Friday, December 9, 2016

travel zen on friday: notre dame and the river seine

An iconic spot: the Notre Dame Cathedral (and a tiny view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance) along the River Seine.

Friday, November 11, 2016

travel zen on friday: jardin du luxumbourg

One of my favorite spots in Paris is the Jardin du Luxumbourg. Located in the left bank near the Sorbonne, it's a great place to stroll and get away from it all.

Monday, November 7, 2016

how to fan girl at restaurant l'arpege in paris


Chef Alain Passard is one of the most famous people in the culinary world. His restaurant, L'Arpege, consistently gets three Michelin stars and is a fixture on the World's 50 Best Restaurants List. He focuses on vegetarian cuisine although he does offer meat and fish as well.

I first heard of Chef Passard when a friend served me an "Arpege egg" one time at a dinner party. My friend's version was creamy scrambled egg topped with caviar served in an egg shell. Since then, I've been wanting to try the real thing.

When Mr. Sazy Rock and I recently visited Paris, he wanted to go back to Arpege to get himself up to date on the city's dining scene. I was more than happy to tag along. I was very excited to finally eat the famous Arpege egg.

The Scene

The diners were both food tourists and French people alike. We arrived fairly early and the place was mostly empty. But, by 9 pm, when most people ate, the place was full and buzzy. Men wore jackets and women dressed smart. I should note, however, that I saw a French speaking couple wear jeans.

The Service

What excited me was Chef Passard working the room and greeting every single diner. In fact, when he first started greeting diners, I thought he knew them personally. He was that friendly. Instead, those folks were just regular diners like me and Mr. SR. When he finally came by our table, he joked with us and noted how much Mr. SR seemed to enjoy eating their bread. After saying hi, he went back to the kitchen.

Monday, October 31, 2016

video: what is a bouchon?

Join me and Mr. Sazy Rock as we dine in a real bouchon in Lyon, France at Comptoir Chabert. I hope you enjoy our short video.

Friday, October 28, 2016

travel zen on friday: lyon

A view of Lyon and the River Saone.

Monday, October 24, 2016

video: dining at paul bocuse's l'auberge du pont de collonges in lyon, france

If you've ever wondered what it is like to dine at Paul Bocuse's temple of gastronomy - L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges - in Lyon, France, I've shot a short video below. Enjoy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

have you ever wondered how the british house of lords dine?

The menu at the Peers' Dining Room.

If you've ever wondered how those Lords in the British Parliament ate, well, now you can somewhat have an insight. As a quick primer, the British Parliament is made up of two houses - the House of Lords (similar to the Senate in the USA) and the House of Commons (similar to the US House of Representatives). Their office is the Palace of Westminster where Big Ben is located. If you are a Downton Abbey fan (like me), a period drama about the lives of the upper and lower classes of wartime Britain, Lord Grantham would have been a part of the House of Lords.

Within the Houses of Parliament are dining areas. The Peers' Dining Room is the restaurant where the Lords eat. Usually, only Lords are allowed to dine there, unless invited by a Lord (or when they decide to - on very rare occasions - open it up to the public. (The House of Commons has its own dining area and Lords cannot dine there unless invited by a Member of Parliament ("MP"). So, if Lord Grantham was visiting London (and if he were real), he would have had access to the Peers' Dining Room.

During our last visit to London, Mr. Sazy Rock (a dual citizen of the US and the UK) got wind of a rare opening of the Peers' Dining Room. Lords and MPs were out and about campaigning for and against Brexit so the powers-that-be decided to open up the Peers' Dining Room for a short period (about one week) to plebeians like us. As an aside, 2015 was the first year that the powers-that-be opened up the Peers' Dining Room to the common folk. It was such a success that they did it again in 2016. Pre-Brexit, we were told that they had plans to do it again. I don't know how those plans will work post-Brexit.

Friday, October 14, 2016

travel zen on friday: view from the tate modern

 One of the many joys of London are the free museums. This is a view from the balcony of the Tate Modern: the Millenium Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral.


Monday, October 10, 2016

hedone: hedonism for the mouth


One of the highlights of my last trip to London with Mr. Sazy Rock was a meal at Hedone. Our expectations were very high. Yet, Hedone still met them.

Let me explain. My brother in law dines at Hedone. A lot. As in he-dines-there-so-much-he-has-a-chair-with-a-plaque-with-his-name-on-it "a lot." He's been dining there since it opened and we think he's dined there over 200 times. When Mr. SR lived in London, he and my brother in law ate out a lot and talked about it. The bottom line is: we trust his palate.

So, on our recent trip, my brother in law treated us to a meal at his favorite restaurant. We went for lunch because we knew it was going to be a long lunch. As the restaurant's name suggests, we were in for a pleasurable meal, and we wanted it to last a very long time.


Friday, October 7, 2016

travel zen on friday: rubik's cube in budapest, hungary

Did you know that the Rubik's Cube was invented by a Hungarian?  We learned that during our walking tour near the ruin pubs where we saw this amazing graffiti art.