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March 14, 2011

Fat Sunday

1. Foie Gras 2. "Lemon fish dream" 3. Garlicky fromage blanc 4. Dude's scared to stuff more food down his gullet, but will sacrifice for this pistachio soufflé
The Dude and I have been subsisting on mostly saucisson-et-fromage baguette sandwiches, cereal and questionable pasta salads whose recipes I "create" based on "inspiration," so I thought it was high time to introduce him to haute cuisine à la française. My Diggy buddies Suzanne and Christian were happy to aid me in this endeavor, and agreed to join us at Le Merle Blanc yesterday.

First there was an amuse-bouche of zucchini soup with a melty cheese making itself at home in the creamy depths. Then we had entrées of oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in red wine with lardons and mushrooms) and millefeuille croquant de rillettes de caille au foie gras (slices of quail foie gras in between crunchy crackers of puff pastry). Our main course was a faux filet de charolais (steak made from the local breed of cow) for me and filets de bar superposés en duxelles de champignons et beurre d'estragon (bass filet with mushrooms and tarragon butter) for The Dude.

Next was the cheese course. The Dude ordered himself a bowl of fromage blanc, a very fresh cheeese halfway between yogurt and cottage cheese, and he ate it à la bourguignon with salt, pepper and garlic. Ail ail ail! No smooches for you!

I chose the cheese plate, and was delighted when the proprietress wheeled over an entire cart of options. I went with reblechon, Saint Nectarin and a young chèvre, and opted for a dollop of fig jam on the side. If you've never tried this flavor combination, do yourself a favor and go immediately to the nearest grocery store and order up one log of chèvre and one jar of fig jam, stat. I'll leave you alone for the next two hours so you can nom this ambrosia in peace.

My stomach was near to bursting, but luckily I left room in my right shoulder for dessert. I have been dreaming about their apple crumble in a bed of luscious caramel sauce since my first visit to Le Merle Blanc last December. And I'll probably be dreaming about it for the rest of my life. Because: OMD. YUM. Dude had a pistachio soufflé, and that was good too I suppose, but it was no apple crumble in a bed of luscious caramel sauce.

And what do you know, after all that I still had room in my left knee for Second Dessert. You kind of have to make these sorts of sacrifices when Grandpère (of ma famille française) decides to make a confection or two. 

On this blessed day, he created delicious strawberry tartelettes and les choux-- a cream puff with a circle of candied caramel on top.

It was a good thing ma famille had Contrex on hand. It's a special diet water that makes you have to make water a lot, if you know what I mean. If you don't, there's a helpful diagram on the label.

1 comment:

  1. I'm gaining weight just reading about this fantastic fare.