Eat: A delectable feast at La Coupole

The Boy and I are both terrible at anniversaries. Invariably we are super busy around our anniversary and we agree that, rather than 'squeezing something in' will do it in a week or so.  But before you know it a week turns into a month, a month turns into three, and you know what... we might as well just start planning our next anniversary instead.

Which is why I was determined that we would at least go out for dinner this year.

After much tooing and froing over where to go, we decided to give the buffet at La Coupole (at the Sofitel) a go.  To be honest, I was a bit worried.  I don't have the best relationship with the Sofitel Phnom Penh.  I've found the service generally very ordinary and the staff not particularly helpful to guests and often downright rude to their colleagues.  But, we had heard that their buffet was perhaps the best in Phnom Penh and so worth a try.

To cut a long story short, we were thoroughly impressed.  The selection is huge and a lot of it is prepared on the spot, including noodles made to order and home-made (delicious) pasta and salads.  There are plenty of hot dishes and the buffet staple, roast meats and vegetables.  There was also plenty of fresh seafood and sushi.  As well as meat and seafood barbecued to order.

There was also an amazing selection of fresh breads and imported cheeses.  Honestly if you love cheese, like I do, come here.

But even better than the main meals, were the desserts.  I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate factory.  There were the usual mini cakes and tarts.  As well as an ice cream bar with a good selection of flavours and lots of goodies to pile on top, including licorice (the first time I have seen licorice anywhere in Cambodia!!).  There was also a huge chocolate fountain. But the best part of all were these:

Beautiful birdcages filled with different flavours of melt-in-your mouth macaroons... each more delicious than the last.  Those Belgian chocolates scattered about underneath were pretty good too.  They also had these amazing little tarts that had a macaroon pastry.  Is that not the best idea you've heard today?  You're right.  It is.

My photos show only a taste of all the goodness here.  To be honest I was too busy eating and chatting to my date to worry about taking photos.

And, despite my reservations, the service in the restaurant was excellent.

At $30++ per person (including tea and coffee) it is one of the most expensive meals we've had in Phnom Penh, but for a treat I think it's worth it.

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APAD #2 - 24 February

I've been a bit quiet this week due to some technical difficulties, which I hope will be overcome shortly.

In the meantime, here's A Photo A Day for this week.

This made me laugh... in case you were wondering
Mojito Mentos do not contain alcohol.  Chew and drive to your heart's content!

Steve's dog's 'woe is me' look.

Burger at Botanico.  If this isn't a Man's Burger, I don't know what is.  A huge chunk of beef, swiss cheese,
red wine infused mushies and mustard sauce, and jaw-breakingly tall.  We have a winner.

Nightime visitor... a toad with what appears to be a bindi?

Flowers make me happy... even if they aren't real.
My least favourite street in Phnom Penh - Street 105 (open sewer).

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Eat: Vego Salad Bar's newer, bigger shop

Just a quick one today guys, you all know I love the Vego Salad Bar.  Well, they've opened a second shop and it's even more convenient for me, yay!  Plus they have a more extensive menu here including noodles.

The new(ish) location is on No 21B on Street 294.

(But I still think the salads are better at the original location...)

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A Photo A Day #1

You might have already heard about the A Photo A Day challenge.  It's pretty simple, take a photo every day.  A visual journal if you will.  I love the concept of this challenge, so I've been giving it a shot, with varying levels of success.  My goal is to take a photo a day and, once a week, have 7 photos to post here for my efforts.

I have to warn you that I have (and will probably continue to) cheat a little (i.e., throw in some other snapshots for the days I miss).

There will also probably be a lot of photos of food.  (Not just because food is a big part of my life [which it is], but because often lunchtime is the only time in the day where I actually stop long enough to think about taking photos.)  And the photos probably won't be great quality as I usually chuck my cheap point-and-click in my bag rather than lugging around my proper camera.

But all the same, I'm going to give it my best a shot, so, without further ado:

A Photo A Day - First Edition

Abandoned Bike

A bold gecko


Cat nap

Cheesy Crust
PS:  Pizza Company has started delivering to our area.  I'm a little bit embarrassed about how excited we were!

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Lunchtime Vacation

All this writing about holidays on my blog has made me feel in desperate need of a vacation. So I came up with the perfect solution, I took a lunchtime vacation.  And it was the Best Lunchtime Ever.

The Boy and I decided to take advantage of my lovely long lunch break and headed to Villa Langka for an hour's holiday.  A sneaky swim and drinks by the pool anyone?

Aren't these the coolest outdoor cushions you've seen.  Made out of recycled plastic bags they're good for the
environment too!
Non-guests are only allowed to use the pool at Villa Langka during the week and you must spend $5 on food, which is not difficult.  We grabbed some fresh spring rolls and a club sandwich.

These avocado and prawn fresh spring rolls were as fresh and delicious as they look.

We also grabbed a passionfruit pannacotta for dessert.  After all, we were on a vacation (of sorts)!
It was good, but not quite as good as the one at Aria D'Italia.

After our swim and lunch, I flaked out on the sun bed for a while.

It was glorious.  The only problem was at 1.30, when I had to head back to the real world and felt insanely jealous of all the other people who really were on holiday and could relax on those sunloungers for the rest of the afternoon.  Oh, and the fact that there was nowhere for me to wash my hair, so I had to head back to the office smelling of chlorine.

Anyway, I still think it's just about the best thing you can do with a lunch break. I just might have to take little lunchtime vacations on  a regular basis.

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Eat: The FCC, Same Same but Different

Last weekend I was in bad mood.  You know those days when you just wake up cranky (or does that only happen to me?).  I struggled through the day, but everything drove me nuts. The crazy driving. The heat. The dust. The humidity.  At 5pm I told the Boy that he had to take me out.  I needed a pick me up.

We decided on drinks and dinner at the FCC on the river front.

I love going to the FCC, even though it really is a tourist haunt.  Something about being surrounded by people on holidays makes me very happy.  It's as if that relaxed, on-vacation vibe is contagious.  But I have to say, recently the FCC has undergone some changes, and not necessarily for the better.

Of course, the best thing about the FCC is the location and ambiance and that's as wonderful as ever.

I never get bored of looking down at the buzzing river front.  The great thing about the FCC is you can peacefully enjoy your drinks above the hustle and bustle.  Or curl up in one of their super comfy armchairs.

Unfortunately though, the service is not as good as it used to be.  The staff are friendly as always, but obviously rushed off their feet and unable to deliver the service we've been used to.  And while the menu is largely the same, the drinks in particular were not the same quality as before.

It seems my photographs were also lacking quality - oops!
The food at FCC has never been cheap but the portions seem to have shrunk.  That being said, my pasta was absolutely delicious and the Boy's beef cheek simply fell apart.  I don't think he even bothered to use his knife.

We headed downstairs to Fresco cafe for dessert and a bit more peace and quiet.  And it  certainly was quiet!  But again, the quality isn't what it used to be and our cakes, while very cheap (50% off in the evenings) tasted a bit old and stale.

While I still think happy hour at the FCC (from 5pm - 7pm) is a must do for visitors to Phnom Penh, I hope that the service and quality will go back to how I remember.

So in short, FCC, I still love you... just not as much as I used to.

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Eat: Food, glorious food, in Vietnam

You might have thought that we spent our whole time in Hoi An wandering through quaint lanes and lazing by the pool.  If you did, you'd be wrong (although, I'm not gonna lie, we spent a lot of time by the pool).  We also ate.  A lot.  I think foodwise, Hoi An was my favourite spot in Vietnam (closely followed by Sapa).

Let me give you a taste (pun intended!).

These were delicious, they're called White Rose Dumplings and they are everywhere in Hoi An.
 Try them.

But the place we kept coming back to was Cargo Club Cafe.  This place does the most spectacular cakes and desserts and I think we visited every day.

Brownie and cheesecake.  In one cake. Why didn't I think of that?
 Of course, Hoi An wasn't the only place with great food.  Here are some of our other culinary highlights...

Beef Noodle Soup in Hue

Pho in Hanoi
These chocolate donuts in Hanoi - the perfect snack!
Springrolls - everywhere!

Needless to say, we enjoyed our cocktails on our last night Hoi An before returning home a little bit said that it had all come to an end.  But already planning the next time!

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