Seven Days of Meals in Paris:
A wrap up of a week in Paris, just before Christmas, with a lot of walking to work off the calories… we seemed to average 5 or 6 miles a day if the google maps are to be trusted….. this worked miraculously if the home scale is to be trusted ….
FIRST NIGHT IN PARIS
-Atelier Maitre Albert in the 5th near Quai de Tournelles (for dinner – had reserved)
Velouté de Potiron et champignons de saison
Jarret de Veau à la broche, Gratin d´épinards et champignons
A complete disappointment. I posted elsewhere on this in detail.
-Le Rostand, café in the 6th near the Luxembourg Gardens (to meet up with friends who had youngsters in tow, for lunch)
Soupe a la oignon
Tarte Poire Amande
A glass of Pouilly Fume.
All totally acceptable, in an agreeable location with friendly staff. The tart was actually the star. I plan to make one now that we’re home. Would go back if I was in the neighborhood.
-Café des Musees in the 3rd (for dinner, and seeking a gentler pinch on the wallet after the Maitre Albert let down. Had reserved but it didn’t much seem to matter.)
Bresse Chicken en coquette Noel
Pomme de terre Gratin that I sneaked bites of from my partner’s side dish.
Pichet de Cotes du Rhone.
Easy on the wallet, enough light to read small print (I didn’t need too) and friendly enough service. My chicken was a bit underdone… don’t mind saignant steak but not chicken, thanks. Soup was bit thin with little chunks of firm cauliflower… c+. But the gratin was tasty and wonderful.
-Au Bascou on Rue Reaumur in the 3rd (for lunch – reserved ahead – a good idea, it seems. Been trying to get here for a few years during our annual visits to Paris. Closed on weekends, and around the Christmas holidays, which is always when we’re here. )
Poellees de girolles sauté
Poule faisanne aux choux et foie gras
Petite chou avec gelato de chocolate
The girolles were delicious. The pheasant, on the most oncteuse bed of cabbage, mixed with lardon had a thin slice of foie gras to top it all off. The combination was very good. After the lunch rush (were they short staffed that day or do they always try to get by with two intensely skinny and speedy waiters) the affable chef popped round and said hello and was quite pleased we liked our lunch. Will definitely go back.
-Au Moulin a Vent in the 5th, near Institute du Monde Arabe (for dinner - reserved)
Frisee aux lardon et ouef mollet
Chateaubriand béarnaise maison
A bottle of St. Amour.
Hmmmm. What to say, except walking home I found myself wondering where the Obama Lift was… I mean…as an American in Paris in post-election 2008 I expected perhaps a slightly friendlier experience now that our country won’t be run by a complete dolt… not the least bit in evidence here, I’m afraid. Lovely room, friendly crowd. Our waiter: a condescending jerk. Here’s the deal – I’m a good boy and so is my partner. We reserve. We’re polite. We say hello and please and thank you – in French. We manage not to mangle the language too badly, though we’re far from fluent. So what’s the problem…if I wanted to read menus and order food in English I would stay home (or go hang out on the Champs Elysee!). Our waiter, this curly-haired smugster, immediately tried to force English menus on us and I politely said no thank you. Well, was he ever going to show us!!! For the rest of the evening he rattled at us in his most rapid French, even after one query he threw our way went completely past us and we asked politely, in French, if he would please repeat what he said more slowly. Twice as fast the second time around. In any language, one can tell when they are being treated contemptuously, even if it’s impossible to understand why…. Forget him: on to the food. Frisee au lardons, one of my hands down favorites salads, was not bad here, though a couple of pieces of lardon were bony or gristly – not my favorite sensation – but overall, pretty good. The Chateaubriand was perfect. The “famous potatoes” were very tasty. But when the food was gone we couldn’t wait to leave, though this became nearly impossible when he then chose to ignore us for 30 minutes… other waiters came to our rescue finally, and were quite nice… What a waste of an evening. I don’t think you could get me back.
-Restaurant Chartier in the 9th (for lunch, walked in: they never take reservations )
Celeri Remoulade and Saucisson sec et beurre shared between us.
Steak hache sauce poivre vert et frites.
Was glad to finally try this institution. Lively, crowded and fun, even if the food is very simple, though we also didn’t order the most ambitious meal either – but that seemed to be the way to go. Nothing memorable on the plate but still worth a visit if you’re in that neighborhood.
-Creperie Le Sarrasin et le Froment, Rue Saint Louis en L’Ille in the 4th (for an early dinner)
Verre du cidre
Down the street from our apartment. Fast in and out for dinner which we needed as we were on our way to the theatre and didn’t want to wait until 11 for supper. I love a good crepe complete: this one was fine in a pinch. If you’re in the neighb and craving a crepe. 2 other creperies on the street, and at least one more on the island. We’ll try the others next time.
-Dinner from the marché ……Woke up early and headed out the Marché Baudoyer to buy food for supper that evening with friends of friends. Always LOVE shopping at the markets. It was the last market before Christmas so everyone was in a festive mood. The vegetable stand was handing out free vin chaud and an interesting looking dark spicy cake. We opted for the vin.
A container of Celerie Remoulade; pre- roasted beets to make a salad (I’d always heard that one could buy pre-roasted beets on the street but never saw them before… it could be I didn’t know what I was looking at… these were black and wrinkly, as if they’d been thrown in the ashes, and maybe they had….) mache for the salad; a roasted chicken and little rounds of potato (melon baller?) that had been roasted on the bottom of the chicken rottisserie; a Flan biologique for dessert. All this was accompanied at dinner in our apartment that evening by:
Pate du Pintad avec Marron et Foie Gras
(from la Ferme Saint-Aubin, rue Saint Louis en L’Ille)
Bennenuts Cacahuetes (we’re crazy about them – why are they so good??? From the little supermarket across the street)
After dinner, a plateau du frommage from Christian Lannier at the ferme mentioned above: Cantal, Comte, Forum D’ambert, a Pyramide de Saint Pierre, and Chevre Fraise
With the flan we had Guimauve (marshmallows) de Pierre Marcolinni (divine) and a small scoop of glace de Pistrache from Berthillion, my now favorite flavor they make, with salty nuts offsetting the sweet cream.
All we had to do was heat up the potatoes and chicken (the bag the chicken was in had instructions in six languages, including leaving it in the bag in the oven to keep it moist) and dice up the beets and make a dressing. One of the best meals we had that week.
- Le Relais de L’Entrecote (for lunch, at the location in the 8th, there are 2 in the 6th)
Entrocote avec la Sauce Fameuse
Gateau Le Relais
Demi de Chateau de Saurs.
As many will know… it’s the only thing they serve. The only question they ask is how you want it cooked. We opt for saignant. They start you with a small salad of Frisse with walnuts and a light dressing. They bring out your beef, slice it up and give you half avec la sauce fameuse (green peppercorn sauce). This gets a generous helping of hot frites on the side. When you are done, they come back and give you the second half of the meat and a new heap of hot frites. It is very, very tasty. We usually go once each visit to Paris. Had Gateau Le Relais, don’t recall at all what it was but I’m sure we finished it…
-Tastevin on the Rue St. Louis en L’Ille in the 4th (for dinner, reserved. It’s very small – 12 tables.)
Salad haricots verts avec foie gras
A nice bottle of Mercurey.
We love this place. Madame Puisieux is warm and charming, the room cozy, and the food very good. It’s a bit pricey, nothing knocks your socks off (though the flaming steak with Thyme is pretty special) but it is all good and the ambiance perfect.
-Chez Georges in the 2nd, (for lunch. Walked in just when they opened at 12:15 (??) apologized profusely for not reserving and were seated.) Contrary to our experience earlier in the week, we were offered the English menus, refused them, and the waiter cheerfully said he’d be happy to help answer any questions we had on the French menu…(take THAT windmill!!)
Oeuf en Gelee, shared with
Salad de Lentil Tiede
Gateau du Maison (Flan, rhum, gateau)
A lively and charming place filled quickly with business folk, families and a few tourists. I think we were the only Americans (always a relief). The lentils were simple and yet complex and delicious. The oeuf very tasty. I gambled on the sole hoping (after the clogging list above) for something easier on the arteries, but the sole turned out to be poached and served swimming in a luscious Pouilly crème sauce. I ate every bit. As did the two guys next to us who ordered after seeing it on my plate. Would go back.
-Le Petit Pontoise (in the 5th, for dinner. Reserved, which turned out to be a good idea. Small place was packed.)
Millefeulle de chevre cendre et bettrave
Poulet Fermier and puree de la maison
A bottle of Saint Chinian rose.
The millefeulle was good, though the cendre were a new taste to me, but it worked well with the beets. The poulet was perfection. Delicious, rich, moist – very tasty. Would go back.
On the way back to the apartment on Ils Saint Louis stopped at Le Fleure en L’Ile and got a cornet de glaces (ice cream cone) of Berthillon, our new favorite flavor pistache, and one of Caramel Beurre Sale. We strolled the Quais around the island, our favorite activity whenever we’re in Paris, and started to plan next years’ trip.
As I was reading your post (and drooling with envy) I thought back to a place that kept giving us English menus as the waiter Au Moulin a Vent did with you. I was thinking that we should have just gotten up and left at that point since while the meal itself was good the atmosphere was not. I guess I will have to rethink that as a policy after reading about your dinner at Chez Georges. I have noted several places to add to our (growing) list of places for our next trip to Paris. Thanks.
Great write-up, Gman! Funny thing was that we walked past a Relais de l'Entrecote in the 6th on our recent trip and stopped so I take a picture because it was so Parisian! It looked lively and warm and welcoming, but we'd just eaten dinner. After reading your remarks, it's on my list for the next time.
(I tried to attach the photo here, but it didn't "take." Don't know what I did wrong...
Haven't been to either of the locations in the 6th, but have a friend who's been in Geneva (their only other outpost... so far). He concurred: pretty darn good. We tend to go slightly on the early side and watch the place fill up, and always leave through a line at the door. Bittman wrote a Times piece a few years ago about Steak Frites at various spots I want to try but I have a feeling this joint is staying on the list!
I hear ya... I think I started my list on the plane back... so many choices. Its why we felt bad about missing 2 dinners in a row ( crepes before theatre one night - thumbsdown, and Marche supper at home one night - thumbsup... but still - time is so short!! Oh for a month of lunches and suppers.....