Axuria -- Restaurant Review

54, Avenue Félix FAURE, 
75015, Paris
Tél : 01 45 54 13 91
Webiste:  "Axuria"
Hours: 7 jours sur 7 de 12h à 14h30
et de 19h à 23h

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; $$$$ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on plats--main course)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  4 - Star......................................................................................................................2 - Bell

Axuria, which means milk fed lamb, is a restaurant not too far from where we live. A friend called last minute and asked if could join her for dinner. Never one to turn down a dinner invitation we said, "bien sûr" (of course). We had heard of the restaurant and we were able to make reservations on the same day.  I was surprised, but then I remembered it was election night, and also a Sunday, so not a typical dining evening.

We got to the restaurant, and the waiter/maitre’d answered the door and greeted us very warmly. Our friend was already at the table. We had a very nice table along the window, and the restaurant was maybe a third full. It has a very nice interior, nicely laid out with a very cooling blue color palate.

Almost immediately we got an amuse bouche of chorizo sausages and puff pastry cheese sticks.  I was surprised the chorizo had very little kick to it, and the cheese sticks were nothing special.

We were going to get apéros, but had decided just to get a half a bottle each of the Isabelle et Pierre Clément Châtenoy red and white.  We loved the wines, since I’m not a wine connoisseur all I can tell you was that the white was a tad dry, but not as dry as a sancerre, loved it. And, my companions thought the red wine dry and robust, it was a hit as well. 

Much to our surprise and delight, we got another amuse bouche, this time it was  a little creamy soup of leeks, celery and green onions, with a sprinkling of a little olive oil. We loved this dish. Rather than be dainty, I drank it and practically licked the bowl. I could’ve had that as a main course for sure.


Our friend ordered the “Ravioli de truffes noires court-bouillon et sa crème parfumée” (Ravioli of black truffle broth and flavored cream).  Just a little aside, our friend is Italian, so she knows ravioli. She raved that it was delicious, especially the sauce. Not wanting to dig into the ravioli, I asked if I could sop up some of sauce with my bread. It was delicious. Extremely tasty, or as they say in French, “Beaucoup de goût” lots of flavor.

“Coeur de scarole braisée farcie aux huitres fines de claires marennes d'Oléron cuit en cocotte, laqué” (Escarole stuffed with oysters fine clear Marennes d’Oléron broth).  This was a stuffed escarole with oysters. This dish was delicious. I wasn’t as polite and asked my companion if I could taste it.  Yum, yum. This dish wasn’t as creamy as the ravioli, but was not a shy dish, you could taste the oysters, and the accompanying broth was delightful.  It had a punch of flavors.

I ordered the “Pâte artisinale aux queues de langoustines, consummé d'épices et feuille de citron kaffir” (A dough stuffed with langoustines, broth of spices and kaffir lime leaf). This was probably the most refined of all the entrées we had. Basically, it was akin to a wonton stuffed with langostines. Normally kaffir leafs are used in Southeast Asian curries, but in this dish the citrusy element was quite mild and not overwhelming. It was a good, solid dish, again very refined.


Our Italian friend ordered the Parmentier de cochon Iberique braisé, sarriette (Braised Iberian savory pork pie). I’m not a big fan of “parmentier” which is akin to a sheppards pie, oftentimes it’s folded into the mashed potatoes, in this case it was all meat and then a layer of potatoes on top. I thought the pulled pork was a bit stringy, our friend thought it was OK, but I would definitely not order something that is typically made in a French home. It was not a complicated nor a sophisticated dish.

Cabillaud with a foam cream and variety of vegetables. The dish was flavorful, and my companion enjoyed that the dish was accompanied with various vegetables which is a rarity in most French restaurants, unless you’re ordering a salad as a plat, and contrary to popular belief, French fries don’t count.

I had the “Braisée traver de Porc” (braised pork ribs).  These spare ribs are nothing like the typical spare ribs you get in US. They were slowly braised in a rich wine sauce and the meat literally fell off the bone. I loved the dish because it was rich in flavor.  Surprisingly, it was served with a side of haricot vert, carrots, squash,some potatoes and mushrooms. That was quite a nice accompaniment.


Our Italian friend ordered “Craquant de 3 sorbets maison, colis de framboises” (3 crisp sorbets, raspberry parcels), this was basically a trio of sorbets that consisted of raspberry, mango, and lemon accompanied with some sugar crispy wafers. Our friend said it was quite refreshing after a heavy meal.

Originally my companion ordered the “Petit feuilleté chaud de pommes, crème glacée à la vanilla.” Our waiter got it confused, and brought out the “Assiette de fruits frais de saison simplement minute” (Assorted fresh seasonal fruit ). He was about to return it until he saw the plate of fruit and incredible variety, it was too appetizing to return.  He liked the fruit and thought it was very fresh. It also had a dollop of mango sorbet

I ordered “Assiette de fromage” (plate of cheese). I have to say, I had quite the variety of cheese. Normally, you get 2 or 3 types of cheese to sample, but this particular dish had 5-cheeses, a nice salad tossed in a mild creamy vinaigrette, accompanied with walnuts and dried apricot. Whoever their cheese vendor is, s/he is a keeper.

After desserts, when we thought all was said and done, much to our surprise and delight, they served us a plate of madeleines as well as little chocolate fudge.  At this point, I’m thinking I'm liking this restaurant a lot!

Click here for video of "Axuria"

Summary: Although it's namesake is Axuria (milk fed lamb), I think there was maybe one lamb dish on the menu. Regardless, this restaurant is a winner. Chef Olivier Amostoy is one of the best Chefs in Paris.  Our favorite dish was the amuse bouche soup.  The only dish we weren’t that excited about was the parmentier, but other than that, everything was a winner. I really don’t want to share this restaurant, since it’s a neighborhood restaurant that I want to start frequenting, but I’m all about sharing.  Auxria is a hidden gem, so go before it becomes too popular.

Total bill came to 137€ for 3-people


Délice de Shandong -- Restaurant Review

88, Boulevard de l'Hôpital
75013 Paris
Tél : 01-45-87-23-37
Hours: Le restaurant est ouvert tous les jours sauf mercredi. 
Les horaires d’ouverture sont de 12h00 à 15h00 à midi et de 18h30 à 23h00 le soir.

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; $$$$ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on plats--main course)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  4 - Star......................................................................................................................2 - Bell

Typically we go for Asian food for lunch with friends on the week-ends (comme d'habitude), and usually around Avenue de Choisy in the heart of the 13eme arrondissement, Chinatown.  Today for lunch we decided to do something different and head over to the other side of the 13eme, along the boulevard de l’Hôpital.  We selected “Délice de Shandong”.  Shandong, being a Northeast province of China, and is known for its vinegars, grains, peanuts, seafood, and they favor steamed breads vs rice as their starch of choice. 

We were 5-people. A couple from NYC, and one in particular very well versed on Western cuisine as well as Asian/Chinese cuisine, a “foodie” in other words.  Myself, JJ, and my best friend who is from San Diego, and although he does not claim to be a “foodie” he has a fairly good palate.

We ordered several dishes and they came at varying times as in most Chinese restaurants. So here’s what we ordered:

We ordered the “Soupe avec le goût pimenté et aigre” (Hot spicy sour soup). Great consistency, tasty, but we all agreed it was lacking something. So, we asked for some soy sauce and vinegar, keep in mind Shandongregion of China is well known for their vinegar. I just added vinegar to mine, since I found the salt balance just fine. What a difference it made. It tasted like what “hot and sour soup” is suppose to taste like.

Ravioli au porc et chou (potstickers). They were a little bit on the doughy side, and one companion was expecting it to be a little pan fried so the bottom would be crunchy and the top steam sort of like gyoza (Japanese version), but it was all steamed. Regardless, I thought they were good.

“Intestins de porc aromatisé” (flavored pork intestines). This was probably our favorite dish. It’s a spicy dish accompanied by sweet banana chilis, with a nice layer of hot chili oils. Pork intestines can have a funky odor and taste, but the Chef did a great job of ensuring they were cleaned properly We devoured this dish like no tomorrow. It isn’t for everyone, in fact, my best friend would not eat the intestines, but he did eat the banana peppers. And, it is a very spicy dish!

Porc fumé sautés pimenté (Spicy smoked pork sautéed).  This was our second most favorite dish. It was spicy, smoky, and was "chowed" with leeks and tofu, with the latter having the consistency of tempeh. The pork was pork belly, now how can you go wrong with that. 

We had one vegetarian dish. “Aubergines à la sauce piquante” (Eggplant with a spicy sauce).  Eggplant has a tendency to absorb a lot of oils, but there’s a difference between being greasy and oily, and this dish did have chili oils as a flavoring agent, which gave it a little heat, it was delicious. We loved it. I think there’s a trend here that we’re liking the really spicy dishes. 

Lastly, at the request of one of friends who doesn’t really eat spicy, we ordered two dishes: the “Poulet aux ciboulettes à la vapeur” (Steamed chicken with chives), and Boeuf sauté aux oignons (Beef sautéed with onions).

Poulet aux ciboulettes à la vapeur.  This was a very mild and delicate dish. Surprisingly, the chicken was very, very tender and moist; probably due to the steaming and the fact that they didn’t over steam it. The added chives gave it another delicate layer. We liked it, but were not wowed by it.

Boeuf sauté aux oignons.  Except for one person, this was the dish that we all unanimously agreed was “boring”. I don’t know how else to describe it except it was dull and not very imaginative. It’s something you could get at the Chinese “traiteur” in Paris.

It looks like this group really liked the spicy dishes. I’ve noticed in France that a lot of restaurants that would typically be “spicy” in their native countries "Frenchify" their food and tone it down. This restaurant stays true to its roots. The dishes that were suppose to be spicy, were.

All of us liked the food; however, my best friend preferred the Chinese food around the Ave de Choisy.

Summary:  This is the next best thing to be being in China, San Francisco, or NYC. Unfortunately, we had ordered so many dishes that we neglected some other dishes that are known for this region, such as the seafood, steamed breads and peanuts...  Oh well, there’s always another day. And, we’ll be sure to go back!

For 5-people including 2-beers, 2-sodas, and a big bottle of Badoit (sparkling water), our bill came to 18 euros each.


Webcast: Getting to Outcomes in Underage Drinking Prevention

On May 21, from 10-11:30 a.m., the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will host Getting to Outcomes in Underage Drinking Prevention, a live, interactive webcast.  The webcast will highlight communities that are using Town Hall Meetings to engage individuals and organization in achieving measurable outcomes through the use of evidence-based environmental prevention strategies.  A panel of national, State, and local activists will discuss approaches that are working to prevent and reduce underage alcohol use and its consequences and will respond to questions and comments from online participants.  The webcast supports SAMHSA's National Prevention Week and, specifically, Underage Drinking Prevention Day on May 21.  

Details on how to log in or pose questions to the panel will be posted on May 21. No registration is required.


Overview of youth substance abuse problem and possible solutions

A commentary published in the May 2012 edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health provides a good overview of the adolescent substance abuse problem.  Some things I learned from the article are:

  • Among adolescents who use addictive substances, 65% use more than one drug.  
  • Among adolescents who have ever used tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs, 19% meet the clinical criteria for having a substance use disorder as do 33% of current users.
  • Only 6% of high school students who have a substance use disorder receive formal treatment.  Fewer teens who need treatment receive it compared with other age groups.
"Moreover, addictive substances have a greater negative impact on the adolescent brain than the adult brain, increasing the risk of further use, adversely influencing the development of the regions of the brain associated with judgment, attention, memory and reward seeking, and increasing the risk of addiction."  

The article goes on to outline influences that drive adolescent substance abuse such as parents, the media, availability and individual challenges.  It closes by stating, "Despite a significant body of scientific evidence demonstrating these facts, this knowledge [about adolescent substance abuse] has not been translated broadly into public health and medical practice."  

This is where coalitions can begin to create change.  Since coalitions are composed of individuals representing different sectors of a community, information about adolescent substance abuse and how we can prevent it can be widely shared.  Coalition members can play a significant role in educating others in the community.  

Prevention part of the National Drug Control Strategy

I recently posted information from the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy.  The strategy highlights the importance of youth substance abuse prevention:

Drug use, including the abuse of prescription medications and underage drinking, significantly affects the health and well-being of the Nation's youth and young adults.  Substance use affects academic performance and military preparedness and is linked to crime, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities, lost productivity, and increase health care costs.  Stopping use before it begins can increase an individual's chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.  Put simply, drug prevention saves lives and cuts long-term costs.  Recent research has shown that each dollar invested in an evidence-based prevention program can reduce costs related to substance use disorders by an average of $18.  

The strategy goes on to describe the many community-level prevention activities that are supported by federal dollars.  Among them are Drug Free Communities (DFC) coalitions, such as Prevention WINS.  A national evaluation of the 718 DFC coalitions found that youth substance use declined significantly in communities with DFC grantees.

In NE Seattle, served by the Prevention WINS coalition, underage drinking rates declined significantly between 2006 -- when the coalition was formed -- and 2010.  During that time, the coalition's primary focus was the reduction of underage drinking rates that were higher than the state average.  Many community organizations and individuals came together and conducted a variety of prevention strategies and activities that supported healthy decision making among middle and high school students.

The chart below shows the 2006 and 2010 alcohol-related data for 10th grade students in NE Seattle -- Nathan Hale and Roosevelt High School combined -- according to the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.  


Semilla -- Restaurant Review

Unmarked restaurant, hopefully they'll get a sign soon

Address: 54 rue de Seine, 75006
Nearest transport: Mabillon (10)
Est ouvert tous les jours: du lundi au samedi: 12:30-14:30 déjeuner, 14:30-19h diner et brunch. Dimanche: brunch de 12h30 à 16h puis supper à partir de 19h "pièce du boucher"justqu'`a 22h
Reservations: recommended
Telephone: 01 43 54 34 50

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; $$$$ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on plats--main course)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  3.5 - Star.................................................. (Prix-fixe menu)...............................................2 - Bell

Typically every month we meet up with a good friend to explore or retry a new restaurants. So, on May 1,  we decided to try Semilla.  Semilla has only been open for a month, and is the new restaurant venture of Miami born Juan Sanchez and New Zealander Drew Harre.  I've been to their restaurant Fish La Boissonnerie and liked it immensely and was extremely excited to try this new restaurant close to their restaurant  Fish La Boissonnerie.

Interior of restaurant

The restaurant is not marked. We took a guess and figured that the unmarked restaurant had to be Semilla; fortunately, we were right.  It's a quite spacious restaurant. It almost felt like you were in a loft because of all the exposed piping and air-conditioning vent. I liked it, it had a lot of character.

Water dispensing machine

We were hoping to be able to eat earlier, so we met at noon.  We were the first one in the restaurant.  We asked if we could have a menu. The maitre'd said, "absolutely not, we would have to wait until 12:30" exactly, no less, no more. All part of the rigid french experience (but in fairness, the menus are printed each day and were only brought to the restaurant at 12:30).  So, while we waited they asked if we wanted water, flat or with gas. They had their own dispenser that makes sparkling water free of charge, so we opted for that, very green.

Chef's in the open kitchen

The Kitchen is quite open and exposed. I love that you can see them preparing the food and checking to see that they're not using pre-packaged food "a la Metro" (a sort of Costco of prepared foods for restaurants). Fortunately, we did not see any.

Chef's Luncheon

As we waited, we saw at least 10-young chefs preparing their lunch. In France, the Chefs prepare and eat their lunch before opening the restaurant to the public.  I was amazed how fast they ate, maybe 15-minutes tops.

Finally 12:30 pm arrived. We got our menu which was freshly printed on a sheet of paper. What struck me first and foremost was the price, 19 euros for the formule lunch which consisted of an entrée (the 1 and only 1 entrée contained 3 items, so no choice, an interesting concept), and a plat. Desserts were extra at 8 euros, so for all 3-courses 27 euros, with cheese there is a supplementary cost of 2 euros extra. Not bad.

Within 15-minutes the restaurant quickly started packing in. It was a holiday (May 1), but people were coming. And, what I found even more interesting, was the number of couples who brought babies in their strollers.

First course "L'assiette de trois entrees:" which consisted of a velouté champignons crème (mushroom soup), muffin chataîgne (chestnut muffin), and a "queue de veau vinaigrette" (veal tail). I liked the entrées in this order: (1) the soup was creamy, tasty and delicious, (2) the muffin was moist and light, you could tell it was made with a lot of egg whites to give it a nice soft texture as well as the moistness. One friend commented it was a bit on the salty side, but I loved it. And, (3) the veau, which we all commented that it tasted like tuna. It was like a deconstructed meat, egg-salad with a "citrusy" side.  So, with the first course we were off to a good start.

Then we got our plats: They had 3 choices offered, and so the 3 of us each chose a different one.  One got the Maigre, fondue de blette, champignon de Paris, buerre noisette. A fish. The presentation was very, very odd. It was literally covered in greens. If you didn't know any better, it looked like a green salad. Remember the commercial, "where's the beef?"my first question was, "where's the fish?. We finally found the fish, at the bottom of the forest. Despite the weird presentation, we all tasted this dish, and it was very moist and delicious.

Next we had the Involtini aubergines, chèvres frais, basilic. The only "lacto-vegetarian" dish on the menu. It was good. The eggplant had a nice taste and the chèvre wasn't overwhelming. I liked it, but my friend thought it was just average, saved only by the wilted basil it was resting on.

I had the Pintade, crème de cèleri, jus de rôti (guinea fowl). There were two pieces of fowl.  One  like a pale chicken breast, while the other looked like a guinea fowl leg that was definitely confit'd.  The breast was either steamed or sous vide. It was extremely moist, but absolutely tasteless. As for the confit'd leg, I was expecting that it would at least have a little more flavor, but it too was bland. I mixed some of the greens (Italian flat parsley and dill) and put a piece on each bite, it made a world of difference. It gave it some depth.   We all agreed, although this dish was cooked well, it lacked flavor.

Onto the desserts. Two of us had the Crèmeux guanaja, confit de kumquat, streuzel. At first I thought guanaja was some type of fruit, but turns out it's an island off Honduras that lends its name to a special blend of chocolate. This was very chocolaty and creamy with chocolate streuzel sprinkled on top, on a bed of a soft syrup-soaked cake with dashes of salt. I loved this dessert, I thought it was excellent, whereas one of us commented it was just OK.

The other dessert was the Soupe d'agrumes, glace Pamplemouse which was like a simple fresh fruit cocktail with only citrus (mostly grapefruit) which my citrus loving friend enjoyed.

We had an opportunity to speak to one of the owners Drew Harre. He told us parts of the menu changes daily, and the whole menu changes weekly. Admittedly, they're still tweaking the menu and he considers the restaurant a "work in progress." We had some friends that had gone the week prior and had the blanket de veau and said it was excellent. But unfortunately, they did not have it on the menu.

In summary, It's amazing that the restaurant has only been open for a month. They had some very strong dishes as well as some dishes that could use a little work.  While it's true they still have some tweaking, as Drew states, it's  a work in progress, I'm confident they'll come up with a winning formula "à tout de suite". I would definitely go back.

For the 3 of we paid 123€ with 2-glasses of sancere and a bottle of
Gueule de Loup.


Seattle Police collect 697 pounds of unwanted medications

Saturday was National Drug Take Back Day and people dropped off expired, unwanted or unused prescription medications at the five Seattle Police Department precincts.  According to Seattle Police, a total of 697.15 pounds of unwanted medications were dropped off.  Here is the precinct break-down:

-- North Precinct-176.50 pounds
-- West Precinct-170.70 pounds
-- South Precinct-43.55 pounds
-- East Precinct-67.95 pounds
-- Southwest Precinct-238.45 pounds

Since Washington State does not have a statewide medicine return program, it is often difficult for people to get rid of unused medications in an environmentally safe way.  With youth prescription drug abuse on the rise in Washington State, getting rid of unused medicines is one prevention tool for families.

Saturday's event was was another great success and there will be another one again in the fall.  In the meantime, learn more about establishing a permanent statewide medicine return program at the Take Back Your Meds website.

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