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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Le Grillon des Salines in Dieuze, France


On Wednesday afternoons, SO has no school and MR and I usually don't work as well. Because we are usually invited out on weekends, Wednesday afternoons have become our "family day out time". But because it is winter, there isn't much to do outside or activities going on. One of our best family times have started with a car, a full tank, and the desire to explore. Today, our desire brought us to Le Grillon des Salines in Dieuze, France. A cozy French boulangerie / patisserie that is well known in the area to be a really good place for people craving sweets. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mussels in a Buttery Oyster Sauce


I found this recipe online a couple of months ago from the website: Ang Sarap (click here and I just fell in love!!! <3  I had a pack of raw mussels and I wasn't sure what to do with it. I've only ever had mussels in 4 ways - the French-style Moules Marinieres and in the Philippines, Baked Tahong, Mussels with Coconut Milk, and Tinolang Tahong. But this time, I was in the mood to try something new and this recipe totally did it for me. The combination of butter + garlic + oyster sauce was a very very pleasant surprise and I couldn't believe that I didn't know about this sooner. But just like they say, it's better late then never and this one has been added to my list of favorites!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lafayette Cafe in Galeries Lafayette, Metz France


We stumbled upon Lafayette Cafe a year ago while we were shopping in Galeries Lafayette in Metz, France. We were on the top floor looking at house appliances on one side and I wondered why there was a room full of people on the other. I never would have thought to find a restaurant up there, so I just had to try it! If Dad was still alive, I'd say there were big chances we'd come back here. But now that he's gone, I wonder if we would. I guess it was more about the fact that it was convenient to drop our shopping bags and dine here when we had Dad in his wheelchair rather than the quality of the food. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. I mean, sure it's a cafeteria-style kind of restaurant, but it's clearly on another level than the other cafeteria-style restaurants in town. Not just from the price, but also the way the food was served and prepared. We ate about 3 times here and there's definitely been no complaints. But now that it's just the 3 of us, I'm thinking I'd probably want to get out and explore.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dame Blanche


My pursuit for the perfect Dame Blanche led me right back at home. After trying it here, here, here, and here, I thought to myself that if I wanted to have anything close to the first Dame Blanche I had in my life, I just had to recreate it myself. La Dame Blanche / The White Lady has nothing to do with the so-called night apparitions. This is one of the most simple desserts ever and one of my favorites. All you need to make this is Vanilla ice cream, Chocolate Fudge Sauce, and Whipped Cream. Adding chopped nuts is optional (I like it, MR not so much). But what makes a perfect Dame Blanche for me is the way it is served, which is really why I always come back to the first Dame Blanche I had. Up to the age of 14/15 years old, I had no idea what a Dame Blanche was. Then a French restaurant opened in Cebu, Philippines and that changed everything for me. The restaurant, Chez Lucie, invited their guests to try their Dame Blanche and I was hooked. No matter how well I ate, I always always had a place for my ice cream combo. And I'll always remember the way it was served. One waitress first brought my bowl of vanilla ice cream, another followed with the bottle of homemade whipped cream, and the third waitress with the chocolate sauce quickly came along with an "excuse me Ma'am, please be careful, the chocolate sauce is really hot". I first thought it odd, but when I had my first spoonful of the cold and hot combo, I found myself slapping my forehead.

How good something so simple bring me so much joy???

Friday, February 14, 2014

Celebrating 50 years of blissful marriage!


First of all, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!! While many will argue that this is yet another hallmark-made holiday, I like to spend the day greeting friends and families. That's just me. But this isn't really a special day for MR and I because for us Valentine's day is not just on the 14th of February, but everyday. This year, my husband and I had wild plans of waking up early, spending the day working until late at night, picking up SO from my sister's, making a quick dinner, taking off all our clothes, wearing our pajamas, and going to sleep early. The best part of my day - seeing my love first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kare-Kare


Making Kare-Kare for dinner was a huge risk because chances were I would be the only one to eat it. Ever since I met MR, he has always been vocal about not liking Kare-Kare. He never said why, but I'm thinking he must have had a bad batch sometime during his childhood. I didn't grow up eating Kare-Kare at home either nor was it a dish we ordered at restaurants. I must have tried it once or twice, but the dish really never stood out. But as the days came closer to my date of departure 2 years ago, I found myself often thinking of Kare-Kare and wondering to myself if I was missing out on something great. Leaving a country does that to you I guess. Luckily for me, MR arranged a surprise goodbye party before I left and Kare-Kare was one of the dishes on the menu. This was in Kaona Grill in Cebu, Philippines and anyone who knows the place knows that Kaona Grill is famously known for their Crispy Kare-Kare (click here for the post). This was the perfect Kare-Kare initiation for me and MR. Unfortunately, this had me craving for it, which was bearable until last Friday when I finally put my foot down and went shopping at the Asian store to get as many available products as possible to make my recipe. I was gonna make it that evening, but there was no time, then we were invited on Saturday night, and I didn't have enough time again on Sunday. It's a vicious circle. So finally I said, rain or shine, I'm making it for dinner on Monday!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wok d'Orient in Libramont-Chevigny, Belgium


Last October, we took a little mid-week trip to Belgium to visit my niece, MO. MO is a nursing student in a little town called Libramont-Chevigny in Belgium. She is on her second year already and has adapted well to her new life there. In the past months, we discussed about the possibility of us coming up to see her and we were so excited. But there was always something that prevented us to do it, mostly with Dad. But Dad was admitted the weekend before and I thought it would work out perfectly if we left on Tuesday afternoon for an overnight stay. Since, SO doesn't have school on Wednesday, she wouldn't miss any classes.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Crepe Batter / Pate a Crepes


I've always made my crepes with my fool-proof recipe (click here for the recipe), but a couple of weeks ago, I found another recipe that looked interesting. It was in one of those supermarket brochures we receive weekly. What changes from my recipe is that it uses butter instead of oil. And it doesn't have sugar so it was perfect for the Smoked Salmon Crepes (click here for the post) I made!

Smoked Salmon Crepes / Crepes au Saumon Fume


In keeping with the theme of La Chandeleur and Crepes, I thought I'd make savory ones instead of sweet for a change. And my favorite of favorites are Smoked Salmon Crepes. This was almost always present as an entree back when Dad would host lunch / dinner parties at home. And although I've tasted different savory crepes since then, the Smoked Salmon ones remains on the top for me. The first time I made Smoked Salmon Crepes on my own was last May when we celebrated SO's fete. I had everything ready and on-hand thinking I would blog about it, but when I finally took the dish out of the oven to be served, I completely forgot to take a photo! Toinks! Sadly, that isn't the first time this has happened.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sweet and Sour Chicken


The day I lost almost everything in my life, my sister looked me in the eye and told me that soon everything would turn around and be fine again. I looked back at her, not sure if I felt the same way. The good days just seemed so far away. But today, several weeks after, these days just don't seem so far away anymore. SO perfectly fits in her new school with her new teacher and friends. She is a healthy, smart, and understanding 5 year old who is on her way to "big school". MR is MR. Loving, loyal, and a good partner. We argue regularly, but we also make up within minutes of the fight. We have a roof on top of our head, we live in a heated house, we eat 3 times a day and naughtily in between meals too, and we laugh and enjoy our time together. We don't have the most recent smartphones and we don't go out as often as we used to, but I'm satisfied with my life right now. And as for me personally, I'm starting a new job. It's not what I thought I would be doing a year ago, but I'm thinking it might be even better! So today, I woke up super happy. So happy that I thought I'd spread my happiness to others, starting with my husband. And how do I make MR happy? Through his stomach with one of his favorites, Sweet and Sour Chicken!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Crepe Party for La Chandeleur


Hi!!!  Today we are celebrating "La Chandeleur" in France. If you don't know what that is, here's a post I wrote last year with a short explanation. Click here for the post. Crepes are always a crowd favorite, so there's really no need for an excuse to make them, but I'm thinking a lot of people had crepes tonight. If anything, the empty flour section at the store was a clear indicator. I have a great recipe for crepes, which has never failed me, but I wanted something new tonight. Not feeling like doing anything tedious on this relaxing Sunday, I told myself, how about borrowing my sister's, DO, crepe party machine. Basically, it's a tabletop apparatus that makes smaller than usual crepes. I thought it would be pretty cool to let SO make her own crepe!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Steak Tartare


I won't lie - I wasn't born with an undying love for Steak Tartare. It is raw beef, after all! This was one of Dad's ultimate favorites, but he never really forced me to try it. At a young age, I decided I would try it all on my own, a quick forkful from Dad's plate. It wasn't bad, but it definitely needed adjusting to. It's not a dish I would eat frequently. Mainly because you need to use the freshest meat and eggs possible!

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