View Full Version : Good ole tradition.. reflection and Q
08-16-2011, 04:25 PM
This'll be one of my long winding messages, which you will quickly get used to with me. As (some) may know, I'm currently in France, specifically Normandy, right next to Beaches. Very impressive and inspiring. Anyways.
I like fine resteraunt food typically, plates that aren't cooked on a WSM or Weber Kettle. In Normandy, a fish capital of the world, I order seafood soup. Probably good at a nice place recommended for their seafood? No, terrible. Third out of four meals that I can't finish. And I'm not picky. The fish was some pureed cheap fish in some terrible stock. My stomach turns as I speak, and I bet the fish wasn't cooked/barely cooked. I could have standed it with a few potatoes, vegetables, fish, mussels, but there was nothing besides disgusting broth.
Now, I get to a slight barbecue/American topic. No matter what people say about French food, I'm frankly not impressed, and I feel like I/small restaurant could do a lot better. A gumbo, cream based chowder, anything, could be done mediocre and taste better. Preparing food isn't a science, I believe, it's a set of techniques adjusted by need. If you have the technique but not a recipe, anyone with some creativity can do any dish they've ever tasted.
08-16-2011, 04:37 PM
you're a glutton for punishment.
08-16-2011, 04:43 PM
with that said. you're eating food in france, not necessarily french culinary masterpeices.
the SCIENCE behind french cooking techniques is remarkable.
take a look at how to make a consomme, just astounding. i mean where did they come up with that stuff?
you're just going to the wrong places. short and simple.
the best french cuisine is probably in NYC anyway.
now as for their cheese in france....whoah that's good stuff.
08-16-2011, 04:46 PM
Talking about their food. With the prices in Paris you need to search for anything good that'll cost less then 30 E (approx. 42 USD) a person... crazy expensive n then add alcohol if ur over 21
08-16-2011, 04:49 PM
What are you ordering? I am not so sure I would order fish soup in most of France, as you are likely to get fish boullion made with beef boullion and fish heads. They add some fish filet at the last minute, often a small local fish filet.
I have never been to France, but, many of my friends have been and they have palates that I trust completely, to a person, they love French cooking. I suspect you are missing out somehow. The times I have eaten food prepared by a chef that was trained in France, I have not been disappointed, they have always presented excellent food to me.
I am of the belief that any cooking is a mix of science, tradition, art and instinct. Although I think many folks produce great food with little understanding of the science, there is definitely a science to it. As for making it better, there is every possibility that you could make a better fish soup, but, would it meet with local expectations?
08-16-2011, 04:53 PM
True, but I don't get salmon tartare and all these different liver dishes. See I'm not in Med. with fresh flavors and bright colors... much different. there you have elements of italian/pasta, fresh fresh produce, etc... here its different.. darker, heavier food
08-16-2011, 04:58 PM
Well, I gotta say that if I ever were to go to France, I would probably head to a more Parisian, Auvergnat or Alsatian style of cuisine. Although, I hear the best butter and dairy in France comes from Normandy. And where there is good dairy, there is usually good beef too. And veal and lamb might be better bets.
08-16-2011, 11:13 PM
I was in Paris last fall and felt the same way about the food. To get very good "main course" food you had to drop plenty of euros and it was nothing that isn't fully matched or exceeded in the US. Definitely have to recognize the contribution of the French in terms of technique though. A chef once told me he felt all western kitchens were french kitchens, regardless of the cuisine.
Do chase down a ham & cheese omelette if you can. Thin egg, fine chop on the meat, gooey center, quite nice, quite different from the American "fluffy" style. Chocolate, pastries, and cheese can be a great experience in France too, if you have a taste for nuance in those things.
If you want to great French food I would head to Lyon. It is a couple of hours by TGV from Paris and that in itself is a great trip. There are so many great restaurants in that town it just blows your mind. My data is a little dated but I doubt much has changed there.
08-17-2011, 05:52 AM
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in France. We traveled all over the country from North to South to the Coast and back. Now, I'm not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination and being half French, I already knew French cuisine ~ so I thought. Long story short, all I ate was ham and cheese sandwiches and I lost 12 lbs! :shock:
08-17-2011, 07:43 AM
Traditional, "small restaurant" French food is simple, austere and is quite a world away from what you might have hoped for. Landarc is right about the way that broth was probably made. Don't mistake it for bad food... just very different food. I can categorically guarantee you this... If you open a restraunt and do US versions of their cuisine, you will not last long.
08-17-2011, 08:06 AM
I'm with boogiesnap! And should you open your restaurant you'll wish you added some science to your cooking technique or you wont be successful.
If you don't want to eat French food and are close to Paris you sure don't have to do so. There is food there from all over the world. A good place to get tips would be Harry's New York Bar. It is at 5 Rue Daunou. It is tiny but is the English speaking ex pat center of Paris.
If Jim Haynes is still doing his thing that would be another great source of data and also great food. He closed his restaurant but was doing supper club things. Here is a link. http://www.jim-haynes.com/
I you want American food in Paris I love Joe Allens. 30 Pierre Lescot. It is right next to a metro station but I can't remember the name.
08-17-2011, 08:59 AM
Preparing food isn't a science, I believe, it's a set of techniques adjusted by need. If you have the technique but not a recipe, anyone with some creativity can do any dish they've ever tasted.
Nope. There's a lot more that goes into really great food than technique. Great chefs are very rare.
08-17-2011, 09:49 AM
Ask the locals where they eat. You'll find the best, least expensive restaurants that way. Worked for me in Paris, Italy and London
08-17-2011, 04:18 PM
When in France I found that the restaurants outside of Paris were better and cheaper AND friendlier!!!
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