Tuesday, December 31, 2013

8 AM Paris Dec 31, 2013

If you want to shoot Paris windows you don't have to shlep out late at night.
Go early morning say 7-7:30 am.
It will be pitch black - perfect for shooting sans reflections.
I got off at Concord and waltzed over to Hermés on rue St.Honoré
A tropical grotto theme fill the windows including flamingos and iguana.
Paris streets are gorgeous early morning.
Ladurée is open at 8 AM for croissant seekers.
Büchette Paeva with four red fruits and vanilla mousse came home with me.
Nearby Angelina serves up a not so petit dejeuner starting at 8
Brief encounter with a box of mini petit fours. These did not come back to my mouse hole though they are the perfect size.
 
Nearby jewelry windows reflect...
 
Place Vendome.
 
The morning light is coming in.
Bonjour last day of 2013.
 
Yesterday Georges Marques of Le Bonbon au Palais gave me a cadeau to give to Bear.
Bear is pleased as punch with his new partner.
What shall we call her? Büche? Vanille?
All suggestions are welcome PBers.
To look inside the Laduree büchette
PLEASE visit my Facebook page.
BONNE ANNÉE PBers en avance!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kitchen Galerie Bis

Last night I ate an incredible meal with two PBers, C and S at Kitchen Galerie Bis (or KGB) in the 6th.

The atmosphere is simple, relaxed with the only splashes of color from the abstract paintings on the walls and the food on your plate.

Remember I told you about eating at KGB's sister up the street (4, rue des Grand Augustin) Ze Kitchen Galerie? I knew from experience no matter what the menu offered it would be inventive, light, beautifully presented, and a tasting adventure.
Chef William Ledeuil is mad for Asian ingredients. He combs the 13th arrondissement Chinatown markets each morning for the day's fusion menus. So this framed apron from the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is spot on.
The menu is a tad confusing and frankly from the descriptions I didn't see a single thing I wanted to eat. Honestly I could have chosen blindfolded but I trust this chef to make me happy. The staff could not have been kinder or more helpful with our choices. I'm glad we each chose different dishes (except for our similar 3 'zors-d'oeurvres).
You can order a 'flight' of firsts/entrees/bites/amuse bouche. Three or four or five. I can easily say they were extraordinary. Starting with a creamy chestnut velouté on the far right. In the middle was something with Basil. That's all I can tell you. And lastly on the left foie gras cru (C is French so she could identify it - READ all about foie gras here) with tiny dollops of Balsamic reduction (I think...) and slivers of tart Granny Smith apple. Are you salivating yet?
S ordered the 'marché' dish - a quail cooked Moroccan style - in a tajine. Our waiter said there would be 'seasonal vegetables' with each dish. Naturally you imagine everyone getting the same dish of puréed something or other.
NO way! Each dish had perfect accompanying vegetables like melt-in-your-mouth baby onions and paper-thin sweets serves with the quail.
C ordered a...Seabream-like fish with tiny clams. Delicious no matter what the H. it was. We shared tastes natch. Really it's the only way to go at KGB.
I ordered grilled squid, something I would normally never order. Go figure. I asked our waiter about the 'Peribleus' (?)crevette.
His response,
"They are the happiest shrimp in the world".
OK...
Well it was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious and sitting in a pool of black squid ink no less, something I wouldn't normally touch with a barge pole. They hardly needed to wash our dishes last night ;))
Dessert time. C got 'Cappucino Praline, Glace Granduja'. A home run for sure. Light and delicate.
I ordered the 'Soupe Coco, Mangue, Ananas, Passion', all my favorite tropical flavors.
But when I tasted S's dessert, 'Agrumes confits, Crème citron, Jus Clementine-Citronnelle' I must have looked like I had died and gone to heaven. He insisted we trade plates.
I think this dessert is the BEST THING I HAVE EVER TASTED! Intensely acidic and lemony with grapefruit zings. Words simply can't describe this experience. Do consider trying  Kitchen Galerie Bis (or KGB) when in Paris.
C and S ordered a larger than usual portrait in Paris (12" x 16"). They wanted a whole scene with lots going on so we picked the Christmas marche at Saint-Germain.
For some unknown reason S's portrait kept eluding me.
We even met again so I could do a reshoot. I must of done 25-30 head sketches and still...
Perhaps the portrait could have a French Revolutionary feeling...
With S remaining headless!?
At last I got him. Whew et voila.
They are both mad for their darling rescue cats so I added a few hither and thither including C's favorite Marc Jacobs cat Sweatshirt.
Thank you C and S for your patience and a divine dinner at KGB.
xxx CG

Friday, December 27, 2013

What Marie-Antoinette ate for Christmas


Living in France this past year (it's exactly a year since December 25, 2012, everyday you have an epiphany. Some days light bulbs go off every minute. 
Food windows like this leave me amazed and transfixed.
It appears some French people (not the marche locavores and bio-crazy bien sur) still want to eat just like Marie-Antoinette.
Maitre chef Antonin Caréme set the bar high for wildly imaginative cuisine both visually and flavor-wise and the tradition continues today.
Guess where I found this extravaganza on Christmas Eve day. A very good day to shop by the way. There were not many last-minute crazed shoppers. The French have been planning this meal for months.
Sumptuous dishes The Royals wouldn't turn their noses up at.
These pretty jelled creations are from the little town of Vernon enroute to Giverny.
An exquisite layered affair spotted in Saint Antoine's vitrine
Here I'm back in Paris at none other than...MONOPRIX! Who knew?
Are you planning a banquet? The ex-king of Spain is coming. Where do you go for provisions? To MONOP that's where.
I'm painting Chris and Steve's portrait in Paris, so when they invited me along while they picked up their specially ordered büche at Laduree I didn't say no.
Natch I didn't resist a mini version of their order- Büchette Paeva, four red fruits with almond and vanille creme inside. (8,50€)
Fortunately Steve and Chris helped me demolish this little puppy. Perfect for 3 bites. No more. That's a smidge of raspberry confiture inside as well as flavoring the outer cake casing.
Marie-Antoinette's over-the-top style isn't limited to the dinner table. Nail polish ads are just as fabulous. But BHV had big signs all over town deconstructing the traditionally elaborate Christmas Büche with a gold-leafed real log topped with meringue mushrooms. A clin d'oeil/wink to French traditions for sure. And yes there are still plenty of buches in Paris until New Years.
No day-after Xmas sales here!