The last lambic brewery

Glass of Cantillon Gueuze

Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium, is one of the last breweries in the world that still produce lambics, the traditional way. It takes about 3 years to make a batch of lambic and production can only occur during the cold months of the year. This family-run brewery has been in operation since 1900, and they still use the same, original equipment from back then. Walking through the brewery, with its large copper lined vats, and ancient oak barrels stacked from floor to ceiling, it seemed like nothing had changed.

Cantillon copper vat Cantillon lambic cellar Cantillon lambic wine barrels

On my recent visit to this brewery, I learned so much about the craft of brewing. For starters, a true lambic can only be produced through spontaneous fermentation. What this means is that instead of using yeasts or sugars, the fermentation process depends solely on the presence of bacteria floating in the air. It is the air where the brewery is located that and the unique species of bacteria it contains, that gives their premier beer, the Gueuze, it’s unique flavor. Continue reading

From Quenelles to Canals

Lyon Quenelles and Rice dinner

Oh boy, it’s been a whirlwind these past couple of days. Leaving Lyon, was bittersweet. The quiet, cobblestone streets and rustic ambiance of the town offered me some much needed relief and solace from the intensity of Paris. On our last night, Geoffrey threw an intimate dinner party and prepared a traditional Lyonnaise dish called, quenelles.

DinnerLyonQuenelles Quenelles are made with a mixture of fish mousse, eggs and breadcrumbs. It takes a very long and labor-intensive process to make these dumplings, but it is worth it. The mixture must be pushed through a sieve several times, resulting in a texture that is light, fluffy, and creamy. The quenelles are poached and simmered slowly in a financier sauce, a light tomato sauce containing mushrooms and olives, and they plump up as they absorb the sauce.

RedpepperChevreCrostini

Dinner party cheese plate lyon

Roquefort from Lyon Continue reading

Tarte aux pralines

Tart aux praline slice red

Tart aux pralines assembly

When in Lyon, France, one must try the regional specialty: Tarte aux pralines. These fluorescent red tarts may seem scary at first, but they are actually delicious. The color is actually derived from rose pralines, a Lyonnaise specialty, which are bright pink in color.

Cup of red Rose Pralines

In fact, every patisserie I walked into, specialized in incorporating these pralines into numerous pastries, giving them the characteristic red hue. It’s funny how the color red finds it’s way into traditional recipes, for example: Red Velvet cake, my ultimate comfort food.

Rose Praline Pastries in Lyon

Continue reading

La Fête du Pain in Paris

I’m finally in Paris! It’s been a great trip so far as we eat our way through the city. I’m here with my girl Julia, as we take on the first city of our 2-month backpacking adventure through Europe.

Yesterday, we stumbled into one of the best coincidences ever. Upon visiting the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral, we are pleasantly greeted by the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread wafting through the air. The smells are emanating from a huge tent. There is a sign. All french words. Darn! But there’s a picture of a baguette. Hmm…we approach. Inside the tent was a sight that I will never forget. 

Breads at the Fete du Painbreads at the fete du pain paris

Continue reading

Beyond the Embarcadero Part II: Wine and Dine

Continued from Beyond the Embarcadero Part I

Sutton Cellars Winery

Upon exiting  Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, we turn the corner and discover a sign that piques my interest: Sutton Cellars. Huh? They’ve got artisanal wineries in the Dogpatch too?!  We walk up to a large red brick building and linger outside dough-eyed and curious, like apprehensive tourists (which we basically were). A nice lady welcomes us in and offers us wine tastings for just $5. Um…Yes please! We grab our wine glasses and are given a variety of wines to taste, all truly unique and flavorful.

Sutton Cellars Dry Vermouth infused with Chamomile and Rosemary

Most notably, we got to try the housemade dry Vermouth, flavored with natural herbs including rosemary and wild chamomile. Dry and herbaceous, it was sharp yet finished smoothly.

Head winemaker from Sutton Cellars

The owner and artisanal winemaker, Carl, is truly passionate about his craft and is a living encyclopedia of wine knowledge. With his sarcasm and wit, he is also quite entertaining to talk to as we joked about the impending rise of the hipster population and how everyone and their mom is becoming a blogger these days (Guilty!).

Sutton Cellars Wine

Offering great wine, great ambiance, and great conversation, Sutton Cellars is definitely a hidden gem. You can even take a home a jug of the house wine, and get it refilled the next time you come back! Hmm…I’m starting to like this Dogpatch place…

Serpentine Restaurant in the Dogpatch Continue reading

Beyond the Embarcadero… Part I

…lies a quaint bubble of delicious ice cream, wineries, and awesome people. This land is called:

The Dogpatch.

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortbread and Crema Catalina

My Muni transits have never taken me beyond the Embarcadero. The Ferry Building is as far as I’ve gone…with the occasional visit to 21st Amendment Brewery when I’m craving some Hell or High Watermelon Beer. However, on this particular morning, I decided to live life on the edge and journey into unknown territory. The sun was shining, the skies were clear, I was thoroughly caffeinated, and there weren’t too many crazies onboard the train (except for one gentleman who kept claiming that he had just gotten out of prison, and needed everyone on the train to know about it. Don’t worry, he was harmless.) All in all, everything was going great. Until I noticed that the T-Line train gradually became more and more empty, the further away we got from “the city” (as I knew it). Getting slightly uneasy, I begin to contemplate whether or not I had made the right decision to spend my precious day off in the middle of nowhere as we pass by miles of sterile-looking new apartment complexes. What did I get myself into? How long will the next train coming back be? Will I get stranded there?! Oh! At last, I arrive at my stop: Mariposa and 23rd.

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous Ice Cream

Crema Catalina~Lime Custard with Burnt Orange Caramel

Right as I exit, I am delightfully greeted by the famous Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream shop. Offering just a few flavors each day, and apparently open only during odd hours, this place indeed does live up to it’s name. We had Strawberry Shortbread, and Crema Catalina (Lime custard with burnt orange caramel), with the latter depicting a flavor reminiscent of sweet lemongrass. Rich. Creamy. Delicious.

I’m guessing you are wondering who “we” is referring to. I confess, I was not alone on this trip. My boo came along with me. I guess this is the moment in this blog, where I introduce you to him. He is a very charming, sweet and loving guy and he’s actually the one who pushed me to start this blog. For now, I shall refer to him as Boo.

I’ll leave the story here for now. Stay tuned for Part II where I’ll show you how to get way too drunk off artisanal wine in the Dogpatch.