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Need help with bistro selections

Can't speak to the other choices, but have been to Moissonnier recently and had a great time - oeufs en meurette (quali eggs!) and lievre a la royale. No room for dessert, but the apple tarte looked good at the next table. This is dense, full-throttle cooking - no "orgasms", but I could very happily have drowned in those sauces...

Feb 05, 2014
manouche in France

Helping in narrowing down the Paris list

Just one -
I hate to be negative - especially when it concerns my beloved neighborhood "cantine" of the last 5 years - but things are not as they once were at Cafe des Musees.

Too much success, way too many tourists who don't appreciate or understand the place (which really messes up the works), food and service have steadily slipped - and very noticeably so. Sincerest apologies received from the management, but a couple of comp'd drinks doesn't make up for the fact that things are out of control. If I wanted drinks, I would have gone to a bar.

It is a shame that this has happened, but I would give CDM a pass for awhile, until they decide how they are going to handle what has become a very unfortunate situation.

Feb 05, 2014
manouche in France

Food shopping for Christmas day on Rue Saint-Antoine?

Trotte's sign is still up, but it's a Laurent Dubois shop, now. The cheese is even better, though it's lost that old ambiance.

Dalloyau and Le Notre are near Bastille, and ususally have very "designer" buches. It's getting harder to find the traditional sponge roll versions. Mulot has individual serving sizes, if you want to try different flavors.

Nov 13, 2013
manouche in France

Help Needed--I need the name of a buttery and sugary rectangular cake that is served at Christmas

kouign amann, by any chance?

Oct 25, 2013
manouche in France

Birthday Chocolate Mousse and more

Well, I don't know where you can get oysters, champagne, cheese and chocolate mousse in one fell swoop...
but, in the Marais, you could have a very nice time indeed at Ambassade d'Auvergne, which has the best chocolate mousse in town, besides what comes out of my kitchen. There is good cheese here, and also very nice "digestifs", such as Vieille Prune, etc. Sit upstairs, which is much nicer.

Oct 19, 2013
manouche in France

Good, moderately priced Le Marais and beyond

Second the opinion for Cafe des Musees, and also the negative one for Chez Janou - whose quality has decreased as the "m'as-tu vu?" factor has increased (ie, rapidly and apparently irrevocably).
Ambassade d'Auvergne was good the other night, and is a reliable go-to spot.

Sep 23, 2013
manouche in France

A la Biche au Bois - near Opera Bastille, monday night

Le Bistrot du Dome is no more. It's gone Italian - "Something-de-Venise". Completely re-done, re-opened early this year. Have never been to either, but live nearby.

I would definitely book for La Biche - September is a busy month.

Aug 27, 2013
manouche in France

French-English Menu/Carte Translations

sunshine - loved the "sans arrete" story...

Ma Bourgogne lists the foie gras entree as "liverwurst" - but the price is definitely "gras"!

Aug 27, 2013
manouche in France

Vandermeersch- is it worth another try?

We made the trek to Vandermeersch last October, during the week - I forget which day, but by the time we arrived, it was early afternoon. By that time, only a few of each size kouglhoffs were left. We got a small one and a few different breads.

To answer your question: The kouglhoff was OK, but far from being the nec plus ultra we expected. It was just OK, the crumb was far too dry to be interesting.
The breads were better - but not worth a trip across town - and the very nice shopping bag is very handy.
Would we do it again? No.
Best kouglhoff in Paris: Pierre Herme, hands down.

Aug 27, 2013
manouche in France

Help- Restaurants in Paris- end of August

Had lunch at Cafe des Musees yesterday - they will be closed the first 3 weeks in August.

Jul 24, 2013
manouche in France

Pradier

Stumbled on the new Pradier boutique, on ave FDR near Champs-Elysees. Was voted Best Religeuse au chocolat - with good reason! Dark chocolate, with a good touch of salt...I am spoiled for life. Good thing they're about 1/3 the size you find everywhere else.

Jul 21, 2013
manouche in France

Marais recommendations (with kids)

The Bastille market has a good crepe stand - both sweet crepes and savory buckwheat galettes. The paella guy is pretty decent, for street food...not crazy about the other ethnic offerings here, though. Note: the hours John posted are "correct", however, the market really starts to wind down around 13h30, so it's best to go before then.

Le Moulin de Rosa, corner rue de Turenne and rue du Foin, has very good butter croissants - better than Mulot's - as well as good breads and other deliciousness...

May 25, 2013
manouche in France

Poilâne bread

dlc- agree with "sliced is death", but you must admit that even dead Poilane from either brother is far superior to the bread many non-Parisians can find at home, non?

May 20, 2013
manouche in France

Moissonnier in the 5th? Rendezvous aux Camionneurs in the 4th...

Thanks for the really great news!

May 19, 2013
manouche in France

Poilâne bread

Many Monoprix stores sell sliced Poilane bread. You might also find it in G7 groceries. Unsliced loaves are available in Poilane shops. Just so you know, there are two "versions", made by two brothers: Poilane and Max Poilane. I can't find any real difference between the two.

May 19, 2013
manouche in France

Moissonnier in the 5th? Rendezvous aux Camionneurs in the 4th...

Wondering if anyone has been to Moissonnier lately, and what's the current state of affairs? We both remember liking it very much indeed, when we ate here about 20-some-odd years ago...Hoping for a decent meal, elbow-to-elbow with other appreciative diners.

Walking around playing tourist the other day, and stumbled on RDVC on Quai des Orfevres. Tiny little place, turning out high-class dishes with very good service. A perfectly cooked slab of Bar, fresh spinach with pine nuts, grapefruit beurre blanc; Noix de Saint Jacques baked in the shell with just a touch of cumin cream, under a very clever pastry cap; dense, dark, deconstructed tarte au chocolat with orange marmalade and Grand Marnier ice cream; a pichet of the house red; a couple of digestives - Vieille Prune and Bas Armagnac - then two coffees, because it was still raining - and the total for 2 very happy people was 125EU. I might just stop cooking on Sundays and go here, instead...

May 17, 2013
manouche in France

August ................... urgh!!!

lafourchette is going to be getting interesting, according to today's paper...seems the site will now require that the restauranteurs give a discount of between 30 to 50%, instead of the usual 20% - with no possibility of down-sizing portions! I would venture a guess that many places may choose to opt out of this reservation system...stay tuned!

May 12, 2013
manouche in France

Solo Female Diner- need help!

ChefJune,
I would certainly not stand for a table that didn't suit me, whether alone or otherwise - am completely with you on that. However, it has happened recently in Paris, in two instances to solo diners we know. The woman speaks OK French, the man none at all; one was at a well-known wine bar, the other was at a touristy bistro. Each person was pointed to a table in a corner - though not behind the kitchen - and promptly left for dead. It can happen.

Another reason to reserve 2 for 1 is if one is making an on-line reservation. Many times, entering 2 will get you a table, whereas 1 will come up "nothing available".

May 11, 2013
manouche in France

Solo Female Diner- need help!

Philou is terrific for a solo diner - the space is small, and you won't feel alone or ignored.
Cafe des Musees is also a great choice, for the reasons listed above - plus, if you are seated in "le coin des voisins" up front, you get to watch all the action in the tiny kitchen.
Goes without saying: reserve, reserve, reserve.

A good tip for solo diners, who might fear being seated in some forgotten left-over corner of a restaurant, is to reserve for 2 people. When you arrive, simply explain that your companion couldn't make it, and dine happily and well.
No harm done to the resto, since the table is the same size, especially if you order a sufficient amount to eat and drink.

May 10, 2013
manouche in France

Sunday Brunch (Mother's Day)

What about Elizabeth's, in Bywater? Don't know if they are doing a Mother's Day brunch, but the normal breakfasts there are extravagant and wonderfully tasty. Never have room for desserts, though the Red Velvet Cake always looked good. We love this little place - so does everybody else - so go early.

Apr 09, 2013
manouche in New Orleans

Trying new restaurants this visit. Am I making a mistake???

Hey topeater - if you are still looking, you might have a look at Boucherie on Jeanette St, just off Carrollton Ave. We got sidelined there and never made it to Freret St!
Mussels with Collard Greens in cider vinegar/duck reduction, Shrimp with grit Cake in some sort of unholy - but in a good way - light tasso gravy, Duck Confit with hyper-crisp skin. Cafe au Lait ice cream was very good, but they had run out of the chocolate-Thai chili pie...thank goodness.
Just way too much good food in this town!

Apr 09, 2013
manouche in New Orleans

Trying new restaurants this visit. Am I making a mistake???

We were at La Petite Grocery last Wednesday for lunch. Here's what we had - mostly a bunch of appetizers, since we're light eaters - and liked a lot:
cream of celeriac and shrimp soup, marinated anchovies, mixed greens salad, celeriac and apple salad, beet and crayfish salad (the only "meh" dish of the bunch), roasted cauliflower with fried capers, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, baked oysters in cornmeal. Decent bread, and a good but price-y wine list.

I can see why some might not find this exciting, but if you are into quality vegetables - they grow much of their own produce - and trying to avoid that good New Orleans gravy, this is a great restaurant. For dessert, we split a cornmeal cake, which was delicate and not too sweet. And also the cayenne ice cream, with dark chocolate sauce and praline'd peanuts - this was sublime!

Sylvain is pretty good, but I just can't deal with the bar atmosphere when I'm trying to eat, so have not really enjoyed this place.

Have been hearing good things about Wayfare, and are planning to try it this weekend during Freret St Festival.

Apr 05, 2013
manouche in New Orleans

How far in advance can I reserve?

Yesterday would have been good... Really, the sooner the better, and bon appetit!

Nov 15, 2012
manouche in France

Noteworthy boulangerie in 3rd or 4th?

A strong Plus 1 for RDT's croissants and baguettes, plus it's across the street from Genin, if you crave viennoiseries etc.

Closer to rue Francs-Bourgeois, Le Moulin de Rosa on rue de Turenne has a dependable croissant and pain raisin.

Nov 10, 2012
manouche in France

confit de canard fait maison

I guess it's akin to hanging a pheasant until the feathers drop off...controlled putrescence. Good point about the dangerous bacteria - all the more reason to find a trusted supplier or certified home-ec expert.

Nov 05, 2012
manouche in France

confit de canard fait maison

Not a scientific test, by any means, but I will say that my homemade confit does taste much better after about 6 months of aging - and is really best at the 1-year mark, if any is left. The meat is softer, almost unctuous. Similar transformations occur in a pate that has been aged for 1 year. Since the meat is preserved and should remain inert, this shouldn't make any sense, but it seems to be true. Perhaps things are different in commercially-prepared products, though there are aged canned sardines that purportedly taste incredible...

I use non-fattened free range ducks nowadays, but have used wild ducks in the past. I liked the game-y flavor of the wild ducks, but the meat was never as tender as I would have liked.

Nov 05, 2012
manouche in France

confit de canard fait maison

Thanks to all who replied - many good thoughts on a hot topic, and points well-taken.

I think a couple of important issues remain:

What really constitutes "fait maison"? The TV show demonstrated that merely heating and decorating a dish with chives was legally fait maison. It will be interesting to follow the progress of the proposed law seeking to identify dishes actually concocted on the premises. I doubt seriously that this could ever be enforced.

Nothing at all against a good, mass-produced product - the issue is that the consumer is being misled, whether it's confit or cassoulet, and is often fed a poor-quality product. If one pays 12 EU for confit in a tourist trap, versus 28 EU in a "real" restaurant - both of them claiming fait maison - that's a big price to pay for some (hopefully) crispy duck skin. Those of us with experience may be able to discern the difference in the better wholesale product, but I would be willing to bet that the average customer is just expecting to dig into a homemade dish. Again, it may not be bad, but it is deceptive. "Fait maison" should mean just that - confit or any other preserves included.

The same goes for bakery products. Those with experience know that almost all dough products are bought wholesale, and "artisanal" = "assembled". There are very few bakers in Paris able and willing to make bread and pastries from scratch, especially on the premises. But the average consumer still thinks that there is some guy in the basement at 3 AM, up to his eyebrows in yeast and flour, not merely shaping and baking off product. Again, it may not be bad, but it is deceptive.

The big names, who roll out countless macarons and other delights headed for sale in one of their boutiques, are guilty of mass-production as well. Due to their status, it is assumed that many dedicated little paws are carefully at work in a corner somewhere - but a factory is a factory. Come to think of it, though, I don't believe that I have seen any advertising for PH stating that his products are "artisanal" - they are merely products of his supposed genius.

Bottom line: given space, time and economic constraints, it is perfectly understandable to expect to pay for mass-produced food in restaurants in Paris. Some of it can be quite good, some of it much less so. Much has to do with the final preparation, and what the restaurant can afford in terms of professional kitchen staff dictates the final outcome. However, customers have the right to make an informed decision, and "fait maison" is false advertising in the vast majority of cases.

Nov 02, 2012
manouche in France

confit de canard fait maison

OK - probably will get some heat for this, but here goes...

We watched a French Investigative Report-type program the other night, the subject of which was the downfall of restaurant cuisine in Paris. According to this report, 7 out of 10 restaurants in Paris rely heavily - if not exclusively - on mass-produced canned or frozen products. This included - but was not limited to - souris d'agneau and confit de canard, as well as fondant au chocolat and tarte Tatin. The focus was on touristy restaurants, but no one was above suspicion. Tabloid reporting at its finest, but I must admit it planted seeds of doubt.

I make my own confit de canard every year for the holidays, so never order it in a restaurant. But there are others who must be fed, and who are now worried about eating canned confit. Can anyone say for certain that the confit de canard at Chez Dumonet is the real deal? And no, don't want to hear that the waiter swears it's fait maison...

Anyone have any other recommendations for restaurants irrefutably making their own confit? This has become the Holy Grail around here, so would appreciate any input.

Nov 01, 2012
manouche in France

Need help with markets & restaurants close to Place des Vosges

Butcher - Becquerel on rue St Antoine, near Metro St Paul
Cheeses - Beillevaire or the little shop with 2 grumpy guys, both on rue St Antoine
Bakers - G. Mulot, corner rue de Tournelles and rue du Pas de la Mule
Bastille Market - Thurs and Sun AM

Closer than that, you cannot get...

Nov 01, 2012
manouche in France

Foodie visiting Paris in the fall... Grateful for input!

Chez Janou is good for atmosphere, circa the films of Marcel Pagnol. Food is nothing to write home about, unfortunately. Just came from a very enjoyable dinner at Philou, in the 11th, just off the Canal St Martin - 30 euros, 3 courses including a glass of wine...awfully nice. Also took some "picky eaters" to LRSH last week, which met with great success. Bon appetit!

Jul 19, 2011
manouche in France