Tag Archives: French

Chez José

Last Christmas, I was in France and I had the opportunity to meet my brother’s lovely girl friend who happens to live in Montreal. Talking with her about this beautiful city brought back some memories. Oh Canada, Canada… you are not a country, you are a season! And as for you Montreal, you are my morning Bagel at Saint Viateur, you are this cute maple leaf on the sidewalk, you are my enchanting stroll in Mont-Royal Park, you are my chai latte at café Pikolo, you are my bubble tea in China town, you are my favourite ride along Saint Laurent river, you are my matcha ice cream at Jean Talon market, you are this lovely blue sky even when it is so cold outside.  And my heart just melts when you are wearing your majestic white coat that gives me the feeling that for a minute the time just stopped.

I am so far away from you now, it is summer here in Adelaide and still winter for you. But lately you have been a lot in my mind. So I thought today, I would share with you one of my favourite place for a delicious sandwich in Montreal 🙂 should you ever visit this beautiful city!

As for many French people, Le Plateau, is my kingdom. I know that Canadians like to joke about the fact that obviously French people must be missing so much the Parisian expensive lifestyle that they are attracted like magnets to the trendy Plateau area… What can I say?!  I like the atmosphere, the little cafés, the shops and the artistic vibes all around.

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Colourful, vibrant, local!

In a charming little street stands a funky Portuguese café called “Chez José”. A cute and tiny little place that tends to get crowded at busy hours, but the food they serve makes the wait worth it. If my memory is is correct, I had a lunch combo (smoothie + sandwich) for something like 10 dollars! I must say this spicy sandwich was something very special… and normally spicy is NOT my thing but… I guess when you find something special, some rules may not apply… the chicken was thinly sliced and paired so well with the homemade hot sauce, the cheese and the avocado. I really enjoyed each bite of it. It was fresh, it was delicious, it felt very local and typical!

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This sandwich is killing me softly with its sweet spicy sauce!

Sometimes, you discover little gems like “chez José” and you are so grateful they do exist. How can a simple sandwich make your day?! Was it just about this sandwich or the whole journey?! Walking in this little street, looking for this address, spotting this graffiti wall, gazing at all these vibrant colours, looking at the people queuing happily outside, trying to imagine who they are, discovering new flavours and being overwhelmed by this new experience… I think it was a mix of everything. Next time I will go back there, I will just order the same but this time I make sure I won’t go on my own and share this precious moment hoping that it will be once again a delightful moment  ❤

“Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing” Steve Jobs


Chez José

  • 173 Avenue Duluth E
    Montreal, QC H2W 1H4 – Plateau-Mont-Royal 
  •  Phone number(438) 764-1381
  •   Website www.chezjosecafe.com
  •  Cash only

Twinsters

I don’t watch TV very often but I do have a Netflix account where I can watch on demand films and TV shows (speaking of the latter, did you hear about the Gilmore Girls being back?!!! I don’t want to gossip but I bet Rory is pregnant and Lorealai is freaking out.. as for Luke I am sure he is going to propose to L). I like to think of my life here in Adelaide like a good “old” GG show, by the way still haven’t found Luke’s Café but I am still looking and opened to any recomandation 😉

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This is the kind of food, Luke would definitely serve! You can enjoy this breakfast at the Royal Oak in North Adelaide.


Lately, as I was browsing on Netflix, I decided to have a look at the documentary section and one called “Twinsters” (fusion of the word Twins and Sisters) caught my eye and I decided to go for it. So basically, the story line is that in 2013 Samantha Futerman, a 25 years old American Asian girl living in Los Angeles and using youtube to post funny videos received a life changing message via Facebook from Anaïs Bordier, a French Asian fashion design student living in London. Actually Anaïs friends watched a video on youtube featuring Samantha and they were so surprised by the identical appearance of the 2 girls that they encouraged her to contact her copycat! After a few Skype sessions, the girls discovered that they shared much more than just the same face: it turned out that they were both born the same day and both were adopted in Korea shortly after they were born!!! Could it be possible, could they by any chance be twin sisters?! This documentary is about the journey of Samantha (American) and Anaïs (French) discovering about their past, their history and the bond that they may share together through social medias.DSC_0057

I believe it is a real sweet story and I really enjoyed watching it, witnessing the different emotions these two amazing girls (and their respective French + American families) explored. What stroke me the most while watching this documentary is how life found a way to reunite these two girls that shared different lifestyles, cultures and mother tongues. It is like no matter what, it was meant to be. How perfect it is that Samantha Futerman (the American) was making cool and fun videos on Youtube that will be seen overseas (and obviously in UK) and what were the chances that Anaïs Bordier (the French) would decide to study fashion design in London and become fluent in English. Even if the two girls were raised in different countries and not sharing the same mother tongue, they were able to communicate straight away in English together which made the relationship between the 2 way easier. They both chose artistic careers, one being an actress and the other being a fashion designer, they are so similar and so different at the same time… so interesting to hear about their journey.

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But beyond that, it makes you reflect on your own story, your family, the bond you share with them, your relationships. It makes you appreciate even more the luck to have  grown with your siblings. What it feels like to have a sister, a brother (maybe both). What they mean to you and by extent what life would have been like without them. It is a special and strong bond and nobody can deny that.

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I have a sister and a brother (I am the eldest), we spent all of our childhood together but our adults’ life separated us geographically. My sister lives in France, my brother is an air pilot in Canada (yes girls don’t get too excited 😉 ) and I live in Australia. As you can imagine, it is not so easy to see each other and to give you an example I have not seen my brother since 2013! 😦 I know it sucks… I miss my sister (and her kids a LOT) and my brother too of course. I am hopeful that in the future, as our respective lives settle down we will live closer from each other.

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When I see them (especially after a long time apart), it is AMAZING!  I ❤ family reunions and to catch up with everything I missed since last time. Luckily, I come from a big family and I have also many cousins  around my age or my brother’s age. It is hard to feel lonely or depressed when you are around your family! Each year, during summer time, a “cousinade” is organised (we made up this word in French) but basically it is a “cousins party” where all cousins (on my mother side) are invited for a barbecue and drinks at my aunts place and it is really fun! Christmas are also pretty fantastics and are celebrated several times in the same week since the family is huge! Each year my family (on my father side) organise an unusual christmas dinner to spice up the routine and so far we had a Mexican, a Texas, a Caribbean and I believe last year it was an Australian theme christmas : AWESOME and so refreshing!!!

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“Family is not an important thing. It is EVERYTHING!” – Michael J. Fox

I really can’t wait to come to France and pay a visit to my loved ones ❤ and I wish all the best to Smantha and Anaïs!

Good morning Vietnam!

At the moment, it seems that I have a thing for vietnamese food and I can’t get enough of it. When you think of it, it is not that surprising, Vietnamese and French cuisine have history.

It all started in the 17th century with the arrival of Catholic missionaries in Vietnam. But it did not stop there, then France colonized Vietnam and Cambodia forming the Indochinese Union in 1887 which was the start of the French influence in Vietnam for the next 70 years to come! So naturally when you stay that long in a country, you leave pieces of yourself in several ways: be it architecture, culture, words, names and of course cuisine. I find it fascinating to discover (and taste) the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine (the tasty baguette sandwich called Bahn Mi is one of them). For sure it is different comparing to what I am used to in my home country, and sometimes it is hard to make the link between the two countries but there is something magic about all these flavorful dishes and I can’t help being attracted to them (maybe it is in my DNA).

For those who know me well, I often go to Central Market in China Town. Most of the times to buy herbs or lemon because the quality and the price is much better than what you would get in the supermarkets and also the atmosphere is really nice and friendly.

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In the mood for vietnamese food 🙂

Last time, I went there, I remember it was a beautiful day and as I was feeling a bit hungry I thought I should pass by Little NNQ and see if it was not too crowded. This is a vietnamese restaurant and it is quite popular so it can be tricky to get a good seat sometimes. This place has been recommended to me by John’s vietnamese friend, his name is Phong and lives in Adelaide (and John is American from California who happens to know a lot of people everywhere because he has traveled and worked in so many countries). Luckily the odds were with me and there was a lovely table by the window and the friendly waiter told me I could sit here. As it was a beautiful day, the large windows were opened so it was like I was sitting at the terrasse outside watching people passing by, cars honking and for a minute imagining I was in another country, in a galaxy, far, far away…haha. As things were going well for me, I decided to continue playing my luck and I asked the waiter to choose his fav dish for me. Besides, as I felt adventurous, I opted for the Vietnamese coffee. Normally I’m not the kind of coffee drinker type (I am more into chai or matcha latte) but I’m always happy to try new things and this was the opportunity to get the true vietnamese experience… besides one coffee can’t hurt, can it ?!

My dish was a combination noodle salads. It was very colourful, tasty, crunchy and pretty healthy I believe. So I really enjoyed it and I really recommend it! But I must confess, my favourite part was definitely the Vietnamese coffee as I’ve never had this kind of experience before. By the way, I apologise I have not a lot of pictures to demonstrate the technique but I think I was so overwehlmed by this experience that I completely forgot to document it, my bad !

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Time to relax and catch up as the coffee is slowly dripping into the condensed milk!

First the coffee was served in a slow drip filter tool. So basically, the coffee was slowly dripping into the condensed milk in the glass just below it (one drop at a time, so it is a long process). The waiter explained to me that in Vietnam locals would use this time to chat and catch up with their friends while waiting for the coffee to fully drip through. Once it is finished, all you have to do is to transfer the content in a glass full of ice cubes, and enjoy your ice coffee with a straw.  So basically drip coffee is the way Vietnamese people create and enjoy conversation with their friends or relatives. I ❤ the concept, I must say and I can’t wait to renew this experience with my friends next time!

Just so you know the Vietnamese coffee has a strong taste (always Robusta, twice as strong caffeine wise, so be prepared to jump like a kangaroo after that ). Once again, it is one of the many heritage from the colonists period. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam in the 1800s, they also brought with them condensed milk as they could not get fresh milk in Vietnam and they also brought phins which is a slow drip filter that sits on top of a cup. Since that time, it has become a tradition in Vietnam to enjoy coffee this way. It is more than just coffee, it is an invitation to relax and chat.  I think that the combination of the bitter coffee beans allied with the sweetness of the condensed milk and the cool refreshing kick of the ice cubes just work perfectly! I think I have officially became a Vietnamese coffee lover ❤

So next time you are in the mood for Vietnamese food, why not go and try Little NNQ with some friends and indulge yourself with a Vietnamese coffee while chatting remaking the world. Vietnamese coffee will boost your body while relaxing your mind, call it magic or mystique, the choice is yours 😉

Little NNQ

125 Gouger Street

Adelaide SA 5000

http://www.nnq.com.au/littlennq/

Soupe à l’oignon au bleu d’Auvergne – Onion soup with blue cheese

“A classic and comforting recipe from the French countryside that will please your palate during winter, especially after an outdoor walk in the biting cold.”

Ingredients:

 For 4 people:

 • 400 g onions

 • 2 liters of chicken stock

 • 70 g unsalted butter

 • 150 g of Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese)

 • 4 slices of country bread

 • Salt

 • Coarse salt

 • Ground black pepper

Method:

 • Peel and chop the onions.

 • Melt the butter in a large saucepan add the onions and gently brown over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula.

 • Then add the chicken stock, seasoned with a pinch of coarse salt.

 • Stir and bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 1 hour over low heat. Stir from time to time during cooking.

 • Meanwhile mash the Bleu d’Auvergne (blue cheese) in a bowl with a fork until you obtain a creamy texture.

 • Lightly toast the slices of country bread and while still warm, spread the cheese on the top of them.

• Once the soup is cooked, remove half of the volume of onions with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Let the mixture cool down and put it in the blender to obtain an onion puree.

 • Then put the onion puree back into the saucepan, mix, adjust seasoning to taste adding salt and pepper and mix well again.

Presentation: 

Serve this traditional dish in preheated soup plates. Place the toasted bread spread with bleu d’Auvergne on the side ready to be immersed in the soup.

Top tip:

A little trick to avoid ” crying ” while mincing onions: use a sharp knife! Actually a bad knife crushes the pulp of onion instead of slicing it – it spreads a fine mist of onion juice in the air followed by a river of tears!

If you can’t find Bleu d’Auvergne, you can use a local blue cheese as well, in that case choose a creamy and flavourful one.

Bon appétit 🙂

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Kellie, who is the North Adelaide Community Centre coordinator, asked me to take part to a good cause by writing a recipe from France. The idea was to create a “City Community – favourite soup recipes” book in order to raise money for the Welcome Centre of South Australia – http://www.welcometoaustralia.org.au/ – so they can replace a trailer which was recently stolen from them! The goal was to obtain a collection of recipes that reflect a little bit about our family and heritage. I really liked the initiative and I was happy I could help! I chose to translate this recipe into English because I originally come from Auvergne and I liked the idea that  “Bleu d’Auvergne” (a typical blue cheese from this region) was part of this comforting dish. My favourites French cheese are: Bleu d’Auvergne, Fourme d’Ambert (another blue cheese), Cantal, Saint-Nectaire, Salers and Gaperon – all made in Auvergne haha! Luckily some of them can be found at the Adelaide Central Market which is good when I am missing French cheese.

A slice of France

Don’t you love the smell of a French baguette, still warm from the bakery shop? As I am walking back home, I can’t resist biting in it and feel it crunching under my teeth. I like this particular sound and the taste of it, promise of a delicious breakfast with butter, jam,  pains au chocolat and croissants!

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Cheese, baguette and croissants!

Sometimes I miss home and I need to reconnect with familiar flavours. It is not easy to find bread or croissants that have the same texture and taste as in France. You would think it is because of the unique technique or maybe a special oven…etc but actually the explanation is way more simple: it is the flour! It is too expensive to import French flour that is why bakeries use local flour to bake their baguettes. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried many kind of breads at the Adelaide Central Market and I liked them a lot: I mean they are good but different! And when you are experiencing home sickness, you want to bite into a piece of bread that would remind you of the nice mornings at your family home, beautiful pastries at the corner of your street, the intoxicating smell of the warm and fresh bread from the oven… you see?!

As for the perfect croissant, it is not easy to find it either! I tried a few places but so far, the one I enjoyed the most was at Cannelle French pastries! When I bit into it, it took me back for a couple of minutes to Paris ❤ The flavour was definitely here and I had croissant crumbs all over me which is how it is supposed to be 😉 The baker is a sympathetic French man  who felt in love with Adelaide and has been living here for many years! So if you are a croissant lover, try to get to Cannelle bakery early in the morning as these little treats don’t last very long!

Cannelle French pastries

123b Magill Road

Stepney SA 5069 

http://www.cannelle.com.au 

Cricket Match decoded by a French girl

When I was living in France, I have never been a sport fan. I have been only one time to the French tennis open (Roland Garros), I have seen one day the “Tour de France” because the riders were biking in the city where I was living and I have never been to a rugby match which is a shame when you think that the city where I originally come from has the best team ever (ASM). I guess it was not really my thing at that time… but living abroad made me more curious I suppose and now I enjoy discovering about sports I am not familiar with and cricket is definitely one of them!

Sunday for the first time, I took part to the Cricket World Cup 2015 at Adelaide Oval! It was nothing like I would have ever imagined… First, I discovered that a cricket match is VERY long:  this one started at 2pm and ended at 10pm… so you’d better come prepared because it is a long time spent on a plastic seat! Forget what you know about other sports  or logic because cricket is really different!

I – The atmosphere

IMG_0202A cricket match is like a French family lunch on a weekend where everybody sits, eats and chats during HOURS about anything and sometimes stops when there is some “action” like a drunk uncle talking no sense or no more wine in the cellar or worst no more bread! Frankly, I was surprised to see that the people are not focus all the time on the match… actually they are chatting about what they did last weekend, their jobs, their families and eventually the match when a team scores! I have seen some people reading the newspaper, other enjoying a glass of wine, some texting on their Iphones…  it is a very relaxed event where people are reunited in the name of cricket! In my opinion, the ideal is to come with good friends of yours, have some beers, some junk food, entertaining conversations and enjoy the show on the field! If you have good company, it is a nice way to spend your Sunday.

II – The game

IMG_0963I am not sure I understood the rules… but I managed to get a few things! So there are 2 teams playing on the field so you pick the one you want to support (generally I base my choice on the jersey colour). It is a bat and ball game so basically one team bats and the other bowls and then it is the other way around. The goal is to score as many runs as possible, easy! It is good to do a WICKET or a FOUR (people seems to be happy when it happens). It is bad to do a LEG BEFORE WICKET you don’t want that, never! I personally like the WICKET thing because the stick flies in the air and there is a little flashing light on its end which is pretty original.

IMG_0955The cricket match is divided into periods which is good so you can go in peace during the break to the food stand in the meantime to get some nachos or fries… because there are not actions all the time during the game so you don’t want to miss it when it occurs… it is like fishing, you never know when the fish is going to bite and you want to be there when it happens! Applaud and stand up when your team scores and don’t hesitate to encourage them shouting “Hit the Ball!”, “Come on guys!”, take some pics and post them on Instagram and you’ll be all right 🙂 people won’t even noticed it is your first time!

III – The environment

IMG_0970I think we are really lucky in Adelaide. The oval is so beautiful, colourful, very modern and gigantic! This stadium looks like a convention centre. The bathroom are very fancy like in a SPA, there are even candles, can you believe that on a match day!? Also, it can be very warm in the stadium during the afternoon (hey, we are in Oz world!) so bring a hat, sun glasses, sun block and a fan! Like I said a match can last until late at night so bring a pullover, a scarf and a jacket too or you’ll be sorry because it can get chilly! A nice way to end the evening after a match if you are still hungry is to head to the Bakery on O’Connell street in North Adelaide or The Orignal Pancakes kitchen in the CBD, they are both opened 24/7 and pretty closed from the Oval!

In my opinion, it is worth going at least once in your life to a cricket game especially with a group of friends you want to catch up with! I am glad I did, I mean it is always fun and refreshing to experience new things. I must say I spent a good time and I liked the atmosphere. I hope crickets fans won’t be offended by my vision… again this is cricket decoded by a French girl who attended to her first match… it is clear I am not Don Bradman 😉

All we want is…

Five women sitting at a table: one is from Venezuela, another is from Vietnam, a third one is from Japan, another is from Australia and the last one is from France. What is the common point between these 5 women? They are all talking about the same feeling. A feeling we all experience, no matter our background, education, culture, religion, belief, skin color… a universal feeling that anyone can understand: LOVE ❤

I find it always interesting to discuss with people from other countries; somehow you always realize that besides all our differences,  inside we are just the same. And I guess this is even more true when it comes about romantic relationships… and of course MEN… there is a lot to say about them too… a worldwide concept 😉

Many times I have heard that I come from the country of love.. “oui l’amour!” and I think it is cute… I want to believe this is true… that in France: you can bump into couples kissing at each corner of the streets, we do say “je t’aime” at least 4 times in the day and if not it is because we caught a bad cold and we can’t speak, we have regularly red roses delivered at work, we hold hands and kiss all the time, we don’t accept to have dinner if there is not a chandelier or candles on the table and we can’t imagine a dinner without chocolate, champagne and sweet little words whispered in our ears… I actually like this vision of France and I really want to believe in it, I really do! Afterall, maybe it is because I am French that I enjoy so much to hear about “l’amour”, “mon chéri”… when talking with my international friends.

Actually, my heart wants to jump when I hear about a beautiful love story, I want to cry inside when I hear about a painful break up, I want to believe that passion can come back when I think there is still hope, I want to explode when a man makes a woman unhappy, I want to spice up things when I sense there is routine, I want to believe that the perfect guy is on his way when I hear “single” . It is true, I love to listen to all these stories and I am glad when I can help… that’s what women do, we comfort and support each other no matter what because we have all been there, we just know what it feels like!

I am sure Cinderella, Snow White, Barbie…  do the same when they are having coffee together (maybe not at Cafe Cibbo… Starbuck?). Surprisingly we never read this part of the story… All we know for sure is that they felt madly in love and they kissed the boy but what happened then? What about the 1 week, 6 months, 3 years and 7 years milestones? and why didn’t they leave us any memo?

“Falling in love” seems to be the easy part of the story…  the love boat is sailing, the sky is blue  and it is the beginning of a wonderful journey full of promises: remember your eyes have been replaced by 2 shiny hearts, you see “la vie en rose”,  you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you are glowing and giggling all the time, you can not possibly get rid of your smile, everybody but you can tell you are in love (it is written on your forehead) and of course that is when all the men decide suddenly to chase you…try to figure!

And then there is “being in love and in a relationship” and this is demanding because it is not the destination, it is THE journey! It is an adventure, it is the moment of truth where your dreams and expectations meet the reality! Sometimes you will travel on a beautiful and peaceful sea with amazing stars over your head and other times there will be storms, waves and rain…  But you don’t learn to sail in just one day, do you?! It takes time, patience, compromises and a lot of love to grow together looking in the same direction without forgetting who you are, where you want to go, what really matters… but when you know, you know!

It is a long way to go but it is worth it… Because at the end of the day, what do we want? Pretty simple… to love deeply, fully with all of our heart and to be loved passionately, indefinitely, madly in return… universal ❤ so let’s embark on this boat and see what the future holds… and remember:

“It is all about the journey, not the outcome” Carl Lewis