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The Theoretical Cook

A FOODY IN THE THIRD WORLD

Friday, October 27, 2006

Paris Supermarche



There's a book about the epicurean delights in Paris. I never got to read it; I just saw it in a bookstore in Amsterdam after I had already left the city. Of course, my primary 'guide' to Paris was Adam Gopnik's book - this explains why I trudged all the way to the Rue St. Germain so as not to skip the Brasserie Lipp, the Deux Magots, and the Cafe Flore. It was also Gopnik's ruminations that made me linger in the Luxembourg Gardens, truly magical with the leaves and the dappled sunlight. Looking at a baby girl running around the fountain, chasing the little ducks in the water, I felt I understood why Gopnik felt the need to raise his baby in Paris. It is a beautiful place. I think the only thing that balances out my enthusiasm for the place is the fact that I stayed in the 19th Arrondisement which, to a certain extent, is pretty much like Manila.

My generic travel guide also pointed out the following foody places, and I made sure I did not miss them: Berthillon (for the best ice cream), Amorino (for the best gelato), and Marche Montorgueil for the gastronomic shops. In the end, however, the nicest places were those that I stumbled on my own: 1) Godiva (while walking along Rue St Honore); 2) Jean Paul Hevin (for the photogenic chocolates); 3) Cafe Rotana (for providing a warm warm place to a cold cold girl). The neighborhood patisserie where I bought my daily baguette was also something else, and the fact that it was open until almost midnight made it even better. In fact, if there's one thing that I learned from my five days in the city, it's really developing a taste for this baguette. The baguette, especially when freshly baked, is such a source of comfort- something about the hard crust and the soft dough.

The funny thing is that while in Paris, I cooked myself (and my Indian host who immediately left for Bordeaux leaving me to fend for myself) Asian dinners everyday. I went to a Chinese supermarche, upon the advice of my host, to buy green vegetables, Japanese noodles, and other stuff. After a day of sightseeing and eating bread and other strange food combinations, there was comfort in going 'home' and cooking a hot dinner of rice and noodles and vegetables.

Oh, and my first meal in Paris was in an Italian pizzeria. :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chinese Buffet for Lunch in Salzburg


My first meal in Austria was in a Chinese restaurant in the tourist area. It was a 7-euro buffet, with sparkling apple juice. I was with an American law professor, and he gave the 3-euro tip. I said - "Oh thanks, Im not even going to attempt to contribute." I wasnt going to insist since the guy was gazillions of years older. The meal was a disappointment but someone said that 7 euros was a cheap price to pay for a buffet lunch. Tell that to a skeptical Pinoy.
The viands comprised of the following: fried chicken wings, chopsuey with chicken fillet, chopsuey with beef sirloin, and what looked suspiciously like pancit guisado. There was something like Yang Chow fried rice. The Chinese food in this sorry restaurant is light years away from the fast food offerings of our local Luk Yuen. I am no fan of Luk Yuen, but their meals are of the imperial gourmet sort compared to the greasy inventions of the Chinese restaurant here.
Who died and decided that was Chinese fare anyway?
The reason why we ended up in a Chinese restaurant was because after two straight meals of lufthansa economy class plane offerings, without rice, I was dying for my usual carbo. I was dying for rice. And even the sumptuous smell of the Austrian bakeries did nothing to dissuade me from hunting for rice. We had two choices: the Japanese eatery or the Chinese restaurant. The buffet sounded more tempting so we went there. The lack of people should have warned us that we weren't going to be happy with the place.
I should post a picture soon. I have not done anything yet except take pictures.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Typhoon Aftermath




This is another one of those non-foodie posts.

I will not forget: GMA looked like something from The Devil Wears Prada when she made the rounds after the typhoon. She wore this red outfit. I know she has a fashion consultant and all. But really, to wear this after the typhoon and to ask the Malacanang press corps to cover her in this outfit, tsk....

Squid Rings


These are the squid rings for Eka girl. She expressly requested squid. She could've asked for anything but she asked for squid. We were only too happy to oblige her. And since she's Jakartan, I had to make sure that the squid was hot enough to suit her palate. She loved this appetizer. It must be the garlic powder....

Squid Rings

Ingredients

1 kg squid, sliced
1 cup cornstarch
garlic powder
black pepper
5 pcs green chilis
garlic, slivered
salt

Procedure:
1) Mix the cornstarch, garlic powder (to taste), some salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
2) Dredge the squid slices in this cornstarch mixture.
3) Heat oil. (For deep frying)
4) When oil is very hot, drop the squid slices. Be careful to lift out the squid slices since the squid gets rubbery when overcooked.
5) Set aside the squid slices.
6) In another pan, saute some garlic and green chili. When garlic turns a little brown, add the cooked squid slices.