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France Trip Report

Our trip report, piece by piece


Restaurants & Bars 105

Our trip report, piece by piece

j.jessica.lee | Apr 17, 2013 02:06 PM

Hello from Paris!

We are in the middle of our trip, but I just wanted to post as I go, so I don't get overwhelmed with posting at the end and also so I don't forget details.

It's been a wonderful trip so far. Our first day, we got in to our hotel around 1:30, so after cleaning up, we headed to CUISINE DE BAR for a little snack before our dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean. We split the lunch formule which included a fresh and light vegetable puree soup, the anchovy tartine, and a glass of wine. It was light, flavorful, and the perfect way to tide ourselves over until dinner. We walked over to HUGO & VICTOR and got a chocolate cake for later. It had tonka beans on top as well. It was okay, but we didn't really love it. The interior of the store was sleek and expensive, the pastries on display like jewels and relics, and the service was quite lovely. I would certainly try other things there, but am not rushing back at the moment, given the huge plethora of other things to try. Dinner was at CHEZ L'AMI JEAN. We were the second couple to arrive, as I figured we wouldn't want to be out too late on our first night. As we weren't very hungry, we decided to split the roasted foie gras in a parmesan espuma with hazelnuts and the grilled beef for one (I remembered the cote de coeuf I had last time which was supposedly for two, but could have fed four easily), that came with the most divine white asparagus, cubes of bone marrow, and their rich potato puree. Our first waiter was quite annoyed at us for our order and didn't hide it, but everyone else, especially the sommelier, was perfectly pleasant and helpful. The food was spot on, the foie was at once decadent and rich, but at the same time, fresh and agile. The beef was just perfectly cooked. Wonderful sear on the outside, beautifully red and tender on the inside. The asparagus were fabulous. I've ordered anything with asparagus in it since that evening, and that was the best so far, nothing has approached it. It really was the perfect amount of food, especially considering that we ordered the riz au lait, which has had its share of attention here and elsewhere, all of it well-deserved. Wonderful dinner, and probably one of the best meals so far on the trip.

The next day, we started off the day with a pain au chocolat and chausson citron from DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN. We went across the street to the cafe to have our pastries with coffee. Textbook perfect pain au chocolat, perhaps one of my favorites of all time. THe chausson was also great. Everything was flaky, flavorful, wonderful. Exactly what I want in a pastry.

After walking around for a while, we ended up at BREIZH CAFE, as this was a Sunday, and split a galette with chorizo, asparagus, tomatoes, egg, and cheese. It was very good, but I think I preferred the galettes at Pot O Lait. Ah well, it served us just fine for a Sunday. We stopped by Pain de Sucre and got the millefeuille, and I must say, it is the best pre-assembled millefeuille I've ever had. The pastry was amazingly flaky, the cream chock full of vanilla flavor and specks, and the cream somehow didn't ooze out of the layers. Later that evening, we went to LE MARY CELESTE for the tail-end of their one Euro oyster happy hour and dinner. We had four great oysters, four wonderful glasses of wine, and three small plates to share. We had the veal tongue Chinese crepes, an endive salad (which was too sweet in my opinion), grilled cabbage with another slightly too sweet sauce, and a wonderful plate of deviled eggs with ginger and scallions. All in all, it was a fun time, pretty good food, and friendly (though very harried) service. The crackers they give you with your meal are seriously addictive. Covered in sesame seeds and fennel seeds, I suspect they may be fried. I don't care. They are so good....

The next day, we started the day again at DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN with another pain au chocolat, a plain croissant, a kouglof, and a mango caramel Saint Honore. The croissant was perfect. The kouglof was good, and grew on us as we had it. Fluffy, light, crunchy sugar, very nice. The SH was intensely flavorful, especially the mango cream, and was very nice, though I would want to try something else next time. We followed with lunch at L'ARPEGE. Very minimalist room, nice, but not overly gushing service (a la Le Cinq). We ordered two half bottles of Bourgogne with our meal. We began with the classic tartlets, the absolutely addictive house made sourdough bread, and Bordier butter. It was a beautiful meal. I think the standouts for me were the pumpkin soup with smoked speck chantilly, the four flavors of ravioli in carrot and black radish consommé, and the poulet Bresse. It was truly outstanding, although for people looking for a fancy, special occasion with ambiance, this might not be their place. The mignardises deserve a special mention, as I thought all of them were really excellent. This is certainly not the case everywhere. We had the famed apple tart in the shape of a rose (the least wonderful of all, surprisingly), a rosemary marshmallow, a fennel macaron, kiwi macaron (both were superbly executed), a mint white chocolate bonbon, a dark chocolate caramel bonbon, and a stunning honey nut nougat. We were pretty wiped out by the meal, however, and ended up just snacking late at night later, while watching a movie in our room. One of our snacks was a series of chocolates from Patrick Roger - lovely chocolates indeed. We also had a pot of yogurt by Bordier with a dollop of Christine Ferber Griottes d'Alsace avec Kirsch on top. Not too shabby, I'd say!

As I'd like to return to spending a little QT with my beloved, I'll stop for now and post more tomorrow.

All I can say is, thank you everyone so much for helping us have such a wonderful trip so far. It's been a whirlwind of wonder and magic. Even on my 6th or 7th trip to Paris, how incredible to experience it anew with a loved one even more magically than ever before.

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