Monday, May 19, 2008

St-Dié; Choucroute at Gerard's

The Clement family gathered around the table at my uncle Gerard's for a very traditional 'choucroute garnie' catered from 'Restaurant des 2 freres'. Most excellent!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lyon; Quai St-Antoine open market

While we were walking towards the old Lyon, we stumbled upon the open air market on Quai St-Antoine. Incredible variety of produces.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Lyon; Cafe des federations

Doesn't it look like it came out of a painting? This is Cafe des federations, a traditional Bouchon Lyonnais establishment. "A bouchon is a type of restaurant found in Lyon that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork". All of this in a friendly and cozy ambiance.
There's no menu, the waitress had each of us pick a main course and a dessert at the end, but for the rest, you are served what there is to eat, just like home.
Pork rinds. Those were... mmmm.... how to put it... not good! Felt like eating salted sand.
Salad. Always excellent anywhere we went in France. I used to think that freshness was the key but there is more to it. Attitude is everything: the French will refuse to buy, serve or eat lettuce that is not fresh.
Rosette de Lyon (Cured pork sausage), lentils.

A bottle of Federations' table wine... cheap cheap cheap, yet very drinkable. Same attitude here; if not good, why drink it?

Oeuf en meurette (Red-wine poached egg). The egg yoke runs and mixes with the wine, very tasty.

Terrine de Sanglier (Wild boar)

Although there is no menu, the list of entrees is substantial. After having asked our waitress to repeat three times, she figured it would be better to write it down for us on the paper tablecloth.

Andouillettes aux deux moutardes (we're close to Dijon, all the sauces had mustard in them)

Vinegar chicken

Gateau foie de volailles

Various cheeses and, in the little white cup, Tue-Mouche (the 'fly-killer', a blend of all the other cheese, marinated. Disgusting. One of the very rare occasion when I disliked cheese, if we can call this concoction a cheese)

Pear tart, Orange salad and Cassis sherbet

Mmmmm.... avoid the washrooms if you can!

Lyon; Paul Bocuse

My dad was a fine cook and a great lover of food. From time to time, I would tell him: "Hey dad, some day, we'll take a plane together and go eat at Paul Bocuse's". I had hoped to make this plan happen within a few years. Unfortunately, fate had it another way...

It's been about a year now that my dad passed away and his wish had been for his ashes to be brought back to the land that saw his first day, France.

I promised myself that I would use this occasion to have that special meal at Paul Bocuse and that was the main reason behind our trip to Lyon.

This entry is an homage to his memory.

First, lets hear what Paul himself has to say about Lyon and his craft:

May, in front of l'Auberge du pont de Collonges, Paul Bocuse's flagship restaurant.

We had the 'Menu Grande Tradition Classique'

Cream of asparagus with cream of truffles quenelle. Very sharp and bold asparagus taste. It is obvious that the restaurant gets the freshest produces they can get.

Scallop of foie gras, pan-cooked and served
with verjus sauce and lightly browned potatoes.

Truffle soup V.G.E.
(Dish created for the French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1975)

Filet of sole with noodles, à la Fernand Point

Next is the Bresse chicken cooked in a bladder à la Mère Fillioux. The Bresse chicken are reputed to be the best in all of France. Paul Bocuse cooks them in a bladder to keep all the flavors intact as is shown in the video.

The bladder is opened table side.

The final product. Very flavorful.

Then came the Selection of fresh and matured cheeses from « La Mère Richard ». By that point, we were pretty full and since May doesn't like strong cheeses, I ate most of her cheese selection as well.

This meal gave me the opportunity to discover the Saint-Nectaire cheese, at the bottom right of the picture above. One of the most surprising cheese I have ever had; its flavor is released in two phases. Initially mild, then with a bite that kicks in after a second or two. Very interesting.

Delicacies and temptations; too full to sample any of the richer desserts, we stuck with fruits.
That was a great meal and we both left Paul Bocuse's with memories of flavors, colors and smells. I do not know if we will ever be back but we will not forget our experience at l'Auberge du pont de Collonges.

Us and the master himself...

L'auberge du pont de Collonges, as it looked before...

I miss you Dad...