While we're here in the City of Light we're enjoying both excellent meals and excellent companionship at those meals. I'm proposing new nicknames for Paris, with my top contenders so far being City of Food and City of Calories.
As promised in my last post, I'm catching you up on our incredible meal at L'Arpege with Jeff Clavier on Monday 7/11. Brad and I had been there before in 2005, but didn't have the full degustation experience that we had this time - and this was wonderful. I'm reconstructing the list of courses from memory, so I may be missing one or two, but I'm providing links to an excellent photo-rich review that can give you an idea of what the food looks like. We didn't have the opportunity to photograph the courses during our experience since Brad's phone wasn't working at the time. You'll have to visit for yourself for the tastes!
L'Arpege Listing of Courses:
- Amuse bouche of tiny pastry cups with beet cream or radish and tomato
- Tomato soup with scoop of creme fraiche (my 2nd favorite course)
- Single egg in shell - a L'Arpege signature, with creme fraiche, maple syrup, and chives (3rd favorite course)
- Assorted grilled vegetables
- Lobster in thin white potatoes (my favorite course)
- Red onion gratin with black currants (my least favorite course)
- Three vegetable ravioli in consomme
- Fish with lemon and pepper for me, fish with white wine for Brad and Jeff
- Another fish with green tea powder / lamb for Jeff
- Cheese course - incredible Comté
- First dessert - rhubarb in mille feuille (rhubarb somewhat overwhelmed by the pastry. I would have preferred more rhubarb flavor.)
- 2nd dessert - basil ice cream with stewed yellow plums and black currants
- Tray of sweets in multiples of 3 with some fascinating vegetable flavor macarons
- And surely that is enough!?!!
- Oh, the wines - chosen by Jeff. I don't remember the white, but the red was a pinot noir from the Mazis-Chambertin region of Burgundy
A lengthy, thoughtful, and astute review of L'Arpege on the Food Snob blog, with gorgeous photos, is worth a long read, and includes some history on Alain Passard's personal evolution as a chef.
And here is a link to a series of photo tags for L'Arpege on Paris by Mouth. Beautiful.
We had a couple of days to recover, lying about like pythons after devouring several goats, then our friend, Jud Valeski, from Boulder, Colorado, arrived - which necessitated venturing forth in search of more food.
We ate at Saturne, which is reviewed here:
review on the New York Times
review on Paris by Mouth
review on Paris Notebook
review on John Talbot's Paris
Since Jud has a phone that actually works in Europe, he took these beautiful photos of our beautiful meal. We missed photographing the starter, which was chunks of tuna tartare with small slivers of sardine, white onions, parsley, and drizzle of viniagrette.
We're also missing a photo of one of my favorite parts of the meal, which was a hearty country bread served in a linen basket filled with fresh hay that smelled wonderful.
But here is our first entree - fish for Brad and me, and chicken for Jud:
And our second entree - line caught sea bass with peas and summer squash
And dessert of a fromage blanc ice cream with tiny meringue balls and raspberry granita coulis -
A nice way to start our nice week with Jud with modern French food.
But sometimes you just want Mexican -
After yet ANOTHER day of pouring rain and gray skies, Brad was officially ready for some not-French food. From my extensive (borderline obsessive) reading of food blogs, I knew there are now a few actual Mexican food options in Paris.
We're not usually so au courant (see my French?!) but the handmade tacos and actual salsa were worth squeezing in to the tiny, very crowded place. We sat at the single communal table and ate real Mexican, which helped drive away some of the damp and chill of the Parisian summer.
And then it was the weekend, and time to rest from our dining labors.