Friday, April 17, 2015

Certified Bouchon Lyonnaise: Bouchon Comptoir Brunet

When we went to Lyon, which you can read about here, I wanted to try eating at a certified bouchon. There are only around 20 or so certified bouchons, with certification updated annually, but it was still quite confusing to choose one, so I just picked one based on proximity to our apartment, and somewhat based on their menu - but since most of the bouchons serve the same things, I think this just managed to confuse me.

I decided to try Cafe Comptoir Brunet, and I even emailed them for a reservation, but they weren't really crowded for a Tuesday lunch so a reservation wasn't even required.

The restaurant was just a few blocks away from our apartment at the
heart of the city. You can read about that here.
The Bouchon Lyonnais seal is given to the Certified  Bouchons.
Just like Aux Trois Cochon the night before, we also availed of the set menu.
Brunet also has the same homey feel, with the exception of the pigs,
and with more awards on display.
The clientele seemed to be local old timers who enjoy traditional
Lyonnais food.
They also have a blackboard here, and a cover of the
book where they were featured.
Funny their toilet is outside the restaurant, on the ground floor or the
apartment building beside it, so grab your coat if you need to go.
The waiter looked like a typical fat chef. Seriously. 

Just like in Aux Trois Cochon, my favorite dish was the starter. 
I couldn't leave Lyon without ordering the signature Salad Lyonnais.
Me and my Lyonnais.
Runny Poached Egg and so much bacon. Yummy. Salad palang ulam na.
Ady ordered Poached Eggs in Red Wine sauce, another rich winner.

For lunch, Ady ordered more adventurously than I did.
She had the baked fish dumpling.
It's a white/yellowish fish baked in a thin crust with creamy sauce.
This is also a common Bouchon Lyonnais dish.
Since I automatically order anything foie in the menu, I was less
adventurous at lunch and I ended up with the same thing I ordered
the night before, in hot form - with orange sauce. 
I preferred the salad version, so I didn't leave my plate clean, but I think I
still managed to eat a substantial part.
For dessert, I convinced Ady she wanted the chocolate fondue cake
we saw the other table eating.
Then I ordered the Saint Marcellin cheese I heard Lyon was famous for,
I swear I saw a stamp of approval on fat waiter's face when I ordered it,
only to disappoint him by leaving it all because I found it too stinky for my taste.
Good thing the chocolate cake was a winner, and rich enough for Ady and I
to share as I predicted.
Lunch at Brunet was more expensive at €26 per person.
I know I shouldn't really generalize, but based on my opinion, eating at a certified bouchon doesn't really make a difference. Just choose one where you like the look and fee, and if you enjoy the food, there's no need to eat at a certified bouchon. That's probably why there's a bouchon at almost every corner in Lyon. I can't wait to go back and try more place. Next time, it will be more than the pate de foie for me. just saying.

23, rue Claudia
69002 Lyon
Open Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch and Dinner

Monday, April 13, 2015

Best Hot Chocolate in Paris from Angelina

Fancy having a cup of hot chocolate just like Coco Chanel had? As if drinking the same hot chocolate she did would pass on her impeccable style. Hahaha. Well, even if that doesn't work, you'll still get to try the richest hot chocolate anyway, so you can put Angelina on your Paris to visit list. I saved it for when I was travelling with Ady, the resident chocoholic in our family. 
Angelina has several branches in Paris, but we visited the
one on Rue de Rivoli across the Tuileries.
You have a choice of entering the shop, or the tea room, if you plan to have
morning or afternoon tea.
Angelina's Hot Chocolate is so famous, you can buy a bottle to bring home.

We arrived just after breakfast (yes, tight itinerary and all that) so it wasn't hard to get a table.

Founded in 1903, by an Austrian confectioner who named the place in
honor of his daughter-in-law, Angelina has been the fashionable place to be.
Their specialty is Hot Chocolate l'ancienne,
called l'Africain. Let me tell you a secret. The hot chocolate
is so rich, they will not bat an eyelash if you just order 1,
pour partager (to share), so don't be afraid of getting judged.
I wanted to order the pastry sampler but I was told I could only get it
from the shop, which I found weird.
Waiting for our Hot Chocolate...
The place is big and posh, but the tables are packed together like sardines.
It doesn't feel like a place Coco Chanel would visit though, it feels more
like something on Lonely Planet's Top 10 things to do for foodies in Paris.
Tourists galore, all taking food or should I say Hot Chocolate picks.
In fairness, it is picture worthy. Can you see how thick the hot chocolate is?
Even in the photo, the chocolate looks really rich and dense.
Literally, liquid chocolate goodness.
Instead of ordering a chocolate eclair, I decided to order this flaky
buttery confection, pour partager again.
Millefeuille à la vanille Bourbon
It would probably better if you order something not too rich to go with it.
The server was recommending a basket of croissants, but we just had breakfast,
and were heading to lunch, but this would be a good place for brunch.
Cheers! Only the photo bombing lola behind us looks like a local.
Despite ordering food to share, Ady and I were not even able to finish it.
The toilets are on the second floor, so it feels like you're
a guest in a really old house.
Mirrors galore inside the toilet.
Aerial view of the shop
Angelina doesn't come cheap. 1 Hot Chocolate and
1 Pastry comes out to €17.20.

I wouldn't recommend it if you're just curious. But I would tell you to come and visit if you're a chocoholic and you love dessert, don't forget, it's okay to share. just saying.

Salon de Thé – Boutique – Restaurant
226 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Ouvert du lundi au jeudi de 7h30 à 19h. 
Le vendredi de 7h30 à 19h30. 
Les weekends et jours fériés de 8h30 à 19h30

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Japan Vacation from Sofia's Lens

I upgraded to a Canon S120 camera before our family Holy Week trip to Japan, so I passed on my older Canon S95 camera to Sofia. I must say, she took some pretty good pictures.

Here's the highlights of our Japan Vacation from her lens. All the photos in this post were taken by Sofia with no editing.

Our first dinner in Osaka at KinRyu Ramen - after we landed and made our way to Namba, so it was actually more like midnight. 

At KinRyu Ramen (multibple branches in the Namba/Dotonbori area - just look for the Orange Dragon) you need to order your meal from the vendo machine, everyone in our family went for Ramen with Double Serving of Pork for ¥900.
I can't resist taking photos of Fi when she's on photographer mode -
which she totally does not like.

Sofia, being totally my mini-me told everyone they couldn't eat until she took photos of the food.
Standard Ramen with Double Pork
Ramen with all the fixings (which you just help yourself to)
My Double Pork Ramen to share with Fi
Ninang Ady couldn't wait.
Lolo removing all the green onions.
Then Sofia started taking group photos and solo portraits which are quite hilarious!

 Then we had a few Selfie Fails. Hahaha.

Our first day in Japan was the second day after Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom, so we went to Osaka Castle for hanami (flower viewing in Japanese).

It was such a rainy humid day when we arrived, it's a good thing we still saw some cherry blossoms.

Since you could already see the Cherry Blossoms from Osaka Castle Park, the rest of the family refused to walk up to the castle. Deja vu from 2014 when they also refused to walk any further. You can ready about that here.

Sof found a nice spot near Osaka Castle with a great view of the Cherry Blossoms below.

The next day was the first sunny day in Osaka, so we took the opportunity to see the Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto. 

We just took the Hankyu Train using our 2 day pass to Kyoto's Kawaramachi Station (middle of shopping street), and asked the tourist information office to recommend good hanami spots, and the nice lady just pointed us to a small bridge with a great view 5 minutes away from the station.

Sof took some really good Cherry Blossom photos.
Family Photos
Sof and Lolo both taking selfies.
Selfie fail, but she sure managed to capture the cherry blossoms.

Our third day was Museum Day - we visited the Cup Noodles Museum in Ikeda (Osaka) in the morning.

Sofia was able to look around the museum and take some photos while Ninang Ady waited in line for the Make Your Own Cup Noodles Activity.
You can see the photographer hard at work in the mirror behind the space food.

In the afternoon, we made our way to Kobe, where Sofia dragged her Lolo to go with her to the Kawasaki Dream World Museum because the rest of the family opted to go with me and Ady to the UCC Coffee Museum. 

I didn't go with Sof to the Kawasaki Museum, but her many motorcycle photos sure make me feel like I did. Hahaha.
Kobe Tower

After all the Cherry Blossoms, Museums and Sightseeing, we spent the rest of our holiday sleeping in, with no agenda except to eat and shop around the Namba/Shinsaibashi area.

Great photos Sof! just saying.