Notes on Paris/Alsace December 2013
First, as always, an enormous thank you to all of you who take the time to share on this board. You always enhance my trips and I am grateful. Then, on to the food ...
Paris. Saturday lunch at Little Breizh. Short wait at about 2pm. Utterly delicious as noted elsewhere and a great stop in the 6th
Thank you for Cafe Trama. A delicious Saturday night dinner where the special (enjoyed by M) was a Hugo Desnoyer hamburger on a Poujauran roll. My croque monsieur on Poujauran bread with truffle salt was equally delicious, as were our starters, and they recommended a very nice wine. Everyone was charming and, for those who care about such things, we heard no English spoken.
Sunday lunch at Cafe des Musees where the vegetable cocotte is sublime - likely a top vegetable dish in Paris, I would think. We also love their smoked salmon and try to get there every trip.
Semilla did not disappoint for Sunday dinner though I know some on this board haven't been happy lately. Outstanding pork belly and scallop carpaccio with, among other things, vanilla oil. We would happily return.
LRSH did disappoint for Monday lunch. The service was awful and the food not much better. Dreadful pork belly. Accompanied by vegetables that - for those old enough to remember them - were a dead ringer for the Bird's Eye "chinese vegetables" my mother (and perhaps yours) used to serve. M loved his scallops with truffle butter but I found them too rich. We both loved the (exemplary) grand marnier souffle.
Serviceable dinner at Le Christine in the 6th on Monday night -- we were exhausted and opted for proximity over our original (and likely far better) plan for the evening. Still, for those looking for a decent dinner in the area, one could probably do worse. English being spoken at almost every table except the french couple dining there with a groupon. I kid you not.
Tuesday dinner at Chez Dumonet - little to add to what's already been written. We never have anything less than a wonderful evening.
In Alsace we stayed in Kaysersberg and Strasbourg and ate a lot of choucroute (traditional pork for me, generally with fish for M). In Kaysersberg we ate dinner at La Winstub du Chambard and at La Vieille Forge, both of which we loved. La Vieille Forge is quite special - delicious food, mom in the (small) dining room and her 23 year old son (of whom she is quite proud) in the kitchen. We had lunch around the region - at Metzgerstuwa in Soultz (it is legendary as a restaurant and boucherie specializing in Alsatian food but was recently sold - time will tell, I suppose. For now the prior owner and his family are still there helping with the transition and we highly recommended it), at La Winstub de la Petite Venise in Colmar (great location and decor, decent wines by the pitcher and good food, recommended) and at La Wistub du Sommelier in Bergheim which, while charming, didn't blow us away.
In Strasbourg we thought the building and room at La Maison des Tanneurs surpassed the food (not as bad as it sounds because the building and room are gorgeous) though I want to really praise their sommelier because when we didn't love the wine we'd chosen he insisted on replacing it with a different one he thought we'd like more. We had lunch at Le Clou which is a perfect spot for traditional Alsatian food near the cathedral.
Beyond all of this I would add that in Paris we made a completely worthwhile pilgrimage to Alain Ducasse's chocolate factory, thought the lemon tart at Pain du Sucre worth the hype, and (if you like a brioche aux pralines) couldn't stop eating the "Praluline" at Francois Pralus. In Alsace, we had phenomenal wine tastings at Josmeyer, Albert Mann and Domaine Weinbach, visited Christine Ferber's shop in Neidermorschwihr for jam and all sorts of delicious holiday-time baked goods (the cookies! the spice bread! the stollen!), and loved the bakery and bread museum in Selestat. In Strasbourg, we made the trip to Au Pain du Mon Grand-Pere and were very impressed by the kugelhopf. There were delicious christmas cookies, hot wine (if you stuck with the artisan sellers), and other treats at every Christmas market. It was a magical place to be at the holidays.