Friday, June 1, 2018

Nosaka (野さか) - Chichibu, Japan

Piggily Heaven
Hiking, onsen and pork: the holy trinity.  If you're ever in Tokyo and want to get away from the concrete, jump on a train and head west to Chichibu for some hiking, a hot soak and a heavenly dose of "rosu-don" which is a bowl of rice, topped with fatty slices of pork grilled over charcoal.  Nosaka does it about as well as anyone, anywhere.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Pontochoux - Paris

The More Things Change....
Having spent years in Asia I should've accepted the core of Buddhism by now - change as a constant.  I hate change.  In Paris I feel like an old man, mourning my dead friends.  My old favorite Jean Millet was bought over and turned into a bright spaceship. What kind of god allows this while Berko goes untouched?  Au Levain du Marais looks the same from the outside, but it's not.  They used to have the "go-to" croissant.  Au Duc de Montmorency - gone.  I want everything to be as it was - there are too many hamburger places now, too much English spoken.  Vegan?  In Paris?  Thankfully, some of the oldies are still around, and some have sprouted.  The folks from Chez Taeko opened Pontochoux, a change I can deal with.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beauty's Luncheonette - Montreal

Quebec is in the Timing
Once upon, I spent six months working in Montreal.  It was in the thick of winter so forgive my recollection of dull grey skies and depressing cold.   The buildings along rue St Jacques had salt shadows taller than me and my daily jaunt to the office could have been made on ice skates.  Our recent road trip, perfectly timed to the height of Montreal's two week summer, erased all my frigid memories.  Beauty's Luncheonette did a fair share of the erasing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Absinthe Cafe - Paris

AKA the "Grandma/Grandpa" Spot
Since leaving Paris many have asked what I miss most about it.  The list of what I don't miss is longer and easier to compile. I admit though, after three years I started to love the place a bit.  During a recent layover in Charles de Gaulle, on a slow crawl from Singapore to NY, I observed myself from afar. What would I do with my six hours in Paris?  I zipped by metro into the city on autopilot and walked into my "local", Absinthe Cafe.  It was like I never left - there were Grandma and Grandpa welcoming me to breakfast, all warmth and smiles.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cheok Kee Braised Duck Rice - Singapore

Laziness, Personified
I recently quit my job, pulled stakes in Paris and settled in Singapore.  I tell myself I'm in early retirement and will repeat it like a mantra until my money runs out.  With little to worry about I anticipated a blog creativity burst that never arrived. Rather, I've become lazier.  I can easily pass a day without doing a whole lot.  For hours I ponder deep questions such as "should I swim before dinner or after?"   Then I stumbled into Cheok Kee, where they take the bones out of the duck for you.  These are the types of incremental improvements that can jolt a listless retiree back into the blogosphere.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Emperor Chops (君悅排骨) - Taipei

There's Nowhere like Home
The Taiwanese diaspora try in vein to replicate the pork chops from home.  Those I've sampled in NY are but the distant cousins of the Taipei originals.  I don't blame them for trying, something this good should be shared.  The 君悅排骨 version were juicy planks of pork kept warm in a crispy, deep-fried coat.  They'd no doubt been dunked in a soy sauce, white whine and garlic bath and then dusted with corn flour, sugar and five spice, the most important of the five being the szechuan black pepper. This was a quiet, blind meal, each of us happily chewing with our eyes closed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Coffee Alley - Taipei

Interesting Coffee Choices
On my first visit to Taipei I took note of the coffee fanaticism. It looked to have recently blasted off and dropped the boosters.  Just thirteen months later it's arrived at the outer rings of Jupiter, at least at Coffee Alley. Ordering a "tiramisu latte" seemed like a good idea.  My logic was something like this: I like tiramisu and I like latte.  She was a skin deep beauty, so pretty for her picture, but lacked depth and charm.  The powdery topping lodged in my lungs like asbestos and I nearly coughed up the bland espresso.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Street Noodles - Taipei

Back to the Streets for Eats
Bouncing around the globe, trailing crumbs in my wake, I land in Taipei with the cutesie on my arm.  I feel confident, worldly, hungry.  We take down a batch of street noodles like two pros, she with the order, me with the mouth.  Well, ok, she with her big mouth too!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Panini Durini - Milan

Pork Belly Perfection
When I moved to Brooklyn, nearby Carroll Gardens was still rough and tumble.  I used to tiptoe over for an Italian sandwich once in a while.  I sported a sidewalk gaze and acted humble, hoping to pop in and out without any static.  The sandwiches were worth the risk but their equivalents in Italy might tempt you to greater feats of daring.  Whole other level of tasty!  At Panini Durini I chomped down on a memory-rending combo of pancetta tesa, caciotta dolce and peperoncini, aka black-peppered pork belly, sweet cheese and peppers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Van Bol & Feste - Milan

Full Stomach Revenge, Cont'd
I don't eat a lot.  Matter of fact, for a food blogger I'm a disgrace.  In Milan, however, I flipped it.  Maximum jealousy potential, remember?  Van Bol e Feste fit the bill - just the kind of schwank-a-billy place the fancy-Dodo likes.  Counting Sugar, I was two-fer-two.

Antica Focacceria San Francesco - Milan

Going South on Sunday
Like Paris, Milan is a bit sleepy on Sundays.  You take what you can get and are glad for it.  I was looking for a typical Milanese lunch, but settled for Sicilian instead.  It was educational, because other than "rigatoni", I didn't recognize one word on the menu.  They must speak a special kind of Italian in Sicily.