Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Au Virage Lepic

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Au Virage Lepic is a little bistro in Paris at 61 Rue Lepic. This is the Dap-King’s favorite restaurant in Paris and for good reason. The food is rich, tasty and perfectly French; the atmopshere is cozy and comforting with a gracious host who plays classic soul music all night (he pronounces to me with joy as he lights a cigarette and sways to the music, “this is my life!”, pictured below). When we are in Paris, we make sure to make a reservation because it tends to be crowded. I order Magret de Canard au foie gras (duck breast topped with foie gras, pictured above). Foie gras, a French specialty, is duck or goose liver that has been fattened according to specific regulations. The result is a rich, buttery, delicious delight. Here, it is served on top of a duck breast and covered with some sauce. The dish is heavenly. I also eat snails in a thick creamy sauce, some French onion soup and a tarte tatin (an upside down apple tart). If you are in Paris, make sure to go to this place — it won’t disappoint.  

Karine from Lyon

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

I have mentioned before that most venues in France offer the band a fresh cooked meal.  This posting features Karine, the chef at today’s venue. The band arrives to the club (Ninkasi Kao 267 Rue Marcel Merieux, Lyon) around noon. Waiting for us an elaborate spread of delights. Karine has made 4 diffent kinds of Quiche (ham, spinach, vegetable and cheese), homemade hummus, carrot salad, parsnip salad and an assorment of meats and cheeses. During this lunch, I notice Karine is already in Kitchen and the chicken is already in the oven. She proceeds to slow cook this chicken, until its perfectly tender. Around 6 o’clock, the fellas and I grab our plates make and our way to the to the kitchen. Karine and her 3 assistants plate it up. The chicken is accompanied by white rice and a hearty sauce filled with vegetables and Moroccan spices. The dish is perfect. Karine explains to me that she went to Morocco and brought the spices back herself. That is some serious dedication. Thanks Karine.

Pork with Milk

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Today, I am in Bordeaux. You can’t really talk about food in Bordeaux without talking about the wine. Unfortunately I am no connoisseur. Suffice it to say, I drink some wine and it is damn good. In Bordeaux even the cheap wines are quite good. Lets get on to the food. Musicians are treated well in France, and one of the perks of being on tour here is that most venues offer the band a cooked meal. The bands and the staff all eat together. Usually an in-house cook makes a couple of dishes to choose from. Tonight at the Salle du Vigean (Rue Serge Mallet, 33 Eysines), it is either fish or pork. I choose the pork (despite my Jewish ancestry), and it is delicious. The chef tells me that its “pork with milk”, but I don’t detect any milk in the dish, so I assume the pork has been slowed cooked in milk to tenderize it. Or the chef could have her English mixed up, and I’ll never truly know how this pork was prepared. Either way, the pork is at its falling-apart-tender stage, and served over rice with a nice jus with onions and mushrooms. The dish doesn’t have any unusual flavors, but as a fellow Dap-King says, “I like it. Its simple and its got soul.” Next course is the salad (sometimes, here in Europe, the salad is served après the meat entrée). I couldn’t figure out if the salad is watercress or some other similar French green, but it was sweet and tasty. To follow comes a standard array of soft and pungent French cheeses—chevre (goat).  Brie, Camembert and Cantal — Nothing wrong with that. Lest I forget the whole thing is served with no shortage of baguettes. You just don’t get bread like this in the States. 

Croque Madame

Monday, October 15th, 2007

My first delicious French experience of this tour occurs around 4:30 Sunday afternoon. I am coming off an overnight plane ride so I am not sure if I am hungry or tired but I decide that it is a good time to eat. It’s hard to tell here in Paris the proper time pour manger because, while everyone seems to be in cafes quite frequently, most people are drinking (usually beer of coffee).  At this moment, however, the majority of people sitting at this café are eating. And a majority of those eating are eating croque madame[s]. Perhaps you know what this is. Or perhaps you only know the more basic version: the croque monsieur. A croque monsieur is a hot ham cheese sandwich, sometimes served open-faced and sometimes as a sandwich. The sandwich version contains the ham in the middle, the Cheese on top, and a béchamel sauce is often placed under the cheese (over the bread). In my opinion, the open face is the most delicious way to eat this sandwich—just one nice piece of French peasant bread with ham and some emmental cheese melted to perfection on top.  As a custom, the first thing I usually do when I get to France is to sit in a café and say “Je voudrais un croque monsieur”. But this day it is slightly different. Today I simply say: “Un croque madame S’il vous plait” (I probably sound like an idiot, b/c the people next to me giggle). The Croque Madame is just like its male  counterpart except with a sunny side up fried egg on top. The whole thing is served with a standard French Salad which is quite delicious. I highly recommend this traditional French sandwich.  (Tommy, pictured below, did not get to experience the croque madame).