4 February 2023

31 January 2023

Tuesday tasting


Well yesterday was National Croissant Day, and while I try to avoid two food posts in a row, I came across this photo taken on an autumn morning in Provence. The plateau of just-baked buttery croissants and pains au chocolat was irresistible.

 

30 January 2023

Meaty Monday

 

In Paris, vegetarian and vegan options are getting easier to find but for now, meat is king.  Especially beef. In most café-restaurants, bistros and brasseries, steak is on the menu, with all the usual suspects present - côte de boeuf, entrecôte, bavette, faux-filet, rumsteak, filet mignon. Note: unless filet mignon is followed by the word boeuf, it's always pork. Paleron and gîte get simmered to tenderness in cold-weather stews such as Boeuf Bourguignon or Pot-Au-Feu. Côte de boeuf, on the rib or côte, is greatly prized. It's pricier, often reserved in advance and, because of its size, shared. No T-bone here.
 
The race bovine or cattle breed is proudly displayed: Charolais, Salers, Aubrac, Limousin, Rouge des prés, Gasconne, and for the past few years, Angus. Where the beef comes from (origine France for example) is required to be posted, somewhere. 
 
A particular cut of steak is expected to appear on plates prepared a particular way, and that’s all part of it. So sauce béarnaise and frites maison are the usual accompaniments to côte de boeuf and sometimes, a marrow bone is thrown in. Seared entrecôte will arrive with a just melting pat of beurre maître d'hôtel. No bavette, a sort of flank steak, is worth its weight if it's not served with sauce à l'échalote, a wine-shallot sauce. And so it goes.
 
American tastes usually find that meat in France - and this includes lamb and duck - is underdone when it comes to their desired cuisson: saignant (rare), à point (medium/medium rare), bien cuit (well done). The most popular (French) choice for steaks is saignant and à point for cheeseburgers. The good news is, meat that's not cooked enough to one's liking can always be sent back to the kitchen to be cooked up. The bad: just ordering beef "well-done” (Anglo style) might elicit a reaction - a comment there, a pffft there, or, as recently happened to a friend visiting from New York who ordered her steak well done, she turned around and caught the waiter making grimaces behind her back. - BPJ


Above: côte de boeuf (between saignant and à point) w/three sauces

Below:
côte de boeuf (saignant
 

 


29 January 2023

Chinese New Year


Paris celebrates Chinese New Year in four distinct Asian neighborhoods.
 
Ends February 5, 2023