Search This Blog

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Baguette Tradition

Back to Paris...

One of the best things about being in Paris was getting a baguette. I did not know there was a difference in baguettes until I started to research for this trip. I discovered the baguette "tradition"--a baguette that is mixed, hand-formed and made on the premise. It contains only 4 ingredients--flour, salt, water and levain. The crust is crisp but doesn't flake and the interior is slightly yellow, full of holes and chewy. I'll never be able to eat a baguette ordinaire again. Watch this video for a better explanation:

Every year, the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Francaise de la Ville de Paris chooses the winner of the best baguette in Paris. The winner gets to supply the President of France with baguettes for an entire year. For the 2nd year, the winner in 2014 was Antonio Teixeria but it's located in the 14th arrondissement--too far for me to go get a baguette. The 2nd place was a tie between Au Petit Versailles du Marais at 27 rue Francois Miron in the 4th arrondissement and Le Montmartoise at 43 rue de Clignancourt in the 18th arrondissement. The 4th arrondissement was close to where we were and I went in search of the boulangerie.

The window of the boulangeries boasts its win. To tell you the truth, I really couldn't tell the difference between theirs and any other baguette tradition I had picked up elsewhere. They're all great!

2013 02 04

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Here's last night's dinner at Flavor Bistro. Four courses with 4 wine pairings, all for $24.95.

Tortino Di Granchio--Sautéed Dungeness Crab Cake, Basil Aioli & Crispy Shoestring Yams, paired with 2013 Tenuta Sant'Antonio Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay I.G.T., Veneto, Italy. This was a huge crab cake, full of crab and not breading. This is the only chardonnay I will drink because it doesn't taste like chardonnay.

Gnocchi Alla Savor--Handmade Potato Pillows Served in Chicken-Sausage Ragù, Topped with Roasted Mushrooms & a Trio of Cheeses, paired with 2012 Navarro Vineyards & Winery Zinfandel, Mendocino. Delicious spicy sausage ragu.

Agnello Alla Griglia--Grilled Lavender Lamb Garnished with Ragoût of Fingerling Potatoes, Arugula, Oven Dried Tomatoes & Eggplant Served in Zinfandel Reduction Sauce, paired with 2012 Turley Wine Cellars Old Vines Zinfandel, California. Flavorful lamb and rich, delicious Zin sauce. The Turley was much richer than the Navarro Zin.

Tiramisù E Tartufi Di Cioccolato--Espresso Lady Fingers Layered with Rum Flavored Mascarpone Cream Garnished with Homemade Chocolate Truffles, paired with 2011 Novy Family Wines 'Oley' Late Harvest Viognier, Russian River Valley 

2015 02 26

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Eiffel Tower & Rue Cler

After our tour of Montmartre, we took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower.

It's still an amazing view no matter how many times I've seen it.

Nearby was Rue Cler, another street full of markets. The markets pour into the street. We found the makings of another great dinner.

We stopped at the local wine shop and asked the proprietor for a recommendation. This one was €10.50, a delicious red from Burgundy. We found so many great wines for not much money.

At the fromaggerie, we picked up a goat cheese--Saint Mavre, €4.40 for 1/2 log. This was a firm cheese, crumbly and similar to any goat cheese you'd find in the US. I was looking for something a little different so I was disappointed.

Chabichou du Pitou--€4.40. This was a creamy goat cheese and delicious.

Saint-Marcellin--a soft, creamy cow milk cheese. Delicious and only €1.95. What a bargain!

The rotisserie chicken smelled great. The cavity was filled with herbs.

Tartlette Citron Meringue from Paul--€3.30. Great lemon taste.

2014 02 03

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Montmartre, Part 2

After lunch, we finished our tour of Montmartre.

They're a little hard to see but there were soldiers with machine guns patrolling the city. After the recent events at Charlie Hebdo, security was increased.

The tour of Montmartre took us to the Dali Museum--Dali lived in Montmartre in the 1920s & 30s.

La Maison Rose Restaurant, made famous by a Utrillo painting and once frequented by Picasso & Gertrude Stein.

Clos Montmartre Vineyard--the last remaining vineyard in Montmartre. In October, an annual five-day grape harvest festival, the Fête des Vendanges, is celebrated.

Au Lapin Agil Cabaret--once frequented by Picasso, Renoir, Utrillo. It's still an active cabaret today.

Le Bateau-Lavoir once housed Picasso's studio and apartment. Picasso started his Cubism phase here. Other artists who lived here included Henri Matisse, Juan Gris, Max Jacob & Maurice Utrillo. Imagine what it was like back then.

Moulin de la Galette--one of 2 wooden windmills that still exists.

The other wooden windmill.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's house.

Moulin Rouge--the end of the tour. It was the birthplace of the can-can dance and is still a working cabaret.

2015 02 03

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Au Pied du Sacre Coeur

We took a detour to have lunch. I had read about a great restaurant near Sacre Coeur--Au Pied du Sacre Coeur. It's located at 85 rue Lamarck.

We shared 1/4 liter of house red wine.

For starters, my husband had the Salade Tres Fromages. Look at the portion size. 

I ordered Soupe a l’Oignon--it was very rustic but so flavorful.

My main was Bavette d’Aloyau Au Beurre d’Eschalottes, Pommes Jeites. The flap steak was chewy but very flavorful and the shallot butter sauce was delicious. Again, the potatoes were so creamy--I loved them!

 My husband had the Escalope de Saumon a la Creme du Copres. He thought this was the best dish he had all week. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the caper sauce was amazing.

 and for dessert, we shared a Tarte Tatin--an apple tart. Hard to believe we had all this for €26, tax and tip included.

2015 02 03

Monday, February 23, 2015


We woke up to a beautiful sunny day and decided to do a walking tour of Montmartre. We followed Rick Steves' tour.

It was a 4-minute walk from our apartment to the Strasbourg-St. Denis Metro station. We had purchased a "carnet"--10 individual tickets for €14. The tickets can be shared. It'll save you money and you won't have to stand in line to buy a ticket each time.

We took the Metro to the Anvers station for the start of our walk. 

We came out through one of the original Art Nouveau “Metropolitan” entrances. 

The walk took us through a small street with souvenir shops galore. It was still early so it wasn't crowded yet. At the end of the street, you arrive at a small park with the Sacre Coeur at the top of the hill. 

You can use another Metro ticket to ride the funicular. But, why do that? It's not that high a climb and you get a wonderful view of Sacre Coeur as you climb the terraced hillside. The hillside used to be dotted with gypsum mines--the original source of "Plaster of Paris."

Sacre Coeur is located on Paris’ highest point at 420 feet. The five-domed basilica took 44 years to build and was finished in 1919. There is a plaque on the wall near the Statue of St. Therese that outlined the location of the 13 bombs that fell on Montmartre in an Allied air raid in 1944. Fortunately, no one was killed and the basilica was not damaged. Near the exit are 3 stained glass windows telling the life of Jeanne d’Arc.

The Place du Tertre is the town square. It's ringed with shops and restaurants but the center is filled with artists, ready to draw your portrait.

2015 02 03

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Dinner at the Apartment

We had our pastries with tea, took a nap then went in search of dinner. It was Monday night and there weren't a lot of options open. Instead, we saw the Franprix Supermarche and went in to check it out. We found the makings for a great dinner.

3-cheese fondue--€4.95.

Mediterranean olives--€3.12 and octopus salad--€6.70

And, of course, we had wine--a bottle of Merrain Medoc for €8.95. It was a bronze winner and delicious.

2015 02 02

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rue Montorgueil

Back to Paris...

By now, we were freezing. Even though it was sunny and the thermometer read high 30s, it actually felt closer to the 20s. We decided to head back to the apartment and walked through Rue Montorgueil to get there. Rue Montorgueil is a great shopping street.

First stop was a boulangerie/patisserie--Maison Collet. 

I picked up a flan nature for €2.40

and a millefeuille for €3.30. 

Next stop was the cheese shop. Palet Blanc for €3.95. This was a soft goat cheese with a moderate tang. 

Crottin Chavignol--€2.85. This is the most famous goat cheese produced in the Loire, soft ripened, crumbly, with a clean smell. This was my favorite goat cheese of the trip. 

2015 02 02

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday Night Dinner

Last night's dinner at Flavor Bistro also looked good so we had to go.

Capesante--Pan Roasted Day Boat Scallops Served in Citrus Vin Santo Garnished with Arugula-Fennel Slaw & Crispy Potatoes, paired with Adriano Adami Prosecco Garbèl Treviso Brut D.O.C.
Veneto, Italy. This was delicious. The Vin Santo sauce is fabulous.

Ravioli D'Anatra --Homemade Pasta Filled with Duck Mousse Served in Roasted Garlic-Thyme Jus Flavored with Gorgonzola Dolce & Walnut Gremolata, paired with 2012 Bonny Doon Vineyard Contra, Carignane Old Vine Field Blend, California. Sorry, no picture.

 Bistecca Alla Griglia--Grilled Marinated Flat Iron Steak Garnished with Duxelles of Organic Winter into Spring Vegetables & Tomato-Onion Confit Served in Barolo Wine Sauce, paired 2012 Chappellet Winery Mountain Cuvée, Cabernet Blend, Napa Valley. The steak was medium rare and had so much flavor. The Barolo Sauce was thick and rich.

Dolci --Puff Pastry Filled with Lemon Curd & Blackberries Served in Strawberry Coulis, paired with 2013 Paolo Saracco Moscato d'Asti D.O.C.G., Italy

2015 02 19

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday Night Dinner

My favorite Wednesday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro is pork chops. It was served last night so I had to go. Unlike Thursday Nigh Dinner, Wednesday Night Dinner is served family style. All this for $18.95. It included a white and a red wine. Guess the varietal and you are entered in a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to Flavor. Pays for dinner if you win.

Grilled Pork Chops with Sun-Dried Fruit Compote & Whipped Potatoes

Peter Rabbit's Favorite, Blue Lake Beans, Creamy Spinach with Homemade Sausage

Farmhouse Soup--Sweet Potato Soup

Organic Green Salad

Homemade Bread & Butter

Chocolate Foldovers with Whipped Cream

2015 02 18