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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twelve Days in Paris and Gascony: What was the best thing you ate in France?

I recently returned from C'est si Bon!'s Twelve Days in Paris and Gascony and I am anxious to tell you everything, but slowly, as if in the best French repast. I will be hosting another week and invite you to join me, and the staff of C'est si Bon! at the stunning La Belle Gasconne this coming summer and fall 2015. Please read more about this exquisite opportunity here.

Now back to the question; what was the best thing you ate in France?

I hear that pretty often, and yet, my response is often -- well, you can't really say. I apologize if my answer sounds like an oxymoron or a platitude. Or that I am avoiding the question.

But let me ask, how do you define your best meal? Let's talk.

Is it about stars, or the chef? The anticipation?

Or about the most local or the most veggie or the most of anything, really? 

And here's a hot question, what is the root of the deal? Is it always to rave about ....the food?

Celery Root from Bon Marche that traveled by TGV to Gascony

Bio (organic) Pomme at Marche in the Marais

Is the aroma at the table or wafting (is permeating better? wafting.. lord..I hate that word...) from the kitchen spurring your conversation? Or is there an intriguing taste that leaves you speechless?

Oyster Mushrooms at Bon Marche in Paris

In Paris... I felt the enormity of sitting, and yes, eating at the restaurant tables we snuggled up to!

Around 9:30 am on the 3rd Day in the Twelve Day Tour I felt the pleasure of drinking in the deep and reflective experience of being with Cori and Brenda and Paris, Paris: Journey Into the City of Light author and travel, food, wine and pilgrim extraordinaire, David Downie who Michael Ondatjie says is "The master of educated curiosity." He and his amazing photographer wife, Allison Harris, showed us the secrets of the Marais. We walked into (yes, not just by...) the small and chi-chi Chez L'Ami Louis, frequented by Bill Clinton and other celebs, then through Marche des Enfants Rouge, were led to the gorgeous boutique of astonishing chocolate, Jacques Genin and ate an authentic bistro lunch at Cafe des Musees. Allison and David were generous, gentle and energetic historians of the many layers of the Marais; which must be made of stone, chocolate and Moroccan delicacies. It was at the Cafe des Musees where we also returned to the Veau Debacle.

See any Presidents? 

Marche les Enfants Rouge

Merci beaucoup! to David Downie and Allison Harris 

And on the 2nd Day of Paris with Cori, Brenda, and Judy we found and arrived, as planned, to La Procope, a restaurant that had been in my mind for a long time. I swear almost since the day it was founded in 1686! Now La Procope still sports Napoleon's bicorn hat. Wow. Napoleon had not one, but two corns. That hat might have been the best "meal" there. But this was also the beginning of the Veau Debacle.

Judy and the Crepes 

Cori and the Glace 

Brenda and the Parfait 

 The balcony of La Procope

More, La Procope (is that Napoleon off to the left?) 

And going back in the tour (not in actual time..) even further, on the very first day I was in Paris with Cori, my assistant, we were planning and frankly, we got so incredibly hungry! For dinner we visited Parnassus 138 in -- I know you'll be surprised -- Montparnasse.  It was fun to show Cori, and fun to waych their crack-up-laugh-out-loud video. The little place has retained and remained a small neighborhood jewel. 

Well, now I really don't know -- what was the best meal? What do you think!?

Come along with C'est si Bon! to La Belle Gasconne - and see for yourself.

Cori with her Plat du Jour at Parnassus 138 in Paris

My Salad of Duck Gizzards at Parnassus 138

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