Monday, January 31, 2011

H Billiot & Fils Champagne

Henry H made this appointment for us
at the exclusive and very very exclusive champagne maker at Ambonnay
all grand cru champagnes came fr here
even big champagne makers/house buy grapes fr Ambonnay
Ambonnay is about 30 minutes fr town centre

so our friendly cabbie whom speak nuts on English took us on an amazing journey
as we passed lil villages producing champagnes
we were speaking in different languages but understood each other very well
him in his traditional french and believe me he hasn't gone anywhere else before....

he recommended a lot of other places and things to do
and even cuisine to try out
and also some recipes on how to cook yummy french snails!!!!!! aka escargots
we didn't snap pics in the caves and tunnels and production since it was restricted
so we had a few tasting early in the morning at 10am :P
someone once told me it's never too early to pop a bottle
bcoz somewhere else around the world at that time it is already evening
H Billiot himself was there and he said hi *or more like comment sava* and again he speak no english
so the daughter Laeticia brought us around and speaks american english
*aaaa wonder why? coz they trade a lot with the americans*

H Billiot owns a very small parcel in Ambonnay
and produces no more than 4,000 cases a year
spells that u can't even buy it....
Laeticia the winemaker's daughter who runs the business now
on the background was a potrait of her when she was 18
JS wants a pic too
very seldom of him :P
the champagne maker is just at the centre of Village Ambonnay
with this landmark
it used to have natural water from the well

Much thanks to Henry H again for making this arrangement
we'll barge into your wine shop for more champagnes :P

Friday, January 28, 2011

A walk downtown of Λεμεσός, Κύπρος *by JS*

Errrrrrr.......the greek characters above simply means Limassol, Cyprus and it's pronounced Lemesos, Kypros :)
It was not one of the typical days when I feel bored and decide to go out for a walk........yes, this is not KL or Malaysia for that matter.......another holiday so close to the last holiday in France?? Definitely no my friends........i am actually in Cyprus visiting my sister who fell ill unexpectedly. It happened so fast and especially for me i find it difficult to comprehend as we were just enjoying our holidays in Paris about a month ago and today she is still in ICU...can you believe it!!!

Anyway one afternoon i decided to take a stroll around town to snap some here goes.....nothing fancy.

This is a typical Ottoman architecture. The louvre windows and the narrow balcony. The louvre wooden casement window was where the woman folks would peep through as they were not suppose to show their face in public.
BTW the Ottoman empire lasted from 1299 to 1923 hence it is not uncommon to see remnants of the empire in this part of the world.

This is Limassol castle. Its history goes back to the 12th century. King Richard the lion heart then the king of England actually got married in this castle with his fiancee Berengaria from Sicily and this was also where she received her crown and became the queen of England.
They probably celebrated their wedding with commandaria wine which have been known to be around since 800BC and it's origin is the island of Kypros!! :)
Note the mosaics on the foreground. The ancient greeks were good when it comes to mosaics!
the entrance to the castle........for tourist like me :)
yes, its not the main entrance used by king Richard the lion heart!
The coming of King Richard the lion heart this island marked the end of Byzantine rule in Cyprus around the 12th century.

Limassol castle is not big as one would imagine. its actually small but with a commanding and strategic view of the Mediterranean sea.
The view from the top of the castle. In the distant, you can see Mt Trodos the highest mountain in Cyprus.
This olive tree grows in the compound of the castle. I would estimate this tree to be at least a couple of hundred years old.... probably 500 years old and it's still bearing olive fruits as you can see on the ground!!
The olive tree is symbolic to ancient Cyprus and Greece and the sprigs and leaves are used as a peace offering when there is war or quarrels and one party or both parties want to resolve their you know why there are two sprigs of olive leaves on the united nation emblem :)
Talking about marriage, this is the Ekklisea Katholiki which simply means catholic church and this was the church that Dinos the great and Saint Veeny got married :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reims the heart of Champagne

Monkey & Berr inside the TGV fast train
all ready to leave Paris to Reims which is about 80 miles away
so with a fast train it's less than an hour
TGV First Class cabin was nothing fantastic compared to Trenitalia in Italy
Trenitalia is more comfortable and most of all there's a food cart goin around the first class but not TGV
prollie coz it was a short journey....:(((((((

I was so looking fwd to my "train ride" food then :P
JS was like -_-" train and plane food where got nice???
well I lurve MAS's Nasi Lemak and Satays
and also Cathay Pacific's beef brisket!!!!
and Emirates's arrays of mezze
JS -_- x 100000000
I was amazed that Reims is quite a big city and very modern
earlier, Monkey was imagining "Kampung" :P
Reims was a very historical city and played important roles during the Roman Empire
as we strolled along the street on a Sunday afternoon.....there's so much to see here
from the beautiful Cathedral to the Basilica and shopping :D
hehehehhe yes shopping :)))
hehehhehe yes shopping at H&M
I ran towards it and JS was like......slaps forehead and wondered why the hell a kampung like this has got H&M
Reims has got La Fayette departmental store too!!!!!!! *equivalent to Harrods*
since there was no "train" food.....I must feed my tummy first :D
and we arrived Reims on the right time of the year
with Christmas Fair/market/kiosks all lined up on the main street
selling lil trinkets to YUMMY FOOD and all the christmassy stuffs
fried crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside dough
then sprinkled with icing sugar!!!!!!!
all eppy eppy again
and JS was nagging at Monkey

"Tonite got dinner at the beautiful Les Crayeres, dun spoil your appetite"
:((((( but this is my lunch wor :(((((((
see lar readers...I kesian or not?
after snacks then it's time for weeeeEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeee time!!!!!!!!
ahhhh!!!! SO CUTE!!!!!! it's a miniature HORSE!!!!
at first I thought it was a mule or donkey....but later found out it's a breed fr the horse family
SO CUTE!!!! i wanna take them home!!!!!!!
but so poor thing.....they were made to work like donkeys in the cold
no Monkey can't ride this.....the miniature horse will fall flat on their bellies with all 4 legs sprawled
but the french kids were so happy to climb on them and ride round round round this enclosed area
we stayed like 10 steps away fr the centre of the town, which was this landmark
anyway Reims town is small but there's a lot to see and do
no it was not snowing....just some deco in town centre
but wanna make this pic looked like we were at some arctic place :P
ice skating anyone?

the city/town/village is pretty quaint huh?
but underground this place were tunnels and caves used by champagne makers to age their bubblies
it's like a maze down under dated as old as the roman empire
will blog more bout Champagne/Reims soon :)))

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Away Notice

yes yes gonna be away till next week
but I have prepared some schedule postings for u all to read

Happy Wednesday folks!!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

after 36 hours in Paris.......

Bottega Veneta Knots and Napa Bag and men's wallet *all in limited colors*
Chanel Cruise handbag and wallet *Also in limited colors and was a massive sold out*
Long Champ limited edition bagsssssss *these are for souvenirs*
YSL Roady with stingray skin handle....very very nice *Saint Veeny's bday pressie*

errrr...yes only 36 hours and Monkey already needed to sell all her kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, eyes
wat else left hmmmmmmmm

yes one week of shopping alone caused a lot of damages
so can u imagine 3 weeks? :P

and then the postman arrived with my envelope of thick bills
but these bills and statements are online

so moral of the story is.....
do not suppress your shopping needs
coz it will lead to more damages later on..

Miss all u want...
buy watever u feel like it...
and do not go on SHOPPING BINGE anymore!!!!!

it was like making up for all the months of deprivation
tsk tsk tsk....

CNY is another 8 days away....
how's your shopping goin???

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tower of Terror, Walt Disney Studio

Walt Disney Studio is just opposite Disneyland
and kiasu us visited 2 parks in a day
it was almost impossible but with planning, rides schedule and a drawn planned route we managed all the must-do rides in our list
so many things in Walt Disney Studio
from Armageddon backlot to the Nemo inspired turtle coaster ride that scared the shit outta me
to Aerosmith inspired roller coaster and 4D Lilo & Stitch
and all the backyard production of Disney Studio
but first, we need to recharge
and had to be very very caution....can't load too much of food in
just in case it's gonna come out :P
and it almost did

it wasn't that expensive to eat there
about Euro 9 for a set of cheeseburger, fries and drinks
and if u are a Disney fanatic go and get all those cute limited edition cutleries, straws, lunch boxes
cups mugs, well the list is endless

they have extended menu of pizzas, salads, arrays of pies and sweet delicacies for all the kiddos
but we were just too busy to eat....need to fully utilise our one day here
just like Amazing Race Disney World :P
the most scariest ride of my life that left me traumatic with nightmares for weeks
the Hollywood Tower - Tower of Terror ride

we knew it's gonna be a "lift" ride
we knew that it was listed as the more thrilling ride here
we knew that it has the longest queue
and no kids below 1.1m can enter
but we didn't know it's gonna be this scary
the setup was very nice and spooky
we were lead into the "lobby" of the hotel
with all the bell boys and "hotel staffs"

later we were led to the reading room
and was "briefed" on how guests whom checked in will never checked out
well even the staffs here were cuckoo....
one of them spooked me right smack on my face and said "helllloooo!!!!!!"

well it's suppose to create the climax and adrenaline before the ride
and we were like...OK this is another ride of Disney...
and hopped into the lift
only a few ppl can go in at a time

we were strapped to this cold stainless steel chairs inside the modified lift
and it felt really really cold
again another bellboy welcomed us and made sure everyone were glued and strapped dead to their cold seats
and he re-iterated that there's no point of return
and if u regretted coming in.....
it's too late....and let out an evil laugh

before the door of the lift closed
all of us were like hahahahaha luffing away
and gawd knows wat's coming next...

and the lift....took its first ascent
first floor.....DING!!!!!
the doors opened and we saw the "family" who checked in waved at us at the corridor of the hotel
in a very ghostly manner with a narrator telling the story from the episode the Twilight zone

then doors closed........
and ascent again to the next floor
again the doors opened to some hologram of ghost/spirits/watever u call them
it was all relaxed and easy
everyone was still giggling away

and we were expecting the doors to close and ascent again
but it didn't this time
before the doors could close
we plunged all the way down
well judging fr their faces...u can imagine the G-force they felt
I couldn't remember how loud i screamed :P

the design of the lift was very clever
instead of letting it "fall" there was this mechanism that PULLS the whole damn lift down
so it drops faster than gravity
and u.....seated there just strapped by a single safety belt
can feel nothing...not even ur cold stainless steel chair
just ur own ass falling
well if u can still feel your ass

but that's not the end of it
before the elevator could hit the bottom
we were plummeted all the way up to the highest floor
as in the 13th floor so fast so ferocious
all I remember screaming along with everyone else inside the lift
like that's the end of our life :P

once the elevator reached level 13
we were blinded for a while after its door opened
it was so bright...we thought it's HEAVEN

then we felt the cold winter chill on our face
and realised when we saw our feet hanging facing the Walt Disney Studio Park
ohhhhh we were at the top floor all opened and it was FREAKING HIGH OK
about 200 feet
hahaha now u laugh looking at this pic
see the hair of those ladies there...... :P

so for a few quick seconds we were at the top of the tower/hotel
and it was then camera flash lights were so blinding
u dun have time to smile nor react
coz we were still trying to THINK wat actually happened :P
*well apparently in the whole damn ride with 20 ppl innit....JS was the only one smilling.....yea we saw OUR FUGLY pic at the exit :P*

where was I?
oh yea at the height of the tower....for a few quick second we were motionless
before the lift plunged us down all the way fr 13th floor
I dunno how loud I scream but not as loud as the white woman at the back of me :P
she was deafening

the feeling of that drop where u can't do anything nor get out
and not know of wat to expect next was so life threatening
hahahhahaha it was
I think I almost die-ed :P

watch the trailer here
*click here*

highly recommended ride
not for those faint hearted.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Balenciaga City

this is my current most used bag
coz it can store the whole damn iPad snuggly
plus all my other peripherals

well a lady's handbag is like Doraemon's endless lil magic pocket
it has got everything a lady needs :P

acquired in Paris at Avenue Montaigne
it's the place to shop for all THE brands under one street
and we found a very nice brasserie tucked at the corner of this exclusive neighbourhood
*will blog about it another time*

Balenciaga City in soft lamb skin, color in Peony
it's soft and yet tough so I can just dump it anywhere anytime
dunnit extra care :P
with aged brass hardware and a removable shoulder strap
really...I must say the leather is as light as feather

when everyone carried Ms. Peony, they said it's heavy
after Monkey unloaded all the stuffs, including camera, iPad, coin pouch, 3 keys pouches, iPhone, chargers, makeup kit, huge wallet, 3 pens holder, misc misc misc misc misc

everyone just stared in amazement at its content :P
and's so light ppl actually condemned me for abusing such a nice bag with its content

well bags are meant to be used!!!!!
it's not big....just slightly bigger than my iPad

adore it so much~~~~
my limited number is 18350....wanna buy number? :)))))
it's a very nice number :)))))))

log on to check out more NEW colors for this season

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Le Parc Restaurant at Les Crayeres, Reims

this restaurant was highly recommended by wine enthusiasts and sommeliers
so it's a must go.....
Le Parc = The Park

but never in my mind that we will be transformed to a place
where haute cuisine meets fine champagnes
I mean Reims is a lil village/town in France
the place where all champagnes hailed from
what would u expect when u go dining there????
the restaurant is part of the offering by Les Crayeres
another beautiful chateau which is just next door of Pommery Champagne
it is about 25 minutes from the town centre
all restaurants and brasseries in France have their own branding
the dining hall.....I was like OH MY GAWD
I.M.SO.UNDER-DRESSED for this place
it was absolutely beautiful......

the chateau was built in 1904 and previously owned by the Polignac family
now it is owned by......*behold my friends*
it is now own by the Gardinier Family who also owns Chateau Phelan Segur at St Estephe
Le Parc is absolutely charming....
it overlooks a BIG HUGE garden with fountains the way Marie Antoinette liked it :))))))))
didn't manage to snap pics coz it's too dark outside.
some canapes to start the dinner
very interesting and delicately done
mixture of savoury lil bites just to tantalise your taste bud before the meal

every week Le Parc does champagne pairing with a maker
and on that particular week, it was Billecart Salmon
Porcini mushroom and chestnut cream
paired with Billecart blanc de blanc which was sharp and crisp
I was like errr....first course already blanc de blanc
set the bar so high......
shellfish and sefood with seafood jelly and cauliflower cream
was amazingly good...
those yellow orangie stuffs were FRENCH MUSSELS
small and sweet with good texture
and some smaller de-shelled shellfish over the plate

the taste was not on the was the jelly!!!!!
those shellfish were garnish....according to Maitre'D
Foie gras with carrot puree and orange sauce
and some gold leaves on top....
paired with an extra brut of liquid gold
shrimps in its own broth and cristalised ginger
very very very good
it has an asian kick innit....must b the ginger
they took tremendous efforts to arrange the shrimps on the plate
JS was challenging me with his snob looks
he was seeking my credentials and acknowledgement of his recommendation
"So madame are u impressed with this restaurant"
*Monkey & JS are very competitive in every aspect of life and with each other*
**dun ask me how we survive this relationship**

ok lar...give u one pointer...
this place was definitely beyond my expectations
seabass with white beans *in season then and was super delicious* with porcini mushrooms *also in season*
paired with Billecart Salmon 2000

the fish was done to perfection.....absolutely soft and melts in the mouth
sauce was seafood base and not rich at all
main course was DUCK
and pls read this carefully......JS had DUCK
so when JS have DUCK it means the DUCK is super good :P
served with roasted pumpkin and turnip
paired with Brut Rose 1998
by then our table was full with glasses of different vintage
coz we just took a tasting sip off each vintage :P
the frenchies were thinking "is there something wrong"
cheese from one region which I didn't take note
it was matured for 4 years and tasted absolutely yummy
not rich, not smellie but very very "grand cru" liked
dunno how to explain
*those who came to our house and had hand-carried-fr-france-cheese, u'll understand*
and for a grand cru cheese they served it with Billecart Grand Cuvee
by then our stomachs were popping with champagnes
no more space for even one more small pop
the dessert was very very cute...
I only had one :P
and was terribly tipsy then *wei....we had like 8 glasses of champagne by then*
**that's like a bottle each already**

anyway the dessert pops and burst once it's in ur mouth
very very molecular.
petit four of tarte chocolat, macaroons and yummy jelly
macaroons in France can't be compared with the best in our region
it has this chewy bite and the fillings were amazing

must come back and will return again
in a very very very near future :))))))))))))

Le Parc at Les Crayeres
64, Bd Henry Vasnier
51100 Reims.
Tel: +33 2624 9000