Paris, day two.
Once more, thank you all who offered suggestions and optimism.
Our first full day was a stroll-a-thon, from the 15th thru the ( in no particular sequence) 6th, 5th, 1st, 7th, and back. First up, des Gateax et du Pain on bd. Pasteur, after walking through the Institut bearing that eminence's name. An exceptional almond x'sant -- the filling exemplary -- and a fine chocolate two- layered rectangle.
By the time mi querida esposa had completed mass and her shrine ( miraculous medal next door to the grand epicerie) she was quite fatigued from accumulated travel and this affected our choices from the lunch menu at Semilla . The entree was a fixed trio that included a pumpkin soup, long Melba pointer, and Rouget salad. Very fine ingredients, expertly shaped, fairly international-moderne in style like a lot of the stuff we see in nortecalif, the multiple root veg's and colors in particular taking us back to our local farmers market, three different types of radishes included. Their lighting of course is designed to show off the plates. The three choices available for second courses were dorado, roast beef, or a veg/mushroom plate. With my partner's reduced appetite, took the pesca-veg route ; the boeuf looked great, with thick batons of frites, but too much, given that half of my partner 's food ended up on my plate. The outstanding veg plate ( tasty pleurottes infusing the butternut squash and the rest, nestled in toasted fregola ) made up for the repetition of fish, not that anything wasn't correct with the dorade. (2 b cont'd -- sketchy wifi source)
Day two, second half. After seeing a bit of the first to fetch museum passes, went by Barthelemy on the return walk. Forgot to inquire if anyone could habla espanol and no one, though unoccupied w. other clients, wanted to try communicating . Simply relied on my nose and came away with two delicious pieces, a gruyere and a chèvre de auvergne.
For dinner, picked the closest place with simple food in mind and since it rained steadily, no regrets with Le Dirgeable. A very pleasant, sociable host with a bit of SF in his résumé (Fringale). The fried galette of minced pied du cochon w. greens, delicious. Keeping it simple, the onglet was good if unremarkable, with a gratin of potato that was excellent. The poulet fermier w. cepes, quite good, more tender than the pastured chicken we get in calif, more firm and flavorful than the organic birds there. We enjoyed the highest priced rouge on the list, an '09 Lussac St.Emilion (39€) , and the total was a bit over eighty.
Next, off to Lourdes via the TGV.
Thanks for this report and your realistic responses to day two. I will be interested in reading your evaluations, especially your take on what you call International-moderne/nortecalif. (I am increasingly finding this comparison apt, also. I just wish there were more of this kind of restaurant at home at these price lines.)
Can only try to keep the wheel of shared experience rolling . It's no real blessing, i.m.h.o., that so many establishments in nortecalif have staff coming out of the same culinary schools, or/and went through the grinder at C.panisse in berserkly. Those heavy school debts are part of the story behind the ticket prices, along with punitive wine mark ups (that we generally skirt by paying corkage for older bottles we can rely on being compatible with the food). It's up to the chef to bring a bit of flair, creativity, soulfulness, but one doubts it's part of the academy training.