Health food makes me sick.Calvin Trillin
There's probably no bread more famous than this round loaf of sourdough from Poilane. This wonderful little bakery is located in the Latin Quarter in a very tiny storefront with a wood fired oven in the basement. This bread is now shipped all over the world and I've heard you can buy it at The Belly Bakery on Highland Avenue.
Lionel Poilane, founder of the bakery, died in a helicopter crash in 2002. The enterprise is managed today by his daughter, a Harvard graduate. Poilane believed in the magic of the physical process of bread making -- that the work should be done by hand with one baker responsible for his loaf from start to finish. In this tiny basement, that is exactly what happens.
It's quite warm down here -- I believe the tshirt is optional and worn only for guests.
Salvador Dali commissioned Poilane to make him an entire bedroom suite -- bed and all. He wanted to see if he had mice. Yes, this is a true story. Here is chandelier from that bedroom -- made of bread.
My birthday present to myself this year was a trip to Paris and cooking school with Patricia Wells. It was for me, a week filled with one pleasure after another. What could be better than cooking in Paris -- not much in my opinion.
One of our special treats for the week was a lunch at Restaurant Guy Savoy. Go to the website and watch the opening movie...you'll get a feel for how he markets himself and the creativity behind such an experience. It was a feast for every sense...the obvious taste, sight and smell and the less obvious sound and touch. I know it was widely extravagant and not likely to be repeated, but at least I did it once. And, I imagine, the experience hosted by Patricia, who helped make Guy Savoy in the early days, was something quite magical and difficult to duplicate without her. So....more on the whole Paris thing later, but for now, check out the lunch.
Many special tiny little starters...just a taste. The most superb foie gras (which I usually don't care for) and this tiny little waffle. I believe it's one section of a Belgian waffle used as a miniature cup to hold what tasted like parmesan.
Spring green and lovely...peas served cold in some jelled liquid with a quail egg.
My favorite presentation. Thiny sliced radishes and carrots artistically arranged and topped with a few drops of oyster dressing/sauce -- not like any sauce or dressing you might imagine. This salad was served on a plate sitting in a bowl. The plate was perforated so some of the sauce dripped into the bowl underneath. After I had eaten this salad (every morsel), the waiter removed the salad plate and voila...look what was underneath.
Actually, the oyster wasn't there -- he added that. This is more of the oyster sauce/dressing with a chiffonade of the leaf of that little blue flower. Amazing, huh?
Then my own personal little red snapper topped with mushrooms and, of course, another sauce. It's served almost like sitting up opened down the back.
See what I mean?
Guy Savoy is well known for this black truffle and artichoke soup. With good reason.
Then, it was the main course. Lamb -- tiny little lamb chop. Then, another cut broiled and crispy served with potato and some type of what tasted like root vegetable almost pureed.
Then, the perfect cheese plate, of course from the cellars of Marie Quatrehomme. Oh my is all I can say about these.
then, the desserts started coming. Three little perfect bites -- wait, I think there were four but I ate one before I could take the photo. Unfortunately, I was so stuffed I could not eat these. I should have had the good sense to wrap them up and put them in my purse, but I didn't.
And finally, tah dah....strawberry ice, topped by strawberry sauce with lots of little sliced strawberries standing at attention. How did they get those strawberry slices so thin?
More on cooking class later.