Archive for the tag “business travel”

Montreal Smoked Meat – Can’t Beat Pete’s!

Typically when I travel for business, I don’t have much time to really enjoy touring the cities I’m in. This trip was no different.

On Monday I flew from Milwaukee through Detroit to Montreal, arriving at 1:30AM. I flew out of Montreal through Detroit to Cleveland on Tuesday afternoon. I left Cleveland for Miamisburg on Wednesday afternoon and left Miamisburg to stop in Cincinnati on Thursday before flying out to Milwaukee on Thursday evening. There was not much time to see anything but the inside of airports and rental cars, folks! I was fortunate enough to have a meeting less than five miles from my parents’ house, so I did get a chance to say hi to them while staying overnight at “home”.

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At least in Montreal we had time to stop for a local lunch prior to heading back to the airport. My colleague loves Smoke Meat Pete’s because of the food, and because of the live blues music they have in the evenings.

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Since this was a lunch stop, no live music, but still plenty (I mean plenty!) of good smoked meat! (it was tough to get a photo of the stage because of the sunny glare coming in through the windows, but here it is…)

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In case you’re not familiar with it, smoked meat is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spice, either “lean” (my preference) or regular and served as a platter or on a sandwich. I had asked the man behind the counter suggest his favorite menu item for me – whoops! He had “recently decided to become a vegetarian” (an interesting choice for working at a joint known for its meat!), so he couldn’t make a personal recommendation. Fail.

However, he did recommend the “Pete’s Special” which is a smoked meat sandwich with yellow mustard, french fries (frites) and cole slaw (salade de patates – vinegar based). It was a LOT of food, and it wasn’t healthy (evenly “lean cut”), but it was a tasty indulgence. (much like a REALLY GOOD corned beef deli sandwich is)

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The meat was thicker than I thought it would be for “lean cut”, but I forgave it because of the flavor! It’s also one of those sandwiches that has to be (at least partially) eaten with a fork.

And, those fries… so good! Real cut potatoes, perfectly fried to heavenly perfection!

As any great joint has, here is the ever-present “neon sign”!

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And, for good measure… great press for Smoke Meat Pete’s

Lord of the fries

I’ve seen smoked meat spots in the US, but admittedly have not tried it. If you’ve had smoked meat, in Montreal, or elsewhere, did you enjoy it? How do you think it stacks up to US style deli meat? Please comment below!

Cheers!

Ker

 

Kofusion! Champaign, IL Serves Up Great Sushi!

Several weeks ago, I found myself going on a road trip with a colleague of mine. We were headed to the wonderfully sleepy town of Shelbyville, IL. Or, as I affectionately call it: the place where dreams go to die in a cornfield!  Seriously, there’s not a lot going on there. We weren’t able to book a hotel in Shelbyville, not even at the “hotel and bait shop”, so we ended up driving part way and staying overnight in Champaign.

We took the advice of our sweet desk clerk and headed downtown to a sushi joint. Thankfully, my colleague Mike enjoys good, local food as much as I do! He and I don’t choose chains or franchises when we travel together.

Downtown Champaign is small and cute, from what I saw. Kofusion is where we ended up dining. It was a pleasant enough evening that we were able to enjoy the outside patio, which makes any meal all the better in my opinion!

There was a ten piece maki sampler available for $10, which both Mike and I ordered – and thoroughly enjoyed!  There may have been one piece that I wouldn’t necessarily order again, but it was great to sample so many flavors so as not to get bored.

Maki platter!

Maki platter!

We also ordered pork filled pot stickers, which were cooked perfectly and had really nice flavor.  Mike also ordered a house salad (greens, fuji apple and ginger dressing), which he mentioned was quite good as well. The dressing was a hit!

Finally, I ordered an additional roll – the Flaming Phoenix – tempura fried shrimp, mango, butterfly shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo and unagi sauce. So good! I love rolls that are fire-roasted (for lack of a better term) since they have a grilled flavor to them.

Flaming Phoenix roll

Flaming Phoenix roll

Not only did I finish my meal, sharing a few pieces with Mike, but he did as well. I KNOW a meal is good when Mike finishes it because he would rather walk away from a sub-par dish than to struggle to eat it.

We then returned to our hotel, preparing for an early morning drive over to Shelbyville where we would spend the day watching glue run. Fascinating stuff, I tell you! (actually, I LOVE going to manufacturing facilities to see how products are made, so it was fascinating)

If you ever find your way to Champaign, I’d recommend Kofusion. Are there other restaurants I should try if I find myself back in Champaign?

Business travel: It’s not always glamorous! Missing a golden opportunity in Philly…

Not all posts have to be long narratives, right?  Today, I flew from MKE to DTW – where I was delayed, delayed, and further delayed before finally making my way to PHL.  I was attempting to meet my colleague for dinner prior to a customer visit tomorrow morning.  It turns out he was even further delayed and we missed the opportunity to meet up.

He will be retiring in less than two weeks, so this was a bummer for a few reasons: 1) I enjoy spending time with him – talking “family life’ and always learning new things about our business and industry, 2) we seem to have a knack for having good food togethernot always fancy, but tasty, and 3) this will probably be our last business trip together – then he’s off to chilling by the pool and babysitting the grandkids!  (I’ll still be working – for a long time!)

Instead, I find myself in the hotel restaurant, choosing what seemed like one of the healthier and more appealing options:

Hummus, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and mixed greens, with warmed pita points.

Hummus, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and mixed greens, with warmed pita points.

It’s not what I had in mind when I thought Loren and I would meet for dinner, conversation, and business discussions, but it’s the reality of business travel sometimes!  And, the hummus was tasty, the veggies were fresh, and the dish was light.  I could have done much worse!

I’m off to Vegas for work next week (I’ve already refilled my anti-anxiety pill prescription, knowing what that city will do to me!).

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I am, however, looking forward to some good food!  If you have any “must-do” suggestions for Vegas, I’m open to reading them in the comments!  I need all the help I can get to survive that nutty place!

🙂

Cheers!

Ker

Le Bistrot de Flandre, Compiègne, France

On Thursday evening last week, our global team took a brief tour of Compiègne (a charming city in Northern France) before heading out to have a nice team dinner.

Here’s a shot of City Hall, a beautiful illustration of the extraordinary architecture found throughout Europe.

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After walking around the city for a bit, we headed to Le Bistrot de Flandre for dinner.

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One of my colleagues, Benoit (who was not mentioned directly, but was one of the “thorns” in this post), led us into the restaurant and was met with a friendly and familiar greeting.  This must a spot he frequents in Compiegne.

Nicolas, the other “thorn” in the previously referenced post, and whom I’ve mentioned here and here, knows my dining out behavior quite well by now.  He graciously informed our server (a young and “all in” guy whose name I never caught) that I wanted him to choose my meal (and keep it a secret), based on what he thought was the best offering on the menu.  Upon listening to the request from Nicolas, he looked us each in the eye, nodded his head, and gave a big smile.

I liked this guy already!

It turns out he had chosen a three-course menu option for me, although I didn’t know that at this point.

The first course was gently seared salmon bites with pistachio and goat cheese over greens.  As I’ve mentioned before, salmon is not my favorite seafood, but this was fresh meat which was prepared beautifully. And, I do love goat cheese! This was a pretty large appetizer, but I managed to finish most of it. And, I enjoyed it!

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When the main course was served, there was a bit of confusion.  A different server delivered our table’s meals, and one of my colleagues was away from the table (taking a phone call), so we really weren’t sure where she should set one of the dishes!  After a minute or two, our server came back and cleared up the confusion.

I was presented with roasted duckling over vegetables.  I will say that the flavor was quite nice, but the duckling was a bit tough for my preference. I had to “saw” at the meat a bit in order to take my bites.  I may have been spoiled at Odd Duck (and other establishments).

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I also tend to like my vegetables on the crispy side, but surprisingly, I was more than okay with these “limp” vegetables. I liked them so much that I finished my veggies!

Following the entrée, I was provided new silverware (thank you France for swapping out utensils regularly!), indicating that I was going to be served dessert.

My teammates were all served desserts at the same time, and my place-setting remained empty.  And, remained empty.  And, empty still.  I’m not sure how long it was, but it felt like ~10 minutes, and Nicolas asked the manager and another server what was taking so long.

We started joking about “just how special this dessert must be”, and…SURE ENOUGH…When the dessert my server had chosen for me was delivered, it was quite simply – superb (and not part of the standard menu).

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Strawberries, cream, and flaky pastry – can a girl ask for more??

I loved that this dessert was as light and refreshing as the appetizer was. The appetizer and the dessert were delicious bookends to an “average” entrée.

While this doesn’t rank as my favorite meal since I started this blog, the dining experience was really enjoyable, and the server’s response to the request was awesome!  I do wish I had asked his name so I could give him proper credit for his superb attitude and solid recommendations (for me, the salmon and dessert trump the disappointment of the duckling).

I must thank my European colleagues for being extremely gracious hosts during our weeklong visit.  It’s hard work to be responsible for foreign visitors, and they never showed fatigue or irritation.  I feel truly lucky to work with these folks.

I hope you enjoyed these few posts from my recent trip.  If you’ve got recommendations or experiences you’d like to share from Europe, please leave a comment!

Cheers!

Ker

Delicious Dining at Restaurant Hôtel du Nord, Compiegne, France

In this post, I’m combining a couple of meals that we had in the restaurant in our hotel in Compiegne, Francethe Hôtel du Nord.  We arrived into France late on Tuesday evening and decided to have dinner at the hotel rather than going out.  It was a very good choice!  We also had lunch there on Thursday because we were meeting in the conference room at the hotel all day.

At dinner, we started with a les amuse-bouches (appetizer) of Brussel sprout mousse.  It sounds strange, and it was a bit peculiar, but it was also surprisingly tasty! But, then again, I love Brussel sprouts!

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Then, I had a traditional Filet Mignon with crispy polenta and mixed greens.  It was nothing fancy, but it was a good, solid, and well-prepared meal.

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I didn’t partake in any extra appetizers or dessert, but I thought I’d share pictures of my coworkers’ dishes, because they are so beautiful!

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Appetizers: vegetable torte on the left and avocado and green pea starter with a mint jelly base on the right.

Tiramisu

Dessert: Tiramisu

The French certainly do know how to innovate food with flavors and design!

For lunch, we had a set menu which was all a surprise to me because I don’t understand French!

We started with a layered carrot mousse with ginger cream.  Again, it’s an interesting flavor and texture, but we all agreed that we liked it.

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After the small plate (errr, shot glass!), we were served the classically French appetizer of Foie Gras.  We were all a bit surprised by the chocolate crust, and my French colleagues thought it was too sweet and overpowered the flavor of the Foie Gras.  They all ended up removing the crust and focused on enjoying the center.

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The dish was served cold and almost tasted like an ice cream to me.  I’m not sure I would order it on a regular basis, but I did enjoy trying a new appetizer.

Our main course was roasted cod, served over broccoli puree.  I truly enjoyed this dish.  The fish was light and flaky (and the knife the French serve with fish does a fantastic job of peeling the skin right off the meat), and the broccoli puree had a thick and somewhat chunky texture.  It felt like a substantial meal, but not overly filling – which is good since lunch in France is a four-course meal!

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The dessert we were served was not only beautiful (again!), but light and delicious!  I didn’t finish the dessert, but I did try each component and loved the flavors.

This was a coconut mousse served over a small muffin (almost banana-nut-like) with a crispy wafer over it.  Isn’t it lovely?

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To say that this lunch is way more fancy than I normally have would be an understatement.  It’s also more food than I would normally have!

I’m excited to share another great experience in Compiegne with you shortly.  I had a wonderful young server who was all-in on the surprise, much like Ralph was in Bocholt! Please stay tuned!

Cheers!

Ker

 

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