Sunday, April 24, 2011

L'etoile Pâtisserie

Here comes my confession:

I have a bad habit that I prefer a sweet dessert than a meal.Well,sometimes I'd just have some cakes or tarts as my brunch.But that's just sometimes,cuz you know,if my mom knows that,she'd kill me.

So please do me favor,let's just keep this as a secret between you and me ; )

Speaking of getting anything tasty,distance is definitely not a problem for me.And I do believe one of my missions in my life is exploring dessert shops as much as possible.


L'etoile,which means "star" in French, is a French style dessert house in Taipei.I think that it's a brilliant idea to present delicate desserts by using a long platform instead of multidesk chilled display.When you choose the cakes,it's like you're selecting pieces of jewelries.


I linger in front of those tempting cakes and I can't decide which one to take.Surprisingly,the clerk starts taking out several samples for me to try.Aw!That's sweet!This is my first time seeing someone giving samples at a French dessert shop!That really helps me out!


After another moment of hesitation,I get "Cadeaux,"Progrès Poire-Caramel" and "Le Mont Blanc Inversê"
  • Cadeaux



Inside this present-looking cake,there're maple syrup cream mixed with carameled nuts,apricot and fig.Around the rich stuffing,it's sponge cake,and slathered with lemon Italian meringue.


If you like dessert,but you don't have a super sweet tooth,this one is just right for you. The sweetness of cream balances well with the sour of lemon meringue.


  • Progrès Poire-Caramel



It immediately grabs my attention when other glittering desserts wave their hands.It looks so interesting!Somehow,it makes me think of an accordion.The top and the bottom are two pieces of hazelnut flavoured dacquoise.In the middle of the dacquoise is caramel cream with pear.


You might be wondering what a dacquoise is.Basically,it's like backed egg white with almond flour.I also find a more exact definition from Wikipedia.


A dacquoise is a dessert cake made with layers of almond and hazelnut meringue and whipped cream or buttercream. It takes its name from the feminine form of the French word dacquois, meaning 'of Dax', a town in southwestern France. It is usually served chilled and accompanied by fruit. A particular form of the dacquoise is the marjolaine , which is long and rectangular and combines almond and hazelnut meringue layers with chocolate buttercream.The term dacquoise can also refer to the nut meringue layer itself.
It keeps a low profile in appearance;however,you have no idea how great it is till you taste the caramel and the dacquoise together.They're so compactable!And I'd rank it as the top among these three desserts.
  • Le Mont Blanc Inversê

It's kind of unconventional without drizzling with layers of chestnut cream.And the stuffing is kind of lame.No moist texture of chestnut,no aroma of grand marnier,I only taste the mashed apple.Isn't that weird?It supposed to play a supporting role!In fact,L'etoile is quite proud of inventing this untraditional mont blanc.I'm not sure if my negative comment  resultes from accidentally gettinga terrible one.





L'etoile Pâtisserie (Main)
Add:No.18,Alley 455, Lane 150,Sec. 5,Shin-Yi Rd,Taipei City
Tel:02-2345-7779


L'etoile Pâtisserie (Hankyu Department Store B2)
Add:B2,No. 8,Sec.5, Zhong Xiao E. Rd,Taipei City
Tel:02-2723-5001





Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Solo Pasta & Papa Gio'

What I like about fashion and gastronomy in common is being chic or eating well do not necessarily stand for spending a fortune.People who are stylish are usually because they know how to mix different elements well together.They can do wonder with their grandmother's vintage chanel bag with a simple white t-shirt.


Likewise,having a good meal is not always about going to an exquisite restaurant,but mostly about eating freshly.Fresh food is the key to a good dish.For example,both in western and eastern cuisine,when people cook the fresh seaafood,they tend to use the simplest way to present its value,a raw dish,like sashimi,oysters,or they would just steam them,rather than using thick sauce to cover its freshness.


I'm a huge fan of Mediterranean cuisine.Don't you think that you've been cheered up,at the moment of hearing that inspiring word "Mediterranean"?The vivid images of Côte d'Azur,the beautiful scenery,the slow pace of life just come straight to my mind.


Finding a nice Italian restaurant in Taipei is not a difficult thing.Somehow,most of them are inclined to be fancy,instead of a cozy and homemade style.Luckily,I was doing my Italian homework several weeks ago,and I was looking up some on-line dictionaries.Out of no where,I randomly found out this restaurant.Looking at those pictures of their decoration and dishes,I immediately felt like"Oh,it's the one I've been looking for!"I'm so overjoyed about accidentally finding out this lovely place.During my spring break,paying a visit to La Famiglia is the priority on my schedule.


Unfortunately,when we arrive there,it’s closed and it seems that it has closed for a while.

What a shame!Yet,I always get a plan B,so we go to “Solo Pasta,”which is a much talked about restaurant in Taipei.They claim that they make fresh pasta and their slogan is "There's really someone who cares about pasta."



First of all,I have to say this is a horrible experience.Neither their appetizers nor their pasta is worth that kind of price.

The appertizer we have  “Asparagus,Running egg,Shaved Extra-Aged Parmesan Cheese,””Stewed Beef Tripe,”and “Raw Vegetables with Garlic,Anchovy Dipping.”

The asparagus in the chinese version menu is said to be a "huge" asparagus.However,judging from the picture,you can tell that they are just  bigger than the normal one.I’m totally willing to take the chef to have a market tour,if he insists that the asparagus they use are “huge.”


Then it comes to the stewed beef tripe.That is just ok,not particulary surprising.


At the moment seeing tha salad,I got lots of question marks in my head.


They just give us a whole romaine!Also,this is my first time seeing people serve the raw cauliflower as salad.I ask the server that I was wondering why they have a weird combination of salad.The server gives an interesting answer that they want their  costumers to have fun with the salad,which means to splite the romaine yourself.

Herm...am I going to an organic farm or something,rather than an Italian restaurant?

For our pasta,we order ‘Beetroot Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream and Walnuts” and “Picmont Style Agolotti Stuffed with Rabbit & Veal.”

Those two are miserable dishes.The aglotti is so plain and the crust is so overcooked.Then,the gnocchi is like a leftover.The server claims that it’s because they use over 85% of potato to make the "authentic"gnocchi.Please,if there's someone who is Italian reading my blog now,tell me what do you think about it.




What makes me completely disappointed about the restaurant is the attitude of the servers.They just make me feel like it’s my problem and I know nothing about what an authentic gnocchi is.

I’m,for the record,stating that I’m not an awkward customer at all.Somehow,the restaurants I’ve gone to recently go too wrong.

Actually,we have ordered a tiramisu and a limon tart for dessert.Regarding those terrible dishes we just had,we tell the server we are ready to check.

It’s the fortune in the misfortne,my favorite Italian restaurant,Papa Gio’,is just few blocks away from there.We head to there right away to have a happy ending for today.








Gnocchi is my favourite dish in Italian cuisine.We order “Spinach Gnocchi with Gorgonzola cheese and nuts.”I know it’s like the one we just had at Solo Pasta,but I promise Papa Gio’s pasta is amazing!I’d never get tired of having this yummy gnocchi at Papa Gio’.



Look!Doesn’t it look delicious?The smel,the color and the texture are unparalleled.

A good meal’s ending must be a dessert,so we have a titamisu and a crema cotta.






The tiramisu taste super good.Take a bite and you’d know what life is.

If you’re looking for an authentic Nothern Italian restaurant,I’d highly recommand this outstanding one!Papa Gio’!




Add:No. 29-1,Sec. I,Anhe Rd,Taipei City
Tel: (02)2775-3645

Add:No. 2,Aly. 6,Ln. 170,Zhonxiao E. Rd,Taipei City
Tel: (02)2711-8720


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

La Brasserie

When it comes to French cuisine,I love their local dishes the best.Since I have a passion for gastronomy,Bretagne has been the place I would love to visit in France for a long time.Bretagne produces lots of famous food,"fleur de sel,""kouing-amann",and "sardine fish" to name a few.


If you are used to having the typical crispy crêpe in Taiwan,you'd probably be surprised that crêpe is actually a french stuff.


In fact,the word "crêpe" means the sweet one,you can slather with a layer of jam,nutella,cream,or ice cream.On the other hand,the salty one is called "galette",there're a variety of stuffing,such as artichoke,cheese,ham,fois gras and smoked salmon.The difference between those two is crêpe is made from wheat,while galette is made from buckwheat.


There's another crêprie called "Crêperie La Bretagne" in Taipei,but I feel like theirs are just a plain dish.


"La Brasserie" is a traditional french restaurant in Taiwan,which is in the first floor of The Landis Hotel.During March 14 to May 1,they have a "Bretagne Galette And Crêpe Feast."




They have four set choices for galette,like Breton,Seafood,Asian,Alsation,but you also can choose the stuffing you like.


I order the Breton as my galette,there're egg,Emmenthal cheese,ham and mushroom inside.






Lisa has a "Make your own galette",she chooses Emmenthal cheese,mushroom and chicken for the stuffing.When it is served,the cheese seems to be quite dry,it's just like a over-night pizza.After talking to a  server,she takes the galette bake to the kitchen.Then the chef re-makes the galette and adds some tomato inside,it's much better.




We also get a "Alsatian Sauerkraut with whole pig knuckle,"it garnishes with assortment of sausages,boiled bacon and steamed potatoes.


It's different from the german pig knuckle.Instead of the crispy hogskin,it's well cooked,super tender.You don't have to chew too much before it get mashed.Still,I love both styles!






We both order specialty crêpes,which mean baked crêpes with grand marnier and orange sauce.




I have a long story to talk about this crêpe.When the first crêpe is served,the server says that they can only serve a crêpe once,so we have to wait thirty minutes for another.We say that's fine but after a while,we can't help wondering why they can only serve a crêpe once?Do they only have a pan?


When the second crepe is served,we ask the server.Interestingly,according to the server,it's because their oven is too small,and also since the crêpe is kind of dessert,it is charged by the dessert department,which is on the second floor of the hotel.I think it sounds more an excuse than a reason.That's hilarious!Who can come up with a lamer excuse?After five minutes,I guess they suddenly realize that they've made a hugh mistake.The manager comes to explain the exact reason.She says that they mistake us for ordering only a crêpe,so that's why it takes so long to serve the other.Although there're still leaks in that reason,it's much acceptable since they don't charge us for that belated crêpe.


The chef uplifts the crêpe by putting soufflé inside.It's really soft and subtle,just like a baked marchmallow.




Last but not least,a glass of Brittany cider is always a must-drink beverage which goes perfectly with the crepe.Guess what!The server tells us that they've run out of cider at two o'clock in the afternoon.Does that make sense?


Well,due to those "episodes" during this meal,I don't find it a satisfying lunch.The food is pretty good,though.It is simply because those ridiculous incidents.Ha!






The Landis Hotel-Le Brasserie
Add:No.41,Sec.2,Minquan E. Rd,Zhongshan Dist.,Taipei City
Tel:(02)2597-1234





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