5. Bits and Pieces
CHOCOLAT Grand Cafe – Cologne: This chocolate cafe is located in the Schokoladen Museum in Koln. Where better than a chocolate museum to taste chocolate confections. I tasted a slice of chocolate cake; although it was delicious, it was not outstanding nor irreplaceable. However, if you are there to visit the museum, it is worth passing by the cafe on your way out.
Brauerei zur Malzmuhle – Cologne: When you think “Germany”, you think “beer” (among other things). The most popular beer brewed by the Malzmuhle, since more than 150 years ago, is the Muhlen Kolsch. The beer keeps on coming until you place the coaster on top of the glass signaling you have had enough of the golden liquid. I opted to go for the potato soup and was pleasantly surprised; it was very tasty.
Coa Asian Food & Bar – Frankfurt Airport: Yes, you read right, I said airport. Usually, when you travel you make do with the restaurants available at the airport because you are hungry. However, Coa is not the case; it actually has really good food. Next time I am at Frankfurt airport, I will definitely go back for seconds.
Bits and Pieces IV.
Le Nemrod – Paris: More on the traditional side, this French bistro provides platters that satisfy the customer. The food we had was not outstanding though; it did not really trigger a need-to-go-back-there thought in my mind. It does, however, introduce an affair with the fondant, which is habitually wed to vanilla ice cream.
Breizh Cafe – Paris: A Breton creperie on the Michelin Guide, it rightfully states that it makes crepes differently: “La crepe autrement”. They use organic buckwheat and stone-milled wheat flour in their recipes to create their signature taste. The ham and cheese crepe was great, and the Japanese influence could be seen in the matcha ice cream. However, the best crepe was undoubtedly the sweet crepe I had; what could be better than vanilla ice cream and Salted Caramel syrup? That is definitely a rhetorical question.
Coquelicot – Paris: Do you want fresh bread, French pastry, or maybe breakfast? Well, you can do all three at Coquelicot. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I did want to showcase the selection they have. Located in a lovely area in Paris called Montmartre, this patisserie/boulangerie/restaurant, dating back to 1978, was our destination for a wholesome breakfast. I enjoyed the food and sitting outside on the pavement. When we were done with the tea, eggs, salmon, ham, and cheese, I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth with a huge meringue from inside. So, after all the Salted, my Caramel was placed into a paper bag and I nibbled on it as we walked around in the beautiful city of Paris.
Le Pain Quotidien – Paris: I have already talked about how I like to go to Le Pain Quotidien anywhere I travel if I am in the mood for a casual setting; Paris was no different. We had a hearty breakfast that enabled us to begin our day energetically.
Bits and Pieces the Third:
Guilty by Olivier – Lisbon: This restaurant is among other restaurants owned by well-established Portuguese chef Olivier da Costa. We went to Guilty by Oliver on the first night we arrived in Lisbon, and I am so glad we did. It is a place dominated by the youth, but not in a bad way. This eatery has a vibrant ambiance with great service. Its salads and pizza were delectable, and I really enjoyed my night out. It makes me want to try other restaurants by Olivier.
Time Out Market Lisboa – Lisbon: This historic market hall houses different food stalls, each with their own concept and cuisine. It is very interesting to stroll around and choose various items to create your own collage of a menu tailored to your preferences. After you find a space at a table (which was a miracle on the night we went; Portugal was playing football on a big screen), one of you offers to utilize himself/herself physically as a reservation pawn, while the other orders food. When the person comes with his/her buzzer awaiting to be summoned when the meal is ready, you may have your turn to do the same. Hopefully, you would both end up eating at the same time together on that common wooden table.
Behold the second compilation…
Eyescream and Friends – Barcelona: This cute shop made its debut in Barcelona and it is now expanding to other parts of the world. They have a variety of flavors and a diverse amount of toppings you can choose from. I would not walk far distances to find it again, but if it happens to be nearby I would have another taste.
Granja M. Viader – Barcelona: This place is special because stepping into it is as if you are wandering into the page of a history book. It has existed since 1870 and the eatery has been passed down through the same family for 5 generations! I love how the painted tiles on the floor have even become pale in some places and how old-fashioned the whole feel of the cafe is. Also, do not miss out on tasting the famous Cacaolat drink they created in 1933. I have already been there twice; if I go to Barcelona for a third time, I will definitely try their dense hot chocolate.
La Flauta – Barcelona: In my last trip to Barcelona, this was my first encounter with tapas. I tried several other places after that, but this remained my favorite among the ones I went to. From their patatas bravas to their multi-textured chocolate dessert; it was all delicious. I would want to go there again, and to visit the whole area in Barcelona where La Flauta is located in as well.
Thai Barcelona Royal Cuisine Restaurant – Barcelona: This restaurant had a pleasant ambiance, great service, and flavorful food. For a person who likes Thai cuisine, it will do the trick.
Before I begin writing about more current food-tasting experiences, I have decided to create a special edition of several “Bits and Pieces” blog posts pertaining to different countries. These will contain scattered photos I have gathered; too little to be placed on their own but not unworthy of being mentioned. Here is the first one of these curations – let us proceed with Austria.
Heindl’s Palatschinkenpfandl – Vienna: If you are looking for a really wide range of pancake fillings and sides (and want to practice your spelling), this is your go-to restaurant. Although a bit on the heavy side, the pancakes are tasty. I enjoyed sitting on the terrace.
Augustiner Brau – Salzburg: Sitting under the shade of the trees in this beer garden is one of the most relaxing things to do in Salzburg. It was nice to see silver-haired people meeting here to enjoy a beer like how they seemed to have been doing for years. The brewery has existed since 1621 which is mind-boggling. The food is less impressive than its history, but appropriate for a casual setting. I would also recommend trying the Almdudler drink which is a fizzy Austrian invention.
Triangel – Salzburg: If I ever visit Salzburg again, I would definitely try this restaurant another time. The wooden tables, arches, and decoration give this eatery an appealing warm interior. I remember the food was great, especially the platter showcased above.
Cafe-Konditorei Braun – Mondsee: This cafe, in the quaint town of Mondsee, is known for its apple strudel; a traditional Austrian pastry. Another thing this town is popular for is its basilica, for it was there that Maria wed Georg von Trapp in the Sound of Music (yes, I do love the von Trapp family singers).
Lemonchilli Cantina & Bar Mexicano – Salzburg: I had to post this because I really enjoyed my dinner at Lemonchilli. A place to go to if you want a fun night out with a flavorful fajita and an accompanying drink.
Le 6 Paul Bert is a restaurant on the Michelin guide, and rightfully so. At one end it has an eager individual ready to cut through a diverse assortment of hams. While on the other end, one gets familiar with the masterminds behind the concoctions that will be devoured. The chefs are standing in an open kitchen with utter transparency and nothing to hide. I had poultry for my main dish after feasting on its humble beginnings as an ingredient in my salad. The dishes were presented in an appetizing manner and the food was filled with flavor. I enjoyed sitting at the red table in this cozy Parisian restaurant placed on the corner of a street.
Le Pain Quotidien is one of those places where you like being in irrespective of the food taste. It is a homey eatery which is good for a casual brunch. There are many branches around the world but wherever you are, when you step into the cafe, you feel the same feeling of warmth. Le Pain Quotidien is a “bakery-restaurant” that originated in Brussels, so having brunch at one of the locations there makes it more special. I really liked the one in the Sablon area; it has an adjacent space that lets the sunlight in through a glass roof. A crucial idea that they have in their eateries is the common wooden table which obliges you to sit next to a stranger as you have your meal. However, you do also have regular tables if you need more privacy. I am a brunch kind of person, so I will enjoy my hot chocolate and eggs; especially the “oeuf a la coque” (boiled egg with a delectable runny yolk at its center). In general, the platters are hearty. Though not spectacular, the food still has me hooked and I will keep coming back for more.
I had to put up this post about Les Garnements in Paris because if you look closely at the photographs, yes you guessed it, they have delicious Salted Caramel ice cream perched on top of the pain perdu. This restaurant had a relaxed atmosphere which can be seen in the amusing work of art in my dessert. Obviously, the fish was great and I enjoyed the doneness of the green beans on the side. Also, a platter of various kinds of ham and cheese is always a significant addition to any meal. Coming full circle, the salty sweet sphere of frozen goodness was a welcomed variation of the vanilla scoop traditionally used to accompany the moistness of a French toast.
Sometimes when your legs are aching from shopping, you just want to sit down, eat, and discuss the events of the day. This was such a case. After shopping around on the famous Avenue Louise in Brussels, we found Mamy Louise awaiting in an alley off the main street. I loved the wooden interior; it was comforting. The service was good and the dishes were presented in an elegant fashion. I enjoyed the appetizers, yet I disliked the pasta dish I had ordered. The lack of flavor in my main dish did not encourage me to try a dessert. Having said that, if I found myself strolling on the Avenue Louise again, I would still consider Mamy Louise as an option to eat at. Maybe if I try something else as my main dish, I would then leave with a sweet taste in my mouth.
Located in a fancy hotel called Phoenicia in Beirut, Eau de Vie is a classy restaurant. This was an event where they had invited Italian chef Luciano Zazzeri to Lebanon. In Tuscany, chef Luciano has a Michelin-starred restaurant called La Pineta located on the beach. Showcasing his love of the sea and fishing, chef Zazzeri’s menu included fish and shrimp. The prawn salad was very good and this can be seen in the embarrassing photograph above where my appetite had gotten the best of me. The red mullet and sea bass were delicious as well. However, honestly I would have preferred a less soggy pasta accompanying the former. As dessert, the final item in the set menu (before the coffee and tea) was a pistachio parfait. I would not have ordered that if I had had the choice, yet surprisingly it was better than I expected. I really do hope we get more of these opportunities of tasting creations made by renowned chefs from around the world.