Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Highlight #263: We ate Paris (Part I) - Restaurant: L'Ourcine

On my fourth trip to Paris, I finally managed to wrestle the man into coming along for a little romance! :) Luckily, he was in the mood to enjoy some food and wine after weeks of intense work.

With no contracts to revise or negotiations to prepare for, I liberally indulged in the newly released beaujolais nouveau 2009 like Parisians all over the city. Not too tanic or overly nuanced, this was a simple kind of "happy" grape juice drunken purely for joy.

For our first Parisian lunch after a none so pleasant flight (I sat next to a man the size of laughing Buddha except he didn't make anyone laugh), we dropped in for a cozy lunch at L'Ourcine in the quaint 13th, a short walk from the Latin Quarter and our hotel. The vest pocket size place was exactly what we needed, small, warm, and homey.

As always, I was mistaken for Japanese by our server (this happens about 20 times on each trip ). After apologizing profusely for his mistake, he sent out a couple of compliments from the chef, a mousse twist on coquilles Saint Jacques. The sauteed scallops were blended into the rich mousse and the usual bread crumb topping was presented as croutons. This very interesting twist on a classic foretold the coming neat plays on tradition by chef Daniere, who trained with the fame Yves Camdeborde (La Regalade).

Our set lunch included a choice of a starter, a main, and a dessert for 31 Euro. I chose the salmon confit as starter. Rather than a true confit, the salmon was salt cured, but was not salty (it was just a little stringy). The tangy slaw on top balanced out the quite rich puree (I guessed spinach, but couldn't tell for sure).

Jason asked for the braised beef presse, which came studded with a good sized piece of foie. I stole much of this very flavorful and beefy starter.

I gladed added a supplement of 15 Euro for the main that I just couldn't take my eyes off of, a sauteed pigeon with a fist size piece of pan seared foie gras. Imagine the most tender piece of dark meat near the bone of a duck leg and you get the texture and flavor of this pigeon. For every mouthful, I combined a nice chuck of pigeon with a good slathering of foie. Heavenly! I even painstakingly gnawed away at the itty bitty leg.

Jason's pork roast was much easier to eat. I was too busy to spend much time with his.

To balance out the very rich main, I ordered the fromage blanc with a mango sauce as dessert. I totally ignored the fresh cheese after tasting the amazing tart and sweet sauce as vibrant as the color. I felt truly refreshed afterwards.

Jason settled on the homey pot de creme and seemed very happy with the choice.

After lunch, we took a leisurely walk back to our hotel for a good nap. I've really learned to appreciate Jason's non-rushed approach to sight seeing over the years. Paris will always be there. We were there to relax and enjoy, which meant that we'd take our time. We woke up in time for a nice drive through all the beautifully lit sites of Paris, including the Eiffel as it sparkled on the hour.

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