Thanks Parnassien and Mangeur, I'll give Paul a try next time out. It is, indeed, hard to hold on to the old places, and yet it is, indeed, thrilling to find the new ones. I understand how this turns some folks into junkies, seeking the next fix, though I don't think that will ever be me.... Balance, right? Make new friends, keep the old.... I sometimes feel like many of the places we visit are not worth reporting on, but I genuinely (and happily) feel an obligation to do so: I have benefited so much from this board, and honestly, over time have come to cherish the voices here, so I feel, right or wrong, I should report my own (usually modest and humble) experiences. Burgundy notes up next. Could personally benefit from just one more Northeast snow day... But I never said that if anyone asks...
Just that a little crunch or toothsomeness might have given the meal some other dimensions. Not to speak for my friend, but I think everything was served in a kind of soup-y broth and was all meltingly tender, not in and of itself a bad thing, but the meal might have been heightened by some other textural experiences.
Old friends, a couple of standouts, and a few warnings...
Two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s 2014, in our usual perch on Ile Saint Louis. All prices are for two including wine and coffees...
A slight delay in our flight so we didn’t arrive at the apartment until almost past lunch time so after dropping the bags at the apartment we wandered down the block to cozy and friendly but unremarkable
POM CANELLE, on Rue des Deux Ponts. It is well known there are not many options on the island, though lots of folks stop at this spot for desserts or Berthillon. However, if you’re in the hood and hungry the Plats du Jour are a bargain and if not revelatory, they are just fine and the welcome is always warm. I started with Soupe au Légumes and then followed with Bœuf Bourguignon and Bman had Curry d’Agneaux. 33€, including the demi de Brouilly 12€.
After shopping for provisions at all our favorite spots, and unpacking, and pushing through the jet-lag (we subscribe to the stay-up-til-local-bed-time-then-go-into-a-coma-til-the-next-morning approach) we were happy not to wander too far and visit an old friend:
BRASSERIE DE L’ISLE SAINT LOUIS. This is not a food destination, really. Many things are okay, some a bit shy of that. I think the Choucroute is the way to go… but there is something so wonderfully untouched about the interior, the wait staff, the menu and I somewhere deep down feel that some homage should be given to a place like this before it slips away, precisely as the once decent café across the street did a few years ago when it got all tarted up (more on that later…). Shared a starter of escargot, then I had Faux Filet sauce aux Poivre and Bman had an omelette mixte avec frites followed by a shared Mille Feuille. 87,50€, including a 25€ Bottle of Morgon.
Had early tickets for the d’Orsay Masculin show which left us in a neighborhood with many good lunch options…
CINQ MARS, in the 7th. Started with Salade Lentille which was topped with crispy bits of sautéed Spec. The lentils were perfect, the dressing exact and the Spec a yummy touch. I think this is now my favorite example of this, my oft-ordered starter… Bman started with Œuf Mayo. Ditto. Perfect eggs (damp in the middle, tender whites) delicious mayo and delicate well dressed greens. We switched half-way, thank goodness. Bman followed with Pot au Feu façon Cinq Mars which was lighter and fresher than the traditional dish but delicious and I had an “Omlette Bien Baveuse” offered nature or accompagnée which is the way I went. Waiter (owner?) offered lardons, fromage, champignons ou les trois… yes please. It was indeed tender and bien baveuse and polished off. We shared a chocolate Fondant Baulois with crème Anglaise. The rest of our two weeks in Paris we talked of going back. I think we should have…. 99€, 31€ for a surprisingly earthy, really delicious bottle of Joubert Vielles Vignes 2011 Brouilly.
As we travel around the Hols we are frequently shut out of many places that close at that same time. Had tried for years to get here and finally did…
BISTROY LES PAPPILLES in the 5th. Well known on CH and from the Googling I did it seems the menu doesn’t vary all that much, but it mattered not for the occasional visitor and the food was terrific, the welcome warm and the joint jumpin’. Started with a lovely porcelain Soupière tête de lion with a Velouté de Pomme de terre Douce avec copeaux de châtaignes, croutons, ciboulette, et lardons frits. This was followed by a near-overflowing copper casserole of Epaule d'agneaux des Pyrénées, pomme de terre grenaille, carottes, pois gourmands, oignons nouveaux, tomates confites, ails confits, fleur de thym. The lamb was tender and onctueuse, and the vegetables each à point, the sauce rich and satisfying. Followed by a cheese course and then Panacotta clémentines. 97€ (pris fixe entrée plat fromage dessert : 31 €) with a bottle we picked out from the shelves of a very nice 2010 Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph, 35€.
LES TEMPS DES CERISES, in the 4th. Charming little corner bistro with a zinc bar. Started with Soupe au crème de Champignons which was meaty and rich followed by Joue de Bœuf braise a l’Orange for Bman and Filet de Bar for me and a Mère Richard St. Marcellin after (which I can never pass up). 78,90€ with simple but quaffable bottle of Lucien Tramier L’Origine, 18,50€
AUX TONNEAUX DES HALLES, in the 1st near St. Eustache. Had just come from the Pierre Huyge show at Beaubourg and was hoping to find a new spot in the neighborhood. Had read about this bistro in a few different sorces and wanted to fortify ourselves with some good steak and good frites (harder to find all the time…). Started with a shared Œuf Mayo and then Entrecôte and sauce Bordelaise (though I prefer just good fiery mustard, which I had) for each of us with excellent frites maison. A bottle of George Descombes 2011 Brouilly. My notes fail me here, but I’m pretty sure we were out of there for under 60€.
ST REGIS, Ile Saint-Louis. I won’t vent for long and I have only myself to blame, but we were tuckered out from a full day of exhibitions and touring and still a little full from the big entrecote at lunch and just wanted a Croque Madame and this was the only place nearby where I thought we would find one. Found one indeed but would have done better to pick up some eggs at the grocer and make one myself. This used to be a very serviceable neighborhood café, now has been overhauled to look more like Pastis in New York City (an imitation, of an imitation of a genuine Parisian Café…). Lighting and atmosphere are nice enough, and it’s a lovely corner of the world to look out on, but 81,00€ for a couple of “croques” (they were in fact more like mediocre, cold croquants..) and cold mediocre frites…). We shared tart, and had a bottle of forgettable Cote du Rhone, 27€… oh, and to increase the charm – after 9pm (just when we arrived) the price of a bottle of wine is increased by 10%, or some such nonsense…. Not again, I swear….
Had been invited at the last minute to spend Christmas with friends up in Normandy, made all the more adventurous by Tempete Dirk, but we finally made it there and the Cochon de Lait was pit roasted with the help of a large café umbrella…. Upon returning to Paris a bit late in the day, and knowing we were dinning in with friends in the evening we decided to try
CREPE EN L’ISLE, Rue des Deux Ponts, indeed our closest food option directly across from the apartment door but we had never been. A couple of Crepe Complete and some Crêpe au Caramel Beurre Sale and we were sated and quickly back on our way for more adventure. 35€, which included a pichet of Cidre, natch! (6,80€)
LE RELAIS DE L’ENTRECOTE, in the 8th, Rue Marbeuf. Probably our 7th time here, and have to say always one of our most enjoyable experiences. The steak, ‘sauce fameuse’ and frites are so consistently good….75,30€, which included a bottle of the house Tarn Reserve at 17,90€.
RESTAURANT MOISSONNIER, on Rue des Fosses in the 5th. Had likely walked past this place a dozen times and never thought to stop in, but we were meeting friends from the neighborhood and this was where they suggested. Started with Frisée au Lardons which was excellent and for my plat had Quenelle de Brochet en Sauce Nantua, which was enormous, delicious and even I couldn’t finish it… Shared and Œuf a la Neige and a bottle of some Cote du Rhône (my notes fail…). Unlike our visits to other more-well-known places on this strip that disappointed… here, I’d go back. 105€.
AU CHAI DE L’ABBAYE, Rue de Buci in the 6th. A frequent lunch spot when we’re in this neighborhood. Filet de Bœuf for me and Chou Farci for Bman. First time we’d visited and the place wasn’t packed with Parisians and we started to wonder if the economy is hitting these mid-priced places a little harder than those above and below. 60€ which included a carafe Juliénas 20€.
METROPOLITAIN, Rue de Jouy, in the 4th. We both started with a Œuf mollet croustillant, crème de champignons de Paris, topped with thin slices of pickled radish (I think…) that was rich and delicious. My plat was a rif on Brandade de Morue that was somewhat lighter and the potatoes more crushed than mashed but it was delicious. Bman had Perdreau (partridge) three-ways : a sausage, seared breast, and braised. Apres, Bman had a “Paris-Carcassonne“ a sort of riff on Paris-Brest and I, as is my wont, went the cheese route with an Assortiment de fromages affinées par M Dubois “MOF” which included very fine examples of Roquefort, Cantal, St. Nectaire and some aged chevre. Not the coziest of spots, but we liked the music they were playing so much we asked the waitress to tell us what it was (London Grammar). 120€ which included a François Villard Saint Joseph, “Poivre et Sol” Saint-Joseph which indeed was quite pepper-y and nice 44€
LA ROTISSERIE DU BEAUJOLAIS, in the 5th. Our third visit, and as always, a very pleasant stop. Poelee de Champignons Provençal for a shared starter, Colvert Roti for me off the spit, and Faux-filet de Salers for Bman, followed by fromage (St. Nectaire, La Mere Richard St. Marcellin, Pont Lévesque) and washed down with a very nice Juliénas (31€). 118€
LA ROSE DE FRANCE, Place Dauphine, Ile de la Cite. Place Dauphine seems such a potentially magical location. It’s a shame this place has gone seriously downhill, from what was never a very lofty perch in the first place. Last time stopped in here for lunch and had a very good, inexpensive plat du jour and agreeable service and wine. This time out it was horrible. The place has been fancied up since our last visit, now attempting a modern interior and a newly frosty and insulting hostess to go with it. My pumpkin soup was obviously thrown in the blender with all its seeds which were not pulverized in the process… just kind of chopped up. VERY unappetizing. Joue de Boeuf was 70% big hunks of fat, 10% gristle.
LE PETITE PONTOISE in the 5th. I like this small, cozy spot. We each started with Raviole du Dauphine Gratinee and then Poulet Fermier for me Joue de Cochon for Bman and followed by a chocolat Amadeus (whatever that is). 112,80€ 34€ for a bottle of Brouilly.
BISTROT PAUL BERT, in the 11th. Meeting Parisian friends and this is one of her favorites and we are happy to return. Started with Œufs a la Truffe, which is steep (28€) but I love it and we live once…Then we both had Filet de Bœuf in the house pepper sauce and frites maison (shame we have to spell that out now…) and we shared the enormous and yummy Paris Brest. 147€, with a Morgon Decombes 36€
LA TARTINE, Rue de Rivoli, in the 4th just near where it becomes Rue St. Antoine. Didn’t manage to snag my receipt but the place is reasonable and reliable and usually pretty lively. Had a lunch of Leek soup and a croquant with Grison (dried beef) and some Savoie cheese and a pitcher of the house red.
JACQUES GENIN in the 3rd. Happily our travels brought us up into this neighborhood and I insisted we stop. I joined the chorus of mourners when he stopped making pastry… thank heaven he has returned to making at least the extraordinary Mille Feuille which is monte à la commande… made to order. There was a line and we waited for about 30 minutes while several single visitors hogged up 4-tops, but no matter… Here’s the deal: I’m not even really a dessert person – I always opt for the cheese instead… but this little shatter-y marvel is just about the best thing I have ever eaten. Savory, buttery pastry, delicious pastry cream (this time vanilla… I think there was one other option, something fruity as I recall)… Oh, Chef…please never stop again….. 27,40€ with some cafés on the side.
LA DAME DE PIC, in the 1st. Friends were meeting us in Paris and had reserved here for our dinner together. An unusual experience. The menus are built around perfumes. One sniffs three testers at the table and selects a menu based on what scent you are most attracted to. Why not? A bit off putting to me at first, like having a scented candle on a dinner table, but once the ordering is done the scent strips are taken away. Based on my whiffs, I selected a menu called Conte d’Hiver (Winter Story). Here’s their description. « LES PETITS LEGUMES bille coulante au Parmesan, poivre de Sichuan rouge. LE BLOND DE PARIS, royale de champignons, émulsion dashi, Matcha. LA BAVETTE D'ALOYAU, consommé à la feuille de cannelier, ail doux. L'ANANAS, camomille matricaire sauvage, galanga. » 80€
CHEZ DENISE, in the 1st near Les Halles. I just love this place. Boistrous, crowded and incredibly tasty and copious food. We shared the terrine de pate, and then I had Daube de Bœuf which was served like most stews here, in a big copper pot deposited on the table. Came with a side of elbow macaroni which was (unusual for France, in my book…) perfectly cooked. We shared a Baba au Rhum and a bottle of the house Brouilly. After the fussiness of the night before, I loved this place even just a little bit more. Lost the receipt but I think we were out of there for under 50€ each. Hail Denise. Long may she reign…
Houndies, as always, thanks heaps for your guidance and candor.
sorry to hear that June...
It's worth signing up for the emails from Ruchotte which seems to be more up to date than the website. They have had some meals in 2014. Try the FB page too..
Was just there in early January, a bit too close to the Hols so many places were closed.... however, a couple of quick notes (more to follow).
Wholeheartedly agree on Fruirouge.. Have loved everything I ever acquired from this charming little shop ( snagged sme cassis and jams this time)and always make a point to visit when in Burgundy. Just spent a week there and had pleasant weather so was able to get about quite a bit in our rented car which has been more challenging in past winter trips. Just up the pedestrianized street in Nuit from Fruirouge is La Cabotte- a great spot for lunch or dinner. Have had several wonderful meals there which kept us returning even if the reception is a bit frosty. Having a car will make it possible to see so many of the small Cote d'Or villages (if you are a hiker, you could walk, but we loved exploring around and especially getting up into some of the small villages above the Cote where Fruirouge has their farm and there are so many other wonderful cassis makers (loved the cassis from Colette et Paul Simon in Marey-les-Fussey). As mentioned already, Ma Cuisine and Alain Hess in Beaune are musts, and had a great meal at Comptoir des Tontons and a fantastic wine too (2011 Ladoix from Domaine Prieuré-Roch). More notes to follow soon...
Thanks much Parnassien... Can't believe I committed the rookie mistake of not searching the Board first. Have done the Odeon Route before, too but thanks for the Timbre suggestion which sounds like just the kind of place we would like.
Mes Cher Houndies. Bman and I are ensconced here for our 10th Noel, (full report to follow, I promise) and we are meeting friends to make our semi-annual stroll through Vanves in search of inexpensive goodies. Anyone know a decent spot out that way for lunch? Mille Merci. Your guidance, as always, is enriching our holiday immeasurably. Bon Fêtes et bon Fin d'Année à tous!
I believe the Trotte spot is now under new management but also highly regarded...
Yes, Gaugry is just down the road and a quick and fun visit. Alain Hess is excellent and the single best serving of Epoisses I've ever had was at Ma Cuisine... I can still conjure it....
Our timing was off, but they do sell in lovely artisan bottles that come in a handsome wooden box. Another reminder to buy it when you see it (or taste it)...
Meandering around between tapestries, cathedrals and cemeteries... after several brief visits, our first time spending an entire week in the region.
Gite - Un Bateau sous mon Transat, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain
Le P’Tit Resto, 2 Rue de la Bienvenue, Bayeux
Later in the week we returned for dinner. We had kirs and I started with a slightly odd boulette de fois gras which was rolled in peanuts and had a figgy jelly sauce on the plate. True, the foie had a peanut butter in this context, but the peanuts overpowered, ultimately. B had a risotto with ham, arugula and a thin crackly emmental cracker and a “Burger” de Canard avec pomme purée et sauce foie gras. I had the same pintade though this time it was served inside out, with a thin layer of chorizo wrapping the pintade. A shared dessert that, as the menu explained, was a deconstructed Snickers Bar: Mars has nothing to worry about…. 107€, of which 45€ was for a bottle of nice Mercury.
Hotel de France, Isigny sur Mer.
Fleur de sel, Port-en Bessin, Quai Felix Faure
L’Angle Saint Laurent, 2 Rue Des Bouchers,Bayeux
Restaurant du Port, 19 Rue du Port, Granville
Chateau de Brouay, Brouay, France
Christmas week in Paris… our 10th. No great revelations and no blow-outs but a couple of surprises along the way...
Pom’ Cannelle, 27 Rue des Deux Ponts, in the 4th.
Le Reminet, 3 Rue des Grands Degres, in the 5th
We’ve had Christmas lunch at Relais de L’Entrecôte in the 8th several times, often after morning mass at the Cathedral Americain, but this year the resto was closed (it is so true, from year to year, one never knows…), sadly, as we had schlepped over quite purposefully to see the Hopper at Grand Palais (also closed… would it kill them to put this on their website, which said “ open throughout the Holiday season”, and having attended many past GP expositions that were open on Noel…) and was tres triste to find it closed this day, and Relais to boot. But, this being a slightly unusual year, we’ve still got wheels from our country touring and we decide to follow the suggestion on the door to go to the Relais on Montparnasse. (101 Blvd Montparnasse, 6th.) I slightly prefer, still, the dining room in the 8th, but the Steak frites was just as reliable as ever, and we polished it off, both rounds. 89€, which included 18€ for a bottle of house Tarn and desserts and coffee
We’ve landed at Chez Paul (13 rue de Charonne, 11th) for Christmas before, not that that is any reliable measure… one really does need to investigate afresh each year to find who is open and who is fermed, but we were able to reserve online and so we did. A slightly rough and tumble place, and we’ve usually been given a warm welcome, somewhat less so this go round. We walked in, and having reserved online (as opposed to by phone) were immediately told we were being exiled to the 1st floor upstairs. I frowned and said no and the M’d barked out a table number and the slightly surly waiter escorted us to the furthest table from the entrance, where Bman was literally sitting on top of the radiator. Allors… the Japanese tourists next to us were friendly enough, and were quickly replaced by a middle aged Frenchman and his mother? Aunt? Granny….? They were very dear, as a couple, and having exchanged a few words en Francais with them and sharing our flashlight phone app so the menu could be read, the waiter seemed to decide we might be all right after all. Leçon: next time I’ll phone instead, as usual… sure the place is rough around the edges but was never treated quite this poorly before. Started with some Kirs, I had œufs mayo and Bman had the Salade aux pissenlits lardons. As is his habit, this was followed by Lapin Farci au Chèvre for Bman, and breaking from my Pot au Feu minor addiction, I ordered Steak au Poivre because I saw those words that always stop me dead in my tracks: Gratin Daupinoise. The grand pichet (100cl) of Cote du Rhone washed it all down. With 2 coffees, the bill was 78€, with the vin being 14€.
Le Rostand, 6 Place Edmond Rostand in the 6th.
Le Grand Palais, 21 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 8th.
L’Atlas, 12 Blvd Saint Germain, 5th
Dinner Chez Nous, Ile Saint-Louis.
Les Pipos. 2 rue de l’Ecole Polytechnique in the 5th.
Pamela Popo. 15 rue Francois Miron, 4th
Le Coup Chou, 11 Rue Lanneau in the 5th
Au Chai de l’Abbaye, 26 Rue de Buci in the 6th
Tastevin, 46 Rue-Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, in the 4th.
Thanks, Hounds as always, for your generous and thoughtful guidance.
Two very friendly places that are very reasonable: Le Pre Verre and Les Pippos. Haven't check yet with LPV, but Pippos is open the 26th - 29th. ( we'll be in Paris the same period). Rotisserie du Beaujolais is another option, and for candlelit intimacy, Le Reminet.
There are no markets on Mondays, and the Sunday markets are over by 1 or 2... A good list on Chocolate and zucchini. If you can make it into town earlier it will be worth it: the last market before Noël is very jolly. But if not, fear not, there are excellent shops sure to be open Sunday and Monday, and a surprising few on Christmas (boulangeries, bucheries, etc). Christmas eve is the tough night, lots shut down, and a bit earlier than usual. Chez Paul in the 11th is hardly quiet but will be open Christmas day and I love the inexpensive traditional fare. Congrats on the upcoming wedding.
One less to choose from... Les Papilles is closed 23-Dec through Jan 2.
Was at La Rose last February and really enjoyed it. The ecargot were terrific, and when the gals next to us snagged the last plat du jour the waitress winked at me and later said I should have the veal roti with risotto ("c'est mieux" said she with a second wink). Can't speak for whatever the special was that day, but my plat was really tasty, and I was a bit forlorn when the plate was practically licked clean.... Cafe Zimmer - wow - haven't been there in years , but it certainly does always look lively.
Hello Houndies. Looking forward to a week in Decembre based in Port-en Bassin, and grateful for the one recommendation I could find in Bayeaux for Brasserie Reine Mathilde (thanks Da Tulip!). Planning to meander around.... any comfy spots you know of?
After that - off to Paris for our usual Christmas fete. Thanks to this board, Sir John T., and 8 years of holiday trips have a pretty good sense of the slim pickens but if something unusual comes to mind or if any houndies want to break some bread we're wide open. Merci bien.
LOVE this thread! We we're bounced out of an overbooked hotel 8 years ago into an apartment they managed and have never looked back. Our annual routine now consists of flying into Paris, picking up a car and driving out to the country for a week or two almost always in a gite. I loathe big box stores in the US, but love them in France and we'll hit a few of these while out in the country. At a minimum, the re-usable bags will be necessary to carry all the comestibles into the Paris apartment we will conclude the trip in. We travel around the holidays so two things are relatively assured: extremely jolly markets, esp. the last one before the holiday, and at some point in the trip we've been snowed in so having a pantry with a few options is critical. Always stock up on jam, butter, coffee, cheeses, pates, olives, cornichon and goofy snack crackers and cookies (why, WHY can't we have Sable de Flandres in the US??) A couple of cheap and cheerful torchons will be a joy throughout the trip and a nice thing to have back home. Ditto some regional pottery serving dish or bowl. 8 years and several dozen pieces of pottery and all of them have made it home in one piece and remain freighted with happy memories of meals in France. Once all this booty makes it to Paris, all delivered right to the door cause we still have the car, we can then manage the rest of the shopping very close to home. Most Christmases we eat in, might be a combo of foraged and cooked ( slow braised lamb stew with Moroccan spices) but usually something that I can pull of without to much fuss or thought. Rental kitchens everywhere seem to suck. The list of things we bring to Maine each summer for a few weeks is 4 columns long - in France I tend to restrict myself to my trusty Opinel, a small but decent bread knife (amazing how hard this can be to find in an apartment, and since the fresh morning baguette is among my favorite traditions I hate to see the pour dears hacked to bits...) a vacu-vin because I want to pretends I wont finish every bottle we open, and a folding, waiter's corkscrew, which I far prefer. A decent spice shop will sell in small amounts (we're close to Izrael) and I adore asking the verger for a handful of nuts, fruits etc. to have on hand for the one or two dinner parties or apero we'll host while in Paris. Oh, and not to neglect an icon - I am mad for the small faience pots that Fermier yogurt comes in and will keep these for olive pits, pencil cups, sugar bowls, once served a starter course of soup in them, and have squirreled home an absolute ridiculous number of them. Here, as in many restaurants in France, they will be used for pot de creme or some other gelatinous dessert. I love every single one of them... I sort of love the bracing winter morning walk at dawn to go fetch the baguette or croissant. The streets are so quiet, the merchants so energetic at this hour, and the little morning routines of the neighborhood such a delight to take in: the hand-holding father and child off to school; Madame from the apartment next door buying her meat for the day; the morning deliveries still coming in. At this hour I can at least momentarily feel like a local...
Merci pour les felicitations!
I did not, in the end, find the food, even setting aside our trepidation, to be all that memorable... refined, yes.... tasty..... not really anything that would make me feel like going back, and yet, par example, a simple cod dish I had at La Cabotte in Nuit Saint-George comes to mind and I can still conger the deep flavor of the dish....
Brasserie was, unfortunately the only place we made it to... We were staying with foodie friends and mostly ate in... would like to go back and spend more time in the city...
A quick trip over from Paris to take in the Dickens 200th Anniversary….
LA FROMAGERIE, Moxon Street, Marylebone. This cheese shop/gourmet food shop/wine bar/café is lively and fun and the food is delicious. Had a creamy and delicious crème de celeriac soup with truffles and a kind of play on bangers and mash: local saucisson covered in a rich onion gravy over mashed rutabaga. Divoon. Bman had the ploughman’s lunch which was a lovely selection of cheeses, breads smoked ham and relishes. Tall, moist, yummy Banana Bread and Carrot cake for dessert. Would eat here once a week if we lived in the neighborhood. Think we had a few glasses of wine and coffee too. 52£
THE GOLDEN HIND – 73 Marylebone Lane. Turns out our super-power works in the British Isles as well: we brought snow to London. It is coming down heavily, and we are happy not to venture too far. Houndies led us to this classic chip shop in this charming neighborhood. Crowded but we were seated within a few minutes. As advised, brought our own wine which was opened at table (1£) and had the classic battered haddock for me, cod for Bman, chips and peas. Vinegar, natch. Very low on ambience, but high on spirit, and some say among the best in London… It was snowing, the windows were steamy, rather merry. 22£
CAFÉ ROUGE. Nice looking large brasserie opposite St. Paul’s. Croque madams and frites. Passable, but not much more. Probably best for tea, coffee or a drink.
CAFFE CALDESI – Marylebone Lane. Opposite of the Hind, which is closed as it is a Sunday. Nearly didn’t make it into this place either… can’t say whether everyone’s exhausted from the snow or just plain quiet on Sundays…. Nice looking first floor corner café with more seating above. Also offer extensive list of Italian cooking classes. Started with some Bresaola and bread and Rigatoni. Next, Bman had Pollo alla Limon accompanied by the “best spinach ever!” and I had Polpette Con Polenta and finished with Panettone Bread Pudding and a Tiramisu, all washed down with a bottle of Nera d’Avola, Angelo Sicilia. (20£) 94£.
GESSLER AT DAQUISE. South Kensigton. Hopped on the tube headed for the V&A and decided we would sniff around for a lunch place once there. This little Polish place intrigued, and seemed more interesting than the touristy places on the square. Started with hot borscht with dumplings (moi) and pierogi (meat, cheese and our surprise favorite, cabbage) and then Kura W Rosole (Chicken in a Lemon Sauce) for Bman with noodles and broth, all assembled table side and Pulpety Cieleci (Veal meatballs with dill and gravy and mashed potatoes) and carrots for me. A bottle of something red from Roussillon. It was all quite satisfying, if the setting was a bit retro-ascetic. 62£
GIRAFFE, Marylebone. Was meeting a friend and wanted to find somewhere nearby that would be easy for her to find and close to a train. Didn’t realize at the time that there are, like, 30 of these resto’s in the London area, but it was fine. Shared a mezze platter and nachos and then I had schnitzel and Bman had a club sandwich. We drank a bottle of Pinot Noir and shared ice cream at the end. All of it fine, nothing memorable except the schnitzel might have been a bit greasy… 53£ for 2 of us.
Thanks Houndies for the help.
Rouen, Etretat, Poitiers, Bergerac, Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, Amboise
First, Houndies, an apology… I’m usually faster on the notes turnaround but (thank you New York State) in the 5 months since our trip to France we got married, Bman started a new job, and we moved. It has taken until now to report back. Mea Culpa.
I subscribe to the “stay up the entire first day, go to sleep at a reasonable hour and try to get on the local time as soon as possible” camp, though this was particularly hard this trip. I almost never sleep on the overnight, usually because my 6’3”Liebling-esque frame doesn’t easily squeeze into coach… this time we sprang for the Open Skies seats to no avail: rough winds shook us from JFK nearly to Dublin. Allors – so once we picked up the rented car and headed for Rouen and la Couronne for lunch we were in dire need of some succor and resuscitation.
ROUEN - LA COURONNE. Located on a pedestrianized square near Les Halles, the “plus vielle auberge de France" has been taking in hungry travelers since 1345, perhaps most famously for us Yanks, St. Julia after HER rough sea passage back in 1948. The tall half-timbered building just opposite the strange 1979 Eglise Jeanne D’Arc seems wedged into place, like all the buildings lining the square. Once inside, a calm and cozy opulence envelops: exposed beams, ochre walls and lush jacquard draperies all set off the simple, pinky-salmon colored floor-length linens. What we had: Bman started with Crémeux de pousse d’epinards, ( a sort of mini-souffle) copeaux de jambon sec followed by Saute de Veau à la provençale. I started with Coquilles St. Jacques and then had (what else) La Belle Sole de la Manche Meunière. The scallops were delicate and sweet and gently, and quickly, grilled, served with slightly odd tempura battered vegetables and braised strawberries. It worked, but for me the scallops were the focus. The sole, I will admit, not unlike Julia’s description or Meryl’s depiction, did make one swoon. Perfectly cooked, moist, napped in browned butter, and with a squeeze of lemon, sublime. The filet was huge, covering the plate; I ate every bite and would have kept going if they brought another. We drank a bottle of Pouilly Fume (42€) and had cheese and mignardises. Total: 163€
ETRETAT – LA TAVERNE DES DEUX AUGUSTINS. Rookie mistake: hadn’t reserved anywhere and ended up at this joint. Cozy enough looking from the outside. Even okay on the inside, I suppose. Crowded (was it the slightly lower price point of the menu than the other joints nearby??) and lively. Appalling service. Nearly left, twice. Finally some food arrived…. I started with the Soupe de Poisson… (not bad actually) Bman started with a Salade de Campagne that had lardons, chesse, tomatoes, croutons….. Duck confit and Veau in sauce camembert were the mains….. we were onto, at this point, hour 40 sans a wink….My memory: it was more than I would spend for the level of service, but edible.
ETRETAT – RESTAURANT LE GALION. Lovely half timbered building with exposed beams that had all been painted a subtle and pale grey, giving the room a softness and more airy and bright feeling. After having been shut-out the night before (“Desole, complete!) we were determined to go back, and reserved early in the day for lunch. I started with the Foie Gras which was sweet and firm and had lovely accompaniments including two slices of brioche nested in a little bed of napkins to keep them warm. I followed with Lotte that was crusted in Riz Sauvage (a bit crisp and chewy, that, and with a few too many Baie Roses for my taste) but the fish was good. Bman had a steak au poivre. Between my courses I was given a Normande palate cleanser of calvados infused apple sorbet. It was very tasty. Cheese plate for me (all good) and for dessert we shared Mousse au chocolate and Profiterols Caramel au Buerre Salé. We drank a bottle of Domaine Tassin Sancerre (33€) Total 116€.
HONFLEUR – SA.QUA.NA. A spare, Japanese influenced seafood place close to the harbor on a small side street. For those who follow such things (I don’t) I think, a two-starred joint, many say on its way to a third. Small dining room, probably not more than 20 covers. Spare, elegant, quiet, refined. Much about this esthetic to be read on their website. A gentian aperitif, and a an eau de Coing for bman. Madame was quick to offer English Menus, and as I’ve groused before, I hate that. A) I don’t need them (usually) and b) the translations often can be much more confounding than the occasional French word I don’t know. Indeed in most cases, I’ve had to look at the French menu to understand what it was they were getting at: true, Google translate is better and better all the time, but if they have no mastery of English the menu can be a confusing unappetizing mess i.e “A white sauce of baby cow with mushrooms and onions” instead of Banquette de Veau… So, I continue to eschew the Menu Anglais, though this time it proved nearly (sorta) fatal. Bman is allergic to all shellfish. In the past I’ve gotten away with saying, in French, that he was allergic to les crustaces. Usually that’s all I have to say, and we haven’t needed the epi-pen once. Here, for the first time, apparently I needed to say crustace et les coquillages, because the first course (cabillaud) comes out liberally sprinkled with small gray clam-like shells. Houndie - you’ll probably know the name of such things, but if they were listed on the description of the dish it was lost on both of us. And unfortunately, the allergy is no joke: I’ve seen him nearly go into anaphylactic shock and it is very grave. To her credit, Madame did ask me “all fish?” and I said no, fish were fine, crustacé were not. Until now this level of qualifying had been enough. From this day forward I will specify crustacé et coquiallge but here in the U.S. just saying “shell fish” has been enough and seem to cover the whole spectrum… I know there are folks out there that are only allergic to one shellfish and not others, but most folks that have had an allergic reaction to one shellfish are generally counseled not to eat any of them (and apparently, rightly, based on our few close calls…) Back at Sa Qua Na… This was a bit hard to figure out at first, but there are two options on the menu which changes daily: Vert Olive (98€) or Rouge Cerise (68€). In essence, and this was why it took reading the menu for a while to figure out, if you go the green route, you get every dish, all 9 of them, listed on the menu, and since they mostly all read like Plats it was a bit hard to figure out at first. Red route bought you 5. With drinks they brought out a selection of crunchy little amuses. Then the first course, which was presented in a medium-sized deep bowl, and was the cabillaud filet almost still quivering, and accompanied by, I think, edamame, pale baby lettuces, a rich clear broth and those little grey shells… This I think was followed by another fish course, a dorade with cous cous and cauliflower, and then a very rosy delicious morsel of cochon noir from Iberia with a porcini cream. Dessert was an odd affair – a large macaron “painted” with various powders (cocoa, others being green, red and orange, I have no idea what they were…) And then at the end a small pot of ice cream. Truth is, after the little shells it was hard to relax and regain the confidence we weren’t going to end up in the emergency room (which of course I had no idea where the nearest one was) and I think the Epi-pen might have been back in the luggage… in Etretat! They did whisk away the dish and returned with a new one sans little shells… but… maybe a few days further into vacation mode we could have made a faster recovery…. Allors… A bottle of Pouilly Fume, Domaine Michel Redde (45€) water and coffees- 220€
ALENCON – BAR DES PIETONS. A very, very simple café in the pedestrianized area, after walking around and finding the rest of the pickings to be a bit slim… but this spot was relatively full with lots of folks seeming to be on their lunch break, and paying with their orange lunch tickets…. Plats du jour, which happily here included sauté de lapin au sauce pruneaux ( et “ses spaghettis”… love that!) for Bman and a bavette frites for me. A small carafe of vin and we were out of there, and happily, for under 30€.
POITIERS – BISTROT DU BOUCHER. We’re making our way down from Normandy to see a friend in Bergerac, and this turned out to be where we would land overnight. Actually did something I never have done: asked the concierge if he had a recommendation. He pointed across the street at this place. After wandering around for an hour or so to get the lay of the land and consider other options this seemed to be a reasonable choice. Turned out better than that. Brasserie feel, despite its name… bright lights, brass rails, bustle. Turned out we were the last walk-in they would take for a while. Started with some Kirs, had the Cote de Boeuf for 2. Came with a good salad and super delicious roasted fingerlings. Course salt, sharp mustard…. We were happy. Washed down with a nice bottle of Samur Champigny (21€) 88€.
BERGERAC – LA TABLE DU MARCHE. Juste en face de Les Halles. Lovely spot recommended by our local pal. We started with some sort of amuse, and peanuts in a test-tube… kind of interesting… For entrée we had potato-leek soupe, and then Bman had biche and pomme puree, and I had the St. Jacques with same. All was delicious, the welcome warm. A bottle of Rosé (18.50€) and deux express. 78€
BERGERAC- FLEUR D’ORANGER 30 Rue de la Resistance. A lovely, modern salon de thé and Bar a soupe with an emphasis on Bio and local. We’re here just after the market which had many beautiful edible and non-edible products… Had: Pumpkin and chestnut soup, tartines of avocat and jambon sec, and chevre frais et fruit sec each served with a little salad. Crepe beurre sale for us to share. 32€
SAINT EMILION – L’ANTRE DEUX VERRES Place du Cabiou….(as the name suggests, literally in a cave, not quite the size of Saint Emilion’s but a slightly damp and slightly moldy cave… But we don’t have many options… we are here for lunch, off season, a bit late in the day, and many places are either not serving this late or are just plain closed. Despite the damp interior with theatrical and colorful lighting and the subtle, thumping rock and roll, the food and wine (no surprise) are pretty good. We have a glass of Graves, soups of mushroom and asparagus and le plat du jour, something called Chicken ala Mexique. It might have been better named a la Inde since it was curried, but I suppose the sweet red peppers kicked it a bit south of the border. Whatever it was, on this cold winter day it actually hit the spot, and the chicken was tender, the basmati perfectly cooked and we were happy to have found this spot. I had fromage and B a dessert of caramel, mascarpone and a macaron somehow all combined. About 60€
BORDEAUX – LA BRASSERIE BORDELAISE. After several agreeable home meals with pals in Bergerac and Bordeaux we ventured out for some lunch on our own. We had reserved, thankfully, at this very large, lively and popular spot that was recommended by our local foodie friend. Bman started with a Potimarron/ chataigne soupe and I had Oeuf Brouille au Truffe. Jou De Porc et pomme puree for him and Dos de Cabillaud Roti for me. Every bit was yummy, and the place, if a bit overwhelmed at lunch, was also lively and pleasant. A bottle of Alycastre Rosé (24€) and 2 coffees, 85€.
AMBOISE – RESTAURANT L’EPICERIE. Had been trying to make it here for a while but been shut-out as our visiting often corresponded precisely with their fermeture annuelle. Started with a Kir and a Ricard, then started with Fois Gras (moi) veloute au cep et ses croutons avec oeuf poche (Bman) followed by Confit de Canard for Bman and Onglet de Veau a la crème et ses pleurotes for me. If nothing was revelatory, it all was fine and the welcome was very warm and the dining room full and cheery. A bottle of St. Nicholas de Bourgueil (21€). 80.50€
Merci Hounds for all the guidance.
First, Houndies, an apology… I’m usually faster on the notes turnaround but (thank you New York State) in the 5 months since our trip to France we got married, Bman started a new job, and we moved. It has taken until now to report back. Mea Culpa.
ROTISSERIE Du BEAUJOLAIS. 19 Quai de la Tournelles, in the 5th. It being a Sunday, our flat just across the Pont, and having not reserved anywhere else we decided we’d head for this easy and usually lively spot. We started with a Kir and a Pastis, and I enjoyed an Oeufs en Meurette. We had the Poulet Roti for 2 with frites, and a bottle of Julienas (25€). The poulet was a bit dry, not entirely certain it just came off the spit…but still fairly tasty, and the frites were decent. Beaujolais, the friendly but stand-offish chat, spent a fair amount of time at our table, hopping up on one of the free seats of our 4-top and kept us company. 85€
RESTAURANT CLEMENTINE. 5 Rue Saint-Marc, In the 2nd. On our way to Aux Lyonaise last year we had passed this charming looking little spot and the joint was packed, the windows steamed up, and a quick glance at the menu in the window made us put it on the list for a future visit. Started with complimentary vin blanc, something slightly fizzy and Loire-ish, je crois, and then I had Oeuf en meurette, then followed with supreme de volaille for me and Veau farci au porc for Bman. A bottle of Macon blanc, 23€. 1 Dessert (the apparently viral Café Gourmand), Aperetifs and cafes for both of us: 88,30€
FRENCHIE. 5-6 Rue du Nil, in the 2nd. Through a Paris foodie insider friend we were able to score a table at this much sought after spot, our first visit. Cozy, lively and intimate. Quail starter from Bman, Trout for me and the foodie friend. Then we each had a veal tournados and shared a glace de caramel buerre sale avec lardons. My 4th or 5th go at porc with ice cream, I remain unconvinced, but it was good. A bottle of St. Joseph (49€), which seemed to garner the knowing approval of the very serious young Canadian Laura Vidal, one of only a handful of female sommeliers in Paris . 167€
LA ROSE DE FRANCE. 24 Place Dauphine, Ile de la Cite, in the 1st. We had meant for a long time to try one of the spots that line the Place Dauphine and I think somewhere I had come across a recommendation that said this was the one to opt for in this potentially touristy, though hidden little coin. Bman started with escargot which were lovely, and followed with a big, messy, but he says delicious “Rose” Burger. The cold snap continues so I was happy with a Soupe a l’oignon gratinee. I had wanted the special that day, but the couple next to us snagged the last one, the waitress kind of winked at me, and when it came time to order, suggested I have the pave de veau and risotto with morels, and further, quietly suggested it was better than the plat du jour. It was yummy and I polished it off handily. 50cl of Brouilly (19€) and we each had coffees. 75.60€
VERJUS. 47 Rue Montpensier (Bar a vin) and 52 Rue de Richlieu (upstairs resto), in the 1st. We had attended one of the popular Hidden Kitchen table d’hote dinners a few years back and enjoyed it and have enjoyed watching these charming and talented American kids grow and thrive in big bad Paree. We reserved a few weeks in advance and were only able to snag seats at the Siberian hour of 7:30 but we were more than willing to eat a bit on the earlier side a few times since we tend to try and get out of the apartment early in the morning to hit the streets. Paris, and Europe at this moment, were in the grips of a terrible deep freeze and before the bodies would arrive to fill up this elegant and dimly lit, subdued dining room it was a bit chilly, but not off putting. We had just managed to walk the length of the adjacent gardens at the Palais Royale only seconds before they locked the gates, and strolling the alee of trees in the dark was at once discomfiting and enchanting: we were ready for something magical. We started downstairs at the wine bar with a glass each of wine (22€), and each had the 70€ tasting menu (the only option) which was 6 courses. We sprang for the fromage supplement 14€, and the wine pairings, 40€ each. To the best of our knowledge, here’s what we had: a lentil and frisee salad with baby radishes and a savory ice cream (bleu cheese?) canelle on top. Paired with a White Rousette from the Jura. Next up, soft polenta with some kind of porc, shaved Brussels sprouts and a poached egg paired with a white from the sud-ouest. Truite de Bayonne and spinache, baby turnips, garlic and little clams (them again… but not for Bman, I had reminded the chef (both times) that he was allergic and they accommodated seamlessly. Paired with a St. Aubin. Next smoked duck breast on red cabbage with little raviolis (I think) filled with mushroom?? Paired with a Moulin a Vent. Enfin, a tournedos of veal with chick peas and greens and herbs paired with a red Chinon. Dessert was some sort of ice cream and a mysteriously deconstructed chocolate mousse and a corn cake soaked in some (dessert?) wine. I don’t recall what cheeses were on the plate. At the moment, it was actually a bit much, even though the preceding courses had been small. 256€ At the time I remember thinking the wine pours were a bit teensy, and the whole experience a bit much… everything we ate was very good, but did any of it stick…? was it too hard for any one thing to stand out in this litany? though if pressed I think I would say the polenta/sprouts/oeuf…. Not sure how often I want to dine with this many courses, so I think I wouldn’t rush to go back, I would explore other options in this price point, which honestly, was a bit much for us… though it does seem that the tasting menu has now been dropped down from 70 to 60€.
LES GOURMET DES TERNES – 87 Blvd de Courcelles in the 8th. Can’t remember where, but SOMEone liked this joint so we reserved and went for lunch. Oeuf Mayo for me, Poireau vinaigrette for Bman (best ever, says he). Filet de Boeuf au poivre for 2, a bottle of Brouilly, and we were arm-twisted into the pricey “dessert gourmet” (14€ each), Chantilly, fresh berries, pound cake, drowned in Rum left at the table… what’s not to like….Loud, pushy host/owner, slightly rowdy crowd… fun, actually. 155€
LE BARATIN – 3 Rue Jouye-Rouve in the 20th. After a nearly freezing morning climbing around Butte Charmont, we had fortunately reserved at this oft-discussed rustic boite. We were, in fact, nearly frozen and couldn’t have marched a single additional step, and got slightly turned around on our way to this place but we were surely rewarded. Started with a surprisingly complex watercress soup, and then a Collier d’Agneau et riz for Bman and a Fricasse de Poulet and mashed for me; both oncteuse. Followed by a piece of Saint-Nectaire for me and a fromage blanc avec miel for Bman. We each had a coffee, and we drank a lovely Cote du Rhone by Mathieu Dumarcher (36€). Something so straightforward and wonderful about the food: we were well restored. 76€.
JACQUES GENIN. 133 Rue de Turenne in the 3rd. Having been so well restored and warmed up we walked nearly all the way to the Ile, but stopped en route at Jacques Genin. Keep the address on hand as this would easily be another place to walk past a dozen or so times and never see it. Once inside the discreet little triangular building there are seating areas, more akin to a chic hotel lobby than a tea/dessert/candy spot. We settled into very comfortable lounge-y sofas and order tea and! (as they used to say in diner parlance: “coffee AND”) Bman had something called an ephemera: a rectangular construction of chocolate sides with layers of moist sponge cake and passion fruit crème between them. I had the “monte a la commande” (made on demand) Millefeuille Caramel Buerre Sale. O. My. God. Crackling pastry, rich yet bright caramel cream… wowsa. I’d go back. Tomorrow, please… also picked up some caramel beurre sale while we were there, and a few complimentary chocolates were brought with the tea. I’ve read the modest debate about whether the place is friendly, kid friendly, or otherwise welcoming… it is a bit uptight and minimalist and the waitrons take themselves very seriously (forgivable perhaps as every order is collected upstairs and delivered down to the RdeC tea room via dramatic spiral stairs… but they also DO let you chill in your little corner if that’s what you want to do, and hey, I’m from NY, I’m used to uptight... with sweets this divine – who cares…30€
CHEZ RENEE – 14 Blvd. St. Germain des Pres in the 5th near the Pont de la Tournelle. Our typical Christmas visiting keeps us from ever seeing certain spots as they are closed for a few weeks over the holidays, this being one of them. Just a block off our perch on the Ile, and with the kind of classic ambiance (dim lights, brass rails, framed posters and black and white photos…) and the kind of menu I enjoy (Classic bistrot) , and having read all the mixed reviews, it has been gently simmering on the back burner. This night, worn out from our freezing climb of the Butte, it was wonderful not to venture too far and try the joint ourselves. Very cozy dining room, and a warm welcome, though at 8 we were clearly on the early side. We ordered Cardinals (Pinot noir and cassis) to buy some time. Started with a lovely Gratin des Blettes that was terrific, and a Boeuf Bourguignon that was tasty, but the sauce a bit flour-y. Bman had the plat du jour, which at 15€ seemed quite a bargain as it was a humongous and delicious Pot au Feu. We were both too full for fromage or dessert. Given the proximity, and the agreeable ambiance and the better than average fare I’d guess we’d go back. 78€
LE PETIT MACHON – 158 Rue St-Honoré. On our way home from Verjus the other night we had walked past this little lively and cozy looking corner bistro. Having spent the morning clocking in the millimeters in the vast galleries of the Louvre, we decided to stop nearby for lunch. Started with the cocktail de maison, which was champagne, cognac and crème de fraise des bois (lovely). I had some soup to start and then a brandade du morue. Bman had the plat du jour, a cochon de lait avec gratin dauphinois. A bottle of Crozes Hermitage (30€) and coffees. 105€
PETITE PONTOISE. 9 Rue Pontoise, in the 5th. Have always liked every thing I’ve ever had here so after a few-year’s hiatus was happy to return. Started with Kirs, and then moved on to a Chateau Saint Roman Cote Du Rhone (28€). Entrees were Ravioli du Dauphine (garlicky, creamy, nicely browned top) and Tatin D’ Artichaut. For plats I went for Parmentier de Canard and B had the Poulet Fermier, both served atop very yummy pomme puree. Warm welcome, especially for this cold night and we were both well sated and happy and had the perfect amount of walk home in the cold that left enough glow to stroll around the quai of the Ile. 110€
CHEZ GEORGES, 1 Rue du Mail in the 2nd. This might be the third or fourth visit but I really like this place. Salade de Lentilles for me, and Frisee au Lardons for Bman. Sole Georges (so sue me, I like it!) swimming as always in Pouilly cream sauce and Plat du jour for B which is Pintaud Grand Mere (onions, potatoes, slow braise… you know the drill…). A bottle of Legros Sancerre 2010 (29€) and we share profiteroles and finish with coffee. Not the friendliest waitstaff, but very “proper” and the place is always jumping with Bourse men and families and the odd tête à tête (please, no photographs)… A keeper….135€
LE PRÉ VERRE 8 Rue Thenard in the 5th. Very much liked it the last time we were there and happy to return to this popular (reserve!, but you always do, oui?) Latin Quarter spot. Had a glass of some white wine while we waited for our table, then started with Crème de Salsifis for me, Slade de Lientilles et Feta for B, the entrée du jour. Drank a bottle from the Ardeche called Mas de Libian Bout d’Zan (true to its name – liquorice notes….). Sprang for (27€… off the charts for this very reasonable spot) the Poulet des Landes with Vin Jaune et Morilles and Bman had Roti de Veau, the plat of the day (12.50€ with starter…. I rest my case) ended with coffee. Packed, just shy of frenzied… Friendly. 81€
LES PIPOS- 2 Rue de L’Ecole in the 5th. Our Paris insider foodie friend, when pressed, said this was the place she loved to retreat to with a glass of something red and the very affordable and delicious Steak Frites. This corner boite seems lifted from a 50’s noir film… or is that Nouvelle Vague??? Small, cozy, walls, cubbies and corners all full of items for service and metals from battle…. Started with a potage de carrottes which was rich and yet light despite the lardons and fromage that were stirred in… sort of perfect, and then had the Pave de Charolais with green pepper sauce. Bottle of Bourgogne Pinot Noir 26€ 65€ for the whole she-bang and we will be back.
CAFÉ CONSTANT – 139 Rue Saint- Dominique in the 7th. Had been to Les Coccottes, but no other place in the Constant empire and French friends very much liked this place so off we went. Think they famously don’t take reserves, so had some Lillet while we waited but it was not too long even though it was the middle of lunch service. Our local maven might have rejected a first floor table while we were there ( a good call given the packed bar while folks waited) and the three of us were soon seated up in the pleasant premiere-etage dining room. Started with Rable de Lapin, Crème Potiron, and Oeuf Mollet en croute sittinmg in a pool of morels and cream with a tranche of crisp prosciutto (fab!). Mains were Pigeon Roti farci avec foie gras, Parmentier de quisse de Canard and Quenelles Brochette en sauce Nantua (moi). The quenelles were pretty good but a bit too foamy for my taste, give me the heavy cream sauce with this light dumpling. Finished with coffees and shared Riz au Lait and Quennelle au Chocolat noir et crème Anglais. All was pretty good, though for me the oeuf was the best. We drank a bottle of Crozes Hermitage (36€)(I go through phases…) 120€ for the two of us.
CHEZ OMAR - 47 Rue de Bretagne, in the 3rd. It had been a few years, and we’ve certainly read that you can have better cous-cous elsewhere, but have always liked this place and was happy to return after several years. I like to start with the crudités platter (plenty for 2, like a lot of items here…) which was revelatory for me the first time and enjoyable ever since: perfectly blanched, perfectly dressed, and a nice tart beginning to offset the coming heat. We both had the brochette d’Agneau and it was accompanied by mounds of cous-cous, stewed tomatoes, chick peas, etc… harissa, and we washed it all down with a pichet of Cote du Rhone (12€) and ended with coffees. Old timers from the neighborhood, families, tourists and devotees all mixed nicely. There may be better places, but this jovial, classic interior (tin ceiling, mirrors, glass partitions) happen to provide one of the memorable tastes upon reflection five months later: that lamb was very flavorful, tender, smokey, pink, …perfect. Vive Omar! 68€
Houndies – we’d be lost without you. Faster turnaround next time. Bien amicalement - G
EPIGRAMME, 9 rue de L’Eperon, is just around the corner. Quiet enough to gentle you into Paris, and very much enjoyed my last meal there, admittedly, a few years ago now. Anyone been recently?
OH, sorry to hear that RR, next time, I hope. Jake, look forward to hearing yr. take. Jock, the Rullys were new to me this year but agree they were quite nice and reasonable!
YES! Forgot to mention that!! Went searching based on your previous recommendations... the look on his face when i asked for the Fromage Fort... he was so surprised and pleased... but MAN was that FORT!!! More points for the Merit Badge, I'm hoping.... Yowza. Kinda burned on the way down. Also picked up a terrific Comte that had its own very special wrapping paper. More like a gift, which of course, it is. Loiseau seemed like an unfriendly somber theme park... at least the gift shop did...
GIVERNY, Ancien Hotel Baudy. Lunch.
PARIS, Le Gaigne, in the 4th. Dinner.
AUXERRE, Le Schaeffer, (near Rue Rene Schaeffer) Lunch
Found our rented farmhouse between Autun, Arnay-le-Duc and not too far from Beaune. Ran to AUTUN and shopped. Ecallope de veau, avec champignons, lardons et sauce cognac. Salade avec Saumon fume. Du riz.
ARNAY LE DUC, Chez Camille, Lunch.
AUTUN Restaurant La Fontaine, Lunch.
BEAUNE, Ma Cuisine, Dinner
SALIEU, Café Parisienne, Lunch.
Things started well enough with a Rillette du Porc avec salade. The Rillette was a bit densly mashed into a stiff mound, but was actually pretty tasty and the salade was fresh and had a few spears of white ausperges, a nice touch. Now on to the plat…
I've had this date with destiny, I suppose. I've been working toward my Chowhound Merit Badge, and I was pretty certain that one of the ways you can jump the line is to eat things that scare you. Mesdames et messieurs….je present le plat du jour: Andouillette en sauce Moutarde en Grain. That's right... the beloved by some.... sausage.... Shortly after my aromatic plate arrived we overheard the waitress explaining to a Dutch family what the plat du jour was.... "Traditional sausage" she said..... un hunh! ..... thing is.... I knew what I was in for, but I'm more afraid of being afraid than I am of things that scare me. So I ordered the menu du jour... this however... was as I feared... this sausage made from innards was too much like drawing the short straw and having to stay home to meet with the Honey Man... and for those of you not conversant in country ways... the honey man does not work with bees, but with septic systems. But I tasted, and I swallowed... maybe as many as three times. And then I stopped. It was no help that the restaurant also happened to be swarming with flies, and this coupled with the smell of the thing, and it’s general appearance was far more than I could take. Would it have been different in a place with AAAAA designation? I’ll never know. "C'est mon premiere fois" I explained to the waitress when she looked distressed I hadn't finished it... "C'est bon" I followed with, when she appeared to turn away, which although it translates as "It's good" in usage actually means "I'm done." And boy, was I.
DRACY-CHALAS. At home at the farmhouse.
BEAUNE, Wednesday Market.
NUITS SAINT GEORGES – La Cabotte
AUTUN. Le Chapitre, dinner.
CHATEAUNEUF EN AUXOIS – Hostellerie du Château, Lunch
AVALLON, Hostelerie de la Poste, Lunch
BEAUNE, Ma Cuisine, encore
CHALON SUR SAONE, Le Concorde, 25 Place Beaune
JULIENAS, Fete de Julienas…
FLEURIE, Auberge Du Cep
We started with an Aperetif Beaujolais, which was brought to the table in a pitcher and pored table side. A combo of Beaujolais wine and heavy doses of cassis, chilled. It was delicious. I was going to say surprisingly delicious, but I’ve been known to drink red plonk chilled, and in fact, in humbler times, not quite so distant, our vin de jour was a gallon of Carlo Rossi Paisano (chianti) kept in the frigo and served that way. One day in our 18th Street apartment a dear friend stopped by with some French friends in tow (very un-New York-y of us, but we actually encouraged people to just drop in whenever they were in the neighborhood… only once in 12 years was this inconvenient, and it led to several impromptu parties) and with nothing else to offer but our chilled plonk even the hip Mademoiselle admitted it was “not disgusting”, which we all took as high praise. It was a lovely night. But I digress…. This chilled aperitif was soon accompanied by a small grilled ham and cheese (essentially) and a bowl of Soupe d’Epinards that was the essence of spinach, and both were quite delicious. Having popped out of the kitchen several times, reviewing reservations, and then approaching tables to take orders, Madame made her way next to us. I thought at first that she attended only the regulars but at least this night it seemed she collected every diners wishes. Noting that we had finished our Aperetif she immediately demanded a refill and this time the pitcher was left on the table. Despite her apparent devotion to black clothing more attuned to the mourner than the hipster, and her tinted glasses, she was in fact quite charming, and once our French passed muster, quite funny. When B-man asked for first Meurette d’Oeufs, cuit Mollet, sauce nu fonnée en sauce Beaujolais, and then some Boeuf in a red wine sauce Madame firmly said “Non”. This would be too similar for each of the courses. Instead she proposed going off menu and preparing for him a Chateaubriand ‘nature’ with some primeurs à coté. I started with Foie gras épices douces, en terrine, toast de pain de campagne and was reminded once again how buttery, subtle and delicious good foie gras can be and followed with Poulet Fermier aux morilles a la crème. While polishing it off I think I declared it one of the best things I had ever eaten. 160€ ( the tab for the Fleurie and the aperetifs was 55€ of this)
CHÉZERY-FORENS, Hôtel-Restaurant Blanc, Hotel-Restaurant du Commerce…
As we approach the restaurant that inspired this vista-filled but slightly scary voyage, the patriarch of the spot, and it turns out, an old school-days chum of our hosts, is out on the umbrella-filled terrasse nursing the stub of a cigarette and taking in a few minutes of sunshine in what had been a very grey day. He summons us to join him, orders a bottle of Rousette, and we all settle in for a lively chat and the treat of Cake aux Olives. The mountains tower over us, the faint sound of a rushing stream can be heard, and though it is very sunny for these few moments there is a damp chill in the air, but the company and the apero warm immeasurably. Inside, this charming auberge has a lovely dining room with a timbered ceiling, large fireplace and many floral and copper accoutrements. We are counseled briefly by our local friend and order, as her father does, “Les Trois!”, which in this place means not choosing between two of their plat specialties, but having both. We begin with another specialty of the maison, a Saucisson chaud (similar to a Lyonnaise sausage, with pistache), and salade verte and brioche on the side. Next up, and raised in the lake nearby fed by that stream behind the restaurant, Truite de notre vivier, au bleu ou meunière. Thanks to requests for each from the table had a chance to taste both preparations. So fresh, so delicate, so flavorful. Have never had better trout and don’t expect I ever will. This was followed by Poulet fermier aux morilles à la crème. You’d think I couldn’t really have this several days in a row… but this was subtly different than the one at Le Cep, and oh so good. It was brought to the table family style with large, deep platters and very plump bone-in breasts that had been halved. The whole business was swimming in oncteuse crème and covered with dozens of morels. There was enough to easily feed another two people, but I’m pretty sure we polished it off. My one regret, however, is that I allowed the accompanying copper pans filled with Gratin Dauphinois to leave the table with another portion still inside. I adore Gratin Dauphinois: I would order Old Shoe if it was the sole dish accompanied by this. I order it often. This was the best; the potatoes perfect, the correct hint of garlic, the cheese (most likely Comte, here) was delicious and the top appealingly browned and slightly crusty. Even after this robust repas, I’ve never been known to turn down an offering of fromage, especially fromages de pays. Here, that meant Comte (biensur), Morbier and Bleu de Gex, a cheese that was new to me and very different from the blues I was accustomed to. It was delicate and sweet, a pate closer to gouda than the customary crumbles of most blue. A few brave souls had dessert, and I may have had a bite, but just one. This was one of the finest meals of my life. Each dish seemed the perfect representation of its kind. A few bottles more of Rousette, and a Morgon for those that wanted red accompanied. We were guests so I didn’t see the bill, but the menu for “les trios” was 42€ each which included the cheese and dessert.
LACANCHE, Restaurant L’Auberge de Lacanche. Lunch.
FLAVIGNY-SUR-OZERAIN, La Grange. Lunch.
AUTUN, Le Relais des Urselines. Dinner.
GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, Chez Guy. Lunch.
BEAUNE, Le Gourmandin, Lunch.
BLIGNY SUR OUCHE, Chemin de Fer de la Vallee de’ l’Ouche, Degustation Train.
ARNAY-LE-DUC, Hotel Restaurant Terminus, Dinner.
BEAUNE, Dame Tartine, Lunch.
BEAUNE, Ma Cuisine, dinner.
PARIS, Café St. Regis, Ile Saint-Louis
PARIS, Bistrot Paul Bert
PARIS, Boulangerie des Deux Ponts
Every trip we make is greatly aided by this board and the generosity, sincerity and discerning palates of Les Hounds and we thank you.
Many threads on this topic, so search the boards. My partner and I have spent 7 years visiting Paris at this time so you could check my reports as well. Many options... bon voyage...