About

"The reluctant 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)!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Louis -- Restaurant Review


23 Rue de la Victoire
Tel: 01 55 07 86 52
Metro: Line 12 (Notre dame de Lorette)
Closed Saturday and Sunday
website: 
http://www.louis.paris


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+)


4.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell


It's been a while since I've done a restaurant review, because we pretty much were traveling for the whole summer and most of the fall. But we're back and not even a week back we went restaurant tasting. This restaurant is one of my friend J's favorite restaurant, surprisingly, we have never been before.



It's a very small restaurant and very intimate. In fact, there's probably only seating for maybe about 22-people. It was very cozy, because of it's small size, it did get a bit noisy at times, but overall a wonderful cute little interior.




The menu is a tasting menu. So you have to let the restaurant know in advance if you have any allergies or any diet restrictions.  We all opted for the 3-course lunch, which was very heavy on seafood.



AMUSE BOUCHE. When our amuse bouche arrived, I actually had to ask if it was our entrée, because there was quite a bit of tasting morsels that I had not expected.

From left to right: There was a toast with a dollop of aubergine, which was excellent. A parmesan wafer topped with grapefruit, and lastly a meringues topped with beets. All a great differences in flavors and a nice introduction of what is to come.




BONUS ENTRÉE. Next we had a "bonus" entrée, which was a raw scallop that sat atop a slightly smoked earthy greens. J is a good customer and has been there many times so this was an extra for our table. We were advised to "whiff" the aroma of the earthy greens, then the scallop was placed atop of a gelée of what I assumed was the jus of the scallop. A very simple dish that hit the sense of smell and taste. For me it was a hit and I don't even like scallops.





ENTRÉE. The main entrée was another scallop dish, but served warm. The scallop was slightly seared and served atop spaghetti leeks in a light cream. Interestingly the scallop dish was sprinkled with a "vegetarian caviar" which I had never heard or tasted before. I assumed it would be seaweed grapes, but they were actually black and a little larger than a sesame, that had a slight moistness in the center. Overall a very good dish served with a slice of toast.






PLATS.  For our main dish we had a white fish unknown to me called Carrelet fish, a flat white fish. It was slightly poached and sat atop a bed of artichoke hearts with a long shaved fresh raw white radish topped with red radishes.  Finally it was poured with a jus of radish, but very mild. So the the juxtaposition of something warm, something raw, and something citrusy was a great hit.






CHEESE COURSE.  Only JJ had the cheese course. It was a combination of blue cheese, camembert and a basque sheep cheese; all excellent choices.



















DESSERTS. For our desserts we had a combination of different flavors. First we had a lemon tart, and boy was it tart. So for you lemon lovers you'll be in heaven, cause I know the people at our table loved it.  Secondly we had a dashi sorbet. Normally when I think of dashi it's usually made from shrimp or bonito flakes, but this was either made with shiitake, seaweed or a combo cause I tasted no fish. It sat atop of what I thought was dried cream. And, lastly raspberry and a caramelized cream. Overall all a nice combo of sweet, savory and citrus.




"MIGNARDISE" (parting sweets). We had small morsels of very flavorful pistachio cakes and the most chocolatey truffles that were basically thick ganache, but served atop of raw cocoa. Delicious.














WINES: We had a Chinon, which I neglected to take a picture of, and also a Domaine des Pothiers.

Chinon. Cabernet Franc characterized by a medium-bodied red wine with tasting notes of savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium-high acidity and mouthwatering taste.

Domaine de Pothiers. Known for his fresh tasting notes of  red-fruit and candied aromas,









And, if that wasn't enough, Chef Stephane Pitre brought out a brand new bottle that weighed more than I do as a parting drink for J and lucky us, "Eau de vie Prunes" a very strong tasty digestif.


SUMMARY

What a great experience. The chef made the food so all your sensory sensations could be tickled. The sights of the food, along with the smells and combined flavors of sweet, savory, salty and citrusy was a big hit for me. The 3-course menu was big on seafood, but they did have the 5-course which included fowl. But I felt very satisfied with all the seafood. Would we go back absolutely.

With 3-course lunch, 2-bottles of wine, 2-white glasses of wine, 3-coffees our bill came to 275€ for 4 people or 68.75€ each.

Friday, September 1, 2017

FLOW -- Restaurant Review



4, Porte des Invalides 
tel: 01 44 05 39 60
Opened: Tuesday-Saturday
Metro: Invalides (8/13), Assembles National (12)
Website: http://www.flow-paris.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+)


3.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell



We've been having some very warm, sunny days in Paris, so I thought of this restaurant, since I wasn't too far from there about a week ago for a picnic. And, they have a lovely outdoor bar atop the floating barge. Unfortunately, the day we went it was cloudy and misty so the upper deck was closed. Oh well.



From the restaurant you get a very close view of one of the premiere and most beautiful landmarks of Paris, "Pont Alexandre III," and from a not too far distance the Eiffel Tower. Overall, the view was spectacular. And, you're literally on the water. At one time I made a comment that I was a little dizzy, until someone reminded me we were floating on water.



The interior was lovely. There was a huge bar in the center, and tables all facing the window. It was about the view and not so much the decor of the interior.


We perused the menu (refer to their website for their menu), and there was some confusion at first since many of the menus had various expired dates on them, but then our wait-person said they were the same items, although that was not really true. I'm gonna review what I had, since there was 7 of us and we pretty much all had the same thing. The lunch menu had a prix-fixe menu, 2-courses at 26€, and 3-courses at 32€. Very reasonable.




ENTRÉE:  Autour de la pomme de terre, salad de vitelotte, tuiles et sa glace pomme de terre. (Purple potato, with tuiles and ice potato). What a great start, the potato salad was delicious. It had a nice freshness with the lemon and some of the greens. What I didn't like about the salad, more a personal taste, I didn't particular care for the "ice cream" of potato. That was too cold to contrast with the already very cold salad. But then again, maybe if it was warmer weather, it would've been refreshing.






PLATS:  Peche du jour, piment doux vegetal.  (Fish of the day with fresh sweet pepper). The fish of the day was "filet de lieu" which is a pollock. It was pretty large and very tasty and moist. It was accompanied with a stuffed smoked chili pepper, my guess it was stuffed with bulgar pilaf. It was a great accompaniment. No fault with this dish. Simple, fresh, and tasty.








DESSERT: Assiette de fromages. (Assortment of cheese). The cheese selection was fabulous. Had some semi-hard cow cheese of comté, an aged chèvre, morbier and creamy brie. Overall, it was a nice contrast in cheese flavors. A hit.












WINES: They had a nice collection of wines. But we ordered the less expensive house rosé. I was so overwhelmed with the view and conversation that I forgot to take a photo. But it was a lighter, wetter rosé from Provence that went well with our meal.


SUMMARY:

Location, location, location. Yep, it's all about the view. The interior of the restaurant is lovely, but no beating that view. The service was excellent, and what I perceived to be a kitschy tourist restaurant was actually not. Well I suppose it would be in the middle of tourist season. The food was very good. Nothing out of the ordinary, but definitely above average. Would we go back, absolutely. I'd love to have a drink at the top of the barge on a warm sunny day to just soak up the beauty of the vistas.

There were 7 of us. Some had 2-courses, some of us at 3-courses. And, with 2-bottle of wine the bill came to about 50€ per person. Not bad.






Sunday, August 27, 2017

L'Atelier Maître Albert -- Restaurant Review


1, rue Maître Albert 75005
Tel: +33 1 56 81 30 01
Website: http://www.ateliermaitrealbert.com/
Transportation: Maubert Mutualitié 10)
Opened for lunch every day but Saturday & Sunday. Open for dinner 7/7


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+)


3 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell



It ain't easy finding a restaurant in August or for that matter on a week-end, as most locals know. So, I was tasked for finding a restaurant for a Saturday evening. I thought why not go close by to our friends KO's home on the Ile St. Louis. This restaurant has been around a long time. The brain child of famed chef Guy Savoy and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.



The interior is lovely. There are 3-separate rooms. A room to the right with tables for dining as well as wine tasting with a very long bar. The wall was filled with wines. The 2nd room was a private cozier smaller dining area. And, then lastly we had the main dining room with colorful paintings and a full view of the rotisseries, where we sat.


Amuse Bouche. As we sat and perused the menu we were given an amuse bouche of a small cup of cold mildly thickened broth, a savory sablé cookie, and a thick dried sausage. I didn't care much for the cold soup, it really didn't have a real distinguishable flavor to me. But the other ingredients were good.










Note: We ordered several dishes, but I'm only reviewing the dishes I tasted. However, for the desserts. I relied on comments, since I don't eat sugar.


ENTRÉES



Fresh seasonal salad and sauteed chicken livers. I ordered this dish, and it was a really good start. The chicken livers were nicely cooked with seared little bits of crispiness on the outside, and nice and tender inside. The mixed greens were good as well. It was seasoned with a sweet vinaigrette dressing and accompanied with toasted baguettes. Overall a good, simple dish.








Around the tomato 2017. The title of this dish is what you'd expect. A medley of tomatoes from around the world. There were beef tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and some zebra tomatoes. It was a good dish to have since it was a warm August night and tasted very refreshing. The tomatoes were beautifully sourced and naturally delicious. It was accompanied by burrata cheese, herbs with a bread that interestingly had raisins it it. I suppose to offset some of the sourness of the tomatoes. It was a good dish, but nothing out of the ordinary.




PLATS


Fish of the day "Merlu" (Hake). Jack ordered this dish. It was beautifully presented, but that's where it sort of ended. The fish was extremely bland. It sat on a bed of green herbs. This dish really needed something to bring it to the next level. Maybe some flavored oil, or added some slices of lemon or lime to just give a little zing. Not at all a memorable dish.








Spit-Roasted free-range chicken. The majority of us ordered the chicken. I have to say the chicken was perfectly cooked. The breast was tender and it was accompanied with a jus. The only problem with this dish, it lacked any real flavor. It was so under seasoned, we were literally fighting for the salt and pepper. The jus did have some flavor. Maybe a sprinkling of flavored salt, even a thicker richer sauce, could've been used to give this dish some character.





Note: With all our mains, we were served a side of Spinach and mushroom gratin. Now this was the only savory dish to me that had any real flavor and richness. It was a very good side dish. But how can you go wrong with a gratin. Jack's side was a medley of bell peppers which was quite bland.


DESSERTS


Dark chocolate and crispy praline. It was deliciously chocolaty but not rich in flavor. The praline cakes added a touch of crunch. A very good dessert. In fact my best friend who had this dish, said it was the highlight dish of the evening.














Grapefruit terrine and tea sauce. A very, very simple dish. But the grapefruit was deliciously fresh and it was clever to make it into a terrine, but otherwise it was just basically some grapefruit pieces.






Wines:  We had a white and a red.

Guy Savoy Chardonnay. This was his namesake wine. It was actually pretty good. It was a full bodied white Chardonnay with tasting notes of vanilla, butter and some citrus.

Chinon. What surprised us about this particular wine that it was served very cold. When I say cold, refrigerated cold. Not like Brouilly's that are served mildly cool. So, this is a new way of serving this wine for us. It's a light to medium bodied Cabernet Franc wine, characterized of having tasting notes of vegetal characteristics, in particular green bell peppers.



SUMMARY

This is a fairly large restaurant and can accommodate a lot of people. I would say more than half of the people were English speakers, so the servers can speak English. The ambience was great, but it didn't have that quintessentially Parisian vibe. It could be any restaurant in the US. The prices have been slashed and made more affordable. It wasn't that long ago where the restaurant was able to command much higher prices. Now onto the food. The quality of the food and the technical cooking was good, but it lacked any soul or any depth of flavors. Nothing stood out. In french there's a word "fade" meaning bland, which is how you would describe the food. Because the dishes were so under-seasoned, we literally fought for the salt and pepper. And the accompanying jus for the chicken was gone in a nano second. The food was average and prices comparable to other restaurants. The servers were super nice, but the service itself was inconsistent, e.g., one person was not served an entrée so we had to ask for it before we could all begin eating (French custom).  It's a good place to go if you're hungry and just want to eat something good. With that said, I'd go back knowing that I need to pack some spices or sriracha in my bag.

For 5-entrées, 5-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine, 1-bottle of water, 2-sodas, and 2-coffees our bill came to 247€ or 50€ a person. Note: I got a 20% discount because I made reservations with "la fourchette" and we all ordered a-la-carte.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Les grands verres -- Restaurant Review


13, AVENUE DU PRÉSIDENT WILSON
Tel:  01 85 53 03 61
Metro: Alma-Marceau (9)
Website: http://www.quixotic-projects.com/venue/les-grands-verres
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 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell


Les Grand Verre is actually located inside the "Palais de Tokyo."  There's actually an unrelated outdoor cafe inside the courtyard separate from the Les Grand Verre. There is a main entrance door however, it is not functional and the entrance is actually further down to the side of the building to enter.


The interior is massive. If I didn't know any better, I would've thought that I was back in the U.S. Restaurants this large are very unusual in Paris. I loved the decor, very modern and very comfortable. One thing that first struck me were the amount of large floor-to-ceiling windows, keep in mind this is a large 2-story restaurant. So it brought in a lot of welcomed natural light.


They have a full bar and beer by the tap. They have their own specialty cocktails, and I'm sure if you ask they can whip you up any kind of cocktail you want.

The staff was quite international. Our maitre'd was from Mexico, the floor manager was Swedish, and our wait-person, an aspiring opera singer, is American from Minnesota. And, lastly, our Chef is American originally from New York, but his latest stint was in Boston.

This restaurant has only been open for 3-weeks, and the official opening will actually be on September 7.

Amuse Bouche. We were running a bit late, but there was already some amuse-bouche laid out. A tapenade, pickled vegetables, which by the way were fabulous, and some wafer crackers.

As we were noshing we perused the menu. They did have a prix-fix special for 21€. And, the menu must change because it was on printed paper. One side was in French, the other was in English.









ENTRÉES


Mussels.  I had the mussels, and they were delicious. What was even nicer the broth had a nice little kick that hit at the back of your throat. Nice, since I do like a little spicy in my food. But mind you, it wasn't overwhelming, it was definitely a nice touch. But this entrée was pretty large for me, but it was so good that I managed to finish it, which surprised me. It was accompanied with really nice toast smothered with parsley butter, and some celery shavings.





Chopped vegetable fattoush.  This is a bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of Arabic flat bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables. Basically it can be made with any vegetables you like. In this case it was with cauliflower, cucumbers and seasoned in a nice vinaigrette. Jack had this dish, and he loved it.








Artichoke. It was nicely grilled and was accompanied with a mild vinaigrette sauce. At first sight I thought, damn this is huge. There is no way my friend J could finish it. It wasn't anything special or out of the ordinary, but it was well executed.











PLATS 

Milk braised shoulder of berkshire pork. This was on their a la carte menu. I actually like pork shoulder. The fat makes the meat tender and adds to the over-all flavor. The sauce was perfect, mild and delicious and what I really liked was the smoked eggplant. It really added to the dish nicely.

Now what I didn't like were the cracklings. Half of it was soggy, and the heat/steam from the meal made the other half lose its crispiness. I'd get rid of it, if you want to add texture, add a raw shaved vegetable of some sort.  Otherwise it is very good flavorful composed dish.



Pork chop. Our friend J had this dish off the special of the day. The pork was extremely tender. J said, this was the best pork he's ever had. WOW. What I thought was a traditional German rotkohl cabbage dish (sweet/sour cooked cabbage), was actually more of a slaw. Neither too sweet, nor too salty. It actually could've used a tad more vinegar to offset the pork. But overall a good dish.





Bonito fish. Those not familiar with Bonito fish, it's used a lot in Japanese and Asian cooking. In fact, dried it is used as a flavor enhancer. The taste is between a mackerel and a tuna. The dish was beautifully presented. I tasted a lot of turmeric, not a bad thing because it added to the dish. The mashed potatoes were delicious and the zucchini added a nice vegetable element. The fish was extremely tender and flavorful. This was a hit.





DESSERT

Halva & fig leaf semi-freddo. Only Jack had the dessert, because at this point J and I were very full. The portions were actually quite large. I don't know why, but this sort of looked like breakfast to me. It was not a pretty dish. But where in lacked in eye appeal it made up in flavors. I really didn't taste the halva, but the pistachios with the cherries and semi-freddo was such a nice refreshing combination. It felt like I was eating a nice healthy dessert, if there is such a thing.





WINES


White: Classic domaine de L’ecu Loire Biodynamie. Of late, it seems "bio" wines are very popular. This wine is actually a muscadet. It has the tasting notes of smoky, citrus and white flowers. This wine is typically drunk with seafood.

Red: Les Deux terres La Reboule. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, grenache, and merlot. Often compared with the Italian red Montepulciano. Medium-bodied, dry and lean with red cherry flavors. Goes well with rich foods.


SUMMARY

I normally do not like going to such restaurants. They remind me so much of any American restaurant in any major city. When I think of dining out in Paris, I think of dining out in a quaint small restaurant. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

For a restaurant that will not officially open until September 7 and has only been in operation for 3-weeks, I have to say chapeau to the Chef and his staff. The service was impeccable. The food was delicious. I thought the portions were a bit big, but then again, I'm not bigger eater. I especially liked my entrée of mussels, and for the plats I especially like the bonito fish and my own pork shoulder. The dessert was deceiving, it tasted better than it looked. Only minor flaws: get rid of that crackling with the pork, it came out soggy. And, this is a personal preference, but the red cabbage could've been "zhooshed " up, it lacked character. Would we go back? absolutely.

For 3 people our meal, 3-entrées, 3-plats, 1-dessert (note our dessert was comped 8€), 2-bottles of wine and 1 coffee, our bill came to 157€ or 52€ and some change.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Don Juan II dinner cruise -- Restaurant Review


Port Henri IV 75004 Paris
Limousine service available upon request (recommend Uber or Taxi)
Open: Dinner every night from 7:45 pm to 11:15 pm
Website for practical information: 
http://donjuan2.yachtsdeparis.fr/index.cfm/page/LID/2/RID/3717/

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+)


4.75 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 2 - Bell
(Disclaimer: It is a very expensive boat cruise)


I love Paris for our spontaneity. We were invited to join some friends on a dinner river cruise. I've done a few, but wanted to go more for the continuing visit we were having with our lovely new friends more than the dinner itself. But I was later surprised how truly excellent this river cruise is.



The top deck was cozy and more romantic than touristy. As the evening progressed, blankets were provided.



The ship is small and very intimate.  The maximum capacity of the dining room is 40 people. We were about 20. It appears it's a special place you go to celebrate a special event. In fact, there were several couples who were celebrating a birthday. We weren't celebrating, but none-the-less it felt like it was something special with special friends.



We had drinks on the deck at sunset. We were served some hors d'oeuvres with drinks on the deck. The hors d'oeuvres I thought were steaming, like dim sum, much to our surprise they were actually chilled and the "smoke" was from the dry ice. A pleasant surprise of the visual as well as taste. They were small morsels of a molecular composition of peas and carrots. Tasted great with our drinks and was not heavy, but cool and light.












Entrée #1. The Peas and Lemon, soybean wheat tuile. It wasn't heavy but packed with flavors. The creamed peas actually covered some heavenly smoked salmon. Before you got to the salmon there were pieces of very al-dente fresh peas; in fact they may even have been raw, but delicious. I don't know how the chef was able to make the wafers so thin, but they were paper thin. We were served various breads, with sweet butter and a seaweed butter that was just out of this world. What intrigued me were the plates. It looked like there was gold leaf on the plate, but they were actually gold encrusted in the porcelain itself. Quite elegant.


Entrée #2. The Langoustine with Southern flavors, infused and chilled tomato water. the simplicity of this dish made every element work well together. Sometimes langoustines can be overcooked and rubbery, but this was perfectly cooked, moist and succulent. Great 2nd entrée. After this entrée, I couldn't wait to see what was to follow.










Plats. The Champagne Chicken cooked two-ways with courgette flower. Talk about a moist chicken, this chicken breast was perfect. It's always been French philosophy to cook e.g., fowl to taste like a fowl, in other words natural and simple. It was probably one of the most moist chicken breasts I ever had. Then when the maitre'd poured the demi-glace it really brought the chicken to the next level. It sat atop some thin slices of zucchini. The second chicken was the dark part of the chicken chopped roughly with other vegetables encased in the zucchini flower. The dark chicken had a lot of flavor, but wasn't overwhelming. What didn't work for me was the slice of cheese over the dark meat. They could've done away with it. It really didn't add anything aesthetically nor enhance the taste. What I loved about this dish was the contrast of 2-different chickens cooked 2-different ways. It was also accompanied with a tiny metallic cup of puréed mixed greens topped with parmesan.


Cheese. Like a Fontainebleau, caramel relish, nuts.  When the cheese arrived, I thought how odd, they must've made a mistake because it looked like whip cream. So I tasted it, and it does taste pretty much like creme fraîche, but in reality fontainebleau cheese is like a mild cream cheese. After digging into this dish I really started getting into it,  the more I dug the more surprises. The nuts with the caramel bits at the bottom and the thin gold shavings, made it really special and a truly light cheese course. A new experience for me, since I typically have different slices of firmer, richer cheese.



Dessert. The Scintillante : variations on chocolate and raspberries. I don't normally eat desserts for health reasons, but the devil made me eat it tonight.  When it was served, it was covered with a bowl and sat atop what I thought was the handle, later turned out to be a chocolate bonbon filled with sherbet.  I just have one word for this, DELICIOUS. I love bitter sweet chocolate, but this must've been 70% or higher dark cocoa. The plate was encrusted with a gold Eiffel tower. And, the sauces were dotted a long the side. This was a rich dessert but at the same time very light. It had a light chocolate ganache and wafers of rich, rich chocolate. And, when I bit into the chocolate bonbon, which was more of a milk chocolate, it was sublime. Needless to say this dessert was a hit.

We did have some "mignardises" (parting sweets) of various chocolates and nougats; unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of it. But basically there was a tray that came out with various chocolates, I think every chocolate that France makes. It was pretty abundant. You selected what you wanted. I decided I wanted to savor the dessert I had previously so I skipped the "mignardises".




I have to mention the breads, they had quite the variety. I especially loved the bread sticks, because they were so light.


Wines. Sancerre.  I wasn't able to take a photo of this, because as soon as they poured,  they whisked it away to keep it child. But true to its nature, the Sancerre is the most recognizable appellation for French Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley. Has a characteristic tasting notes of ripe gooseberry aromas, strong acidity, and flinty-smoke flavors. Needless to say, it was a great accompaniment, since we did have relatively, light delicate dishes.


SUMMARY

What an absolutely fabulous experience. As I mentioned this is a smaller dinner cruise, very upscale and a lot of attention has been paid to not only the ambiance, but the service. The service was beyond reproach. At the beginning we had apéros on deck, as it cooled they brought out blankets. And, of course as you went along the Seine you had great views. They did not have that glaring loud speaker describing every single juncture. They did, however, provide a little card with a map of the Seine with points of interest. The food was near perfect. The chef definitely had some whimsy with e.g., the trick of dim sum that was actually cold, and the contrast of different textures "Ying-Yang", e.g., the 2-types of chicken, the creamy peas contrasted with the whole raw peas. This dinner cruise is a winner, but by no means inexpensive. Would we go back?  absolutely, but first I'll have to save my centimes.

The fixed cost for the dinner and cruise is 220€, which includes all the food. Libations including water are additional. So, for 7-courses (included the hors d'oeuvres, chocolates), 2-bottles of Sancere, 2-bottles of water. Our bill came to 1,096€ for 4-people or 274€ ($323) per person. So this is not inexpensive.