Tuesday, April 13, 2010

At least he enjoyed the croissants

Well, now that I have internet again (and came back to my apartment before midnight), lets start recapping! Today we'll talk about a Mexican in Paris. Yes, JP.

To start, his plane was two hours late, which, being without internet, I could only check on my blackberry. And google lied and told me the plane was on time. I should have known better since it was from JFK (esp. since he sent me a text before leaving that they were delayed). So I waited an hour an a half of so. I even brought along two croissants (one of which I ate cause I couldn't wait anymore). Unfortunately, he went through customs and passport control too fast and I missed him coming out so he had to call me and ask where I was. So no big reunion this time. We're shooting for next time :)

What'd we do the whole week? We ate. A lot. Like I said, I gained 6lbs but it was worth it. Between bites of croissants in the morning (he admitted the ones in my corner boulangerie are pretty "banging") and baguettes in the evening, we skipped Versailles in favor of going to London for a day where we stayed up until 5am and caught an 8am train back to Paris after 2 hours of sleep on his brother's couch. Being too tired, we skipped our cooking class and napped instead.

Then we spent a day in Reims (in Champagne) where we toured Ruinart, the oldest Champagne house in Reims (now part of the M in LVMH). All their Champagne is stored in underground chalk caves (up to 30m deep!) which date back from the Roman times. There were some really cool looking walls of Champagne bottles there, all the way up to the ceiling, but I think the hallway is more dramatic:

And here's an old exit / entrance into one of the caves dating back from the Roman times:

We tasted four champagnes between the two of us, including a '96 and '98 Dom Ruinart. I think I really like Rose champagne now! Especially the Dom Ruinart Rose which tasted more like a liqueur that you'd sip as an after-dinner drink.

We also walked around Paris. A lot. One day was Trocadero / Eiffel Tower / Invalides / Saint Germain / Saint Sulpice and then a walk over to Louvre-Rivoli (or Ravioli as JP affectionately puts it). We had a lot of "lets stop for a coffee and dessert", including hot chocolate and a Mont Blanc (meringue base, with whipped cream, and piped chestnut puree) at the uber-touristy-but-still-cute Angelina, which was ridiculously delicious, although maybe not the smartest choice to pair with their uber-thick hot chocolate as its a huge sugar overload. I'd recommend sharing both, as there's definitely enough pastry and hot chocolate in one pot for two. 

And we also stopped by Les Deux Magots in the 6th to people watch and eat some more pastries.  

The weekend he left got ruined by work both days and we missed out on the rotisserie chicken near me cause we came late. Thankfully, even with my limited lack of knowledge of the Paris dining scene (you know that's a big deal for me) I knew a place we could get JP some chicken so he wouldn't mope around anymore.

Highlights? Dinner at Les Papilles, croissants at Au Moulin de Rosa (I thought it was Au Levain de Marais but apparently not...) and lunch at L'Assiette Champenoise, a two-star in Reims which started as "oh yea, they have a €53 tasting menu" and turned into an over €250 check three hours later. I'll attempt to post about them in more detail later but here's a little glimpse...

Braised pork belly with seasonal veggies and tiny beans at Les Papilles:

Bordier butter (demi-sel and doux) with mini-baguettes at L'Assiette Champenoise:

My lemon desset at L'Assiette Champenoise:

And I cooked. Coq au vin based on Julia Child's recipe, although not to a T (more mushrooms, extra carrots, sauteed onions and chicken that didn't flambe when needed). We ate two baguettes that night.

We also went to what is supposedly the best mexican restaurant in Paris. In the words of JP, "weak sauce". I liked my duck in squash blossom sauce but they gave us 2 corn tortillas and 2 flour tortillas. Definitely weak sauce. 

We got more for an extra charge and I'm fairly certain people were appalled when they saw us picking up food with the tortillas using our hands. And ceviche that is cooked and has olives? Big no no. Canned nopales? Not a fan. But the margaritas were big and strong. We also did Moroccan at Chez Omar one night but I wasn't too impressed.

Whew. I went link and picture happy with this post.

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