Happy Anniversary! | Sabina's

We're so happy to celebrate one year of wedded bliss!

It's been an eventful ride that began with our wedding day, and continued with craziness like illness, career changes, finances, and a roller coaster house hunt (that's not over yet!)...as well as some wonderful family and friends, travels, accomplishments and, of course, food.

But those ups and downs seem like just a shadow of the tremendous blessing that is married life, because, at the end of the day, the best thing ever is simply the magic of being together.

So it was only fitting to celebrate in a simple, low-key way...with a visit to our friend Sabina. 

Sabina's is a verrrrry quirky little hole-in-the-wall that we discovered a few months ago. The first time we went, we didn't quite know what to make of it. It doesn't look like much more than some sort of small, mismatched cafeteria. Sabina serves as hostess, waitress and chef, while her husband buys the groceries and occasionally waits on tables. The food is nothing fancy, but made with lots of love. 

Service is notoriously slow, so the regulars come in, grab a menu, and seat themselves. It's not unusual to grab your own drinks, utensils and condiments too.

The meal always starts out with pickles, a dollop of sour cream and some chilies, shortly followed by some generic sliced white bread wrapped in a paper napkin. 

You can choose from a handful of soups, which come out piping hot.

The modest selection of entrees has a rustic, Eastern-European comfort food kind of vibe. Your choice of sides is either rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. We've tried a number of dishes at Sabina's, and they're all good. The best way to end your meal there is with a sour cherry crepe. 

It was unusually packed during our last visit...Sabina and her husband seemed a bit overwhelmed. So much so that one of their regulars stayed around to volunteer his help after he finished his meal. 

After our meal, we went to some open houses, cleaned the apartment, cooked dinner on that annoying electric grill, and shared a bottle of prosecco from our honeymoon with our friends A+B

We were just any other couple spending any other Sunday together...the perfect way to mark year one. 


Europe 2011

We just got back from an amazing trip to Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Barcelona. See photos here, and stay tuned for details on all the deliciousness!


Le Bambou

If you know us, you know that we love pho. And though we can find great pho at home, we also had to explore the other side of the pho equation -- its French origins.

Our first stop was to Le Bambou in Paris' Chinatown. It was very strange how this restaurant felt both familiar and foreign at the same time...like Vietnamese spoken with a French accent. 

Familiar -- the veggie plate / Foreign -- mint instead of basil, lemon instead of lime

Familiar -- hot pot of jasmine tea / Foreign -- champagne-lychee aperitif 

Familiar -- noodles and beef / Foreign -- a murky, sweet broth and shaggy tangle of scallions 

We're not sure if Le Bambou's pho was some variation that we're not aware of, but it didn't quite hit the spot. However, it was solid and warmed us up on a chilly night. If this was the worst we could do in Paris, it wasn't too shabby at all. 


Creme Caramel in a Jar | Gu Banoffee | Bonne Maman Yaourt

The grocery stores in Paris were insane. Every single aisle was packed with the most delicious-looking food...it was very difficult to resist buying one of everything. 

Our favorite items to ogle were the refrigerated desserts usually be found near the yogurt/dairy products. Where you would normally find a meager selection of Jell-o and pudding cups in the U.S., we found an extensive selection of mousses, pot de creme, creme caramel, flan, creme brulee, etc. We couldn't resist trying:

Creme Caramel
We don't remember the brand, but this adorable glass jar held a much better pre-made grocery store creme caramel than many of the pricey restaurant versions we'd tried at home.

Gu Banoffee
We couldn't quite tell what this was just by looking at the package, but we could tell it would be delish. Inside were layers of buttery crust, chocolate ganache, creamy filling, banana and caramel. It was over-the-top rich and sweet. 

Bonne Maman Yaourt
Amid all the indulgences, we made an attempt at being healthy. Little did we know, this yogurt is also delicious. It was smooth and silky with a chunky, not-too-sweet berry layer on the bottom...and only 2% milkfat!

Sometimes we wish we could find these delicious desserts more easily at home. But, actually, it's a good thing we can't...because it would be devastating for our waistlines. 

Kinder Chocofresh

We became huge fans of Kinder Bueno White during our trip to Italy, so when we came across its cousin in Paris, we couldn't resist trying it. 

A thin chocolate shell filled with a very milky hazelnut cream

This was delicious, but we missed the crumbly wafer shell. And, Chocofresh has to be kept refrigerated...making it harder to sneak back home in one's suitcase. 

La Galette des Moulins

Picnicking at Sacre-Coeur is one of those quintessential Paris experiences, so we relished every moment of touristy goodness. 

It was a pleasant uphill walk from the subway to Sacre-Coeur, though we got a little sidetracked.

After refocusing, we stopped by La Galette des Moulins, which seems like a clever play on the nearby windmill. It was quite crowded with tourists, but had all the fixins for a picnic lunch. 

This girl was complaining about the prices

After finding an open spot on the steps of Sacre-Coeur, we settled down with our loot. 

There was nothing extraordinary about our picnic -- just simple sandwiches, cheap wine, droves of tourists and a hazy view of the city -- and yet it was still magical. A quintessential Paris experience indeed!


We really didn't get what all the fuss over macarons is all about. Sure, they're cute and come in fun colors, but they also tend to be overly sweet and a bit dusty.

Thank goodness Laduree gave us a little context.

The patisserie is like a jewelry store -- elegant, with beautiful displays. Choosing macarons is like picking out little gems...and these babies practically cost as much, too!

But once you take a bite, you understand what the macaron is all about -- light yet chewy, and bursting with flavor.

Our faves were the cassis and salted caramel. The tartness and saltiness, respectively, tempered the sweetness of the macaron so well.

Tip: Even though it may be difficult to refrain from inhaling every single macaron as soon as the box lands in your hands, they only keep for a few days. So, if you want to bring some home, buy them on your last day (or at the airport - CDG will have them).