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Mrs. B

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  1. Per Snack, here they are:

    Three Stars

    Alain Ducasse


    Le Bernardin

    Per Se


    It strikes me as a very conservative list at the two- and three-star levels. The one-star choices are very eclectic. Some of these could reasonably hope to gain a second star eventually.

    It is not a happy day for Daniel Boulud. David Bouley, Eric Ripert, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten probably feel pretty good about this outcome. Has anyone been conspicuously slighted? Chanterelle and L'Impero/Alto come immediately to mind.

    Just another country and another continent where the Michelin list isn't my list. The interesting thing is to realize just how much perhaps we've let Michelin influence our thinking about French cuisine and choice of restaurants in France. Our opinions have, I suspect, always been tempered by knowing the star level in advance of a meal. Based on our tastes and experiences, I find a good part of this list to be rather bizarre, but no more out of kilter with our experience in Spain or more recently in Italy.

    My guess is that Daniel was hurt by the sheer number of covers they serve an evening. Whether the numbers alone prejudiced the inspectors into believing they couldn't maintain consistency, whether they found inconsistency or were simply offended by the number of times a new table was seated are things we can only speculate about. The one stars seem a particular hodge podge of choices. Blue Hill, one of our favorite restaurants in Manhattan along with Daniel, Cafe Boulud and WD-50, is most conspicuous by its absence, imho. We took vserna, a member here and a Spanish critic and journalist on food and wine, to Blue Hill when he was in NY promoting his own wine. (He's also a winemaker.) He went to Craft on his own. He wrote about the restaurants he visited in the US in an El Mundo (Madrid) travel supplement. His comments on Blue Hill couldn't have been more glowingly positive. I suspect he won't be disappointed given what he's had to say about Michelin in the Spain forum.

  2. For perhaps sentimental reasons, as perhaps sentimental reasons are as good a way to pick among brasseries, or among the Flo brasseries, we like Vaudeville. Balzar didn't seem worth a return and Lipp never really appealed to us. La Coupole was a hangout for us some forty years ago and it's changed enough not to return on the basis of sentimentality. La Coupole is just no longer there in that context.

  3. bushey.

    thanks for the words of encouragement... but you point out exactly what robert brown had earlier appropriately called the "vagaries" of dining in paris - saving up for one really good splurge meal may end in terrible dissapointment - it did for me...


    It did for me at Pierre Gagnaire as well. Fortunately, I made up for it with some stellar meals at less "stellar" restaurants.

    The problem with life on the cutting edge is that one can be left bleeding.

  4. I tried to get a reservation for November third..  They had a 6:45 and a 10.. Outrageous..

    They hold a number of covers open for walk-ins, but I'd suggest arriving early to count on a table, so it may not be any better than arriving ten minutes late for a 6:45 reservation. It would be interesting to hear about the wait for a table at various times on various days.

    We were there the other night and here's what Bux posted, or at least as much as is reasonable to repost here.

    New restaurants are fraught with difficulties and rarely deliver food or service on the level they should or will in a few months, but we ate very well and had excellent service at Barça 18 the other day. All in all it seemed like smooth sailing and a welcome addition to the city's dining choices. ...

    While the food is easy to recommend, purists should be aware that authenticity is not the long suit. ...

    Desserts were another high point, ...

  5. http://www.uvm.edu/vtquarterly/vqfall05/shaw.html

    They left with a few bottles of wine, one of which they opened with great fanfare back at home. “The stuff was horrible!” Shaw recalls. “I thought they ripped us off and we put the rest away and forgot about it.”

    But once Shaw discovered that the wine — which smells like a weird combination of sherry and plonk Chardonnay — does something magical to mushrooms, he uncorked the dusty bottle and froze the contents into ice cubes to be dispensed like pharmaceuticals, one by one.

    Better information on this site in the France forum. The wine is much appreciated for drinking, but also for cooking morels, chicked and even lobster.




    ... if you want to eat “sophisticated” preparations of lobster, head to Arpege for his whole lobster in vin jaune and turnips preparation, ...
  6. ... But this wine was the wine discovery of the night for me.  I had never tasted any wine from the Jura region before although I have heard of the “vin jaune”.  But this wine (described by the sommelier as 80% chardonnay and 20% jura grapes – my notes are a bit unclear at this point) simply didn’t taste like anything I’d ever had before.  I can’t really describe the flavor other than to say it was strong, rich, but not syrupy or cloying in the least.  Of course, it’s now a few weeks later so my memory is a bit faded…

    As far as we know, vin jaune is made entirely from savagnin grapes. It's not a grape grown much in France and it's cultivation is probably restricted to the Jura region. Bux knows more about this stuff than I do and I think he's already posted about the first time we had chicken and morels in vine jaune. Anyway, it's a great wine with an unsual flavor akin to sherry in a way (resulting from the "flor" that develops in the cask) and it may take something of an educated palate to appreciate.


    Le vin Jaune est obtenu après la vendange du cépage "Savagnin", est vieilli en fûts de chêne pendant 6 ans. C'est un vin sec de grande garde, riche en alcool, très épicé et très aromatique.
  7. Thanks for the report and I'm glad you all had good meals!

    As I'm still learning more restaurant lingo, I don't know what the "pass" is. What is it?

    The pass is the area in the kitchen where the plates get their final touches, plate cleaning and inspection by the chef and where they are "passed" to the waiters. Hearth has three stools on the side of the counter where the plates wait for the waiters. You can watch some of the cooking in the kitchen from those seats. It is sort of cool because you get to see what the offerings are before you decide what to order.

  8. I don't remember what Esilda had for appetizers.  There was a special tonight of braised pork belly, roasted onion and lentil potage.  Unctuous lusciousness in the only way pork belly can be.  :wub:

    I had the sweetbreads wrapped in cabbage leaves floating on a beautifully clear and flavorful beef consome with a brunoise of carrots. It was really good. I ordered the duck which was a combination of a small breast roasted rare and a confit drumstick. The confit was very tasty, just right. The breast was cooked at the proper rareness (as I asked) but it was chewy, tough and tasteless. I have bought tastier duck breasts from d' Artagnan in Gourmet Garage. I was a bit surprised and dissappointed. At $90 pp incl wine and tip I expect better.

    As usual, I don't remember much about the wines.  Maybe Bux or Esilda will chime in.  Regular readers of eGullet will remember that I'm not a drinker, although I am getting better.  :blink: :blink:  :wink:  This time I managed to survive an entire bottle of red wine (although just barely).  I don't like *most* red wines, but this one was pretty good.

    We had a Wolffer Reserve Merlot, NY State wine. I guess Stan liked it because it was smoother than the wines we usually get which are heavier and tannic.

  9. Getting back and forth between Barcelona and the airport doesn't seem to be a problem. What might be more inconvenient is getting anywhere from the Tryp Hotel if the only option is getting a cab to go either to the airport or downtown.

    I agree with Bux, but if you insist on staying at the Tryp hotel near the airport they supposedly offer a free shuttle as mentioned in the information page in the airline's computer:



    You can take the shuttle back to the airport after you've checked into the hotel and take the metro into the city. I don't know how late the shuttle works so you might end up having to take a taxi from the city center to the airport hotel. :sad:

  10. Menu translation, (with Pedro's assistance):

    - Córdoba's salmorejo with iberico ham and quail egg.

    - Maple smoked foie gras over vanilla bread and rose chutney

    - Morels au gratin with white shrimp and green asparagus

    - Cold potato salad with chicharro (trachurus picturatus)

    - Snails in two different recipes:

    - - Stewed with Saracen wheat

    - - A la llauna (see the thread "On snails" for more info)

    - Grilled large red prawns (carabinero in Spanish, aristeus antennatus) with Iberic pork jowl

    - Fried egg over a boletus edulis (king mushroom, cep) mousse with fresh truffles [not listed on the handwritten menu]

    - Iberico pork with sauted season greens, mole poblano and wheat tortillas

    Unfortunately, by the time the rest of the meal came along, we were too engrossed in the conversation and too many wines to take more pictures.

    - Assortment of cheeses

    - Sorbets and ice creams

    - Sheep milk flan with pacharán (Navarrian's liquor made with sloes)

    - Light cake of chocolate stuffed with chile chipotle

    - Moroccan tea (with mint, leaves from the lemon tree, etc)

  11. For some reason, yesterday ended up being a fungally-oriented day.


    The black trumpets were very interesting and smelled much stronger uncooked than they ended up. A bit hard to clean (lots of grit and critters in the crevices)

    "critters" -- perhaps the added protein in your mushrooms was the cause of your side-effects :wink:

    We purchased some cepes in a market in France this past month and when cleaning them found some had little holes indicating the possibility of little worms. We were told by a chef to cut the cepes up, blanch them in boiling water with vinegar (the vinegar kills any worms or parasites), dry them and sautee them.

  12. This is the first chance I get to read this thread (Bux tends to hog the computer when we are on vacation :wink: ) Thank you Lucyand Loic for such a wonderful evening. And you certainly guessed right about our meal the previous evening. Light it was not, it was a typical Lyonnaise meal. Bux had the "tablier de sapeur" for those not in the know it is basically a slab from the stomach (tripe) breaded and fried. I had my favorite, "pied de cochon" boned (thank god or we would have spent three hours for lunch on one dish) repacked with some breadcrumbs and fried, served with a side of potatoes gratin. If I had walked ten hours after I might have digested that lunch in time for dinner. Light it was not.

    What Bux neglected to mention (you blinded him with such a magnificent tray of cheese) was the wonderful octopus dish and the incredibly velvety, mushroomy soup. :raz: The wines were wonderful too, I can't believe we went through four bottles, but this was also a very rich meal and one needed all that wine to help with digestion, no ?:wub: It was all wonderful, thank you again.

  13. Galicia happens to be the land of my paternal grandfather so I have a soft spot for it. We were last there in the middle of winter, January, but the weather was beautiful, sunny and crisp. When we reached Pontevedra, the main square had trees with orange blossoms! The restaurants were so inexpensive compared to the rest of Spain. We concentrated on eating seafood. We had the best codfish I've ever had. Unfortunately it jaded me so, that I don't order codfish anymore anywhere else. :sad:

  14. OK. How does this look:

    Paris-Bayonne-Toulouse-Aix en Provence-Dijon-Paris?


    Bayonne is certainly an improvement over Montpellier, it has a fabulous outdoor/indoor market. I prefer Avignon over Aix-en-Provence. There are a lot of restaurants and it has a neat square near the Palais du Pape which gets full of cafes and people. You can also use it as a base to do day trips to other interesting cities, after all, man or woman does not live by bread alone. :rolleyes:

  15. In the early sixties, when I was a young bride, my father in law brought us a basket full of snails. I think he said they were Moroccan. They were brown and white about the size of a 25cent piece (that is american money, bigger than an Euro). The only way we had eaten snails were cooked like the French do in a lot of NY restaurants - in their shells with garlic butter. There were about 300 of these little snails. We washed them and put them in a pot with a cover on them. The next morning the snails had popped the top open, and were crawling all over the kitchen and parts of the house. After recovering most of them (we did find some weeks later around the house) we proceeded to boil, take out of the shells, cut off the cloaca (intestines and junk like that), restuff into the little shells and cover the openings with garlic butter. It took us ten hours! We swore never to do them like that again.

    The next time we knew better and put a weight on top of the pot cover. We also decided to cook them sort of like coq au vin with bacon and mushrooms and red wine. We served them that evening but did not mention what it was until someone who said they loved it asked if it was a mushroom stew. When we mentioned there were snails, everybody started picking out the mushrooms and leaving the snails hiding them under the rice :hmmm:

  16. There's a connection, Bux. Caldero, as I said, refers to the original pot where the food is cooked. I don't know of any rice cooked in a caldero that it's not caldoso

    In Puerto Rico, rice dishes whether soupy or dry are cooked in a cast iron or cast aluminum "caldero". The dry rice is usually fluffy on top and the very bottom is usually a bit stuck "pegao". I was reminded of that "pegao" when we ate paella at Casa Paco. Now THAT was an incredible paella, after that one, nothing else came close. If Can Majo is known for the "caldoso" rice, then that would be the dish to order. "An informed consumer is the best client" :rolleyes:

  17. Was I just unlucky? We ordered 2 paellas, and we thought both were average...

    I don't understand why is it that people think that if you are in Spain every restaurant, in any region, makes a good paella. If I am correct, Can Majo's specialty is "arroz caldoso" and if you looked around at the locals having lunch I bet not one was having paella.

  18. At this point my dining partner and I slightly diverged. She doesn't eat red meat. Her replacement (offered without hesitation) was a slice of foie gras entier, I think in some sauternes-like sauce. It looked good and she liked

    How was the foie gras prepared? I can't imagine someone who does not like red meat accepting foie gras as a replacement? :huh:

  19. Hey, what can I tell you, I'm not a sophisticated wine drinker. I didn't start drinking until fairly recently and its been a slow process.

    Ok, then your wine comments for last night's wine will be taken with a grain of salt :wink:

    I will admit that the anchovies were very, very salty. I think the problem was that the batter was also salted so it did not help tame the saltiness of the fish. I didn't find anything else salty, but then, I need a lot of salt in the summertime and seem to have a great deal of tolerance for it.

    I forgot to mention in my first post that the mussels with chorizo did not work as well as when he was serving the chorizo with big scallops in their shells. I found the mussels too small and sort of dried out like they had been steamed sometime before combining them with the chorizo, et al. and serving them. Unfortunately, the bread was miserable, stale, it should have been crisped in the oven before serving and it might have helped. We could have used some bread to soak up the wonderful mussel/chorizo juices which was the best part of that dish.

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