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enofile's Profile

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Music in Restaurants

Okay, before I am roasted over the coals on this issue, I will try to explain my point of view.
1. I hate loud restaurants where you cannot hear your companions.
2. I also can't stand boring restaurants which are so "hushed," that you feel like whispering.
There is a happy medium, that provides a fun quotient even if you are dining by yourself. Dining is about having a good time and enjoying great food as part of the experience.
Last night, the Auberge du XV, had many empty seats. With the spacing of the tables and the formality of the decor, an atmosphere of ecclesiastic reverence developed. We were dining as a couple, and well aware of the American propensity for vocal bombastic expression, the two of us almost resorted to hand signals rather then disturb the monastic ambiance. While our veal chop was delicious and my soufflé wonderfully presented, I can't say we had a particularly good time. The chef is young, and our server was a twenty something dressed very casually, but their personalities were swallowed within the restaurants somber ambiance. My point about the Auberge du XV being more apropos to the 7th rather then the 13th, is that I see the 13th as a young, emerging arrondissement with an eclectic population, while the 7th strikes me as rather staid, representing the political and diplomatic essence of the neighborhood. The tone of our dining experience would be perfect if I was entertaining the most honorable ambassador to the Principality of Lichtenstein. My wife and I wanted some external energy last night. We did not want to feel like the spinster librarian was about to come over and shush us. Appropriate background music, perhaps Hubert Laws or Chopin, would have helped.

Oct 12, 2013
enofile in France

Music in Restaurants

Okay, I was going to wait for our return for a "public" review of our dining, but since you asked..........
The restaurant was Auberge du 15. I love the fact that it served Classic French dishes in the 13th and wanted to give them my support. The food was very good and the portions huge. However, while good, nothing was memorable. What will stick in my wavering recall is the ambiance and atmosphere. This was a restaurant that belonged in the tony and established 7th arrondissement. Once the decision was made to put it in the 13th, a different concept was in order. The decor was conservatively pleasant, but in a restaurant where the server and kitchen staff dress like they are working in a bowling alley, an atmosphere of hushed reverence is incongruous. Hey, everybody was nice and accommodating, but why did I have to feel I was eating at Tallivent when Ronald Reagen was president. The place doesn't fit the 13th arrondissement. It needs a sound track, noisy patrons and a convivial atmosphere. The food was good, but boy were we bored and we're old and withered. I can't imagine how folks who are actually cool would feel.

Oct 11, 2013
enofile in France

Music in Restaurants

We're in a Parisian restaurant that is so quiet, I feel like I am at a Maya Angelu recital. It is owned by a young couple, but it is too damn stuffy! Is piped in music a faux pas in France? It seems that might add the requisite amount of impetus to the energy level.

Oct 11, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

Nah, this is not drunk. I am a wonderful and engaging drunk. This malaise crosses the border into the world of a medical malady. (I like those Ms) It's almost like sea sickness and that just isn't fun.

Oct 09, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

I never drink "new world wines," since my palate likes musty, barnyard flavors. This adverse reaction to red wines began around the time I turned 60. I have tried organic, filtered, unfiltered etc. with no relief. My surprise is that I have heard this same complaint from other people in my age bracket. It is not only sad, but very odd indeed.

Oct 09, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

I can still knock back alcohol, especially vodka, with no problem. In fact, my hangovers are minimal in this advanced physical stage. It's red wine, in particular, that cause me, and some contemporaries of mine, issues such as headaches, nausea, fatigue & sometimes flushing.

Oct 09, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

That is a relief, both physically and financially. Have several of you noticed a physical difference with your consumption of wine, especially rouge, as you get older? I am searching for a corellation between age and tolerance for red wine. Merci

Oct 09, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

If I was searching for information on Euskadi, I would be in the Spanish forum not the area that focuses on France. Certainly, the Basque people live in both France and Spain and have atavistic cultural lineage in both countries. However, it is my belief that the center of the Basque universe lies in Spain today. I may be proven wrong on this trip and that will be worthwhile in itself. I am convinced that due to the actions of the Franco regime and repressive rulers before him, the Basque people who reside in Spain have bonded in a tribal and insular manner. This is certainly a byproduct of being an oppressed minority, sadly in this case, on their ancestral lands. This bonding has produced a culinary (cultural) tradition isolated from the prevailing cultural climate. Forced to cling to their language and customs in protective secrecy, the Spanish Basques rallied behind a thousand year history and drew their creative and artistic energy from thus singular identity. The Basque people living in France, while certainly having suffered also, have more kinship with France and much of their culinary (cultural) tradition is an amalgam of both peoples. This is what I think now. Hopefully, I will be set straight in about ten days. Take care.

Oct 08, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

Thanks for the warning! I will not drive 120 kph in a rental car. Hopefully, I will look like a perplexed foreigner and the drivers will take pity on me. It's one of the advantages of being in my sixties. Since we are fairly big eaters and most of our meals are lunches, we should have plenty of time for the pintxos bars.
A question for both Euskadi and Paris and this is ironic with the handle "Enofile:". In the past few years I have developed an allergy to wine. Yes I know, it's killing me. I always felt it was a faux pas not to order wine in a European restaurant. Is this a correct assumption? Is it more of a "slap in the face of culture" to leave most of the wine in the bottle at the end of a meal? My wife doesn't drink that much and I now am compelled to get my "buzz" from vodka before I eat out at restaurants with just a wine and beer license. Any suggestions my Chowhound experts?

Oct 08, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

I certainly should have a more erudite response once I visit and can discuss these issues with someone with a "living history" of the area. I can't wait for the discourse, the eating, and the drinking.

Oct 08, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

These are my restaurant choices. Unfortunately, Azurmendi was closed during my visit.
SAN SEBASTIÁN
FRIDAY 18
Dinner - ARZAK****************

SATURDAY 19
Lunch - ELKANO ?

SUNDAY 20
Lunch - ETXEBARRI *****************

BILBAO
MONDAY 21
Lunch - BOROA *******************

TUESDAY 22
Dinner - ETXANOBI ********************

Oct 08, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

Yes I do know that. I was a history teacher before I retired. The area of Euskadi that lies across the border in France has been much less volatile then the area in Spain which had to endure the myopic insensitivity of the Franco regime. The history of the Basque people is one of enduring pain and hardship. Perhaps that is why their cooking is filled with such heart and soul.

Oct 07, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

I did, but they emailed me after my phone conversation and said they would only serve to 9:30. Thus, my reservation at La Rotonde. Take care.

Oct 07, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

The final reckoning after a ludicrous amount of energy and time was spent, (I must admit I enjoyed it all immensely) is the following: (A follow up reaction and evaluation will follow on my return at the end of October, but of course it will be a byproduct of my unprofessional and "off key" taste and palate.)
FRIDAY night - L'Auberge du 15
Saturday night - Pirouette
Sunday lunch - Auxuria
Monday lunch - Jean-Francois Piege
Monday dinner - Le Regalade St-Honore
Tuesday dinner - Premices
Wednesday lunch - Takao Takano in Lyon
Wednesday dinner - La Rotonde
Thursday dinner - Spring
On return from Bilbao on Wednesday the 23rd, we are staying at the Hilton CDG, but plan to train into Gare du Nord and perhaps dine at Chez Michel.
I want to thank the Chowhound Parisian Cartel for all their help.
Enofile

Oct 07, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

Thanks, but I have booked Le 122 for dinner. The problem with the Lutetia stems from Le Paris being one of my favorite Parisian restaurants and Philippe Renard a favored chef. However, after years of patronizing his restaurant, I feel he has been off his game in the past few years and we have left disappointed and fantastic memories were flittered away.

Oct 04, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

I'm sorry. I may have been unfair. He just knows proper etiquette and has expectations that go beyond what I even know. I respect his knowledge and that he demands from others what is actually correct, rather then settling for what is given him. Most of us tend to follow rather then lead.
With that said, I have sent him menus from Les Climats, Le 122, Oudino, and Florimond. I was surprised to get such a negative response about Auguste, which Alec Lobrano touts very highly. Thanks again for the help and provocative insight.

Oct 03, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

John, These days I take whatever friendship comes my way. Getting old is difficult in many ways. One of the hardest things is making new friends. It was so damn easy in my youth - sports, college, jobs, clubs etc.

Oct 03, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

In addition to Les Climats and Le 122, what do you think of the following:
La Cigale Récamier
OUDINO
La Marlotte
Auguste
Les Botanistes
Florimond
Toyo

Thanks much

Oct 03, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

Thanks my Chowhound advisors. This one has me verklempt!

My friend needs a kitchen that can handle, " Turbot is fine, but I can't have onions in the sauce and please be sure no cream is in the potatoes Aligot. If the dessert has berries, the berries need to be red, not black.".
He doesn't mean to cause upheaval, but his migraines control his very being. I have to be very careful in my dining choice. In addition, noise and casual, haphazard service annoys his sensibilities. My friend is incensed when servers pick up plates of diners who are finished before every one else at the table is done with their plate. He has a strong sense of propriety and will stand by what is correct and will combat what is incorrect. Fortunately, his values are spot on.
Thus, good food, proper service, and a flexibile kitchen that is willing and capable of meeting his needs. THANK YOU!

Oct 03, 2013
enofile in France

I need your help again for a varied menu near the Lutetia. Yikes! This one is tough!

I just find out that a couple we haven't seen for years is going to be in Paris the last couple days of our trip. They are a rather patrician couple living the retired life in Carmel, California. Unfortunately, the husband has acquired a myriad of food allergies that lead to excruciating migraines. This might be their last trip to France, which is quite sad considering how much great food and wine we consumed in our younger years. They are staying at the Lutetia and we will be meeting them after we arrive from Lyon at 21:00. Thus, it would be great to find suitable dining within 20 to 30 minutes of the Lutetia. Initially, I suggested La Table d'Aki, but with a set menu in the evening, that wouldn't work with the changes involved due to his food allergies. I need a place that is comfortable, not loud or trendy, with good, but not heavy food, with the flexibility to alter recipes to meet our friend's needs. I know this is "Mission Impossible," but if the ChowHound Parisian cartel can't do it, no one can. Thanks again. ENOFILE

Oct 02, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

Cocktails at Closerie des Lilas and Rosebud are on our lists of "musts" when we are in Paris. It's interesting how our drinking venues have changed through the years. In the late eighties and early nineties, "The Moosehead" was our favorite. Now, it would cause unhealthy neurological palpitations that would confuse any physician.

Oct 02, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

John, and everyone else who had responded to my original post, thanks so much for all your sage advice. It is priceless and supersedes anything else out there that tries to give restaurant advice to the uninitiated. Although it will probably only happen in my next life, If I ever reach my goal of moving to Paris, you are all invited over for a glass of my 1994 Vintage Graham's port I have been saving for some damn occasion. This may also be tasted only in my next life. Thanks again.

Oct 01, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

Thanks so much. You need to write a book or start an app. No one seems to know about the plethora of restaurants you are familiar with. Bravo!

Oct 01, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

Parnassein,
L''Ordonnance and Bistro des Pingouins sound good. We love the area around Rue Daguerre, even though both tourists and Parisians look at us vacantly when we comment that the 14th is where we may choose to live down the road. It may be not the most salubrious, but with the markets and restaurants surrounding Daguerre, it has a charm all its own. Do you know anything about LES FILS DE LA FERME, WADJA, LE CORNICHON, L’EPICURISTE, LA MILOTTE? It was interesting to note that it is quite apparent from discussions on this post, that diners can set themselves up for failure without doing thorough research. For all of us tourists, I thank you Paris food aficionados and wish I could buy you all a glass of 1994 Port and toast to your endeavor and involvement on Chow.

Oct 01, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

However, whether or not that is the true meaning of the term, both media and the chefs themselves are using this term to describe a kind of casual restaurant where the cooking deconstructs the traditions with a more "modern" touch. I just don't see calves liver, roast chicken, cassoulet, boeuf bourguignon, bouillabaisse, etc. on their menus.

I do appreciate your apology as I'm sure Sandiasingh does if she/he ever reads it. That's what makes Forums difficult. Without verbal discourse, a tone can be misconstrued.

Sep 30, 2013
enofile in France
1

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

I have eaten at both El Bulli and Alinea and that has nothing to do with Sandlasingh's point. She/He does not enjoy the type of cooking that comes out of kitchens like WD 50, Atelier Crenn, Moto, etc. That is her right and what her palate tells her. She/He is not espousing the use of tough meat obviously. There is a condescension to your tone that is completely unnecessary. To favor traditional or classical cooking does not dismiss molecular gastronomy or innovative culinary skills. It is just declaring a preference. That is anyone's right in our world of enjoying food and wine.

Sep 30, 2013
enofile in France
2

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

What an amazing list and an incredible knowledge of Parisian dining! I know you only from posts on Chowhound, but you have a wealth of insight. I appreciate it. These type of restaurants, along with the classic Michelin starred dining that stirred my soul during those younger and fanciful years "back in the day," are the "HD" of my memories. Because of my lack of erudition, bistronomic comes across as a current trend to update traditional cooking with modern methodology, the use of farm to table produce. (which used to be the only available) and applying a creative touch to the preperation. By traditional, I simply mean basic, good French cooking, which I recall actually being in vogue in the late fifties at restaurants in NYC like Voison and Le Pavillion. I also recall eating at Le Francais outside of Chicago and Maisonette in Cincinnati,of all places, in the early nineties. Oh, I do not want to forget Palladin in Washington D.C. Somewhere along my culinary journey, I tired of creative and innovative cooking and yearned for big plates of hearty, well done food. I don't mind pretension, as long as it limits the expression to decor, service, and the pouring of wine. Often, what is scorned as pretension, used to be called elegance. We could use a bit more elegance around us today. I just don't want my food covered in pretension. To give you an idea of who I am: I walked out of Charlie Trotter's in Chicago announcing, "I did not want to be an experiment, I want to be a patron." I did pay my bill and left a worthwhile gratuity.
Wow, I need to exhale and get back to point. Your list is wonderful, but I only see one or two restaurants within a 30 minute walking distance of the upper rue d'Assas. Is there nothing you recommend in the 14th? By the way, the Troquet restaurants do not take reservations and in my advancing years, waiting for a table not only tests my patience, but causes numerous physical aches and pains.
Sorry for my long discourse, but I am verbose in the morning hours.

Sep 30, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

Thanks John,
Not to be repetitive, but your reviews force me to miss Paris too much. I don't know where you get the energy to dine out, write reviews that almost seem up to the minute, and advise and council on Chowhound. I am envious of your stamina.
Tourists obsessions with where to dine in Paris is a product of having such a short time to experience what you guys have outside your door every day. One mistake of choice seems catastrophic, because you are in a time crunch to enjoy what is unattainable back home. I apologize for all of us who must appear "wacked" to you Parisians. Just know we all wish we could trade places..........

I am still looking for a traditional or classic place within walking distance of the apartment I am renting at 72 rue d'Assas in the upper 6th. I am considering La Cuisine de Philippe, Florimond, Grande Ourse, Cobea, Epicuriste, Kigawa, Le Cornichon, L'Auberge du 15, and Oudino.

My established "tables" are arranged as such:
Les Tablettes
Auxuria
Le Regelade St. Honore
Premices
Takao Takano in Lyon
Spring

These are all just for dinner as lunches I have reserved for either spontaneity or giving our abdomens a rest.

The afternoon of Premices we will be stuffing ourselves with fromage courtesy of the inimitable Cheesemonger. Thanks to all of you for your help.

Sep 29, 2013
enofile in France

Sick Of Bistronomic- How About The Culinary Cocoon Of Tradition

Unfortunately, I only get to Paris once a year. With the proliferation of this "bistronomic" movement, young & gifted chefs are creating unique combinations that are often fascinating to eat. However, this innovative cooking is the vogue all over the world. Enhanced by shows like "Top Chef" and "Master Chef," I am concerned that the culinary world may lose its appreciation of traditional cooking. When I land in Paris, I begin salivating for the classics: Coq au Vin, Calves Liver, Cassoulet, Duck Confit etc. all of which are disappearing from restaurant menus in the States. I know I may come across a regressive and old fashioned, but I am being honest and I need the "salve" of French culinary tradition. With this in mind, I want to eat at places in Paris that still prepare the classics. I rather not spend a ton of money, or feel the need to "dress to the nines.". Where do you masters of Parisian food suggest I go? I have your bistronomic and creative suggestions. Do you have classic suggestions, without the minimalism of Asian or modern influences? Thanks much.

Sep 28, 2013
enofile in France

7 Days in Paris-5 Days in Euskadi-Tell me what you think-Be Brutal! Please

I know I am going to Spain. I am dumb, but not stupid. However, too much information can sometimes be confusing and can detract from the wonder of discovery. I fill up with advice for places I've been to and have moved on beyond the world of the typical tourist. In Euskadi, I will be a Basque virgin and I relish still being "flowered" about anything at my ripe age.

Sep 22, 2013
enofile in France