More Parisian Yummies

April 28, 2009 at 8:47 am (dessert, food, moroccan, restaurants, review)

The best meal that we had in Paris was at Chez Omar, I think it’s in the 3rd Arrondissement.  I’m still not sure if you’re supposed to pronounce the ‘z’ in “Chez” cause “Omar” starts with a vowel.  Pronouncing French confuses me.  I’ve had very good tutors and I’m okay with the rules and the exceptions to the rules.  But I get frustrated when I learn that there are actually exceptions to the exceptions to the rules.  Back to Chez Omar – Moroccan.  We had an amazing chicken bastilla.  Any version of this dish (chicken, spices, flaky pastry, cinnamon and sugar) is always yummy, but the spices in this one were especially deep and rich and the pastry was especially light and crispy and fried.  I’m sorry that the photo is fuzzy.  I’m not apologizing to you, the person reading this, I’m apologizing to the delicious bastilla that doesn’t deserve to be photographed so terribly.

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We also ordered an entree that came with couscous, a vegetable stew, and roasted chicken.  Then you can mix and match on your plate.  Simple, but very well done.

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Back to the macarons, we got more macarons from Laduree to confirm that I like Laduree’s better.  But actually think I have to get some more from Pierre Herme as well.

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So the reason why the Laduree vs. Pierre Herme debate is still unsettled for me is that part way through the comparison, I realized that I prefer macarons with creamy fillings over macarons with fruity fillings.  If I were just comparing the fillings by themselves, I would prefer fruity, but the fruity ones seem to make the cookie part too moist and soggy.  I actually got all fruity macarons from Pierre Herme, but I got a mix of fruity and creamy from Laduree, so everything is all mixed up.  Maybe I can do a better, more controlled comparison next time I’m in Paris – that depends on the scheduling of Mark’s current project.  We’ll see!  I hope he can come back to NYC soon, but I also hope that he stays in Paris!

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Another brilliant use for pears

March 7, 2008 at 9:02 am (food, moroccan, restaurants, review, san francisco)

I went to Aziza for the first time last night. It was recommended by a number of people. I may be getting too used to the high quality of food in San Francisco because while the food was very well done, Aziza didn’t wow me enough to be very memorable among San Francisco restaurants. We had a goat cheese, tomato jam appetizer (they gave us a huge chunk of goat cheese, more than I buy for myself at once, but Mark amazingly did a good job polishing it off), I had a scallop dish with lemon saffron rice and pea shoots and chanterelles (the scallops had an inappropriately fishy taste, but other than that, it was very tasty), and Mark had a couscous with an assortment of root vegetables (sophisticated and deep flavors). All very nice, in general, but nothing knocked me over… until the dessert.

I must be feeling a need to try anything with pears, maybe because of the lost pear, bacon, and cheddar sandwich. They have a pear frangipane tart on their menu. It came with bitter almond ice cream and huckleberries. That part was okay. But the tart seriously blew me away with how creative and perfect it was. The pears were thinly sliced and caramelized on top and created a creme brulee-like top but with the added texture and flavor of pear. The frangipane part was so delicate and soft and light, with just the right amount of almond flavor. It was almost cakey, but it had the more dense and chewy texture of almond paste. I don’t know how such a combination of textures can be achieved. The bottom was a well-executed perfect short-dough crust. So brilliantly simple and brilliantly mind-blowing all at the same time.

The waitress was also lovely enough to give us a pot of mint tea that was orphaned. Thanks! I hope the tea was as grateful to be adopted as we were in adopting it. I often find that mint teas are sweetened too much, but this was just mint. Plus, the teapot had the most perfect spout ever. I haven’t figured out how to make a spout that pours well and doesn’t drip. I enjoyed the spout on this teapot so much that I kept pouring the tea over and over again. I imagined that other people watching me thought that I was drugged up, but it really was so fascinating. Not a single drop dripped.

And they also had really nicely shaped bowl and plates. Very deep and round. Beautiful for presenting food, but kinda hard to eat out of because you had to angle your knife in order to cut anything at the bottom of the bowls’ large basins.

Ha ha, my restaurant reviews have turned into reviews of the food and of the dinnerware! Maybe that can be my schtick.

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