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La Dame de Pic

i had lunch at La Dame de Pic on Oct 18th. I have never been to her place in Valence so i cannot compare. had the 49 euro prix fixe menu. total bill for 2 menus, 2 coupe champagne and 2 coffees was 144 euro.

orange, café, cardamome verte
gnocchis aux épices douces,
grenobloise fève tonka
au thé Matcha

Its not easy to reach them (and they apologetically tell you they know it). a friend booked by email and it took 2 wks to get a response. i called a dozed times and reached someone between lunch and dinner hours.

they set down 2 butters: 1 laced with anise which was hard to stop smearing on the mulitgrain toast points. the other had macha and was dark green and pretty much just tasted like butter. which isn't bad just probably not worth the effort on their part.

starter: pumpkin veloute. there was a layer of pumpkin puree with a lovely balance of all the spices they promised: orange, cafe and most predominately cardamom. hidden underneath the orange layer was a white creamy layer. it was more like a custard than a soup. very rich. very good and the amount of work that went into it was extraordinary. but didn't knock my socks off.

main: my socks were knocked off by the main course. what a bizarre combination of ingredients. but it really worked for me. it was stunningly delicious. squid and gnocci and capers and something called feve tonka . i don't even like capers but the balance of flavors and textures was memorable.

dessert arrived in the form of one of those models of the galaxy. an inch high disc of pistachio & matcha flavored cake (consistency like a financier) whose green color was deliberately and beautifully gradiated. topped with a dome (the size of a large egg yolk)-and the color of frosted purple nail polish with a round flat disc of clear spun sugar. the purple frosted dome-thing turned out to be a cleverly designed gelatin-skin for THE most amazing blueberry sauce/syrup. which became the perfect foil for the cake which although it was cooked to perfection, i'm just not a fan of pistachio, but the cake texture with the blueberry sauce was divine.

along with the dessert they delivered madeline and a nutty sandwich cookie with gushy chocolate in the middle. the madeleine was laced with lemon and freshly baked but otherwise ordinary. the cookie, however was amazing. i'm trying to get up the guts to ask for the recipe.

atmosphere: modern, serious, comfortable, well-lighted, semi-open kitchen. its not a place i would bring a large rowdy group.
the knives are engraved with her name. i'm no reviewer but i'd guess that she's angling for a michelin star.
its one of these places with too many paid workers. practically a 1 paid staff to 3 patron ratio. they were very nice and professional.

i found odd was that in addition to their daily 49 euro menu (which is an incredible value) they offered some other menus based upon scents. Yes, scents. We were given 3 samples--just like those little cardboard perfume samples. and very descriptive menus inspired by the scents.
Iode/Fleur (which just smelled like every single spa product you've ever used). Vanille/Ambre smelled like it sounds: spicy vanilla and Sousbois/Epice--like it sounds. The pride and attention with which they prepared my meal i'm sure is extended to those pricier scent-inspired menus. But, frankly with the small print menus, the samples and 3 of them to read through--its too much work. A lovely idea, but i really wonder how much success they will have with it. If i ruled the restaurant they would only offer one choice of these scent-inspired menus.

i'd love to go back. but i'll wait until i've got the money to splurge and when getting a reservation is easier.

Nov 11, 2012
parispicnics in France

First lunch in Paris - outdoor seating & decent food near Madeleine/Louvre?

oh goodness mangeur, i hope you aren't saying 'sorry' on my account! it was a place that has been on my list for quite some time, so i was happy to tick it off (i still haven't: sipped champagne on the terrace at Hotel Raphael or eaten oysters off a car hood at Le Baron Rouge for that matter). I just randomly came across your reference and thought i'd add my experience.
and, the fact that the place is crowded proves that plenty of people like it.
bref, no need for an apology.
p.s. your husband does sound kind

May 26, 2012
parispicnics in France

First lunch in Paris - outdoor seating & decent food near Madeleine/Louvre?

fyi mangeur,
on a lark i went to this resto/cafeteria (Foyer de la Madeleine) a couple of weeks ago.
its quirky all right. and crowded.
the scene is fellniesque with the volunteer church ladies waiting on regulars as well as looky-loos like me. you can sit at a commmunal table or at a two-top.the 'regulars' are clearly nearby office dwellers, retirees and parisioners.
you are offered a 'membership' for 12 euros which entitles you to roughly 50% off the food. 'sure' i said and took my shiny new 'member card' and sat down. i was brought a platter with representatives of the entrees to choose from (grated carrots with some sort of dressing splashed on it, a mass of lentils that had been exposed to the air for too long, and i can't even remember the 3rd.) then i was presented with another platter of entrees to choose from.
i could not finish my lunch
it was awful. industrial food. think u.s. public school cafeteria. maybe i went on a bad day but i don't think so.
at least its cheap. and the people are friendly.
if you are anthro-socio minded, like me, its fun for people-watching.
but i won't go back unless i'm with a bunch of backpacking hostelers who have no palate. and even then i'll just plead that i'm not hungry and order a coffee.
i don't know what i'll do with my membership card ;-)

May 26, 2012
parispicnics in France

Loire Valley Blois chef-owned restaurant

dear moderators,
per Parigi's comment on my post (which is on the France board) i would like to edit the spelling of the restaurant i reviewed.
and while i'm at it i noticed a few more typos.
if you could please replace my post with the following I think it will be overall more helpful to all hounds.

Loire Valley Blois chef-owned restaurant


If you are cruising the chateaus in the Loire, or stopping over on a long drive (like us) definitely include this place. It is across the river from the Chateau (which is in plain view).
The atmosphere is modern, sleek, plain--no personality. If you are looking for old world atsmosphere this is NOT the best choice. If you want a fabulous, memorable meal (and the kitchen is operating as it was last week) you cannot do better. Excellent value at 70.10 euro for 2 adult meals/1 childs meal including dessert, coffee and wine (bless the provinces!! an equivalent quality of food & atmosphere would cost well over 200 euro in Paris
We three (me, husband and 9 year old) were driving from Paris to Medoc and simply looking for a decent lunch stopover. This was oh-so-much-more. Everything that was served was prepared with attention and pride. Not a surprise for a chef owned resto, but still you just never know.

husband chose plat/dessert 24.50
plat: filet de bar poele sur le peau, brandade de cabillaud liee a la bearnaise avec artichauts poivradres, sauce vierge (tres fine. well prepared. he loved it)

dessert: kouign aman w/ compote d'ananas et mangue, sorbet passion (i tried to warn DH that kouign amman has too much oil to go well with sorbet--but would he listen??? it just didn't work. everything on its own was fine--it was the combo that failed. the sorbet was great tho)

Me: chose 2 entrees instead of a main 8.50 each (plus 4 euro extra for the scallops):
entree #1: comparison des 3 foie gras de canard prepare: au naturel, aux pistaches et noix et au vin rouge. (these were 3 generous slices. all delicious but the vin rouge was excellent, it tasted like gingerbread. i never wanted it to end. in fact it was so good i woud say that just 1 slice of that was worth the price of the entire meal.)
entree #2: saint jacques poeles traite de balsamique et brunoise de mangue (so much care was taken to bath them in balsamique and cook them to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. i don't know how the chef manages to get these round creatures cooked so evenly but it was a feat)
the scallops were served with celeri et pomme remoulade (i don't like remoulades period, but i did taste it and can say is that it was certainly fresh and probably 'correct')

dessert: decaf coffee (exceptional which isn't easy to find for decaf--they aint using nespresso machines) accompanied by a little raspberry muffin that could not have been out of the oven for more than 2 hours--sublime)

daughter=kids menu 8.50 euro
cheeseburger ("yucky sauce but the meat is good, mama")
pommes frites (great)
dessert: tarte chaude aux pommes (incredible. first class and its not even on the adult menu--which is incomprehensible to me. the amount of work that went into sculpting, carmelizing etc. served on a sable crust with vanilla ice cream on the side)

wine: 1/2 carafe of Coeur Chardonnay (okay for the price point, too sweet for me, reminded me of blue nun)

#1 order the foie gras du vin rouge
#2 bring a kid under age 12 just so that you can have the tarte aux pommes (or ask if they will serve it to you anyway)
#3 order a different wine then we did
#4 don't try to find the same value/price in paris--you'll get depressed

May 26, 2012
parispicnics in France

Chez L'Ami Jean

i only lunched there once and i did not get jostled. i prefer the evening ambience....

May 14, 2012
parispicnics in France

Chez L'Ami Jean

i try to be respectful of all religions but i dunno what would you call an offering of sliced sauccison served on a wooden palate? Rustic is the word I use often to describle CLJ. Granted I probably haven't had great examplles of truly rustic french cuisine. But i haven't come up with a better description. Although i usually throw in "crazy basque combinations" and "you've got to order the riz au lait with sauce caramel beurre sale". I love the place and its crowded, llively ambience at night. But my husband hates it for the same reasons. As he puts it "when you get bumped into 6 times by the same two waiters and neither apologizes--i've had enough".. You can see who is the more easygoing of this pair..... CLG is more tame at lunch.

May 14, 2012
parispicnics in France

Les Ambassadeurs or Le Grand Vefour for 30th anniversary in Paris?

Le Grand Vefour is smaller and more intimate than Les Ambassadeurs. I don't know if they have a prix fixe for dinner but the prix fixe lunch at Grand Vefour is a great value. Both restos serve traditional fare. I would choose based on atmosphere.

May 12, 2012
parispicnics in France

Some restaurants for Parisss !!

for the quincinera (sp?) i second Tour d'argent. Totally old world, fancy, fantastic view. its the restaurant that the cartoon film Ratatouille uses.
but, you know even though the food is not as good, the location will be talked about for years and thats The Jules Verne on the eiffel tower.
The lunch rates are the same for both restos--about 90 euro before wine
dinner is more expensive at Jules Verne.

May 11, 2012
parispicnics in France