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  1. My nephew and his wife are coming to town from NY (after having lived in Barcelona for 13 years) for the opening of his film in LA and they've asked me (Auntie Foodie) to take them to lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant beforehand somewhere near the theater in Santa Monica. Does anyone have any ideas?
  2. I'd heard that he was at Bernard'O - is it true and if so, has anyone been there lately?
  3. BSK


    My problem is converting from TEASPOONS of powdered gelatin to SHEETS of gold. All of the wonderful conversion tables on this site deal with grams or ounces. My recipe for vegetable terrine calls for 3 teaspoons of powdered gelatin and I only have gold sheet gelatin. Should I assume that each sheet is approximately equal to 1 teaspoon of powdered?
  4. I have just had two huge trees chopped down (40 ft. each of maple and oak). I have been trying to find out whether cutting slabs of them would work for chopping blocks - what would need to be done to prepare them. The woodcutters are coming tomorrow to chop them and I was thinking of having them cut them into 3-4" slabs each of which would be about 20-24" in "diameter." Is this reasonable - what would I have to do to be able to use them as chopping blocks?
  5. Thank you all for such great advice. I'm so looking forward to the event and it truly has become an EVENT. The local goat milk/cheese man knows a local farmer who knows a local rancher who raises grass-fed organic animals and will be providing the baby lamb in the neighborhood of 20 pounds. The local seafood provider knows a man who has built his own huge spit complete with electric motor and hollow rods and claws for holding the body onto the rods and he is supplying us with photos (unfortunately his spit is being used for a large family party that weekend but he usually grills twenty chickens or a couple of baby pigs at a time so it should work) and the local carpenter (and ex-Mali Peace Corps volunteer) is going to analyze the photos, talk with the spit owner and build one for us to spec. His son, recently back from the Mali Festival in the Desert, will provide music on his banjo and oud. We're planning on having a drip tray underneath filled with cipolline onions, baby beets/potatoes/carrots, whatever wild mushrooms we can hunt up, and whole heads of rose garlic so that should cover veggies. The local French wine/food chef is going to supply the wine (I'm hoping for some old 30-year-old Italian Barolas that I know he has stashed away behind all the great French Bordeaux although I'd be perfectly content with a decent Chateauneuf de Pape) and his French-trained chef/patissiere friend is bringing oysters and mussels (that we'll grill open-faced topped with basil pesto, tomato pesto and blue cheese for a tri-color effect and eat as starters with toasted baguette and some Spanish cava) and, of course, dessert. I'm arriving a couple of days ahead to start making a bunch of Moroccan tasting dishes (chick peas with cumin, carrots with ginger, herb-roasted tomatoes and peppers, marinated cucumbers, roasted eggplant, goat-cheese stuffed dates, lentil salad...) and my friend is working on pies and home-made ice cream and fresh-fruit sorbet. Needless to say the party is growing by leaps and skills and photos shall be posted for all to see. If you're in the neighborhood (Charlottesville the 23rd of April) give a holler, lend a hand, bring a dish and stop on by.
  6. Ditto for moi I just spent three months dining solo in Paris and found only a couple of places that were really truly unwelcoming (Angl Opera springs to mind) - you can always tell when they seat you next to the bathroom even though the place is relatively empty. With the stars and upscale bistros I usually just do lunch since that way I don't feel as if I'm taking up a table for two - especially on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons which are generally reserved for families. I asked the maitre d'hote at Aux Lyonnais how he feels about a single and he advised me that lunch is usually best and also to try to reserve for early (12ish) or late (2:30ish) and to be willing to take whatever table is available if the restaurant has lots of demand. I had no problem reserving a couple of days ahead at Les Ambassadeurs and Carre des Feuillants and the servers and sommeliers were very gracious (but I tend to drink enough good wine for two so that may be a contributing factor). I usually try to be sensitive to time as well so if I see people waiting for tables I might hurry my meal a bit rather than take my preferred leisurely pace. Similar to everyone else, I usually wind up having a great conversation with people sitting at nearby tables and have met more than one friend or eating companion that way. In fact, that's how I found out about eGullet - from a couple making strange noises behind me at Le Repaire de Cartouche and when I asked laughingly (without turning around) whether it was the food or the company they said "the food, of course" and invited me to join them in a group tasting). On the other hand, I find waiters hitting on me to be a BIG turnoff - I'm never quite sure whether its me or my tip that's driving the attention and frankly, I don't care. As far as Benoit is concerned, I tend to agree with John that it is really expensive, touristy and I would add a bit too snobby for my taste. Bon voyage!
  7. Thanks for yet another great site - how do you know about such things?!? I'm passing it along to my friend in Charlottesville for consideration (it's her house and land that is being donated for this event). I'd rather not butterfly since originally I had been thinking of a Moroccan couscous/dried fruit stuffing and it's so unique to see the animal turning and roasting whole but it's a good idea from a simplification perspective. I spoke with a French chef friend who did a bunch of baby pigs at a party a few years ago and he said the lamb could be done whole as long as it wasn't over 20 lbs. but he suggested that I don't stuff it because that will slow things down cooking wise and make it heavier. I'm hoping that if we have some guys with enough beer in them to keep the handle turning constantly the time shouldn't be too much of an issue. Doing something electric would be great (sort of like old-fashioned versus new-fangled ice cream making) but it's beginning to seem too complicated to build and too expensive to buy. One of the kids is a great banjo player and he and his dad (who was in the Peace Corps in Mali years ago) just got back from the music festival in the desert in Mali so I am hoping that what with alcohol and music and stories nobody will much mind if there's lots of turning to do or even if the food isn't actually perfect.
  8. Hi Ned - Thanks for the link. I've seen those spits in France - usually with a hand-crank and they are great. I didn't know you could find them here in the States. Do you remember how long it took to cook the lamb - people are telling me 3-4 hours? I'm trying to build one outdoors that can be used on a permanent basis so I was thinking just an old-fasioned barbeque pit maybe fashioned out of a cut open 1/2 oil drum set in rocks in the ground with some two by fours with dowel rods at three levels on the sides, metal skewers that can hold up to 20 lbs (since the baby lamb will be about that much with stuffing) but I need to figure out how to make a hand crank.
  9. Help! I'm having a party for a large group in April and have committed to spit-roasting a whole baby lamb. Anyone ever done it before? I can find the lamb (I'll be in Charlottesville, Viriginia) but I need some advice on how to dig and build the spit-roast. Apparently it's a Druze wedding dish and I found something in inmamaskitchen but not very detailed. I have lots of land and strong men who are willing and able.
  10. Just finished a three-month eating tour of Paris - here's my findings for what they're worth: PARIS BISTROS BY ARRONDISEMENT 1° L'Ardoise (Yves Camdeborde recommended), 28 rue du Mont Thabor, Paris 1st (Metro: Tuileries), Chef Pierre Jay used to cook for the famous La Tour d'Argent - - there is a 31-euro prix fixe with 10 choices per course with copious portions. Food is traditional ingredients prepared in a crossover to modern style. (escargots bourgogne, marinated sardines with tapenade, sushi St. Jacques, biche en cocotte, filet with pommes anna, beautiful cabillaud (cod) stuffed with legumes Tel.: 01-42-96-28-18. La Tour de Montlhery (Chez Denise) 5 rue des Prouvaires 0142362182 (metro Les Halles or Chatelet or walk - it is a small street that crosses r. Ste Honore one block after r. du Pont-Neuf). Owner is Denise Benariac. Chef is Bernard Noel. Survivor of old Halles market district. Open 24 hrs. Mon thru Fri. frisée salade with lardons and egg, civet de chevreuil (venison stew) with raspberry confiture, cotes de boeuf for two, Pot-au-feu on Thursday, Beaujolais from barrel Dinner 36Euros Portions are enough for two persons. (R.W. APPLE Jr. low-level recommendation) Chez La Vieille 1 rue Bailleul 0142601578 (metro Louvre street between St. Honore and rue de Rivoli, Arbre Sec and r. du Louvre. Adrienne Biasin retired - new owner Marie-Josee Cervoni from Corsica. Order the main course and then help yourself to starts and desserts (sanglier terrine, stuffed cabbage, mussel and tomato salad for starters. (APPLE recommendation) Open for lunch only and Thursday night for dinner) Chez Clovis 33 rue Berger (metro. Chatelet-les-Halles). Owner Claude Cornut0142339707. Closed Sunday. Welcome until midnight. Auvergne charcuterie, saucisson Lyonaise with lentils, Pont Neuf thick-cut french fries, pot-au-feu with beef marrow on baguette and gray sea salt. A la Cloche des Halles 28 rue Coquilliere (metro Les-Halles or Louvre-Palais Royal) 0142369389 Wine bistro owned by Annie and Serge Lesage. Salades, cold meats, charcuteries and good cheese. Closed Sat. afternoon and Sunday. Used to deliver produce to Les Halles from farm in Normandy. Gets good wines from small producers and bottles them himself in back of bistro. Aux Tonneaux des Halles 28 rue Montorqueil (behind church of St-Eustache metro Chatelet les Halles) Wine bistro. Patrick Fabre owner. Au Pied de Cochon 6 rue Coquillière 0140137700 - very touristy looking and uninteresting menu Juveniles 47 rue de Richelieu (J17)near Palais Royale and Comedie Francais Pharamond 24 rue de la Grande Truanderie (J19) near les Halles Chez Pauline 5, rue Villedo near Bourse (owner-chef A. Génin - third generation) many real French truffle dishes (scrambled eggs, poulet Bresse for two) very warm but elegant atmosphere with chef who comes out and greets and advises the clientele. Poule au pot. Menu for 29 euros 0142962070 L'Absinthe 24 Place du Marché Ste. Honoré (I17) near Place Vendome - chef Michel Rostang Poule au Pot 9 rue Vauvilliers 0142363296 - dinner only and closed Mon. 2° Aux Lyonnais, 32 rue Saint Marc, Paris 2nd (Metro: Bourse) Tel. 01-42-96-65-04. Very good example of food from Lyon (the 2nd gastronomic city in France although if you're Lyonnais, you would say it is number 1) owned by Alain Ducasse (the only man who has 2 and 3 Michelin Stars at the same time) superbe food - menu for 28 euros with two choices per course. The quenelle et écrevisses is outstanding and the emincé de chou blanc, oeuf mollet et canard confit for entreé is as well. I could just make a meal out of their herbed fromage blanc and bread. If you're willing to sit at the high table against the wall, it's usually open for non-reservations. Le Mesturet 77 Rue de Richelieu (Metro Richelieu-Druot no. 8 direction Balard or no. 9 direction Pont de Sevres) 0142974068 Alain Fontaine (also La Baracane in Marais) artisanel Rocamadour cheese and southwest poultry fom small producers and inexpensive wines (Marcillac) Terrine of free-range chicken with vegetable chutney, blanqueete de veau Chez Georges 1 rue de Mail 0142600711 (Metro Sentier no. 3 direction Pont de Levallons stop before Bourse) Bernard Brouillet menu on old duplicator. Happy place everyone talks to everyone. Seared onglet (hanger steak), don't get offal or veal sweetbreads, filet of sole with white wine sauce is house specialty and filleted at table. Great wine list. (APPLE RECOMMENDATION) - seemed very expensive for what the menu offers Cafe Moderne 40 rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (nearest Metro Bourse no. 3 direction pont de lavallois- not far from rue de Petit Champs 0153408410. A gastro-bistro with chef Sebastien Altazian who trained with Michel Rostang. Angl'Opera 39 ave. de l'Opera (metro Opera) 0142618625. Horrible food from chef Gilles Choukroun meets with equally horrible service for a high price. Chez Réné 14 Blvd. St. Germaine 0143543023 3° L'Ami Louis 32 rue du Vertbois 0148877748 (Metro Temple or Arts and Metiers no. 3 (direction Gallieni) or 11 (direction Mairie des Lilas) chef Louis Gadby. Fresh roasted chicken, baby leg of lamb, rib of beef. Snails, scallops, potato cake. Morels if available from Compiegne. Large portions. Lunch is best especially on Sunday. (TOP APPLE RECOMMENDATION) - OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE - ONLY GO ON SOMEONE ELSE'S TICKET Le Clos du Vert-Bois 13 rue du vert Bois 0142771485 Closed Sat lunch and Monday Chez Jenny 39 Blvd. du Temple (J20) Le Petit Marché 9 rue de Bearn 0142720667 Great food and good wine, local place. Menu 12.50 for 2 courses. House wines (Gascony) are 3 euros per glass. Pureed chestnut soup, grilled perch with chanterelles, cream of clementine aux amandes. If they like you you get a glass of melon digestif. Great deal!! Camille - 24 rue Francs Bourgeois (corner of rue. des Francs Bourgeois and rue Elzivir) great local bistro with traditional French food and waiters. Pot au feu, blanquette de veau, steak tartar, cassoulet, Menu for 25 euros including dessert nice wine by pitcher or glass choices (Cote de Rhone) 0142722050 Tart place on rue. des Francs Bourgeois down street from Camille - all women - tarts sale and sucre served with salad side for 8.50 Place across from tart place - good menu for 12 euros. La Guirlande de Julie 25 Place des Vosges The bistro for the Tour d'Argent with chef prix fixe menu at 25 euros for three courses. 0148879407 Other than the roasted duck I don't think it's worth it. 4° Aux Vin des Pyrénees 25 rue Beautrellis. Very nice bistro, wood tables, menu for 11.50 for two courses with excellent chef (run out of menu items early) Service is slow and forgetful. Good wine selection. 0142726494 Brasserie Île Ste. Louis One of the most authentic little brasseries on the island just across the bridge from Notre Dame. M. Cité Lots of ex-pats and regular French standing at the bar lifting their Alsatian green-stemmed wine glasses or pots of good beer. Menu for 25 euros - good food, good portions (gigot d'agneau). Benoit 20 rue St.-Martin 0142722576 (on border between 3 and 4 arr. near Centre Pompidou metro Rambuteau no. 11 direction Mairie des Lilas) founded in 1912 by Benoit Martray, now his grandson Michel Petit. Beaujolais bought in casks and bottled in their own cellars. Cassoulet. Only bistro in Paris with Michelin star. (APPLE RECOMMENDATION) - very snooty and expensive and touristy - I wouldn't waste the time or money. Bofinger, 5-7 rue de la Bastille, Paris 4th or 12th (Metro: bastille); tel. 01-42-7287-82. Cassoulet de poisson, coquillages. Beautiful brasserie but very touristy Baracane 38 rue des Tournelles (K22) Alain Fontaine (also Le Mesturet in 2º) menu for 25 euros - decent place known for its cassoulet and its gateau. Bad oil for frying fish and very gay service. 0142714333 Le Vieux Bistro 14 rue de Cloître Nôtre Dame (opposite Notre Dame) very old bistro - traditional menu and good prices L'Impasse 4 Impasse Guéménée - closed Sat. lunch, Sun, Mon. lunch - 0142720845 - menu for 25 euros Au 7 7 rue de l'Avé Maria (between Rue St. Paul and Hotel de Sens 0142786549 Closed Sun. Mon. - Modern and uncomfortable looking but interesting menu Cap Sud - rue de Birague (b/t of rue de Rivoli and the Place des Vosges). Tiny dive with great French/South American food for great price 11.50 menu. Venezuelan chef gastronomically trained. Gaspard dans la Nuit - 6 rue des Tournelles (just around the corner from Bofinger's) - great little place that is becoming too touristy - wonderful old man owner who's been there for 30+ years. A bit pricey. 0142779053 Mon Vieil Ami - 69 rue St. Louis en Île - modern, famous chef - touristy but supposedly good food - Reservation needed 0140460135 Rue des Rosiers - Finkelsteins for cheesecake and pastrami sandwiches on onion rolls - absolutely delicious!! Loisir dans le Thière - for tea and cake - funky old couches and stuffed chairs - good cheap plat de jour and lots of homemade cakes - good tea choice for a reasonable price. Le Bouchon - wine bar with good pasta and wok dishes rue rivoli just a block from St. Paul metro 1 block towards Hotel de Ville La Tartine - great place to hang out (non-smoking area in back corner) and lots of cheap tartines on Poilane bread, decent inexpensive wines by the glass - rue rivoli across from St. Paul metro Bistro Louis Philippe - authentic, old world bistro with cheap coquillages/huitres plats du jour, a tiny, windy staircase to upstairs and an outdoor terrace - across from the Seine at end of rue Louis Philippe - food is decent. Tea room and place with Briques - authentic moroccan the a la menthe or other teas, soupe, omelettes, scrambled eggs, desserts - 11 menu with huge portions - down the cobblestoned walkway across from Bistro Louis Philippe (above). Bistro Jean-Bart - corner of rue rivoli and ormand? - incredibly cheap - crepes, galettes, moules/frites (6 euros), pasta. tions - . Place with lievre royale on the corner walking from rue rivoli towards Pont Marie metro. 5° La Rotisserie du Beaujolais 19 rue de la Tournelle M. Maubert-Mutualite. Roasted, grilled meats and fowl. Pricey. I believe it is owned as by Tour d'Argent. Rotisserie canard and chicken with garlic mashed potatoes. 0143541747. Les Papilles (30 Rue Gay-Lussac Metro stop Luxembourg RER B direction Orly ) 0143252079 Classic bistro cuisine served at small tables next to shelves of olives oils, jams and wines. Latin Quarter choose wine from racks or takeout. Bebert is chef (formerly pastry chef at The Bristol), menu changes daily. Caulifower soup with chorizo confetti, roast rack of lamb, baba au rhum, oysters in season and charcuterie. Prix fixe 34. Chez Rene 14 Blvd. St. Germaine des Pres (Metro Maubert-Mutualite RER B direction Orly) 0143543023 Dinner $55 Moissonier 28 rue des Fossés St. Bernard (Metro Jussieu no. 7 direction Mairie d'ivry just before Gare d'austerlitz) 0143298765 Traditional, classic and very good featuring excellent regional menu. Prix fixe $24 Champagne et Provence 25 Quai Tournelle (M20) La Timonerie 35 Quai de Tournelle (M20) 6° ***Le Comptoir (Yves Camdeborde) 9 carrefour de l'Odeon M. Odeon - great food. No reservations for lunch - line up at about noon only 24 places inside and blankets for about 12 outside. Dinner reservations a couple of months in advance (although if you go early on the night of and are willing to take a chance and wait there is usually an opening) for 40 euro fixed menu which is outstanding. He tends bar and busses tables and talks with old rugby friends and fellow chefs who stop by. Glass of Juraçon wine for a starter and try his family's boudin blanc. He's great as a person and a chef - real, good values. He and wife own hotel next door as well (Le Relais St. Germaine) . 01 43 29 12 05. Allard 41 rue St.-Andre-des-Arts 0143264823 (Metro St. Michel no. 4 (d. Pte. D'Orleans), 10(d. Boulogne Pte. de St. Cloud), RER B (d. Orly), C(d. Versailles) Claude Leyrac. Cucumber salad, duckling with olives, beef, veal and lamb stew. (APPLE low-level recommendation) Josephine 117 rue du Cherche-Midi 0145485240 (Metro Vaneau no. 10 di. Boulogne Pte. de St. Cloud) or Metro Duroc no. 13 direction Chatillon Montrouge) Jean-Christian Dumonet chef. Specialty TRUFFLES in omelets and ragouts, langoustines. Wednesday lunch classic leg of lamb with white beans, boeuf bourguigon on other days. (APPLE recommendation) Aux Charpentiers 10 rue Mabillon (Metro Mabillon no. 10 d. Gare d'Austerlitz) 0143263005 Da Rosa 62 rue de Seine (metro Mabillon no. 10 d. Gard d'Austerlitz) 0140510009 A deli with a few tables and a selection of specialty foods fabored by local chefs Ecole Superieure de Cuisine Francaise Ferandi 28 rue de L'abbe Gregoire (metro St. Placide no. 4 d. Porte d'orleans) For reservations in English contact Stephanie Curtis 0145270909. Four-course meal at the fourth-floor restaurant costs $23, $28 or $45 depending on day of the week and what level of students are cooking. Escoffier classics. Bad service. 7° L'Ami Jean 27 Rue Malar 0147058680 (Metro Pt. d'Alma RER C direction Versailles yellow line) Basque restaurant Stephane Jego formerly sous-chef to Yves Camdeborde (former owner La Regalade). L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Hotel Pont Royal) 5 rue de Montalembert M. rue du Bac. Modern, Counter seating only. Reservations between 11:30 and 12:30 or 5:30 and 6:30 otherwise first come first served. Tasting menu for 98 euros. Good sommelier and decent selection by the glass. The best meal I had in Paris!!! 01 42 22 56 56 Beliota-Bellota 18 rue Jean-Nicot (metro La Tour-Maubourgs no. 8 d. Balard metro Invalides no 8 d. Balard) Grocery with tables. A menu of dishes based on the shop's Spanish hams and cheeses 0153599696 Au Bon Accueil, 14 rue Monttessuy 7º (K12) (Metro: Ecole Militaire). Small restuarant a stone throw away from the Eiffel Tower - small neighborhood restaurant - good meals, reasonably priced - lace-curtains on the windows. Le Clos des Gourmets (K1) M. Ecole Militaire (Arnaud Peitrois and wife worked with Guy Savoy) 16 ave. Rapp 0145517561 8° Chez Savy 23 rue Bayard 0147234698 (metro FDR no. 1 d. La Defense or no. 9 d. Pont de Sevres) Founded in 1923 with roots in the Auvergne. Petit farçou (fat pancake of spinach, chard, leeks and herbs) slow-cooked shoulder of lamb, jug of Cahors. Eat in narrow front room (le wagon) (APPLE recommendation) L'Atelier des Chefs 10 rue de Penthievre (metro Miromesnil no. 9 d. Pont de Sevres or no. 13 d. Chatillon) 0153300582 1/2 cooking classes with 21 other students - make lunch and then eat for $20. Chez Tante Louise, 41 rue Boissy d'Anglas, Paris 8th (Metro: Madeleine); tel: 01-42-65-06-85; classic burgundian dishes like your grandma used to cook in Burgundy. Le Table du Lancaster 7 rue Berri M. FDR 0140764076 9° Au Petit Riche 25 rue Le Peletier M. Le Peletier 0147706868 10° La Grille 80 rue Faubourg-Poissonniere 0147708973 (Metro 7 direction La Courneuve stop at Poissonniere just after Cadet) Yves Cullerre (silver-handlebar moustache) Country eggs with country ham, lamb chops, chocolate mousse, specialty turbot grilled with buerre blanc, sliced potatoes and house Sancerre Domaine Tabordet (APPLE RECOMMENDATION) Chez Michel 10 rue de Belzunce M. Gare du Nord 0144530620 11° Le Marsangy 73 Avenue Parmentier 0147009425 (Metro Parmantier no. 3 direction Gailleni) red walls low lighting hip crowd, bargain wine list plump langoustines in lemon chive vinaigreet whole wild sea bass roasted with fresh dill and couscous Le Sot l'y Laisse 70 Rue Alexandre-Dumas 010097920 (between 11 and 20 arr. (Metro Alexandre-Dumas no. 2 direction Nation) noisy smoky storefont bistro where young avant-garde chefs hang out. Sauteed chanterelles with chipolata sausage, Aux Vieux Chêne 7 Rue du Dahomey 0145716769 (Metro Faidherbe-Chaligny 8 after Bastille and Ledrou-Rollin) Stephane Chevassus changes menu daily (neighborhood secret place) escalope of panfried foie gras on fresh Paimpol beans in duck jus, langoustines in crisp parsley with mango chutney, huge entrecote with creamy slab of gratin dauphinois - tables in brightly lit dining room with vintage 1900 era tile floor and zinc bar are in continuous demand - Reservation recommended. Good food for the price - menu 28 euros Le Temps au Temps 13 rue Paul-Bert (Metro Faidherbe-Chaligny 8 after Bastille and Ledrou-Rollin) 0143796340 old favorites with new cuisine - stuffed baby clams on bed of tetragone (Provencale spinach), cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with shavings of Spanish pata negra ham, tenrons de veau braised in a casserole with thyme and raspberries and served with sauce of salt-butter caramel. Le Murano (Hotel dining room on border between 3 and 11 arr.) 13 Boulevard du Temple 0142712000 (metro Temple no.11 direction Mairie des Lilas or the no. 3 direction Gailleni) - try for a drink otherwise sounds disgusting. Cartet 62 rue de Malte 0148051765 (Metro Oberkampf no. 5 direction Place d'Italie or no. 9 d. Mairie de Montreuil) original chef Marie-Antoinette Cartet 8-table bistro near Place de la Republique now Marie-Therese and Raymond Nouaille took over 20 yrs. ago. Lunch and dinner. Boeuf a la ficelle (beef suspended over boiling stock, lemon tart? (APPLE low recommendation) Chardenoux 1 rue Jules Valles (metro Charonne no. 9 d. Nation/ mairie de Montreuil) 0143714952 Auberge Pyrennes-Chevenne, 106 rue de Folie Menilmotant, Paris 11th (Metro: Republique); Lyonnais specialties; they cure their own meats. Polidor, rue Monsieur Le Pince, Paris 6th (Metro: Odeon); one of the oldest cantine in the sorbonne area - tables sit about 10 people you share with other diners; reasonable, good classic french meals. Le Refectoire 80 Blvd. Richard Lenoir M. St. Ambroise 0148057485 Le Repaire du Cartouche 8 Bd. quartre filles du Calvaire M. Sebastian-Fossart 0147002586 (formerly worked at Le Regalade under Camdeborde - YC recommends) - upstairs bistro, downstairs fine diningish. Great food for the price. The daube de oie is fantastic!! Les Grandes Marches 6 Place de la Bastille (next to the Opera) M. Opera (V. Constant Chretian) 12° La Biche au Bois, 45 avenue Ledru Rollin, Paris 12th (Metro: Gare de Lyon or Bastille); specialties are foie gras, coq au vin and traditional french dishes - very reasonable 13° L'Ourcine 92 rue Broca (metro les Gobelines no. 7 direction Place d'italie) 0147071365. Creative bistro cooking from Sylvain Daniere acolyte of Yves Camdeborde formerly of La Regalade L'Avant Gout 25 rue Bobillot M. Place d'Italie 0153802400 14° La Cerisaie 70 Blvd. Edgar-Quinet (Metro Edgar-Quinet No. 6 direction Nation or no. 4 direction Porte d'Orleans) 0143209898 21 seats Marysel Lalanne (dining room) husband Cyril (kitchen) L,D no reservations; daily blackboard - cream of chestnut soup with foe gras shavings, terrine of confit de canard, pan-roasted goose breast Le Cave des Papilles 35 rue Daguerre M. Gaité 0143200574 15° L'Ami Marcel 33 Rue Georges Pitard 0148566206 (Metro Plaisance No. 13 direction Chatillon Montrouge) young team with haute experience - snails with arugula, cod steak with polenta, duck terrine L'Os a Moelle 3 rue de Vasco da Gama M. Lourmel 0145572727 (Yves Camdeborde rec.ommends) 16° 17° 18° La Famille 41 rue des Trois Freres 0142521112 (metro Pigalle or Abesses no. 12 d. Porte de la Chapelle) Some of the most inventive cooking in Paris from up-and-coming chef Inaki Aizpitarte, a protege of Gilles Choukroun HE'S OPENED HIS OWN PLACE AND IS NO LONGER AT LA FAMILLE - check on eGullet thread to see the latest info
  11. TO: Not normally living near Izrael's in Paris but in a tiny town in Provence: sacks of freshly-made corn tortillas the little round wood-topped (I forget the name at the moment) mexican hot sauce monterey jack and cheddar cheese my special mix of mexican chiles Sauza margarita mix (it's less sweet in France) 25 lb. sacks of pinto beans Laura Scudder nutty peanut butter Orville Redenbacher popcorn Matzoh meal for making matzoh ball soup medium ground kasha and bow ties for making kasha varnishkas barley Angel coconut flakes for making my one-egg spice cake topping dark and light soy sauce and sesame seed oil Phu Quoc Nhi or Phan Thiet Nhi Vietnamese fish sauce Non-sweetened good quality rice wine vinegar Rice papers (although I have been able to find small round ones at monoprix) Jars of spicy Thai peanut sauce Philadelphia cream cheese FROM: Honestly less and less because each time I bring something to America I usually find it the next day at some "french" boutique down the road. This time it was the jars of onion confiture that I bought at the factory in Robion, the lavendre Marius Fabre huile d'olive savon liquide that I bought at the factory in Salon, the Mistral verveine body lotion that I bought in Aix, and the Mariage Frères tins of Marco Polo tea that I bought as holiday presents for everyone in Paris. Even the kilos of Provençale herbed jambon from my local boucherie and their louche of picholine olives can be found at the local high-end supermarket here in San Diego. So now I'm down to smuggling saucissons of sanglier and trying to find fresh-kill rabbits and sisteron lamb and fresh-laid eggs.
  12. When I researched for my California visit I found this website: http://www.eatwild.com/products/california.html According to their site (which gives products for each state), Eatwild.com is your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry and dairy products. The website's goals are: • To provide comprehensive, science-based information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture. • To support farmers who raise their livestock on pasture from birth to market and who actively promote the welfare of their animals and the health of the land. • To help consumers find reliable sources of all-natural, delicious, grass-fed products. I haven't tried any of their products yet - has anyone? I'd love to hear from you.
  13. Hi Carlsbad - Here's an itinerary that I did when a friend and I went on a four day food/wine tasting tour last year that turned out great. I had tried to book reservations at The French Laundry several months in advance and was wait-listed - after eating lunch at Bouchon next door I walked over and got into a conversation with the gardener who suggested I talk to the woman in the office. It must have been the stars, but just as I walked in someone had called to cancel for dinner and Bingo, I was in for 7 p.m. Needless to say I had a lot of working out to do after lunch and before dinner. Unfortunately, I tend to agree with Robert Brown's post of 11/03/02 on The French Laundry thread that the food gets somewhat boring after the first two courses. He stated it so eloquently that I will just quote: "From the point at which we tasted our amuse-bouche until we finished the first course from the Chef’s Tasting Menu, I was unquestionably in league with the French Laundry partisans. The renown salmon tartare and red onion crème fraiche “tuile” cone was both witty in conception and a wonderful way to arouse the palate between the saltiness of the roe, the crunch of the tuile, and the creaminess of the crème fraiche. Even better, in fact way better-indeed so monumental that you could call it a Fountain of Youth for jaded palates- was today’s most famous dish by an American-born chef: Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Malpeque Oysters and Osetra Caviar, simply referred to as “Oysters and Pearls”. As described by Lizziee in a previous thread, the dish is “milk-softened tapioca strained with oyster trimmings and more milk and cream, which is further mixed with an oyster infused sabayon that is again mixed with creme fraiche and whipped cream and then placed in an even layer in a gratin dish. The sauce is a reduction of vermouth, oyster juice, shallots, vinegar and butter. The tapioca mixture is warmed in the gratin dish, oysters are added, sauce is spooned over all and a scoop of caviar is added for garnish.” To my wife, the creation was “a luxurious warm salt bath for the palate”; for me it brought back almost forgotten memories of eating in the best country restaurants of France many years ago when the intense flavor of a certain sauce would stop me dead in my tracks; and for my wife’s daughter, the Oysters and Pearls became an exercise in literally scraping every last vestige of the sabayon from her plate while lamenting that the portion was so small. Then, minutes later, something completely unexpected started to happen: From a purely gustatory standpoint, our meal began to unravel. From the “Oysters and Pearls” until the dessert nothing we tasted transcended, at best, the mediocre. " We were invited into the kitchen after then meal (Keller was in NY dealing with the James Beard foundation debacle at the time) and got to talk with the executive chef. There's a great little card with a Keller quote on it hanging on the wall that says something like "We should always strive for perfection, but in the end, it's just food." He told me that Keller's favorite dish was a simple roast chicken and that they basically seek out the best of the best of ingredients and step aside to let them speak for themselves. I was struck by that fact that the kitchen mise en place reflected what I had tasted in the meal - very few herbs, very little spice (as compared with the meal I had in Charlie Trotter's kitchen which was filled with millions of jars of this and that). On the other hand, I found the service and sommelier to be outstanding. When my friend and I decided to share the truffled risotto (and when Keller says truffled, he means it - must have been $100 worth of shavings on it and he does it deliberately for the shock value) since it was hot before we moved on to the foie gras - the server whisked away our toasted brioche and replaced it with newly and perfectly toasted slices the moment we actually switched over. The sommelier was a gem - barely shaving and a master - he told me that Keller refused to allow people to have a Chateau Yquem with the foie gras because it was a waste of a perfect sauterne to mix it with food and when I questioned the chalkiness of my Mt. Redon Chateauneuf du Pape he told me it came from the fifth geologic region of Chateauneuf du Pape close to the Dentelles de Montmiral hills which had more limestone deposits. All-in-all it is an experience of a lifetime just to be there and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Here are some of my favorites replete with their promo and menus. Caveat: the trip was last February so things might have changed a bit since then. Medjool - Middle Eastern (415) 550-9055 2522 Mission Street Chef Marc Shoenfield 2nd Floor small plate menu I loved this place and had a chance to talk with the owner. He told me that he was tired of having to spend a fortune for good food and wine. His goal was to do the best he could for a reasonable price. The tasting dishes and wine by the glass choices were great. The only problem I found was that the food was "temperature challenged" due to somewhat slow service pick-up. Here's their promo and menu: While the ground floor of this swank, three-tiered Mission newcomer is a casual cafe serving light Middle Eastern fare, the jewel of Medjool is on the second floor, where chef Marc Schoenfield (ex Red Herring) offers a Mediterranean small-plates menu; a third floor holds additional seating and a DJ booth, and the owner plans to eventually serve an alfresco brunch on the roof garden. (I talked with him and he was tired of having to spend a fortune for good food and wine. His goal was to do the best he could for a reasonable price. The only problem I found was that the food was "temperature challenged" due to somewhat slow service pick-up.) Medjool, in the heart of San Francisco’s colorful Mission District, has taken the sun-drenched flavors and seductive aromas of the Mediterranean and added a decidedly California flair. With its cutting edge architecture and a seductively new take on “comfort food”, Medjool is truly an oasis in the middle of a revitalized neighborhood. Like its namesake fruit found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, Medjool Café, Restaurant and Bar transforms what was once the food of royalty and makes it affordable for everyone with “small plates” inspired by the diverse cuisines of southern France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia and parts of the Middle East. Appetizer Specialties include : Baby Spinach Salad With Roasted Tomatoes, Pancetta & Goat Cheese; Fritto Misto With Fennel, Chickpeas & Zucchini Served With Red Pepper Aioli; Fried Sumac-Dusted Calamari, Red Onions & Lemons With Aioli; Mixed Green Salad With Smoked Almonds, Blue Cheese And Pear; Pita Pizzetta With Grilled Vegetables & Fontina or Pizzetta With Roasted Red Peppers, Olives, & Feta; P.E.I. Mussels In A Moroccan Chermoula Sauce. Small Plates offer varied exotic options such as: B'stilla: Chicken & Almond Filo Pie; Zhoug-Marinated Shrimp With Spicy Tomato Jam; Grilled Harissa- Crusted Hanger Steak With Spinach; Alaskan Halibut With Braised Fennel, Olives And Rouille; Market-Fresh Grilled Vegetables With Tahini; Chicken With Almond-Pomegranate Sauce; Lamb Kefta With Pinenuts & Tahini Sweet Ending Desserts feature: Cardamom Panna Cotta With Strawberry Coulis, Apple & Golden Raisin Crisp With Almond Cream And Moroccan Ice Cream Profiteroles. The main dining room with its multi colored walls, abstract art, sensual surfaces and warm aromatics focuses on stimulating all the senses- sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. The front end Café, serving casual diners inside and out at breakfast, lunch and dinner has drawn a diverse crowd of locals, scenesters, politicians, and adventurous travelers since opening day. House-marinated olives 3. Pita crisps with za'tar & lebni 5. Pommes frites with parsley & preserved lemon 4. Olive oil-cured goat cheese with sun dried fruits 8. Persian cucumber & radish salad with tonno botarga 9. Baby spinach salad w/roasted tomatoes, pancetta & goat cheese 9. Fritto misto w/fennel, chickpeas & zucchini served w/red pepper aioli 6. Fried sumac-dusted calamari, red onions & lemons with aioli 9. Mixed green salad with smoked almonds, blue cheese and pear 8. Pita pizzetta with grilled vegetables & fontina 6. Pita pizzetta with roasted red peppers, olives, & feta 6. P.E.I. mussels in a morrocan chermoula sauce 9. B'stilla: chicken & almond filo pie 12. Zhoug-marinated shrimp with spicy tomato jam 11. Grilled harissa-crusted hanger steak with spinach 12. Alaskan halibut with braised fennel, olives and rouille 12. Tabil-crusted pork tenderloin with romesco sauce 10. Market-fresh grilled vegetables with tahini 8. Chicken with almond-pomegranate sauce 9. Lamb kefta with pinenuts & tahini 10. Lamb & summer fig tagine 10. Hummus 4. Tabbouleh 4. Baba ganoush 4. Medjool sampler with hummus, tabbouleh and baba ganoush 8. Couscous with choice of Medjool dates, olives or preserved lemons 3. Pita bread 1. Flat bread 1. Marscapone semifredo with figs and balsamic 5. Flourless chocolate torte with blueberry caulis and vanilla ice cream 5. Gala Apple crisp with almonds & vanilla ice cream 5. Profiteroles with chocolate sauce 6. Bouchon (707) 944-8037 Chef Thomas Keller Washington St. Yountville I've been here a few times and am always impressed with the room - very upscale French bistro. I do find the menu a bit boring but the quality of the food is excellent. I was shocked to find that with all of the coquillage that they have, there was no Sancerre on the wine list. Promo: Although this Yountville restaurant is owned by French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, it's nothing like that famed temple of cuisine. Instead, it's a bustling, upscale French brasserie--albeit one designed by Adam Tihany, the designer of New York's Le Cirque 2000. The sophisticated dining room is done in sleek shades of shades of gray and maroon, with a hand-painted tile floor, an always-bustling zinc bar and mohair banquettes. The French word "bouchon" describes a particular style of cafe that has existed in the province of Lyon for centuries. Bouchon, opened in 1998, lives up to this designation, offering authentic French bistro fare of a quality not to be found elsewhere in the United States. The restaurant is located in downtown Yountville, California, in a historic Wells Fargo stagecoach stop built in the late 1800s. Renowned designer Adam D. Tihany has masterfully created a beautiful interior that features a magnificent French zinc bar, a vibrant mosaic floor, burgundy velvet banquettes, antique light fixtures and an expansive hand-painted mural by noted French artist Paulin Paris. An outdoor patio accommodates those wishing to dine outdoors in the summer months. The exquisite décor is the perfect setting for Bouchon's culinary delights. Chef Jeffrey Cerciello brings his European experience to the table, serving award-winning French cuisine (listed among Gourmet magazine's "America's Top Tables of 1999"). The wine service is superb and the selection of fruits de mer is celebrated as one of the finest in the Bay Area. Flawlessly executed in every aspect, Bouchon delights both the palate and the eye, creating a singular local dining experience of global proportions. Chef Jeffrey Cerciello has created a brilliant interpretation of French bistro fare at Bouchon, located in Yountville, California. Bouchon’s extensive menu offers locals and visitors to the Napa Valley a wide range of dining options, from a grand plateau of seafood, to exquisitely prepared fish and meat, to soups and sandwiches. Chef Cerciello rediscovers the classics, using historical reference points and classic French techniques, combined with a modern approach. The results offer cleaner, lighter flavors highlighting the best seasonal ingredients available. The day-long menu offers classic bistro dishes including steak frites, roasted chicken, quiche, brandade, boudin noir, pot de crème and profiteroles. The seasonal menu changes throughout the year and is enhanced by a blackboard menu that features the best products available each day. In the traditional, relaxed atmosphere of a French bouchon, guests are welcome in the dining room, at the outdoor café tables or at the zinc bar. Dining can be as simple as a plate of oysters and a glass of wine, a cappuccino and a lemon tart, or as elaborate as a full course dinner paired with outstanding wines. At Bouchon, food, atmosphere and service combine to create an exceptional dining experience The Food The parchment-paper menu unfolds to reveal bistro classics such as steak frites, sole meuniere and tarte Tatin. Start with the authentic onion soup or the comforting Swiss chard and potato quiche. Tender pink slices of leg of lamb arrive with the classic French accompaniment of pale green flagolet beans. Be sure to order a side of crispy, salty fries, which arrive piled high in a paper cone. Being one of the few places in the valley to have a full raw bar, many local chefs drop in just for the pristine, ice-mounded platters of raw oysters, raw clams, and chilled crab, mussels and shrimp. Dessert favorites include profiteroles bathed in warm chocolate sauce and tangy lemon tart. Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar 403 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg (707) 433-9191 A couple that I met at one of the wine tastings invited my friend and I to join them here for lunch and it was quite good - a true New England lobster roll and lots of other well-prepped small tasting plates that we shared. They also had an extensive Napa/Sonoma/Alexander Valley wine list by the glass. East coast oyster bar with Latin flare. Full Bar, all wines offered by the glass or half bottle. Patio dinning. Open for lunch and dinner Bistro Jeanty Chef Philippe Jeanty 6510 Washington St. Yountville (707) 944-0103 Very authentic, very french, very in. My French chef friends love it. I like to eat at the bar and people watch. Promo and menu: Chef and Owner: Philippe Jeanty has had a life long love affair with food. His restaurant in Napa Valley is a classic example of his philosophy on food and restaurants. Fresh quality ingredients, exacting and demanding preparation, consistent service at the table, comfortable and informal surroundings. He was born in the Champagne region of France. This is a rural agricultural region where the wine is world famous for its' elegance and refinement. Philippe's father worked for the great Champagne house of Moet & Chandon. The family spent much of their time growing, raising, and preparing food. Their vegetables, chickens, rabbits, and lambs became an essential part of providing for the large family. It is from his grandmother and mother that Philippe learned many of the basics of French home cooking. Two of his fondest early memories are of visits to the neighbor's dairy for warm milk and special evenings with his family in the regional bistros where his favorite foods were to be found. At fourteen his father helped him secure a summer position in the private dining room kitchen at Moet & Chandon, working under chef Joseph Thuet. He received special attention and training at Thuet's hand for the next three years and this secured his decision to make his life's work as a chef. Philippe Jeanty came to California in 1977 with the first team from Epernay, France to open the Chandon Restaurant in Yountville. In a year's time he was made executive chef. This allowed Jeanty to develop his personal style of world class cuisine. A fine dining restaurant had never existed in the wine country before. Now residents and visitors could experience classic French Haute Cuisine in the bucolic setting of the Napa Valley. The next twenty years of accolades, awards, and praise from customers and critics proved that Jeanty was one of America's finest chefs. His creative style introduced new flavors and dishes to the thousands of diners at Chandon during this time. He began to look for a new challenge in 1997. His thoughts turned to his home in France. He decided to create a bistro where he could recreate all those favorite foods of his childhood. But with his heart and his family (wife and two daughters) in Yountville, Philippe Jeanty opened the doors of Bistro Jeanty in April of 1998. Since then the doors have barely had a chance to swing shut. The crowds of patrons continue to come from around the world for the opportunity to dine in a true French bistro in America. It was chosen as the "Best New Restaurant in the Bay Area 1998" and chosen as one of four nominees for "Best New restaurant in America 1998" by the James Beard Foundation. To know Philippe Jeanty you must come and eat at his restaurant. There you will better understand the man and his relationship with people and food. There is a shared excitement in the dining. As if you too have returned home, only to discover you are being served the most delicious food you can ever remember tasting. In every day French life, it is the Bistro that is woven into the daily pattern of meals and celebrations. The Bistro is that little neighborhood restaurant where they know who you are, greet you warmly, and serve you satisfying foods that change with the seasons and define regional homey French cuisine. APPETIZERS:Creme de Tomate en Croute 6.50 Tomato Soup in Puff PastryTruite Fumee 9.50 Home Smoked Trout and Potato SaladSalade au Bacon et Oeuf Mollet 8.50 Escarole, Soft Boiled Egg Bacon DressingSalade de Laitue 7.50 Butter Lettuce Salad, Mustard VinaigretteSalade de Betteraves et Mache 8.50 Beet and Mache Salad with Feta CheeseRillettes de Canard 8.50 Duck & Goat Cheese Pate with CornichonsTerrine de Lapin 9.00 Rabbit Pate with Mustard Celery Root Apple SaladCroutons de Foie Blond 9.50 Duck Foie Gras Pate, Port Poached PearLangue d'Agneau 9.50 Lamb Tongue and Potato SaladCrudites 8.50 Assorted Vegetable SaladsPieds de Cochon et Haricots Verts 8.50 Pigs Feet and Haricots Verts SaladEscargots 10.50 With Garlic Pastis ButterQuenelles de Brochet 12.00 Pike Quenelles with Lobster SauceSaumon Fume Au Bistro 10.50 Smoked Salmon Carpaccio StylePetit Sale Aux Lentilles 12.50 Home Cured Pork Belly With a Lentil and Foie Gras Ragout (Chef's Favorite)MAIN COURSESMoules au Vin Rouge 15.50 Mussels Steamed in Red WineSole Meuniere 16.50 Sole, Mash Potatoes, Lemon-Caper ButterCoq Au Vin 14.50 Chicken, Mushroom, Bacon Red Wine StewDaube de Boeuf 16.50 Beef Stew, Mash Potatoes, Peas and CarrotsJoue D'Agneau 18.50 Lamb Cheeks Gemelli Pasta & ArtichokesRabe Pasta 13.50 Linguini, Broccoli Rabe, Chili Flakes, GarlicSteak Frites 21.50 Rib Eye Steak, French Fries, Bearnaise SauceCote de Porc 17.50 Pork Chop, Mash Potatoes, Onion SauceRognons de Veau au Poivre Vert 18.50 Veal Kidneys, Creamy Green Peppercorn SauceFilet au Poivre 28.50 Tournedo, Black Pepper, Mushroom CreamCassoulet 19.50 Baked Beans, Duck Confit, Sausage, BaconSteak Tartare 15.50 Steak Tartare (not cooked) with Fries(SIDE DISHES)Haricots Verts 4.50Frites 3.50Creamy Potato Gratin 5.50Spinach au Beurre 3.50Carrottes Mignonette 3.50Buttered Egg Noodles (Yummy with Coq au Vin ) 4.50DESSERTS:Epoisse 9.50 Full Flavored Cheese From BurgundyFourme d'Ambert 8.50 Blue Cheese with Sundried Fruit CompoteJean Grogne 8.50 Soft Rind Triple Cream With Apple TatinCabecou au Miel 8.50 Goat Cheese with Honey and WalnutsMousse au Chocolat "Brulee" 8.00 Chocolate Mousse Creme BruleeCreme Caramel 5.50 Caramel Custard Tarte au Citron 7.00 Lemon Meringue Tart with Orange SauceCrepe Suzette 8.50 Warm Crepe with Orange Butter Riz Au Lait 6.50 Creamy Rice Pudding with Brandied CherriesTarte Tatin 8.00 Caramelized Apple Tart with Creme Fraiche Citron Givre 4.50 Lemon SorbetCoupe de Glace Vanille 5.50 Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce(Chefs Favorite Way, Try it with a Shot of Armagnac...pour it on top with the chocolate !) CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Wine Spectator Restaurant (707) 967-1010 St. Helena I did the tour and ate the food and bought the chef apron, shirt and pants just for the heck of it and sat in on an Australian chef cooking demo. It was interesting but the food was very disappointing. The outfit is sure fun to wear though. Promo and menu: Greystone’s terraced gardens of herbs, vegetables, and flowers provide the perfect introduction to the vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and bustling activity of the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant. Local, seasonal ingredients are the inspiration for the cuisine, which features California’s bounty from the land and sea. Begin your wine country experience on the terrace, with views across the Napa Valley vineyards, or in front of a roaring fire in the lounge. The beverage menu offers unique tasting flights as well as our chefs’ favorite wines by the glass or bottle. You’ll also enjoy traditional and creative seasonal cocktails and northern California microbrews on tap. The dazzling restaurant space, created by noted designer Adam Tihany, offers a view of the chefs at work from every hand-crafted table. We invite you to relax and settle into your meal with Today's Temptations, which is an array of delicious "small" bites to be shared by all at the table. Our chef's calls them temptations because they are inspired by the culinary artisans, farmers and foragers who bring their tempting products to the kitchen door everyday. Enjoy the variety of flavors with a glass of sparkling Querenica Brut Rose, a Greystone exclusive. Then, perhaps, sample one of our first-course soups, salads, or pastas. What better place to experience the mingling of food, wine, and friends than the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant, in the very heart of California’s wine country. Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant Main Menuupdated 12/30/04Today’s Temptations$8.95 per person for the tableOysterswith mignonette sauce11.25 ½ doz 22.50 dozQuerencia…the perfect sparkling wine for all temptations…11. flute 50. bottleOlive Oil TastingWe have selected a flight of three artisanal olive oils, hand-craftedfor exceptional quality so you can enjoy every dunk, drizzle, or splash.Ask your server about taking homeGreystone Hearth Baked Breads 6.************First CoursesSunchoke Soup 9.fried oyster and curry oilCrispy Soft Boiled Egg 11.maple-black pepper glazed pork belly and red wine shallot vinaigretteSeared Foie Gras 16.poached french butter pears, gingerbread and cranberry red wine jusEven Better with a Glass of...Quady "Elysium" Black Muscar 2004, California 5.Duck Confit Salad 10.crispy potatoes, frisee, balsamic roasted onions, sauce ravigote and bacon vinaigretteOven Roasted Sweetbreads 14.puff pastry, wild mushrooms, mache and sweet garlic creamRadicchio and Heirloom Apple Salad 9.buttermilk blue cheese, black arkansas apples,candied hazelnuts and pomegranate vinaigrette************Second CoursesGrilled Pacific Swordfish 26.french green lentils, bacon lardons and whole grain mustard emulsion Pomegranate Glazed Chicken Breast 19.almond & medjool date couscous and harissa vinaigretteLicorice Braised Beef Short Ribs 27.horseradish potato puree, brussel sprouts and fried parsnipGerardo's Potato Gnocchi 17.sunchokes, pecorino romano and walnut saucePan Roasted Filet of Beef 32.sautéed cardoons, marrow crouton, potato-leek purée and bordelaise sauceNantucket Bay Scallops 29.risotto nero, swiss chard and meyer lemon emulsionGrilled Balsamic Glazed Quail 25.forni brown tatsoi, fingerling potatoes, walnuts and roasted red onion vinaigretteCheese Course 12.Artisan cheeses with fig-star anise croutons ************Dessert7.50 eachClassic Crème Brûléeassorted biscottiBittersweet Chocolate Lava Cakevanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauceWarm Persimmon Puddingeggnog anglaise and huckleberry creamRoasted Golden Delicious Applegraham cookies, cinnamon ice cream and butterscotch sauceProfitrerolescoffee ice cream, caramelized bananas and hot chocolate saucePoached French Butter Pearalmond financier and bittersweet chocolate creamHousemade Ice Creams & Sorbetsask your server about today's flavors Berkeley: Kermit Lynch Wine - 1605 San Pablo Avenue (510) 524-1524 I'm not a fan of Lynch's wine taste (I far prefer Niel Rosenthal selections) and was really put off by a few of the stories he tells of his obnoxious behavior in France, but I have to admit that without him, America might not have discovered the wonders of the Rhone Valley as early as it did and I wanted to visit his shop just for historical reasons and to buy a few bottles of his friends', the Peyraud's Domaine de Tempier Bandol - La Miguoa. Promo: Lynch is a wine importer and retailer with a predilection for obscure French wines and a talent for persuading customers that Corsican wine is what their life is missing. The quirky mailers he writes for Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, his Berkeley store, have a near-cult following. And his unconventional preferences and prejudices, shaped over 30 years in business, have left their marks on the American market. In 1970, the sedate world of imported wine was run by gentlemen with aristocratic bloodlines, English accents or Old World connections. Lynch had none of those. He was an unsuccessful Berkeley rock-and-roller with a small business making purses out of Oriental rug scraps. When he -couldn't bear the smell of glue any longer, he sold the enterprise, went to Europe with the proceeds and returned home with a hobbyist interest in wine. No local wine shop would hire him, so Lynch borrowed $5,000 from a girlfriend and opened his own, a tiny storefront on San Pablo Avenue in Albany. Not long after he opened the shop, an importer took him to France on a buying trip. He descended into Burgundy's dark, moldy cellars; tasted with winemakers and dined at their tables; and learned that many were willing to sell him only the wines he wanted. Before long, Lynch had banished the California wines from his shop and replaced them with inexpensive French wines that others had bypassed. "He was the first, at least on the West Coast, to really beat the bushes and find the little people nobody had ever heard of," says Steve Gilbertson of North Berkeley Wine Company, a competitor. Lynch sought out vineyard owners in Burgundy who had been selling their wine to negociants - middlemen who would blend the wine with many others - and persuaded the growers to bottle their own wine and give him an exclusive. He left the beaten path of Burgundy and Bordeaux to explore the wine routes of the Loire Valley, Provence, the Languedoc and Cotes du Rhone. He also met Richard Olney, the expatriate American artist and food writer in Provence, who profoundly shaped Lynch's taste. "Richard was supposed to be my translator," Lynch recalls. "I had no idea who he really was. It turned out he knew all the winemakers and all the great restaurants." Olney awakened Lynch to the idea that good wines have unique personalities, singular voices that express their place. "Before, I'd say I had a Parker palate: the bigger the better," says Lynch, referring to influential wine critic Robert Parker, whose taste for high- alcohol wines is renowned. "If it wasn't big, it wasn't good. But it really struck me when Richard said, 'Let's see what the wine has to say.' " Lynch filled his shop with Chinon, Bourgeuil and Saumur from the Loire Valley, Corbieres, Cahors and Coteaux du Languedoc, strange bottlings he would have to explain to Americans. He found affordable Champagnes from then- unfamiliar producers like Billecart-Salmon. And he began what is certainly one of the most important relationships of his business life, with Domaine Tempier of Bandol in Provence. The reds and roses of Domaine Tempier became virtually the house wines at Chez Panisse, and descriptions of languid meals at winery proprietor Lulu Peyraud's table began to figure in Lynch's mailer. Narsai David, the Bay Area radio personality, said he visited Bandol a few years ago and -couldn't help noticing the Californian's impact. "The people were all singing Kermit's praises," David recalls, "and they were all driving brand-new Mercedes. I think he single-handedly created a market for those wines." Lynch's genius lay in sensing that his little-known bottlings needed context. Customers would buy them if they could imagine themselves at Lulu's table outdoors, eating aioli and pouring themselves another cool glass of rose. The store's mailer abounds with you-are-there copy - there with Lynch eating fish in Toulon and craving a bottle of his white Cassis; there in Italy at a mountain winery (he imports a few Italian wines) having biscotti and moscato at 10 a.m. Lynch rarely resorts to the predictable language that afflicts most wine publications. He likes to humanize wines, to give them personalities and human traits, instead of talking about oak and acidity. He recently described an inexpensive Bordeaux as "satisfyingly nonconfrontational." In a rant about massive, high-alcohol cult wines, he said they reminded him of Pamela Anderson. "Kermit is the master of saying the most in the least space," says Gilbertson. "He really makes you thirsty." Over time, Lynch realized that the wines he liked best - the ones with the most alluring voices - were almost always made by traditional methods, passed from father to son. When French young people began to study enology, the wines lost their soul, he says. "I saw it happen. The kids would come home from school and say, 'Dad, what are you doing? You're going to ruin the wine.' And the kid would use some chemical and the dad would think, 'Well, he knows a lot more about it than I do.' They got ashamed of the artisanal way of making wine." For at least the past two decades, Lynch - the son of a fundamentalist preacher - has campaigned vigorously against the modern techniques and attitudes that he believes are destroying the character of French wines. He harangues winemakers who filter their wines, a technique that minimizes sediment but that can also remove flavor if not done lightly. He chastises them about manipulating their wines to achieve a Parker-pleasing style, and he drops them if they -won't change their methods. "Kermit has always been a purist about leaving the wines as they are and cherishing their eccentricities," says Gilbertson. His anti-filtering crusade "-wasn't very fashionable when he started to do it," says Harvey Steiman, an editor at the influential Wine Spectator magazine. Ironically, Domaine Tempier's bottlings are now too expensive to pour as house wines at the Chez Panisse Cafe. Several years ago, Lynch moved his store a few blocks down San Pablo Avenue into Berkeley. His neighbors now are Waters' Cafe Fanny and Steve Sullivan's Acme Bakery, a triumvirate of merchants guided by a shared aesthetic with roots in France. On the exterior of his building and on every bottle of his wine, Lynch displays a quote from another Francophile, Thomas Jefferson: "Good wine is a necessity of life for me." Lynch first fastened on the quote as a response to the government health warning required on wines, but it took him years to get his label past the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal regulating agency. With the doggedness he uses to hound winemakers, Lynch pounded the BATF, demanding in letter after letter to know how they could censor an American president. When Bill Clinton was elected to office, he tried again, reminding them that the new president's middle name was Jefferson. The bureau still refused. "They said 'necessity of life' is a health claim, and 'good wine' implies that Jefferson endorses this particular wine," Lynch recalls. "So I wrote back and said that 'necessity of life' has nothing to do with health, that Jefferson could have meant it was necessary for pleasure. And I said that most label readers will understand that since the wine was made in 1995, Jefferson -couldn't have tasted it. And damned if they -didn't approve it. "I think the Willliam Jefferson Clinton is what got to them, but it never bothered them that they were censoring Thomas Jefferson. That never struck them as odd." In 1988, Lynch wrote a well-received book, "Adventures on the Wine Route," that recounted his comings and goings in France and laid out his principles and prejudices. Ruth Reichl, Gourmet magazine editor and a longtime friend, lauds Lynch's writing, which reveals the humor and occasional curmudgeonliness of its author. "I think he should pay more attention to what a great writer he is," Reichl says. But Lynch says he has no more books in him. He continues to write the monthly mailer from his home near Chez Panisse, where he eats at least three times a week when he's in town. From May to November, Lynch and his wife, photographer Gail Skoff, and their two young children live in Provence, not far from Domaine Tempier, in a country home with chickens and fruit trees. Acme Bakery 1601 San Pablo, Berkeley, (510) 524-1027; 2730 9th St., Berkeley, (510) 843-2978 Baker Steve Sullivan cut his chops at Chez Panisse, and since he opened his bakery in 1983, it has become a symbol of the artisanal-bread revolution. Acme is well-known for rough-hewn breads, which are baked fresh on-site daily. Huge, crusty, round loaves of signature pain au levain vie for space with sweet baguettes, airy challah and New York rye bread. Sullivan became interested in baking bread 25 years ago as a busboy at Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse restaurant where he worked while attending the University of California at Berkeley. He started baking bread as a serious hobby after being inspired by Elizabeth David’s cookbook “English Bread and Yeast Cookery.” At Alice Waters’ request he went on to bake bread in the Chez Panisse kitchen. In 1983 he and his wife, Suzie, opened their first—now legendary—bakery. Although it has been written about hundreds of times, any favorite bread bakery list would be incomplete without the famous, acclaimed, best of the best - The Acme Bakery. It is the grandfather of modern artisan bread-making. Without Chez Panisse's influence, Spago may not have achieved its place in the history of California cuisine & the same can be said of The Acme Bakery. Without it, the rest of this list might not even exist. Known for their rustic baguettes, sour baguettes and pain au levain, Acme's breads are featured at Chez Panisse, Zuni, the Lark Creek Inns, and many other fine restaurants as well. Cesar's 1515 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709 t: 510.883-0222 I would have to say that of all the places I ate on this trip, Cesar's stands out as my absolute favorite for quality, atmosphere, selection and fun. It's owned by a former manager of Chez Panisse and friends and named after the Fanny trilogy. I talked with one of the owners and he "jokingly" said he wanted to open a seafood place named Marius next. They have a long-term lease from Alice Water's (Chez Panisse is next door). A friend read me their cookbook from cover-to-cover while I was recovering from knee surgery last year and it made me laugh so hard that I didn't need to take my pain medication (on second thought, it might have been their recipe for Mojito's that she mixed up that actually did the trick). Promo and menu: Q: What do you get when you cross Spanish food, a French name and American restaurateurs? A: Cesar Cesar is essentially, at its core, a Mediterranean café that serves Spanish food. Established by a handful of Chez Panisse alums, the bar is a fun and colorful tapestry of various approaches to dining. The wine list changes weekly and the spirits list has won numerous international awards several years in a row. Cesar is a small, lively bar situated in the heart of the gourmet ghetto, the food haven of the east bay. It shares a wall with the restaurant that is recognized as the birthplace for California cuisine some thirty years ago, Chez Panisse. At Cesar you can stop by for a snack, an afternoon espresso at the bar or a full dinner with friends. The rustic, unpretentious food grounds the swanky, sexy bar scene. Finally Berkeleyans that like to dress up and go out have a place to see and be seen. A large wood table crafted from recycled planks from a Berkeley warehouse serves as a large communal table that can be reserved for a ridiculously delicious and gluttonous paella dinner. Chef Maggie Pond has cunningly revisited classic Spanish recipes and re-interpreted them with her own characteristic flair. She has developed a short but tight list of consistently tasty Spanish mouthfuls that bring wispy dreams of warm Madrid nights. Unusual and hard to find items fill the menu and make it well worth the trip. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Cesar attracts regulars and first timers alike. praise for césar “Just a stone’s throw from the legendary Chez Panisse, Cesar makes its own mark with a small but well-rounded tapas menu and exhaustive spirits list.” -Lonely Planet “ One of the greatest bars in the world in terms of quality, selection and mixology.” “ It’s that passionate attention to detail and respect for authenticity that sets Cesar apart.” “ The café’s most mellow time is in late afternoon, before the evening crush. All the handcrafted details of the interior are best admired then-the communal table, the wall of sea green and blue tiles that curve like a wave, the beauty of the long tiled bar.” Gourmet Magazine 3/99 “ No one cares if all you want is an espresso or a glass of sherry. Cesar is what few cafes are, a gathering place for everyone.” Gourmet Magazine 3/99 “ One of the only grown-up bars and places to get food after 9pm in Berkeley,…this fun, fun, fun “authentic Spanish” spot in the “gourmet ghetto” is packed..” Zagat Survey 2003 tapas menu Chef Maggie Pond has cunningly revisited classic Spanish recipes and re-interpreted them with her own characteristic flair. She has developed a short but tight list of consistently tasty Spanish mouthfuls that bring wispy dreams of warm Madrid nights. Unusual and hard to find items fill the menu and make it well worth the trip. 6 febrero 2006 tapas tapa del dia: three lamb chops with fried peppers & garlic, $12.75 olive oil fried marcona almonds, $5.75 marinated olives, $3.75 (the first dish is complimentary) fried garbanzos with moorish spices, $5.75 tortilla española, $7.75 camarones con mojo verde, $7.75 lentil & morcilla sausage stew with garlic crouton, $8.75 romaine with creamy valdeon & anchovy vinaigrette, $6.75 roasted yukon gold potatoes & grilled scallions with romesco, $5.75 salt cod & potato cazuela, $4.75 mackeral a la plancha with meyer lemon & capers, $9.75 asparagus with green olive relish, $7.75 smoked salmon with cucumbers, dill, & queso fresco, $9.25 fried potatoes with herbs & sea salt, $6.75 jamón serrano & grilled d'anjou pears, $7.75 spanish cheeses: murcia al vino, urgèlía & iberico, $7.75 bocadillos spicy tuna & egg, $7.75 manchego & greens, $7.25 toasted butifarra & queso tetilla , $7.75 trucha a la navarra (grilled trout & jamón serrano) with caper allioli, $9.75 postres bread pudding with orange-caramel sauce, $5.75 espuma de chocolate con pedro ximénez, $5.75 blood orange pudding-cake, $5.75 fig cake & queso yerbera (almond-crusted goat cheese), $6.75 crème catalan ice cream with burnt sugar, $5.75 cinnamon-chocolate ice cream, $5.75 *while available-may run out early 1515 shattuck avenue berkeley, california 94709 510.883.0222 bar hours: noon-midnight seven days a week kitchen hours: sunday-thursday noon-3:00 and 4:00-11:00 friday-saturday noon-3:00 and 4:00-11:30 Chez Panisse Owner Alice Waters 1517 Shattuck Ave. (510) 548-5048 I used to eat here with my family every few months when my son was at Berkeley. Like you, we would just order everything on the menu and pass it around. I loved to get there early and watch the servers taste the dishes. It's changed a bit over the years - now you need reservations even for upstairs (although there's usually some no-shows if you're willing to wait in the bar area). It's a bit more pretentious and I would have to say that the last few times I've eaten there I was a little disappointed with the dishes. I felt as if time had passed but the cuisine had stayed the same. On the other hand, it is a piece of American cuisine history and filled with wonderful family memories and I continue to stop by and say "hello" as I would an old friend whenever I'm in town. Promo and menu of the day (changes daily): Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971, started by Alice Waters and an assortment of idealistic friends. A neighborhood bistro named after a character in Marcel Pagnol's 1930's trilogy of movies (‘Marius,’ ‘Fanny,’ and ‘Cesar’), the Restaurant and Café are a homage to the sentiment, comedy and informality of these classic films. Alice and Chez Panisse have become convinced that the best-tasting food is organically grown and harvested in ways that are ecologically sound, by people who are taking care of the land for future generations. The quest for such ingredients has largely determined the restaurant's cuisine. Chez Panisse has tried for years to make diners here partake of the immediacy and excitement of vegetables just out of the garden, fruit right off the branch, and fish straight out of the sea. In doing so, Chez Panisse has stitched together a patchwork of over sixty nearby suppliers, whose concerns, like the restaurant's, are environmental harmony and optimal flavor. CHEZ PANISSE CAFÉ DINNER MENUFriday, January 21, 2005Tomales Bay oysters on the half shell with mignonnette, $12.00Cannard Farm chicories with mustard vinaigrette and duck rillettes, $9.00Dungeness crab toasts with winter vegetable salad, $12.00Rocket salad with pecorino and hazelnuts, $9.00Blood orange, fennel, and green olive salad, $9.00Belgian endive and Sky High Farm egg baked in the wood oven with black truffle, $14.00Pizzetta with house-cured pancetta, ricotta, and herbs, $13.00Pizzetta with local sardines, roasted onion, black olives, and capers, $14.00 Baked Sonoma goat cheese with garden lettuces, $8.75Garden lettuce salad, $6.75Polentina soup with greens, $6.75 Spaghetti with meatballs and tomato sauce, $14.00 /$17.00Niman Ranch organic pork Milanese with new potatoes, turnips, and capers, $25.00Grilled Pacific grouper with black trumpet mushrooms, Aavoy cabbage, and chervil, $26.00Moroccan vegetable couscous with chickpeas, cardoons, nettles, and preserved lemon, $17.75Side orders: a plate of olives, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, or Tuscan olive oil, $3.50 eachDESSERTSArtisan cheese selection: Toussaint, Tumalo Tomme, and Gabietou, $8.50Sierra Beauty apple tart with Muscat ice cream, $9.50Coconut cake with Meyer lemon cream, $9.50Crème caramel with blood oranges and candied kumquats, $8.00Rio Star grapefruit sherbet with gingersnaps, $7.00Burnt caramel ice cream with chocolate sauce and toasted pecans, $7.50Jim Churchill’s Kishu tangerines with Medjool and Barhi dates, $7.50Service charge: 17 percent Sales tax: 8 3/4 percentCorkage: $20 per bottle, limit two (750 ml.) per table. Happy Dining!
  14. Thanks Kalypso for all the great leads. Sounds as if we eat similarly. I'm putting the finishing touches on packing and will be leaving Provence under the full Valentine's Day moon at about 6 a.m. tomorrow and arrive in SD at about ten p.m. I'll need a couple of days to dejetlag and spend time with my mom, but I'm open for just about anything after that. Let me know what will work for you. I'm hoping to have my computer up and running as soon as possible, but in case there's a problem, you can reach me at my mom's (760) 704-1161. Ciao for now. Barbara
  15. Staying in the Marcel Pagnol trilogy family, there's also: Cesar's Spanish Tapa's Bar next door to Chez Panisse on 1515 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709 t: 510.883-0222 http://www.barcesar.com/ is fun, cheap and delicious. Owned by former general manager of Chez Panisse. Cafe Fanny is owned by Chez Panisse Alice Waters' daughter Fanny (http://www.cafefanny.com/ 1603 San Pablo Ave at Cedar St., Berkeley, CA 94702 Mon-Fri 7:00am- 3:00pm, Sat 8:00am- 4:00pm, Sun 8:00am- 3:00pm Tel: (510) 524-5447 It is also perfectly situated next to the Acme Bakery and Kermit Lynch's wine store. These are both in the Berkeley area, but BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) http://www.bart.gov/index.asp should be able to get you pretty close. I would check with the hotel people first to make sure that it's easily accessible.
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