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Restaurant Pastorale** in Reet, Belgium – a 2 star close to 3!

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Reet is a small and quiet village not far from the highway that links Brussels to Antwerpen. When driving through it, one wouldn’t expect a Michelin-starred restaurant nested here, but the proximity and nearly equal distance to 2 big cities naturally justifies its location, and I wouldn’t say that this village with its elegant brick houses is lacking charm.

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It is within a former rectory which rather resembles a château-like mansion that Bart de Pooter and his wife Marie-Claire have found a home for their restaurant De Pastorale. This sounds very conservative at first, but one realizes quickly that this classic building is actually an elegant container for modernism. A first indicator of this dualism is given by a modern bronze statue at the entrance which emits a laughing sound once you pass by. Read the rest of this entry »

Lavinia Winestore, Madrid

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After having spent some time in Madrid visiting museums and eating tapas, I was on my own for 2 days and had to find a meaningful occupation for myself. Since I already got my dose of art and architecture, I decided to become hedonistic and locate my favorite wine shop Lavinia which I already thoroughly inspected in Paris (they now have shops in Barcelona and Geneva also). Of course, I expected the Madrid mothership to also have a specimen of my favorite toy and I wasn’t disappointed. In the end I spent nearly 3 hours in the store, sipping what “the machine” had to offer. Here are my notes.

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2007 Predicador Blanco, Rioja, Benjamin Romeo. A white cuvée made of Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia and Viura. Weird nose to me: rather floral but reminding cidre and furniture polish at the same time. A bit stinging on the palate, rather high acidity, some wax, slightly alcoholic, a little salty in the finish and a very good length. This is a totally untypical wine to me but I would also agree with you if you think my notes are a bit untypical too. Read the rest of this entry »

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