They’re too cheap to pay for the horses aren’t they?

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Makati

I’d like to think the question posed above to our guide by one of the Taal volcano island’s residents was in fact true. But in reality, it was because I fancied myself more physically fit than I actually was. As beads of sweat came pouring down my face, my runners and leggings lathered in dust and my drinking water getting hotter and hotter by the minute, I awed in admiration as our ostensibly unfit looking guide made the trek in his flip flops cool as a cucumber and unfazed by both the heat and the hike. As I approached the peak of the volcano’s island, I looked for our group who was now out of sight surely basking in the glory of reaching the top and relaxing under the shade of the palm trees.

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Northern Italy

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Milan

One day Sonny accosted me on the train on the way home from work. He was frantic and excited at the same time after reading about the youngest chef to receive three Michelin stars and who many were saying made the best risotto on the planet. A few moments of interrogation peaked my interest but a promise made to our younger brother years ago about venturing to Italy together always deterred our travels to this part of the world. So when he told us he would not be able to join for a few more years, we decided we could not wait for him any longer. The next thing you know we were flying on two new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on our way to the rich artistic, historic and culinary delights of northern Italy.

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Hawksworth (2015)

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Hawksworth

“It was like night and day” I told our server as we paid for the bill. After our last meal at Hawksworth a few years ago, it was easy not to return. It was quite simply another quintessential Vancouver restaurant experience trying to be something it could never be. But after such a dismal experience at Farmer’s Apprentice a few weeks earlier, we decided we could give this place another try.

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Sawada さわ田

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Sawada

It is very difficult for us to write about the high end sushi world in Tokyo. How does one justify in words the grandeur of a meal filled with ostensible simplicity? Without much thought sushi is simply a piece of fish, shari, wasabi and soy sauce. It is in many ways the antithesis of classical French or western cuisine which adds layers upon layers of flavour, technique and ingredients. But sushi as we all know is anything but elementary. The intensity of detail, practice and perfection that painstakingly goes into a single bite makes it its very own special classification.

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Spain (2014)

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SanSebastian

Another year, another pilgrimage to the Basque Country of Spain. What can we say? We are creatures of habit. When we like a place, we can’t help but return quite often.

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The Takeaways: Arpege

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Arpege

The experience of dining at the three-Michelin institution of the great French chef Alain Passard is well documented. One does not have to venture far on Google to know that his work with vegetables is unmatched and the success of those who have worked under his tutelage speaks for itself. To avoid reiterating what has already been said, we opted for a Takeaways post instead to bring insight into parts of our meal. Continue reading

Le Servan

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LeServan

At about 5 a.m. in the heart of Valencia, Spain I woke up to find the light on my phone blinking. “Holy smokes!” I thought as I received five new emails within an hour after having just fallen asleep. It turns out they were all from my mother and the slew of emails was a by-product of her excitement after touching base with a good friend from high school. Their discussions led to talks about travels and to the new restaurant of their other classmate’s daughters in Paris called Le Servan.

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Restaurant David Toutain

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DavidToutain

What was initially supposed to be a single visit to introduce ourselves to the cuisine of David Toutain turned out to be two when an email a month before our visit to Paris stated that our reservation was booked on the same day as a four-hands dinner with two-Michelin starred chef Alexandre Bourdas of SaQuaNa. Intrigued by the collaboration we opted to keep our initial reservation and book another meal there the night before in order to try the work of the man at the helm of his eponymous restaurant.

Being one of the first meals of our first time in Paris, it is here we were introduced to the new age of young French chefs who have been superbly trained under the tutelage of the French greats and others around the world. The similarities to their mentors are obvious – exquisite ingredients, perfect execution, seasonality and more. But the characteristic opulent atmosphere, heavy tasting menus and rich price tags associated with their predecessors are few and far between with this generation. Instead their approach is modernistic yielding relatively lighter menus and more affordable experiences.

In Restaurant David Toutain the modernistic approach began once we stepped into the restaurant. Looking at the aesthetics composed of oak floors, an open space and wooden dining tables without any tablecloths felt reminiscent of the interiors characteristic of scandinavia. But this is Paris after all, and though much seemed different from generalizations of haute cuisine, this restaurant still delivered on the grandiose flavours of autumn.

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L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

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JoelRobuchon

We’ve never had to wait in line to get into a Michelin-starred restaurant before. But there is a first time for everything as that is what greeted us when we arrived at the footsteps of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – a line up full of disgruntled would-be patrons long enough to pack the entire restaurant’s first seating.

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