Bits and Pieces – Belgium

Chapter 6

 

La Belle Maraichere – Brussels: On the place Sainte-Catherine, you can find a charming restaurant that also happens to be on the Michelin Guide. Since 1974, it has been serving its delicious meals. We were dressed very casually and sheepishly stood at the door of this elegant eatery with its fine dining napkins, table cloths, and utensils. However, we were welcomed in and treated with the utmost respect. I adored the ambiance. At tables beside us, there were men and women that had lived long lives. They were dressed well and it seemed as though they just needed to come in, call the waiter by name, and say that they wanted the usual. They started us off with tiny shrimp that you had to peel with your fingers in a specific way; the waiter demonstrated it for us first. That was an interesting experience. Then came the dishes we had ordered; I really loved the lobster fricassee which was a specialty of theirs. I regret that I did not try any of their desserts.

 

Bistro Maurice – Bruges: After exploring Bruges, which is beautiful by the way, we stopped at Bistro Maurice for some dessert. The creme brulee and chocolate fondant were delicious. The service was good, and sitting outside was very pleasant.

 

Eccetera – Brussels: An authentic Italian restaurant with a chalkboard for a menu, Eccetera is a great place to eat at. Let me just say that I have been searching for an Italian place that would give me the same amazing tagliata dish that I had there, but none have even come close. Of course, it also did not hurt that they had one of my favorite desserts ever! The heavenly softness that is an Ile Flottante was the sweetest finish.

 

Au Vieux Saint Martin – Brussels: A favorite area of mine in Brussels is the Sablon; Au Vieux Saint Martin is located there. The fish and chips platter they prepare is very tasty, and to add Salted to Caramel, I then had a Belgian chocolate mousse that was delectable.

 

IMG_3141Noordzee Mer du Nord – Brussels: If you feel like eating fresh seafood while you are standing up, then this is the place for you. After the staff behind the kiosk counter prepares your order, you find a round high table to place your plate and drink on. It is a good thing that the convincing taste of your food makes you forget that you are still in a vertical position.

 

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L’Entree des Artistes – Brussels: Yes, on my hunt for the Ile Flottante, I ended up coming to this restaurant. I had spaghetti first, but just as a stepping stone to splash into the yellow sea surrounding my floating island. Alas, the swim was not worth it; the dessert was mediocre. I won’t be visiting this island again on my next vacation.

 

Gaudron – Brussels: I enjoyed my breakfast at Gaudron; the atmosphere was comfortable. However, I did not like the Hollandaise sauce on my eggs, so I ordered oeuf a la coque to eat instead of the Eggs Benedict. I would have liked to try something else on the menu in the future, yet it is a pity that now Gaudron has actually shut its doors.

 

Bistrot ‘t Zeezotje – Oostende: We were lucky it was a sunny day when we decided to visit the North Sea. After strolling around the beach, we decided to eat creatures captured from its depths. I had a shrimp dish which was flavorful, and washed it down with a chocolate-flavored milk produced in the Netherlands called Cecemel. This bistro had a comfortable ambiance as well, and I wouldn’t mind going back there on another occasion.

 

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Fritland – Brussels: When you go to Brussels, you have to taste Belgian fries, or probably just fries as the locals would call them. I have tasted them in the classic paper cone from three kiosks (other than in restaurants, of course), and Fritland does well in comparison to the others. However, having said that, the fries were usually on the thick side, and I am sorry to say I prefer my fries cut thinly (allumettes). I did enjoy eating this potato snack though, especially after dipping the individual constituents into the accompanying sauce of my choosing.

 

Manhattn’s – Brussels: Belgium has a lot of native food to offer, but sometimes you just want to sink your teeth deep into a Manhattn’s New York style burger. Their buns are filled with grass-fed Irish Angus beef that is thick enough to not be overpowered by the sauces and other ingredients surrounding it. On the whole, the burger is juicy and tasty, and the simple concept of a burger joint comes across as a success.

 

La Brace – Brussels: Pizza anyone? A hearty Italian restaurant, La Brace offers a wide selection of pizzas. They serve a decent pizza with a thin crust that would surely extinguish your craving for dough baked in a wood-fired oven and garnished with various toppings.

Cafe Constant – Paris

Another take on the ile flottante and gazpacho; this time together in one meal. A Parisian restaurant next to the Eiffel Tower, Cafe Constant is on the Michelin Guide and is owned by French chef Christian Constant. If you have read my previous blog posts, you might already know by now that I love this red soup and that sweet softness. The former was cool and refreshing, while the latter was good but not one of the best I have had; the salted was better than the caramel in this case. However, I really loved the batter-fried vegetables. They made vegetables more exciting for me (although granted, less healthy); I was surprised that it even made them stand out among the other dishes which are among my favorites.

Comptoir des Galeries – Bruxelles

How I came across this place (on the Michelin Guide might I add) was thanks to my craving of the dessert’s photograph that I used to begin this whole blog with. Yes, the Ile Flottante. I was traveling to Brussels again and this time I would not be leaving the Belgian premises unless my taste buds had revisited this sweet confection. It turned out that Comptoir des Galeries surpassed my expectations. I was so happy that I had stumbled upon this cozy restaurant with its wooden chairs and tables.

If I had to choose one word to describe Comptoir des Galeries, it would be: neat. Everything was neat and tidy. The food was presented neatly, the service was as it should be, and the environment was squeaky clean (even the bathrooms were as clean as they could be). I really enjoyed the whole meal; it was delicious and I will definitely be back for more. Finally, the long awaited reunion was here, and I will leave you with the picture of a light airy white floating dessert drizzled with a hint of caramel. May it linger in your thoughts…

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A la Biche au Bois – Paris

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Paris. What better city to begin with? This was the first time I had tasted this sugary concoction. Soft meringue in creme anglaise with caramel syrup…the Ile Flottante. Needless to say, it was delicious! Ever since I met this floating island, I have scrutinized dessert menus for it everywhere I travel.

I am Salted Caramel. I love food. I realized that most of the photographs, if not all, that I take when I travel involve what I had eaten on the trip. Before traveling, my priority has become to look up potential restaurants to go to, new flavors to savor. Then I noticed that I started taking photographs of food even when I went to local restaurants. So, I thought why not try to put these memories all in one place; hence this blogging attempt.

Why call it salted caramel? Well, I would like to post pictures of savory dishes as well as those of sweet creations..the salty but also the sweet; salted caramel. For those of you who have tasted salted caramel, you also know that the added salt allows the caramel flavor to literally burst with intensity onto your unaware eagerly awaiting taste buds. So, new combinations of ingredients one never thought would go together do, and on the contrary, they enhance the whole experience of tasting and enjoying food; of expanding¬† one’s palate. Isn’t that enough reason to live for? I surely think so.

Enjoy the rest of the photographs from this traditional French bistro below. I would like to add that it is rightfully on the Michelin Guide and worth a visit.

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