TIPS: To insure prompt service.
Wrap your hear around this: Most people in Seattle tip before tax. I on the other hand, tip after tax if the service was great, as I put myself thought school (culinary school) on said tips. In Seattle it's customary to tip 18- 20%!!!!. For parties over six, the gratuity is added to the bill.
To make matters worse, there is a blog that calls out people who tip poorly - very poor taste!!!!
While in France I left a couple of Euros wherever I went. Maybe it was karma, but I had pretty good service everywhere I ate. :-)
We're having the same conversations in Seattle, where we too are looking at a possible $15 minimum wage. If a restaurant wants to compensate the kitchen staff - which in my opinion SHOULD be paid well over a state's minimum wage, shouldn't they raise the menu prices, not add a surcharge to the bill?
It looked like 4 or 5 small biscuits shaped together like a donut, sliced and filled with a dulce de leche type filling. Very sweet.
Well, I also tried the duck confit "hotdog" and a fab mushroom bisque off of the specials board. There was a large piece of foie at the bottom of the bowl. Delish!!!
So great meeting you!!! It was a highlight. :-)
What a nice shot.... I'm glad you received the tweezers for the meat, I did say something to the waitstaff so perhaps they made a change.
What was in my mussel shell was definitely not gnocchi - that would have been fantastic. I had to dig the contents out. I also didn't have much of a sauce. If you have more photos of your meal please post them. I only took one of the 2002 chablis we enjoyed.
What did you think if the dessert?? It was so sweet we couldn't eat it, but they were so excited to serve it to us.
The Muscovy duck is the Canlis "it" dish although it's served for two. They also have a fantastic tasting menu. Something to think about!
I think Rockcreek fits the bill if your looking for fantastic seafood, but it's very causal and quite busy. Westward is #2 on my list.
With all of the lovely help I received, I really wanted to share my experience. It was a perfect trip!!!
Frank Enee: That crispy rabbit was so good, and paired with the fantastic squid starter and peach soufflé to finish, it was my perfect first night in Paris.
Chez L'Ami Jean: SO fun!!! It was hands down was my favorite experience in Paris. The food was great and I got a kiss from the chef. What more can you ask for?
Jeanne B rue Lepic: The company was wonderful but the food didn't wow me. I wouldn't recommend it.
Cafe Constant: I waited in line to get in here, and it was my least favorite meal of the trip. Who pairs squid with gruyere? No words. There are far better choices in Paris without a reservation.
Chez Jenny: I had to have my choucroute, and that's really all you should eat here - with the exception of the oysters. It was good, but mine is better. Now that I've had my fix I need not go back.
A. Noste: I'll write a little more as I know this is a notable hot spot. I had drinks downstairs then headed upstairs for dinner. Upstairs was empty, only one other table at 9pm. The food was hit and miss.
With a view into the kitchen upstairs a few things were very obvious. The chef needs to put down the tweezers. In placing everything so preciously on the plate, the plates came out lukewarm at best, with exception to the fantastic meat that was carved at the table. Well.. sort of. It's traditional brazilian "gaucho" style, but they ask you to pierce the meat with your fork, and they'll carve you a slice. Unless of course the server drops the knife. Yes, that happened. Awkward.
The meat (3 types) was fabalous. Really, really great. You can eat as much as you'd like, although after 4 or so previous courses you obviously won't have room.
The other courses were pretty, but not so memorable. A play on mussels and frites where the mussels were puréed with potato and deep fried to resemble frites were fantastic, but the same combination was then baked off in the mussel shell coming out quite gummy...
They are obviously working out the kinks and I feel very lucky to have had the experience. Give them a few months.
L'Avant Comptior: I met Yves Camdeborde so it started out well. It was so great it was the only place I went to twice. All this talk about Bordier Butter - I thought, it's just butter, right? Until I stood there and ate half a brick. OMG. Those little flakes of salt. Pure heaven.
It was standing room only in this tiny wine bar, but it was awesome!!! Butter, crusty bread, and cornichon on the counter - no plates, only paper napkins. Who cares when the tapas style food was so good. I tried the waffle with artichoke spread and jamon the first time, and craved it the remainder of the week so I had to go back. NOT TO MISS.
Closerie des Lilas: The perfect place for drinks in the 6th. I loved it here. The piano bar, the Hemingway associations, the atmosphere. Perfection.
Cafe de Flore : The food was alright, but the people watching was divine... I ate scrambled eggs and drank champagne with people staring me down for my table outside. Love!
I skipped my reservation at David Toutain and hit Atelier Maitre Albert for a rotisserie chicken fix. There was a tv crew from Korea filming, which was awkward as they stuck their camera in my face - "and look here, american tourists". The food was solid. Those mashed potatoes are fantastic!!!
Restaurant Christian Etienne: AMAZING. Every dish, the service, the wine, the atmosphere. My favorite in Avignon.
La Vieille Fontaine at Hotel d'Europe: The patio is beautiful and the service was great, but the food was not special. I may have been getting tired of all the pomp and circumstance at this point, but alas, I wasn't impressed.
L'Oustalet - I tried the grand menu with wine tastings and I was not disappointed. Every dish was superb. Try to book a room at the inn. I stayed in one of the three rooms and it was a fantastic experience.
Les Florets - Aperitif's on a beautiful terrace followed by a great dinner inside. It's elegant, but not fussy. Highly recommended.
It was a very memorable trip. :-) Thanks again to all of those who helped make this such a great experience. I can't wait to come back. xoxoxo
****I did purchase all of my foodie items. I packed bordier butter and comte from Laurent Dubois (along with 9 bottles of wine) in my suitcase, and gathered all my mustard and jam, but the standout was the mango passionfruit caramels at Jacques Genin. How can I get my hands on more of these????
I saw this... Looks interesting!!!! Waiting until I see a few more countries on their list before I sign up. :-)
Hi Steve- I'm most definitely hitting up Genin, and I'll bring home all the cheese I can, although I'm sure it will be eaten along the way.
Thanks so much for the great tips!!!!
Fantastic!!! I'll look you up.
Thanks for the lovely responses. I appreciate all of your feedback!!! Any thoughts on the revised list below??
1. Caramels from Jacques Genin - try 1 each of flavors and purchase fav's (mango passionfruit). Also, Henri Le Roux....for his "CBS" caramels.
2. Mustard made by monks sold at the Comptoir des Abbayes
3. M Pouret white vinegar and banyuls vinegar of Le Guinelle available at Le Dernier Goutte in the 6th and the small provisions store at the covered marche at Place Aligre. I swear I've seen this brand in the US? Maybe lighten my load here...
4. The best "chunk of Comte" I can find at Laurence Dubois' Place Maubert in the 5me.stand in the Place Maubert, AND Maroilles as well as Marcel Petite 40 month at Ferme St. Hubert on Rue Rochechouart. - This will never make it home... I'll eat it on the train to Avignon.
5. Jam - 1 from Christine Ferber at La Grand Épicerie; 1 from the fab confiture shop on the lower part of the rue des Martyrs - same side of the street as as Arnaud Delmontel- (Parigi, do you know the name?); 1 from Restaurant Cristal de Sel on the rue Mademoiselle in the 15th - the "fait maison" line of jams, AND Christian Constant apricot - Rue Fleurus in the 6th ( try the strawberry sorbet if they have it)
6. Fleur de sel de Guérande and grey sel from G Detou
7. Foie gras and great duck and ham products - Oteiza on Blvd St Michel near Blvd St. Germain.
8. Pates a tartiner from Monoprix (confiture du Lait, a sort of a milk jam, that is smooth and slightly caramelized. Under their label Reflets de France).
9. Pierre Hermé Pates de Fruits - get the box that has the teal colored cover because that is the assorted variety.
10. Ble Sucre for Madelaines
11. Macarons - try them all
Apparently I'll need to bring an additional bag for all this, as I have not even made it to Avignon and surrounding areas for wine and whatever else I fancy. I think I'm in big trouble! :-) Need to regroup.
Backup Restaurant List:
L'Assiette -cassoulet, pork belly, verveine souffle and creme caramel.
I'm in Paris for 1 week and Avignon for 1. I've cut back so I can find my own hidden treasures. Also doing a private tour with Wendy Lyn - I'm sure she'll share her fav's as well.
As always, I'm open to constructive criticism...
See you next week!!!
Yes, it's my first trip to Paris. I'll heed your advice and not over-plan. I just like to have all of my options out there. :-)
Quick question: I was reading your review of A. Noste and just went to the website. Did it close for the summer?
"Julien Duboué will be happy to welcome you soon reentry into his new restaurant". Maybe it was the english translation??
At any rate, Frenchie is off the list and I would love to reserve here.
Great tip! Merci.
Wow!!! This is great. I've read all about the guys from the experimental cocktail club.... It's right up my ally!!
Don't worry... this was a list of everything I had gathered. I want a few good reservations, and to also have a back up list if we're out and about.
Last week I was completely overwhelmed and stated out loud that I didn't even care what or where I ate. LOL
I can go with the flow, so a baguette, pate and some great cheese will make me happy.
I agree with being realistic. It's all about the experience. I came home from Spain last year with wine, spices and 10 pound of cheese, but not one memorable meal to speak of. I wanted to put a little more work into this years trip.
Thanks for the tip. I hear so much about this Speculoos, and quite frankly it sounds horrible. I'm have more room in my bag for mustard. lol
Consider it done. I have rented an apartment and we'll have plenty of butter on hand. I've heard that some people have attempted to pack it in dry ice to take home on the plane. It is that good??
Grace - I'm obsessed with Macarons. I'll didn't include any on this list as I plan to check out all of the hot spots, and often. Outside of Laduree, Pierre Hermé, Sadaharu Aoki, Fauchon and Grégory Renard, am I missing any???
Wow, this is really great advice. Thank you!!! I'll re-work my reservations and shorten up the list. I'll post my final for your review.
Yes, please keep me!!! I know I'll hate coming home...
I've spent the last couple of months on CH putting together a list of restaurants, made a few reservations, and compiled of list of goodies to bring home with me to Seattle. I would love your input and expertise on what I have so far.
* as a note, in a perfect world I would have reservations for every dinner or lunch in Paris, but it wouldn't fly with my travel companion. She's not a planner and would have a problem revolving her day around a specific time to eat.
With that being said, here's the list:
Things to buy in Paris:
1. Salted caramels from Jacques Genin
2. Speculaas cream
3. Mustard "on tap" from the Maille Boutique at 6 Place de la Madeleine
4. Hédiard's 3 peppers mustard and Herbes de Provence - around the corner from Maille.
5. Savora, a spiced mustard-based spread
6. A chunk of aged comté
7. Christine Ferber jam - the best selection is at La Grand Épicerie, however Da Rosa sells them as well, although they’re a few more euros per jar.
8. Champagne vinegar from Huilerie LeBlanc and from G Detou I get dried mushrooms like cepes and morels as well as fabulous almond paste.
9. Big bag of course grey sea salt and fleur de sel de Guérande
10. Gerard Mulot pastries
11. Dehillerin, whether it's a commercial grade saute or sauce pan, or something easier to carry, such as a specialty knife, whisk, chinois.
12. Bon Maman Madeleines
13. Pierre Hermé Pates de Fruits
Restaurant Reservations: I have 7 nights before leaving for Avignon - we won't eat out for all of them.
Thursday - David Toutain
Friday- Franck Enee
Saturday -Atelier de Joel Robuchon Saint-Germain
Sunday - Le Coq Rico
We're staying in the 6th. Here's my list of Cafe's:
Breizh Café - buckwheat crepes In Marias - stick with the classic complète with ham, cheese, and a sunny-side egg
Gerard Mulot - Wonderful pastries.
Breakfast in the 6th:
Eggs&Co, Un Dimanche à Paris, Ralph's (whose courtyard is paradise in summer), Colorova, Cafe Cassette, Le Bel Ami, etc. Bread & Roses
Drinks in the 6th: need a little help here
La Closerie des Lilas - the Hemingway bar
Restaurants I want to try but have not reserved. Major edit please!!
Chez Jenny for good choucroute
**Chez L'Ami Jean - haven't been able to get a hold of them to reserve.
Le Pont de Yunnan - Chinese
Cafe Les Deux Magots
Youpi et Voila
Le Verre Vole
Ze Kitchen Galerie - cuz John Talbot said so!
Traveling to Paris and Avignon for the first time next month... I've perused the boards but haven't found restaurants that specialize in these two items - not both at the same restaurant mind you.
Any suggestions? I know duck confit is common, so I'm looking for the best. It's hit and miss at most restaurants in the states. Choucroute I make at home in the fall and winter. I would love to try the real thing!
Thank you kindly.
fantastic!!! thank you.
Agreed!! Thanks so much sunshine!!!
Thanks!! I'll shoot you an email.
I like the bus idea... I'm up for a fun day trip, but I'm really wanting a winery with a tasting room vs a tasting room in town featuring many. I'll probably do both, but I'm all about the experience. I drink Tavel Rosé all summer long. Actually going there to taste would mean the world to me...
Yes, I was thinking a guide so I wouldn't be bothered by how much wine I had consumed. If you know of someone, do please let me know. Otherwise I'll strike out on my own...
I'm not keen on tours unless they unleash things I would't find on my own. Thanks so much for the advice!! Now I'm on to the best restaurants. So glad the discussion board is going strong!!
Thank you kindly for your response.
You make a very good case for the car. My thoughts were that it would be a pain to have a car in Avignon and there would be plenty to do... I may have thought wrong. I looked for a food or market tour, even a cooking class, but alas, nothing. Where is Wendy Lyn when you need her! :-) I need to do more research here.
We're picking up the car on the way out of Avignon.
I really appreciate the tips on the signage for wineries... I was told many don't accept visitors, but now I'll know what to look for.