Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Strasbourg, Champagne, and Paris...


  • Please log in to reply
100 replies to this topic

#61 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:49 AM

Megan, I don't have anything to add or any burning questions to ask, but I just wanted to let you know that I have enjoyed reading this SO MUCH! It's brining back great Europe memories for me. Thank you!

View Post

Thanks, MissAmy! It's a great way for me to relive my memories, too. :wink: I'll be finishing up over the next couple of days...am currently stalling because I have a dinner report with no pictures, which is always harder. :biggrin:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#62 markk

markk
  • participating member
  • 1,630 posts
  • Location:Northern NJ

Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:12 AM

I have been devouring, and loving this report!

Sadly, we didn't get to visit the villages around Strasbourg on this trip.  Next time, though, I plan to make a point of it.  But with only three and a half days, and given how enamored I was of the city, I just couldn't bring myself to leave.


This is so, so true! When I first discovered Strasbourg, we'd go for extended weekends (4 days), and we'd do it several times a month over a 6 month period. But we never left the city. People would tell us that we hadn't seen the "real Alsace", and we'd read and hear about all the great places we could drive to, but we still couldn't bring ourselves to leave Strasbourg proper. It was a long time before we ventured out of town into the surrounding region. It is indeed an enchanted city.

Thanks for bringing back all these memories. It was like going there for the first time again.
Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”
Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”
Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”
Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

#63 MelissaH

MelissaH
  • participating member
  • 1,336 posts
  • Location:Central New York via NEO, CO, Pittsburgh

Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:54 AM

Megan,

How did you find navigating in these areas without a car? Or, did you ever wish you'd had a car? After reading about Arne's walking tour, and thinking back (or ahead) to our various cycling adventures, I'm always interested to hear about local transportation options. Do you think you would have had any trouble venturing outside the cities without a car? Were the taxis an adequate source of transporation around Champagne? (I liked your tram picture!)

Also, did you ever have problems obtaining cash? We'd heard several years ago that ATMs were sometimes tricky to find.

On your trip, you've managed to nail three places that we'd like to take the bike to...and the fourth (Paris) that we've visited several times already.

MelissaH
MelissaH
Oswego, NY
Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

#64 SuzySushi

SuzySushi
  • participating member
  • 2,400 posts
  • Location:Hawaii

Posted 30 October 2006 - 12:10 PM

Megan, a wonderful blog about several wonderful areas of France. Your recount of Reims and Epernay brings back many happy memories! Next time (and there will be a next time for you, I'm sure), you'll have to spend some time exploring the Route du Vin in Alsace.
SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."
My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

#65 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 01:03 PM

For our evening dining in Paris, we relied heavily on eGullet recommendations, mostly from this handy compendium of bistro-focused threads: click!

Our first night, we went to Aux Vieux Chene in the 11th, on rue du Dahomey. It was easy to find (unlike some of our other outings; more on that later), and when we arrived for our 8:30 reservation, we were one of only two tables seated. Over the next fifteen minutes, though, the place filled up.

I didn't have my camera with me that night, so it's strictly words this time around. Louisa and I both started with a cold tomato soup, which was served with a scoop of parmesan gelato on top. It was unseasonably warm in Paris, so the soup was perfect - light, not too sweet, and the gelato was creamy and just barely cheesy.

For my main, I ordered the poitrine de porc. I was pretty sure that meant pork belly, and I was right (and very happy, too)! Served with baby vegetables (carrots, potatoes, onions), it was very rich, and delicious. Louisa had a duck dish, though the details escape me right now. I believe it was duck breast served with an apple compote of some kind...very autumnal.

For dessert, we shared a raspberry crumble, which was just ok. Starting from the bottom, it was a baked crumble topping (closer to muesli than to crumble, really), fresh cream, and raspberries. Very odd.

The wine list was great, and we shared a bottle of Coteaux du Languedoc.

The next morning it was up and at 'em - we were headed for the Opera Garnier, something we'd both missed on our previous visits to Paris. We wanted to have a cafe and croissant in a cafe, but were thwarted when we were hit on by an incredibly aggressive man who wouldn't leave us be until we pretended to walk down into the Metro. So, pressed for time, we grabbed breakfast at La Croissanterie, which made me think of Au Bon Pain, but with decent pastry. I had a cafe and a brioche sucre.

Posted Image

We decided to find an internet cafe, which took up a bit of our time, and by the time we'd caught up on our emails and assorted other business (like reading about the plane that flew into the Upper East Side, and, of course, the North Korea nuclear test), it was time for lunch. No, really!

We decided to try Lex Deux Magots, not unlike our friend Daddy-A! Louisa had an omelet, and I had what I'd been craving for a week and a half, but saving for Paris: steak tartare. And a Perrier.

Posted Image

Posted Image

The tartare was ok - not as tangy as I like it (no cornichons studded like jewels throughout the meat), but not bad, either. It was served with a little salad, dressed with some lovely balsamic vinegar:

Posted Image

The most impressive thing about the cafe were the waiters - they carried these incredibly laden trays, impressive because the majority of the cargo was wine bottles, and we didn't see a single one tip over. We did hear a couple of glasses crash, though. :wink:

Once we'd finished lunch, it was on to the Opera Garnier...which was AMAZING. So baroque, every edge is finished with a flourish. Quite different from our home base, the Met. My two favorite rooms were the rotundas - Rotonde du Soleil and Rotonde de la Lune.

Posted Image

Posted Image

In the bar area, each panel of the circular room is decorated with a painting representing a different beverage. This is "Tea."

Posted Image

After the Opera, we had some time to kill before our next patisserie jaunt, so we decided the time was ripe for...E. Dehillerin!!!!! I was unreasonably excited for our pilgrimage to the mecca of French cookware. Shopping for cookware combines my two passions - shopping and food. I am helpless in the face of Williams-Sonoma, so I knew I would melt upon impact when I entered Dehillerin. The experience did not disappoint.

The store is high-ceilinged and crowded, with shelves that reach ten feet in the air, and full of men in forest green coats shouting at one another. As soon as we walked in the door, one of the men (not in a green coat, maybe a manager) asked me what my name was. I replied, "Megan, comme la voiture." (There is a car made by Renault called the Megane, and it's the easiest way to tell people how to pronounce my name in French.) He asked me how I was doing, but I didn't ask back, and he didn't let me forget it for the rest of the hour we spent there! (Though, on the way out, I passed him one last time. Before he had a chance to say a thing, I shouted, "Comment allez-vous?" and he replied, "Tres bien, merci!")

I picked out many, many things, some of which were gifts. For myself, I bought a rectangular tart pan, a mini-madeleine pan, a tapered, unfinished rolling pin, a copper gratin pan, two wooden spoons, and...um, that's all. Yes, I had to pay the $25 fine to get my suitcase home. :wink:

Here's a shot of the interior...

Posted Image

And here are Louisa and I each out in front!

Posted Image

I'm so excited that I can't get my shoulders to stop hunching.

Posted Image

Louisa has a bit more self-control than I do. She's very poised. :wink:

And this was our adorable salesman:

Posted Image


Next stop on this bus: Pierre Herme!!!
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#66 Lori in PA

Lori in PA
  • participating member
  • 702 posts

Posted 30 October 2006 - 01:20 PM

Oh, the kitchenware shop is wonderful! I wanted to go there when I was in Paris, but didn't fit it in. Had you been to it before?

And, gorgeous sun ceiling in the rotunda...
~ Lori in PA
My blog: http://inmykitchenin...e.blogspot.com/
My egullet blog: http://forums.egulle...topic=89647&hl=


"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."
- Julia Child

#67 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 02:01 PM

Oh, the kitchenware shop is wonderful! I wanted to go there when I was in Paris, but didn't fit it in. Had you been to it before?

And, gorgeous sun ceiling in the rotunda...

View Post

It was amazing. I'd never been before, but I knew I had to make a point of stopping in.

Also, I didn't mention this above, but the prices were really quite good. The tart pan, for instance, was about 5 euro, so about $8.50. At a store in the States, something of similar quality would easily go for $15.00.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#68 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 03:02 PM

Later that afternoon, we headed back to our neighborhood to go to Pierre Herme, which is just on the corner of rue Bonaparte and Place Saint Sulpice, only a few blocks south of Laduree. It's Ling heaven! :wink:

The tiny patisserie does not have an associated salon, so we waited in the out-the-door line to get a Tarte Plenitude (for Louisa) and a Tarte au Cafe (for me). Neither of us are big macaroon fans (I hate the texture of meringue against my teeth), but we were quite taken with the sheer beauty of Herme's macarons, some of which were SPARKLY.

The cashier was lovely and gave us two little sporks with which to eat the tartes (though the gentleman who boxed them for us was rather snide about the fact that we weren't buying anything else - humph), and we settled onto a bench in front of Saint Sulpice (which was huge - far larger a church than I expected) and dug in.

That's my Cafe on the left, and the Plenitude on the right.

Posted Image

I am not exaggerating when I say that the Tarte au Cafe was, without doubt, one of the best pastries I have ever eaten. It had a pate sucree crust, then a coffee-soaked chocolate wafer cookie, then coffee-flavored chantilly cream, then a coffee glaze on top of that. The pate sucree was even better than Laduree's, crisp and buttery, and the fillings combined into an utterly rich, decadent, caffeinated experience.

The Plenitude was also quite good, though I tend to think that very rich chocolate isn't as good or interesting as other flavors, like COFFEE. But that's just me. :wink:

We rolled back to the hotel to get ready for dinner in the Marais.

Edited by Megan Blocker, 30 October 2006 - 03:09 PM.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#69 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:52 PM

That night, we went to dinner at Camille, a bistro in the Marais, on rue des Francs Bourgeois. We had a terrible time finding it - our Plan de Paris was not exactly top-notch. Camille was a real neighborhood place, comfortable, full of families and couples. The owner was standing on the sidewalk when we arrived, and he ushered us in and seated us at a banquette toward the back of the restaurant (which meant I had an excellent view of all the goings-on). The menu was written on a chalkboard (as was the wine list, brought later), and we turned down the offer of the printed, English menus.

We started off with Kirs, served with a bowl of peanuts.

Posted Image

Our waitress was positively delightful, and we had a fantastic time - even before the food started arriving. When Louisa ordered her main (steak tartare), the waitress jokingly asked, "Bien cuit?" Took us a beat to catch up, and she had quite a giggle at our expense. We ordered our dinners and a pichet each of wine (Cotes du Rhone for me, Bourdeaux for Louisa, both excellent and a steal at 5.50).

For our entrees, I ordered the escargots, which came dressed in basil and garlic and BUTTER. Luckily, we had some light, crusty baguette to soak up the goodness.

Posted Image

I hadn't had escargots in a while, and I'd forgotten how thin their shells seem once they've been cooked...these were delicious, balls of hot butter and garlic and salt, and they weren't even terribly chewy. Just good.

Louisa had a salad with (big shocker here) chevre chaud to start.

Posted Image

The salad was a mixed green salad with a very mustardy, creamy vinaigrette. The two slices of chevre were served on a golden slice of toasted brioche, and the thing was massive.

Louisa's steak tartare was amazing - it blew Les Deux Magots' version out of the water. A mile out. This version was very tangy, mustardy, but not too spicy. It was filled with cornichons and finely chopped onion, and came with the most delectable frites we had on the whole trip. Clearly cooked in duck fat, they were crispy but still fleshy, and were piping hot - a wonderful contrast to the chilled tartare.

Posted Image

My main was magret de canard with a potato gratin. The duck was served medium rare in a ridiculously good sauce made with honey, black pepper, demi-glace, and something mysterious that we think may have been star anise. The gratin...oh, the gratin...it was crispy, cheesy goodness, with exquisitely thin potatoes and a dark, broiler-finished topping.

Posted Image

For dessert, we had the first and only fantastic creme brulee of the trip (I skipped over a soupy monstrosity in Champagne). It was shallow and wide, which is the perfect way to ensure excellent brulee to creme ratio, IMHO. :wink: The custard was cold and creamy, dense and flavorful, and the brulee was really well done, dark but not burned to the point of bitterness.

Posted Image

The meal at Camille was really second only to the meal at Chez Yvonne in Strasbourg - absolutely wonderful meal, and only 80 euros total - which is a bargain for three courses plus wine plus a cocktail, at least for people used to NYC prices.

Edited by Megan Blocker, 30 October 2006 - 05:01 PM.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#70 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 05:14 PM

Two funny stories about that meal at Camille...

Right after we got our main courses, a young American couple were seated a table away from us on the banquette. They were having trouble deciding what to eat, and we played obnoxious New Yorkers for a moment so that we could lean over and evangelize about the steak tartare.

She wrinkled her nose and said, "Isn't that raw?" And he had the same reaction, just non-verbal.

Imagine our amusement when their meal arrived (they both ordered entrees only, no plats), and he had ordered the carpaccio. :wink:

Second story - a few minutes after the carpaccio hilarity, a French couple were seated at the table in between. They seemed pleasant enough, and from the snatches of their conversation that I caught, they were talking about people that they had in common. At one point, she was describing someone he hadn't met, and he glanced at me and said "Comme la femme a ton gauche?" ("Like the woman on your left?"). Well, I do speak French, and my expression is even stronger than my conversation these days, and so, I did what you do automatically when people are talking about you - I looked right at him. He turned pale, which makes me think that he was talking about us when I wasn't eavesdropping. Or he just felt silly for assuming that the American girls don't speak his language. Silly, silly man. :wink:

Edited by Megan Blocker, 30 October 2006 - 05:16 PM.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#71 Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess
  • participating member
  • 1,738 posts
  • Location:South Korea, orig. from Philippines

Posted 30 October 2006 - 05:55 PM

Megan, I would just like to add that I am truly enjoying your travelogue with all it descriptive posts and absolutely heavenly food pictures. Thanks for taking us with you.
Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

#72 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 30 October 2006 - 07:14 PM

Thanks, Domestic Goddess! I'm enjoying putting this all down on "paper."

The next morning, we had breakfast at Paul, a patisserie on Rue du Buci. The coffee was great - I had a grand noir (encore!).

Posted Image

We were a bit late for breakfast, so my quiche Lorraine came with a salad. It was very good - the crust was puff pastry, and what's bad about eggs, bacon, onion, and potatoes?

Posted Image

We wanted to go see Saint Chapelle (we've both been before, but thought it was worth seeing a second - third, for me - time). However, when we got there, the line was an hour long, and they were closing for lunch in 45 minutes. So we decided to walk to the other end of the Ile de la Cite to see the Memorial to the Deportation (the Deportation refers to the removal from France of the French victims of the Holocaust). It's a very powerful memorial, one I really recommend spending time in.

However, the memorial was also closed for lunch. This seemed like a good time for a street snack, so we grabbed crepes next to Notre Dame. Sucre for me, citron sucre for Louisa.

Posted Image

We did a lap inside Notre Dame, went to the memorial, and headed back to our neighborhood for some more pastry at Laduree. Yes, I know, I know.

We were seated upstairs this time, in a low-ceilinged, navy blue room. Louisa ordered a pear charlotte, and I ordered another religieuse, for comparison's sake - chocolate, this time. I enjoyed it - it was very rich - but not as much as the strawberry.

Posted Image

Then it was home for a quick nap before our 9:00 reservation at Aux Lyonnais.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#73 Felice

Felice
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,032 posts
  • Location:Paris

Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:07 AM

Megan,

I'm glad to hear that you liked Au Vieux Chene. I went sometime last year after reading that it got Pudlo's distinction of best 'rapport/quality prix' (quality for price) but I was disappointed and never went back. I'm sure it was just an off night then which certainly happens.
www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

#74 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 07:51 AM

Megan,

How did you find navigating in these areas without a car? Or, did you ever wish you'd had a car? After reading about Arne's walking tour, and thinking back (or ahead) to our various cycling adventures, I'm always interested to hear about local transportation options. Do you think you would have had any trouble venturing outside the cities without a car? Were the taxis an adequate source of transporation around Champagne? (I liked your tram picture!)

Also, did you ever have problems obtaining cash? We'd heard several years ago that ATMs were sometimes tricky to find.

On your trip, you've managed to nail three places that we'd like to take the bike to...and the fourth (Paris) that we've visited several times already.

MelissaH

View Post

The only place where not having a car was even mildly an issue was in Champagne. The rest of the trip was spent in walkable metropolitan areas, all equipped with excellent public transportation, and, in the case of Prague, readily available, call-when-you-need-them, cheap taxis. (BTW, everyone recommended the same company - our hotel, Rehovot, the guidebooks...AAA Taxi.)

In Champagne, having a car would really have allowed us to do more exploring, to see some of the smaller, out-of-the-way houses, and to fit more into our day. The taxi rides were hugely expensive (we spent more per day on taxis in Champagne then we did per night on our room in Strasbourg), but, in some ways, it was nice not to have to worry about how much of that tasting flute you were going to finish. I'm not sorry that we didn't have a car, but if I ever go back, I'll definitely be renting one (which means I really need to learn to drive stick, a challenge for a carless Manhattanite).

We did not have problems finding ATM's anywhere - the only real money issue we faced was the coin problem in Prague - the ATM's dispense huge bills (1,000 or 500 koruny), and no one seemed to be able to accept them (except restaurants - who paid each night was often determined by who needed to break 1,000 koruny), even when we'd managed to get ourselves down into the 100-200 koruny bill range. This sounds silly, but it was actually quite frustrating (for instance, the National Museum almost didn't let us in because we didn't have correct change).

I think biking in France would be lovely...Strasbourg is a very bike-focused city (something like 400 km of bike paths in the city proper), and I think it would be a really neat way to see things.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#75 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 07:52 AM

Megan,

I'm glad to hear that you liked Au Vieux Chene.  I went sometime last year after reading that it got Pudlo's distinction of best 'rapport/quality prix' (quality for price) but I was disappointed and never went back.  I'm sure it was just an off night then which certainly happens.

View Post

It was definitely a good meal - not "traditional" in the way that Camille was, but definitely very strong. I would definitely say that it had a good value for the price, but I would definitely send someone to Camille for steak tartare on their first night. :wink:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#76 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:25 AM

That night, we took the metro to the Bourse stop and hoofed it over to Aux Lyonnais, Alain Ducasse's Lyonnais bistro. It was packed and bustling (apparently they had asked our hotel, who made the reservation for me, to call and confirm three separate times), and our table was not ready when we arrived. We were whisked upstairs to a lounge area, and a platter of toast and cervelle de canut (fromage blanc with vinegar, shallots, and herbs - not brains!) was brought to us with our Kirs.

Posted Image

After only a couple of minutes, we were escorted back downstairs to our table, which was right next to (I mean, like, six inches) from the door. Far from being obnoxious (the whole place was loud and crowded, so it certainly didn't matter), this afforded us an excellent opportunity to partake of our favorite activity: people-watching (No judgment, only speculation!). We noticed that the majority of people coming in, and many, many of those seated around us, were American. Some tourist, some expat - a good deal spoke very strong French, but it was still USA-central.

We ordered our dinners and a bottle of Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Nuit called Clos Saint-Philibert (2002). I know very little about wine, but this was an excellent bottle (this is why we wrote it down), and went very well with our meal.

Louisa started with a potted foie gras and pork (?), served with pickled vegetables and toast. This was my favorite of the night - the rich, smooth meat and the tangy, crunchy pickles - heaven.

Posted Image

My entree was a mushroom soup...hiding at the bottom of the bowl were various shellfish. They popped in your mouth amidst the dark, luscious mushroom cream. One the side, andouillette "en croute," (baked into a sweet-tasting bread, really) which I broke apart and ate with bites of soup.

Posted Image

Posted Image

For Louisa's main, she had the cabillaud (cod), which was served with braised salsify - tons of it, something you would never see in the States, and she got awfully excited about it.

Posted Image

Yes, that's a roasted garlic clove on top there.

My main was chicken braised with langoustines, which really tasted like langoustine-flavored chicken - which was all good! Baby vegetables were also included in the slightly spicy broth, along with several cloves of roasted garlic - we spread those on the bread, of course.

Posted Image

A note about the service - it was extremely friendly and prompt, but it seemed a little confused. Different people were constantly stopping at the table to ask us for an order we'd already put in - we felt so bad constantly telling people that "c'est deja fait." Like we'd missed something in the playbook...

A note about the food, as well: Louisa really liked it, but Louisa really likes very salty food. She salts EVERYTHING. I found everything, with rare exception, to be overly salty. Well-executed, interesting, tasty, but over-salted.

That said, we had an excellent time. At one point we started quoting to each other from the movie Clue (a big favorite among my friends), and just couldn't stop laughing. Luckily, it's that kind of place - loud and boisterous (here's Daddy-A's account of a slightly different experience; clearly we weren't there howling over his shoulder), and the only looks we got were the bemused, curious kind. More of an "I'll have what she's having" attitude: if they're having that much fun, bring me some of that langoustine-flavored chicken!

Dessert was a bit of a letdown. We ordered the ile flottante, flavored with rose, which came with a similarly-hued tart. Both just tasted like sugar with red food coloring. Don't know if all the salt dulled our palates (:wink:), but it just wasn't an impressive showing.

Posted Image

Finally, the check. I have to say, for the quality of the food and the experience with the service, I was a bit disappointed in the price - more than twice what we'd paid at Camille (though take away the bottle of wine, and it was only one and a half times the Camille tab), and neither of us thought the food was as good. However, it was great fun, and it's clearly a hotspot - so it would appear that, as in New York, the most popular restaurants are not always the ones with the best food.

On Saturday morning, after a quick brioche pit stop for me and a palmier for Louisa, we took the Metro up to Porte de Clignancourt - time for the flea market! We spent the morning wandering around the Puces de Paris, drooling over furniture that we couldn't really justify shipping home, including the dining table that will (it WILL, dammit!) one day grace my Strasbourg apartment. :wink:

Afterward, we took the Metro back down to Montmartre, intending to make it up to Sacre Coeur. Ultimately, we were disheartened and thrown out of whack by the closing of the Abbesses metro stop, and ended up just grabbing lunch at a little restaurant on Rue Caulaincourt. Don't remember the name of it, but they made a good lunch! Louisa had the salade Nordique, which had smoked salmon and toasts with fromage blanc.

Posted Image

I had the hamburger. When I ordered, the waitress had a look of panic on her face as she tried to remember the word "bun" - so that she could tell me there wasn't one. The hamburger was served with excellent frites and a beautifully fried egg.

Posted Image

Edited by Megan Blocker, 31 October 2006 - 10:29 AM.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#77 Ptipois

Ptipois
  • participating member
  • 1,616 posts

Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:56 AM

Dessert was a bit of a letdown.  We ordered the ile flottante, flavored with rose, which came with a similarly-hued tart.  Both just tasted like sugar with red food coloring.  Don't know if all the salt dulled our palates (:wink:), but it just wasn't an impressive showing.

View Post

That ile flottante was not (unless specified on the menu, which would surprise me) flavored with rose. The color comes from the ground pink pralines that are mixed into the meringue. The tarte is definitely Frédéric Robert's tarte aux pralines, and it is not rose-flavored either. It will taste of sugar and perhaps a bit of almond. If you expected rose, you certainly were disappointed. Those recipes were given by Alain Chapel to Frédéric Robert, who in turn gave them to the Ducasse house before leaving for Las Vegas.
I agree with you about Aux Lyonnais, I think the food is not great, and overpriced. I've never had a good experience there. I've even had bad ones.

Edited by Ptipois, 31 October 2006 - 10:59 AM.


#78 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 10:59 AM

Dessert was a bit of a letdown.  We ordered the ile flottante, flavored with rose, which came with a similarly-hued tart.  Both just tasted like sugar with red food coloring.  Don't know if all the salt dulled our palates (:wink:), but it just wasn't an impressive showing.

View Post

That ile flottante was not (unless specified on the menu, which would surprise me) flavored with rose. The color comes from the ground pink pralines that are mixed into the meringue. The tarte is definitely Frédéric Robert's tarte aux pralines, and it is not rose-flavored either. It will taste of sugar and perhaps a bit of almond. If you expected rose, you certainly were disappointed. Those recipes were given by Alain Chapel to Frédéric Robert, who in turn gave it to the Ducasse house before leaving for Las Vegas.

View Post

Whoops! Too much wine, not enough note taking. I think I just conflated my memory with a rose pastry that everyone around us was eating at Laduree. Interesting...pink pralines!!!
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#79 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 11:01 AM

I agree with you about Aux Lyonnais, I think the food is not great, and overpriced. I've never had a good experience there. I've even had bad ones.

View Post

Phew! I thought maybe it was just me...so many people rave about it.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#80 bleudauvergne

bleudauvergne
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,235 posts
  • Location:Lyon, France

Posted 31 October 2006 - 12:53 PM

Oh, they just want to come to Lyon, that's all. :smile: Those dishes were typical Lyonnais bouchon dishes, although I have yet to see the andouilette en croute. The pralines are colored red here, and the good praline tartes have lots and lots of nuts, at least as many nuts as sugar. It's funny, the cervelle de canut is usually served after the meal and not before. Strange in their ways, the Parisians.

#81 Ptipois

Ptipois
  • participating member
  • 1,616 posts

Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:25 PM

Oh, they just want to come to Lyon, that's all.  :smile:  Those dishes were typical Lyonnais bouchon dishes, although I have yet to see the andouilette en croute.  The pralines are colored red here, and the good praline tartes have lots and lots of nuts, at least as many nuts as sugar.  It's funny, the cervelle de canut is usually served after the meal and not before.  Strange in their ways, the Parisians.

View Post

The basics of the menu, "landmark" dishes, and things like the cervelle de canut appetizer, were set up by Jean-François Piège, who is not from Lyon but from Valence. A foreigner. :wink: :wink: :wink:

#82 Daddy-A

Daddy-A
  • legacy participant
  • 3,240 posts
  • Location:Burnaby, BC

Posted 31 October 2006 - 04:43 PM

Megan,

Sounds like our experiences at Aux Lyonnais were more similar than you might think ... Clue quotes aside. Our best meals during were not in Paris, and the best measl in Paris were not where we expected them to be. I chalk a lot of that up to experience (or lack thereof) but while I enjoyed Aux Lyonnais, I probably won't seek it out next visit.

Afterward, we took the Metro back down to Montmartre, intending to make it up to Sacre Coeur. Ultimately, we were disheartened and thrown out of whack by the closing of the Abbesses metro stop ....


Yeah, we ran into that too. Fortunately I heard (and understood) the announcement before we reached Abbesses. We jumped off at Pigalle caught the Metro to Anvers. The cool thing about walking in from Anvers is that you pass all the "thrift shops" along the way to the funiculaire. The locals might not enjoy it, but there's nothing like watching middle aged women fighting over 10Euro shoes!

A.

#83 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 31 October 2006 - 05:00 PM

Megan,

Sounds like our experiences at Aux Lyonnais were more similar than you might think ... Clue quotes aside.  Our best meals during were not in Paris, and the best measl in Paris were not where we expected them to be.  I chalk a lot of that up to experience (or lack thereof) but while I enjoyed Aux Lyonnais, I probably won't seek it out next visit.

Afterward, we took the Metro back down to Montmartre, intending to make it up to Sacre Coeur. Ultimately, we were disheartened and thrown out of whack by the closing of the Abbesses metro stop ....


Yeah, we ran into that too. Fortunately I heard (and understood) the announcement before we reached Abbesses. We jumped off at Pigalle caught the Metro to Anvers. The cool thing about walking in from Anvers is that you pass all the "thrift shops" along the way to the funiculaire. The locals might not enjoy it, but there's nothing like watching middle aged women fighting over 10Euro shoes!

A.

View Post

Glad to hear another person with a more balanced opinion of Aux Lyonnais...I really was beginning to think it was me.

Aaaaah, I heard and understood, too, but we were coming from the other direction. We were actually only about two blocks north of Sacre Coeur when we had lunch, but we were tired and hot and just wanted to go home. I'd actually been twice before, so Louisa was the only one missing out, and she was ok with that. :laugh:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#84 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 01 November 2006 - 04:30 PM

After lunch, we headed back to Saint-Germain. Louisa needed to download her flight information for the next morning, so she went to the internet cafe, and I went to a little bakery place for some gelato and sorbet. I love, love, LOVE the double cornet - it's one of the things I remember most vividly, food-wise, from my first trip to France twelve years ago (the other is baguette, confitures, and hot chocolate from a bowl for breakfast at the youth hostel).

I got raspberry sorbet and vanilla gelato - I really wanted raspberry and lemon sorbet, but they were out of lemon. :sad:

Posted Image

This is the little bakery on Rue du Buci (it's also where Louisa got her palmier that morning). I loved the name - La Bonbonniere!

Posted Image

The streets behind our hotel turned into a market on Saturday - I could have taken pictures for hours...

Posted Image

Dinner that night was back at Camille! We received a very warm welcome from the owner, who asked us how we'd been since the other night. We were seated on the same banquette, and we knew what we wanted...another round of the same salad, the escargots, and the steak tartare. To shake things up, Lou got the lamb chops, served with yet another fantastic variation on the potato...skillet roasted, this time.

Posted Image

For dessert, our last in France ( :sad: ), we split the mousse au chocolat...

Posted Image

My final coffee on French soil was divine...strong, rich, and creamy.

Posted Image

And here's Camille, the last picture I shot on the trip...it's blurry from my tears! (OK, not really, but you know what I mean.)

Posted Image

Sigh.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#85 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 02 November 2006 - 08:26 AM

And that was it! The next morning we were up very early to catch out flight back to the States. We had pains au chocolat and Oranginas at CDG, and then boarded our plane.

The first thing I consumed on American soil: Diet Coke. :wink:
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#86 Simon_S

Simon_S
  • participating member
  • 689 posts
  • Location:Dublin, Ireland

Posted 02 November 2006 - 08:30 AM

The first thing I consumed on American soil: Diet Coke.  :wink:

View Post


...With lots of ice no doubt! :biggrin:

I really enjoyed this report Megan!

Si

#87 Dave Hatfield

Dave Hatfield
  • participating member
  • 1,590 posts
  • Location:Rural France

Posted 02 November 2006 - 08:58 AM

And that was it!  The next morning we were up very early to catch out flight back to the States.  We had pains au chocolat and Oranginas at CDG, and then boarded our plane. 

The first thing I consumed on American soil: Diet Coke.  :wink:

View Post


A great report! As I said in my earlier post it brings back many fond memories of my early trips to France. Your energy & enthousiasm are captivating.

Thank you for sharing with us.

Dave

PS: You can get coka light everywhere in France, but who wants to?

#88 Megan Blocker

Megan Blocker
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,041 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 02 November 2006 - 09:01 AM

PS: You can get coka light everywhere in France, but who wants to?

View Post

Exactement! :wink:

...With lots of ice no doubt!

No ice, but straight from the fridge, in the can. Ooooh, baby.

Thanks, guys - I'm glad you enjoyed it! I certainly enjoyed myself.
"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan
eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

#89 Jenny McClure

Jenny McClure
  • participating member
  • 204 posts
  • Location:N.Ireland/Puerto Rico

Posted 02 November 2006 - 09:07 AM

And that was it!  The next morning we were up very early to catch out flight back to the States.  We had pains au chocolat and Oranginas at CDG, and then boarded our plane. 

The first thing I consumed on American soil: Diet Coke.  :wink:

View Post


A great report! As I said in my earlier post it brings back many fond memories of my early trips to France. Your energy & enthousiasm are captivating.

Thank you for sharing with us.

Dave

PS: You can get coka light everywhere in France, but who wants to?

View Post


It's funny, how diet coke has a slightly different taste from country to country. I prefer the coke light, in France & Spain. In Ireland & US I don't really like diet coke (which are different from each other) as much and since getting pregnant cannot stand the taste of it, no matter where it comes from. Which is a good thing really!!

Brilliant report by the way Megan. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Much better than work any day.

#90 Pontormo

Pontormo
  • participating member
  • 2,589 posts

Posted 02 November 2006 - 09:12 AM

Yes, thank you so much for a fabulous report. My favorite sentence is the one about not being able to control your shoulders.

I had never had much of a desire to go to Strasbourg before, but your warm glow is contagious.

(A little shock, though. Last time I was in Paris I remember everyone, everywhere advertised that they had Poulaine. But Haagen Dasz!!!)
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath