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    Brussels, BE
  1. Ptipois, When sourcing a "coq" in France for a coq au vin, what should I ask for? Will the butcher/stall holder understand if I explain what it's for or do I need to find the French term for a "real rooster"? Your description makes me want to take down my well-thumbed 30 year old Julia Child and get cooking with her classic recipe.
  2. Not much recent activity on Athens it seems - but if anybody reading this has been to Kollias Seafood Tavern at its new location, some feedback would be appreciated. For many years some of the best fish in Athens (or anywhere else for that matter) was assured at the old Piraeus premises - it's now at Leoforos Singrou and I'm wondering if everything is still the same before I bring a group of professional friends there. I don't get to Athens that often and re-visiting somewhere on the basis of good memories carries some risk - especially if time and a change of premises have had their impact. The old website, which was quirky, artistic and creative (and all unremittingly in Greek) now looks a bit like any well designed restaurant website with fairly standard bilingual explanations and the poetry seems to have gone.
  3. kerriar


    Oh please please forget Allard unless you want to eat mediocre food with other tourists. It has a great history but is long past its best. Try instead l'ami jean, l'entredegeu, les papilles, etc, etc
  4. Jaloa, Bon Bon and Brasserie de la Paix are very good choices. David Martin, of Brasserie de la Paix, is now also responsible for the Bozar Brasserie in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The restaurant space in this lovely Horta building has been restored and the menu carries many of the favourites from BdlP like the "Parmentier crémeux". It's all a bit more functional here but much easier to get a table at short notice.
  5. L'ami Jean's recipe is now available on-line on a few different sites, such as here I've tried it and it really does produce the smoothest, silkyest, creamyest, etc results. It's also surprisingly simple.
  6. Any suggestions on Ronda, apart from the obvious Tragabuches?
  7. kerriar

    Lake Garda

    Opps - wrong lake! It's a good spot anyway if you are going that way.
  8. kerriar

    Lake Garda

    Had couple of good meals last week at Albergo Silvio in Bellagio website . It's a family run place and, because the family include fishermen, it is a good spot for lake fish. Prices are decent, especially the wines, and the view from the terrace over the lake towards Cadenabbia is memorable.
  9. Not so long ago I had a totally different experience at Jarasse. On a truly foul night, public transport workers were on strike and Parisian traffic was chaotic with the taxi from Charles de Gaulle taking over more than two hours – really a bad start to the evening. We ended up hopelessly late for our reservation (9.30 for 8.00!) but everybody at Jarasse, particularly the maitre d', was delightful and in the first moments lifted the stress of the evening from our shoulders. Having fallen for some polished up-selling, the bill was much higher than planned but the recollection that remains is of good food and wine in relaxed stylish surroundings. It's funny how even good restaurants play their part in life's infinite variety
  10. Not sure if Geneva is in your catchment area but this site might be useful http://geneva.angloinfo.com/af/464/geneva-cookery-classes-and-wine-courses.html
  11. If you are going to Rome for a rugby international and looking for somewhere to eat, this might interest you. George Hook, Irish rugby pundit, former coach of the US Eagles, etc, etc but above all these days a bon vivant, gives an enthusiastic recommendaton to Ambasciata d'Abruzzo on the Via Pietro Tacchini. Whateverabout his views on rugby, I've found him dependable when it comes to food - in fact people who write about rugby are usually well informed on where to eat but sometimes hold the cards close to their chest. Haven't been there but trusted family members say that it's a great restaurant, for the food, the athmosphere and the friendliness of the people - it's on my list for a future trip. As you might expect from the name, there'll be plenty of Abruzzo wines and I guess lamb. The website is http://www.ambasciatadiabruzzo.com/index.php?cmd=contatti. It's within walking distance of the Stade Flaminio so maybe you should book if you want to go there on the day of the match. You might find that Aquila rugby club will be occupying a fair few of the tables already.
  12. Day trip to Dublin? Careful - these days they might not let you board at the airport if you seem under the weather!
  13. OK - false alarm about Tram Tram, we stuck with our choice for lunch on a cold December Sunday and were really happy. First update (see John Talbott's posting above) is that the three ladies are no longer blond and have reverted to black but even more importantly, the kitchen is back to what it always was. Both of us started with a pasta dressed with mussels and clams - it was moist and succulent and delicious. This is a simple dish but unbeatable when good - if wrong (e.g., too dry) the let-down is enormous. Like many Italian restaurants, the menu is very approximate and what is served varies according to the day. I had a near perfect coda alla vaccinara while she had grilled lamb (exact description forgotten but in French it would be tranche de gigot). Contorni were the incomparable artichokes Roman-style and a bean puree liberally dressed with oil. All of this was washed away with a litre of the house red - a decent nameless but easy drinkin' merlot which cost €8. Desserts, the usual ones, were just ok, but seemed homemade. This is never going to be the greatest restaurant in Rome but remains very much worth the schlep out to the back streets behind Termini for good food in a place that is authentic and atmospheric. (Best to reserve as there seems precious little else in the area.) All this got me to rechecking the negative comments about Tram tram on routard.com. The main complaint seemed to be about the lamb - but anybody who likes this French style will never be happy eating lamb in Italy. By French standards, the Italians overcook lamb so a compromise will always be difficult. The writer also was scathing about the undrinkable house wine - this I simply don't understand and perhaps it can be attributed to chauvinism.
  14. Over the holidays I tried bomba spanish rice and got exactly the results required - it turned out just as close as I am ever likely to get to L'Ami Jean's Riz au lait ‘grand-mère’ en service, confiture de lait which for me is the benchmark . Bomba (which L'Ami Jean use) is an organic paella rice and can be sourced on-line from La Tienda (they deliver in Europa and North America - their service is personal and efficient). I found it will absorb up to four times its volume in liquid with the grains gradually becoming softer but retaining their shape as they start to melt. The riz au lait was cooked in a slow oven (90°c) for about and hour and a half and extra milk (sometimes a little cream) added as needed.
  15. Thanks for the tip Hungry C - you were right about Testaccio market, it's the real thing and we filled the bags with Roman artichokes, puntarella, several kilos of parmesan (which will be appreciated as a present), etc, etc. Nearby Volpetti (mentioned elsewhere) has to be one of the great food shops of Europe. No serious food lover should miss this when in Rome. There were so many things in both places which are impossible to find here - even in a city like Brussels which has its own strong food culture. Quality is above reproach. The do-it-yourself airfreight worked well (most things went into the bags in the hold). Notwithstanding Ryanair's long delays, everything arrived in top condition in our kitchin shortly after midnight. Some of the Italians with whom I work will travel to Rome every year for their Christmas food shopping, although they have lived most of their lives outside Italy. Now I start to understand why they go there each December with empty cases.
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