Most memorable French meal?

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May 25th, 2000, 11:17 AM
  #21
elvira
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Al, I'm of the 'he who is among you' theory; if I find offense in someone spending money on food or a car, they have every right to be offended by my spending money on travel or books. Not my place to judge.
 
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May 25th, 2000, 12:04 PM
  #22
kk
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My own MMFM took place about three years ago on a houseboat/restaurant on the Loire River, in Blois. We were staying with friends who live in a 15th century mill house (now THAT is bliss, you should see it...they are French, met them when we worked for the same corporation) and they said they'd take us to their favorite restaurant in the area. No Michelin stars, just great food. The owner and his wife live on the boat and met us as we arrived. Their small fluffy French poodle greeted us, too, and ran around all evening. Loved that, part of the ambience of this whole memory. The wines were choice, as Gerard chose them and he knows what he is doing. I had a gorgeous coq au vin and my husband was daring and tried sole encased in salt. Talk about luscious, and not a bit salty. Strange, go figure. The dining room on the boat was classical in its decor and everything was very slow and graceful. I loved it. When we left, the full moon had risen and was shining on the waters of the Loire.
Alas, don't ask me for the name and numbers of this place because it is now closed. But it does live on in my memory.
 
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May 25th, 2000, 01:54 PM
  #23
lola
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Al- I shared that experience as an eye-opener, figuring I might snag some flak from someone who doesn't share my priorities. I work hard for my money, and I don't think it is fair to judge me if I want to splurge on a meal in Paris. I think we all tend to have different priorities. I don't buy expensive clothes, I don't spend money on liquor or gamble it away. I am not "so selfish" or "so decadent." Just a foodie who wishes prices were less in Paris. The experience of a great meal, to me and those like me, is like theater, so I can justify that it costs the same as a complete night out. I dare say most of us have our splurges, even, maybe, you??
 
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May 25th, 2000, 06:54 PM
  #24
topper
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upsy daisy
 
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May 26th, 2000, 10:54 AM
  #25
More Please!
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Let's start the holiday weekend with more food reports! That way we can all pretend to be in France, if only in our minds.
 
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May 26th, 2000, 03:19 PM
  #26
John
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Okay, I started this and as I read the replies the memories keep rolling through. Not that I’m particularly obsessed with food or French restaurants, mind you. (I have some fond memories of lots of restaurants, actually. Maybe I need to restate that obsession thing.)

It was a friend’s birthday (one with a zero in it) and we had been wandering around the Dordogne on a rainy Sunday, the routes to where we wanted to go continually blocked by the rivers in flood stage. The hotel we finally chose was a 3-star job in Sarlat; we had no foreknowledge of the quality of the rooms or the food, but it was getting dark and we needed a place to stay. It turned out the rooms were lovely and inexpensive, and the food…well, more on that.

Dinner started off with one of those weird alternate universe things – a couple sitting in the bar with us before the meal were Americans who turned out to live a couple of hundred yards from my parents. They were en route to Italy to visit their son, who was a baseball player in the Italian league (yes, there is one.) The son, as it happened, lived in a very small village near San Gimignano. Our friends (birthday person and her husband, both Scottish) lit up at the name of the village, and asked where did he live exactly, and the American lady gave the address and it turned out to be in the same street where our friends spend a week or two every summer, with a school friend who married an Italian guy…(sound of oooweeeooo from old monster flick.)

The dining room population consisted of the four of us and maybe three other tables. (Elvira, I know the feeling.) The room was lined with old wood and that wonderful arched golden stone that catches the candlelight and makes the room look like it was always there and all they did was haul away the soil. The meal, when joined, consisted of one, then a second, bottle of champagne (like Guinness, best consumed in the country of origin) then, variously, fois gras, an unbelievable fish bisque, some sort of pate or terrine redolent of port and truffles, duck, fish, and meat entrees, the best bread in the solar system, salads…then a lemon tart which had me looking for lemon trees in the Dordogne in March. There might have been wine, too. Then coffees and cordials in the lounge before the fire…. The laughing was non-stop, the waiters were attentive and eventually also laughing, the bill was not all that bad. The champagne cost more than the two rooms. We collapsed in a bleary heap into bed and got up the next morning to coffee and brioche in the same dining room, the golden stone walls bathed in sunlight now, early spring flowers and branches of forsythia blossoms all over.

Wife and I returned to Sarlat a year ago or so and found the same hotel and dining room and had lunch. Magnificent, but lacking in something…the absence of two bottles of champagne, perhaps? We asked about the lemon tart. The chef who had prepared the meal (a decade earlier) was now the hotel owner. His wife, at the front desk, was very sweet and gracious. Non, pardon. She would not give us the recipe nor would she wrap one to go. If we came back for dinner he’d make one for us, though. We declined, but we’re thinking next March.

I’m sorry but I can’t find the name of the hotel. Go look for it yourselves.
 
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May 26th, 2000, 03:42 PM
  #27
alta
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Can I play? Mine was in 1986 when I was 16, of all things, on my first trip to Europe. We were staying at a B&B in Chartres. My parents, in their usual way, befriended the owner and he took us fishing on a farm in the countryside - no idea where or in which direction. We stopped for lunch at a place that served all the local farm workers. It as a building that seemed to appear out of nowhere in the middle of a field.

We all sat at long, communal tables. They fed everyone the same delicious meal (that day it was steak frites), amazing fresh bread, and red wine (my first glass of wine).

Now I'm hungry.
 
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May 27th, 2000, 08:30 AM
  #28
ann
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You guys are killing me. I think Europe is calling my name... it's time to go.
 
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May 27th, 2000, 11:37 AM
  #29
Christine
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AFFORDABLE: The best french meal I had in Paris was also the most affordable. Trust me, this is RARE. Sans Coulottes - sp? (yes, I think that means "without pants") on Rue de Lapp (Metro: Bastille)It's a few doors down from La Pirata and Havanita (also good, and affordable by Paris standards). Anyway, Sans Coulottes has a fixed price, three course meal for about $25 per person. Portions are large and everything was fabulous. The menu is on a chalk board and it's in French and the waitstaff speaks very little English. Order anything -- you can't go wrong!
 
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May 29th, 2000, 08:53 AM
  #30
karen
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Hi: Just have to share the "tariff" (found tucked into my 1997 travel journal) from the aforementioned Hostellerie du Chateau in Chateauneuf-en-Auxois. (Al's comment inspired me to check through the travel records.) Here goes: Four adults at dinner - 4 kir aperitifs; 2 "menus" (three-course complete meals); 2 "filet de Charolais" (the special "plat" only; rather than order 4 complete multi-course dinners, we shared appetizers and desserts - enough is enough after 3 weeks!!); 1 bottle of Cote de Nuit Villages (chosen by the chef for us when we gave him a price range); coffee (with a surprise accompaniment of chocolate confections). The total, including service and TVA, was 804 ff. At, say, 6 francs to the dollar, remarkable for four people. If you CHOOSE CAREFULLY even exquisitely prepared and served meals are reasonable. We did LUNCH, not dinner, at La Clos de la Violette - three hours under the canopy of trees on the terrace; we've yet to visit any Michelin-starred places and not sure we need to. We've eaten at places such as the restaurant atop the Lyon Opera house and we've also stopped in at truckstops. We're frugal, careful planners looking for value and most of our B&B's are in the $50-$60 dollar a night range. Boy, am I ready to plan the next trip!
 
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May 29th, 2000, 10:50 AM
  #31
Diane
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Two memorable occassions come to mind. The first was visiting the Drodogne region last March. We had opted not to do the Table d'hote in the chateau we were staying (which the night before was wonderful and memorable). We had traveled all day around the region, with our last stop at dusk in Rocamadour (where restaurants were open but we opted to try something on the drive back). Driving back to the chateau we had great difficulties finding anything open. We came upon what we called a truck stop in St. Cere. No english spoken, a bar up front with a room in back where the meal was served - 60 FF per person including wine. To start a big serving bowl of soup put in front of us to serve as much as we like,bread, steak and noodles, a fromage plate for us to slice off how much we wanted and choclalate mousse. The food wasn't that great but what made it memorable was being in this totally, non-touristy place, with no english spoken and no tourists. It was a lot of fun and so French.

The other was a Sunday night this past December (a bad combination for finding something open) in the middle of almost nowhere northwest of Portiers. My internet chateau search landed us in a very spooky, potential for haunted, chateu that did not serve food. The Madame directed us to a small town, where the local restaurant was not open. We ventured the other direction - and fool me - left my may at the chateau. Also, we were low on gas and no stations weren't open for that either. The locals in the next town directed us to a hotel/restaurant - Auberge du Pont Neuf in Cussay. It was obvious they were closing up but said they would serve us. And did they! One of the best meals I have had in France. Salmon for the adults and beef steak for the 16 year old boys. The vegetables were served in a cut out zuchinni made to look like a basket with a handle, the other colorful vegetables sliced in slivers laying in the basket. The dessert was the best - a deep fried thin shell made with almond slivers and some type of batter with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. On the plate there was a vanilla sauce with red and orange, very flavorful artwork designs on each plate - and each different. I was as good as it looked. Looking at my receipt it was called Tuiles. Two of my companions licked off the plates (what class) and I have the pictures to prove it. The servers never rushed us even though we delayed their time to leave.

We survived the night in the spooky chateau and after a 30 minute drive in the morning eventually found gas/petrol, before we ran out.

As it turns out, most of my most memorable experiences have been those that have been unplanned!
 
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May 30th, 2000, 05:22 PM
  #32
Lynn
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Hi everyone:
I have just found this site and this question is top of my list for our upcoming trip to Provence, Languedoc, Ariege and Bordeaux. Does anyone have any recommendations for their most memorable meal in perhaps Arles, or Bordeaux. Looking forward to hearing any comments.
Thanks in advance.
 
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May 31st, 2000, 07:14 AM
  #33
Brian in Atlanta
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Just returned and also had a wonderful dinner at Le Petit Troquet as well as La Trufferie (and Lori, we had Eric at the Familia make our reservations too). Eerie, huh?
 
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Jun 13th, 2001, 11:16 AM
  #34
John
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To the top
 
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Jun 13th, 2001, 12:49 PM
  #35
Ess
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The entire week we just spent in the Loire Valley/Berry region seemed like one long meal. We tried every regional dish we could get our hands on. I actually started becoming ill from overeating. It was an orgy. Our best meals were in simple auberges.

One of my favorites was outside Blois. We started with kir royales made with a sparkling Vouvray, and little warm canapes in teeny tart shells, then the beautiful local asparagus, fat and white in a creamy sauce in a puff pastry shell, then a warm mousse of scallops, then medallions of lotte in a red Chinon wine sauce - an incredibly sweet and meaty, delicious fish. The cheese course is what I'm still sighing over, though. The cheeses were truly artisanal works. I should have taken photos of them they were that gorgeous. There was one very runny cheese that had an aftertaste of asparagas, and incredibly creamy soft goat cheeses. It was so hard to choose from them all the cheeses. Then a very pretty and luscious pear charlotte with a vanilla sauce and "poire" written in chocolate, followed by good strong cafe noir and a little plate of additional sweets. What a wonderful meal that was, about $25 per person. I forget what wine we had but it was wonderful and very reasonably priced. We had equally good food, though more "rustic", outside Bourges.
 
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Jun 13th, 2001, 02:55 PM
  #36
Pat
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Many thanks John for resurrecting this post. I'm leaving for Paris in September and it can't come soon enough.

Anyone else with a favorite story?
 
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Jun 14th, 2001, 06:01 AM
  #37
Lori
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Since this has been resurrected, allow me to say that I was highly disappointed in Le Petit Troquet. We went there our last night in France this past May, expecting a wonderful meal based on all of the good things said about it on this forum. What a disappointment. The service was horrendous, we were rushed - in and out in 45 minutes flat and there was noone coming in after us. I got the impression that they wanted to close and go home. I did not think the food was that good either. My husband had the duck which was quite tough, and the two pieces he got were not very good cuts of meat. I don't even remember what I had, it didn't leave a good impression. There are lots and lots of favorable posts on this forum about this restaurant, so hopefully we had an off night.
 
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Jun 14th, 2001, 07:47 AM
  #38
claudia
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Hi John,
My husband and I went to Paris and the french riveira five years ago and we has so many special meals,but our last nite in Nice was the best. We were tired o we decided to eat right on the beach across from our hotel. We sat outside with the waves almost coming up on our feet. I wanted a veal francaise which was not on the menu,but they said they would make anything I wanted! It was wonderful. Then while we were sipping our kia royals, a fireworks display began at the end of the causeway!What a way to end our stay.
 
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Jun 14th, 2001, 08:55 PM
  #39
Capo
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Due to a great deal on airfare, my former girlfriend & I flew to Paris from Seattle over Thanksgiving weekend in 1994. I'd brought along Sandra Gustafson's Cheap Eats in Paris book and we found a restaurant in there called Au Buisson Ardent which sounded very interesting. Gustafson wrote "This restaurant once sparked the beginning of a romance. The romance didn't last too long, but my affection for this old Left Bank landmark has never wavered." and "The truly fine bourgeoise cooking, prepared with sincerity and served in warm surroundings by pleasant middle-aged waitresses, has kept the well-fed regulars coming back for years." She had also written that one of the "first-class" choices on the menu was confit de canard maison, so that's where I first had this dish that has become one of my favorite French food items. We spoke very little French, and our waitress spoke no English, but we managed quite well. The food was delicious and the surroundings were as warm as Ms. Gustafson said they were. A very memorable Thanksgiving weekend in the beautiful City of Light!
 
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Jun 14th, 2001, 08:58 PM
  #40
Capo
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Oooops, I fogot: Au Buisson Ardent is in the 5th. Address: 25, rue Jussieu. (Métro stop: Jussieu) Phone#: 43-54-93-02
 
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