Le Cafe Chinois
I wasn’t sure whether to put Le Cafe Chinois on the blog or not. I’ve passed by this curious little place a few times when it was closed, and as I peered through the window, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the decor inside. I finally came by for lunch and tea this past week, curious to see what this “Chinese Cafe” is about. It turns out that while the interior is indeed charming and the service quite lovely, the food and desserts here really aren’t made for my taste…
What we tried: riz rouge au curry de tofu, sauce coco (€11.50), red glutinous rice with curried tofu and coconut sauce, and riz au thon sauce gigimbre (€11), rice with tuna and ginger sauce. We also added a side order of “tomyam” (+€2) thinking that it was something like Thai tomyam soup, but it turned out to be just pork floss flavored with lemongrass. Meh.
Add: 62 rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 45 51 33 42
Hours: [Mon-Sat] 12-2:30pm, 8-11pm (closed on Sun)
Price: [lunch] €21-25 [dinner] €35-45
Visited: May 2015
Casual dinner at Chez Graff, a charming little restaurant on the quiet rue de Bellechasse. Opened in 2013 by Thomas Loustaut in collaboration with Laiterie Sainte Clotilde just next door, with Japanese chef Koji Tsuchiya in the kitchen. I’ve passed by this restaurant a few times and have always been attracted by the warm glow oozing out of its floor-to-ceiling windows, and this week I finally stepped in for dinner.
Appetizer: ceviche de bar asiatique (€9), seabass ceviche with coconut milk and pomegranate. Refreshing, delicious.
Seiches et asperges blanches au miso et yuzu (€9), squid and white asparagus in miso and yuzu sauce, topped with parmesan crisps. Loved the texture of the squid, and the flavor was perfect with miso and yuzu.
Steel Cyclewear & Coffeeshop
Steel Cyclewear & Coffeeshop, the newest addition to Paris’ cafe scene. Exactly as the name suggests, it combines cyclewear and coffee under one roof – a place for bike lovers to meet over good coffee, basically. I mean, why not?
Cafe creme (€4), beans from Belleville Brûlerie.
The Parisian Kitchen
Add: 4 rue de Tocqueville, 75017 Paris
Tel: 06 16 93 34 06
Visited: May 2015
After years of working in the luxury industry (most recently at Louis Vuitton, where she stayed for seven years), Bénédicte Mesny decided that she’s going to make a change in career – by starting her own cooking classes. When I received her invitation to experience one of her menus, I took a quick look on her website to see what the program is about – market visit, 2-hour cooking class with starter, main course, and dessert, followed by lunch with cheese and wine included…and all is held in her beautiful Parisian apartment in the 17th arrondissement. How could I say no to that? Let’s go.
We arrived at Bénédicte’s apartment around 10am, and after some tea and chouquettes which she thoughtfully prepared for us (in case we didn’t have breakfast), we went off to Marché de Lévis to pick up things we needed for our lunch. From the three options Bénédicte offers, we chose the poultry menu, which included salmon tartar as appetizer, poultry roll as main course, and chantilly cloud as dessert. As I’m not a big fan of meringue, we decided to change the dessert to chocolate soufflé instead (Woohoo!)
Back at the apartment, we started cooking. There was some chopping, rolling, simmering, boiling, searing, and baking…I won’t give much details here lest you want to experience the class yourself.
Miss Clara Hotel
Add: Sveavägen 48, 111 34 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: +46 8 440 67 00
We spent our next two nights in Stockholm at Miss Clara, a stylish hotel renovated from a former private girls school originally built in 1900. Named after the headmistress, the building received a full makeover by Swedish architect Gert Wingardh, who kept the original art nouveau structure intact and filled its interior with modern furnishings, lighting, and artwork. The result is beautiful, as you will soon see from the photos below. Location-wise, the hotel is within a 10-minute walking distance from the central train station, and 20-some minutes to sights like Gamla Stan (old town) and Skeppsholmen (museum island) – not much to complain about.
One of my favorite space within the building is the dining room: vaulted windows, leather banquettes, Lee Broom crystal bulbs…just gorgeous.
Next door is The Ballerina Room, which features Max Modén’s ballerina portraits and Kaare Klint chairs.
Add: Riddargatan 6, Stockholm
Tel: 00 46 8 54 50 39 40
Visited: May 2015
We spent our first two nights in Stockholm at Story Hotel in Ostermalm, a posh residential / shopping district of the city. The placement really can’t get any better – the hotel is surrounded by chic designer boutiques, restaurants, bars and clubs, and is only a one-minute walk to metro Ostermalmstorg (one stop away from the central train station). Most places we visited – Gamla Stan (old town), Skeppsholmen (museum island), the pier (to hop on a boat to the Archipelago) etc. – are all within walking distance. Really, the perfect location.
The design is stylish – polished concrete floors, exposed pipes across the ceilings, lush velvet furnishings – with quirky details sprinkled here and there.
On our fourth day in Stockholm, we hopped on a Cinderella boat (yes Cinderella) to explore a nearby island called Vaxholm. This cute place is only about 45 minutes from Stockholm, a charming option for day trippers especially when the sun shines.
The first thing we did upon reaching Vaxholm – despite the fact that it still felt like winter – was to get double scoops of ice-cream. I tried the coconut and mango/passionfruit ice-cream and both were delicious. Right at the pier, you can’t miss it.
Some snapshots from Stockholm’s old town / gamla stan. Slightly touristy but beautiful nonetheless.
Delicious Swedish meatballs at Fem Små Hus, served in cream sauce with pickled cucumbers, lingonberries, and mashed potatoes.
Before my Stockholm trip, Carin of Paris in Four Months generously shared a huge list of recommendations for her hometown, which I followed diligently, starting with cakes and coffee of course. Among all the spots I visited, one of my favorites was Xoko, a bakery cafe in the Vasastan neighborhood serving excellent baked goods, coffee, and light food. The atmosphere was absolutely charming, I could sit there all afternoon.
My selection: a princess cake, a mazarin, and a cup of xokoccino. The princess cake (prinsesstårta) is a traditional Swedish layer cake consisting of sponge cake, pastry cream, and a dome of whipped cream, topped by green-colored marzipan. The marzipan was too sweet for me (I readily scrapped it off) but the dome of whipped cream was surprisingly pleasant in company with sponge cake and fresh raspberries sandwiched in between. Mazarin is yet another popular Swedish pastry, basically a tart filled with sweet ground almond paste – simple and delicious. Xokoccino is Xoko’s chocolate latte, and while it was very good, it was slightly too sweet of a cup of be paired with the pastries I ordered…
Add: rue, 34 Rue de Richelieu, Paris 75001
Tel: 01 42 60 59 66
Hours: [Mon] 7-10:30pm [Tue-Sat] 12:30-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm [Sun] 11:30am-3pm
Price: [lunch] €18-24 [dinner/brunch] €30-40
Visited: Apr 2015
A newly opened neo-bistro by the folks behind Verjus and Verjus wine bar. I first visited on a Sunday for their brunch special menu, which consists of a dozen or so small plates designed to be shared. The famous buttermilk fried chicken is delicious as usual, and everything else we tried was quite pleasant as well, especially the chicken chilaquiles and the malt ice-cream.