Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Paris icons - Pyramide du Louvre

The Louvre Pyramid or Pyramide du Louvre is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum.   It was completed in 1989, and has become a landmark of the city of Paris. It was commissioned by the President of France François Mitterrand in 1984, and was designed by the architect I. M. Pei.  

For design historian Mark Pimlott, "I.M. Pei’s plan distributes people effectively from the central concourse to myriad destinations within its vast subterranean network... the architectonic framework evokes, at gigantic scale, an ancient atrium of a Pompeiian villa; the treatment of the opening above, with its tracery of engineered castings and cables, evokes the atria of corporate office buildings; the busy movement of people from all directions suggests the concourses of rail termini or international airports."

Paris icons - Eiffel Tower

I was in France recently for a seminar, and had a short 3 hour tour of rainy Paris ... We stopped at a few Parisian icons, including the Eiffel Tower of course. I only just found out that more then 200 million people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889 and that it was the most-visited paid monument in the world! Here are a few shots captured with my Nikon D7000 and Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 lens.

The Eiffel Tower (French: La Tour Eiffel, nickname La dame de fer or 'the iron lady') is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

View from the Trocadéro, which is an area of Paris in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

Raclette dinner and Comté - Chateauform De-Mareil-Le-Guyon, near Paris

Add: Chateauform De-Mareil-Le-Guyon - 78490 MAREIL-LE-GUYON, France
Tel: +33 1 34 57 08 40
N 48° 47' 23"
E 1° 51' 5"

We indulged in wonderful french cheese all week - Both at lunch as well as dinner time! I slowly learned over the week that my favourite was Gruyère de Comté :-)

Some facts from Wikipedia ... Comté is a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Comté has the highest production of all French AOC cheeses, around 40,000 tonnes annually.

A raclette is both a type of cheese and a Swiss dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off (racler) the melted part.
This was our wonderful dinner on the penultimate night of our seminar :-) A wonderful communal-eating experience!

A modern way of serving raclette involves an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, to heat slices of raclette cheese in. Generally the grill is surmounted by a hot plate or griddle. The cheese is brought to the table sliced, accompanied by platters of boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables and charcuterie. These are then mixed with potatoes and topped with cheese in the small, wedge-shaped coupelles that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese...

Kronenbourg 1664, good ol' french beer!

If you are lucky enough to enjoy the hospitality of a Chateauform, you will have the privilege of having an open-bar, free-flow of wines, spirits and all other wonderful beverages!

Chateauform Mareil-Le-Guyon - Delicious french cuisine

More photos of my stay at the warm and cosy Chateauform De-Mareil-Le-Guon, in the village of Mareil-Le-Guyon in France. Interesting places nearby include - Palace of Versailles, 20 km away ... and Paris, 37 km away.

Chateauform - A unique concept in seminar and chateau living, combined together!
Tel: +33 1 34 57 08 40

We spent a lot of time in the kitchen and dining room, and open bar, throughout our week on the seminar :-)

The lovely fireplace in the house - We were treated with wonderful french soups all week, including cream of champignon and chestnut too!

My colleagues and myself loved the food all week ;-) Burp!

One of the chefs in the house - Magnificent cuisine, tastes home-cooked ... because it is!

Felt like a kid again ... all the wonderful sweeties!!

Chateauform Mareil-Le-Guyon, France

Add: Chateauform De-Mareil-Le-Guyon - 78490 MAREIL-LE-GUYON, France
Tel: +33 1 34 57 08 40

Had the pleasure of staying at a wonderful seminar-venue, an hour from Paris CDG, in mid-October ... Here are some shots of the Chateauform :-)

My rustic bedroom for the week :-)

The resident dog!

The lovely gardens ;-)

Yes, after years of not getting on a bike ... I even went cycling!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pappa Roti - Now available in Abu Dhabi

Established in Malaysia in 2003, Papparoti Trading Sdn. Bhd. and Papparoti (M) Sdn. Bhd. are the principal owners of the Papparoti worldwide franchise. Papparoti is a successful food chain which has flourished all over world with branches in Malaysia, China,Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, United Kingdom and Australia.

My 24 AED snack - Cuppa teh tarik and a mexican bun :-) Or you could just have the bun for 11 AED (RM$9).

A taste of Malaysia ... right here in Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi!

Abyan - Best mandi in Khalidiyah

Add: Ground Floor, Kulaib Son Building, Al Khalidiya - Abu Dhabi
Located: Behind Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Tel: +971 2 6655545

N 24° 28.320'
E 54° 20.898'

Sheri fish, recommended by our friend C (who has left Abu Dhabi, back to Malaysia, and missed this restaurant so much!) ... 30 AED, served with a huge portion of fluffy rice.

Decided to bring my tupperware along this time, and the portion was a large as ever! Our mandi with chicken, great value at 20 AED.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Samurai - Japanese at TCA, Abu Dhabi

Located: Behind Al Diar Capital Hotel, Tourist Club Area / Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 2 676 9911

Amuse bouche ... Nice bit of tuna with ginger dressing.

My lovely mains, perfectly marinated and generous portion of rib-eye beef with a japanese dressing and bean-paste marinade :-)

The kids had the chicken and mushroom stir-fry with omelette, and rice ... Tasty too!

Our first and definitely not our last visit to Samurai ... Parking isn't as bad as what it used to be, give it a go :-) We enjoyed the meal above for only 92 AED or RM$75. That includes hot ocha :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Abyan Restaurant - Best Mandi in Abu Dhabi

Found the perfect MANDI in Abu Dhabi ... Its worth hunting down this place!!

Add: Ground Floor, Kulaib Son Building, Al Khalidiya - Abu Dhabi
Located: Behind Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Tel: +971 2 6655545
N 24° 28.320'
E 54° 20.898'

Yes, they may not speak English ... but who cares when the food is this good!

My take-away parcel this evening ... 20 dirhams or RM$17, for a portion that easily feeds two!

The chilli sauce, not so different from Hainanese chicken rice chilli ... is excellent :-)

Here is my mandi dinner ... Delicious roast chicken, served on a pillow of the fluffiest and most-perfectly cooked basmati rice imaginable!

Divine :-)