Monday, September 21, 2015

Quenelles in a copper pot, swimming in Nantua

Bummer.  David Lebovitz (pastry chef and cookbook writer from NYC who lives in Paris) sent me a Facebook comment saying that the supermarket food waste law passed by the French parliament in May was scrapped due to a technicality in mid-August.  So I had to revise my September 7 blog entry, "Diving for Dinners."  The good news is that some of the major supermarket chains promise to voluntarily sign contracts with charities for the distribution of unsold food.  Since so many U.S. supermarkets do this voluntarily, I have hope that these French supermarkets will follow through on their promise.
The Vagenende, at 142 boulevard Saint Germain.


By the way, when David Lebovitz reviews restaurants, they tend to be those located in the older part of Paris, where many of the tourists like to be.  So if my musings about so many 15th arrondissement restaurants are not geographically helpful to you, you might check out his writings.  His web site is www.davidlebovitz.com .

But last night, we did dine over there because I really wanted the quenelles de brochet at La Vagenende, a beautiful, big Art Nouveau restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain near the rue de Seine, in the 6th arrondissement.  These quenelles come in a copper pot with a generous amount of sauce Nantua, which is basically a crawfish B√©chamel.

Window shopping on the rues Furstemberg and Jacob is delightful.


The quenelles weren't photogenic, but they didn't disappoint; they were every bit as good as I remembered.  Tom surprised me by ordering the veal scallopini Milanese; he usually doesn't like breaded things.  But this veal was especially good, served with a very flavorful tomato sauce.

For dessert, Tom had a Baba au Rhum, but I wasn't able to help him much with that.  We felt as though we were luxuriating in a top-notch Parisian restaurant, because it is so beautiful and the service is so professional.  But the food is unpretentious and just plain good.  Really good.  There was no extra fancy presentation of the food, and no "fusion" of any various types of cuisine.  Vagenende serves honest and good traditional food.

Here I am, photographing the interior of the Vagenende.

Before dinner, we wandered around for a while on the rues Furstemberg and Jacob.  That's one of Tom's favorite Paris activities, and we had not yet strolled along those streets this summer. Yesterday evening was a perfect time to do that.  

Earlier in the day, we walked around in the Village Suisse in the 15th.  All of the art and antique dealers are back from vacation now, and many more of the shops were open.  Even the subterranean level was open, so we saw the dozen or so shops down there.  We were tempted by some elaborate Netsukes, but we didn't buy them because they are so difficult to authenticate.  Still, it is fun to just look at all the wonderful old things in the Village Suisse.  It is a window shopper's paradise.

A butcher shop with lots of charcuterie, on the rue de Seine, near the carrefour de Buci.

We took a stroll through the Champ de Mars after that, and then decided to save our energy for the evening outing.  

Today, Maria the cleaning lady is coming, so I must be off.  Catch you tomorrow!

1 comment:

harrietta said...

Speaking of Netsukes, have you read The Hare with Amber Eyes? I think you would really like it.