So when Amanda and I travel we love eating and we love making meals the focal point of our traveling experiences. We’ve slowly gotten to that place where we are adventurous and will try anything that sounds like an interesting flavor compilation (if only to stay away from things we’re bored with, like chicken and rice and beans.)
We did some pretty good meals when we were in Italy, but realized that we got sick of pasta pretty quickly. French food for me however had been one of those things that had a high barrier to entry. All the names, and sauces and extractions were confusing and I got nervous when I didn’t know what it was. All of that changed when my parents took Amanda and I to a French restaurant in Toronto and it changed our lives. Since then I am headlong into crazy weird-sounding French food. And this trip did not disappoint.
Here are some of our favorites:
Boudin Noir in Cider (Blood sausage pudding!), cabillaud (white fish) in butter cider sauce, Honfleur. (Note: Black pudding sounds a lot better than blood pudding. And they both sound ok until you google that and realize you just ate congealed/dried blood pucks mixed with breadcrumbs, onions and carrot shavings. Amanda ate that one. I had a bite: it tasted like gravy drenched yorkshire pudding. It was really yummy, but that night after a trip to wikipedia we felt a little…uh…gastronomically betrayed. I’m happy I had the duck. Oh man. I had lots of duck this trip. It was the go-to meat for me.)
Pan Fried Red Mullet with Jerusalem Artichokes, Pink Grapefruit Doughnuts & Salad Burnet (Note: Best. Fish. Ever. As a boy who was born and raised in a less than oceanic province I have never really liked fish and I can’t remember if I have ever ordered one in a restaurant other than as a kid when my dad said he’d pay me a dollar to try it. But this time I was seduced by the Jerusalem Artichokes…what could they be!? I have recently found out that I love artichokes and will order any combination of pizza as long as they have them on it. I wasn’t too sure what a Red Mullet was, and when I asked the garcon about it he replied in his thick French accent “well, eet ees laik a feesh with a mou-stache.” This answer didn’t really fill me with confidence as my relationship with fish has been rocky, and adding facial hair to the equation didn’t help, but gosh darn, I wanted those artichokes! They were like artichoke potato chips fried up in sweet balsamic vinegar. They were amazing. And the fish was to die for. It was on a bed of mashed potatoes that soaked in all the yummy sauce. It came with thin red scales attached to the white meat and it had some of that same sweet vinaigrette as the artichokes. Amazing. Oh, and grapefruit doughnuts were great too. Basically grapefruit tempura.)
Warm Goat Cheese (chevre) on honied toast over greens (with a light truffle mustard dressing), Versailles
Lamb in Prune Sauce served with potato gratin and salad, Chez Julian‘s second location in the 6th.
We did finally break down for burgers one day: