14 July 2016

Ce que nous avons mangé à Paris

Last Saturday in Paris CHM and I had lunch with friends P. and M. at the Grand Bistrot on the avenue de Breteuil. It's a restaurant we've been going to for years. Walt and I had dinner there about 20 years ago, for example, one of the times we were on vacation in France.

As a first course, I ordered a salad of green asparagus with thin slices of marinated tomato and some nice lettuce. I enjoyed it. P. had snails, and M. and CHM had a big platter of oysters. I have no pictures of those. At the Grand Bistrot, the set menu comes with half a bottle of wine per person included in the price (44€).

Then I had fish — a grilled daurade — served with spinach and diced raw tomato. That was good too. I don't eat fish all that often these days, but I like it. Daurade, also spelled dorade, is called sea bream in English. I think what I had was the fish called la daurade royale, or the gilt-head sea bream in English. One photo on Wikipedia makes it look an awful lot like what we called hogfish in North Carolina when I was growing up. Those were good eating.

For dessert, CHM and I both ordered a baba au rhum. It was served with whipped cream and the waiter brought a bottle of vanilla-flavored rum to the table for us to dribble onto the cake. The baba itself is a yeast-leavened cake.

Our friend M., whose 86th birthday we were celebrating, ordered crêpes suzette for her dessert.

The next day, Sunday, CHM and I took the train back to Blois, where Walt met us at the train station with the car. We drove over to a restaurant near the Château de Chambord for lunch. More about that later... Meanwhile, happy Bastille Day — Bon 14 juillet.


  1. I've been to that restaurant several times and always enjoyed it. I like coming out after dinner and walking to the middle of the median where the view to Les Invalides is beautiful.

    As always, I enjoy your food photos.

  2. For a few years now, I have made it a tradition to invite my old friends P. and M. to the Grand Bistrot de Breteuil for M.'s birthday on July 9. Since Ken happened to be in Paris for that weekend I invited him along. I have known P. for close to 77 years now, and M. for almost fifty years. M. turned 86 and she is indefatigable in taking care of her beautiful gardens (she has two: the lower one and the upper one). Ken met them several years ago when he picked me up at their place near Étampes, and they've been friends ever since. Our lunch together was very pleasant.

    1. This M. of whom you speak; I think I've had the privilege to see photos of her remarkable gardens. If so, she's a force of nature. Her gardens are miraculous and somewhat English in appearance.

      The salade looks wonderful (I love summertime beefsteak tomatoes) as does the baba au rhum. Glad you enjoyed a nice meal.

    2. Yes, M. is the one. Last October I was able to climb up the upper garden and take some photos. I'll send them as soon (!) as they can be sorted out. This upper garden is built on a very steep cliff-like hill behind their house, and the views from up there are worth the climb.
      In addition of being a very good gardener, she's a painter as well. She gets most of her inspiration from her gardens and the variety of plants she grows.

    3. I was thinking last Friday if M&P were mentioned in Ken's blog last year wrt Étampes and you've confirmed it. Thank you.

  3. My favourite fish after Zander!!
    There seems at the moment to be some confusion in commercial France over "Dorade"...
    because it is also used to describe what we Brits call the 'John Dory' that is "farmed" in Greece...
    certainly the ones illustrated in the 'pub' are 'John Dory' with St.Peter's finger prints each side of the head and therefore "Royale"!!
    They don't seem to use "Royale" for these??
    Your fish could be the latter as you suspect...
    silver-bream are even coloured top to keel....
    the Royale is darker above and lighter below.
    Just to explain...
    the use of 'John Dory' for the "sea bream" with the spots is a British usage...
    it is not a real John Dory which has the "fingerprint" spots right in the middle of the sides with a fairly distinct ring of white around the black....
    The true John Dory isn't a Northern fish to my understanding, it is caught off Africa...
    I had my first taste in Kenya... and it certainly doesn't occur naturally at the far end of the Med where St. Peter fished!! Might do so now, though, if it sneaks in via Suez!?

    1. Well, that's confusing. The fish I had may have simply been called daurade. I just looked up the menu on line, and it says in English: WHOLE GILT HEAD BREAM IN SAUCE VIERGE, TENDER COOKED SPINACH. The fish called Saint-Pierre is something completely different in France.

    2. Yes, that's right... The fish called Saint-Pierre is the true John Dory and is a different species altogether... I'm not very keen on it, it is what I would call "ultra-bony"....and compared with both sea breams, bland!! Nice mouthfeel but...bland!
      I think that the 'John Dory' name is a British fishmonger concoction to distinguish between the ordinary sea bream and the gilt head and therefore charge more....they do many...the best is "Rock Salmon" for dogfish!!
      I'm keen on fish and the French are far more adventurous in what they offer.
      The pike-perch, Zander, has been introduced as a game fish in the Somerset rivers...
      it has no natural predators and has become a pest...
      But will the Brits knock it on the head and eat it...
      They weigh the damned things and put them back...pest or not!!
      Yet, they will take a pike and cook it??
      They just don't know what they are missing!!

  4. I would have chosen the fish also- it looks yummy. We've eaten dinner at le Grand Bisto de Breteuil and liked it a lot.

  5. Baba au rhum is one of the things I need to learn to make perfectly, to do it for friends on visits back in the U.S. I've never seen it on a menu there.

  6. Ken,

    Are there also slices of marinated navet ( purple because of beets' juice in the marinade may be) in your yummy salad?

    1. I think those are slices of a special beet that's white and red instead of just dark red.

  7. I would have those crepes right now for breakfast ..

  8. Those are beautiful photos of beautiful food :) What a treat.
    Belated happy birthday to M., if she reads your blog :)

  9. Happy Bastille Day! I never tire of looking at pictures of yummy food.

    1. Hi Ginny, I'm not feeling at all happy about Bastille Day after what happened in Nice last night.


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