Paris – 11/26/16 – Dersou

Dersou has a vibe that can only be described as ‘hip’ even though I hate that term.  The space is minimal, industrial and casual.  The only choice is among a 5, 6 or 7 course menu although everybody I could see seemed to be doing 7.  Each includes a cocktail pairing per course.    The cocktails were all successful and in smaller portions that worked for this format.  I have recommended Dersou multiple times since this visit to friends who I thought would have fun here.  I’m sure the format isn’t for everyone but I loved it.



Paris – 11/25/16 – Pages and La Bourse et La Vie

Pages
I had an absolutely lovely lunch at Pages.  In retrospect I am not sure i would have enjoyed it so much at dinner.  It has nothing to do with the restaurant itself, but most people seemed to be out to business lunches and so for me it truly felt like a vacation day.  As is too typical I did not take notes but everything was delicious and I always love having a view of the kitchen.




La Bourse et La Vie
It seems that Daniel Rose can do no wrong. As expected truly excellent versions of dishes that I love and could eat meal after meal.

Leeks and hazelnuts

Steak, fries and salad

Paris – 11/24/16 – L’Assiette and L’Arpege

L’Assiette
L’Assiette is exactly what you expect a French bistro to be. This was a perfect lunch although I did eat my body weight in beans.

L’Arpege
I have been trying to reconcile my experience at L’Arpege with some of the less than stellar reviews and think perhaps I just had more realistic expectations.  Just looking at my photos you can tell that there is no crazy plating, modern technique, nothing that is not what it appears to be.  If anything this is 3 star version of comfort food.  So if you come in expecting something different you will likely be disappointed.  Not that such assumption is not warranted by starts and rankings.  What makes Arpege is personality.  It is a dinner party and there is so much energy in the room it is difficult to not have fun if you give in to it.  Before I even sat down Alain Passard kissed me on both cheeks, complimented my dress, and whispered “I am going to cook for you tonight.”  It was impossible not to be completely smitten and subsequently ignore the flaws.  For me this was an absolute perfect Thanksgiving dinner.












Paris – 11/23/16 – Clown Bar and Yam’Tcha

Clown Bar
I did not have a reservation for Clown Bar so went at opening hoping for the best.  It turned out that I was the only person there and due to a maintenance issue they would be opening late.  So I sat down with a book and a glass of wine and tried to acclimate to the slower pace.  If I lived in the neighborhood this is a place that I would visit as much as possible and it was the perfect start to the trip.

*For dinner reservations call just prior to lunch service at noon.

Yam’Tcha
It is the one I was most excited to visit and if I could only return to one place in Paris from this trip, Yam’Tcha would be it.  There is no way that I can describe it better in words than the Chef’s Table episode did so I am not even going to try.  If you can, go.



Bordeaux – 10/28/16 – Chateau Cordeillan-Bages

A somewhat last minute lunch in an absolutely beautiful setting on a gorgeous day.  This was one of the sometimes rare moments when you realize that life is very good.  I loved the contrast in textures in many of the courses, especially the foie and the lobster.  The cheese cart was as lovely as can be expected.  And the mignardise cart was amazing.  All of the caneles please!

Amuse

Butter selection


Monkfish carpaccio, tartare of Medoc oysters and Aquitaine caviar

Warm foie gras in a cereal crust and fig sorbet

Toasted seaweed bread and thinly sliced cuttlefish, roasted sesame seeds broth

Blue lobster roasted with oregano butter, vegetable risotto and coral emulsion

Squab fillet, spiced bouillon, baby vegetables


Cheese!


Pre-dessert

Confit pear with hot chocolate foam, yuzu and hazelnut

Chocolate and cannele