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Posts posted by BradenP

  1. Okay here is the roundup from the chocolate tasting. First off I will tell you what we tried with the prices, origin and cocoa percentage.

    3.80 € Michel Cluziel (Mangaro) (n/a)

    3.60 € Jean-Paul Hevin (Sao Tome) (75%)

    1.50 € Monoprix (Ecuador) (70%)

    5 € Patrick Roger (Ecuador) n/a)

    6 € Maison du Chocolat (Cuana) (74%)

    6.50€ Pierre Herme (Madagascar) (75%)

    4.26 € Chocolate Bonnat (Venezuela CHUAO) (75%)

    5 € Patrick Roger (Madagascar) (n/a)

    3 € Valrhona (Guanaja) (70%)

    3 € Valrhona (Dark) (72%)

    Second I will note that our tasting was a bit flawed in the sense that we didn't have the opportunity to compare single origin beans, given the variety of origins that each chocolate maker uses, it would have been difficult to do so.

    Finally each person's tastes are completely subjective. Some prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate and vice versa. Some preferred the presence of fruit, while others preferred the woody or nutty aspects. All that being said, there were some favorites across the board.

    Maison du Chocolat got the most votes by our tasters. We all noted the texture was extremely smooth and tasted the most like a true dark chocolate with hints of cocoa nibs and a nice bitterness.

    Chocolate Bonnat tied for second with 2 others; Patrick Roger (Ecuador) and the Pierre Herme. Bonnat had a sweet wood taste and a slight bitterness. Some noted the dried cherry and apple hints.

    Patrick Roger (Ecuador) had a bergamot taste (earl grey) and slightly dry. Mild taste with a light finish.

    Pierre Herme had a bright citrus taste with hints of lime and zest.

    The others each had one vote except for the Michel Cluizel which received ZERO votes from the tasters.

    Ptipois will have some photos from the event. Join us next time for Olive Oil. Details coming soon.

  2. I love that savon noir.  I like the doorknobs and drawer knobs that you wouldn't find in other countries.  Gardening stuff, terra cotta pots which are often local. 

    I got Loic a wine bottling corking setup from one of these places which was quite cheap and proves amazingly effective for putting up wine bought in bulk at the source.  Love the vinegar distilling pots and butter coolers.

    Are these things to be found at Mr. Bricolage?

  3. I liked 404 a lot. I liked that they took the extra effort to seperate each of the components of the couscous. Your table starts to look like a yard sale (a flea market maybe a better French simile), but being able to compose the marinated chickpeas, the chutney and the hot sauce into the formula you want was choice. The space at 404 is really sexy, lots of candles, communal tables, open kitchen. They have a neat little bar next door and a few doors down is a tea and massage shop. I know it sounds like something from the Los Angeles valley, but this one is cute with a really well designed space.

  4. The last time I went to Au Gourmand was a few months after Christian Corgeau had left L'Astrance and opened Au Gourmand. A friend of mine and I sat down and ordered carte blance. Corgeau complied and sent out 12 gorgeous plates of food, each course tasting better then the one before it.

    Last week I went back hoping to enjoy another great meal. What I got was something else. It seems as though the space has changed hands. The art is missing from the walls and the Chef and Maitre'd are both gone. It wasn't until we paid did we finally confirm our suspicions that this is in fact an entirely new restaurant named Le Gourmand. Although the sign in front still reads Au Gourmand. Our meal at Le Gourmand was disappointing to say the least.

    I have tried to look up what had happened to the restaurant but only found a couple blog entries about great meals and a posting by Patricia Wells who said she had a ate really well there.

  5. Funny the number of ex-regulars that place has!

    We stopped going because we thought the ambiance was a bit starched and the service had become sketchy, bordering on the brusque. Did you find the staff to be friendly on your visit?



    I thought the service was great. We had the older male waiter who was very cordial. My parents were visiting from Boston, he picked up on their accent and found two menus in English for them. When they were ordering he gave them a mini French lesson, smiling and being congratulatory at their progress along the way. All of this while the restaurant was completely full. The other waiter, the older woman, seemed a bit chilly but I couldn't say for sure since we didn't have her. I had read that the woman used to do all the serving and her husband all the cooking. If this was true, it seems like they have added the older waiter and another younger guy who was simply in charge of replacing silver, water, wine and busing tables. I think the added staff is clearly funded by the up charges throughout the menu. I think the Fois my mother ordered was a 9.50 euro up charge to the bill. Also the wine prices start at 28 euro.

  6. It's always hard for me to swallow that a restaurant near the Eiffel Tower is going to be both cheap and good. Last night we journeyed over to the shadow and glow of the Tower and worked our way through the fanny packs and camera bags to Le Clos des Gourmets on Avenue Rapp. The restaurant opens onto the street, has tall ceilings and pale yellow walls. The silverware is heavy, the glassware is tall and clean and the tables all set with pastel chargers over gleaming white tablecloths.

    The menu is 35€ for three courses, has at least 8 selections for each course with an emphasis on seasonal. There were also daily specials for entree, plat and dessert. My one gripe was that many items had up charges of at least 8€ which notches up the bill pretty quickly. That being said, the plus charge items were actually worth it. One up charge appetizer was white asparagus and sauteed morels in a citrus creme sauce. When morels are still 99 euros a kilo at the market, I can deal with a 9 euro up charge.

    I started with a poached egg over brandade and white asparagus foam. The egg was cooked perfectly, slowly oozing warm yolk over the slightly salty brandade and sweet asparagus foam. Two toasted slices of bread accompanied. My dinner (on the waiters recommendation) was a Tete de Veau, fork tender, crispy and full of garlic and thyme served over a whipped mash potato and tasty veal demi, this might have been one of the best things I have put in my mouth this month. I ended with citrus sorbet, and fennel confit. Dark strips of fennel, slightly firm with the spice of cloves and cinnamon, all delicious.

    This place ranks up there with the best meals I have had in Paris. Given how many people were in the restaurant and the number of turns on tables, I am guessing I am not the only one who feels this way. I can't wait to journey back.

  7. You should try Hotel Du Nord on Canal Saint Martin. The food is good, its a hip dark space (one of Johnny Depp's) with tall candles at every table. The room is one of the biggest (for a restaurant) in Paris. Last summer our art history class had a final dinner there with 35 people. They were super helpful in accommodating. We told them they could split us up into several tables and they suggested it would be easier to have one (really) long table. Plus they charged only for the food and wine (no group fee) I am pretty sure they could do a table for 60 on the entire back wall. Depending on the time of the year, you can wander the bars and cafe's around Canal St. Martin before/after. Several of the bars serve drought beer in plastic cups so you can drink outside.

  8. I called Au Fil des Saison today in regards to their Italian cousin and she said "Oh no, I think that place [Au Filo] is closed already, it has nothing to do with this place [Au Fil des Saison]." Odd response given that the website for Au Filo Delle Stagioni in the press section lists both restaurants. The mystery continues.

  9. After last night's disappointing meal at Au Filo Delle Stagioni, I was thinking about the restaurants we return to over and over again and why. Since living in Paris I have made many treks across town, changing several metro lines to get to a bistro that's good, but only someplace I would return to if I lived in the neighborhood. So using our own neighborhood as a starting point, I have created the following criteria that brings us back to certain restaurants. Let me know if you think there is more I should add.

    I live in the: 3rd

    Because it's close: Le Barometre

    Because it's really good: Au Fil des Saisons

    Because it's a novelty: L'os a Moelle

    Because it's different/exciting: Le Pre Verre

    Because it's a good value/cheap: L'As du Falafel

    Because it's fun: Petite Marche

  10. I went to Al Filo delle Stagioni last night I have to agree with a lot of what Ptipois said. While I appreciate that Au Filo sprung for the Ikea armchairs rather then the tiny wooden backs, they were impossible to work with. The chairs were heavy, the tables were heavy, and everything was crammed together. At one point our waitress couldn't get to our table and was passing plates to us from a arm length away. No credit credit cards was also a bummer, since dinner for two with wine was 80€.

    As for that cool Ferrari red meat slicer, I loved it. I got to the restaurant at the elderly hour of 8pm so navigating around it wasn't that big of a deal. Watching the waitress spin the Model-T wheel and shave paper thin slices of meat was fun. Starting with an amuse of freshly shaved meat was also a nice Italian touch.

    The menu reads more like a Chinese restaurant rather then an Italian restaurant. Carpaccio was available in 6 different meat and seafood options each with the same set. Risotto and Pasta had nearly identical listings; risotto with asparagus, pasta with asparagus, risotto with summer truffles, pasta with summer truffles, risotto vongole, pasta vongole. I would have liked to see a little more hand of the chef in creating composed dishes rather than choose-your-own-adventure.

    Our adventure started with Carpaccio di Manzo, a rump steak of beef with oil, balsamic, pesto and an arugula salad. Nice starter with good flavor. We also had the "Mille Feuilles" of Mozzarella and roasted red pepper. I guess I should have seen this coming, but Mozz balls sliced in half with half a red pepper on top and half a red pepper in the middle should not be called "Mille Feuilles". You added two knife cuts to the cheapest cheese and 30 cent red pepper and want to charge 11 euro? Shame on you.

    For dinner we had the Gambas, black tiger prawns sauteed in their shells with balsamic and grilled veggies. Nice flavor, nice accompaniments. I ordered the Calimari Fritti, thinking about the last time I have the Sicilian Lifeguard Style Calimari at Babbo. What I got was something else. About 10 rings of thinly sliced squid with a half inch of batter. Looked like the chicken fingers you get from a Chinese food restaurant, tasted like the onion rings from Burger King. What was worse was that these nasty rings were served over risotto instead of the advertised greens salad. Mmm, heavy fried food over heavy risotto. Even if this dish was the booby prize of the menu, how can a chef or even a cook allow this to leave the kitchen? All this shows to me is an utter laziness bridled with antagonism towards the diner.

    At the higher end of the mid priced restaurants in Paris, this guy is making too many mistakes. Italian food is cheap, none of the ingredients he is using are expensive and with some exceptions, very little of the menu was seasonal (summer truffles?). As for not composing dishes, he is either lazy or lacking confidence. More then half of the menu items could be dropped. Given the price of the ingredients, another course could be added for the same price as the two courses they offer. It bums me out that this place was so busy when its French cousin is serving much better food, with a greater awareness of the market, and a daily changing menu.

  11. Heya Annapin,

    Not sure on good hotels in the 6th. I was here with an art history class and we stayed at the Hotel Stella on rue, Monsieur le Prince. Great neighborhood, but the hotel can best be described as they advertise, "built in the 15th century". I am pretty sure a dragon lives under the stairs, as none of them are the same height or length.

    As for restaurants, basically everything below is around 30€ for three courses. Wine is extra but pichet's (50ml) are around 12€ and good full bottles start at 16€.

    Le Pre Verre is a super busy Bistro in the 5th a couple blocks away from the Cluny. The food is a good blend of French with some Asian ingredients mixed in. This place is always busy so call ahead. Le Pre Verre 8 Rue Theonard 75005 M: Maubert-Mutualité (01-43-54-59-47)

    Au Fil des Saisons You can read my last post about this place, the food is incredible and the chef is super nice. A bit out of the way in northern Marais, but worth it. Au Fil des Saisons 6, Rue des Fontaines du Temple, 75003 (01 42 74 16 60)

    Aux Lyonnais A bit more pricey then other bistros (45€) but worth it given that it's a Ducasse restaurant. At last check you guys are now Ducasseless in NYC. The restaurant is super old and the walk to the restrooms upstairs is fun because you can see the dining room, as well as the columns filled with wine corks. Aux Lyonnais 32 rue St-Marc, 2nd arr., 011-33/1-42-96-65-04

    A la Biche aux Bois Nothing fancy, super crowded restaurant filled with locals. This place feels like what you would expect from a French bistro, replete with mirrors and fast-talking waiters. À la biche aux bois 12th arr. 45 Ave Ledru-Rollin 75012 M: Gare de Lyon (01 43 43 34 38)

    Mon Vieil Ami Super cute bistro on Isle Saint Louis. Works well with a trip to the Notre Dame. This place is open for lunch and dinner, skip dessert though and grab ice-cream from Bertillion across the street. Mon Vieil Ami 1 arr. 69 Rue St Louis en l'Ile 75004 M:Cité (01 40 46 01 35)

    For a special place.

    Les Fables de la Fontaine Incredible fish restaurant in a tiny location next to a fountain on Saint Domique in the 7th. The owner Christian Constant has two other restaurants on this block, you will pass the other two on the same side of the street if you walk towards the Eiffel Tower. Les Fables de la Fontaine 131 rue Saint-Dominique 75007 (01 44 18 37 55)

    For wine check out Verre Vole it's on Lancry in the 10th at the very end just before Canal Saint Martin. They only have a few tables, the cheese plates and charcuterie are best. If they are busy grab a drink on the other side of the canal at Johnny Depp's restaurant Hotel du Nord.

  12. Clotilde,

    Thanks for the info. We will try Au Fil's Italian cousin on Tuesday and let you know how it is. Tomorrow we are checking out Au Bascou. We have heard good things and it's pretty near our apartment. I will report back tomorrow night on Bascou.

  13. Uggh! Don't go to Monoprix. You might as well bring a pinic from the states if your going to shop at Monoprix. Take the 11 to the Rambuteau stop. As you get off the stop you will see the Pompidou. Walk down Rue Rambuteau walking away from the Pompidou. At the begining of the street is a cheese/pate/cured meat shop with a pretty good selection. The Nicolas across the street is open to pick-up wine as is another wine shop a few doors down. On this block is a fish monger where you get get oysters, there is also an Italian speciality shop and two produce stands. On the next block there is a bakery called Pain de Sucre which is delicious. Grab a baguette and some sweets. There are a few other places that are all open, I just can't think of them all of the top of my head. It will take you a bit longer to get your shopping done this way, but this is the Paris food shopping experience, not picking out your import fruit under the florescent lights of a giant grocery store. Le Grande Epicerie is nice, but most of their prices make Whole Foods look like a bargain.

  14. I have not tried the brunch, but I did have a nice dinner at Urbane the other night. The sweet Irish lady that works there said they were going to be starting brunch and serving "real" bacon. The bacon alone is enough to get me over there.

  15. Why isn't this place packed? I read write ups by Clotilde and Chez Christine about this Bistro called Au Fil Des Saison. It's situated between the 3rd and the 10th on a two-block-long side street. Since I moved to Paris I have gone three times in the last three weeks. The first time was a Wednesday and it was basically empty. The second time was a Friday and it was full, mostly anglophones though. This last time was a Monday and there was one other group besides us. Now I normally would not have frequented the same place three times, especially in a new city where I have a laundry list of blogger and EGullet recommendations I want to try, but Au Fil Des Saison is that good.

    The last time I was there, the chef was actually serving and brought out a Langoustine broth with a touch of cream that gave it a silky almost soy milk finish. I ordered a Fois torchon with mixed greens. The fois was sweet and velvet smooth without a trace of sinew. My entree was veal medallions with asparagus and white beans. Perfect texture and sear on the veal. The asparagus had a nice snap and were dressed lightly so you could taste the market freshness. Dessert was three warm chocolate fondants (white choc, milk choc and dark choc).

    Which brings me back to my question, why isn't there a three-week waiting list? My first guess is the neighborhood. It's situated perfectly near absolutely nothing. I mean unless you are really into that south end of Canal St. Martin or enjoy loitering the Art et Metiers museum after hours, you're basically in Siberia. Seriously though, its not as if L'os a Moelle is on Isle Saint Louis and that place is always packed. I had dinner at L'os two nights ago and my meal at AFDS was better.

    My next guess as to why it's not that busy, would be the space. It's a bit cavernous with stone walls and exposed beams. It's the kinda room only a mother can love (if she's into BDSM). Again though, there is worse, a lot worse. Most of those others restaurants that fail in the decor also fail in the food. Here the beauty is on the plate and with what they are serving we might as well be on a patio in Saint Tropez.

    I guess I could keep my mouth shut and be happy that I can still get a Friday reservation on the same day, but I like this place. I like the chef too, he has been super helpful and nice each time I have dined there. There was an Asian couple there this last time and he informed them (in English) that if they didn't like something they ordered, then he would just make them something else. Believe me, you're not going to find many chef's with that attitude, and you're not going a lot of bistro chefs that are cooking at this level.

    Au Fil des Saisons

    6, rue des Fontaines du Temple

    75003 Paris

    01 42 74 16 60

    Lunch on dinner M-F, Sat dinner only, closed Sundays

    Metro: Arts et Metiers

    2 Courses 28€ 3 courses 35€

  16. Okay, so I have been living in Paris for about a month now. In the last few days I have begun to feel pangs for something other than French food (which we have been eating non-stop). During the last month before we left Seattle we were eating at Serious Pie at least once a week. A couple years ago when I was back home in Boston I would make regular trips to Sally's or Pepe's. So pizza consumption has always been a part of my eating repertoir. The criteria I am looking for in the best Pizza is: 1)Wood fired. 2)Thin crust with a nice char around the edges. 3) Good distribution and ratio of sauce/cheese/ingredients. I will warn you that I am pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to Pizza, so places with Pineapple or BBQ sauce are usually crossed off my list. Here is my list so far: (I will update as I try more pies)

    To Try:

    Chez Carmine: I have heard good things, but have yet to try.

    Da Mimmo: Ditto.

    Sale E Pepe: Is this name an ode to New Haven? I have yet to try.

    La Paninoteca: This is C&Z favorite, although it is in her neighborhood, so one eyebrow is raised.

    I tried:

    Amici Miei 44, rue St. Sabin (75011): Packed little Italian place on a tiny side road by the Bastille. We ordered a pie with Sausage and fresh Arugula. The crust was thin. Parts of the edges were charred, but still a little underdone. The sauce, the mozz, the sausage and the arugula were all tasty and distributed in a good ratio throughout the pie. The only real complaint I had was that the crust was a little bland, missing salt, pepper, and a bit of oil.

    Pizza Positano 15, rue Canettes (75006): Germans, Americans and Italians oh my! Packed little tourist trap between St. Supice and St. Germain. We ordered a simple parma ham pizza. The edges were charred but tasted like bitter sulfur, the exact taste can be replicated if you burnt Wonder Bread and chewed the black part. The sauce was used to sparingly to taste, the cheese was waxy and flavorless. I would never go back.

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