Monday, February 22, 2010

Chianti Cafe

We had driven our SUV car to Pingxi last Saturday to see the first events and releasing the Taiwan sky lanterns. But we will be back on March 6 on the last events. The main event is on Feb 28 and they will release 2,000 pieces of sky lanterns. And we want to avoid traffic restrictions, the roads will be closed in a afternoon on that day which will be overcrowded.
Pingxi it has the biggest festival anywhere in Taiwan, and lighting up a sky lantern to make a wish is one of the  Taiwanese favorite activities. After the sky lantern activities we had a dinner at Chianti Cafe before headed back to Hsinchu.
Surrounding by the garden and sparkling river, hill and mountains, sipping a fragrant coffee or tea. Chianti Cafe is the place with serene a worthwhile and there is no other resturant like this in Pingxi.
This is a great place for families because of its large out door gardens. Although the food is not something that we would liked. 
The name Chianti there's nothing to do with the menu. The set menu is a combination with western and asean style with average taste. But the beverage here are lovely and delightful.
Set meal
Italian herb chicken
On tray,,,very common the way they served in the food court at any shopping center in Taiwan.
Grilled mackerel in Jap's style
Baked salmon lasagna
Chocolate waffle
Hot fruit tea
I will recommend Chianti Cafe in order its hard to find a place to eat in Jingtong Pingxi.
Chianti Cafe
Pingxi Taipei County

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chamonix Hsinchu Branch

Chamonix is a Western teppanyaki style it transforms after dark into a sparkling seductress. We went here for Chinese New Year and to celebrate my husband new position he got the promotion as a manager on his company that starts a few weeks ago and his not doing assistant manager at all, and for the special evening night "Valentines Day" dinner and to thanks for all the blessing and good opportunity was given to us on our basic daily lives.
Reviews from Taiwan Gourmet: also it should be my introduction, decorated in French style, Chamonix features the tableware, cutlery, and furniture in the colors blue, red, and white. The crystal chandelier gives a touch of romance to the surroundings. Chamonix offers mainly set meals, which include ten dishes from the appetizer, champagne, to the dessert. Chamonix is a part of Wang Steak group.
Our meal that starts on appetizer with 3 small bites, smoked salmon, thin slice of duck breast and shrimp in melon.
And the soups it serve with breads, me and my son had a Cappuccino creamy pea soup
My husband and Claire had their Truffle onion soup.
Fruit salad
Truffle-mushrooms salad
Soft shell crab salad 
Our main entree's are brandy duck breast, grilled short ribs with garlic, 2 order of Catherine steak (sirloin) our Catherine steak quantity is definitely much less than the price, but definitely it was good.
After our main course the staff moved us in the second floor area where everyone's have to eat the last course is the dessert and drink.
Mont blanc
Kids had a Ice cream with hot chocolate sauce
And I had a Champselysees cheese known as panna cotta serve in different sauce.
English scented tea
As soon as we finished our meals, my husband actually surprised me with a new engagement ring. He said he's been wanting to get me a new and bigger one and he did to replace my wedding ring that I lost in Kaoshiung year ago. He was doing canvas and checking this diamond in Taipei 101 and other shopping center in Taipei for almost 6 months. I really was suprised and I said to him you bought this diamond just one click for the price like that! He answered me he wanted me to have this diamond and you deserved it. I'd learned not every sparkling diamond it has the same quality, grade and clarity. It makes me nervous wearing this ring and its almost the same price with a small car. Even I will work for myself for 2 years I can't afford it on my own. But for me to love, caring, respect and to cherish each other that is the best gift and beautiful thing you cannot named the price. And having a partner with kindness on his heart and soul that is the best gift from god I ever had, and given me my 2 precious gems we can't find somewhere else in the mall and that is Claire and Charles. Well the night was fantastic, very skilled teppanyaki chef and attentive management. The food was rather average but the theatrics made up for it. Drinks service was a little slow but we were having so much fun, it was no big deal. However, I will recommend this teppanyaki if you don't want to throw your foods  in the air.
Chupei City Hsinchu
Tel no: 03-657-0648

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Paul French Bakery

2 weeks ago, I promised with my kids that I will drive them in Taipei to spend lunch or afternoon tea at Paul French Bakery Mitsukoshi Department Store A9 Songshou Road (Sinyi) Taipei City. I saw this restaurant or coffee and bakery shop for many times but I didn't have chance to dine here. So today we give it try some of their meals, Charles was looking for some meat or pasta, our server table answered my boy, we don't have this kind of Italian meals. I can feel that my boy was disappointed! Although salmon is one of his favorite, he still can accept the Paillasons salmon.
We ordered the combo meals, to me nothing so special is like a fast food version of French cuisine. I think one of their best is the pastries, cakes a lots of breads imported ingredients from France.  The restaurant  and decor is also build in French palace country farm style.
The stores have enjoyed such a great reputation, many people are inevitable, full of people actually have to queue up waiting to buy take-away bread, while others are waiting to enjoy the packages into the tea room. People in Taipei flock in this bakery most of them are all female, young or old. Providing the original bread, afternoon tea and light-fiber food. Lunch, are nearly NT$400 package plus service charge, including soup, main meal, as well as pure coffee or tea. Meals that can be choose from each of the 4 categories: salty faction (quiche), sandwiches, crepe and salad. Three will be attached to a number of salads, nutritionally balanced.
Paul is a chain of bakeries, nice to look at from the outside, the set meals leaves something to be desired  and very average on my opinion.
Soup of the day is cream mushroom soup, savory thick on top of floating a piece of french bread  baguette. Thankfully we had the soup is quite good!
Tourte aux 3 fromages blue d' auvergne cheese, emmental cheese, fromage blanc, cream egg served with fresh mix of salad greens, and baked provincial tomato. This cheese tart is suitable for people who love to eat cheese.
Paillasons salmon, baked potato cake, smoked salmon, capers and flûte served with fresh mix of salad greens and baked provincial tomato.
My daugter had the crêpes forestière- crepe mushrooms, emmental cheese, egg served with fresh mix salad greens and baked provincial tomato, she seemed to like it. Again with the minimalist concept the salad was nothing more than field greens and balsamic dressing. 
*Sweets and Drinks*
We ordered up 2 cups of  hot assam milk tea and 1 hot coffee and along with a couple of fresh pastries we were very happy indeed, especially as all that sugar kicked in.
The tartelette framboise (Rasberry tart) plummy goodness it tasted pretty bloody good!
Mille feuille fraise (strawberry millefeuille) The puff pastry was light and crisp and the strawberry, creamy scent was a welcome addition to give the dessert some interest but for me this was merely something pleasant, but delicious flavor profile. Yum! 
Extreme aux 3 chocolat a layer of white, brown and dark chocolate it was good too! but slightly north of average.
Grille pomme a bit sour but it was good! However I preferred the taste of classic french apple tart of Rachel Allen that I made a few days ago.
Claire and Charles had their both hot assam milk tea
Hot coffee, nothing like grinding fresh beans from this coffee.
The staffs are kind and good service, the negative point for us, they don't provide a free glass of water. A nice place to grab all the sweet pastries although is a little bit expensive. However, Paul French Bakery it tends to be a little Starbucks version in the US. It’s not that great???
Paul French Bakery
Mitsukoshi Department Store A9(2nd floor)  Songshou Road (Sinyi) Taipei City.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cafe Grazie 大潤發忠孝店

My family and I had a dissapointed experience yesterday lunch and re-visiting Cafe Grazie at RT.Mart. Its been a long time since our last visit in this branch. Most of the staff are new and unfamilliar to us. The soup and pizza came out in quick time, and the main meal was next! we inform to the waiter how come our antipasto had been forgotten before serving our main meal's. We had just finished our main mails when our antipasto arrived which kept tempting us.
Unfortunately the dish had nearly been finished at this point, and the head staff who was incharged at the dining area approached and asked us if we can moved ourselves to another table. That they can combine one long table for the next customer, that it's rude! My husband answered her in politely way, we don't want to moved were going to finished and you let us to wait and been forgotten our last course. Usually were not a customer will stay for that long in a table. And we were in rushed hour to finish our meals, afterwards we have to do some shopping and preparations for this coming Chinese New Year. We have been going here for many years and haven't had any problems, so perhaps we came at the wrong time or day.
Me and my daughter were both had a onion soup it was good, and my husband had a minestrone soup and James had his favorite clam chowder soup. I didn't add any photos, since I had photos images on our last visit in Cafe Grazie Sol Hotel.
*Antipasto and Pizza*
Margarita pizza
Grilled squid with basil sauce it was nice and chewy is quite similar with Spanish calamares ala plancha
Grilled spicy chicken skewer
Deep fried catfish with mustard sauce it was nice, if you really like deep fried fish I highly recommend.
Charles always been his favorite appetizer is the deep fried squid.
*Main Meals*
Risotto with squid ink sauce it was very good, very light dish and one of my favorite in Cafe Grazie.
Shrimp doria, the cheese added a good flavor to the risotto.
 Spaghetti Napoletana style with shrimp, the taste was a bit ordinary, but good for lunch.
Pescatora spaghetti, one of my husband first choice on this restaurant.
*Final Course*
Panna cotta with honey orange sauce
Chocolate cake with warm Orange chocolate sauce
Creme brulee it was  pretty good very light and it was a nice touch too.
Hot darjeeling fruit tea and honey apple tea
Since Cafe Grazie in RT.Mart had been gone their old and well trained staff, we still can considered one person mistake its doesn't mean its everyone's fault, as what we see she's not familliar and un-organized. But the food was good thought it much be better than before, we will give it another try. Overall, the portions at Cafe Grazie were quite generous.
Cafe Grazie
No. 300 Chung Hsiao Road, Hsinchu City (RT.Mart)
Tel no: 03563-4255