Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Restaurant de la Reine Jeanne

13520 Les Baux de Provence
Les Baux de Provence,

In her opinion:
To get you in the mood for this post, I need you to think Medieval Times multiplied by a million. This commune in the province of Provence was founded as far back as 6000 BC. It sits atop a rocky outpost with no car access. What exactly does that mean...well, if you want to visit this tourist wonder, you are going to have to climb a bunch of stairs or the steep mountain side. Let's just say that the asthma attack that ensued was a dozy if I do say so myself!

Once we reached the top, we realized that we were famished and needed very cold water and lunch. So where? I hadn't done a lot of research in regards to these tourist locations. My research had been specifically Michelin star restaurant focused, so this meant that we were on our own when it came to these tourist villages. Not a problem since the village with a population of 22 (4000 inhabitants at its peak) caters to tourist so there are many restaurants to pick from.

I must say that the chalkboard menu of the Restaurant de la Reine Jeanne is what caught my attention along with its lovely patio. They were featuring a true Provence favourite and I could not pass it up!

After my treacherous climb and ensuing asthma attack, I decided that I deserved Champagne. The Champagne was delightful as expected.

I opted to skip the appetizer and instead just ordered my main, a "Grand Aioli". A feast consisting of boiled eggs, potatoes, vegetables (carrots, green beans, zucchini, fennel), boiled salted cod and of course, garlicky aioli. 

When I say a feast, I wasn't kidding. This was gorgeous. It also seemed to be a popular choice at lunch since I saw a lot of tables made up of locals ordering it as well. The large piece of salt cod fish which had been desalted, cooked to flaky perfection. Gorgeous Provence eggs and perfectly cooked vegetables. This is a pretty simple meal until you add the show stopper - heavenly good garlicky aioli. This aioli was out of this world delectable. I can still smell the garlic when I close my eyes...just wonderful.

Although my main had been a large portion, I had shared with Edgar and left some vegetables behind in order to leave room for dessert. You see, I had eyed the couple next to us have "le Grand Cafe" and I had to have it. This consisted of a cup of coffee, strawberries with sugar and herbs (which little man devoured), a creamy parfait of mousse and cookie crumbs, a lime sorbet in a cookie cup, a delightful puff pastry with chocolate filling and of course, chantilly cream.

Very nice dessert. Ethan was super happy with the strawberries and didn't even complain about the herbs sprinkled on them. Edgar enjoyed the coffee and well, I loved the remainder. The lime sorbet was refreshing and a little tart which matched the sweetness of the cookie base perfectly. The little mousse parfait was delightful. The little pastry with the chocolate filling was also quite nice. This was a lovely assortment of desserts.

Overall, despite the asthma attack and the work necessary to get to Restaurant de la Reine Jeanne, this was a fabulous lunch. Le Baux-de-Provence is an unbelievably magical location and definitely deserves a visit as does this restaurant.

In his opinion:

What Edgar ate.

Escalope de veau avec sauce aux champignons (veal with mushroom sauce).

Creme brule.

Edgar gives it a 3.5 out of 5 Olives rating.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Bru Restaurant

138 Lakeshore Road East
Oakville, ON


In her opinion:
On a sunny Father's Day Sunday we headed to Oakville, Ontario with no real plan in mind about where to eat. We did try the Stoney Bread Company, but they were packed. So we decided to just head back to the main strip and Bru caught our attention. 

Bru is a large room with a bar right as you walk in. It is nicely decorated and feels welcoming. We had just missed the lunch crowd so there was just another family celebrating the day. Our server told us to take any table we wanted and we quickly found a banquet table and sat down. 

She filed our water glasses right away and informed us that Sunday was $5 pints. I chose a Sawdust City Golden Beach Pale Wheat. 

It had a lovely citrus scent and was very reminiscent of a really good wheat beer.

Edgar and I decided to share an appetizer. So we agreed on the Shrimp Po'Boys (3 miniature fried shrimp sandwiches with slaw and Sriracho mayo).

Really really good. The shrimp was lightly fried and flavourful. The slaw was excellent and the Sriracho mayo added the right amount of kick.

For my main, I decided to keep my South of France vacation memories alive by ordering the Mussel and Frites (steamed in a creole tomato sauce).

The frites came with a dill aioli for dipping which was delicate in flavour. The frites themselves were very nicely done. Definitely a good fry. The mussels were very fresh and the creole tomato sauce was quite delicious.

We were too full for dessert. Overall, this was a lovely Father's Day lunch. Bru is a nice spot for lunch if you are in the Oakville area. 

In his opinion:

What Edgar ate.

Shrimp Po'Boys.

Steak frites.

Edgar gives Bru 3.5 out of 5 Olives rating.

Bru Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Vaca Brava

253 Recinto Sur
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

(787) 723-3700

In her opinion:
We had tried very hard to avoid this restaurant in Old San Juan since it seemed like a tourist trap...I say this because every time we walked by on our way to dinner it was packed and lined up with cruise ship passengers waiting to be seated.

However, on one of our last nights in Puerto Rico the daily rain was beginning to fall and we were extremely exhausted after a day of sightseeing. As we approached Vaca Brava we were shocked to see that there was absolutely no one standing outside this restaurant waiting for a table. Edgar asked me to go inside and check it out...I did and was told that there was no wait at all (it was around 6 pm, so I guess it was still early in the evening).
We bravely decided to try the "wild cow". It is a very large restaurant with a courtyard like seating area. We were shown to our table by one cowboy host and then introduced to our cowboy server. He informed us of the specials including the happy hour deal of 2 Coronas for $5.00. Guess what we had to drink?!

I decided on the daily special which was Pechuga a la Monterrey  A breast of chicken topped with bbq sauce, tonnes of bacon and Monterrey jack cheese melted on top with a side of mashed potatoes.

This was really good. The bbq sauce was not too pungent with a smoky tangy flavour. There was tonnes of crispy bacon on top of this perfectly cooked chicken breast and the cheese was the crowing glory. The mash potatoes were also perfectly done. I enjoyed about a quarter of this meal until I switched with Edgar who wasn't as crazy about what he had ordered...the "Churrasco a la Parrilla" or grilled skirt steak. It was served with grilled peppers and onions and a side of mashed potatoes. I thought it was a very good piece of meat, cooked to a perfect medium and I enjoyed it very much. It wasn't as good as the churrasco that I had had at Mojitos the night before but I still liked it. I thought the peppers and onions were a nice accompaniment as were the mashed potatoes.
We were way too full for dessert but what they had to offer looked amazing. I thought the food was good...not anything to jump up and down about but good...I don't understand the line ups for this place but hey, I didn't have to stand in one to eat here so it was all good!

In his opinion:

This is what Edgar ate and saw.

Churrasco a la Parrilla

Edgar gives it 3 out of 5 Olives as a rating.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Calle Rincto Sur 323
San Juan, Puerto Rico

In her opinion:
What does one do on a rainy night in San Juan when your dinner plans are botched by a lack of parking and an erroneous restaurant description? Why you park at one of the latest parking complexes in Old San Juan and run across the street to Mojito's!

We had walked past Mojito's a few times during our evening strolls looking for our next dinner venue. To be honest, it wasn't that appealing to me but I noticed that it was always full. Given the state of the weather...I didn't really care about appearances and after all, it had good reviews on both Yelp and TripAdvisor.

We were greeted by a very welcoming hostess who joked about how cheap this restaurant was...I didn't really care if it was cheap. We were hungry and wet and at this point just happy to get a descent meal. This is a no frills type of place with lots of tourists and most importantly locals. Our waitress was at our table right away to take our drink orders. Diet Coke for this girl.

We decided to start with the Crostini de Baccala or Stewed Salt Cod on Crostini.

This was very good. The salt cod stew was excellent. It was well seasoned and flavourful. It had tonnes of onions and a some red peppers that had been stewed in a tomato based sauce with the salted cod. It was reminiscent of some Portuguese cod dishes that I had had before. The only bad thing about this dish was that the crostini started to get soggy as it sat on the plate...but that was easily fixed with a knife and fork.

For my main dish, I ordered the Churrasco or grilled skirt steak cooked medium. I also opted for French fries as my side.

The French fries were the homemade type. They were not the pre-cut frozen type. They reminded me of my mom's fries (so so good) and along with the fries a simple salad accompanied the skirt steak. The skirt steak was delicious. It was perfectly cooked. It was simply spiced which said a lot about the cut of the meat. Really really delicious.  I enjoyed this dinner very much.

What had been an unplanned dinner to simply get out of the rain turned out to be an excellent meal. If you are in Old San Juan, give this place a try.

In his opinion:

This is what Edgar ate.

Pechuga de Pollo al Ajillo

Edgar gives it 3 out of 5 Olives rating.

Friday, 9 October 2015


1 Place Croussilat
13300 Salon de Provence

In her opinion:
Salon de Provence is a lovely commune in Provence which we had the pleasure of visiting during our vacation in the South of France. Having had a large lunch in Les Baux-de-Provence earlier in the day, we were not exactly ready for dinner when we visited. We noticed that ice cream seemed like a popular choice for locals and tourist on this Sunday afternoon. Who can say no to ice cream anyway?

After being seated under an umbrella in Place Crousillat, our server filled our water glasses and allowed us to peruse the extensive ice cream menu.  Can you say wow! As we looked around, I couldn't help but notice what other patrons were eating...these were large elegant glasses of ice cream...not some piddly little cup. 

Edgar and I decided to order little man his own creation. A little ice cream clown.

This was basically vanilla ice cream with a cone hat, little m&m candies and chocolate and vanilla chantilly. Ethan seemed to enjoy this little creation.

Since these ice cream creations were huge, we opted to share one. We decided on the Montebelle. This was served in a gorgeous extra large pink martini glass. It had a scoop of both pistachio and strawberry ice cream and a scoop of raspberry sorbet, chantilly cream, cookie crumble, raspberry sauce, mikados and a love pistachio with a raspberry filling (Montebelle) French macaron.

This dessert was gorgeous and extremely large. The pistachio ice cream was excellent. The strawberry was fresh tasting without being to sweet. The raspberry sorbet lovely without being too tart. The cookie pieces add the right amount of crunch and the French macaron was just delectable.

Overall, I would say that Gourmand'ice rocks! What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Provence.

In his opinion:

Edgar drank Corsendonk Blanc

Edgar gives it a 3.5 out of 5 Olives rating.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Under the Trees

Doubletree by Hilton
105 Avenue De Diego
San Juan, Puerto Rico


In her opinion:
When I was researching where to eat for our Puerto Rico trip, this place came up. I remember, this place was very sexy and they had an interesting use for avocados. I wrote it down on a list of restaurants to visit and then quickly forgot about it. That was until we were in the Condado area of San Juan driving towards Isla Verde and I saw the Doubletree by Hilton and remembered Under the Trees. I mentioned it in passing to Edgar but we went on about our business.

While having coffee and snacks in a Isla Verde bakery near the Ritz-Carlton, Edgar and I were trying to figure a place to have lunch in Condado since we hadn't spent too much time in this part of San Juan and it was a really interesting place. When all else didn't appeal, I brought up Under the Trees again...this time we weren't going to brush it off...we decided that this would be the sight of our last lunch in San Juan. 

Having a meal at Under the Trees is like eating under a canopy of trees on a luscious, sexy patio. The furniture is white and sleek with accents of light blue, gray and green from the trees and avocados which are on display throughout the restaurant. 

We were shown to our table by a very attentive hostess who visited us a couple of times to see how our meal was going. Our server was attentive, although he did mess up with Edgar's lunch (they quickly corrected the situation). We ordered our beverages, Diet Coke for me of course and then proceeded to check out the menu and the lunch specials menu. I had heard that they did very interesting things with avocados so I made sure to have something which incorporated this luscious fruit.

I ordered off the lunch specials menu and settled on escallops of pork tenderloin which was served with rice (inside an avocado) and beans. As part of the meal, we were also allowed to partake of the salad bar. Although, it looked absolutely delicious...I decided to forgo it, as we had recently had coffee and snacks and I wanted to enjoy my meal.

This was really very good. The pork was flavourful and absolutely delicious with its creole flavours shining through. The rice and beans were also excellent. I found the beans super flavourful.

Overall, this was an excellent final lunch in Puerto Rico. Under the Trees was a great lunch spot in a beautiful setting.

In his opinion:

This is what Edgar ate and saw.

Creole Shrimp Monfongo

Edgar gives Under the Trees a 3.5 out of 5 Olives rating.

L'Oustau de la Mar

20 Quai des Baux
13260 Cassis,

In her opinion:
Cassis is a gorgerous sideside commune on the Mediterranean, not far from Marseille. It is famous for its cliffs and calanques (sheltered inlets). I really enjoyed had the charm of St. Tropez or Cannes without the million tourists. After our boat tour of the calanques we decided to grab lunch.  

The problem then becomes where? If you actually want to call standing on a gorgeous port in Provence debating where to have lunch a problem! After walking around a little bit we opted for L'Oustau de la Mar. It was filled with locals and tourist so we decided that was a good choice.

I started with a glass of local rose wine. 

The south of France has a lot of good roses to pick from and this one did not disappoint. A nice refreshing wine that accompanied my food choices perfectly.

For my appetizer, I choice the "Terrine de Poisson". This consisted of a lovely salmon, shrimp, tomato and zucchini salad combined in an olive oil vinaigrette and formed in a small cup. It was served with a gorgeously dressed green salad.

This was lovely. The seafood salad was very fresh and a nice start to the meal. The salad was excellent with a very nice dressing which was not overpowering. Very nice appetizer.

For my main, I choose the Filet de Loup (seabass filet). This was served with sauteed vegetables and olive oil mashed potatoes.

Let me start by saying you can not go wrong with choosing a fish dish anywhere on the Mediterranean. This fish was pan fried and cooked perfectly. It was flaky and moist and really well seasoned. The saute vegetables were excellent as well. The highlight of the sides was the olive oil mashed potatoes. So flavourful and delicious. Just excellent. 

I had no room left for dessert (Hey, I'm in the South of France...patisseries and gelato places are everywhere. No need to commit to just one place). Overall, a really lovely lunch in a magical location.

In his opinion:

What Edgar ate and saw.

Terrine de Courgettes au Chevre frais et a la menthe.

Piece de boeuf, pommes de terres saute et melange de jeunes pousses.

Edgar gives L'Oustau de la Mar a 3.5 out of 5 Olives rating.