Sunday, March 20, 2011

ABU Authentic Cuisine

I can't agree more what David Lebovitz wrote as the foreword in"Will Write For Food."He said,
"The pleasure of sitting down to a good meal is not limited to just eating what's set in front of you.It can also be about the sensations or memories associated with it."
My lovely friend Lisa's birthday is coming,so we decide to have a nice lunch together.

The restaurant I choose today is called "ABU Authentic Cuisine."It's not on the top of my restaurant list,but I've been thinking about having a soufflé for a long time.And speaking of having a great soufflé in Taipei,the first restaurant comes into my mind is exactly ABU.

"ABU Authentic Cuisine" is a French style restaurant.The chef ABU is from Hong Kong.Previously,he  worked as an executive chef at "Tutto Bello,"which is a fabulous Italian restaurant in Taipei,and he was also a deputy kitchen chef at Hilton Hotel in Taipei.With these exceptional working experiences,I do have a great expectation on him.

Even though ABU is a renowned chef,he doesn't put on airs.I saw an interview of him on television like two years ago.I feel like he's the chef who values customers' comments a lot.Hence,that's the key point  to make his restaurant better.

By convention,the meal starts with some bread.They are baguette,cream buns and Japanese mochi bread.

The bread dips from left to right are extra-virgin olive oil from Chile, Echiré butter,and home-made tuna sauce.You can tell that this is a genuine French restaurant by the butter they use.

Echiré butter is the thumb among all the butter in the world. Echiré and Isigny are the only two that have the A.O.C. certificate.The later is from the north of Normandy,which I'm not going to say too much here.

Echiré butter is from Charentes-Poitou in France.Actually,there're some other famed butter in that region,and Echiré is just one of the small towns.What's more,the butter production in that area was totally an accident.It could be traced back to 1880.The local people lived on growing grapes and brewing wine.However,the grapes were all destroyed by a plant disease,which was called phylloxera.Then,people gradually changed their lifestyle and started to develop dairy farming.They started to produce butter was also the solution to a plethora of milk.Surprisingly,it has become such a well-known and popular butter!

Somehow,there're also two pieces of pizza-flavoured chips and a small cup of Oriental Beauty Tea on the table.I can't help feeling those are such a disaster!The chips and the tea were already set before we arrived.Without doubt,the chips taste like they've been kept there for a week.The tea is as cold as tap water.This episode is like you meet a beautiful girl,and she turns out to be having no brain.Eww,that sucks : (

Then,here's the appetizer.Lisa and I both order "French Scallop,Truffle,Mixed Salad."
They sprinkle some truffle on the top of each scallop and slather a layer of mashed potato on the bottom.On the other side,there're some fresh vegie mixed with olive oil.To my surprise,they put a piece of dried fig inside!It really stimulates my taste bud.

Lisa has "Provence Tomato Soup,Mixed Seafood."According to her,the soup is quite tasty.

I have quail broth as my soup.I like the way they present the dish.They just keep it simple,not pretentious.The soup is not greasy and the pan-fried quail is served at a perfect temperature.

For the main course, I have "Slow Cooked Ox-Tongue in Red Wine Sauce."This is an A+ dish.The Ox-tongue is really tender and the texture is so amazing.I feel like you don't even have to use your teeth to chew it.Instead,you use your tongue to feel the aroma and the savory of the red wine sauce.There's a pinch of fleur de sel at the corner of the plate which elevates the dish to have one more different taste.

The other main course we have is porcini risotto.Hahha I know maybe it looks like some leftover,but I've got to tell you,don't be fooled by it's appearance.The rice is so rich and creamy.The rice grains are not over-cooked and there're an abundance of porcini mushrooms.

The first dessert is vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce.It's just an average dessert but I like they mix some ginger-flavoured jelly with the strawberry sauce.It sounds weird but they actually go well together.

There's still a second dish for the dessert.I love it so much.When I have it,Lisa and I barely talk,because we are entirely immersed in the chocolate world!From the top,there're chocolate jelly,crispy chocolate chips,40% chocolate paste,and galettes bretonnes.And it's decorated with some raspberries.Every layer of the fabulous dessert is made from chocolate,but they're strong and light,rich and smooth.Since it has galettes bretonnes as the base,the salty taste can balance the sweetness of chocolate.In a nutshell,you can't be too much to call it a chocolate symphony ; )

Yeah,my mission today is have a soufflé!Therefore,we just order an additional dessert.I think a good soufflé is not only aesthetically attractive,the fluffy texture is the key point.As an old saying goes,there's always a room for dessert.Soufflé is something that you can have it anytime,even you're really full.In my opinion,a good meal doesn't end until a dessert comes.It's just like a happy ending,especially if you have a sweet tooth like me.

It has been controversial that when was soufflé created.The most common explanation is the nobles back in the medieval times always had many courses a meal,but they still wanted to have something for dessert.Then,the chef invented this fluffy dessert.Since it's mainly made from egg white and milk,it's so light that you'd feel like you're eating air.If you want to have something sweet after a meal,a soufflé is definitely a good choice,it won't be your burden but keep you staying in a good mood.

Besides "ABU Authentic Cuisine,"there's also one called "ABU Brasserie."It's more like a continental cuisine,which combines French style and Italian savour.I really enjoy today's meal,so I'm willing to have another try.

ABU Authentic Cuisine
Add:No.28, Siwei Rd., Da-an Dist., Taipei City

Monday, March 7, 2011

Valerie's Kitchen: Oatmeal & Rasin Cookies

My bestie Lisa makes the best cookies ever!I think she's the one who inspires me to bake.I don't know why, I just feel like cooking is much easier than baking.I asked Lisa to give me her oatmeal & chocolate cookies recipe like two years ago,but I just left it there and kept taking advantage of her.

Suddenly,I miss her cookies so bad,but she lives in another county now.Poor me!But I'm glad that I still keep the recipe, so I decide to make some today.

Since I can't find chocolate chip today,I replace it with rasin.


140 g salted butter
3.5 g baking soda
3.5 g baking powder
130 g cake flour
115 g sugar
1 egg
1 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of rasin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yield: 35 to 40 cookies

1. In a big bowl,cream the butter and sugar together until getting thick,then beat in the egg.

2.In another bowl,combine the flour,baking soda and baking powder.

3.Mix well the bowl one and bowl two.Then,add the oatmeal,rasin,and vanilla extract.

4.Bake at 175 degrees C for 10 minutes,or until cookies are a light brown.

5.Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

Yeah!This is my first time baking cookies.Most of the cookies are very crispy,but some of them are too moist.But I guess well begun is half done ; ) I guess all I have to do now is get some chocolate for the next baking!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Irresistible Delicacy: Pizzeria Rialto

As far as I'm concerned,nothing is better than having a special dinner while catching up with an old friend.Therefore,I took my best friend since kindergarten out for dinner last weekend.

The restaurant I chose is called "Pizzeria Rialto" located in Tien-Mu,which is one of my favorite areas in Taipei.The moment I stepped inside,I was swept into an Italian bistro.The inside decoration was very italianate with a massive pizza oven right in front of our seats.We were delighted to see the entire pizza-making process.

Like I have always done,I ordered the cuttlefish risotto.The rice grains soaked up the rich cuttlefish juices.It also contained several shrimp,chopped tomatoes,and the creamy cuttlefish.

As soon as it arrived,my teeth were all over the cuttlefish.My friend laughed hysterically as my teeth were stained black due to to the ink.And yet,I simply did not mind.The risotto was so good that I really didn't mind how terrible my teeth looked.

I had spent a great time with my friend.The dinner gave us time to reminisce about the good old times.In retrospect,Pizzeria Rialto is definitely one of the most authentic Italian restaurant in Taipei.

Address:No 116,sec 7,Chung-Shan N.Rd,Taipei
<Closed on Mondays>

p.s. Oops,my bad!I can't find the pic of the restaurant's appearance from my camera.Hopefully,I'll visit there in no time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Say hello

Hi there!My name is Valerie.I'm from Taipei,Taiwan.I'm majoring in French now.The reason I choose French is that I'm so obsessed with traveling and gastronomy.I think if I can master French that would be really helpful for my future studies and career.

I'd love to spend my whole life tasting all the gourmet food in the world.I'm so fond of delicacy that my friends like to call me gastronomist,yet I consider myself more a food lover.After all,I'm just a beginnerI. I also have a sweet tooth that one of my mottos is there's always a room for dessert.

From my point of view,food is not only just food.You can get a better understanding of somewhere just by tasting.It involves cultures,histories and unique features.I'm such a foodie that i'm not picky about food at all.I'm always wiling to try something new.Since Taipei is my hometown,this blog is mainly about restaurants in Taipei.I would like to keep my wonderful experiences and also share them with whoever loves food,too!

Before I started this blog,I'd though about if I was able to write well.After reading what Dianne Jacob wrote,I feel like "Yeah,just do it!"She said,"Whatever motivates you,food writing has a requirement that makes it irresistible:you like food,and you get to eat and write about it.What's better than that?"

Ah btw,don't be shy to leave your comments!

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