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Oct 10, 2012 05:18 PM

Paris, day one.

Thanks to all the advisors on this board.

The first part of out visit, our b & b is in the 15 th. with only poor Air France provisions (calif. suppliers, have to hope the food on the return flight is better) inside us, mi querida esposa has hunger so we take a brief foraging stroll. Asked our landlady which boulangerie she uses, and if she knows Le Quartier du Pain de Frederic Lalos, three blocks away. She doesn't know my familiarity of the intense density of boulangeries, hasn't heard of Lalo's place, so explains she visits the closest place and that boulangeries are everywhere, perhaps three or four within two blocks of her.

Of course we go straight to Le Quartier d.P. on Vaugirard (he has four other shops), walking past Le Bellisaire and the Cordon Bleu cooking school en route. The nose informs, upon entering the plain, nondescript store, probability high for excellent pain. We keep it simple, limiting the bill to a fig tart, chorizo roll, and a couple of fried dough puffs resembling beignet but called something like 'chouettes'. They are all good to excellent. The chorizo roll has a dense,chewy, flavorful crumb. The fig tart is the best fruit tart we've tried -- layers of textures and tastes, not over sweetened or overly buttery. The best tarts in calif.perhaps get within .80/.85 of this.

In earlier planning for the first ever dinner in Paris, had ruled out the close by Bellisaire, Axuria, l'Epicuriste, and so we go to Le Grand Pan. impressions before tasting a thing: the regular menu and seasonal menus both have plenty of attractive choices, considering the size of the place and its kitchen. it's comfy and snug but not cramped/compressed in the seating The wine list is meant for wine drinkers. who do not need to spend a lot. Three reds,a rose, three whites are 3.50/glass, the large carafes are 11/ 50cl, 22/100 cl , and half the diners in the room seem very content with them. Our entrees, oysters (no.4, Charentes), very plump and fresh, complemented by the fine spinach purée in the shells cradling them, a touch of some nuts, and a light creme fraiche or such, and a salad of haricots verts, shaved mushrooms, 'jambon blanc', a touch of dried fruit. second courses, St Jacques d'Erguy lightly grilled, delicate pale yellow sauce, side of buttery polenta, and an exceptional half of a grouse. It was cooked so perfectly that the very different textures and tastes of the various parts of the bird's anatomy were concentrated and enhanced ; the leg reminded me of Chinese preserved duck (lop op). The side for the fowl was a dressing-like mince of mushrooms. Our wine, a 2010 Morgon by Foillard, Cotes du Py, delicious with all the courses. The list had many attractive bottles for 60 or less; this one was 39. With two very good coffees, tap water, great bread (enjoyed without knowing it provenance, it turned out to be Poujaran), about 120.

with most excellent meals comes one or two 'howevers', e.g., the wines were a bit dear, the service efficient but brusque, the room was just too busy and loud to converse in comfort. Not here. The service was both efficient and cheery. We could hear another diner singing to his friend, but also every word said to each other.

Thanks again to the regular contributors here ; other 'advisors' include paris by mouth, P.Wells, A. Lobrano, Herr Doktor Professor Talbott, A.Ayscough, assorted blogs like food reporter, and the usual suspects. Cheers.

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  1. I am actually relieved to read your first report. Your pre-visit study and the food knowledge that you displayed in your questioning posts gave me pause that you would hit the wall on your arrival. Well done and please "carry on" with your reports.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mangeur

      Nice -- we too have fond memories of LGP. Yet, prepare: in our experience, the AF fare from SFO to CGD is better than the other way -- go figure. But enjoy where you are, and carry on indeed! -- Jake

      1. re: Jake Dear

        Yes! How is it possible that AF food service is infinitely better out of San Francisco than on the return flight from Paris? How come! Shouldn't be so. Giving credit where credit is due, starters are amuses and starters are excellent both ways.

        1. re: mangeur

          Ah but leaving Paris on any airline, the picnic you can bring for the plane ride home makes it moot how bad the plane food is! People always stare at us with deep envy as we pull out our pate on frresh baguette sandwiches and gorgeous pastries and I always wonder why everyone doesn't bring their own wonderful last tastes of Paris for the plane ride home!

          Our apartment was literally a 2 minute walk to LGP and we enjoyed a lovely meal there and tried almost every boulangerie in that area. The baguette from Le Grenier a Pain on St. Armand is superb! Try it.

            1. re: plafield

              I bought some foie gras pate one time for the plane ride with some nice bread...

        2. re: mangeur

          Everything Mangeur said. :-)

          O, Moto, I have meant to tell you that a bunch of hounds (our party of 5 includes Sistereurope, Delucacheesemonger, me) are also lunching chez l'Ami Jean on the 19. Our reservation as for 1:30pm. Do come by our table to say bonjour. Actually that's how - and where - DCM and I met.

          We should have the table nearest the kitchen as usual.

          1. re: Parigi

            Merci, we look forward to meeting you. Our reservation is at that time as well..

        3. Funny, l have been to LGP about a dozen times, and have never strayed from the cotes de boeuf, porc, veau and large carafe of Bandol rouge. Different folks, different strokes, super.

          1. don't miss Le Belisaire. The food is so good and the chef/owner and staff are so lovely!