Monday, August 4, 2008

August stinks: Pain, Vin, Fromage

Missed out on what seems to be another must-eat. Ah well--gives us a reason to come back.

Posted by ShoZu

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Les Philosophes (3/3)

Foie Gras, the consolation prize. (See my below tantrum)

Les Philosophes (2/3)

A watermelon, blender, and a handful of spices walk into a bar. Bartender says, "You three think you're so cool, don't you?"

Watermelon soup. Chilled. Oh. Yes.

Les Philosophes (1/3)

Salade des utopistes: goat cheese, avocado, beets, tastiness.

I'd list other ingredients but they change every time. Which, I guess, is a good thing, proof that Les Philosophes is somehow responding to the availability of fresh local ingredients.

I should also mention that we did not actually eat at Les Philosophes and have not eaten on their premises yet this trip. We go to the wine bar owned by the same company, order a bottle, and hunker down in the back room , ordering food at our whim. We're so very noble (as in regal, not kind). :)








Did some research on Paris' best foie gras and I think I found it. Unfortunately (or rather tragically, devastatingly, and cosmically unjustly), it is closed until September 2nd for the holidays. Well, I will write the name here so I remember it for next year: L'Ambassade du Sud-Ouest.


Lizard Lounge Brunch

The vegetarian breakfast...with a side of sausage! ;)

Posted by ShoZu

Une Pita Grec on @ Rue de la Huchette

So I've just set up SHOZU on my new iPhone which I'm hoping will increase the frequency of my blogging as I can now take a picture at a restaurant (or in my own kitchen) and have it posted immediately to this blog which a title and description. While I certainly won't have the luxury to fully indulge my writerly aspirations using the phone's on-screen keyboard, I can in the very least get a pretty photo posted with a brief description and add more later if I see fit.

And I see fit: the above pita was darn tasty. Crunch schwarma-style meat (probably a blend of lamb and turkey), a tzatziki sauce that wasn't too sweet, crisp lettuce, and well-cooked, nicely salted french fries to sop up all the juices. Washed it all down with une Fanta Citron and I was a happy. Rotund and happy. Later walked down to Ille St. Louis to see if I wanted a scoop of Berthillon icecream. I did. Quite an internal battle between the forces of good ("Try something new, like the Spiced Bread flavor."), the forces of evil ("You know you love the Caramel Butter Salt flavor...just get it!"), and the forces of very evil ("Order the Whiskey Chocolate flavor and you'll get your nightcap in at the same time!"). Good won.

Today K & I return to the Lizard Lounge's ex-pat brunch and have very exciting dinner plans. More later.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Parlez vous neerlandais?

K and I haven't been very adventurous these last few couple of weeks in Paris. Which is not to say we haven't been eating very well—we have!—but we really haven't visited any place that I haven't already rounded up in previous entries on this fair city. One nice discovery, on Rue de Turenne 95, just a couple blocks from our apartment (after two nice visits in rental flats, we are finally back in the adorable apartment K's family owns), is Le Bistrot. It's a dive to be sure, but I'm not sure one can actually get more food for one's money than the 8 euro giganto-salads they sell there. Our waiter would have seemed downright hostile if he wasn't so darn amusing in his desire to stop serving us, but when dinner for three comes out to 30 euros (including beer and wine!), it's hard to complain. I ordered the Nicoise and though the waiter mocked me a bit when I asked for extra anchovies, he made sure the kitchen heaped them on and I was happily able to spear a little fishy with each forkful. K's salad featured crab, avocado, and grapefruit which is always a dandy combo.

K was a bit grudging about our trip to Amsterdam; I understand: who wants to leave Paris…ever. I tried to prepare a nice culinary itinerary to ease the transitional trauma and I think we did pretty well:

While I wanted the first of our four meals to be the Ostrich with Truffles at De Koe, I discovered with tremendous sorrow that the café, legendary with the locals, is closed for lunch. We wandered over to Wagamama, confident we would find a nice restorative meal after our 4-hour train trek. There's very little difference between the A'dam and London branches except there are some local specials and you pay in euros instead of pounds which certainly does make the whole experience go down a bit more smoothly. K sampled one of their large soup bowls, filled to the brim with prawns, tofu, vegetables, and the fish of the day, and I had a grilled Butterfish salad over rocket (with watermelon and chiles, now up there with prosciutto & melon as one of my fave flaves!). We both found it strange that "rocket" hasn't caught on in the States, that is until I just googled around and found that it is, in fact, "arugula."

Evening found us at Van Dobben, a broodje shop (broodje are basically sandwiches on buttered white bread) which is so famous here that the street it's on bears its name. This is another local joint and they don't have an English menu posted. I asked the young man behind the counter if he could prepare us a couple of the most popular choice. He served up broodje kroket, a delicious concoction that can best be described as deep-fried beef stew on a bun. In addition to the yellow mustard on the table, there was some unidentified condiment which K swears was molasses-derived. I don't care what it was made from: I could have doused it on my hand and devoured myself. Three minutes later we had finished our dishes and I asked to try a roast beef, so rare it was nearly tartar (YUM!), and smoked eel (tastes like divinely UN-greasy mild lox and textured like a white fish filet with a bit more structure). Getting greedy now, we had barely devoured these broodjes before I was up at the counter again, asking to try a salt beef & liver combo, as well as a tomato, egg, and mayonnaise open faced broodje [see inset pictures]. I think by that point I was too stuffed to enjoy them or anything else…until 7 minutes later, when K and I walked into a nearby Haagen Dazs to chase the meat away with other saturated animal fats.

The next day we took a lovely canal walk up Prinsengracht for our third trip to the Pancake Bakery. You can read my earlier review of the always reliable pancake house. This time I had the banana/bacon pancake and K had the "Greek" (lamb, feta, olives, etc). Both were fantastic, though I think mine won out in the end as it could satisfy both the sweet and the savory. Another random highlight: the waitress, who we'd already heard speak English, French, and Dutch (like nearly every other A'dammer), also whipped out a mighty fine Italian when explaining the kids' menu to an eager and sophisticated 5-year old boy.

For our last meal, we took in an early dinner of the Netherlands' national cuisine: Indonesian. Having tried out the top-shelf rijsstafel at the swanky Indrapura, we were eager to sample a version which might not mock the weakness of our greenbacks. I read some great reviews of Café Bojo and while it clearly was no match for the delicacy of its more bank-breaking brethren, we certainly ate a tremendous amount of food for 22 euros. The longtong rames (chewy rice cakes in center of inset image) and the fried coconut were nice treats, as were the refreshing pickled vegetables in the uncharacteristically hot weather.

At the train station only a few minutes after paying our bill, I debated grabbing a kroket to go from one of the FEBO automats, but K talked me into getting a much more reasonable Mango & Passion Fruit Shake (more like a thick juice with fruit chunks). Four hours later we were back in Paris and I was eating a salmon burger on Rue Bretagne (though I was kicking myself for passing on the café's specialty: horse steak).

We have a week left in Paris and then back to London for a day en route to NYC. I'm currently on a hunt for the city's best fois gras. Any advice?