Saturday, September 7, 2013

The important stars

You might remember this guy

Car tires used to be white!
His name is Bibendum.  (Possibly the worst name ever.)

He is the mascot of the French tire company Michelin

If you know fine restaurants.  You will know that Michelin is also the name of the holy bible of French fine dining.  A very big thing that grew out of a very small guide for travelers over 100 years ago.

Getting a Michelin Star is not such a simple thing. (There are only 3 to get).  Michelin is said to have a very small team of critics who are advised to not even tell their families what they do.  They work for 18 months, repeatedly visiting restaurants throughout France (and now other countries) and rate them based on quality, service, ambience, originality and consistency.  Chefs wait years to get 1 star.  And a 3rd star holds the promise of a 60% increase in business.

You might have just said "Who cares about fancy restaurants and expensive food?"
You should.  At least once. 
Once put your fancy adventure shoes, and have 4 people watch over your meal. 
Start with the amuse bouche (am-uze beu-oosh. "amuse mouth"). 3 small spoons that can only be described as flavor and texture "parties in your mouth".
Then the entrée (ahn-tray), The plat (plah) and Dessert (dehs-zehr) all delicately designed to marry and evolve one to the next.
Then Mignardises (miñ-yar-deez) the unexpected small chocolates and bite size sweets to finish your meal, and coffee, if you drink it.  
You should plan on 2 hours for a lunch. And you should go for lunch since it is less expensive and if you are taking 2 hours for lunch, you are most likely on vacation anyway. 

Dining at a starred restaurant in France is expensive.  But this is your French experience.  And you will not regret it.

A Michelin 1-star lunch. (my apologies for the Iquality of these photos)

Party. in. your. mouth.

Entrée: Veal Tartare with baby greens on a bed of mille feuille with citrus foam, and tomato sorbet.

Plat: Rognons de lapin, polenta, lima beans. 

Dessert: Panna Cotta, champagne granita, fresh berries and gold leaf.

SURPRISE! I don't even know where to start.*

After dessert, dessert?  Raspberry tuiles, Chocolate pops filled with Passion Fruit liquer, Green apple mini pastry

*It is common in very nice restaurants that they have many cheeses.  During the cheese section of the meal, they wheel over a large wooden cart of those cheeses and serve you your choice.  
That thing.  The Housemade Candy cart? That is a first.  Suckers, Chocolate Suckers, Marshmallow, Mini Candied Apples, Sugared Macadamia Nuts, Sugared Pistachios, Homemade Sorbets & Ice Cream Cones, Macarons, Caramel Popcorn, Large Gel Dots,  Chocolate Bars in White, Milk or Dark, etc. 
I know because I asked, 
about all of it.
And they will just keep putting everything you ask for on a little mini plate. 

1 comment:

Virginia said...

When I saw the Michelin man, I thought your post was going to be about the puffy winter coats that Parisians seem to adore. I guess I'd adore as well if I were as thin as they are. I can't imagine wearing one!

And as for fine dining, that is not how I spend my meager euros when in Paris but I loved living vicariously through your lunch!