Sunday, July 12, 2015

* Eating 52 Countries In 52 Weeks - Week 10 - BELGIUM

I am very tempted to only say "mmmmmmMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm" to describe my feelings about our Belgian meal at the Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach and let the pictures speak for themselves ... ... but that would not be true to the spirit of our culinary adventure.

It was not only lovely to revisit one of our favorite restaurants but also a good opportunity for us to test our developing French language skills we have been working on for our impending trip to Europe.

Brussels Bistro has a decent collection of Belgian beers so we ordered a beer flight and asked the waiter to surprise us with whatever was on tap. The flight went from the aromatic and beguiling Single Duvel, to nutty flavored Affligem Blonde, to sweet & bitter Chimay Blanche, to dark fruity Maredsous from one end to the other complementing the flavors of the food to come.

We could not get enough of the sweet taste of caramelized onions combined with the meat and cheese from assiette de charcuterie et dés de fromages.

Then we turned our attention to the second appetizer of petite casserole de moules marinière. The mussels melted in our mouths and the couple at the next table asked us what we were having after inhaling the buttery smell emanating from our table. They ordered the large pot of mussels to share.

It was very rewarding to be able to understand the French names and ingredients of the food on the menu and be able to pronounce them while we ordered. Rick's magret de canard réduction de Porto et poivre vert, gratin dauphinois looked like a mid-century painting with the bundle of green beans and colorful garnishes on the tender slices of duck. Looking at this picture I realized that he manages to order dishes that come with very big knives!

I ordered the softer textured tartare de boeuf et son cornet de frites which has been my favorite dish from my very first visit to this bistro. I know my mum is cringing at the idea of me eating raw beef, but she has no idea how amazingly delicious it is paired with the double fried Belgian style potatoes.

I would like to also note the agility and promptness of the bistro personnel. From the timing of dishes served to phantom cleaning of tables, everything is orchestrated so well that the only thing you notice is flashes of smiling faces that make things appear and disappear without disturbing your conversation with your company.

As usual we topped off the meal with traditional Brussels Coffee and shared a mousse au chocolat Belge.

Elevated with the elegant tastes of Belgian food, we walked across the street to revisit another favorite location where we looked for the new paintings of Vladimir Kush at the gallery where his work is permanently displayed and sold.

Smakelijk eten!
Bon appétit!

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