Thursday, September 10, 2009


My first Michelin experience was at L'Arpege 15 years ago. After finishing touring the Rodin museum, I wondered into L'Arpege asking for a table for two without knowing that it was run by Alain Passard, one of the best chef in Paris, hence the world. Of course there was no table but maitre 'd asked us to wait a couple minutes for the chef to arrive. Alain showed up in a breeze. Then chubby friendly Alain asked to sit us. The intriguing flavor of "L'Arpege egg" which I gladly found at Manresa stays vividly in our minds.

When I popped in again 7 years later for lunch, still without a reservation. We ate, took picture of each course, chat with chef as much as we can (I swear to take French lessons but has not done so), get menu signed and took a picture with chef. Unfortunate, the camera was gone with my purse when I was robbed on the street of Paris. Spending hours at the police station, all I can think about was my picture with Alain Passard was gone and I would be off to US next day without chance going back to L'arpege again.

In the past couple of years, there have been so much controversial about Alain Passard's sudden change of completely vegetarian cuisine. Huge amount of diners paned his cuisine as over priced bad experience. Milton wanted to try something new and had reservation booked at L'Astrance, Ledoyen (which I later canceled after I saw Jay Payner's single sentence review), and L'Ambroisie. But I must go to L'Arpege and judge the cuisine for myself, I can't believe Alain can have anything not worth writing about.

This time I did not feel like taking the risk of not getting a table, Alain Passard is world's best chef after all. I did better than just dropped in. I asked hotel concierge to book same-day reservation for me. There we went for our first Michelin dinner of the trip.

Three of us ordered all six dishes of the vegetable menu. The flavors of L'Arpege's vegetables are so fragrant, never had anything close to it. "Celebration of Vegetables, not vegetarian."

Alain Passard recommended us Meursault but I can't pass this bottle of 2004 Chevalier Montrachet.
Lime, mineral, high acidity, a fabulous wine

Amuse Bouche

Tomato Carpaccio w/ mustard ice cream

Carpaccio is a thick puree with coarse texture so we can feel freshness of the tomato. Mustard seeds in the ice cream giving us spicy surprises every sip.

Musclun flourished in hazelnut
choho, mibuna, mizuna, red giant, arugula, cress

Natural tomato
the white tomato is fragrant and sweet tasted like white peach

Collection Ephemere (1)
color flavor and fragrance of garden design

Celery-root risotto (not rice risotto w/ celery root)

Harlequin's jacket
Eggplant, forono beet, turnip, zucchini zephyr, cuscus

Fines ravioles potagères, consommé végétal
summer vegetable ravioles

Collection Ephemere (2)
color flavor and fragrance of garden design

Thin sliced, freshly blenched celery root with Parmesan, so fragant that I keep put my nose close the plate. Our favorate dish of the night.

1999 Nuits-St-Georges from Emmanuel Rouget
brick orange color,
complex and well balanced with strawberry kiwi fruit, grassland earth tone, and acidity

The only problem is L'arpege ran out of burgundy glasses. I got the last one. We were like haroin addicts, sharing needle back and forth.

Needles lobster from Chausey of Normandy
Lobster is lightly buttered with yellow wine. Potato, size of pinky, equally great if not better than lobster, is full of intense flavor with texture soft like beets.

Herb roasted lamb

Sweetbreads from Correze of Limousin France
sage, hyssop, marjoram

At the upper left corner is the best cheese we ever have, Vintage cheese from Bernard Antony of Alsace. Looks like crystal and taste like bacon.

3 macarons du jardin

Tomate confite farcie aux douze saveure

Best dessert in the world: Tomato stuffed with twelve ingridients, apple, pear, pineapple, lemon, giner, orange, almond, pistachio, cinimon, clove, honey, vanilla. Ice cream with flavors of mint, lemon grass, levander and basil.

Tarte aux pommes Bouquet de Rose


1 comment:

  1. レイバン サングラスをかける自分の姿を想像して、英雄のように世界を闇から救いたいと思いました。「邪悪を罰して、善を勧め」というようなことを単純に考えていただけです。ところで、偏光モデルの中にレイバン aviatorが一番多いそうです。自分が好きなモデルはレイバン RB3025です。