Taste Paris!

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If you’re within traveling distance, don’t miss this event near the Champs Élysées, in the Grand Palais, a vestige of the World’s Fair of 1900, itself worth the trip!

Taste of Paris Ticket Info

Some of the delicacies and the people who create them:

DSC03503.JPGAt the Ferrandi Culinary Academy stand: Onion stuffed with onion, crouton, sorrel and matured mimolette cheese + Mousseline goose egg, shredded goose neck, grilled corn and herbs from chef Amandine Chaignot (turning her back to her photo at left):

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Chef Yoshitaka Takayanagi of Agapé:DSC03504

White asparagus, organic egg yolk confit (like a very subtle pineapple hollandaise sauce!), bottarga and flowers + Smoked red tuna tataki, beetroot medley, condiments and flowers:DSC03505

From Chef Philippe Labbé at the Tour d’Argent (vying to restore their two-star rank):DSC03508.JPG

Challans duck sausage by Liliane Burgaud, cabbage stuffed with duck, crumble, fresh dill, caraway seeds, home made ketchup:DSC03507.JPG

Star chef Thierry Marx posing with fans, in person he looks like Bruce Willis 🙂DSC03510.JPG

His Confit veal shank, macaroni au gratin and truffle emulsion + Heirloom tomatoes, strawberry, mozzarella di bufala, vanilla oil…DSC03512

Pastry star Christophe Adam’s creations at l’Éclair de Génie:DSC03515

Éclairs caramel noisette: caramel cream, hazelnut praline, wafer and caramel icing:DSC03514

But we chose his Vanilla pecan éclair sandwich with vanilla ganache, caramelized pecan praline, and milk chocolate:DSC03516

After sampling white wines (Chateau Le Grand Verdus, Expression 2015, and Domaine de Pouilly Clos de la Condemine 2016) and a red (South African Marianne Wine Estate, Okoma 2015), we sipped arabica expresso coffee by Illy and shared a glass of Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut Champagne…DSC03517.JPG

My advice: get there early, 11 or so, before the crowds, before the heat, if it’s sunny… Otherwise, tables in the shade around the perimeter. Keep your first set of plastic cutlery and goblet so you don’t wind up tossing dozens of utensils 🙂 There’s good live music:DSC03519

Also cooking classes, meetings with chefs and book signings, displays of organic vegetables, cheeses, wines, honey, coffee, tea, jams, mustards…improvised sing-alongs and choreography to Yanick’s danse hit “Cette soirée -là” led by the young team at Nubé:DSC03509

Don’t miss À la recherche des femmes chefs documentary film by Vérane Frédiani, coming out on July 5th Female Chefs

Thank you my dear Nicola Manwaring for sharing this with us!

To be continued! xxxxxx Aliss

Upstate of Mind (2)

With Paris as my prism, visiting small towns a couple of hours north of Manhattan…

Lucky to catch a beautiful show near the Rondout waterfront at the Art Society of Kingston by Mary Anne Erickson, co-creator of local food temple Bistro-to-Go, artist and neon designer among her many talents. A recent trip to India inspired photographic prints on silk, suspended on rods and transparent lines from high ceilings in a softly lit space. Here she is in a frock made from one of her photographs on fabric:DSC02832

Some of my favorites:

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Mary Anne’s intro:DSC02835

To purchase the catalog and see more of Mary Anne’s work, including her paintings of America’s disappearing roadside folk art and the neon sign she designed for her Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go:

maryanneerickson.com

For the restaurant:

www.bluemountainbistro.com

To be continued  xxxxx Aliss

Moments of Heaven

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Palais Royal arcades, summer walk

So much hell in the world, I cherish every moment of heaven on earth. Sublime dinner at Versance restaurant on rue Feydeau near the Bourse Stock Exchange.DSC02795

Emblem: fresh frond on the tablecloth under the plate.

Mise en bouche (tiny hors d’oeuvre): Crème de pois chiche et tomate, piment d’espelette (mini glass of cream of tomato and chick pea soup seasoned with Espelette pepper from south west France).

Starter: Effeuillé de sésame aux langoustines et asperges, mizuna au jus de crustacés et crème fermière au yuzu. (Still trying to find a translation for this dish that transforms the Franco-Japanese ingredients into erotic poetry about bared sesame crisps, seafood and vegetables)… I was so taken aback, I forgot to take a picture.

Main dish: Pavé de caballaud confit dans son beurre aux épices et duo carotte: mousseline de carotte à l’orange en crumble café. (My photo doesn’t do it justice, and translation would kill it, but let’s just say it’s lightly caramelized cod, in Asian-influenced spicy butter sauce amidst a sculpture of colorful fresh garden veggies, with a hint of coffee in sprinkled croutons…)

DSC02796 Wine: Saint Veran Domaine Paradis, 2014

Instead of dessert, a selection of assorted cheeses, from Monsieur Chevinet.

Mignardises (hand made chocolates). Expresso. www.leversance.fr

DSC02798Romantic stroll under the arcades  of 17th century Palais Royal Garden, built for Cardinal Richelieu, inhabited by Louis XIV and later French author Colette…. Que demande le peuple?

to be continued…xxxx Aliss

Burgundy Road Movie

image.jpegView from A6 highway driving south from Paris: huge sky, tiny village on the horizon…near Milly-La-Fôret and Fontainebleau…

2 hours away, approaching Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, Burgundy wine country…

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Looking for Goisot winery that uses Rudolph Steiner’s Biodynamic cultivation methods (featured in a documentary on Arté on May 17th). Due to frost and hale damage, no tastings were scheduled when we were there. http://www.goisot.fr

End of April frosts made headlines in the area and local winegrowers like Daniel Étienne Defaix set out smudge pots to keep the vines warm through the night:

IMG_2485[4]Chablis area between Auxerre and Tonnerre (photo by Myriam Da Silva). http://www.danieletiennedefaix.com

Lunch on main street at Le Saint Bris: homemade jambon persillé (ham terrine), onglet de veau à la crème d’oignons (local veal steak with creamed onions), fries, sparkling white burgundy (Crémant de Bourgogne)…

image   Le St Bris, great food, good service…

http://lesaintbris.eresto.net

image Dessert, “Truffé au Chocolat”…

image  Artist’s studio, nearby… Dionysus no doubt, in honor of Côtes d’Auxerre, Chablis, Irancy, all Pinot Noir grapes…

Local people recommended La Cave du Maître de Poste winery (Domaine Sorin) so we dropped into their beautiful courtyard to taste and purchase.

http://www.domaine-sorin-defrance.com

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Next stop town of Irancy: jovial Vicount and Vicountess Colinot in their ancestral wine cellar…delicious!     email: earlcolinot@aol.com      Tel: 03 86 42 33 25image

We also recommend Domaine Thierry Richoux  wine cellar. http://www.irancy.org

Tel: 03 86 42 21 60

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Looking over the valley…

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image Educational tourism: vast, spooky 2000 year old d’Aubigny stone quarry, “underground cathedral” near Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines

image Checked into the beautiful Domaine de Bouloy BnB, with infinite turquoise panorama on the rue du bon dieu jaune (street of good yellow god?)… www.domaine-du-bouloy.com

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image Short drive to medieval town of Clamecy, restaurant Deux Pièces Cuisine…www.2pieces-cuisine.fr

imageMille feuille de foie gras de canard (layered duck liver), asparagus, raspberry vinegar, morillons mushrooms, on a thin slice of ginger bread…

Baudroie des mers froides grillée (grilled northern ocean monkfish), creamy black risotto, wine: Bouzeron blanc cuvée Axelle Bourgogne, 2014, Domaine Briday)

image Lemon tart…end of Day One

 

Celebrate Food

Seems to be a bug on WordPress and some of the photos are displaying sideways…hope to debug soon 🙂

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In previous episodes  we postulated that the national religion of France is not Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. but rather Foodism, that French people detect the presence of the Divine through their senses, and the French Table is often an altar (see April 9 and March 5, 2016 on Hugo Desnoyer). Enjoying a beautiful meal made with reverence for the ingredients honors life and connects us to the holy earth. Here is one of my favorite places to celebrate food: Chez Philou, 12 avenue Richerand, 75010,  +33 1 42 38 00 13    http://www.restophilou.com, also on Facebook.

Quality/price ratio for the lunch menu is unbeatable, meanwhile, some images:

DSC01021Owner-chef Philippe Damas recites menu poetry to transfixed diners.

DSC01022  Chandliers with letters and art from fans.

DSC01075Les enfants du paradis poster for Fifi’s cinema friends…

Wild pheasant one October…DSC01076DSC02655Recent déjeuner: filet of pollock fish with succulent baby turnips, carrots, spinach and potatoes….

DSC01078And all mere steps from the romantic Canal Saint Martin and famous Hôtel du Nord bridge…

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

Table as Altar?

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For a special occasion this week, we were invited to Hugo Desnoyer’s new restaurant in the 19th:  http://www.hugodesnoyer.com/en/

33 Avenue Secretan, 75019, 01 40 05 10 79, Metros: Bolivar, Jaurès, Colonel Fabien

Intro on the menu: “Food is now vital to the future of our civilization, culture, and public health. All over the world, choosing what to eat expresses life choices. Hugo Desnoyer is one of the rare artisan butchers to direct and participate in the birth of this global phenomenon. He has committed himself to this cause, and to opening new avenues of development.”

From the website: “Let’s consume less, but better. By what we eat, we are all farmers by proxy.

Animal well-being, protected pastures and environment, open spaces and fresh air, limited noise and stress are the basis of quality cattle raising.

A cow grazing freely in a field maintains the landscape. This type of farming is demanding but traditional and can have a positive impact on nature.

– Water and soil are analyzed to avoid all chemical residue.

– Feed comes from natural meadowlands.

– A mixture of grains, without GMO’s, without soy, are grown in the same area (terroir).

– Breeds are preferably from the same terroir.” (my translations)

Food for thought: all indigenous cultures have rituals to sanctify food and thank living creatures for providing nourishment. The Temple in Jerusalem provided meat to the city. This custom survives in kosher practices (Judaism) and halal certification (Islam). I’m curious about why there is nothing similar in Christian culture? Instead we have industrial agriculture… When I was little, there were farmers on both sides of the family and I learned what it meant to sacrifice an animal to feed ourselves. My grandmother used to say grace at every meal, but when she passed that disappeared with her. Living in France has helped me reconnect with the earth and I’m trying to be conscious, to give thanks to all living beings, including people, who bring nourishment to my table. Every time we grocery shop or enter a restaurant we’re impacting policies and voting with our money. As for methane, a town in England powers its public transportation with this by-product. As for health and diet, I highly recommend the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. (see excerpt below)  So in a spirit of reverence:

DSC02562Planche de charcuterie: Chorizo, ham, bacon, pistachio and herb pâtés…

DSC02563Entrecôte and faux filet steaks, sautéed potatoes, rutabaga, chives, parsley, hollandaise sauce, mashed potatoes…

DSC02566Upstairs kitchen

DSC02561Maitre d’ Sophie greets diners

Was in an altered (altared?) state by dessert time and forgot to photograph the amazing chocolate pie and walnut cake. We drank “Côte de Py” Morgon AMC  Jean Foillard Villié 2013…

BTW There are memorable grass-fed viandes in New York State (and elsewhere):  Jack’s on main street in New Paltz, Adam’s on route 9 and Fleischer’s  at the stockade in Kingston, Emmanuel’s in Stone Ridge. Hugo Desnoyer supplies top restaurants in France. The meal was delicious and very expensive (as it should be?) Lunch menu 22€, reserve well in advance 🙂

“The cause of heart disease is not animal fats and cholesterol but rather a number of factors inherent in modern diets, including excess consumption of vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats; excess consumption of refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour; mineral deficiencies, particularly low levels of protective magnesium and iodine; deficiencies of vitamins, particularly vitamin A, C and D, needed for the integrity of the blood vessel walls, and of antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E, which protect us from free radicals; and finally, the disappearance of antimicrobial fats from the food supply, namely animal fats and tropical oils. These once protected us against the kinds of viruses and bacteria that have been associated with the onset of pathogenic plaque leading to heart disease.”
 Paragraph 4, page 13
 Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.
To be continued…  xxxxx

 

 

 

 

Let Them Eat Art

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House-marinated salmon, Japanese carrots, radishes, fresh dill, crispy arugula, lemon, pepper corns, by Chef Éiji Doïhara,  Le Sot l’Y Laisse, Paris XI

A year ago this week, I was horrified and shaken after the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher superette, but also inspired and energized by the energy at the march from République to Nation.

I want to comment on a piece by Maya Vidon in USA Today about how Paris has changed since last January, how the holiday festivities were a fragile façade:

Dear Maya,

Thank you for your heartfelt article, so full of love for our city.

I came here from the US as a student years ago. As much I loved Paris, I had a lot of questions. Why were Parisians so hostile to visitors? Why was it so hard to order and pay in cafés? Why did the French distance themselves from their emotions by turning everything into an art form to be endlessly analyzed? Why did they seem so cynical and depressed? Why were there no flags except on official buildings? Why were there so many political parties? Why did all their movies end tragically (or not end)? Why the love/hate towards the US (calling us “cultural imperialists” while devouring our fast food, music and movies)? Why did the French assume we were stupid because we smiled “too much”?

The love of my life, my French husband, made light of all this to our US friends and family: “It’s not that the French don’t like Americans…They don’t like anyone, including themselves…” As I learned more of the backstory, I tuned in on the Parisian worldview and rethought my outlook. I became a French citizen, but every trip back home was a breath of fresh air: I really missed American friendliness, optimism, creativity, and spontaneous off-the-wall humor.

Fast forward, January 2015, like you, I’ve been thinking about the past year and noticing differences.

We’re on alert again. Stores and transportation have been targets before. This isn’t the first time we’ve had soldiers guarding Jewish schools and patrolling the streets. But this year the terrorists struck even deeper.  They want to create a climate of fear, to destroy our economy and social fabric. Yes, we are afraid.

And yet, in my every day conversations, even with strangers, I find people more open emotionally and strangely empowered. I wonder if France is awakening from a long breakdown of national self image, finding a new consensus aligned with the philosophy of the Enlightenment?

On January 7th, anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, I was invited to lunch at the Sot L’Y Laisse in the XIth. Each dish was an exquisite work of art. The wine menu  reflected a thousand years of taste and savoir faire.  Revelation: enjoying a beautiful meal is now a sort of mudra* for ourselves, struggling restaurant owners, and French culture, a way to celebrate the living world: 

House marinated salmon (see above)
Gilt-head bream, risotto with mushroom purée, fresh arugula:

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Montblanc (meringue and chestnut cream pastry, with black current sorbet, bouquets of fresh red currants, whipped cream, mint leaves and chocolate decor):

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Café “noisette” (expresso with a splash of steamed milk):

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Le Sot l’Y Laisse, 70 rue Alexandre Dumas, 75011 Paris, M° Alexandre Dumas, Tel: 01 40 09 79 20

*(see Wikipedia, mudra: a symbolic or ritual gesture, a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity)

I will be blogging more about exquisite restaurants in the interest of French civilization and the world… (It’s a tough job, but…)

Sincerely yours,

Aliss