[Once again, I have to do this "splitting the entry into more than one part" thing since it was just getting way too long and as much as I would like to keep writing, I'm sure you want to actually stay awake through the whole entry. As would I. But it ain't happening. I'll leave comments open, but I'd be more inclined to respond to comments on the second part...whenever I get around to writing it.]
meats of various cook-ness at Le Trumilou
While walking along quai de l'Hôtel de Ville last Monday night at 7 PM, I noticed that it was a bit...dead. People just don't eat that early in Paris. Well, well, my American stomach isn't used to eating dinner at 9 PM yet.
Due to the lack of humans and Le Trumilou, Amy and I killed some time at Bistrot Marguerite with some ...ahem, potent potables. Actually, I had a hot chocolate and she had a beer; I just really wanted to say "potent potables".
After ingesting out tasty liquids and shooting the shizz about life and stuffs (if English isn't your first language, I apologize for frequently going into non-grammatically-correct lapses) like all good bloggers do when meeting for the first time, we returned to Le Trumilou for excessive fooding.
The restaurant's specialty, canard aux pruneaux (duck-n-prunes), isn't all that photogenic. But tasty food doesn't have to look beautiful. I find things that come in huge metal bucket-like containers to be more appealing than weeny dainty bite-sized foodstuffs. "It comes in a silver vat! IT MUST BE SOOO GOOD." Toss a few ginormous duck chunks (a leg and [insert another major meaty part]) that may have been tenderized by the delicate hands of elves (probably not, but you don't know for sure) in some slightly viscous, deep brown, prune-sweetened sauce and add a bunch of ...prunes. VOILA! It's yummy. The French preparation of duck beats all others in my mind. Fat. And meat. In perfect harmony.
Amy went with steak tartare and frites. I'm also a fan of raw, mashed up seasoned beef. Really! It's tasty, perhaps comparable to spicy tuna if that means anythign to you. But it's better than spicy tuna because IT COMES WITH FRITES! Amy said that if you finish your frites, they may refill your plate. God knows how anyone could finish off the plate, but it's nice to know the option of neverending frite consumption exists.
We topped off our meat-filled bellies with mutiple desserts. I ordered les oeufs à la neige, also known as ile flottante, also known as floating island, also known as, "It tastes like mucus," in the words of Sophie. A meringue blob sitting in a pool of crème anglaise isn't something I can imagine craving in the middle of the night, but it's tasty...if you like meringue and crème anglaise. I'm more of a fan of crème anglaise than meringue and suspect that someone thought it would look too weird to eat crème anglaise on its own (hey, I've done it, which probably labels it as "abnormal"), so they added the meringue to make it look more substantial and provide a good vehicle with which to eat the crème anglaise with. Whatever, I'm down with that. UPDATE: As Arnaud has noted in the comments, the meringue is there to use up the egg whites left over from making the crème anglaise. Oh duh [slaps self in forehead].
Amy made an excellent choice with the poire belle-hélène, a dessert that is kind of like an ice cream sundae like none I had ever eaten before. Slices of poached pear lie at the bottom of the bowl topped with vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, crème anglaise (methinks?), whipped cream and a sprinkling of almond slivers. So damn good. I have to order it again the next time I see it. Two gavottes, delicate crispy rolls of sweet nanometer-thick cookie, came on the side and I couldn't help but buy a box of them the next day.
Amy unfortunately got a bit of a stomach malfunction from the meal, but I hope she felt that it was worth it. I must thank her for the great company, restaurant recommendation, and bout with indigestion. Hopefully that won't keep her from eating with me again. :)
Despite that Paris is overly populated with crepe stands and crepe restaurants, I've rarely eaten crepes. My heart has been stolen and fattened by patisseries and boulangeries. But France doesn't just live on cakes and bread (and duck...can't forget about duck); they also have thin bass drum-sized golden pancake-ish things filled with all kinds of edible goodies, primarily spread-able and made of glucose. I was happy when Yann (my first real French eating buddy, weehee!) suggested we go to La Creperie du Clown upon my request to eat out last Thursday.
While I could've happily eaten a banana and nutella crepe for dinner, I started my meal with a potato, cheese and onion galette. It resembled a spotted, brown, bloated ...thingy. Because that's what it kinda is. What else can I say; it ain't a looker. I know just how it feels.
But it's what's inside that counts! Especially if you have bountiful cheesy onion and potato innards! (Sadly, my innards are just organs, blood and bones. No wonder nobody loves me.) I can't think of any reason to object to the combination of soft potato chunks and onion held together by warm gooey cheese. My belly was quite happy.
Yann's galette was considerably less bloaty than mine, which probably meant he was less bloated after eating it. I'd say that it can't compare to my CHEESY ONION POTATO BOMB, but he would happily forgo my football-sized galette since he's not into the cheese-onion-potato combination. Ah well, his loss!
We each ordered a dessert crepe to keep our meal balanced (and by balanced I mean savory and sweet; I ain't talking 'bout no food pyramid). I don't know what to say about these besides that they were alright. Needed more sugar, maybe. Surprisingly as one who believes that dessert is the core part of the meal, I preferred my galette to my banana and vanilla ice cream crepe!
Our neighbors' dessert crepe looked more appetizing with its tall mountain of whipped cream drizzled with a bit-o chocolate sauce. And no, I did not invade upon our neighbors' space; they recognized me! Holy crap! Amanda and Shawn (if either of you are reading this, please forgive me if I got your names wrong), two Bostonians on vacation in paris, were familiar with my blog, or at least Amanda was. The point of recognition seemed to come when I whipped out my Canon Rebel before there was even any food on the table. I'm a bit too conspicious. :)
Eating out with Yann was a lot of fun, especially since he knew loads more about French food and customs than I did. (Such as the pairing of slightly alcoholic apple cider with crepes.) Running into Amanda and Shawn was a happy surprise, besides being a really weird coincidence that we happened to go to the same restaurant at the same time and sit next to each other. Remember when a girl spotted me in a Norwegian shopping center? I guess it'd be a better story if we had contact, but if I were her I probably wouldn't come up to me either.
...I'm very approachable though! I think. I mean, if you're already familiar with my blog, it doesn't get a whole lot weirder than that.
oh my god, the meats
Last Friday I ate dinner at La Table du Perigord with Janice, a Malaysian woman who has been living in Paris with her husband and kids for 16 years. (If she had a blog I would link to it instead of telling her life story in one sentence, hehe.) She suggested a restaurant to satisfy our cassoulet craving with and I gleefully hopped into the prospect of devouring a vat filled with hearty meat-and-bean-tastic stew.
Before the main course, we unecessarily chomped on baguette chunks and a complementary appetizer type thingy of creamy tuna salad and crusy bread slices. You know, the toast things that resemble giant croutons (because that's what they are). Nothing wrong with them; I just prefer fresh bread. I liked the tuna salad spread, although I can't describe it much more than that. Sorry, I AM USELESS.
And then came the cassoulet (two orders in one dish) in all its excessively meaty glory—duck breast, duck leg, pork and sausage to be exact. The duck confit was easily the meat to put all other meats to shame; I'm not much of a sausage fan and the pork was sadly overdone. But there was more than enough meat and white beans (remember, baby angels!) for both of us. We managed to eat about 2/3rds before reaching the state of meat coma since this dish is probably better suited for people who need to sustain a life of hard, physical calorie-burning labor and not two fairly small Chinese women. However, I continued to sop up the soup with my bread and mindlessly chomp on my carb-based liqui-meat sponge because it would've been wrong to not marry the bread and soup.
By now you should know that there's always room for dessert, despite how many different kinds of animals we may ingest. Janice's creme brulee looked good (how could it be bad?), but my chocolate cake seemed a bit iffy even before I tried it. And then I did. And it was still...iffy. Janice didn't like it and said I didn't have to eat it if it didn't make my tummy gurgle with happy muscle spasms, but I figured that I may as well eat it since it wasn't totally unenjoyable.
However, I realized that something was wrong with it when I got home and remembered what it reminded me of. A brownie gone horribly wrong. I 'm not refering to brownies in general; I mean that I actually had the experience and thus the sensory memory of eating a brownie recipe gone awry. The result was something flat and lacking in sweetness with an odd texture that didn't quite resemble a cake or a brownie...or anything else for that matter. While my chocolate cake wasn't as bad as that, it was reminiscent of "the brownie that gone done wrong". Janice was right in suggesting that I didn't finish it. WHY DOESN'T MY STOMACH LISTEN?!
Janice and I will certainly be eating again. Next stop: AWESOME DESSERTS!
I'm bad at heartfelt remarks
I must say that I am very lucky and thankful to have met so many cool, unique, food-happy people through the blogging world who have been willing to open up their stomachs and knowledge of all things French or edible to my weenie American mind. I'll overlook the massive weight gain that inevitably comes from participating in indulgent meals with good company.
..But if I become obese, I'm blaming it on you guys.
84, quai de l'Hôtel de Ville, 4th
Metro: Hotel de Ville (1), Pont Marie (7)
Creperie du Clown
6, rue des Canettes, 6th
Metro: Mabillon (10), Saint Germain des Pres (4)