Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Joel Robuchon

Outside of Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon in Monaco is my third (Hub's second) outlet of the Robuchon empire. No longer a newbie to his cuisine, I've made it a tradition to dine at one of his restaurant in whatever city/country we're in.

Since this was a 12 hour port of call in Monaco, we opted for lunch instead of dinner. We selected the three course lunch of a starter or soup, fish or meat, cheese or dessert, followed by coffee or tea and petits fours. The cost per person was 69 Euro plus we we're charged 9 Euro for water like other outlets.

The restaurant is located inside the Hotel Metropole which is around the corner from the famous Casino de Monte Carlo (the real one, not the fake Las Vegas version).

The decor was very minimal compared to other locations in Las Vegas, Macau and Tokyo. From the hotel lobby, I couldn't tell it was a Robuchon restaurant as it lacked its usual grandeur. I guess the kind of people who dine here on a regular basis don't need to be impressed. Valeted Ferraris are just too common in these parts.

The Bread Cart - Not as impressive as others but the concept and quality was the same. The mountain of butter always amazes me. It looks like cheese.

Amuse Bouche - I forgot what was in here. I'm guessing foie gras custard and maybe some peas? I remember the foie gras because Hubs doesn't like it at all but he actually enjoyed it in the amuse bouche.

Bread - Pesto, Milk, Brioche and Farmer's baguette. I was told by our server that the Farmer's baguette is specific to this location, Monaco.

Hand-carved butter and olive oil

Foie gras of duck, home-made in a terrine

Monkfish with a fresh spring salad - I forgot what was in the sauce

Tomato soup prepared like a gazpacho

Roast pork which was the special of the day

The Dessert Cart

No petit fours, full size desserts with unlimited quantities

Mango tart

Floating Island

Lemon tart and Blueberry cheesecake

Petit Fours - Dark Chocolate

Overall it was a good experience. I should have booked our seats at the Robuchon Table as opposed to the dining room. It was a bit too quiet. There were only three sets of diners that afternoon and we were the first to arrive. I got to hand it to our server, Hans. He was very friendly and talkative. We told him we were visiting the Singapore outlet in a few weeks so he gave us his card to let the peeps at Singapore know we came to visit Monaco. When we arrived in Singapore, it made the experience more pleasant as we felt like we were regulars.

Now on to Italy!

Travel Log: Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco was our first port stop on our nine night cruise across the Mediterranean. It was a nice sunny day with clear skies and roughly 80 degrees. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world behind the Vatican City in Rome. Before our lunch at Joel Robuchon at the Hotel Metropole, we had a chance to walk around to do some sightseeing. This place is definitely too rich for my blood. I believe you need a net worth of $8 million Euro to live here. Ouch!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barcelona: Restaurant Can Majó

Restaurant Cafe Majo is located in the Barcelonetta district of Barcelona. I promised Hubs before we left Barcelona that he would have authentic paella from Spain. Although paella is from the Valencia region, Cafe Majo would have to do. Plus the restaurant was a short walk from our hotel at the Hotel Arts of Barcelona. Since this is a beachfront restaurant, we got to walk alongside the beach and take in the late night scene. Dining at 10pm is the norm so after resting from our lunch at El Celler de Can Roca, I was up for late night dinner.

Bread with tomato spread

Crab hush puppies

Special: Seafood paella with lobster, crawfish, shrimp and clams

Mousse of Passion fruit and White Chocolate

Before settling for Cafe Majo, I read various travel/food reviews and found that Can Majo was a tourist trap. Fortunately, Hubs had rave reviews. He absolutely loved it. I guess paella in any region of Spain would beat anything from the U.S. In my opinion, it was ok. The ingredients were fresh and I liked the atmosphere but there's always room for improvement or at least we need to go to Valencia to have the real deal.

Can Majo
2308003 Barcelona, Spain

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preview: Alinea

Lemongrass - dragonfruit, thai basil, finger lime

Black Truffle - explosion, romaine, parmesan

Hot Potato - cold potato, black truffle, butter

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flying Solo

Well, I'm off to Chicago for a short business trip. Hubs will be leaving to Ohio on Monday morning for his business trip. He won't be home when I get back so I chose to drive myself to the airport. It's 5:11am in the morning and it's still dark outside. When I drove the car out of the garage, I couldn't remember the last time I drove out this early in the morning. I do remember my last business trip. It was a week before my 31st birthday and I had back to back trips to Washington, DC and San Francisco. (a great food marathon). That was in March 2010. It's been that long since I had to fly by myself. It seems like I'm getting back to the grind but I am a little scared.

Back then I never had surgery and I was carefree. This time around I have to babysit an arm since my surgeon removed nine lymph nodes infected with cancer. This means my arm is prone to a condition called lymphedema. It's an incurable condition where there is a blockage of the lymph vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout the body. This blockage causes swelling in the arm. I'm not supposed to carry more than 10 lbs with my left arm. In the last few months, I learned to pack lightly and use a smaller roller bag within my arm weight limit. With my new disabilities, I actually hate flying alone. It just means I have to take earlier flights to make sure I get to where I need to be on time and unassisted. I arrive in Chicago at 12:00pm and have an hour to get to my hotel and a few hours to spare to get ready for my third trip to Alinea. All of the hassle better be worth it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Video: Waku Ghin

It's 10:48am local time in Singapore (7:49pm Pacific time). I had dinner last night at Waku Ghin and I gotta admit I was impressed. There were some items worth noting but it really was about the dining experience.Waku Ghin takes bar dining to a new level. Each dish was cooked in front of you. Not precooked in the kitchen and plated in front of you. I mean, I saw the ingredients in its raw form and watched the chef turn it into a progressive meal. I have proof too! The Waku Ghin video was probably the longest video I've ever taken. It was a little shaky since I'm not comfortable with the video function of my camera.

I took video of Chef Sia Kok Hong preparing my fourth course of Tasmanian Abalone with Fregola and Tomato. The one thing I noticed throughout the entire meal was how often the grill was cleaned. Like every few minutes. I would totally give Waku Ghin a AAA on cleanliness.

Waku Ghin from foodiefinder on Vimeo.

And the finished product.

Tasmanian Abalone with Fregola and Tomato

If you're dying to know, a 10-course tasting with two glasses of wine will set you back a good SGD$ 576.73, roughly USD $450 with gratuity per person. Waku Ghin really defines a dinner with a show. More on that later.