Monday, February 28, 2011

Paris, Day Four

After returning, we went to the Musee d'Orsay to see Impressionist works, and then to Gallery Lafayette for Priya to buy some French face cream. By the evening, we were starving, having not really eaten much all day. Our dinner was at La Régalade Saint-Honoré Bistro and was another incredible meal. This time, we both got the "menu".

At the beginning of the meal, they gave us a loaf of pate as big as a loaf of bread and a jar of cornichons. You eat as much as you want and they take it away when your food comes (presumably to give to the next guest).

Coquilles Saint-Jacques marinees a l'huile d'olive au citron, pistou et copeaux de parmesan (raw scallops with olive oil, lemon, pesto, and parmesan):

Thon rouge mi-cuit au citron confit, carpaccio de betteraves et salade de mache (seared tuna with lemon confit and both raw and cooked beets over mache salad):

Paleron de boeuf cuit lentement, carottes condantes, oignons grelots et champignons comme un bourguignon (beef bourguignon):

Poitrine de cochon fermier moelleuse de chez Ospital, la couenne croustillante, lentilles vertes du Puy cuisinees comme un petit sale (pork belly over French green lentils):

Souffle chaud au Grand Mariner and riz cuit au lait et a la vanille comme le faisait ma grand-mere, caramel laitier (Grand Marnier souffle and rice pudding with vanilla and milk caramel):

The rice pudding really blew the lid off this meal--a softball-sized portion (of course we didn't finish it) that wasn't soupy at all and was leagues beyond any rice pudding we'd ever had. OMG dessert.

Paris, Day Three (Things Start To Get Awesome)

The next day, we got a late start, and began by walking over to the Jewish area on Rue de Rosiers. We had lunch at the famed L'As du Fallafel. We had a beef merguez sausage appetizer and inexpensive falafel sandwiches that were very good and very stuffed, though perhaps with a bit too much cabbage:

We had dinner at Cafe Constant, one of four restaurants on the same block run by Christian Constant. I don't know if it was actually amazing or if I just perceived it as such because it was our first excellent Paris dinner out, but it really blew me away.

Oeufs mimosa comme autrefois (old-style devilled eggs):

Terrine de foie gras de canard maison, pain de mie toaste (duck foie gras):

Vollaile "Patte Bleue"" rotie au beurre d'herbes, pommes Grenaille rissolees ("Patte Bleu" roast chicken with herby butter and pan-fried new potatoes):

Tete, langue, et cervielle de veau croustillante, pommes vapeur, sauce gribiche (Head, tongue, and brains of veal). This was sooo good; the head was cooked in an almost scrapple-like slab and when I bit it it instantly coated the inside of my mouth with fattiness:

Ile flotante, a puff of meringue floating in caramel:

Some random Paris food items from the store

Mustard-flavored potato chips (not bad):

Speculoos, a peanut-butter-like spread that tastes like crumbled-up cookies:

A MacMacaron (we didn't buy it), which is both cute and sad:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paris, Day Two

We went shopping at Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt in the morning and stopped in Cafe Paul Bert for lunch, which was very crowded with French people. I got the "menu" (a prix fixe including an appetizer, a main, and some wine) while Priya decided to get stuff a la carte--probably a mistake in retrospect, because it cost twice as much and was not very good. Our vegetable soups were just creamy broth, and my flank steak with shallots (bavette a l'échalotte) was fine, but Priya's croque Paul Bert was kind of gross--no ham and an absolutely gigantic amount of cheese over toasted (not grilled) bread. However, the bottled grape juice she ordered was fantastic. As we ate, we saw three separate French people around us order hamburgers--and eat them improperly (discarding the bun entirely and cutting off pieces of meat which ate with a fork, buttering each piece with ketchup as they went).

Note: we've heard of a Paul Bert Bistro nearby here as well, which is supposed to be good--this isn't it, and it's not that good. The Alain Milliat grape juice was fantastic, though.

After the Louvre, we went to La Grande Epicerie de Paris fancy-food store attached to the Bon Marche department store. We ended up spending hours there--it was amazing. Forbidden from photographing some of the food, we snuck in a few pix anyway. We ended up returning the the Epicerie a few days later to buy more stuff because it was so good.

There is a whole molecular gastronomy section...agar-agar, sphere-making kits, foam stuff...:

In the end, everything looked so good (and we were still tired) that we decided to have dinner at home with stuff purchased from the Epicerie...some ham and sausages (jambon torchon, jambon bayonne, and chaudin poivre vert), a few cheeses (St. Marcellin, 18-month Comte, and Ossau Iraty), some baguettes, some crystallized kumquats (so good, much better than fresh kumquats), some French apples, a mangosteen (I was super-excited to find these; since they're illegal to import in the US, I've been looking for them for ages, and only found a bag of previously-frozen mangosteens on the street in Chinatown that were really nothing special), some tamari almonds (actually from the Co-Op in Brooklyn), some wine, and some of the grape juice we'd had earlier at Paul Bert. And for dessert, some packaged chocolate mousse that was really very good:

Paris, Day One

Our flight arrived early on Sunday morning and we moved into our rented apartment in the Marais. Very close by was Rose Bakery, where we had our first meal. We were excited because Priya has had their cookbook (Breakfast, Lunch, Tea) for ages. I had bacon, eggs, mushrooms, and tomato--I know, English without the beans--and a cinnamon bun while Priya had a maple scone and a mini quiche (with sweet potatoes, broccoli, and green beans) plus two salad sides--a very interesting/cooling salad made of cucumber and paper-thin slices of cauliflower and romesco cauliflower and green herbs like tarragon, and an eggplant/fennel salad. We ordered too much, really--a scone came with my breakfast, and delicious bread and butter and preserves came with the whole meal.

For dinner, we were near the Pompidou, so we went to Black Dog, a metal bar full of guys with Terran Olson beards. Black Dog served dinner starting at 8, so we ate there--most of the menu is steaks. Some of the high-end ones are giant and cost like €60 each, but I just got the regular ol' rib-eye. It was decent, but overcooked, I thought--almost completely grey throughout, "medium" at best (surprising, because isn't France generally known for its bloody meat? Maybe they gave it another run through the fire when they saw I was American). Priya had a couple of passable-but-not-great empanadas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

valentine's day

Beet roesti with rosemary and pistachio-crusted cod

simple, good.

Preserved limequats

Priya brought home some limequats (a tiny, cute cross between Key limes and kumquats). Unsure what to do with them, I preserved them. In two months or so we'll make a chicken tagine.

And when we get back from Paris next week, the regular preserved lemons I made several weeks ago should be ready for a lamb tagine! This time, I added black peppercorns, coriander seeds, and bay leaves to the brine...usually I only do salt and lemon juice.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Northern Spy kale salad

Kale salad from Northern Spy (where I went a couple of weeks ago with the ladies from school). We've made it a couple of times, using butternut squash instead of kabocha, and it's always come out great!