Tuesday, March 25, 2014

dessert/bakery: i recommend 1789 CYRILLE COURANT

No. 97-1 RenAi Road, Sec. 2
 (02) 3322-2089

MRT: ZhongXiao/XinSheng

website:  http://www.1789.com.tw and FB page 

hours: 11AM- 8PM

$-$$ (average NT$120/eclair)

Kid friendliness: buy an extra so you don't fight with the kids over your favorite flavor

Visit reviewed: 12/31/2013

1789 Cyrille Courant is a little shop specializing in French pastries and chocolate truffles, opened last December. The shop was opened by Cyrille Courant and his wife, fulfilling a life long dream for them. Previously, Chef Courant worked in Germany and Shanghai and won several prestigious awards in London and France. Of course I didn't know that when I stopped by the shop when I was in the area, but the pictures of the eclairs that I spied on @starvingchef 's instagram were enough to entice me.

If you could only pick one eclair, get the salted caramel eclair (NT$120), otherwise I definitely recommend splurging on a box to share with friends so you can try the different flavors. At first, they told me the salted caramel was sold out and I thought I would leave empty handed, but luckily there were a few more in the kitchen.  Good thing since it did turn out to be my favorite flavor.

Eclair flavors include N. 1 Chocolate Sugar Free, N. 2 Tiramisu, N. 3 Vanilla, N. 4 Salted Caramel, N. 5 Mango, N. 6 Raspberry, N. 7 Lemon, N. 8 Black Forest, N. 9 Mont Blanc and N. 11 Blueberry Mascarpone. New flavors come out seasonally and can be spotted on their Facebook page, such as N.16 Pink Grape Fruit Éclair with Korean Yuzu, topped with fresh Wasabi Mascarpone Cream or bright green Granny Smith Apple.

Truffles also for sale with unique flavors such as Earl Grey (NT$65), Litchi, Sesame, Hazelnut, and Framboise (Raspberry) chocolate ganache. 

You might spy Chef Courant in the kitchen filling the eclairs or making new creations. 

There's a few tables in the back of the shop for a cup of coffee or tea.


From left to right, lemon, raspberry cream, mango, salted caramel, chocolate and tiramisu (NT$750/box of 6). The eclair's shell tastes more similar to a cream puff than a doughnut and I loved how the fillings tasted actually like lemon or raspberry rather than just cream or sugar. The eclairs aren't super big, so you might find yourself wanting to eat two in one sitting. 


The Cat in the Hat red and white stripes are fun for the raspberry cream (NT$120).

Super cute to take a box to a dinner party or use instead of a birthday cake, or instead of waiting in line for Krispy Kremes (haha). The royal purple and white packaging is simple, but elegant. I picked up this box to take to a New Year's Eve dinner, or you could get a box of just two for yourself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ramen/japanese: i recommend BUTAICHI RAMEN

at Hankyu Mall 阪急百貨
No. 8, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec. 5, B2

MRT: Taipei City Hall

website: Butaichi's FB page

hours: 11AM- 9:30PM; Fri/Sat 11AM- 10PM


Kid friendliness: boosters available

Visit reviewed: 3/2/2014

Too many new ramen shops to keep track of... ended up at Butaichi Ramen because we were looking for a quick place to grab lunch with friends who were staying at the W Taipei Hotel and had to leave for the airport right after lunch. Wandered around the food court at Hankyu mall and this shop had seats available for six people without a wait. There's actually lots of great Japanese eats to be found at this mall- the tempura shop in the corner is a hidden find (with eggporn-ilicious tempura soft boiled egg), or Anzu Tonkatsu. I'm not crazy about the tsukemen or Ramen Kagetsu Arashi even though you'll usually spot lines there too.

Tight seating quarters so people usually don't linger, but there are some adjustable table seats on the edges in case your group or family is larger.

Menu has English and photos (thank goodness) and is quite straightforward. The ramen at Butaichi is on the long and skinny side (Hakata style) with the choice of three types of tonkotsu pork broth- Shiro (original pork bone broth in a white bowl), Kuro (caramelized garlic in a black bowl) or Aka (spicy chili oil in a red bowl), with or without egg. You will also be asked if you want your noodles to be cooked al dente, regular or soft and can ask for kaedama, one complimentary additional refill of noodles which come served on a plate.

Appetizers include gyoza, deep fried chicken, fried fishcake/age, edamame or grilled chashu pork. I liked the gyoza and fried chicken (Sorry no pics though, my pictures were strangely blurry!)

The free side dishes are hidden in the buckets on the table (I totally forgot to try them)- bean sprouts, ginger, mustard greens. Fresh garlic to press.

I stuck with the classic Shiro pork bone tonkotsu broth with a perfectly soft boiled egg - Shiro Tama (NT$220). The ramen was long and thin and I found the "regular" hardness to be fine. The ramen is served with a small ball on the side which I thought was a meatball until I took a bite and my friend clued me in that it's to be added to your broth if you want the broth to have heavier flavors. Duh.

I liked it enough to eat there again. The broth was porky and rich enough to drink almost the whole bowl, without being too heavy or salty. For chashu lovers, you can order the signature ButaIchi ramen which comes covered with pork pieces, or add 2-3 pieces for an affordable NT$20-30. I think it's comparable to Ippudo even though it might not be as well known. I liked that they give you a sizable portion of extra noodles for free, so noodles aren't wasted on those that might be lighter eaters.

Sorry for the long lags between posts. Life has been so crazy and busy as I'm sure it is for all of you. I haven't given up on blogging, I've just prioritized sleep and other things over obsessing over photoshopping photos and writing posts that can never be perfect. But I recently got a new laptop and finally downloaded the past six months of photos, so I hope to be back to more posts soon. There's lots to eat and share and hopefully everything won't be old news by the time I write about it here. For those of you who can't wait, follow me on instagram @hungryintaipei!