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Taillevent Merged topics


Holly Moore
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Mystic,

Cute and comfortable is always a great choice :biggrin:. Wear a nice looking jacket or coat (I usually travel with a belted, black microfiber trench coat) and do try to experiment with scarves because they're easy to pack and can add a nice dash of color. If you can find a pair of comfortable boots for walking around, all the better.

Have fun planning!

bushey

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  • 6 months later...

My memory fails me but a thread a while back mentioned Andrew Todhunter’s book “A Meal Observed,” Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2004, about one meal and its preparation at Taillevent. I haven’t eaten at Taillevent in years, indeed, I hear from natives that they consider the Zagat “vote” that it’s the best restaurant in Paris to be their idea of the typically American inability to distinguish quality from price. In addition, I’m less interested in how food is made than how it tastes. Finally, after the culinary version of the Bermuda triangle of Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, Lanchester’s The Debt to Pleasure and Echikson’s Burgundy Stars, what was left to say?

But my trusty old travel writing superstar friend Alice Steinbach, who herself spent time in the kitchen at the Ritz, gave me a copy. Coincidently, the day after I had spent a most pleasant early afternoon watching Dominique Bouchet orchestrate 26-30 stunning meals at his new restaurant on the Rue de Treilhard in Paris, I found myself staring at the wall. I had just finished writing a chapter, due in a couple weeks; just finished a spy novel (work, mind you, for another project) and so, despite some misgivings I picked it up.

My, oh my! Did I have fun. And, I couldn’t put it down. Now, there’s much “too much about penguins,” for sure. Technique, petty disputes, details you’ll forget by the morning. But some observations about food in Paris are wonderful. Notice I did not say about Taillevent, because in some ways, Taillevent is just a peg for the tale.

My favorite section (perhaps because I’m morbidly schadenfreudesque) deals with the views of the legendary Francois Cochet, an amateur chef’s chef, or amateur critic’s critic. He went to school with Taillevent’s owner-impressario-egotiste Jean-Claude Vrinat (who comes off generally very poorly in the book), who explains (1) why it’s best to eat at lunch (business folks who brook no guff, versus the rich and foreigners at night), (2) his devastating views on Gagnaire’s and Loiseau(while alive)’s pretentiousness, e.g. “for those tricks, nothing!”) and Robuchon’s tyrannical behavior; and (3) Cochet’s thoughts on a chef’s greatest danger: pride.

This book is a fun and quick read; it explains classical kitchens; it really explains classical, new and contemporary cooking, chefs and training; and it’s very well-written and I suspect extremely well-edited (except for continually misspelling of Troisgros as Trois Gros). Todhunter says he’s not a “foodie,” but for a guy who’s worked in restaurants a good bit, including at Chez Panisse, this disclaimer is a bit disingenuous. He knows food, he knows people, he knows Paris. Buy it!

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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A friend gave this to me a year or so ago and I read it in one sitting (actually "lying" as I was up most of the nite in bed reading it.)

I would certainly recomend it.

The various "diversions" as mentioned above are something you either enjoy or you don't.

Slightly off topic, another Paris book I'd rec is The Flaneur (Writer and the City)

by Edmund White. It is more focused on the city's literary history and various locations related to that history, but has some food related items, and also has the digressive quality of a stroll throuygh the city, where one has no idea what might lie around the next corner.

always looking forward to...the next meal

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  • 10 months later...

My 9yo and 5yo are clamoring to have dinner at Taillevent with my husband and me when we spend spring break in Paris next April. Should I let them, or just get a babysitter for the evening? The kids enjoy and are used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants, but none of us has been to Taillevent and we are not sure whether children would be out of place there, even at an early seating such as 7:30 p.m.

I'm ambivalent, on the one hand wanting a leisurely (and maybe even romantic?) dinner with just my husband and, on the other hand, not wanting my kids to miss out on a gustatory experience.

Please advise? Many thanks!

Edited by browniebaker (log)
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If they are 9 and 5 they will have many years to have a gustatory experience, and they will surely appreciate Taillevent more after a year or two eating at lovely, but lesser, Parisian establishments.

More to the point, give yourself a night out in Paris with your husband. :wink:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I second this (though not through any experience at Taillevent) -- especially as regards the 5yo. Can't imagine the experience will be fully appreciated, and I say that as the mother of a 5yo who loves rare magret, shellfish and brussels sprouts! If you've access to a sitter, I'd opt for that! We happily drag ours to one- or no-stars places, but we usually have no choice. She is learning about food, but I wouldn't spend the really big bucks on her yet.

BTW, we'll be in Paris then -- maybe we should get our kids together for a Luxembourg playdate!

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Ditto. Bring 'em leftovers.

Une sac a chien, s'il vous plait.

I can't help but think that in famously pooch-indulgent Paris, such requests are hardly unusual.

(Waits for Talbot to set him straight).

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The kids enjoy and are used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants, but none of us has been to Taillevent and we are not sure whether children would be out of place there, even at an early seating such as 7:30 p.m.

If it is the case that the kids are accustomed to fine dining, they should be plenty comfortable and welcome at Taillevent. It's not at all unusual to see children in Michelin three-star restaurants, and I've specifically seen children at Taillevent.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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On the other and totally selfish side of the equation, I can certainly say as a non-breeder myself, that if I was paying top dollar at a 3-Star Michelin restaurant and I heard a child starting to cry and make a ruckus and the parents didn't walk out immediately, I would be -extremely- pissed off. So even if your children are angels, I personally wouldn't risk it.

Sorry guys. I know, I'm an A-hole. I don't beleive young children belong in fine dining establishments.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The kids enjoy and are used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants, but none of us has been to Taillevent and we are not sure whether children would be out of place there, even at an early seating such as 7:30 p.m.

If it is the case that the kids are accustomed to fine dining, they should be plenty comfortable and welcome at Taillevent. It's not at all unusual to see children in Michelin three-star restaurants, and I've specifically seen children at Taillevent.

I have to side with Steven here. It just may be a experience and memory that will last them a lifetime.

Robert R

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I have to side with Steven here. It just may be a experience and memory that will last them a lifetime.

My parents brought me to all sorts of fancy restaurants before the age of 9 and as I understand it from my parents and grand parents, I was exceptionally well behaved (too bad this trend did not continue later on in life). I ate my soup with aplomb and then I would usually fall asleep in my chair or someone's lap. Wait, I still do that now.

That being said, I didn't have an appreciation or awareness for any sort of fine dining until I was in my early teens. Before I was 13 you could have just as easily brought me to the local pizza parlor and I would be just as happy as when they brought me to Lutece, Le Cirque or the Four Seasons. I just don't think children that young are even capable of it.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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On the other and totally selfish side of the equation, I can certainly say as a non-breeder myself, that if I was paying top dollar at a 3-Star Michelin restaurant and I heard a child starting to cry and make a ruckus and the parents didn't walk out immediately, I would be -extremely- pissed off. So even if your children are angels, I personally wouldn't risk it.

Sorry guys. I know, I'm an A-hole. I don't beleive young children belong in fine dining establishments.

Even if the children are well-behaved, their presence can pose a problem. I've never been in this restaurant, so I have no idea of how close the tables are to each other, etc. In a clearly adult establishment, I resent having to be careful of what I say, so that chidren won't hear inappropriate things. It's not that my mind or my mouth are in the gutter, but some conversations aren't meant to be overheard by children. If I'm in a grocery store or in line at a movie theater, then I am obligated to be careful of what I say.

If the physical situation is such that this isn't a problem, then never mind! :rolleyes:

But if you take the children, and they start to misbehave, please be gracious and leave immediately. Even the most wonderful child can have a bad day.

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P.S. Please accept my congratulations on having raised what apparently are two excellent children! To have kids who are interested in this type of food is great; and that they can sit through a multi-course meal in a well-behaved manner, well, that's just about unheard of.

I will carry this image of your family in my mind and cherish it the next time I'm in a place where children are behaving like holy terrors. It will be something to hold onto (along with my anger, hopefully), so that I can remind myself that somewhere, someone is doing it right. :smile:

You may want to consider saving this very special experience for a rite-of-passage birthday or event, such as a graduation. What a reward!

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I have to side with Steven here. It just may be a experience and memory that will last them a lifetime.

My parents brought me to all sorts of fancy restaurants before the age of 9 and as I understand it from my parents and grand parents, I was exceptionally well behaved (too bad this trend did not continue later on in life). I ate my soup with aplomb and then I would usually fall asleep in my chair or someone's lap. Wait, I still do that now.

That being said, I didn't have an appreciation or awareness for any sort of fine dining until I was in my early teens. Before I was 13 you could have just as easily brought me to the local pizza parlor and I would be just as happy as when they brought me to Lutece, Le Cirque or the Four Seasons. I just don't think children that young are even capable of it.

I can absolutely accept there is a possibility that they may not truly appreciate the restaurant at their age. But weather they can truly appreciate Taillevent is not the issue. The more important issue is the impression and memories that they will take away from the experience.

Actually Jason you just happen to be the perfect example to show my point.

You may not have gave a second thought about Lutuce,Le Cirque or the Four Seasons at the time but I have no doubt it had to instill some impression upon you otherwise we may not have been discussing this on Egullet.

Your love of food must have came from somewhere and luckily for all of us it did. :smile:

Edited to add... Also I can't imagine in the present day if your parents were pumping you full of sloppy joe and Chicken Mc.Whatever you would have woke up on your 13th birthday and said Dad lets go to Ducasse. :laugh:

Edited by robert40 (log)

Robert R

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browniebaker, it seems to me that the choice comes down to what you want to do. If you want a romantic dinner without the kids, that's an issue independent of whether they would be out of place, wouldn't fully appreciate the cuisine or whatever. I don't think any of those issues are really relevant, based on what you've told us about your kids. (And do we have to revisit the ugly debate about whether children should disappear from places where some of you don't want to feel their presence?) Bottom line: If you want to take the kids, take them. It sounds like they'd have a blast. But if you want to have a romantic dinner with your husband, you don't need an excuse for that: Just hire a babysitter and deal with your kids' unhappiness. I knew that my parents sometimes went to adult parties (not that kind, you dirty-minded readers! :shock:) and took it as normal that I'd be left with a babysitter in that situation. My parents hired very nice babysitters who played well with me, so I usually wasn't unhappy.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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browniebaker, it seems to me that the choice comes down to what you want to do. If you want a romantic dinner without the kids, that's an issue independent of whether they would be out of place, wouldn't fully appreciate the cuisine or whatever. I don't think any of those issues are really relevant, based on what you've told us about your kids. (And do we have to revisit the ugly debate about whether children should disappear from places where some of you don't want to feel their presence?) Bottom line: If you want to take the kids, take them. It sounds like they'd have a blast. But if you want to have a romantic dinner with your husband, you don't need an excuse for that: Just hire a babysitter and deal with your kids' unhappiness.
I knew that my parents sometimes went to adult parties (not that kind, you dirty-minded readers! :shock:) and took it as normal that I'd be left with a babysitter in that situation. My parents hired very nice babysitters who played well with me, so I usually wasn't unhappy.

Pan, Now after all this time we know why you suffer from insomnia. :laugh:

Robert R

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