Archives for Food

Lyon: a culinary gem amid a violent history

Lyon is a gem of a city. Set on a hilly site, it’s where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet – making it a natural military and commercial junction and an attractive location in its own right. Its long history dates back to Roman times when it was called Lugdunum and was the capital of Roman Gaul. The city flourished in the Renaissance period; commercial fairs started in 1464 when Italian bankers arrived, and from 1473 it was one of the most active printing centres in Europe. In the 17th century, it was the silk manufacturing capital of Europe. It is known as a centre of the arts and culture, and most particularly for being the gastronomic capital of France, a title bestowed on it by the gourmet Curnonsky in 1934, although its culinary reputation goes back to Roman times. View PDF
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Lakes Charles LA, beautiful and quirky

Take a beautiful national park complete with nature trails, wildlife, including alligators and pink cranes, add a beach, some casinos, plenty of local history, some great local food and a rum distillery and you have Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles is about 2-3 hours drive west of New Orleans and about the same distance east from Houston, Texas. It’s a town of about 100,000 people with its own port, airport and rail connections as well as the interstate highway. View PDF
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48 hours in San Antonio

San Antonio in southwest Texas is a special place, an in- teresting blend of Spanish, Texan and now Mexican influences where the cowboy tradition is strong and the battle cry of “Remember the Alamo’’ still resonates. A visitor can easily fill 48 hours. Begin your day with breakfast: you’ve got choices. It might be Mexican – huevos rancheros, for example – or Texan – eggs, very crispy bacon, breakfast potato in some form, and biscuits with gravy or grits, plain or with cheese, shrimp and more. And coffee. View PDF
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Buy carefully on London Food Tours

Food tours are enormously popular in many major cities around the world, and often in areas with unique cuisines. London presents a special challenge as Europeans generally look down upon English cooking as stodgy, provincial and unimaginative. John Bishop found there is plenty to be delighted about as he took three food tours around London, with some history and culture thrown in. View article as PDF
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Low lights of Louisiana

Baton Rouge, the capital of the state of Louisiana, presents a medley of experiences for visitors, both in the city itself and as a jumping off point for the state’s many natural attractions, including swamps, alligators, fine historical houses, and special French flavour not found elsewhere. View as PDF
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Nice and greasy

The workingman’s cafe has a long and respectable tradition in England, selling an unfashionable cuisine: the fry up. John Bishop visits three of London’s finest Nice and greasy
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Poor service reflects bad organisation in Day’s Bay Cafés

When you’re eating a rather indifferent toasted sandwich at ten past two on a fine September afternoon having first tried to order to order food at 12.45, you know things have not gone well. We called into Chocolate Dayz in Day’s Bay for lunch, a place which served me a stale, partly uncooked vegetable frittata the last time I was there. I stood in the queue to order food. I was tenth in line, and the line doesn’t move quickly. Twenty minutes later I am finally in front of the lady taking the orders. (Two other customers had abandoned the queue and gone elsewhere).  On the way to the front, I noticed a small sign by the till that meals would take about 45 minutes. Will it really be that long, I asked? What about if I order something from the cabinet? Yes it will be about that long, and no, ordering from the cabinet rather than the menu won’t hasten delivery. It’s now ten past one. I’d already wasted 20 minutes: to wait another 45 minutes (or more) looked
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Profiling three Kiwi Chefs in New York in the Listener

  As a result of my travels in the US earlier this year I’ve had a piece published in this week’s Listener on three Kiwi chefs making a go of it in New York, including the big guy Matt Lambert whose restaurant holds a Michelin Star. The others are Pauli Morgan of the Nelson Blue bar and restaurant and Mark Simmons of the Kiwiana Café in Brooklyn. A pleasure to talk to all of them.
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Vista delights with steak on pearl barley dish

I’ve not generally been very enthusiastic about VISTA the indoor outdoor café in Oriental Bay. I’ve been there frequently enough over the years, never finding much to complain about, but never having a great experience either. At least not until today. To be fair my low-ish regard for this place is somewhat at odds with the prevailing opinion in Wellington where it is rated highly for food, location, service and general ambience. Certainly it is pleasant to sit outside on a good day and sip some wine, and I have done that.  And inside the food is sound, but not adventurous, but that is not a strong criticism in a town where there are plenty of experimental places if you want that sort of thing. VISTA is much more about being solid, reliable and predictable. But for my money it was (and is) a bit pricey for what it delivers. Eggs any style on ciabatta is $11, which is at the higher end of town, and with bacon and sausage (or another item) added, you hit $20 and you haven’t
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Elements Cafe lets me down

Elements Café in Lyall Bay ought to be good. It won the award for best café in Wellington last year, and generally it doesn’t disappoint. It did on Sunday for me anyway, and with one of its signature dishes – the liver with caramelized onions and mushrooms. This dish used to be served on mash but now it comes with toast or rather it comes with soggy ciabatta as the base. It’s soggy because of the rather nice sour cream and meat juice sauce poured over the dish. I’d asked for an extra piece of liver, and yes there were two pieces there, so I guess they got that right. The dish would have been rather sparse with just one. The bacon was lovely and I had an egg as an extra too. But the basic compilation was askew. The supposed caramelized onions were tasteless, and there were just two paltry slices of mushroom. Frankly this was ordinary. On the plus side the service was prompt and attentive, and the prices were reasonable, but I left feeling depressed. A popular
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