i have to preface this to say that i know absolutely zilch about french – and that the little bits and pieces i have picked up in my cumulative 1+months in paris are barely enough for me to survive, what with “sil vous plait, l’additional sil vous plait, ou et la toilette and pardon” lol. oh yeah, and lots of food terms. the rest is me acknowledging google translate as my good friend. or trying to decipher body language and nodding along. works like a charm most of the times. =)
so anyways, this is lost in translation, part deux, where frank bravely attempts to decipher a french menu and figure out exactly what he is putting into his mouth. dinner’s served at restaurant au gre des saisons @ hotel de france, tuck in!
tapenade is this provencal dish consisting of puree of olives, which is the black spiral you see within the biscuit that lends it a slightly salty flavor. i honestly couldn’t figure out the ingredient of the pate. =( but to be honest, one thing i love is how beautifully plated these dishes are – its like the chef makes an effort to appeal to all your senses and make the meal a true sensory treat.
amazing stuff. the blend of savory flavors from the bacon, mushrooms and foam melded perfectly and augmented the freshness of the scallops, which were perfectly seared – flaky, flavorful and with the ‘Q’-ness (hmm.. we chinese use that term to describe noodles with a chewy bounciness). the host of the dinner kept telling me that it was easy to make it dish — “just put ze scallop, mushrooms and some butter sauce into ze oven and voila!”
yah right. like my scallops would turn out this amazing without some badass precise timing. or as if the sauce wasn’t meticulously created, with portions of ingredients thrown in expertly and only possible through years of experience.
look at that plating! and seriously, the chicken was tender and superbly flavorful (though i suppose cocotte is still a notch better), lightly salted and paired with some tasty sauce. the parsnip puree once again lent a mild sweetness to the proceedings. can i have parsnip mash next time instead of potato mash? its a good source of fiber and doesn’t seem to be as carbo-intensive as potatoes, and it tastes really good.
someday i’m gonna teach myself how to make pain brioche. because the recipe that calls for it seems not too tough and the ingredients so simple and yet what comes out of the oven smells awesome and tastes really good as well. oh yeah i need a decent oven for that first. zz. anyways, i love how french cuisine likes to do different variations of a dessert from the same ingredient just to add a layer of nuance and complexity. the pear sorbet was refreshing and light whereas the caramelized pear bits were sweeter and more of a concentrated flavor — these paired well with the pain brioche as the base, that was lightly dusted with cinnamon to add a little spiciness to the dish. yums.
i love how dining with the french essentially becomes a lesson in french cooking as well. when the petit fours were served, i pointed at the confectionaries and went ‘madeleines’? to which my french host pondered for a moment (translating stuff in her head) before launching into a small lecture of how they were actually financiers, differentiated from madeleines because financiers were almond flavored. count me educated. =)
so all in all, a fully satiated frank (mind you, i didn’t even recount the wines, the kir or the armagnac). i peeped at the menu and found that the meal cost 90euro each. wowzers. but worth it in a certain sense. =)
restaurant au gre des saisons | hotel de france, cours du docteur joseph rambaud, 09100 pamiers, france | fine dining, michelin rated, wines