Friday, 9/20

We arrived Thursday night from Berlin, staying with Ana and Bertrand in La Varenne.

We only stayed one day as we were heading to Alba in Italy on Saturday. We would be returning to Paris on 10/7 after spending 3 days in Alba and 3 in Valence (France).

View of the Marne from Ana and Bertrand’s terrace.

Friday was the day we celebrated Stanley’s birthday a second time, this time at Mo’suke in Paris. This is the Michelin-starred restaurant of chef Mory Sacko, a Frenchman of African descent, who mixes French, African and Japanese ingredients and cooking styles. It’s a difficult reservation to get, but I checked the website continuously over the past few months and was lucky to snag one for this lunch.

It’s one of the most unusual restaurants in Paris, and the food is superb. We were served a huge selection of canapes and amuses-bouche that I couldn’t begin to describe. The appetizer we all had was a pepper soup with squid, mussels and okra. For the main course, Bertrand and I had maigre (croaker in English) and Stanley and Ana had chicken prepared two ways, roasted with teriyaki sauce and fried Japanese style. For dessert, Ana and I had chocolate ganache, which actually turned out to be three different parts, while Stanley and Bertrand had a plum dessert with a granite. It’s very difficult to describe the dishes as they are so complex, but suffice to say they were delicious and very nicely spiced, unlike typical French cooking.

We had a very nice wine from the Cotes Catalanes. The bill including coffees was just over 300 euros which was amazing for the quality and quantity as well as the atmosphere and service.

For dinner we went to Chez Michel, which we had loved on our last trip four years ago. The menu was almost the same, as it was the same time of year, which meant a lot of game birds.

Stanley started with pate de campagne, and I had crab with avocado. Once again, I had grouse stuffed with foie gras and girolle mushrooms, and Stanley had partridge with foie gras. These are what we came here for and they did not disappoint. For dessert we had a Paris-Brest and riz au lait. With wine, the bill was 135, just 10 euros more than four years ago, and less in dollars at today’s exchange rate.

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