Sunday, June 27, 2010

Discovery of New Tastes

Discovering a new taste combination is like discovering a new world. Sometimes it is mixing the delicate with the bold or the sweet with the savory that makes us brighten our eyes and smile. It doesn't jar our senses, but just makes us happy to bring it to light. Last month, my friend Nancy and I had a day of discovery in Paris. We made our way to the BHV department store and as we wandered around the crowded store we noticed there was a big sale going on. In Paris, sales are state regulated and are only 2 times a year. With the economic downfall, the government has relaxed the laws somewhat, and you'll never know when they are to happen. Well, we were glad they were happening that day. A loosened wallet is a loosened spirit! I found a delicate silk scarf with a bold color and some chunky, pearl beaded jewelry. The wallet opened and the spirit lifted :-) A white scarf with a flow of ruffles had Nancy's name on it! We were looking forward to more discoveries during our dinner. Reservations were at 7:30 at L'Agrume for a 5 course tasting menu. So, wearing my happy scarf and pearl bracelets we arrived hungry and ready for what the chef was preparing that evening. We were greeted warmly and seated at a table by the window. A dish of olives came quickly as we were asked if we wanted an apperitif.For the tasting menu, there are no choices to be made. The portion size is reduced for the 35 euro, 5 course dinner. Owner/chef Franck Marchesi-Grandi prepares what is freshest from the market daily and co-owner Karine Perrin cheerfully serves it. There is a counter where a small group can watch the chef prepare the food in an open kitchen. Next time I want to sit there. Nancy and I were at a raised table and could still see some of the magic happening. This local restaurant was recently written up in the New York Times, so you need reservations to get in since it fills up quickly. Being noticed by a large international paper can be a double edged sword. We had a loud American next to us who detracted from our experience. Subtlety and discretion were not her strongest attributes! Once we were settled in, a menu with full descriptions was presented so we could anticipate what was to come. That day there were three fish courses and one duck course along with two desserts. I didn't get a picture of the miraculously disappeared before my camera! Yum! All of the courses were artistically, but naturally presented. The combination of flavors was inventive. Even though this was a tasting menu with reduced size, the portions were perfect. And a menu with 2 desserts on it is my cup of tea! The panna cotta was good, but the star of the desserts was the Peach Compote with Basil. It was the surprise discovery of the peach and basil pairing that dazzled us, like a new world.I knew I'd have to make this at home.

15, rue des Fossés Saint-Marcel 75005 Paris
01 43 31 86 48
Métro 5 Saint-Marcel, Métro 7 Les Gobelins

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linda said...

good morning diane!

love your finds! the photo of you (i assume it is you!) sporting that fabulous rich colored scarf & the stacked pearl bracelets is just scored!!

i recently baked kim boyce's olive oil cake which is infused with rosemary (straight from my garden!) & bittersweet chocolate...interesting combination & taste!

sounds like a great restaurant...we await your recipe for the basil/peach compote...(my basil is growing so!!)

have a great week!

Deana Sidney said...

Those bracelets are the best. Gorgeous, you must have looked tres chic!

As for basil and fruit, Martha Stewart has had me making basil jelly for ages... I love it on everything... meat, fish and tossed with fruit. SHe's one smart cookie. You must let us know how your fruit/basil experiment works out... beautifully I am sure!

Melanie said...

That looks so delicious. You always have this way of making Paris look absolutely enchanting. I love it!

2 Stews said...

Linda...yes, that is me with the scarf and pearls :-) The olive oil and rosemary cake with chocolate sounds absolutely wonderful! Thank you!! I have to try it.

Deana...I've never made basil jelly, but will now. I feel a little late to the party! Love that Martha!!

Melanie...ahhh, I think Paris makes ME look enchanting ;-))

Thanks for stopping by, Ladies!