Sketch, The Parlour ~ London, UK

A quirky locale where you can dine elegantly AND bar-hop, as Sketch is actually a number of venues that, to confuse matters, change their agendas as the day progresses. For example, one section is an art gallery by day and “gastro-brasserie” by night. Whimsical and informal, the Parlour is for light lunches and delectable teas. In the Lecture Room and Library, each dish represents different sensations. The Art Gallery becomes a restaurant and bar at night. The East Bar is a popular late-night rendezvous and the Glade is open for lunches and light snacks. (Exerpt sourced from Frommer’s Restaurant Review)

Ottolenghi ~ London, UK (4 locations!)

This spot is at the top of my “Delicious Places” to visit list. As per Ottolenghi ~ “…We take our food extremely seriously. We make everything – be it marshmallow or an elaborate upside down pear cake – right from scratch. We don’t buy anything other than raw ingredients, and we only produce things that we would want to eat ourselves. We don’t use colouring or preservatives, we don’t freeze and we don’t refrigerate for long periods. We buy mostly local produce (that is, British and European), very often organic, and we cook to feed and to share, applying the same instincts as a home cook. But we are also perfectionists; testing and re-testing each dish until we get it just right; creating and maintaining beautiful and serene dining environments.

We are highly aware of how unusual it is, in our time, to find food that is closer to the source, uncomplicated, unadulterated, emanating from genuine instincts. This idea of simplicity is one of Ottolenghi’s basic principles.

Paillard Café ~ Quebec City, Canada

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Paillard, Paillard, Paillard – Quebec City’s must-see bakery, pastry shop, sandwich and ice cream place. I love the decor, the spacious layout, family style seating and the general relaxed ambience. It’s the place where I tasted my first Macaron. I selected Vanilla as I have a firm belief that if you can make this pure flavour sing then I am more likely to taste other items on offer. It did and so did I ~ Caramel and Pistachio (twice).

However, I have to admit that I did not enjoy the Fleur de Citron, it needed a stronger citrus accent e.g. use curd as opposed to the occasional hit of candied lemon peel. Oh, and I nearly forgot that the sliced Jesuites were also an unfortunate experience for me (where was the traditional triangle?).

But I repeat that the Macarons definately saved the day. Yeah Macarons!