Thursday, June 25, 2009

France - Perfect Goat Cheese

Tomorrow's Cheese Today

My wife and I recently stayed a couple of days with American friends who have a magnificent manoir about an hour west of Paris, near Dreux. One of the highlights of our stay was a visit to a nearby chèvrerie (goat farm), Bois du Louviers, in Marsauceux. All is open, and one can observe the happy goats as they chow down and make the milk that will become tomorrow's chèvre frais and subsequent days' crottins, pyramides, trèfles (four-leaf clover shape), tomes, etc.

Today's Cheese Today

At the small shop, the final products are for sale, and they are the best I have ever had, particularly the chèvre frais (mixed with fresh chives from our friends' garden) and the lightly ash-covered trèfle. You can do almost as well in Paris at a really fine fromagerie, or at a good open-air market, but there's something about seeing and buying it at the farm that makes the taste seem better.

Bobby Jay

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paris -- Restaurants Revisited

Accompanied by my wife, I have had recently been able to revisit a number of restaurants that I have written up in the past. You can find my earlier descriptions, together with addresses and phone numbers, by clicking on the topic "Paris" or "Restaurants" at right.

Beaujolais d'Auteil and its pissaladière with escargots.

We went to Beaujolais d'Auteil with four friends, and can report, now based on a bigger sampling of their offerings, that this remains an excellent bistro and a great value (30-euro menu). The food is delicious and attractively presented in a classic bistro. We enjoyed this place so much that we returned twice during our stay, working our way through a good part of the menu.

We returned to Rôtisserie du Beaujolais, which we felt had been falling off a bit, and found it had returned to its former luster. Our favorite confit de canard aux pommes sarladaises was not on the summer menu, but a roast duck for two was fantastic. The girolle salad was excellent, as was my wife's pigeon rôti.

Le Hide: St-Pierre with Risotto and Feuilleté au Chocolat.

Another restaurant that really stood up was Le Hide, which purports to serve classical French food but really has modern interpretations of French favorites. We both had fish -- bar over smashed potatoes for my wife and St-Pierre over saffron risotto for me -- and were more than satisfied. We also loved our shared dessert of feuilleté with very dark chocolate mousse and chocolate ice cream. At 22 euros for a two-course menu and 29 for a three-course, this remains one of the best buys in Paris.


I finally was able to introduce my wife to Kunitoraya, an udon restaurant near the Opéra. This is a branch of a restaurant in Shikoku, known throughout Japan for its udon, and would be an excellent find even in Tokyo. I had cold noodles with a rare natto (fermented soy bean) sauce; my wife had hot noodles with tempura. We returned later in our stay for cold tempura udon (tenzaru), and it, too, was superb.

We also went to Timgad, a Moroccan restaurant in a well-to-do neighborhood in the 17th, with friends who didn't know Moroccan food. As good as ever and a big hit with our friends. Timgad is expensive for a Moroccan restaurant.

With a foodie friend, I finally introduced my wife to Au Trouquet, an inexpensive, family-run bistro in the 15th that serves Basque food. The food was delicious, but it was hot and not air conditioned. Definitely worth visiting, but not on a hot summer's night.

Finally, we went to Accolade, which I had visited a few times on my own. While my meal was really excellent, my wife's was only good. Still, it's a pleasant, inexpensive place and I would try it again.

Bobby Jay

Paris -- Food Isn't Everything . . .

. . . at Paris food markets. Look at these magnificent roses and peonies, available last Saturday at the wonderful open air market on the Avenue de Président Wilson, between Place de l'Alma and Place de Iéna.

Bobby Jay