Bee Famous: Tasty, Affordable and Organic Wine Available at Auchan’s

As autumn is approaching, Barefoot in Luxembourg was invited for a wine tasting at Beef-Bar at Auchan’s to have a sneak peak of the shop’s new wine season range. “Foire Aux Vins” is in fact an annual event taking place in September ( this year from September 20th to October 3rd) in several supermarkets in Luxembourg, including Auchan, where winemakers introduce new wines and also offer special deals for products already on the shelves. You can check out Auchan’s website for more information about products and discounts.

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I had a pleasure to get to know Bee Famous, an organic wine brand from South France. I have shared my impressions below.

 

White wines:
Bee Famous Organic Cévennes

  • Fresh and fruity
  • Excellent choice with spicy and Asian food

Bee Famous Organic Chardonnay

  • Very rounded, well structured, crispy
  • Goes well with grilled fish, and sushi

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Bee Famous Organic Viognier

  • Rounded, easy to drink
  • Great for appetzers and cheese

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Bee Famous Organic Sauvignon

  • crispy, quite strong after-taste of blackcurrant
  • To be paired with goat cheese salad or appetizers

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Red wines:
Bee Famous Organic Syrah

  • Fruity, spicy
  • Try it with mediterranean or oriental food, mild cheese or drink it as aperitif

Bee Famous Organic 2015 Cevennes

  • Complex, fruity, spicy, hint of pepper
  • Herbs of Provence
  • Perfect form meat dishes, especially pork and chicken

Bee Famous Organic AOP Costières de Nime Sans Sulfites

  • No sulfites; this wine is recommended to be drank within 1-2 years
  • Try with pork, paella or Mediterranean cuisine

Bee Famous Côtes du Rhône 2016

  • Round, long, well structured
  • Serve it with a selection of chacuterie or other meat dishes

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Bee Famous Côtes du Rhône Plain de Dieu

  • Plain, easy
  • Goes well with chocolate dessert, meat, lamb, pork, steaks

Bee Famous Organic Languedoc Rouge 2013

  • Elegant, silky structure
  • Great with ratatouille

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Rotisserie Ardennaise, Belair, Luxembourg City

On a quiet and sunny Monday evening, Kochi and I decided to start our week in style and spontaneously meet up for a drink in town immediately after work.
Following couple of rounds of wine in the very city center, we were exploring reasonable and nearby alternatives for dinner and decided to head to the Rotisserie Ardennaise, an old fashion Belair institution that is very close to where I live.
As said, the restaurant has been there for ages but has recently changed management and that looked a valid reason for us to try it.
Moreover, even if in my neighborhood, I was always a bit hesitant to try, as mostly attended by those formal and polished Luxembourgish families and aged couples. But wines overcame our shyness and after a quick call to ensure there was place available – yes, it was Monday, but in Luxembourg you never know! – we were welcomed at the restaurant.

The settings, as for above, are coming from another age, but personally speaking I find them quite sophisticated. The service on the other hand was smiling and quite informal – maybe because we were the youngest in the room 🙂 – and we were feeling immediately comfortable in the place.

Our order was anticipated by a carrots gazpacho and a small terrine. We went then both with bresaola carpaccio with truffle as starter. As for main, I decided then for a classic (beef filet with maître d’hôtel sauce, accompanied by crunchy vegetables and fries) while Kochi chose a ravioli dish with ham and truffle, again.

We drank a perfect bottle of Nuits Saint Georges during the dinner and concluded with a round (or maybe two as usual) of Grappa Le Diciotto Lune, a nice Italian grappa in barrique I have discovered already at La Briscola.

The final bill for food read 46 euro each, plus 98 Eur for the bottle of wine. Both rounds of digestif were offered.

Pictures of the dinner and then, comme d’ahbitude, impressions.

What I like about Rotisserie Ardenneise:

  • The food was unexpectedly bloody good: surely, the choices on the menu, the presentation as well as the dishes that were coming to the table were very “classic”, but in a good way. The quality of the materials is exceptional and the combination of tastes does not feel boring at all. My meat was butter, fries to die for (yes, I have a problem with French fries, I know) and the bresaola rich of flavors.
  • The service is nice: the restaurant manager used to work in a very well known Italian restaurant in town and inherited from there the radiant smile and the lovely manners.
  • The wine card proposes great choices for all your (wallet) mood, from “I will get my salary only next week” to “We need to celebrate in style”.

What I liked a bit less about Rotisserie Ardenneise:

  • We arrive at the restaurant 15 minutes before 9 pm and you can smell they were in a hurry to make us finishing “on time” as this is the kind of place where people go to eat at 7 pm. The order part and the last 30 minutes were a bit on a rush, that at list was my feeling: as soon as our main was over, we were immediately asked if we wanted a dessert, etc. Yes, we need to specify we are girls who love taking their time for dinner, having our break, ciggy pause, relax. Still, if you want to have dinner there, we suggest you to ago no later than 8.00 pm to enjoy it fully.

In conclusion: Dining at Rotisserie Ardenneise was pretty much a surprise. The food proposal is very classic, therefore it is suggested if you have to take out someone who needs an introduction to French cuisine, it is perfect for a family affair or a business dinner. Indeed we had pleasant time: the food is delicious and never boring, the service is lovely, for real, and the old fashion atmosphere is not much more than a pleasant surrounding.

 

Dinner at Le Fin Gourmand, Luxembourg City

After a very busy week and a full day at at wine tasting, my partner in crime Kochi and I decided to complete the plan of our Saturday having dinner together. We booked at Le Fin Gourmand as it was long time since we have been there last time and considering it is not far from where I live now. It is funny that we always tend to visit restaurants in other neighborhoods and we often forget of those just next door.

We got there at 8ish and the restaurant was packed. We were accommodated together with our friends to a nice table on the windows on the ground floor – as the first one was reserved for a private party.

We enjoyed a further aperitif – Alice Hartmann cremant for the crew and Gin Tonic business as usual for me. We had a small appetizer with tuna fish and went for two courses each. I had the beef carpaccio with foie gras and truffle followed by sea-bass ravioli with coconut milk. In between the two, we were offered a small break from the house – while others had ravioli that I had already chosen as main, I had a meat terrine.

We accompanied the dinner with a pleasant Saint Aubin and we concluded with a bottle of Saint Estephe with our cheese.

My companions went all for a fish dinner and I have to say, while I really enjoyed my dishes, also their were extremely appealing.

After the pictures, you will find my impressions.


What I liked about Le Fin Gourmand:

  • I loved (and note I am not using it pretty often) the food. I loved it because while preserving some classic choices, were giving them an innovative, almost fusion appeal. This is what I enjoy about being in a restaurant: if I want to have a plain carpaccio or some average ravioli, I can definitely prepare them at home, no needs to go to an overpriced brasserie. Le Fin Gourmand has perfectly centered this concept and all the dishes we had on our table were surprisingly good at presentation and in the taste. The whole menu card looks delicious and while there you already think about what you will order next time probably – as I did.
  • The location is classy but rather informal, with a very mixed customer basis, among families, business men and young group of friends.
  • The wine choice is sophisticated and fairly priced.

What I liked a bit less about Le Fin Gourmand:

  • Honestly, it was such a great evening, I cannot find any downside. Maybe – in the specific occasion we were there, the downstairs room was a bit noisy after a while – and we definitely contributed,  so not extremely appropriate for a romantic encounter.

To conclude: I had the perfect time at Le Fin Gourmand. The menu includes classic choices revisited in a exotic and intriguing way, surprising your mouth with a succession of delicate and fusion, classy and vigorous tastes that leave you amazed and satisfied at the same time. The location is perfect for whatever – chic- occasion you might need: from a rendez-vous with friends to a business meeting.

Lunch time at La P’tite Maison

When I arrived in Luxembourg, 10 years ago, the Theatre de l’Opera used to be one of my favorite restaurant and I link to it some of the most memorable moments of my first period in the Gran Duchy. After several years, and several different management’and names’ change, I came back to this stylish and cozy house in the Rollingerground that now takes inspiration by its location and it is called La P’tite Maison.

I heard already great things about it and wanted to try it since long time. We took the occasion for a lunch in town with Patricia. I got there around 12.30 pm and was taken to my table in the small side room. The décor is still sophisticated but classic. I love the unrefined parquet and the wooden ceiling. Tables are not wide, but still you don’t feel suffocated.

I waited for Patricia in front of a glass of cremant and, when she arrived, we went for a pissaladière Nicoise, a tasty tiny focaccia with onions and olives, as starter, followed by a cod with cherry tomato and olives for me and a beef filet with pepper for her. I paired my meal with a Chardonnay that was one of the best wine at the glass I honestly had recently.

What I liked about La P’tit Maison:

  • Place is very cozy, still one of my favorite in town for location and ambiance, either to meet your friends, either for a romantic break. I can definitely say this corner is very different from whatever restaurant in the city and decors are cared in details.
  • Food was still classic but not boring. Finally a place where the available choices for a business lunch are taken aside from the “standards” and the quality and taste of food came first – before the odd ingredients and the alternative presentation. Well done.
  • Service was definitely on point. Present but not stressful, I was offered a refill of my glass when Patricia joined – some other places would have asked: do you want another glass, Miss? And then we were given our time to lunch and chat, no rush.

Things I liked a bit less about La P’tit Maison:

  • I love strong tastes, but my fish dish was definitely too much on the garlic side, really. Happy I did not have any meeting or date in the afternoon 🙂
  • Our room, in a grey day, was very much dark. When we moved back to the entrance it seemed I just waked up. At lunch time and going toward the cold season, I appreciate a brighter atmosphere. It should be definitely better in the evening.
  • This is not a cheap place. While I did not feel we overpaid for what we had – aperitif, glass of wine, starter and main on the daily menu and coffee for a bit more than 50 euro each, I would include a visit for dinner under the high-end category.

In conclusion: The location of La P’tite Maison is one of my favorite in town, preserve the intimate aura of the original “small house”, evolving on a culinary journey through strong but classic tastes. I would definitely recommend it for a special occasion as a lovely and delicious alternative to the classic gastronomic places in the city.

Brasserie Guillame, Luxembourg city, aka: how to ruin your Sunday

Being living in Luxembourg for 10 years, I think I have visited most of the places that are considered as an “institution” in the country. Some of them, I really like, some of them to me are just traps for old Luxembourgish chicks. I am always giving them a chance, anyway, every couple of years, so it was the case of Brasserie Guillame today, when it happened to be in the city centre around 1.30 pm and we wanted to have a relaxed lunch outdoor.

We noted couple of tables available on the terrace and we waited at the entrance. Two waiters passed in front of us and did not even bother to say hi – being busy does not exclude being polite. We got to stop a third one that accommodated us on a tiny table on side.

Allocation of the space is crazy: you basically eating together with your next two neighbours and cannot even move an inch that also the next two tables move – good luck if they have to leave while you eating.

Waiter arrived again, gave us the menu and ask for an aperitif: yes, please, we said. And ordered a Campari soda and a Hugo.

Open the menu and just realized how crazy prices are – if you follow the blog you probably know I am very keen of spending my money in food and booze, but 34 euro for a tuna carpaccio, really? You pay the location, hubby said, and he was probably right, but I was still supposing I was going to eat well – poor little dreaming girl.

So while the table next to us finished the apero, had main, ordered wine and wine arrived, our aperitif were nowhere to be seen. Waiter came to take our order and I politely asked him if we were not supposed to have our drinks during our 15 minutes wait to see him again. Drinks arrived 5 minutes after he took our order. Hugo was nice to be seen but completely watered down.

Food arrived: hubby had a beef carpaccio with basil and roquette, while I went for a beef tartare. One small portion of fries was “to be shared”, as described by the waiter. Salad was so ugly I just pretended it was not on the table. I had a glass of rose’ that was likely to be coming from Lidl wine paper boxes.

I was starving and generally speaking you see I am not a picky girl – I eat almost everything. But that tartare it was one of the most disgusting thing I had in a while. It was so full of mayonnaise and mustard it was almost impossible to taste the meat. After two forks, the only things I was able to taste were pieces of cartilage I took in the middle of the mess (calling it dish it is definitely too much). I left it all on the plat – another thing I usually never do.

I ate all the fries, as I was hungry, and the waiter came and asked if we wanted more. Yes please, we said. After 20 minutes, again, fries were nowhere to be seen – I ordered my coffee and hubby had finished his carpaccio and had his dish removed. There, together with the coffee, came the fries.

As side note, if a customer is leaving a course totally on the dish, it is good thing asking him/her if he/she did not like the plat and if anything could have been done differently. Apparently this is not happening at Brasserie Guillame and my dish was taken from the table without – beg my pardon – giving a fuck about the fact I did not eat it all.

Final bill came 76 euro for 2 apero, 1 carpaccio, 1 tartare, 2 glasses of wine.

Ca va sans dire, they will not see me again – and still trying to wonder what people find attractive in this place.

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La Boqueria, Kirchberg, Luxembourg

I got back from Bangkok on Saturday morning after more than 20 hours travelling, considering layovers and plane changes. Even if I was pretty tired, I decided to overcome my jet-lag and above all I was so happy to be back – silly me – I wanted to go out!

After couple of drinks in town, Matteo and I headed to La Boqueria Luxembourg, the Spanish gastronomique restaurant that opened recently in Kirchberg. We booked throught their website, very easy and straight forward.

You can either choose to dine at the restaurant or at the tapas bar and we went for the bar, as we wanted something less formal.

We got there a bit later than expected, above all because there was no close parking to the area (valet service might be a great idea during winter!), but we were anyway welcomed nicely.

We went upstairs to the tapas bar, the location is huge compared to the usual Luxembourg city centre places, stylish and refined.

We skipped the aperitif – no coctktail maison were available, so went straight to the wine – and ordered three dishes of tapas to share.

We had a mixed platter of cold cuts pata negra, accompanied by toasted bread and tomato sauce (8.5/10). The charcuterie was extremely soft, far from commercial ones, tasty bread, fair portion and good presentation. The tomato sauce might have been a bit more generous, also in the taste.

Then we had bull’s tail ravioli (5/10). Very deluding dish, honestly. I am not sure if the chef forgot the salt or if, after the charcuterie, the taste in our mouths was gone, but the broth was watered down and the meat insipid. The homemade pastry of the ravioli was the only thing to save, but resembled more a Chinese dumpling than a Mediterranean ravioli.

We conclude with patatas bravas (9.5/10). A surprising dish, really. I have seen patatas bravas in most of the Spanish restaurant I have been, even abroad, and I have always had the same sad potatoes cut in quarters and overdone with commercial garlic sauce. This dish was presented in a very creative way, potatoes were amazing and the (home-made) sauce delicious. Only downside (here the missing half to 10): very greasy dish.

We concluded with a coffee (for the driver) and a yummy herbal Spanish digestif for me

After the pictures of the dinner, some general impressions about La Boqueria Luxembourg.

     
Things I loved about La Boqueria:

  • Service was truly good. Maybe because I had very bad expectations after having read several reviews online, I was surprised by the availability of the staff to explain dishes we have seen passing in front of us and we wanted to keep in mind for next time (mini burger and squid croquettes, in primis, take note). We felt well considered and never forgotten. Well done!
  • Cuisine is on a creative side that Spanish restaurant were missing in Luxembourg. I felt deluded only by the ravioli dish, that was probably a wrong choice on our side, but as said everything that was passing in front of us was looking extremely good. It remembered me pretty much the cuisine of my favourite Spanish place, Cambio de Tercio.
  • Fairly priced wine list – with wines, mainly Spanish, from 20 to 60 euro maximum. Considering the standard of the restaurant and the general prices in Luxembourg, a positive surprise.

Things I liked less about La Boqueria:

  • The ambience is refined and luxurious. But, to me, the tapas bar looked somehow more the bar in a lobby of a hotel than a restaurant. I think it would really help having just less bright lights, it would definitely improve the atmosphere.
  • The bill is coming not for having a daily dinner here: one bottle of Chardonnay (39 euro), three platter of tapas, one bottle of water, one espresso and one digestive were 100 Euro in total. Definitely not a place for those who want to satisfy their big appetite with a cheap meal. Whenever I find it a bit overpriced, I will definitely come back to try other dishes and I think the bill is in line with the service and the location proposed.

To sum up: La Boqueria Luxembourg is a very different Spanish place compared to those we have been used in Luxembourg. More on the luxury – and expensive – side, but with great creative ideas and a gentle service. Strongly recommended for romantic dates, girls night out and business dinners.

Mamacita, Luxembourg city: good Friday night spot

I visited Mamacita in Luxembourg city as soon as it opened its doors, some years ago. I clearly remember I was not impressed: cocktails were less than average and pricey and food was nothing special. The service, on my first visit, has been really bad and I left particularly annoyed by the waiters’ attitude – they totally ignored us in favor of a kind of “VIP” table next. After this negative experience, I came back there only for some drinks during summer.

But as said several times, I tend to give all the places a second chance after some times, so last week I decided to come back to Mamacita for a Friday night dinner with a colleague who was visiting.

I booked throught their Facebook page – replies were fast and very kind. One improvement point already!

We got there at 8 pm after couple of warm-up drinks next door at White House – good combo on Friday night, even if White House is basically empty at that time, you have the best service and the best tables for you.

We were accompanied to the floor and we got to choose our table between two which were still empty. The room quickly became very busy, with couple of groups celebrating birthday parties.

We started with some frozen margaritas and chilli beers, which we accompanied with a mixed platter of starters for two to share – we were four – and some tequila shots – we were in good mood 🙂

After that, we went for single dishes – I had spicy shrimps while hubby had chilli con carne, similarly my colleague opted for chilli and his wife for a ceviche – and a bottle of Nebbiolo from California. We concluded with some more shots.

Here you have some pictures of our dinner. After that, my impressions about this second try at Mamacita.


  
  
 Thins I loved about Mamacita:

  •  We had great service, indeed. We felt never forgotten by the waiters, notwithstanding the busy evening, and all of them were kind, smiling and in good mood. They granted us a very funny night, thanks.
  • Food was good – not amazing, but still very good. The mixed starter platter was enough to share for 4 people, in particular the quesadillas were very tasty. My main was nice: well presented and fair quantity. I have seen amazing burgers passing in front of me for other tables.
  • Drink selections – my colleague noted it – was very good: between tequilas, beers, wine and cocktails for sure you won’t leave thirsty.
  • The atmosphere is warm and you feel very welcome. Everything is pretty fine priced (we spent 237 Euros in total for 4 persons – 3 cocktails, 3 beers, mixed starter, bottle of wine for 47 euro, 2 platters of shots, 4 main courses).

Things I liked a bit less about Mamacita:

  • I confirm my first time impression on cocktails, unfortunately: frozen margarita was not good at all (lots of ice and syrup) – but as said, you have other things in the list of the drinks you can enjoy more.
  • At a certain point, the room was very very noisy. This might not be definitely a bad point for some, but I would not suggest it for a romantic date or if you want to chat with your mates.

I recommend Mamacita: For amazing and very kind service, nice food at a fair price and great atmosphere. Perfect for a night out in town, parties and celebrations, even for small groups. I will definitely come back soon – during the week – to try the burgers!