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Posts posted by sharonb

  1. Ptipois, yes, obviously it is an ungainly and hopelessly médiatique title.

    What alarmed me was the sidebar (as it appears when one opens each article):


    9TH / 10TH / 11TH-12TH /19TH-20TH

    robyn, I thought that each article was a pretty good rundown of the restaurants people have been talking about for the past three years or so.

  2. Apparently, the current issue of Gourmet magazine has a special feature on Paris, describing what's buzzing in the 11th, 12th, 9th, 10th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.

    One thing I couldn't figure out, though, is their use of the term "new left bank" to describe these neighborhoods. At first I assumed it was a way of comparing them to some old image of Montparnasse or something, but with the sidebar on "Paris's Left Bank Neighborhoods" I suddenly got the sense that they actually think, well, that those arrondissements are on the left bank.


  3. Here's an interesting turn of events - I walked by this place today and there was a new awning, dark brown, with in gold letters the name AGAPES. I guess L'Equitable has closed and been replaced by Agapes. The restaurant was closed for the month and there was no menu outside, so no idea what it's like.

  4. I, too, wonder who buys those 90€ lobsters?

    I've wanted to try one, but don't feel like blowing the money. I can't imagine anyone buying a couple and taking them home for dinner.

    Yikes, I know. Having grown up on the North Fork of Long Island, I miss them (and get my fill when I go home for a visit).

    Also, making New England clam chowder here is a big deal, for me - a real "special occasion" dish. It's something I love to make, but I believe clams cost around $6 a dozen (approx. a kilo) in New York, as opposed to 25 € a kilo, here.

    Though I have not tried using the cheapie little "coques." Why are they so much less expensive than "clams" and "palourdes"?

  5. Lobster at 89 € / kilo? Shrimp at 55 € / kilo? (Cunningly expressed at the marketplace as 5.5 € per 100g.) What gives? It's not like these are manna shrimp from heaven. I can get shrimp for 9 € / 300g at Picard or 4 € / 400g at Leader Price, and I wager they're the same quality of farmed Indonesian shrimp...

    I'm used to meat costing a king's ransom as compared to the US, but seafood is outrageous. I once bought a single wild salmon steak and it cost me something like 20 €. I have to move to the 19th arrondissement, I think.

  6. I haven't been to France in a while, so maybe this has now been standardized, but in the 1990s when I was spending time there most every year we encountered both "service compris" and "service non compris."

    Interesting. I've been living here since 1998, have traveled throughout the country, often, and have never seen "service non compris." I wonder if there was some law that changed everything. In 1993, the first time I was in France, the price of baguettes everywhere was standardized; a couple of years later, it was released from that law and now a baguette can cost anywhere from 80 cents to 1.20 €. The restaurant service-inclusion could also date to the same era.

  7. Actually, it's included at all restaurants in France, from the cheap bistros to the grand tables. So is tax. So basically, one knows the damage upfront and easily (food + wine, end of story), whereas when I go back to the U.S., I'm no longer used to the add-ons, and a meal that originally seems to look like it will cost one amount is nearly 30% more after tax and tip, which is disconcerting.

  8. Paris - Days 11-13Le Comptoir du Relais, the incredibly popular bistro (and hotel) run by Yves Camdeborde.  Unfortunately, due to a bizarre technical mishap the photographs from this meal, and an entire day of Paris sightseeing, were lost.  And so my fervent documentation of this entire trip was for naught.  Lisa, feel my scorn.  I'm kidding, kind of.

    The cooking here is obviously very solid, perhaps a half-step better than other affordable Parisian bistros I've been to.  One of the servers was very dismissive and, despite the efforts of her younger, friendly colleagues, put a slight damper on the meal for a couple of my friends.  I would return here, however, as the pig's trotter dish I had--slow-cooked, shredded, formed into a rectangular loaf, chilled, sliced, the aggressively crisped in pan--was excellent.

    Thank you for this exciting, palate-whetting journey!

    I was let down by the missing Comptoir pictures, though.

    That is my favorite dish there. I always tell myself I'm going to branch out, but I am too drawn by the delicious fried tacky, meaty pig's foot.

    Did you try the first course "carpaccio of calf's head"? Stunning hot carpaccio of thinly sliced tête de veau. I would sell my soul for it.

    On the other hand, the wine list is listless.

    One thing that surprises me is your unequal treatment of food and wine. Wine is not just an afterthought or indulgent splurge...

  9. Mm, salicornes! I used to eat those in La Baule.

    As for the Marché Saint-Quentin (the covered market near the Gare de l'Est), I think it used to be a little sketchy, but that quality has improved. I strayed in there once a few years ago, and it was the first time I'd seen lamb's testicles on the market. I usually love offal, but one of the worst foods I've ever eaten was rooster testicles, so I steered clear...

    Have you been to the tiny market on bd Richard-Lenoir and Oberkampf (not the larger on on Richard-Lenoir near Bastille)? I seem to recall a tempting fowl purveyor...

  10. That sounds like fun. I think I would have been in the sec camp, too. (Though a good chèvre frais with a ton of chopped chives and garlic is delicious.)

    I was in Chavignol in June and brought back half a dozen crottins, which we watched evolve, as we didn't manage to get through them very quickly (we kept buying other cheeses because people were coming over for dinner). Rather than becoming inedible, they just got harder, sharper, and were good to eat to the last sliver.

    Not sure how sheep's milk cheese would fare - do you mean soft ones like brique or Pérail, or harder ones like Ossau-Iraty or other tomme-type cheese?

  11. I am moving to the 10th this weekend, right off the Canal St Martin and this will be my closest market, does anyone know it?

    Marché Alibert

    Rue Alibert le long de l’hôpital St-Louis.

    Dimanche, 7h à 15h

    Métro : Goncourt

    I went there a few times when I lived in the 11th on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud - it's tiny, but has some good things. I found the quality better than the more schlocky Belleville-Couronnes market. When I lived in that neighborhood (most of 2005), I used to go further afield, up to Pyrénées or down to bd Richard Lenoir off Oberkampf, rather than the closer Belleville-Couronnes.

  12. I know is I tried to buy one at a butcher's and it weighed out to what equaled $125 american dollars.

    Huh? That seems improbable...

    Then again, my market sells (already cooked) shrimp by the 100 grams. 5,50 euros. Yep, $40 a pound. If I recall, from a recent trip to New York, the same bestioles go for about $5.99 a pound.

  13. Caprices has impeccable storage, and I don't think you did look at their list if you maintain they only have off years. Most of the wines displayed are 2000 Burgundies and the like, but the list is deeper than that.

    Lavinia is good for younger bottles, maybe. But if I want the wine - money is not indifferent to me - I will go to Ghislaine Barthod's domain, or Vincent Dancer's, or Anselme Selosse. I prefer that to the grand supermarket approach of Lavinia. But that is just me.

    When I purchase wines from wine stores as opposed to producers, I look for an offbeat, special, or older bottle.

    I have never bought labels; my least favorite region is Bordeaux.

    I am glad you are friends with Neal Rosenthal. He has very good taste.

    I am also glad you have ample money for enjoying what Lavinia offers. Everyone I have talked to recently has remarked on how the store is empty, all the time. Maybe they will start rethinking their pricing. Their selection is excellent - because it is chosen by Marc Sibard, who is the owner of Caves Augé, where the same wines go for 2/3 the price.

  14. I used that strong word on purpose, because I was rankled by your haughty tone. You restricted your requests to a store in each arrondissement. The third being quite bereft of high-end wine stores, I selected the one that has the most to offer - in that case, though, mostly first- and second-growth Bordeaux.

    Now, if you had been willing to go beyond the 6th arrondissement, you might have found some of the city's best wine stores, where you could have gorged on Roumiers and Rousseaus and Leroys, Guigals and Bonneaus and ancient La Chappelles. Les Caves Taillevent, for a start. Or Augé. Or Les Grandes Caves. Or Le Verger de la Madeleine, about a stone's throw from Lavinia, but - unfortunately - in the 8th arrondissement.

  15. Glad you "found your happiness" - though I am surprised at what you say about Caprices. Did you look at their book, rather than simply the bottles displayed? The idea that someone would call that wine store "poor" is laughable.

  16. Absolutely. Winemakers are some of the most open people and love people who are engaged and enthusiastic about what they're doing. As long as you don't try to grapple with a big house (and really, I don't think they're "better" in any case), you should have no problem at all.

    What are some of your favorite grower champagnes?

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