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Kauai Trip

Hello everyone! I am finally back from my trip and thank you for your help. I will report over the course of a few posts.

Our first meal was at JOSSELIN'S. Wonderful first meal! My parents and sister each had one of the three sangrias from the sangria cart - lychee, classic, and pomegranate. The lychee was the most liked around the table, although the classic was also very good. We ordered the deconstructed ahi roll (cute, nice presentation over dry ice; not the best dish of the night, but still very good), salt and pepper crispy octopus (nice, crispy, but could have stood to be a little crispier; great octopus though!), rock shrimp tempura (same presentation as ahi roll; delicious crispy rock shrimp over rice and avocado with a mayo sauce in between; wish it had been bigger!), hoisin braised short rib (not quite as tender as it should have been, a little stringy, but nice flavor), slow-cooked butterfish (delicious fish, impeccably cooked, beautiful and luscious and buttery texture, umami-rich miso glaze on the outside, lovely!), 36-hour braised pork belly (rich, unctuous, falling apart, lovely texture; loved the pear kimchi!), another dish I can't remember, and then we split the profiteroles for dessert. We had nice service and just thoroughly enjoyed our dinner, even with a few small missteps with a couple of the dishes.

The next morning, we went to RED SALT for breakfast. We LOVED breakfast here, and ended up going three times over the course of our seven days there. We had a fantastic server, Aejin, who took amazing care of us. All of the servers at Red Salt were great. Friendly, professional, made us feel at home! The first day, we ordered two benedicts (amazing, amazing! Perfectly poached eggs, great chive hollandaise!), wonderful three egg omelet with the works, and my macadamia nut waffle with nutmeg spiced chantilly, maple syrup, and coconut syrup. The waffle was fantastic, one of the better waffles I have had. Coffee was good and the complimentary basket of mini muffins with spiced butter were way too addictive. The setting is bright, relaxed, and beautiful, with a nice view of the Koa Kea Resort pool and a hint of the beach a few more steps away. Highly recommend this. The next few times, I ordered the mac nut waffles and also the mac nut chocolate pancakes. The pancakes were good, but not as great as the waffles. We also tried the steak and eggs, but it was not worth the three dollar mark up from the rest of the breakfast dishes. The food on Kauai is expensive, but this was one of the better values and some of the best quality food (we also returned for dinner, report to come).

More to come!

Apr 02, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Hawaii
1

Kauai Trip

Thanks so much! Was the environment at Roy's negative/ugly or was it just a non-beach setting?

Thanks also for the recommendation to rent a car. That's a good call.

Mar 24, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Hawaii

Kauai Trip

Good to know! Thanks so much for your information! Chinese roasted pork belly is a favorite of mine.

Mar 24, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Hawaii

Kauai Trip

Thanks so much, kathryn! You're always so helpful on the Manhattan board. Nice to see you here!

The pictures are very helpful. Did you personally enjoy breakfast at Red Salt or Living Waters better? Which was a better experience overall?

My parents aren't super active. If I had to choose two or three things to do/see, do you have a top three?

Do Savage Shrimp, Koloa, and Puka Dog have indoor or outdoor seating or is it all take-out to eat wherever you can find a place outdoors?

Tortilla Republic sounds fun. Did you do the taqueria or the grill?

Thanks so much again!

Mar 24, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Hawaii

Kauai Trip

Hello Hawaii Chowhounders!

I am headed to Kauai in a few days for work, and also for a trip with my parents and sister for a week. We are excited to have a few days together as a family which are much too far and few between these days....

We are hoping to get around the island a bit, but will probably want to stay closer to the Grand Hyatt in Poipu most of the time, and especially for meals.

So far, we have our first dinner planned at Josselin's for a celebratory meal to congratulate my sister on a recent piece of good news! After that, we have a list of possibilities for dinner on other days. My sister will only be with us for two more evenings. We are considering (on the higher end) Red Salt, Merriman's, and Roy's. Maybe Donderos, but it seems silly to have Italian in Hawaii when we have so much good Italian in New York city, where my sister and I live. We are also considering Tortilla Republic, which I've heard quite a few things about. I've heard so many mixed things on Red Salt, Merriman's, and Roy's that I have a hard time knowing which one would be the best. Thoughts? On the more casual end for dinner, we were thinking of doing drinks and appetizers at the Beach House and then heading to dinner someplace more casual. Ideas? We were also considering doing happy hour drinks and happy hour small plates dinner at Keoki's. Can anyone tell me what that might be like? Is there a better place for this kind of casual meal? Any other thoughts on casual dinners? Something one couldn't find easily outside of Kauai would be welcome, but not necessary.

As for lunches, we have Koloa Fish Market, Puka Dog, Savage Shrimp, maybe Hamura's Saimin (do they use MSG? We are very allergic....), etc. Any other ideas for casual lunches or recommendations on what to get at these places would be great!

As for breakfasts, we are staying at the Grand Hyatt. Every breakfast option there looks expensive and/or boring. We were considering Red Salt for a slightly more reasonable and more interesting breakfast. What is the breakfast at Living Waters like? Any good pastries nearby?

Which restaurants or eateries, other than the Beach House, have the best views? We are in Hawaii after all. It would be a shame to miss something with a great view. If we can get great food while we are at it, that sounds just about perfect.

Is it necessary to rent a car or should we give the bus system a shot? How do people get around without renting a car?

Thank you so much for your help! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the many Kauai reports on this board and I will report back!

Mar 23, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Hawaii

Best eclairs and Napoleon in Manhattan

I really like the caramel eclair at La Maison du Chocolat. I don't like their chocolate or coffee one as well, but the caramel is truly exquisite. Sometimes they sell out and I think one or two days a week, they are unavailable, but every time I've called ahead, they've offered to put one on hold for me to pick up.

Jan 27, 2014
j.jessica.lee in Manhattan

Where to find great pumpkin pie?

Yura on Madison makes a great pumpkin pie. The crust is crisp and flaky and buttery, the pumpkin filling is to my liking being just set and just custardy enough. Great, full pumpkin flavor and balanced spiciness. You should call ahead of time to make sure they have it that day. I went on a similar pumpkin pie search last year, and they were by far my favorites. Their blueberry pie is also good, but the pumpkin is exceptional IMO.

Nov 15, 2013
j.jessica.lee in Manhattan

Epicerie Boulud

One thing I adore at Epicerie Boulud is the tarte du jour. Usually made with nectarines or plums. It's pricey at $6.50 a wedge (they cut it differently - sometimes a wedge, sometimes a rectangle), but totally worth it. Some days are better than others, but most of the time it is absolutely fantastic. The pastry is thick, yet usually has a beautifully browned, crispy, and caramelized bottom crust. They braid the edges, which makes for a lovely contrast in textures. And the fruit! The fruit is simply divine. Big, juicy wedges of fruit, soft but not mushy, light but copious amounts of glaze, and pistachios. The last time I got it (a week and a half ago), the fruit was thinly sliced instead of in big wedges, and I think it suffered as a result, but it was still delicious. The juice from the fruit soaks into the top half of the bottom pastry to create this buttery, fruity mash atop the crispy, flakiness of the very bottom. It is a stellar pastry. I don't adore any of the other pastries (some are pretty good, some are okay IMHO), but this one is worth making the trip for.

Nov 13, 2013
j.jessica.lee in Manhattan

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

So glad to hear it. I was extra encouraged to go to Limeuil the first day from your previous praise of that wonderful town.

Oct 26, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

Thanks, John! Coming from you, this is an especially appreciated compliment.

Oct 26, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

DAY SIX
We woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Bordeaux. Returned the car, got to the train station, tried a Baillardreau canele (sadly soggy and lackluster), and got serviceable pastries from PAUL - pain au chocolat, croissant, and tartelette rhubarbe.

Once we returned to Paris and checked into our hotel, we headed out to grab a quick, late afternoon snack at CUISINE DE BAR. We got our usual. We split a lunch formule with a salad (we did soup last trip, but it was cold then!), tartine sardines, along with mineral water and coffee. Perfect, light, yet fulfilling midday snack.

We went to the Jardin des Tuileries to see the modern art expo of art outside in the garden, and then back to the Louvre to discover some other sections of the museum yet unexplored. As we were leaving through the Carrousel, we happened upon the other part of the modern art expo - a showroom of art from many artists who were there. It was fascinating, some things ridiculous, some things lovely, and a few things breathtaking. We thoroughly enjoyed this. It's going on tomorrow if anyone wants to take a gander.

We then headed down to Censier-Daubenton metro stop and went at last to CARL MARLETTI to try some pastries. We got a pistachio religieuse and a choux chantilly praline. The praline was wonderful, not too sweet. The religious was, for my taste, a tad too sweet. I would certainly try some other things there. The semi-rainy weather today also did not help the choux pastry.

From there, we sauntered on the Rue Mouffetard and ooooohed and ahhhhhhed over almost everything there. We made a semi-pact to rent an apartment next time, so as to purchase goods and cook. It's a little torturous to see all these things and just BROWSE. Maddening, really!

We then meandered over to AU BON COIN for dinner, and it was a delightful meal. We would gladly return any time. Both of us ordered the three course 29E dinner formula. DH got the split pea soup with bacon and bone marrow toast. I got the raw marinated salmon with spinach salad. The soup was not too rich and seasoned just right (not too salty). The crispy slab of bacon was pleasant and the bone marrow toast was the perfect, decadent accoutrement. My salmon was gorgeous. The flesh was so silky and smooth, the right amount of marinating, and it was a huge portion! I had to give half of it away.

Our main dishes were filet of beef (a perfect medium rare as requested) with seared foie gras and roasted baby potatoes for DH, and a roasted poularde with pumpkin puree and brussels sprouts for me. Both meats were cooked just right, wonderful and uncomplicated sauces. The pumpkin puree was smooth and buttery, and the brussels sprouts were the right, autumnal accompaniment to the dish. Both plates were wiped clean. And I mean WIPED. The dishwasher would have been pleased with us.

For dessert, I got the moelleux au chocolat with vanilla ice cream and DH got the Mont Blanc. The mont blanc was the piece de resistance. A huge round of meringue, vanilla ice cream in the middle, and floofs and floofs of beautiful whipped cream speckled with vanilla bean, with chestnut puree sliding down all sides. It was heaven. My moelleux was wonderful, very dark, just barely sweet like I like it, but it couldn't hold a candle to the towering and HUGE HUGE HUGE Mont Blanc. I guess if you're going to call it a Mont Blanc, it had better be towering. Emilie helped us a lot, and was so friendly and warm and welcoming. She really knew her wine list and helped us choose a wine that would be somewhat of something we generally liked, while guiding us to explore a region we didn't know much about. She is a gem. What a great place. If we lived in Paris, this would be in our regular rotation. I don't think someone who is coming for one spectacular, blowout meal in Paris should seek this out, but for something that seems quintessentially Parisian (I also heard maybe one other couple speak English), and maybe sprinkled in with other "destination" meals, this would be perfect. We had a great evening.

Oct 26, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

DAY FIVE

We started the day off again with a leisurely breakfast in our room.  On my way back from my run, I had also purchased a chocolate custard baton as well as a fine looking chausson aux pommes from the local boulangerie, you know, for research.  The chausson was a shockingly fine specimen, one of the better ones we had.  Lovely, shattering pastry with a good butter flavor, as well as ample amounts of nice apple filling inside.  A real winner. 

For lunch, we returned to Limeuil, and sat outside at a local cafe and shared a small salad and an assiette gourmand that included, of cours, foie gras, pate campagnarde, cured duck breast (really good), a lovely pork confit, and a greens and local walnut salad.  Great way to laze away the afternoon while watching children and dogs run around the edge of the river.  

Dinner was at Vieux Logis in what they call the gastronomic restaurant.  I had heard nothing but raves all around, and boy were my expectations met and exceeded.  It was a special tapas gourmand menu all night, with amuses bouches, three starters, two mains, a cheese course, and three desserts.  A cocktail, mineral water, two wines (both Bordeaux, white and red, both excellent), coffee and tea all included for 85E.  We felt a little like we had robbed them after we finished dinner!  To begin, we went outside and sat on the lovely, mild evening, at one of the tables in the courtyard under the gorgeous linden trees.  I started with a coupe of champagne, and DH had the cocktail of the evening, which was rum, pear, and lime, far too sweet.  The amuses were raw salmon marinated in walnut oil and topped with salmon roe and a beautiful paste that I cannot remember; fried Jerusalem artichoke chips; chestnut and foie gras fritters (nuggets of pure sensuality, omg....).  We made our way inside, to the bright, welcoming, comfortable dining room.  They brought three types of bread: a walnut roll (very full of walnut flavor), a multigrain, and a white.  All good, but not exceptional, they were served with Bordier butter.  They started us off with a beautifully fragrant, yet delicate and refined white Bordeaux.  I never thought I liked white Bordeaux until now. It was served with our three starters and the fish course.  

We began with Foie Gras cuit dans un bouillon vanille, pommes, et voile de caramel.  It had a beautiul and delicate caramel cylinder speckled with vanilla beans.  Beautiful dish.  Then onto, Les Champignons du Pays, juste saisis, creme fouettee et sable a la poudre de cepes.  Gorgeous mushrooms, meaty yet tender, rich sauce, and the thin sable on top was so savory and buttery and flaky.  Really great dish, almost too rich.  Then we finished our starters with Les Escargots de la Ferme du Queylon with oeufs de caille poches and ecume de tourain blanchi.  This was one of our favorite courses.  The escargots were absolutely perfectly cooked, so tender, and the tourain was rife with the beautiful fragrance of garlic, not overpowering in the least, but sweet and refreshing.  The sweet garlic chips on top and the crunchy, thin bread pieces just brought everything together.  

The fish course was Le Maigre et les Coquillages with fenouil croquant et beurre aux algues.  Another beautiful dish, the fish was actually processed and made into a poached mousse of sorts, a thin disc, that was topped with the fennel and topped with a foam, clams, a scallop, mussels, and some sort of sea creature I did not know the name for.  It was in a pool of seaweed butter.  Close your eyes, and you could instantly imagine that you were in a restaurant right by the sea.  The flavor was so intensely of the ocean in the best possible way.  

For the rest of the meal, they served a Bordeaux superieur which was also lovely, but not as bewitching as the white, quite a statement from me, as I almost always prefer red.  

The meat course was another favorite contender.  La Poularde with la cuisse a la truffe noire et en Boudin with quelques legumes d'automne en pot au feu.  Beautifully cooked poularde with black truffle, nicely rendered skin on the outside.  A cute, short, fat little sausage with it, very delicate and not salty at all.  The vegetables a la pot au feu were also cooked as they should be and rife with flavor.  Absolutely gorgeous dish, I could have eaten this all night.  

The cheese course may have been my favorite, but it is hard to say and I will stop trying to figure out my favorite.  It is pointless.  It was La Forme de Montbrison en chantilly with confiture de figues et baba.  There was a piec of blue cheese in this beautiful and savory cream alongside a baba in walnut liqueur surrounded by the most luscious fig preserves I have ever had.  Eyes rolling in the back of our heads, we were afraid we would never be able to see again.  Absolute magic, this dish.

The three desserts were also wonderful.  As a palate cleanser of sorts, the first was Pourquoi Pas with pomme et le celeri.  It was thin slices of apple, apple and celery sorbet, an apple and celery gelee, small pieces of celery and meringue.  Refreshing and bright.  The next was La Poire et l'Orange with a sphere sucree.  Lovely for the eyes when it arrived, once you cracked the sugar sphere, you found inside pieces of orange and poached pear along with a thick cream of sorts and a sable cookie on the bottom.  Perhaps DH's favorite course of the night.  So much was happening.  Refreshing fruit, rich sable and cream, texture of the sugar, the fun element, the aesthetic element.  Amazing.  The last proper dessert was Releves avec un peu de gingembre with le chocolat et la banane.  It was feuilletine topped with a banana puree and unbelievably smooth and dark chocolate ganache on top.  Pieces of banana and candied ginger were speckled about it and on it.  Nice and decadent.  To come with our heady yet refreshing fresh mint tea, they brought out a plank of very smooth milk chocolate topped with whole hazelnuts and a caramelized Carambar tuile (second time in two days! Which came first??).  

As I said, both of us were in awe of this steal.  85E for perhaps one of my best meals in France that came with everything included?  This is an experience I would gladly repeat again today if I could, but sadly, it will have to wait until next time, and a next time there certainly will be.  I strongly urge anyone considering this area of France to make a reservation at Le Vieux Logis in their "gastronomic restaurant". 

Oct 26, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

Thank you for your well wishes!

Is the "Va" by any chance VIRGINIA?

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

That sounds wonderful! I agree with you - the Dordogne is fast becoming one of my favorite places in the world!

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

We wanted the counter seats, and I even requested them in my reservation, but they were already taken.... It wasn't you, was it?! ;)

You get an entire BASKET of madeleines? I would take the whole thing and run out of there! The flavor this time was rather herbaceous and darker. I would say definitely not lemon, but perhaps ginger made it in there. I suppose it really doesn't matter. They were just plain delicious. As long as I can have another one, I don't care what they're made of!

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

Ugh! If only we had known we could ask for more madeleines. I am still dreaming of them. In fact, I want some right now....

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

I think you would adore the Dordogne. You should try to get down here next time! As for Camont, it is about 5.5 hours from here. I'll have to get to her next time! Sounds wonderful!

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

DAY FOUR
We woke up and went on a beautiful, misty run through Tremolat. We ordered a simple breakfast to our room, very lovely, though pricey. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, coffee, plain yogurt, mini croissant, mini pain au chocolat, mini pain aux raisins, toast, mini baguette, butter, apricot jam, fig jam, honey. All very well done, very satisfying, and the priceless part is that we got to sit in our robes, sunlight streaming in the windows of our room, birds chirping, enjoying the spread in our beautiful room. Can't beat that.

We spent the day driving around the area. We first went to Sarlat, just to walk around. We visited here and there, and bought some local walnut oil at the covered market. It was nice to walk around, but I prefer the smaller towns, and can imagine how Sarlat could be even unpleasant during peak tourist season. Afterwards, we made our way to find Domaine de la Rhonie for lunch. It was quite a trek to try and find it. We even gave up at one point and were plotting our course for Beyrac, when we happened upon it! But alas, they are closed for lunch. Very sad. We made our way to Beynac - we'd seen it as we went over to Sarlat and decided it was so charming we needed to stop on the way back - and had a quick sandwich and salad at a shop there. It was better than it needed to be, and certainly got the job done. Beautiful town, Beynac. Breathtaking. From there, we made our way to the Jardin de Marqueyssac, which was a lovely stroll. More than the actual garden itself, it was most stunning to see the river and the view from the sides and from the Belvedere viewpoint at the top. The continuous beauty of this area almost makes me want to close my eyes and say STOP!, because it gives me a sad sort of ache to imagine that I have to leave. There's a part of me that can't actually believe that such a place can exist. It feels like I've stepped inside an imaginary land.

We had ice cream cones at the end of our stroll in the Jardin, at the tea house. I had the marron and he had the miel. They were made by an artisan in the area and they were lovely, especially at 1.90E a scoop. We want to go back just to have more. I want to try the noix now!

We returned, exhausted, but happy. After an hour or so of rest, we headed out just a few kilometers from the hotel to LES TRUFFIERES, a ferme auberge in the area. It is off a small dirt road and is in the home of Yannick, our gracious host and owner of the auberge. As it is the off-season, only one other party was there, a party of three British ex-pats who now live in the area. He greeted us with a glass of house kir, and a warm welcome. There are all sorts of knick-knacks in the dining room, but while you may think it seems kitschy or tacky, there was a sense of charm to it, especially with the fire in the fireplace. A carafe of house Bergerac was placed on our table along with some water, and the meal began with Touraine of the region, a hearty garlic soup with duck fat and bread within. It was followed by the hands-down, very best foie gras of my life. It is made in house and was all at once fresh, just gamey enough, rich and buttery yet flavorful, unbelievable. We just stared at each other in amazement. Nice hearty slice for each of us, along with dried, cured duck breast and cherry compote from the Pays Basque. Beautiful. I would have left happy after this. It was served with a semi-sweet white wine from the region. The next course was a salad from their garden with pork and lentils on the side. The salad was fresh, with cucumbers, peppers, grapes, four types of delicious herbs, large capers, and cubes of strong goat cheese from the region. The lentil and pork salad was also lovely. After this, the main course of grilled duck breast with confit potatoes and grilled vegetables. Wonderful duck, nicely rendered skin, a little more cooked than I usually like, but delicious nonetheless. The potatoes were addictive, coated in duck fat and garlic and salt. The vegetables were nice and peppery, a bit spicy even. After this, Yannick sat down with us and helped us plot out several itineraries for tomorrow. He is such a friendly man, really made all of us feel right at home. He made himself understood, lowering his French to a level that I could understand and converse with him in. Cheese course next! A local sheep cheese, very funky and interesting, and another sheep cheese in the style of Reblochon, creamy, slightly funky, wonderful, served with grapes. At last, dessert. It was a creme caramel with a caramelized sugar tuile served with our choice of coffee or tea. All this for a measly sum of 30E. It was wonderful and we highly recommend the whole experience for anyone visiting Tremolat.

Oct 24, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

I really wanted to order the lamb shoulder, but DH wanted to try two different things. As I've never had hare royale before and as it is wild game season, I was okay with trying that. Need to get that lamb one day....

No pre-dessert? What?! It was one of the best parts of the meal for me!

Oct 23, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

Hmmm, I can't remember exactly. I think it was albacore. All I can say is that it was divine, supremely tender, and melted away in the mouth.

Oct 23, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

DAY THREE
Woke up early to check out and catch our train to Bordeaux. Got to the station, dropped off DH to watch our bags, and hoofed it to DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN for my beloved pastries - pain au chocolat, croissant, mini kouglof, and a small slice of jam and almond loaf cake. Everything was divine. We had them on the train along with some Bordier yogurt with Rousillon peaches. I have said everything I have to say about those amazing flaky pastries. They have spoiled me for life.

We skipped lunch and just snacked on leftover comte vieux from our dinner at Saturne, along with a beautiful Reine de Reinette apple we got at La Grande Epicerie.

The drive to Tremolat was stunning, especially the last bit of it, and we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the land. We adore Le Vieux Logis (Parigi, they have the sign with the "Le"! What is that supposed to mean?). The grounds and house are full of character and we loved exploring all the different rooms this afternoon. We also drove over to nearby Limeuil and were absolutely enchanted by it. It's really impossible for me to describe. All I can say is that the magic of the place envelops you as soon as you lay eyes on it. It is better than the best fantasy that one could have about such a place. At least that is how it was for me.

We returned, rested, and headed out the door to the Bistro associated with our hotel, BISTRO DE LA PLACE (formerly known as BISTRO D'EN FACE). A casual, quaint place, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here. We got a half bottle of Chateau Haut Segottes St. Emilion Grand Cru 2009 and it was very lovely and very fairly priced. They brought out a basket of fine but forgettable bread with a small pot of a wonderful duck rillette of the house. DH got foie gras to start, which came with a small frisee salad, fig jam, and toast. Beautiful, fresh, buttery, and smooth, just as good as the one we had at Chez Josephine Dumonet back in April. I skipped a starter in lieu of having a cheese plate later. For our mains, DH got the pot au feu canard with vegetables, and I got the magret canard roti with cepes. The pot au feu was a confit duck leg accompanied by perfectly cooked carrots, celeriac, leek, potato, and a creamy herb sauce - absolutely delicious, the vegetables stood out along with the uber-rich and flavorful duck leg. My duck breast was lovely, a little more cooked than I like it optimally, but it was still tender and full of ducky goodness. The mushrooms that accompanied it rocked. I cannot get enough of mushroom season and am so glad I am here right now. They also came with big frites fried in duck fat. Enough said. The cheese plate was a local cheese cured in some kind of walnut something - not very memorable. Too much walnut flavor in the rind and too little flavor in the actual cheese. The young comte was very nice and especially fun to experience next to the extra vieux one we had just experienced at Saturne. There was also a baked goat cheese atop toast which was very pleasing indeed. For dessert, DH got the moelleux noisette, which came with a lovely vanilla chantilly cream and vanilla ice cream. The cake itself was a bit dry, but it was so full of hazelnut flavor that I didn't mind too much. I got the fine apple tart with ice cream that takes 40 minutes to bake. It was thin pastry with thinly sliced apples on top. The crust was aggressively caramelized and the top was also rife with caramel flavor. It was divine. We seriously considered ordering another right away, but couldn't bring ourselves to, 1) face the shame of ordering a third (though that would not have been the first time; things fully acceptable for us in the U.S. somehow seem a tad embarrassing here....), and 2) wait forty minutes before flopping into bed!

All in all, it was a wonderful meal. We have reservations for the gastronomic restaurant here on Friday and are considering trying LES TRUFFIERES in Tremolat tomorrow night. Anyone have experiences here? We do not want to drive after dinner, so are looking to stay in town. If not Truffieres, I guess we will just have to go back to the Bistro. Poor us.

Oct 23, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

DAY TWO
Began with a run in the Jardin du Luxembourg as usual. Beautiful and mild day, loved seeing the golden and rust hues of the turning leaves. My first real autumn in Europe!

We started with breakfast at BREAD AND ROSES. Cappuccino, café allongé, pain au chocolat, and scone preparée that came with whipped cream, butter, and strawberry jam (6.40E). The pain au chocolat was just fine, but the scone was quite nice, coming out warm, and lovely with all the accoutrements. Des Gateaux et du Pain is getting a long-awaited visit tomorrow, cannot wait!

Lunch was at LE CINQ. We got the three course lunch menu for 110E. The cold hors d'oeuvres were fried olives, parmesan crisp, and raw salmon with a sauce that I have forgotten. The warm hors d'oeuvres were a lobster mousse with delightful, finely chopped pickled vegetables, a layer of brioche and fruit inside; poached shrimp atop granny smith apple; fried shrimp head with lime zest - loved the pop of lime. We got one of each entrée. Veal tartare with oyster cream, fried oyster, melange of vegetables, and mustard ice cream. Light, fresh, zippy. Foie gras ravioli with cèpes and vegetables in a beef and chicken consommé - beautiful texture of foie gras, the ravioli skin was a bit too limpid for my personal taste, but the consommé was clean, soothing, yet deep in flavor. For plats, we got the John Dory with lemongrass, beautifully poached squid, baby octoous, and seasonal vegetables. I did not want a whole plate of veal kidneys, so they substituted in the hare royale for me with confit apples, redcurrants, a truly marvelous and decadent mushroom ravioli, cube bacon, and a confit shallot. This was ultra rich, almost overwhelming in flavor, but absolutely perfect with the slightly tart apples. The pre dessert was exquisite, very very memorable. It was yogurt custard with grapefruit gelée, rosé champagne and grapefruit sorbet, and tiny meringue crumbles. It was swoonworthy, one of my favorites of the meal. My dessert was a sphere of yogurt that was frozen with pineapple inside - wonderful! It came atop smoking dry ice, and alongside a drippingly moist, frostedpain de genes. He had a gianduja dessert with gianduja mousse atop feuilletine and some sort of delicious cream on top. We left no survivors there, nor on the dessert trolley. A lovely lunch, wonderful service, great room, you cannot ask for better.

We got a forgettable snack in the 11th on our way to L'International to see a new band play. We are now packing for our early trip down to Bordeaux and the Dordogne. Parigi, you are right, leave out the "Le". Oops! Good to know! We cannot wait to be there and welcome ANY recommendations for places close to Trémolat (less than 30 minute drive, ideally) for dinner on Thursday. Also, anyone been to the bakery in Trémolat or have any breakfast recommendations in the very nearby area?

Oct 22, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

We are here!

DAY ONE
We arrived at our hotel just after 1, and after showering and getting settled, we were starving. In the interest of trying something new to us, we went for a quick bite to BREAD AND ROSES, very close by. A very cute, bright, open space right by the Jardin du Luxembourg, we split a gorgeous looking individual, round quiche with leeks, asparagus, and fresh goat cheese (18 or so E) that came with a small and beautiful salad. We also split an order of their grand toast, which came with beurre Echiré and strawberry jam (5E). The quiche was lovely, rich and satisfying, yet still light and the perfect amiunt of custardy, like the best chawanmushi. The vegetables were cooked nicely. The salad was full of interesting greens and dressed the right amount for me. The toast was like an oatmeal bread, cut about 2 inches thick. Nice and fluffy, we enjoyed having good bread after our semi wedding diet, lol!

We stopped by PIERRE HERME to pick up a Christine Ferber jam and ended up getting a white truffle and hazelnut macaron as well as a cinnamon pistachio. Both were the better ones I have had from that shop.

Dinner was at SATURNE. 60E 6 course, plus 16E comte extra vieux 31 months. We went with wines by the glass, very interesting. Overall, the meal was outstanding. I was not expecting such a reaction. The only miss was our first course of radish and foie gras with quince paste. Did not understand it at all. Nothing seemed to work together. The second course was white tuna with oysters and figs. This was a knockout. The figs were peeled and the crunch of the seeds inside along with the slight sweetness complemented the high quality white tuna beautifully. The oyster was the best I have ever had. A real masterpiece. The next was monkfish with tri color carrots, carrot puree, and mussel foam, another home run. The monkfish was textbook, so meaty and fleshy and substantial, yet delicate and light and flavorful. Amazing. The carrots and mussel foam were also beautiful. The last savory was roasted veal with black trumpet mushrooms, smoked eel. The veal was sadly overcooked, but the dish was really good as a whole other than that. The comte was incredible. Deluca was right, dont miss this. They even bagged up the rest of it (it was a lot) for us. Thinly shaved, it melted like leaves of intense flavor in our mouths. I could have eaten just that all night. It will be nice with breakfast tomorrow. :) First dessert was corn puree with popcorn, raspberries, raspberry coulis, and raspberry sorbet, light and refreshing and interesting. The last course was possibly one of the top three desserts of my life. I am usually not a huge fan of composed desserts, but this was a masterpiece. Pumpkin puree, chocolate ganache, crunchy chocolate, shaved dark chocolate, toasted pumpkin seeds, and hay ice cream. Unbelievable, I really have no words for this. It was mind blowing. They brought out thes beautifully moist, caramelized madeleines at the end. The waiter said they were thyme honey madeleines, but I think there were other special ingredients. Anyone know? The noise level in front room was not a problem at all (we had 8pm res), but i could see how it might. Service from one waiter was not very nice, but the rest of them were lovely, especially one of the waitresses. What stood out to me was that fact that there was so much flavor and richness of flavor in each dish, yet it was at the same time very light. After cleaning every plate, we were comfortable at the end.

Ok, we are exhausted after the wedding weekend and traveling right after. To bed! Will report again tomorrow!

Oct 21, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Paris and the Dordogne in late October

Hello again. I was just in France on my "honeymoon" back in April and had a fantastic time, as many of you know. We took that trip in between my fiance's jobs, not knowing whether his new boss would be able to give him a honeymoon after our real wedding (which is in a week!). She very generously did, and we have (a little sheepishly) decided to return to France. We were a bit chagrined and embarrassed at first, but ultimately decided that on our honeymoon, we didn't want to have to work hard to adjust and wonder if we would have a good time. So with full confidence and gusto, here we are again! How lucky are we?

MONDAY
We arrive at 11AM. Probably catch a quick lunch and some pastry in the afternoon. We are meeting friends that evening for dinner and are considering either returning to Josephine Chez Dumonet (I know, we did this last time, but that bourguignon....) or trying Chez Denise. The part of me that likes to cling to the familiar and tried and true wants to go back to JCD, but I also like being adventurous. It's hard being me. Imagine what goes on in my head. Any thoughts and personal opinions?

TUESDAY
We have booked lunch at Le Cinq. I've been twice already, but he has never been. Am still on the fence as to whether I should pick someplace new for both of us, like Pierre Gagnaire, but this is a song that is sung over and over again on this board. I will not ask.

For dinner, we'll probably abstain or else have something very light. If we're ambitious, we may split a galette at our favorite Le Pot O Lait.

WEDNESDAY
We head down to the Dordogne. TGV to Bordeaux, pick up our car, perhaps lunch in Bordeaux or the vicinity - considering La Tupina, Le Petit Commerce - and then off to Tremolat. We are staying at Le Vieux Logis and having dinner at Bistrot de la Place (formerly known as Bistrot d'en Face), the casual bistro there.

THURSDAY
No concrete plans. Anyone been to the bakery in Tremolat? How are their pastries? We are hoping NOT to have to pay the $25 for breakfast at the hotel.... Hoping to see Lascaux caves, maybe the jardin de Marqueyssac (sp?), and Sarlat, maybe Perigueux. Dinner suggestions?

FRIDAY
Same deal as Thursday, except we have dinner reservations at the main restaurant at Le Vieux Logis. Very excited.

SATURDAY
Head back to Paris. Don't quite know what we are going to do food-wise. Thinking of Terroir Parisien, Chez Denise (if we don't do it on our first day), Au Bon Coin, Lazare, L'Auberge du 15, Rino, Les Climats... Outside of Terroir Parisien and Chez Denise, I wasn't able to get a wide feeling for these restaurants. They just seemed interesting. Can anyone give me personal preferences on these?

SUNDAY
Our last day.... Dinner is booked at Axuria. Anything to make sure to order? Very much looking forward.

We are making Des Gateaux et du Pains our pastry base for breakfasts (except for our first morning, Tuesday, when they are closed....). We also plan to return to Le Rubis as it was a favorite of my fiance last time. We also hope to finally make it to Carl Marletti. Any other pastry (and other!) suggestions would be very, very welcome.

Thank you again. You guys are ze best.

Oct 11, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

My pleasure. Glad to know you enjoyed the reports. Don't even talk about weight gain - it was hard to maintain some semblance of acceptability with all the deliciousness surrounding us at every turn. :)

May 03, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

Alright! Thanks for the info. Drooling already.

May 03, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

Thanks, Parigi. I'm glad to be able to return some part of the favor that I received from all the France Chowhounders, particularly you and a few other regulars on the board.

May 03, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

Yes, I do, and have made crepes/galettes many times. It's just that I want to learn how to make them as wonderfully as they do at Le Pot O Lait! :)

May 03, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

I think I found the cheese I was looking for - Pouligny St. Pierre. Anyone know where I can find it in New York? PLEASE??

May 02, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France

Our trip report, piece by piece

So I think my favorite galette batter/dough is at Le Pot O Lait. As I described in my last post, I like that it is crispy, yet full of buckwheat flavor. There is a bit of chew/bite to it, yet crispy, sufficiently buttery (but not overly so, as at Le Petit Josselin, or not quite buttery enough, as at WCG). I found the batter/dough at WCG to be a little too light, but maybe it was only that day. I did love the atmosphere there and also at Le Petit Josselin. Regrettably, Le Pot O Lait is lacking in that department. The fillings at LPJ are pretty sad - canned mushrooms in the galette, blech! But still a fun time, and tasty nonetheless. Breizh, IMO, was pretty good, but I found everything a little bland. Plus, I was not personally a fan of the vibe/scene there. I think, however, that many others may like it. This is all very subjective! After five crepe/galette meals on this trip, though, I did come to the conclusion that the simple galettes are the best medium through which to taste the dough. All of these places have good to excellent batter, so it's a great way to experience it, much like one can more fully appreciate a great pizza dough and oven with a simpler and more sparing application of toppings. Regardless, I would be in heaven to have ANY of these places in my neighborhood at home!

May 02, 2013
j.jessica.lee in France