Napa: Winter 2012

It’s always fun to make a trip to Yountville for wine and food!  This time, I revisited Bouchon Bakery, tried a new restaurant Reddwood, and more wine tasting!

Bouchon Bakery:Bouchon Bakery is well known for their macarons — and occasionally they have special seasonal flavors.

Napa: Bouchon Bakery

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Japan: Raumen Museum

Shinyokohama Raumen Museum Shinyokohama Raumen Museum Shinyokohama Raumen Museum
The Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum is a food amusement park located in Yokohama devoted to the Japanese ramen and features a large underground recreation of Tokyo with actual ramen restaurants.  These ramen shops come from all over Japan: Sapporo, Asahikawa, Fukushima, Tokyo, Yokohama, Wakayama, Hakata, and Kumamoto, each with their local tastes and identities.

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Japan’s Tsukiji fish market

Tsukiji fish market

Japan’s Tsukiji fish market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world, and has rightfully become an extremely popular tourist spot.  One of the main attraction is the tuna auction, where businesses compete for the best tuna in the world.  Lines to observe the auction is open to the general public, and starts forming around 4am — but only for the first 120 people. Tips for getting into the tuna auction:

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French Themed San Francisco

Once in a while, there comes a day where everything has one thing in common.  When that day comes and it’s French, you know it’s going to be awesome!  Accompanying that day was Monsieur Dennis and Madame Mindy…our first stop?  My absolute favorite French bakery:

Tartine: www.yelp.com/biz/tartine-bakery-san-francisco-2
600 Guerrero St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

French Day in SF

Must try:
Tartine’s Lemon Cream Tart

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Sadaharu Aoki Paris 2011

When you combine two of the greatest culinary capitals in the world together (that’s French and Japanese, mind you!)…you get Sadaharu Aoki, a very unique Japanese patisserie in the heart of France.  I first heard about this gem from David Lebovitz, and knew it would be a ‘must-visit’ in Paris.

When you arrive, take some time to soak in the colorful presentation of chocolates, macarons and other pastries!  Check out the unique Japanese macaron flavors: Black sesame, genmaicha (brown rice tea), wasabi, hojicha (oven roasted green tea), yuzu (citrus), matcha (fine powder green tea):

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A l’Etoile d’Or & Bernachon chocolate

Having read raving reviews from my favorite Paris blogger David Lebovitz on A l’Etoile d’Or (blog post #1, #2), I knew I had to visit this shop when I visited Paris in 2011.  Owner Denise Acabo (can’t miss her pony tail!) has been selling sweets at this store for 38 years, and shows no sign of slowing down.  She is absolutely passionate and knowledgeable about each artisan confection and chocolate she sells…particularly Bernachon chocolate:

The main reason to visit A l’Etoile d’Or is simply because it’s the only place outside of the original shop in Lyon that sells Bernachon chocolate. If you’ve never had anything from Bernachon, close your laptop and get on the next flight to Lyon. Bernachon is one of the handful of chocolate shops in the entire world that makes the chocolate they use from scratch. That’s right, folks. They buy sacks of cacao beans, then roast and grind them into pure, dark bittersweet chocolate. [via]

Denise’s personal recommendation: the 62 % cocoa chocolates (higher cocoa % = more bitter).  I would agree they are quite good!  Here’s Denise teaching me about her chocolates:

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