Monday, February 27, 2012

A couldn't help it post

I've been living in Paris for a while now and I still haven't figured out how to get all the shows I want to watch. Case in point: the Oscars.  Maybe its a little cheesy or kitschy but I love the show. I guess its not so much who the winners are though there are some years when I get all worked up about who wins what (remember when Kristin Scott Thomas Oscar went to Frances McDormand? grrr), but the show of clothes.  When else would all the glittering stars come out in their full glory right?

This year I couldn't help but check out all the fashion blogs and news sites for all the photos. And I couldn't help but compile my own list, so to speak. Its not very long so please bear with me.  Photos courtesy of and

Jessica Chastain was certainly the showstopper of the evening with her wonderful Alexander McQueen gold embroidered dress.  I'm a sucker for embroidery so that definitely got my vote!

Now, I love Emma Stone ever since I saw her in Easy A and last night's outfit was a great one for her.  Its relatively modest but glamorous and super classy. I love that red color!

Who doesn't love polka dots? I certainly do and it was quite a surprise to see it on Natalie Portman. She frequently wears Lanvin so this Dior dress was a surprise. But then again, she is the current Miss Dior face so I guess its not such a big surprise.

And last but not the least is a special mention for Jennifer Lopez, master of out and out va va voom-ness..I think only J-Lo can wear this dress and get away with it. Or at least not have it look so trashy.

So there you go folks. What do you think, did you ever any particular favorites?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Comfort food on a cold night

A photo to give you an idea of the size...poor man, he has no idea he's about to be posted on line
 One night, we braved the freezing weather and headed out to a small restaurant tucked away in the heart of the 11th arrondissement.  Astier is one of those tiny places where you wonder how they manage to pack in that many diners.  It makes for a good lesson in space management. Given its cosy nature, it wasn't so surprising that its cuisine was also hearty comfort food albeit with a bit of twist.

I started with a veloute of potiron because I was feeling chilled to the bone and it was just the right start to my meal. It was thick and flavorful.  Those squiggle like things were actually strips of squid.  A surprising addition to the soup but not bad once I got past the surprise.
 Sometimes there a number of dishes on the menu that sound really interesting that I get afflicted by option paralysis. When this happens, I often have a habit of going for chicken! I have no idea why I would choose the most "boring" dish if you will, but there you go. This night the chicken was wrapped around foie gras and accompanied by noodles  topped off by a cream sauce. It wasn't bad but....
 I should have taken this instead...grilled succulent slice of veau accompanied by girolle mushroooms and a wonderful sauce I couldn't identify. It was yummy! This should teach me not to go for chicken the next time!

Because Astier prides itself in serving class french meals, they also have a wonderful cheese platter that's included in the dinner formula. This, I'm happy to say more than made up for my not so interesting main dish. There was such a variety of cheeses, ranging from the strong and stinky to the mild and sweet that I hardly knew what to pick.  Needless to say, I helped myself and then some!

After devouring all that cheese, there was still dessert to contend with and here I went for the chocolate served on a bed of crispy pastry served with passion fruit sauce. I normally don't like mixing my chocolate but the passion fruit sauce was surprising good. The tartness of the fruit nicely complimenting the chocolate.
One of the heartiest restaurant meals I've had in a while and one I can recommend if only to try their wonderful cheese platter!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Raclette night

When temperatures drop, one of my absolute favorite meals to make is Raclette!  There really isn't much cooking to do and it is one of the heartiest meals you can enjoy on a cold night.

All you need is the Raclette machine where you basically melt your cheese, a charcuterie plate of your own making, potatoes and the most important ingredient, loads and loads of cheese. And of course a bottle of wine to wash everything down.

It is so much fun to do and creates such a convivial atmosphere around the table.  I tried to be reasonable by cooking my cheese one at a time...

But later on, I appropriated a second "ladle" to have some more cheese. Greedy I know.

 Look at it, bubbling away..

 Eh voila, all the cheesy goodness spread all over the potatoes.  Notice how I have another slice on reserve?

This is one winter meal I look forward to every year. Maybe I'll get to do another one before the season ends.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A cozy interior to ward off the chill outside

For more cool wordless pictures, have a look here

Overheard at

Monoprix (a french grocery)...

Busy shopper to a Monoprix employee:  Excuse me, I am looking for the Milka oreo flavored chocolates  that I saw a couple of days ago in this you know if they've been moved?

Monoprix employee: Bah, if you saw them a few days ago, why didn't you just buy them then?

French service at its best huh?