Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for November, 2009

Ugly But Tasty Duck

Posted by Pi on November 30, 2009

Brings new meaning to “ugly duckling”.  Fowl, but not foul, fortunately.

This take-home roasted duck (13 euros) from the small Vietnamese grocer Xuan Minh can look a little unsettling, but when heated in the oven you will forget all that.  The meat has a great flavor with the right amount of saltiness and meatiness.  Being duck, it also has lots of fat that not only helped the duck float when alive but also helps the meat taste like poultry’s glorious version of bacon after some crisping in the oven.  Sticklers for health can scrape off all the skin, too, of course, but that’s no fun.

I tried to take a photo from the side that wasn’t cut into, so that it wouldn’t look so unappealing, but you can still see it.  Oops.  Anyway, whatever, it’s roasted duck on a plate, not the Mona Lisa.  What can you do, put glitter on it in the shape of a smiley face?  If you like duck or other Vietnamese produce, check this place out.

Xuan Minh
Avenue Georges Henri 31, Woluwe

Languages: French, Vietnamese

Posted in Bang for your Buck, Feeling Carnivorous?, Products to Pilfer | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sweet, creamy goodness at El Vergel

Posted by Pi on November 25, 2009

One can understand the steady price inflation at El Vergel over the years because its food is so darn good.  Portion sizes might not satisfy everyone, but the flavors should.  Case in point: the El Vergel cheesecake.

Don’t ask me what’s so Latin American about this cheesecake, but I’m not complaining.  It boasts a smoother and creamier texture than some New York or Chicago cheesecakes, and there definitely is no air or puffiness to it.  It’s really rich, but miraculously at the same time it’s not too rich, and like gourmet Marcolini chocolates, the sweetness doesn’t overpower the senses or leave your mouth dry.  The crust also balances out the creaminess perfectly, with a strong biscuit-cookie taste and crumbly texture and just the tiniest, tiniest hint of saltiness.  This cheesecake in a word: fantastic.

The only complaint is that the individual slices are getting smaller at the restaurant!  Just buy a whole pie to avoid the trouble and cut yourself your own huge piece.

El Vergel
Rue du Trône 39, Ixelles

Cheesecake:  A
Languages: English, French, Spanish

Posted in Hot List, Pretty Pictures, Products to Pilfer, Sweet Tooth | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eating a cheeseburger that came from a can

Posted by Pi on November 23, 2009

Remember those German cheeseburgers-in-a-can?  The ones that were rumored to be extremely nasty?  Well, the one in my living room expired a week ago, which naturally meant that it had to be eaten.  Here’s a summary in ten pictures.  Conclusions follow.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Our incredible volunteer popping it open. Everyone gasped. We crowded around. Nothing spewed out screaming like in Ghostbusters.

Popped open the other side and shucked it out. Dry bread! Someone said his hands now smelled like meat. Someone else said they smelled like poo. Someone had better have been wrong.

No campfire, so into the microwave it went! Our volunteer requested the "nuclear" setting, but we just settled for "high" for 30 seconds...

...and it came out steaming! Appetizing, no?

Modern art: the empty can.

Oh. My. God.

I shuddered at this point.  (Click the photos to expand!)

What goes better with a cheeseburger from a can than a glass of fine French red wine, of course? No ketchup or other condiments were added, in order not to taint the subtle flavors carefully engineered using the best in German technology.

Chompin' down. He did his best.

He didn't finish.

Our excellent volunteer with a steel stomach concluded a few points about this thing:

1.  It’s better than Quick.
2.  The meat actually tasted like meat.
3.  The meat also tasted like paper.
4.  The “cheese” had plenty of something awful.
5.  If you were stuck in the woods somewhere and had this canned burger, you could eat it without dying.

So there you go.  Not good at all, but in the end, you could do worse.  Three cheers for German innovation!

Posted in Far and away, Just plain bad, Products to Pilfer | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lies! Lies at La Terrasse!

Posted by Pi on November 20, 2009

I call BS.  Around lunchtime at La Terrasse by Merode, a sign clearly indicated that mussels were available inside, and my friends visiting from outside Belgium had quite the hankering for some mussels.


When we sat down on the pleasant outdoor terrace surrounded by hedges and asked for them, the waitress said that unfortunately they had just run out.  C’est dommage! So instead we ordered the carbonnade (~12 euros), which is, for the record, visually appealing but much better elsewhere.


Ten minutes into our meal, a bunch of francophones came in to eat, and lo and behold, they received a bucket of mussels.

Blast!  No mussels, my queue.

Maybe they had pre-ordered the mussels before coming in, but I don’t know.  Maybe the afternoon waitress doesn’t like foreigners.  Despite the charming atmosphere, the quality of the food is hit-or-miss here, anyway, so this adds one more reason to skip eating here sometimes.  They once replaced the burger meat with a slab of meatloaf, which was pretty bad.  Then again, the fried chicken burger is good.  Ah, consistently inconsistent.

La Terrasse
Avenue des Celtes 1, Etterbeek

Food: B
Atmosphere: A
Service: B-
Languages: French, English

Posted in Chill Corner, Just plain bad | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Celebrating the Fall of the Wall with Western gluttony

Posted by Pi on November 18, 2009

At least one cute girl was spotted peacefully reading books inside cozy Maxburg by Schuman, so the place clearly has more than great food.  The home-like establishment has delicious German comfort food in excellently sized portions, all served within friendly and familial surroundings.  The standard wiener schnitzel (~12 euros) is a savory slab of fried flattened pork, accompanied by a generous crunchy green salad and fried potatoes.  I also tried the beef stroganoff in a creamy red wine sauce (~13 euros) the last time I was there, and the well-cooked meat had a deep and bold flavor that was very tasty.  If you don’t feel like driving across the border for food like this, just head over to the European quarter.

108 Rue Steven, Brussels

Food: A
Price: A
Atmosphere: A-
Languages: German, English, French

Posted in Bang for your Buck, Home Sweet Home, Hot List | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »