I always look longingly to go back to France. I was in France for the Champagne Harvest tour in September. I miss France and the food never disappoints. I am both excited by the farmers markets which always encompass beautiful displays of cheese and fish. I was glad that I was staying at an AirBNB to enjoy charcuterie, cheese and wine.
I can compare and contrast fine food in the Bay Area and in many ways it is rarefied in most parts of the American experience. I think the abundance of food is not just evident it is easily experienced on a casual walk in central Paris. I was there with a friend and he was there to experience the chocolate since he is a professional chocolatier. I was there on a mission to see the grape harvest in Champagne and enjoy a few days in Paris.
The food hall at Galleries Lafayatte has it’s own building–the old food hall was in the upper floors of the boulevard Haussmann store. The food hall (diagonal of it’s original location) is glorious and has been further refined. I arrive just in time to have food at the Spanish food bar. I thought should I be eating Spanish food in France? The food was superbly fresh and loved each morsel and it was a great homage to Spanish cuisine. I loved the Octopus.
San Francisco doesn’t really have a food hall. The closest might be the Ferry building but that is not a cohesive setting–it is a group of vendors. The cohesiveness of a Grand Magasin like Lafayette is a goal of completeness — not exhaustiveness but to have a wide range of foods available.
I think French food culture is just as alive and is a world heritage country to preserve the fineness of food culture. Traditional French cuisine has often been thought of as too heavy—too high in fat–too something. But the French cookery is too ingrained into not just the French but a world dependent on tradition. The French cookery has been under many influences such as Haute cuisine or Nouvelle–but ultimately what is important is the general heading of French cuisine.
I was delighted with the recent opening of Restaurant Racine in Reims the cuisine style is French with a Japanese accent. Freshness and delicateness headline this experience–especially on my long journey to Paris then Reims –this meal could not have been more special and perfect for the recent long sprint.
8 Rue Colbert,
51100 Reims, France
Another great and such a perfect place to eat especially during the relative warmth of a Champagne autumn is Les Avisés. Les Avisés is a very small hotel and restaurant at the Domaine of Jacques Selesse.
Eating outdoors and enjoying the freshest produce along not just beautiful plated food but food that is a shining example of food excellence in Champagne.
While this is at the Domaine of Jacques Selosse which I recommend ordering his wines here as such a special touch to your food experience. If you don’t order Selosse wines the wine list is fantastic of both RM and NM wines. I got to walk Jacques cellar–small and storied–I wish I could have chatted with Jacques a bit but it was harvest time after all.
Hôtel Restaurant Les Avisés –
59, rue de Cramant – 51190 Avize
5 Rue du Nil,
75002 Paris, France
I loved my tasting menu at Frenchie. Frenchie is something I thought for certain we wouldn’t get into. I approached the restaurant and made an inquiry and of course they had no reservation. The next idea was to line up at their wine bar and eat there. Not a bad alternative. Then a few minutes later Maître d’ finds me and my friend Basel in line and says “good news, there is a cancellation…would you like to come over.” So welcoming and warm and very casual.
Porte 12 is another tasting menu experience–a very beautiful and simplified approach. What I loved about this tasting menu is the minimalism and the experience was harmonious notes accented with fresh and focused notes. And I had the best chocolate dessert of all time–like a Pot de Creme with dark chocolate dust.
12 Rue des Messageries
75010 Paris, France
These were just a few of the spectacular meals I had in France. I will write up more of Champagne visits and the foods I had along the way.
I find food in San Francisco to have changed and upgraded over time. And yet I still miss the food in France. Always spectacular and even with Euro to Dollar exchange rate to be completely reasonable. Every meal was memorable and I loved everything I ate. And this is why I take pictures of food–never ashamed to take food photos at the dining table.
I hope to go back to France this year.
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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