mercredi, janvier 05, 2011

Cucina del Museo Revisited - Again

Cerdo with Lambrusco Reduction & Berries

On the eve of our move, we decided to complicate our lives by going out for a long dinner - made really worth the while albeit by a wonderful group of friends. Being torn between finishing up the sorting out and spending quality time with said friends was nothing compared to being condemned to blogging about the dinner - because the Hub is currently snoring the house down. Which is normal after the after-dinner grappa, only there is no way that I can sleep with a bulldozer in my current restless state.

Gambas with Black Truffle Cream (excellent)

Fresh Pasta with Fish

Pan-fried Foie Gras

We dined at the Cucina del Museo in Modena. I've blogged about the restaurant here and here sometime back and we've always enjoyed our meals there. Going back with the French Bs and German Bs was the icing on the cake, a wonderful way to say goodbye to Modena and its cuisine. I was going to say "goodbye to our friends" too, but as CB reminded me, not yet - since she would cook dinner for us all on Friday for the real finale.

They didn't do any menus this evening but we cajoled the owner to come up with one for us, with matching wines thrown in (@250 euros per couple). The food was very good as usual - if the fish pasta was a little too fishy and the deer a little too cooked for my taste. But the wines (particularly the Amarone and Sauvignon fumé) were very good, though needless to say I couldn't abuse since I had to drive us home after dinner. As it was, I grilled the first red light out of the parking...

The merry diners

The movers arrive in a few hours. I still need to fold a last batch of clothes and put away the ski stuff. Oh, and there are also the dirty dishes from the children's dinner to put away...Will I ever be ready? Can I sleep? Will I get fined for that red light?

lundi, janvier 03, 2011

Restaurant Le Péché Gourmand, Briançon

A peep into the kitchen - Le Péché Gourmand

If you know us by now, you'll know that a good meal is never far away. Driving to France to ski in the French Alps was something to look forward to - because we would stop somewhere along the way to have a decent lunch. The restaurant we checked out on the way to Risoul was Le Péché Gourmand in the lovely town of Briançon, probably the only restaurant gastronomique in the region.

Herbed Sorbet

The dining room was small but colourful and tastefully decorated. We liked what we saw in their menu. You may have heard that Italian Chefs cook (what their mothers would cook) with love and passion - very true, only that I've never understood why you would want to go to a restaurant to taste your mother's cooking.

Foie gras

Grilled Scallops with Jus de Viande

French Chefs on the other hand, would have left their mamas at home and would have ventured out on their own, constantly innovating to bring their cuisine to newer heights. We adored what they served us in this particular restaurant, every dish was a nice marriage of taste and presentation, every course accompanied by the "right" vegetables.

Poultry stuffed with Duck Liver

Half portion of Beef Filet

Grilled Fish on Topinambour and Leeks, Ginger Sauce

We took 3 full menus for us and also courses à la carte for the Babies. We appreciated the fact that they would divide full portions and serve them nicely in 2 plates. Our children have always joined us in good restaurants e.g. even when they were still in the cradle. We believe in training their pallet young, getting them used to sitting for hours at the table.

Tobacco-flavoured dessert

Dessert on the theme of mandarin oranges

One dish that was particularly interesting was grilled scallops served with a meat gravy. The Teenager's chicken stuffed with duck liver was also delicious. We also had cheeses and the desserts were lovely. Ordering coffee was a must (though we prefer Italian coffee nowadays) simply because it came with hand-made sweets and caramels. The caramel with fleur de sel was literally melt-in-the-mouth.

Sweets for the coffee

We paid more than 220 euros for our lunch (including a lovely bottle of Savennières) which was normal for the quality of the meal. On our way out we admired their NY Eve's menu which included suckling pig and wish we could try it out - but that wouldn't be reasonable since we already had our dinner booked at the holiday village.

On the way back we had lunch in Asti (Italy) in Ristorante-Enoteca Pompa Magna which served very good wines at reasonable prices. The food was also very good - I would recommend their Piemontese beef which was very tender and they also did a very good Tarte Tatin. But no photos as the problem with Italian food is that it often looks the same no matter how different it may taste.

Restaurant Le Péché Gourmand
La Fabrique - 2, route de Gap
05100 Briancon
Tel : 04 92 21 33 21

dimanche, janvier 02, 2011

Risoul 1850 - Again

The boys on their skis

We have been skiing in Risoul 1850 in the Southern French Alps since Babinou was still in my womb. It's a small unpretentious ski station - but has very good runs, is often very sunny and boasts of consistently above-average snowfall.

Risoul 1850

Last week had been no exception. In fact, we had one of the best ski weeks in a decade : a full week of sunshine, runs covered with the most amazing snow (it snowed alot the week before our arrival) and a station that wasn't overcrowded. I am not a big fan of skiing - but even I have to admit that I have enjoyed myself this week (in spite of my painful ankle no thanks to too-tight ski shoes).

Bottom of the station (pictures taken up there are still in my phone - no idea how to retrieve them)

We stayed as usual with Touristra-Leo Lagrange - an all-inclusive holiday village that is just at the bottom of the ski runs. They have a new Director (Elza) since last year and things have improved - from the showers to the food. In fact, our New Year's Eve dinner was really very good - though we went to bed before midnight because we had to wake up early the next day for our last ski lesson.

Touristra-Leo Lagrange Holiday Village

The Babies obtained their Second Star (Deuxième Etoile) together and were really proud of their achievement. They ski very well now and are capable of doing certain black runs with little effort. In fact the family often had to ski without me as I was holding them back too much. I am too rigid when I ski and somehow couldn't seem to correct my bad posture (nor my fears). Though I can ski reasonably well nowadays, situating between Classe 1 & 2 for adults. The Teenager skied with Hub in Classe 3 (the highest level) and they often did unsecured runs which gave me goosebumps just at the thought.

ESF ski instructors giving out certificates to those who have earned their 2nd Star

Who knows when we will ski again once we move to Shanghai. So we were glad to have done it though we are just days from starting our move. I'm all stressed out now as there is still so much to be done. Arrgh...