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  1. Hi Voon, I would counsel against Le Procope. Your suspicion was correct, it's a real tourist trap. The best options that I've seen thus far are Au Petit Marguery and Bar le Passage, but there's a good list here that provides numerous options at various price points, with all information confirmed this week. Hope you find something nice!
  2. It's not new or trendy, but I still love Chez Michel. Chef Thierry Breton (part of Cambdeborde's bistronomy movement) is in the kitchen, not watching over his holdings in Hong Kong and Vegas. The products are stellar, especially if you leave the very reasonable 3-course menu for €30 something and add a few items from the supplements board (special dishes that carry an additional price). There's no wine pairing per se, but I'm sure that your server could recommend something from their solid wine list (small producers, easy prices). I thought of this place especially when you mentioned your desire for cheese - they have an outstanding cheese course here. A giant board is brought over and left on the table - you just take as much as you like.
  3. They've had a lot of press (mainly in French, see here), and it's pretty difficult to book. I called in late May hoping to book a table for mid-July and was told the first availability was for September. I imagine now that it's October or later.
  4. Julien is the prettiest among those I've visited. Call me superficial, but that's generally what draws me to a brasserie.
  5. I cannot think of one that I'd be uncomfortable walking in. ← And I'd walk anywhere with John Talbott as my wingman.
  6. Hi Robyn, I agree that there are many different types of traveler, and that some really are looking to experience the unglamorous underbelly of a place. But those people are mere drops in the tourist ocean. There's a much larger number who think that they want an authentic experience (having watched a lot of Bourdain, perhaps), but their desire comes with conditions. They want an authentic local experience, but one that is close to the hotel that caters to vegetarians and where the English-speaking waiter is more than happy to bring ice. They also want it to be safe. This latter condition is tricky to write about, and that was my main point. Lobrano can tell you objectively about the ice and the all-meat menu. But safety is subjective, and all he can do is provide clues like "scruffy" "gritty" and multiethnic." Ultimately the reader has to decide for themselves what they're ready for. Asking food writers to put signposts on neighborhoods, as you describe in Miami, is inviting some potentially racist and ultimately uninformative description. I personally think that the quest for the Real and Local experience has gotten a little out of hand, and that most travelers are not prepared (linguistically) or predisposed (experientially) for this safari. But a certain strain of food writing - which I admittedly enjoy - makes us feel like losers if we're not venturing outside of our comfort zone. Back to Lobrano, which was the point, I think he does a good job in Gourmet of describing some Paris neighborhoods that don't get a lot of media attention. There's enough detail there for most people to make up their minds about whether these places deserve a spot on the itinerary.
  7. I just read Lobrano's piece over breakfast in my "new left bank" apartment in the 19th. I liked it, in part just because I seem to share his taste in places (in his Hungry for Paris book as well). But I agree that it's very tricky to talk about these neighborhoods for a non-local (or even real left-bank) audience. The typical Gourmet reader would probably love le Baratin or Chapeau Melon if dropped directly in front by taxi, or led by hand from the swoon-inducing Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. But Belleville, and I say this with a local mailbox and a heart full of love, is a messy, noisy, urine-soaked immigrant district, with plenty of unlovely housing projects. It has bustling low-brow energy in spades and the best dive bars in town, but I don't know many tourists who fly across the ocean to find this. The real left bank, when it was cheap 70 years ago, had/has those magical old buildings, and the Seine just a stroll away. As for the Reichl article, my favorite part was reading about her experience at Chartier - about not being seated right away and being given the same brusque treatment as everyone else. I'm guessing that hasn't happened to her in quite a few years, and, to her credit, she seemed to enjoy it.
  8. I just came across this, which some of you may be interested in: Hervé This, the chemist who is responsible for much of Gagnaire's molecular wizardry, is giving a FREE course in molecular gastronomy that is open to the general public (non-pros). Two courses will be held (in French) on January 21 & 22 at AgroParis Tech in the 5th. Registration is required and the form and full description is available here. I just tried to register, and will be sure to report back if I get in!
  9. I haven't been back to Racines since they turned the gas on, but went twice during their early pre-GDF days (on the recommendation of Felice) and can share some descriptions and photos. The menu for our first visit was as follows: Entrées -salade "retour du jardin d'Alain Passard" -soupe du bonheur -rillettes de cochon...ou de lapin -planche de salaisons d'autour Plats -Joue de boeuf de chez Hugo -Côte de veau de chez Hugo Also -Assortiment de fromages fermiers -Gateau de Zoé (Pierre's daughter) au chocolate noir This was lunch and we shared the salad (a mix of radishes from yes, Passard's very own garden, plus parmesan, honey and black pepper), the rillettes de cochon (with chunks of carrot and other vegetables and another smear of honey), the salaisons (which included a perfect lardo di Colonatta) and the cheese. Photos are below. For the second visit, my friend and I shared the rillettes de lapin, a slice of tête de veau, and another exceptional planche de salaisons. More photos below. As for the "idiosyncratic" Pierre, I think that word must be code for "gap-toothed, tattooed hottie." He was charming and enthusiastic, telling us about his vegetables and his butter (Bordier) and even selling a hunk of his lardo to take home. As Felice rightly pointed out, this place (which just picked up a Fooding award, right?) is not for everyone. But those who like to try new wines and eat simple but very good food will be happy for this address.
  10. Joe: I think I love you. So very cool. Thanks
  11. Ah, that's very exciting! I suppose it's time to update from my 2000 edition... Come to think of it, the reason I haven't probably has something to do with THIS site being such a wonderful source of current information.
  12. Salut eGulleteers, This will be the first time I'm actually in Paris for Christmas, so I don't know the routine for market closures around the holidays. Are markets generally closed or open on the 24th/25th? Just wondering if fresh shellfish would be a possibility on the 25th, and if I need to shop ahead for fresh veg. Thanks for any advice, Meg
  13. Ahoy - it's that time of year again! I have a few questions for the forum about where to find particular ingredients, but I hope others will also add ideas and recommendations to the thread. Issue #1: The turkey - Last year I special ordered a turkey from my butcher, who selected a farm-raised beauty for me at Rungis. It was delicious, but it cost a whopping 85 euros! I didn't have the courage at the time to ask the price in advance, and was a bit shell-shocked upon receiving the bill. I'm more inclined this year to try "alternative poultry." Recommendations for alternative turkey sources are also welcome. Any ideas? Issue #2: My fruit and veg market sells single sweet potatoes at a hefty price. Can anyone recommend a market (perhaps one catering to a carribean clientele) where they are less "exotic" and therefore cheaper? Issue #3: Has anyone seen cranberry juice in Paris? I know you can get frozen cranberries (or their cousin) at Picard, but I'm interested in the juice for a cocktail. Last year I tried to derive juice from the frozen berries but there was an unattractive, er, scum floating on the surface of each drink.
  14. Picard products are (as far as I know) only sold in Picard stores. Picard sells exclusively frozen products (surgeles), except for the pistachios and crackers sold near the register. It's remarkable to me because on my one little market street (rue de Meaux in the 19th) there are about 12 seperate stores each specializing in one thing: poultry, coffee, wine, cheese, fruit & veg, bread, or frozen food. It's like every aisle in a traditional American grocery store has it's own shop here. And, come to think of it, one American store would occupy about the same amount of space as an entire block of small shops here.
  15. Oh - the joys of Picard! Just last night I had their Moussaka. An hour in the oven for a delicious pan of bechamelly goodness. And for something to soak up the lamb grease, I highly recommend their "pommes dauphines," which can only be described as corn dog batter in ball form (no dog). Their single-serve microwavable pasta with mushrooms and white truffles ain't bad neither. For a picture of some Picard offerings, click here.
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