Friday, June 27, 2014

Antibes, France - Hotel du Cap Eden Roc

Last month I went back to one of my favorite perches in the south of France, the spectacular Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in the seaside town of Antibes. On a sparkling sunny day there really is no better place to spend a long lazy lunch daydreaming out over the panorama of glistening blue sea and cloudless sky.

A club sandwich and a glass (or three!) of rosé wine goes from ordinary to extraordinary when your surroundings are this stunning. Doesn't everything taste better when you're out in the salty sea-kissed air?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cernobbio, Italy - Harry's Bar and Trattoria del Vapore

My idea of a perfect evening would include a drive into the tiny town of Cernobbio on Lake Como, around sunset, with the first stop being lakeside at Harry's Bar ... 

for a cold glass of prosecco ...

and half a dozen snacks with my aperitivo...

admiring this view ...

followed by a ten second walk around the corner to the absolutely delicious Ristorante Trattoria del Vapore ... 

to sit outside on a nice evening, or inside in the rustic farmhouse style dining room, which has been around for over 100 years ...

and dine on homemade pasta with fresh porcini mushrooms ... 

followed by thinly cut pieces of veal with, of course, more delicious fresh mushrooms (I ate this two consecutive nights in a row here) ...

and sides of pan roasted potatoes with green vegetables:

A beautiful lake, rolling green mountains, and snow capped Swiss alpine peaks reaching into the clouds is certainly hard to beat!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Paris, France - Benoit

First opened in 1912, and now helmed by Alain Ducasse (with the promise that he would keep it exactly as is), Benoit remains one of the oldest and most traditional bistros in Paris. The only bistro in the City of Light to have one Michelin star, Benoit, with its dark wood, lace curtains, red velvet seats, brass, mirrors and impressive porcelain dinnerware, sings to its past and remains authentic to its culinary roots.

Cheese puffs
Pink champagne

The service is impeccable and the staff, including the sommelier, are very well trained; there is no typical French condescension here. As for the food, the quality is superlative and dishes are unfussy enough that each individual ingredient stands out on its own. I am definitely adding Benoit to my list of Paris staples. Here is a look at what we devoured:

Cookpot of seasonal vegetables
Preserved duck foie gras, toasted Parisian brioche
Pan-seared fillet of Brittany John Dory, potatoes from Noirmoutier and fresh garlic flowers
Milk-fed lamb from Aveyron, violet mustard, spring vegetables, cooking jus
Nantua-style sole fillets, lightly creamy spinach leaves
Vanilla mille-feuille
Eton Mess
Homemade Madeleines

The 38 three course tasting menu at lunch is a veritable bargain and a great way to experience this restaurant on a budget.

A special thank you to my dear friend for treating me to a sumptuous dinner here and allowing me the opportunity to experience Benoit for the first time!

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