WillEat4Food
Sometimes the most memorable dish is not necessarily the tastiest. 
This is a chocolate cigar with coffee cream filling and spicy cigar sorbet.  The “spicy” cigar sorbet had cigar in it. When you ate it, the spiciness tingled on your throat like you were actually smoking a cigar. While the taste is debatable, the experience of eating sorbet and feeling cigar smoke is a memorable experience

Le Belvedere, Annecy, France, June 4th, 2012

Sometimes the most memorable dish is not necessarily the tastiest. 

This is a chocolate cigar with coffee cream filling and spicy cigar sorbet.  The “spicy” cigar sorbet had cigar in it. When you ate it, the spiciness tingled on your throat like you were actually smoking a cigar. While the taste is debatable, the experience of eating sorbet and feeling cigar smoke is a memorable experience

Le Belvedere, Annecy, France, June 4th, 2012

Just when you think you’re full from the 8-10 savory courses, it’s time for the dessert courses. We start with the cheese cart. It’s particularly fun to pick cheeses when the waiter does not speak any English. 

The first sweet dessert is a bar of tanzania chocolate with vanilla cream and a chocolate ice cream. The simplest home made can be the best bite on a plate.

Then with tea you get a raspberry tart, strawberry panacotta, and a marshmallow with vanilla and honey. Nothing amazing, but nice treats if you like little bites with your tea.

Le Belvedere, Annecy, France, June 4th, 2012

Braised Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Morel Mushrooms in a Morel Cream Sauce. This was the heartiest dish I ate during my time in Annecy. In a city whose cuisine highlights are fresh, local vegetables, this reminded me of a brisket and mashed potatoes plate at Tommys Joint in San Francisco. The interesting characteristic I didnt notice until I looked at the picture afterwards is that this dish is really a Sheppard’s pie in the form of a tartare. The braised beef is the raw steak/fish, the mashed potatoes are the avocado, both inverted. The morel mushrooms are like the egg that brings it all together, and chips are the toasted bread that regularly accompanies a tartare.
It was hearty and delicate, but honestly I would still prefer a cheap slow braised brisket. 
Le Belvedere, Annecy, France, June 4th, 2012

Braised Beef with Mashed Potatoes and Morel Mushrooms in a Morel Cream Sauce. This was the heartiest dish I ate during my time in Annecy. In a city whose cuisine highlights are fresh, local vegetables, this reminded me of a brisket and mashed potatoes plate at Tommys Joint in San Francisco. The interesting characteristic I didnt notice until I looked at the picture afterwards is that this dish is really a Sheppard’s pie in the form of a tartare. The braised beef is the raw steak/fish, the mashed potatoes are the avocado, both inverted. The morel mushrooms are like the egg that brings it all together, and chips are the toasted bread that regularly accompanies a tartare.

It was hearty and delicate, but honestly I would still prefer a cheap slow braised brisket. 

Le Belvedere, Annecy, France, June 4th, 2012

2 of the Entrees at Le Belvedere, Annecy

1. Slow cooked rabbit and carrots and mustard seed, in rabbit and chestnut gravy. Notice the carrot and mustard sauces above at the top of the plate. This was a common theme of dotted sauces that you can drag different foods through for sauce. 

2. Perche Fisch with red pepper sauce and crushed red tomatoes. Perche is a local lake fish. It takes real finesse to a make lake fish taste good, but it common at high end restaurants in Annecy. Again the sauces are dotted to to drag the fish through them. The best the thing we ate all night though is the crushed red tomato chutney. It was incredibly light and flavorful. When I spent a few days in Lyon, I ate so much delicious butter sauces my stomach hurt for week [link to paul bocuse}. In Annecy, my 4 favorite dishes were all vegetables [links to white asparagus and 2 from engagement dinner], shocking for a meat lover like myself.

June 4, 2012, Annecy, France

Trio of Fois Gras

First, home made foie gras torchon with vanilla in middle, fig marmalade on left, red poppy juice on right. The fun of this dish is combining all 3 elements for a sweet marmalade and salty foie gras bite. 

Second, sweet and sour foie gras with strawberry sauce in a lemon meringue. This is an Asian inspired dish, a play on pork bun dim sum: the pork has been replaced with foie gras and sweet bun replaced with meringue. It reminded me of the Paul Bocuse signature foie gras [LINK] which was also sweet and sour, but NOT Asian inspired because he invented in decades before french-asian fusions became trendy. This was the best of trio.

Third, white asparagus and seared morrel mushrooms with a foie gras consume. While this brought as the third “foie gras dish,” the real star was the julienned white asparagus, which was light, delicate and delicious. The foie gras consume is similar to the foie gras soup at La Folie[LINK], clever but cannot live up to seared foie gras. 

Place setting at Le Belvedere in Annecy France. We had to ask for a new table because our first table was slanted. 
June 4th, 2012, Annecy France

Place setting at Le Belvedere in Annecy France. We had to ask for a new table because our first table was slanted. 

June 4th, 2012, Annecy France

This is my favorite street in Paris, Rue Cler. It’s tiny but filled with various exotic french foods. From cheeses you can smell blocks away, to colorful meringues that draw you in to the bakeries, I could have spent all day and 3 meals here. 

September 2011, Paris, France.

The first picture is in front of Paul Bocuse, the landmark restaurant of Paul Bocuse considered by many to be the Chef of the Century, and the father of french cuisine. He  is considered to have single-handedly made Lyon the epicenter of french cooking. 

The second picture is inside the Paul Bocuse kitchen at the end of the night. It was completely spotless… AFTER a full night of cooking.

September 19, 2011. Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

After many courses of mind blowing savory foods at Paul Bocuse, you better save space for the cheese and dessert selection. You don’t just choose one, but literally all you can eat, which unfortunately isn’t much after the rich butter sauces in the menu. First, a cheese basket is brought. Then a small cup of chocolate mousse as a “dessert appetizer.” Then a platter of candies and cookies to have with coffee/tea. Finally, a caravan of carts is rolled out around you. One cart is ice cream and fruit sauces, the others are a variety of pastries and brulees. I tried to order only 1 dessert, but was told by the waiter I had to try more things. It was time to find that extra compartment in my stomach!

September 19, 2011. Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

If it wasn’t hard enough to cook a whole fish, at Paul Bocuse they cook it with a puff pastry on top and a lobster mouse inside! The waiter de-bones the fish, then re-assembles it on your plate with a choron sauce, which is bernaise mixed with tomato sauce. This is one of the best entrees I’ve ever eaten. The fish was perfectly cooked tender and the pie crust was perfectly crisp, which left me in awe at how you can cook both at the same time perfectly. The sauce was immaculately smooth from the butter and flavorful from the tomato  making a typical french butter sauce grand. It was all so spectacular you almost forgot there was also a lobster mousse inside!

September 19, 2011. Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

This is without a doubt the best foie gras I have ever had. The flavors were spectacular: buttery perfectly seared foie gras accented with a smooth, sweet and slightly sour roasted apple and raisin gravy/reduction. The foie gras sits on polenta which absorbs the decadent sauce. The crunch of the potato chip to offset the softness of the foie gras topped it all off, literally. Decades before sweet and sour apple sauces were called “asian fusion” and polenta became a common side at trendy Mexican restaurants, Paul Bocuse was inventing dishes like this—traditional french cuisine and techniques. 

Ironic considering the dish was invented in France decades before “Asian fusion” became trendy in the US.

September 19, 2011. Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

China and wine glass at Paul Bocuse. When you’re the Chef of the Century, or the Michael Jordan of cooking, everything is branded. 

September 19, 2011. Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

No words to describe this souffle, the final photo in the bottom right tells it all. 

Smoked & Braised Natural Short Ribs whole grain mustard spaetzle, Sicilian pickles, quince paste & smokey horseradish jus.

Like the Yellowfin Crudo, the key aspect of this dish was the contrast of texture between the insanely tender short rip and the surprisingly crunchy spaetzle. The saltiness of the pickles added a bit of balance to an otherwise incredibly savory dish.  

Potato dough Raviolo filled with spinach and ricotta, black truffles, farm fresh egg yolk, sage browned butter. This dish is an experience, not just good food. First you cut into it, and a perfectly cooked egg seeps out. Then you take the potato dough, which reminded me of a gnocchi, and soak up the egg and sage browned butter. Then you make sure you have the perfect proportion of the egg and butter, potato dough, and the spinach ricotta filling. Finally, take a bite!

Best dish of the night!

Bottega, Yountville. April 7th, 2012