Paris Report - Day by Day
Thank you all for your help the past few months in helping me plan my trip to Paris! I just got here this afternoon and have hit the ground running. I'll just post little reports as I go along and if you have any other suggestions, please chime in.
First, I tried two financiers from Kayser - pistache et chocolat. They were so rich and buttery and chock full of flavor. I liked that they were not too sweet. And a little went a long way. Great.
Jacques Genin: I got the chocolat praline millefeuille, mango caramel, pistachio caramel, and they included a passionfruit pate a fruit. I was bowled over by the pate a fruit - the flavor was so intense, yet not too sweet as many pate a fruit tend to be. The caramels were to die for. I especially loved the pistachio one. They're pricey little babies, but definitely worth it. I want to go back and try the nougat. The millefeuille was wonderful - I think I went in with exorbitant expectations so was not quite as bowled over as I thought I'd be, but that is one amazing pate feuillete. I've definitely never tasted anything quite as flaky.
Boulangerie Julien: I tried the demi-baguette and the pain au chocolat. I went later in the day, so maybe that explains the slightly stale PAC and also the slightly soggy baguette. That being said, I tried to also judge it on flavor and I wasn't overwhelmed.
However, then I went down the street to....
Gosselin: I got the demi-baguette there and it was amazing. The crust was still just lovely and the flavor of the bread was unlike anything I've tried. It really was rich and sweet and just the slightest bit tangy. It was truly a miraculous combination of three ingredients. Wow.
Finally, I went to Christian Constant for ice cream. Yes. I am crazy. I got two scoops - one of praline and one of lait d'amande. Holy holy. The flavor was out of this world. Both of them. I loved that it wasn't too sweet. The almonds and the praline were still nice and crunchy, beautiful toasty flavor. I had to wait a few minutes to let the ice cream come to the correct temperature, but it was beautifully creamy but not overwhelmingly rich. Now I need to go to Pozzetto and try gelato. I cannot imagine that Berthillon can be better than CC. They also had vanille, mint sorbet, and two other fruit sorbets. Do they ever have chocolate? I'd love to try that....
Up for tomorrow is lunch at Ledoyen. After today's feasting, I think I will keep breakfast limited to coffee and dinner to the market.
I'm having trouble with Saturday dinner. I am supposed to meet a friend for dinner and she doesn't want to go somewhere too loud. Unfortunately, the three places I was considering, Chez L'Ami Jean, Josephine Chez Dumonet, and La Regalade St. Honore may not work. JCD and LRSH are closed on Saturday and I'm worried that CLJ will be too loud. If we go around 7 will it be quieter? Otherwise, do you have any suggestions?
Yesterday morning I managed to score a 7pm reservation at Chez L'Ami Jean. It was a really wonderful meal. I took your advice and ordered a la carte. My friend and I shared an entree of homard bleu with huile de noisette, parmesan mousseline (I think), and some kind of green herb oil. There were bits of toasted hazelnut all throughout. It was fantastic. Lobster cooked so well and the sauce was creamy and divine with the bits of hazelnut adding wonderful texture. We mopped up every last bit of sauce with the bread.
We shared the cote de boeuf for two (which I think is more like for FOUR!) with girolles, yellow wax beans, and sundried tomatoes (I wish there had been a few more of those). It came with the super buttery potato puree. It was delicious, wonderful flavor of the beef. We asked for medium-rare and I wish I'd asked for rare.
I wish I could go back one more time, but I'm afraid the wallet won't let me do so. Next time! When I return in December.... A stunning meal! The tables really are very close together, though! You weren't kidding about "elbow to elbow"!
Today, I went in the morning to La Patisserie des Reves and to Jean Millet for breakfast treats and afternoon treats. I got the pain au chocolat amandes and a regular croissant at Millet and at Reves, I got the chausson aux pommes, Paris Brest, and the gateau chocolat grand cru. Beginning with breakfast, I really did not like the pain au chocolat amandes from Millet. It was far too sweet and the almond-esque gel on top of the croissant was really strange. The croissant, however, was really great. It was cooked dark, much like the croissants at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I think I like them that way. But the interior was fluffy and stretchy and lovely. I really enjoyed this. The chausson aux pommes was also great. I do wish, however, that instead of a puree of apple inside, that there had been chunks or slices of apple.
The Paris Brest had, as many of you have said, wonderful cream. It was really great and I especially liked the plop of praline inside the cream. The chocolat grand cru was really "what dreams are made of". WOW, what a miracle. They didn't have the moka when I went - now I'm really curious to try that. But I'm afraid I'm running out of days and I still haven't tried the St. Honore or the eclair from Jacques Genin and that is priority number 1 for Tuesday.
Yesterday morning, I also tried a pain au chocolat amande from Eric Kayser which was just okay. It was also too sweet for my taste. However, I tried his pistachio apricot tart (which I've already had before) and the tart Monge, which has a fresh cream topped with berries and gel. Both are FANTASTIC. The fresh cream on the Monge is the perfect level of sweetness and so rich yet light at the same time. The crust is also great! I also had a small fig roll that was to die for! I'm definitely going to return to get more of their fruit bread and also try their walnut bread. This was truly truly fantastic.
I also went to Gilles Verot. Unfortunately, they don't start selling the Cochon until October. So I got fromage de tete and pate de grandmere. I like the pate better, but really enjoyed both.
I also tried a chocolate mint macaron from Pain de Sucre. It was really good! My favorite macaron of all time is the pistache from Laduree, but I haven't had it again yet on this trip. We also tried the sesame macaron and yuzu macaron from Aoki. Really lovely, especially the sesame. I need to try the black sesame eclair before I leave as well.
I also want to try Pozzetto before I leave, but am not sure I have enough stomach space or time. Is it something that would be a real shame to leave out this trip? Or should I just suck it up and go all in? :)
Thanks for review, just got in this AM and ate at Chez Denise for lunch. Morue Auvergnate, warm chicken liver pate, and steak tartare for the two of us with a bottle of house brouilly. Great way to start trip. Now back to bread. Both Julien and Gosselin are within two blocks of lunch restaurant so bought a baguette tradition from both and took them home and tried them within an hour as well as later. Still do not understand Gosselin, soft, little chew almost bendable while Julien, asked and got noir example, damn near took my caps off. Great perfect chew almost no center, just holes. Guess we can agree to disagree.
We can do better than that. You don't get Gosselin because you're a crust guy. That is also why you like your bread well cooked -- you like the crisp and you like the flavours in it. Gosselin is all about the way the inside is like butter or cream, and the crust is very thin, barely crunchy. That also explains why you'd prefer the bread from Du Pain et des Idées to, say, Kayser's or BE's.
I just had to add that the food was really and truly exquisite. It was beautiful. It was more than excellent food. It was artistry. Okay, I'll stop gushing now. :)
Now what is going to stand up to this??? I still haven't decided whether I can handle Chez L'Ami Jean or Le Petrelle tomorrow... Maybe I'll just go to Pot o Lait for crepes for dinner.
As expected, both CLJ and Le Petrelle are booked up tomorrow evening. Is there any chance I might be able to get a table if I try calling again tomorrow morning? I made a reservation at Pot o Lait though.
How about a place that does an excellent plateau de fruits de mer? Any suggestions there?
I forgot to mention that I also tried going to Seurre this morning. I went there and asked for the pain au chocolat amande and they didn't have it. :( So I got the pain au chocolat. It was good, but not the best I've tried. I'll keep searching. I really liked one that I got at Gerard Mulot a few years back and also the pain au chocolat pistache from Laduree. Perhaps I should try Jean Millet? Kayser?
I had lunch today at Ledoyen. What an incredible meal this was.... It was truly amazing and I was in heaven for a few hours.
Of course, we started off with the normal hors d'oeuvres. A meringue with Japanese lemon cream, a gelee of ginger and Campari, a spring roll of vegetables with poppyseeds on top, and something with raspberry that I forgot. And of course the polenta chips and the squid ink chips. They were all nice. I have to admit, though, that personally, I enjoy the hors d'oeuvres at Eleven Madison Park more, but that's my own taste and opinion.
The amuse bouche was a tartare of dorade with mango and pineapple, perfectly cooked squid on top, fried and crispy onions. Very delicate and refreshing.
The bread was incredible. I had all three - the pain aux cereales (buttery, soft, rich in flavor, yet a gorgeous crust on the outside), pain aux olives (amazing crust, soft buttery interior, just amazing), and the tiny baguette. I ate only a bite of the baguette and then polished off the other two and embarrassingly enough, got one more of each of them and polished those off as well. It was probably a mistake, but it was so good. The butter (from Bretagne) was also great.
For my first course, I had foie gras with passionfruit gelee and coffee biscuit. At first, the foie was a bit too cold and I didn't enjoy it as much. But then as the foie came more to room temperature, the dish just came alive and the marriage of the flavors and textures was intoxicating.
The main course was the ris de veau with a cream and truffle sauce and small girolles. This dish rocked my world. It was absolutely divine and maybe one of the top three dishes of my lifetime. Perhaps even the best dish of my life so far. The sweetbreads were crisp on the exterior and the interior was cooked perfectly. Moist, rich, and juicy. And the FLAVOR was more than words can describe. It was truly truly intoxicating. The sauce and girolles were the perfect accompaniment. Every bite resulted in eyes rolling to the back of my head. I forgot the names of the two wines I tried, but have them written down somewhere. One white Burgundy and one red. The red was a Volnay, I think. Beautiful, beautiful wines. I was on cloud 99.
The cheeses were too good to pass up. I tried six of them. Unfortunately, no Bernard Antony Comte, but they were still all amazing. I had two kinds of goat, a 24 month Comte, Brie de Meaux (!!!!), and two others I can't remember. The brie and comte were standouts and that nut and raisin bread that came with it was just perfect. I could have made a meal out of that. I wish I could buy it and take it home.
The dessert was a thin mocha cake, soaked in espresso and liqueur, a layer of caramel beurre sale ice cream, covered in meringue and torched. Unbelievable!! Heavenly.
I was asking so many questions that my waiter asked if I'd like to meet Chef LeSquer. I was speechless! So I met him and spoke with him a bit. He was so gracious, so nice, so funny and quirky. I liked him very much. It seems as if he has a good sense of humor. And he was nice enough to indulge me in a picture as well.
Then the mignardises. Oh my. Another gelee with red cassis, a white chocolate covered raspberry gelee/cake, a mocha meringue with coffee gel, and a tuile of caramel beurre sale with a toasted hazelnut inside. Very nice, but not up to the standards of the rest of the meal, much like the hors d'oeuvres, IMHO.
And for the grand finale, the famous kouign amann with the caramelized almonds, pistachio and almond nougat and chocolates with nuts inside (almonds or hazelnuts?). The chocolate was very intense and not too sweet. I wish I could have taken them home as I was so full that I couldn't fully appreciate them. The nougat was also amazing. But the kouign amann was too incredible not to finish. I ate the whole thing and it was overwhelming. Wow. WOW! Buttery, flaky, crispy, caramelized, melt in your mouth yet with the great texture of the outside. And the flavor! That is some amazing butter that goes into making that pastry. It was heavenly. I also wish I could have that at home....
A few minutes after I finished though, I got the feeling that you get when you drink too much alcohol. All of a sudden it hit me in a big wave and I almost could not move. I ordered a taxi, went back to my room, and passed out for an hour. What an experience. Thank you to all of you who recommended this to me. I cannot imagine that dining can get more amazing than this, but I guess it can, from some of the descriptions of dinners others of you have had here and elsewhere. Any suggestions for the next fine dining experience in Paris for me?
Julien-As far as l remember, they only sell the traditional baguette in full size, the demi is regular and the lesser of the two by far.They are baked every 2 hours or so
J Genin-When you return try their Hot Chocolate with the millefeuille. While not quite the lost lamented Steiger-Constantin one, it is still memorable and as you know l could do the seating there everyday.
Berthillon-Try the passion fruit sorbet and reglisse (liquorice)
CLJ-Yes quieter at 7, but a zoo soon after, for me worth it. Getting to Paris Monday late, CLJ on Tuesday lunch.
I made sure to get the demi tradition - perhaps they gave me the wrong one? Hmmmm....
Okay, will try for CLJ at 7 on Saturday. I hope my friend doesn't get too mad about the zoo and rushing.
Thanks for the recs!
Will visit fromagerie tomorrow for light dinner fare. Cantin or Dubois? And where is Dubois exactly? Also, Gilles Verot - what to get? Cochon de Tete aux Pied?
If I choose tomorrow to try either the Poilane bread (traditional or nut/fruit one) or a nut/fruit from Kayser, what would you say?
Also, any last minute tips on Ledoyen lunch? Am so excited I can barely imagine falling asleep!! Have saved up for this for months and months! :D
l am a huge fan of Dubois, not so much of Cantin. Dubois has two locations, one is at Maubert-Mutualite metro on side away from Seine on R St Germain
Get the old comte, it is a wow. His other place, the original, is at Dupleix metro, 10 feet off the corner on R Lourmel. Also the other Poilane outlet is 200 yards away from that metro as well.
If you get the bread from Kayser get a quarter of his round one called a tourtre and compare to the Poilane miche loaf. both are wonderful.Make sure you get Poilane's sugar cookies as well.
When at Ledoyen last year got the best piece of foie de veau ever, ever, ever. While the place is a little tired and tawdry we had lunch next to a Japanese woman, slim and lovely in a kimono who exuded such pleasure, it made our lunch better. Remember they charge for each bottle of water. That added 55 euros for our lunch last year.
"l am a huge fan of Dubois, not so much of Cantin. Dubois has two locations, one is at Maubert-Mutualite metro on side away from Seine on R St Germain
Get the old comte, it is a wow. His other place, the original, is at Dupleix metro, 10 feet off the corner on R Lourmel. Also the other Poilane outlet is 200 yards away from that metro as well."
Will I find the most aged comte at MM, which is an easy run for me, or do I need to schlep to Lourmel for the really good stuff?