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Everything posted by Laidback

  1. I have been going to Fables de la Fontaine since it 1st opened, transferring my allegiance from the Bistro du Dome as a reasonable seafood place. When it was awarded a new macaron by the great god Michelin this year I was shocked and disappointed, suspecting it would now be difficult to get a seat since it is so tiny. We did manage to get a 2-topper for lunch today with a couple of days notice, and I feel that since David and Sebastian have assumed ownership it is better than ever. It appears that the food is more artfully presented, the service is "souriant", and for the immediate future they continue to be open on Sunday.
  2. Laidback

    The 17th

    Thanks Felice, I think this is the place that Fresh_A gave a good review a short time back on rue d'Armaille. We will give it a try this trip. Still not much response on Dijon restaurants.
  3. Ms. Laidback, another eGulleteer and I are spending 3 nights in Dijon next month, and would welcome suggestions for restaurants, brasseries, bistros, and cafés from the eGullet faithful and perhaps even the unfaithful. Msrs. Michelin and Pudlowski have made theirs but we would be appreciative of personal testimony of all price ranges with an emphasis on places similar to Parisian favorites such as Carte Blanche, Spring, Le Florimond, Le Bristol, Drouant, Café de la Mairie, etc.
  4. Ghislaine Arabian seems to be missing from these lists; she had stars at Ledoyen. ...Duh...I should have read upthread.
  5. Thanks for taking another stab at the numbers game.
  6. John, Thanks for the effort you put into this report. I have reveled in the responses to M. Fourneau/Wolton's book, which you can follow in the commentaries on his web-site. I think especially "The Great Pudlowski" stripped himself right down to his pitiable egotism. In the Post Scriptums section, the labels he places on some of the better known responders is refreshingly straight forward; Lebey, the most underhanded; Rubin the most infantile; Pudlowski, the nerviest...
  7. I don't think you could go wrong with your 4 choices except I heard that recently "Mon Vieil Ami" has closed, so of the 3 remaining, my personal favorite is Les Ormes.
  8. I have enjoyed Christian Constant's "Ma Cuisine au Quotidien" in French or if you prefer the English version it is called "Everyday French Cooking". His wife Catherine told me that even she can make these recipes work.
  9. I read on another forum recently that Mon Vieil Ami is now closed.
  10. John, thanks again for your reviews; I, like you but to a lesser degree, follow as many food guides as circumstances permit, and yours are my favorites. You avoid the "gushiness" of many, the egocentism of Pudlo, the sometimes indecipherable jargon of Zurban(for anglophones), the silly "color-coded" menus of another, and just speak plainly with appropriate praise or pans based on your personal experiences. I for one appreciated your attempts to "number" your reviewees; numbering is certainly an imperfect method, as the esteemed John Whiting and others point out but I haven't found a simpler system yet...Pudlo's plates and forks, Michelin's etoiles and Bibs, Figarosopes hearts,etc. certainly don't make things clearer to me than a simple number scale. With all their other faults the numbering system of the old Gault Millau was easy to relate to. A chacun son gout.
  11. Small AND intimate to me usually signifies a relatively expensive place; Vin sur Vin, Cottage Marcadet, Les Ormes are a few that come to mind.
  12. Here is a post I made with photos earlier this year.
  13. I am sorry to hear of the demise of Au C'Amelot. Do you know the name of the replacement and is Didier Varnier still associated with it and if not what is the skinny on what he will be doing next? These questions may require the attention of our own omniscient Fresh_A . Incidentally, I just discovered his interesting new(?), marvelously opinionated blog.
  14. David Boutreau was the pleasant young Maitre D' at Le Violon d'Ingres for a couple of years and has been associated with C. Constant in some capacity for a number of years. My info is that early this year he bought one third along with the chef, leaving one third to M. Constant, who is still very much in evidence in all 3 St. Dominique spots running back and forth in his new casual attire. Let me state that my information is probably not nearly as reliable as that of a concierge at one of the world's greatest hotels.
  15. Three of us visited Sensing Friday night and were favorably impressed. The decor is the opposite of Martin's Grand Vefour...modern in a good sense of the word with projections on one wall, an alabaster bar with comfortable looking seating, but what's up with this no tablecloth thing in new modern versions of old masters,e.g., Senderens? The carte is unusual in that there is an extra category at the beginning called "snackings", which are listed before the entrees. These are in the €5 to €6 range and would be a good idea if you were at the bar and just snacking, but it seemed to me to be a means of charging you for the amuses bouches often served at no additional charge, but this is an unfair criticism because we were served a little amuse bouche with our champagne. We "Snacked" on Cromesquis de foie gras, bouchée croustillante de légumes and an interesting presentation of millefeuille de bettrave(pictured here in the spoons). Our entrées were Foie gras aux coings et aux noix which was good but not as unusual as the Colvert marbré au celeri All three of our main courses were of impeccable quality and cooked just as ordered: Thon au foie gras, Veau en croute d'herbes with delicious mushroom stuffed macaroni, and Dos de biche served with cranberries and a purée of Topinambour. The wine list was not encyclopedic but good, however I ordered a particular St. Julien and it was unavailable...how can a spanking new restaurant already be out of a wine that probably isn't ordered with great frequency? Our desserts were a dark chocolate ganache, a Savarin au rhum, and a citrus dish called "Agrume de differente facon", all good. I felt that the price for the three of us in a restaurant with this lineage, with a €52 bottle of Bordeaux, Chateldon(€4), coffees and an Armagnac was a reasonable €273. Our server was a little distant but I don't require any "sucking up" as long as the service is adequate. Would I return? Gen. MacArthur expressed my sentiments as he left the Philippines..."I shall return".
  16. Could you possibly be thinking of Les Bookinistes which is a Guy Savoy offshoot and is just across the river?
  17. Yesterday we stumbled upon an excellent, tiny(20 seat) gourmet spot in what I had always considered a culinary wasteland. Searching for Yohann Paran at Beauvillier we found the Cottage Marcadet at 151 bis rue Marcadet instead. It was taken over about a year ago by a serious young chef out to make his mark and is ably assisted by a knowledgeable and personable front man that knows his wines. Amuse bouches were artfully plated calamari ravioli. Our entrées were frog legs in a cream of sweet garlic risotta with a parsley foam, and langoustines, "juste saisie" and also in a kateifa croustillant served with a mango and citrus sauce. We shared a côte de boeuf which came nice and sagnaint as ordered, accompanied by tiny little potatos braised in "lard fermier" and girolles. Desserts were an excellent creme brulée, thin and quivering and served free standing with a dish of raspberry granité. This is not a budget place; it can't be with such limited seating and careful presentation, so if you are looking for Chartier/Polidor then keep on looking. There is a 3 course €35 menu, but we ordered à la carte and with 2 champagnes, 3 courses, a bottle of Graves, Chateldon and coffee our bill for the 2 of us was sizeable. Would I go back? As`soon as my wallet recovers. I forgot to mention that the restaurant is no smoking.
  18. The Maison de Bricourt is one of the great restaurants of the world; high on our all-time favorites. For another excellent choice, see my post below on Hotel Ecrin/restaurant Jean-Pierre Crouzil. It is about a 20 min drive from Cancale and about a century removed from the heavy duty tourism of MSM,Cancale, St. Malo.
  19. Laidback


    Hi Bleu, The mignardises were indeed served with the café, and we too thought the powdered sugar dusted plate was an interesting idea. As you know, Bretagne is not a wine producing area, so we chose a red Menetou-Salon, since we had just spent 2 weeks in the Sancerre area, and had come to appreciate the red Menetous for their rapport qualité/prix. Any photos I post are a direct result of your patient coaching last Spring. Caroline, try it, you'll like it!
  20. Laidback


    Although the interest in my post was essentially nil, in fact it vies for the all-time record low "views" in France forum history, I thought perhaps the 1 or 2 people that saw it may be interested in the prices. Our room was Aigue Marine which was very large, going from front to back of the building and had a large, modern bathroom and cost €120/night. Breakfast was €15 and was quite an extravaganza. The veal dish pictured was part of a €60 menu that included an amuse bouche, entrée, main dish, dessert and the beautiful mignardises.
  21. We stopped by Le Violon d'Ingres today and had lunch. Christian Constant has finally hit upon a concept that is filling the place, which was never the case at lunch since he opened several years back. The decor has been changed to a brighter, more casual design; gone are the serigraphs of Ingre's paintings which replaced the original decor featuring the showcased violon, and this 3rd reworking is packing them in. We got there early and I had the chance to chat briefly with M. Constant; he is taking more of a managerial role for the 3 places on St. Dominique and seems pleased with the recent changes. The lunch menu is €36 or €45 depending on whether you want 2 or 3 courses. Some of the old classics, such as his foie gras, cotes de boeuf á la plancha, St. Jacques poeles, pigeon, etc. are still there, but there are several new items. I started with a crême de potiron soup which would probably even convert John Talbott, with its tiny raviolis de brebis, cubes of foie gras, ciboulettes and his classic croutons de mie de pain. I followed this up with an unusual offering for a starred restaurant, a cassoulet, which was as good as I ever need, with 2 kinds of sausages, a piece of lamb, duck, pork and a slice of bacon. The white beans were cooked to my taste for cassoulet, still intact, just waiting to explode their flavor as you bite into them, rather than the mush that one sometimes encounters. The old wine list is still available if you wish to sample some extraordinary bottles at extraordinary prices, but now there is a shorter, much more affordable list which goes well with the lunch selections; for example, I had a Rousillon Village for €25 which went well with the cassoulet and my wallet. My wife ordered the Coquille St. Jacques, which are in season now, seared and served with caramelized endives and a butter/citrus sauce which she declared an excellent choice. Dessert was raspberries with mascarpone, lime, honey and vanilla. Our total bill with 2 glasses of champagne, 1 coffee(Richard from his neighbor on St.Dominique) and a bottle of Chateldon mineral water was €130.80. our bill yesterday for lunch at Taillevent was just about 5 times this much and was excellent in every way but I hesitate to say it was 5 times superior.
  22. Laidback


    My palate/pallet mate and I spent 3 Sept. days in Bretagne, using the Hotel l'Ecrin in Plancoët as our base. A veteran habitué of several internet sites featuring restaurant reviews, Mme Underhill, suggested strongly that we not only stay at l'Ecrin, but dine at the excellent reataurant there, Jean-Pierre Crouzil. She has my eternal gratitude, as this is probably our #2 all-time favorite restaurant in this area of France, exceeded only by the nearby, Olivier Roellinger, but not by much when price is factored in. We had 3 meals there and never hit a flat note. The cote de veau was as good as I remember, including that of my afore mentioned mate. John Talbott has a "can I cook it better at home" test and it passed gloriously. Langoustine salad in an artichoke heart also won my heart. Pears were in season and one offering was an extravaganza of pear soufflé, sorbet and poached pear. Mignardises tend to be overkill but the pristine simplicity of these was hard to resist and resistance is not my strong suit.
  23. Bistro: Le Florimond Brasserie: Le Vaudeville Boulangerie: Arnaud Delmontel Fromagerie: Marie-Ann Cantin One star: Le Violon d'Ingres Market: Av. Saxe-Breteuil Wine bar: Taverne Henri IV Favorite book: Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glasco
  24. Menu translations have always been interesting to me. In an effort to be helpful to anglophones some restaurants in France use their French/English dictionaries to come up with some unusal interpretations. The following come from one restaurant in Sancerre: Langue de Veau=Calf Languages Côte d'agneau grillé à l'ail confit et sa purée à l'ancienne=Dimension lamb roasts has crystallized garlic and its puree has the old one. Filets de rouget= nets of mullet Pavé de kangourou=paving stone of kangaroo
  25. Café Constant in the 7th(Rue St. Dominique) has it both ways; aller-retour and cru. Another spot recommended by E. Rubin in his "Gourmet Paris" is Le Grand Colbert in the 2nd, of which he states..."This brasserie is probably the only one that still knows how to prepare tartar with the knife. Tender meat, cut from the filet of beef, neatly seasoned to order by proficient waiters."
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