About

"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

22 CLUB PARIS -- Restaurant Review



Check website for availability
Note: you will get an email just before your dinner for location
https://www.twentytwoclubparis.com/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


4.25 - Stars....................................................€€€€.......................................................... 2 - Bell



22 Club is very reminiscent of the "Hidden Kitchen" which Braeden and Laura started in the late 2000. I was lucky enough to have gone a couple of times before they moved to open the famed "VERJUS" and Ellsworth. 

This popup is in an apartment and can seat 22 people but we were 15-people that evening. The view from the big dining room windows look onto the Palais Royale with amazing sunset views.







Now before actually sitting and starting our meal, we were greeted with champagne and appetizers. 



These were the roaming appetizers we had with our champagne....


1.  MALTED WHEAT GRISSINI --These were simple thin sliced bread sticks that were extremely delicious. Braeden knows how to use salt as a "spice" the salt flavor added such a nice simple flavor.

2.  CHICKPEA SOCCA, HERBS -- From the south of France, and is a bread made with chickpea flour. It can be cake size or a nice crispy thin bread, almost like a cracker but soft in the middle. Braeden made a fabulous mini socca almost like a small folded tortilla, filled with his take on hummus.  

3.  SEED GOUGERES -- A common snack food or appetizer in France, Braeden added a little twist to it by adding seeds to give a crunchier texture. Not sure what cheese he used, but it was a good appetizer.

4.  SQUASH BLOSSOM, DRIED FLOWERS -- Basically they were zucchini flowers lightly dipped in batter and deep fried à la tempura style. It was NOT stuffed so it would deter away from the flavor of the squash. I'm partial to fried foods, so I liked it.

5.  ARTICHOKE AND MARIGOLD -- This was a little cone with a smooth almost creamy texture of artichoke and marigolds. I personally didn't taste either, but liked the crunchy cone that surrounded it. None-the-less it was OK.


By this point I was full and wasn't sure if I could eat the remaining 4-dinner courses, but you do what you have to do, n'est-ce pas?





Farm eggs, mushrooms, cider cream, chive (Note: the goodies were at the bottom of the soft boiled egg. 

This was my favorite dish because of the simplicity. Sometimes the more simple a dish, the more difficult to make. As you're digging through the egg, you realize all the goodies were at the bottom. Loved it.

This style of presentation reminded me a lot of "David Toutain's" restaurant. 














Lobster, corn and potato and chili flakes

The lobster was so sweet and tender, the potatoes were actually gnocchi. Some of the gnocchi were a bit on the gummy side, but overall it was a very, very tasty dish. The chili flakes gave it a bit of a kick! So, we asked the french people if they could eat it, and they said yeah, they were Thai?


















Roast chicken, onions, radish, zucchini

The breast meat was extremely moist and tender. What Braeden did was minced some of the meat into a sausage consistency. Then he spread it on the chicken breast and put the skin in tact and grilled it. It was served with a zucchini casserole, radishes and a cup of chicken broth made from the bones of the chicken. Also accompanied with a small cucumber dish.

Altogether it was a nice finale to the savory dishes. The chicken was delicious, but my least favorite was the cucumber. Not much of a flavor. Maybe that was the intent. 











Goat milk cake, Blackberry, Blackthorn.  Cider apples, Milk ice cream, honey granola 

The Finale. As most of you know I don't eat sugar normally, but decided to just take a bite of each. The cake was definitely a cheesecake. It had the characteristic of a little tartness from the goat's milk. The Blackberry and blackthorn was definitely tart, in fact a bit too tart. The Milk ice cream was smooth and delicious, the granola was nice and crunchy, but very sweet. Everyone liked the dessert. I just don't eat it enough to be a good judge.



NOTE:  Braeden and Laura own a farm, so the menu changes based on fresh, seasonal  ingredients. You can say this is a farm to table experience. 

SUMMARY

This is not a permanent restaurant and will probably be around another month or so until their restaurants reopen. Seats are very limited and they're only open Friday and Saturday. So I write this review for people that are going to be here in the next 30-45 days.

Braeden and Laura couldn't be more gracious. Their attention to making sure everyone's needs are met were, just damn nice.  One person didn't drink, so with each course, they provided her with special non-alcoholic drinks. One person was gluten intolerant, so special attention was made to ensure no gluten touched his mouth. And, another person is pescatarian. 

For you wine lovers out there, you're probably angry at me. I forgot to take pictures and notes. They were coming and going so fast, I couldn't keep tabs. We did have a wine pairing with each course and even a digestif. The wines were all natural "Biodynamic".  My favorite was the Bourgogne Chardonnay. 

The dinner cost €150/per person. Pretty good considering the wine pairings of specialty wines were all excellent wines. 

 Overall the food was delicious. Incredible service. Would I go again, definitely. We're going to try and go back before we return to the US for the winter.  They won't be around long so try to get in soon. Check availability of their website posted above.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Milagro -- Restaurant Review

 


Please refer to website for address and contact information
https://www.milagroparis.com/


Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)


4 - Stars....................................................€€........................................................ 2 - Bell



I'M BACK!

Before we went to US after being away for 18-months, due to the lockdowns, and just right after restaurants starting opening up, we had heard about Milagro from several friends and that we must go. But we were scheduled to leave for US so were not able to make it.

So, we returned recently, coincidentally one of our oldest (figuratively) Parisian friends said we must go. She's known the chef since he was 8-years old, an American Justin Kent, who has worked at several American and Parisian restaurant, the latter most notably "Verjus" in the 1er, also owned by an American.

Talk about location, location, location. It is close to the Eiffel tower, Champs de Mars and also Ecole Militaire.


The interior is cozy and warm.  And, the staff, both South American, were so friendly and enthusiastic it was contagious. 



Please keep in mind, I'm only reviewing dishes that I ate. 



ENTRÉE 


We shared the entrees. And, they were all delicious:

A.  Artichauts frits, mayonnaise maison à l’aneth (Fried artichokes with a dill mayonnaise). 

This was my favorite appetizer, because besides being fried it was light. But let's face it, anything fried tastes good. But the dill mayonnaise was a great accompaniment.

B.   Piment de Padrón, sauce green goddess. (Grilled padron peppers)

My Second favorite. There's nothing better than simple grilled shisho or padron peppers as far as I'm concerned. Grilled, fast and fiery then sprinkled with coarse sel de mer and I'm good to go. What Justin did was add a green goddess sauce of his concoction (it had an aoli base). This added a different dimension and it worked, delicious. 

CTomates anciennes, Ossau-lraty, pignons de pin, vinaigrette, basilic (Heirloom tomatoes, Ossau-lraty, pine nuts, vinaigrette, basil)  

One thing I have to say about France, tomatoes taste like tomatoes. The tomatoes were fantastic, very naturally sweet with the slight tartness that you'd expect. The accompanying pine nuts, vinaigrette and basil did not deter from the star of the dish, but complimented it well. We all liked it. 

C. Poulpe, tomate, fenouil, câpres (Octopus, tomato, fennel, capers)

Good, but my least favorite. The flavors were all there, unfortunately, I felt the octopus too tough and bits were not charred, but burnt. 


OVERALL, I thought the appetizers were a hit.






PLATS 

Gnocchis de ricotta, boulettes de porc au fenouil, pesto (Ricotta gnocchi, pork balls with fennel, pesto)

I was the only one that got this main dish. I absolutely loved it. I do like gnocchi normally, but with added pork balls it made it more a complete "meat & potato" dish. I love pesto, so that only made it better. 

Overall, a very well composed dish.




DESSERT

As many of you know I don't eat sugar. The photo on the left was an apricot crumble, while on the right was a lemon meringue. Both good, I was told.


SUMMARY:

The restaurant has only been open 2 1/2 months. I think Justin has done a great job considering all the bureaucratic obstacles of opening a restaurant in Paris.  The entrées were delicious, and although the octopus was tasty, it needs a little work.

My main course was delicious, hearty and very satisfying. But be aware a bit heavy for some, but go figure as skinny as I am I ate the whole thing.

As you know I don't eat sugar, but the desserts were good American staples. His restaurant boasts a combination of South American, North American and Asian influences. You can definitely see this in the menu. 

The staff were infectiously happy and so helpful. Service was above board. And, Justin couldn't have been a better host. 

Normally, I'd say how much we spent on average etc., but remember we were celebrating our return to Paris, so the bill would be skewed towards the high end because of the high end champagnes and wines. Please refer to the menu on his website to give you an idea of the average cost per meal. 

Do I recommend this restaurant, ABSOLUTELY!



Monday, August 30, 2021

 LA RENTRÉE





We've spent July and August in the US, but return September 1, what is known as the big "la Rentrée, which is the big return of everyone who goes on vacation in August.

I will resume my food evaluation as soon as I return.

Bonne Rentrée a tous! 


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ze Kitchen Galerie -- Restaurant Review

 

4, rue des Grands Augustins
75006 Paris
M° Saint-Michel / Odéon
Tel : +33 1 44 32 00 32
zekitchen.galerie@wanadoo.fr
Open Monday to Friday
Lunch : 12.15 pm – 2 pm
Dinner : 7 pm – 9 pm
Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Valet parking

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4 - Stars....................................................€€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell


It feels good for familiar restaurants to finally re-open. This restaurant is one of 3-restaurants that Chef William Ledeuil owns, Ze Kitchen Galerie, KGB and Kitchen Ter(re) which the latter is one of my favorites. I've been to this restaurant 3 times, once before he got his Michelin star, after he got his Michelin star, then again today. 

One notices a theme when you go to one of his restaurants. He uses a lot of Asian influences. In fact, I met the Chef before the pandemic, and he recommends that his chefs go to Asia and pick up some ideas to infuse Asian flavors into traditional french cuisine. He himself has traveled extensively throughout Asia. He has also written several cookbooks. 

NOTE: I only reviewed the dishes that I had and tasted


AMUSE BOUCHE 

Cold beet soup

We started with a small cup of cold beet soup. I normally don't like beets, but this tasted very different. This was sweetened with pureed strawberries, and a hint of pomegranate, topped with dill. The acidity from both the strawberries and pomegranate gave it balanced flavor.  We all said this was absolutely delicious.  No faulting this amuse bouche. 











ENTRÉE

Lobster 


Homard condiment curcuma – piment, salade de carottes “thaï” (Lobster,  turmeric – chili pepper condiment, “Thai” carrots salad)


This is a cold entrée. The dish was absolutely delicious. The lobster was cooked perfectly. Sweet and tender. You would've thought that the star of the dish, the lobster would get lost amongst all the different elements, but it actually complimented the lobster.  Texturally it was perfect. It had different elements such as the crunch of the carrots. The sauce was turmeric infused, but mild and not overpowering. A true winner.








PLATS

Black Angus 

Bouef Black angus confit laque (Black angus beef confit, lacquer, tamarind, basil with gochujang)

Well I guess you can't be perfect all the time. The beef was out of this world tender. But the flavor combinations didn't work for me.  I have a high tolerance for salt, but it appears that the chef was heavy handed with the tamarind and gochujang making the dish quite salty and sour.

However, I do want to add that my friends who had the dish did loved it. 





DESSERT 

Pecorino romano

As usual, since I don't eat sugar I had a cheese dessert. This was a pecorino romano. beautifully aged. Like I always say, you can never go wrong with cheese. 









DESSERTS that others had. 

Others had the rhubarb, strawberry with hibiscus juice brocclu ice cream and cherries with ginger ice cream and almond cherry morello cake. They all loved their desserts.  













Condrieu 2018 La Petite Cote 

Very aromatic dry white.  Fruity, matted gold color with dark yellow reflections. Nose evokes a basket of fresh fruits, apricot, quince, peach and citrus fruits. A few sweet notes of flowers and honey making a charming, gourmet and fresh whole more complex! Nice power that lengthens the finish (Notes source from vinatis wines)















SUMMARY

Chef Ledeuil is part of the food movement in Paris that's been happening in the past couple of years to revive french cuisine to the next level, by not being afraid to experiment. He bucks the "traditional" french dishes by infusing Asian flavors to many of his dishes. 

The service is EXCELLENT. The atmosphere is lovely in that it's simple and unpretentious. He lets the food be the feast to the eye.  As for the noise level, we had a late reservation so we were only a handful of people, and the noise level was quiet. But if it's crowded, because of the brick walls, I'm sure the noise level would be OK.

As for the dishes, they were beautifully presented and overall perfect, except I did had issues with the main.  I felt the flavors the gochujang and tamarind too powerful to give it rather salty sour taste. But the beef was absolutely out of this world tender. If not for that, I would've scored him near perfect.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this restaurant. I normally do a price per person, but because we were celebrating, we bought some rather pricey wines which skews the overall price per person. Please check online menu for prices.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Girafe Restaurant -- Restaurant Review




1 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris

Transport Line 6 TROCADERO

Check website for operating hours and reservations and menu https://girafe-restaurant.com/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor

€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.5- Stars....................................................€€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell


As of June 9, everything in Paris was opened, including indoor dining. However, we still have a curfew of 11 pm.

As most restaurants, this restaurants was closed for over a year during the pandemic. As soon as we started opening up, we wanted to celebrate so we went to the Giraffe. It took us a month to get reservations, but we made it and was well worth it. It's one of handful of restaurants by the "Tour Eiffel" that has a direct view, and with beautiful weather dining al-fresco, it was a wonderful experience.

We had ordered a bottle of Moet Chandon (feeling celebratory) to start off.

The restaurant is very heavy on seafood, which for us was great since we all like seafood.

NOTE: I'm reviewing the 2-dishes I had. And a few the crustaceans that I had (crab and cockles)


ENTRÉE

Yellowtail. (Carpaccio, miso vanille-orange)

It always amazes me how cities can get such fresh fish, especially when the city is landlocked. The yellowtail was not only fresh, but lightly seasoned so as not to take away from the flavors. 




PLATS 


POULPE (OCTOPUS)
(Grilled served with aioli and vegetables of the season) 

There is really nothing bad I can say about this dish. The poulpe was so amazingly tender, served with some pureed squash and zucchini. I wonder what they did aside from pounding it to make it extra tender. The exterior was crispy with the interior extremely tender. My only complaint I have, is that I wish there was MORE. 


ASSORTIMENT DE CRUS
A friend ordered this assortment of cold shell fish. they were delish. Only minor complaint I have, the chef had a heavy hand with the salt.


Other dishes my friends ordered.  All agreed they were delicious. 


SUMMARY

I've been to this restaurant several times. It is one of the best restaurants with a great view of the "Tour Eiffel". The service is EXCELLENT. They are heavy with seafood, but have 2-main dishes for people who do not eat seafood. But be forewarned, the service staff knows the big sell of this restaurant is the view, so if you're in a hurry, don't go. We actually had an almost 4-hour lunch, which I LOVED. Just to take in the views and atmosphere.

Normally, I would break down the price and the break-down of the wines we had. But what we had was not a normal lunch since we were in a celebratory mood. We had 2-bottles of Moët Chandon, and bottles of wine that were overpriced, but we were paying for the view. So our breakdown would be skewed. 

I highly recommend this restaurant 

See menu for prices. 

                                 



  











 





 

Friday, April 16, 2021

ON HIATUS

ON HIATUS 


 



UPDATE:  As of April 16, 2021 Paris is still completely shut down. Restaurants will continue to be closed until we get enough people vaccinated and it becomes safe to go out for a meal again.

With that said, I will commence my restaurant reviews once restaurants reopen.

Please be safe...
Randy


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

 


THERE IS A LIGHT UNDER THE TUNNEL. THERE'S HOPE IN 2021 THAT LIFE WILL GET BACK TO NORMAL. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE ALL STAY SAFE.