26 May 2007

GOÛT: Highlights of Parisian Food

Oh wow. Normally French food is not especially my favorite, but after eating richly for a week, I have many positive things to say about the topic.

So the week started off with the aforementioned pizza Marais. Then came a rapid sucession of entrecôte, cod au gratin, entrecôte with a walnut and shallot sauce (!), duck confit, some rather craptastic ravioli, an Algerian feast, the lack of a table at Chez Robert et Louise and therefore more pizza Marais.

What follows are some visual highlights, unfortunately smelloscreens and replicators have not been invented yet.

Above is what changed my view of eggplant. It is kind of like what Dad makes in winter, except that his is a lot tastier. Still, this is the eggplant that was effectively carmelized.

This was perhaps the best "Italian" food I ate in Paris. Note the pattern of eggplant consumption. I remember a guy I knew in Rome who used to say "a day without pasta is a day without life." I add the caveat of eggplant; the Eggplant Corollary, perhaps?

This was the salad for the not-very-good ravioli. Note the capers.

This was some apple tart. The more interesting thing is the mildly suggestive iconography on the spoon.

Ohhhh the Algerian feast. This happened al fresco on a terrace on the 9th floor of a building in Vincennes, with the Château, the Bois, a rather notable monkey habitat, the entire city of Paris, and the Eiffel Tower all within view. On top of the bed of couscous was lamb and beef meatballs, artichokes, and peas. For the first plate, we had exceptionally fresh tabouli. For dessert, sweet mint tea and amazing little cakelets of fig, cake, honey and rosewater. It was stunning. Afterwards, I talked a bit to the woman who made it about her process, as much as I could ask from my very patient Dutch French to English translators, which resulted in an entirely new perspective on artichokes.

Last night was rather adventurous. Last Monday night, we went to Chez Robert et Louise, and it was closed. Then, a few nights back, some of us went out and had some quite exceptional draft Edelweiss beer. So, the natural thing to do on our last night in Paris was to try to go to Robert et Louise and then have some of this exceptionally fresh beer. When we walked into Robert et Louise, they kind of laughed us out because we were sans reservation. So we went to the bar in the next block for some Edelweiss, and while there, decided to go and try to get a reservation for later in the evening. I went back, by this time having established rapport with the guy. He told me to go to a certain bar and wait for a call at 8:45, which never came. So at 9, we had the possibility of waiting, or sitting at the bar, and at that point, we were not really in the mood for sitting at the bar, so we went and got pizza instead. However. On my next trip to Paris, I will most certainly call and make a reservation and eat at this restaurant, because it seemed absolutely amazing, and it is a definite hole in the wall sort of place where you just get the special and deal.

I just ate this today for lunch. It was a little ham quiche, which in and of itself is good, except that this one was almost overflowing with large amounts of delicious pork fat! It was sooo good.

In between the quiche and dinner, I had Berthillon ice cream on the Ile Saint-Louis that was exceptionally impressive. The flavors I paired were caramel and nougat, which did compliment each other well.

So, all of the amazing food this week was not more than 20euro per meal. Usually we would get the prix fixe menu, which always worked out well. Still, after this week, I am rather doomed to supermarket food for the rest of the trip. It was well worth it.

This evening, while returning to the internet place I'm using, I noticed a place that said "Quality Hamburger Restaurant." This was intriguing, especially because of the ubiquitous and unmentionable competitor across the street.

The result? A Sandwich Club Poulet avec Sauce Provençale, Frites Rustiches, and The Peche. Not bad for French fast food, and it sounds just as exciting as some of what I described above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ancora, una bell'avventura per la maria--ma non credo che tu non abbia mai mangiato le cozze prima d'oggi!
cordiali saluti....bill l.