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Showing posts from September, 2012

The Fat Duck

How do you describe the most amazing meal of your life. It's almost a whole day since I got back from lunch at Heston Bluementhal's "The Fat Duck". And I still can't find the words to explain what you experience as you sit there for four hours, enjoying his decadent 14 course tasting menu.

Maybe I'd start where he starts, the amuse bouche that was one of the my favorite courses. Sweet aerated beets with horseradish cream, the whole package looking like a tiny red velvet whoopie pie. The next course was an apertif. In mad scientist way, the server brought liquid nitrogen and converted vodka and lime or campari and orange into meringue like things that numbed your tongue and set you up for flavor assault about to hit you.

The other courses that would make my top 5 hall of fame include this risotto you see above. It's not from his main menu, and I only got it because I am a vegetarian. This is beetroot risotto topped with radish carpaccio, some kind of foam…

Chop!

Just when I thought he was getting old and a little bit fat, Jamie Oliver has landed himself another winner. His new "store", just opposite Notting Hill Gate, is called Recipease. On the ground floor is a takeout-cum-Jamie's signature cookware kind of shop. And some cooking counters, and stairs leading up to what at first glance is a chilled out cafe. But then, it's also a cooking school.

I signed up for knife skills class last week. It's something I've wanted to do for a while but also felt that it could be a bore - what's fun about chopping vegetables for a couple of hours. Well, let me tell you then, the class at Jamie's is actually fun. You walk in and get offered a glass of wine. Given that I was just about to be handed some very sharp knives, I stuck to water and saved that wine until after the class.

Then the class started. But it didn't feel like one. It felt instead, like you've walked into a friend's house, and she wants you to …

When in Rome...

It is impossible to do as the Romans do. Because there aren't any! Every person I saw on the streets of Rome was a tourist carrying a map. Ah well, travel is meant to burst long held myths and this was certainly not the only one. From the last month of travel, I picked for you what I think of as three top myths:

Myth No. 1: China is Cheap
It has to be, right? After all, they export everything to the whole world. But no, it isn't. At least, not where we were in Shanghai. Every restaurant meal I had was way more expensive than what I would pay in London. Shopping was nowhere less than London prices either. Even Starbucks sells their cappuccino at prices at least 30% higher than anywhere else. Now you go figure.

Myth No. 2: French people are unfriendly and won't give you the time of the day if you don't speak French
Now come on, they were all so friendly. And absolutely everyone, not just the hotel people but passer-bys you ask directions from or wait staff in cafes, spoke…

Top 5 Things to Eat in Paris

When I planned my trip to Paris, I paid little attention to museums and art and all those things first time tourists think about. In fact, I only had two spots on my to-do list - Pierre Herme and Laduree. But because you can't live on pastry alone (well, you can, but let's say you need some variety!), I also bookmarked this highly informative post from my favorite American in Paris, David Lebovitz.

I stayed pretty close to the program, even though an occasional trip to Eiffel Tower or art gazing at a museum crept in, a temporary diversion from the feast in Paris. From all those meals, I've culled for you five things you should not even think about missing if you find yourself in Paris:

1. Start your day at Pierre Herme with a fantastic croissant. Or better still, a kugelof or a buttery koign amman.

2. If you find yourself at Pierre Herme after breakfast time, treat yourself to an ishpahan.

3. Or go to Laduree instead. You can linger in their tea room. But what's the f…

Ispahan

We need to talk, you and I! In the two months I've been gone from these pages, I've collected so many stories I need to tell you. Stories of course, of experiences in London and school and what not. But also of travels to China and a trip out to Europe.

Or I could just sum up all these new experiences in one word - Ispahan! For the uninitiated, ispahan is a pastry created by the legendary Parisian pastry chef Pierre Herme. And in one little treat, it sums up everything that's right with the world.

What you see up there is a crunchy rose flavored pink macaron. The filling is a rose petal buttercream, which has some lychees mixed in. This is then topped with fresh raspberries.

A trifle sweet, a little tart, and very, very pretty - that's how life's been lately. And this time, I am going to be back and blogging regularly so make sure you check back to hear the stories.