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Paris, 3 nights and the retreat from Pata Negra

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Paris, 3 nights and the retreat from Pata Negra

Ivan Stoler | Jan 27, 2004 04:57 PM

Just came back from 3 nights in Paris and 3 nights in Hannover, Germany. Absolutely nothing to report from Hannover. Not even anything bad, which I suppose in a perverse way is good. Any way, my first afternoon in Paris I went to the food hall @ Galeries Lafayette. There I was strolling around and soaking up the love when I came upon my nemesis. The Bellota-Bellota bar. BB is a restaurant in the 7th that specializes in Spanish food and Jamon. I had smelled the beautiful aroma of Jamon from a distance but assumed that it was a Corsican stand but no! So I gingerly walk up to the bar, look at the menu, walk around it 3-4 times, scoping out the Jamon, yep it's the real deal, Pata Negra. MMMM, A plate of Pata Negra was 25 Euros! I quivered, I started to sweat, so I did the only sensible thing that I could do. I ran out of the place w/my brain screaming at me to stop. But..I had some self control for once in my life. After all, I'm in Paris, so why not eat local?
My 1st night I ate @ Rotisserie En Face. I had emailed them twice for a reservation and got no response. When I called that afternoon they told me they had a table for me. MMM, I though the idea of mail was to respond. Anyway, since it had been raining I decided I needed some warming food. Started w/a bowl of consomme, ok nothing special. Then had a daube of wild boar, nice dish but not super. Also had a 1/2 bottle of a Saumur Champigny. I finished dinner w/an 18 year old Camut Calvados. Much better than my previous tastings of the Camut products. Nice help, in fact the Chef (not sure if it was J Cagna) did his rounds and called me a poor bachelor for eating alone! He told me that I must get a woman to eat with. How's that for Gallic warmth? They love us, they relaly love us! Tuesdays dinner was at la Biche au Bois in the 5th. Lovely little place,(recommended on a recnt CH post, thanks to the poster) tight tables, specializes in game. I had the menu for 35 euros, started w/a pate of vension (my memory is starting to fade on some details)on lettuce w/mustard vinagarette sauce. Lovely. Then slices of roasted deer leg w/a pepper sauce. Perfectly cooked, pink, nice n' tasty. Also, had a carafe of the house wine, decent stuff. Very warm and friendly help. Since I didn't have the cheese course (lactose issues), they took it off the bill.
Next days lunch was a choice between Au Petit Marguery or Brasserie Marty. Went to Marty, nicer and way different decor from most of the brasseries I've been to. Had the 36 euro menu for lunch, started w/a tartar of dorade, very tasty and then a dish which I think turned out to be rabbit, civet (no sars here), pieces of meat in a mashed potato base, ok but not my thing, but I had to try it. Dinner was at l'auberge bressane in the 7th. I've walked by this place for many a year and it looks just like what a stereotypical auberge should be. Heard nothing 'bout it so gambled and lost. No set menu at dinner so started w/the sauscison de Lyon which was nice 'n trad. Then I had their Coq au vin. Well, it looked like the type of place where it would be good, especially as the menu said the real coq au Vin. The Coq lived up to its name, it was a tough old rooster, all dried out. After that , I didn't want to have dessert, but the table next to me had a souffle that looked great (w/the Grand Marnier flambeau procedure etc) and a killer looking chocolate tarte. Also had a nice little lunch at Cuisine de Bar, 2 shops away from Polaine bakery on Cherche Midi. This is the place Lionel opened to prove you can really can have good sandwiches. Point proved. 11 euro menu gets you a nice salad, main dish (great jamon sandwich on Polaine bread 'natch)and a glass of wine. Also, splurged on an apple tarte (6 euros), man oh man, was that tarte great!
Also went to Poujauran bakery had some great Canneles. The best I ever had and a nice croissant.
Stopped by the Lavinia wine shop off Madeline, mainly just to look as it's the newish kid in town. Went looking for Calvados, What a selection! Camut, Grout, Huard, Huet, 2 differnet Duponts (family split?), 18, 25, 30, 40, 50 year old, millissiemes up the wazoo. Didn't splurge but actually got a good deal on a 87 Huard for about 50 US, at home it'll run from $69 and up. I did notice that Fauchon impreved their selction of Calva + other liquors. Maybe the competition helps. Auge had the usual good selection as did Verger Madeleine. Only wish the dolar was worth somethign besides toilet paper this trip. Oh well...

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