Travel

McDonalds of the World: Royal Bacon in France
Bonsoir everybody! The day is about to close on this side of the world and I thought to start writing about this little fastfood chain that I visited recently. McDonald’s! Here on BaconTunaMelt, we have the series called McDonald’s of the World and I’m already living in France, of course I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to feature their nomz. 

McDonald’s of the World: France
Quite honestly, it was one of the first few places I looked for (seeing a McDonald’s in a strange place oddly comforts me). It wasn’t until I first had to venture my way around the city to open a bank account until I finally found one, specifically in Bellecour.
Bellecour is one of the more popular destinations in Lyon, France. In the heart of the city, this square is one of the busiest. Right in the middle of it is the statue of King Louis XIV (a tourist destination) and near the area are landmarks such as the Hotel de Ville and is considered a mecca for shopping with a long stretch of filled with stores of all kind (including Louis Vuitton and Cartier).
McDonald’s at Place Bellecour
Right above one of the exits of the Metro (Bellecour station) is a McDonald’s. I actually kind of got lost getting there, heading in the opposite direction towards the Poste Principale (the main post office) instead of the commercial area and had to backtrack (here, walking shoes is a must, if you like your feet) to find it. It was such a relief when I found it, because I was feeling kind of down (you would too if you had to eat my cooking) and McDonald’s nomz, wherever it is, is comfort food.
Inside, it was almost like your typical McDonald’s restaurant. The place smells like fries, the familiar yellow M logo, and the crew in fastfood uniform (caps too!). Everything, of course, was in French, including the menu. Also noticeably different, is that in every counter, there’s a self-service machine to pay via debit card. Cool!
Maxi Best Of Royal Bacon (€6.90 or about Php423)
It took me a while to order because I couldn’t understand much of what was on the menu, but when I saw the words “royal” and “bacon” all in one line, I knew I had to get it. The lady behind the counter couldn’t understand much English but I kind of figured out how to order the meal and upgrade the fries and drink while at it (the ugrade cost €0.50) and order a dessert, all for take out.
Look at that patty!
Sadly, the dessert, supposedly chocolate mousse, got lost in translation. Or something. I ordered and paid for it but it wasn’t in the bag (I forgot to check until I was home). No matter, I had with me a burger that seriously smelled like home (I dunno, it might be the grease). The Royal Bacon is a one layer burger with a wide beef patty and some bacon strips sandwiched between very thin burger buns.
To the very hungry me (I walked several kilometers only on breakfast nomz), it tasted really, really good. The beef was not as greasy as I was expecting it to be (surprisingly), and thick enough for me to actually taste the flavor of meat and the hint of bacon (the thin buns helped too). The fries were cold by the time I got home but their special sauce (something like an herbed mayonnaise) made up for it. Except for the fact that ordering can be a bit of a challenge if you can’t speak the language, I give McDonald’s in France two thumbs up.

(Click here to read the other posts on the McDonald’s of the World series)

McDonald’s of the World

Noms

Guest Post: Epic Boracay Lambchops
For the first BaconTunaMelt guest post, we are honored to have as our first guest writer, blogger extraordinaire and overall awesome person (he told me to say that), Mr. Comicology. Read his review of the nomz from Epic restaurant in Boracay (where he was last weekend, enjoying the sun, the sand, and the beach while I toil away in the cold here in France ^_~).
This dude likes corn.
And I now (temporarily) hand over the blogging reigns to that guy in picture (I’m now having doubts about this decision.).
~
Check it out, folks. Comicology is taking over the nom channel for one day. Do not worry, we will not fill this page with too much fucking profanity. We’ll keep it clean. 

Anyway, here’s a little bit of a backgrounder for you guys. I was at Boracay last weekend, along with Hannah Villasis, Ferdz Decena, Dodge Ronquillo (who wanted to make man-love to me) and Patricia Hizon to test out SMART’s latest innovation, Smart Evolution LTE. More on that on Comicology soon.

Besides the gorgeous beach, the amazing LTE speeds and the overpriced EVERYTHING, one of the best things to experience in Boracay is the food. The thing with that place is that it’s gotten mind-bogglingly commercialized, and businesses need a way to stand out and leave a mark. Most restaurants do that by offering unique ambiance and some kick ass food but I had no idea what was in store for me.

And so this is Christmas…
One of the classier places to eat at would be this restaurant called “Epic.” When I heard reservations were made to eat at “Epic,” I had envisioned myself dining atop a mountain, riding a brontosaurus, using a broadsword as a plate, while being waited on by flying mermaids. Alas, this was not the case. However, it is interesting to note that Epic (or epic if you’re into branding) is conveniently located right at the mouth of D’Mall, very close to the beach. 

Because they like to keep things chill in Boracay, the place had huge doors that weren’t closed. Therefore, there was no air conditioning. That’s part of the charm of the place, though, as it is with the entire island. I bet a fancy schmancy restaurant with air conditioning wouldn’t do as well.

Upon entering the place, you’d see that everything’s fixed up like you were to dine like royalty. This is especially true when you see their prices, and you’d think only royalty could afford to eat there. Then again, this is Boracay we’re talking about -everything is overpriced.

Epic table napkin is… epic!
That tasty little number on the plate is what Epic epically calls “Lamb Chops.” I forget the exact price but it’s in the P700-P850 range. Basically, the order is composed of two lamb chops, some mashed potatoes and slightly grilled veggies. At first, I thought “Holy shit, that price is insane” but then I took a bite.
Don’t use the veggies as a size reference. Those vegetables were the size of Shaq’s fingers
As I slid the magnificently grilled slither of lamb into my skeptical mouth, I finally realized why they called this place “epic.” 

Trivia: the word “succulent was coined only after someone tasted Epic’s lamb because the world needed a new word to describe just how fucking good it was. That brontosaurus daydream sequence I described to you a few paragraphs ago? That was SHIT compared to the actual taste of the lamb chops. The meat was juicy and moist and tender; and all that weird lamb-taste that some people don’t like was gone completely. You seriously have not lived until you’ve tasted their lamb chops. Accompanying the meat is the sauce, which tasted like a balsamic vinegar mixture. Sure, it coulda used some more mint, but I guess that’s my eighty-peso-steak low brow taste talking.

As a side dish, the mashed potaters went incredibly perfect with the chops. It was expertly seasoned, as it wasn’t too salty or anything. With the right consistency and flavor, the taste just hit the spot. It also played a vital role in keeping the lamb chops standing up, and that’s gotta count for something, right?

I couldn’t get enough of the veggies, man. Sweet, crisp and super fresh – not to mention they were Shaq finger sized. All veggie side dishes have got to prepared like that to make the world a better place.

Okay, so there you go. If you happen to find yourself at Boracay and you’ve got some extra change on you, and you want to fucking experience life, make your way to Epic. You won’t regret it.

Epic Boracay
Location: Beach front D’Mall, Boracay
Contact info: (036) 288-1466 / (036) 288-1477
Other info: Epic Boracay WebsiteEpic Boracay Official Facebook Page

Oh, but before I go and hand over this blog back to the former management, I have a message for you.

Never forget…
Life

My Birthday Treat – Mousse Royale Fraise
From my last post, you guys already know that I celebrated my birthday in France away from family and friends. Although I was by myself, I had to treat myself to a birthday cake. I mean, it’s not a proper birthday without a cake, yes? The day before, I headed to the nearest patisserie and got me a couple slices of the most sinful looking cake on display. This-
Birthday cake (slices)! Mousse Royale Fraise (€3.20 or Php196 for 2 slices)
It’s called Mousse Royale Fraise, or in english, Royal Strawberry Mousse and I bought two small slices of it. The base was a paper thin layer of cake, then a layer of cream, and then a small layer of foamy cake, followed by an inch thick  layer of strawberry laced cream glazed on top with thin layer of gelatin and topped with a thin slice of chocolate with an image of a strawberry.
On the day of my birthday, I blew my pretend candles and savored this sinful sweet treat. The first bite of this delicate cake was a delightful feast for the tastebuds. The mousse was smooth, creamy, and rich. Perfect as a birthday treat (but not as daily fare).
Life

A Tropical Birthday in Lyon
If you’ve read my last couple of posts, you’d have read all about me (kinna) moaning about being homesick and all that dramz. Last May 14, I celebrated my birthday alone for the first time in my life. It wasn’t bad though, I spent the day doing chores and later on, Skype-ing with my family back home (they threw a party for me without me, hee).
This is me, pretending to blow out the pretend candles on my
(yummy Contis’ sansrival) birthday cake from 6,719 miles away
At around four in the afternoon on my time, someone rang the doorbell and I got a delivery! It was gift from a cute boy back home. I knew it was coming, because he told me to watch for it. When he told me he got me something, I immediately guessed it to be flowers, because it’s probably the easiest thing to have delivered to a different continent. Surprise, surprise, instead of flowers, I got a fruit basket!
The very picturesque fruit basket!
Too surprised to receive a very heavy tropical fruit basket, I took it from the delivery boy, closed the door, and forgot to tip him (whoops!). The fruit basket gave off a faint tropical scent (sorta reminding me of home) and the vivid colors of the tropical fruits brightened up my tiny little room (more than flowers would have had, I think)

In the basket, there was a huge pineapple, a very heavy melon, some apples, kiwis, and a handful of picture perfect strawberries. And although I’ve lived in a very tropical country for most of my life, there were some fruits in the tropical fruit basket that I hadn’t seen or tried before (shame on me!). Actually, even with the help of Google, it took me a while before I figured out what they were.

It came with a handwritten note that said- “For best enjoy!”
Persimmon Peach (thanks to JP Hays)  

The picture on the top left of the photo below is a persimmon peach, I think (correct me if I’m wrong) JP Hays says. If I had to name it based on looks alone, I’d call it a tomapple It’s about the size of a small tomato and shaped like an apple. It’s skin is thicker than tomato skin and is a kind of pink-yellow (does that make sense?).

To eat, you just bite into the soft skin like you would an apple. Oddly enough, the fruit lived up to its looks. It’s rougher than a tomato, but softer than an apple. It’s not as sweet as an apple, but also not as sour as a tomato. Like a hybrid!

Raspberry Blackberry (thanks to JP Hays)

That’s the one on the right of the persimmon peach. Yes, I know what a raspberry blackberry looks like but I honestly haven’t seen one or tasted one that’s not preserved before I got this. It kina looks like a tiny bunch of grapes but the taste is much stronger, the flavor is almost bitter with the purple globes bursting juice in your mouth.
From top-left clockwise: persimmon, raspberry, (giant) mango, and passion fruit

Mango

Below the raspberry is a mango. Nothing new, right? Nuh uh. If you go back the the main fruit basket photo, the mangoes are the two large pinkish-yellowish blobs flanking the strawberries. It was very weird to see mangoes of that color and shape, I didn’t even know it was a mango at first glance. It also didn’t taste quite as sweet or as juicy as the mangoes back home.

Passionfruit

Ahh the passionfruit. Its looks are perplexing, with its dry outer shell a dull brownish color and wrinkled like a prune. It took me a couple of days of guessing (and Google-ing) before I even attempted to open it. And when I did, boy, was I surprised. Inside the sad looking cover was a bright yellow goopy mess. Its seeds, not unlike papaya seeds, are coated in phlegmy yellow passionfruit pus juice that smelled somewhere between a ripe mango and a langka.
To eat it, you simply spoon out some and put it in your mouth, seeds included. The flavor is most surprising. Seeing the sad and wrinkly exterior, you don’t really expect the fruit to be a jolting citrus party in your mouth. 

~

The rest of the fruits in the basket are your typical tropical fruits. Except they forgot to add in bananas (been hankering for good ones for the past week, to no avail). Getting a tropical fruit basket on my birthday was a really nice surprise. In a county not even remotely close to the tropics, it was a small bit of home.

Noms

Lunch and Life in a Box
Salut, BaconTunaMelt readers (if there’s any left)! I’ve been in France for a couple of weeks now and although I still long for home, I think I’m slowly adjusting to life here. One of the many adjustments, besides living alone in a tiny hotel room, that I had to deal with is having to worry about what to eat on a daily basis.
First night in Lyon (this picture has no correlation to nomz whatsoever)
I’m not one to spend my time cooking because I’ve been used to having cheap but good eats readily available in every corner of Manila at any time of the day (also, my cooking abilities are fairly limited, see example). Back home, for lunch, I would usually just get lunch from the cafeteria lady in the office pantry, or buy a quick (and heartstopping) meal from one of the restaurants downstairs.
I can’t really do that here. Well, I guess I can too, but there are only two restaurants near(-ish) the current office which sell mostly sandwiches and being the Filipino that I am, I crave for rice and other usual Pinoy fare so I’ve opted to cook my own lunch (egad!). These are (currently) my Top 3 insta-meals:
French meets Pinoy- Chicken cordon bleu and steaming white rice
1. Chicken Cordon Bleu with Rice

Luckily for me, France makes life easy enough for kitchen noobs cooking for one. The groceries are stocked with nomz fresh and prepacked in small containers, sometimes individual ones.

My first ever packed lunch is a chunk of premade Chicken Cordon Bleu and a serving of steaming white rice (yes, they sell bigas here!). All I did was fry the frozen chicken with a tablespoon of oil in low heat and I had me a delicious first meal. It’s not the healthiest but it was good enough for a first try.

I call it Seven Minute Tomato Twisty Pasta
2. Seven Minute Tomato Twisty Pasta

Another one of my easy cook meals is this pasta dish I call Five Minute Tomato Twisty Pasta. I just boil up some water with a dash of salt and grab a handful of pasta and wait for 5 minutes for it to cook. Then I scoop out a couple spoons of bottled Napolitaine pasta sauce (bought from the grocery), sprinkle it with (store bought) grated cheese and within minutes, the dish is good to go. Really good if you’re about to be late for work.

Beef BBQ Burger and Taters
3. Beef BBQ Burger

I came across these individually wrapped frozen beef patties all ready for cooking in the grocery last week. From this angle, you can’t see how thick the burger is. But I tell you, it’s thick, juicy, and delicious. I wanted to grill it, but I don’t have a griller. So I sprinkled it with some salt on both sides and fried it the good, old fashioned and greasy way. The potatoes are also prepacked and just needed a little butter, salt, and some steaming. After squeezing a generous amount of barbecue sauce on top of the meat, it’s a full, heavy and hearty meal.

These three lunches in a box are not exactly gourmet cooking, but they’re good, fun to make, easy on the pocket, and it works for people useless in the kitchen (a.k.a. me). Who knows, now that I’ve gone through the basic cooking, maybe next week I’ll attempt (and succeed!) at complicated dishes!

And although I still miss my mom’s kare kare, I am getting used to lunch and life in a box in France.

Noms

The KLM Inflight Long-Haul Menu
Salut! It’s my first weekend in France and I’m homesick. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be this lonely on my first week alone. So now I’m writing to you guys, because writing for BaconTunaMelt makes me feel like I’m talking to a friend back home (aww, dramz).
So far away from home

For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to feature inflight menus. Airplane nomz usually get much flak for being unappetizing, bland, and just plain gross but from personal experience, long-haul flight menus have actually gotten pretty good. When I found out I’d be flying from the Philippines to Amsterdam via KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, an airline I haven’t tried before, I was extremely eager to write all about the nomz.

When I settled into my seat, the first thing I looked for was the menu of the food to be served throughout the flight. There was none. It was a bit of a let down, I wanted to show you guys photos of the (kind of) fancy menu they tuck inside your chair pocket. Other airlines usually have fancy names for what they’ll be serving and it makes you look forward to the flight.

Roasted almonds and Fanta Orange

Anyway, as soon as the pilot turned off the seatbelt sign, the flight attendants started handing out these little packets of roasted almonds and your choice of a drink. Nuts are always a good choice for a snack, healthier than chips or other preprocessed snack. These particular ones were great, a good precurser for the main course. My Fanta Orange drink on the other hand, tasted like those giant medicine tablets that fizzle in water.

The lunch trayAf

A few hours later was lunch. Like in any other airline, you choose your food by picking the meat. In this case, the choice was between fish and chicken. I wasn’t too hungry so I picked the lighter meat. The main dish came in a sealed container with the fish on once side, the rice in the middle, and steamed vegetables on the right side.

One of the great things about inflight nomz is that they’re so compact. Besides the main dish, the meal also comes with a side dish of grilled vegetables, dessert, crackers, and butter, your utensils, and a drink all in one neat tray. I understand why some people might not enjoy having everything in a small space but I like it, it satisfies my inner OC-ness. ^_~

Here’s a quick rundown- the fish was okay, the grilled vegetables were great, and the orange mousse (the one on the upper right hand side of the tray) was fabulous. I’m gonna have to try and make that sometime.

Pinoy snack

For the second snack, we were asked to choose between ice cream or a sandwich. Being a child (at heart), I picked the ice cream and was pleasantly surprised that it was Mango Royale, a flavor near and dear to my heart. Made and packaged locally too, I checked.

Last meal

The last meal came an hour before landing. This time, there was just one dish served to everyone (except those with allergies)– chicken on pasta with red sauce. Thirteen hours in flight doing nothing but watch movies, read a book, and wallow in homesickness took a toll and I wasn’t in the mood to eat aything (or do anything for that matter) so I opted to skip the main meal and pick at the side dish and dessert.

What I thought to be salty pancit turned out to be some kind of sour noodle dish with cold shrimps on top. The dessert was your typical fare of assorted fruits which weren’t bad. I brought home the main dish and it’s been in my fridge for about five days now, sealed and untouched (anyone else think it’s time to throw it out?).

Throughout the flight, snacks were free and available in every division of the aircraft. Overall, KLM nomz were meh. They weren’t bad, nor were they exceptionally good, plus they don’t deliver the extras that other airlines do.

Etc.

Bonjour Manila!
There hasn’t been any update in a while (sorry) because of the very hectic week that was. I have been temporarily relocated (by temporary, I mean a year) and have been busy with preparations for the move. I have just gotten connected to the Internet this morning (yay!) and have a bit of free time to give you readers (Hi, Ma!) an update before I head for work.

I’m still trying to get settled in, everything’s so new to me. It’s a whole new world and I admit, I’m a little scared (and kinna lonely) but we’ll try to make things work and be as cheerful as possible. As you may have already guessed, I’m currently in France, in the city of Lyon to be exact. Incidentally, Lyon is considered as the French capital of gastronomy (it’s fate, I tell you).
BaconTunaMelt in French colors (and a beret)!
It seems like fate that BaconTunaMelt is now in the city best known for its gastronomic delights. So, there’s no need to worry. Although BaconTunaMelt will be on a slight hiatus (restos are expensive), we will still be up, and blogging about nomz of all kinds. So bonjour! Or hello, in English. Welcome to BaconTunaMelt, the French edition.

*BTW, the Redbox Rockstars Against Zombies contest is still up. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your prize if you win (we’ll arrange something).