Le Pre Verre

July 2, 2008 at 1:12 am | Posted in food | 2 Comments
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Nothing like a hot American summer — all coffee coolattas and dq blizzards — to make you yearn for the more refined palate across the ocean.  Looking through my photo stream, I felt a pang of nostalgia for my last meal at Le Pre Verre. What I really love about this restaurant is the way all the flavors are a little unexpected — when you first see them on the menu, it’s hard not to wonder, “will that really be any good?” But once you taste the food, you realize that nothing here is weird for weirdness’s sake. Every dish has been carefully thought out and arranged, and instead of thinking, “how bizarre!” you wind up saying, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Shrimp and pea "guacamole"

Shrimp scampi with an perfectly light green pea “guacamole”.

Lamb

Tagine of lamb with beet relish.

Strawberries

Marinated strawberries with parsley ice cream, and many more, as always…

But don’t feel too bad for me, missing out on all this fine cuisine — America has its own unique culinary pleasures, and I am making happy re-acquaintance with them:

First corn!

Thick steaks, buttery corn on the cob, and a PBR to wash it down… life could be worse.

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A bout de soufflé

March 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm | Posted in food, writing | 11 Comments
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Back when I started the blog, I created a category called “writing“, which was supposed to contain musings and observations about my attempts to launch a career as a novelist. If you click that category, you’ll see I haven’t used it much — my thoughts and struggles as a writer turned out to be too personal (not to mention tedious) to share in such a public space. I’m happy to report, though, that now I have at least a small tidbit of news fit for public consumption: I have acquired representation for my novel!

This means (in lay terms), that the odds of my novel actually landing in a bookstore near you some day have gone from “wildly improbable” to “vaguely within the realm of possibility”. Which is good news!

Good enough news to celebrate with a dinner out, certainly. I knew it would be premature to binge on an elaborate three-star feast, but I wanted something that felt a little indulgent, a little out of the ordinary. So what better choice than the decadent all-soufflé menu at Le Soufflé?

Grand Marnier souffle

The only problem with soufflés is, if you’ve seen one, you’ve more or less seen them all. I’ve got a few more pics available for completists, but as far as this post goes, I think I’ll exercise my writerly skills and stick to textual descriptions.

So, soufflés tasted monday night:
Foie gras — a fluffy cloud infused with the most delicate aroma of foie gras, complimented by a molten puddle of the stuff in the middle.
Forestier — earthy, mushroom flavors whipped up lighter than air
Sanglier — the lightness of souffle meets the robust, gamey flavor of wild boar. Although in fact, the boar chunks hiding at the bottom were so tender it was hard to believe the animal was raised in the wild.
Volaille — This was actually the pinnacle of the meal: nothing but chicken, mushrooms, and gravy, but it was like the most divinely inspired chicken pot pie you’ve ever eaten.
Pommes aux Calvados — drunken apples doused in Calvados
Grand Marnier — the most traditional of all soufflés, but still difficult to pull off as perfectly as they did last night.

So there you have it — the perfect celebratory meal for a most happy occasion. Oh, and they change their soufflé menu regularly… Good thing, in case I get any more good news in the future.

Restaurant Le Souffle
Phone: 01 42 60 27 19
36, Rue du Mont Thabor
75001 PARIS 01 er

Not Just Pho

November 22, 2007 at 12:34 pm | Posted in food | 6 Comments
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So, it’s Thanksgiving today, which means all the Franco-American bloggers are posting about gratitude, or American traditions, or the odds of finding a decent pumpkin pie this side of the Atlantic. As for me — I’m here to tell you about my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Quan Ngon

Charming ambiance, no? By the way, those towers you see reflected in the windows are Les Olympiades — Paris’s answer to “the projects”.

Now, I know Ms. Glaze gave her Vietnamese recommendation a little while back, located in the infinitely more charming and accessible St. Michel area. And sure, there are any number of little holes-in-the-wall around the city where you can get a piping hot bowl of pho. But what brings back to Quan Ngon again and again is the house specialty — crèpe vietnamienne.

Crepe Vietnamienne

Basically, it’s a light, fluffy pancake, fried until perfectly crispy (but not greasy) and wrapped around chicken, mushrooms, sprouts and veggies. It’s served with fish sauce and pungent greens (basil, mint, etc.), which I like to stuff inside, though I have no idea if that’s traditional. Either way, the flavor combination is definitely worth the trip.

So dream all you want of canned cranberry sauce and green bean casserole. I’ll be crunching into one of these.

Crepe Vietnamienne

Yum.

Quan Ngon
63, rue Javelot
75013 Paris
Metro: Olympiades

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