Friday, July 31, 2009

Au Bascou - Paris

Tasty Visit to the Basque Country
Many years ago I was in JFK airport waiting for a flight to Madrid. A guy walked up to me and said something like "Erkeetat ruggamerdfriopaoaia." At least, that's how it sounded to me. Turns out, he had sized me up as a fellow Basque and spoken to me in Basque. He was really surprised I wasn't Basque - apparently I look Basque. A couple of years later I was driving with some friends from Madrid to Paris and we made a stop at a gas station in the Basque countryside. The gas station attendant spoke Spanish to my friends, but addressed me in Basque! Last night, on the way to Au Bascou, a Basque restaurant in the 3rd Arondissement in Paris, I told Pingle these stories. She just looked at me like "whatever, silly American."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Des Gars Dans La Cuisine - Paris

Some Boys Can Cook
The name of this restaurant translates into "Boys in the Kitchen." Pingle and I visited after a weekend spent in Sevilla, Spain. Why do I brag? Sorry, don't mean to - there's a point. I didn't get to eat Gazpacho while in Spain and was regretting that when I peered at the top of the Des Gars menu. Voila - Gazpacho! While I waited for it to arrive, second-guessing took over. What the hell was I doing ordering Gazpacho in Paris? One spoonful into it and all questions were put to rest - it was rich, zesty and deliciously cooling.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Higuma - Paris

What's All The Fuss About?
This is one of the better Japanese spots in Paris? I sure hope not. We went prior to the rush on a recent Friday night and settled into the overflow dining room. As we nibbled on the disappointing pork gyoza I wondered why the line to get in often snakes around the corner. The insides were tasty enough but the dumpling skin was undercooked and lifeless.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cafe Piaf - Paris

Hand-Made Desserts in Swanky Environs
Just in case you think we're a cool, world-traveling couple....we ate cereal at home for dinner before venturing out to Cafe Piaf for dessert. Pingle had Honey Bunches of Oats and I had Sugar Smacks, the former bought in Brooklyn and packed in a suitcase. Turns out, cereal is the perfect base upon which you can pile rich desserts late at night. Below is my hand-made tiramisu arabica - a creamy tiramisu with a shot of coffee at the bottom. It was light and small and a perfect night-cap.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chez Taeko - Paris

Delicious Japanese in the Third Arondissement
Chez Taeko is a small Japanese "stall" inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges that reminds me of Hibino in Brooklyn. Pingle visited before and told me it was a must-go so off we went for a Saturday afternoon lunch. I got the pork Tonkatsu which was appropriately thick, crispy at the edges and deeply juicy. I carved it into chopstick-manageable hunks and didn't talk for about 15 minutes as I eviscerated it. It came with sides of rice, bean sprouts and sashimi.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Berthillon - Paris

Not a Wrong Note
No surprise, Berthillon makes a really good sorbet. Pingle and I chose to sit in the luxurious dining room rather than take it to go. I got a double-scoop of raspberry and blood orange, shown below. She got passionfruit and strawberry. All four flavors were good but for me, the passionfruit stood out. It was tangy and fresh and made my tongue tingle.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heid's - Syracuse

This is How a Dog Should Be, Frenchies!
I promised to take Pingle to Katz's Deli in Manhattan to get her a real dog. Last week, I got her something even better - a frank and a coney from Heid's in Syracuse. Technically, it's located in Liverpool, NY - just outside Syracuse - so no hate mail please. Heid's uses dogs from Hofmann's in Syracuse, sorry Katz - you can't top that no matter how hard you try. Just take a look at these franks - their natural casings charred to a cancer-inducing crisp. My mom's is topped with sweet relish, the other with onions.