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Posts posted by BradenP

  1. Host's Note I've saved the following posts on the topic of butter tasting since they offered some advice on what to serve and drink with butter. As they say, "we'll now join a program in progress."

    .... butter be French in origin and salted.

    Not sure what accompaniments we should bring to the table, I was thinking baguette, but I will wait and consult Ptipois.

  2. I ate at Les Magnolias about a month ago and would honestly rate it up there with some of the best meals I have had in France. On the advice of Felice, we checked out the lunch (2 courses for 37€). With the amount of separate components each dish had, it could have been called 8 courses of Ferran Adria's size.

    The food was inventive and new without a loss of flavor. It's clear from what we had, that Chauvel thinks about taste first, then tries to incorporate kitchen science and playfulness after the taste has been perfected.

    I do wish Les Magnolias was closer to Paris, but it's nice having a food adventure where you have to find it in the first place.

  3. I am looking to try new varieties of Venison. I am only really familiar with Venison from the US (Maine) and Venison from smaller coops in New Zealand. I can't remember ever having French venison. Has anyone tried French venison and can comment on the quality? How about venison from the Czech Republic? I have heard a lot of Venison comes from there and eastern Europe in general but I have yet to try. Also does anyone know of a butcher that specializes in Venison or other game meats? Or is that something I just need to order from my butchers?

  4. Clearly this is David's secret, but now that we are in the loop, I love the area around the Marche D'Aligre. They have a great cheese and beer shop in the covered market, as well as two great bio produce stands inside. There are two fantastic fish mongers on the street as well as Baron Rouge and La Gazetta for daily eats and drinks. The best part is that there are two outdoor foosball tables at the Park beside Ble Sucre. I can't imagine a better way to start my day then treats from Ble Sucre and a quick game of foosball.

  5. I have been on both sides of this situation. For a long time I had tried to photograph everything I was eating and always felt awkward. I would whip out the camera fast and put it away quickly. I wasn't really sure why I was being so cloak-and-dagger about it as it seems like Japanese tourists have made us novice photographers seem like shadows in the wake of their constant restaurant photography. Now that I am cooking and watching when people photograph my own food. My sentiment on photography has changed completely. I am flattered that people want to take pictures and it's ironic cause they usually respond with apologies. I honestly attempt to make a plate look better as I think about it being photographed. The only thing that can be distracting is the flash. When I take pics at a restaurant now, I kill the flash, steady the camera and leave the shutter open. This way I don't disturb another diner.

  6. Okay, here is what we had:

    Moutarde Violette (recette Charentaise) Nice mellow mustard that would be tasty with crackers and cheese. The sweetness of the wine mellows out the mustard seed really well.

    Moutard de Truffe (Tubissime) OMG, that is not okay! Two tastes that came together as something you would shoot at a fancy fraternity party, as a dare.

    Moutard au Miel (Champ's) Yummy, a discernible amount of honey created a delicious classic pairing. (While I didn't have time to bring it, the honey mustard from Les Abilles is amazing. It features a spike of horseradish that gives it another dimension).

    Moutard de Picard (Champ's) I felt the cider didn't add anything to the taste. The flavor was as if plain whole grain had cider vinegar dumped into the batch.

    Moutard au Vin Charentais Nice whole grain look, but tasted of dust and cider.

    Verjus et Miel (Maille) Nothing special, tasted of your basic brown mustard.

    Horshradish (Maille) I LOVE horseradish and assumed I would love this mustard. Unfortunately this mustard tasted nothing of the bite or tang of horseradish and instead offered only little pickled nuggets of the root.

    Forte de Dijon (Monoprix) The strongest of the Dijons. A bit too powerful for most applications. Unless of course you want to clear your sinuses instantly.

    French's ballpark Oh French's, this instantly takes me back to pulling those nasty encrusted udders at Fenway. How can I say anything bad about something so charged with good memories.

    French's Dijon So either this one had gone bad, or just IS really bad. Tastes of flour and flowers, with hints of cardboard thrown in. The texture was pasty to boot.

    Moutarde de Dijon (Champ's) Classic Dijon taste without being overwhelming like the one from Monoprix.

    Moutarde de Meaux (Pommery) Big bits of whole grain but with a smooth taste that develops in the mouth. Hints of Champagne left a nice finish that felt as though it would cut through a fatty steak really well.

    For me the best of the lot were the Champ's au Miel and Dijon, both of which represented the best of their respective genres. My other favorite was the moutarde de Meaux which was both original and delicious.

    The French's Dijon and the moutarde de Truffe should be labeled as "not meant for consumption".

    The French's ballpark gets high scores for nostalgia.

    Here is a link to the labels and the pretzels: Mustard Gallery

  7. We have used some raw milk from Biocoop Lemo in the past. The other times we found raw milk was at the markets, Raspail or Batignol. The ricotta that we have made has all been done using this raw (cow's) milk. I can include a recipe if anyone wants to make some at home. My next step is to work with a raw sheep's milk. I have a feeling this will be a little harder to come by.

  8. Here are our notes from the honey tasting we did on the 2nd of August.

    Les Ruchers de Veronne (Miel de Tilleul): Classic honey (bear) taste w/ hints of citrus, tan and cloudy.

    Les Ruchers de Veronne (lavende): slight bitter finish from the lavender, similar taste and color as above.

    Miels Villeneuve (Thym): A sweet honey with mild hints of thym, golden slightly cloudy color.

    Miel de Morovan (Pissenlit): Pale even color, mild vegetal finish from the dandelion.

    Dabur (Himalayan): Darkest color by far, pine cone and eucalyptus taste.

    Les Ruchers du Roy (lavende de Provence): Similar in taste to the other lavender w/ a cleaner amber color.

    Les Ruchers du Roy (miel des Pyrénées): Slightly dark w/ hints of vegetable, but less pronounced than the dandelion.

    Les Ruchers du Roy (miel de luzerne): Clean amber color w/ mild hints of herb and vegetable.

    Yves Tercé (Corsican from clementine blossoms): Super light color similar to the comb, the taste and texture mimicked the comb as well.

    Calenzanu (Miel de la Figarella): Another mild flavor amber honey w/ citrus rind hints.

    For me the most exciting of the honeys was the Himalayan from Dabur. It was full of pine cone flavor and stood far above the rest in regards to the most pronounced flavor.

    The Corsican from Yves Terce was also fun as the texture, look and taste were of honey comb.

    See you all for mustard and pretzels on the 6th of September.

  9. Here is round three of the Paris tasting group. This time I think we should do Baguette de Tradition. It seems like everyone wants to know how their local loaf ranks against the rest. So let's have everyone bring a loaf (or two) from their neighborhood. The only criteria is that it must be made in house (Ptipois can point out how to tell if it's made in house or not).

    WHAT: Baguette de Tradition

    WHERE: My apartment, I live on Etienne Marcel near the Pompidou. We had the Chocolate and Olive Oil Tastings here, so I am fine with having the Baguette Tasting as well. Coordinates will be given later.

    WHEN: Thursday July 19th at 19:00. This day/time seemed to work well for everyone last time, so let's keep it the same.

    Okay, here is the roundup of what we tasted...

    (1) Eric Kayser: Light crust, mild taste, slightly dense crumb, floured exterior.

    (2) Moisan:Lightest crust of the lot, watery/baking soda taste, dense crumb, no flour on exterior.

    (3) Jacques Bazin: Darkest crust, most exciting taste with hints of corn flakes, porous crumb, flour on exterior.

    (4) Generic Baguette Tradition: Very light crust, dull/nothing taste, medium crumb, floured exterior.

    (5) Phillip Gosselyn: Second darkest crust of the bunch, interesting but mild flavor, medium crumb, floured exterior.

    (6) Abess: Light crust, very mild/neutral taste, medium crumb, floured exterior.

    Hands down the winner in this bunch was the Jacques Bazin. It had the most flavor of the lot, with a slight sweetness, a crisp crust and soft crumb.

    Several people noted the presence of a chemical taste in the Moisan.

    CCO had pointed out that while the Bazin had the best taste, it would be best suited for cheese or strong flavors.

    Forest, and a few others liked the Abess as a second favorite and noted that the neutral taste would lend well to butter/jam.

    The generic baguette of our tasting was from a bakery on Rambuteau (a few doors west of Pain de Sucre). It could be best described as lacking any distinguishing characteristics, or simply bland.

  10. I was at GL today buying dried mushrooms and snagged a bar of Pralus Madagascar 75%. The first thing I noticed when opening it was that it had bloomed (white streaks like tiny river beds) and also that the bottom had 8 or so good size bubbles. The bloom and the bubble doesn't bother me as I am mostly concerned with is taste. As far as the taste was concerned, I will use a wine phrase here in that it had a "great sense of place". Lots of forward tropical fruit and papaya throughout which is typical for cocoa beans from Nosy Be and Madagascar in general.

    For me, it was very smooth and creamy. When the tropical fruit did subside in my mouth it left a milk chocolate taste behind. While I do like Madagascar cocoa for the uniqueness, my preference leans towards the heartier nutty taste of the nibs and I prefer a chocolate that offers that. Of the chocolate that I have tasted, I like the Maison du Chocolat because of that presence of nib. At the same time I like the Guana and Ivory Coast by Theo that both lean towards that nib taste.

    I guess in the end it is all about preference. I am looking forward to another tasting of chocolate.

    p.s. It was interesting to see that of all the chocolate that GL carried, the only one that was completely sold out was the Bonnat Chuao.

  11. By far our favorite was a Pralus we picked at random  - it was from Madagascar... Wondering why you did not include it in your tasting?

    Hey Shaya,

    As far as which chocolates we picked, it was all dependent on who came and what each person decided to bring. There are many more we wanted to try. We also want to do an origin tasting sometime in the near future, which will be a lot of fun.

    David, how do you rank French chocolate to American chocolate? How would you compare your recent tasting at Theo to Maison du Chocolat?

  12. Back in Seattle I loved frequenting Uwajamaya and other food stores in the International District. It was a great place to find cool products you don't see elsewhere. It was also great buying soy sauce, sirracha and sesame oil in bulk as well as unique spices and crazy packaging with depictions of Asian aerobic instructors circa 1980.

    Today I went across town to Tang Frere in the 13th. From the moment I stepped inside I started to feel a strange sense of worry. It seems like over the last few weeks, every American media outlet has been reporting on recalls from China. It started with the lead paint on the Thomas the Train toys. Shortly after that, we had the dog food scare, the recall on toothpaste, the baby formula with zero nutritional value and the dried herbs laced with exhaust fumes. Now it seems like the US is going to start sending back processed frozen food.

    Had all this media been coming from Fox News, I would be skeptical. But everyone from the NY Times to NPR is reporting on new recalls and poison traces in Chinese made products. All of this blitz is making me nervous and forcing me to check labels before I buy.

    Am I swallowing what the US media is feeding me too willingly? Does anyone else feel this uneasiness buying Chinese products right now?

    I am sure eventually this will all blow over and the uneasiness will pass, I did come home with a box of products, most of which came from China.

  13. We tried 8 French olive oils. I will list the 8 and give my tasting notes for each, then let the others chime in with their notes.

    (1) Chateau de Montfrin (14€): Smooth, soft and warm. The oil lasted on the tongue but never turned bitter.

    (2) Moulin a Huile Paradis (negrette) (13€): I listed this one has having a sharp green unpleasant bite.

    (3) Moulin de L'Olivette (12€): I tasted a floral dusty bite, somewhat like the taste of the inside of a flower.

    (4) Domaine de Marquiliani (21€): Mild and smooth up front with a spicy garlic finish.

    (5) Huile d'olive de Nyons (26) Tache (15€): Very green with hints of fresh olive. Clean taste like it had been stored in steel.

    (6) Moulin Jean Marie Cornille (17€): Zesty and bitter with hints of lemon rind.

    (7) Chateau Virant (12€): Super smooth with almost zero bitter finish.

    (8) J. Leblanc (15€): Pine and bark hints with mildly bitter taste and lasting mild finish.

    In these olive oils, I found myself leaning towards the milder ones in the batch. My favorites were (7) Chateau Virant (12€) and (1) Chateau de Montfrin (14€). The Corsican olive oil (4) Domaine de Marquiliani (21€) I also liked, but more for it's uniqueness than for something I would use on a day-to-day basis.

  14. Seattle actually has three underground restaurants. There is Gypsy which was featured on the Travel Channel when Anthony Bourdain dined there. There is One Pot which is owned by the former owner of Ripe and Clark Lewis in Portland, One Pot serves at Portalis in Ballard on Sundays. There is also a farm on Vashon that serves meat/veggies raised/grown on the farm. All three of these are very public, albeit pretty hard to get into because of their popularity.

    Private supper clubs are in most major American cities, ghetto gourmet is another big one.

  15. I have not read anything on Alice herself opening a place, but I did read that a sous chef of hers lives here 6 months out of the year and runs an underground restaurant in an apartment that used to be occupied by David Sedaris. No idea where in Paris the apartment is, but I hear they serve serve big pots of communal food at a reasonable price of 35€ a person.

  16. Here is my take on why its difficult to find good cheap burgers in Paris.

    First off its the cows, French cows are leaner than American cows (this is same problem with getting a nice aged beef in Paris). Burgers need fat because to make them tasty they need to be grilled hot. All that lean meat ends up just being dry because all the fat drips off the meat.

    The other problem is how cows are butchered in France. In France, the butcher charts have the cow being cut to maximize the amount of meats used for stewing and braising. Since stewed and braised meats and generally near the bone and thereby near fat as well, no one is going to sacrifice those cuts to make a tasty ground beef. American butcher charts maximize the amount of cuts that are without bone and fat, so what is left is the fatty ground beef, perfect for burgers.

    Now of course their are ways to make up for the lack of fat. Pork fat works well, and is used by many top American chefs to make the burgers super juicy. But now your adding another ingredient and another step. Which is why when you do find burgers and that are good, they tend to be expensive.

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