East Meets West in Pasadena at Bistro Mon Cheri. Tucked upstairs in a strip mall overlooking Pasadena's East Colorado Boulevard sits Bistro Mon Cheri, the newest restaurant by Chef Kimmy Tang. I first met Kimmy years ago in Beverly Hills at 9021Pho where Vietnamese cuisine was met with a California flair. Now at Bistro Mon Cheri, Vietnamese cuisine gets a European touch.
The European influence was immediately apparent with the first dish placed on the table - Paté de foie de canard, a duck liver pate served with Vietnamese baguette. Creamy and rich, it was more French than any other culture.
Next up was a more traditional Vietnamese dish - Sakura shrimp salad with carrot strips, cucumber, walnuts, fried shallots and sesame seeds on thin rice noodle crackers. I loved the freshness and lightness of this dish.
Marseille, France, the second largest city in France after Paris, is known for its busy harbor and urban energy. Located along the Mediterranean Sea, visitors come for the beaches, the port, the ancient history, the cultural diversity and the food. So, when I had a day in Marseille, we wandered the streets stopping into boutiques, walked along the port and enjoyed some meals. And then we happened upon a winery in the middle of the city.
As we walked along Rue de l’Évêché, we passed a market, a salon, a few restaurants and then, surrounded by these businesses, was Microcosmos Chai Urbain, an urban winery owned by Fabienne and Lukas Völlmy. Originally from Burgundy, Fabienne, who holds a B.S. in chemistry and a master’s degree in enology, and her husband, Lukas, opened Microcosmos Chai Urbain in 2012 in the old part of Marseille. Buying a winery can be cost prohibitive to a young winemaker starting out and Fabienne was inspired by the urban wineries in San Francisco and Abe Schoner’s maverick, one-man wine-making Scholium Project.