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An American in (and outside of) Paris


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#61 Chambolle

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:54 AM

Why post at length about Rome on the France board?

You are kidding me, right ?

We are in the middle of a war over here in Paris and you are worried about the location of my posts ?

Everything is relative.

Where in the world is Wilfrid ?

Where are you, what time is it and what year is it there ?

You're clearly not in my rabbit hole nor are you in my foxhole.

What makes you so sure that Rome is not a part of France ?

Napoleon I annexed it.

Napoleon III garrisoned troops there and protected it as a vassal state.

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It's about to become a vassal state again.

Do you consider Rome German instead ? Or Franco-German ?

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who knows what's going on in the world.

Maybe I'm just ahead of my time. Maybe I should just go back to the future.

Economic war is under way here in Europe. Sovereign boundaries are being rewritten as we speak.

I don't think you have a real good idea what's actually going on on the ground.

Here is the European landscape as I see it.

1. Greece has been enslaved. She is on her hands and knees begging for her life as her bondholders are getting reamed but good.
2. Italy is now a vassal state. Germany and France are deciding her future.
3. France is not totally in the clear either.
4. God only knows what's going to happen to Spain.

It's surreal.

Events are occurring at a maddening pace.

Events that would have been considered unbelievable, if not impossible, just months before now seem routine.

Let me attempt to put this in context for you.

For example, just tonight I saw stuff transpire that you will not believe.

Hence, I am going under oath and I am swearing to its veracity :

I, Chambo, situated in Paris, witnessed Germany annex Austria on the evening of December 8, 2011. I saw German power rising before my eyes. I saw swastikas the size of infields laid out before me. I saw Nazis. I hate Nazis but I saw them. Lots of them - in uniform in central Paris. You may find these goings-on despicable, as most people would, but it gets worse. Thousands were actually applauding these monsters. On their feet, applauding. Yes, the Nazis had guns drawn. These events occurred as described. It's in all the French papers and the citizenry is excited but not rebelling. And here is where it starts to get a little weird. This story is being reported here in Paris as a major coup for the United States. I cannot speak as to whether the US press is following this story at the moment. At the very least, it seems worthy of some modest coverage. To the very best of my knowledge, everything I have said here is true, so help me God.

I'm going to sleep now. It's been a long and eventful day.

Some people prefer to sit back and simply read about what's going on in the world.

I prefer to act. I prefer to get involved. I prefer to throw my hat into the ring. I prefer action on the world's stage.

No promises, but I hope to further comment on the above-described unusual state of affairs.

#62 Orik

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:25 AM

Remember what I told you Chambo - this time Germany doesn't need tanks or camps to win the war. Posted Image
I never said that

#63 Chambolle

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:37 AM

Remember what I told you Chambo - this time Germany doesn't need tanks or camps to win the war. Posted Image

Nor does America !


You are very astute but you are distant at the moment.

I have been observing French current affairs up close and personal. I know her history. I'm watching what's going on like a hawk.

I am fully up-to-speed at this point and I'm planning furiously.


Here is the French landscape as I see it :

1. Sarko's magnetism is slightly on the rise but it's a shadow of its former self. In fact, it is he who is bending to the Iron Lady's will.

2. The French people can turn to Hollande. But Hollande is a tiny man from Corrèze sans courage and although politically a socialist, he's actually a Royal-iste at heart.

3. Between these two, there is an enormous gap in the space-time continuum. It's big enough to drive a massive American Invasionary Force through. It's as obvious as the day is long. Yet no one would suspect it. This is why I get paid the big bucks here at Mouthfuls. Big Ideas = Big Bucks. They expect the impossible from Chambo ... and I deliver.


But Chambo is no neo-con.

Chambo is a strategist.

He will use the German no-tanks strategy to win the hearts and minds of the French.

He will kill them with kultur. He will kill them with sweetness.

He will re-brand America in the process.

And it's all already underway ... America is on her way back big-time ... and there's a place for Chambo in the resulting chaos ...



#64 Orik

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 04:13 PM

Yes, agreed on Sarko, I think he is trying to make a smooth transition from the old way where being like Putin-lusconi was good and the new way where being like that quantum chemist is the way to go, but I will tell you in secret that he is no quantum chemist. He also thinks that farting in the general direction of the UK is helping him and in the long run it probably will because the UK is, as we say politely - totally fucked.

Hollande can be like this stop-gap Pope but I think his only chance is if something terrible happens before this German takeover disguised as a Franco-German effort is completed, and it looks like they're feeding the IMF enough money to prevent that.
I never said that

#65 Chambolle

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:33 PM

Saturne. Lunch.

The menu

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The wine list - a nicely growing volume

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Domaine Valette - I just visited them last year. That 2007 Tradition is a nice wine if you don't want to step up and drink a "real white wine"

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And if you do, there's always Cossard, I guess

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Some of the most flavorful petoncles that I can recall

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A lotte to die for ... Sven cooks fish really really nicely

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That's not the chef's work - that's me playing with my food and those are not chives surrounding the courgette, those are the haricots verts (yep, all chopped up like that - and it was perfectly fine)

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And if you read the menu and saw moules and were wondering where all the mussels were hiding ... it was actually a mussel sauce - a thick-ish brown-ish one.

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Did I like the dish ? I'll let you decide ...

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Dessert ... you know that Chambo is down with rhubarb, right ?

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See that wine - a lovely expression of the Gamay grape. It's gotta be expensive right ? Wrong. Mid-twenties for the bottle. You can even buy a bottle to go for 13 euros from the resto!

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And in 2008 Guignier was making wine out of grapes that were partially savaged by a hailstorm. This wine was perfect with my mussel-sauced monkfish

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Bathroom time ... Ohhhhh, look what we have here

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Aesop products are my favorite ! I left with the sweetest, citrus-y-smelling hands in all of Paris

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And my fingers needed a good washing because after I wiped that mussel-sauced plate clean with me fingers, they did get a wee bit stinky, if you know what I mean.

And, no, I didn't spend 9 euros by Hyppolite's Jacu Bird coffee (read up on how those beans are processed ... talk about stinky !). I took a short walk to Le Telescope instead.

#66 Chambolle

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:22 AM

Toyo. Dinner.

So Toyo's chef Toyomitsu Nakayama used to be the personal chef to the designer Kenzo.

That might be important to Frenchies who live in the fashion capital of the world but stuff like that don't interest Chambo.

Chambo has no interest in designer clothes and such superficial accoutrements.

Chambo was more focused on sizing up this 2-year old restaurant.

So let's get to work ..

I plop down in my seat at the end of the bar nearest the entrance to the resto and I'm handed some paperwork.

Dinner at 79

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Or 69

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Or Carte Blanche for 110

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I'm hungry but not super hungry. I make some inquiries to understand my options. The carte blanche naturally has more luxury items and can be tailored towards a preference for les poissons ou les viandes. I tell him I like both. He asks if I like foie gras. "Oui, s'il est du tres bon." He asks whether I like des abats. "Ah oui !". Ris de veau?. "Sans aucun doute" I reply, while thinking that I just had sweetbreads at Cobea a couple of days ago and they weren't great, but it was an amateur ordering error on my part as I fully realized afterwards upon reflection. Right when my waiter thinks he has a plan, I smile and add "But I love fish too if you think those products are better today and I have no problem with crustaceans either ! Let's do the Carte Blanche" He says "Tres bien monsieur. On y a."

Bread and butter (Oui, c'est du Bordier)

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Here's my view

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Note that eating at the bar is absolutely where you want to be when dining here.. Hence it's best for 1 or 2 people. And it's best to be seated in the middle of the bar as opposed to where I was seated so that you can watch the theatre of the chefs at work right in front of you. (FYI The exact same advice applies to Aida.)

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The tri-part amuse. Eh, it's okay

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A sandwich ... make that a Caviar Sandwich ... with no lack of caviar, I might add.

Sandwich gobbled done with satisfaction, I ask what type of caviar it was and I'm told "c'est du Gironde, monsieur.".

I tap the ball back gently by saying "Ah yes, I know of that producer, nice product."

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Ravioles. A nice, pure consomme de volaille. The raviolis were a total yawn.

With an empty bowl, I ask him to repeat what was inside the raviolis. "C'etait du moelle, monsieur."

I nod without expression. He inquires "Vous avez aime ?"

I decide to hit the ball back with a bit more topspin because they deserve some honest feedback.

"Franchement, I didn't really taste anything within [3 second later] but the consomme was quite nice."

The waiter was not expecting that. The French couple next to me overheard my soft reply and were intrigued. Naturally, they noticed my non-flash pictures being taken. They asked if I was a critic.

I responded with a smile "Ah, nous sommes tous les critiques ! Non ?"

They enjoyed that response and they will now prove to be very curious and watch my every interaction.

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(to be continued)

#67 Chambolle

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 10:18 PM

With an empty bowl, I ask him to repeat what was inside the raviolis. "C'etait du moelle, monsieur."

I nod without expression. He inquires "Vous avez aime ?"

I decide to hit the ball back with a bit more topspin because they deserve some honest feedback.

"Franchement, I didn't really taste anything within [3 second later] but the consomme was quite nice."

I was not precise enough here. Milles excuses. Allow me to clarify.

I asked the French gentleman who was my main server to tell me what was inside the ravioli because I could not believe that there were mussels within them. You see, in fact, it was actually a Japanese girl (who needs additional French pronunciation lessons) who presented this dish to me and described it as "ravioles aux moules". Upon eating the first mussel-free ravioli, I lifted my head and hoped to find someone hovering over me, ready to receive a question. No such luck - it's not that type of place. I proceeded and ate the second suspect specimen. Geesh, bland ravioles aux moules, I thought. A pretty mediocre dish, I hastily decided. I then wanted to confirm what this dish was and that's when I asked for a repeat description from l'homme francais.

Moelle. Moule.

Vowels matter !

And it was during that [3 seconds later] pause that Chambo had a flash of a thousand suns and simultaneous thoughts. For example, he was wondering if incorrect expectations of what he was about to eat could have caused his brain to inappropriately calibrate its flavor sensitivity processing ... he was wondering if the signals from his taste buds were being processed differently due to these moule expectations and hence being misinterpreted due to the belief that he was about to experience some mussel ... Was his neuro-psycho-sensory system, which was ready to receive a strong mussel flavor, totally unprepared for and unable to register an extremely subtle bone marrow goo silently, chewlessly, oozing onto his tongue once his teeth had pierced the veil of the ravioli's corporeal exterior.

It's a fascinating theoretical question that will remain unanswered and will most likely haunt Chambo for eternity.

I was stricken with grief that I may have caused this gentle Japanese chef to have committed suicide in the back room upon hearing my harsh tasteless critique. This and much more (including thinking that I wouldn't mind doing that hot chick seated in the middle of the bar) happened within those three long seconds. And that's when I hurriedly added my sincere consommé compliment.

Little did I know how fortuitous this sequence of thoughts and events would wind up being.

Because it was at this exact moment when the people within earshot of me started wondering if I were a unknown but influential critic. And they began to treat me as such ...

(to be continued)

#68 Miguel Gierbolini

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:26 PM

Chambo, did you finish this elsewhere?
"I mispoke."

#69 Chambolle

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:02 PM

Chambo, did you finish this elsewhere?

Yes. I did. In my mind.

It was truly one of the great stories of our time.

Unfortunately I realized that nobody would believe this story.

Or what happened to me while I was in the process of telling it to you.

Wisely I left it as is. Saying not a word about veau-et-oseille-wrapped foie gras.

Or seiche-stuffed squash blossoms. With loads of luscious lobster lobbed on for "critic"-al effect.

And we should surely not be silent about Le King Crabe - a monstrous, if not grotesquely large, but tender tentacle.

With an impressive semi-de-shelling work to allow for ultra-easy eating - just the way the 1% would prefer, if not demand, it.

And on and on it went. They opted to toss my way a King Crab souffle just to see what I would say. Insane gluttony for which I didn't have to pay.

All this cuz they thought little ole Chambo was a veritable Anton Ego, causing them to opt to flex their muscles. Then again, maybe Chambo is M. Ego ?

Hey look, Chambo ain't the only one to leave many a masterpiece unfinished. It's a long and respected tradition. And Chambo pays his respects thru imitation.

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#70 Chambolle

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:54 AM

Toyo. Dinner (continued ... sans le super story)

I had a bunch of other dishes that I didn't even bother to mention above, like Le Gazpacho et La Liche.

At the end of the meal I stood face to face with Toyomitsu.

I told him that I enjoyed this dinner very much and that I enjoyed the special treatment bestowed upon me and that he is doing very nice work here and that he should be very proud of his excellent contribution to the Paris dining scene and that he has a good and serious team working with him. Toyomitsu was doing a lot of bowing and blushing and giggling as Chambo was generously dishing out some sincere feedback. I paid him the biggest complement that a first time diner can pay a restaurant. I told him "Je vais revenir." He bowed deeper. I stuck out my hand to shake his. He wasn't exactly sure how to respond. In the end, we did shake hands. I was the last to leave.

I left the place with a slight nagging feeling in my mind. As I headed in the direction of le jardin du Lux and boulevard Saint Germain to walk off this meal and catch some final glimpses of the Bastille Day revelry, I couldn't help but think that I had just eaten the best meal that I'll ever eat at Toyo.

Only time will tell.

I also knew that changes were afoot here and elsewhere ... in fact, that's why I went to the resto in the first place ... you see, I was doing advanced research based upon privileged info that I was privy to. I knew of (and was worried about) changes that were going to be occuring to one of my favorite places apres la rentrée. The Paris dining scene is not totally static ... de temps en temps, the Paris dining scene is Vivant.


Le Gazpacho. After hearing the name of this dish from la japonaise and being slightly confused, I only caught part of the description, with a gambas here and a fraise there and some chevre somewhere. It was surely an interesting looking dish, but it's not your garden-variety gazpacho, is it ? And there's no mis-hearing the word "gazpacho". No room for vowel variability to cause confusion with such a word.

I tasted and I might have even whispered aloud : "Ah oui, une gelée de tomate ! D'accord, c'est bien un gazpacho. Ah, c'est bon. Et c'est une fraise avec un shredded chèvre chapeau." (my words not theirs). This dish was very nice, very freshing and we were now starting to build some steam.

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Thinking that they had Anton Ego in da haus, they offered to bring me out the pre-gelée gazpacho components. I accepted and inspected them diligently ...

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La Liche ... an okay fish. Nice legumes craquantes, nice texture to the fish, but lacking a distinguishing flavor, a reasonable dish that could have been much more with a more flavorful fish me thinks. Nice sauce.

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Le Roulé de foie gras. Bad pictures of the carpaccio de veau with grated cauliflower atop ...

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and looming within is the foie gras poelé with sorrel separating the veal parts. Une tres belle construction ! Bravo !

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Seiche-stuffed squash blossom ...

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with luscious lobster lobbed on ... this is NOT their normal dish. Superb !

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Le King Crabe. That's the actual name in French. Not le crabe du roi or any such nonsense.

It's le King Crabe and it's flown in live for these guys. Extremely hard to find in Paris.

And the picture is deceiving ... this is an extremely large portion ... and that plate is big big big.

It was pretty awesome and awesomely decadent.

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The "semi-de-shelling work" to allow for ultra-easy eating. To give perspective, those are very big and buttery chunks ready to be effortlessly plucked.

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Le King Crabe Soufflé ...

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packed to the gills with king crab meat and mushrooms ...

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Desserts ... simple and clean, but not a strong point ... tiramisu au thé vert, for instance ...

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#71 Wilfrid

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:37 PM

Hey, I saw some round, white plates in there. How ancien regime.

#72 Chambolle

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:42 PM

By the way ...

Mejillon de galicia en escabeche.

Ventresca de bonito del norte.

Boqueron del Cantabrico.

Jamon iberico bellota.
Four different types.

Tarama de da Rosa.

A simply superb Rioja 2008 Seleccion Personal.

... among other things ...

I have but one question ...

Where in the world is Chambo ?

That would obviously be back in Paris, of course.

The Tarama de da Rosa was the dead giveaway clue.



I am returning again [to Paris]. Will be staying a couple of weeks in October in the 9th in St Lazare. My first stay in the right bank.
Any places of note from anyone anywhere in the city? I am bringing my mother for her first trip. Dont have any specific plans yet re dining.

I respect the President
but I fear the First Mother
and out of fear
I opt not to steer
her where to go
when I do not know
her
or what to her
is dear.


Nevertheless when le Président de la République asks a direct question, as a good citoyen one has an obligation to answer him directly and truthfully, notwithstanding any political differences.

Ca, c'est la démocratie. Ca, c'est la fraternité. Ca fait une communauté. Ca garantit la liberté.

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I, Chambo, think (I am a good citizen), therefore I am (solemnly bound to answer in kind) ...


I am also wondering about Septime.

Their reputation is based upon dinner, not lunch.

For a while now, dinner at Septime has been exclusively le menu carte blanche.

In other words, you arrive and eat whatever slop they serve you.

Their slop is usually good slop, but this is a change since the last time I posted about my dinners there.

On a bike ride last last weekend, I observed the following upon their windows :

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Desiring to serve my President as well as could be, I even went back to briefly chat with the chef during his pre-service staff dinner to verify that no changes were imminently planned. I told the chef that I was requesting information on behalf of the President of the Republic. Chef thought I was crazy but I swore to him that it was true.

I even snapped another menu picture because ... well ... ummmm ... well ... errrrrrrr ... well .... because ... ... ... because I'm Chambo ! and my President needed more info ! and I attempt to serve my President to the best of my limited abilities ! and I wanted to demonstrate how these menus due indeed change on a daily basis ... That's why ... yeah yeah yeah ... That's why !

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Neva Cuisine is near Lazare and might be a good fit for your mom.

This place looks good. Have not heard much about it

I am previously on record (or I should be on record) as saying that this place is really a neighborhood place.

And as such I believe it to be a better option for a casual dinner as opposed to lunch.

It's the same exact menu with the same exact prices for either dinner or lunch.

And if one is staying near St Lazare, one will surely want to go here at some point.

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May the dear dear dear First Mother forgive me for my failings and the potential faults that I may have made.

#73 Chambolle

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 12:39 AM

Saturne. Lunch.

The menu. Notice how every single starter and main has changed since my last visit.

(Actually, my last visit wasn't even a week prior to this one, but I cannot post about every meal, can I ? But sometimes it's interesting to see how a restaurant ebbs and flows day by day, week by week.)

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Yet another page from the wine list. With time, I'll have the full copy :) By the way, per Ewen, they are working on selling their wines over the Internet. It's very much in process.

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Tartare de veau. That's crispy pomme de terre atop.

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And yes, as per the menu, there are oysters - a handful hiding underneath, along with pickled onions and a nice sauce to pull it all together.

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Et un verre de vin qui va avec ...

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Merlu. You can see one coco de Paimpol. Sorry to spill the beans, but many other beans are hiding beneath. And before you ask, that "corne be boeuf" mentioned in the menu has nothing to do with beef. It's a type of poivron, so-named because of its shape. It's often sweet and, as in our case, can be red. You see the outline of that sweet red pepper sauce upon which everything is sitting. Delish dish.

By the way, I saw all the mains come out and they all looked very good.

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Dessert ... Chambo goes for les Fraises & Co once again. Light, hyper-ripe, simple and pleasant.

Yep, that's chopped dried basil atop. Yep, it was a good good touch.

(Note that I have to be convinced that a chocolate dessert is going to have superb chocolate in it ... otherwise, why bother ?)

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Espresso by Hyppolite. Yep, Chambo drinks (ie has graduated to) espresso from time to time, especially when the resto doesn't do cappuccino. Very good espresso for a restaurant.

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And yes, once again, Chambo's hands left smelling citrus-y clean.

I'll note that this place does seem slightly expensive to me for a random lunch if you opt to drink some liquids, especially since they are always such prissy pourers, even for regulars like Chambo. Well, that's Ewen for ya ...

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#74 Peter Creasey

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:31 AM

I'll note that this place does seem slightly expensive to me for a random lunch if you opt to drink some liquids, especially since they are always such prissy pourers, even for regulars like Chambo. Well, that's Ewen for ya ...

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C, Interesting postings!

Sorry for stupid questions! Is the bill in euros? Without gratuity?
_________________
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Pete/Houston
SOAC . . .
. . "for the discreet and refined enjoyment of uncommon wine . .
. . . . and victuals and the companionship accruing thereto" . . . .

#75 Nancy S.

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 01:58 AM

Saturne. Lunch.

The menu. Notice how every single starter and main has changed since my last visit.

(Actually, my last visit wasn't even a week prior to this one, but I cannot post about every meal, can I ? But sometimes it's interesting to see how a restaurant ebbs and flows day by day, week by week.)

Posted Image

Yet another page from the wine list. With time, I'll have the full copy :) By the way, per Ewen, they are working on selling their wines over the Internet. It's very much in process.

Posted Image

Tartare de veau. That's crispy pomme de terre atop.

Posted Image

And yes, as per the menu, there are oysters - a handful hiding underneath, along with pickled onions and a nice sauce to pull it all together.

Posted Image

Et un verre de vin qui va avec ...

Posted Image

Merlu. You can see one coco de Paimpol. Sorry to spill the beans, but many other beans are hiding beneath. And before you ask, that "corne be boeuf" mentioned in the menu has nothing to do with beef. It's a type of poivron, so-named because of its shape. It's often sweet and, as in our case, can be red. You see the outline of that sweet red pepper sauce upon which everything is sitting. Delish dish.

By the way, I saw all the mains come out and they all looked very good.

Posted Image

Dessert ... Chambo goes for les Fraises & Co once again. Light, hyper-ripe, simple and pleasant.

Yep, that's chopped dried basil atop. Yep, it was a good good touch.

(Note that I have to be convinced that a chocolate dessert is going to have superb chocolate in it ... otherwise, why bother ?)

Posted Image

Espresso by Hyppolite. Yep, Chambo drinks (ie has graduated to) espresso from time to time, especially when the resto doesn't do cappuccino. Very good espresso for a restaurant.

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And yes, once again, Chambo's hands left smelling citrus-y clean.

I'll note that this place does seem slightly expensive to me for a random lunch if you opt to drink some liquids, especially since they are always such prissy pourers, even for regulars like Chambo. Well, that's Ewen for ya ...

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I had a stunning dinner there this summer. I'm returning in November. Where else should I dine?