Saturday, February 19, 2011

May 2010, Oradour-sur-Glane

This sad and quiet place of remembrance marked the true beginning of our 2010 Spring trip to France.

The church where women and children hid, were then found and massacred.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

more on youtube, this time in French

I recently cleaned up my Youtube channel by deleting several of my early uploads, including the video linked a few posts down. My "new" camera captures better video than the ipod nano by a long shot. The audio, somewhat less so (painfully wanting actually); however, listenable.

Here's a video from my Youtube channel, sung in French. It's a version of the Kate Fenner song, Salamandre. I hope you enjoy.

Edit: Hey, sorry if the full screen cannot be seen. Click on the video while it's playing and it should take you to the Youtube upload. Cheers

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lyon and Dinner at La Tassee

Lyon and Dinner at La Tassee

Before returning to Paris for our return flight to the states, we spent one night in Lyon, the second largest city in France. We left the sun behind in the Cotes du Rhone to find a light drizzle and clouds hanging over the old city, yet not enough to keep us from wandering from our hotel on Presqu'ile, the peninsular city between the Rhone and the Saone rivers. Below is a view of the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière from the Presqu'ile.

A view of the Saone.

We dined at La Tassee, a terrific restaurant just a short walk from our hotel on Rue Victor Hugo, just south of Place Bellecour.

Salade lyonnaise aux lardons et œuf mollet

a terrine de foie gras

We like Sancerre!

A vegetarian plate with perfectly executed vegetables!

Rabbit loin stuffed with kidney, crayfishes and tarragon, served with a sauce made of crayfish.

The cheese course with one of my favorites, epoisse.


A pretty building in a courtyard at the end of one of the Vieux cities' ancient, hidden passageways.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blog Tragectory

alternate directions

For some time now I’ve considered taking down this blog. My real life doesn’t require much of a cyber presence. Really I prefer to spend my hours in other pursuits. For the time being, however, it shall remain, if redirected. I may start posting about interests beyond those culinary. So don’t be too surprised when those pop up.


I still find my job rewarding in multiple ways. Let’s hope I can continue this indefinitely. Also, biggest news: we’re heading back to France. The last two weeks of May we’ll drive a smiley face across part of France beginning at Amboise then driving south through the Dordogne to Carcassone, then east to the Luberon near the town of St. Saturnin, and finally to Vaison La Romaine in the Cotes de Rhone. The trip should certainly provide some good blog fodder.


L’Albatros in University Circle is our new Cleveland area favorite. We dined there for the second occasion before going to see Pierre Boulez conduct Mahler at Severance Hall. Everything about the meal was good from the wine recommendations to how well and quickly they handled our request to switch tables, to the timing of the meal. We were even treated to a sampling of some really terrific cheeses at the end of the meal. I can recommend the cassoulet heartily. On this last visit, I tried the skate. I think a real test of a cook’s quality is how he/she handles fish. My skate was perfectly cooked. Kudos the line for their excellent execution. If you haven’t been, overall the food is simple, very tasty, well prepared and true to tradition. I seldom ask for more than that, but it’s a real joy when well delivered.

Enough for now. I have some other pursuits to attend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Burgundies - part deux?

love affair

The wine pictured below is the one responsible for beginning my love affair with white burgundies. It delighted my palate one early April evening during a celebratory dinner at Chez Francois in Vermilion, Ohio (some years ago). This 2001 Domaine Marc Morey & Fils, Chassagne-Montrachet is a Premier Cru from the southern part of the limestone ridge, defining the Cote D'Or, south of Beaune. This vintage was spectacularly dry and woody.

Pictured next is a more everyday white burgundy. It is very drinkable and satisfies my desire for dry minerality without being austere. I buy this unoaked 2007 Cave de Lugny from the Maconnais for 10.99 locally, a really good bargain, if you enjoy this style of wine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two Wine Recommendations

another sauvignon blanc

My comsumption of whites falls mainly into two camps: French-style sauv blancs by a long shot (not those NZ style tropical bombs...yuk!), followed by a smattering of lower-end white burgundies. Recently I have been purchasing Ferrari-Carrano Fume Blanc on sale. This is a Sonoma wine labled with the marketing ploy of calling it a fume blanc instead of sauv blanc when the "smokiness" is added by way of oak, sur-lie aging...thank you very much Mondavi. The F-C is 33% French oak and 67% stainless. It's a nice wine, no doubt. However, every once in a while one needs the "real deal," the fume sans oak. Sure you can find that from Chilean producers, but it's great to stumble across an affordable neighbor of the Loire's premium appellations Pouilly Fume and Sancerre. If you're looking for that flinty, dry minerality with just the right amount of sauv blanc fruit, consider wines from the appellation Reuilly. I bought this Domaine Henri Beurdin et Fils at Mustard Seed Market in Solon, Ohio for seventeen USD. It's a really nice budget white.

In Praise of Roussanne

I'll buy more of the Reuilly and more of the aforementioned CA fume. Still, it's nice to take a break from the usual and refresh the palate with something else. Why do I forget about Roussanne? I love this varietal when from sunny, hot climes that give it body and color. Look to the southeast wine country of France young man! I can't afford Chateauneuf-du-Pape (their white is largely roussanne). No. I picked up this Verget inexpensively at Whole Foods. Verget, Jean-Marie Guffens' negociant company, which famously makes burgundies, produces wines from the Vaucluse as Verget du Sud (makes sense), trucking them up to Sologny to do this, but never mind. This wine does not have that bone dry minerality (structure) I adore. Rather, there is a bit of assertive straw and herb with a touch of sweetness, while remaining on the whole a dry wine. It hangs in the mouth a bit, too. I mean that it has good body and a pretty long finish for a white, but still clean. It may be somewhat limited for food pairings, not quite dry enough for rillettes de porc, but something less fattening, it should go well. Try it with roast chicken (if you've not already opened a lightly chilled Brouilly) or better yet, seafood. If you do give this Roussanne a try, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bob Waggoner Dinner at the CVI

a celebration of friendship dinner, monday, june 8th, 2009
I can't keep waiting for others to supply me with photographic material for blog posts! So, it is with limited images, many missing pictures of deliciousness, that I upload an incomplete catalogue of the evening.

I assisted with the preparation of this dinner at the hosts' request. As I have mentioned before, it is my great pleasure to volunteer my time for Patricia Mowen-Ziegler and her husband, Jerry Ziegler. These gracious people help support Veggie U, a not-for -profit children's program, by winning auctions at the home of Veggie U, the Culinary Vegetable Institute. The auctions take place at the annual Food and Wine Event (the most recent of which happened to be Saturday, July 18th -- a post coming soon to this blog). At the Ziegler's dinner last October, you may recall from a previous post, the star chef was Lee Ann Wong. Bob Waggoner of The Charleston Grill was recruited for this occassion.

First, the menu. I was recruited to do the starters and cheese course. Bob Waggoner, star of the evening, did five courses. The lovely and talented Ann Blackwood (aka cocoa) was recruited to prepare dessert.
Chevre Stuffed Strawberries
Foie Gras au torchon with Spiced Rhubarb
Tuna Tartar in Baby Tomatoes
Tomato-Yogurt Smoothie with Caviar
Iron Horse Blanc de Blanc Sonoma County, California, 1990
Bellecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champange, France
Warm Maine Lobster Salad with May Tomatoes, Avocado and Young Arugula in Garden Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
Silex Blanc Fume de Pouille, Loire Valley, France, 2006 (Magnum)
Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Wild American Shrimp Mousse over Fennel Mouseline in Chardonnay Caper and Opal Basil Butter
Puligny-Montrachet Les Combelles, Burgundy, France, 1999
Pan Seared Carolina Quail Breast over Eggplant and Sweetbread Risotto in Calamata Olive, Sun-Dried Tomatoe and Rosemary Jus
Volnay Santenots-du-Milieu, Premiere Cru, Burgundy, France, 2001 (Magnum)
Long Island Duck Leg Confit and Seared Breast with Goose Liver and "Cracklins" in Sangria Reduction Scented with Fresh Cherries
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Bordeaux, France, 1982 (Imperial)
Sauteed Kobe Beef Tips with Salsify, Ice Onions and Butter Potatoes in Morel Jus Scented with Truffles
Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France, 1989 (Double Magnum)
Chevre, Brillat Savarin, Camembert, Sharp Cheddar, Roquefort
Dow's Porto, Portugal, 1970
Dessert Trio
Berry Compote with Lavender Anglaise
Peanut Butter Mousse, Chocolate Ganache, Gold Leaf, Chocolate Mint
Chocolate Truffle, Star Anise Mousse, Port Reduction
Ok, now the pics.
The berries are stuffed with chevre and diced strawberry with a balsamic reduction. The micro herb garnish is anise hyssop.

This is the smoothie. It's made with dehydrated tomatoes and garnished with a dehydrated slice of baby tomato, American sturgeon roe and micro oregano.

Mixed baby tomatoes stuffed with tuna tartar and garnished with two types of micro basil.

Gougere (is what it is, but I love 'em).

One of the few courses Bob Waggoner did that I was able to photograph.

Here's Bob at the stove. He was perfectly enjoyable in the kitchen, very relaxed and mellow about the whole evening.

The kobe beef. Now that's a pretty plate.

Ann Blackwood doing her thing. Go girl! She and I were pretty much left to one side of the kitchen while three other chefs helped Bob produce the main courses.

A close-up of her dessert.

At the end of the long day.