Wine pairing at the Brasserie Les 110 de Taillevent

On a random walkabout on Sunday, my husband and I, sans les infants, decided to detour for lunch to one of our favourite places, the brasserie of Les 110 de Taillevent.  Note: The restaurant of Les 110 is on rue Lamennais and serves more haute cuisine, with an ambiance more suitable for a more formal dining experience. The brasserie worked well on our casual detour for Sunday lunch.

The 110 is the number of wines they have available on their menu – all for your pleasure. Theirs is an ingenious way of selling their products, their truly sublime food and their many and varied wines.

Gastronomy: The River Café – Issy-les-Moulineaux

La Rentrée is almost upon us yet again, which means the restaurants are reopening, the local boulangeries are reverting to their normal hours, and the streets are once again bustling as people prepare for their start of yet another year post their summer holidays.
It has been a pleasure during the last couple of weeks being able to just turn up at restaurants – for those that remained open – and get a table. The River Café was one such treat. We made reservations, but on arrival it was clear that there was no real need to have bothered.

Places: Parc Zoologique de Paris

After renovations that lasted four years, the Paris Zoo finally re-opened its doors again last month. I took my son and a friend last Friday.
We had pre-booked our tickets online to avoid long queues but it was a surprisingly quiet day.
The zoo has undergone a €164 million overhaul which has turned it into a theme park-like space that’s been sub-divided into five biozones: Madagascar, Amazon-Guyana, Europe, Patagonia and the Sahel-Sudan – the single largest area in the zoo, and home to the animals of the African Savannah. We saw all of the big cats but missed out on the white rhino though – which was of particular interest to the boys because of it endangered status.
The zoo has been completely rebuilt and now looks less like your average zoo, and more “like Jurassic Park”, as my son put it.

Sundowners at Le Comptoir du Foie Gras, Biarritz France

One of the things we delighted in was the local custom of saving those few hours before the sun sets for tapas and sundowners. Around 7pm, the tables outside most restaurants came out onto terraces, or pavements and were quickly populated with people.  Le Comptoir du Foie Gras served up foie gras with its perfectly chilled bottles of rosé.
‘A hole in the wall’ my husband called it. A bit, but what a delightful little ‘hole in the wall it was. The tables are barrels that have been placed randomly around the bar counter.

Les Rosiers, Biarritz France

d1a1f-img_1469As if the Basque region had not been a gourmande’s delight all on its own, we found yet another gem in Biarritz where we had one of the finest meals at  Les Rosiers.
It is not on the tourist trail in the city, it was a bit of a drive from our hotel. Hidden away in the residential non-descript part of Biarritz, this was a gem of a place. Small, with an approximate seating for twenty. The service was excellent, the food was excellent, and en plus, the chef – whose feet I was ready to kiss after our meal – came out and made the tour around the restaurant meeting the patrons. It was a great evening, served up with genuine smiles and bonhomie. 

Sea, Surf and Espadrilles – A photo tour in Biarritz

There is a fairly laid back attitude among the locals in Biarritz, almost typical of most towns with a high community of surfers. We walked around discovering little corners of the town. It is not a big town, and the community spirit amongst the locals was a refreshing change from the brusqueness of the Parisians.
Every other store tempted with delights of some Basque delicacy, or pastry – leaving us with no choice but to get into the spirit of things.

Eating at the fishermen’s port at Chez Albert, Biarritz

A five hour TGV trip from Paris to Biarritz, a walk around the town for an hour or so, and we were ready for dinner just after sunset. Reservations were made by the hotel concierge at Chez Albert, and for a change I went in blindly. I have written often about striking a balance between well-rated, as per  Trip Advisor or in Michelin Guides traveller tips, and local knowledge when it comes to picking restaurants in places foreign. I let the concierge be the local knowledge in this case, or more simply the one who refers all hotel guests to Chez Albert. Who knows?  As we left the hotel though, I did a quick search on Chez Albert and read some positive reviews.