Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saturday 31 December 2011 - Valencay Pyramide and Saint Sylvestre at Aux Iles Marquises

Went for a short walk this morning between the showers to look at the Batignolles Organic market.  People were out in droves and there were line ups at the more popular locations.  We came back through Square de Batignolles and the north end of Levis.  I decided to buy a Valencay Pyramide goat cheese.  There was a mournful looking Cocker Spaniel sitting just outside waiting for his mistress to complete her purchases.  Another lady came in with her shopping cart and dragged this into the store forcing the dog to move in as well.  Shorty afterwards we walked past a butchers only to see that he was sitting patiently there as well.  If a dog could talk.
The next best thing to going to Valencay on the Blanc a Argent Railway is to eat some cheese.  It has a covering of ash and a pure white paste.
For New Year's Eve we had reserved a table at Aux Iles Marquises.  This year all Paris transport was free from 1700 on the 31st until noon on the 1st.  The metro was crowded but there was a peak service running so we didn't have to wait more than 2 minutes.  The train was full but the usual Parisian politeness allowed people to get on and off easily.

We were greeted at the restaurant like the old friends we are.  It is pretty small with only about 15 tables but the food and the service were, as always, excellent.  We had the Saint-Sylvestre menu which has the advantage in that there are no choices to make, the food just keeps coming and coming -- and coming.
- Amuses gueules. (mussels, salmon spread on toast, oriental style dumpling with a shrimp)
- Bloc of foie gras with toasted brioche
- Lobster on a bed of salad greens - there was an empty lobster head, with long feelers for decoration.
- White fish filet with some large slices of truffle in a rich butter sauce sauce accompanied by various vegetables.
- Granite de champagne with orange flavor.
- Venison with vegetables and redcurrants in a rich sauce with dollops of deep flavored apple sauce
- Dessert - four delicacies including a chocolate sponge with rum or brandy and a small creme brule with raspberry sauce and spun sugar decoration, semi-freddo and a large pitted date
- Mignardises - canneles, gellees, tiny macaron, lemon cream open faced macaron (intense lemon flavor)
We washed this down with a bottle of champagne and a deca allonge
Creme brule
A family of four came in with a baby in a carrier.  They were seated in the room at the back.  The baby frequently cried loudly and some other diners complained to them.  At this, Madame marched down to talk with them after which they left with sheepish looks on their faces.

There was a couple sitting opposite with a small boy of about seven.  He was engrossed with a video game and was extremely good throughout the meal.  The parents had the full menu and he had an abridged one.  He started with an enormous bloc of foie gras.  He promptly made a sandwich and wolfed it down.  His parents ate the salad greens that accompanied it.  He then had the fish course and quickly ate the fish while his parents ate the truffles and vegetables.  As we left, he was attacking the dessert although he didn't seem to like the chocolate sponge, possibly because of the alcohol or he might have been pretty full by then.
Every time we come to Paris we visit this restaurant.
We had a very pleasant meal and when we said goodbye to Madame I said "Ne changez pas".  Rue Gaite was busy as we made our way to the metro.  The theatre performance had just finished and several people entered the restaurant for a late meal.  People were sitting outside the cafes on the sidewalk enjoying the very mild, if damp, weather.  Our return to Villiers was very quick with a transfer at St. Lazare.  We ran and just caught a train at St. Lazare, although I don't know why we bothered as there is always another within five minutes or so.  There were a few drunks/rowdies but it was pretty quiet.  A lot of people got off at the Champs Elysees so that was probably busy.

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