Robjame's France Food Photos

Jun 7th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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Robjame's France Food Photos

I will list the major restaurants that we went to during our 2006 France trip with a few general comments about them and the meal. All of these have photographs in my France Food Photos and I would be pleased to answer questions about the restaurant or the food and would be especially interested to hear your comments.

http://tinyurl.com/k7sta

Paris

Taverne Henri IV – This is a small wine bar located on Isle Cite that is noted for great wine selections at a reasonable price. We love this place for lunch. There is always a special salad and tartine on the menu as well as great quiche or a plate of cheeses or meat. In the number of times we have visited, we have usually been the only tourists. You will notice a lot of regulars.

Le Reminet – A small bistro with exceptional food. This place has been well-publicized and you will notice a lot of tourists. The meal and service seem to be spot on. It is open on Sunday which is a real plus. I would recommend ordering from the specials. We arrived here without a reservation at 9:45 after a concert and were able to snag a table.

Buisson Ardent – This small bistro in the Latin Quarter seems to be a favourite of business people and university profs. French is the language and you will probably be the only tourist if you take advantage of one of their formula lunches for €16. You will need your menu translator and even that probably won’t help. But it doesn’t really matter as the choices are usually not what you expected but I always enjoy that and the food has never disappointed. We had the degustation menu here last year with wine selections and it was great.

Lenotre – This is that place that you have passed on the Champs Elysses and have wondered what it was. It is a cooking school, a store for chef supplies as well as a restaurant. Although the food was tasty enough, it wasn’t up to the price that they charged. The service was spotty and, with Lenotre’s reputation, I thought the desserts would have been more exceptional.

La Truffiere – The location and the outside of this restaurant belies what awaits inside. This is probably our favourite memorable-meal spot. We enjoy the food, presentation and service more than the Michelins that we have gone to. There always seems to be some imagination in the food preparation. We started with their house aperitif – if you can guess the four ingredients they will give you a free dinner. We had the degustation with complimenting wines and ended with an armagnac – they have an impressive display.

Le Violon D’Ingres – This restaurant was recommended by someone whose opinion I very much respect. We had high expectations for this place and the meal and it just didn’t seem to deliver. Consistency has been a criticism but Christian Constant was supposedly there that night. The menu contained but a few of his tried and true recipes, with no specials. The menu listed a bar with almonds and a fish feature – they turned out to be one and the same. The sautéed foie gras with gingerbread coating lacked the spectacular presentation it deserved. Don’t get me wrong – the food was marvellous – just not spectacular. Maybe we were expecting too much. Our attentive waiter had a terrible cold which made me wish he were a little less attentive.

La Couscousiere – Sandra is not a fan of couscous so ordered lamb chops and frites which were great. For me, the lamb brochette and couscous were perfect and I vowed to search out couscous more often. These types opf restaurants are quite common in the Latin Quarter and usually a bargain and a change.

Moissonnier – 28, rue des Fosses St. Bernard – This is one of our favourite spots in the Latin Quarter. The husband cooks and the wife tends the tables – and she does so with an efficiency and aplomb that is seldom seen even in Paris. The food is exciting and tasty. For our lunch here, we split the white asparagus en croute appetizer and we both succumbed to the bar special served with boiled potatoes and creamed leeks. Amazing. My fig ice cream swimming in Armagnac was overshadowed by Sandra’s floating island (a portion large enough for me to share and I must have forgotten that she doesn’t like figs when I ordered mine). There is a photo of the salad bar that is rolled to your table with two levels of perhaps a dozen bowls and plates for you to choose from. We didn’t order this but there will be a next time. The patrons are locals and you will here little or no English here. Many single businessmen eat their lunch here and are tended to attentively by the proprietors, Valerie and Phillippe Mayer. May this place never be discovered and always remain the same.

Lyons de Bruxelles – (no photos) If you can stand the indifferent and slow service I would recommend this chain for one of their many mussel choices. Served with continuous, delicious frites, the mussels hold their own with any I have had anywhere in the world (sorry PEI). We are particularly partial to one of the tomato sauce choices – Italian or Provencal.

Lyon

Sud – This is one of the licenced Paul Bocuse restaurants (Nord, Sud, Est, Oest) in Lyon. Because of the May 1 holiday closings and a chance meeting in the States with waiter who had worked there, we decided to give it a try. This place is more Bistro than restaurant and, with that in mind, it was fine. The price was reasonable as was the food. The featured salmon appetizer was no more than several slices of smoked salmon with an oil dressing and a lonely piece of toasted bread. We noted that a dollop of (presumably) sour cream had been added to subsequent entrees that came out after ours. Was ours overlooked or did someone in the kitchen do a quick repair? My plate-served chicken tajine was tasty. Sandra’s veal roast presentation resembled Cracker Barrel on a really good day.

Aux Trois Cochons – Following a lead in Indytravel’s Lyon report we ate at this wonderful little place. Almost every café, bistro and restaurant was featuring mussels and this suited us fine. Coming from the country that boasts PEI mussels, we are consistently amazed by the plump, sweet mussels that we have had in Europe, slightly smaller than Canadian molluscs but every bit as delicious. The dish of prunes had a nutmeg overtone and was a reminder of a childhood dessert that I haven’t had for years.

Provence

Le Mas des Carassins – Because of circumstances, we ate at our hotel three times while we stayed in St Remy. It was probably just a combination of situations that just happen, but this place did not live up to its advance billing or our expectations. Is it slipping?

Le Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel (Arles) – What can I say? This was one of the best dining experiences we have had. The evening €50 price brings several amuse bouche, numerous entres, a fish course, a meat course, a cheese course, and numerous desserts. The food combinations were imaginative and delicious, the presentation was unique and the service was attentive and personal. It is a small restaurant and the chef brings his Michelin star with him from La Chassagnette. Newly opened, they will soon be booking this one months in advance.

Les Florets (Gigondas) – We had a wonderful lunch here while we followed a driving tour of the area. It is a formal sort of place set high in the hills of the countryside. The food was rich in sauces reminiscent of the old French style of which we are not too fond. However, the desserts ….

Lot

Hotel Maurice (Pont d’Herault) – On StuDudley’s we booked Chateau du Rey for the chateau and for the restaurant there. We reconfirmed our reservations a couple of weeks before our trip. When we arrived we were casually told that the restaurant was closed that evening - inexcusable. We were not pleased and our comments as such had them recommend this place a few miles away. We had a pleasant experience and enjoyed the food. Especially notable was the entre of foie gras done three ways and the main course of three fish cooked in different sauces - a lovely way to sample different offerings.

Chateau d’Ayres (Meyrueis) – This is a beautiful chateau to stay at and the food did not disappoint. It did not suffer under too rich sauces. The entres and desserts out did the main plate in imagination. That having been said the lamb was tender and perfectly done, served in its own juice.

Auberge St. Fleuret (Estaing) – Any doubts we had about the physical surroundings of this hotel were quickly erased with dinner. The meal was great food at a reasonable (for France) price. Sauces don’t disguise the quality ingredients used in preparation. The homemade pate, potato salad, trout, lamb stew all arrived differently than we expected. All were delicious. The delice served after dessert was a mini crème brule – mmm. We had a wonderful conversation with the owner about French names versus English. The fruit we call ground cherries which accompanied our desserts are called “amour en cage”.

Dordogne

L’Esplanade (Domme) – This elegant restaurant is made even more special by the fabulous view above the Dordogne River. The food is great as one would expect from a former Michelin starred place. To be critical, the menu was very safe – there was little out of the ordinary or super-exciting. This has caused some to report that L’Esplanade is resting on its laurels. There is some justification to this statement especially when they are charging top Euro. I am glad we went here but it is not a place to which I would hurry back.

Le Relais des Cinq Chateaux (Vezac) - The chef and owner here used to work with Rene Gillard at L’Esplanade. We elected to sit outside which is really in the middle of some farm fields but has a wonderful view of the mountains and at least three of the 5 chateaux. This place lacks the pretension of L’Esplanade but we thought that the food was better. It showed imagination and the tastes melded perfectly. Ordering the foie gras appetizer automatically brings a glass of sweet white wine which is a practice more restaurants should adopt. The venison was the best I have had and the fruit sauce was faultless. This was an excellent experience in a relaxed atmosphere at less than half the price. Thanks for the suggestion, Ira.

La Metairie (Les Eyzies) – We visited this restaurant for lunch after a tour of Font-De-Gaume caves. We had decided to have a pique nique for our evening meal to enjoy the fabulous view from Domme. We quite enjoyed the meal despite our inability at lunchtime to do justice to their excellent menu. The warmed chevre, the seafood and asparagus, the rouget and the duck were all good choices and cooked and presented in unexpected ways. We skipped cheese and desserts, however the delices with our coffees were more than enough.

Loire

La Choiseul (Amboise) – This is another more formal restaurant within a hotel, a few doors down from Le Manoir Les Minimes in Amboise. After a bit of confusion about where we were to be seated, the meal progressed nicely. We both had fish local to the Loire area and it was delicious. My only criticism was that there seemed to be a lot of different things on each plate which made it difficult to separate tastes and ingredients. We were served an interesting palate cleanser before dessert which consisted of shot glasses of two different juices, one of which was a tasty layered affair of tomato and beet puree.

Le Cheval Blanc – (Blere) – This restaurant in a hotel is located in a cute little village about 15 km from Amboise. The main dining room is small and the lady who served us had to hustle, but did so with grace and individual attention. The meal was excellent and put together with thought and attention – witness the wild asparagus crisscrossed on the white asparagus entre. The meal was so good that I forgot to photograph my foie gras and Sandra’s salmon meal. The desserts are very worthy of note. I had a delicious wild strawberry baked dessert surrounded by a berry coulis and covered with a spun sugar dome. Sandra was served two soufflés – one a huge portion and the other a smaller version along with a jigger of cointreau. I am sure that the waitress said in French that the extra one was for me (or at least that is what I told my wife). This was one of our favourites.


robjame is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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wonderful; thanks!
stokebailey is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Robjame,
Thanks very much for this. I've seen these Pairs places recommended, and will try to add them to my schedule for the next visit. Moissonier was on my list last time, but went to Moulin a Vent just few doors away. Also very good. My Bocuse choice is Lyon was Est, which I enjoyed as a fine, basic food (Poulet de Bresse) place with nice atmosphere. Could you give an idea of $$ for your meals, or is it in your trip report?

Fellow Canuck,
Mike
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Jun 7th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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ira
 
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Thanks for sharing, rob.

Glad you were pleased with Le Relais des Cinq Chateaux.

ira is online now  
Jun 7th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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Restaurant prices are so hard to compare as sometimes we had features which were more expensive, sometimes formula meals which may/may not include cheese, amuse bouche etc. Sometimes we had a large lunch because we were having a picnic for dinner.
I have estimated the prices not including water, coffee, wine, aperitif.
Per person.
Taverne Henri IV – Lunch – €15
Le Reminet – Dinner less than €50
Buisson Ardent – formula lunch €16
Lenotre – Lunch - €30+
La Truffiere – degustation menu €90 + 80 for wines to compliment
Le Violon D’Ingres – dinner €75
La Couscousiere – dinner € 16.
Moissonnier – lunch - €25-40
Lyons de Bruxelles – €12
Lyon
Sud – dinner €30
Aux Trois Cochons – dinner €25
Provence
Le Mas des Carassins – dinner only set menu €30
Le Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel (Arles) –dinner €50 ; lunch €35.
Les Florets (Gigondas) – lunch formula €25
Lot
Hotel Maurice (Pont d’Herault) – dinner €35
Chateau d’Ayres (Meyrueis) – demi pension about €25 – 35 for dinner
Auberge St. Fleuret (Estaing) – dinner €23
Dordogne
L’Esplanade (Domme) –dinner €47
Le Relais des Cinq Chateaux (Vezac) -dinner€25-30
La Metairie (Les Eyzies) – lunch€15-23
Loire
La Choiseul (Amboise) – dinner€75
Le Cheval Blanc – (Blere) – dinner€42
robjame is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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This is just brilliant, robjame, brief, clear, and balanced. The photos, as always, are your signature. Perfect.

Anselm
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Jun 7th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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What Anselm said. Exactly.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up and sharing the mouth-watering photos.
Leely is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Thanks Stoke, Michael, ira, Leely, Anselm.
On this last trip to France we found our tastes changing as to what we preferred in French cuisine and restaurants. We tended to shun the formal restaurants with their classic sauces and traditional recipes for smaller more intimate places, decidedly Fench in character and clients. These places like Moissonier, Reminet, Buisson Ardent, Le Relais des Cinq Chateaux, Cheval Blanc tended to use available ingredients in lighter, exciting ways. Having said that we enjoyed our foie gras. I don't know if this makes any sense or how best to describe these restaurants. I don't think they are bistros.
robjame is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:21 PM
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Oh my God!!!! I'm travelling with you guys next time. My food never looks like that. It's like a museum of food. Every single plate looks delicious and beautiful. They are screaming still life paintings to me. Thanks for sharing. Now I'm hungry.
laartista is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:31 PM
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Well done, robjame!

I'm happy to report I've visited about half the places you mentioned. I agree that the Relais des Cinq Châteaux is one of the best inthe Dordogne. Next time you must try La Table du Terroir.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 7th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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robjame - Excellent pictures. Thank you for sharing them as well as the information. I will definitly visit some of these places when I visit Paris for the first time this October.

Tom
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Jun 7th, 2006, 03:00 PM
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Fantastic!
altajoe is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I am salivating...
Barkinpark is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Hi Robjame, excellent service for us intending to dive into the epicurean delights of Paris !! Thanks !
Marko is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 04:38 PM
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I'm surprised I wasn't electrocuted when I licked my monitor!

Robjame,

I am a French teacher and I would love to include a few of your photos into a power point that I show my students of French food. Is that ok with you?
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Jun 7th, 2006, 04:57 PM
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Robjame I think your report and photos has helped me decide to dine at La Truffiere, how far ahead did you book ? The degustation menu looks like the way to go! We had dinner at Le Violon d'Ingres a few years ago and it was stunning, the sautéed foie gras with gingerbread was the highlight of the meal for us ! (foie gras and fresh truffles are a rarity in Australia !)
Marko is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Thank you for your kind comments. We enjoy our meals and the pictorial record helps us recall our trip.
moldy - You are welcome to use any you wish. If you want to email me I will send you the ones you want in an attachment (unless you ar able to copy right from the Kodak site.
[email protected]
Marko - We love Truffiere for that special dinner. If it falls within your budget, have the complimenting wines as well with the degustation menu. You can book theu the their internet site but I notice that they request you to order the degustation menu at that time. We book way in advance but that is just me - in most cases a week or 2 should be OK. Ask to be seated in the cave (downstairs).
robjame is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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Thanks !!!! I always schedule one or two "splurges" this will be one of them the wife and I both love truffles !
Marko is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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bookmarking
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Jun 7th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Robjames:
You and wife are something special..great report. By the way, I agree with St. Cirq's comment that La Table de Terroir is a place you want to try when in the Dordogne area...real country restaurant...I took St. Cirq'a advice on the AOL board about 5 years ago...and it was a super lovely Sunday lunch about as far out in the rural parts of the Dordogne as one can get....village of La Chappelle, north of Sarlat. Remember, St. Cirq?

Stu T.
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