Best dishes of 2012 – “The Directors Cut”

Many good meals were had, many extraordinary dishes were consumed in restaurants in Luxembourg and surroundings. If you are  a returning reader you will know that my overall favourite restaurant is Schloss Berg, and Clairefontaine is my local favourite. But the best meal in Luxembourg I actually had on on the last day of May at Bouquet Garni where Mark Wright joined us before his first ever show in Luxembourg. Thank you Thierry Duhr for an outstanding meal – it was an evening where it all came together taste wise. But unfortunately no photos were taken 😦

But I thank you dear friends who made all those meals worthwhile – for what is outstanding food without the right dining partner….so thank you dear friends – Astrid, Torben, Gijs, Jerome, Serge, Richard, Pascal, Johan, Jörgen, and the changing members of the G8 group – also for the fun. Also BIG thanks also goes to the Fox Force Four – Kjetil, Frode and Uffe. See you in Beaune..

Wine wise I have had to scale down in the restaurants – but that have only given room for many new discoveries. On private basis, the joint venture with Le Caviste has spoiled me with so many new good wines I cannot start to count them, but only feel priviledged – to have tasted them,  AND to be able to sell some of those to many new customers who I am sure will enjoy them just as much as we have.

But here I shall present you with some of my best shots of some of those dishes that made 2012 a VERY gastronomic year for me.

Here you go…

Marbella Club Hotel

10. Marbella Club Hotel

The Chef, ever so kindly suggested these beauties to us – in Spanish. Not sure what they were…except a kind of Langoustines. But they were cooked to perfection. The dinner was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

De Leuf, Maastricht

9. De Leuf, Maastricht

I have to mention this one. NOT a fan of oysters…but this amuse was served in a Gin/Tonic version. Best oyster ever, and made promise for a GREAT evening that food wise kept the level. The dinner was enjoyed with best friend Jerome. Love you.

8. Lameloise, Chagny

8. Lameloise, Chagny

I just love the arrangement of this dish. You can do few things wrong when serving lamb to me. And lamb at Lameloise is like a perfect marriage. It doesnt get any better. Eris Pras like Monsieur Lameloise before him knows his way around classic dishes. Even with a twist. I was happy to visit lameloise a few times last year, but this specific dish was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

7. Schloss Berg

7. Schloss Berg

A surprice dish, – well in a surprice menu all dishes are a surprice, but this one was an extra “throw in” by my favourite chef Christian Bau. Different textures of artichoke. And within the menu on that certain evening it sure made us feel happy. Dinner was enjoyed with the missus. It was our 10 years anniversary dinner, and we could not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world on this evening,

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

This might seem like a simple dish or presentation. But I loved this dish so much, On the last evening of our stay, I ordered it twice. Read the story on my post from that evening if you want to know the details. It was the final evening of a succesful wine trip to Rhone with new friend and business partner Gijs. The dish…Pears in red wine, nuts, beans, fois gras, artichokes. It all came together like few dishes in this world. And on a beautiful evening, knowing that one of the Chefs was the prettiest chef on this planet. Well I almost cried. Dinner was spent of course with Gijs. Thanks for your friendship and giving me the opportunity to promote and sell the wines of Le Caviste.

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

A slightly different presentation of a GREAT dish of Christian Bau. The combination of the fois gras with the sea algae…..I tell you if you havent tried it – well you havent lived. One of my favourite dishes ever. This evening was spent with good friend and gastronomic expert Pascal. Looking forward to more of those evenings my friend.

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

Another dish from De Leuf, and another fois gras dish. This dish brought tears to the eyes of my fellow diner – best friend Jerome, who was litterally moved by this dish. So was I. And….The fois gras was combined with a piece of sole. GREAT combo.

3. Lameloise, Chagny

3. Lameloise, Chagny

Cold and warm Langoustine. The cold on a an apple “thing”. The warm wrapped with crispy rice. I was lucky to have this dish on two occasions. With the FFF and with the missus on our summer holiday. Simply Stunning. This presntation was from the dinner with the missus.

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

Fois Gras again…no wonder I´m fat….but….This one…perfect fois gras on smoked eel, with caramel on top. I tell you. You dont get much more classic kitchen than in this GREAT restaurant. I have no doubt, I would rather haeve the menu at some other restaurants mentioned in this post – but – the cooking here is great.  And it does not always need to be innovative to please your palete. This lunch was enjoyed with the missus, prior to a Bruce Springsteen show. And what a show it was…

IMG_1464-002

1. Falco, Leipzig

Peter Maria Schnurr…..We had such a wonderful evening “in your hands”. This dish was raw scallops with rhubarb and apple. It just worked. Like the whole evening did. Like Christian Bau, you are a true magician. There is only one regret. That Leipzig is 600 km away. I chose this dish, because, just like the one in Gigondas…it is a dish were simple ingredients can make an explosion in your mouth, and play with your senses. It gets almost sexual. You were great fun too Peter 😉

Conclusion:

Looking back at all those dishes, I know – the result – the list . would be diffferent even just now. And some dishes…like the chocolate dessert at De Leuf, the Poulard de Bresse at Clairefontaine, the Banana Split at Schloss Berg…well I could have chosen many other dishes. But one thing is sure. These dishes were all outstanding. And they each give me memories of the taste, the ambience and the people with whom I enjoyed them.

And I need to add….I did not get a chance to visit my good friend, and one of the best kitchens in Europe this year. Jan, Sölleröd Kro. Im sure you would have had a dish in here if…

Thank you dear friends…I love you all. And thanks for taking the time. Rock on.

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Mark Wright – Live in Luxembourg 9 June 2012

So – celebrating our 10th Anniversary, the upcoming birthday of the missus and life in general, I had booked Mark Wright to come and play for us. Old and new friends were invited and around 40 people gathered in our garden on a sunny day – if not hot.

The idea was the food wine was offered and that our friends would chip in to pay for the performance of Mark Wright and hopefully that would leave a little something for donating money to Dan Harrison, who was the reason I originally met Mark at a memorable evening in 2011 in Birmingham, where the online Bruce Springsteen fan community had put together a fund raising evening for Dan´s treatment in Graz, Austria. Please do take a moment to read the story of Dan here helpdan.com

Back to our party here are some shots of happy people – our friends.

Mark warming up in our living room – with an Astrid favourite “Two Faces”….I wept.

Torben preparing the BBQ. He did a GREAT job. Thanks Torben – again.

Jesus, Marianne and Jörg….

Music to hold hands to…

– or dance to.

Mark did two sets. The first one he performed Springsteen classics among some of our obscure Springsteen requests. The River, Thunder Road, I wish I were blind, 57 Channels and nothin´on, Paradise, The fuse, Born to run, Reno, One step up, Tougher than the rest, Tunnel of love, Red headed woman, Fire . Because the night…the list goes on. I cried – as Mark stated it – to every second song. But it was very emotional to have a lifelong list of your best friends sitting there listening to the music that have meant so much to you over the years – in your own backyard.  And Mark´s voice, performance and storytelling was just as good as I had hoped it would be. A hilarious moment in the video below occured at 0.10 when Torben cannot seem to hide his excitement over Denmark´s goal in the opening match of their group in the European Football Championships…..check it out.

The second set of Mark was changed from a pure Elvis set – to a set including classics from the 60´s up through the 90´s. It started by my request with Here comes the sun – included Vienna, Comfortably numb, Rocket Man, Streets of Philadelphia, In the Ghetto, Suspicious minds, Ring of fire, Not fade away, Blowin´in the wind etc. – and it ended with a mindblowing version of our wedding song – If I should fall behind. All in all Mark performed close to 40 songs, I am happy to have captured most of those songs on video, and the rest deep deep deep in my heart. The missus and I was so happy that most of our friends took the effort and time to spend the day with us. This day ranked emotionally way up there with our wedding. And since many new friends have come along since 2002 – it meant even more sharing all those beautiful song on this day.

We managed to pay Mark and to be able to send a little something to Kev Harrison, for the upcoming treatment of Dan. We wish him all the luck in the world.

Mark will be back next year in July if we find a way – we will simply have to.

So – thank you Astrid for all those years and love, thank you dear friends for being such a prominent part of our lives, thank you Mark for making this day a day  we will never forget.

Speaking of forgetting…..We forgot to sell some wine, but luckily a few orders have come in afterwards – we thank you for those and hope for your ongoing support in that respect as well 😉

I shall end this little private review with Mark´s perfect version of one of my favourite ligther Bruce songs…

My rating for this day. As good as they come.

Sapori Ristorante, Luxembourg – 18 January 2012

UPDATE:  AFter you read the review – please do take a minute to read my comment below the article – Thank you.

A lunch with good friend Serge is always good news.

On this day we opted for a local favourite of business people, the mostly Italian styled cooking restaurant  – Sapori Ristorante. I had been here once before a year ago, and had good memories of a nice room with simple cooking. It belongs to the same group of restaurants as Le Mirabelle, and is actually situated just next door to that one.

I was there 30 min before Serge and was handed the wine list as requested when seated. The room is nice with a anti-pasti buffet just on the way into the restaurant.

The dining room, good balanced colours

What now happened almost brought me on the verge of leaving. It took the manager, 2 male and 1 female waiter around 25 min. to notice that I was ready to order a bottle of white whine. Chatting behind the curtains at the front bar, but out of my sight. The female waiter managed to start to serve another couple two tables away without noting my gestures and cry for attention. Serge texted me he was almost there. I wrote back, Im almost leaving. I was so annoyed. There was 4 persons and 3 tables they had to mind. Should I walk up to the counter. Should I leave. I think the idea of the shank part of the leg that I had spotted on the menu was one of three things that made me stay.

Finally MY waiter re-appeared, not to tend my table, but just to almost walk by…..but hey – I caught him….and wauw I got to order my bottle. After almost 30 min. Goddamnit I was angry.  But . A Platena Chardonnay from Sardegna arrived, was decanted without asking me, served and put in a ice bucket. I think it was a great wine, creamy, waxy and a fab colour.

The wine list is actually like in Le Mirabelle very nice – with for Luxembourgish standards good priced – (mostly) Italian wines.

Olives to kill the waiting time....

Now this little faux-pas was bound to make me critical…so bear that in mind when you read the following.

A leek potato "soup"...

First of was the amuse…..now what did I write in my last review. If you dont have a plan with an appetizer – then please leave it in the kitchen. This was too thin, too tasteless, simply should never had landed on any table. It was warm which was the best thing you could say about it on this cold winter day. 1p for that.

We both opted for the same starter and same main dish. The starter was described as a grilled Mozzarella, Tomato, Eggplant thing.

The starter...

Now eggplant can be a difficult” mothe”r to handle. I know I have problems. The Chef here had had his go. It was not perfect, but it was far better than your worst case scenario. But I think the whole dish lacked taste. Had it not been for the balsamic vinegar “snake” running through the salad I would not have finished it. I missed a good dominant olive oil. The tomatos close to tasteless. 3p

My favourite cut of the lamb...

Now this can be and should be absolutely amazing. Serge thanked me for suggesting this dish, he found it wonderful. Well maybe he had a better piece than I had. But the idea of this shank part of the leg, is that you slow cook it for 4-7 hours. This way, the meat gets so tender it falls from the bone. Mine did nothing near that. My best guess is that it was cooked 1 -2 hours – too hard. The vegetables added nothing to the dish in taste or texture. The broccoli tasteless. The sauce good, the side-dish  potatoes acceptable if not perfect. Without a doubt the best dish of the day but far far away from how it could or should be. 4p

Now heres a picture of the best thing that happened to me today at Sapori….

A classic wine, greatness.

My conclusion:

Apart from the no-attention situation the first 30 min, and the fact that I had to serve the wine myself a few times later, well the waiters are actually nice and smiling. I like the room. I like the wine list. However, the food was no way near as good as on my first visit. I will not be back here in quite a while if ever. Life is too short for these meals.

Both wines were decanted, and most likely right so, but why the hell not ask before ? What if I dont want it decanted ?. What if I want the wines to develop in the glass ? How do you plan to get it un-decanted back in the bottle?. Mind you the Tignanello is a top drop. Why have the possible conflict? I know I would ask.

But the company was excellent Serge. It was good to see you again. I have a feeling that 2012 could be our year.

After this visit, I cannot understand the local hype and rave about Restaurant Sapori nor its popularity amongst local business people. I found it simple and disappointing.

My rating for this visit:

Food 3.5p (10), service 3p (5), ambience 3.5p (5), Total score 10p (20)