We dropped the car off in Lyon and caught the train to Paris, arriving in mid-afternoon at Ana’s house. Dinner was at Le Radis Beurre, which we have loved for a number of years (see previous Paris posts).
Stanley had the poached egg with mushrooms, and I had pig’s feet to start. It’s always on the menu and I order it every time. For mains, I had the Colvert du Chasse (wild mallard duck) and he had the andouillette. Both were superb. For dessert we had the baba and the rice pudding. With a bottle of Vacqueyras, the bill was 125.
We had originally planned a day trip with Ana and Bertrand to Morey-sur-Loing, but they had an emergency obligation, so we made other plans. We decided to go to Chateau Malmaison (the home of the Empress Josephine), which was easy to reach by train and taxi. It turned out to be quite wonderful and I took many photos.
After the tour of the chateau, we had lunch nearby at La Brasserie du Chateau, which was a fine choice.
To start, I had the oysters and Stanley had the daily special appetizer, a croustillant of camembert. I chose the special main course of tete de veau, and he had the roasted chicken. With a bottle of wine from the Languedoc (25 euros) and coffee, the total was 123.
Dinner was at La Condesa (see my post from 2018).
The restaurant has moved up the street, and was a bit difficult to find as there is no sign. The chef, Indra Carillo, who is Mexican, now has a Michelin star, and the price, of course, has gone up.
The six-course prix-fixe dinner is 120 euros. As before, there is no printed menu. The servers describe the dishes as they are served. I jotted down the descriptions as best I could. This is a rough idea of what we ate:
An assortment of amuses-bouche
Lieu jaune (yellow pollock) served raw with pickled vegetables
Corn ravioli with grilled miniature corn in a corn broth
Lotte (monkfish) with hibiscus
Pigeon and its liver, with red cabbage
Pumpkin and banana
Coffee cream (similar to tiramisu)
The food was delicious and creative. With water and a bottle of Saint-Joseph for 51, the total was just over 300 euros.
As always when we visit Ana and Bertrand, we spent Sunday at home, and Stanley and I cooked. Ana and I went to the farmers’ market in La Varenne and bought all the food. For the big afternoon meal, we got rabbit legs, which I braised and served with a mustard cream sauce, carrots and tagliatelle. Also, escargot for an appetizer. We stopped into a bakery and picked up four individual cakes, like a tiramisu covered in chocolate. One of the wonderful things about shopping for food in France is that you can get parts of almost any animal, such as rabbit legs, as opposed to at home where we can only buy a whole rabbit.
For the smaller evening meal we bought skate, which I prepared in my usual way, with a sauce of basil, parsley and lime, served with basmati rice and sauteed cherry tomatoes. Bertrand made an appetizer of sardine filets.
The four of us headed into Paris for lunch at Granite, a Michelin-starred restaurant.
As is so often the case, there is a fixed menu, 3 courses, no choice, for 75 euros. The descriptions don’t really do justice to the food. It was really excellent. Here is what we had, in addition to several amuses-bouche and mignardises:
Beets with pomegranate and nasturtium
Saddle of rabbit with octopus confit and eggplant
With a bottle of wine, water and coffee, the bill for the four of us was just over 400.
After lunch, as it was already late afternoon, rather than going back to La Varenne and then returning to Paris for dinner, Stanley and I decided to kill some time in Paris until dinnertime. First we explored the grand art-deco department store Samaritaine. Here are some photos:
We rested here for a bit, then walked to St. Eustache, where there was a rehearsal going on for an evening concert. We sat and listened for a while as the music, by a small chamber choir and organ, was very French.
We continued on to the Marais, where we stopped off at a cafe for a drink, then headed to dinner at Le Mazenay.
Unfortunately, the food fell somewhat short. For starters, we had yet another poached egg, and escargots in a pastry with cream. Main courses were colvert de chasse (good but not as good as I had at Le Radis Beurre), and braised beef chuck (again!). All main courses were served with the same accompaniment, butternut squash (which I’m not a fan of).
One thing we’ve noticed about menus on this trip is that the same dishes show up on too many of them. Braised beef, poached egg, pork belly, etc., on menus with very limited choice, make for some boring meals.
For dessert we shared a vanilla millefeuille, which was decent but nothing to write home about. With wine, the bill was 144.
Tuesday’s lunch was at Parcelles, which was excellent.
We started with a presse of pork and carpaccio of tete de veau, then I had bass with spinach puree and parsnips, and Stanley had sweetbreads. For dessert we shared a chocolate tart. The food was exceptionally good. With wine and coffee, the total was 166.
After lunch, we went to the Musee Carnavalet, which has been renovated recently. We had been there in 2016, before it was closed, and didn’t have time to complete the exhibits of the French Revolution, so this time we focused on that.
From there, we went to La Coupole for cocktails with two friends who happened to be in Paris at the same time, and then to dinner at Bistrotters.
It was good, but I was hoping for something more interesting. I began with sardines and then had pork belly. Stanley had foie gras and stuffed saddle of rabbit. The menu offers a better choice of dishes than many other restaurants, but the food lacked excitement. With wine, we spent about 100 euros.
I had originally reserved for lunch at Pantagruel, but after re-checking the menu I realized it was yet another of those boring, limited choices. Luckily I was able to cancel, though finding another great restaurant that wasn’t fully booked was difficult. Searching through Michelin, I finally hit on Le Sergent Recruteur, also a one-star. The lunch menu looked good and I was able to reserve.
We weren’t immediately given a lunch menu, but the a la carte looked so tempting we just decided to splurge on it, and we did not regret it. Stanley started with foie gras, and then had the chicken. I went with the crab and the saddle of lamb. We didn’t order dessert, but they gave us a couple of small desserts anyway, and the coffees which came with chocolate tartlets, were not charged.
With wine and water, the total was 195.
After lunch we went to one of our favorite museums, the Jacquemart-Andre, which is in a grand mansion that still retains its original rooms, fully furnished, along with the art exhibits.
There was a special exhibition of works by Heinrich Fussli, a Swiss painter of the late 18th to early 19th Century, who spent most of his life in Britain, where he was known as Henry Fuseli. His works were fantasies on Shakespearean themes, dreams, and mythology.
After viewing the exhibit, we stopped into the beautiful tea room, which was originally the dining room of the house, for a snack.
With lots of time to kill before dinner, we took an Uber to Montmartre to see the basilica of Sacre Coeur. I had been there many years ago, but Stanley never had, so it was very much worth our time.
The restaurant was not at all busy, with fewer than half the tables occupied. The food is traditional but with modern touches. My poached calf brain appetizer was cleverly done with a jalapeno sauce, sliced peppers and cilantro. Stanley began with crab in a grapefruit mayonnaise. I had a venison chop and he had blanquette de veau. Everything was delicious. With a bottle of wine from the Languedoc at 45 euros, the total was 143.
This was our final day in Paris. Here is my ranking of restaurants, from best to worst:
Mo’suke (most original and creative, unusual and interesting flavors, great bang for the buck)
Le Radis Beurre (long-time favorite, great game and organ meats)
La Condesa (interesting flavors with Mexican influences)
Le Sergent Recruteur (Beautiful and interesting dishes)
Chez Michel (delicious game birds)
Chantoiseau (great updated traditional)
Parcelles (updated traditional, great organ meats)
Granite (no choices but very tasty food)
Note that with the exception of Bistrotters and Le Mazenay, it was difficult to rank as they were all so good and I would recommend every one. Overall, we found good value and spent less than I had expected.