• Travel
  • Clamato {Round Two}

    June 11, 2015

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    Here are pictures from our most recent trip to Clamato just a few weeks ago. Again, I was so impressed by how fresh and creative everything was. This summer my favorite dish was the bulots (sea snails). Just like the pouce pieds from last summer, it’s something I’ve never had (or probably seen) in the states. Also another favorite was the maple syrup tart! Dusty and I don’t usually order dessert because we’d rather order another first or second course but this time I’m so glad we saved room.  It reminded me of a caramel tart, so rich and with the whipped cream it was perfect!

    Chef Bertrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat are smart men. Clamato has a sister restaurant Septime, located right next door. And then right across the street is their wine bar serving beautiful wines and snacks. Septime is a reservation only place (that books up well in advance), serving modern french with seasonal ingredients. I’ve seen Septime on a lot of “must eat in Paris” lists. And this is why having these three places within a few blocks is so smart. As we sat in Calmato we saw many dinners go to Septime, realize they can’t get in, come to Calmato, get on the waitlist and then walk over to Septime Cave for a few drinks. These three places stay busy!

    clamato_009BULOTS, MAYO CURRY

    clamato_011DORADE GRISE, YAOURT DE BREBIS, POIRE DE TERRE

    clamato_012CEVICHE DE MULET NOIR, RADIS, CORIANDRE

    clamato_013MERLUCHON, BROCOLETTI, ASPRERGE SAUVAGE

    clamato_015POULPE, BETTERAVE NOUVELLE, LIVECHE

    clamato_016TARTLETTE AU SIROP D’ERABLE, CHANTILLY

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  • lejardin_001

    We didn’t just go to Reims for champagne but also some good food. In Reims there is a group of restaurants of Chateau des Crayeres. The main Chateau is a two Michelin starred affair, classic and French. However, they also have a sister restaurant, Brasserie Le Jardin, nestled in the garden of the Chateau through the woods. It’s more down to earth and relaxed in style but the food is still amazing. We had a three-course meal and each tried something different. If I remember everything from a year ago, our first course included gazpacho, tartare and sardines. Our main course included duck fish, and fish. And then of course there was dessert! It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful view! The last picture is of the chateau, which was amazing as well.

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  • Reims-Day-Trip

    Reims, pronounced like “raans” is 45 minutes from Paris by high-speed train or about an hour and a half by car. Last summer Paris, in typical fashion, was having a train strike right at the same time we had made plans to take a day trip to the champagne region. We had already bought train tickets and made reservations to all kinds of fun places so we  were crossing our fingers for days that it would end before our trip but no such luck. The night before we were frantically searching the internet for rental cars. Dusty is amazing and some how navigated through the city of Paris with a rental car, picking Allison and I up at our front door, ready for our trip!

    We spent the day touring champagne houses (Mumm, Veuve Clicquot, Martel), eating a fabulous lunch, and visiting Reims cathedral. Reims is charming and the buildings look aged, but much of the town was destroyed in the World War I, with additional damage taken in World War II.

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    First, about the champagne! Only bubbly from this region can be called “champagne.” The rest is ‘sparkling wine.’ Champagne is made from the chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. The aging and bottling process is very unique and different then how wine is made. I was absolutely amazed! “Riddling” is a process to remove the yeast from the aging champagne. The bottle is placed at a 75 degree angle and must be turned an eighth of a turn each day. This forces the dead yeast into the neck of the bottle to form a plug, which is frozen and popped out through a process called “disgorging.” Here is a general overview of the Champagne tours and caves we visited.

    Mumm: Very informative tour about how champagne is made!
    Veuve Clicquot: Award for best tasting room and great story about the founding woman behind the empire!
    Martel: Best “bang for your buck”!

    Reims_001 Reims_002 Reims_003 Reims_004 Reims_005 Reims_006 Reims_007 Reims_008 Reims_009 Reims_010

    After we made our rounds to the champagne houses and stuffed our bellies at lunch, we went to the Reims Cathedral, which was absolutely magnificent. It’s over 800 years old! This cathedral is a great example of gothic architecture and is historically significant as the “Coronation Cathedral,” where most of the kings of France held their coronation ceremonies.

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    Tips: Ricks Steve’s France Guide does an excellent job of overviewing the region! His book helped with planning our champagne cave tours, touring Reims cathedral and getting around town. After our third tour, I was a bit tired of hearing how champagne was made so think about just going straight to the tasting room if you’re going for more than a day and visiting several different places.

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  • clamato_002

    One of our recent favorite restaurants in Paris is Clamato. I’d add it to my Top 8 Places to Eat in Paris if you like fresh seafood and fish! We went last summer and loved it so much it was one of our first stops this year. It’s a small plates seafood and shellfish place by Bertrand Grébaut of Septime. Plates run 7-20 euros. The decor is understated yet warm including a brick bar with high stools. Wines are non-sulfite made by small producers and available for sale across the street at Septime Cave – a popular bar for drinks & nibbles. It’s a no reservations place. Arrive early, sevenish, to get a seat. We had dinner a couple weeks ago on a Wednesday night and got right in shortly after 7pm but by 7:45pm there was a 30 minute wait. The pictures are from our visit last summer in 2014! Our favorite dish last summer were the pouce pieds (aka barnacles). Something I’d never imagine could be good and they were delicious. Texture-wise they reminded me of clams or squid. I’ll post pictures from our most recent trip soon!

    clamato_001POUCE PIEDS DES GLENANS

    clamato_003OUR VIEW FROM THE BAR

    clamato_004RAW OYSTERS & CLAMS

    clamato_005TRUITE SAUVAGE DE L’ADOUR/CONCOMBRE

    clamato_006SARDINE/AUBERGINE/CEDRAT

    clamato_007RISOTTO/GAMBERO ROSSO

    clamato_008COUTEAUX XL AU BEURRE D’HERBES

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  • Restaurant David Toutain

    I’m back at it, sharing some of the delicious food we’ve eaten in Paris. Last summer we went to Michelin 1 star Restaurant David Toutain for our anniversary. Given it’s been almost a year since we went, I can’t give lots of details but it was absolutely delicious. We went for lunch and had their tasting menu with wine pairings. The chef even came to our table to say hello before our meal was over. After we walked to the Camp de Mars (park near the Eiffel Tower) and relaxed before we had to get home to Annabelle.

    Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain Restaurant David Toutain

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  • Sunny Sanibel

    January 25, 2014

    I can’t believe it’s already been almost two months since we spent a relaxing week with family on Sanibel island.  I’ve been wanting to write a post on our trip with some pictures.  And here I am finally finding the time.  Even though we spent a whole week in Sanibel we didn’t get the camera out as much as I had hoped.  I mentioned in Annabelle’s week 16 update that we went and what a lovely time we had but didn’t talk much about what we did.

    sanibel_001 sanibel_002

    We spent most of our days on the beach, walking up and down the shore, finding shells to bring home and watching the birds.  Annabelle was spoiled by Dusty’s family, taking her for walks and entertaining her in the condo when she needed a break from the sun.  My favorite times of the day were early in the morning when the sun was rising and then in the evening when the sun was setting.  So beautiful as a backdrop when we were walking along the beach.

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    Sanibel is known for it’s shell beaches and wildlife refuges.  An interesting piece of information is that more than half of the island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. One morning we visited the National Wildlife Refuge and took a short tour of the area.  On the tour we saw many of the birds and other animals that live on the island including an alligator.  See the picture with the white arrow pointing at the creature.

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  • Rainy Days in Paris

    April 22, 2013

    paris rainRainy day in Paris (Summer 2012)

    It’s been raining in Omaha these past few weeks and today in particular reminds me of some of the days we had last summer in Paris.  Last summer it was abnormally rainy while we were there and we had many days where it would rain off and on for the entire day!  Rain in Paris seems so much better than rain in Omaha though!

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  • Comparing London & Paris

    March 19, 2013

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    During our trip to London, what was fascinating to us was comparing two large cities, Paris and London, which are relatively close, yet so very different.  We had been in Paris two weeks before visiting Stefanie and had really acclimated to French life and the language.  It was fun being a “tourist” for a few days instead of trying to be one of the “locals” that we like to be while we’re in Paris.

    People speak English in London! I know that you know that but it was so fun to go from only hearing French to hearing English and not only English but English with such a beautiful accent!

    Everyone in Paris always says something when you walk in and out of stores.  I am constantly saying “bonjour” (hello) or “au revoir” (goodbye) or “bonsoir” (good evening).  I didn’t feel as though people were as friendly in this way in London.

    There’s lots of ice in London! When we arrived in London it was lunch time and we went to a restaurant with both ice and diet coke from a fountain machine.  There is no diet coke in France, there’s only Coke Light and not the same.  There’s not many fountain machines in France either.  If you order a soda at a restaurant then you get a glass, plastic, or can of soda.  And in Paris most people don’t order soda from my observations.

    In Paris I see lots of people drinking wine and in London I saw most everyone drinking beer.  It was fun to take a few days off from drinking wine and try some of the great beers and ciders in London.  I’ve fallen in love with ciders because of this and wish Omaha had a better selection of ciders.  I’m not a huge beer drinking and less of a cider drinker but Stefanie was able to educate me on all the different kinds and how to drink them.  First thing is that you drink cider with ice (and as you can see from above, I was deprived of ice and really enjoyed having any opportunity to have ice).

    In Paris, everyone is skinny!  It must be a French thing or me being obsessed with the beautiful people in Paris but in London it didn’t seem as though there were as many skinny people.

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  • Pisa, Italy

    December 14, 2012

    Even though it’s been almost six months since we took our trip this summer.  There are still so many things we haven’t shared.  After five weeks in Paris we took a week vacation in Italy, starting in Pisa. We took a relatively easy budget flight from Paris to Pisa (maybe another post on that later), arriving in the early afternoon and left our huge baggage at the train station baggage check.  We arrived to absolutely beautiful weather, mid 80’s and low 90’s during the day.  It was quite a difference from Paris where the weather was close to the 70’s.

    We took a leisurely self-guided walking tours from the train station to the tower.  Here are some of our highlights in Pisa!

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  • Inside Our Paris Home {Part 2}

    November 21, 2012

    Now that you’ve seen the outside of our place and our view from the balcony here are a few pictures of the inside.  Of course, I decided that we needed to take pictures as we were rushing out the door very early in the morning to catch a plane for Italy.  So Dusty was kind enough to take a few pictures with his iPhone. Pictures include: (1) Left: View of the kitchen taken from the living room; Right: Picture of door is toilet and to the right behind the wall is the entrance (2) Living Room; To the right is the door to the bedroom (3) Close up of kitchen (4) Bedroom; To the right is the bathtub and sink (5) Left: Bathtub & sink in bedroom; Right: Lift.

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