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Archive for the ‘Food From My Travels’ Category

First off, I apologize…I have been irresponsibly neglectful of this blog (a space so precious to me), but I do have some good news to share and hopefully a good excuse for the neglect. I have landed a new job, one that has me waking up giddy every morning and skipping to work in joyful anticipation. That’s right, I am now in the Chocolate business! I go to work everyday cranking out the brand marketing work I love, and come home every night satisfied that I have contributed to the endorphin production of millions of consumers. Eat your chocolates everyone, because Chocolate = Happiness!

Since EC Pursuits was my means of expressing my repressed creativity during my old job, it was easy for me to save all my energy and inspiration for this blog, but it just means I will have no other choice but to indulge in extra chocolates during work to keep that inspiration and passion ignited for ECP ūüôā

As long as I am riding on this happiness cloud, I’m going to post about the trip of a lifetime. For my official entrance into my “late 20’s”, the mister swept me away with a trip to Paris! Ah, Paris – the lights, the romance, the FOOD. It was there that I experienced “The best thing I ever ate” at Les Papilles.

Les Papilles is a small, unassuming, and cozily charming winebar/delicatessen/restaurant near Jardin du Luxembourg. The pleasantly unpretentious atmosphere with exposed bricks, enchanting orange glow, bottles of carefully selected wine collection, and jars of delightful gourmet condiments dotted all around made me feel like I was dining in the middle of food haven. The handsome owner Bertrand Bluy graciously tolerated our terrible (almost nonexistent) French, gave us excellent wine suggestions, and was more than happy to accommodate my vegetarian diet. For a mere 30 Euros, we enjoyed a relaxing four course “no choice” prix fixe meal. The menu varies daily, depending on the seasonal ingredients available, and the chef’s creative fancy, but you can trust that it will always be delicious.

The first course was a delicious Creamy Endive Bisque – pure silky perfection balanced with the impeccable crisp of toasted summer greens, croutons & bacon (optional), and an indulgent dollop of cream. It was a harmonious marriage of sweet, savory, & creamy. It tickled my senses and left me wanting for more long after we devoured it all.

The main entree was what I nicknamed “Sunset Glory” – A simple baked dish made especially for the vegetarian, consisting of fresh snowpeas, carrots, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes, broiledwith 2 sunny eggs atop. Such a simple dish should not impress, but I took one bite, and then another, and another, thinking, “How did they make this sooooo good? How can anything so simple possibly taste this heavenly?” The dish brought out the sublime unadulterated flavor of each vegetable as they swirled and danced around in my mouth. It was like visiting a French grandmother’s country home and being treated to a dish cultivated through decades of experimentation into a flawless masterpiece. With every bite, I was transformed into another world. I could visualize the stone walls weaving through the village, the sound of the nearby babbling brook, the aroma of the fresh herbs and vegetables harvested straight from the garden, and the view of the glorious sunset in the horizon, pops of intoxicating orange, pink and purple haze, signifying the culmination of a satisfying day. If you think I’m sounding a bit crazy right now, just wait until you hear that I spent weeks relentlessly trying to recreate these flavors back in my own little kitchen. I must have made 10 different versions before I finally found one that comes close (teaser – recipe to come!)

The meal then followed with a small cheese course and ended with a fabulous panna cotta with a frothy caramel emulsion, so light and airy it melted in my mouth and left it with only the sweet memory of the meal.

We had many more meals in that wonderful city, but Les Papilles occupied our minds the whole time and nothing was able to hold a candle to its glory. http://www.lespapillesparis.fr/EN_index.html

Here are some more fun highlights of the  Parisian Adventure. Stay tuned for another blog post about our Parisian Photo tour, where we received an amazing photography lesson from Randy Harris, and captured Paris from unexpected perspectives.

Musee D'Orsay

Tuileries

More Food Souvenir Purchases!

A Gourmet Discovery in an unexpected courtyard!

Yes, I am a lucky girl indeed ūüėÄ

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This past weekend, I visited one of my favorite cities for a wedding. San Francisco to me is the west coast equivalent of NYC – creative, diverse, and pulsing with energy. If it weren’t for the fog, I’d move there in a heartbeat!

Highlights of our food adventures:

B Restaurant @ Yerba Buena Park:
We stumbled upon¬†B Restaurant¬†while looking for a fast power-brunch before the wedding.¬† As the host seated us in the upper terrace overlooking the beautiful park, I immediately wished I had more time to¬†spare – the atmosphere was comfortable and relaxing, like you’re¬†perched on a¬†rooftop watching the world go by as you enjoy market-fresh food.

The Spinach Benedict came with a mixed green salad that was seasoned with the right balance of delicate acidity. The eggs sat upon a French Toast, which lent a hint of sweetness to complement the savory. My Bloody Mary was deliciously seasoned with spices & herbs and a kick of heat. The waiter told us that the mix is actually prepared a day in advance so the flavors can develop in the tomato base. Finally, our order of mixed mediterranean olives did not disappoint. Green, black, or red Рthey were all plump and succulent.

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All in all, a great meal – fresh, and nicely prepared.

Millenium
The 4.5 stars on yelp convinced us to try this place out.¬† There was someone who claimed that this was the “best meal they’ve ever had”. Even non-veggies raved. We were excited…

We had the 3 course prix fixe ($39)with wine pairing ($12)

First Course – Sesame Cornmeal Crusted Oyster Mushrooms with lemongrass-grapefruit-chile sambal, watermelon radish relish
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To be honest, I wasn’t impressed. It tasted like fried mushrooms with a sweet & sour dip and pickled veggies on the side. It was adequate, but nothing special.

Entree: Pecan Crusted Tempeh with Creamy Grits, Collard Greens and Green Beans
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I found the tempeh grainy (like a ho-hum veggie burger),¬† and the sauce overly sweet. The best part of this dish was the creamy corn grits, which reminded me vaguely of my grandmother’s congee. It had a nice texture and mild savory flavor. I usually don’t like grits, but this was well-made.

Dessert: Blackberry Tiramisu, Chocolate Midnight Cake, and Almond Cake with Sorbet
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I have yet to discover vegan desserts that truly “wow”, so the lack of luster I found in this trio of desserts should have been no surprise. To compensate for the lack of dairy,¬† the desserts were¬†oversweetened and over-flavored, making them hard for us to finish.

Overall, not too bad, but given my expectations, a bit disappointing. There are so many wonderful vegetarian restaurants serving both gourmet and casual fare, that to stand out, a restaurant really needs to pay close attention to all details.

I’ll conclude with some of my favorite veggie restaurants in NYC:
-Buddha Bodai (Chinese Dim-Sum in Chinatown)
-Happy Buddha (Also Dim-Sum in Flushing)
-Red Bamboo (Soul food in West Village)
-Blossom (Gourmet Vegetarian in Chelsea)
-Franchia (Korean Teahouse in Murray Hill)

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