Results tagged champagne from David Lebovitz

Les Crayères

desserts

I realized that a little while back I posted some pictures about my visit to Les Crayères, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Champagne region, about an hour from Paris. But I never wrote about the meal or my experience. Since I’ve been planning another trip back—hopefully soon, it prompted me to share my lunch, at last.

Champagnes

Perhaps some people coming to Paris want to take a day trip out of the city. Or for those of use who live here, it’s a nice break away from the hectic city life and away from the stress of it all. (Especially after tangling with those Monoprix cashiers.) If you fall into either of those categories, a swift, new TGV train will whisk you from the Gare de l’Est and right into the heart of Champagne country in less than an hour. And before you know it, you’ll be sipping sparkling wine in high-style, surrounded by trees and servers waiting on you dressed in sharp suits, with a bottle of bubbly always ready and waiting.

French butter King Crab

Let’s just get this out of the way right now: I love Champagne. When I worked at a well-known restaurant, we had a rule (which, admittedly, we made up on the spot one evening), that every night that we did over a hundred diners, we’d open a bottle of Champagne from the cellar for us.

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Great Dining Deals in Paris

homard bleu / avocats

You’re probably thinking that I’m a little crazy saying that a meal that’s going to set you back a hundred bucks is a bon marché. I don’t know about you, but that’s not pocket change, even for a bon vivant like me.

merlan argenté rôti su la peau

The first time I went to a three-star restaurant in Paris was about six years ago. After my female friend and I got our menus (women don’t get menus with prices; high-end French restaurants are not always equal opportunity operations), she grabbed the menu out of my hand, allowing us equal opportunity to both almost pass out at the prices.

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10 Romantic (and Sexy) Things to Do In Paris

For those of you who have The Perfect Scoop, you may already be familiar with my friend Heather Stimmler-Hall, who writes the popular website, Secrets of Paris. She’s the one who attempted to seduce her Parisian neighbor with a batch of my ice cream. Not that she needs my assistance (I didn’t ask her how it turned out since I’m such a gentleman, and she’s the model of discretion). But for the rest of us, I tend to take help whenever—and wherever, I can get it.

Heather is the author of Naughty Paris, a guide to the sexiest and most romantic things to do in Paris. Because so many people come to Paris looking for a little romance, on our recent dessert date, I asked Heather for a list of her favorite, most sensual things to do in the city…just in time for Valentine’s Day. So here is Heather’s list of Ten Romantic (and Sexy) Things to Do in Paris. Merci ma chèrie! -David

heart-shaped tart

A lot of people ask me advice on romantic things to do in Paris, and if they’re visitors, I usually reply, “It’s Paris, what’s not romantic about it?” After all, you’ve got a gorgeous setting of historic monuments and scenic bridges over the Seine, a fashionably-dressed cast of Parisians sans baseball hats and “Who dat?” emblazoned sweatshirts, and some of the most mouth-watering cuisine on the planet.

Well, that is if you know where to go.

I can already hear the locals and Paris habitués groaning that they’ve already done all of the Valentine’s Day clichés: a show at the Moulin Rouge, a cruise on the Seine, dinner on the Eiffel Tower, macarons at Ladurée…and I think everyone should try all of those things at least once in a lifetime (okay, once a week for the macarons). But then what?

Then you ask me, the woman who wrote Naughty Paris, for a few ideas—of course! Some of these are obvious, others less so, but all are perfect for a romantic rendez-vous when you’re hungering for more than just a kiss. ; )

1. Oysters and Wine at Le Baron Rouge

Candlelight, soft music and a quiet table in the corner? Please. There’s nothing more intimate than being crammed against each other in a cozy wine bar, jostling with the friendly locals and market stall-holders from the neighboring Marché d’Aligre for a glass of Burgundy and a platter of cheese and charcuterie.

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Cognac

How does Cognac get to this…

Frapin cognac

…from this?

Old cognac

I didn’t know, but I was determined to taste as many glasses as I could to find out.

The first thing I was asked before heading down into my first Cognac cellar during my recent visit was, “Are you afraid of spiders?”

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Gougères: A Recipe for French Cheese Puffs

gougères

One thing I learned during the last few days of the past year could be summed up in four words: Don’t ever turn fifty.

Do whatever you can do to avoid it. I’m still reeling from the trifecta, the one-two-three punch of Christmas, my Birthday, then New Year’s Eve, the last of which put me way over the top. And now that I’m in my declining years, recovery is much harder than it was just a mere week ago. I’m going downhill, fast, my friends.

The first thing I thought when I woke up this morning, my head clouded by a combination of Krug champagne, Château Lafite Rothchild 1964 and 1969 (not that I know the difference, but since the ’69 was in a 4-bottle, a gigantic double magnum with a funky-looking label…I knew we were drinking something special) was right from the “What on earth was I thinking?” file.

I was wondering why I invited five people over for dinner and drinks tonight.

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Le Verre Volé

If you plan on eating at Le Verre Volé (The Stolen Glass) be sure to call first and reserve a spot. It’s located just next to the Canal St. Martin, a trendy quarter of Paris, and there’s only seats for about 18 people or so. But unlike New York or San Francisco or Los Angeles, you could call that afternoon and likely get a spot. During dinner I told my dining companion that if this was in New York, there would be a line out the door…and around the corner.

Never An Empty Glass

I began the complex task of choosing from one of the wines from the shelves. Each has the price written across the neck of the bottle since Le Verre Volé doubles as a retail establishment. To drink it there, they add a modest 7€. I scanned the shelves and chose a red Mazel from the Ardeches (18€) that was very light and fruity. A bit ‘fresh’ when first opened—once it sat, it gained complexity. I was happy that it was the perfect choice for the warm evening and hearty food. During the evening, practically every three minutes, someone would roar up on their scooter, disembark, and rush in to buy a bottle of wine for dinner.

We shared a jellied terrine of oxtails (5€). The finely shredded meat was gently molded with some spring asparagus and peas, all barely held together with jellied beef stock that was light. It was served with pickled, vinegary capers on their stems and dressed salad greens.

All the main courses were meaty: blood sausage with roasted apples and potatoes, andouillettes de Troyes, and veal Marengo. Not being much of a fan of ‘variety meats’ (as they’re politely called in America), I chose the caillettes ardechoise (10€), a patty of well-seasoned pork ground-up with tasty and still-chewy beet greens and spinach. It was roasted until searingly-crisp on the outside, and when I split it open, a moist cloud of steam erupted revealing fork-tender meat within.

One could also make up a meal composed of lots of the appetizers, like the roasted eggplant caviar, salt cod-stuffed peppers, or platters of various meats and cheeses.

The genial young men who run the place managed to keep the small crowd happy. One took orders and opened wine, while the other stood behind the tiny bar and dished up salads and roasted meats and sausages in the small ovens. Behind the bar is a glass door leading to an air-conditioned room, a jumble of boxes and bottles of wine.

I’ll see you there.

Le Verre Volé
67, rue de Lancry
tel: 01 48 03 17 34
Métro: Jacques Bonsergent

UPDATE: In late 2010, Le Verre Volé remodeled and put in a real kitchen and additional tables. I still like the place, however it did lose the impromptu feel that it used to have after the transition. And having a kitchen has made the menu a little more “ambitious”, which I’m not sure is necessarily a good thing. (I miss the copious cheese and charcuterie boards, for example.) It has also become quite popular so it’s best to book well in advance if you want a seat in this still relatively small dining room. On my last visit, our reservation was in their reservation book, but they told our small group that they couldn’t give us a table because they didn’t have room for us. The did give us the name and phone number of a restaurant in the 20th arrondisement that they recommended.



Related Links and Wine Bars

Le Rubis

Le Garde Robe

Les Papilles

Le Baron Rouge

Beaujolais Nouveau

Paris Favorites

Time Out Paris Dining Guide

French Menu Translator