Reims VS Paris

December 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

All of HG/BSK’s French dining has been done in Paris during numerous visits beginning in 1967. Still love eating there though prices keep moving upwards, good brasseries have virtually disappeared and homey bistros are becoming a rarity. After spending a week dining in Reims and its immediate vicinity, HG has come to a number of conclusions, some surprising. The oysters at Boulingrin (two visits) and Le Bocal (one visit) are better than any oysters HG has ever slurped (BSK agrees). Proximity to Normandy and other oyster regions? Le Bocal is better (and much cheaper) than any seafood restaurant in Paris. Anna-S is as good as most of the new cutting edge bistros in Paris (most helmed by young Japanese chefs). Some Reims dishes are outshone by their Paris counterparts. Rare roast duck breast at Le Madelon is far inferior to the version served by Chez Georges in Paris. Boulingrin’s skate with capers doesn’t compare to the version served by Rech in Paris. Oddly, cheese in Reims is not great. In one restaurant HG had to send back a round of St. Marcellin. Ice cold and as hard as a hockey puck. A camembert bought at a cheese shop disappointed. The bread and rolls served in Reims restaurants are very good, better than Paris. HG has never had a great choucroute in Paris. The choucroute (a huge, lavish affair HG spied at a neighboring table at Boulingrin) looked like a class act. Will have it if good fortune brings HG back to Reims. If you did not have enough reasons already to want to visit Reims, then here is another: champagne. Reims is in the heart of champagne country and cafes and restaurants offer a staggering array of bubbly ambrosia, many from small local vineyards which one will never see in the US. Lots of splendid bottles priced at 30 Euros. HG/BSK drank some very good champagne for 7 Euros a glass (a very generous pour) in a charming cafe. A pleasant cocktail hour.


Eating Classics at Home

October 31st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Some 35 years ago, HG/BSK were ambling about the right bank of Paris near the Place de Victoires when they were seized with midday hunger. They entered a likely bistro, Chez Georges. Very plain spoken. Motherly waitresses. Lots of mirrors. An old fashioned, down home place filled with delicious aromas and absolutely jam packed with happy Parisians. HG/BSK had no reservation but the boss made us welcome: He installed us near a corner of the serving bar and poured some glasses of excellent Brouilly. Five minutes later, HG/BSK were seated and happily devouring a Salad Frisee. First time ever. A lush salad of crisp frisee with plenty of lardons (crisp bits of fried salt pork) and topped with a runny poached egg. An oil/vinegar/mustard dressing. Oh, my. Chez Georges is still in business serving bistro classics. Unchanged (though under new ownership). Prices, of course, have quadrupled. BSK reproduced this salad for dinner last night. Substituted good bacon for the salt pork. The salad was better than Chez Georges. Maybe it was the freshness of the greens. Maybe it was the perfection of the poached egg. BSK followed this with another classic, not from Paris but from Rhode Island: Squid with spicy vinegar peppers and garlic. HG first ate it at Hemenway’s in Providence. Hemeway’s version features breaded, deep-fried squid. BSK just gives the squid a quick saute in a super hot pan. BSK’s version is better and lighter. HG is a very fortunate fellow.

Frisee aux Lardons 212 - Version 2

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