Monday, May 22, 2006

Trip to Paris and the Dordogne

Jardin des Tuileries - Paris May 2006

For a short two week trip we packed in quite a bit of traveling from San Francisco to Paris, off to Bordeaux where we picked up a car, then drove through the Dordogne with a brief one day excursion into the Lot River Valley. October is our preferred month for travel, but May certainly has it's charms with all the Spring flowers just waiting to give us these photo opps!

Chez Paul
13 rue de Charonne - 75001 Paris
Telephone 01 47 00 34 57

The menu conveniently lists house specialties underlined in red, so I made a point of trying three of them during our stay in Paris. The rabbit leg stuffed with goat cheese and mint, then covered in a goat cheese sauce was outstanding. Most meat dishes came with fried, chrispy, thick rounds of potatoes, but the staff was kind enough to allow me to order mine with their gratin Dauphinois, a very rich, thinly sliced potato dish layered with cream and butter.

Their braised lamb shank was also rich and hearty, traditional bistro fare. The chateaubriand and entrecote (rib eye steak) were excellent cuts of beef. Portions were large and well worth the 14-22 euro price for main courses. My last meal was the poulet with foie gras sauce, an inspired dish with moist tender chicken atop green beans, carrots and delicate pea pods.

Foie Gras starters were either served in a salad for 11 euro or twice as much was served with toasted brioche for 17 euro. Their 13 euro charcuterie plate was more than enough for two people to share as was their 15 euro steak tartare.

For dessert the poached pear in red wine with prunes, apricots, and vanilla ice cream was divine, as was the tarte tatin served with creme fraiche. An order of profiteroles was walked by our table and they will be tried in the future. Three large cream puffs filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce will be hard to resist. I also noticed a lovely stuffed vegetable plate that will be another must try. Whether it was strictly vegetarian is unknown but the plate was brimming with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and there was a small salad in the middle if my memory doesn't fail me.

Although most people travel with travel guides (and I admit I use several) I find I have three favorites: Knopf City Guides that are excellent for maps especially, Rick Steves', and the new E>>Guides; my favorite resources are more often becoming cookbooks.

For this trip I consulted the following books to build my own trip itinerary:

Paris Boulangerie - Patisserie by Linda Dannenberg

The Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Paris in a Basket by Nicole Aimee Meyer & Amanda Pilar Posted by Picasa

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