A Birthday Surprise – Dining at “Le Jules Vernes” in the Eiffel Tower

eiffel1I had always been under the impression that “Le Jules Verne“, the restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower (altitude of 125 meters) was a tourist trap serving horrible food with the view of Paris being its only saving grace. Since we’re living in Paris (once again, Chee’s favorite city in the world) and Chee had gone on and on about how the reviews were outdated and that the restaurant was now helmed by Alain Ducasse (with 25 Michelin stars to his name in all his restaurants around the world), I went surfing around online and to my surprise, I found rather positive reviews of the restaurant.

Jules Verne was one place Chee would never have thought that I would bring her to given my fear of heights. SURPRISE!!! Jules Verne it was for Chee’s birthday (Tip: To land a table right next to the window, book at least 1 to 2 months in advance).   With its own private lift access, we were swiftly led up to the restaurant on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.  Restaurant diners can also head to the viewing platform through a private access from the restaurant.

Jules Verne

The lunch menu (88€ or 125€ with 3 glasses of wine) which we decided on had a choice of 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts plus the suggestions of the day.  A nice cute touch was the butter molded in the form of the base of the Eiffel.

Jules Verne2

Appetiser was a pumpkin velouté with chestnut. Simple and well-presented. As for starters, we had the preserved duck foie gras, fruit and orange marmalade accompanied by toasted brioche and the ravioli of crab meat with crab sauce. Once again, great presentation and a good start to our meal.

Jules Verne3

The main dishes did not disappoint. Chee’s dish of roasted pork chop served with stuffed tender onion, straw potatoes and cooking jus as well as my dish of slowly cooked ox cheek and carrots both hit the sweet spots for us. Flavourful, gratifying and thoroughly yummy.

Jules Verne4

Chee’s desert was a chocolate/mint variation whilst I chose a light desert of a contemporary vacherin of passion, mango and fresh ginger. Being a chocolate lover, I realised I had made the wrong choice when Chee’s dessert arrived. I kept looking over to her yummy dessert.  If you’re still hungry by this stage, the complimentary mignardises (small sweet tidbits) of chocolate truffles, guimauves (marshmallows), macaroons, and brownies would definitely make you keel over.

All in all, it was a very good experience.  The wines served paired well with the dishes.   Did I freak out coz of the height? Thankfully, once I was in the restaurant, it wasn’t all that bad. Nevertheless, heading out to the private viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower was indeed a challenge for me. Doubt I’ll do that again!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHEE 😉

Le Jules Verne
5 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, 75007
+33 1 45 55 61 44
Open 7 days a week

Spotting UFOs in Parisian Markets

There’s something to be said about waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and heading out to one of the markets/marchés in Paris to shop for fresh produce.

When we first moved to Paris, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that a marché was set up every Wednesday and Sunday right outside where we lived, under the metro tracks of La Motte Piquet Grenelle and Dupleix stations. It became a routine to wake up on Sunday, pop by the marché, soak in the atmosphere with the locals and pick up what would be our brunch – e.g. roast chicken, cheese with baguette, oysters, paella, sauerkraut with sausages (yes, we can get non-French food items too ;)).

I’ve often stopped in my tracks to stare at a UFO – “unidentified food object” and Bolly would roll his eyes and tell me what it was followed by an exclamation along the lines of “Tu as jamais vu ça?” (You’ve never seen this before?). Oh well, blame that on growing up in a city and not being in the least bit interested in cooking.

Here are some pictures from our visit to the Marché President Wilson (16th arrondissement) last Sunday with my cousin.  Spot any UFOs? 🙂

I still don’t know what type of flowers these are but they were a beautiful shade of blue…

I never knew that there were so many varieties of tomatoes…

I could get used to a lifestyle of Sunday oyster brunches 🙂

Another yummy dish, escargot in garlic butter…

When I saw this, I thought of a popular dish in Singapore, sambal (chilli-based sauce) stingrays…

This was one of the UFOs that I stopped to look at when I first arrived in Paris…sea urchins…

Marché President Wilson is known to be one of the more expensive marchés with an uppity Parisian flavour. Comparing prices is a must!

Growing up, I almost always only ate button and shitake mushrooms and never knew that there’s a wide range of mushrooms with different varieties coming into season at different times of the year…

Some are obviously huge…

Pheasant anyone?

One of the perks of living in Paris, finally learning to identify different cheeses!

My all-time favourite UFO! Any guesses?

Life is Like Eating Artichokes

“Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little.”

– Thomas Aloysius Dorgan

For the first time ever, I learnt how to eat an entire artichoke two nights ago.

Bolly was tickled at my child-like fascination at the artichoke sitting on my plate.

We’ve dined in our fair share of Michelin-starred and gourmet restaurants, mid-range restaurants and street-side stalls but somehow I’ve just never had the opportunity to eat an entire artichoke.

Bolly was a good ‘teacher’ who guided me through the process. For those like me who may have not been exposed to the artichoke, WikiHow provides a very informative 11-step guide to eating an artichoke (who’s heard of an 11-step guide to eating a vegetable?).

WikiHow’s Steps 4 and 5 tell you to “take the outer leaves off one by one and hold like a potato chip. Coat the tip (the part that was attached to the heart of the choke) in whatever dip has been offered.” Ours was a mixture of mustard and olive oil.

I must say the process of eating an artichoke can actually be quite beautiful.  “Artichoke Art” maybe?

I’m actually surprised at the sense of humour in WikiHow’s guide. Step 9 says “Pull off the centre leaves…They cover a finer, almost hairy growth just on top of the heart of the artichoke. Some people call this part the “choke,” which is what you will do if you eat it, as it is very prickly.”

After removing the choke, you get to the crème de la crème of the artichoke…the artichoke heart. Tuck in to the sweet and tender heart 🙂

For those who constantly tell me not to play with my dish or the leftovers…here’s what some ‘mischief’ can lead to…

All the effort to get to the heart of the artichoke. Nevertheless, I’d say it’s well worth it.

Just like life isn’t it? The reward is that much sweeter when we’ve put in our fair share of hard work.

Fantasy Fridays: The Bay of Arcachon, France

For the benefit of those who are reading this blog for the first time, we had earlier decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays 🙂  A holiday every Friday! Not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo re-cap of a trip we or either one of us have taken in order to re-live our past travels and all the related memories of each trip.

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

Destination, the Bay of Arcachon. Whereabouts? A bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the Southwest of France that is located about 50+ kilometres (30+ miles) from the famous vineyards in Bordeaux. The website of the Aquitaine region of France describes the Bay of Arcachon as “first of all a geomorphologic curiosity: a bay of 15000 hectares fed both by the ocean and a large number of waterways, producing an inland sea with the colours of a lagoon, bordered on one side by a blond crown of fine sand culminating at 104 metres: the Dune du Pilat. From its summit you can also see the beautiful Landes forest.”

What all that means is that the Arcachon Bay is a perfect playground for seaside/water-based activities such as swimming, fishing and sailing as well as for those keen to visit quaint fishing/oyster-fishing villages lining the perimeter of the Bay. The likes of Bolly would prefer to luxuriate in one of the resorts in the area and spend their day doing a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. nothing whilst the likes of Chee who are keen for some adventures may wish to climb up the Dune du Pilat (Great Dune of Pyla), the largest sand dune in Europe measuring about 100 to 117 metres (328 to 340 feet) above sea level, 500 metres (1640 feet) wide and 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) long. It’s not exactly an easy climb but trust us, it’s worth the effort once you’re up there!

Feeling at home at Chez Pierre in Arcachon 🙂

Advantages of being located near to fishing/oyster-fishing villages…FRESH seafood…

Enjoying the tranquility of the Arcachon Bay…

Two ways up the Dune of Pyla…climb the dune or take the steps…

Take the steps while you can…climbing up the Dune is hard work…

Exceptional view from the top of the Dune with the Landes forest in the backdrop (and tiny tiny people)…

“The BollyChees have been here” 🙂

Bitten by the wanderlust bug yet?

🙂

(oops, publishing this slightly late on Saturday due to a technical glitch)

Fantasy Fridays: Bangkok, Thailand

We all love Fridays. After a long week of work, we wake up on Fridays with a cheerful heart, anticipating the end of the work week and the two precious days of the weekend. Lazing around, catching up on our readings, partying, visiting museums, brunch with friends… the precious 48 hours which we all wish would pass by ever so slowly. Fridays are also the start of weekend trips. The short get-aways which allow us to get out and away from where we live to explore and experience another culture, albeit within a very short timeframe.

We’ve decided to give ourselves another reason to look forward to Fridays. A vacation every Friday! Well, not exactly a real vacation every Friday but more of a photo recap of a vacation we  have taken. Re-living our past holidays and all the related memories of each trip…that lost luggage, the beauty of nature, delectable/horrible cuisine, inspiring architecture, the people we meet etc etc… All that just whets our appetite for the next trip! Ahhhh…

FANTASY FRIDAYS!

So here we go, some photos from an earlier visit to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

The primary religion in Thailand is Buddhism.  About 95% of the population adheres to Buddhism.  This is the famous Reclining Buddha (46 metres long) at the Wat Pho temple.

Facing the statue, you’ll find 108 bowls and it is said that good luck and longevity will come to those who put a coin in each of the bowls….

Walking around Wat Pho, which is also the largest temple in Bangkok…

Tiny me at the feet of the 32m standing Buddha at the Wat Intharawihan Temple…

Freedom for 90 Thai Baht (around 2.30 EUR/2.85 USD/3.65 Singapore dollars)…

Taking a ride on Thai traditional “tuk-tuks” which are motorised rickshaws.  Remember to bargin before you get in…

A must visit destination in Bangkok, the Chatuchak weekend market. It’s one of the largest in the world with about 9000 stalls.  The official Thailand tourism website states that “It is just about impossible to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market and not buy anything“…

Always be on the lookout in the Chatuchak Market. Surprises await you at every corner.

And of course, Thai cuisine! Thai Sweet sticky rice with mango (Khao Neeo Mamuang) is one of my favourite desserts…

Thai street food.  Here’s a stall serving Pad Thai – stir fried rice noodles with eggs, fish sauce, tofu, bean sprouts accompanied by either prawns or chicken – for 40 Thai Baht (1 EUR!/1.25 USD/1.60 Singapore dollars!) per plate…

Street food isn’t exactly for the faint-hearted or weak stomachs…

Though I must say that hygiene standards aside, the food is delicious!

I love people-watching…Graceful Thai dancers practising their moves, including that of flexing their fingers backwards…

This struck me as on one side, a little Thai girl is dressed up in her pretty gown while beside her, her mum/sister washes the plates for their roadside stall…

I think that’s enough fantisizing for now. Until the next “vacation”…

🙂 🙂 🙂