Archive for the ‘Restaurant’ Category

Smoking with Frenchie

July 26, 2010

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He had me at hello. No seriously, I speak French like sling blade, so when Greg Marchand the chef at Frenchie in Paris said “Hello” in English, I was smitten. The meal that followed that night was one of the best examples of ingredient love and technique restraint that’s quite frankly hard to find in Paris. We started with the smoked trout, a mesquite smoked filet served over avocado puree with pickles and dill. Our main course was a pleasantly salty roasted fork tender pork over cranberry beans, with favas and baby carrots both sweet and still slightly crunchy. Dessert was a milky panna cotta just barely set and served with red fruit coulis and a topping of fresh raspberries.

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Francesco’s sugo al pomodoro

May 14, 2010

We poured flour onto the wooden counter and formed a well in the center. We cracked three eggs into the middle of the well and scrambled the eggs with a fork. We then kneaded the flour and eggs for 10 minutes into a smooth dough, and wrapped the ball of dough in plastic wrap to rest for 30 minutes. It occurred to me that this was the perfect time to ask Francesco, a true Italian, why Italian’s refer to this pasta making process as “like making love to a woman”? He looked at me, somewhat surprised, and said in his deep Italian accented English “well, I think it’s obvious.”

Francesco’s Italian eatery, Olio Pane Vino, has been open for a few years now. In the dozens of times we have eaten there, the daily chalkboard menu has listed the same pasta dish only three or four times. “Did you learn to cook from your grandmother?” I asked him once. “No, I left my home in Sicily when I was very young”, he recalled. “I was broke and had to learn to cook whatever I could afford, whatever I could find.” Now Francesco spends his time finding and importing to France great Italian products. Recently I had an Amatriciana type sauce made with a spicy sausage from Sicily. “The guy makes it in Sicily then drives around Italy in his tiny van selling it.” “I convinced him to come to Paris so I could buy some.” The sauce was delicious, smokey and spicy with hints of paprika.

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