Thursday, October 11, 2012

Champagne and Beer, Part I

If there were ever a more gluttonous trip than this one...

Champagne at all hours of the day and night, a decadent four course meal at one of Alain Ducasse's restaurants, sausages and beer. In other words, a visit to Nice, Monaco, and Munich.

There was so much to write about that I split this up into two posts, one on Nice/Monaco, and one on Munich.

A disturbingly familiar sight by now, I'm sure. Brownie points to the person who can guess where this photo was taken.



Now onboard and heading to Geneva, the first of many glasses of champsies!

I definitely ate too much on my flight. I was surprised with a three course meal on my flight, with an additional cheese course. Appetizers included vegetable and mushroom filled pastry and beef empanadas with amazon sauce. I'm not sure what amazon sauce is, but it looked like that orangey sauce you get at costco. The soup was a shrimp and roasted corn chowder, surprisingly delicious! The main course was a "Tenderloin of Beef" with Delmonico's sauce and "rosti potatoes". Um, that is not "rosti". You can view rosti here. But nice try, United.

My cheese course:

Wait a second. I've had this ice cream sundae on my flight to Seattle! I love ice cream sundaes, so I'm not complaining, but it was no concrete from Shake Shack.

Breakfast the next morning: a soggy croissant and some cold cuts. 

Everything is better in Switzerland. Even the croissants! Yes, this was my second breakfast. What? I love breakfast!

September in Nice is quite pleasant - the weather is still nice enough to walk around, but it was just a little too cold for me to want to stay on the beach for too long. That wasn't a problem since I subjected myself to irreversible sun damage in Los Roques just a month ago.

Lunch the first day was at a spot along the water, Restaurant Le Nautique. We I picked it mostly because everything was pink.

{A pink champagne bucket!}

{Moules Farcies}

{Steamingly delicious bouillabaisse}

I had my fill of seafood here. I ordered a bouillebase (above) - I'm sure it was meant for two, but that has never stopped me before. To be honest I was a little fished out and full, so I couldn't finish it. But it was quite tasty.

After a strenuous afternoon of walking along the Promenade Des Anglais, it was time for some gelato.

{Pralines & Chocolate}

And then champagne at a restaurant named Balthazar! I like the one in SoHo better, but you can't quite beat this view.

For dinner, we were all in the mood for a place that served halloumi cheese. We found Adonis! We ordered a variety of small plates to share.

{Fattoush Salad}

{Halloumi cheese!}


The next day, we were set to head to Monaco for lunch and sight seeing. I should preface this by saying the second we booked our tickets to Nice, I looked up restaurants (of course). I found Le Louis XV in Monaco and quickly made a reservation. You can take a 20 minute train ride to Monaco from Nice. But it turns out that the train people were on strike that day. And so all the buses were over crowded. So we ended up taking a taxi all the way there. You could also take a helicopter to Monaco, but we decided to save that for next time.

We were dropped off right in front of the Place Du Casino and as soon as we walked into the Hotel De Paris, we were ushered to our table. Quicker than the bat of a (false) eyelash, we were poured a glass of champagne. I am destined to live in Monaco.

We were provided zucchini and olive crackers to eat with our champagne.

We ordered the lunch time prix fixe menu, in which we could select 3 courses and were also served a cheese course. The lunch menu includes a bottle of wine of your choosing (off of a select list) for the table.

And then a bread cart rolled around with 10 kinds of bread, and also salted and unsalted butter.

{A slice of pumpkin and foccacia bread}

Amuse Bouche

Course number 1 consisted of a lobster soup, with mushrooms. Ummm. Probably one of the richest and most flavorful soups I've had so far. Perfection!

Course number 2 was my least favorite. In theory, it sounded unique. Pidgeon and foie gras in pastry. In real life, it was far too rich. If I didn't eat about 4 pieces of bread, I probably would have been fine. I took a half time break and then continued on to finish the entire plate.

The cheese course was heaven. I really should have asked for a little bit of every cheese, but I was starting to get disgustingly full. All I recall from this was saying that I like sheeps milk cheese and goat cheese.

{I wish United would serve this kind 
of cheese tray on domestic flights}

{Camembert and friends}

A few mignardises to keep us occupied while waiting for dessert.

{Vanilla Macarons}

Now for the grand finale. Dessert! The rum baba is one of Le Louis XV's signature desserts. It is basically a sweetened bread that is draped with...rum. For some reason, our waiter thought that Sanjay "spoke for me" and asked if it was okay to pour more rum into my dessert. Naturally he waved him on his way. This dessert was far too strong for me - the rum was over-powering.

Silly me, I forgot to write down the name of this chocolate dessert that Amar ordered. The waiters poured hot chocolate sauce over the dish and it was a melted pile of delicious chocolate.

{This dessert is more my style - decadent chocolate}

{A parting gift of some muffin treats}

The service was impeccable. I didn't love my main course, but, mostly everything else was fantastic. For the record, the rum baba wasn't that great, but it was unique. I would definitely stick with the chocolate tarte dessert next time. You know, the next time I come back to Monaco in my helicopter. Right.

Not really sure of what to do next, we walked into the casino next door. You know, the one with all the ferraris in the front? We couldn't take pictures inside so we quickly exited. If you can't take a self portrait, were you really there?

Somehow we found ourselves at Horizon, which is a roof top bar at the Fairmont. To be precise, it was a champagne bar. We didn't need any further prodding.

As we were exiting the Fairmont in Monaco, I spotted a woman across the street with a black celine bag and MORE importantly, a pistachio green colored shopping bag.

Robins egg blue : Tiffany
Pistachio Green : ?

The answer is LADUREE. I immediately whipped out my phone to proximate where we could find the famed macaronerie (yes that is a word now). Note that it has opened up on the UES in New York, but I've never made the trek uptown to visit. However, since we were in oh so glamorous Monaco, it seemed essential to our trip.

We walked around a mall and finally found it. I gasped.

Since there were 3 of us, I figured we could do the box of 12 and that way we could each get 4. Then I realized that the boys weren't going to have more than a bite, so I settled on a box of 8 to "share". In my mind, I knew that they would both be too full to eat anything sweet, eventually. Muhaha. More on this later.

{When in Monaco, eat macarons}

We continued our day trip in Monaco with, you guessed it. More champagne. At Buddha Bar.

So maybe we missed something critical, but I'm not sure what else there is to do in Monaco other than dine at Michelin starred restaurants, gamble, drink champagne, shop at Celine, take a city tour in a Porsche, or moor your yacht and drink champagne to your hearts delight while posting your escapades on RKOI.

Nice offered an eclectic mix of restaurants - we saw it all. We found Indian food next to a seafood place, a Tunisian bakery, an Afghani restaurant, a Moroccan restaurant, several Lebanese restaurants, a Planet Sushi (also available in Miami and Ibiza), and a Turkish restaurant. We were pretty stuffed from our huge lunch, but we figured once we started walking around the old town, we'd be hungry again. We found a Turkish place and ordered a few dishes to share. All for a grand total of 8 euros each!

{Vegetarian Dip Platter}

{Iskender Curry}

The following set of events is absolutely disgusting but hopefully you will find it awe-inspiring as well. I ate ALL 8 of my Laduree macarons. In one sitting. By myself. #diabetes.

From left to right: Rose, Salted Caramel, Praline, Chocolate, Pistachio, Framboise, Blood Orange, and Lavender Bubblegum

The first one to go. Monsieur Chocolat. Au revoir!

Lavender bubble gum.

Blood orange.

I tried to save a bite of the rose one for Sanjay. He said he didn't want it.

Oops. All gone. At least they are light and airy.

Au revoir Nice, gutten tag Munich! Stay tuned for the next post covering Munich!

{Airport Lounge in Nice, approx 10:20AM}

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