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Tuesday, April 17, 2007



I'm almost too jealous to comment. Horse milk, overflowing produce markets, salted caramel ice cream, and now this? I'll hold you responsible if I'm caught trying to stow away on the next flight to Paris.

Melissa S.

Sounds like fantastic research to me! I love the feel of the restaurants you describe, and it makes me look forward to Olallie even more.


J'adore Chez Michel! I've recommended it to all my Paris-bound friends (though I don't think I can take credit for your visit). Those who've listened have come back raving. I liked Ze Kitchen Galerie, though I will say it's too close to what you'd find in SF to make it worth even one precious Parisian meal, a mon avis. Thanks for the round-up; if we ever get back, we'll have our list ready.


Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I'm jealous, especially since you went to Chez Michel, which was one of my favorites when I went! Ahh, the memories!
Thanks for the other recommendations - as for the other ones you didn't visit, I would definitely go to L'Entredgeu and L'Astrance - both outstanding!


I can't wait, I can't wait! I just know you will achieve the true bistro spirit and the look will be just right. Surely someone can approximate the exact hue of tobacco-smoke-stained walls! Everything you are writing about your "birthing" is driving us crazy.


So jealous. That snail looks scrumptious!


The things we put up with in the name of "research," eh? Sounds like a nasty rough business trip.


I wish I could have persuaded you to go to Le Sept Quinze too


Melissa, trust me, drinking horsemilk is nothing to get jealous over. Unless, of course, you're a pony.

Melissa S, trust me, no one is looking more forward to Olallie (finally) opening than I am. I'm glad you're excited as well.

Catherine, I got that impression of ZKG (do you think anyone calls it that?), so that's why we didn't end up there. If I were in Paris for longer, though, I might go for a lighter meal.

Anita, wow, sounds like you had a stellar trip. I'll have to go back and read your posts!

Kudzu, we're actually not trying to go for the look of a Parisian bistro, but more the convivial, bustling spirit.

Michelle, I'm glad you like the look of the sea snail. I thought some people might be turned off by it. But, then again, whoever would read a sight called "in praise of sardines" is more than likely the type of person who would like sea snails.

Tea, yes, horrible. My liver may never recover. I should get paid to do this.

Sam, Le Sept Quinze. Another one to add to my next trip! I like that the chef is a woman. So rare in Paris, no?


This is slightly off topic (wonderful trip by the way) but do you really feel "Whatever makes it taste better" is the extent of your ethical considerations when deciding what to eat? As a former vegetarian I would think you would harbor at least a bit more respect for the well being of the animals that you consume. By eating the flesh of animals you are placing more emphasis on your gastronomic preference than the lives of sentient creatures, already a dubious proposition;one should at the very least make sure that those animals did not suffer in life or death to satiate your appetite.


Grargh, I am filled with envy. I go eat my feelings of envy away now with a box of cheeze-its while I lust over the pictures.


Sean, you're absolutely right. I intended that comment to be cheeky and funny. I see now that it sounds rather callous and cruel, indifferent to the fate of the ducks. Whenever I cook, I make an effort to seek out meat and poultry from animals that have been humanely raised and slaughtered. I will hold my restaurant to the same standards. My "whatever makes it taste better" comment does not accurately relfect the ethics that I live and shop and cook by, so I'm deleting it from my post.

To be fair to the chef at L'Avant Gout, though, it would be interesting to learn more about this method of killing ducks vs. the conventional method. Though using the word "suffocation" makes it sound ghastly and cruel, perhaps the chef chose to purchase ducks that were killed in this fashion because it is in fact more humane? It's a possibility. It would be worth exploring further. Next time I meet Jim Reichardt, the owner of Liberty Ducks in Sonoma, I'll ask his opinion.

shuna fish lydon

It's always wonderful to see where other chefs gets their inspiration. Once I had a "kouign aman" I was never the same. (Also a David L. recommendation.)

Good for you for taking time away.

And ten years to take a vacation? No, don't think like that. It's not good for you OR the food! Even humans need to re-boot.


It sounds like you ate some remarkable food! I do wonder about the sweetbreads-I've never tried them, but I would like to. With morels....oh my. How delicious.


Brett, we *just* missed each other in Paris! I was there from April 16 to 27, and I see from your posts that we went to and ate at many of the same places. (Great minds, you know.) I went to Bistrot Paul Bert twice, in fact, but I didn't see that puff pastry with ratatouille and sardines on the menu. Harumph! Sounds right up my alley...

B Michael

I was in Paris for a few days in the fall and had a great lunch at l'Avant Gout...we were bouncing frantically around the Metro trying to get there in time, showed up -- can we still sit? Yes! Last table of the day. Only later was it realized by our hostess that the clock on the wall had in fact stopped at something like a quarter to two and we'd actually arrived as the kitchen was hanging up the knives. But they very graciously reversed themselves and sent out an excellent little three-course that I unfortunately didn't take any notes on. I had a game fowl of some kind, my companion a fish dish...very tasty, and I can't compliment the staff too much for taking care of us.

Lunch at Le Comptoir was excellent as well...pate, braised pork with lentils, hearty stuff and delicious. Got to chat with some types at the next table, a bistroteur himself from out of town along with his manager and sommelier having a huge lunch, exploring the wines, smoking fat cigars...une experience vraiment bistrot. Had dinner at ZKG, which was enjoyable but I don't think it really fits the neo-bistrot idea. Like someone noted above, if you're used to California it may feel familiar. Lots of Pacific rim influence, and the style of the place reminded me of LA. For me, a place like Le Comptoir was much more excitingly different from what I'm used to.

Disappointed I didn't make it to Chez Michel...I've heard tales of the kig ha farz!

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  • sar·dine (n) 1. a young herring or similar small fish. 2. a metaphor for the small and often less well-known ingredients, restaurants, farmers, and artisans that San Francisco-based chef Brett Emerson writes about in this website.
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