Tuesday, March 19, 2013

L'Arpege ♥ ♥

I knew I was gonna be eating a lot of rich meals, foie gras, buttery pastries, a frightening amount of whipped cream and truckloads of chocolates (etc etc etc...) this trip to France, so I thought I'd do one lunch (yes, one only. Two would be pushing it!) that consisted of healthier food… like vegetables… for a change.

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L'Arpege was my choice

Well, if I had to eat plants in the beautiful city of meats that is Paris, it better be at a sure shot restaurant. L'Arpege's three Michelin stars sealed the deal for me.

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The place was simple, modern and cozy

When Chef Alain Passard announced in 2001 that he was going to dedicate his menu entirely and exclusively to vegetables, he was not joking. The very next year he bought a two-hectare garden about 200 kilometers from Paris in Fille-sur-Sarthe where he plants about 150 different breeds of vegetables that he serves at L'Arpege. What he harvests in the morning becomes that afternoon's lunch.

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The vegetable-focused cooking is evident in the restaurant. Tables are decorated with seasonal
produce. Some had tomatoes, some had squash, some had pomegranate... 

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I had a whole watermelon all to myself!

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Nicolas Reau Close des Treilles Anjou Blanc 2011

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I didn't have a date, but I had a beautiful view of this couple who seemed so in love it created
warm and fuzzy feelings in my stomach :)

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Except this kid at the next table killed that feeling.
She kept giving me this look that was the least warm and fuzzy.

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And would not stop doing this to her highchair. She freaked me out a little.

I had the lunch tasting menu.

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Welcome snack of homemade potato chip tartlets topped with beetroot, celery,
and zucchini mousseline. These were pretty but not bursting with flavor.

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Country bread and THE BEST BORDIER BUTTER!!!

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Amuse bouche of cauliflower and tetragonia mousse with sesame oil
and purple basil pesto

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Vegetable sushi made with warm rice, white beet carpaccio, lime oil,
topped with strawberry and zucchini

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Tomato gazpacho with celery and mustard ice cream

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Melon and fresh mozzarella on parsley oil 

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Chef Alain Passard came out a few times to make sure his guests were alright
and even served some of the dishes himself.

The Master of Vegetables personally served this to me: 

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Stuffed red pepper

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The prettiest garden of all, on a bed of sweet and sour sauce made with geranium

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Yellow beetroot cooked in salt crust served on a bed of blackberry marmalade

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A salad of green, yellow and red tomatoes with celery and mustard mousse
and parsley oil

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 Veloute of garlic, tetragonia and zucchini with parsley chantily cream

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Chablis Appellation Chablis Controlee 2008 

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Vegetable ravioli in mint and Chinese cabbage broth

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 Squid rings with corn and emulsion of onion

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Smoked sole fish in yellow wine sauce, smoked potato and cabbage

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Chicken with caramel tomato sorrel

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A trio of soft goat cheeses aged 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month

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 Mignardises of apple tartlets, macarons, chocolates with lavender, and sucres

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Vanilla nut soufflé with chocolate center

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Millefeuille with mixed berries

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The Watermelon and I

It is brilliant what Alain Passard does to vegetables. I've never seen and eaten such herbaceous beauty until L'Arpege.

BUT I'm still 110% true blue carnivore, and this lunch, although very fresh and pretty, left me wanting more.

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At the end of the meal, the staff cleaned and folded the very knife I ate with and gave it to me
as a parting gift. The thing is a beauty. I'm gonna take it home and eat lots of meat with it.

L'Arpege: 84 Rue de Varenne, 75007, Paris, France. Tel: +33 1 47 05 09 06

L'Arpege Website

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