Jake Dear's Profile

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Fontainebleau

We agree that Moret-sur-Loing is indeed worth a detour, as is Barbizon, where we dined pretty well a few years ago. We also found the town of Fountainbleau itself can be rather confining rather quickly. The Château, however, is fascinating, and its over-the-top opulence helped us understand why there was a revolution.

about 7 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Foodie Honeymoon Trip. A couple post-research queries, s'il vous plait.

I just rechecked, and they are on the fork indeed.

And as Parn has mentioned to you, re Le Galopin "on the very atmospheric place Sainte Martha" -- here is pic proof of the lovely place and atmosphere after diner, also from last month. (You have to click on it to get the full effect of the panorama, assuming this site even supports panorama, we will see if it works.) As between Roseval and Galopin, both were lovely but for us it was Roseval by a glass -- because of the wine degust service by the glass. (Same format: small plates, no choice, two services.)

PS, if you're arriving at Le Galopin by Metro, and unless you want to be depressed by walking past scores, maybe even hundreds, of sad Asian prostitutes and a few menacing pimps, avoid the Belleville stop, and take one of the other approaches. -- Jake

(PPS, Well, the panorama shot does not show on my smartphone, but when you click and open it on a computer it does show about 70 percent of the panorama, and you will get the idea. I suppose CH has decided that panorama is unnecessary for food shots, and I suppose I must agree!)

about 10 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Is Au Bon Saint Pourcain closed?

PS, As we happily heard from Pti on another thread, it is open again, and her review makes us want to go. But I'm having trouble finding new info about its open and closing days -- in particular, is it open on Mondays? -- Jake

about 12 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Foodie Honeymoon Trip. A couple post-research queries, s'il vous plait.

We were at Roseval last month. It was among my two favorite of our eight dinners -- and my wife would say the same. The no choice small plates menu was excellent, the wines by the glass for each course were superb, the engaging som was delightful. I believe we reserved through their website, and they may be on the fork.com as well. Note, there are two services in this small place; one begins at 7:30, the other at 10. We had the two-top by the windows in the back, with a great view of the hopping the bar scene right across the street. Bonne chance! -- Jake

about 12 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Hi DCM, I'm not saying that the Berthet-Bondet, or any we've had so far, has been sweet -- indeed none has been at all. Each has been savory and bracingly acidic, but with just so many other things going on -- hints of this and that . . . .

Yes, the Bezigon by Garnier was another special experience. I take it you have found some near your Paris place. I hear that they travel well in checked luggage . . . .

about 14 hours ago
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

For anyone reading this who has never experienced vin jaune (we did not until a few months ago) and is wondering, "what is all the fuss"? These are unlike any other wines we know; they are distinctive in the extreme, and indeed, many folks may find them bizarre. A few weeks ago, at a mothers day dinner, we shared some with our parents, and at first got some upturned and quizzical looks. Fortunately we had some comté and toasted walnuts on hand, and they all decided it was good with that.

More recently, a few days ago we opened the Berthet-Bondet Château Chalon mentioned above. How many wines could be described like this?:

Deep Golden. Bright and bracingly acidic notes of old spicy fruitcake. Maybe even an extremely savory touch of marzipan, but without the almond taste, if you can imagine that. Dusty & salty. Rich. Roasted and very slightly candied walnuts and old bruised, almost fermenting apples. Long, long long finish, bringing on an involuntary smile 30 seconds after swallowing.

These savory (they are not at all sweet) fellows are simply quite amazing. This bottle has been open 4 days, and we will nurse it for a few more. The back label says it will be best after 10 years and last 50; I believe both but it's lovely now.

Thanks again in to DCM for bringing this one to our attention. -- Jake

about 17 hours ago
Jake Dear in France
2

Thank you, thank you for Chez Denise rec's!

"Our friends were so adamant about their bad experience."

We are often wary of reports of bad service experience -- even when, and sometimes especially when, reports come from friends. Not saying that your friends in this case fall into this category, and I assume they do not, but some folks enter with highly sensitive radar looking for perceived rudeness, and lo and behold, they manage to find it -- especially if they themselves neglect to undertake the expected cultural pleasantries, etc. Much of the experience depends on how the personal interaction evolves, and sometimes it is possible to turn around what starts out as a problematic situation. -- Jake

Searching for the best baba au rhum in Paris

Pti, this definitely goes back on our list, thanks very much! -- Jake

May 20, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Searching for the best baba au rhum in Paris

Salut Ptipois, we are glad to hear its reopened. What has changed, and what has not? -- Jake

May 20, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Table d'Aki

Indeed, and I was reminded to post this about our visit here after I saw and wrote something about Pages, 16eme, on another recent thread. Altho both are French cuisine by Japanese chefs, and both are in their own ways elegant, no choice, and rather expensive, we indeed had a "wonderfully cossetted feeling" on leaving Table d'Aki -- and not so much the other. But it's so personal, isn't it?

May 19, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Beaune trip report!

I want to be onzieme's assistant when I grow up.

May 19, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Table d'Aki

Thanks for this recommendation, we enjoyed it very much last month at dinner. It was as described. We were mid-week, and there were only 6 of us in the lovely small room, tho -- and that's a bit concerning. -- Jake

May 17, 2015
Jake Dear in France

One night, one dinner, one big deal.

"Pages is French food too.... Pages is a good place (though extremely expensive)" -- We agree on the first and closing points.

Here are some very quick impressions from last month: It's a beautiful and elegant room. We had a perfect round corner table for three, and a most excellent dining companion. The place is rather serious. Some of the amuses and early courses and desserts were meh or pretentious or both (as was the dark small blob perched on a dark rounded river rock) or just did not work. The turbot was fantastic. The "extra beef" supplement, €30 per person, made for an interesting course of three small cuts of beef instead of just two, but at that price, I guess we expected more fireworks than what we experienced.

And I remember an odd discussion with the young som in a nice suit: when I asked him about wine pairings for the various surprise courses to come (there are no choices -- not at all a problem, and indeed a plus for us) he said he did not offer wine pairings, because "nobody can enjoy the experience of wines after tasting three or four different ones" during the course of one dinner. I think he needs to work on a better response to that. -- Jake

May 17, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Thank you for letting me stalk your board.

And I am thinking: Thanks for the report back, and if you continue to post, it could be "your" board, too. You are not the first to lurk before posting, I can say from experience. -- Jake

May 16, 2015
Jake Dear in France
1

Yet another Trip Report. (Le Cinq, Neige D'ete, Le Deserteurs, others...)

This thread and this rec reminds me to put Neige d'Eté back on our list, thanks. -- Jake

May 16, 2015
Jake Dear in France
1

Yet another Trip Report. (Le Cinq, Neige D'ete, Le Deserteurs, others...)

Nice post. Re "L’as du Falafel .... I don't get the hype though.... Not worth a queue" -- when we walked by just after noon four Sundays ago, there were literally about 50+ people in line. Amazing! We went right across the street to "mi-va-mi" (our target in the first place), got seats in the almost empty main room, and within 20 minutes it (and an adjacent one) was filled and overflowing, many tables with local families. We had a dandy little lunch -- splitting a nice fresh assiette crudites and a chawarma pita grill, with three excellent sauces from the squirt containers at the table, topped off by a 50 cl Israeli rosé, and all quite lovely. -- Jake

Paris trip report!

Quite true. My number one general complaint about wines is absence of adequate acidity. To our taste, wines lacking proper acidity can be too flabby, and often are not very enjoyable with food -- at least to our evolving tastes. Maybe this is why we are loving wines from the Jura (where certain whites have absolutely bracing and phenomenally distinctive acidity) and also from burgundy, red and white.

Separate problem: My number two complaint about wines is, reds are often served too warm, and whites are usually served too cold. This happens even, although less often, in France.

PS, very nice report. -- Jake

Le Petit Verdot

Salut Dr John, yes, I recall that thread about your lunch, and almost posted this there. I've tried to convey that for us, this place does not reduce to numbers, however high or relatively low. If others don't see it so, that is fine. In any event, as you have acknowledged, you're a vampire – and lunch experience can be different from dinner at many places.

May 10, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Le Petit Verdot

Three weeks ago we returned for dinner to Le Petit Verdot, rue du Cherche-Midi – to “our” small fourtop next to the tiny zinc bar. We’re a bit reluctant to write again about it, and we don't necessarily expect others to have the same reaction or sympa experience, because these things can be quite personal. But again it was just what we wanted.

There is some complexity to the dishes, but you do not get the impression of trying too hard or being too cute, or precious. It is a place that exudes a quiet confidence in its plates and in itself, and does not try or want to be hip or edgy. The very small downstairs room (we've never dined upstairs) is dark and cozy, just a bit worn, and appears quite mysterious from outside during off hours (more about that later). Part of our feel for the place is attributable to Hide -- the gracious, sometimes gregarious, and ultimately generous host who gives a quick Japanese bow, displaying a twinkle in the eyes and exuding an aura of devilment (more about that later as well).

As on prior visits, the downstairs room -- there are at most 14 chairs -- was a mix of locals (one, we think we've seen there before, alone and with four books, including Pludo), and a table or two of Japanese-speaking diners who always seem to order well, talk quietly, and have a good time.

The amuse was a small piece of good beef, not exactly inspiring. But from there it picked up. As usual at dinner, it's a la carte -- no formula -- and so you pay quite high prices with no discount, but as a conciliation of sorts there are a few more choices than in other similar small kitchens.

Our two entrées, from the five offered on the blackboard, were: Cubed carpaccio of merlu with crab and avocado (great texture); white asparagus with greens and raw wild smoked salmon (more interesting than it sounds). All perfectly seasoned.

The two plats, from choices of two fish or four meats on the blackboard, were the stars: Ris de veau, presented as a pan fried tube, along with fresh morels in a light cream sauce; and boned pigeon with foie gras rolled in a cabbage leaf -- a dish we recalled from visits almost two years ago.

Shared dessert, from five choices on the separate blackboard, was the compote of pear with riz au lait and caramel ice cream.

The two savory courses were accompanied by a nice 2006 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (for some reason -- maybe the name is operating subliminally -- we revert to Bordeaux in this place). And as usual, with l'addition came glasses of golden Gros Manseng Molleux from the Gers.

Of our eight Paris dinners in April (Porte 12, Table d'Aki, L'Assiette, Roseval, Galopin, Table d'Eugene, Pages), this was my wife's favorite -- and for me it was in the top two in overall enjoyment. It certainly remains our favorite Japanese-chef French dining in the last eight months (including last September at H. Kitchen, Le Kigawa, and Moustsche).

Speaking with Hide out on the sidewalk after dinner, we kidded him about the look of his place from the street, and pointed out that nothing is posted. I asked, aren't you required to show your prices? He laughed and avoided the question, but said that from his perspective it's not needed -- he does not expect walk-ins: "If they are coming here they know what to expect." He acknowledged that others have been confused when walking by during non-serving hours -- you can't be sure what the storefront might be, or indeed whether it’s an ongoing or defunct establishment. He pointed out that his "Le Petit Verdot" sign does not say "restaurant" (maybe the storefront is a small cave specializing in the obscure Bordeaux blending grape?); he has no handle or even a pull on his door; and ambiguity is enhanced because it's a bit difficult to figure out which of the three wood and glass panels is the door. He gave his devilish smile and bowed as we said our bon soirs, and that we will be back.

PS, for reservations, on our first visit we made arrangements directly with him by email; most recently, he's on La Fourchette/ The Fork.com, but using that, which we did this last time, in typical Hide style, you don't get an immediate confirmation -- instead you get an automated response notice saying that the "request" will be submitted and you will hear later if it can be honored, which it was a few days later. -- Jake

May 10, 2015
Jake Dear in France
2

Vin Jaune?

DCM, At least I didn't spell it out explicitly! Bonne chance. PS, I just checked via cellartracker, and I do see it available in the US, albeit substantially higher priced than at the place I found it there. -- Jake

Apr 29, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Moissonnier? or Chez Dumonet? Or....?

"[T]he authenticity, honesty, and 'soul' that I feel at Moissonnier." That's better than the way I said it, but I meant the same. -- Jake

Apr 29, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Moissonnier? or Chez Dumonet? Or....?

I've been sorry not to go back to Moissonnier -- we are last there two years ago. Personally, I'd be inclined to return there before Dumonet because it's less invaded by the likes of us tourists, I liked the simple 1950s feel of the room, and I liked the more subdued feel of the place and the friendly patron. I recall it as being far less expensive, and the food was as good -- or at least almost as. It would be nice to get an updated report about this nice old place. -- Jake

Apr 29, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin Jaune?

Hi wattacetti, thanks. A month ago I'd not have known much of Ganevat but as it happens, you are in good company -- on my recent quest for vin jaune bottles, I was repeatedly advised by three different cavists to buy his products, and indeed I bought two of them. (I received other similar good advice from others here on the CH France forum and then wrote about our search on the France forum last week.)

By the way, in addition to Ganevat's 2005 vj, I also brought home one of his topped up 11-year aged in barrel savignins -- "les vignes de mon Pére" 2004. We have tried and enjoyed all of the Juras offered by K&L (no Ganevat there, but a few other good producers) -- we seem to have contracted a minor Jura infection. Very distinctive stuff. -- Jake

Apr 29, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine

Vin Jaune?

I'll revive this thread to mention, for those who might be interested, the recent book by Wink Lorch, "Jura Wine" (with an appropriately yellow cover), from which I've learned a lot about vin jaune, Chateau-Chalon, and other related distinctive wines from this area. -- Jake

Apr 28, 2015
Jake Dear in Wine
1

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

Hi Parnassien, In addition to the French press & blogs that you note, here's a recent Anglo review (again something I didn't see before our visit) that's more in line with our reaction to this "sympa" place: http://notdrinkingpoison.blogspot.fr/... And note, there's been a new chef as of last August. -- Jake

Apr 27, 2015
Jake Dear in France
1

Looking for Paris for recs for 2 dinners capped at 100€/person and 1 less expensive dinner

We were there two weeks ago. In addition to the two of us, there were only two other tables for two taken on that quiet Wednesday night. What a serene and distinctively lighted little room. We would probably -- but not certainly -- return. All fish menu, except for a beef stock sauce accompanying the turbot dish. A delicate langoustine and fresh morels dish stood out. With appero, a fine bottle of wine, water, and one cafe, we slightly exceeded your cost target, but I think you could order very comfortably there at your per person goal. -- Jake

Apr 27, 2015
Jake Dear in France

Vin jaune in Paris?

Update: Thanks again for all the helpful advice. You are all partly responsible for the numerous squat 62cl clavelins that I pulled out of our checked bags a few days ago.

Thanks to mangeur, we went first to Caves du Tolbiac, way out in the 13eme, where we enjoyed chatting (eventually mostly in English) with the very friendly proprietor, Christophe Vidal. When it turned out that two of our three selections (an Arbois, a Cotes du Jura, and a Chateau Chalon) were not on the public floor, he went over to his ancient hand-powered iron elevator, and used the rope to take himself down to and then back up from his cellar to fetch our bottles. He was clearly not used to having customers ask to make a detax purchase, and on reflection I’m concerned that he may not have filled out the VAT forms properly (I think he may have given us back too much, which I assume will mean that he may have to make up the difference), and so we’ll have check with him about that by email or when we return.

Next we visited some shops on Vaneau that I’d identified from mangeur’s link, but eventually we found both of the same wines for the same prices a few minutes away at the rather charmless wine cellar of ABM/ Grande Epicerie, where we decided to get them in order to take advantage of the VAT refund (of course I has forced to take multiples again in order to get up to the VAT refund trigger). Yes, Ptipois, here we acquired some Chateau d’Arlay.

Next we bought at Caves Auge, which, from the look of things, truly must be “dupuis 1850.” Thanks RCC -- what a place. The Jura bins “section” is to the left behind the old iron elevator to the cellar (this one electric). A store clerk had to stand on boxes and contort his body, reaching back there and selecting partly by feel -- the word cramped does not describe the situation. We got another Arbois and a Chateau Chalon. I was surprised about how literally hot this lovely and jammed old shop was on this April day. I hope their more delicate wines are in the cellar.

On Sunday we nixed our plans to take a train to Provins, but that allowed us to take up DCM’s suggestion of returning to the Bastille market. Indeed the wine folks in the center aisle did have Berthet-Bondet, a Chateau Chalon 07 -- just one bottle. After my fretting about their storage conditions, I have less concern now. These folks, “Le Cellier des Marches,” have their own “boutique” at 24 rue Mouton Duvernet, 14eme (a three minute walk from restos Le Kigawa and L’Assiette), and as the brochure they gave us shows, they sell at both Bastille on Sunday, and Saxe-Breteuil on Saturday. (They also have a shop in 92320 Chatillon -- see www.cellierdesmarches.com .)

After assessing our baggage situation, I figured we had space and weight for two more bottles (we did have lots of St Hubert cheese and various confitures to pack as well, after all), and so we went, as again suggested by DCM, to Cave du Pantheon, where we met yet another friendly proprietor who smiled widely when we told him of our quest, but unfortunately got bad tax news from the postman during our visit. Dommage. Still that did not stop him from suggesting another Chateau Chalon to us, as well as a final wine -- not vin jaune, but maybe even more distinctive, and for which he had to go down to his cellar stairs to fetch: Domaine Ganevat’s “Les Vignes de mon Pere,” a topped-up savignan aged 11 years.

Thanks to all of you who contributed to this part of our quest, and also to Johannabanana (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9066...) who brought to our attention Wink Lorch’s 2014 book, “Jura Wine” -- it’s almost out of print already, act fast if you want it. We will raise a glass of vin jaune to all of you in the future when we being uncorking these fellows in a few years. In the meantime, we will be making a petit pilgrimage in the fall, staying in Arbois, and I’ll report back about that as well of course. -- Jake

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

Apr 26, 2015
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

Apr 26, 2015
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

Apr 26, 2015
Jake Dear in France
2