Lameloise, Chagny – 26 June 2011

Had a rough start going to Bourgogne this time. Trip was postponed a day, due to a shortly announced school show performance of Oscar, and litterally minutes before leaving I smashed my car coming back from the baker. First accident in around 30 years, and no-one to blame but myself.

We arrived in Beaune – safely in the old Volvo – and were greeted by blue sky and 27 degrees. The day was spent, calming the nerves with Meursault, with good Friends Jörg and Sus, who had decided to join us for the following days big lunch at Lameloise. It would be their first visit to Lameloise, my 11th or so.

Chagny is a small dull village but on any Sunday, the town center is extended and filled with a market AND A LOT OF PEOPLE. If you ever in the area dont miss this market – nor Lameloise.

Some shots from Chagny go get you started

The Town Hall

Onions anyone ? All kinds....

Old friends enjoying a good morning discussion, what was the topic you wonder, Greece ? Sarkozy ? We will never know.

The reason for our visit...

With such a great Maison and entrance it is difficult not to have your hopes way up in the sky for an extraordinary culinary feast. We were greeted warmly with recognition by some of the staff, the sommelier, the elderly waiter and off course soon after Frederic Lamy came to our table and personally asked the boys who were Oscar and who were Emil. Nice touch, and something that always work in my book. Monsieur Lamy has an elegant style, but with a down-to-earth touch that makes him come over as a genuine warm person that I am sure has an eye on every table – and waiter. During the meal he passed our table a few times, and was increasingly impressed about the boys good behavior. Even though Emil was a bit ill, they both did a fine job, and severeal issues did inded make proud parents on this “Lazy Sunday afternoon”.

I shall not give you a break-down of all the dishes this time, but just note that the menu this time was de facto flawless. Gluten free bread was offered through-out the meal to the missus. The amuses had a gluten free version for her as well. A minor mistake were that they had forgotten or not noted my information that she is semi-vegetarian (no meat) – so the first version had to be changed – which were done without a fuss and rather quickly.

Wines were ordered…a Rully 1. Cru from Jacqueson 2009, lovely crisp, followed by a Chassagne Montrachet 2003 – damn I forgot the producer, but I got a big smile from the sommelier, a smile to show me he loved my choice. And later on we had another Chassagne Montrachet from 2006, all whites – all PERFECT whites.

Amuses 1

Langoustines Chaud & Froid

A highlight for all of us. The best dish of the day. Simply stunning.

Blanc de Turbot, with rhubarbe and sabayon moutarde

The Sabayon FANTASTIC, the fish cooked perfect. The rhubarbe adding a nice twist to the dish. The razor mussels…..well they will never be my favourites.

Homard Bleu, with artichokes and tarragon

Great dish, I love lobster and with the creme of potatoes, just like I learned to cook it at Clairefontaine. Second best dish of the menu.

Veau de lait Limousin, with Girolles

Great dish, the veak cooked to perfection. After having had less succes with veal elsewhere lately, its nice when you are finally presented with a great cooked piece. The girolles, very tasty. A great and very classic dish.

The cheese trolley...

All sections and some cheese nicely presented. And this is what landed on my plate according to my wishes…

Say "Cheese"

Pre-dessert - Crumble

Pre-dessert - sweets

My choice of dessert - Pommes & Passion

Astrid's choice - Chocolate, raspberry...

Last round....

Emil not up for being shot at this point....

My conclusion:

It is always good to be spoiled at Lameloise. And I doubt that anyone will leave disappointed or hungry. The service at this visit was top-notch – flawless, the small room with three tables simply cosy. The food classic but this time with some fresh new touches.

You feel like a king at all times. The gluten allergy was almost treated as good as it could have been. At least an effort was made, and that was nice to experience. I asked by a copy of a chldrens cooking book by Eric Pras, exhibited at the entrance. It was duly signed with a message to Oscar and Emil, and – hey – put on the bill – but for the prize of 0. I thank you for that, and note that the personal touch was just what I had hoped for when requesting the dedication.

I think our good friends felt the trip was more than worthwhile. I dont know what impressed them more – the behaving of our boys or the food. Lets just say – Boys you were great. All boys. Oscar and Emil – and all you boys at Lameloise. Thanks for behaving and spoiling us. Jörg and Sus, we treasure our friendship and its good to feel as if we have never been apart, even though you now live in “la chic Suisse”….

My rating for this visit:  Food 9.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5 (5), total score for this visit  19.5p (20).

Advertisements

Gut Lärchenhof, Düsseldorf, – 18 June 2011

I got to choose this one – going together with good friend Jerome and his friend Jean-Jaques to the highly acclaimed Roger Waters performance of The Wall in Düsseldorf in the evening – we needed a good lunch to fill our tummys and free our minds. By coincidence, the menu had the same colours as most of the stage and scenery art work later had at the show. Red, black and white. The Chef Bernd Stollenwerk holds 1 michelin star and 18p Gault Millau.

The menu

The great building and a touch of blue sky on a rainy day

Located at a golf club, the beautiful building contains the club house, golf shop, and the restaurant – divided by some plants and boxes – in a brasserie and the 1 michelin starred part we opted for. Two lunch menues comes at 65 eur and 115 eur. The a la carte menu is very limited, but I am sure you can choose from the two menues.  The wine list is among the biggest I have ever seen outside France and apart from a huge number of German and French wines, it has the biggest selection of Italian and Spanish wine I have ever seen. All in all there is around 3000 numbers (!) , and having a sommelier dining with us, made the choosing  a tough job. As it turned out I chose the first and third wine, Jerome the second and 4th wine.

Jerome doing what he does best, choosing a wine.

The sommelier quickly understood that there were professionals at play, and participated in both presenting all the wines blind, and in the discussion at the table. He was a truly passionate person, with a great knowledge – (and French speaking to the delight of my two companions). His second in command – a young waiter also very friendly, correct and easy-going.

The beautiful – (open ceiling up to the roof ) – room with the view to tee-off and a putting green, fountain etc. was somewhat disturbed by the horrible carpet and the descision to incorporate both Brasserie and Gastronomic restaurant in one room.

Outdoor terrasse for warmer days...almost on the green.

We ordered the small menu and the following wines…while sharing a chilled Budjweiser – the original European one.

A nice drop - 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Pfalz.

Jerome guessed this one, stating a young Sauvignon Blanc from outside France. A bit too rich to be French according to him. I loved it.

The amuse - tasteful

I will rather have something small and interesting than two or three rounds of nothing. This was acceptable, small – but especially the wasabi ice very nice. 6p

Tartare of Beef with a crispy pepper roll and raspberry.

Best dish of the day. Only complaint was that the pepper roll tasted of sugar and not pepper. The raspberry/raspberry vinegar being the PERFECT companion to the delicate meat. But since the pepper roll did not really bring any spicyness to the dish, the dish lacked pepper or a kick. But still we were all very impressed. Beautiful presentation too. 8.5p.

Second wine - a 2006 Riesingfrom Schäfer-Fröhlich, Nahe

The sommelier chose this one according to the instructions of Jerome who wanted a dry Riesling with some age, but still with an edge and some minerality. And Jerome was happy. It was excactly what he wanted.

This is how Jerome looks when he likes a wine...

Dorade from Brittany, with a Aioli Ravioli and an eggplant creme.

The highligt of the dish being the ravioli (mentioned as a raviolo on the menu, maybe there is something I am not aware of ?). The fish perfectly cooked and the sauce a tad boring. 7p

My choice for red....what a drop.

Jerome guessing party right partly wrong. Nevertheless he guessed a great Bordeaux, – and it was a great Italian on Bordeaux grapes. I have a long story with this wine, by now it had topped and was starting too lose the tannins and fruit. But what a full-bodied, smooth and delicate wine it was.

Slowly cooked breast of veal with leek and "Pfifferlinge".

The weakest dish of the day. The meat having being cooked I think for 48 hours at whatever. No taste whatsoever, and the meat not as delicate tender as you could have imagined and hoped for. As you will know by now I am not always a big fan of slowly cooked meat  – but especially this cut is normally born to be cooked that way. But something went wrong. Maybe the temperature was too low ? My best guess. 5p

The dessert from the menu was swapped to a cheese plate without a fuss...

Great, great selection of cheese, really, selected by the waiter, – all tasty and wonderful. 2 different kinds of bread was offered, 1 serial and 1 with added dried abricots etc. 9.5p

Conclusion:

We all agreed what made the menu and the visit worthwhile – there was no doubt. The starter and the cheese. The top service. Very friendly and very correct. At all times we had water, wine etc. Wines were discussed, opinions presented etc. Throughout the meal a selection of bread was offered repeatedly. We did experience a little too long waiting period after the main dish.

Flaws, few in the dishes. I rate the food to be in almost the same league as Babette in Denmark or Der Butt in Warnemünde. The latter two slightly ahead on the food and Gut Lärchenhof miles in front on the wine selection. So I shall add a bonus point for one of the best wine selections I have ever seen outside France. In fact two more wines landed on the table. Choices of Jerome. The first one was totally gone, nothing more left of anything, a 1997 wine from Languedoc (I think) which Jerome adores and knows very well. One can argue that we ordered the wine and there was no apparent flaw – but maybe the restaurant should have recognized that this kind of wine, which was clearly over the top some years ago, should not even be on the wine list. The sommelier agreed to the surprice short-comings of the wine. But did nothing in regard to removing it from the bill or what would have been correct reducing the price of it to real cost price. I would have done that.


My rating for this visit:  Food 7p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 3 (5), total score for this visit  14.5p (20) plus the added bonus point 15.5p (20)

It’s summertime….and living is easy

Jamie once again…

Good quality Serrano or Parma ham, Figues, Buffalo Mozzarella, Olive oil, Juice of 1 lime, Fresh basil, Acacia Honey, fresh crushed black pepper.

Cut the figues open, drip with the honey, be generous – arrange all other ingredients, the mozzarella you tear apart, sprinkle with good olive oil and the lime. Fresh pepper and good bread and a bottle of Rosê and you are on a roll. Your guests will love you, you just let everybody dig in the juice on the serving plate with their bread.

Same below but with green figues, ….

A Big man is fighting for his life….

E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons suffers stroke

Longtime Bruce Springsteen collaborator was taken ill at home in Florida

Clarence Clemons, saxophonist with Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, has suffered a stroke.

The 69 year-old musician, who has played with Springsteen for nearly four decades, was taken ill at his home in Florida over the weekend (June 11-12), according to reports. The severity of his condition is not yet clear, though Showbiz411.com claims that he is “seriously ill”.

Known as the ‘Big Man’, Clemons has been a key part in defining the sound of the E Street Band, contributing the iconic sax parts on hits like ‘Born To Run’ and ‘Thunder Road. Most recently, he turned up on Lady Gaga‘s ‘Born This Way’ album, playing on tracks ‘The Edge Of Glory’ and ‘Hair’. He performed as part of her band on the recent American Idol series finale.

Last year Clemons underwent two knee replacements and back surgery, and as a result described his last tour as “pure hell” due to the pain. His last performance with the E Street Band was December. He was scheduled to perform the US National Anthem at the NBA Finals Game 2 last week, but had to pull out to due to a hand injury.

http://www.nme.com/news/bruce-springsteen/57268

On a personal note – having attended  good 35 shows with Bruce Springsteen, where about 25 of those included Clarence – it is evidently how big part of the music of Bruce he is. When that sax cuts through the night – time stands still.

To those of you who havent read his autobiography that came out last year. I recommend to do so. Truly funny and interesting – and an intimate look into the life of the biggest man around.

http://www.amazon.de/Big-Man-Real-Life-Tales/dp/0446546259/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books-intl-de&qid=1307972740&sr=8-1

Hang in there Clarence.

Yamayu Santatsu, Luxembourg – May 2011

New good friend Serge had invited us to his favourite Japanese restaurant in town – and we gladly accepted. Serge is “Japonofile” – having travelled their on several occasions, exploring the culture, He would love to speak the Japanese language and he is in the life-long process – learning the language – He LOVES sushi and has many good stories to share – about his adventures and experiences with Japan – and around their kitchen.

Serge lives Japan.

I had heard good things about Yamaji Santatsu from other good friends, and apparently it is THE place for sushi. I am not a big fan of sushi like the missus, but tried to keep my mind and sences wide open – as always in life. We were warned by Serge – dont expect a lot interior wise. And right he was. The restaurant -raw walls, old tables and chairs, no style, but packed with a hype mixed crowd of bankers and students, old and young. Tables crammed next to each other. Actually I was not disturbed by this. After all the food is key factor, and alternative restaurants like this has an urban charm of their own, but it was clear where you could (and should) spend a few euros and thus easily improve the impression of the place. But – if it aint broke, dont fix it. Or more accurate, why change a winning hand.

Serge was greeted warmly by the staff and the sushi master – who actually looked like he was cut out of a kung-fu movie. Kill-Bill, the retired legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzô immediately came to my mind. I did not want to mess with him.

The sign above the entrance on the busy street...

The not so fashionable entrance....

Serge was given free hands in ordering the food. I got to choose the wine, and opted for a red Pinot Noir from Alsace, served perfectly chilled. I find that this wine is a perfect companion to Sushi, much better than any white I have tried, – another choice is of course beer.

I did not shoot all the dishes but here are 3 different ones, – as you can see from the plates, no hanky-panky chinese style sushi, but rather – according to Serge – true to original top class Japanese sushi. A raw and unmasked style which I had to adjust to, and probably has to experience more times to truly appreciate.

Scallops, Salmon and Tuna...

Nothing to complain about here. Almost. The scallops were delish, – I would have cut the flat piece of the salmon away – but that just me I guess.

Mackerel - very nice - very tasty

Eel - best dish of the day !

Conclusion:

So, a different sushi experience for me. Having only recently started to like our local sushi place in Beggen, with their sushi on a roll, with many – MANY – different styled combinations, this was for sure more hard-core sushi. The portions generous, the taste very present – the final bill heavy .

Serge claims that this kind of sushi is the only real sushi. And a sushi you have to learn to appreciate. My advice would be – if you are new to sushi, try a more standard place first. Get familiar with the different kind of styles – before you jump into this “another level” original sushi.

At this point in time i think Yamayu Sansatsu was very good – and very expensive. In the near future I will invite Serge to our local one – he will most likely hate it and depict the flaws and short-comings. But I will be curious and interested in excactly that.

You dont come in such a place to be spoiled with good service, but the young French male waiters mostly did a good job, and laughed at my poor French. Next table had some youngsters, among other a young chap from Australia, could hardly drag the missus away , always good to meet people from Australia.

What can I say except for – Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto – Thanks for dinner Serge – we had a great evening in your company – it was a great experience and for sure great sushi. I shall rate the food as sushi food – and not compare it to other styles, French or Italian, because I would rate them higher any day – but thats my personal taste and not fair in regard to judging the sushi at Yamayu Santatsu. At the same time I must note that I am sure many people will hate the ambience, but I actually thought it fitted the overall vibe, and liked the “big city alternative restaurant feeling” it provided.

My rating for this visit:

Sushi score/Food 8.5p (10), service 3p (5), ambience 2.5p(5), total score for this visit  14p (20)

Rüssel’s Landhaus St. Urban, Trier, Germany – 2 June 2011

Father’s Day in Germany…called for celebration – Good friends Laurence and Peter suggested we should try this restaurant together (with Arnaud and Edwige) – on the outskirts of Trier. Actually a small hideaway with a lake between forest and hills, beautifully hidden away. Whenever you arrive at such a location with clear blue sky, – your hopes and expectations are automatically very very high. You just know its gonna be a special afternoon. And of course it is then easy to be disappointed.

Rüssel’s Landhaus holds 1 michelin star and 18 points from Gault Milau and is run by Harald and Ruth Rüssel since 1992. They achieved their michelin star back in 1993.

Heres the view that greets you….

The house with entrance, hotel and restaurant

Sundeck near the lake, 100% romance ...

A beautiful spot....

Upon reservation our friends had duly informed about 1 person suffering from a gluten allergy. This of course puts higher pressure on the kitchen, but I think that if informed already at the time of booking – problems or embarassing moments for the guest should or could be avoided.

You can choose between 5 and 7 courses, – from two different menus – ar around 100-110 eur. The wine list holds a good variety of especially German whites but also known producers from France – and mostly lesser known producers from Spain and Italy. We opted for a local 2009 Riesling, a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Pfalz, a 2008 Puligny Montrachet from Marc Colin, a 1999 Meursault from Mikulski and a 2004 Cote Roti.

Rustic out-door dining - I loved the furniture and the vibe.

Food was ordered, again it was noted that 1 person besides having the gluten allergy – also was a non-meat eater – and that one person had a nut allergy. That meant that the main dish being meat was swapped to a fish dish and that starter and dessert had to be adjusted for the person with the nut allergy. This was done without a fuss – nice.

So first round of amuses arrived and bread (cut baguette) was put on the table on a help yourself  basis.

Amuse 1....

Now as you can probably tell from the picture the fois gras creme had a nut dress, and all three somehow made with products that contained gluten – and far from vegetarian anyway – So the result of that was irritation, – if you do the effort to ask, and in this case evenare  informed at the time of reservation that there is something to consider – well then please adjust. We all agreed that this was a no-go. And it somehow took away the focus of the amuse. And the missus had to look at us all eating.

Amuse 2

Very nice – but again the missus – vegetarian and gluten allergic– remember she swapped a meat main dish against a fish dish – arguing her vegetarin/no meat status – was presented with a variation of this dish she could not eat – non gluten but with meat. So the second dish in a row. where the rest of us ate and the missus watched.

Kaninchen....

One of the best dishes of the day….I shall give it a good 8p

Pochierte Lachsforelle

First dish of day for the missus…I did not try this one..but it looked ok, with some nice details. 6.5p

Kabeljau - (Cod)

As Arnaud put it…”you cook cod better Bo” – (coming from a michelin starred chef) I felt good and proud. Well so do you Arnaud. However, I liked the “provence” touch of the dish – actually that “provence” touch ran through out the menu, the lighness and simplicity. 6p

Backsaibling

One of the weakest dishes – The morel had hardly any taste – so why include it ?- 5p

Felchen

The fresh creme cheese stuffed tortellinis were great, the fish good, the dish worked 7.5p

Lammrücken (rack of lamb)

Slowly cooked lamb,  with the fat crust. great beans – best dish of the day 9p

- some had the Stubenküken

Not a great presentation, but I did not try it. I did not like the look of the peas creme on the chicken. Looked like it had been standing a while. 6p

Abrikosen Müsli - with Joghurt Ice

Very nice joghurt ice, the rest alright if not stunning. 7p

Sweets

Conclusion:

Whenever you are dining with an insider, you get the chance to discuss the obvious flaws and the highlights. What goes wrong or good and why it is so difiicult to cope with this and that. However, being just a guest – and a hobby chef – you tend to judge more “black and white”.

On an overall opinion, the food had a nice “Southern Vibe”, but something was done very simple or easy, but maybe that is the style of Chef Rüssel. I actually like when you are presented with dishes you can re-produce. But for the price you pay, you get more sophisticated food at Becker’s in Trier, or you get food from a different planet at Schloss Berg for 30 eur more per person.

The garden, the terrase, most of the staff  – all warm and inviting. I loved the warm greeting we got at the entrance. But it all lost a bit along the way, when we had to wait longer periods for a wine or a course. And when the missus for the third or 4th time had to say no to bread to her cheese platter because of her allergy, well at some point you wonder if the service  listen or care or just wander through the valley of life with ears and eyes closed.

So I would say – on this day – we were slightly disappointed with the overall impression of the place. Maybe we were unlucky and caught the staff on a unlucky day. I thank Mr. Rüssel  for signing a cook book, which I had spotted upon arrival, with a nice personal message. I collect and treasure these books and memories. Having looked a bit into the book, it looks great, and I am sure will inspire me in my kitchen. Maria, the young female sommelier, you kept a smile on your face, even on what seemed like a busy day.

To Laurence and Peter, thanks for showing us this beautiful place, even if the standard was not up to your previous visits, one can argue that we finished most plates and that the problems with the allergy and vegetarian status of Astrid is something we ALSO have to learn to come to terms with. And we had a lovely afternoon.  Looking forward to our next joint adventure on the 22 October. Laurence, Peter, Edwige & Arnaud – we treasure your friendship and love you all.

My rating for this visit: Food 6.5p (10), service 2.5p (5), ambience 5 (5), total score for this visit  14p (20)

Some happy faces to finish the day on a positive note….

The beautiful girls....

3 good looking guys....

Good food, blue sky, great wines - good friends - what more do you want ?

http://www.landhaus-st-urban.de/