Dec 18, 2010

Merry Christmas

Like last year, here are some pictures of the seasons windows decorations. They are a lot less attractive compared to last year's. Due to financial crisis? For consolation, I added a nice version of my 2 favorite xmas songs.

At Galeries Lafayette, there was no special theme this time,
just random windows with dressed up teddy bears etc...
There were 2 windows that had sort of a common theme on musicals.

Printemps have nicer displays because they have, at least, a color value.

However, I don't see how the contents are related to Christmas...
Okay... I guess it's a pink Christmas dinner feast.

Isn't this more Halloween than Christams?
With the flying white sheet ghosts? O_O

 And what's this one? Hand sewn puppets dancing and playing piano...
How creative...

Dec 11, 2010

Sadaharu Aoki - Round 2

It's been a hard week... So I deserve a treat!
Around Opera's area, Christmas season is definitely here, with all the twinkling lightings but also all the Christmas shopping people, the parents bringing the kids to see the animated window displays, plus the usual tourist crowd.
It was a battle to get through the crowd to enter Lafayette Gourmet.

This time, I fell for the Saya for its color and the tiny macarons on the side. It's a strawberry mousse with a pistachio heart. I'm not a strawberry fan so I don't have much impression to share here. Let's just say that this Saya didn't impress me a lot. It's mostly beautiful for the eyes so I'll just let you see for yourself.

Nov 26, 2010

Black sesame éclair from Sadaharu Aoki

I've only recently read about this Japanese patissier. He creates beautiful pastries by mixing flavors from Asia, such as green tea, black sesame or yuzu in traditional French desserts. They also have chocolates, biscuits and macarons, of course. Macarons are so trendy these days, it seems like everyone is making them. Sadly, it starts to become kind of common, methinks.

Okay, let's get back to the main topic. So ever since I saw on the website that he makes a black sesame éclair, I've been craving to try one. The shops' locations are not convenient for me but I couldn't bear any longer so after work, I went to the counter they have inside the Galeries Lafayette Gourmet. I restrained myself not to look at all the yummy art pieces (because of possible drooling that would lead to great embarrassment) but still, a green tea millefeuilles and a chocolate raspberry cake caught my attention. These are the next one on the craving list.

I managed to ask for just the black sesame éclair as intended. The price helped a bit. We're talking about highly luxurious delicaices here, pastries are around 5€/piece. Now, let's admire it!

Test conclusions: The size is perfect, it's long and lean so when you bite in it, the cream inside doesn't spill all over. The choux pastry dough is thin and not chewy. The main character of the story, the black sesame cream, might scare you with its greenish gray color but its taste get you to forgive its rough color. The black sesame flavor is hidden deep in the cream. You get the taste of a basic crème patissière when you bite in, then the strong black sesame flavor comes out as the cream melt in your mouth. (Aren't you drooling now? I am... )

At the end, little black sesame éclair won me over completely and I even think that its black, gray and white look is awesomely luscious.

Nov 13, 2010

Home made

This is the first post of something I made at home. I'm not trying to sell this (yet). It has been too long since the last food porn shot I've made so I just wanted to share this. The yellow lighting is a pain though... and my choice of a yellow dish was the cleverest one either, anyway...
This is a apple tart with a fromage blanc filling and topped with almond flakes. The crust is the best. Quite proud of myself in fact, since it came out well with this first try.


Nov 2, 2010

Last coffee

After dinner, we finally decided to test one more place before we leave. Also right at the corner of Sophia's, there's this cute little coffee place named "Egg". They serve hand drip coffee, tea, and also wine and waffles.

Last dinner in Seoul

Oh crap, holiday is almost finished now : ( As we still need to pack, we just went to the restaurant in front of the alley of the guest house to save time. Nothing fancy here, a simple basic place where you can choose from all the basics: bbq, kalguksu, bibimbap, etc.. I went for mandu soup.

Daytime Hongdae

It's strange how this area can seem completely different from day to night. I like the bustling crowd at night better but this day tour let us discover some kooky places.

 That is not a church but a bar restaurant.
The guy obviously has to park his car in the street so
he can show off his matching garage door...

Gwangjang market

Visit of Gwangjang market! People are rushing here... to where?
Are they all motivated by food like us? I came for the bindaeddeok (mung beans pancake) and I can tell you there was no deception!
You get to see the beans being ground to a pulp which is the main base of the pancake. Then we saw the lady add her big bag of chopped kimchi, leek, onions and soybean sprouts in the bean juice. Back on the grill plate, the pancake are being fried. We ordered one for 4000W, they are about 20cm large. First bite: so crunchy on the side and moistly yummy in side. I knew then I would not stop just at a single one of theses.

After 2 servings, we went on to see the various alleys where you can find fresh and dried seafood, spices shops, veggies, fruits, candies and also lots of bedding shops. There's also another central alley where food stalls continue to spread. On this side, you can find fresh sashimi, boribap or mandu.

Miss Lee's star coffee

Starbucks closes too early here (10PM) so we went to this cute coffee shop at the beginning of Insadong hoping to catch some free WiFi. The place is designed in a school days theme with colored wood furnitures, and a giant wish tree where couples customers hang their scribbles.
I chose the very thick daechucha (dried jujube tea). It's similar to the Chinese one my grandma would make me.

Nov 1, 2010

Namdaemun noodle alley

Once you stepped beyond the plastic curtain into the tiny noodle alley, all the ladies try to lead you to their stall. The first seats were empty but I thought it was best to go where it's packed. Once seated, I looked around and in fact and realized they all pretty much sell the same things, mostly boribap (kind of bibimbap with barley rice, naengmyeon (cold noodles) and kalguksu (handmade noodles). And all the stall has a poster with pictures of when they were featured on a TV show. It's impossible for a foreigner to know which one is truly the best.
We ordered one boribap, and 2 kalguksu. Finally we were served each a small bowl of naengmyeon for free. And my friend who had boribap got an extra small bowl of noodles so she could try. So basically, she got 3 servings for the price of 4000W, which is so cheap already. How do they earn their living?

 The lady saw me with my camera and eagerly got in action for my shot
Very spicy kalguksu

Tea house

Up th hill in Bukchon, at a corner, we went in this beautiful tea house. The wall has been changed to glass panel that allows you to see the mountains at the back and the inner garden. We came in too early at 10:30 AM, the ladies weren't done with their cleaning. But they still served us.
They thought we were Japanese; she says because only the Japaneses come so early for tea. The lady was friendly and explained us all the different teas they serve, and showed us how to serve and drink our tea. 
She recommended us a traditional Korean cake to go with the tea. From what I understood, it's made with corn starch. It had a sticky spongy texture.

I chose a Korean persimmon tree leaves tea. She said it contains like 20 times more vitamin than a lemon. Korean tea has usually a subtle aroma, not like chinese tea that are a lot stronger in taste. I think that if you're not used to it, you can find it dull. After eating a piece of the cake, I was surprised that it brings out deeper tastes when we drink our tea.

 See the cake was still steaming

Bukchon traditional village

This morning, we went up the hill to tour the Bukchon traditional village. There are some pretty places here! I wish I could have a house like that... But in a less sloped area though. How do these people get to their homes when it snows?