Paree Day Six (Part Two)

February 18th, 2011 § Comments Off on Paree Day Six (Part Two) § permalink

A stroll in the sun. Brief. Weather instantly reversed to pleasant violet-tinged gray. HG and BSK attended to late morning business and then off to late lunch at Chez Grenouille. Fabulous food. A gratin of escargots. Usually, ordering escargots is an excuse to convey a lot of butter and garlic to the mouth. Not at Grenouille. A score of escargots (no shells) in a reduced and fragrant wine sauce, covered with a chiffonade of herbs. Eggs with butter and cream baked briefly in a red cocotte. Slices of wild duck (rare) on a bed of tiny green lentils. The specialty of the house (possibly the best in Paris); Tete de Veau. Not an American favorite (but much loved by HG), this dish is a composite of all the tasty bits in a cow’s head –tongue, brains, cheeks, etc. At Grenouille, these perfectly cooked elements are combined with morels and enhanced by sauce gribiche. There was a big bowl of roast potatoes (flavored with flakes of Maldon sea salt) on the table. For dessert: A gently baked round of camembert with shavings of black truffle. The wine: St. Amour from the Beaujolais region. Perfect.

Movie night at the comfiest cinema in Paris—Pathe Wepler. Saw Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.” Flawed but remarkable movie making. Very memorable tsunami scenes. Bedtime snack of Irish smoked salmon, creme fraiche and Sancerre. Just another day at the office, Paris style.

Morning Thoughts: Paree Day Six

February 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Can it be? Oui!! Mon Dieu!! (end of extremely limited French). Sunshine. A Parisian rarity. A sunny February day. Lunch scheduled at Chez Grenouille (so good… had to go back…a report later). Shall HG and BSK stroll in the Luxembourg Gardens and admire the Zadkine sculptures? Or Place des Vosges? Or Canal St. Martin? Wine authority and journalist/author par excellence Peter Hellman suggests visit to food court at Galeries Lafayette department store for Spanish ham and other outstanding items. His word is HG’s command so a visit is scheduled for Saturday. Tonight is movie night: True Grit. Coen brothers are HG and BSK faves. Delights abound.

Perfect Paree: Day Four

February 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Paris excels in everything but plumbing. However, HG and BSK have lucked out with their Montmartre loft rental. A shower with great water pressure and an abundance of hot water. Other sanitary appliances are also first rate. This is not a Paris common place occurrence. So, after blazing showers, perusing recent e-mail, peeking into the Herald Tribune, HG and BSK went off on a long meandering walk of window shopping and architecture admiring culminating at their arrival at Chez Grenouille., a cozy bistro on Rue Blanche in the 9th Arondissement.

Reports on Chez Grenouille. a.k.a. The Frog, from the Paris critics were good but left HG and BSK unprepared for a knock your socks off, prize winner of a lunch. HG experienced cooking that had the lustiness of bistro cuisine and the creativity of Michelin-starred restaurants. BSK started with a bowl of scrambled eggs (BSK called them softly shirred eggs) infused with black truffle juice and topped with shavings of black truffle. BSK followed that with a roulade of suckling pig interwoven with slices of foie gras. BSK ended with espreso and a biscuit. HG started with a slice of tete de veau (head cheese) that transcended the genre. This can often be a rubbery, vinegary concoction. Not at Chez Grenouille.. This was a voluptuous concoction of delicious chunks of ham and pork bound together with a tasty forcemeat. This delight was followed by a plate of sweetbreads and morels in a flavorful (not heavy) cream sauce. On the table was excellent bread and a big bowl of roast potatoes (there seemed to be a modest hint of duck fat) with crisp skins and tender interiors. HG finished with baba a rhum (a generous snifter of extra rum was provided to give it an extra bang) served with a mini-mountain of whipped cream). HG and BSK’s wine choice was a remarkable Cotes du Rhone.

The meal was then walked off. BSK did some shopping for grandkids. HG read the London Review of Books while sipping a chilled framboise eau de vie at Lux Bar. Then off to Pathe Wepler to see Black Swan. Ms. Portman looks like a sure Oscar winner. Back to the loft for some Tavel and a light snack before bed time.

Hey! This is life. Someone’s got to live it. Might as well be HG and BSK.

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