Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Question of Taste

Some people have a different relationship to food than others.

Some people regard food simply as sustenance; a nutritional requirement which can sometimes be made tastier by the addition of salt or chocolate.  While the quality of what they eat may be important to them, people of this ilk are usually blasé about the latest restaurant opening and keep their home cooking basic.

My mother is such a person (although she sure made a mean potato latka when I was a kid). Monsieur is too. That's not to say that people like them don't like food; they just don't seem to have a strong emotional connection to it.  They can take it or leave it.  (And the buggers tend to be slim.)

I, on the other hand, have the second kind of relationship with food: The passionate kind.  I love it.  I love to cook; I love to try new restaurants; I love to hate bad food and I love to share my love of food with other passionate people.

My love is so strong that I have actually been able to file the flavour of certain dishes to memory, which I can recall in my thoughts the way someone with a photographic memory can tell you if the sun was out on October 23rd.  Stored in the microfiche of my mind are:

  • the lobster galette starter at Les Ambassadeurs in The Crillon Hotel in 2000
  • a brilliant bouillabaisse at Restaurant Bacon in Cap d'Antibes in 2002
  • the truffle macaroni at Le Petite Maison in London in 2007
  • some sourdough toast spread with Bretagne butter and shaved black truffles (I do like my truffles...) made especially for me by the great chef, Christian Constant, at Violon d'Ingres in 2010

Then, in 2012, a meal came along that nearly banished this illustrious list to the bottom of my brain.  It was so good; so mind-blowingly amazing; that my mouth is watering and threatening to short circuit my keyboard as I type:

  • Chicken Waffles at The Drake Hotel in Toronto

I think it was the utter un-Frenchness of the dish that called to me that day.  (I'm pretty sure it can't be found in Paris.)  I didn't even know that Chicken Waffles existed, but my bff and hostess that brunch (thank you, Megan!) said that it was fairly common in The States.  I checked, and sure enough there's a page in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_and_waffles.

And OMG, were they good:  Crispy yet tender, savoury yet sweet, all bound together with the tang of sour cherry compote and the refreshing chill of sour cream.


We're eating at Paul Bocuse's famous 3 Michelin starred restaurant near Lyon next week.  Entre nous, I'd rather fly back to Toronto for another plate of these.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. The second kind of relationship with food - my kind - should not be confused with the third kind - the fattening kind - where the person consumes like an indiscriminate vacuum cleaner, sucking up junk-food, small children and anything else that might be deemed edible in their path.
2. Statistically speaking, a large proportion of these people live in the southern States of America, where, according to Wikipedia, the consumption of Chicken Waffles is rife.
3. I don't care if I've shot my foodie cred to hell with this post.  I love food.  But I love Chicken Waffles more.
4. Your very own plate of Chicken Waffles can be found here: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Mean and Lean in 2013

So here we are.  2013.  We weren't supposed to make it past 2012 yet 2013 is what it says on the Les Chiens en France calender that my best friend gave me for Christmas and that I'm now obliged to hang in our kitchen even though, entre nous, the dogs featured are hardly as adorable as my own. (You know what I mean.)

But that's not my point.

My point is that time flies.  Quickly.  I haven't posted a Style File since LAST YEAR.  Lots has happened in the interim; too much to cover in a single post in the time I have to write it.

I do, however, have enough time to share with you this new brunch menu from a restaurant here in Paris.  I received it via a very well-connected connection who doesn't want the word to spread since this place is impossible to get into as it is.  But since my blogger stats tell me that Pepita Style File followers are largely from The States, Canada, Britain and Australia (I think that's you, Giselle), I'm pretty sure that the few Paris-based readers who see this menu won't cause a run on the joint.

Run away; perhaps.


Style File Followers Take Note:
1. Once you saw the heading People Meat, I bet the words Meat Balls looked more menacing than usual.
2. That would be Gianni's coglioni and Juan's cojones, fyi.
3. That would make the Philly Cheesesteak too gross to contemplate.
4. Oddly enough, one of the movies shown on French TV during the holidays was Soylent Green.
5. "Where the people meet... face to face, dance cheek to cheek..." No matter how you spell it, people get eaten in that song.
6. I would like to take this opportunity to say a personal hello to, according to google analytics, my single Style File follower in Djibouti. 
7. Make no bones about it: Le Beef Club is a very good restaurant with amazing steaks and a groovy cocktail lounge in the basement - and this is without a doubt the best looking brunch menu I've ever seen in Paris.  So if you're in town, go on and try it.  Just don't tell too many people: I suspect that a little cannibalism among friends might lead to a shortage.