Le Kim Chi, Ottawa

Le Kim Chi, Ottawa

My favorite Ottawa Korean joint, for non Korean BBQ dishes, is Le Kim Chi. This is our go-to place if we are craving something easy, casual, fairly healthy and something with an Asian twist that is not a pho noodle house.

The wait staff at Le Kim Chi is extremely friendly, and helpful with the menu. They've made it a pleasant experience everytime we've dined here.

When CK and I come here, we pretty much order the same thing everytime. I have my dish and he has his. I hmmm and hawwww everytime debating whether or not I should try something different, but why fix it if it ain't broke, right?

Every meal always starts with a salad with strawberries, and the house special pineapple dressing. It's a little sweet and a little tangy, a unique taste.

Salad with Pineapple Dressing
Salad with Pineapple Dressing

Like any traditional Korean meal, you also start with a selection of small side dishes. The kim chi and pickled radish is pretty much what you see everytime but the third dish varies. This time, we had salad with corn and mild creamy dressing. You can ask for more of any of these dishes free of charge.

Korean Side Dishes
Korean Small Side Dishes

My go-to dish is the dooboo kim chi chi ge: tofu kim chi stew stewed with aged kim chi and served in a hot pot. I absolutely love kim chi, love tofu, and love anything spicy! What can be more perfect? If you're not a tofu fan, you can get this stew with pork or tuna. The stew is served with a bowl of rice that you mix in with the stew.

Spicy Tofu Soup
Dooboo Kim Chi Chi Ge

CK loves bibimbap, so that is what he gets. Bibimbap is a lot of fun to say, but it is also very tasty! It's basically a hot stone bowl filled with rice, seasonal veggies, beef, and an egg yolk cracked on top. A dish of blended red chili sauce is also served on the side. While the bowl is hot, stir everything together to further cook the yolk and rice and enjoy! By the time you get to the bottom of the bowl, you get bits of crunchy rice (from the heat from the bowl) that is a lot of fun to eat. The texture change is something that appeals to most Asians.

Bibimbap
Bibimbap

The bibimbap comes with a bowl of miso soup.

Miso Soup
Miso Soup

For dessert, CK and I shared the ggae gwa ja, Korean sesame cookies. They are simply toasted black and white sesame seeds rolled in honey, and they taste just like sesame snaps.

Korean Sesame Cookies
Korean Sesame Cookies

If I were to try something different, I would go for the galbi jjim: a braised beef short ribs stew seasoned with sake ginger soy sauce...a dish highly recommended by one of the waitresses!

Le Kim Chi
420 Preston Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: 613-233-2433

Le Kim Chi on Urbanspoon

Blind Lady Ale House, San Diego

Beer menu at Blind Lady

I need to thank my friend Lisa for showing me a very cool side of San Diego. My initial impression of San Diego was that it was conservative and quiet. Boy was I wrong! Lisa introduced me to pockets of cool neighborhoods like Normal Heights where there was funk and a great sense of community.

On my last visit to San Diego, she introduced me to the Blind Lady Ale House, a super awesome local beer and pizza joint. Blind Lady prides themselves on top notch quality beer and food, and specializes in draft beer. They offer 26 on tap that change often, and the majority of the ingredients used in their food is certified organic and locally grown.

What I loved about this place was that it was more than just a restaurant. It was a place for friends, families, and the community to come together and connect. For breast cancer awareness month, they had vendors and educators come in to teach about breast cancer and raise money for it.

Here are some of the goodies that we left with:

Keep a Breast

And here is Lisa who is learning all about breast cancer and how to detect it early :) For those who don't know, Lisa owns an awesome organic popsicle shop not far from Blind Lady Ale House called Viva Pops.

Lisa from Viva Pops

I'm normally not a beer fan, but I was loving the different beers I got to try. My favorite was the strawberry beer...very girly!

Beer

To go with our beer, we ordered a bunch of pizzas to share. First one was the Crows butternut squash pizza with shiitake mushrooms, besciamella, Fontina, sage, and lemon zest.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Pizza
Crows Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushroom Pizza

We also had the quattro formaggi loaded with Gorgonzola Piccante, Fontina, Pecorino Romano, Smoked Mozzerella, olive oil, and garlic

Quattro Formaggi Pizza
Quattro Formaggi Pizza

And lastly, a delicious ham, pear, and chive pizza!

Pear and Ham Pizza
Ham, Pear, and Chive Pizza

I also got to meet Tuesday, a very memorable charismatic little girl who is going to be a politician one day. She may have been the smallest person there, but she was skillfully schmoozin with anyone and everyone in the restaurant!!

Blind Lady Ale House

Blind Lady Ale House has also been featured in Draft Magazine's America's Top 100 Beer Bars, 2 years in a row!

Blind Lady Ale House
3416 Adams Avenue
San Diego, California, USA
Telephone: 619-255-2491
Blind Lady Ale House on Urbanspoon

Eurostar Train Meal - London to Paris

English Breakfast

Travelling from London to Paris, I decided to take the Eurostar train instead of the plane. The price was cheaper going by train, you don't have to go through the hassle of airport security, and the thought of going through the chunnel was really cool to me!

Paris Gare Du Nord
Paris Gare du Nord

Not knowing when I would be able to do this again, I decided to go all out and travel business class. I'm a sucker for the business class lounges...who doesn't want to feel pamperd and be able to relax over free food, coffee, and magazines before travelling?

The Eurostar menu was designed closely with Alain Roux, chef patron at the 3 Michelin star reastaurant, Waterside Inn in Bray near Windsor.

There were two choices for breakfast. I decided to go with the English breakfast: an herb omelette with a chicken herb sausage, mushrooms, roast tomato, and bubble & squeak. The chicken herb sausage was really good! The rest was good but tasted like any other airline meal.

English Breakfast
English Breakfast

The second option was organic ham with red Leicester, and homemade raisin loaf.

Ham and Cheese
Organic Ham, Red Leicester, and Homemade Raisin Loaf

All breakfasts also came with bread, pastries, organic yogurt, orange juice, and your choice of wine, hot chocolate, tea, or coffee.

Roger La Grenouille, Paris

Roger La Grenouille

We got to celebrate Super J's boyfriends's fabulous birthday while in Paris. They wanted to go to a traditional French restaurant that night, so we headed to Roger La Grenouille, or Roger the Frog...what a cute name! This restaurant has been in service for over 80 years, and the decor of the place really shows it.

As the name implies, Roger La Grenouille specializes in frogs...more specifically frog's legs. They serve 9 different frog leg dishes organized in 3 sections: classical, creation, and original savours. Classical frog legs include Provençale (sliced garlic & parsley), and creamy white wine sauce with chives. Creation comes in flavors like "Niçoise" (candied lemon, dried tomatoes, and black olives), and "Grenobloise" (capers, fried bread cubes, and lemon juice). Original savours have an international twist combining ingredients like tandoori, fresh mint, and chorizo.

There are hints of the frog theme beyond what is offered on the menu like this toilet paper holder in the washroom. When Super J saw it, she made me go in and take a photo. Haha.

Frog Toilet Paper Holder
Frog Toilet Paper Holder

Our meal started with a dish mini olives, and a dish of radish and butter.

Radish and Butter
Radish and Butter
   
As an appetizer, we ordered a big plate of juicy Burgundy Snails to share. They were smothered in butter and herbs, and were probably the best escargots I had ever had! I couldn't help but soak my bread in the butter sauce when we were finished.

Burgundy Snails
Burgundy Snails
  
Of course, we couldn't come to Roger La Grenouille without trying the frog's legs. We decided to order off the Original Savours section, and chose the "Andalouse" frog legs. This was a plate of meaty frog's legs tossed with chorizo sausage, piquillo peppers, candied lemons, and basil. The flavor combination was fantastic, and the addition of candied lemons was a nice way to balance the salty chorizo sausage. After the escargots and frog legs, I wished I had ordered more of each!

Andalouse Frog Legs
"Andalouse" Frog Legs

For my main meal, I ordered the "aioli" roasted cod with vegetables. The fish was cooked very nicely, but the entire meal was a bit bland...especially after all the butter, sausages, and candied lemons in the previous dishes.

Roasted Cod
"Aioli" Roasted Cod and Vegetables

 Super J ordered the poached chicken breast with creamy lemon sauce. What beautiful presentation!

Poached Chicken with Lemon Sauce
Poached Chicken Breast with Creamy Lemon Sauce

The birthday boy ordered the seared rib steak of 350g. This was served with home made "Béarnaise" sauce, and french fries. We loved the way the fries were served...reminded us of Jenga building blocks!

Rib Steak
Seared Rib Steak

For dessert, Super J and I shared the strawberry salad, coconut cake, and fresh mint ice cream. It was a great way to end our meal.
Coconut Cake and Strawberries
Coconut Cake, Strawberry Salad, and Fresh Mint Ice Cream

This is a very charming restaurant with the full French experience. Next time, I am going to indulge in just the escargots and frog legs over a nice bottle of wine!

Roger La Grenouille
26-28 Rue des Grands Augustins
75006 Paris, France
Telephone: 01 56 24 24 34

Nouveau Village Chez Momo, Paris

Le Nouveau Village, Paris

When I got word that my REALLY REALLY good friend, Super J was in Paris, my priority was to meet up with her. We had agreed to meet up at the Saint-Michel fountain, and when we saw each other, we started screaming while hugging and dancing around in circles. I swear, it was like a scene in the movies!

She was in  Paris with a group of friends, and before we joined the group, we decided to grab a quick drink, just the two of us, to catch up. When we finally got caught up on one year's worth of juicy gossip, we headed to Le Nouveau Village in the Latin Quarter.

Although a very touristy restaurant (given the location), Le Nouveau Village serves great Moroccan food! They also offer a free aperitif, which is what lured everyone into the restaurant in the first place :)

The three boys felt like they had something to prove, and decided to order the biggest meal on the menu: the couscous royal for three. It was a massive plate of warm couscous, a massive plate of meats that included meat balls, mutton, chicken, hot sausage, and lamb chops, and a huge bowl of sauce with veggies. The couscous was cooked very nicely, and the meat was well...meaty! :)

Couscous Royal
Couscous Royal

Us three ladies were so turned off by the amount of food the guys ordered that we all avoided anything with couscous.

I ordered the tagine au poulet et amandes, the chicken and almond tagine. The tagine was absolutely delicious! The crunchy almonds went perfectly with the chicken and the sauce was seasoned very nicely...a highly recommended dish.

Tagine with Chicken and Almonds
Tagine au Poulet et Amandes

Super J ordered tagine au poulet, olives, et citrons: tagine with chicken, olives, and lemon. Also a really good choice.

Tagine with Chicken, Olives, and Lemon
Tagine au Poulet, Olives, et Citrons

K stuck with a vegetarian option and ordered the tagine au legumes. If you're a veggie fan, order this one!

Vegetable Tagine
Tagine au Legumes

We had a great evening of fun and laughs. It's always fun meeting new friends over great food.

Nouveau Village Chez Momo
9 Rue Xavier Privas
75005 Paris, France
Telephone: 01 43 29 75 92

Le Pré Aux Clercs, Paris

Le Pre Aux Clercs, Paris

Destination after London was Paris! One of my favorite cities in the world. Lucky me.

In the last few years, I've really come to understand how important friendships are. I've been trying hard to keep in touch with everyone that has touched my life in a meaningful way. While CK can get annoyed because it means more time spent on my phone or laptop, the upside is that there are more people to connect with while travelling! And that's exactly what happened in Paris.

This trip to Paris was a fun one. I had a few groups of friends who were also in Paris the same week so I got to catch up with a lot of people!

My first stop was at Le Pré Aux Clercs in St. Germain. The beauty about this place is that it is right across the street from Ladurée. I was in dire need of macarons that day. As always, the line up was insanely long. We snagged a seat on the terrace of Le Pré Aux Clercs so that I could monitor the line up at Ladurée, and run over when the line died down.

La Duree, Paris
Ladurée Shop

While waiting for the perfect time to pop over to Ladurée, we decided to eat. I had La Niçoise Salad, a salad of tuna, anchovies, tomatoes, olives, sweet peppers and hard boiled egg.

Salada Nicoise
Niçoise Salad

Y had never had a croque-monsieur, so we encouraged her to try it. It was delicious...the thick layer of Gruyere on top made all the difference!

Croque Monsieur
Croque-Monsieur

JW had the Margret de Canard Façon "Bistrot", grilled duck breast in Parisian tradition with herbs and mashed potatoes.

Steak and Potatoes
Margret de Canard Façon "Bistrot"

In the middle of my meal, I did get a chance to run over to Ladurée, and the three of us shared my macarons for dessert :)

Le Pré Aux Clercs
30 Rue Bonaparte
75006 Paris, France
Telephone: 01 43 54 41 73