Tastebuds

A food blog from everywhere!

Paris: Au Pied de Cochon

Address: 6 Rue Coquillière, Paris
Telephone: 01 42 36 02 84
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Sorry, but this post will have no photos because the lighting at the table where we were sitting was very bad. Everything had an overly red tint to it due to the glowing heater outside the window…

Ok, this entry is going to be short and to the point since there are no photos. Au Pied de Cochon is one of those pretty famous brasseries in Paris, and I can tell a lot of tourists frequent this place. Below was what we ordered:

Charcuterie:
Nice combination plate of pork terrines and hams. I found the hams a bit too sweet but the two types of terrine that we had were nice. Even though they had big fatty-looking chunks in their composition, they didn’t taste overly-fatty at all. It was great with the baguette provided. Oh! And there was this side dish of gherkins and toasted baguette and butter which came with the charcuterie. The gherkins were very refreshing and not overly salty as they sometimes are, and the butter was AMAZING. Salty and creamy and awesome…

Andouillette:
Certainly this was one of the more unusual and unique foods that I have eaten during my lifetime. The outside layer of the sausage was very crispily panfried while the insides contained soft pig innards. One could actually see the shapes of the intestines and stuff, which were tube-like and white-ish in colour. Maybe it’s because I’m not that new to eating offals, but I found that the andouillette didn’t really smell that strongly. And it tasted pretty decent, too. It had that distinctive taste of pig stomach, well-known to any traditional Chinese person who frequents dim sum places. The crispy outter layer combined with the soft innards provided a nice texture contrast as well. My only big complaint is that it was a bit too salty, but otherwise, it was totally worth the try.

Pinot Noir:
One of the few times that I’ve tried wine, and it tasted like something synthetic. Bleh.

February 27, 2010 Posted by | French, Paris, Restaurants, Travels | 1 Comment

Paris: Cafe Constant

Address: 139 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris
Telephone: 09 75 82 08 07
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On the day that we visited the Eiffel Tower we had lunch at Cafe Constant, which is located on the eatery-lined Rue Saint-Dominique nearby. The ambiance in the brasserie was somewhere in between relaxed and dynamic. Err…actually that didn’t make any sense. Well, let’s just say the volume was moderate and and customers were mostly locals and not attention-drawing in any way. And the seating, like all Parisian brasseries, was squishy.

The food:

Duck Confit:

Super moist, fall off the bone, flavourful meat. Definitely awesome.

Quail:

Stuffed with some foie gras in the middle. Quite hearty and tasty.

Shrimps:

Didn’t try this.

Profiteroles au chocolat:

Pretty simple and elegant dessert consisting of two choux pastry puffs filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle and topped with hot chocolate sauce. The mild sweetness of the ice cream balanced out the super sweetness of the chocolate sauce very well.

Ile Flottante:

Meringue and creme anglaise, I think. It was too sweet for my tastes.

The food was good, and the service was pretty friendly. If you’re ever hungry around the Eiffel Tower, definitely give this place a try.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | French, Paris, Restaurants, Travels | Leave a comment

Paris: Chez Janou

Address: 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, Paris
Telephone: 01 42 72 28 41
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We had lunch during our second day in Paris at Chez Janou in the Bastille area. When we arrived at noon, when it opened, we were the only ones there, but the place quickly filled up during our meal.

The first thing that we noticed about this place, as is the case with many Parisian restaurants, was how crammed together the tables were. There was so little elbow space that you literally have to be careful to not stick your elbow into your neighbour’s food!

But that being said, I guess cramped restaurant seating is an integral part of the Parisian experience. Anyways, onto the food:

ChezJanou_Olives

Firstly, before we ordered, we snacked on the little tubs of olives placed on each table. They were all right.

Calf Liver (Foie de veau):

ChezJanou_FoieDeVeau

Good, hearty liver. Nothing too special but it was still delicious, especially with the gravy.

Duck Breast (Magret de canard):

ChezJanou_MagretDuCanard

Perfect doneness, and the wine sauce was a nice accompaniment too.

Sangier (Wild Boar) Stew:

ChezJanou_Sanglier

Even though it was stewed, I found the chunks of meat too dry and the flavour a bit too bland. The game meat itself, though, did have a distinctive taste…sort of like a cross between pork and…lamb? It’s been a while, so maybe I’m just making things up…

Creme Brulee:

ChezJanou_CremeBruleeChezJanou_CremeBrulee1

This dish had both hits and misses. The good: real vanilla beans were used (one can see a layer of the black bits at the bottom), the top layer was nice and hard, the custard was creamy and not too sweet. The bad: I don’t know if it was intended for temperature contrast or something, but the bottom of the custard was cold while the caramelized layer was hot.

So overall, Chez Janou was a nice experience, with decent & hearty brasserie food. The waiters and waitresses were pretty nice too. Even though it is tucked into a rather non-descript little road, it is worth the trip if you happen to be in the area.

February 23, 2010 Posted by | French, Paris, Restaurants, Travels | Leave a comment

Paris: Le Saint Severin

Le Saint Severin
Address: 3 place Saint Michel, 5th arr. Paris
Telephone: 01 43 54 49 31
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After arriving in Paris, we had our first meal at a Saint Severin, a cafe near where we were staying at St. Michel. This was obviously a pretty touristy spot since the waiters automatically spoke to us in English.


Specials of the day!

Below is the stuff that we ordered:

Croque Monsieur

A bit burnt at the sides, but standard stuff. The salad was simple but nice and refreshing.

Steak and Frites

Also a bit burnt at the sides, but still pretty nice if you cut off those over-carbonated bits.

Pink steak…

Salmon with coconut rice

Didn’t try this.

Moelleux au chocolat:

The gooey innards were nice and warm, though a little grainy. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be like that. Tasted heavenly topped with the Berthillon vanilla ice cream, which wasn’t too sweet like Berthillon’s other flavours.

It was a pleasing first real meal in Paris. Afterwards, we went back to the apartment and fell asleep till the next day =P

February 22, 2010 Posted by | Cafes, French, Paris, Restaurants, Travels | Leave a comment

Chinese Breakfasts

Well, I think that I’ve used the school-work excuse way too many times now that it’s probably becoming apparent that the lack of updates is more due to my personal laziness and affinity for procrastination than uncontrollable academic factors. The good thing (for me) though, is that since this is my blog, everyone has to put up with it! =P

So, I would like to break this month-long hiatus with a post about breakfast. Typical breakfasts in of a common Guangzhou-er, to be exact, and which, contrary to prevailing beliefs in the West, does not consist solely of dainty dim sum items everyday. In fact, I think that the real, authentic early weekday morning food culture here is something that’s severely under-appreciated and over-looked by outsiders.

During the weekdays, breakfast is a very quick, on-the-go affair for most people. Walk into any Chinese city on a busy weekday morning and you’re bound to see loads of people hurrying along holding some form of bread-based product in one hand and a soy or milk drink in the other. People here usually buy breakfast rather than take the hassle to cook something at home. Only in the weekends do most people go out for dim sum (which is more brunch than breakfast).

Breakfast is sold everywhere. There are restaurants that set up steaming stations at their fronts, small food stalls that specialize on breakfast foods, and green food carts that only appear during the breakfast hours and disappear thereafter. These vendors all carter to the fast-paced Guangzhou life by being fast and strategically stationed (those food carts, for instance, are always found at major intersections).

So what sort of breakfast fare is typically available? I think that by far the most popular are Chinese baked breads. You know, the pineapple bun, red bean bun, pork floss bun…that sort of stuff. In my opinion, though, these breads shouldn’t be styled “Western” because they are in a whole category of their own. They all have that same characteristic soft, spongy texture, lack texture variable, and have pretty much the same sweet taste with some extra ingredients thrown in. They’re nice once in a while, but I find that they get boring pretty quickly.

Even though those Western-style Chinese breads are pretty popular, those items are usually only available from bakeries or those green food carts. Restaurants and food stalls, on the other hand, sell more Chinese items such as steamed buns, youtiao, congee, and Northern-style panfried breads. These items are on average a lot cheaper than those “Western” styled breads and thus they consist of a large bulk of a workman’s diet. I find that these Chinese items have more variety and are a lot more interesting than those pineapple buns. Take the steamer stalls, for instance, which sell not only white steamed buns but also glutinuous rice siu mai, corn on a cob, fried Chinese dough sticks, congee, tea eggs, soy bean milk, etc. And these items are all extremely cheap as well, with each costing about 1-2RMB. Although the quality may not be on par with fluffy + sugary restaurant steamed buns, the cheapness still equals bang for buck.

Sorry for the lack of good photos in this post; I’m always a little edgy about taking photos of random things.

Next up:
Hopefully I’ll eventually come back to those unfinished Singapore posts

February 21, 2010 Posted by | Breakfast, Uncategorized | Leave a comment