Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Food, Food, Glorious Food: The Two Best Meals of 2008

It seems we have been doing nothing but eat these last few days. This is something I like to do a lot, and each good meal has summoned up thoughts of our good fortune in not facing the prospect of hunger—and in fact enjoying some truly memorable culinary events this year.

The first was our Christmas present last year from Elin and Emmanuel: a festive meal as it would have been served in the home of upper middle class folk in Montreal or Quebec City in 1750. I wrote about it at length back in February, so suffice it to say for now that it lasted five and a half hours, and included things that would have been imported at the time like salt and macaroons, as well as locally produced pork and boudin noir. (That's the menu on the right.)

The second also was French, but of an entirely different sort. This was the dinner at Les Papilles that my cousin Cathy Retterer treated us to when we were in Paris in May. Lukas’s friend Éric Monteléon, a chef, prepared a list of restaurants for us to try, and this one not only turned out to be just around the corner from where we were staying in the Fifth District, but it was absolutely wonderful.

The place originally was a wine shop, but has evolved into a small restaurant where one menu is in force each night, but you can pick your wine from a marvelous selection. The night we were there we began with a green pea potage, accompanied by lardons and mint and several other things, followed by a rack of lamb cooked with Indian accents. Then came a cheese course featuring a lovely bleu. The meal was capped by an exotic pudding that combined tropical fruits with a sort of crème brulée.

Both meals merit five stars and are to remembered for a long time. Many thanks to Elin, Emmanuel and Cathy.

1 comment:

lagatta said...

There are many such "épiceries-restaurants" in Paris. Your's seems rather elaborate - and haute cuisine - but I've eaten in a couple of simpler ones - bistro fare and Italian trattoria food respectively. They were casual and a good deal, with authentic, carefully-prepared foods. But alas, no, I don't remember the addresses, as friends took me to them, and each outing was one of those nights, wandering around from pillar to post, or rather from bistro to bar to café. No, not a lot of drinking, more a lot of strolling.