Jake Dear's Profile

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Resto Simone, 13eme -- a small neighborhood place, just right for lunch and distinctive wines by the glass

"Did his shop have the Savignin Les Vignes de Mon Pere"? DCM refers to a special and I assume rare bottling by Ganevat, aged an amazing 11 years (topped up, in a humid cellar -- and so not under the voile as are many Jura savignins and all vin jaunes).

Answer: No, he did not have it among his seven different bottlings of Ganevat. But it's available a pleasant 25-minute walk away, at Caves du Pantheon, where the equally friendly proprietor told us about this wine when we came in our search for vin jaune. More on this when I update my thread about our vin jaune search. -- Jake

about 1 hour ago
Jake Dear in France

Resto Simone, 13eme -- a small neighborhood place, just right for lunch and distinctive wines by the glass

Salut Dr. John, Thanks for the link, but I'm glad that my research was sloppy and I didn't uncover your review -- I might have thought twice. Yet the prospect of an associated cave and interesting wines by the glass would have pulled me anyway -- and I'd also have thought that one visit 20 months ago is not enough to dissuade me, based on what else I'd read in the meantime. The warm & fuzzy good feelings we got from the place was a bonus, and as we all know, impossible to quantify, much less to replicate, even for those of us who plan to return. -- Jake

about 2 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Resto Simone, 13eme -- a small neighborhood place, just right for lunch and distinctive wines by the glass

We were looking for a secluded neighborhood place away from the central arrondissements, with a focus on distinctive wines, and where we could get a light lunch. Simone was on our radar because of a brief reference by Ptipois, but it had no mention here, and when we researched, we found only one review in English on TA (along with a number in French, mostly quite positive). From that promising start and this post (http://www.legastronomeparisien.fr/pa...) we learned that there’s a connected wine shop specializing in natural wines, especially Loire. This was all sounding pretty good . . . .

It ended up being not quite as light as we planned because we could not resist ordering the reasonable menus (20 euros for two dishes, 23 euros for 3, with three choices in each category) -- and then they went and gave us extras . . . .

For entrees we started with, for my wife, fresh pea soup with “crème” (so light it was almost a foam) of asperge; and for me, diced tartare de veau with apples and dark specks of some kind of a savory herb. These were accompanied by two distinctive whites by the glass from the Ardeche and southern Rhone. After we expressed appreciation and mentioned to the quiet and yet friendly proprietor that we especially enjoyed Jura wines and were on a quest for vin jaune, he smiled and brought us an extra glass -- a lovely and dramatic orange creature from the Loire.

Plats were roasted chicken with olives, pureed celery, and beautifully curled mushrooms (not exactly light but so good); and for me, a dish of sautéed beef slices (the blackboard read “Boeuf fin Gras” I believe?) with rather Asian spices, radishes and broccoli -- nice, but the least memorable of the four savories. With these we had two distinctive glasses of rouge -- a nicely funky Loire, and the other a bold southern Rhone.

Dessert was a fine crème brulee (“avec deux cuillères”) and then two coffees. The young chef, who we’d enjoyed watching in the open kitchen with his two assistants, apparently thought we looked hungry still, so he brought us a chocolate-hazelnut torte that was not on the carte. Paying our bill at the back desk, we had a nice chat with the proprietor, who eventually gave his name as Alain Muzzi (he’s Italian) and a hand-written list of producers for us to visit in the Jura. He suggested we walk outside and meet him around the corner at his small cave. There we admired some of his natural and biodynamic wines -- including he pointed out, a pinot from Oregon. He has seven different Jura wines from Domaine Ganevat, which bottles 20 different wines each year -- “one in every price range,” Alain said with another smile. But I had purchased my allotment, and was worried about fitting all those bottles of vin jaune into our bags, and so I had to pass, tant pis.

Was this top of the line cooking? No, and we did not expect it to be -- but we found it to be high quality, fresh, honest, friendly, and served with distinctive wines by the glass -- just what we were looking for. And so we’ll happily return for lunch and a visit to the cave -- and perhaps even for dinner.

Notes: It’s best to reserve, even for lunch. We walked in at 12:10 sans reservation last Tuesday. The room was full by 13:00, and even most of the six small outside tables were eventually taken. There are two evening services, like so many other new small hip places where we dined last week. For days and hours: http://www.simoneparis.com/

I’ll attach a few pictures, including of the room (with its open kitchen -- the chef is to the far left, clearing tables after most customers have headed back to work) and proprietor Alain Muzzi, after lunch in his cave. -- Jake

about 5 hours ago
Jake Dear in France
1

The secret - and the best thing - at Le BAT

Follow up: We were there for lunch a week ago, with excellent company, and it was all as Parigi describes, including the pictured tempura -- we ordered two for the four of us. We will some day return for dinner. -- Jake

1 day ago
Jake Dear in France

Prosper et Fortunée

Mackerel was indeed everywhere last week, including at the markets. Our best version by far was at Jardin des Plumes (Giverny), where it was raw, marinated, and very fresh in both smell and taste.

2 days ago
Jake Dear in France

Prosper et Fortunée

Maybe this will suffice for a report back. The opening salad dish was lovely, well sourced, and very beautiful. See picture. The next dish, mackerel, was good, not nearly great (and because we'd had mackerel 3 times in 30 hours, we had two other better examples for comparison). The raw beef was well sourced and good. The wines -- just two choices, blanc ou rouge -- were ok, but nothing special, and the red was a bit browning and tired.

We were prepared to like and feel an affinity for this place -- but the chef does indeed impart a lot of his rather controlling personality on the experience. That could and might work sometimes, but in our case at least, at this time and place, this was not a conducive match.

By contrast, a few days later we had a delightful lunch and dandy distinctive & natural wines with a truly kind and attentive proprietor and his chef just a few minutes walk away at Chez Simone, 13eme -- and I'll try to post about that soon. -- Jake

2 days ago
Jake Dear in France

La Table d'Eugene

And this in the case here. There was literally no room to add anyone else. (And my wife does not take up much room to begin with.) We figure they lost at lesst 400+ euros on these no-shows.

Apr 20, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Cassoulet in Paris

If it was 24, it has gone up. €29 on the carte last night. The tables on both sides of us got it, and it looked very good – came out bubbling and steaming. -- Jake

Apr 20, 2015
Jake Dear in France

La Table d'Eugene

And here are a few pics, showing portions and menu formula details:

Apr 19, 2015
Jake Dear in France

La Table d'Eugene

The dining was truly excellent. Madame, who took our reservation and subsequent confirmation by phone, was a bit frosty at first, but then warmed. We started out with two different kir aperitifs and a bottle of Chateldon. The male waiter/som was personable and helpful from the beginning, and his wine pairings were superb.

Dinner is an optional number of plates tasting menu (4, 7 or 10) with no choices, altho we were asked about allergy conflicts. We took four, and had:

First, two amuses, served simultaneously: tempura artichokes and savory macrons; and razor clams (we are seeing them in many outdoor markets) with horseradish cream and petit pois amuse.

First course: One huge green asparagus with fish roe and tapioca and a great vinaigrette.

Second course: Saint Pierre, with perfectly crisped skin, and a side smear of raspberry sauce. Perfectly seasoned.

Third, rolled rabbit with Indian spices -- a special kind of ground pepper, and something like a Garam masala, and yellow curry. Again, perfectly seasoned.

Then desserts: A pre-dessert of, can you believe it, fresh morels and bananas and parsley; then the "real" dessert of spongecake with various yellow fruits and sorbets, all served to the far side of the plate; finally, a post- dessert, a great big shining dark chocolate ball on which he poured lighter chocolate that produced a wicked-witch-of-the-west dissolving act, revealing the chocolate inside the ball. Notes:

1. Lunch is a different formula, with choices for each course, and less costy.

2. No-shows: When we entered, there were 2 four tops that were set for three. So already, they are missing out on two of their 24 seats. By 10 o'clock, it was pretty clear to us that one of the reservations, a table for three at a four top, was not going to show up. We asked about this later as we were paying the bill. The waiter said that the would-be customers had confirmed, and then called to say they would be late, and then of course we saw they never showed. He said they had turned away around 50 other requests. We told him that one of those 50 was a friend of ours, who had tried to add herself to our reservation, but was not allowed to do so. -- Jake

Apr 19, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Jardin des Plumes, Giverny -- tranquility after the crowds in Monet's Gardens

Yes, later in the fall does sound very promising.

PS: And now for the rest of the transportation story. We (or at least I) love trains, and would normally opt for a train over a car from Paris for an excursion like this. But in this case, our inclination was all the more so, because we were replicating a train trip that Monet himself had taken numerous times.

We actually had planned to take a taxi from the Vernon train station to Giverny. We were on the first train of the morning, and on the top deck, looking forward, no less. All was smooth and going according to plan. And then, at the stop before Vernon, our train had difficulties, we were delayed 50 minutes while everyone was a loaded onto a substitute train. By the time we arrived 50 minutes late at Vernon, the taxis that normally would have been waiting were all gone. And so we got on the bus with everyone else.

It was still a lovely day, and we would put up with it again just to take the train from and back to St. Lazare. We suspect Monet probably suffered a few similar delays as well. -- Jake

Apr 17, 2015
Jake Dear in France
1

Jardin des Plumes, Giverny -- tranquility after the crowds in Monet's Gardens

And now a few pics:

Jardin des Plumes, Giverny -- tranquility after the crowds in Monet's Gardens

We took the train from Saint Lazare to Vernon, transferring with at least 60 other tourists to buses for Giverny. The gardens were even more impressive than we anticipated, but the crowds -- waves of tour groups unloaded from yet more coaches -- were a bit oppressive. Then we walked a few minutes, past the Museum of Impressionism, to Hotel Restaurant Jardin des Plumes, which felt a world away.

We sat in its private park on a terrace with glasses of champagne, accompaniments, and ordered lunch. We were tempted by the carte, but the menu offerings (two choices for entree and plat) sounded very good as well, and they were so reasonable (32 euro for 2, 45 euro for 3, etc) we went for them. We asked our waitress, should we order wine now? She said, oh no, we will consult the som -- and we sure did....

Inside, where the room was only one quarter full, we were initially shown to a table that would have left one of us facing a blank corner wall. We asked, could we sit over here instead (a lovely round table set up with views over the entire room)? Of course -- and from then on, everything was perfect.

But it was really the young som, who later told us his name, Francesco, who set the tone for the entire afternoon. He helped us settle on a distinctive and apparently rare (approximately one hectare) biodynamic chenin from Loire. On tasting we expressed genuine delight, and we were immediately rewarded by wine talk to accompany the amuse -- house smoked salmon with celery root/horseradish purée. (Also by this time on the table there was dark crusty bread with bright yellow Normandy salted butter.) I mentioned our budding interest in wines from the Jura, and that we were on a quest in Paris to find vin jaune. You have no wines from the Jura on your list, I asked? At that point, he explained that 40 percent of his inventory is not listed. He keeps them off in order to provide wines to people who especially share his enthusiasm.

Our entrées were asparagus soup with greens (with extra soup and a small container to pour); mackerel with pinenuts, radishes, and greens (later I'll try to add photos of the carte for the proper descriptions). Both were excellent.

A few minutes after the entrées arrived,
the som returned with four more glasses -- two generous extra pours for each of us. Try these as well, he said with a slight smile. They were very typical from each region -- a Burgundy and an Alsatian -- and his eyebrows raised slightly when I got them both. (I think I will sign up for the diploma program next week!)

The plats: breast of chicken with garden vegetables; and polenta crusted eel. Again, superb. The chicken was the best breast we have ever tasted -- astonishingly succulent and moist, cooked just to the point of done. And later we learned how it was done.

But first, I mentioned to our waiter, we had a problem. Because of the generosity of the som, we had too much good white wine left over. Obviously, we had to order a shared cheese plate before our scheduled dessert. Out came the small trolley, and onto our plate we selected three regional cheeses and a rather delicate bleu from the Jura.

Dessert, chosen from the carte, was a take on a regional specialty -- apples, apple sorbet, and calvados -- followed by coffee and of course more treats. Talking with the head waitress/ room manager at the table after all of this, we expressed our genuine gratitude, and at that point she called out chef Eric Guerin, who happened to be here this day (this is his second restaurant) so we could give our thanks personally, for his entire team's work, with extra special thanks to som Francesco. And we asked him about the chicken. It had been poached for about eight minutes in olive oil.

The tab: 194,50 (one bottled water included). Under the circumstances, this was an incredible deal.

We had just enough woozy energy and time to stop off at the Musee des Impressionnisms and enjoy the current Degas exhibit. We wobbled to the transfer buses, and slept on the train back to Paris.

We are already making plans for a return trip -- Chef Guerin suggested that September and October were better for crowd avoidance at the other gardens -- and we may stay overnight at his upstairs hotel. -- Jake

Bouillon -- en face de La Ferme Saint Hubert

We were headed to La Ferme Saint Hubert to smell (what a sensation walking into that shop) and buy cheese, and decided to first have lunch across the street at this new bistro, opened only four months ago. (Thanks to Ptipois for bringing it to our attention.) We walked in at 12:30 without reservation -- and I would not recommend that because almost everyone else who came after had reserved.

We enjoyed two salads -- greens and various vegetables (baby turnips and Brussels sprouts, carrots and beets of various colors, fennel, all warmed and tossed nicely in a warmed vibrant lemony vinaigrette); and asparagus in a Parmesan cream sauce, with excellent thick and chunky lardons. Our plats were mine -- "du jour" -- chicken braised in red wine with root vegetables; and the ubiquitous cod atop perfectly cooked and seasoned chick peas. All was top notch. See the four pictures attached. With a carafe of Chablis, bottled water, and two coffees, the total was 99 euros.

It was all quite lovely, as was the elegantly simple and bright room, with a somewhat Scandinavian feel -- light blue-green accents and whitewashed oak floors and table tops. Friendly service by two women. This is a place we'd happily return to for dinner.

When we visited Hubert after lunch to stock up on individually vacuum packed chunks, we commented on what a fine experience it was across the street, and Madame proudly said,"of course they serve our cheese"! -- Jake

Apr 15, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Porte 12 ,Paris

Here are some notes about our dinner last night: First, the location is what was formerly Café Panique, which closed in the summer of 2014. We liked that place, but found it a bit cold. Perhaps a bit of that same feeling carries over.

The structure of the interior remains the same, including the upstairs, which seems to be unused, making the dramatic spiral staircase in the middle of the room rather odd, a stair to nowhere.

Dinner is a €65 6-plate tasting menu, preceded by two amuses that you pick up with your hands. The last two plates of the evening were desserts, both on the rather savory side, which we like. Each one of the four savory plates was rather small, and at the time, we thought, sparce.

The four savory courses included one with tiny bits of smoked eel, an octopus dish with a single ravioli that was two mushy bites, the cod referred to earlier, cooked at 46 (or was it 47°?) for 20 minutes, with some surrounding puffs of savory things and the custardy mousse. The cod itself was truly excellent, we both thought. A black Angus beef course -- the off-cut (brisket?) was very marbled. It was fine and very delicate, not intensely flavored, and if you closed your eyes you might not think it was beef. There were two tiny rectangular fried gnocchi on the side, along with other smears and puffs of things. The two desserts were standouts -- the first was angel hair apples with a tiny dollop of ice cream. The second was the pudding of beets and chocolate, and we liked it.

We selected the wine pairing, €45, with each course. The wines were all truly excellent. We began with Bandol, then moving north, Saint Joseph, then Saint Romain, all blancs. Next a St. Joseph rouge (lovely pepper). A distinctive sparkling pear cider from Normandy accompanied the apple dish, and was the wine pairing of the evening, among the other very strong pairings. A port-style wine from Languedoc took us back south for the end of the virtual journey around the country.

Service by three male waiters, all of whom tolerated our poor French but also communicated with us mostly in English, was very pleasant, and with the two younger ones, quite friendly.

The five chefs, standing literally shoulder to shoulder in the tiny smoke-glassed kitchen, looked on over the course of the evening. Until 21:30, when the small place finally became full, some of them appeared rather pensive and tentative -- or bored. On the other hand, it must be difficult being on public display in a large hot phone booth during your work. Although we appreciated their calmness, we also ended up wondering how much joy is going on in, or coming out of, this kitchen.

Overall, it was an interesting albeit a bit precious experience, with the excellent wines standing out. After I showed her a draft of this post, my wife commented: "there were too many things on the soft side -- it was like we were dining for dentures." And, she said, "the saucing emphasized drama of appearance over flavor." At the price, we left thinking that it was unlikely we would return soon. Still, we would certainly not dissuade others willing to pay the fee to decide for yourselves, as we did, after reading the posts above. -- Jake

Apr 14, 2015
Jake Dear in France
2

Vin jaune in Paris?

;-) indeed! But there is a fine line between "oxidative" and "oxidized," as Ptipois once explained to me . . . .

Here I suppose I'm just generally concened about possible heat when buying from a vendor who has to repeatedly cart around wares in a truck -- in contrast to a wine vendor who has a proper shop, and hopefully (?) proper storage conditions for that stock. For this reason, I've always been wary about buying at outdoor markets anything other than common young and inexpensive wines for immediate consumption. . . .

Apr 10, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Thanks DCM, they go on the list. Re the Bastille market guy, center aisle, I've seen him before, but not when searching for vin jaune. Now that makes me wonder, tho, about storage. How can a traveling vendor like that store wine properly? On the other hand, is vin jaune such a tough product, often raised for its 6+ years evolution in rather extreme conditions, that it can take some storage abuse? -- Jake

Apr 09, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

CORRECTION (too late to edit): I was quite wrong, my Tissot Arbois vin jaune 2007 is *500 ml,* not 620 -- and on top of that, now that I've gone and looked at my bottle, I suspect it's also a different and probably lesser version of Tissot's vin jaune (mine also says "En Spois" on the label) -- and so the comparison is not what I said or thought it was. Based on this, apologies to Auge, and the rice seems more appropriate after all. OK, confession over. We will visit Auge after all . . . . -- Jake

Apr 04, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Hi RCC, Thanks, I appreciate that, and indeed they have a few on offer. But it's interesting -- their listed "Arbois vin jaune 2007, Tissot 0,62 L 2007 62,40 €" costs, if anything, a bit more than what I paid for the exact wine at K&L in San Francisco last month ($65). That, and looking at some other wines on their list that I'm familiar with, suggests that the prices at fancy places like Caves Auge are rather high. I suppose I'm looking for simpler shops that have lower overhead and carry producers I can't get in SF . . . . -- Jake

Apr 04, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Salut mangeur, thanks very much for this and for these links -- I will investigate. -- Jake

Apr 03, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Salut all, we'd appreciate any recommendations for wine shops that specialize in, or have a good selection of, vin jaune. A secondary interest would be a wine bar with good selections by the glass. Thanks -- Jake

Apr 02, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Restos in/near 6th?

Regarding les Climats, you can make reservations there in English at thefork.com. (La fourchette.com for the French version of the website.) -- Jake

Mar 16, 2015
Jake Dear in France

A 100% Organic Michelin Star Restaurant in Monaco

Ummm, are the colors in those photos even natural? They seem boosted and in some tension with the "organic" advertising. -- Jake

The secret - and the best thing - at Le BAT

Parigi, thanks, you have reminded us to put this back on our list -- for lunch or dinner. -- Jake

Feb 21, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Pick up and shipping charges

On reflection, I think my hesitation comes from elsewhere. $15, and/or relatively high shipping costs compared with others, and the no-discount policies, in and of themselves, are not dealbreakers on wines of this uniqueness and expense. But to me, the transaction, and indeed the cellar(seller)-customer relationship,especially with a winery like this, which presents itself as quite different from others and very much in touch with its vineyards and surroundings, ultimately needs to "feel right," as well. And I'm realizing, as I'm writing this, that's part of the issue; these policies impair the romantic connnection that can sometimes arise. And maybe that can't be fixed. Ahh well, if so there other places and wines to experience.

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Pick up and shipping charges

Indeed, wally knows. Nor does this winery need a tasting room storefront. It sells out regularly and very quickly, with a waiting list to even be able to buy. Which is all part of why it can add fees, charge as it does, and offer no club or volume discounts. It's in a very strong seller's position -- for now, at least. Damn good wines, tho.

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Pick up and shipping charges

Re the pick-up fee: "It could have something to do with on-site vs off-site handling of all their inventory/shipping (ie-a cost attached to an exception from the norm)."

Yes, I think this is partly behind this. And we can understand that pick-ups cause some extra work beyond the norm. And to some extent, they are to be commended for at least continuing to allow pick ups, when others don't even provide that opiton.

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Pick up and shipping charges

"Expecting refrigerated wine transport is not reasonable." I get that, and was not at all expecting that -- I was just trying to understand/figure out if they were somehow providing a benefit that others don't, and would help explain why this winery's shipping charge is (apparently?) so much more than others (even Drew's -- which is the highest of our small sample).

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Pick up and shipping charges

The wines are available only by direct purchase for the winery, and at very selected restaurants on both coasts -- not in any retail stores. (And at K & L only by auction or when someone sells their allotment.) The wines, all cold climate vineyards, are indeed superb. But like I said, the new policies do leave a sour taste ....

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Pick up and shipping charges

We have for years ordered directly from a number of nearby (within 100 miles of our delivery address) Northern California wineries. Shipping charges -- when we don't pick up at the winery -- have typically ranged from a high of about $14-16 per half case (Drew), to perhaps $20 per case (when we used to buy from Dehlinger) to maybe about $12 per case (e.g., Calera) to, recently, 1 cent per case (Navarro, Husch, Handley, all from which we order whites only) -- and Rhys is no charge at all. All of the prior wineries (Rhys excepted) also offer volume or "club" discounts on the wines themselves.

For one highly regarded Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist in Sebastopol (45 minute drive from us), we have picked up directly from the winery, and tasted while we were there. This place offers no club or volume discount. And now it is charging $15 for the privilege of picking up at the winery. They explain, and we understand, that pick ups cause a bit extra work. I asked, what would be the cost to ship our allocated six bottles? Answer: About $29 (and it would be about $38 to LA). I asked, for this, do we at least get refrigerated transport? But I got no response to that; apparenty the answer is no, and the charge simply reflects costs -- they explained that they contract the entire process of shipping, and related paperwork and materials, to an outside entity, and just pass on these costs.

We do like this winery, and how they go about their craft. We have managed to put up with the creeping prices, but this new pick up charge, on top of the already premium costs per bottle (with no discounts) and coupled with the shipping charges that are so much higher than others (with no added service, such as refrigeration) leaves a sour taste.

What do others think of the $15 pick up charge, and the shipping costs? (As I write this, I thin -- this is indeed a First World problem. But so are many others on this site!) -- Jake

Feb 20, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine