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Upcoming Paris Trip


docsconz
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Thanks, Docsconz.  Another good thing about extensive planning is that it extends the travel experience well beyond the actual travel time.    :smile:

With this in mind I have probably tripled the duration of my trip! :laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I think that Parc André Citröen is lovely and there are lots of carefully designed spaces, both private and public. The kids will enjoy it especially if the fountain is running at one end of the park.

On the other side of town, you can rent bicycles at the Bois de Vincennes. Take a picnic basket and lunch by one of the beautiful lakes with all the other families. Enjoy! I don't think that a lot of tourists get to see these places.

Oh, by the way. At Versailles, I purchased some coconut ice cream from a little stand in the middle of a field [?]. Surprisingly, it was some of the best I've ever eaten!

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I think that Parc André Citröen is lovely and there are lots of carefully designed spaces, both private and public.  The kids will enjoy it especially if the fountain is running at one end of the park. 

On the other side of town, you can rent bicycles at the Bois de Vincennes.  Take a picnic basket and lunch by one of the beautiful lakes with all the other families.  Enjoy!  I don't think that a lot of tourists get to see these places.

Oh, by the way.  At Versailles, I purchased some coconut ice cream from a little stand in the middle of a field [?].  Surprisingly, it was some of the best I've ever eaten!

John, Thanks for the tips and welcome to eGullet!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Oof...I have been away too many days, and now I think I missed replying to Doc's message in time.

I was going to warn him about the seemingly innocent little bell-shaped dollop of blue cheese I had at Gagnaire that packs a punch (dollop with a whallop?). Doc, if you're still here, brace yourself. :blink:

If you want more details, I can dig out my menu for reference. It was all memorable, and extraordinary, though I remember it now as one big feast. I *do* distinctly recall, however, being instructed to eat certain courses in a particular order on the plate so they traveled appropriately across my tastebuds. Rather fascinating.

Edited by Jennifer Iannolo (log)

Jennifer L. Iannolo

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The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

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Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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Jennifer, It is not too late. I arrived in Paris today after an extraordinary visit to the Costa Brava. El Bulli was the best meal I have ever had. It was simply fabulous. Rafa's was great too, but the opposite spectrum. Tonight in Paris we had a fine dinner at Aux Lyonnais. Details will come after I return. Lunch tomorrow at L'Astrance.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Fantastic! I've pulled out my menu, and now remember why I was so full when we left -- this was an eight-course dinner that lasted about four hours.

The cheese to which I'm referring was a Bleu de Trizac cremeux -- wow! I'm also reminded of the course with cucumber foam where each bite tasted quite different, depending upon which area of the plate I spooned from. It truly was a fascinating, cerebral adventure in dining.

I'm sure the menu is now quite different, but I'll post mine here for the hell of it. I can't wait to hear how things go, Doc!

***

June 2002

Thon rouge confit a cru, gras de seiche, murex et foie gras de canard; gelee de povron au piment d'Espelette

Galette de langoustine bretonne au curcuma, marmelade de citron de Menton au concombre (amazing!)

Royale d'asperge blanche aux orties; fleur de courgette, gambas fraiches et salpicon de tourteau

Turbot cotier saisi au gril, feuilles de fenouil croustillantes; un jus Guiness-Jurancon aux abricots secs

Un bouillon printanier: grenouilles, feve, petits pois, olive taggiache, gousses d'ail de Lautrec et champignons sauvages

Supreme de pintade chaponnee cuite en cocotte aux herbes fraiches; papaye verte aux noisettes, oignon cebette et charlotte de Noirmoutier confite a l'origan

Croustillant de chevre frais a l'huile d'argan; Bleu de Trizac cremeux assaisonne d'une chapelure de chou-fleur; salade de riquette; Tomme d'abondance de Savoie; infusion <<prise>> a la gentiane

Le grand dessert Pierre Gagnaire (we opted for chocolate souffle)

****

Wow, just writing all that out was a mouthful. :wink:

Bon appetit!

Edited by Jennifer Iannolo (log)

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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Alas, although generally good, our meal at Pierre Gagnaire was somewhat of a disappointment. The room and service were up to expectations, but the food was somewhat uneven. Most of the dishes were good with a couple outstanding and a couple of clunkers to me. The clunkers were so because of an unusual emphasis on bitter flavors or textural dissonance.Every dish looked marvellous. Due to lack of photos and language issues there may have been some of the smaller platings at the beginning or as part of dessert that I cannot fully account for. There was a lot of food.

The menu:

Fraicheurs:

Jus de tomate au basilic violet, infusion cremeuse d'herbes fraiches.

Gras de seiche, olives vertes de Lucques et girolles.

Cristes marines et glacon de concombre.

Sable' de poulpe en daube.

- The most positively memorable component of this dish was the sable'. I did not enjoy the glacon de concombre.It was a piece of weekly flavored ice in the middle of the plate. Overall the course was a disappointment.

Presse' de rouget de roche, pain dentelle aux mendiants et copeaux de fois gras cru au sel de Maldon; bouillabaisse temperee aux celeris dores.

- Desite how it reads, this dish was not particularly memorable one way or another.

Etuvee de homard bleu a la verveine.

Un consomme "poivron doux, peche et piment niora"

- This was one of my favorites. The lobster lavor rang true. This was one of the few dishes in which the principal ingredient was allowed to shine.

Veloute' de riz noir veneree et cougourle au cerfeuil: coco de Pampol et palette iberique, fleur de courgette.

- Another favorite. This dish was delicious and the most rustic course of the evening. It was remiiniscent of a very, very good black bean soup.

Un jus "rouge": radis, betteraves bigarreaux, mures et groseilles.Salpicon de langoustines et thon rouge.

- This dish was very good, although short of great. The dominant notes were that of curry and sugar. The langoustine in particular was masked by this. While this dish was tasty and enjoyable, I would have preferred the langoustines to be used more in a way that their best qualities could have shone through better. Many other lesser ingredients could have been used in their place without loss of effect IMO.

Piece de Saint-Pierre en amertume.

Petits oignons fanes roussis, navet au campari et sommites de choux fleurs. Clams et bouchot.

-This was the most disappointing dish of the night. I love John Dory, but this was effectively ruined by the overlain campari soaked turnip strips. I didn't get it. I enjoy campari, but here it served only to unbalance the dish. My clam wasok, but my son's hadn't been adequately purged.

Fines aiguillettes de pigeon gagauthier a l'aubergine grillee, biscuit de roquette et marmalade "figue-tamarillo"

-Another clunker to me, although not quite as dissonant as the St.-Pierre. By this time we were all getting quite full. Pigeon is one of my favorite birds. In this dishit wa only one of many contributors. This was an example of Gagnaire's creating something entirely new from a sum of disparate parts. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me.

Glace brebis a l'huile d'olive ardente, granite champagne a la pomme verte; bleu de Causses et Ardi Gasna.

Petit croque Monsieur "vieux beaufort et cocconcini"

-This dish IMO overemphasized sour and bitter flavors. I believe it would have been improved with additional salt and sweet components.

Le grand dessert Pierre Gagnaire:

-Overall the dessets were quite good and a highlight of the meal. Highlights included a poached pear and a dark berry ice cream with a sauce. The icecream and sauce was the best example of balance between sweet, salt, bitter and sour of the whole meal.

I was stuffed by the end of the meal, but overall the experience left something to be desired. I chose Gagnaire because I thought it would be the most interesting to compare to El Bulli. There was no comparison for me.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Alas, although generally good, our meal at Pierre Gagnaire was somewhat of a disappointment. The room and service were up to expectations, but the food was somewhat uneven. Most of the dishes were good with a couple outstanding and a couple of clunkers to me. The clunkers were so because of an unusual emphasis on bitter flavors or textural dissonance.Every dish looked marvellous.

    - This was one of my favorites. The lobster flavor rang true.

  It was remiiniscent of a very, very good black bean soup.

   -Overall the dessets were quite good and a highlight of the meal.

the experience left something to be desired.

I chose Gagnaire because I thought it would be the most interesting to compare to El Bulli. There was no comparison for me.

Doc,

We had the exact same tasting. I would say the dining room is luxurious and the wait staff excellent. We were fortunate enough to have a english speaking waiter. The food in our view was far below 3 star expectations. I thought that the actual lobster may have been the best cooked piece of lobster that I had ever eaten, but beyond that I was not left with any other positives until the dessert courses. I get your reference to the black bean soup and I did enjoy the taste of that part of that dish, but as I remember it was a very small amount of that liquid in the dish. His platings indeed were very nice though I agree with you completely no comparison to our meal at El Bulli. By your scoring system: 3 good, one in the middle and 4 "clunkers" with that kind of score that should not garner the big bucks that Gagnaire receives.

Molto E

Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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The most unfortunate aspect of the meal was that it was the El Bulli substitute for the son who we couldn't bring to El Bulli this time. I guess we'll just have to try to bring him to El Bulli next year!

My two eldest sons have taken to creative cuisine in a way that I could not have expected. That is one of the reasons I chose Gagnaire in the first place for this meal.

Everything here is relative. In no way was this meal at Gagnaire "bad". It was good, but it was disappointing and not worth the expense.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm sorry to hear it did not go so well, Doc.

Over-thinking or the need to wow with creativity sometimes results in those clunkers, as you mentioned, and it really stinks when the meal also comes with a hefty price tag. We had a couple of weird courses, too, but it is so long ago I couldn't tell you which those were. My overall reaction to the meal at Gagnaire, however, was that it was "interesting." Adventurous, and something to be tried, but if I had a choice to return there or try something else, I would go for a new experience with another chef.

I don't regret my meal there by any means -- it rather fascinated me, as I was trying to get at the root of his food philosophy. But I have had better, and more simply prepared meals, elsewhere.

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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:smile: Hi Doc,

Thanks for sharing your dining experiences in Paris.

Do you think ordering a la carte as opposed to the chef's tasting menu is the way to go at the top tier restaurants?

Also, which wines did you order with your meals? Were the prices outrageous?

Best regards,

Henry

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:smile: Hi Doc,

Thanks for sharing your dining experiences in Paris.

Do you think ordering a la carte as opposed to the chef's tasting menu is the way to go at the top tier restaurants?

Also, which wines did you order with your meals? Were the prices outrageous?

Best regards,

Henry

I still have a few more experiences to share :laugh:

As for ala carte vs. tasting menus, this discussion provides a few interesting viewpoints including my own. I personally like tasting menus, especially in restaurants I can get to only infrequently at best.

Wine prices run the gamut. One can spend a lot for high end wines, but even in the best restaurants one can find good bottles at decent prices. My preference in Europe is to drink the lesser known, food friendly regional wines. In France I particularly enjoy drinking the wines of the Loire. I also talk to the sommalier about good less expensive burgundies. This approach has suited me quite well.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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. . . .

Wine prices run the gamut. One can spend a lot for high end wines, but even in the best restaurants one can find good bottles at decent prices.  . . .

Decency is a relative thing. I am reminded that even in countries where people could be fined for kissing in the streets and a real bikini on the beach was scandalous, today it's not uncommon to find sunbathers of both sexes wearing nothing but the skimpiest of bottoms. Even in France, bathing attire has shrunk over the years I've been visiting. Some of the low end wine prices I've seen still seem a bit indecent to an old timer. I take the good with the bad. :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

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Doc,

Villaret is most definately along the lines of Epi Dupin but better. By modern, I mean not classic but oh so original and true to the French method. When I went there were very few Americans there, and the owner seemed to know most of who walked in.

Astier is also in the tune of Epi Dupin but meilleur(better). They also have an awesome cheese tray they bring to your table, which you serve yourself. The only caveat is you have approximately 2 minutes to serve the entire table!

I really think you will love this area. The Canal Saint Martin is a lovely area. There is a wonderful little wineshop there, if I think of the name I will tell you. Buy a bottle, (bring you own glasses, they can't sell or give you disposibles) and go to the canal with your children, let them run wild and enjoy the beautiful afternoon you will most surely have in September.

I am off to Paris tomorrow evening after a 3 months hiatus. If I can help with anything, let me know.

We had dinner at Le Villaret on our last night in Paris. It was an easy walk from our apartment. It is a lovely neighborhood restaurant with excellent food. We had an amuse bouche of a lobster soup that was lip-smackingly delicious. My 6y/o had a mussel soup for his dinner that he enjoyed very much (and so did I) :wink: For entrees my wife had a squid dish which she liked very much, while I had stuffed zucchini blossoms that surprisingly were relatively bland. Our two eldest sons had steaks for dinner. My wife had a grilled tuna and I had duck with green pommes puree. The duck wass excellent. My six y/o enjoyed it so much I could hardly get a bite in edgewise! I guess turnabout is fair play. We drank a nice simple burgundy. This was a nice way to end our lovely sojourn in Paris.

My duck:

gallery_8158_790_160309.jpg

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I had a lunch at Villaret this Tuesday, at the end of a very nice week all over France which also included a meal at Troisgros I'll post about shortly. I think it really is a very good restaurant and the lunch prix-fixe a utter steal. Also had a cold shellfish soup for the amuse, perfectly concentrated but still light. I had the seiche (cuttlefish rather than squid I think) salad and my friend a veal tounge salad as entrees. Both lovely, traditional bistro ingredients in clean, modern, interpretations. I had a wonderful gallette of pieds aux porc with ceps, the cake crisp on the outside and full of rich, gelatinous trotter flesh on the in... Lovely, and sitting on a big mound of excellent mushrooms. The mushroom components of the meal were strong in general, my friend's tuna, as exccedingly bleu as she'd asked for, was with some great trompettes d'mort. cheese to follow was fine, excellent condition if not extremely exciting, and I love that they leave the little cabinet for you to choose and cut your own. Next time I'm in Paris I'll try the tasting menu in the evening. The Troisgros meal was fantastic, but in a way this seems to me more a reflection of what I want from French restaurant food.

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Thank you Alex for adding your impressions of Le Villaret. Our meals sound very similar. I believe you are right about the seiche. This really is very good simple French food.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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One of the things I was hoping to do in Paris was a grand chocolate tour and comparison. While I tried as much as I could, I couldn't come at all close to doing what I wanted. This was due to a combination of not enough time, not enough stomach and two too little legs. The only drawback of having our 6y/o for this trip was that we were unable to walk as much as we would have liked, as he had a hard time keeping up. As such this limited how much ground we could cover. Nevertheless we managed to sample a variety of items from places such as J.P. Hevin (chocolate, various chocolate desserts and macaroons), Pierre Herme (Ms. Gla-Gla's and a fabulous chocolate cake), Berthillon (disappointing this time - the fraise de bois was lacking texturally - I suspect that it wasn't particularly fresh), Gerard Mulot (not enough chocolate in the pain au chocolat) and Delicabar (desserts better than lunch, although that wasn't bad). Pierre Marcolini wasn'y yet open the several times we walked past. We simply couldn't get to the rest or were just too full if in the area (e.g. Laduree).

The cheese we bought from Marie-Ann Cantin was superb. Talk about a kid in a candy store. That is a beautiful shop. We bought a St. Marcellin, an epoisse, an artisanal roquefort, brie and a couple other goat cheeses. all were excellent. Of note when I went to pick up a cheese, the attendant stopped me, felt it and then selected another.

Othe cheeses supplied by John Talbott were equally delicious. Unfortunately, I am not sure where they were from. Bread from Max Poilane was also excellent.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Othe cheeses supplied by John Talbott were equally delicious. Unfortunately, I am not sure where they were from. Bread from Max Poilane was also excellent.

Poilane and 3 cheeses from Alain Quatrehomme, 9, rue du Poteau in the 18th, the website incorrectly still gives ownership to Sté Cyril; fresh goat from the bio Naturale shop a bit north-east on the Rue du Poteau.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Othe cheeses supplied by John Talbott were equally delicious. Unfortunately, I am not sure where they were from. Bread from Max Poilane was also excellent.

Poilane and 3 cheeses from Alain Quatrehomme, 9, rue du Poteau in the 18th, the website incorrectly still gives ownership to Sté Cyril; fresh goat from the bio Naturale shop a bit north-east on the Rue du Poteau.

Thanks, again!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Bread from Max Poilane was also excellent.

Poilane...mmmmmmmmmmmm...

:::swoon:::

:smile:

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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We had dinner at Le Villaret on our last night in Paris. It was an easy walk from our apartment. It is a lovely neighborhood restaurant with excellent food. We had an amuse bouche of a lobster soup that was lip-smackingly delicious. My 6y/o had a mussel soup for his dinner that he enjoyed very much (and so did I) :wink: For entrees my wife had a squid dish which she liked very much, while I had stuffed zucchini blossoms that surprisingly were relatively bland. Our two eldest sons had steaks for dinner. My wife had a grilled tuna and I had duck with green pommes puree. The duck wass excellent. My six y/o enjoyed it so much I could hardly get a bite in edgewise! I guess turnabout is fair play. We drank a nice simple burgundy. This was a nice way to end our lovely sojourn in Paris.

I had a lunch at Villaret this Tuesday, at the end of a very nice week all over France which also included a meal at Troisgros I'll post about shortly. I think it really is a very good restaurant and the lunch prix-fixe a  utter steal. Also had a cold shellfish soup for the amuse, perfectly concentrated but still light. I had the seiche (cuttlefish rather than squid I think) salad and my friend a veal tounge salad as entrees. Both lovely, traditional bistro ingredients in clean, modern, interpretations. I had a wonderful gallette of pieds aux porc with ceps, the cake crisp on the outside and full of rich, gelatinous trotter flesh on the in... Lovely, and sitting on a big mound of excellent mushrooms. The mushroom components of the meal were strong in general, my friend's tuna, as exccedingly bleu as she'd asked for, was with some great trompettes d'mort. cheese to follow was fine, excellent condition if not extremely exciting, and I love that they leave the little cabinet for you to choose and cut your own. Next time I'm in Paris I'll try the tasting menu in the evening. The Troisgros meal was fantastic, but in a way this seems to me more a reflection of what I want from French restaurant food.

Told ya! :wink:

eGullet member #80.

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