Monday, August 6, 2012

Touch in Paris

So we were all getting hungry after the events of the morning and decided to roam the streets of Paris for some lunchy-munchy.

And the first thing we did was to have an argument on what to eat. Duh, French food should be the obvious choice. We just landed in Paris!!!!! My mother, on the other hand, was extremely loyal to Chinese food and would vote for it at any given opportunity. My dad couldn't care less so long as he didn't go hungry (although deep down inside I knew he was partial to Chinese food).

I won the argument at last and we settled for this place:

Touch in Paris, a little restaurant nested in the quiet back lanes of Champ-Elysees.

I mean, I wanted French food and you just simply can't go wrong with a name like this right? Besides, we really needed a reprieve from the summer heat. It was about 34degrees out.

The bar and restaurant oozes of French charm.

A cozy touch: collage of pictures make up the feature wall while a chalkboard displays the specials

A well laid out table. Only thing it needs now is food.

I was half right about the name, but everyone won. In addition to French cuisine, there was fusion French-Asian food available as well. Plus, it really wasn't that cool inside. There was no aircon. It dawned on me then and there that most of these places don't have aircon because it was cold most of the time. I guess that means they love to melt in Summer.

Hard rolls were served up first, along with our Evian water and my dad's beer.

Tap water wasn't an option at all, and beer is actually cheaper than water. So much for being healthy. One other thing to note. In France, they serve their baguettes just like that. Don't expect any butter or olive oil to go with your bread. I did love these hard rolls though, they were crisp but not hard, and soft and fluffy on the inside. Yummm.

An English menu was presented to us upon request, and through several hand gestures and laughs, we managed to communicate with the friendly waiter who spoke a little English.

The parents ordered Vietnamese rice wrap with smoked salmon, fresh mango, ginger, coriander and organic bean sprouts and a lobster salad with mango vinaigrette and fresh mango.

(I apologize for the lack of food pictures. The food got attacked before my camera even had a chance.)

I went for Ravioles du Royan in chicken and black truffle jus as a starter, along with cod on risotto as a main course. 

And unlike *ahem* others, I had some self-restrain. 

 Ravioles du Royan is a traditional French dish not to be confused with its Italian counterpart Ravioli.

 I have never been a big fan of cheese or French food, but this dish really took it home. The herb and cheese stuffing was well balanced and not overly cheesy - something I'd really hate. This generous portion filled me up pretty quickly and I had to enlist the help of my parents to finish off my next dish.

Perfectly pan seared cod topped the mountainous portion of creamy risotto

The cod risotto (I confess, I forgot what the fancy name was) was even better. The sweet flavour of the cod blended well with the medley of toppings and the risotto. Fish was always a dangerous choice to me because I'm really picky but this was one of the best fish choices I made so far.

Well, how the hell was I supposed to know the portions were so huge. Pretentious French food always boasted of ridiculously miniscule portions that left you so hungry you'd eat a $3 plate of chicken rice after your $500 per pax 7-course French meal. But then again, this place oozes of love for food. Mainly mine though. The food was fresh, flavours, awesome and everything was affordable. Almost all dishes we ordered was less than 15euros except for the lobster salad and the cod risotto.

Totally stuffed, it was time to hit the streets of Paris again.

First impressions of Paris

I like to travel alot, but travelling isn't always super fun.
This 12 hour flight from Singapore to Paris was one I’ve been dreading for a long time. It was twelve hours of confinement. Sure, you get food, and even in flight entertainment. But it was still 12 hours of sitting down, doing mostly nothing but hearing children scream, and others snore. 
I slept like a baby most of the flight and when I woke up, I saw a beautiful vista of the world passing by. Wow. Really, it was awesome.
Sunrise from the plane

The hours flew by and we were soon on solid ground. Bonjour Paris! 
We went through customs and headed straight to rent a car. Or rather, we wanted to.
“Madame, we have no work to do here. There are no cars,” one of the guys told my mom.
Huh? Apparently, summertime in Europe is peak period, so you don’t really expect to turn up and get a car without booking online. Like us. 
There were several things running through my mind. The most dominant thought was "Oh. Shit. What are we gonna do without our freaking car?"
Eventually we got one at Hertz. One that could fit all our luggage. It cost a freakin bomb (2700 euros) for 2 weeks. Seriously, that's expensive shit even by my standards, and I'm really not one to save.

Tadah! Our lovely companion for the next two weeks.
 And so there, we were raring to get into Paris! Murphy, however, had some other ideas.
I flipped on TomTom my best friend and started to program the hotel address into the GPS. Except that the only options showed were Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.
WTF???? I downloaded that bloody Europe map and paid 60pounds for that shit! Don't tell me you didn't get it! After threatening to condemn TomTom to a dusty eternity in the storeroom of Singapore, he finally came to live and switched over to Europe time. He was probably jet-lagged too.
According to TomTom, it would take us 35mins to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Champs-Élysées. Well, he was wrong.
It took us two fucking hours, and we moved bumper to bumper every inch of the way! If you ever fly to Paris, heed my advice, don’t ever travel to the city during peak hours in the morning!


No, all these cars aren't parked. It's a jam smack in front of the St Magdalene Church. 

OK so we eventually reached our hotel, which had no parking lots. And no drop off bays. And a bus lane right in front of the hotel.


After the chaos of finding a place to unload luggage, trying to get horrendously heavy luggage across the cobblestone layered street and finally parking the car, we got the hotel room without any broken backs. Well I guess that’s why they call it luggage. You lug them like mad.
PS: You may be wondering why the hell luggage was so heavy when we just arrived. The answer is simple: Mom was travelling with us .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

flavours of life

Hello! I hope that this blog will be a diary of my travelscapes and food trips. I currently live in Singapore and Perth, Western Australia, two very very different places.

I love sunny Singapore for the awesome city that it is, but you can find breathtaking sights like no other in WA!

If you are a food and travel lover, you would probably be interested in some of my later posts. I am on a never-ending journey for awesome food and holidays, so stay tuned!