Tuesday, June 12, 2007

l'Ami Louis

Our first night in Paris Katie and I went to la Petite Chaise, which is where my grandparents and I ate one evening when they visited me during my time studying abroad. The second night, though, Katie's dad got us a table at l'Ami Louis. That meal was by far the better (and longer) of the two, though I'm still fond of the soupe à l'oignon gratinée at la Petite Chaise. It's a tiny restaurant, very cozy, and a lot of fun.

We started off with the terrine of foie gras. Now, I'd had foie gras several times before, and always felt rather iffy about it. It's one of those things where I knew it was widely acknowledged to be special and tasty, but I couldn't really bring myself to embrace it fully--I just didn't think it tasted all that great, but I would eat it when it was put in front of me. This, however, was another story. Maybe it was the delicious toasted bread that made it for me, but it was like no other foie gras I've ever had. My rather hesitant enthusiasm was nothing to Katie's, though, and she ate two slices to my one.

Next up was the roast chicken, which we split. What an awesome bird that was. I have a new standard to live up to with my own roast chicken efforts. They brought each of us a leg and half of the breast, and what with the sides of mushrooms (the most delicious sautéed whole mushrooms I've ever had--they must have used an obscene amount of butter) and frites (a veritable mountain of them--we only managed to finish half), by the time we finished our plates of chicken we were thinking it was a good thing that we only had dessert left. (Katie was joking that they'd have to get a dolly and roll her out of the restaurant and back to the hotel.) But no! When they said it was a whole chicken, they really meant it was the whole chicken, and they came back with the wings! And this was not a small bird, either. It was a good thing the chicken was so delicious, because otherwise I don't think we would have managed it. But we did--after all, we were in training for lunch at El Bulli (which would take place three days later), and we had to be sure that our stomachs wouldn't cry "uncle" midway through that much-anticipated meal.

Finally, though, it was time for dessert. We didn't skimp, we ordered the chocolate cake AND the fresh berries. The cake wasn't so much a cake as a thin dacquoise with a thick layer of chocolate mousse on top, dusted with cocoa powder. Yummmm. The berries (blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries) were the most delectable ones I've had since picking fresh ones in my parents' garden last summer. And we got a little bonus when we asked the table next to us what on earth they were eating. Katie and I had never seen such things before, but apparently they were mangosteens, and the people at that table generously offered us a couple to eat ourselves. They were amazing. Talk about a transcendant fruit. I would love to find them again, but I have no idea where to get them in the US--or even if they can be found. Anyone have ideas?


Brave Sir Robin said...

mangosteens are, I think currently banned for import to the mainland.

There was an article on them in the NYT about a year or so ago. I have never had one.

Anne said...

Hmph. Well, I guess I'll just have to go back to l'Ami Louis. :D Or maybe to southeast Asia!

Anonymous said...

I think I might still be full from this meal.