"After years of continuous eating,'A Girl has to Eat', a self-confessed food lover and eat-aholic, has been spurred on to create her own food guide & blog. Read about her fabulous (and sometimes not so fabulous) culinary adventures in her restaurant reviews. This and more!"

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon London

Posted on Saturday, 22nd November 2014

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is a name that needs little introduction with the spectacular French dishes created by masterchef Joël Robuchon winning hearts the world over. Joël Robuchon is the most Michelin starred chef of all time and holds no less than 25 Michelin stars across his nine restaurants around the world. The London L’Atelier, a one Michelin star restaurant, can be found on West Street in the West End and upholds the sleek black and red look that is the hallmark of an L’Atelier restaurant.

There are several levels to the restaurant. On the ground floor is a stunning Japanese-inspired counter with bar seating where diners can watch the chefs go about creating their works of art in the open kitchen. On the first floor is the restaurant area that hosts a more traditional seating arrangement with well-spaced tables, and on the second floor is the bar and terrace that serves an impressive array of cocktails and spirits.

The head Chef is Xavier Boyer who has worked with Joël Robuchon for 13 years and previously led the kitchens at the L’Ateliers in both New York and Taipei. Xavier was involved in the 2006 launch of the London L’Atelier, so this is a home coming of sorts for him. I recently got to try Boyer’s cooking when he was the chef-in-residence during the 10 days of the London in the Sky pop-up and his food was absolutely delicious.

The amuse bouche was a royale of foie gras with white truffle, port reduction and a parmesan foam. This was a gorgeous combination, with the unctuous rich flavour of foie gras pairing beautifully with the deep sweetness of the port. The use of nutty overtones of the parmesan was also a lovely contrast to the foie gras as well.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - Royale of foie gras

Royale of foie gras

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Chinese Cricket Club

Posted on Tuesday, 18th November 2014

Chinese Cricket Club is a Chinese restaurant located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blackfriars, right next to another restaurant I really like, Diciannove 19. The name is unusual as one doesn’t usually associate Chinese food with cricket. But the restaurant is named in honour of the original Chinese National Cricket team which played their first international match in 2009, so there you go.

Unlike some Chinese restaurants in Chinatown, Chinese Cricket Club follows a more contemporary formula with its décor and is very smart looking. There are also pieces of cricket memorabilia hanging on the walls for those of you who not only love Chinese food but cricket as well. Food wise, the menu offers an extensive range of authentic Sichuan food. There is also a section devoted to dim sum specialties.

We went for lunch, a time of day that saw more of a business crowd. We started our meal by trying a variety of dim sum plates including scallop and prawn siu mai (£6.80) and prawn har gau (£5.80). The scallop siu mai was superb and had been topped with a beautiful piece of sweet scallop. This was a 5/5 dish for the quality of the scallop was superb and the perfect cooking time that meant the scallop was still juicy and delicious. The prawn har gau was also very tasty and plump, with a har gau pastry that was rather authentic – slightly thick, slightly soft and slightly translucent.

Chinese Cricket Club - Scallop & prawn siu mai

Scallop & prawn siu mai

Chinese Cricket Club - Prawn har gau

Prawn har gau

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Housetrip.com – Food guide to the delights of New York City

Posted on Monday, 17th November 2014

New York City

New York City

I love New York City. I use to live there for a couple of years and once this great city gets into your blood, you are totally hooked. It is a constantly changing city, with new bars and restaurants popping up regularly. They say that there are 20,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone, which doesn’t even take into account the restaurants in the other five boroughs. Simply put, you will never be short of a dining option when you are in New York.

So when in New York, how do you decide where to eat? With Housetrip.com’s new food guide you will be able to find the best that there is to offer, especially in The Big Apple. The food section on Housetrip.com is compiled by a team of local food experts who have combed New York far and wide, taking you on a tour of the Big Apple’s most delicious sites. It caters not only to the discerning connoisseur, but also to foodies who are on a budget. With HouseTrip’s New York food guide you will get a taste of what a great melting pot New York is!

Housetrip.com can also help you with your holiday rentals as well, whether you are looking for a villa or an apartment. It also spans many international destinations, so check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

Website: http://Housetrip.com

Written in association with Housetrip.com.

Eleven Madison Park – New York

Posted on Friday, 14th November 2014

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park – so named as it is located on Eleven Madison Avenue facing Madison Square Park – is a three star Michelin restaurant, a designated Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux restaurant and the fourth ranked restaurant on San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Housed in the classical looking Credit Suisse building, the spacious dining room speaks of grandeur with its huge floor-to-ceiling windows and impressive art deco design.

Eleven Madison Park is the brainchild of Executive Chef Daniel Humm, a Swiss-born chef who earned his first Michelin star with Gasthaus zum Gupf, a restaurant located in the Swiss Alps. Humm also cooked at the famed Restaurant Pont de Brent, a Michelin starred restaurant in Montreux before moving Stateside to San Francisco in 2003.

His rise in the States was meteoric. In 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle named him a 2004 Rising Star Chef, and in 2005 Food & Wine named him one of Best New Chefs of 2005. Humm took over the reigns as executive chef of Eleven Madison Park in 2006, and under his guidance Eleven Madison Park received a four star rating from The New York Times in 2009. In 2010, Humm was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef, New York City.” And of course, Eleven Madison Park holds three Michelin stars and a ranking as one of the best restaurants in the world.

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A Voce Columbus – New York City

Posted on Thursday, 13th November 2014

There are two branches of A Voce Restaurant in New York. The original is on Madison Avenue, which following on from its success and a Michelin star resulted in the second one at Columbus Circle. This too has received critical recognition as well, with A Voce Columbus also garnering a Michelin Star for its fine Italian cooking.

A Voce Columbus occupies a fabulous space on the third floor of the Time Warner Center which was formerly Gray Kunz’s renowed Café Gray. It’s smart and sleek with a long elevated bar area that serves knockout cocktails and bar food. The bar area offers some great people watching, but the best aspect at the restaurant are from the tables that line the windows from where you can peer out onto the goings-on at Columbus Circle and the fringes of Central Park while you feast.

I mentioned the knockout cocktails and for our aperitif we tried the excellent Il Tarfuto cocktail ($33), Michter’s Rye Bourbon mixed with a truffle infused vermouth and topped with a drizzling of white truffle honey and a sliver of bourbon pickled black truffle. The mix takes 2 to 3 weeks to make and was a heady concoction of truffle aroma and flavour. The honey did a great job of sweetening things up, and this made for a delicious way to start the meal.

A Voce - Il Tarfuto cocktail

Il Tarfuto cocktail

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Girl and the Goat – Chicago

Posted on Tuesday, 11th November 2014

Girl & the Goat

Girl & the Goat

Girl and the Goat is one of the ‘IT’ restaurants in Chicago. A laudable hotspot on the Chicago culinary scene, it is run by Executive Chef Stephanie Izard who came to prominence when she won the 2007 series of the hit cooking show Top Chef on the Bravo channel. For two years after the win Stephanie travelled, speaking, cooking and promoting her project which was to become Girl and the Goat. When Girl and the Goat opened in 2010 it immediately received widespread recognition with Izard being named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef.

Located in the West Loop of Chicago, Girl and the Goat sits on trendy West Randolph Street and is suitably fitted with a look of urban chic. The restaurant is a quasi-namesake for Izard, which is French for a breed of Pyrenean goat. The buzz for Girl and the Goat hasn’t abated since it’s opening with reservations being very difficult to come by. But the restaurant also operates a walk-in policy with a waitlist for the table seats on a first-in-first-serve basis. There are also some lounge or bar seats that diners can simply walk in and grab. There are no waitlists for these and so you just have to be diligent and take one when they become available. We were witness to certain disagreements between parties about who got there first, and in my humble opinion, operating a waitlist for these seats would have helped to keep the peace.

We didn’t have a reservation but managed to secure some lounge seats at about 5.45pm where we started to eat while we waited for a table. The lounge area is quite a socialable place to hang out as you get the chance to chat to other diners and people watch. Moving to a table later on the evening, we liked the tightness of the seating arrangements much less. Also as a table became free, the restaurant insisted that we move immediately even though we had just started eating our second dish. We didn’t understand why we couldn’t have finished the plate of food before moving, but the restaurant seems to have a very in flexible policy on such matters.

Girl and the Goat offers an eclectic selection of dishes, hopping from Italian inspirations such as pasta, drawing from Hispanic ingredients such as Cubano pork and tomatillo, and integrating Asian flavours such as miso and tamarind. The menu is divided between vegetable, fish, meat, and goat, and was an incredibly interesting and difficult one to choose from as it was so captivating.

It is a sharing menu and we dipped from section to section, trying some escargot ravioli (fish section) with bacon and a tamarind-miso sauce ($15). As a pasta filling, the escargot was a little bland. But the pasta itself was well made, and the sauce was deliciously sweet and savoury if a little over seasoned. The bacon in the sauce also helped to bring the dish together nicely.

Girl and the Goat - Escargot ravioli

Escargot ravioli

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Odyssey Cruises – Chicago

Posted on Monday, 10th November 2014

Note: Words and pictures by Foodpornnation and myself.

Odyssey Cruises

Odyssey Cruises

Night one in Chicago and we escaped on board one of Chicago’s Odyssey Cruises for a dinner. Sailing back and forth on Lake Michigan, we relaxed to sweeping views of Chicago’s downtown area. Odyssey Cruises also offers brunch, lunch, fireworks and sunset champagne cruise options ranging from $51.90 – $129.90.

Odyssey Cruises - Chicago by night

Odyssey Cruises – Chicago by night

Boarding commences an hour before departure time, and to get to the cruise ship you first walk along the sparkling lights of the fun filled Navy Pier, before being welcomed on board the modern and stylish Odyssey ship which has recently undergone a $2m renovation. The DJ set a relaxed mood, and before long he had a few of the guests up and on the dance floor, or at least bouncing around in their seats! The cruise host also took the time to mingle with all the guests and to make sure we were all having a great time. There were many birthday parties on board and a whooping 50-year wedding anniversary to celebrate too.

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Franklin Barbecue – Austin, Texas

Posted on Saturday, 8th November 2014

Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue

The next day, after my meaty dinner at Sullivan’s, I ventured to Franklin Barbecue for even more meat. Much has been written about Franklin Barbecue with some press publications alleging it to be the ‘best’ BBQ in the United States. Franklin also featured on Anthony Bourdain’ No Reservations series, and in the movie Chef, Chef Carl Casper stopped off at Franklin Barbecue in his food truck as he drives through Texas.

So what makes Franklin Barbecue so famous? There are many factors, one of which is the quality A-grade meat that they use. Franklin Barbecue also uses an especially dry Post Oak wood which has been cured for 9-12 months that helps to impart a special mild smoky BBQ flavour. Franklin also adopt a slow cooking technique, one that they have refined over the years. Depending on the meat, the cooking process can last for up to 18 hours, at cooking temperatures of between 225 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (about 107c to 121c), to produce that incredible melt-in-the-mouth effect for which Franklin is so famed.

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