Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lunch at Auberge de L'Ill - Illhaeusern (Alsace, France)

Just a few pictures from a nice lunch at the renowned Auberge de L'Ill in Illhaeusern (France). This restaurant is the only 3 star Michelin restaurant in Alsace. Last time I ate there was at least  five years ago and I remember being a bit disappointed by the food at the time. Today, I was pleasantly surprised by the remodeling of the place and must say the setting is absolutely gorgeous whether inside or outside. We had a drink in the restaurant's garden before lunch and seeing wild storks walk on the grass and fly over our heads was breathtaking and at the same time so typical of Alsace.

As for the food, I must say it was very good but once again, I feel a bit frustrated as I don't think I tasted anything that would qualify as particularly creative or amazing. Service was friendly and maybe even a bit too informal at times. But enough talk, time to see the pictures:

Lobster salad with fennel, orange peel and chick peas:

John Dory Fillet with squid ink spaghettis and calamari broth:

Pigeon rib stuffed with cabbage, truffles and Foie Gras (this was the highlight of my meal):

Cheese selection:

Baked Panna Cotta with Amaretto, poached cherries & elderberry sorbet:

All in all, I had a very good time and so did my taste buds. I, particularly, recommend the pigeon rib stuffed with cabbage, truffles and Foie Gras.

One last Geeky thing: cell phone reception is very poor in the restaurant and the city. Extremely slow data connection speeds (no 3G, and very slow EDGE). No wifi.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prepaid iPhone Plans in the USA (Update)

As a follow-up to my previous post on How To Avoid Outrageous Data Roaming Charges, I have to point out that AT&T is now offering a 500 Mb data plan that can be combined with their prepaid voice plans. It is not destined to be used with an iPhone but it is rather easy to set it up using a custom APN profile thanks to the APN changer website! Mr SimCard's advice is to connect to a wifi hotspot once you get to the USA in order to set the APN using this website. My advice is to email the APN profile to you before leaving your home country, it will then sit in your iPhone inbox and you'll be able to install it as soon as you turn your iPhone on in the US!

If you want to call your home country or any other country, use a Google Voice account and the Google Voice iPhone app with your AT&T Sim card! International calling rates are amazingly low. The Google Voice app dials a US number that is forwarded to your desired calling destination anywhere in the world, you are hence only charged for a call to the US by AT&T (and Google Voice will charge you for the international part of the call). No VoIP call quality issue there since it does not use VoIP.

One Failed Burger Attempt in Hawaii

On my recent trip to Hawaii, one of the most important things that I wanted to achieve was to eat at the Hukilau Cafe, a now world-famous Burger Joint thanks to the even more popular Man V. Food TV show. In addition, I thought I would get the Man V. Food Foursquare badge as I had read that checking in at a place featured in the show was the only condition to get the badge!

Well, after driving two hours to the north of Oahu island to reach the rather deserted city of Laie, I ended up in front of the Hukilau Cafe, only to realize that it was closed on Mondays. Gone my hopes to try their amazing burgers and to get this badge! On top of it, I ended up going to the two other places featured in the show: Helena's Hawaiian Food & MAC 24-7 at the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio but I never got the badge!

What can I say? Foursquare & Man V. Food let me down on this one! But I will be back!

Hasta La Vista Baby!

34 Oz. Porterhouse T-Bone Steak at Hy's Steak House in Honolulu

Just for the beauty of it, you have to behold this 34 Oz. Porterhouse T-Bone Steak! For the metric system lover, it translates into 963 grams of meat heaven! If you're in Honolulu, don't miss it! Go to Hy's Steak House, you won't be disappointed!

Lobster Club Sandwich at Mariposa in Honolulu

This Lobster Club Sandwich deserved a special mention on my blog as it was delicious! I had it at Mariposa in Honolulu! Mariposa is a very nice restaurant located on the top flood of Neiman Marcus with a nice view of Ala Moana Beach Park!

One Crazy Burger Lover Idea: In N Out Burger Delivery at LAX

As I was flying to Hawaii with a two-hour layover in Los Angeles two weeks ago, I had this crazy idea: I wanted to have an In-N-Out Burger in LA. In-N-Out Burgers make amazingly good burgers but are only present in a few states (and not in Hawaii) so my connection in LA was an opportunity I couldn't miss.

The problem was that I didn't think I would have enough time to go to the closest In-N-Out Burger location in between my two flights, so I came up with this idea: hire a courier service to bring the food to me! After multiple attempts and some outrageous price estimates (one service came up with a €400 price tag), I found one: ClockWork Express. For less than US$50, they went to In-N-Out Burger, purchased a Double Double with Animal Fries and delivered the whole thing to me at T5 in LAX in a timely manner!

I can only say one thing: it was well worth it! Thanks again ClockWork Express! You made my day!

New Burger Joint in Strasbourg (France): Le Pied de Mammouth (LPM) aka The Mammoth's Foot

I had to review this newly opened burger joint in Strasbourg. "Le Pied de Mammouth" is a somewhat rarity in this town as no other restaurant is dedicated to the holy grail of food: The Hamburger.  Even though it is a small place, it looks more like a restaurant than a fast food joint and the quality of the ingredients combined with the Hamburger knowledge of the staff are going to make it a popular place amongst Hamburger Fashionistas in town.

I tried their El Gringo and Batave Burgers and both were excellent. I, however, customized my El Gringo order, replacing grilled onions with fresh onions and adding bacon. I must say that their Cheddar was excellent as well as the beef patties. The buns were a bit over grilled and the lettuce not what you would expect in a hamburger but overall it is very likely the best Hamburger option in town.

My only comment would be that their hamburgers tend to border on the French side of Burgerdom and in my book, when it comes to hamburgers, I would say that the more classic and more American the better!

These burgers can be had here !