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Everything posted by winemike

  1. Thanks for the report, vigna ! I had the best "beef rossini" of my life, there Well, maybe in Germany but certainly not alike any french restaurant in Frankfurt. Erno's food is maybe not the most creative but the dishes are perfectly executed. And when I hear people compare it to "Bistro 77" (not you of course but someone did when I was in Frankfurt), I can't believe they mean the place is almost as good as Erno's bistro !! The decor is not great, agreed. But the food, for Frankfurt, is truly exceptional. Erno's also has an impressive wine list and rarities that are not overpriced. Mr Huber is truly passionate about wine, and it shows on his very well thought winelist, IMHO. Anyway, Erno's bistro and Gargantua are the right choices in Frankfurt though I have not tried Osteria Enoteca nor the new place "brick" ?? on Walter von Kronberg platz, south west of Sachsenhausen. Have you tried these ? Heard anything about them ? Could you give more details ? I have to be honest here. Frankfurt (not Germany) was(is?) a desert for haute cuisine, ethnic cuisine is not very brilliant either apart from some thai places, maybe ? A lot of people had praise for Japanese places like "Utage" or "sushimoto" that I find good but not impressive. You'll find the odd good italian place but nothing worth a trip, really. Of course, what I say here only applies to Frankfurt ... Please do, I'd be delighted to read your comments. See, there is some interest in Germany on eGullet
  2. loufood, I was not giving a course on how fat or exactly what creme liquide is, but how it's commonly called in France. And how to get it. The French do not make the difference between fermented and non fermented cream and as a matter of fact, they're both called "creme fraiche". If you ask for creme fraiche without precision, you're likely to be asked "liquide ou epaisse" indeed. As for "creme frais", this does not exist. Full stop. Creme is feminine. As a matter of fact, when creme is produced, after "ecremage" , creme is liquid. It is "creme crue" at this stage. To be allowed to be called "fraiche" it needs to be pasteurised (not sterilised !!) and conditioned within a day (I believe) .. hence "fraiche". So, creme fraiche, before fermenting (to become "epaisse") would be liquid anyway. The fact that it is "legere" means simply that its fat content is less than 30%. Creme legere can be both "epaisse" and "liquide".
  3. Creme fluide is liquid creme fraiche. You can get it in any supermarket/Auchaun/Carrefour and alikes. It's sold in small boxes or plactic bottles. "Pate a ravioli" is just pasta, I guess. You can easily make your own if you have a pasta machine ("laminoir" in French). 1 egg per 100g flour, form a dough, let rest for 1 hour .. bob's your uncle.
  4. winemike

    Wine and Chocolate

    Maury has to be my choice. Banyuls is sometimes too rich and sweet.
  5. If you're worried about the wait, here is the trick : go when the Hockey team plays the play offs !! I've had a great dinner there on thursday night, it was half full only. I had not realised how important this sport was here, obviously Again, excellent food, bearable service. The swedish meatballs with cloudberry sauce and mashed potatoes were outstanding ! A strong recommendation if you see it on the menu.
  6. winemike

    White or Red?

    What matters to me is the quality of the wine. Not the colour ... I'll keep the Montrachet ...!
  7. winemike

    Gewurtz and Cheese?

    What about a alsatian munster ? Maybe too much of classical choice ? In Alsace, it's served with cumin seeds. Works perfectly with gewurztraminer.
  8. Unless you drink the label ! Happens more than you'd think .... !
  9. Hmm, never had any sommelier try the wine I ordered in any 2/3 stars in France. It happened once in the UK (Chez Nico, some years ago) and I noticed it because it was unusual to me. Wine is usually the biggest part of my bills in these places, and I have *always* been asked/proposed to try the wine. It was pretty much all the time the same procedure, no ridiculous rituals, like use of a candle to stop decanting when hitting the sediments. No fuss. You're presented the bottle to ensure it's the one you ordered. Opened in front of you, decanted if necessary and you then try it before all the guests are served. If I have a doubt about the wine (happened once or twice), I ask the sommelier to taste it to confirm the problem. If "corked" it's always been replaced ... of course.
  10. winemike

    via allegro

    Thanks Jake. How is the food there ? Worth it or just average, the only point being the wine ?
  11. winemike

    via allegro

    The wine list has depth and a lot of rare or very difficult to find bottles. Even if they're more "famous" wines than actual well thought choices, IMHO. At least in the French wines section. Also, this might not be globally true and I might have been very unlucky but the first time I've been there, my first two choices of French wines (on the list) were sold out. Today, they're still on the list. Still sold out !! And that was one year ago. Though, if you're looking for chardonnay from Kistler, it's the only place I've seen yet in Toronto featuring such a wide choice from his wines. Unless someone can point me to some other place ?
  12. winemike

    via allegro

    Thanks for the comments and the info.
  13. Via Allegro for the 4th time on friday night. Again, not really impressed by the food. While it was good, I did not find it outstanding. Or well, not over what I'd expect in the average italian place. Foodwise. Sure, the wine list is magnificent and that's pretty much the only reason I go there. I wanted an advice for an italian wine to match our food. I asked for help from a "so-called" sommelier. The guy was clueless. Could not tell me if a Chianti or Amarone or anything else would match our food. When I asked him if he had a Chianti to recommend in my price range (and there were a lot of them...) he started looking at the Piedmont section... My pasta dish (with rabbit) was alright (I love rabbit). Rabbit nicely cooked but the pasta was not evenly cooked . The sauce was nice but in no way outstanding. The dessert (orange creme brulee) took forever to be served and turned out to be, again, average. I yet have to understand why this place gets so much praise from some people. Is there an obvious choice that I missed/should try ?
  14. I've been there tuedsay night. The restaurant was full. I was alone and have been seated immediately but parties of 2/3 people had a wait of 10/15 minutes. The place was quite loud and I felt, for some reason, that service was a bit disorganised but nevertheless very friendly. One waiter was knowledgeable about wine but you'd expect that when you enter a wine bar It's only the second time I've been there but again, it was quite good. To start with, I've noticed Jacquesson Champagne by the glass. That's remarkable because I have rarely seen this, even in France. Besides, Jacquesson is one of my favourite Champagne with Selosse and Bollinger so it was a quite nice surprise. I had the vegetable gnocchis paired with the Shaw&Smith Chardonnay. The gnocchis were really good, chewy but not sticky. A real nice "vegetable" feel from the creamy sauce. A nice dish. The wine was far too cold so the flavours were a bit "hidden". A shame because once warmed up, it showed to be crisp, fruity (exotic) and "refreshing". It's nice to have an unaoked chardonnay Lamb poutine with Yukon Gold frites paired with Zweigelt (can't remember producer either). Very nice indeed. The lamb reduction is great and the fries really good. A quite salty dish with the cheese adding saltiness. But the pairing worked really well. Another nice one. Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and onion jus. Good. Not enough garlic to my taste and the onion jus was a bit "soft" but a very good meatloaf even though I'm not a big fan of it in general. Paired with the Sandstone Gamay. Wow, a nice surprise. Very extracted wine, spicy, fruity quite full bodied for a gamay. I did not know Sandstone but their gamay is a hit, IMHO, because I'm not usually fond of over-extracted wines. Bread and butter for dessert with a sherry (can't remember which, I was not taking notes...). Pleasant dessert without too much sugar which is very welcomed. Sherry was good but I did not find it outstanding. It was fairly cheap for what was delivered. I'll definitely go back there.
  15. Never been to ADNY but have visited Le Bernardin recently. My experience there was definitely not in the 2/3 stars league but it was a one timer only so not very reliable comparison. Service was horrible but that's another story .. in the NY forum, if you're interested. Surely, some guys here have experienced ADNY and can compare with french standards. What ??!! That's unbelievable. Under what circumstance ? I do know some sommeliers and have heard all sorts of stories (from both sides) but one refusing to serve a client what he wanted, never. If the sommelier does not want to sell a bottle (god knows why) he would just say the wine is sold out. I would have written to the restaurant owner....
  16. You probably won't be disappointed by either but it is a very personal choice. I do like both brasserie/bistro and haute cuisine experiences and I would try to do both rather than focus on just one. Good french cuisine is available at all levels in Paris, from brasserie to haute cuisine.
  17. well, that's not an easy one to answer, if you choose a la carte or one of the menus (though, l'Ambroisie does not offer menus .. at least not a single time when I've been there) the price can be considerably different. The wine will probably make the difference. I, personally, think that wine is very important with my meals. I can't cook food that honours a bottle of, say, Romanee-Conti or Comtes Lafon so I might as well have it with fantastic food to make the whole experience even better. Of course, a sommelier will be able to recommend something that matches the food well and that will be reasonably priced, but if you ask any of them, he/she'll always have something that matches "better" Anyway, my average check in Paris 3 stars used to be around EUR 700 for two. Bux is absolutely right ! I would add, well, take the word "probably" out of his comment
  18. Why have you narrowed it down to Taillevent or Grand Vefour ? If I was forced to choose between these two, I'd go to Grand Vefour. The place is magnificent, the location great. Foodwise, it might also be better than Taillevent from what I've heard from friends who have been recently.
  19. I haven't tried to get in but it's on my way when I leave work. It's _always_ packed. Every day of the week. Always people queuing up.... Definitely a better bet to try it a lunch time.
  20. Exactly the problem. Thanks for putting it that clearly. 3 servings + maximum number of tables in the room -> seeing so many waiters around - running - makes you dizzy. Or at least, stressed me. And of course, implies that sometimes, service screws up, especially for the late serving ... which is unfortunately what happened to me... Now, I must say that I am not used to dine in NY and that I'm more familiar with how diners are treated in France. Of course, you got the problem of the bloody arrogant French waiters there But maybe this extra parameter emphasised the negative vibe ? Many of you have got an amazing knowledge of France, would you think the cultural difference has played a bigger role than I thought ?? (I thought not...)
  21. I had not asked him any question, he just came and coldly said that. Maybe he answered a question asked at another table. They were so close, it would not surprise me
  22. I intended to do that and definitely will. There was no miscommunication and no misunderstanding. My wife and our friend were as shocked as I was.
  23. Of course, I did not expect bouillabaisse at Le Bernardin to be a real bouillabaisse. I did not express myself very well, here... Don't get me wrong, all in all it was good. But I was not that impressed with it. That's all. There was also the frustration of having had two dishes at that stage and not one of them was mind blowing. With only one left before dessert, I really thought that this place is not worth it anymore ... Clearly my mood interacted here. If everything had been perfect before, I might have found the dish better ?? But the shrimp was still overcooked Bux, the wine list has a great selection of red wines. But it's the waiter ... taking me for an idiot by saying that they "serve fish here" and implying that "white wine" going with fish, I could just pick any white I like. The more I think about, the more I think I should have left. It was just insulting. I hope it's all related to the late serving. Waiters are tired, cooks too and it all transpires.... But if they can't make it, they should just have two servings. I will not go back there for any serving now. Early, "normal" or late ...
  24. I have been to Le Bernardin on saturday evening for the late serving (10 pm). Well, all in all, I was far from being impressed, be it the food, the service or the setting. The first shock was how packed the place is. You could not squeeze any additional table. Our table (we were 3 people) was surrounded by 3 other tables that were so close, we had the impression of dining with the other guests at our table. Most annoying. Of course, the place being packed, it was also incredibly LOUD. I could barely hear the waiter... !! And there were so many waiters RUNNING around. Constantly hitting my wife's chair. It gave us a feeling of "train station restaurant". I thought that was a real joke. Anyway, I was given the wine list (well before the menus) and then I was asked by the waiter to choose the wine ... without having seen the menu !!!! When I told him I'd decide what to drink once I know what I'd be eating, he told me that "we serve fish here, you could choose any white wine". I could not believe what I had heard At that point, I should have just left the place. Immediately. Though, I wanted to eat there for a while and was in NY just for 2 days so we decided to stay and get the food that I remembered to be fantastic. The waiter was simply horrible. When given the menu, I did not even have time to read it that he was already waiting to take the order. Stop pressuring me !!! I'm here to relax, have good food and good wine. And take my time to eat. Or I would have gone to McDonalds ! Alright, then came the food. I first had "Geoduck, thinly sliced marinated in lime-wasabi". This was good, well balanced flavors, just a touch of coriander. A very refreshing dish. It was good but I was not blown away. I tought it was good without being brilliant. Of course, the problem being that everything around us causing stress, we were not in the best mood for appreciating the food. Then I had "Bouillabaisse". Well, not something I will remember. It was .. just a bouillabaisse. Shrimps were overcooked, the aioli crab cake was just alright and the lobster saffron broth was just .. well... good. I had better bouillabaisse in quite a number of cheap eateries in south of France. very disappointing. Then we had "Steamed Maine Lobster with Corn and Chanterelle Stuffed Cabbage, Bacon Butter Sauce" This was brilliant. Really good. Lobster cooked to absolute perfection, the sauce was divine. And the Corn and chanterelle stuffed cabbage just nicely complemented the dish. We all really enjoyed this dish. I tought "at last !!!" I understand why it is expensive to dine here. The desserts were fabulous. "Warm Chocolate Tart with Melting Whipped Cream and Dark Chocolate Sauce" was exactly as I remembered it when I first ate it about 3 years ago. Grand !! Perfect temperature so the chocolate was just melting, the taste was incredible. Just the perfect sweetness, the crust was great and .. well .. it was just great. The sommelier offered us "Yuzu Lemon Tart and Ginger Parfait topped with a Thin Caramel Tuile". That was truly nice from him and this dessert was amazing. The lemon tart was of perfect consistency, the lemon flavour not too acidic, the thin caramel tuile was great. Beautifully presented. A masterpiece. In between, people had started leaving the place so it was much quieter and much more enjoyable. The sommelier spent quite some time talking about .... wine of course with us and I really enjoyed the quick chats. Eventually, we almost left with a positive feeling but the whole experience was spoiled from what happened in the first part of our dinner. The impression of "hurry up, we need to serve more people to make more money", "choose a white wine, we serve fish here" ... completely unacceptable in a place like that. I do not intend to return there at my next stop in NY because I've left far too much money for what I got. There is surely other places were diners are treated better (food, service and setting). Alain Ducasse, for instance ?! Of course, it might just have been a night off. But at that price, there is no excuse...
  25. Au fait, les miennes je les fait sur un Silpat ou autre "feuille" de ce type. Ca marche a merveille.
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