Memorable Meals

Christmas Eve 2006
Christmas Day - At Le Train Bleu
Le Relais de Venise
Le Grand Colbert
Brasserie Napoleon at Buttes Chaumont
Prosecco on rue des Douai
New Year's Eve - Aux Isles Marquises
Galettes du roi

Christmas Eve 2006

We decided to stay in for Christmas Eve and prepare a meal from all the goodies thay are readi;ly available in the stores of Rue de Lévis.  All we had to do was to serve the courses from the refrigerator.  We had a wonderful meal but all we had to do was to wash the serving plates.

Veuve Clicquot champagne
Pate de foie gras de campagne with redcurrants and figs

Dozen oysters each, on the shell
(Colin managed to prepare these without drawing blood (his, that is). 
We ate them with lemon juice and Cragganmore malt whisky.
Muscadet de Sevre et Maine – Chateau de Noe
Saumon en coquille avec mayonnaise et salade russe.
Terrine of three fishes (different colours in aspic)
Aubergines farci
Limon farci
Salad Pavarotti with lentilles, baby spinach and celery

Camembert – this was very good
Ossau Iraty – a hard Pyrenean sheep cheese, a favourite of ours
Buche de Noel

Christmas Day - Le Train Bleu

PLM stands for the Paris, Lyon Mediterranee Railway which built the Gare de Lyon
On Christmas Morning we walked all the way from our apartment north of the Gare St. Lazare, past the Opera, along Rue de Rivoli and the Seine to the Gare de Lyon where we had a reservation for lunch at Le Train Bleu. This is a listed building with a great view over the arrival side of the station.  The walls and ceilings are covered with alabaster figurines and amazing frescoes.

We started with an amuse gueule of mousse de foie gras with pistaccio and figue confiture.

We then had pate de foie de canard/artichoke souffle

The main course was roast lamb with potatoes au gratin de Forme d’Ambert

For dessert I chose from the cheese selection (Brie, Camembert (medaille d’or), Saint Maure, Epiosse, St. Nectaire, Cantal and Livarot) while Mary had a vacharin contemporain du Train Bleu.

With half a bottle of champagne and half a bottle of Saumur Champigny this made a memorable meal.  It was a good thing we were hungry when arrived.

All the while we were eating, lengthy TGV trains were arriving and disgorging their passengers on the concourse below.

The ceiling above our table.

Le Relais de Venise

It was very, very busy for lunch and the lady maitre d’ had a big job trying to shoehorn people into the tiny places, next to us there was a family of six squashed around a table that would have been tight for four – it was about the size of the table the two of us had at Le Train Bleu yesterday.  On the other side were three ladies who were violently non-smoking.  One of them cowed a woman on the other side to put her cigarette out.

The menu is the same as it has been for 49 years.  Salad, steak, fries and a small choice of good wine specially bottled for the restaurant.  The only choise is the type of wine and how you want your steak prepared.  We had a bottle of Gaillac.  The meal was very good and we finished off with vacharin/tarte au citron and coffee.

Noisy, smoky but lots of fun and, as the waitress said, "Le secret, c'est la sauce".

Le Grand Colbert

Le Grand Colbert on rue Vivienne was lit up both inside and outside.  We went there for the pickled herring which has been excellent in the past. We were not disappointed as the kitchen has a good touch and the meal could not be faulted.  We started with fish soup/onion soup au gratin and then Mary had the pickled herring and I had the civet de sanglier.

The herring came with a great plate of boiled potatoes and all the pickled herring Mary could eat.  The wild boar was also very good, being cooked in a superb, rich sauce with chestnuts, silvikrin onions and mushrooms.  The portions are enormous.

We had a bottle of Chinon with it while dessert was raspberry vacharin/green apple sorbet with calvados.

Brasserie Napoleon at Buttes Chaumont

Buttes Chaumont is off the tourist beat but the park is one of the most interesting in Paris.  Brasserie Napoleon is just by the main entrance to the park and across the square from the Mairie of the 19th arrondissement.

We had an excellent bottle of Puilly Fumé ansd started with a good salad of baby spinach with sun dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese shavings.

Escapope de veau Milanese, penne arribiata/civet de lapin with tagliatelli in a wonderful sauce.

Tarte de pomme fine/tarte tatin.  The kitchen has a good touch and the tarte tatin would have been good enough for the village of Lamotte Beuvron, the home of this dish.

Prosecco on rue des Douai

Lucky penny from Prosecco

This is a new Italian restaurant on rue du Douai, just off Place de Clichy.  It had only been open 15 days and is somewhat in the style of  La Botega in Ottawa – it is a place where you can purchase foods as well as eat.  Because of its location it will attract mainly  customers from the area and  the place was full both times we visited for lunch.

We were given a spritz and a plate of pizza squares to start.  We then chose a plate from the cold appetizers.  These were excellent and included artichoke, eggplant, small sweet onions, sundried tomatoes, small peppers stuffed with tuna, rice with zucchini and tomato wrapped around it – all liberally doused in olive oil.  For a main course we let the chef prepare a plate for the two of us which consisted of ravioli stuffed with tuna, pepper stuffed with ground meat and with cheese on top and pasta.  The pasta was cooked al dente and the whole meal was excellent.  We had a bottle of prosecco to go with it.

New Year's Eve - Aux Isles Marquises

We were greeted as old friends by the staff and were pleased to see that the two ladies, with the small dog, who were there last New Year's Eve, had already taken their table and installed the dog underneath on the floor.  It turns out that they live close and are regulars throughout the year.  The dog behaved itself very well and only came out from under the table a couple of times when it became bored.

We had the table d’hote de St. Sylvestre, starting with a bottle of George Vaisselle champagne from Bouzy and changing briefly to half a bottle of Chateau Bellerose Figeac, St. Emillion grand cru for the venison.

Amuse gueules

Escalope de veau de canard aux figues (wonderful sauce)

Huitres et Saint Jacques au caviar
Turbot aux lamelles de truffles fraiches

Granite de champagne et limon
Noisettes de biche venaison with a mousseline de marrons

Parfait glace mandarine et feuilles de chocolate

Mignardises and coffee

The metro was free both getting there and back.  Even though we had to change at St. Lazarre, the journey both ways was very quick (about 20 minutes) even though we had to go right across the city.

This is the second time we have been here for New Year’s Eve (also twice for lunch).  It is tucked away on the rue de la Gaite which was a location for Music Halls and clubs – similar to the Pigalle. This street has seen better days.  It still has lots of small theatres and sex strip shows but this restaurant seems to be able to keep going as a local restaurant.  The people who come here know about it and keep coming back.

Galettes du Roi

A few days before Epiphany (January 6) the patisseries windows are filled with Galettes du roi, a pastry with a variety of fillings such as almond or apple.  These come in a variety of sizes from two persons up to a dozen or more.  They can be expensive - the large ones can easily cost €35.  These have a ceramic figurine which could cause problems for the unknowing or unwary.  When you buy one of these pastries they come with a gold foil/paper crown.

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