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Paris - Just Delicious, Just Disappointing, Just Like I Remembered

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JUST DELICIOUS

galette de pomme de terre @ Marché Biologique Raspail (Sunday only)
green zebra tomatoes @ Marché Président Wilson, Joël Thiébault Stand
bacon and shallot roll @ Le Bristol
onion gratinée @ L'Arpege
pain au chocolat @ Pierre Herme
chausson aux pommes @ Des Gâteaux et du Pain
jasmine green tea ice cream @ Christian Constant (chocolatier not restaurant chef)
pâte de fruit @ Jacques Genin
seaweed butter @ Le Cinq
pain au chocolat blanc @ Landemaine
croustillant de pied de cochon @ Le 122
poultry terrine @ La Regalade, Saint Honore
pain perdu @ Le Grenier à Pain, Rue St Charles
pain des Alpages @ eMayer
strawberry textures @ Guy Savoy
ptit jules @ Pain de Sucre
Bamboo @ Sadaharu Aoki
baguette Renaissance @ Arnaud Delmontel

JUST DISAPPOINTING

lobster sandwich @ Spring (Saturday only)
croissant @ BE Boulangepicier
moelleux aux amandes @ Seurre
croissant aux amandes @ Bourdaloue
grosses langoustines Bretonnes @ Ledoyen
pavé @ Michel Chaudun

JUST LIKE I REMEMBERED (GOOD)

pata negra @ Le Chateaubriand
cassis macaron @ Pierre Herme
sablés chocolat @ Pierre Herme
duck confit @ Chez Dumonet - Josephine
truffle nature @ La Maison du Chocolat

JUST LIKE I REMEMBERED (BAD)

punition @ Poilâne
pâte de fruit @ Hediard

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  1. Very interesting list. Infortiave and succinct. So many posters get so wordy that in the end I am lost as to whether they are saying something is good or bad, or maybe they have never been to the resto.

    1. I think the seaweed butter served at Le Cinq comes from Bordier. I get it up the street at Les Papilles Gourmandes and melt it on natto beans.

    2. Am curious about your last category. "JUST LIKE I REMEMBERED (BAD)": why this pilgrimage for bad food?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Parigi

      1. Thanks.
      2. I'm very much a statistician when it comes to food and I try to sample a good size before I draw any conclusions. For instance, I've been to Poilâne several times over the years (including the one in London) and just can't figure out why the punitions are so special. Ditto for Hediard, which I have always thought was famous for its pâte de fruit.

      1. re: hong_kong_foodie

        l like the shortbread cookies as they seem to be so un-uniform. They vary in thickness and doneness and are so nicely homemade.

    2. There is a pain au chocolat blanc in Paris and no one ever told me?!
      Thanks!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ptipois

        "There is a pain au chocolat blanc in Paris and no one ever told me?!"

        Ai ya, Sophie, Landemaine rocks. I have been committing ignoble infidelities with Landemaine behind the back of both Seurre and Delmontel.

        1. re: Parigi

          Parigi, if we are going to play true confessions, then I will add that I even prefer the baquette at Landemaine to the good ones from Delmontel just up the street. Perhaps it was you that steered me there.

          1. re: Laidback

            Confessions sanglantes indeed.

            1. re: Laidback

              Can I get and address for Landemaine please?

              1. re: plafield

                OK. found it on another post: 26, rue des Martyrs, between Delmontel and Seurre Paris 9e. Thanks.

          2. re: Ptipois

            The pain au chocolat blanc is very different from the standard pain au chocolat. It's crusty and chewy like a baguette, not soft and fluffy like a croissant, and the chocolat blanc is a lot more subtle.

          3. Hey man, that post is terrific.
            Do some more like that.

            1. Just curious what was so bad about the pavé @ Michel Chaudun, always thought those were great.

              4 Replies
              1. re: f2dat06

                Seriously, I've never met a MC pavé I didn't like! I wonder if hongkongfoodie wasn't having interference from sensory overload with all of the field testing going?! ;-)

                1. re: tortoiseshell

                  I thought the MC pavé was good too--just not better than the truffles at La Maison. I am particularly impressed by how the truffles at La Maison are so intense but clean without much aftertaste.

                  I had the expectation that the pavé would be better since Michel Chaudun was the head chocolatier at La Maison many years ago, which made think he (1) knows the secret behind making a good truffle and (2) has figured out a way to improve it now that he's on his own.

                  1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                    The thing that is impressive to me about the truffles at LMDC is how very very thin the chocolate coating is that encases the truffle, they are truly good.

                    The only place where I have had better was way back when Hiramatsu first opened when it was on Ille St Louis, they served a house made truffle as part of the mignardises that was better. Maybe they still do serve them but I have not been since they relocated a few years ago.

                  2. re: tortoiseshell

                    Chaudun is my favorite chocolatier, but his pavés are my least favorite of his creations. I just find them too bland, and I miss the outer coating.

                2. Agree with Parigi here - great post and I love how you break it down by dish as well. But why the trip to try something bad - giving it a 2nd chance at redemption?

                  1. nice post!

                    1. Butter is Bordier at Le Cinc as Parigi alluded and l am eating it now on a Grenier du Pain ficelle and the zebra tomatoes are actually called kumatos if we are talking about the same thing. Large ping pong ball size, round with green color and slight red stripes, very firm like the best roma imaginable.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        We loved the seaweed butter at Le Cinq. Any chance Bordier is sold in the US?

                        1. re: DaisyM

                          Not a shot, raw milk. Sometimes that is a smuggle item.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            That could be interesting...butter in my pocket.

                            1. re: parisdreamer

                              <butter in my pocket.>

                              ...messy! ;-O

                      2. useful resources

                        1. Nice list! You're from San Francisco, n'est pas? Funny that we are nearly crossing paths in Paris.
                          La Regalade: nice terrine, too bad they overcooked my supreme de poulet.
                          Spring: thanks to your lobster rolls, I had a fantastic lunch there with lobster broth bathing a woodsy cepe, braised daikon, venison "stew". Amazing meal from start to finish. As a San Francisco resident, not sure I'd rush back when in Paris--only because this is an American chef doing food that to me is top shelf Californian style with French ingredients, but I loved the set menu and wine pairings they offered by the glass. Turns out the exact wine I was considering as a bottle to match the food was available by the glass for that day. Also liked that they have a bar with 2 seats that faces the open kitchen, ideal for the single diner.

                          If you're still around, La Cagouille served up pitch-perfect fresh seafood for three of us--every dish was fantastic, service totally charming, and they operate their own cave a Cognac. Amuse bouche of coques, cooked to the point of tender perfection with a butter mousse were stunning, I might go back for lunch today just for those.

                          Edited to add: you can probably stop abusing yourself at Poilane. The worst bread I've had in France came from them, though the flan was a stunning testament to careful execution, good eggs and good cream. Too precious, though I must say they were at least polite and helpful.

                          19 Replies
                          1. re: SteveG

                            Thanks for the recommendations but we're actually on the other side of the world now eating our way through Japan. I'll have to give La Cagouille a try when I'm back in Paris next Spring.

                            Speaking of which, I found the lobster roll at Spring disappointing not because it wasn't good but because I expected something impressionable and better than what I could find elsewhere. Instead, I got something that was again good but inferior (and more pricey) than my benchmark (which, for those of you familiar with San Francisco, is the lobster roll at the Lobster Shack in Redwood City).

                            1. re: SteveG

                              "Poilane. The worst bread I've had in France came from them" :) Way back on usenet I used to get flamed for insisting that Acme, as delivered to SF outlets, was way, way superior to Poilane as found throughout Paris.

                              1. re: mangeur

                                The problem is that you find different Poilane's in Paris. Much of it is sliced pre-packed in plastic bags and of varying degrees of freshness. It is a bread that "lasts" so can be sold a few days old. Often this isn't great bread!

                                However, a whole quarter of a loaf, fresh from one of the Poliane bakeries is quite a different thing. I like it with soft squishy cheese or toasted with scrambled eggs. That said I wouldn't choose it for a bacon sandwich or with my jam for breakfast. Different breads have different purposes, I don't think any one bread is ubiquitous.

                                1. re: PhilD

                                  Great point, could not understand SteveG's serious dislike for Poilane until l read your post. When l buy it, l always buy from the one of the two Poilane stores and think while not the best loaf in town, it has always made me happy.

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Nope, I bought directly from the Poilane store near Sevres. I didn't buy part of a big loaf--I just bought a small bread roll for a snack, and it was awful--flavorless, with a chewy thick crust. I'm really not exaggerating that it was the worst bread I ate on the 2 week trip. If I expand my sample size to include the rolls United serves on their airplanes, then it was second-worst.

                                    By the by, do you know what's up with Epoisse cheese in France? Even at Quatrehomme, their Epoisse was the same pasteurized brand I can buy in San Francisco, in a small format. Where are the bigger real Epoisses?

                                    1. re: SteveG

                                      We buy raw milk Epoisse at Ferme de St.Hubert on rue Rochechouart. I believe they are from Fromagerie Gaugry just south of Dijon.

                                      1. re: mangeur

                                        I bought a raw milk Époisses (no doubt from Gaugry) at Dubois' Maubert Mutualité shop a few months ago.

                                      2. re: SteveG

                                        Yes, his rolls suck. His miche is what he is justly famous for, try them next. Mangeur has it spot on, Jean Gaugry from near Dijon has the only raw milk Epoisses left. Caving to EU pressure, cannot blame him, he now sells a lot more than previously, Berthault is all thermolysized now, both in US and at his factory in Epoisses. The third manufacturer is pasteurized. They come in three sizes as far as l know. The so called trou de crue, a takeoff on the french word for a--hole about the size of a donut hole, the normal 250 gm, and a coupe of about a kilo and a half. Have heard of a 125 gm but have not seen it.

                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                          About Berthault: I don't think going pasteurized alone is what has made his business grow. He has fantastic distributors--I couldn't possibly count how many places I've seen it in San Francisco, and I saw it all over in France too. I think the new formulation is close enough to Brie that it translates well for the American consumer ready to step up from "common" cheeses, after reading about an amazing cheese called Epoisse. Am I wrong to be so dismissive? I haven't had it in several years, but it was disappointing enough that I have sworn off pasteurized Epoisse.

                                        2. re: SteveG

                                          It seems a little unfair to to write off Poliane when you didn't try the bread it is famous for i.e. it isn't a famous bakery per se, instead it is a bakery famous for one particular style of bread. As DCM says this is the "Miche" or the big round dark sour dough loaf that weighs in at about 2kg. This is the one to try as this is what the reputation is based upon.

                                          1. re: PhilD

                                            You bring up a good point, one that applies to most of our discussions here. We originally bought the quarter unsliced loaf at the Cherche Midi shop. We didn't like it. This says nothing about the loaf and everything about our bread preferences. His levain is a singular bread, not for every taste nor for every use.

                                            Another of your points upthread is that his bread is trotted out all over town for every purpose and in all conditions, much of it having little to do with the fresh loaf at his shops.

                                            1. re: mangeur

                                              Although I rely on Poilane bread which is available in most Paris superettes now, I do not like it very much and would rather have other brands like Moisan or visit excellent boulangers like Grégoire, rue Lacépède, or Bosson, boulevard Blanqui, etc.

                                              It is not only that I do not crave Poilâne miche, I am also suspicious of it. I think its keeping qualities are very low for a sourdough bread. It dries up much too fast. The equivalent products at Eric Kayser or Moisan have much better keeping qualities as levain bread should.

                                              It is interesting to note that there was a schism within the Maison Poilâne some years ago and now there are two Poilânes, run by one of Lionel's sons if I remember well. Lionel has shops in the 15e mainly, including one near the Parc Georges Brassens. I actually think Max's bread is the better of the two.

                                              1. re: Ptipois

                                                Ptipois - I would agree. I suspect the pre-packaged supermarket version is factory produced whilst the big segments from the whole loaves are shop baked. I usually found the shop bought ones lasted longer than the pre-sliced ones. That said it is still a good choice when doing the weekly shop and you don't want to head of to Cherche-Midi or pop out before breakfast to buy fresh baguettes.

                                                1. re: Ptipois

                                                  I really like Poilane bread -- I guess I'm the only one. But a tartine Poilane with salted butter, or with a tomato rubbed over it and drizzled w/ olive oil... heavenly to me. And I like the rolls, too, especially the petit pain aux noix -- I eat one every morning for breakfast. I also think they have the best viennoiserie within spitting distance of my apartment. Chacun son gout -- that's the beauty of this board, n'est-ce pas?

                                                  I did want to clarify a few pieces of misinformation here: Lionel Poilane died in 2002 in a tragic helicopter accident. His only child, a daughter, Appollonia, who was very young at the time of the crash, now runs the bread empire. Max Poilane is Lionel's brother.

                                                  1. re: Cookingthebooks

                                                    I don't dislike Poilane bread, but I have only had it from a Poilane shop. I don't think it is as good as it was when Lionel was alive, though. Even then, I preferred Poujouran's bread (when he was selling retail).

                                                  2. re: Ptipois

                                                    FWIW http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz...

                                                2. re: PhilD

                                                  OK, if I happen to be in the neighborhood maybe I'll pick up a country loaf. Honestly though--I won't go out of my way. There is too much good food elsewhere to waste time on a place that would sell the roll I bought there. Stressing about only purchasing a single product from a world-renowned bakery and avoiding the other landmines it sells is not my idea of fun.

                                                  1. re: SteveG

                                                    Stick to Acme levain. ;)

                                                    1. re: mangeur

                                                      (We agree -- Acme is excellent; for 15+ years it's been our standard bread.) PS: Nice title of this thread.