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Average Girl Eats Her Way Through Paris


Jen Keenan
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For the first course, I got the truffle suplement, on a melange of spring vegetables - favas, carrots, peas.  They were generous with the white truffles, but (and I'll admit this is the first time I had them when they weren't itty bitty black bits in pate or something) maybe not the greatest quality - they only tasted vaguely garlicy, a bit acidic and a bit starchy.  No wows.  On a better day, this would have been worth the 12 euro supplement.  But thet vegetables were so good, that I hardly cared.  Perfectly seasoned,  with a warm vinaigrette, and perfectly cooked and presented on a piece of black slate, decorated with spices. 

You had white summer truffles - which are completely different in aroma, taste, texture, and most importantly price from white winter truffles - they're less than one tenth the price. They're black on the outside - creamy white and veined on the inside - and much more subtle in aroma and taste - and yes, more starchy in texture. Knowing the chef's reputation - he's probably using a good quality white summer truffle. But when you get a chance, give white winter truffles a chance - the aroma alone will blow your mind.

Ah! Thanks so much. Very good to know - I was surprised that the truffles weren't expensive, and now I know why they weren't. I tend to be thrifty, but I'll see if I can dig in my pockets to try the winter truffles.

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Ian - you're so welcome. When your time comes for white winter truffles, consider buying one yourself to taste at home. Much less expensive - I'm thrifty too. Look for a small one - restaurant clients pay more for big ones for impressive slices - firm and very aromatic.

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Thanks to reviews and recommendations on this board, this average (food-obsessed) girl and her traveling companions enjoyed a lovely meal at La Ceraisie a couple of weeks ago.  The food and friendly service couldn't have been better. 

We all had a champagne aperitif to start.  I can't recall its name, but I know it had Armagnac in it, and it was terrific.

We went there last Thursday. The aperitif was called Pousse Rapiere and was terrific.

  I then started the meal with a wonderful cold cream of broccoli soup.  The soup spoon, filled with a smoked salmon mixture topped with salmon roe, was placed in the middle of the bowl.  The beautiful orange/peach colors of the salmon amidst the vibrant green of the soup made a striking presentation, and the combinations of flavors was delicious.

I think the menu must change quite often, although perhaps the themes are similar. Judy had a cold pea soup with thin shavings of pork belly. I had some white asparagus with just a touch of citron confit.

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Photography lesson #1, always remember to move the water glasses out of the way

The menu might just about be legible:

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Photography lesson #2, should have turned the flash on

For the main course, I enjoyed probably the best duck confit that I've ever tasted.  The skin of the leg/thigh was perfectly crisp and delicate, and the meat was meltingly tender.  The flavor was incredible.  It was served over a hearty mixture of vegetables.

I had the Magret d'Oie which was nicely pink and tender, Judy went for the Cochon Noir with stuffed peppers, but I still forgot to move those darn water glasses.

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My dessert was a slice of chocolate fondant tart:  warm, creamy, and delicious (I adore dark chocolate but am usually not a fan of chocolate desserts, but this one won me over). 

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The chocolate fondant was indeed very nice. It also came with the suggestion that a glass of Maury would be a suitable accompaniment, and I can confirm it was. Judy enjoyed her roasted cherries.

The one and only negative thing about the meal was the heat in the dining room.  I'm guessing that it's not air conditioned (or if it is, it wasn't in use that night), because we were all sweltering in there.  The Paris heat wave had passed, and it was quite cool outside, so I don't think it was related to the weather.  Of course, the restaurant is so small that when it's full, as it was that night, it's bound to get quite toasty.

It was very full when we went as well (21 seats, all filled). They obviously aim to get a good turn-round of customers (we had a table for 7pm, but we had to be out by 9). Someone turned up at 8:30 saying they had a reservation for 8:45. Madame's response was that 8:45 means 8:45, please come back later.

Oh, and not only can she run a great restaurant, she also takes a decent photo.

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I'm writing through tears, having just returned from Paris yesterday. We had a wonderful week and tried a couple of the places I inquired about up the thread. Here's a report:

First, Chez Diane is no longer, or at least not at the location listed above and according to another eGulleteer when I searched the forum. What we found instead was Au Bon Saint-Pourçain at 10, rue Servandoni (near St. Sulpice and Luxembourg Gardens). Although we didn't have reservations, we were made to feel right at home in a very cozy place. We were seated outside and treated to a couple of glasses of white wine while we decided what to order. We split an order of escargots (my first), and then my husband had a rib steak in marchand de vin sauce with a side of gratineed potatoes. He likes his beef rare, especially in a place like this where they don't bat an eye when you order it "bleu." It came out perfectly to his taste, with a rich red wine and shallot sauce. I had calf's liver, rosy, which was delicious and came with the same potatoes as well as ratatouille. We had a bottle of the house red wine, a Saint-Pourçain, which was fruity and on the light side--nice. The atmosphere was great--the street was not at all busy, and the pedestrians were all greeted by the waiter, sometimes they stopped to chat. We wished it was our neighborhood restaurant. Total was 72 euros.

Next, we went to Polidor at 41, rue Montsieur-le-Prince. This place had been written up by Calvin Trillin in the New Yorker several years ago, and the effects of that glowing account lingered. We were among our people: American tourists. Still, my lentil salad and my husband's Lyonnaise sausages were terrific. My duck leg confit, though, was tough and dry. We had a carafe of a no-name red wine. Total was 42 euros.

Our favorite was Chez Allard at 41, rue St.-Andre-des-Arts. Again, no reservations but we were accommodated kindly in a room that I thought was first for the reservation-less, then for Americans, but finally seemed to be the non-smoking area. We split a cucumber salad, nice on a hot night. I had a veal chop with forestière sauce--which turned out to be a sauté of chanterelles and potatoes. My husband again ordered entrecôte with marchand de vin sauce--which this time was lighter and sharper, still very good. We split a bowl of strawberry sorbet which came not in boules but out of a soft-serve machine, a bit disconcerting-looking but wonderful tasting. The waiter steered us to a Côte du Rhone, which we enjoyed very much. Total was 112 euros.

Another great experience was meeting some friends at a wine bar near our hotel. The name escapes me, but it is just off the Carrefour l'Odéon, on rue des Quatres-Vents. They specialize in "bio" and old-style wines. The day before, when I was in search of a bottle to enjoy in our hotel room, the owner had recommended a rosé that, he said, was unsulfurized and slightly petillant, in the style of something our grandfathers would have drunk. (Although my grandfather drank martinis.) It was fantastic.

Besides that, this average girl made it her business to try as many variations on the frisée, lardon, and poached egg salad as she could.

I'm starting to save up for the next trip.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Yes, exactly the one.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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