Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oceanic delights: L'Ecailler Du Bistrot!

Shell fish platter for 2 people
Like many French holiday traditions, the focus of Christmas and New Year's celebrations in France is on the table.  To kick off the festivities, a typical aperitif served is champagne and oysters. In fact, roughly half of all oysters eaten in France will be slurped up between Christmas and New Years. Though in Paris one doesn't have to wait until the end of the year to get their oyster fix due to wonders like Gwen Cadoret’s L'Écailler du Bistro in the 11th arrondissement. L'Écailler, essentially translates to “the pro oyster shucker”, and is the the oceanic version of the Bistrot Paul Bert (a vegetarians and dieters worst nightmare but offers amazingly delicious classic French cooking/meat dishes and is run by Cadoret’s husband Bertrand Auboyneau, just next door to L'Écailler). L'Écailler is not called the “pro oyster shucker” for nothing as shucking shell fish is a talent passed on in the Cadoret family. Owner Cadoret’s father is Jacques Cadoret, a professional oyster farmer in Riec-sur-Bélon.

Sole meunière with some sort of creamy mash amazingness
Although L'Écailler offers a killer variety of super fresh oysters (as well as a mega shellfish plate to share…or not), the bistro also offers an assortment of marine delights. The sole meunière is cooked to perfection, super moist and tender. The ½ lobster and frites dish is accompanied by some creamy secret sauce that tastes like heaven in your mouth (and probably accounted for my entire calorie intake for the month of December...so worth it though). 

1/2 lobster, fries and creamy heaven sauce
And to top it off the meal is served with fresh bread and Bordier butter, plain and seaweed infused…ah!
Bordier butter is the best!
Citron vert tart
If you still have room for desert I highly recommend the citron vert tart (made with organic limes). 

The staff at L'Ecailler is extremely friendly and the wine list is SUPER! I dinned at L'Écailler with a French wine maker and wine importer who both completely geeked out over the wine list for a good 10 minutes (always a good sign). Three bottles later and a full belly I can say that the L'Écailler will put you in high holiday spirits regardless of the season of the year.

Address: 22 rue Paul Bert, 75011. Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday. Reservations: Book a few days in advance Telephone: 01 43 72 76 77

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Art of Cooking: Restaurant A.T

Coal chips

Located just across the bridge from the Île Saint-Louis, behind the famous restaurant La Tour d'Argent, a magical culinary experience awaits you at Restaurant A.TRestaurant A.T is named after the chef himself Atushi Tanaka, (who was trained by the legendary Chef Pierre Gagnaire) and opened in the spring of 2014. Inspired by modern French cuisine, Chef Tanaka takes contemporary cooking one step further by reprogramming French fare into aesthetically stunning works of art. But it's not all for show people, the flavours/tastes are definitely something to write home about. We ordered the dinner menu with the foie gras and were pleasantly surprised with every single dish. From the start with the charbon (coal) chips to the foamy soup with baby boulot snails, to the brilliant green Romanesco used to the zingy Bergamot all the way to the crisp-skinned duck (which is to die for), each of us were delighted with every plate. The service was impeccable and the timing of place setting to the delivery of food was perfectly in sync. The staff was also extremely kind and warm (and multi-lingual). The wine list is a bit esoteric and may be trying a little too hard, but we were able to find a few very good bottles. And you can never be too upset when you've got 90’s American hip-hop playing in the background throughout your meal.  

Menus €45 (lunch except Saturday) and €85 for dinner (menu does not include wine or foie gras). Restaurant A. T is located at 4 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris. Phone: 0156819408. Reservations required. 
Leek/Hazelnut butter

Fois gras/orange/beets
Langoustine / Céleri – Rave / Bergamote
Sea snails/Jerusalem Artichokes
Duck, onion and crosnes
Beets, pepper timut, raspberry 
Chocolate and lavender creation (melts in your mouth like gourmet dippin' dots) 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

American Thanksgiving in Paris!

As the Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, we start the week with thankful hearts and swollen bellies. Something I am certainly thankful for is being able to recreate some semblance of this cherished American tradition 5,000 miles away from the land of the free. Because it is so easy to eat out at one of the hundreds of heavenly restaurants, bistros and brasseries that litter Paris (and the amazing shopping), I fear closet space has trumped oven space, which makes it a bit difficult to cook a turkey. Although, if one is fortunate enough to have an oven in Paris there are many places to purchase an award winning bird like the Thanksgiving's (American Grocery) store located in the Marais. Situated in Paris' Marais since 1990, Thanksgiving's shelves overflow with the most complete selection of American products in France, from traditional to trendy. There you can find more than a turkey including all the ingredients you need to make a proper Thanksgiving meal (the Real McCoy in the 7th arrondissement or the Epicerie Anglaise in the 10th  also offer a wide arrange of American products). Although there are a quite a few options of restaurants that offer a Thanksgiving dinner (Ô Chateau, VerjusBlues Bar-B-Q, Le Saint-Martin Bistro, and Ralph’s) I chose for something super traditional, tried and tested as well as cheap and cheerful…Joe Allen’s.

Joe Allen, America's oldest brewery in Paris, opened January 20, 1972. Since then, it has been the home to many US Parisians or Parisians who love American culture (and food). The restaurant offers an eclectic cuisine typical of a New York brewery today, and a selection of world wines and cocktails. For thanksgiving they offer a pretty authentic menu at 45 Euros per plate where you can choose your entrée, main and desert from several different American thanksgiving dishes. 

I went for the roast Thanksgiving turkey with quince, apple and walnut stuffing, gravy, candied yams & sautéed green beans for my main. On the table there was an unlimited supply of cranberry sauce with orange that went well with all.

And for desert I went for the Joe Allen pumpkin pie with bourbon sabayon (all paired with French wine of course ;) The atmosphere was extremely festive and boisterous. Although I felt completely satisfied with my bonafide American and yummy Thanksgiving feast, I realised that it wasn’t so much the food that made the meal special, but the amazing friends and family to share it with. 

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