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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Felice

  1. All going well, this means that a dinner for two which now costs €100 should now cost €88 if the saving is passed on to the customer (if my mental arithmetic is good). ← I would be surprised if restaurants passed the savings on to customers. However, I do hope they use it to increase salaries, which are in many cases not a very liveable wage.
  2. I thought of 21 as well, but the description doesn't match.
  3. Yes, dinner is quite different (they even change the settings and uniforms I believe) and you choose either 4, 6 or 8 courses from the dinner menu (which is indeed the bottom part of the link you posted) and then the chef chooses which dishes to send out. You can of course let them know what you don't want/like.
  4. The Hidden Kitchen is great, but it doesn't really sound like this. You don't get to choose, and when I was there, we had about 8-10 courses paired with wine.
  5. You can take them to Guy Savoy for free I meant to save this and didn't, but I recently read a small blurb (maybe in metro) that children of a certain age will be treated like kings and eat for free at Guy Savoy. I will see if I can dig up what I read because the details are fuzzy now.
  6. The answer to your question will also vary depending on the country the restaurant is in, as tipping systems vary. As stated, in the US 15-20 % would be expected on the price of the bill. I don't want to get off topic but wanted to clarify the question In any good restaurant I have worked in (in a major US city that is), the waiters are quite educated. I have worked with many waiters who have a masters and even higher degrees, so I would be careful to assume that waiters are uneducated.
  7. You could try Caffè dei Cioppi which was just written up in the Fooding by Sébastien Demorand. It is right near Ledru Rollin. http://www.lefooding.com/actualite-280.htm 159, r. du Faubourg Saint-Antoine 75011 PARIS
  8. Actually, I didn't realise that Chateaubriand was not mentionned, that would be one of my first choices for creative on the non-star end. And Gazetta as well, despite the mixed reviews.
  9. Felice

    Do You Say Something Or Not?

    I wanted to add my two cents because I am in the unique position of having worked under both systems ; first in the US--specifically in Philadelphia where servers are paid 2.01 USD per hour plus tips, and also in Paris where the service is « compris » which only means that your server is being paid a wage like any other job. In Paris I had health insurance (as I did in Philadelphia, although it was voluntary and I paid into the system) and 5 weeks of paid vacation and sick days if I had ever needed one. So which system do I prefer? The US system hands down, and not just because money was better--which it was. I just liked that feeling that if I worked a little harder, picked up a few more tables, gave better service, went out of my way for a table, that I could influence the amount of money I made. There is something highly motivating about being about to control the amount of money you make. In Paris, there was really no chance of that. Of course, I love restaurants and so being a good server was still important, but unfortunately money is still a big motivator, no matter how much you love your job. And to get back to the original poster, in any place I have ever worked in the US, it was strictly against policy to question a table about their tipping habits, and I have seen waiters get suspended for this. Thankfully, at least in my experience, those who don’t tip are the overwhelming minority. It was very rare when I got less than 15%, and if I did, there was always someone else who tipped 30% to make up for it. I honestly think in ten years of waiting tables, I could probably count the times I was stiffed on two hands. Of course when it happens, it’s infuriating, but now looking back, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t worth getting upset over.
  10. Felice

    Emerging stars ...?

    Hi. We're visiting Paris in February and Felice's write up of La Gazzetta definitely makes it sound worth visiting. However, after doing a search, I found several less than flattering reports (some using words like "inedible" about certain dishes). Obviously, I take everything I read with a grain of salt, but I would love to hear any other recent comments from other gulleteers. ← Hugh, in case your trip is not yet complete, Francois Simon raves about La Gazetta in today's Figaro and calls it "sans-faute". You can read the full review (at least for now) here
  11. Felice

    Mama Shelter

    I ate at the ultra trendy Mama Shelter last night, located in the newly-opened Philippe Stark designed hotel of the same name. It's located in the quartier Saint Blaise in the 20th, an area most visitors to Paris never see. The rue Saint Blaise has a lovely village feel, with its cobblestone streets which stretch out from the St-Germain de Charonne church. The hotel itself is very cool and is certainly one of the best values in Paris. Rooms start at only 79€ a night and look nothing like the shabby digs you find for the same price in the 5th. Instead you get sleek modern design, comfy bedding, an Apple iMac in your room, wifi, TV, DVD, and even a microwave and a mini-bar. The restaurant is equally inviting and obviously a hit with the bobo crowd. The loft-like space has an industrial yet warm feel, with graffiti lined walls and interesting touches that you would imagine from Stark. Towards the center you'll find a large circular bar, something you don't always see in Paris. Further along towards the kitchen are communal tables, adding to the convivial feeling. And the food? Well, the menu "imagined" by Alain Senderens was surprisingly dull. Foie gras, escargot, smoked salmon were amongst the starters, with lamb curry, duck Parmentier and steak frites for a few of the mains. The menu says " to do something simple, is essentially the most complex. To concentrate on the essential, to revisit the classics, to imagine food meant to shared, these were the reflections which went into the menu you find in your hands" Okay, I get that and am all for this type of cooking. And indeed, my very simply prepared leeks vinaigrette, were beautifully presented and quite good as were the other entrées. Unfortunately, my main dish—lamb curry—was just fair, and at 24€ and from a chef like Alain Senderens, I would hope for more. It was a bit fatty and certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I, unfortunately, didn't try any of the other dishes, but heard similar comments from friends. The steak frites however, looked great, but at 29€ I would hope it would be. And we were all perplexed as to why they would decide to have such traditional cuisine in such an interesting, exciting space. Couldn't they come up with something more exciting than duck parmentier? (which by the way I adore and did look quite good) I could understand if the level of cooking was up to that of some of the great neo-bistros in town, but from what I had it didn’t appear to be. And so I had very mixed feeling about Mama Shelter and will be curious to hear and read what other people think. I would really like to love this place and have reason to trek to Bagnolet, but I am not convinced for the moment. I would definitely return for a drink, but I am not sure the food was tempting enough for a second time. Mama Shelter 109 Rue Bagnolet, Paris 20
  12. Even if there isn't, a few of the above can't be more than 20 or 30 minutes by metro or even walking. ← Yes, yes, but what you're forgetting is I'm the laziest person in the world... ← It's not exactly next door, but I stopped by Goumanyat, which is near Republique, on a walk from the Canal and while they are not a coffee roaster, they do sell whole beans and will grind them for you. This is a store definitely worth visiting, from any arrondissement. They have an amazing array of interesting spices, sugars, salts, oils, vinegars and other things cooking related. They had many things I have never seen in any other store. Definitely worth the walk, even for the laziest person in the world
  13. The US Government recently announced that it will triple the already high 100% duty applied to the import of Roquefort cheese in retaliation for the European Union's refusal to import hormone-fed beef. Is it fair to tax one particular product--although high taxes were levied on hundreds of other products as well, but from what I have read, the famous bleu is the only one with a 300% tariff--in order to punish Europe for not wanting hormone-fed beef? An Article from the Times And another from Time
  14. Felice

    The Roquefort Tax

    Let's remember, it is not France who made this ruling but rather the EU. The EU banned growth hormones from its own beef and therefore refused to import beef with synthetic growth hormones. The WTO found that the EU did not provide enough scientific evidence that the hormones were a risk and therefore could not ban US beef. When the EU did not comply the US and Canada were permitted to slap retaliatory tariffs. But Fat Guy has a point, why not let EU consumers decide if they want beef with synthetic hormones? I know the Ptipois recently posted about buying US beef, so evidently US beef is allowed, as long as it adheres to the same standards set for EU beef. My problem with this tariff is that it seems to penalise Roquefort farmers in particular for some reason. In tribute to the Roquefort cheese makers I bought this AOC raw milk Roquefort on my way home last night. In light of all this, how much does it cost to buy Roquefort in the US?
  15. Felice

    5 "formule" lunches in Paris

    Thanks for this Marianne. I am glad to hear that you really liked Gazetta because I did as well, and from the meal I had would highly recommend it. It seems to receive mixed reports though, especially from when they first opened. And I am also happy to hear about La Fidélité because I tried to book last night and they were complet, unless you wanted to give up your table by 21h, which I didn't. I was very lucky to get in to La Baratin instead, which was flawless, so it sounds like the gods were on my side.
  16. Felice

    2009: Eating Really Really Cheap

    I recently made red beans with turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk that was delicious, inexpensive and quite easy to do. I just sauteed onions and garlic in my cocotte, added turmeric, a bit of chili, cooked good quality red beans, a can of tomatos with juice and the coconut milk, let it all simmer and served with basmati rice. We had enough for a few meals and I had all of the ingredients in my pantry but I would imagine the cost was no more than 5 dollars so less than one dollar per serving.
  17. Felice

    Good sushi in Paris?

    The link Olivier gives is great and I use it all of the time for finding authentic Japanese. I have been to Korin a few times (although it is now called Michi) and it is good for authentic inexpensive sushi. I first went with a Japanese friend a few years ago who introduced me to a few of her favorite places (we also went to Hyotan in the 8th and comme des poissons in the 16th) . Also on rue Saint Anne, but for a higher price tag is Bizan, which was quite good. I was speaking to another Japanese colleague the other day who said that the best sushi is in NY, not even Japan and his favorite in Paris is Isami, which is also quite expensive. I have also heard Kaiseki is very good, but have not been. Rue Sainte Anne has a lot of great places as Olivier said, although more for udon, ramen, katsudon and yakatori.
  18. Felice

    Procedures for Dining

    I have worked in many restaurants and definitely think it is bad form to serve the food before the wine arrives, unless you ordered your food long before ordering the wine, sending the waiter away while deciding and then took a long time to decide what you wanted, which led the waiter to believe that the wine was an after thought. However, in most cases I think this is a poor timing issue on the part of the waiter. They probably put both orders in at once (which they shouldn't have if they know how things are running in the BOH and FOH) and the bar was backed up.
  19. Felice

    Fish restaurants in Paris

    Yes, you can go to http://www.lefooding.com/guide.htm and then choose "trop bon" under catergory (you need to pick Paris for the department) and you will get their favorite restaurants in each arrondissement, in all price ranges. It doesn't list all of the best restaurants and most are non-starred, but if a resto is on their "trop bon" list, chances are it's good. They are definitely not the Michelin guide or Pudlo and target a different audience (mostly bobos), so this is not a guide that will appeal to everyone here. The site is great because it is more current and lists new places each week. And if your French isn't up to speed, John always sums up their "bonne nouvelle" in his digest.
  20. Felice

    Fish restaurants in Paris

    I have not, but it is one of the only restos in the Fooding's "Trop Bon" category that I have not tried and none of them have let me down so far, so I would not hesitate to go and it is certainly on my list to try.
  21. Felice

    Restaurant, Food and Chef News

    This might be old news, but I was excited to see that Da Rosa will be opening a second place in the 10th. Does anyone know where?
  22. I think you must mean Le Comptoir, and not the Competitor, unfortunately it is pretty difficult to get a reservation, but if you can get one by all means go. You could always go for lunch, when the menu changes to bistro cuisine and there are no reservations taken, although you may have a wait. I think your other choices are goods ones. If I had to choose only four from the list I think I would go with La Regalade, L’Ami Jean, Le Baratin and Chateaubriand. Cul de Poule, is fine if you live in the neighbourhood and want something casual but I wouldn’t travel the Atlantic for it. In the past, I have loved Aux Lyonnais and the setting is beautiful but I was less thrilled the last time; it is a place I have taken visitors many times, but more for the setting. You might want one brasserie as well, perhaps for lunch. Most of the wine bars I go to in Paris are places where you are expected to eat something and depending may even be expected to reserve. But you can always grab a glass of wine at the Rubis in the 1st, which is less about the wine and more about the atmosphere, which is very old school. There’s La Cremerie in the 6th for natural wines and a beautiful setting (you will be required to eat at least a small plate of charcuterie or cheese), I adore le Verre Volé in the 10th which would be nice after strolling along the Canal. Racines, is located in the picturesque Passage des Panormas, but for both I would reserve, as they are tiny. Le Grand Pere et fils wine shop, in the 2nd has a lovely wine bar and you can just drop in for a glass.
  23. I have a friend, who I love dearly, but is very difficult to eat with. First off, she doesn’t really eat very much and will agree to go out but then will just want a small green salad or a side of vegetables or even just a glass of wine and then will ask to try something of mine and will eat the things that the rest of us don't finish! The other night we went for Thai and she wasn't really hungry and wanted a green salad (not on the menu at all) and ate the left over shrimp tails from my soup
  24. I had dinner at the bar at Fish last night and their last night before the holiday is tomorrow (Sunday) and they reopen Friday, 2 Jan.
  25. Omnivore is organising a conference Paris des Chefs, food and design on the 26 January, and the chefs include Michel Troisgros, Pascal Barbot, Sonia Ezgulian, Alexandre Gauthier, Pierre Gagnier and Pierre Hermé. www.parisdeschefs.com