Finally – a sunny day in Paris! It’s been a mix of clouds and showers since I arrived so I was so happy to wake up to blue skies this morning. Today started off with a Paris Walks – Fashion Tour that I signed up for which, to be honest, ended up being a bit disappointing. I was expecting them to talk about the original house of Chanel, Prada and the Louis Vuitton museum but instead the tour was about the history of fashion during the time of King Louis XIV. Seriously?! I was expecting something more along the lines of The Devil Wears Prada and instead I got Marie Antoinette. Oh well. C’est la vie.
However, I did make it to the Rodin Museum, l’hôtel des Invalides, the army museum (which was actually quite cool) and Napoleon’s Tomb. But the real highlight of today, was going out to dinner with a couple of my friends from Toronto who were passing by through Paris on their way to Prague. I made a reservation (or rather, I asked my french speaking friend to call in a reservation a week ago from Toronto) at a neo bistro called Spring. Only offering one dinner seating at 8:30pm Tuesday-Saturday, there is no printed menu because the chef basically decides what the menu is going to be on that day (depending on which ingredients are in season and available).
Okay, I know a lot of my friends at home really want to know what the meal was like so I have provided a list of what we had (complete with pictures). I was fully living up to the Asian stereotype of taking pictures of food (which I don’t do very often) so I hope you guys enjoy it.
Deep fried/breaded blood sausage, trout, a white sauce with trout roe and horseradish (for dipping the trout), asparagus with cream sauce and fresh turnips.
Mackeral prepared Japanese style (grilled – crispy skin while still raw in centre – similar to how you would prepare Ahi tuna steaks) with fois gros, veal jus and asparagas spear.
Breaded and fried lamb sweet breads with lobster mousse and mint (this was absolutely delicious!)
Duck with fois gros (also delicious!)
Cheese plate – camembert, brie (I think), goat cheese and a blue cheese called Blue d’Auvergne. I don’t normally like blue cheese but I asked for the name of it because it tasted so good.
Goat milk sorbet with hazelnuts, strawberries with chantilly cream and meringue crisps (so good!)
Coconut cookies and truffles
Sorry if the descriptions are a little uncreative but there is no printed menu so I’m going off what the waiter/waitress said (in their mixture of french/english) and by memory after a couple glasses of wine. This meal did not disappoint. It was sublime! Tasting menus are definitely special occasions because haute cuisine doesn’t come cheap. The 7 course tasting menu costs 70 euros (but I can appreciate how much work goes into each dish). We each had two glasses of wine and the small cheese plate (which we shared because we were so full) was an additional 12 euro. I insisted on the cheese plate because the cheeses in France are different than what we get in Canada (and of course I had to get another glass of wine to go with it).
Oh ya, the wine was EXCELLENT! I also asked for the name of the wine I had and found out that it only costs 8 euro per bottle and they ship internationally. Woo hoo! All in all, the dinner came out to just under 110 euros. Yikes! But it was worth it (and still cheaper than what I paid at Lumiere in Vancouver with Chef Rob Feenie (before it closed down). This dinner wasn’t without a couple surprises, however. Blood sausage and sweet breads are both things that I don’t eat on the best of days but when you have a tasting menu you have no choice. But they were both delicious! I guess anything can taste good if you deep fry it!
Also, based on my Edible Adventures in Paris guidebook, it lists the tasting menu of consisting of 4 items and costing 36 euros (the tasting menu that night consisted of 6 plates and costed 70 euros). It also says that the restaurant is located in the 9th arr. (which is where they used to be located until they moved to the 1st arr. two years ago). Sadly, this is something that I found out that night after walking up the hill to the old location in Pigalle for my reservation which was at 8:30pm. That made for quite the adventure of trying to find the correct address, calling the restaurant (which has a pre-recorded message most of the time) and hailing a cab knowing full well that my friends were at the restaurant waiting for me. Thank goodness for my iPhone! I eventually made it to the new location and my friends, in the meantime, had befriended an American couple from Miami who were celebrating their sixth year anniversary. We all had a great evening of dinner conversation sitting around the family style table. Definitely a great evening despite the bumpy start!