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Everything posted by bethala

  1. where do people in chicago like to go for good mexican food, excluding the usual rick bayless lineup? i'm particularly interested in hearing your tex mex preferences, from street carts and taco shacks to upscale, and everything in between. i searched and couldn't find anything, but if this is a redundant post, just please connect me to the proper thread. thanks!
  2. bethala


    i don't know if you meant for that chowhound dig to be funny, but it is.
  3. for me, that alone will make it worth a trip. thanks!
  4. now you've reminded me of a funny (and annoying) experience i had at babbo a few years ago. i'd researched the on-line wine list and had a few things in mind before going. i asked our waiter about one of the wines i'd seen on line, the morisfarms, from tuscany. he replied, "we have an all-italian wine list here at babbo". i said, "ok, so can you tell me anything about the morisfarms?" again, he replied, "no, you see, our wine list is all italian." so then, i asked him once more about the morisfarms, this time pointing to it on the wine list. "oh." "so can you tell me anything about it?" "yes, it's very good." right on.
  5. I posted about this about a year ago. The web presence of the whole Jean-Georges empire is considerably inferior to other restaurants in the same class. When I originally mentioned this, some people suggested that perhaps websites don't make a difference, or aren't worth the expense. As I use the web for most of my research, websites certainly make a difference to me. But I don't know how many people there are use the web for researching restaurants like I do. ← I, too, enjoy having access to menus on the web. It allows me to plan a meal ahead of time, think about the wine selection, and have a better idea of how much to expect to spend. In many cases, it also heightens the sense of anticipation. Viewing a menu on the web is much like passing by a restaurant where the menu is posted outside or in the window (but much easier!).
  6. jason, this place looks absolutely fantabulous. i have only one question: is the gravy on the egg foo young the starchy, roux-type variety or the translucent type? looks roux-y in the photos but wanted to double check.
  7. bethala


    The steaks are prepared by roasting them, not braising... ← yep, just caught, and edited, that. tks.
  8. bethala


    Frank Bruni weighed in today with one star, taking issue with the excess variety of steak offerings, as well as the preparation style of the steaks ("roasting"), but applauding the sides and other main course offerings. Seems like, the way he sees it, an ideal meal at Craftsteak starts with some fresh oysters and tartares, followed by a salad of fava beans and hazelnuts, a sweetbreads entree, and a "salty" chocolate tart for dessert. Here's a link to Bruni's review: http://events.nytimes.com/2006/07/12/dinin...ews/12rest.html
  9. thanks! sounds delicious. makes me think of Nobu Matsuhisa's "cooked" sushi concept.
  10. thank you! i'll also add that Craig Smith of the New York Times did a piece on steak tartare (http://www.azcentral.com/home/food/articles/0519steaktartare19.html) in which he mentions Bar des Théâtres and La Favorite. this piece was also mentioned in an earlier thread by John Talbott (http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=59078&%20pid=894663&mode=threaded&show=&st=&%20-%20100k ). Bar Des Théâtres 6 Avenue Montaigne 75008 Paris Metro : Alma Marceau tel: La Favorite 3, boulevard Saint-Michel 75005 PARIS Metro : Saint Michel
  11. just tried to google-educate myself on what aller-retour is, in food terms. am i correct in thinking that it means quick-seared, and that therefore, steak tartare aller-retour is a quick-seared steak that is then hâchéd? and is it a common way to order steak tartare?
  12. i agree. don't be fooled. don't let anyone trick you into trying places, even if they say things like, "but this place is really good".
  13. d'artagnan makes some pretty decent andouille. you can find them at gourmet stores all over town (try dean & deluca, citarella, fairway, etc.). also, blue apron foods in park slope, brooklyn sells very good andouille hand made by a french guy named daniel. the wine bar where i work used to sell his pâté, but his workplace burned to the ground last month and i'm not sure whether he's back in business yet. i've used it in gumbo before with excellent results. then there is mail order from cajungrocer.com. in a pinch, i get real kielbasa from polish shops Eagle Provisons or Jubilat Provisions in brooklyn. also, if you need tony cachère’s creole seasoning (my favorite for seasoning my creole stuff), they have it at zabar's (80th & broadway, manhattan). sorry, but the beans i haven't seen around here. my boss always picks up a couple of bags when he goes home to ponchatoula. both Eagle and Blue Apron are shops you will enjoy making a trip to even if you do not live in Park Slope or the Borough of Brooklyn. délices and Euro-provisions galore! in case you were wondering, my NO cred is paternal grandmother from charenton/bayou têche area and maternal folks from the texas gulf (brazosport, etc.). welcome and good luck! beth Blue Apron Foods 814 Union St. @ 7th Ave. Brooklyn, NY (subway: F to 7th Ave. or R to Union St.) 718-230-7180 2nd location at 7th Ave. btwn 14th/15th Sts., also in Park Slope, Bklyn Eagle Provisions 628 Fifth Ave. (18th St.) Brooklyn, New York 11215 (subway: R to 18th St.) (718) 499-0026 Jubilat Provisions 608 5th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11215 (subway: R to 18th St.) (718) 768-9676
  14. yeah, i think i talked way too much about zagat. i think that about sums it up. here's a link to an article about the way Zagat does business (scroll to bottom; great photo of tim & nina): http://danielavery.blogspot.com/2004_12_01...ry_archive.html and here's a link to a funny parody of Zagat: http://www.modernhumorist.com/mh/0009/zagat/
  15. Thanks for all your responses! These are exactly the kinds of responses I was expecting to hear from the Canada side. Here in New York, where the survey originated, many of us regard the Zagat guides with healthy cynicism, using them solely as address/phone books/neighborhood guides. So I expected that in a place where people might not have even participated in the survey, cynicism would be the most positive of the reactions to the books. When I was in Paris in February, I asked my hotel’s concierge to make a restaurant reservation, and to my surprise, he pulled out a well-worn Paris Zagat. I’m pretty sure the Parisians who buy Zagat (if there are any) use it only as an address book and that it is probably purchased more by Americans who use it for traveling. And now that Lesley Chesterman has mentioned that the survey wasn’t offered in French in Montréal, I’ll bet the same is true for Paris. And I’m pretty sure that for places like Paris, it is mostly New Yorkers who complete the survey (Nina Zagat claims that “about 96 percent of our respondents answered in French”, however). I must confess to having participated in the NYC Zagat survey since 1988 (they’ve even quoted me a few times). In the beginning, I was young and new to the New York "dining scene" (hate that term). I liked the idea of getting a guide in exchange for my participation and even thought I was doing something virtuous. Over the years, I’ve come to do it just so I can get my free copy (I’ve never paid for a NYC Zagat Guide!). I try to be as straightforward as possible, but I don’t think it helps the guide overall. For instance, when I was in grad school in Washington DC, I completed the survey for only the scant number of NYC places I’d visited in the previous year and didn’t give in to temptation to fill in with any of my favorites that I hadn’t visited lately just to make my survey look full. I can’t speak for any other survey participants because I don’t know any others, but I can only imagine. Nowhere near indispensable, the Zagat Guide is nonetheless great for looking up addresses and seeing what’s out there. In New York, I often have to go out in a certain neighborhood where I don’t know or can’t remember what restos are available. Though not exhaustive, a Zagat guide can be helpful in that situation, especially when you are out and not close to a computer. But – and there are so many buts with Zagat – they often miss places, especially smaller and ethnic ones (they seem to get their cues of what to include from the New York Times Dining Section); the estimated prices are almost always too low; and, as everyone knows, the food ratings are almost always too high, for myriad reasons, including, most notably, the so-called “Zagat Effect”, coined by William Grimes several years back: a phenomenon whereby people who can’t think for themselves go to a highly-rated restaurant and convince themselves it’s good even when it’s not, and then go and fill out a Zagat survey with more high ratings for the so-so spot. Then there are the places that have ratings that are too low simply because someone judged a decent hole in the wall by 4-star standards. I also agree with LesleyC that the Zagat Survey is an extremely New York publication and that once you leave New York, it is even more unreliable (I let Zagat fool me into going to a horrible but highly rated “Cajun/Creole” place in Maui in 1993). LesleyC, I also hate the American insistence on creating and relying upon numerical point systems for everything (Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, etc.). It precludes people from getting to know the nuances and colorings of anything and creates phenomena such as “Parker Wines”. It precludes people from appreciating places in their various contexts or trying new things, and it encourages fads and hopeless, formulaic imitators. I hope that you’ll appreciate that there are some Americans who do like to read and talk with people to get fuller pictures of where to go eat, what to drink, etc. And now I have to rethink my participation in the Zagat phenomenon just for the sake of getting a free book. Am I doing more harm than good? I feel that each city has its own best food resources. For New York, for example, Zagat is good for getting a list of what’s out there, while The Times has more reliable reviews from singular palates. For Paris, I like to check out TimeOut to see what’s new, then check the quality through Patricia Wells, Pudlo, Michelin, and the Internet. For San Francisco, I think Patricia Unterman is very reliable. For any place, word of mouth from reliable locals is always the best resource. I started checking out eGullet when I couldn’t find anything other than the usual tourist guides for Montréal and went to the Internet. If I’d left it up to my Fodor’s guide, I would’ve been at Eggspectation for breakfast! Having recently joined eGullet, I think it's one of THE best resources for resto/food info. All in all, I think the Zagat guide was a novel idea at its inception in the 80’s, when Tim and Nina had their ideal of taking a “democratic” survey of where to eat out in New York. But now, with the explosion of the Internet and so many other resources, I think it has outgrown much of its usefulness and that ideal has become a victim of its own success. And, while Zagat’s Starbucks-like attempt at world domination is a bit laughable, I’m sure it has mostly to do with that other American peculiarity called capitalism, in which the only way companies are considered successful is through “growth”.
  16. The marmalade suggestion reminded me of a Nigella Lawson recipe for chocolate cake enhanced with orange marmalade. I know you are trying to make orange muffins, not chocolate cake, but the idea I wanted to convey is that I believe the marmalade adds moisture to the cake and would probably do the same for the muffins. I love cooking savory dishes but am often intimidated by baking, but I like this recipe, because it is easy and the cake comes out moist. I think adding marmalade might be one of those special chemical tricks, like when people use use Jell-O in baking. Good luck with the muffins! Pantry-Shelf Chocolate-Orange Cake 1/2 cup unsalted butter 4 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces 1 1/3 cups good marmalade 1/2 cup sugar pinch of salt 2 large eggs, beaten 1 cup self-rising flour 8-inch springform pan, buttered and floured Preheat the oven to 350F Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat to melt. When it's nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the marmalade, sugar, salt and eggs. Shir with your wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated, beat in the four bit by bit. Put into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out. Enjoy!
  17. iharrison, thanks for the report. sounds awesome. "joe beefy" is a high compliment indeed. garde manger sounds like a place where there are kitschy things executed with seriousness. kitsch executed solely with kitschiness, in my opinion, always produces a disappointing product (ever been to trailer park in new york?). but retro onion dip, funzy cocktails, seafood platters, all done well? with good wine? sounds like garde is one to add to the list.
  18. Yesterday, Zagat announced new guides for Canada: Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver. This is a segment of the email announcement I received (I don't know how to paste the image): Introducing 3 Brand-New Guides for Canada Montréal, Toronto & Vancouver Restaurants Savvy restaurant-goers can now rely on Zagat when dining out in three popular Canadian cities – Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. These all-new pocket-sized guides also include Nightlife, Hotel & Attraction sections and are ideal for locals & tourists alike. SAVE! Canada Pocket Guide Pack Save up to 40% when you order Montréal, Toronto & Vancouver Restaurants together! Order now and save. Special Pack Price: $13.95 Zagat.com Subscriber Price: $10.46 (books sold separately for up to $17.85) Guides sold separately for $5.95. (Subscribers pay just $4.46.) Montréal Toronto Vancouver Are Canadians interested in Zagat guides at all? Did anyone here participate in any of the Canada surveys? Has anyone checked these out and compared the results to reality? Here's the link to purchasing the Montréal guide: http://www.zagat.com/shop/product_detail.a...e2006_V2_Canada
  19. While reading this thread, I began to wonder why the French don’t make cheddar. Why don’t the French, who so often take culinary items and make them their own, do cheddar? Have they made cheddar in the past? I did a quick Google search and found a Wikipedia article (link below) that explains that there is an E.U. DOC of sorts, called a “protected designation of origin”, which provides standards for where, how, and of what, cheddar is made. It says, “To meet this standard the cheese must be made in the traditional manner using local ingredients in four designated counties of south-west England.” It goes on to say that Slow Food, together with Neal’s Yard, has declared that only three cheeses (from Somerset only) can be called true cheddar. Does anyone have any knowledge as to whether the French ever made or tried to make cheddar? If so, when did they do so, and were they successful? I would think that if they tried, they must not have been successful, because otherwise we’d have French cheddar. If they did not try, then why not? Out of some terroir-driven respect for the fact le véritable Cheddar comes from Somerset only? National pride? Just not interested? I also Googled the term “le véritable cheddar” and found a New York Times article (below) that mentions an essay by Elizabeth David, sarcastically titled “Exigez Le Véritable Cheddar Français”. I’d love to hear more on the history of French cheddar, if there is one. link to Wikipedia on Cheddar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheddar_cheese link to NY Times article on Elizabeth David: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...&pagewanted=all
  20. michael, you are correct. thanks for clearing that up. b
  21. Like markk, I like La Caridad for its Cuban food only. I've been going to La Caridad since a high school friend took me there in 1987. As a college grad new to the city and on a budget, I thought it was the greatest thing: cheap tasty food! BYOB! (They now have a liquor license.) Now, as a person who's been in the city for a while (still with limited funds, though), I realize that it is cheap food, not the greatest cheap food, but pretty good cheap food. I continue to go for sentimental and budgetary reasons, when I find myself on the UWS and don't want to spend a lot of money for lunch. I enjoy the baked chicken with yellow rice and red beans, especially as a $5 lunch special. The beans are pretty flavorless, though, and it helps to pour the juice off the chicken and onto them and/or the rice. Maduros on the side is an occasional splurge. The picadillo is a salty, greasy treat, not in a so bad it's good way, but just in a good way. I used to love the liver steak and carne guisada, too, but I haven't had either in several years. And let's not forget the cafe con leche that outshines anything from Starbucks. This is pretty tasty food for fast food prices, and I've never noticed anything comparable in the immediate area. Atmosphere-wise, La Caridad is a great place to sit, eat, and read the paper. And I love the stolid waiters who seem to be the same ones who were there in '87. These are things that make it a uniquely New York kind of place. For the Chinese side of the menu, I prefer Flor de Mayo on 101st and Broadway, where I like to mix it up by getting the spit-cooked chicken, "pollo a la brasa," from the Cuban menu, with an order of "house special" fried rice. "House special" fried rice to me seems to always mean fried rice with ham, shrimp and best of all, bits of scrambled egg. Flor's version is better than that from many American Chinese takeout places and it takes well to that vinegary sauce that they give you for the chicken. Although I normally order takeout from Flor, I also like the fact that they have a bona fide cocktail bar.
  22. bethala


    i'm excited about the prospect of a non-traditional steakhouse done up colicchio-style. in addition to price, the traditional, old-style steakhouse atmosphere is often what keeps me away from steakhouses. i may well start saving up for this one.
  23. bethala


    some people ascribe to the idea that off vintages allow the food to shine, but i have no idea whether that was the wine buyer's intent. i'm curious about the smaller names. perhaps there are some really good choices that should be hand sold to customers by sommeliers/waitstaff. perhaps i shouldn't be participating in this thread, as i'm more of a bistro steak-frites gal than a steakhouse one, although this is due more to monetary limitataions than to preference of one over the other.
  24. Had a wonderful, rainy, but food-filled 4-day weekend in Montréal, what is now a month ago. What a great eating town! Thanks for all the eGullet suggestions and recommendations! I promised a full report but have had a tough time being around a computer and being able to report at the same time. I apologize for the length, but here goes… Night 1 Dinner at Joe Beef. This was without a question the highlight of our trip. We began by sitting at the bar, where David McMillan was tending bar, shucking oysters, and generally holding court. He glided easily between being host, manager, waiter, funnyman, and advisor. The night before, I had requested to switch our reservation from a table for two to two seats at the bar. When we first arrived, McMillan said it wouldn’t be possible, but he ended up making it so. The bar definitely offers the best seats in the house. We started with a plate of caraquets and glasses of Dom. de la Sénechelière Châpeau Melon muscadet, which, being biodynamic, was completely alive in the mouth and changed by the minute. McMillan also couldn’t resist having us try glasses of Casa Marin sauvignon blanc from Argentina. It also complemented the oysters perfectly. After going over the chalkboard menu, my boyfriend, Jared, and I decided to share the beet salad to start. For his main course, Jared chose the lobster “Irish stew style”, and I narrowed it down to 4 dishes. As I explained my 4 choices to McMillan, he cut me off (politely) the moment I mentioned the rabbit. “You want the rabbit,” he said with such assurance that I didn’t bother to mention the other choices. As we waited for our first course, McMillan had us try some local oysters whose name I can’t remember, but they were on the large side and very briny and incredibly fresh. To make things even better, he insisted on pouring glasses of ‘04 Droin Chablis premier cru Montée de Tonnère, a wine which basically tastes like they took oysters and turned them into wine: shaley, kimmeridgian magic. (McMillan poured a glass for himself, too, at this point.) Then, the beet salad, a salad which I have since thought about daily. That salad was alive, it was so fresh. Beets, tender greens, and shaved fennel, tossed in a little oil and topped with shavings of aged QC cheddar. The beets had been cooked to the perfect stage where they are both tender and crisp, and seasoned to the perfect balance of sweet/salty (more on salt later). With the beets set against the coolly herbaceous and bland flavors of the fennel and the creamy/salty cheddar, this was one of the most perfectly balanced salads I have ever tasted. It is the one dish I remember most from this trip. As would be the case more than once with dinner in Montreal, I had ordered a salad with the idea of balancing out the heavier parts of the meal. But it would turn out that what I had ordered with balance and moderation in mind, I would eat with relish. As soon as our main courses were set out on the bar, McMillan opened a bottle of ’03 Perrot Minot Vosne Romanée. “I really just want some of this for myself,” he said as he poured himself a glass, too. Beautifully perfumed with violets and tart cherries, this wine offered no clue that it was the product of a hot summer. I don’t know whether anyone in Ireland gets stew half as good as Joe Beef’s lobster “Irish stew” style. The stew was, again, composed of the simplest ingredients – lobster (plenty of it), carrots, celery, potatoes, and cream – in their freshest possible state, brought together with the express purpose of satisfying. The rabbit was a ballotin-type preparation, wrapped in prosciutto or Canadian bacon, set in a pool of lightly creamed jus, with crisp-tender haricots verts. Completely stuffed after main courses, we were nonetheless willing to take dessert, as we’d seen these beautiful dark chocolate-covered éclairs coming out of the kitchen from the moment we’d arrived. But it was almost closing time, and the pastry chef, who was now sitting at the bar, told us she’d run out of the éclairs and had put the chocolate fondant in the fridge for the night. But she did give us a tubful of the filling and a slice of chocolate tart to take home. After all this, we got the bill, and I cannot tell you how small it was. Now, full disclosure: McMillan asked me if I was “in the business”, which I am, but I saw him heaping his generosity on all patrons throughout the evening. Sounds sappy, but he seems to be all about sharing the wine and food he loves with everyone around him. Day 2 Have you ever had vanilla-flecked éclair filling and chocolate tart for breakfast? There is no need to go to Eggspectation when you can have Joe Beef éclair filing, chocolate tart, and a cup of coffee in your hotel room. Lunch was coffee and a piece of banana bread from a food court type place near the Bâteaux Mouches. We were in a hurry and it was raining. On the boat we also had margaritas and chips and salsa, which I won’t tell you about. Later in the day, we shopped on rue Laurier Ouest, where I stopped in the lovely kitchen kitchen shop, Les Touilleurs. Beautifully appointed, stocked with euro-cooking supplies, it had an intimate, personal feel. I imagined this was what Williams-Sonoma was like before it became huge. A friendly staff member wrapped a very inexpensive gift for me very fancily, just as they do in Paris. Lovely. After a stop in Les Senteurs de Provence to peruse several lines of euro-bath products, and the SAQ, also on Rue Laurier O., I could not bring myself to drag Jared into the La Cornue store. Next time. But we did stop in Patisserie de Gascogne, where, after getting over the visual overload, I was able to pick a pasta with salmon cream sauce and a delicious individual chocolate charlotte to snack on before heading to dinner. Their orange scented brioche would be breakfast on Day 3. Dinner at Au Pied de Cochon: Once again, we asked to sit at the bar, which at APDC looks directly into the finishing kitchen (I suspect there is a prep kitchen somewhere else?). This was a much different experience than Joe Beef, because everyone here speaks French. But all the staff seemed bilingual and all were very friendly, if sometimes a bit rushed. We started, as we had the night before, with a seafood platter. This one had clams, crab legs, and oysters. All were very fresh and flavorful served with lemon and a tarragony mayonnaise. While APDC has a lot of expensive wines on its list, the by the glass selection is excellent and allows you to segue from white with your seafood to red with your hearty main course without having to overspend on bottles or choose between red and white. We started with a Marc Kreydenweiss Riesling from Alsace ($9), which was nuanced, elegant and versatile: dry enough for the oysters, round and minerally enough for the crab. Inspired by the previous night’s salad perhaps, Jared ordered the beet salad, which here was more of a terrine than a salad: yellow beets stacked with QC goat cheese and cut into lasagna-like squares. Although a bit too cold and too cheesy, this was delicious, though not nearly as flavorful or fresh-tasting as the one at Joe Beef. Mains were difficult to choose, as the menu is huge, and everything looks appealing. With the help of our waiter, we chose the poutine with foie gras for me ($21) and the duck in a can ($35) for Jared. The presentation of the duck in a can – that is, the waiter opening the just-cooked-and-“canned” duck and opening it with a hand cranked can opener at the table – is cute. And not just cute, the magret and foie gras braise actually tastes really good. However, I preferred my choice: the meaty gravy and fries in the poutine with foie gras satisfied my steak-frîtes jones more than the actual steak-frîtes I would have the following night at L’Express. We washed everything down with glasses of Bourgeuil. We were too stuffed to order our planned dessert of pouding chomeur and cromesquis de foie gras with Monbazillac, so we had just the Monbazillac. Day 3 Breakfast: we didn’t realize our hotel had free breakfast, so we just scarfed down some free breakfast stuff, which I will not go into. This was our Mont Royal day, and as it was still raining, we drove up rather than hiking. Next we headed to the Marché Jean-Talon. Had it not been raining, we might not have made it there, so I am thankful that it rained. What a place! Overwhelming but wonderful, it gave me that “Imagine what I would do if I lived here” feeling. I would shop at qui lait cru!?! for all special occasions requiring butter and raw milk QC cheese. I would stuff myself on grapefruit and pistachio glaces from Havre aux Glaces at least once a week. I would check out the Indian papadum place with the long line (I didn’t’ get the name; it’s next door to qui lait cru!?!). I would buy ripe fruit, fresh, buttery lettuces, fish, spices, and olive oil. Next we headed over to rue St. Denis. Among the shops we visited were Arthur Quentin, the gorgeous kitchen shop chock full of both kitchen staples and luxury items. I noticed that Apilco porcelain is less expensive here than in the states. Next we visited Les Chocolats de Chloé a couple of blocks away on rue Roy Est. Chloé was in her open kitchen making her Valrhona-covered pecan caramels, highbrow “turtles” of sorts. We purchased boxes of her modestly twinkly ganache-filled chocolates for our friends and for ourselves, but got ourselves only a small sachet of the pecan caramels. It wouldn’t be until after we got back and I actually tasted a caramel that I realized that this is Chloé’s signature piece. The caramel is perfectly salted (with fleur de sel, I believe) and the couverture perfectly dark, bright, and sweet. I should have known there was a reason that there were jars of the caramel for sale. Next time I will get only a few pieces of chocolate for myself but a box of the pecan caramels, as well as a few jars of that caramel. Dinner at L’Express: When we left Joe Beef our first night in Montréal, I almost considered making a reservation to return there on our last night, but I decided to stick with the plan of L’Express. While I wish I had gone with my initial instinct, I know I would have wondered about L’Express had we skipped it. So I’m glad we went. While good, this was the least exciting of the restaurants we visited. Loved the classic bistro atmosphere and extensive, reasonably priced wine list, but not the cheapie wine glasses. Had a great time nonetheless. We started with glasses of Laurent Perrier, the green salad with pine nuts and the marrow bones. I found the salad to be lackluster, serving only as a vegetable foil for the too-rich, too-fatty marrow bones and my steak frîtes, which was flavorful, but a bit tough. Jared had the roast lamb, which was tasty enough, but which I cannot remember a thing about. A bottle of Dom. des Rôche Neuves Saumur-Champigny made everything go down just fine, though. Desserts were the baba au rhum and the cherry and pistachio ice cream bombe, which satisfied the sweet tooth but provided no excitement. As a luxurious ending to our stay, we indulged ourselves with glasses of Tariquet Armagnac and Montifaud Cognac X.O. I would definitely go back for lunch (as recommended by Joe Gerard here) or to enjoy a cocktail at the bar, but not for dinner. Day 4 Breakfast at Première Moisson on rue Sherbrooke, where I got a croissant and coffee and also picked up several packets of granola and meusli to give as gifts and for myself. The organic granola is straightforward and not yuppified with craisins, dried apricots and the like. It is delicious with whole milk and bananas or yogurt. After breakfast it was back to New York. It wouldn’t have been any fun to smuggle in raw milk cheeses and butter from qui lait cru!?! by hiding them in Wheat Thins and Kleenex boxes, since no one even checked our car at customs, so I didn’t do it, did I? No, no, of course not. A word about salt. I love salt. I usually salt my food when I’m out, carry packets in my bag just in case. But not once did I find myself picking up the shaker in Montréal. Everything was perfectly salted, from the salt-infused beets at Joe Beef, to the poutine gravy at Au Pied de Cochon, to the caramel at Les Chocolats de Chloé. It was such a great feeling not to suffer those “why are you salting your food?” stares while eating out. It was good to get away from the low-carb, low-fat, low-sodium but can’t seem to lose weight world that is the U.S. So all in all, it was an amazing, despite the rain, but with too many places and not enough time (never even drove by Schwartz’s!). I dare say that, American dollar for dollar, the food in Montréal is better than that in Paris. Overall, I found Joe Beef to be the most enjoyable of all the restos, food, wine, and atmosphere-wise. I think it was the intense freshness of the cooking, along with its exuberant spirit, that I found most appealing. At one point, I overheard table of businessmen having an intense debate about what was on their plates, when McMillan yelled over to them, “You’re thinking about it too hard. Just enjoy the food!” That’s just it: what I loved about Joe Beef was that you could really give yourself over to McMillan and simply enjoy the food (and the wine). Were I not curious about Brunoise and Club Chasse et Pêche, I might do multiple visits to Joe Beef on my next visit, just to be able to try more dishes. I wish that I had been able to try some of the breakfast places, especially Byblos and Cartet, as well as getting around to Schwartz’s, but it proved difficult to do formal breakfasts and lunches and to have time to be a tourist. That's why we must return to Montréal, sooner than later, I hope. Big thanks to eGulleters for all your help! Can’t wait to get back to Montréal!
  25. Thank you all so very much for your advice and recommendations. First, you’ve all succeeded in talking me out of Eggspectations, not only by telling me it’s blah but by also giving me backups that sound leagues better. I think I’ve now got it down to Byblos, Chez Claudette, and/or Cartet. iharrison, I’m very curious about the “déjeuner Canton” you mentioned in an earlier breakfast thread. What is it? Did I hear you say “hangover cure”? Can I assume these Eggspectations alternatives are reasonably priced? Second, thanks for confirming my suspicions as to Maestro S.V.P. I am very excited about the seafood at Joe Beef and APdC. And as highly recommended as Club Chasse et Peche and Brunoise come, I’ll probably save them for the next trip, but thanks for the recs. Think I’ll also check out Bu, as I work at a wine bar myself (www.totalwinebar.com; be sure to visit when you're in brooklyn!). Will let you know where I go, what I ate, and how it was when I get back! Thanks again, and cheers! Beth
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