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Seoul Eats: 2010 Burgers List

For all of y’all who are reading this blog from the other side of the Pacific, Seoul Eats just released it’s 2010 burger list.  Smokey Saloon, as featured on this blog two years ago, is nowhere to be found, and I suppose with good reason.

Happy Burger eating in the year ahead.

Turkey Osso Buco, and a tribute to a legend.

A few years back, before I found out that my entire database of Thanksgiving memories was built on a corporately fragmented hard drive, but after I had built enough of a true database to know that I did not like traditionally roasted turkey, my family started to mix it up on Turkey Day.

One year, it was a Thanksgiving goose (roasted on potatoes that cooked in the goose fat… how could that have been bad?).  Another year, a lavender-smoked duck.  Another year, another piece of fowl.  Something about the Burgerrati family just yearns to rebel against the Thanksgiving tradition.

This year not being an exception, it was decided that this year’s feast would feature a new addition to the mix: the turkey osso buco.  My stepmom found a recipe from Giada (I know, I know), and it couldn’t have been simpler.

It’s a few quick steps: brown the turkey in oil after a light dusting of flour  (the recipe calls for the breast and thigh, but the breast is not necessary at all, just stick with the dark meat, including the drumstick), add the mirepoix, cook until soft, add some white wine and some tomato paste, add the turkey back into the pot and cover with stock.  Pop it into the oven and let it do it’s thang.  Couldn’t be easier.

Oh yeah, and on top is a little gremolata (parsley, lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, salt/pepper).  Yep, be jealous.

The best part is, you don’t even need to do this on Thanksgiving– it’s anytime food.

Now, on to another piece of business.  As you all know, I just got back from a little journey to the left coast.  And, as I always do, I stopped by In-n-Out.  I just can’t resist its charm.  I even took pictures of my lunch, and was all ready to write a great post about the feelings that I-N-O evinces from my very soul.  It was going to get me published in a national publication (again- ZING!).  It would be my master oeuvre.

Imagine my dismay when I see this.  Quelle horreur!  What the hell, Nick?  You took my glory.  You are already a well-known blogger man, give some love to the little guys!  But you know what, I am going to do it anyway.  And, check out that link again, and look at the comments.  Look who started typing I-N-O first.  Yeah, burgerblogger, that’s who.

In any case, I got to experience the joy that is In-n-Out when I was back home.  While I was in high school, a location opened about a quarter-mile from my house.  This was a great addition to the ‘hood, and it allowed me to start experiencing burgers for more than just a patty of ground beef on a bun.  When this location opened, it turned out to be one of the few places on which both my mom and I could agree that we liked the food.  It was one of the few places that my mom would get excited about if I mentioned I wanted to go there.  That memory has stayed with me, and I reserve my In-in-Out trips for when I am staying at her house.

There it is- the lunch of champions.  A glorious 880 calories.


Dear Ronnybrook: You have a rival.

But they are only in LA, so I guess you’re not really going to be competing for share.  And they are not organic or hormone-free, so again, not really competition.

Anyway, while out in LA over the past week, I had the pleasure of trying Broguiere’s milk.  It’s the last old-school, glass-bottled dairy left in the LA area.  It’s located in Montebello, but widely available in various grocery stores all over.

When I first saw the product, I was at the grocery store with burgermom, and I noticed the glass bottles in the dairy aisle.  “Hmm, this looks just like Ronnybrook bottles.”  My mom then told me that they were featured on an episode of California Gold, a local PBS show featuring Huell Howser (an incredibly cheesy show highlighting local events and places in California).  Not really wanting to buy milk or the egg nog, since I was only in town for a couple of days, we passed on it and finished our shopping.

The next night, after watching the Newshour (my mom does not have cable, so TV options are limited), California Gold was on, and was featuring, what do you know, Broguiere’s Dairy!  My mom and I watched the show, and watched them make their famous chocolate milk, which is still hand-made in big steel tanks by adding one part chocolate syrup to 10 parts whole milk.

Huell downed a sip, and made it out to be incredible.  It looked pretty good.  Interest scale: 5.5 out of 10.

Then, being around the holidays, they had an additional featurette on the eggnog.  Again, it is mixed by hand, in the same steel tanks, but contains a decadently golden custard base and additional heavy cream.  Huell again exclaimed his praises, and said it was the best thing out there since the Broguiere’s chocolate milk.  Interest scale: 10 out of 10.

So burgermom and I headed out to the local How’s at about 9 o’clock.  My mom doesn’t keep anything sweet in the house, so this was going to be our dessert after a lovely skirt steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and brussels sprouts.

We got back from the store and got our glasswares ready.  The chocolate milk went first, since the nog would probably kill anything remaining on the palate.  The chocolate milk was very good.  I would still say that the Ronnybrook chocolate milk is a bit better.  You can tell with Broguiere’s that they’re not using the best chocolate syrup out there, so the quality is really buoyed by the freshness of the whole milk they are using.  This didn’t stop my mom from downing about three-fourths of the bottle, but I was not resoundingly singing its praises.

Then came the eggnog.  The nog features Huell’s face on it, and it has done so for about the last nine years, since the story originally came out on California Gold.  The nog has just started hitting the shelves, and I must say that I was glad I was there to experience it.  I am going to go out on a limb and say it is the best eggnog I have ever had.  There, I said it.  It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s heavily spiced, it is Christmas in a glass.  It has that slight heat from the nutmeg and spices that gives it depth, and the copious amounts of egg and heavy cream give it a whole lot of body.  This, I must say, is better than the eggnog produced by Ronnybrook.  It hurts to type it, but it’s the truth.  If you are ever in LA over the holidays, do yourself a huge favor and get some.

But wait, there’s more!

When drinking/eating this eggnog, I thought that it would be tremendous if put into an ice cream maker.  Since Thanksgiving dinner was coming up, what better occasion to try it out.  I took to the interweb to see if others have done it, since I was surely not the first person to have this revelation.  Alas, others had.  Many complained that the finished product was not creamy enough, instead coming together as a spongey, almost stringy product.  A delicious one, but not exactly ice cream like, either.  I decided to then cut it with some lean milk (to balance out what I am guessing is the coagulant-like qualities of the egg yolks giving the nog its golden hue) and some bourbon (to prevent the ice cream from getting too icy).

I mixed everything together in a bowl (one and one-half cup nog, one cup 2% milk, and a couple of tablespoons of bourbon) pulled out the ice cream maker at burgerdad’s house.  At first, the product looked like any other ice cream being freshly made.

Pretty uneventful for a few minutes.  I was hoping that my own thoughtfully prepared mixture would beat LA Chowhounders whose recipes couldn’t cut the custard (what a pun!).  After about ten minutes or so in the maker, though, the signs started pointing towards ice cream land.

Things seemed to be working out alright.  It looked a little icy, possibly from the skim milk addition, but it still seemed to be working out.  A quick taste still confirmed that it had that same richness, and the bourbon didn’t hurt, either.

Here’s how it was another five minutes or so later.  You can see that there there is some slight ice build-up on the cutter, but on the bottom right-hand corner, you can see that some of creaminess was still coming through, and the taste was still great.

At that stage, it was done.  Took it out, and it was still creamy, some of that initial icy-ness was gone.  I was quite pleased with the finished product.  However, after a couple of hours in the freezer, it unfortunately lost some of its initial creaminess and was a bit icy, almost like a blend of a sorbet and an ice cream.  While this was nice accompanied with a fresh slice of pumpkin pie and whipped cream, it was not ideal if served alone.

Not deterred, I am writing down some notes that I had in terms of the mix:

– Continue to cut the eggnog with milk, but use whole milk instead.  While the skim milk was a good idea in theory, in practice it was not really the best.

– Transfer the ice cream out of its maker when done, and put into something that will not remain quite as cold (such as a plastic container).  I think this would have prevented a little bit of the change in consistency.

– Use more bourbon.  Just because.  And maybe for its low freeze point.  But mostly just because.

Yet another reason to get this nog.  If only I had an ice cream maker here in NYC…

avec Chicago, aka, "how much more fat can I eat?"

I found myself in Chicago this past weekend, you know, just for a change in scenery.  And an interview that could change my ENTIRE FUTURE.  Not that there was any pressure or anything.

Anyway, I like Chicago a lot, and from what I’ve heard, it’s becoming quite the culinary center of the midwest.  Maybe I’m biased since I was born there, but I always have felt some sort of strange connection with the place, even though I have never lived there as an adult, and I have only visited it a couple times while cognizant of my surroundings (although I was a very astute toddler).

I arrived on Friday evening, after nearly having a panic attack that my flight would be delayed hours and hours because of the storm, and I wanted to be on my A-game before the BIG INTERVIEW.  Fortunately, everything went as planned, and I found myself at the Hotel Allegro (it’s a KIMPTON property, fools!), located on West Randolph and North La Salle.

Now, for a little bit of a background– Thursday night, I had gone to Lupa for a work dinner, and chatted with my new buddy Mike, who happens to be a manager at Lupa, and also happens to be a native Chicagoan.  I asked him for some solid recommendations, being that I would be rollin’ solo in Chi-town.  He dropped me an email with a litany of places, and I knew that I would be lucky to get to even one of them.

(For those of you who are curious: “Chicago restaurants: Blackbird and avec. Schwa. Doug’s Dogs. If you wanna go very fancy then you must try one of the best restaurants in the world: Alinea. I also have a good blues club: rosa’s. I have more ideas but that’s the top of my head.
Brunch at Anne Sather. If you get up North go to Sarki’s in Wilmette or wings at Buffalo Joes in Evanston. Deep dish pizza at Giordanos. Walker bros pancake house on greenbay rd in Wilmette.”)

Looking on Google maps on my phone, I saw that Avec was a mere stone’s throw away from my hotel.  With a grumbling stomach, I headed west on a mission.  Upon arrival, I was slightly scared by the fact that there was a mass of people waiting both outside and in.  It was already 730 and I needed at least a good night’s sleep before the BIG INTERVIEW.

However, Avec looks like this:

See the big bar?  This is where I was hoping I could make my move.  Being a solo diner, I nonchalantly walked up to the host and said, “hey man, how are you doing?  I’m all by my lonesome tonight.”  Now, at the time, and actually up until I just wrote that down, I didn’t realize how much like a pick-up line that probably sounded.  In retrospect, it would have sounded maybe a little bit cooler had I said it to the hostess (featured picture left) instead of the large awkward man (also featured left, sorta).  Either way, my point was that I was eating alone on a Friday night, and I had to make it sound cool.

I was surprisingly seated within about 5-10 minutes, after which the hostess APOLOGIZED that I had to wait.  I knew I wasn’t in NYC anymore when that happened.  I’m so used to feeling like I need to apologize when I make restaurant hosts do their jobs.  “Sorry I decided to eat here and ruin your staring contest with the Opentable screen– should I come back?  I hear there is an open reservation for two at 10:45?”

Anyway, I sat down and perused the menu, which was composed of mostly small plates.  Now, small plates are truly only “small plates” when you are eating with someone else.  When you are by yourself, it’s more like eating four meals.  But I was hungry, so it was all good.

The menu was great, and I can only imagine what it would be like if I could have tried more than only a handful of things– they had great looking and smelling flatbreads, and a laundry list of pork and offal products.  I knew that I had to go with the braised berkshire cheeks with blood sausage and cabbage, and also the stuffed dates with chorizo, wrapped in bacon.  At this point, I felt that I had already too much on my plate, so I decided to ask my man behind the bar how much more I would need:

“How hungry are you?”

– I mean, I can eat (that’s my code for saying, are you calling me a wimp?  I can eat more than anyone you know.)

“Well, what are you thinking?”

– Definitely the pork cheeks, and the dates

“Aight, we’ll do a half order of the dates and the cheeks.  Maybe one more thing.  The squash is good, the fish is good, the salad is actually pretty good”

– (I knew this guy was speaking my language when he said, “the salad is actually good”) What about the veal liver?

[Looking extremely pleased, like I had just passed the “lonely loser at the bar on a Friday night surrounded by couples” test and unlocked our everlasting friendship] “You like the gamey stuff, huh? Excellent.  Let’s get it started.”


I then entered the world of arterial pain.  First, the dates arrived.

Now, it might be hard to tell from the photo, but “date” is really a misnomer here.  I would call it “bacon wrapped chorizo ball with a touch of date.”  It was served with a freshly heated mini spanish bread loaf, and came in a spicy-sweet tomato-based sauce.  It was tremendous.  This paired with a nice carafe of rioja was going to be put in a good spirit for the rest of the evening.

After devouring a half-order of the dates, which was probably enough to be my meal, the seared veal liver arrived.  I didn’t get a chance to take a picture because I immediately started to stuff my face with it.  It was a simple veal liver accompanied by parsnips, rapini, and bacon.  The liver itself had a little bit of gristle, which is to be expected, but the flavor was excellent and the bacon was a perfect complement without overpowering the dish.  I was innard heaven.

Now, between the two dishes, I probably had consumed far more than I needed to.  Bear in mind, people around me were getting TWO dishes, sharing them, and leaving.  I was by myself and was outlasting people by a good hour.  The time was about 9 o’clock, and I still hadn’t done my preparations.  But in the moment, I didn’t care.  I was eating great food and was in a good place.  Much better than staring at a TV while stressing out.

I finished my carafe of rioja and decided to live a little and get a beer.  I got a Belgian La Binchoise Amber Reserve Speciale, which paired nicely with my (second to) last course: the braised pork cheeks, served with blood sausage and cabbage, barley and artichokes.

Just a little side note at this point.  You see how all of the dishes arrive in a vessel from which you are supposed to serve yourself?  Well, they continued to give me a clean plate with every course, and despite the fact that I was eating by myself, I continued to serve myself small portions, as though I would leave the rest for someone else.  It made me feel like a dignified gentleman, and not some sort of ruffian eating from the serving bowl.

Now, back to the cheeks.  They were amazing.  I don’t know if it was the euphoria from eating my favorite part of my favorite animal, or some sort of other drug-like quality of the dish, but I was in heaven.  I can still remember the feeling from eating it, not just the taste.  I am a bit partial since I love blood sausage, as announced in my DBGB post, but the dish was perfectly balanced, with salty but creamy sausage pieces and chewy barley bits and sweet artichoke bits and big pork cheek bits.  It was chock full of bits.  I could only muster a satisfied thumbs-up when my buddy the bartender would walk by to see what was going on.  When I finally was able to get a couple of words out, I could just say, “this is awesome, man.  You guys are rockin’ it.”

I finished everything in that bowl (in four smaller servings) and poured out every last bit of the sauce (the bowl had a nice pouring spout).  When the guy took away the plate, I finally plead guilty to having over-eaten.

“You good?”

– Man, I’m cashed.  Everything was awesome.

“Alright man, I was gonna say, if you had room in your stomach, you should get the pasta, it’s phenomenal.”

I had seen the pasta.  It looked phenomenal.  But the time was 9.40 and I still had that little meeting (yeah, I had downplayed it by this point) in the morning.  But the pasta looked so good.  I saw man orders of it go out from my bar/kitchen vantage point.  So creamy, so delicious-looking.

– I’m gonna have to come back for that.  For sure…  But let me do some cheese.”

So I got some cheese.  Some Tomme de Savoie and some Torta del Casar, to be exact.  It came with more of that delicious bread and a small parsley and marcona almond salad.  And my buddy threw another beer at me just for kicks.  Maybe he saw how sad I was when I looked at the pasta on the menu: “Housemade pasta with veal and offal bolognese, cream and fresh herbs.”  It was like a dish created just for me.  It didn’t even say what offal were included, and it didn’t matter to me.  A quick google search yielded this twitter update from some dude that I don’t know: “Avec was en fuego last eve..lots of offal…pumpkin/ginger soup w/ crispy veal heart, awesome and the offal Bolognese, terrific.”

I wish I could have twittered about eating offal bolognese.

In retrospect, the fact that I ordered some cheese is completely understandable.  He employed a little of asking if I wanted another big thing (“that’s way too much food”) made me feel obligated to get another small thing (“I suppose it’s just some cheese”).  It’s simple psychology, as explained by Richard Cialdini in his book Influence, and I fell for it like a sucker.

But I didn’t care.  The meal was great, and I couldn’t have been happier and in better spirits, for that, umm, I think I had something in the morning I had to go to…

Anyway, just go to Avec if you’re in Chicago.  But take a friend.  My buddy at the bar also recommended a place called Belly Shack, which is on North Michigan near Armitage (surprised I didn’t see it, I was walking around up there).  I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but I’d like to.

It's like Proust, only longer.

Deuxième Partie.  Êtes-vous prêts?  C’est parti…

Time for the second nail-biting installment of the trip to Paris.  Reading over the first entry, all it makes it seem like I did all weekend was eat.  That is maybe 64% true.

After the giant feast at le comptoir, the burger buddies were feeling a little sluggish.  Food was last on our minds as we headed over to the Louvre and wandered around the tuileries for most of the early and late afternoon.  Well, last on our minds until dinner time rolled around.

We both had a craving for something.  Something meaty, and something smothered in an addictive sauce.  And this meatiness “à côté de” some fried potato items.  I’m talking about the one, the only, Le Relais de Venise l’entrecôte.  Its original location is located in Paris’ 6th.  We walked over to it, only to find a line going halfway down the block.  I guess this will teach us to try to go to l’entrecôte on a Saturday night.

We ended up at a little bistro also locatd in the 6th arrondissement.  Overall, the meal was uneventful, except for the petite souris that BG saw in the corner of the covered outdoor area.  The reaction by the waiter: “c’est possible.”  So French.

Prior to this, I had enjoyed some andouillette (AAAAA , of course.  Which stands for Association amicale des amateurs d’andouillette authentique, in case you are curious).  It is a delightful French treat, which is basically a sausage stuffed with tripe.  And it smells, umm, delicious… and earthy.  And that’s putting it lightly.


After that we called it a night, since our stomachs were still reeling a bit.  And we had to get ready for a couple of strong days of eating (they were our last two, after all).

We awoke on Sunday morning and headed over the Raspail Marché Bio, a huge organic farmer’s market on Boulevard Raspail, also in the 6th.  The market is intense, and basically blows away any farmer’s market here in the US.  The artistry with which the food is presented is something to learn from, and it again proves that organic does not need to equal dirty and poorly-displayed.









At the end of the market was a man making potato galettes, with onions and some sort of cheese product.  I had two, which were delicious.  After wandering around a little bit, we headed over to the île de la cité so that burgerboy could repent for his gluttony at Notre Dame.  Before that, of course, we needed to eat a little bit, so we had a pit stop at berthillon for some vanilla ice cream and a nutella banana crêpe.  Why not, right?


A couple of hours later, we found ourselves in the marais.  The Rue de Rosiers means only one thing: falafel.  More specifically, l’As du Falafel.  I had been there before, but it was burgergal’s first time.  She was suspicious, despite all of the positive press that she had seen and the myriad of blogosphere mentions.  However, her fears were allayed when she saw that Lenny Kravitz had given the place his stamp of approval.


L’as du falafel was tremendous, as I had remembered it.  The crunchy falafel balls were small and perfectly fried, nestled in a fresh pita with heaping handfuls of cabbage, eggplant, and tahini.  It’s nothing like any other falafel that I have had here in NYC.  It’s tremendous.  Check it out.  Trust me.  Let me also mention that it was about 4pm, and we had 8pm reservations at Senderens for dinner.  Yeah.  It’s worth it.


Then we walked over to the 1st arrondissement, to get some French macaroons at the Ladurée located on the Champs Elysées.  The place was a madhouse, but we walked away with a variety of French macaroons in a variety of flavors (lemon, red fruit, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, pistachio).  These little guys were going to get devoured at a later time, however since it was time for dinner (!).



And on that note, I will stop myself again.

Séjour à Paris: Première Partie


I wrote this while in Paris, so it’s written in the present-time, for those of you who are too temporally aware in writing.

Bonjour à tous!

BG and I have been in Paris for two days now, and we have already done some serious damage (to our arteries and all muscles used for walking). for only a couple of days, but we have been here long enough to do some serious eating.  And some serious walking, so it seems to be balancing out.

Within hours of our arrival, we found ourselves at Bread and Roses, an organic bakery very near the Jardin du Luxembourg.  We walked in for a light lunch of a salad with fines herbes and giant pieces of quiche.  BG had a goat cheese, leek, and asparagus, and I went with the mushroom (girolles- chanterelles, which are in season here and are all over the place).  I don’t normally like quiche too much, but these were great.  Creamy but not heavy tasting.


Le Timbre

After walking around for a few hours, it was time for dinner.  After hearing some good things from members of the burgergal clan, we walked over to Le Timbre, an aptly-named restaurant in the 6ème arrondissement, and snagged the last available table.  To the best of my knowledge, the place has three employees: a dishwasher, a chef, and a server.  And they rock out some pretty good food.  I started with some pork head cheese with capers (hure de porc… when in France?) and BG started out with a quick sauté of girolles (chaterelles), lardons, and a heap of butter.  I figured I had already started the day off with heavy cream and eggs, so why stop the fat-train from rollin?



Paired with crusty french baguette, it was like a light salad.  For our mains, I kept the cross-section of meat theme, and had the boudin noir, which I always love– I mean, seriously, how can you go wrong with a meat brownie?  Burgergal was a little limited in options, so she went with the pheasant with cabbage, which looked delightful.  I was mostly upset because my Laguiole knife was missing its bee.



We also drank a delightful bottle of wine, a Fleurie.  Dessert was good but unremarkable, but BG had a mille-feuille, and I had wine-braised figs.  Then we walked back to the hotel and passed out.


Day 2

Day two started with an almond croissant and pain au chocolat at a local patisserie.  Then a bunch of walking and a little musée d’Orsay action.  Saw the James Ensor show, which was great.  Also caught this little gem, to the delight of uberchef.  After a bit more of the sightseeing and a picnic in the Champ de Mars, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner.

And this was no ordinary dinner– it was the big night for dinner at Le Comptoir du Relais Saint Germain.  This is one of the hardest reservations to get right now in Paris, so it had to be good, based on the expectations alone.

After a bit of a mistaken identity issue, we started out with a couple of comp’d glasses of champagne, along with some foie gras on toast.  Not a bad way to start off a meal.  BG ate foie gras for the first time, and she actually enjoyed it (a member of the monthly dinner club appropriately called it “meat butter,” and I think that BG finally understood how applicable that is).

After this, some mini gannat (cheese bread), which was just brought around for a couple of laughs.

Then came the wine, a 2007 Chambolle-Musigny from Philippe Pacalet, a winemarker from Burgundy who uses traditional winemaking techniques and uses few chemicals in the process.  He is like the French slow food winemarker.  I didn’t know this when ordering it, but a little Google action has given me the low-down.

Then came the first course—the menu item was two lines long, and I forgot to take the menu at the end of the meal, but, it was basically cream and artichoke soup with various lobster parts (flesh and roe), some made into a foam.  It was one of those French food items that has around three hundred ingredients, but you can really just describe the flavor, which, I suppose, is the way that it should be.  It was smooth as silk, and had only a faint taste of the ocean.  The bits of lobster were delicate and perfectly cooked, and the dish as a whole was a great start to what I knew would be a delicious (and buttery) meal.

The second course was a pan seared monkfish with country ham and and cauliflower, with a cauliflower mousse and caviar.  While I found the dish to be good overall, I found my particular cut of monkfish to be a bit too sinewy.  The “poor man’s lobster” tasted a bit too much like the former and not enough of the latter.  The fish was perfectly cooked, but the cut was just did not do it or me.  BG ate about half of hers, about which I was proud, since she never eats fish.  I even made a point of telling the waitress this, who understood my pride after her initial shock wore off.

After the monkfish came the main courses.  Normally, the menu tonight included a pigeon, but the chef was making sure that everyone ate pigeon before preparing it, since it has a “particular and strong taste.”  In its place, there was also a rack of lamb that could be substituted.  Regardless of how BG felt about this, I told the waitress that we wanted one of each, and I told BG that she wouldn’t like pigeon, which turned out to be correct.  Now, I don’t know why they were warning people about the pigeon—I thought it was superb (I used the word “sublime”).  It was just half of the little guy, served with a heavy sauce that must have been made from a pigeon/game bird stock, because it was deep chestnut brown and extremely heavy on mineral taste.  It was cooked medium-rare and was as tender as could be.  BG had the lamb, which was very delicate and also tender.  The lamb must have been quite young, because it had none of the gamey lamb taste that the standard carré d’agneau would have here.  The fat had a little bit of that going on, but in general, very subtle.

After the mains they brought out the cheese tray.  They basically bring you a giant tray of cheese and tell you to go to town.  We shared the tray with the people next to us, who were of unknown origin, but we enjoyed it all.  There were about 10 cheeses on the board, and quince paste, black cherry jam, fresh honey, and a pepper jelly on the side.  All of the cheeses were excellent, and they basically give you free reign of the board until you stop.  To give you a sense of how much cheese there was—take the lid of an outdoor garbage can and cover it it with blocks of cheese.  That’s about how much cheese there was.  (Jean Luc, the maître d’ and general man about town (he was the Comptoir representative at Le Fooding, and he told us that the second night was actually much better), told us that they will often do an appetizer board as well, since there is only one seating per night.  The cheese board was good enough, I suppose.)

After the cheese course came dessert, which was tapioca pudding with chestnut ice cream, brown sugar “spaghetti” and various other fruits.  Not really being much of a dessert guy, I thought the pudding was good, but it had too much citrus for my liking.  Europeans love citrus in everything, but the supremed orange wedges, figs, banana, and grapes didn’t really do it for me.  I would have preferred to have the pudding and ice cream and the spaghetti only.

All in, the place was worth the hype.  At 50 Euros per person (for the food, at least), the experience and quality of food render it a veritable bargain.  Since they only do one seating per night, they maximize the experience, and the casual atmosphere contributes to a general feeling of ease and relaxation.  The staff were friendly and helpful, and if you don’t speak French, fear not, it appeared that they speak English (kinda).
More to come, in la deuxième partie…