L’Ambroisie

Madame Pacaud, the chef’s wife, who sort of knows us by sight, but who had never interacted with us, made a real fuss.  We became fast friends, talking a mixture of French and English–girl stuff–purses, shoes, clothes, etc.  We even set up a plan to help each other’s language skills by telephoning each other and then talking 5 minutes of French and 5 minutes of English.  What a way to make a friend and learn a language.

Amuse:

1.  Gougeres–

2.  Smoked salmon with crème fraiche with dill and a lattice of shoestring potatoes on top. Sounds simple, but the quality of the salmon was superb.  This was an incredible piece of marinated, lightly smoked Scottish salmon.

1st course:

1 for 2–duck foie gras with a coating of aspic.  A log of celeriac remoulade topped with a black truffle was at the 12 o’clock position.  At 9:00 o’clock a terrine of black truffles and as best as I can read my notes, a marmalade of celeriac.  The foie was ethereal, luscious, and just perfect.

 

 

2nd course:

The feuillete de truffe fraiche “bel humeur”  was on the menu. I really wanted to try it, but after a long discussion with Madame Pacaud and much vacillation, I decided to order the Poulette de Bresse rotie au beurre de truffe, charlotte de pomme de terre.  The chicken is presented whole with glistening skin in a shiny copper pan.  It is then taken back to the kitchen for plating.

A gorgeous breast with black truffle butter underneath the skin is presented with rich chicken jus.  In addition, a part of the drumstick plus a vegetable [ignored in the notes--all focus was on the chicken!!] with bits of black truffle.

 

 

On the side a layered charlotte of potatoes studded with black truffles and surrounded by black truffle slices.   The truffles were full of flavor and bouquet…wow!! Double wow!!!  Decadent, delicious and disastrously expensive…the most costly individual dish of the trip–and somehow we could rationalize a “worth it”–no possible way but you only live once…could not afford to live twice at these prices.

 

After you consume the first service a second serving of the thigh and a small salad just rounds things out and makes you appreciate the quality of the dish all the more.  You could really eat this dish as leftovers for a week and love it.

Wine:

We had two glasses each of the Roderer non-vintage champagne to accompany the amuse and first dish…nice but nothing special.

 

2002 Echezeaux Pierre Andre–good but not great and very expensive for what it was. Burgundy was the best choice with the chicken, no question, but this one was only a fair representative of our favorite wine.   Too bad, but even when I extended the Euro level it was hard to find really excellent wine that we could afford…too bad, but thank goodness we still have some really good wines in our cellar.

Summary:

You would think with only two real dishes and 2 amuses that I would really devour everything. But, my stomach was still not 100%. John devoured everything on his plate.

 

But, I was not about to be cheated out of 100% value for all those Euros and besides we had gone to Hediard [the high end “deli”] to see if we could pack a lunch for the plane–it was so expensive even for good ham that we walked out.   So in spite of the French tradition and prejudice against “Doggie Bags”  I did the “no-no” and got the remaining breast of chicken to have on the plane in lieu of Continental’s airline poison.

We knew we had 12 hours to Houston with the torture chamber seats and then a layover of 2+ hours and 3.5 hours in coach on the way to LAX.  Why not plan for a really good meal???? I found fresh baguettes in the President’s Club at CDG  and then made the most delicious chicken and truffle sandwiches you can imagine –a real delight on the way home after a great trip.

 


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