There is a wonderful Town Hall Tower in the middle of Rynek Glowny or Grand Square. 70 meters high tower leaning 55 cm due to strong winds in a 1703 Storm. Built of stone and brick at end of 13C with the first mechanical clock done in 1524. A wonderful unique site ;more here: http://www.krakow-info.com/tower.htm

The Holy Trinity Church and Monastery is another nice place to visit and it looks good surrounded by quaint streets of great ambiance. More here: http://www.krakow.pl/english/6293,artykul,church_of_the_holy_trinity_and_dominican_monastery_.html

Of course food and drinks are my main points in any city and did have time to try some such as:*

The Biala Roza Restaurant; this is a traditional Polish restaurant of great renown in the city and the food was fantastic. Smoked pork  fatback, Duck breast, and Strawberries macaroons with red wine from the Loire of France! sublime. A must for a nice dinner for two or even the whole family. More here:  http://www.restauracjabialaroza.pl/en/restauracja/

Then, for lunch I went for the classic international of Hard Rock Café in the Grand square corner with Market(Mariacki)  Square ,where the classic rock posters and paintings couple with a great burger and huge jar of beer was the setting for longer walks in the city lol! Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger, and the local Polish beer of  Zywiec. More here: http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/krakow/

I did try the Sheraton hotel Taras terrace top floor city view place and the Olive Restaurant that are good on a rainy day in the hotel as I was; the grilled Polish beef tenderloins are good deal and more great well this time try the Valpolicella Italian red wine ,not bad… More here: http://www.theolive.sheraton.pl/en

the top roof terrace is here: http://www.taras-loungebar.pl/en

This was great at the top and wonderful views . To top it off, another night went to a delightful wonderful friendly place I will be back; this is the Pod Nosem restaurant.  This is at the ground floor of the hotel  Kanonicza 22. It is an old vault cellar with a twisted stair to dine above,and then you can come down to the cellar below ,where there is a glass floor you can see it from your table. At the cellar there are goodies to drink of the best of Poland; again will be back .  Here I had the  Lamb Chump with young cabbage and potato puree, the local dessert Pavlova with Strawberries and Tokaj Szamorodni, and coffee expresso., all wash down with Polish red wine cannot recall the name…. More here: http://www.kanonicza22.com/en/restauracja-3

In all a wonderful introduction to a new city in Europe and one that will be remembered for a long time. Enjoy Krakow or Cracovie in Poland or Pologne. Cheers

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