Let us never forget the good times in Paris…..

Paris is for lovers, you will breathe love as soon as you put your feet on the streets of Paris.

At first I did not get it. Paris – the fuss – the vibe. But having returned a good 10 times I can honestly say its the best city in the world….next to Sydney, but thats another story. I have so many good memories of Paris that I hardly know where to start.

Top of the pops you will find a lot of possibilities, …but my favourite is George V (Four Seasons). Everybody should be allowed to indulge in the history, the luxury and the service – the vibe – that is second to none – just once in their life. You might find better rooms in Hyatt, Zürich – more charm at Falsled Kro, Denmark, – more relaxed atmosphere in Hohe Dühne in Rostock, but the sheer level of service and attention from all staff is second to none. Add rooms of 80 sqm. plus – which over the years has been occupied by anyone from Marilyn Monroe, over Bruce Sprinsteen, to Rolling Stones or Bill Clinton  – and you will find yourself as part of history. The restaurant Le Cing (having lost it third michelin star) is still a favourite of mine. Its not cheap, bring the big wallet, but forget about the rest of the world while the staff make sure you have the time of your life. I have been disappointed way to many times with other hotels in Paris – and have you once been at George V., you dont wanna be anywhere else. It is expensive, but its the best. You are greeted throughout your stay by most staff with your sir name once you have checked in. If you do go, try their lobster club sandwich in the bar or in the tea room, last time it clocked in at around 60 euro. Add a glass of wine or Champagne for 25,- and you are on a roll.

Heres a few shots to get you going…

The lobby...

The Tea room, have a piece of cake or a Lobster sandwich!

Sleep tight...

Getting around in Paris

The problem with such a huge city is that you are only there for a few days, and there is SO much to see. I hate subways/metro. Too many people, being underground, finding the way, Im just not a metro person. I shall introduce you to two very different ways of travelling Paris.

The best 200 eur I ever spend was when I booked a private limousine/driver with Baron´s Limousine – google it. I opted for the “Paris by Night” version and upgraded the tour with a nice chilled Chardonnay which came at 20 eur extra. The English speaking driver, asked for requests as in regard to what we wanted to see. We requested the Eiffel Tower which explodes in lights every evening at 8 pm, and after that we let him choose the tour. And what a ride he gave us. To see all these old and illuminated buildings – with stops – would NEVER have been possible by metro or foot. The drivers storytelling and charm was amazing. The hours flew away. As I said, best money ever spend. Do not book the stretch limousine as we did, it prevents you from going “deep” into some areas.

The limousine in front of Notre Dame - one of many stops.

If you think thats too much money (you are wrong off course – but given the crisis I can understand) – and luckily there is a very well functioning alternative. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to experience Paris is on a hop on hop off Paris bus tour, which stops at all the must-sees, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Montmartre.”

Check it out and book directly here –

http://www.localparistours.com/paris-hop-on-hop-off-bus

http://www.isango.com/france-tours/paris-tours/paris-sightseeing-hop-on-hop-off-tour_3733

Paris offers so many different areas, different styles, different vibes, my favourite places is the obvious Montmartre and the busy ChampsÉlysées. Dont forget the Latin Quarter.

Paris, Bruce Springsteen and I

Now I am a huge Bruce fan and, I have been lucky to watch 5 shows over the years in Paris, twice solo in 1997, with the E. Street Band in 2002, again solo in 2005, and with the Seeger Sessions Band in 2006. My family and I have met Bruce and Patti twice in Paris, heres the best shots from those encounters.

The missus, Oscar and Bruce Springsteen

Yours truly with beautiful Patti Scialfa !

Thank you Bruce and Patti. Rock on.

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Fraser´s Restaurant – Perth – 31 March 2010

Having been to Perth 4 times, this time we finally managed to visit one of Perth´s most famous restaurant. Chris Taylor and his team is known to cook fish to perfection.

The restaurant is situated on top of the hill in the beautiful King´s Park. With stunnings views over the city. Normally you can sit outside as well, but this was a chilly night.

We had high exepectations and was greeted ever so friendly and shown to our table in what turned out to be a very huge room – very crowded – with a level of noice I have never heard anywhere else in a restaurant – it was as loud as to a rock concert, and conversation was almost impossible. We later asked the waiter, and he confimed, yeah it was a loud evening, they had two big tables tonight…but the way the room was constructed and with the number of tables they had managed to put into the room, I would imagine most evenings being very much the same.

But as for the food…we had…

Apple smoked Trout with Fennel Lavoshe & Mustard Cress

Very nice with the apple touch… 8.5 (10)

Chargrilled field Mushroom, Watercress & Tomato Salad

Not really impressive  7 (10)

Grilled lobster with a VERY spicy lime/chili sauce.

Very nice, grilled to perfection, fantastic tasting sauce 9.5 (10)

Grilled Fillet of Barramundi with Chickpea Puree & brown Butter

Flawless if not surpricing 8 (10)

Char grilled Waygu Sirloin with red wine jus

Stunning piece of meat, marble score grade 5 – I love the onions that way….9(10)

No desserts were possible from our side….

Conclusion:

Very good level of food. The young male waiter, was very very friendly, even if stressed. We had to wait a long time for the wines, – we chose Moss Wood – first a bottle of Chardonnay and after that a Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The Chardonnay was stunning.  The head waiter seemed very stressed and was hardly smiling. I noted this to our waiter, and shortly after as if by magic, he came to our table, smiling, asking etc. Better late than never lol.

My rating for this visit: Ambience 2,5p (5) Service 3,5p (5) Food/Wine 8.5p (10) : Score 14.5p out of 20.

What killed a perfect evening was the fact that it was more noisy than a train station and that there were some flaws in the service. I had to take a picture of my glass of water. The young female waiter decided to empty the bottle – leaving me with a glass I could hardly move without spilling….take a look…

A LOT of water.

Still, we had a great night, …and left with this view of the city:

Moon over Perth, view from Fraser´s Restaurant

http://www.frasersrestaurant.com.au/

A new boy in town…Restaurant La Cristallerie – Hôtel Le Place d’Armes – 15 May 2010

A little while ago this hotel was build and finalized to the apparently highest of standards in dead center Luxembourg. The reception gives one a cool modern welcome. Behind there is even a small patio/garden for a quiet moment away from the busy Place d´Armes. The hotel offer both a Brasserie with tables inside or outside on the square – or the chosen La Cristallerie which is situated inside on the first floor.

My good friend Jerome and I had a booking at 12.00 and we arrived on time, took the lift and we were shown to the table by the friendly staff. There was a City Marathon going on later in the afternoon, so we planned to be out before that.

The room is VERY classic and somewhat old fashioned and we did in fact laugh at several of the choices made in regard to decor etc. We opted for the big menu that came at around 85 Euro and ordered some nice bottles. The wine list had a reasonable size with lots of Bordeaux bottles and less Burgundy.

And then the waiting began.  The waiting was in the beginning “disturbed” by the waiter who around 12.20 decided to put flowers on the table – or remembered that he had forgotten. I think the first wine came around 12.25 just before the amuse.  Around 13.00 we still had not had anything else than the amuse.

During the stay two other couples arrived, so the restaurant was far from busy.

So we had…

I seriously have forgot what the appetizer was, pea soup (?). NOT very interesting to say the least.

Fois Gras, flawless, but the Gel was tasteless.

Best dish of the day….Lobster in a very nice creamy and light shellfish crustade.

Second best dish of the day, Turbot with mushrooms, I forgot the sauce, was it butter and some kind of citrus taste.

Normally this is on top of my list…Lamb with vegetables a la Provence. The sauce was ok, the lamb and the veggies boring at best. The green crust on the lamb chops was not very well done.

A nice selection of cheese was brought and I chose the above. I had to ask extra for the walnuts as the waiter forgot to offer them.

The dessert speaks for itself, I cannot tell you what it was. Crunchy plates with chocolate creme, orange marmelade (!) or was it abricot.

The two first bottles…to forget about the boring food, we ordered another bottle of Bordeaux.

Now at this point it was 3 pm. My cell pone rang, the missus told me that the police had just called and inquired to the owner of a certain vehicle ! – mine. Due to the Marathon – they just wanted to inform that would I not move it like NOW, they would. So instead of just tossing your car away, the police calls you.…THATS customer service and something the staff at this certain restaurant should learn from. I cannot say that the service was bad. But we know that their goal is to achieve a michelin star, and in order to get that, in my book you need to be inspired both in the kitchen and in the service. And to not be ready for what seemed like a empty restaurant, and to put flowers on the table 20 min. after opening hour instead of before is jut a no go.

Conclusion:

I would not add La Cristallerie to the other tourist traps on Place d´Armes, it was not bad as in BAD but it was just very very boring. And nothing that I could not have produced on a good day in my kitchen. Some of the dishes should never have been on the table, at least partly not.

I can only recommend the people behind the service and kitchen to visit Babette in Denmark (0 star) and Sölleröd Kro (1 star !!!!) and they must realize that they are worlds away from any kind of recognition in that respect. There is just no compare, not really.

Rating for this visit: Food 5(10) – Service 2.5(5), Ambience 2.5(5) – Total score 10