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Kuala Lumpur - Malay Traditional "Hari Raya" Food Items

Actually, one reason for the uninspiring quality of commercially-prepared Malay food in KL is that most people eat it at home, rather than go out or buy it in. And home-made rendang isn't at all a rarity, particularly at festival time, because it feeds a crowd and keeps reasonably well. I was offered 2 different versions at friends' homes yesterday, and given a 3rd to bring home to try.

1 day ago
shakti2 in China & Southeast Asia

Paris....in August?

A lovely list still, a real riposte to all the nay-sayers about Paris in August. If you're looking to edit further, my 2 cents would be to go by whether you want a proper sit-down experience with distinct courses, or a more hectic small-plates one, possibly standing at the bar or sharing a table.

Deserteurs, Servan and Bellet would be better for the former (also Clown, Semilla, Richer I think, although I've not been before). Mary Celeste, au Passage, l'Avant Comptoir, la Buvette would be the latter (I'm thinking the wine bar off St.-Maur ? Not sure if it serves more than cold snacks though). Petit Vendome and 2 Amis are in-between - sandwiches at the (very crowded) counter and hot plats at the tables in Petit Vendome; well-priced 2 - 3 courses at lunch and small plates in the evening at 2 Amis.

1 day ago
shakti2 in France

How do the French get their food?

Can't resist posting a couple of links to an ex-Californian Paris-resident blogger who reckons America (or at least California) does better on high-quality, locavore, organic etc etc produce.

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/06/...
http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/05/...

1 day ago
shakti2 in France

How do the French get their food?

Have bought French-grown gariguette strawberries, ripe apricots, greengages and persimmons, and reliably good melons in season from Franprix etc. Not the same thing as the ones from the producers' stands at the market, but very acceptable for off-hours shopping, and everything clearly labelled by origin.

1 day ago
shakti2 in France

Kuala Lumpur - Malay Traditional "Hari Raya" Food Items

Not to scare anyone off but beef rendang is something I'm particularly wary of when prepared in commercial kitchens or on a semi-industrial basis by caterers and festive vendors, because the heavy spicing and long cooking lend themselves so well to the use of suspect meat.

I've seen this stuff in KL markets, typically from India, typically frozen and then re-frozen in unhygienic conditions when it fails to sell the first time, discoloured and mouldy, sold at a discount to specifically caterers, stall-owners and the like, well away from the fresher produce for more careful home cooks.

Apologies in advance if this flips anyone's tummy.

Jul 23, 2014
shakti2 in China & Southeast Asia

Paris....in August?

I was there a couple of days after they re-opened last September and would be surprised if they didn't take some kind of break this year, for what that's worth.

Will add that your new and newer list is very much to my taste also. I'll get your bags if Mangeur drops out.

Jul 18, 2014
shakti2 in France

French food - boring? Yes, according to the Daily Telegraph

My experience is like yours in that I'm generally careful enough to ensure we eat well when in France with friends and family.

But I also eat out with clients and counterparties at many places not of my choosing, and on this account, my 2 cents would be that as Paris is to London food-wise, so are Marseilles and Lyon are to say, Edinburgh and Glasgow .

That is to say, vastly better in relation to ambitious cooks working in different styles of establishment and whose cuisine is informed by tradition, modernity and other cultures; a robust network of suppliers, many of whom are non- or semi-industrial in scale; and demanding local diners, not all of whom have hedge-fund budgets.

I've also eaten very very well in even smaller centres (Dijon, Nice), and by no means confined to 'trad favourites' either.

But also oh yes, it is also entirely possible to get stranded in the country-side on a Sunday night with a blob each of an unidentifiable stew and potatoes, both probably from a packet.

Jul 16, 2014
shakti2 in France

Favorite Paris Cafes?

A couple more : le Fumoir behind the Louvre, la Tartine on rue Rivoli, le Petit Vendôme in the 2nd.

The last may not be continuous hours but in the right mood, the cuisine and boisterous ambience can be just right. Otherwise I'm with Parigi on cafés and what to expect food-wise (and have no idea why this statement from an internet stranger is shaming or otherwise).

But good for you GetLucky for putting up this thread. Light a candle instead of raging against the dark. Or both if you prefer.

Jul 16, 2014
shakti2 in France

Tourist Hate

Not to be disagreeable, but I'm not sure what you're saying beyond the CH search function not being very good (which I'd agree with).

Otherwise you are simply making assertions for which point-for-point rebuttal are clearly possible, if someone cares enough to take them on (I've just gotten someone who works nearby to confirm that Bougainville does indeed open early and am still wondering at my own insanity ...)

But why not just start a thread instead of bickering with me, if this is a subject that interests you ?

Jul 15, 2014
shakti2 in France

Tourist Hate

From casual observation, Bougainville and le Laffitte are continuous hours and provide coffee, drinks and sandwiches between formal meal times, along with hot plats at meal times. Isn't this precisely what you're talking about ?

More neighbourhood cafes ? I myself included le Progres and le Rostand in a response a day or two ago, and I know Parn includes the others on rue de Bretagne whenever he does a round-up of this neighbourhood.

And I have to say again - it's hardly like I have anything more than a very casual recall of this stuff. If someone was actually interested, I'm certain they'd dig up a lot more.

Jul 15, 2014
shakti2 in France

Tourist Hate

In the last week alone, I've seen mentions of Bougainville, le Laffitte, Pied au Fouet and Machon d'Henri, all of which conform to the gold standard of good solid trad cafe/ bistro style, in central locations even, produced as personal recs by the supposedly uppity locals.

And I'm hardly a diligent daily reader, nor particularly on the look-out for this kind of establishment.

Jul 15, 2014
shakti2 in France
2

Tourist Hate

Actually, I rather enjoy the madness of the more feather-ruffling exchanges, rudeness, digressions, freedom from factual accuracy and all, even though rarely a participant.

I'd click on the neighbouring Economist icon on my device if I wanted balanced informed reporting.

Jul 15, 2014
shakti2 in France
2

A Europe Virgin needing help

1. Splurge : my current favourite is le Meurice where the cuisine is very much to my taste - a nod to inspirations from Copenhagen, Tokyo etc, but very refined and unmistakeably French. Expect dinner 350 euros before drinks.

2. Cutting edge : Yup, JT's your guy. But let me put a word in for the young Japanese chefs cooking French food in Paris - some of the plating and saucing is very interesting to someone who is familiar with Japanese food, but it is still unmistakeably French (certainly in terms of ingredients which aren't available in Asia except in very precious settings). This style isn't something you can readily find in Tokyo, where the market typically is for rather more trad food, even when the chef is a 'returnee' from France. Also for a 10-day stay, it is great option as feather-light refreshing food which a person can contemplate twice a day (whereas I'm usually knocked out by a single 'trad' meal).

A nice pick would be Clandestino in the 12th where I've been recently after a number of repeated mentions by that well-known man-about-town Parnassien (or at least well-known about this board). 45 euros for a fixed-menu dinner, low-key low-fuss with a single very capable waiter for the whole room, no hysterics about booking way in advance.

3. Great value : Oka in the 9th and Jin Xin Lou in the 13th. Modern french cooked by earnest young (non-French) chefs, fixed menus, approx. 35 euros at dinner, approx. 20 euros at lunch.

4. Classics : if you like fish, la Cagouille in the 14th has been a very reliable Sunday lunch for my family and I. Great product, Med and Atlantic species which we admire greatly but seldom see in Asia, precisely-cooked, in a sunny room filled with prosperous older folks with families and pets. Perhaps 40 euros before drinks.

5. For people-watching, I quite like le Voltaire in the 7th. Otherwise, try a well-established café just before meal times. Most neighbourhoods have a local favourite - a couple of particularly nice ones are le Progres in the 3rd and le Rostand just outside the Luxembourg gardens.

Btw if I were going to the fuss of changing hotels mid-way through a visit, I'd try for a change of neighbourhood as well - western Paris isn't necessarily the best for 'casual foodies'.

Jul 14, 2014
shakti2 in France

Recommendation for anniversary dinner in Paris

Well, a whole meal of special requests isn't something I'd try on. But then I'm not a very accomplished diner :)

Jul 13, 2014
shakti2 in France

Recommendation for anniversary dinner in Paris

At this type of restaurant, I wouldn't hesitate to ask if the chef would mind plating a portion for 2, if it is pretty clear that we're ordering full-sized meals already but just interested to taste an additional plate. It has been offered quite frequently without my asking eg. when we've seemed undecided between choices - many restaurants appreciate a diner's interest in their cuisine. Even if the answer is 'no', I'd expect it to be gracious.

Another option would be to go with a tasting menu - virtually all the restaurants mentioned here will have one, if not more options. Again, I wouldn't hesitate to ask nicely if the chef would be willing to make the odd substitution or so, if there's something else from the carte which I MUST try. The downside would be that you may need to take the menu for the whole table, limiting your ability to share different orders.

And finally, passing forks or plates around after food has been set down is absolutely fine as well.

I'm familiar with the Singapore scene. The professionalism of the wait-staff in a grand Paris restaurant is of an entirely different order.

Jul 13, 2014
shakti2 in France

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

Done, hopefully to the right address @psych.umaryland.edu

Please post another if not.

Jul 12, 2014
shakti2 in France

What edibles or food related items do you bring home from a visit to Paris?

There's a very nice Frederick Wiseman documentary of the Paris Opera ballet, where the bees and their keeper make a brief appearance, along with the fish tanks in the basement. Wonderful for anyone with an interest in the building or the institution.

Jul 12, 2014
shakti2 in France

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

3 morsels of artfully-cooked fish with imaginative garnishes aren't better than a great tripe sausage whose sole adornment is a mustard jar, but there are times when I want one and not the other. Pictures help answer which a restaurant is more likely to provide.

The question of good or bad food needs either a careful examination of ideas and methods in the kitchen and its suppliers, or else a tasting. And in the case of bad food, the only reliable method I know of avoiding it is to eat at home, or at my mother's.

PS to Dr. T : big fan of your style of picture-taking, don't ever stop please :)

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France

Itinerary Advice and Questions - Paris

Phil, I'll rely on quddous' affirmation that he/ she 'gets' and enjoys modern cuisine, and resist joining you in the counting of 'goods' and 'very goods' :)

Otherwise, the beef cheeks is interesting. My hostess in the Morvan a couple of years ago made a magnificent bourguignon with shin cuts, a mix of off-the-bone and on (ie. like osso buco). The meat was delicious, every bite a rich fork-tender mouthful, and the sauce benefitted enormously from the enriching presence of the fattier/ gelatinous cuts (the dish was held overnight and skimmed for fat). She said it wasn't at all traditional but that this was how she and her family liked it.

Later that week, I had the same thing at a board favourite, Ma Cuisine in Beaune, which used much leaner meat. The sauce was different, less sticky, more aromatically wine-y, still very good. The meat however, was much less yummy, in fact a cousin of the stewed-beef hotpot we used to get in boarding school.

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

'Photos of bad food look just as appealing as those of great dishes'

But this isn't what the info I look for in a stranger's random pics. I'm trying to figure out - modern or trad ? Hearty or artful portions ? Does someone think about plating or garnishes ? Are they putting out the same unimaginative blob of spuds with every plat or do they care enough to use veggies in season ? Captions not needed (since I'm already skipping the main body of the text).

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France
1

Best Restaurants in Paris

Under 2 hours before the reserved time ?

Classy.

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France
2

Best Restaurants in Paris

I will confess to a mild interest in what happens when these plan-driven visitors collide with reality and decide to chuck the plan with all its prior reservations ... do they then become the dreaded no-shows?

More specifically: Shorty, please tell us you are doing the right thing by your reservations at AT, Tablettes & co !!

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France

Where is Malaysia's best street food?

Penang as a base definitely, because you'll find a lot of culinary and sight-seeing interest within the easily-accessible downtown heritage area.

KL is a good eating town but little of it is downtown or in the shopping malls, which is where most visitors without cars/ local knowledge end up.

Enjoy your trip !

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in China & Southeast Asia

About Paris, France; Regarding sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.?

I find the photos on Tripadvisor quite useful, at least for forming an idea about a restaurant's style and aspirations, particularly if stranded w/o reliable recommendations outside major cities.

I usually skip the text though, English, French or otherwise ... I find French reviewers just as prone to pet biases as others.

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France

Itinerary Advice and Questions - Paris

Perhaps you are projecting. I don't get from quddous' thoughtful comments that he/ she preferred trad over modern.

Jul 11, 2014
shakti2 in France

Is a "restaurant crawl" practical anywhere in Paris?

It would depend on your objectives.

If the idea is to have a communal meal where everyone partakes of the same food, I'd go for a restaurant with a single fixed menu, say Sola or Roseval, for representatives at the refined vs. scruffy ends of the spectrum. Les Papilles has a lot of fans for a fixed menu of comfort/ home-cooking type cuisine (I've never been).

If the objective is to taste a lot of food at moderate cost, you could go to a bar à manger/ small-plates place. Dans les Landes is great for this but sounds like it is in between locations for now. I also like Mary Celeste, the wine-bar area of Repaire de Cartouche and Aux Deux Amis in the evenings for this type of eating.

Outside Paris, many ferme-auberge type places serve simply-cooked meals family-style, often with produce from their own or neighbouring farms. You can search the board for a region relevant to your interests.

Btw I myself would never think of any of the above as 'circumventing' the normal practice of dining out in France - they are simply options which may best suit a particular group or occasion. Your question is not loaded unless you decide otherwise.

Jul 05, 2014
shakti2 in France

Mid range restaurants and bars in Cote d'Azur

I've really enjoyed L'Armoise in Antibes - it has gotten a bit more upmarket and foodie of late (I think it may now have a star), but the overall vibe is still a casual one and definitely far more youthful than the other starry establishments on the coast. In Nice, la Part des Anges is a caviste with a very enjoyable wine bar on the side and a little family of successful spin-offs (Vinivore, la Mise au Verre).

You'll need to check the opening hours - some of these places are lunch only/ dinner only.

Jul 01, 2014
shakti2 in France

Best steak in Basque area (outside of Etxebarri)?

I've seen some magnificent aged steaks go by on their own plancha at Bar Nestor in SS's Parte Vieja, unfortunately sized for 2 when I was with a non-beef eating escort. Get the tortilla before and the tomato salad with.

Jun 26, 2014
shakti2 in Spain/Portugal

Cheese education

I like the Pascal Beillevaire website, lots of info on origins, techniques, contents of each cheese, and especially useful for plotting a visit to a store, when I would otherwise just gravitate towards the familiar. Mostly in french though.

Jun 24, 2014
shakti2 in Cheese

20 districts appetite special

Hi ninisix, nice to see you on this board! A nice alternative for Sola would be Restaurant AT, also on left bank, also with a Japanese team cooking Japanese-influenced French, a tad cheaper than Sola at dinner, and I think someone else has already done the homework to confirm they are open in August.

Jun 23, 2014
shakti2 in France