Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More Dinners in Paris

But, first, before we settle somewhere for dinner, we must have the obligatory aperitif/pre-dinner drink elsewhere.  Only after that are we prepared to saunter out into the world and track down the elusive meal.  After all, this is Paris, and according to the BBC, there are only about 40,000 restaurants in Paris to choose from.

 Aperitif at various locations around Paris

For our Friday night dinner, we treat ourselves to a real gastronomical extravaganza at La Gaigne.  We first dined at La Gaigne when it was a small place with a few tables in the Marais.  We read a glowing review in the New York Times and decided we had to try it and it was incredible.  We went back the next year and then, again, last year at their new location near Gare Saint-Lazare.  It's still incredible!

We study the menu at La Gaigne for a while, then decide on the month's tasting menu (English version), five courses of pure delight.

 Tasting menu at La Gaigne

Several times we get carried away with dining and forget that we are also taking pictures!  Here's a few from when we manage to remember.

A few nibbles with our champagne

Black pudding loaf with foie gras, carrot and beet chips

 Ring of red radishes over cream of green peas

 Filet of John Dory, artichoke puree, braised stuffed artichokes

 Roast breast of Dombes duckling

Desert and another glass of champagne
Crispy tile pastry with lime sorbet and lots more

Along with this all, we have a bottle of Pomerol recommended by our server/sommelier (not taking the suggested wine parings, although he does bring us each a glass of Mareuil Clos Saint Andre to accompany the ring of red radishes over cream of green peas, telling us that the white wine is a better complement to the delicate flavors of that dish).  On our way out, we take their picture and tell them we'll be back next year!

The friendly, knowledgeable staff helped make a wonderful experience!

The next day, it's hard to decide, but since we dined three times  in local restaurants where we were the only non-Parisians, it is time for a more traditional touristic meal.  We pick Leon of Brussels (Léon de Bruxelles) on the Champs-Élysées for moules frites and don't regret it.  It isn't the same as dinner in Brussels, but close enough for a Paris trip.

 Leon de Bruxelles for moules frites

Moules in one hand, frites in the other!

 And, of course, chocolate for desert
Profiterole without the pastry - awesome!

Sadly, it will be soon time to head home from our long weekend in Paris, wanting a few more days and maybe a side trip to Reims to visit the champagne caves or St. Emilion for some Bordeaux and great food (all easily reached from Paris on the TGV high-speed train, 45 minutes to Reims, a day trip, and 3.25 hours to Bourdeaux, overnight stay in a wine chateaux).

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