Photo of the Week: Dreamy Delights in Paris

chocolate, pastry, Paris, France, food, foodie, delicious, travel

Well, a photo of the week post is typically a one-photo deal but how could I choose between these two beauties???  Yes, I am swayed towards anything chocolate but this one tore me apart.  So, without further ado, two scenes from Dalloyau in Paris.

chocolate, pastry, Paris, France, food, foodie, delicious, travel

I just want to bury my face in these!

fruit tart, pastry, Paris, France, food, foodie, delicious, travel

For a chocoholic to say these look AWESOME is a big thing…

 

2013: A Year in Food and Beverages

chocolate, bombom, foodie, food, Atlanta, gourmet,Samsung

I traveled a good bit this year for both business and pleasure.  As with most travel, eating out plays and essential part of the experience, as do the places at which I stay.  This year offered me some memorable experiences in both areas.  Here I take a quick look back at the food and beverages of 2013!

January blues:  go away, I say

The year opened up with a traditional get together among a group of friends to celebrate the new year and good friendships.  It is our way of extending the holidays into drab January with the cold weather and nothing exciting immediately in the horizon (like, say, spring).  The highlight of the evening is an exchange of gifts but the food and wine usually shows our good taste in the finer things – at least for this little party.  My favorite items are usually the sweets/desserts, as you can tell…

sweets, dessert, chocolate, food, party, photo, Olympussweets, desserts, chocolate, macaroon, macaron, food, foodie, photo, Olympus

Mt. Kilimanjaro

However, I mis-type a little as I did have something exciting coming up early in the year:  my climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in February.  Yes, the mountain is not going to be the paragon of fine dining and beverages.  On the latter, our beverages on the mountain consisted mainly of water, hot chocolate, and the morning cup of coffee.  Now AFTER coming down the mountain, that is a VERY different picture!  That first cold beer as we exited Kilimanjaro and that first glass of cold South African wine that evening were glorious!  But while we were not enjoying gourmet dishes up on the mountain, we ate well.  The food may have been basic outside of the context of the hike but, during the hike, these lunches and dinners were royals-worthy.  My favorite had to be when we were surprised with grilled cheese sandwiches!  Comfort food indeed!

grilled cheese, Kilimanjaro, food, climbing, hiking, Olympus

Washington, D.C.

After two years of working with a client in Washington, D.C., it was time to end my frequent travels to the U.S. capital (which I knew was going to be hard for me).  I would have to say goodbye to my favorite bar:  Le Bar at the Sofitel Hotel (near the White House), where I discovered the enjoyment of specialty cocktails.  I know the reason God doesn’t make me President of the U.S.A.:  I would be going to Le Bar for some evening relaxation a little too often!

cocktails, drinks, Sofitel, DC, beverage, travel, barcocktails, drinks, Sofitel, DC, beverage, travel, bar

Jordan

Leaving D.C. was hard to do but helping with that was my trip to colorful Jordan in April where the delicious food seemed ENDLESS!  Whether in Amman, Mardaba, the Dead Sea, or the Wadi Rum, I do not know how I didn’t gain any weight in that trip.  Or did I…

food, Jordan, Middle East, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel food, Jordan, Middle East, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel food, Jordan, Middle East, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

And in terms of beverage, though I had been to the Middle East before, I gained a new appreciation for drinking tea (hot tea).  It may seem that what helps in warm weather is iced tea but, actually, a hot beverage is better for you – and I got to understand why!  So good.

tea, Jordan, Middle East, Canon EOS Rebel, travel, photo

Miami

Going to Tampa or Miami is always something I look forward to because I know I will eat some the most delicious food around:  Cuban food.  I may be biased (OK, I AM biased) but it is just such an enjoyable feast for the palate to eat any of the number of traditional Cuban dishes.  And many places around places to do so.  Versailles and La Carreta are good traditional places (I enjoy the latter more) but I “discovered” El Palacio de los Jugos which is more of a take-out place than sit-down place (though there are some tables to go sit after you get your food).

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Manila

My flash trip to Asia took me to Manila where I enjoyed great hospitality, exploring its history and good food.  I really enjoyed M Café in Makati, where traditional food was served with some really neat twists.  Thanks to my local friends for picking this place – loved it.

Manila, Makati, food, tropical cuisine, photo, travel, Olympus, Philippines Manila, Makati, food, tropical cuisine, photo, travel, Olympus, Philippines Manila, Makati, food, tropical cuisine, photo, travel, Olympus, Philippines

Atlanta

While this is a travel blog, others travel to my hometown so I think it is fair to talk about food in Atlanta.  We ARE an eating out city and there are plenty of options from ethnic to mainstream to “nouveau” (whatever the proper term is for places like Local Three, 1 Kept, etc.).  Lots of incredible new ideas in these nouveau-type restaurants.

Local Three, fruit tart, dessert, Atlanta, chocolate mousee, Local Three, Atlamta, food, caramel,foodporn, travel chicken, waffle, Local Three, food, Atlanta, foodporn

Oh, and I also enjoyed a great chocolate tasting from Chocolate South at Perrine’s Wine Shop.  They were innovative and tasty little creations!

chocolate, bombom, foodie, food, Atlanta, gourmet,Samsung

Minneapolis

Before the year ended, I squeezed in a long weekend trip to Minneapolis, a city I had never visited before.  I enjoyed exploring culture in this great city – and some great meals!  One was at Wilde Roast Café, on the east shore of the Mississippi River – the crabcake was THE best crabcake I have ever had by a bit.  The turkey meatloaf was really good and certainly made me feel much less guilty about ordering it and what was to come after the entrée:  the flourless chocolate cake.  It TRULY changed my mind about flourless cakes which never really knock it out of the park for me.  That one sure did!

crabcake, Minneapolis, Wilde Roast Cafe, food, foodporn, photo, Canon EOS Rebelturkey meatloaf, Minneapolis, Wilde Roast Cafe, food, foodporn, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

I also enjoyed brunch at Café Maude where the only bad thing was that my stomach could only handle one of their dishes!  I had the hardest time deciding on ONE plate – I chose the country hash which had chicken confit, red peppers, onion, potatoes and a tomato marmalade.  I did not go wrong (but the Eggs Benedict were very tempting too).

Cafe Maude, Loring Park, Minneapolis, food, foodie, travel, Olympus

So, that wraps up my year in food though I will be having some great food still in the days left in 2013!   Happy food and new year to all!

The Highlights of Food and Wine in 2012. Mostly Food.

Papanași papanash from Romania

2012 will be remembered by me for many reasons.  Certainly the travel I did in 2012 ranks up there as do the many fun memories with family and friends.  But another memorable aspect of 2012 will be the food and wine!  Here is a small tour of the most memorable ones… mostly food…

BBQ anyone?

At Salt Lick, outside of Austin, Texas, the year started with some phenomenal BBQ!

Salt Lick BBQ in Texas

Wine, wine, wine

A few wine tastings with friends and some touring allowed me to cover a lot of ground here!  Virginia and Moldova stand out as unexpected wine places for me.  While I was not able to bring a lot of wine from Moldova, Virginia was a different story!

WIne from Virginia's wineries: Pollock, Cardinal Point, Barboursville, King, Veritas

All but one of the bottles I bought in VA!  The state can thank me later.

Deliciousness from Moldavia

As far as I understand, northeastern Romania and Moldova are known as Moldavia.  The region was an independent/autonomous state between the 14th century and the 19th.  I could see quite a few similarities between the two modern areas when I visited Iasi (Romania) and Moldova.  One of the similarities I saw was in the food.  My favorite dish was pork and mamaliga (a sort of polenta).  And my favorite dessert papanași (papanash; a fried pastry stuffed with jam and soft cheese).  I could eat these every day (an almost did!).

Mamaliga (polenta) and pork - typical food dish from Moldavia, Moldova, Romania

Mamaliga (polenta) and pork – typical food dish

Papanași papanash from Romania

Papanași (papanash)

A homestyle wine tasting

One of my favorite events is the quarterly wine tasting with friends.  Our Frog’s Leap wine tasting (normally, we do not focus on one winery in these tastings) was outstanding and the food was a large part of that.  After looking at the following pictures, could you disagree?

Cheese and crackers always good for a wine tasting

Cheese and crackers couldn’t be absent!

Lobster dip from Costco served in cucumbers

Lobster dip served in cucumbers

Chocolate bomb anyone?

I got to try one mean chocolate dessert at The Oval Room, across Lafayette Square from the White House (which I also got to tour this year!).  This picture  -no- no picture, can ever do this magnificent monument to desserts justice…

Chocolate S'more Bomb from The OVal Room in Washington, D.C. smore

Chocolate S’more Bomb with cookie crumble and salted caramel

Mofongo from Puerto Rico – in Tampa!

I have written about having great Cuban food in Tampa but over Thanksgiving weekend, I went for my favorite Puerto Rican dish:  mofongo with fried pork chunks!!  MMM!!!

Mofongo from Puerto Rico in Tampa, Florida

Paris, oh, Paris

Forget the fancy restaurants and all that frou-frou stuff.  Paris has awesome small “mere-et-pere” type of places with deliciousness galore.  I am lucky to be an eternal Paris visitor and past resident.  This allows me and my friends to enjoy these little-known places whenever I visit.  However, I still enjoy discovering a new unpolished jewel, like the place in Montmartre where I had this delicious potato-and-egg-topped salad (along with a mini carafe of red wine!).

Potato and egg salad in Montmartre

Of course, Paris’ chocolate houses are a must – and a tour of them should be de rigeur unless you are allergic to the stuff!  I always stop by to enjoy some of Paris’ finest chocolate crafts.

Chocolates and macarons from Paris' finest Jean-Paul Hevin

Italy.  What can I say?

No words are needed when it comes to Italy and food.  Here are some of the images from my visit there in April (discovering new and re-visiting old places).

Suppli fried rice ball from Rome, Italy

Suppli fried rice ball – mmm!!

White wine from Italy with Campo de Fiore reflected

I love how the Campo de Fiore is reflected in this glass of wine

Bucatini all'Amatriciana in Rome, Italy

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Carbonara and red wine in Rome, Italy

Carbonara rocks!!

Coffee in Rome, Italy

Coffee the AM I arrived… dropped our luggage at the apt and went out for breakfast. SO. GOOD.

Rome, Italy food:  artichoke, buffalo cheese, tomato, basil

My plate full of our appetizers on our first night in Roma

Sweets from Rome, Italy

Sweets!

Gelato in Rome, Italy

Sublime gelato

Year end:  always a time for food!

For Christmas eve (Nochebuena), I cook the traditional Cuban meal.  Instead of showing a beautiful serving plate or bowl with the end result, I decided to leave the end result to the imagination and show you the work in progress.  I love making my black beans and Cuban pernil!

Cooking Cuban black beans

Cooking Cuban pernil for Christmas eve (Nochebuena)

Now good food didn’t end on Nochebuena.  On our day trip to the charming southern towns of Newnan and Senoia, we had some really good southern food (always comfort food!) right at the square in Newnan.  Those sweet potatoes were outstanding!

Country fried steak, green beens and sweet potatoes - great southern food

The year ends

The year went away like the dessert from this plate – it leaves me wanting more.  What a year it was!

Empty dessert plate

Food Pleasures in Paris

Paris, cafe, France, the life, chairs, red, ambience, food, Canon EOS Rebel, photo

There are SO many places to go and enjoy a meal or a drink in Paris.  Whether it be haut cuisine, a pastry, a glass of wine, or coffee, you will never run out of options in Paris and, many of the options, are quite good.  Exploring these places is one of the guilt-inducing pleasures of any trip to the City of Light!

Paris, cafe, France, the life, chairs, red, ambience, food, Canon EOS Rebel, photo

Cafés in Paris always beckon!

What grabbed my attention and palate?  Here they are…

Hot chocolate anyone?

My all-time favorite, and I have tried hot chocolate in quite a few places, is Angelina’s in the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, just across the street from the Tuileries (226 rue de Rivoli, 75001).  Conveniently, they also have great pastries so I can kill two birds with one stone…  I wish it had an outdoor sitting area but given where it is, that is not possible.  It has become a little over-priced due to people like me raving about it.  I am sorry…

Paris, Angelina, hot chocolate, pain au chocolat, breakfast, food, Paris, France

Hot chocolate and pastries in Angelina’s in Paris, France. Heaven for ilivetotravel!

Best little former secret family restaurant

Well, I say former because I have even seen it on Anthony Bourdain’s travel/food show a couple of years ago…  But I went there before the show, for the record! This place called “Robert et Louise” is a little gem of a restaurant in Le Marais district (64, rue Vieille-du-Temple 75003).

Robert and Louise were the owners who started the restaurant in the 1950s.  Robert has since passed away and I believe the restaurant is owned now by others.  But, last time I was there, Louise still lived above the restaurant and would come down to get food…

The place is tucked away on a street with small antique shops, etc. but on a part of the street that at night is completely dead… except for Robert et Louise.  The red and white checkered window curtains hide the restaurant from the passerby.  You almost have to know it is there.  My friends Chris and Wendy had discovered it two days before and took me there.  The place would not pass governmental health regulations in the U.S. and I am so glad it is not in the U.S.! (Please don’t be scared away by that statement.)

The dish to go for is the steak to share by 2 or more folks – it is cooked in the fire pit right next to the main wooden table in the back of the restaurant (there are normal tables in the front of the restaurant).  The fire pit, the nights I have been there, is fed by wood from a crate that the cook is breaking apart as needed to keep the fire going.  The fire pit is located next to the small sink used by people to wash their hands (yes, this may sound gross to some but you will soon ignore it once you begin to enjoy the casual, non-touristy ambiance and eat the food!).  Another spot in the back is the salad maker who is also the potato cooker.   (The first I went the lady who cuts the meat was having a heated argument with the salad/potato-maker; she was the one with the big knife.  We prayed they were only arguing about how much seasoning the meat should have…).

The dishes are simple but when simplicity is delicious, who needs anything else!    Advice:  Go early to avoid a long wait since the place is small and no one is in a hurry to leave.

A Supermarket with Flair

Paris has les Grands Magasins, the big fancy department stores that everyone wants to go shopping at.  Galeries Lafayette near the Old Opera is my favorite.  Colognes, clothing, you think?  NOOOOOOO!!!  The food section!!!  It has a supermarket in it, as do other big department stores in Europe.

Galeries Lafayette, Paris, food, France, photo, spices

The spice section at Galeries Lafayette

But this one has a special place I like to go to every time I go to Paris.  Their focus is Spanish ham  (I forget the name, if it has one; but print the picture below if you are going and you will find it!).  They serve other things but I love going to it to get me some Spanish ham, paired up with a good red wine!!  You sit at the counter, order, and people-watch while you enjoy.  Or tweet 😉

Galeries Lafayette, Paris, food, France, photo, spices, ham, Spanish

My hangout within Galeries Lafayette

And… More Chocolate!

I have to say that a real treat in Paris for any chocolate-liker (and, definitely, for chocolate-lover!) is to try the fine chocolates at any of the fine chocolate makers in the city.  Some are on or near the Rue St. Honoré.  Viator.com also offers some chocolate tours that are well worth the price.  No need to name names, try any of the “maisons du chocolat“, and you will NOT be disappointed!  I highly encourage tasting with a theme in mind whether trying only pure chocolate, trying different ones with different perfumes, trying only ones with nuts, etc.  It can be overwhelming and you cannot have too many as they are filling!  Bon appetit!

Hugo and Victor, Paris, France, chocolate, chocolatier, maison du chocolat, delicacy, food, photo, delicious, decandent

Pieces of heaven at Hugo & Victor

More about Paris and places to eat at from my friend’s Chris’ guest writeup!  Check it out, lots of good info for those planning – or wanting – to go to Paris!

 

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