Tag Archives: 旅行

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (4)


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After we visited the recently expanded New Caledonia Aquarium (the only one featuring live phosphorescent corals in the World!) and a long walk in town, we thought it was grand time to try a purely “local” restaurant for lunch away from the ubiquitous tourist traps.
They do exist!

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Le Patio somewhat looks like a Caribbean diner, although the atmosphere inside reminisces more of Southern France.
Actually, the owners who opened last year are from French Britanny and offer true galettes and crepes!
But we were in for lighter fare.
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We were more interested in their salads. And they are of giant (American?) size. They certainly would tempt Foodhoe (LOL)!
The Missus asked for the marinated tuna and seafood salad. Why did I have the impression we were not that from home in Shizuoka…
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I opted for the grilled chicken salad. Afer all, we had been eating all kinds of seafood. Well, the Missus could not help taking the best bits and leaving me with all the lettuce! Mind you, I love my greens!
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Which left me with some space for the cheese directly brought from France.
The Missus, for all her being bent on wine, did not have any space left.
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Which was perfect with me, as I still had plenty of the local beer, Havannah, left to drink!
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The weather being very hot (38 degrees), we decided to keep in the shade while digesting and looking the local play that very French game, Petanque!
Not a bad way to spend the first half of the day!

LE PATIO
37, rue de Verdun, Noumea, Nouvelle-Caledonie
Tel.: (687)284219

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Gastronomic Destinations: Ishigaki Island


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There are better places to visit in Okinawa than the main island and its trappings.
One is Ishigaki Island (direct flight from main Japanese airports possible) away from the noisy main island and a real spot to discover!
I would suggest English readers to check the following HOMEPAGE for more details!

We had arrived on a rainy mid-March day (the only rain of our whole stay) with a temperature that belied the heat that welcomed us the following days.
We had followed the Missus’ advice and searched for a “great” place we found closed under pouring rain. A bit disgruntled, I decided to take things in hand and try a local izakaya I had noticed along the way.
Bacchus must have been looking over my shoulder as it proved the perfect destination for the day!
Not only “Kurashita” is patronized by locals (the place was full by 20:00), but the food too is very, very local!

Of course we tried one of the local “awamori” spirit (there are 7 breweries on that particular island), although it was a bit tough on our tired bodies.

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There is one local fish in Okinawa called “sugi” and I can’t tell you what name it would be known by in English, but it was succulent served as “carpaccio”. The texture was halfway between cuttlefish and cod, very easy to bite and chew. I certainly remember the taste!

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Now, Ishigaki is famous all over the country for its beef, and deservedly so. Served as (true) “carpaccio”, it is simply sublime. Very lean, tender and reminiscent of high quality venison!
They do it in all kind of manners, but I reckon raw is still the best!

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Wherever you go in Japan expect tempura made with local vegetables. Ishigaki is no exception, but the names of their vegetables can turn out pretty exotic! We had “adan” (white on the pic) and “ootaniwari” (green on the pic), both actual young shoots of local trees! What can I say? A truly gastronomic experience!

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Any izakaya worth its salt has good fried food on offer. I wonder if Foodhoe has ever heard of “jinamidoofu”. It is not tofu, but a curd made with locally grown peanuts. This is made in balls with cheese inside and envelopped in “shiso/perilla” leaves before being dipped in batter and breadcrumbs. Served wit a “dip sauce” or soy sauce, it simply makes for great “tsumami/snacks”!.

We did have more, but I felt I had to introduce these particular tidbits!
Can’t wait to go back there!

KURASHITA
Okinawa Prefecture, Ishigaki Shi, Ishigaki, 12-2
(1 minute walk from City hall)
TEL 0980-82-7856
Business hours: 18:00~24:00
Closed on Sundays

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (3)


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Drinking Local Beer In New Caledonia

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New Caledonia is not only blessed with sun, sea and great food, but it also offers some of the best natural water in the Pacific Ocean!
No wonder this island has been settled for millennia as the water is slowly filtered through rocks before to gush out at the feet of pretty high (over 2,000 metres in some cases) for such a small island!
A benediction for beer Brewers and beer lovers!

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There are two distinct microbreweries in New Caledonia:
The first one, 3 Brasseurs, is actually a branch of a great microbrewery in France, which uses only local water.
It not only offers a range of four different beers, all made from pure malt and hops, unpasteurized and unfiltered:
Blonde (lager), Ambree (red ale), Scotch (porter) and Blanche (weizen)
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but they also include a restaurant where you can eat all typical Alsatian Cuisine.

3 Brasseurs
Centre Commercial de la Baie des Citrons, Noumea, Nouvelle Caledonie
Tel.: (687)241510

The other Brewery is the Grande Brasserie Neo-Caledonienne, a 100% local micro-brewery:

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Their main label is Number One.
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It is a very refreshing lager, especially popular with Ozzies and Kiwis, and quite reasonably priced at that.

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But I have a little weak spot for their red ale, Havannah!
Also reasonably priced, it should please Europeans especiallY!

Great beer in a great hot spot in the Pacific! What else could you need?

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (2)


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Noumea’s Morning Market

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One great way to enjoy and experience the truly local life in New Caledonia and especially in Noumea is to wake up early, skip breakfast and visit tne Morning Market near Port de Plaisance. Almost all buses go there, so there is little chance to get lost.
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Not only will you find all locally grown vegetables and fruit (plus some imported ones, notably potatoes, altough locals eat yams), but you can buy cooked food at stands offering bread, pastries, Vietnamese food such as all kinds of nems, all these at extremely reasonable prices. There is also a large indoors Cafe Stand where you can drink great New caledonian coffee, soft drinks and what else.
You can also take advantage of other stands offering crafts and Kanak clothing, paleos and so forth.
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But the must-see are the fish stands displaying sea food caught the day or night before. If you happen to live or stay in a place equipped with its own kitchen, this a great opportunity to choose your fish and shellfish for sashimi, steamed, fried, simmered fish, some of which can be found in the sea surrounding Okinawa.
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Now if it is crustaceans you are looking for, you might be in for a great surprise or shock depending on your tastes as you will not find spiny lobsters weighing under 2 kg! (Just boil them, then cool them and eat with mayonnaise or grilled in the oven!)

Wishing you a happy shopping!

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (1)


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Restaurant: la Coupole

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Although this is not srictly within the purpose of this blog, I thought it would be a shame not to share some good moments I spent abroad and thus provide useful and truthfull knowledge away from the “guides” and what else!

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As March 11th is the Missus’ birthday, we (I) thought we ought to celebrate it with a special dinner.
La Coupole in Noumea, New Caledonia (we had discovered a very good value free-time tour for three days to this favourite destination of ours) is the best Fench restaurant in the whole island (that is until now…) and located just beside the Surf Hotel where we resided.
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After a Kir for aperitif (my half pointed out that a glass of Champagne would have fitted the occasion better, to which I replied that I wished to bring her back to the hotel in reasonably good shape…), I chose a Cote Chalonnaise, Red Mercurey, Les Gravettes 2005, one of the best reds in that particular region and certainly better value than overblown Bourgogne greta names.
The amuse (see pic above) consisted of foie gras terrine slice with toast and balsamico dressing. I ended up with half of my half (no pun there!) as she felt a bit conscious about her waist.
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I ordered a dozen oysters from Doumbea. These are raised in the village of the same name and have the particularity to be small, full and succulent. I never seem to have enough of them every time I visit this island.
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Her Grace chose the Cassolette d’Ecrevissesd de Bolouporis a l’Estragon/ oven baked crayfish from Bolouporis (New Caledonia) with taragon.
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The crayfish are basically sauteed with a julienne of vegetables and fresh taragon and seasoned fresh cream, then poured in a dish to be covered with light pastry before being baked in an oven. Good balance. It was the first time the Missus challenged crayfish and she loved it.
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As for the main dish, my wife tried the Croustillant de Saint-Pierre/Sea Bass baked in light pastry (again…). The fish had been emphasized with a slighty spicy seasoning before being wrapped in very light pastry. Good balance again.
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As for me, I had chosen foie gras (again…) raviolis with morel sauce, which unfortunately I could not keep away from my other half long enough. Which explains why I appreciated half of the firsh she had graciously left for me!
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I still had space left for the kiwi and pineapple soup with citrus sherbet.
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Her Majesty was already full and quite happy nibbling on the “mignardises” consisting of creme brulee an cold melon soup.

The bread we were served had been baked in the restaurant kitchen and I had a hard time keeping my hands off it!
Coffee, and that was it.
The bill was fairly high, but life is more expensive there than in Japan.
Very kind and attentioned service.

Address:
Restaurant La Coupole, Le Surf Hotel,
Le Rocher a la Voile
B.P. 4230
9847 Noumea, Nouvelle Caledonie.
Reservations are better made through the Hotel, especially on week-ends
Tel.: (687)286688
Credit Cards OK