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challenge - 21 "Best" Dishes

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Back in 2002 , lizziee posted this. I would think that someone has thought about this, and probably has a list of there own, that they would convey to others,on there favorite meals. Is there? Her thoughts then.

21 "Best" Dishes
Started by lizziee , Oct 28 2002 08:18 AM
#1 lizziee
Posted 28 October 2002 - 08:18 AM
After 28 posts on 30 different restaurants, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of
the "best" 21 dishes of the trip. This is purely subjective and personal. It is not meant to mean
anything more than those dishes that I thought were exceptional in taste, execution and the
number one criteria "Something, I would eat again in a minute."
They are presented in the order in which they were eaten i.e. they are not ranked. Also, as we ate
at some restaurants three times and were able to sample many more dishes, there will be more
dishes on the list from that particular restaurant.
1. Salpicon de rouget de roche and capres la wicchia, lard blanc colonnata, feuille de bar de linge
mi-fume, deux variete de carottes -smoked bar underneath red mullet with bacon and carrot
sauce (Gagnaire)
2. Oeuf coque a la puree de truffes - soft boiled egg topped by dark truffle mousse (Faugeron)
3. Frogs legs done beignet style on top of a parsley/garlic potato puree with garlic chips
(Ledoyen)
4. Poularde de Bresse cuitre en croute de gros sel "selon Alexandre" - Bresse roasted chicken
encased in a pastry shell (Georges Blanc)
5. Boeuf Charolaise Chateau au vin Fleurie et la moelle, pommes de terre a la forezienne-
Charolais beef topped with beef marrow, red wine reduction sauce (Troisgros)
6. Canette de challans epicee et pickles d'eechalotes, pomme soufflees- Roast duckling, roasted
shallots, "puffed" potatoes (Troisgros)
7. Lentil ragout with various vegetables with a slightly smoked poached egg surrounded by black
truffles(Marcon)
8. La Brochette "Margaridou" - Croquette filled with lamb sweetbreads, morels and ham with
black truffle sauce (Marcon)
9. Lamb cooked in bread dough with a small casserole of potatoes and cepes (Marcon)
10. Langoustine tempura with madras curry sauce and chutney (Rochat)
11. Rabbit cutlets served with haricot verts in a garden herb vinagrette (Rochat)
12. La Mousseline de Grenouilles - Mousse of pike filled with frogs leg meat, spinach, fine herbs
in a butter cream sauce (Haeberlin)
13. Supreme of pigeon with truffles, foie gras, cabbage encased in pastry (Haeberlin)
14. Mille-feuille croquant de bricelets et d'oeuf poche sur un tartare de saumon mi-marine mi
fume aux oeufs de harengs fume- a layered dish of salmon tartar, creme fraiche, a crisp, poached
egg, herring eggs, a crisp (Haeberlin)
15. Mashed potatoes topped with black truffle slices (L'Arnsbourg)
16. Schniederspaetle et cuisses de grenouille oelees- frogs leg drummettes in a parsley, garlic
sauce (Buerehiesel)
17. Roasted wild duck with a galette of potatoes layered with giblets (Boyer)
18. La Fameuse Truffle en Croute, avec la sauce Perigueux - a black truffle topped by foie gras
encased in pastry with Perigord sauce (Boyer)
19. Filets of Rouget with cepes- crispy skin rouget with cepes duxelles mixed with a liquid
mayonnaise sauce (Pacard - L'Ambrosie)
20. Lentils with black Truffles (Guy Savoy)
21. 1/2 Lobster served in its shell with vanilla sauce and black trumpet mushrooms (Passard -
Arpege)

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  1. Where is the bacon in #1? Did I miss it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: allende

      A simplified translation of lard blanc colonnata.

    2. This is a joke right, I thought our New Year's resolution was to do no more best restos/bistros/dishes because........

      8 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        My eyes glaze over when I see the meaningly word.

        1. re: Parigi

          @PhilD

          No matter how simplified a translation, lardo di colonnata has absolutely nothing to do with bacon.

          1. re: allende

            You didn't eat the dish, I didn't eat the dish, lizziee ate it in 2002 and she decided to describe it as bacon.

            It's also "lard blanc colonnata" not lardo di colonnata we assume it's a menu typo and should be the latter, but it equally could be a bacon and not a menu typo and maybe Gagnaire was being playful. And yes I do know what lardo is.

            1. re: PhilD

              @PhilD
              Let's assume lard blanc colonnata (sic) is the same as lardo di Colonnata (if not, why would PG use "colonnata")?. The same as Paris chefs using truffe blanche d'Alba. In this case PG obviously wanted to show that the "lard" or "lardo" came from Colonnata. He wanted to make a statement that it wasn't any old lard. Lardo di Colonnata is, by far, the most prized lardo in Italy. It is pure white and actually has more than a bit of sweetness to it. Try it sometime.

              I can look out my study window at my home on the Tuscan coast and see Colonnata in the Carrara hills, about ten miles away.

              We've been there many times and have eaten and bought lardo di Colonnata at Venanzio, the best place to get it.

              As I said, it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with bacon. It is pure white, pure lard, no meat. To describe it as bacon, totally misleads people as to what that dish was. Sort of like people describing a dish cooked with culatello as a dish with cooked ham.

              Amazing... all these Italian products used by "great" French chefs. Next thing we'll read that PG and others are making tagliatelle al culatello. Of course, they first have to learn how to make pasta (and risotto) :)

              1. re: allende

                You could assume it was or you could assume something else. It is odd that Gagnaire used the French for bacon and Lizziee who are the dish called it bacon so it's perfectly feasible it was a style bacon. Who knows it was a very long time ago - in fact probably before Lardo was widely known.

                Trust me I really do understand what Lardo is, I fully understand it's not bacon, I also understand it isn't "lard" in the English meaning of the word. And despite not living in Tuscany I have eaten it.

                1. re: PhilD

                  What I see is that the poster decided to translate "lardo di Colonnata" as "bacon", which is only a sloppy thing to do, and I am amazed that the matter can result in such a long exchange.

                2. re: allende

                  "Amazing... all these Italian products used by "great" French chefs."
                  All great - without quotes - chefs use ingredients from everywhere. You seem all too easily "amazed".

          2. re: John Talbott

            For me, if I can describe a dish I gleefully ate 5 to 20 years ago, only then would I say that qualifies as "best I've eaten."

            I can make a list of those, but since we can't go back in time to get them exactly as they were then, there's really no point to list them.

            Underscoring how so much of the moment any "best" is.

          3. *Yawn*

            22 Replies
            1. re: Ptipois

              LOL! Not much seems to be happening early on in the new year.

              1. re: mangeur

                @Parigi

                They might use ingredients from everywhere, but you would think they would learn to use those ingredients properly.

                Friends were at Astrance last month. Very knowledgeable about food and extraordinarily knowledgeable about wine. They really enjoyed the meal (at 3000 Euros for six, I would hope so).

                They said the two Italian dishes on the tasting menu didn’t work. Ravioles de butternut feuille de lait, chair de crabe e pate de crevette epicee, were described as the worst part of the meal… like the taste of the worst Singapore street food.

                The tuile de brioche caramelisee, creme a la truffe blanche d’Alba. They couldn’t decide (there was a difference of opinion) whether it was truffle cream, an abomination with regard to truffles second only to truffle oil, or cooked truffles mashed in with other ingredients to form a cream.

                So here we have Barbot bringing in Alba truffles and he doesn’t have a clue as to how to use them. White truffles, unlike black, are never cooked. And when will French chefs stop making pasta and risotto. It’s like Italain chefs trying to do French pastry… they can never get it even 10% right.

                1. re: allende

                  Barbot has notoriously frequently not got it right, even with French ingredients.

                  1. re: mangeur

                    "Barbot has notoriously frequently not got it right"
                    My golly i never thought I'd see the day when Saint Pascal got hit upside the head on CH.

                    1. re: John Talbott

                      You were away for a spell.

                  2. re: allende

                    What exactly made the ravioles dish Italian? Was it the ravioles? Just askin'.

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      As I remember, originally Barbot opened with "ravioli" of avocado layered with crab, almond and citrus. Italian?

                      1. re: Ptipois

                        Hadn't realized that stuffed pasta was a French dish.

                        My mistake.

                        1. re: allende

                          Stuffed pasta is from many other countries. The Chinese and just about everybody along the Silk Road have been making all sorts of stuffed pasta and raviole-type dumplings since times immemorial.

                          Besides, "ravioles", defined as small quantities of filling between two sheets of dough, and known through the Dauphiné specialty called "Ravioles de Romans", are also a French thing.

                          But that is not the point; it is that serving ravioles is not necessarily a reference to Italy.

                          1. re: allende

                            Pleases do get over the fact that chefs, duh, use ingredients, and that the cuisine of several cultures has stuffed pasta, including my parents' non-Italian, non-French culture. It has not occurred to me to accuse the French or the Italians of committing ersatz Chinese cuisine.

                            1. re: Parigi

                              @ Ptipois and Parigi

                              Yup, nothing to do with Italy. That’s why Barbot calls them ravioles.

                              In 1975, I went to Chez La Mere Blanc for the first time. The world was having an oil crisis and George didn’t have much business in his two star restaurant. We struck up a friendship and both nights I was there, we spoke after dinner (the restaurant was nearly empty both nights). He wanted to know all about the food scene in New York. Told him there were some very good French restaurants, particularly Lutece, but said that there were no decent Italian places, not one. Told him I was going to Florence to take a cooking course and hoped to learn how to make pasta, particularly stuffed pasta. He said something like “it’s a shame we French have never learned how to do it. I should really come along with you." The following year I had a similar experience with the late great Francois Bise at Annecy (who, IMO, made the best croissants ever, and of course, had one of the most beautiful spots in the world in which to serve great food outside), when I was going back to Florence to take a second course with The Maestro. Bise said he should come along. Most amusing. Lovely, lovely man.

                              I’m familiar with the historical background of noodles. Unless one kids oneself, many great French chefs try to make pasta, as pasta is made in Italy. Read what Bocuse said many years ago when he first met Bruna and Nadia Santini.

                              Great French chefs have it all over Italian chefs when it comes to cooking ability. It is not even close. But from eating a great deal in France for almost forty-five years, I think they get it all wrong with regard to pasta, particularly ravioles (note that Italian derivation). You two obviously think differently. Why don’t you go to a little trattoria in Piemonte called Da Bardon. Try their plin and then let’s talk about ravioles in France.

                              You can see some of my posts here:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7688...

                              1. re: allende

                                "Francois Bise"
                                a sweet man; we'll not see the likes of him again.

                        2. re: allende

                          I had assumed that Astrance would be on the expensive side, but am I the only one shocked at 500 euros per person, which I think comes to $650 [US dollars} per mouth for one dinner? Even for a 3-star restaurant in Paris, that seems ridiculously expensive to me, but maybe I'm out of touch . . .

                          1. re: bauskern

                            "am I the only one shocked at 500 euros per person"
                            Me too, but its the two of us against the world.

                            1. re: John Talbott

                              Or it's because when some of us see the word "best", our eyes glaze over and we enter a boredom-induced coma.

                              1. re: Parigi

                                "when some of us see the word "best", our eyes glaze over and we enter a boredom-induced coma."
                                As I said above "This is a joke right, I thought our New Year's resolution was to do no more best restos/bistros/dishes because........"

                              2. re: John Talbott

                                It's 3. Not only shocked but outraged.

                                1. re: Parnassien

                                  @ the four above.
                                  Why should you be shocked? You forgot to focus on the "all in."

                                  They ordered the wines they wanted and that's what brought it up to the ridiculous number.

                                  They don't do this often. Normally it's their favorite local place in the 4th or the 3rd. or wherever, but this was a special occasion.

                                  What is more shocking to me is what Barbot is cooking.

                                  1. re: Parnassien

                                    Every once in a while, not much, it's fun to be not the smartest but oldest guy in the room.
                                    In 2002 this was posted on another website "the surprise menu was 84 euros. In the 2002 Michelin guide it is quoted as 76 euros."
                                    And to declare my ignorance upfront, I thought the stuff he pushed out when he opened, not worth the 76 or 84 E.
                                    Happy New Year!

                                    1. re: John Talbott

                                      Where is Francois Bise when we need him!?

                                      1. re: allende

                                        OK, this story, embellished as the years go on, goes thusly. In 1984, Mr. Bise had stepped away from the piano and Colette and I were breezing thru en route to Vienna. All our expert friends said "Whatever you do don't go to Pere Bise." Well, all I remembered was "Whatever you do....go to Pere Bise." So 10 years after we'd been there last we ate on that great "Claire's Knee" lawn and after a 1/2 bottle of white with our firsts and bottle of red with our mains were ready for bed, but then - "cheese?" "Oh yes, a glass of red? Nope, no glasses, just bottles. OK, just the cheese."
                                        Cheese arrives with a half-bottle of red - I look astonishedly at waitlady - she nods to the adjacent table where was sitting a really old guy (like me now), he nods and she says "Mr. Bise would like you to have this." Now, that's classy.

                                2. re: bauskern

                                  The consistent inconsistency of l'Astrance was a much discussed topic on Chow several years ago. Also much discussed was the kitchen's practice of preparing different dishes for different tables ordering the tasting menu with no attempt to equalize the quality of product served among the tables. The Emperor's clothes was a term used to describe the hype surrounding the kitchen.

                                  I will admit that our experiences were early on in l'Astrance's history. Our first dinner was as excellent as the one that caused Patricia Wells to essentially launch the restaurant with her famous "A Star is Born" proclamation. We went back on several subsequent visits to find that the cooking was going in a bizarre direction that brought us perhaps one good dish per visit and a lot of wincing with others. We stopped going.

                          2. I thought I read that frog's legs were not sold now. Maybe in 2002.

                            1. Sorry John, Did not know the new rules. I have been gone for over a year. As you can see I have been following this site for a long time ( 2000). Was trying to get the juices flowing, with the likes of you, souphie, Phild, parigi, ptipois, mangeur, chefjune, DCM plus others, sorry if I did include all of you. I know most of your favorite restaurants, You all mention, a great meal, here and there. But I thought I it would be nice to see the what I think are the GODS of food, what would their variety of choices would be. This is THE food bible of the internet. What would talk about "bacon"

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: tomcruz

                                There are no new rules Tom, sorry if I was snippy. I was trying to be sarcastic about a New Year's Resolution.
                                I think, speaking for none of the other worthies you've named, I have begun to tire of questions about the best baguette in Paris, best bistro, best restaurant in the xth Arr, etc.
                                None of us, except Parnassien, has been to all the bistros or bakeries, it's all I can do to keep up with the 5 new places that open every week and even then my famous "list" is about 8 pages long now.

                                1. re: John Talbott

                                  It is probably, your lack out inner harbor crabs. No, I was just trying to find out from you and our esteemed writers, What does the real John talbott and others enjoy not the writers. Because, that is what you are required to write about.

                                  1. re: tomcruz

                                    What do I the real, not the phony, JAT enjoy?
                                    Wow
                                    A simple genuine dish, for instance, today at Les Saisons we had:
                                    Herring
                                    Artichoke hearts poi (apple won't let me spell it)
                                    Chou farci
                                    Daurade
                                    Lemon meringue pie.

                                2. re: tomcruz

                                  If you mean "gods of food" like the ones on the Time cover, sorry, that's not in my repertoire.

                                3. Tom, what is interesting to me is the difference in direction much restaurant food has taken since Lizziee wrote about these dishes in 2002. (Reading her blog will show how much her dining has changed, from these sometimes precious preparations to the fresh and sparkling plates at garden based cooking like at Manresa.)

                                  Lists of favorite dishes are snapshots of the diner who writes them. They are dangerous road maps unless one has a very good handle on the palate of the writer. They are, however, fun to read and great time capsules.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mangeur

                                    "Lists of favorite dishes are snapshots of the diner who writes them. They are dangerous road maps unless one has a very good handle on the palate of the writer. They are, however, fun to read and great time capsules."
                                    It does at times sound too much like "you have to be there and you have to be me". One had better be a hell of a writer to hold people's attention with such a theme. I mean a hell of a writer.

                                    1. re: mangeur

                                      Mangeur - totally agree, I was intrigued by the nature of the dishes on this list, it is an interesting historical snapshot. I also agree that lists today would probably be quite different. That said Lizzees list may have been based on a small sample of restaurants - lots of repeated names - so may not be truly representative of the times (too narrow a sample size).

                                      And to agree with Parigi not only do you need to understand the writers taste but also the context of the list i.e. 21 favourites gleaned from a 2 week 3 star eating bonanza in France is going to be very different from a year in Paris eating local at "on trend" restaurants.

                                      It's unfortunate some have got hung up over the title of the OP rather than the request for favourite dishes which was the real question - quite a different thing and far more valid

                                    2. I will just share one dish that my wife and I enjoyed last Spring, that was one of the greatest desserts I've ever had. At Metropolitain, in the 4th, http://www.metroresto.fr/
                                      our dessert was a perfectly spherical meringue -- sort of a rounded "egg" floating in a strawberry sauce, and when you cracked the egg open, there was a "strawberry yoke" nesting inside. The dish worked on three levels: [a] it was absolutely delicious; perfectly fresh strawberries and not overly sweet; [2] we marveled at how it was constructed -- how on earth did they get the "yoke" inside the perfectly formed "egg"?, and [3] the whole meal was very reasonably priced. Eight months later, we still can't get over what a perfect dessert we had! Though it's unlikely that this resto would be on anyone's "Best of Paris" list, the dessert was just magical.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bauskern

                                        You brilliantly describe the elusive and idiosyncratic nature of the joy, delight, pleasure, all those words we think of when we remember a particularly great and memorable dish or wine or meal. And how difficult it might be for you to recapture that moment or for another diner to find it as rapturous as you did. The moments we savor... magical indeed.