Review of Trip: Paris »» Tours »» Bordeaux »» Toulouse
I just returned from my honeymoon driving from Paris and ultimately ending up in Barcelona. I used these boards extensively in figuring out where to eat and where to find food related fun, so I felt obligated to return the favor to the best of my ability. The trip went as follows, with little day trips here and there (I include the "sites" visited, some were great some were terrible, which I'm not going to post about here but will answer questions if anyone asks):
Paris - 4 days (Louvre, Eiffel Tour, Versailles, Notre Dame)
Tours - 1 night (Joan of Arc stuff in Orléans, Fontevraud Abbey)
Bordeaux - 2 days (Saint Emilion and surrounding area)
Toulouse - 2 days (Marché Victor Hugo, Albi and surrounding area, Carcassonne)
Girona - 2 days
Barcelona - 4 days
The days in Spain will be covered in a separate thread in the Spain forum.
Cafe Constant (near Eiffel Tour): Excellent meal and polite and expedient service in near fluent English. Two entrees, two plats, 50cl of wine, 1 coke, and 1 mineral water for 85€. Entrees: the best terrine of foie that we had on the entire trip, and we ate a lot of foie; and a very good tartare of oyster, salmon, and sea bass. Plats: duck and potato pie was very good, although the the separate duck leg and thigh it was served with was slightly mushy and a little bland; face, tongue, and brain of veal was excellently cooked and served with very simple but delicious boiled potatoes. Wine was very good and fairly cheap.
Juveniles (near Louvre): Very disappointing for lunch. Ratatouille was like a cold tomato and vegetable pasta sauce. Gazpacho was refreshing but very very light and fairly boring. The charcuterie plate was two types of meat of good quality, but nothing better than what is available of in the States. Good glass of cheap white wine, which is exactly what I asked for. Service was effective and friendly, I believe the server was a native English speaker. About €35.
Cocotte (near Eiffel Tour): Another excellent meal with polite and expedient service in near fluent English. Two entrees, two plants, 25cl of wine, 1 desert for about €85. Plats: Pigeon browned and roasted to rare with foie stuffed under the skin served with peas and shallots was exceptional. Pigs feet served in the style of a chorizo without casing and stuffed into potatoes was also excellent, it was served with a little salad that was delicious when mixed with the fat and drippings from the pork. Entrees: a very good but not great terrine of foie, which was interesting considering how good it was at Constant which is the same ownership and a half-block away; an excellent pork pate. Desert: perfect cherry clafoutis not too sweet with a great texture and huge whole delicious dark cherries.
Cafe Louise (Saint Germain): This was not planned at all, just very close to our hotel for a late dinner. Just okay overall. Entree: a good onion soup. Plats: a decent croque monsieur; a tough and over-cooked piece of filet although the sauce was good. Dessert: crepe suzette, was overly boozy; orange creme brule was good except some places the sugar crust had an inedible alcohol flavor. About €60.
L'Hedoniste: Solid but not better meal. 2 entrees, 2 plats, cheese plate, glass of wine for 70€. Entrees: a good salmon tartare; a pork terrine was on the bland side. Plats: a duck and potato dish was good but could have been much better; steak came with an interesting sauce that tasted like a mix of red wine and A1, the steak was a little tough (I found this to be a constant trend in France even when cooked rare or medium rare). The cheese plate had five local cheeses on it which were all interesting and quite delicious.
La Fontaine d'Evraud: This is right outside the abbaye and is part of a hotel complex with two fancier restaurants. The meal was simple but very good. 2 plats, 1 dessert, 2 cokes, 2 waters for about 35€. Plats: a fresh and mild quenelle of pike in crawfish sauce; a delicious but very simple ham steak in madeira sauce with frites. Dessert: house made ice-cream which was very delicious, the chocolate may have been the best ice-cream I have ever eaten.
Brasserie Bordelaise: We had two meals here. The first was excellent, the second was good but disappointing.
First night one entree, two plats, bottle of wine 66€. Entree: a 1/2 plate of charcuterie which was very large for two people and delicious with a mix of meats and pates. Plats: an absolutely delicious but extremely heavy penne with foie gras; a very good beef bourguignon.
Second night I don't recall so well. I think we only had two plats, one filet with foie gras which was unevenly cooked but fairly good otherwise, the other was a rib eye with au poivre on the the side which was over-cooked and tough. The side vegetables and frites were very good.
Villa Tropezienne (apparently have a few other locations): Quick but very good lunch. One entree, two plats, two large waters 45€. The entree was just a simple salad which was fine but nothing more. Plats: risotto with duck, foie, and foie gras creme was absolutely delicious, surprisingly unheavy and cooked very well; risotto with shrimp and a orange and honey creme which was light and delicious with perfectly cooked shrimp.
Pizzeria Vecchio: The best pizza I've ever eaten, good tiramisu. Two too big personal pizzas, one desert, 25cl of wine, two cafes 45€. The pizzas were the first and second best I've ever had. The second best was cheese, tomato sauce, lardons, jam on serrano and white asparagus. The first was thinly sliced potatoes, lardons, cream, and cheese. The tiramisu was good but nothing special. The service was slow, not poor, but not enough staff.
Le Van Gogh: Good but not great meal. One entree, two plats, one desert, 25cl of wine, two cafes 78€. Entree: shrimp ravioli, the filling was good but the texture of the pasta was excellent. Plats: Duck confit was very good although the side vegetables left a bit to be desired; cassoulet was very good, but not great. Dessert: vanilla panna cotta with fresh berries was delicious with excellent texture.
Yeah, it was something else. I can't recommend driving highly enough. I was lucky to get a hybrid because they didn't have the car I requested so gas didn't end up being too expensive. And driving in the countryside and from little town to town was overall the best part of the trip