Burger King is Back in Lyon

Burger King has arrived in Lyon! 

The Burger King Confluence restaurant opened the 4th of December, to paltry newspaper reviews. They mentioned that it didn't get the reception that others in Paris had gotten, where there were lines out the door, and that Lyon had prepared for a mass of people that never came.  That was perhaps the case day one at lunch time, it's so not the case now.  My husband and I went Saturday night, the 6th and again on a monday night, the 29th.  The first night, here were 30 some people in line at the door in front of us, and then there was a line inside.  When we did get to the door, there was a nice young man who gave us a menu, and explained the concept of having your burger "your way", by being able to add and subtract whatever you want. The fact that this is a novel concept here, which has to be explained, totally cracks me up.  Heaven help you though if you actually order something with plus or minus anything on your sandwich, because the front line staff doesn't appear to know how to find said burgers by reading the wrapping markings.    

They don't exactly have the same menu here. It appears they've limited themselves to the big sandwiches for now.  I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger without the pickles, and my husband ordered the largest thing on the menu, a triple whopper. Of course making a special order is the fastest way to slow down your food order, and we had a little trouble. To their credit, on our first visit, they remade my burger that had been sitting too long waiting for the other one to show up, and they gave us some free wings to make up for the extra wait. I was fairly surprised. For one, those wings were awesome for a fast food wing. I thought that I'd actually order those in the future.  Second, my bacon cheeseburger was the same diameter as the whopper!  Half way through the meal I heard my husband say something he NEVER EVER says: "Honey, I'm full."  He's a big guy, 6' 3 1/2", with a big appetite, so that's really saying something. This morning he's vowed that he's never going to eat another fast food burger unless it's comes from Burger King. 

On a second visit though, not at the dinner rush, we still had to wait for like 45 minutes before we got our food.  There were only three people in line in front of us.  They had run out of ketchup!  They were reporting "problems" in the kitchen, and the front line staff looked liked they still hadn't figured out how to fill orders.  We actually ordered the wings again and they were a far cry from the first ones we got.  They were small, kind of shriveled and too brown, like as if the fry oil needed to be changed. And on top of that, there was only one drumstick part and five of the smaller parts… I won't be getting those again.  It's safe to say that on our second visit the charm wore off.   

All in all, on the first visit, it was an hour after we got there before we got our food.  When we left there that first night there were 75 people in line outside.  Of course it was Saturday night in the middle of the Fête de Lumière.  If you're headed there, come prepared for a wait. 

Post by Dori 30 Dec 2014

Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie Recipe
Here's my american recipe, at the end I'll tell you how I modified it to do it here in Lyon. I used www.onlineconversion.com to do the conversions. If you have the american measurements though suggest you use those instead, since volume to weight conversions are not an exact science when you don't know the exact mass of what you're converting.

Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust

2 Cups cookie crumbs 50cl
¼ Cup sugar 50g
½ Cup butter, melted 113g

Blend cookie crumbs and sugar.
Add melted butter, stir.
Press into pie mold, refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Peanut Butter Filling

1 Cup peanut butter 258g
1 “8 ounce”  brick cream cheese 226g
1 Cup sugar 200g
1 Tbsp vanilla 1 cuillère à soupe
2 Tbsp butter (optional) 28g
Blend together well, then add
1 “8 ounce” container of cool whip 226g or 90cl
Pour into crust and refrigerate over night.
Add chocolate shavings if you wish.

Serve cold, or it will not be firm enough to cut.  For my last potluck I put it in the freezer overnight, so it would still be cold come desert time.

So there are four main ingredient issues for making this recipe here in Lyon: the cream cheese, the peanut butter, the cool whip, and the cookie crumbs.

For the Cream cheese, if you don't use Philadelphia, or don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, there are three french equivalents for cream cheese: the brand name St. Môret, or the generic, “Fromage à tartiner”, and now there is also the “Elle et Vire” brand version of cream cheese called “fromage crème”. I usually get the generic. You have to be a little careful since some of the generics can be a little less consistent than Philadelphia cream cheese. I used a DIA generic brand this year and it turned out fine, just make sure you drain off all the extra liquid.   It was 300g for less than 2 euros.

For the Peanut butter... Lots of places have peanut butter, the only thing is that it is expensive. I like to get my peanut butter from Paris Store, a huge asian supermarket in Vénissieux of all things, the PSP brand Pâte d'Arachide, creamy peanut butter. It's the best deal on peanut butter. It tastes just as good as a brand name peanut butter but costs less than 4 euros for 510g. Usually it costs almost 5 euros for one of those 340g Skippy jars.

For the Cool whip... I've never seen cool whip here, but that's okay with me since I'd rather make my own whip cream anyway. In the US, you just pick up the little carton that says whipping cream, get it really cold, add some powdered sugar if you'd like, and beat it with the beaters until it's whipped, and voila! Only problem is that it doesn't work with the liquid creams you can get here, due to the lower fat content. Heavy whipping cream has 38% fat content, whipping cream has 35%. Crème liquide here, that says its for crème chantilly, or crème fouettée, is only 30% and it won't make a whipped cream that stands up enough not to turn your cream pie totally soupy. I've seen some that are 32%, and get excited, but that still doesn't work.  They also have a thing called “fixe chantilly” (whipped cream stabilizer), that doesn't work either! So I have finally broken down and just get a can of whipped topping. If you can find one with the fat content on the can you'll see that it has a higher fat content. (Darn them! Where did they get that?) To be honest, I don't measure it out, I just eyed it to look like about the right amount.

For the Cookie crumb crust… I use to use “Palets bretons, pur beurre-au chocolat”, from DIA. They come with 8 cookies in a package and it took me about two and a half packages. I found that I was able to crumble these cookies with my fingers, and that made it really easy. However, these handy little cookies use to cost only 0,77€ three years ago and now they're 2,88€.  Since I could think of any possible justification for a 275% price increase, and I hate getting ripped off, this year I just got the cheapest entirely chocolate cookie I could find and blended them in the food processor. They were called “American Cookie”. (So not american, but oh well.) I used two packages and had a little to spare.

by Dori, 24 November 2014

New French Cake Decorating Store - SCRAPCOOKING®

You can find some of their products at various stores around Lyon, but now they have a boutique that carries their whole line of products.  They also have an english version of their website.  You can find them downtown at:

4 rue de Brest
69002, Lyon

Photo from Scrapcooking website

Post by Dori 

18 Sept 2014

Green Tea Ice Cream

A while back, after having some chicken katsu curry, I had this craving for green tea ice cream.  I use to be able to get it at some the asian restaurants I went to when I was living in Portland, Oregon.  Finally I came across it here this summer, right in the middle of Vieux Lyon, at:

Terre adélice
1, place de la Baleine
69005, Lyon

I can't say enough about how good their ice cream is. Over half of their flavors are organic.  They buy as much of their products locally as possible, and use natural ingredients.

Post by Dori       12 Sept. 2014

Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding

I had never really paid any attention to those little cookies called "langues de chat", until the other day when I was offered some with my coffee.  All of the sudden I realized that they taste almost exactly like a Nilla Wafer.  Put two of them together and you can hardly tell the difference.  I had to make some banana vanilla wafer pudding.  I didn't have a pretty dish to put it in, but that didn't stop me.  The pudding turned out really great.  It reminds me of desert at grandma's house after one of her nice chicken dinners.      

Post by Dori 8 July 2014

Burger King is coming to Lyon

Burger King is opening a restaurant at Confluence on the ground floor, sometime before the end of the year.  They haven't announced when, but they are taking applications.    

by Dori
6 July 2014

Buttercup Bakery and Tea Room

A friend of mine, who is a pastry chef, brought me here some time ago.  I was afraid.  I'd been to so many of these places and always left dissatisfied, if not with the frosting then with the dryness of the cake.  I was standing there agonizing about whether or not to take the risk of one more carrot cake regret when she assured me that I would not be disappointed!

The carrot cake is wonderful.  The cupcakes are moist with a frosting that is not exceedingly sweet, but pleasantly so.  The pecan pie is amazingly authentic.  Everything I've had here, whether savory or sweet, was of excellent quality and made from scratch.

Starting in spring they have been serving homemade refreshments: Lemonade, Rhubarbade, Rasberryade, and Ice Tea.  That is in addition to the myriad teas they have on a regular basis.  They have a charming cupcake decor and outdoor seating.  Truly, if you are looking for a place to have a dainty treat, or a delightful lunch, there is no better place for it in Lyon than at Buttercup.

Buttercup Bakery and Tea Room
59 Montée de la Grande Côte
69001, Lyon
04 72 27 80 22

Post by Dori
10 Jan 2014

Hershey's Chocolate and Strawberry Syrup, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup, Cherry and Diet 7-Up

Grocery stores occasionally have products that they try out for a while.  Sometimes they stay on the shelves and sometimes they never come back.  Right now the Monoprix in the Croix Rousse  has both Chocolate and Strawberry Hershey's Syrups, and a few cans of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. The Monoprix at Cordeliers has Cherry, Diet, and regular 7-Up, they also have a deal for half the price on the second bottle.

Post by Dori, 1 May 2014

Spring Baking

Image from http://www.thecupcakeoven.co.uk/page22.htm

Does the coming Easter weekend have you in the mood to do a cake or cupcakes?  
It's becoming easier to find cake, and cupcake, baking and decorating supplies.  

TATI downtown has just remodeled, and all the cooking wares are now upstairs.  Tati in terms of quality is about equivalent to Walmart.  Occasionally it has deals that are worth taking advantage of.  For example, right now they have plastic glasses.  I like having them for everyday use because they are a lot harder to break than actual glasses, which is really handy if you have little ones, or big ones prone to dropping things.  They also have a cake decorating section right now, not a regular thing there, and popsicle molds.  The display has a cake turntable and fondant cutters.

KITCHEN BAZAAR is a new kitchen supply store downtown at 2 Rue des Forces, 62002. 
It's on the higher end of the quality scale, but well worth what you pay for it.  I recently bought a new metal spatula there to replace one I had brought from the states.  My husband broke the metal part in two while scraping something with it!  It was a nice wide and long spatula that I used for flipping pancakes, among other things.  I was pulling my hair out trying to find another one like it here.  I was able to find a comparable one of good quality at the Kitchen Bazaar.  If you get on their mailing list, then you get invitations to all of their events.   

I was surprised to see that they have the most complete baking and decorating supply section I've seen here.  Starting with:  molds for cakes, cake pops, popsicles, the correct size for cupcakes or muffins, with their paper baking cups, specialty molds and cookie cutters.  They also have decorating tips, pre made fondant, sugar paste molds and rollers.  I liked their spiderman and pirate candles, and the edible stickers and markers.  I was particularly taken with the natural flavorings, over 25 of them, and food colorings, including powders, gels, and spray on gold or silver.  

Kitchen Bazaar is also the only place I've ever seen a non stick cooking spray, called Ouragan, made by the Ancel brand.  It was a little spendy, but considering that it's big enough to last all year if you're a fan of non stick spray like Pam, then it would probably be worth it.      

Post by Dori, 13 April 2014


"El Tex Mex" - Goes Out of Business

I was walking down the street the other day and saw a big "For Sale at Auction" sign over the doors of El Tex Mex on 3 rue Pizay, 69001.  I had never eaten there myself, but I know some americans liked to go there for the Margaritas.  Apparently the auction is to be held on the 25th at 11:30.  If no buyers make an offer on the entire establishment, then they will proceed to liquidate all of it's assets by auctioning off all of it's restaurant materials.

Anyone have any ideas on where else to go for a Margarita?  

 Post by Dori
11 April 2014

Trip to Algeria

In Constantine Algeria
the City of Bridges

An American in Algeria

I've been absent since Christmas time, due to the busy preparations and trip my husband and I made to Algeria.  He is French, of Algerian descent, and hadn't been back to see his family for almost thirty years.  Just imagine with over forty cousins how many dinner invitations we had in three weeks...  I'd like to share with you just a few of the traditional dishes I tasted.

Tajine l'Ayn

This is a sweet dish made from a strip of lamb meat, cinnamon stick, prunes, dried apricots, almonds, and orange blossom water.  L'ayn is a holiday dish served during ramadan to break fasting.  People don't usually eat the meat.  They eat the fruits at the beginning of the meal, like they would eat dates and milk, before moving on to Chorba (the soup).  We weren't there during ramadan, but they made a lot of special dishes for us anyway :)  Thank you Souad.


In the region of Constantine they are known for making a good   chakhchoukha   (pronounced sho-shor-ha).  Women start by making a flat bread out of wheat semolina, as shown in large triangular pieces on the table in the next photo.  They pinch off little bits of it, and let them dry out.  They keep this stored in the cupboard.  To make the dish, they wet the pieces, steam them twice, butter them, then cover and simmer with a meat and tomato broth until the liquid evaporates.  Thank  you Nassera for this wonderful meal.

People in Algeria sit around a table in this manner and all eat from the same dishes.  Chorba is the red dish on the table.  They start by making a meat and tomato broth, and add ground hot red pepper, cilantro and celery leaf.  Towards the end of cooking they add the frik, which gives it a smoky flavor.  Frik is made from green wheat grains which have been grilled, washed and soaked in salty water, then dried in the shade and ground at the mill.  Nassera does this by hand, and her frik makes the best chorba I've ever had.  She was kind enough to give me some 


This impeccably presented dish is made of artichoke hearts with a ground meat stuffing, in a tomato sauce.  This is just one of the wonderful dishes my friend Sarah made for me at this meal.  Thank you Sarah. 

Baklava, Makrout, 
and walnut cream cups

I'm sure you are all familiar with Baklava.  It's the dessert on the bottom lefthand corner.  This is one of the best baklavas in my memory, made with rosewater, by Djawida's mother for a wedding party.  The Makrout (top left) are similar to the braj, but they are baked instead of pan fried, and are then soaked in a honey and orange blossom water syrup.  The walnut mousse cups are reminiscent of another traditional walnut cookie not fancy enough to make it into the wedding party.


Braj is a simple dessert, made through out spring time.  They use a wheat semolina dough for the outside, and fill the inside with a date paste called elgherss.  The patties are cut and browned in a pan.  Thank you Aziza and Zhora for sharing these with us.

Post by Dori
March 26, 2014