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Felice

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Felice

  1. I received a newsletter this morning from Dr Andrew Weil which mentioned a study by the University of Washington presented in the December, 2007, issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study revealed that the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables have risen almost 20 percent in the past two years in the US and Europe. How can it be that a carrot could cost more than processed junk food? No wonder Americans have such a weight problem. According to the newsletter, the only way to rectify the situation is to change the US Farm bill and stop subsidising cheap foods like corn, wheat and rice which are then made into highly processed cheap food and subsidise fruits and vegetables instead.
  2. I think she should do whatever makes her and her husband feel most comfortable. If I were to get married in the US, I personally would serve cheese after the main course, even though this might seem strange to my US relatives, but only because this is what I prefer. If she chooses to serve the cheese course à l’anglaise, I really can’t imagine that any of the French guests would care. And if they do, so what?
  3. I completely understand the sentiments expressed here, but on the contrary am very thankful that places like L’Ami Jean and La Regalade continue to thrive in Paris. Sure they could charge a bit more with more space, but then what would that leave us? Inferior places that serve industrial products at low prices? The fact that you can eat very very well at a handful of places for under 40€ means that eating well is still affordable and not only available to a lucky few. Whenever I eat at an ‘average’ unknown bistro (normally when I am not choosing the restaurant) I always walk away disappointed knowing I could have gone somewhere like la Regalade for roughly the same price but for far better quality. The other night I was with friends and against my wishes went to a terrible place after the theater that served the same mediocre crap you can find anywhere. But unfortunately I was the only one who noticed and cared. A place like Le Verre Volé uses Bordier butter, Thibault vegetables and Desnoyer meats and so I am sure could charge more if they had more comfortable surroundings but aren’t we thankful that places like this exist, that you can go to a little hole in the wall and eat the same products that they are serving in 2 and 3 star restaurants for a fraction of the price? I wish that more of the average bistros would care more about the quality of what they are serving and that diners would not settle for the mediocrity that one finds in most bistros in the same price point. I am truly thankful that places like La Regalade exist and only wish there were more of them. I would much rather sacrifice a little comfort of surroundings over quality of the food.
  4. New Kitchen Store 13 à Table, a kitchen concept store with three floors dedicated entirely to cooking has just opened on rue de Rivioli. You'll find everything for the kitchen from kitchen supplies to cook books. There's even a space dedicated to cooking classes run by Martial Enguehard, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 1991. 13 à Table 34 rue de Rivoli, Paris 4th. Open Monday-Saturday 10h-19h
  5. And la Dome fish monger is one of the best in Paris
  6. As for wine bars, La Cremerie isn't terribly far.
  7. It is definitely made at Cosi, and I agree it can be quite good especially straight from the oven. The owner went to study violin making in Italy and wound up working in a bakery, which is where he learned to make the bread. I worked at Fish across the street for some time, which is how I know all this
  8. The Raspail market, which is a beautiful organic market on Sundays is not far.
  9. Actually, it does have something to do with the chain in NYC, although indirectly. The two guys who started Cosi in the US were exchange students in Paris who became addicted to Cosi sandwiches and convinced Drew Harré, the original Cosi's founder, to allow them to bring Cosi to the States, so it was his original idea which they then transformed into a franchise. He was a consultant but does not own the Cosi Franchise in the US.
  10. I would definitely drop Chez Denise, I have seen some positive reviews but to me it is very overrated. I went with a friend two years ago and it seemed quite touristy with average food. To me, there are other fun bistros in the same style with much better food.
  11. Yes, I have had many frustrating moments before learing that I need to ask the right questions in France. I'm sure French people in the States wonder why people keep giving them all sorts of information they never asked for. I think one problem is that you can only precieve the subtlies of another culture--and often your own-- after living in foreign country. You won't get a true understanding after a few trips. Things that seem strange or even wrong are often cultural misunderstandings. So the author, who I assume is American, sees the world of wine with an American filter and when the French sommelier does things differently, he sees this as inferior without understanding all of the cultural and historical differences of why things are done differently. And of course, it makes for good reading.
  12. I found it interesting that Fatguy’s experience with French sommeliers has been that “you can actually talk to the sommelier and the sommelier will open and pour your wine and do all sorts of follow-up” whereas Mike Steinberger, the article’s author, writes that “condescension and humorlessness have long been defining features of French wine service” while American sommelier’s style is to “educate and enthuse” the customer. Again, I think, this can be explained as a cultural differences. France is a wine drinking country and everyone drinks wine, from the working class to the upper echelons of society. Wine is a part of the national education and it is very much a part of French life. Wine isn’t the latest fad in France and is drunk on a daily basis by a large portion of the country. Given this climate, it seems normal that a waiter in France wouldn’t try to “educate and enthuse” his customers unless they asked questions about the wine and indicated that they wanted to know more. Fatguy was interested and engaged the sommelier who then felt free to converse, but if Fatguy had just drank the wine and didn’t ask any questions, the sommelier would probably assume that this guy didn’t want to chat and would leave him alone to drink his wine. It has taken me a long time to realize that in France information is not as freely given as it is in the States and you need to ask questions.
  13. A few others in Paris known to have interesting wine lists (mostly natural) are Le Bistral, Le Temps au Temps, Aux Zingots, and Le Severo. Edited to specifiy that these are all in Paris
  14. I decided to trek to the outer reaches of the 12th yesterday to try one of Stéphane Vandermeersch’s galettes which seem to be on everyone’s ‘best’ list. It was certainly worth the trip as his galette was far better than most I have had, if not all. According to viamichelin, Vandermeersch worked for Fauchon, Hermé and Ladurée before opening his shop in the 12th. I intend to go back, despite the fact that it is a bit far for me, as his other breads and pastries looked amazing as well. Interestingly, his galette for 4 was the same price as the very average bakery near my work in la Defense, so even though he is using far superior products, the price was the same.
  15. Thank you very much for posting this article Sharon. I think the article brings up many different complicated issues about differences between French and American culture and while I am sure that there are hints of truth to what he says, it's a bit oversimplified. I've certainly met many passionate and enthusiastic French sommeliers, not necessarily in three-star restaurants, which my pocket book doesn't allow me to frequent, but in places like Le Verre Volé, La Muse Vin, Racines, le Baratin, etc. French service is generally more subdued than American service for many, many cultural reasons and I appreciate both for different reasons. The author writes about some of the most prestigious restaurants in the States, I wonder if sommeliers in rural America are as formidable. If one compares the sommeliers in a restaurant in a small rural town in France to the equivalent in small town USA, I doubt it would be so easy to say that American sommeliers rule. Sure, the US probably has sommeliers who are just as, or even more knowledgeable, than their French counterparts, but overall the quality of wine service throughout France compared to wine service throughout the US is probably of a higher quality and this is due to the rigorous training that most, if not all sommeliers, receive, no matter where they work in France. One of the things I love about the US is the fact that you can change careers at any age, that people will give you a chance when you might not have the exact qualifications, but that is not the French way and there are pluses and minuses to both systems which are far too complicated to discuss here. And the fact that author compares American sommeliers to French, suggests that French sommeliers are still something worth comparing to. And why do we need to compare anyway? Can't we be happy that wine service in the US is getting better, without saying the French way is tired and outdated?
  16. Felice

    Brunch in Paris

    I'm glad you bumped up this thread because I had a great brunch at Urbane in the 10th not too long ago and completely forgot to write about it. It was, I assume, a typical English/Irish breakfast but much better than what I've had at many places in Paris. Urbane is a bobo néo-bistro a few steps from the Canal, which reminds me very much of a neighbourhood place you might find in New York. My memory is now foggy, but if I remember correctly, we had poached eggs, baked beans, real bacon, a delicious boudin sausage and chutney with coffee and juice all for 16€. It’s a bit like the Rose bakery without the prices or wait.
  17. On my first trip back to the States in 4 years I took a picture of my towering caesar salad because it seemed too large to be true. I had forgotten how enormous portions could be in comparison to France and couldn' believe that so much salad was for one person. I can't really imagine France adopting the supersize or all-you-can-eat mentality.
  18. I have to say that I am guilty of the same thing and only write when I have a really great meal. I also rarely post about a terrible meal since I know that all restaurants can have an off night or an off dish.
  19. I can't say that I am usually a crepe fan, but had written down Breizh café in my little book of places to try since it has gotten a lot of good press. Yesterday I was in the Marais shopping and decided to try it for lunch. I am glad I did, as these were not ordinary crepes! I started with the Montagnarde, made with Reblouchon, egg, smoked pork and creme fraiche; it was heavenly. In fact, it was so good that I couldn't even think about not getting dessert and opted for the crepe with salted butter caramel and whipped cream, again, amazing. This is a place which exemplifies what high quality ingredients can do. Good ingredients transformed what is to me normally a banal food into something extraordinary. Breizh Café 109 rue Vielle du Temple, Paris 03 They also have restaurants in Japan and Cancale www.breizhcafe.com
  20. I always order 2 if not 3 course when dining in a restaurant in France and would feel a bit cheated if I didn't. If I feel like something lighter I will go to a place that only serves small plates like Da Rosa, Cremerie, le Passage, etc...
  21. Racines, as well as others recently discussed here, was just written up in Figaroscopes "Best of 2007" which appears today. I cant help but think that if and when Racines is written up by the English speaking press and Americans (and other tourists) descend that they will end up being very disappointed. This is not a restaurant but a 'cave à manger' and only serves--for now anyway-- a very limited menu of simply prepared foods using the best ingredients. We food fanatics might go crazy over a place like this, but I can imagine others saying "what is all the fuss about". They won't get it. On my visit you had a choice of Andouillette or Rabbit, hardly fare for everyone. And it doesn't strike me as the kind of place that woud bend over backwards to meet expectations, it seemed more the kind of place that would say 'you either like it or you don't'.
  22. I remember that Astier was known for its wine list, is this still true? Le Baratin is another choice.
  23. What about Il Vino, the new wine bar/resto of Enrico Bernardo, who won the World's best "sommelier" in 2004? They have menus paired with wine for 50, 100, and 1000€
  24. Before you became really active here Julot we had a long topic initiated by Pierre45 on "secret" places; my conclusion, with all the print and internet news, such a thing is impossible. The four new restos in my quartier that I thought I'd "found" recently were "discovered" by the big boys shortly thereafter.A bit of nostalgia: back in the good old days when Craig Claiborne was King of the Times, he did indeed keep some restaurants in NYC in pectore and one at least was quite special; I'm not sure with the internet that's possible any more. ← I’m sorry Julot! I always hesitate to post about new places at times as well, hoping to keep them secret for a time, but more because of the English speaking press. It's true that Racines has been written up in serveral publications, but no English speakings ones--yet. A few years ago it would have taken some time for new restaurants to be written up in the New York Times and other English speaking publication, whereas now it takes a little more than a few weeks and I often wonder if it is thanks to forums like eG.
  25. Host's Note: This topic has been created because we veered off the subject on Not your everyday in Paris to discuss Racines and other "secret places." I am not familar with Cookshop, but I went to Racines last week and loved it. The owner is Pierre Jancou, who is very known and respected for his involvement in the organic wine movement in France and who previously owned la Cremerie in the 6th. Racines is more of a restaurant than La Cremerie was and in addition to great artisanal cheese and charcuterie they also serve a few main dishes everyday. I had a delicious rabbit the night I was there and they were also serving andouillette, which although I can't say I am a fan, was also quite good. We also had plates of cured ham and Lardo di colannato with great bread. He uses only the very best products--even vegetables from Alain Passard's garden--very simply prepared. And Racines has one of the best selections of natural wines in Paris. For more information, you can go to Pierre's website, en Anglais, morethanorganic.com
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