31 May 2010

Paris Day 2

Continued from Paris Day 1
On the Sunday we took the metro to Pigalle in order to do the short walk around Montmartre. This bit I'd missed in my previous visit, so it was rather exciting. Aware of what the area around Place Pigalle is like, I was a bit worried, but we started our walk as per the guide book and as worked our way up the hill, the fancier the surroundings became, it's obviously quite a posh area these days. It was lovely, practically no cars at all, mainly due to the fact that a lot of the streets consisted of steps. We passed several bigger streets with street markets on them. We did stick to our route and towards the end we came out to a small open area with a windmill on top of it. This is the famous Moulin de la Galette. Again we were sweaty, dusty and tired, so we decided to finish our walk, then return for a lunch there, it just looked so nice. And it was. Again, the waiters were friendly and spoke English and again I was too hungry to photograph our meal. Lundulph had a small piece of pan fried hake with some sort of saffrony puree and baby vegetables, which he says was the tastiest of all the meals we had in Paris. I had a veal fillet steak with mushroom sauce, which was a bit bigger and very nice tasting. They'd only failed on the green peas - they were dry and crunchy and not nice tasting at all.

For dessert however, we both opted for the pear tart and this was an almost religious experience.
This was like several desserts combined into one - a pear tart, where the pears had been poached in something red, covered with what can only be described as creme brulée. Then a few fresh fruits, to add a bit of sourness to offset the sugariness of the tart and a small scoop of passion fruit ice cream. The only thing that wasn't good was the tart base - it was too thick and hadn't baked properly.

Another interesting thing was that this was a good example of mise en place, where the fancy looking plate layout had been prepared well in advance. The fruits had been carefully glued to the plate with caramel and the tart itself was stuck on with glucose.

With the food we had a carafe of cold white wine. This corresponded to about two thirds of a regular bottle and a perfect amount for lunch.

We went back to our hotel to have a bit of a rest before our dinner at Bouillon Racine. This is located in the Latin Quarter of the city, very near Musée de Cluny and the Sorbonne. There are actually two restaurants next to each other, possibly used to be one in the past. We walked into the first one, as it had Bouillon Racine written across its windows and doorway. But no, this wasn't the place, we were directed to go next door, where it said Bouillon Chartier. Had I paid attention to the photos from my research, I'd have realised that.

We presented our voucher to the head waiter, who seemed to get very irritated and rushed off. We got ticked off on his list and he showed us a table in what became the English speaking area. He also presented us with a special menu from which we were to choose our dishes, slightly different to the regular menu.

The restaurant was beautiful, but looked a bit faded and worn out. Maybe I'd set my hopes too high. On this evening however, Lundulph and I were possibly at the height of our synchroneity as we chose exactly the same things for all three courses.

Our amuse bouche was white whine kir and olives, which was followed by the rather large starter of game terrine with hazelnuts and onion marmalade.


This was quite tasty, but fatty and too big for me, so Lundulph ate half of it.

The main course followed on fairly quickly. Too quickly for Lundulph's liking, but very much to mine. Pork shanks in beer sauce and sauerkraut. Yummy! Slow cooked to perfection, collapsing at the lightest touch of the fork.


The croutons on top were badly misguided as they were actually made of gingerbread, like the one used for making houses for Christmas. So we picked them off. The rest was so good, both Lundulph and I couldn't stop eating, even though we had both reached our stomach capacity.

At this point the restaurant had filled up quite nicely, the head waiter had disappeared and there was only one waiter for the 30 odd tables on the ground floor. In fact he forgot one of the starters for the people sitting next to us.

For dessert, it was crème brûlée and I believe the best one I've ever had.


It was served at room temperature and was wonderfully smooth and creamy, so I'm wondering if the serving temperature is the reason for this. Definitely something to try out.

We were well stuffed at this point, but we did want some coffee and ended up waiting for it for what felt like an eternity, I'm guessing some 40 - 45 minutes. The lonely waiter was very hard to get hold of, he had so many tables to wait on.

We had planned to go to the glass pyramid at the Louvre to see it lit up, but after this massive meal, the only thing we wanted was to get home and sleep, in the hopes that our stomachs wouldn't burst on the way.

Our adventure continues in Paris Day 3.

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