Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunny Parisian Lunch

My recent installment deviated from my usual pattern of cooking, writing, and posting; instead I took photographs of things I was served out and about in Paris. This post, and probably many more to come, will follow this trend since I find myself eating out all the time as opposed to cooking. My father and I went out to lunch at a small fish restaurant this afternoon in the sixteenth arrondissement near the Passy metro stop. It was a very elegant space on the corner of two small avenues near rue du Passy with a classic ambiance of red velvet booths and chairs coupled with dark wooden tables. The restaurant was busy amid the lunch service and we sat at a table sandwiched between two elderly couples. Winter always heralds the tastiest seafood as oysters, sea scallops, and other aquatic delights are at their peak in the cold waters. Parisian restaurants take advantage of the season and many bistros offer fruits de mer at wooden stands immediately outside their entrances where gruff looking men in big coats shuck seafood. You can order an oyster or two as you pass by or you can go in and warm up to a glass of wine and a tasty meal. This is precisely what my father and I after walking about in the freezing though pristine weather. Paris under an inch of snow with clear skies and not a shred of wind is truly a magnificent way to view the city, highlighting the grays, blacks, and beiges of the cityscape.

My father and I shared a nice bottle of Quincy and both ordered the petites langoustine au huile de noix as an appetizer. Langoustines are a prehistoric looking crustacean tasting of a mix between lobster and shrimp with very long pincers. Langoustines are not readily available if at all in the States which is a shame because the sweet delicate flavor is out of this world. They came arranged over a bed of spicy arugula with a walnut oil dressing. My father had a traditional bouillabaisse, the rust colored fish soup from the south of France for his main course and I had a bar roti au romarin. My whole grilled sea bass came stuffed with fresh rosemary and a lovely sauce of white wine, shallots, and butter in a little pot. It was sort of difficult to debone and work my way through the grilled fish but the flavor was fantastic, just firm enough with woodsy aromas running throughout. Seafood is one of my favorite things to both eat out and cook at home and this was truly an exceptional meal. Tonight is tapas with some friends of mine that I have known since childhood and I am not thrilled about the idea of greasy mackerel and chorizo but we will see. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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