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Holly Moore

Lyon

245 posts in this topic

Looks like we'll be doing two nights (Friday and Saturday), two dinners and two lunches in Lyon.  We may pick up a third evening if we take Bux up on his suggestion of taking the high speed train to CDG

1.  Where to stay?

2.  We're trying for Saturday night reservations at L'Auberge de Collonges but are wide open for suggestions for Friday evening, as well as lunch both Friday and Saturday.

3.  Are there any Lyon "Road Food" establishments that I might incorporate into my web site?

4.  When not dining or eating or sleeping, what should we do?  We're especially looking for culinary day trips.  We'll have a car.

Thanks


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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A lot of people prefer old city. I prefer the center of the city on the Presqu'ile (peninsula) between the city hall and pl. Bellecour.

Without a doubt, the best restaurant in town is probably Léon de Lyon, although our last meal was perhaps not our most interesting or the best of the three we've had there. The other fine restaurant in town in which we've eaten is Pierre Orsi. His ravioles de foie gras with truffle juice and port was super, although I have to acknolwedge the favor he did for us by incorporating a whole truffle of our own given to us by a wine maker in the Cotes du Rhone. I honestly believe his dish would have been excellent even if not buried under a layer of fresh truffles.

There's lot of good hearty food in Lyon. One of the specialties of the reigon  is tablier de sapeur which has just been mentioned in the NY board. It's square of tripe which is breaded and deep fried. I've only had it once and that was at a little neighborhood restaurant I cannot quite locate on any map, but it was just near the covered market which I would recommend for a morning visit. It's in the newest area of the city which seems to have developed in a west to east direction crossing the Saone and Rhone in turn. The justly famous Bernachon chocolate shop is in that part of town as well, though not so near the market and on a more fashionable street. This is serious chocolate of great intensity. There's also a small open air market on the Presqu'ile side of the Saone, but I forget which day.

I've eaten in a number of places not worth mentioning or even remembering, but on the whole, they were all enjoyable at the price and time. A place in which I've not eaten but would like to try myself is Poivre d'Ane which GaultMillau named as a bistro of the year in 2001. Brasserie Georges in which we had a cup of coffee after finally making our way there to see the wonderful art deco interior is a classic. Even if the food turned out to be ordinary, I'd enjoy sitting and eating in that space. The St. Alban is a bistro that was well recommended.

In addition to the venerable institution in Collanges-au-Mont-d'Or there are a couple of other highly regarded restaurants within a half hour of Lyon. Last winter we dined at la Rotunde in la-Tour-de-Salvagny. It's on the second floor of a casino. The casino looked rather tacky to me, but the restaurant was interesting as was it's food. I recall my wife had a lobster menu with each course featuring a different part of the lobster in a different preparation--the left claw in salad with an oyster cream sauce, the head in a cream soup with ricotta gnocchis, cock's comb and chestnuts, the right claw in a ravioli of nut flour, the tail roasted with vegetables and marrow--add a few amuse bouches, cheese, dessert and petits fours and before you know it, you have dinner. My "Menu Rhonalpin et Champignons" was a course shorter, but even more intricate with rabbit and frogs legs on a bed of crushed pistachio and hazelnuts, sandre (fish) steak and pike quenelles with Nantua sauce, and finally quail stuffed with escargots on polenta. All courses garnished with different wild mushrooms. The chef loves NY and ran the marathon here a few year ago. The high ceilinged room is wonderful and sort of Hollywood soft art deco. I expected a black and white tuxedoed cast to arrive. Alas only a mundane group of French provincials showed up.

La Pyramid in Vienne is scoring high, but Steve Plotnicki didn't like it and said so elsewhere.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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We had lunch at Poivre d'Ane (29 rue Molière, Angle rue Bugeaud Lyon 6. 04 72 74 44 14) in late November. It's small, friendly and feels very much like a neighbourhood bistro. The cooking has great confidence in emphasising the natural flavours of the ingredients, be it steamed baby vegetables with olive oil or a sublime roast saddle of hare with civet sauce and mash.

If you're a wine buff then La Romanee's (19 Rue Rivet, Lyon 1. 04 72 00 80 87) list is a creation of love plus the food is more than adequate with several Provençal dishes, such as a "presse" of red mullet and auberine, helping to ring the changes.

The menus in both places are around €20.

For your tablier de sapeur try La Voûte (11 pl Antonin-Gourju Lyon 2. 04 78 42 01 33) where it's on the timeless menu Léa.

To the south of Lyon consider the Le Côte Rôti at Ampuis

(18 Les Allées, 69420 Ampuis. Tél 04 74 5 12 05 Fax 04 74 56 00 20) which is a more contemporary alternative to La Pyramide. We dined there back in 1999 when it was fairly new, but it appears to be making good progress.

If you head north to Beaujolais country then Le Cep (69820 Fleurie-en-Beaujolais 04 74 04 10 77 Fax 04 74 04 10 28) is strong on regional specialities e.g. Coq-au vin, prepared to the highest standards in pleasant surroundings. We had a most enjoyable Friday night there a couple of years ago, not least because a thunderstorm delayed our walk back to the hotel and ordering an eau de vie here means the bottle is left on your table.

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While I'm opposed to posts that answer questions with nothing more than a link to another site, it's worth mentioning that Tigg has a little more information about Lyon dining on his site and that his site may be of general interest to anyone dining in France or the UK.

Graham, thanks for the additional information and update posted here.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 8:40 pm on Jan. 21, 2002

I've only had it once and that was at a little neighborhood restaurant I cannot quite locate on any map

Er, the tablier de sapeur that is.  It would be too much of a coincidence if Bux and I had enjoyed it at the same place, but it's possible:  I ate it in a small restaurant, near the river, but on the modern city side.  Big, plain windows in front, like a store.  I will hunt back through the archives to see if I can name it.   One tip:  you might want to book ahead, even for the simple Lyonnais taverns.  The traditional bouchons in the centre (which tend to look like old taverns with small (or no) windows, were either packed or claimed to be fully reserved on my two nights in the city.  The Leon de Lyon looked great, and had empty tables, but were not interested in accommodating an Anglophone without a reservation.

Also, there's a nice foodmarket which runs quite a distance along the river on the modern side.  A good place to pick up hearty lunch items like saucisse en brioche.

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In defense of Léon de Lyon, there is but one sitting and it's quite possible that all the tables were reserved. The last time we ate there, people kept wandering in late into the evening. The restaurant was stilll quite empty when we arrived, which would have been around 8:00 or 8:30 in the evening, but full at some point around 9:30 or later.

As I recall my tablier de sapeur was had in a tiny place much closer to the indoor market than the river. It was at lunch. We didn't reserve, but it was well off the beaten path and still very crowded. It may have received a lot of trade from the market people. Perhaps that's a false memory from wanting to believe it was where all the food people ate lunch. It was also many years ago.

there's a nice foodmarket which runs quite a distance along the river on the modern side.
Now I'm confused, as there are two rivers and each has an older and more modern side. The Saône separates the heart of the city from the old city and the Rhone separates the heart of the city from the newest part of the city. Both rivers might have a relatively modern side, although the real modern office complexes are a bit further east of the Rhône. There's not much for a tourist to see east of the Rhône except for those who share a food obsession--there's the covered market, Bernachon and a few of the good restauarants. Otherwise it has residential and office areas. Vieux Lyon to the west of the Saône and the Prequ'ile between the rivers are the interesting parts in which to sightsee.

The outdoor market I know is on the quai St. Antoine which is on the modern (east) side of the Saône. I think it's only on in the morning and I'm not sure on which day(s).

Now I have a question for the group, or at least those few with knowledge of Lyon. Does anyone have any familiarity with either of two bistrots, Machonnerie on rue Tramassac in Vieux Lyon, or Le Bistrot de Lyon on rue Mercière? I think I know the latter. If it's the one I'm thinking of, Lacombe, the chef/owner of Léon de Lyon used to have a part ownership and it's sort of a retro-bistro that looks as if it could have been built in NY by the same interior decorators that have done the "authentic" Paris look here. One of them is listed in Michelin and the other in GaultMillau. Neither should be inspirational, but we have the opportunity to try them as guests of the city's tourist industry in a few months. I suspect we will look for simple Lyonaisse food and spend our savings at Michel Bras and Régis Marcon in the country and either Orsi or Lacombe's place in Lyon on our last night.

Graham, I see on your site, that you were not knocked out by Marcon, at least not to the extent that GaultMillau is. I hope we have better luck, especially so early in the season, but as we will be in the area, I have to taste it for myself.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 4:34 pm on Jan. 22, 2002

Now I'm confused, as there are two rivers ...The outdoor market I know is on the quai St. Antoine which is on the modern (east) side of the Saône. I think it's only on in the morning and I'm not sure on which day(s).

I don't blame you, sorry, and you do of course correctly identify the market I meant.

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Holly, the Villa Florentine on the edge of the Vielle Ville is the classy joint in Lyon. It's a Relais et Chateaux address. It's expensive, but not crazy expensive. Otherwise there's Le Cours des Loges, another renovation of an old building, perhaps a tad less expesive. It was THE place to stay before the Villa Florentine. Cours des Loges is more interesting as a building, Villa Florentine a bit more luxe.

I'm always a fan of La Mere Brazier. It's a classic; still intact from the days of the various "Meres" de Lyon. It's gastronomic history that is unrivaled. Le Bistro de Lyon I went to summer before last. I didn't like it; it's a new-fangled attempt to recreate a classic "bouchon". Lyon is crawling with these places. La Mere Brazier is the "real deal".  

A day trip you might consider is Tailloires on the Lake of Annecy. The bay there may be the single most beautiful piece of real estate in France, especially where the hotel-restaurant Le Pere Bise sits. Even in winter it's breathtaking. You could go there for lunch. It can be expensive and is nowhere as good as when it was until Francois Bise died prmaturely three decades ago. If you order the classic "Poulet a L'Estragon", a cheese course and desserts from the chariot at a front table with a lake view, you will be a very happy couple. Nearby there is the cooperative of Beaufort where you can go and watch them make the cheese. Annecy itself is very picturesque with a lovely old section. Otherwise kicking around Les Halles de Cours de la Victoire is gastronomic sightseeing at its best; no better place to shop for a picnic.

(Edited by robert brown at 11:14 pm on Jan. 22, 2002)

(Edited by robert brown at 11:16 pm on Jan. 22, 2002)

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Holly - Hey I was just there this past weekend. I was going to write up my notes but then I saw your post. I was only there for one night and stayed at the Sofitel Bellecour because it was convenient. But I have to say it was very nice even if it was a businessman's hotel and I wouldn't hesitate staying there again. My room was right on the Rhone and had a beautiful view. Last year I stayed at the Cour des Loges in the old town and it was really nice in that Relais & Chateau kind of way. Old building refitted with a modern installation.

We ate two meals while there. First we got off the TGV and went directly to La Meuniere which is a traditional Lyonaisse Bouchon in the area a few blocks south of the opera house. I had what they call the "Buffet Lyonaisse" which is about 10 bowls of duck cracklings, pigs feet, lentils, endive in mayo, herring and potatoes etc. I followed it with a Monkfish Tail in Garlic Butter with some plain white rice on the side. The person I was traveling with had a huge slab of terrine, like two inches thick followed by some sausage slices in a red wine sauce with potatoes. Soul food. Very good and you certainly won't leave hungry. Lunch for the two of us was about ๠ with a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Dinner was at the Cote Rotie in Ampuis which I noticed Graham recommended. But I was at a dinner for 30 in a

private room upstairs and had to order from a set menu. I had some terrific pumpkin soup that was studded with pumpkin seeds, loads of shavings of truffles and it was topped with a slice of ham that was fried to a crisp so it would break easily on the bowl. Extremely good. My Dorade entree was also good, but the other choice which was a Daube of Beef Cheeks was better. It's a charming place and has a tremendous list of wines from the Rhone Valley. It's a 30 minute drive south of Lyon.

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I've not been to La Mère Brazier, but thought it was more upscale than a bouchon.It was la Mère Brazier, with an outpost in the neighboring countryside that beat Alain Ducasse to six stars, although that's been conveniently forgotten all too often even after newspapers printed their retractions.

My impression of the ambience at Le Bistrot de Lyon matches Robert's. I just wanted to know how the food was these days. That we're being offered two meals in specific places may or may not be a problem. It may appear ungracious of us to decline the offers, but we might get away with lunch.

Villa Florentine is the luxury place to stay and it's very fine even if its blend of Italian renaissance and contemporary decor seems alien to its location. It's also at the top of a hill with many steps and in spite of it's proximity to all of old Lyon, may necessitate more frequent use of taxis. The Cour des Loges is in a historic Vieux Lyon structure and seems more interesting to me in that class, but then I rarely stay in luxury hotels.

At any rate I much prefer the Presqu'ile for it's central location and it's daily life and cafes. In that area, over many years I've stayed in the Sofitel, Grand Hotel Concorde and Carlton. I think that's the order of quality and expense from top down in that area although all are well above average. I'm a great fan of Concorde Hotels and was particularly impressed with the level of service and personal attention from the staff of the Concorde in Lyon. We were having a problem with the airline and the young woman at the front desk offered to call the airline for us. When she got off the phone, she was incredulous at the attitude of the Delta operator. I fully believed her charm was sincere and ingrained when she asked how anyone in the travel and hospitality business could be so rude. Unfortunately she hadn't stayed in the Mercure hotel we had last used. I've also had a bad report of the Mercure personnel in their Lyon hotel next to the Carlton. Years ago we stayed at the Carlton which has a very old and kind of classy public area and neat old elevators. I remember a lot of wood and brass. Our room was less charming, but adequate and modern. The Sofitel is the "best" hotel in the area, but I found it a bit corporately modern and just a few blocks out of the way which makes a difference for someone like myself who always likes to walk. I wouldn't hesitate staying in any of those three or even some cheaper ones. For several reasons, we'll probably be staying the Sofitel and the Carlton ourselves later this spring, although my wife usually recommends the Concorde to clients. Perhaps she'll change her mind or her conviction will strengthen after our trip.

Annecy is 140 kilometers from Lyon. How far one likes to drive is at least as subjective as what sort of hotel one likes, but it's further than I'd like to drive for lunch. Annecy is a lovely place, not just for the old town (which is overcrowded with tourists in season, but probably nice this time of year) but for its park at the top of Lake Annecy (which is probably dreary at this time of year). I've never been to Pere Bis, but hear the food's not at all what it used to be. Too bad Marc Veyrat is in Megève this time of year.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The name of the casual restaurant where I ate a good and large portion of tablier de sapeur is Tirelire.  I recall also a nice warm sausage salad, a ridiculously large gratin dauphinoise, and a menu with most of the traditional local dishes.   I gave up hunting for the address when my search engine kept redirecting me, believe it or not, to a site called Worldtable, which just didn't seem to have the information I needed;)  If the restaurant is on Bux's site somewhere, we have indeed been going in circles.  

It seems from my tasting notes that it was quite a full day which ended at Tirelire.  It seems we breakfasted on slices of andouille and onion bread at the morning market in Beaune, lunched on ham braised in Beaujolais while awaiting the TGV connection in Dijon, then managed the vast dinner in Lyons.  As I recall, I slept fitfully that night.

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Wow.  Who's needs Michelin with such great info from eGullet posters.  Thanks, and keep it coming.


Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Pray tell, what do you enter to have WorldTable come up on your search engine? Certainly not "Tirelire + Lyon." I am amazed. I get all this spam offering the opportunity to get more hits by raising the odds of my site appearing in any search. I've always been tempted to reply that if they've found my site, I'm being found not by too few people but the wrong people. Wilfrid, you're certainly not the wrong person--unless you happen to be looking for the address of Tirelire. I assume it's not in the Michelin. By the way, have you tried the Michelin site? It's actually quite useful. The one thing I miss from the book, is the map with the stars and the red marks which I find invaluable in planning a route.

"Tirelire," evidently is a sort of "piggy bank."


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I was using an "advanced search" which allowed me to specify all the words Tirelire + Lyon + restaurant.  I was getting two hits, one of which was your site.  neither hit showed any sign of the word "Tirelire".

I am sorry you told me about the Michelin site - looks like another hour wasted! :)

It was a casual place - very popular with young locals as the evening wore on - and may be a bit under the radar for guides.  You know the covered street which is lined with tourist trap restaurants, running parallel with the Saone, towards that side of the island.  Well, Tirelire was on a street leading down to the river, a block or so south (not strictly south, but roughly) of the end of the covered street.  Perhaps I should start writing addresses of restaurants when I make notes!

And thanks again for a derivation I didn't know.  "Tirelire" only ever put in mind of "'Tirrah lirrah, by the river', sang Sir Lancelot"; one of Tennyson's less successful couplets I would say.

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My French is very weak at best, but when a search on "tirelire" brought so many referrals, I thought I'd better look it up in a dictionary. I suspect it figures into the reviews of a lot of budget places. I'm glad to hear "restaurant" brings up my site so quickly, although I'd be tempted to use another search engine if "tirelire" brought up my site. I wonder if I mention Lyon. I find it rather remarkable when a word brings up a page, but the word is not found on the page.

One of the neat things about the Michelin is its route planning feature. Knowing I have two days to get from point A to point B, I can plan alternate routes and see how many kilometers they are and compare the relative driving times. It will be interesting to see if the web site beats the guide to the new listings or vice versa.

On a side note, I was about a dozen blocks from the French butcher on Second Avenue and figured this is about as close as I'll ever get except on purpose. Prices for most of the meats were not shown, but I seemed to run up a good bill in no time just excercising my base taste for rillettes de canard, boudin noir and saucisse sec. The rillettes were excellent. The rest is for dinner.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Oh yes, it's certainly worth asking M. Carre how much something is before he slices and trims it into an irresistible presentation for you.  I have had some surprises there, both good and bad.  Generally, I think his prices are around the same as Dean & Deluca, which is indeed steep.  Hope you enjoy your goods; I am very fond of his saucisse sec.

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My wife seconded the rave about the rillettes, or as she put it, "better than what you've made." The boudins noirs, were equally flavorful, but just not rich enough to satisfy me. The dry sausage will wait for another day as I recalled that I was in the neighborhood to visit my doctor and have my cholesterol checked.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Doctor and French Butcher.  Yup, bad combo.  I find the boudin noirs underseasoned, and always add a good dose of salt and pepper.  Where they score with me is texture.  I have eaten so many versions in New York which are mushy and gooey - not right at all.

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Wilfrid, you spilled the beans. The secret to this site, the Internet and all life, is posted in that thread and mention is off topic here.  ;)


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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My mistake.  But anyone who goes there needs to read it from the beginning!

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Maybe not. Have you tried reading it backwards? ;)


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Wilfrid, Just to follow up here because we started here, (which would be more off topic to continue posting here or pick up the conversation in the middle in some more apt board?) we had another of the blood sausages a day of two later and I found that one, much richer and more to my taste. As to flavor and seasoning, they all had a good flavor, but a little pepper wouldn't have hurt. Then again my favorite boudins have been in the Caribbean and the Basque region. We cooked the earlier boudins whole in a frying pan and the last one in slices. I don't see how that would have made the latter richer (greasier). The saucisson sec was excellent, but I'm not sure it was worth the premium price. I'm not unhappy with the commercial sausages I get at DiPalo's and I don't think it was at good as some of the stuff I get at Dom's. I'm reluctant to recommend Dom's (on Lafayette north of Broome) because his product is inconsistent. It's always had a great taste, and primarily it's the taste of the meat as much as the seasonings. It's made in batches and each batch is rather individual. Once we had a saucisson that was almost inedibly salty, but my real reluctance to offer a hearty recommendation may stem from my concerns about a cured raw meat product that varies from batch to batch. It's also a question of attitude. They were enthusiastic friendly when they opened, but I don't think things have gone well as they are less so now, particularly at the butcher counter. The bottom line is that we still go there for a special dry sausage.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Just read the above, Bux.  Interesting comments about Dom's, and I too noticed a palpable lack of enthusiasm last time I was ther (a few months ago) and haven't been back.  I had bought cotechino there in the past, and when I asked for it at the butcher's counter, all they could think of was that I meant cappucino and I should go to the coffee counter.  Bizarre.  They also claimed that they couldn't serve slices of osso bucco, only the whole veal shin!

Question:  did your boudin come out of the frying pan sufficiently firm?  I have had repeated experiences in New York with mushy boudins turning to porridge in the pan.  My approach now, which I followed with the French Butcher's product, is to cook it in the oven for about forty minutes, then refrigerate it overnight.  In the morning, it is firm enough for slicing and frying.  And I agree, they need more pepper.

All his stuff his expensive, but these were the only fairly authentic saucisses seches I had found in New York.

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Lyon does seem like the proper place for a discussion of sausages. I don't know where to start or how to answer your questions about cooking blood sausages. We usually heat them up in a frying pan. More often then not, they tend to fall apart when cut. The skins are generally tough. My wife usually doesn't eat the skins. I will if they're crisp. The first two boudins from the French Butcher were cooked in a frying pan and served whole on a plate with mashed potatoes and sauteed onions. The third one was eaten a few days later. That one was sliced about 3/4 thick and cooked on o both faces until warmed through and a bit crusty on both sides. It was eaten out of hand as an hors d'oeuvre snack.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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