Monday, 13 January 2014

La Ménagerie de Verre--a well-kept secret in the 11th arrondissement

During an appointment with my physical therapist, she told me about a new place that is cheap and innovative and delicious. It is not a restaurant but a small café-like space in what is a Dance Center with performances and classes. They serve lunch there during the week only. It is very cheap!

I was game to try it and so went today. I was amazed at the beauty of the dishes and creativity coming from the kitchen--all for a very low price. The menu changes daily and they serve lunch until they run out of food.

There are two choices for each course. I chose the Velouté de Butternut au piment d'Espelette. This is a wonderful thick squash soup with a hint of spice. It was a perfect beginning on a cold day.

The main course was wonderful: Filet de Poulet au gratin de chou-fleur au conté. The chicken was prime white meat, delicately sautéed and served with a beautiful green salad and served with cauliflower that had been gratinéed with conté.

The other appetizer was a mackerel tartare. The vegetarian main course was a tatin d'oignons.

I was too full for dessert which was poire pochée au chocolat blanc et aux baies roses. There was another dessert of fondant au chocolat à la crème, noix, fruits.

For two courses and coffee, I paid 13 euros!!! This is the equivalent of about $16 for what I would consider a gourmet lunch. With dessert you would add another 3,50 euros.

The canteen is right near my house and I can't wait to go back. It is at 12 rue Lechevin in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Soufflés of all types

One of the very first restaurants I ever went to in Paris was Le Soufflé right near the Place de la Concorde.

It is a classic restaurant and although you can get all sorts of dishes, the specialty is of course, le soufflé. Since they are just a preparation of eggs and a meat, fish or cheese or a dessert flavoring, they are not very expensive.

A soufflé lunch consists of two soufflés, a salad and a glass of wine for just 27 euros!

I recently went back there, craving soufflé au fromage. I wasn't disappointed. It was cheesey and airy. I must say I prefer my soufflés a bit more creamy--that is, cooked just a little less so that center becomes like a sauce. But nevertheless, this rendition was very good.

The mixed green salad with a creamy vinaigrette was also fresh and well seasoned.

With the soufflé, I chose a Brouilly from the Val de la Loire. It was a perfect match.

Dessert was a rich chocolate soufflé with a chocolate sauce and crème chantilly. This was not only beautiful but delicious. Nevertheless, my only criticism is that I like my soufflés creamier.

This restaurant has been open for years and years and is a wonderful secret on a quiet street right in the center of a bustling historic area full of museums, shops and other restaurants. It rests on its firm reputation and is always full. The restaurant is on rue du Mont Thabor in the 1st arrondissement.

Pizza on the UWS: Numero 28

I discovered Numero 28 at its flagship restaurant in the Village, but the offshoots are all excellent. The one on Amsterdam and 92nd takes reservations, which is a great feature. I met my friends, Sophie and Mason there for my last dinner in NYC on this trip.

It is a simple meal but my favorite: pizza and red wine. What could be bad about it? Sophie and Mason chose the San Daniele which is a regular tomato and cheese pizza with prime prosciutto and arugala. It is delicious and one I will order the next time.

I got my usual D.O.C. which is the appelation of (in this case) pizza that includes the guidelines for the authentic Neapolitan pie. It has bufala mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil. It was excellent and authentic.

We all wanted some of the tartufo pizza which includes fresh mushrooms and truffle cream, so we ordered the 18" rendition. Spectacular!!

With our meal we had beers and glasses of Montepulciano di Abruzzo rosso.

I adore pizza and this place was excellent. It was great that we didn't have to stand on line for a table especially on a cold winter evening.

Another Successful Lunch at Red Farm, UWS, NYC

I met Chris for lunch before I was to fly back home to Paris. We chose Red Farm, which I wrote about last October. Once again, the lunch was stellar.

To start with, we had tiny Bass-Avocado tarts which were a special that day.

They were crispy, savory and creamy with the fresh avocado. A good way to start a lovely meal.

This was followed by a spectacular Salad of Cold Sesame Noodles and Chicken. The cooked and cooled noodles formed a 1/2 dome covering a wonderful mixture of succulent chicken, blueberries, avocado and a sampling of different fresh vegetables. Beautiful to look at and wonderful to eat.

La Pièce de Résistance was the Long Life Noodles with Lobster. This was fabulous, if not a bit messy. We were served a whole cut up lobster that had been roasted in a spicy sauce and served over delicious noodles. There were lobster crackers of course, but a lot of the work was with our hands. The food was succulent and delicious and we couldn't get enough of it. A spectacular dish.

With the meal, we each had a glass of Chardonnay Dry Creek "Foggy Oaks" 2011.

By then, I had had enough, but Chris is always up for trying a bit of dessert. I let him choose and was not disappointed with the Ginger Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce.

The service is efficient, youthful and very helpful. Everyone knows the menu well and can gear you to the best dishes. I love this place.

OUEST on the Upper West Side

When I was in NY in December, it snowed three times in just one week! Andy, Jenny and I had big plans to go to the Village for dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city, but with the snow on the ground and the cold, we didn't feel like venturing very far so we chose, instead, to go to Ouest. It is a really excellent restaurant on Broadway and 84 St.

After drinks, we ordered an excellent Sangiovese Amaranta Rosso Toscana 2011 and had that with our superb meal.

There was a Raviolo with pumpkin and brown sage butter; Warm Barley and Kale Salad with mushroom, bacon and feta; House smoked Duck Breast with crispy egg, bitter greens and Parmesan. This was followed by our main courses: Crispy Duck Breast, Pine Nut stuffing, onions, honey nut jus;

Rack of Lamb, and sautéed spinach.

And finally, Mahi Mahi, white bean purée, shaved trumpet mushrooms, sage brown butter.

With the Mahi Mahi, Andy chose a glass of Chardonnay Au Bon Climat Sta Barbara 2011.

This restaurant is a jewel among the many excellent restaurants in this part of the city.

We were stuffed but had to sample one of their beautiful desserts to be shared among three:

Dense Chocolate Cake (of course) with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream