PARIS + BURGUNDY PLAN (and some Questions)
Last year, wife and I made our maiden trip to Paris. Paris being at the end of a Barca-San Se-Rome-Florence 2 week route, we made a mistake of not planning enough – and didn’t get to eat as much as we would have liked to. Still, the few places we ate at – Le Grand Plan, Huiterie Regis, Chez la Ville (this amazing squid omelet dish) – left such a huge impression that we have been yearning to return to Paris since the day we left.
4 days from now, we will be back with vengeance. The plan so far:
Day 1 – mon (arrive Paris afternoon)
Grab a croissant fr Pain de Sucre
Snack+wine - Verjus wine Bar
Dinner - Frenchie
Early lunch – Pierre Sang
Late afternoon snack – Phillipe Gosselin baguette and/or Un Dimanche (choux pistache fruits rouge)
Dinner - Spring
Breakfast Snack Des Gateux des Pain
Lunch - Chez L’ami Jean
Light dinner + drinks - Le Mary Celeste
Day 4 - Burgundy
Wine tour with lunch at Le Cellier Volnaysien
Dinner - Ma Cuisine
Day 5 – Burgundy-Paris
Lunch - Aupres du Clocher
Dinner - Premices (thank you JT)
Croissant fr either Boulangerie Pichard or Pierre Herme
Lunch – Hugo Desnoyer (really looking forward to this)
Dinner - La Cigale de la Cantine (not sure if we are going to be too full fr Hugo)
Visit Marche Bio Raspail
Snacks – choc millie fielle and tart citron fr Jacque Genin
Dinner - Lazare
Day 8 (leaving evening)
Lunch – Le Cinq
Trying to squeeze everything in is quite impossible on our stomachs – did also consider Josephine Dumonet, 6th Paul Bert and few others but c’est la vie.
- I am big fan of foie, finding it hard to keep Aud Sud Ouest off the list but hoping the places above would have a dish or two to satisfy the craving .. good decision?
- Steak tartare: So far, the best I had was a French restaurant in Malaysia (of all places), wonderful texture and perfect temperature and seasoning – experienced a very poor version at a random bar near Pigalle (my fault – should not have ordered) .. any recs of places to consider for tartare?
Thank you to all contributors on this board !! You guys really fuelled our greedy imaginations to make this trip back!
At Ma Cuisine try some of the very old Chartreuse digestifs after your meal, they go back about 100 years, had one from the 70's and one from the 40's last time through, superb.
At Desnoyer get the prime and double cost cotes de boeuf for two, well worth the extra euros.
At Genin with your pastries get the chocolate chaud and a tasting dish of his fruit jellies, legendary.
While many excellent steak tartares in Paris my fav is at Chez Denise.
Find Sud Ouest ok , but foie gras is everywhere, hot great at CLAJ, cold great at CJ Dumonnet, L'Ami Louis, Au Bon Coin, and many, many others.
Pretty good list and plan.
Now hearsay, I've heard twice this week that Mary Celeste is not as great as originally touted - just hearsay but reliable sources.
As for foie, do you mean foie de veau, foie gras micuit or fois gras sauteed whole? Whatever, all three seem to be in abundance this fall. Indeed my butcher had foie de veau on sale this AM.
And my poor old brain and illegible photo do not permit me to recall if the Cantine de la Cigale has steak tartare; I'd suspect so but cannot advise.
Hope you have a rez at Lazare, it's now 3 weeks out for dinner a trusted source says.
re: John Talbott
Thanks John, you have induced some doubt here on Mary Celeste haha. Other considerations were Petit Plats or Braisenville .. but that would mean moving the schedule. Of the 3 which would you say to go to?
Foie - inclined to order anything liver although was looking more duck/goose foie micuit, sauteed, terrines etc.
Yes, Lazare is confirmed - i hope - half the bookings were done over the phone and google translate ! (we dont speak french)
On tartare at desnoyer - yes, if unable to eat a good one prior to saturday - may have to sacrifice either the charcuterie or the CDB.
Americans often say "foie" when they mean "foie gras", this is very misleading for potential French helpers.
As it is better to say 'taiji quan' than 'taiji' if you really want the word to depict the real thing, it is preferable to say and write "foie gras" when that is what you mean.
Very good list. A bit ambitious in terms of pacing.
You are advised by the best of the best on Paris already, to which I have nothing to add.
As for Burgundy, this long-time fan of Ma Cuisine has a new discovery: Le Ptit Paradis.
How do the two compare?
Food-wise, Ma Cuisine's food is honest-good, even very good, but Le Ptit Paradis is better and more inventive without veering into the weird and fussy. No inventiveness for inventiveness's sake.
But where Ma Cuisine is a clear winner is that magnum opus wine list, which makes the place inherently festive.
If you have a wine tour the next day and are planning to wine-out any way, I would go for Le Ptit Paradis.
I personally would skip Le Cellier Volnaysien. It is like Aupres du Clocher, but in a less good version. Your eating pace in Burgundy is too fast and furious. Pacing is very important. Overdoing makes you enjoy less instead of more. I just came back from an eating-drinking tour of Burgundy, accompanying a journalist. We were only doing one major meal a day (really, really major), and toward the end of the week we were moaning in pain.
And in terms of food enjoyment, Ferme de la Ruchotte clearly beat out the 6 stars (not that the latter weren't good; I am comparing A's and A minuses here). And a great farm-to-table experience is just the right thing to cap off week of rich Burgundian excess, selon moi...
But the Ruchotte will be for your next trip. I think you already have too many meals scheduled as is.
You can ramp up your excitement even more by checking out La Ruchotte's blog - a few years' worth of Sunday lunch pics, not much required by way of French comprehension skills.
I found Ma Cuisine under-whelming after all the love it gets on this board (except the wine list ... which unfortunately only made us sorrier not to have better fish options to go w our white) - certainly it skews a lot more traditional than other stuff on your list. But the la Ruchotte recommendation was a spectacular pay-off for the time spent going through old posts, many thanks to Parigi and others.
The hosts at Ma Cuisine speak excellent English and their many many American customers get by fine without French.
Short summary so far (full report to come) :
frenchie - worst meal so far, pigeon w wild mushroom and chestnuts was the only decent dish, the rest were muddled and a waste of calories
pierre sang - best value lunch - inventive and well balanced flavors, slow poached egg + kimchi + blood sausage good !
spring - v good, probably the best meal of the trip so far .. sommelier jonathan was in fine form .. outstanding red mullet w veal head and bone marrow vinaigrette
chez le ami jean - cannot describe now , still recovering fr the experience
le cellier volnaysien - grilled bresse breast and ouef meurrete, simple and for the price, a decent meal
ma cuisine - boeuf bourguinon had very interesting depth of flavor, other dishes ho-hum
aupres du cloucher - jean christophe moutet produced well cooked veal, fish but overcomplicated the flavors and made it too heavy with too much mash ... not sure if it was because of the cold weather
premices - v good, oysters w onions and its own gelee, best pigeon w spinach and its liver !! would return
hugo desnoyer - hugo called l'ami jean crazy (in a good way), unfussy well executed dishes with the most charming experience so far...
survived 6 days , 2 more to go ...
Wonderful report. Waiting for the longer version. Agree with much of your resto assessment.
And come to think of it, I met Desnoyer in Jégo (Chez l'Ami Jean) 's kitchen. Jégo was (good-naturedly) arguing with Deynoyer and simultaneously screaming into the salle and, between screams, kissed my hand.
Thank you to everyone on chowhound who gave us the most awesome advice for our trip. The thread's OP, cyberk13, is actually my husband - who has been absolutely snowed under with work since we came back. I thought I will help him pen down the beginnings of our (long) trip report.
DAY 1- MONDAY
Reached our apartment on Ile st Louis at about 4pm from CDG. Settled down and dashed out for our first reunion with Paris food. First stop: Pain de Sucre for croissants. We were not aware that there were 2 parts to Pain de Sucre - the Patisserie and the Boulangerie. and from the direction we were walking, we saw the patisserie first.
Walked in - but oops, no croissant. Instead we were surrounded by colourful rows of macarons and equally stunning cakes. I thought Pain de Sucre displayed their products like Pierre Herme (croissants in one lonely corner like in the rue bonaparte store) and that they had sold out.
Slightly disappointed, we eyed a cake topped with delicious looking figs. We are here already, aren't we? Cant walk away empty handed. We were about to get it packed when I tot I will just ask about the croissants. Server pointed "Next door"
How overjoyed we were! Scooted off next door. Everything looked really gd but we resisted and bought a normal petit and a chocolat croissant.The petit was gd,with its butteriness really standing out. I liked it but we've still got a list to try out
Our dinner reservation was actually 930pm Frenchie.The plan was to go grab a wine and small snack at Verjus wine bar but we were so caught up walking around that we reached Verjus at roughly 10minutes to 7pm. Too bad, it was filled to the brim already. The bar menu sounded nice and lite though, which would have been a nice prelude to dinner.
FRENCHIE - by far the most disappointing meal we had on this trip. Started with a shared foie gras torchon (supplement 16E). Nice and smooth. I thought it was lovely. Also my favourite part of the entire meal. The accompanying warm bread basket was tasty but couple of pieces were burnt. I happen to like burnt edges but not everyone does.
On to the entrees:
Him: 'wild mushroom, quail, chestnuts – perfectly cooked piece of quail and great visual presentation. He thought the best dish of the night.
Me: Scallop, parsley, porkbelly, radish - The nice sweetness you look for in a dish like this was lacking. Parsley sauce and use of lemon was tad overpowering.
Him: Veal, trumpet mushrooms, cauliflower, - trumpet mushrooms were over salted.
Me: Stripe bass, carrots, cape gooseberry, hispi cabbage - it was okay.
Him: Salted butter caramel, peanut, chocolate - I did feel this was better than the other dessert.
Me: Tapioca, mango sorbet, pineapple - reminded me of this common HK dessert "mango pomelo sago" we have in asia. I actually prefer the HK version which has the sharpness and bitterness of pomelo.
Overall disappointed, esp with all the anticipation we had for frenchie.
Damage - 2 pre fix dinners + Foie Gras (adtl 16E) + 2 glasses of wine = 142E
side note: Frenchie wine bar looks happening! maybe that will be a better place to check out?
DAY 2 - TUESDAY
The plan was to go to Marche Maubert Mutualite in the morning but the rain was pretty heavy. Scrapped the plan for another day and decided to grab coffee instead. Headed to Telescope which was such a cute lil place. Had a nice chat with the owner who told us to go check out La Buvette.
PIERRE SANG lunch. We opted for freestyle 4 course pre fixe for one of us, while the other had the 2 course. We will share dessert and cheese course.
We started off with this very tasty thick crusted bread and a messy scoop/slab of butter. The butter was superb with the bread. Yummy start.
Next came the amuse bouche:
Tiny little clams with a mousse of aubergine and tiny brocolli bits, topped with smoked haddock foam, - a great play of textures, flavours to tease yr palate.
slow poached egg resting atop a deep blood sausage sauce, topped with crunchy kimchi - absolutely delicious. Plate licking good.
A lamb stew-like dish with sweet caramelized onions, cabbage, topped with fresh (spinach?) leaves and a big piece of chorizo. Visually beautifully to look at, oh so colorful, with nice rich flavours that didn't feel too heavy.
Dessert + cheese:
Pistachio cake with lavender ice cream, mascapone, apple sauce, pomegranate - again, the balance of flavours were commendable. (sorry did not note the cheese)
And the best part?
Damage: One 4-course, One 2-course, 3 glasses of wine = 75E (great value!)
Will not hesitate to return.
After lunch, we did dORsay and for dinner, we have a 930pm rez at Spring . The museum closes at 5pm and we did a fun Pastry spree leading us back in the direction of our apartment. In this order:
Picked up a demi size traditional baguette from Philippe Gosselin near dOrsay.
A mini Brioche Feuilletée ( i love this!!!) from La Patisserie des Reves
A triangular shaped pastry/cake made of pistachio, hazelnut, praline, chocolate from Un Dimanche.
All very very nice and a reminder of why we had to come back to Paris just to eat... next up Spring.
(to be continued with (hopefully)shorter entries)
Thanks for the reports. Will look for your continued adventures.
What few people address is that Frenchie's initial claim to fame was a market driven, chef's-hands-on meal at a very low price. With its popularity, the cost has slowly risen so that it is competing with many similar bistrots which have at least as good food, mostly better, at which you can actually book a table and maybe even sit with some locals.
This was our experience as well. I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times I called Frenchie for a reservation two years ago. They never picked up, and the more I called, the more frustrated I was, yet the more invested I became in trying to get the reservation. Eventually I did give up, but then last year, on a whim, before we came back, I called and they picked up on the first try, and I finally got the reservation. Our dinner tuned out to be underwhelming, and I can't see us returning any time soon. The hype did not deliver. So, this year when we ate at Spring we were very happy to find the hype did deliver, and we had a most memorable meal.
re: John Talbott
our pierre sang xperience was just that - innovative, inexpensive and fun. Pierre sang wasnt even there - cooking was done by another young asian dude.
during our mains, a couple came in and had a completely different starter (pasta clam dish) than us. the chef tasted it whilst cooking, served the couple who tasted it and in turn asked the maitre'd to taste it , and sous chef got into the act having a spoon of whatever was left in the pan. everybody agreed it was good .. and no, they didint offer us any. boo ..
wondering - was frenchie then better than pierre sang now ?