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Fabulous meal in Beaune, etc.

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Fabulous meal in Beaune, etc.

Ellen | Sep 26, 2003 12:09 PM

I just returned from a week Bourgogne and a few days in Paris. My traveling companion was not quite as enthusiastic as I was to spend the $$ so we were limited to a couple of one stars while we were there. While it is certainly possible to spend a lot of money at these restaurants we ate very well for the price of an average dinner in the states. This was my first trip to France and I will surely return for a few more stars.

We rented the St Louis, a wonderful 30 meter luxury barge with a full kitchen and a genial Captain Francois to move us about and recommend the best local butchers, patisseries, wineries, etc. We prepared and ate many wonderful meals of local specialties and fresh produce on board -- we didn't opt for the full service barge so we had to fend for ourselves in this regard.

Le Jardin des Remparts, 10, rue Hotel Dieu, 21200 Beaune, Phone: 03.80.24.79.41, is a one star restaurant that was the best meal we had in Bourgogne. The food was excellent and we dined in their beautiful courtyard on a perfect late summer day. I opted for the four course prix fixe for fourty euros (they have 30, 45 and 75 euro choices) with lovely amuse bouches of tomato foam layered on a (veal?) gelatin as well as a wild mushroom soup. Both were divine. The entree was an escargot parsley terrine in a cream sauce. The main course was veal kidneys in a wild mushroom cream sauce with bacon. This was a stunningly rich (especially following the escargot but I can be a little piggy can't I?) and rustic dish and my first try at kidneys. (I figured if I didn't like them in France I won't like them anywhere.) It was a great dish. The cheese course was fabulous of course, and I'm only beginning to appreciate that aspect of the full dining experience, although I've always been a cheese hound and having access to those wonderful cheeses as fresh and perfectly ripened as they were was really a treat. For dessert, for which I needed the funnel they use to stuff the geese, I had the chocolate gateau with a perfectly melting chocolate center. I don't know if that dessert was invented here but it sure tasted like it. I was so focused on my meal that although I know my friend loved her meal, which included bream in a tarragon sauce (she had the 3 course 30 euro pf), I was pretty much focused on mine. The wine list was broad enough to allow us to select from several reasonably priced good selections to complement our meal. The restaurant inside is also very handsome. For less than $130 Euros for two, I think this was the bargain meal of all time.

We also enjoyed a dinner at the 1 star Chapeau Rouge in Dijon. I don't recall the details but I had a fabulous fois gras entree and my friend raved about her lobster and shrimp. We both enjoyed the main course of local fish and my vanilla creme brulee was perfect. The prix fixe option we chose here was a also great deal for very good food in a smart setting (about 40 euros) -- although Ramparts was the better restaurant. Again, we spent around $130.

We also visited the Tuesday market in Dijon, which combined fleas, antiques, great produce, cheese, bread, meats, etc. The problem was figuring out what not to buy. We found a great new little cafe that specialized in moules et frites away from the market and the hustle and bustle of central Dijon just across from what I believe was the police station. We spent 15 euros each for a 1 kg serving of small very fresh mussels and very good frites -- I had them in a saffron sauce, she had curry -- plus a half liter of ale each. We were very happy (and stuffed) with that find too.

Link: http://www.burgundy-canal.com/index.html

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