Archive for February, 2017

Paris: Memorable Lunches at Pierre Gagnaire, David Toutain & Les Tablettes + Dinner Michel Rostang

February 27th, 2017

Dining at restaurants in Paris

Fortunate this month to be checking out more top restaurants in Paris. Some cutting edge new spots with young enthusiastic chefs and some old favourites. Decades ago we used to enjoy trying the unique daily lunch menu de jour of the 3 star Michelin places for both their great value and innovative market fresh fare. That seems long gone now where often the daily menu can really lack inspiration. For sure that is certainly not the case at Pierre Gagnaire.

Pierre Gagnaire restaurant paris review

Lunch at Pierre Gagnaire: What a culinary treasure! Amazing decor as you enter with inviting round tables so perfectly placed for dining privacy and comfort. What an experience to go there for the lunch menu at a remarkable value of 90 euros for so many outstanding items presented. You get an amazing feel for this talented chef’s style and creativity. The menu shown doesn’t begin to show the wealth of amuses, multi appetizers and starters, three breads, and diverse desserts in addition to the main course that is served to you. On this occasion the main was pot-au-feu served with Puy lentils & sausage, sauerkraut flan and Dijon mustard flavoured with truffle. On other occasions it might be fish or chicken or whatever but always at very high Michelin 3 star quality. Outstanding dining!

David Toutain paris restaurant review

Another favourite your scribe has written up before is David Toutain. Surprise multi course lunch for 80 euros is always a treat. From warm plates to a la minute preparation of dishes everything arrives at your table with perfection. Every dish a culinary highlight this time especially sweet onions napped in a truffle sauce and table side service of foam. Pigeon cooked whole a point and carved exquisitely for you. Underrated rising star.

Les Tablettes restaurant paris review

Perhaps IMHO the best lunch value presently for the quality delivered in Paris at 58 euros is Les Tablettes of Jean-Louis Nomicos. For that you get varying dishes that include amuse, starter (lobster ravioli in lemongrass foam), main course (poached John Dory), superb bread with butter and Italian EVOO, cheese course, and dessert choice plus 375 ml. wine (excellent minor chateau Bordeaux Blanc 2015). Over delivers and worth checking out.

Maison Rostang paris restaurant review

Dinner at old timer Relais & Chateau of Michel Rostang always is so nostalgic. Traditional favourites of Truffle Sandwich (refrigerated 48 hours and then grilled a golden brown – better than grilled cheese!) best eaten with your fingers before the finger bowl arrives. Lobster salad with coral prepared table side as is the amazing Grande Dover Sole. Alain Ronzatti celebrating 37 years as sommelier there liked my wine choice of delicious elegant 2010 Domaine Roulot Meursault Tessons to match these superb old style dishes. What an evening!

Pierre Gagnaire: 6, rue Balzac 75008 Paris +33 (01) 58 36 12 50 www.pierre-gagnaire.com   p.gagnaire@wanadoo.fr

David Toutain: 29, rue Surcouf 75007 Paris +33 (01) 45 50 11 10 www.davidtoutain.com  reservations@davidtoutain.com

Les Tablettes of Jean-Louis Nomicos 16. av Bugbaud 75016 Paris +33 (01) 56 28 16 16 www.lestablettesjeanlouisnomicos.com

Maison Michel Rostang 20 rue Rennequin 75017 Paris www.maisonrostang.com  reservations@maisonrostang.com


You might also like:

Have you dined at any of these restaurants?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Hearty Salads: the lighter side of winter eating

February 24th, 2017

Hearty Salads: the lighter side of winter eating

By Joseph Temple

After spending weeks of warming by the fireplace and eating heavy comfort food, it’s time to start thinking a little bit lighter.  With Spring Break around the corner, why not try some hearty salads for lunch or dinner?  Whether it’s Ft. Lauderdale or Cancun, get ready for bathing suit season with these scrumptious delights!


Crab Avocado salad
1. Crab/Avocado Salad

Cobb salad
2. Cobb Salad

Beef & Arugula with Pomegrante Dressing
3. Beef & Arugula with Pomegranate Dressing

Citrus Carpachio
4. Citrus Carpaccio

Shaved Brussel Sprouts & Warm Bacon Dressing
5. Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Warm Bacon Dressing

Quinoa & Butternut Squash Salad
6. Quinoa & Butternut Squash Salad

Chicken, Kale, Pine nuts & Parmesan Cheese
7. Chicken, Kale, Pine nuts & Parmesan Cheese

Mediterranean Inspired Fish, Tomato & Chickpeas
8. Mediterranean Inspired Fish, Tomato & Chickpeas

Kale, Potatoes & Poached Eggs
9. Kale, Potatoes & Poached Eggs

Kale, Pears & Blue Cheese
10. Kale, Pears & Blue Cheese


You might also like:

What is your favorite salad from this article?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ask Sid: Sherry Service Temperatures?

February 22nd, 2017
Ask your question here

Ask Sid: Sherry Service Temperatures?
By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Degustation of Spanish sherry)
[CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Question: I really love Spanish sherries, the drier ’fino’ style which are nearly impossible to purchase around here. My question is what’s the best temperature to serve them?

Answer: Yes the service temperature can really affect the aromas or bouquet, flavours and alcohol delivery of sherry. Your favourite dry & lighter Fino style (and those delicate salty Manzanillas) should be best served the coldest in the 7-9 C range. Try softer nutty Amontillados and other medium sherry in the 9-11 C range. Sweeter fuller flavoured Olorosos and cream sherry prefer around 12 C. Those special sweetest Pedro Ximenez (“PX”) should be less chilled in the 13-14 C range. Despite this specific answer that should suit most consumers I nonetheless advise you to serve it at the temperature that you like the best. Enjoy. Remember the glass is also important and don’t use those old style very small glasses. Much prefer a tulip shaped white wine glass. Also make sure your Fino is fresh and not more than 12-18 months old maximum after bottling. The fresher the better!


You might also like:

 alt=

Are you a fan of Sherry?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Largest Assembly of Canadian Wines Show Quality With Unique Styles

February 20th, 2017

Canadian wines at the Vancouver Wine Festival 2017

We just completed the 39th Vancouver International Wine Festival (VanWineFest.ca) held over 8 days showing over 1700 wines from 180 wineries based in 16 countries. However the key focus for 2017 was celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation with the largest gathering of Canadian wineries ever at an international festival with 76 in total broken down to 60 from BC, 10 from Ontario, and 6 from Nova Scotia. Only a fraction of the around 700 total licenced wineries but what an opportunity it was to experience the improved quality of the wines and the diverse cross-section of regional differences! Some highlights:

NOVA SCOTIA (winesofnovascotia.ca): This is a young growing region with only 20 wineries really only starting out in the eighties and sparked by Sparkling wine success in the mid 2000s led by quality producer Benjamin Bridge with their complex long lees aging 2004 cuvee of pinot noir and chardonnay. Current release is their Brut Methode Classique 2011. The main regions are Annapolis Valley (vines were cultivated by French settlers in the 1600s) & Malagash Peninsula including glacial soils with a maritime temperate influence by the Atlantic Ocean & Gulfstream and those amazing 16 metre tide swings in the Bay of Fundy.

A unique “Tidal Bay” appellation requires 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes (led by L’Acadie Blanc, Ortega, New York Muscat, Cayuga, Seyval, Vidal and others) with a maximum 11 degrees alcohol approved by a blind tasting panel for that aromatic crisp greener style. 2015 Jost $20 showed off dry (10 g/l residual sugar) but crisp 8.7 total acidity with floral aromatics contributed by 12% New York Muscat in the blend.

Encouraging wines from Gaspereau Vineyards showing a vibrant structured varietal 2015 Riesling $20 and Blomidon Estate 2014 Chardonnay $33 harvested on November 4 barrel fermented with 10 months lees contact at 12.8 alcohol. Try fun 2015 Phone Box Fizz from Luckett Vineyards. Much prefer the Nova Scotia whites (especially the exciting bubbles) over the reds (often using Baco Noir & Lucie Kuhlmann).

ONTARIO (winecountryontario.ca & vqawinesofontario.ca): Wonderful fresh wines with an emphasis on the white varieties of Riesling & Chardonnay and for red Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc & Gamay Noir. Wine since 1873 but now 165 VQA wineries on 17,000 acres (690 hectares) with 10 distinct sub appellations. The Great Lakes (largest fresh water system in the world) and the Escarpment provide important influencing factors. Excellent ancient limestone soils in Prince Edward County. Several educational seminars allowed you to Discover Ontario’s Cool and their Star Whites.

Enjoyed the Poised For Pinot seminar showing 12 different pinot noirs (10 from the rainy leaner 2013 & 2 from the warmer more generous 2014). That typical lovely delicate lighter cherry fruit really shone brightly though a few were just too lean & green. Quality pinot noir grapes are increasing in value now over $2000/Ton. My favourites included the 2013s of deep Domaine Queylus Le Grande Reserve , lively aromatics Flat Rock Gravity, fruity Tawse Cherry Avenue, floral Norman Hardie County, very light but fragrant Thomas Bachelder Lowery Vineyard and stylish Hidden Bench Locust Lane (also have an incredible 2014 Estate Riesling $29 age-worthy plus so full of minerality).

Now into their 7th generation the Chateau des Charmes 2014 Cabernet Franc St David’s Bench $28 picked November 2 at 24 Brix showed blackberry, raspberry full flavoured French oak aged with 5.8 g/l residual sugar. A have a soft spot for the wonderful Pillitteri Estates Icewines from Niagara Peninsula. Their 2013 Riesling (200 ml. format) has remarkable balanced acidity while the rich Reserve 2013 Vidal (375 ml) was harvested at 40.2 Brix with 216 g/l residual sugar. Charles Pillitteri tells me the 2014s look very encouraging and his favourite for best overall balance ever was the 1997 vintage.

BC (winebc.com): Wine first made for sacramental purposes in 1859 but BC’s wine industry has exploded from just 17 grape wineries on 1476 acres in 1990 to over 275 today on 10260 acres. Such a diversity of high quality wines ranging from a delicate lighter style all the way to rich ripe powerful reds with so many emerging successful varieties. Too many outstanding wines with a special unique fruit acidity showing freshness and purity to list them here.

Some special events included Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus (Bordeaux style blend with roughly 50% merlot) Retrospective back to 2005 that showed the results of low yields (2-2 1/2 Tons/acre) from precision viticulture. Canopy management, cane & spur pruning, shoot & leaf removal, cluster thinning, targeted and measured irrigation management, knowing where the best fruit is and handpicking the selection with several passes, night picking for cooler fruit for maximum flavour retention all contribute to the amazing quality! 2012 is a cooler year with more cab franc while 2014 is a stunning vintage for all varieties with rich ripe fruit. Very impressed also by the new Martin’s Lane (winery opening this April) Riesling 2014 from the Naramata Bench & their sensational elegant so complex Pinot Noir 2014 from a steep slope with 3 clones, 4 vineyards and 20 selections.

One Faith Vineyards of proprietor Bill Lui (assisted now by Pascal Madevon in the vineyard & Jacq Kemp Winemaker for Moraine in the cellar) showed for comparison his expensive Grand Vin in 3 vintages of 2012, 2013 & 2014. All 5 of the Checkmate 2013 Chardonnay are world class with the Queen Taken at $125 showing what a 40 year old heritage vineyard grown on the Golden Mile sub-region can produce. Some seminars featured the BC winery pioneers against the New Kids on the Block. Your scribe was yet again so excited by the improved bubbles, the Rieslings, the Pinot Noirs (even Foxtrot Vineyards was participating), the Cab Francs and the Syrahs among so many winners. You don’t know what you are missing. Get to know this emerging wine region better!


You might also like:

Have you tasted wine from all 3 provinces?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Lots of soup for you!

February 18th, 2017

soup ideas for winter

By Joseph Temple

With the snow falling and cold winds of winter blowing, we could all use a little warming up. So here are seventeen tasty soup, stew, and bisque ideas to heat your tummy and if done right, your soul.  Just like mom used to make! Mmmm!!


souptitlecardelements1
1. Pumpkin Curry Soup

souptitlecardelements1
2. Beef & Vegetable noodle soup

souptitlecardelements1
3. Cream of broccoli soup

souptitlecardelements1
4. Roasted garlic cream soup

souptitlecardelements1
5. Lobster bisque

souptitlecardelements1
6. Squash with rosemary & hazelnuts

souptitlecardelements1
7. classic French onion soup

souptitlecardelements1
8. chicken and matzo ball

souptitlecardelements1
9. Asian hot pot

souptitlecardelements1
10. Roasted Tomato bisque

souptitlecardelements1
11. Potato leek soup

souptitlecardelements1
12. Japanese soup

souptitlecardelements1
13. Miso soup

souptitlecardelements1
14. Pork won ton soup

souptitlecardelements1
15. Sausage and potato stew

souptitlecardelements1
16. Beef stew

souptitlecardelements1
17. Cabbage and beef soup


You might also like:

What's your favorite soup from this article?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Skip to toolbar