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Cooking Across 4 Generations

Using recipes collected from 4 generations of one family

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Paris

Hotel Banke and Josefin Restaurant, Paris

The hotel for our week in Paris was Banke Hotel, located on Rue Lafayette, a quick walk from Les Grand Magasins – Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. It was also a short walk from the Opera Garnier, Le Louvre and many other sights.

Situated in a former bank headquarters, Hotel Banke is housed in an early twentieth-century building, designed by architects Paul Friesse and Cassien Bernard and was refurbished to become a hotel in 2009. The stately facade dominates the corner of Rue La Fayette and Rue Pillet Will with a style that revives the charms of Paris’s “Belle Époque“.

The hotel makes a statement with its spectacular mosaic floored lobby crowned with a glass cupola, and retaining many of the original bank features, teller counters, safe deposit boxes. The colours are predominantly deep red and gold, lots of gold. A décor that blends original architectural elements with contemporary design bringing a twenty-first century touch to a Haussmann-style building.

We were quite fortunate that we were able to spend time in two different rooms during our stay. Our first room was a Superior room, mid tone woods, rich burgundys and lots of designer touches. Our second room was an Executive room that was a little more spacious. Still with the mid tone woods and burgundy colours, a feature was the leather headboard and gorgeous leather lounge and leather woven rug. Stencil furniture prints were painted on the walls giving a whimsical touch to the decor. Both rooms had marble bathrooms with good sized tubs, and joy of joys the toilet was separate from the bathroom. While not the largest rooms we have stayed in, there was plenty of storage space, with great wardrobes, and drawers.

During our stay at Banke Hotel, we decided to try the hotel’s restaurant, Josefin.

The stunning glass domed lobby is home to the reception desk, restaurant and bar. On one side of the spectacular mosaic tiled floor is the restaurant and the bar is opposite.

Glamourous gold leather banquettes, dark wood and leather chairs, gold metal and crystal chandeliers with dramatic red and black highlights were the feature of both the restaurant and bar. Along the old teller counters were whimsical little vignettes, plants and flowers.

Me at Josefin Restaurant
Me at Josefin Restaurant

Our amuse of salmon:

Salmon amuse
Salmon amuse

Beautiful freshly baked breads served with my favourite butter, Beurre d’Isigny

Fresh bread rolls
Fresh bread rolls

Unusually for us we both opted for seafood entrees. Mr CA4G ordered the tuna Tataki

Tuns Tataki
Tuna Tataki

While I ordered the carpaccio of lobster, aged balsamic and Spanish extra virgin olive oil.

Lobster carpaccio
Lobster carpaccio

For main I had a panfried duck breast with wok fried vegetables. Quite light even though it was duck.

Duck with wok fried vegetables
Duck with wok fried vegetables

Mr. CA4G had scallops with a shellfish foam and mushrooms.

Scallops with shellfish foam and mushrooms
Scallops with shellfish foam and mushrooms

We skipped dessert as we had a big lunch.

Banke Hotel is a great spot to drop your bags and stay in Paris, and is easy to walk to most places. Metro stations are a short walk in several directions. We walked from Banke Hotel to Le Tour Eiffel, Sacre Coeur. Both are big walks but enjoyable and you get to see a bit more of the real Paris.

A quick note the photos of the hotel are from the Banke Hotel website as we forgot to take photos, to see more of this fabulous hotel visit their website in my links.

Le Grand Colbert, Paris

One of our most watched movies is ‘Something’s Got To Give’ starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. One of our dreams while visiting Paris was to dine at the restaurant Le Grand Colbert which is shown towards the end of the movie.

After settling in to our room at Hotel Banke on Rue Lafayette, we went for the first of many looooonnngggg Parisian walks. In effect we became ‘flaneurs’, exploring the boulevards and rues of central Paris. Our first outing saw us walk to the Musee du Louvre, les Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, across Pont de la Concorde to the Rive Gauche, along Quai d’Orsay to Pont Alexandre III, then up Avenue Winston Churchill past the Grand and Petit Palais, along the Champs Elysees where we saw them setting up all the stands for the Fete National parade. From there we walked back to Place de la Concorde, up rue Royal to Place de la Madeleine, up rue des Capucines, down Boulevarde des Capucines to Place Vendome. Wow getting exhausted writing it all down. After a walk around Place Vendome we went back up rue de la Paix to the Palais Garnier and then back to the hotel.

After all that walking we needed a break to think about where to eat dinner. Looking at the map I discovered that Le Grand Colbert was in fact not far from our hotel. In the end we ended up dining at Le Grand Colbert 4 times during our trip. As it turns out we were not the only ones who were repeat diners, apparently another Aussie couple had done the same.

On our first walk to Le Grand Colbert we happened to just turn our head and were struck by the following amazing view of  Basilique du Sacre Couer. It seemed every place you looked there was something to take you breath away.

Basilique du Sacre Couer
Basilique du Sacre Couer

Anyway enough of the pretty view, on to dinner.

Exterior Le Grand Colbert
Exterior Le Grand Colbert

Located on Rue Vivienne, Le Grand Colbert is a classic Parisian Brasserie. Mosaic floors, plaster mouldings, brass light fittings, etched glass, leather banquettes, all the traditional brasserie decor elements you could ask for. Service staff were amazingly helpful and I didn’t have to use my really bad French as they all spoke very good English.

Yours truly outside Le Grand Colbert
Yours truly outside Le Grand Colbert

As you can see from the picture they are quite proud of the association with the movie ’Something’s Got To Give”. People have been known to request the exact seat where Jack and Dianne sat.

The bar Le Grand Colbert
The bar Le Grand Colbert
Interior Le Grand Colbert
Interior Le Grand Colbert
Interior Le Grand Colbert
Interior Le Grand Colbert

With a menu full of classic brasserie fare, I decided on the half chicken and Mr. CA4G had the Steak Frites with sauce béarnaise. Mr. CA4G is such a lovely man he said my bearnaise is better, should I believe him?

Steak frites
Steak frites
Half chicken
Half chicken

The wine list, while not large, has a very good selection with wines by the glass, half carafe, and bottle. On our first night we tried Delice De Prieure, a Saint- Emilion grand cru classe. Normally we don’t like merlot, but this 100% merlot was easy drinking and fantastic flavour. So good in fact we had it each time we ate at Le Grand Colbert. Before you order a bowl of crisps and olives is bought to your table.

IMG_1340

Another visit we had the cheese plate after our meal.

Cheese plate
Cheese plate
One of our favourite butters in the world Beurre d'Isigny
One of our favourite butters in the world Beurre d’Isigny

On our other dinners Mr. CA4G kept to the steak frites with béarnaise while I tried the lamb cutlets with ratatouille, melon with pata negra(prosciutto) and the French classic,  Blanquette de veau was my final dinner in Paris.

Blanquette de Veau,
Blanquette de Veau,

Desserts were amazing if huge. I had two profiteroles with hot chocolate and an ice-cream filling, Mr. CA4G had a Mont Blanc that had chestnut ice-cream, chocolate sauce, cream, almond flakes. He loved it.

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
Profiteroles with chocolate sauce, ice cream filling
Profiteroles with chocolate sauce, ice cream filling

One thing we love about visiting European cities in summer is the sun doesn’t go down until 10pm, allowing for a post dinner stroll. Not far from Le Grand Colbert is Le Palais Royale and then Le Louvre, nothing like a bit of grand architecture after dinner.

So have you been to a restaurant featured in a movie? Was it what you expected? Le Grand Colbert lived up to ours, and should we happen to be in Paris again in the future, we will be heading back for more great food at Le Grand Colbert.

Bistro du Sommelier, Paris

Prior to our round the world trip in June and July, I researched places we would like to dine. I was particularly interested in ones that had a good reputation for food and wine matching. In my research I came upon Bistro du Sommelier in Paris. Owner Philippe Faure-Brac was ranked best sommelier in the world in 1992, best sommelier in France in 1988, and young sommelier in 1984.

Located on Boulevard Hausmann in the 8th Arrondisement, it is a short stroll from the Opera, past Les Grand Magasins. The long twilight makes for a pleasant stroll to and from the restaurant.

Bistro Du Sommelier
Bistro Du Sommelier
Bistro du Sommelier
Bistro du Sommelier

Behind the classic red exterior lies a dining room that has a simple rusticity to it. Cream stone walls, art work relating to wine and subtle colours abound so as not to distract from the real reason you are there, the food and wine. There is also a further dining area downstairs in the cellar.

Interior Bistro du Sommelier
Interior Bistro du Sommelier
Interior Bistro du Sommelier
Interior Bistro du Sommelier
Charger plate, Bistro du Sommelier
Charger plate, Bistro du Sommelier

There is the option of an a la carte menu or several degustation options. We decided to have a 5 course degustation with matched wines. Each table gets a slightly different menu and wines. You also have the option to play a little game where they don’t tell you what the wine is when they pour it. You have to guess the wine and region, if you can, you can also guess the vintage. I got three right out of the five. Vermentino and a sweeter style Grenache were my downfalls.

After some delicious house made bread, our first course arrived. Slices of salmon, caviar and crème fraiche. Simple and elegant. Our wine for this course was a 2012 vermentino from Clos Culombu, situated in Corsica. I have only had vermentino once before and that was at Pilu. This wine had us a little confused, it had some characteristics of sauvignon blanc so our first guess for the wine game was wrong. The Clos Culombu went really well with the salmon and caviar.

Salmon, Caviar, creme fraiche
Salmon, Caviar, creme fraiche
Clos Culombu, Vermentino
Clos Culombu, Vermentino

Our second course was a little tartlet with jamon and vegetables. The tart shell was flavoursome and light, and the filling was exceptional. I got the wine that went with this course correct. A chardonnay from Burgundy. Domaine Chevalier Pere & Fils, Ladoix.

Tartlet
Tartlet
Domaine Chevalier, Pere & Fils
Domaine Chevalier, Pere & Fils

Our third course was a simple but very tasty chicken with wild mushrooms, truffles and pommes de terre puree. Surprisingly this was served with a red wine, the earthy characteristics of the mushrooms and truffle were well suited to the wine. A 2002, Cru Bourgeois from Chateau Mayne-Lalande, in the Listrac-Medoc appellation of Bourdeaux. High percentage Cabernet Suavignon(60%) Merlot(30%) with a touch of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc(5% each). This was another that I got right. It made me feel very proud to say that the Cabernet Sauvignon was the predominant grape with Merlot being the other main grape.  I even got that it was a Bourdeaux blend correct.

Chicken, mushroom, truflles, pommes puree
Chicken, mushroom, truflles, pommes puree
Chateau Mayne-Lalande
Chateau Mayne-Lalande

Our fourth course was a nice selection of some great French cheese of which two were deliciously stinky, with the other being a more subtle aroma. The wine for this was a Domaine Duseigneur Par Philippe Faure-Brac, from Laudun in the Cotes Du Rhone. A blend of Grenache(60%) and Syrah(40%).  This wine is a joint collaboration between the owner of Bistro Du Sommelier and the Domaine Duseigneur vineyards. I got this one right too.

Delicious stinky cheese
Delicious stinky cheese
Domaine Duseigneur par Philippe Faure-Brac
Domaine Duseigneur par Philippe Faure-Brac

For our final course was a frozen chocolate confection topped with dark chocolate and nuts. Perfect for the hot weather we were experiencing in Paris at the time. This was also served with a red wine. Now dear readers I am sure you realise that chocolate and red wine are a great match. The wine with this was a fantastic match. A Mas Amiel Vintage 2009 100% Grenache, from the Maury AOC. This wine was sweet and but not overly so. I have since learnt that wines from Maury AOC are generally fortified, so it was a great experience to try a wine style that was quite different. Maury AOC is in the Roussillon wine region which has a bit of Spanish history to it,  being only a few kilometres from the Fance/Spain border, hence Grenache being a predominant grape in the region. Another great dessert wine that you may have heard about from the Roussillon region is Banyuls, also made from Grenache grape.

Chocolate dessert
Chocolate dessert
Mas Amiel, Vin Doux Naturel
Mas Amiel, Vin Doux Naturel

So our fabulous degustation at an end, we enjoyed a twilight stroll through the City of Lights, back to our hotel via La Madeleine, Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, Place Vendome and the Opera. A great way to end a fantastic meal.

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