Thursday, 1 December 2011


A business trip to Paris provides T with an excellent opportunity for culinary exploits. T, a long time fan of the Italian cuisine, is gradually warming to France – both the wine and food. It does not mean that he did not like it before, just that he had not paid enough attention. Not surprisingly there are many positive experiences waiting for T (and some not so positives ones, too).
The trip provided four occasions for French dining.
Day 1: Auberge Nicolas Flamel
This is a small place at Rue de Montmorency. T has the Menu Degustation which means
Foie Gras on fruited bread - one piece fried and one piece au naturel. Quite nice.
St Jacques (Fried Scallops)
7-hour Lamb
Creme Brulée
The Menu Degustation was good, but time has erased the memory somewhat.
The plan was to have a bottle of white wine and a bottle of red with the meal, so we ordered a bottle of Mont-Redon 2008 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It was very nice and crisp, but somehow it dried up before the monkfish arrived and so we had to have a bottle of Meursault (T does not recall which one, but it was a favorite in the company). For the Lamb we had a bottle of Chateau Marquis d'Alesme 2005.
Day 2: Le Grand B
With a prominent location on Boulevard des Italiens this place might be what we have otherwise categorized as a tourist trap. The nature of the dinner did nothing to change that prejudice, but it has to be said that serving dinner for 42 people of course is challenging.
Day 3: Chez l'Ami Jean
This little gem is situated in a part of Paris that seemed a bit deserted on the evening. Most of buildings near Rue Malar seemed to be office buildings and it was therefore a bit of a surprise to enter a very crowded small room that buzzed with activity and atmosphere. The staff was extremely busy but still provided good service and in particular humour. They were quick to point out that they were basque, which of course was no surprise as it was announced at the front: "Basque Specialtees"
It was decided that we went for the big 8 course dinner (Le Carte Blanche) in which the chef selected what to serve. T was not really opposed to this. We asked the waiter for recommendations to go with the courses as we did not have a clue as to what we were going to have. They suggested white wine to start and later red wine! Good recommendation, thought T and looked into the wine list.
We started with a bottle of Champagne from Drappier made on Pinot Noir (blanc) and with this we had some slices of iberian ham.
The first course was a parmesan soup served with croutons and chives (and T also thinks there was a little ventreche in there). With  this we had started a bottle of 2004 Vire Clesse which was recommended and well so.

Next up was a terrine of beef (jellied beef, we were told). There were raisins in the terrine, which was surprising, but worked well. It was served with a basil coulis. We had somewhere along the way run out of Vire Clesse and turned to a 2009 Meursault La Barre.
The next course was fresh St Jacques clams served in their their shells and then baked lightly. It was sprinkled with chives and small croutons.
Then it was time for the meat courses and we shifted to a bottle of Coteaux de Languedoc. It was good, but T did not get to see the details properly.
We started with a braised hare on an emulsion of mushrooms and small pieces of turnip.
After this we had a piece of wood pigeon on a base of cresson. It was cooked perfectly in T's opinion and he had so far only had had bad experiences with pigeon. This one was red, but not raw inside.
Finally we had three desserts served together:
Ris au lait with roasted and candied almonds, sablér with pear and a lemon shot. With this we had glass of dessert wine from Jurancon.
Altogether this was an excellent evening.
Day 4: Hippopotamus
The Charles de Gaulle airport does not offer many options when it comes to dinner (maybe it does in some of the other terminals): Either McDonalds or Hippopotamus. Naturally we chose the latter. T did not want to end his foie gras streak early and so had a bloc de foie gras and an Entrecote.
For an airport restaurant this was actually OK and of course drinking a bottle of 2004 Cote Rotîe from Guigal helped a lot.
It is actually quite dangerous for T to go dining in France, because the bottles normally cost the same as he has to pay for them in Denmark... in the retail store.

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