January 02, 2012

Luxembourg & Strasbourg

During my short stint as an ex-pat in London, I had the opportunity to travel to a number of neighboring countries.  Some of those travels were organized by my school, which, as you can imagine, made planning very convenient.

Luxembourg, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, France were two of the cities my colleagues and I hit up (namely to visit the EU Parliament, European Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights, respectively).  Most of the meals were pre-planned in Luxembourg, but we had more freedom to venture on our own in Strasbourg. Here's a glimpse of what we ate.


Complimentary lunch at the EU Parliament

Brasserie Guillaume
For our first night in Luxembourg, we were treated to a steak & frites dinner at Brasserie Guillaume.  Though the steak was a bit on the salty side, the side salad (not pictured) and the decadent chocolate mousse dessert (what little I had of it) were divine.

Our group dinner on our first evening in Strasbourg was at in a cozy grotto-like restaurant. Our three course meal started off with a simple leek quiche and a side salad tossed in a lemon vinagrette.  The crust of the quiche was crispy and buttery, but not overdone - just how I like it!

Quiche & side salad starter

German Butter Chicken with spatzle
Our entree was simple, but interesting in flavors and textures, as I've never had spatzle before.  The stewed chicken was flavorful, but fatty, and the butter, though finely cooked into the dish, only amplified the richness. The creamy, butter sauce that topped the chicken was, in my opinion, unnecessary. Aside from the chicken, the spatzle was chewy, and kind of reminded me of gnocchi. Evidently, only three ingredients are used to make spatzle, and potato is definitely not one of them. I'm still unsure if I liked it or not. It was... interesting.

What I KNOW I enjoyed was this:

Sweet pineapple flambee with scoops of vanilla ice cream


Tarte Flambees of Alsace
The following day, a group of us grabbed a quick, late-afternoon lunch/ snack at a local flambee restaurant. Tarte flambees, a local specialty, are essentially ultra-thin pizzas, baked in a wood-burning oven.  Pair a flambee with a pint (or two) of a tasty brewski and you're bound to have a relaxing afternoon. We sure did.

Affligem - Belgium beer... with my travel buddy, Elsie (or "LC" for "Lucky Cat") 

Jamon, onions, and thick chunks of melted Camembert

Salmon, onions, and capers 

Tomato, onion, basil, and brie

L'Oignon Restaurant 
As nightfall came, we roamed around the quaint water-front roads of Strasbourg, only to discover that no restaurant could, or wanted to, take in our large party of 15. Finally, we found L'Oignon. For a small restaurant of one chef and two servers (short-staffed that night), we had a delightful time, drinking delicious wine and laughing over well-prepared food.  I didn't have to even worry about using my broken French because they all spoke fairly good English. Score.

Filet avec foie gras
Baked banana with cheese
Creme brulee