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  1. Au Gourmand, 22 rue de Vaugirard, 6th, tel This is a very good restaurant that we think should have more buzz than it gets. They speak English willingly and have a no smoking section (it is a small space so smoke could be an issue). The service and décor are on the formal side but I’ve always felt comfortable without a coat or tie for lunch. Ingredients are of the finest quality and the kitchen does some fine things with them. I started with an oyster tartare, which was raw oysters, smoked fish, what I guessed was chopped celery, and flavored with what I guessed was avocado and lemon. It was a very, very good dish. My wife had tomatoes three ways: gazpacho, a sorbet, and a tarte. Very interesting preparations. We both had the daily special of pigeon. We each had the entire pigeon served with polenta with chestnuts. Desserts were chocolate three ways (dark, darker, and even better?) and a pain perdu. I remembered the pain perdu differently from a past visit. I’ll order the chocolate next time we go. Three courses were 31 euros with an 8 euro supplement for the daily special of pigeon. They offer a two-course combination, but I didn’t notice the price. The total for the two of us with a Kir, a 40 euro bottle of wine (they have a number of half bottles listed), and two coffees was 136 euros. Louis Vins, 9 rue de la Montagne, 5th . We went for Monday lunch. The menu written in English out front should have chased us off but we went in. The surprise was that there were only French speakers in the restaurant. The ingredient quality wasn’t very good and the kitchen didn’t do much besides add pepper to the dishes. I had the daily special of partridge, which had no flavor except the char from the grill, and my wife had col vert (wild duck) that had no distinct flavor of the duck. The partridge was served on a bed of chopped cabbage with the flavor of white pepper while the duck was served on slices of braised turnip that my wife said were old and woody. Two course menu at 23 euros with a daily special menu at about 18 euros, but it’s money and a meal wasted in Paris. Since you shouldn’t go don’t worry about it being cash only. Les Magnolias, 48 avenue de Bry, Le Perreux-sur-Marne tel . This place is the best ! We walk away from this restaurant saying “let’s see what Keller (French Laundry) does to compare to this meal”. The chef is one of the most inventive we’ve found both at menu descriptions and what he presents on the plate. That, along with some very interesting flavors, along with a parade of amuses throughout the meal make for a wonderful experience. Foods for this meal included a mussel starter, a rabbit starter, pigeon main, a lamb main, a “Lego block” of rice pudding and churros with chocolate sauce and orange marmalade. The extras included what we call “pop rock salad” (a tiny salad with lemony “pop rocks”), a layered orange/almond/cherry gelatin shot, fried lovage with curry mustard cream, risotto with mushroom essence, orange green tea, a fried asparagus, mustard and greens sandwiched in a honey-flavored mini-macaron (a favorite), mint custard, Ricard with cream shot, and mignardises. Too much fun, so much good food. I think he cooks his lamb too much but this is a meal of so many dimensions and layers that you go with the flow of things. Service is formal but friendly and English is spoken. At lunch I wore a sports coat but it came off before the first course. The menu was 50 euros, there was a lower cost menu (37 I think) for a starter and plat or plat and dessert. With a Kir, a 60 euro bottle of wine, and two coffees the tab for two came to 177 euros. Take the RER E to Nouget sur Perreux , a 30-min. ride and walk about 5 min. The web site is www.lesmagnolias.com
  2. My wife and I had a delightful lunch at Bistro Paul Bert in the 11th at 18 Rue Paul Bert ( Closed Sunday and Monday. A pleasant surprise was a 16 euro menu of three courses (changes daily); starters were mussels or rabbit rillettes, mains were rump steak or Bar (sea bass), desserts were strawberry sorbet or orange salad with some fresh mint. My wife had the mussels which were good quality but in a white wine sauce that didn't add to the dish. She had the fish served on a bed of buttered spinach. She finished with the sorbet. We saw others eating the rump steak. It was a thick round of beef wrapped with bacon (or bacon fat). I ordered off the 30 euro menu starting with grilled squid salad that was a straight-forward preparation. I followed with a lievre royale (hare in a blood sauce). Oh my, this is what I come to France to eat! The boned hare was wrapped around liver and then sauced. Nothing more on the plate, so it looked very plain but was great. I finished with the cheese. They brought over a plate of six cheeses and left them for me to take as much as I wanted. I was too jet lagged to know if they were great cheeses but I know I ate all I wanted of some fine cheese. I ordered an 03 St Chinian that was a little rough. The restaurant has an amazing wine list to read through. I think we were the only English speakers in the restaurant but we've always felt that Madame will translate if help is needed. We've only been for lunch, and it's always felt like this is a friendly neighborhood bistro. They fill up so it's worth making a call to reserve a table. Al Sharff
  3. We sat across from John but he was in disguise without a tie on so I didn't want to introduce myself. A pleasant surprise to us were the signs posted asking the customers not to smoke. I had the pate of game and thought it was a little flat in flavor. Somewhat like a salty sausage filling without much taste of the game. My wife had chestnut soup as a starter that she described as creamy with an earthy flavor. It had bits of foie gras in the soup. She thought the dish was a winner. We agree with John on the wood pigeon and goose breast - both were wonderful. Our bill was 84 for three courses for two people, a bottle of wine, and two coffees. Not bad at all. And John, who was that author you were with? Al Sharff
  4. Sorry to add to this topic but.... Has anyone eaten there recently? Good, Bad ??? I've read that lunch is great, I've read that lunch is bad, I've read that dinner is great, I've read that dinner is too much for the style of the kitchen. Does anyone know what days they are open? Thanks for any information and opinions. Al Sharff
  5. We’ll be in Paris for the Salon Fermiers http://www.salonsfermiers.com in early October. Does anyone know if tickets should be purchased before we go to the show? And if so where? We’re thinking about going on Sunday. Does anyone know if the show is too crowded to enjoy on Sundays? Any opinions on attending the show on Monday (closing day)? Any advice, or information, or opinions are welcome. Thanks, Al Sharff
  6. >My parents got back from FL recently and said they were disappointed that the dishes >came out lukewarm to cold. Was it an off night or is that usual? We were there for dinner about a week and a half ago. The duck (first meat course on the tasting menu) came out "tepid" . We asked if it was meant to be that way (I also prefer duck to be more rare than it was served so we asked about that also) and we were told it's mean to be lukewarm or tepid. However the second meat course (shortrib) was served on a very hot plate which we were warned about when it was presented. Makes me think they have some problems with pacing in the kitchen (we're often slow eaters), or Keller prefers lukewarm but when it's questioned they heat the plates for presentation. Al Sharff
  7. Here’s our list: Farmers Market - there was a mention of a markets at 5th and X under the freeway but I think the market (perhaps a different one) is at 10th and X under the freeway. Sunday mornings, seasonal products and some fish, meat, baked, and dried foods. We’ve found the prices to be half of what is charged at the other Farmers Markets. Summer fruits can be amazing. Grocery - Nugget Market http://nuggetmarket.com/, very nice produce, baked goods, deli, Harris ranch meat, nice wine selection. Prices are on the higher end but a very nice market. Oriental Grocery - SF Market at Stockton and 65th in the Pacific Plaza. Amazing place. Full butcher department and fish department. Great oriental greens. Fruit selection can be sad but who cares. Huge selection of bottled, canned, dried, frozen oriental products. This is as good as it gets for an oriental super market. Butcher - Long Horn Meats in Newcastle. These people are in the small grocery/market in Newcastle. They’re a separate operation from the market but in the back of the store. They break their own beef from local ranchers. Expensive but the real thing for an old style butcher. The freezer case will have venison, lamb, buffalo, and I just bought frogs legs. Interesting people to talk to and worth a stop if you’re a meat eater and close to Newcastle (and stop at Newcastle Produce also). Dim sum at New Canton 2523 Broadway. Pretty good Dim Sum, we go on Sunday after we shop at the Farmers Market (above). Go upstairs for the big room hustle and bustle. We get there at 11 and get seated, but noon there’s a line waiting for tables.
  8. >I'll certainly try a can when we're next in Paris. I'm curious: is it canned in fat or >some sort of liquid? I have to say niether. Imagine the sausage (Boudin Noir) without a casing, contained in a can. This Boudin Noir is not a fine ground "pudding" type but has coarse ground meat. Worth trying, and if anyone wants to bring some extra back to the US I'll be happy to take it off your hands. Al Sharff
  9. A note for fans of Boudin Noir. We found Christian Parra's Boudin Noir at Da Rosa, 62 rue de Seine, Paris, 6th arr. Phone (www.darosa.fr) It is the same Boudin Noir as is served at Auberge Iparla in Bidarray. It is canned, and very good. We paid 7.50 Euros for a can that is labeled 180 grams. We didn’t have any problem bringing into the US. Al Sharff
  10. As an update to my own question...I've had a chance to shop for bannetons and the shops mentioned in the thread do have them. However, a small banneton meant for bread making is priced from 30 to 50 Euros. A lined basket meant to used as a bread basket runs around 7 or 8 Euros. Delerhin was the most expensive shop but the most informative. Al Sharff
  11. We're trying to plan meals for a 2 week stay in Paris -Oct 20 thruogh Nov. 2. I've noticed La Table du Lancaster and the menu descriptions sound interesting even though I'm not a big fan of Troisgros. Has anyone eaten at Table du Lancaster recently? Any comments about the food? The service? About the cost (we would book for lunch)? Would you go back? How does it compare to restaurants like Rollinger, Les Magnolia, or French Laundry? Thanks, Al Sharff
  12. Does anyone have suggestions on where to buy bannetons (baskets for rising bread dough) in Paris? Thanks, Al Sharff
  13. We are planning at trip to Portland in mid August that could include a drive to the coast if there are restaurants that would make it worth the drive (rental car, motels). Any must eat at places along the northern Oregon or southern Washington coast? Years ago we ate "all you can eat" fried oysters at the Ark on the Washinton coast. Almost worth the trip just to go back. Thanks, Al Sharff
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