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

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.

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.

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!


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



Confit pear with hot chocolate foam, yuzu and hazelnut

Chocolate and cannele