About this blog

My mother was a great cook. My father loved to eat.
I am the Man from Pawtucket and this is my story. Here you will find a collection of observations, from Central Falls to Central Park, from Pawtucket to Paris, about Eating Well. Bon Appetit.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Perbacco is not Perfecto

September 20, 2008

We went to Perbacco last Saturday for dinner. Frank Bruni in The New York Times gave it two stars a few weeks ago so we decided to give it a try. Well, we were not impressed. First of all, what is it with stools? Have restaurant designers ever sat on one and had a meal? Perbacco is small, crowded and very noisy and the food was simply not that good. Certainly didn’t live it up to the hype. For appetizers, we shared grilled zucchini and ricotta cheese , a special rolled bresaola and a green salad with walnuts and honey. The others were OK but the zucchini was iced cold. We mentioned it to two servers who just said “sorry about that”.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One more Constant

September 10, 2008
I managed to have one more nice lunch in Paris before returning home and went directly to Christian Constant’s Café Constant; just a few doors down from Les Cocottes on rue Saint-Dominique.

Since I didn’t have a lot of time, I quickly decided on the 23 euro menu of the day. The first course was 3 grilled langoustines with a simple green salad. Next, was a plate of roasted organic chicken with a few roasted potatoes. Simple, but well done (taste that is, not the chicken). Finally, for dessert I had fresh raspberries with cream, almonds and mint.

It was a great ending to a few days in Paris.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Constant's Cocottes

September 8, 2008
Les Cocottes, 135 rue Saint-Dominique
This is one of four restaurants by Chef Christian Constant. They are all along one block of rue Saint-Dominique, very close to La Tour Eiffel. After working at The Ritz, Paris, Constant became Executive Chef at The Hotel Crillon's 2-star Michelin restaurant, Les Ambassadeurs. After 8 years at the Crillon he decided to open his own restaurant, Violon d'Ingres, just a few doors down from Les Cocottes.
I had the ‘salade roquette’ (arugula with bacon and poached egg)’ the ‘cocotte du jour’ (cocotte is a casserole) and ‘fromage basque’ served with black cherry confit. I thoroughly enjoyed these dishes with a carafe of Chablis and one of Cairanne rouge (AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages)

I really enjoyed this bistro. The food and service were both excellent and the price was very reasonable considering the quality.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Le Comptoir du Relais, Paris

Yves Camdeborde's Le Comptoir off the Boulevard Saint-Germain in the 6eme Arrondisement is packed every night. People actually wait in line (on line for New Yorkers) for a table which is something I have never seen before in Paris. I arrived early on a Sunday evening and was lucky enough to get a table outside just as the line was starting to form. I ordered a 'planche cochonaille' (which is a small cutting board with assorted chacuterrie) followed by a 'salade de poulpe' (octopus salad). I enjoyed these very much a with a 'pot' of Saumur rouge. Finally for dessert I ordered the caramel ice cream with sea salt. The rich, deep color fooled me into thinking I would taste the sweet cream first. Instead, it was the salt and then the caramel. That was unexpected but delicious just the same.

A really quick lunch in Paris

At Restaurant Brindille in the 16th arrondissement near the Parc des Princes, we had fresh anchovies, poached eggs with mushroom sauce, salmon, and brandade ( a purée of salt cod, olive oil, and milk, and is a specialty of the city of Nîmes in the Languedoc region in the south of France. ) We had this delicious meal in less than an hour in a very small, former café turned restaurant with an open kitchen.

The Baker, the Candlestick Maker.

I had been staying in the 7eme arrondissement for quite a while but it wasn’t until I visited again with my two brothers that I discovered Boulangerie Poujauran on rue Jean-Nicot. Even though Jean-Luc Poujauran sold his bakery to pâtisserie Stéphane Secco a few years ago, it is absolutely worth a visit for great breads and pâtisserie. I usually buy one or two small sandwiches made on fresh-out-the-oven, very chewy baguette to bring on the plane to help cushion the blow of airline cuisine. My brother also loves the canelé, a specialty of the Bordeaux region with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. He thinks it tastes like bees wax. I guess its when the Baker meets the Candlestick maker.

Its always nice to be in Paris

After five days in Perignan, I returned to Paris on Sunday September 7. My first stop was Café Roussillon on rue de Grenelle for Salmon Tartare. It was good but too much dill for my taste.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big things in small places

September 6, 2008
Restaurant al Tres

You can find a really great restaurant along the very narrow rue de la Poissonnerie in Perpignan. We had Coquilles St. Jacques, Lamb encrusted with Pistachio and fresh goat cheese with green salad. I would enthusiastically recommend this restaurant!

The Turkman of Perpignan

September 4, 2008
Restaurant Chez Turkmen
If you are looking for a good, reasonably priced meal in Perpignan (and why wouldn't you be?) then by all means, go visit at Ismail at his Turkish restaurant in a small alley right off the Place de la Victoire and Le Castillet.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cocktails in Perpignan

September 5, 2008

A cocktail party in Perpignan, France. There was plenty of white, red and rose wine along with trays hors d’oeuvre.

A Quick Lunch in Perpignan

A quick lunch at Restaurant le CHAP in Perpignan, France (Definitely not what you think of a Best Western hotel restaurant)

Amuse-Buche (Savory); Tuna Tartare with Avocado; Mixed Grilled Seafood;
Amuse-Buche (Sweet) - this was some sort of passion fruit ‘caviar’ served in a frozen glass at minus really cold and finally, fresh strawberries with lemon sorbet.

September 3, 2008

A Mountain out of a Hill

August 28, 2008

Hill Country, New York

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Niko's Greek Taverna

Last Saturday I went with my family to Niko’s Greek Taverna in White Plains, NY. It was crowded and noisy with plenty of families – what imagine a taverna in Greece to be like. We shared a bunch of appetizers served with fresh, warm pita bread. I had the daily special which was calamari, shrimp and spinach in a light tomato sauce. I also tasted the grilled lamb, ‘Greek’ meat balls and a cold, squid salad. The stuffed peppers looked great. This is not the place to good if you’re looking for quiet conversation. But if you want some delicious Greek food at reasonable prices, its definitely worth a try.