Tuesday, 28 June 2011

At l'Affriolé Bistro for Dinner on a Summer Evening

There are some changes I look forward to, like the change in seasons. Along with that comes changes in the food we eat. And I love to eat good food, healthy food, and some decadent food, occasionally.

I can't resist but share my most recent l'Affriolé bistro visit with you, one more time, as it has been a pleasant experience all over again. Eating here gives me new ideas about what to serve and how to serve food in an attractive, tasty, and healthy manner. Or, simply to discover a place where good food is served at all times is a great find. And this is one, such place!
We went back to l'Affriolé to celebrate my daughter's birthday - it was her choice. It was an early summer evening dinner reservation and we were the first ones to get to the restaurant. I was so excited to note the summer menu, with new offerings of seasonal foods.
 We had the customary warm bread with olive butter, complimented by the sharp, biting, peppery-flavored crisp, elongated, small radishes, with a tablespoon of salt

I just found out - under culinary uses for radish, that they are served with butter and salt in French breakfast preparations. That counts as something fresh and raw and fits one of my requirements for a good breakfast, sans sel (without salt). I just got an idea - this will be a good accompaniment to my omelette aux herbes fraîches (omelet with fresh herbs).

After figuring out all the courses in their French descriptions, I ordered the specials of the day:
The dinner formule - entrée, plat du jour, et dessert - cost 35 euros per person. Except for the le plat du jour special for this day, there was a supplemental fee of 12 euros.

Entree: a refreshing, cold Gazpacho de Tomate, served with skewered deep-fried vegetable balls and a serving of melon salsa. 

The melon salsa was something new to my taste buds and I liked it.  If I were to make it, I would just add diced melon to my tomato salsa recipe...making it a fruity salsa, just like the mango salsa.

Le plat du jour: Crevette de Nouvelle Caledonie, a la plancha, fleur de courgette aux girolles (Grilled shrimps from New Caledonia served with fresh zucchini flower, filled with sautéed girolle mushroom.)

Take note of the frothy white stuff. It was airy but tasty. I couldn't quite figure out what it was. At the end of the meal, I asked our gracious server about it and he answered that it was "spumone de parmigiano." Did you get that? It's something that has parmesan cheese. By definition "spumone" is a cold, ice cream-like preparation. One of it's key ingredients is whipping cream. In conclusion, this was an airy version with a hint of parmigiano. What a pleasant, added taste that was to this dish. How to make this bubbly mass is a secret that remains with the chef. 

Dessert: Soupe de Fruit Frais (Literally translated as a 'soup of fresh fruit' - made up of diced apricot, melon, apple, and strawberry covered by a frothy light cream and topped with a scoop of strawberry sorbet and garnished with a fresh strawberry, a sprig of mint, and a green tinted sheet of caramelized sugar). What a perfectly refreshing ending to a summer meal!

You will notice that in the other food presentations, the frothy mass is a summer signature, while the different colored sheets of caramelized sugar add a touch of fancy to the food.

From the ala carte selection:
Entrée: Brandade de morue, péquillos et huile d'olive
 (Salted cod, piquillo peppers and olive oil)

Le plat: Thon rôti aux olives noires, aubergines et tomates
 (Roasted tuna with black olives, eggplant purée and tomato salsa, garnished with a sheet of -fan-shape caramelized sugar and basil leaves)

Dessert: Supréme de mangue et melon 
(Mango and melon supreme - diced magoes covered in a bubbly light cream and garnished with a skewered slice of a slightly caramelized melon, garnished with a green-colored sheet of caramelized sugar with a scoop of melon sorbet behind it) 

As for our celebrant who is a celiac and a vegetarian, a specially designed meal was prepared for her by chef Thierry Varola - gluten-free:
Entrée: Salade Verte aux vinaigrette de ciboulette et moutard   
(A green salad - chopped romaine lettuce - dressed with a chive/Dijon mustard vinaigrette, attractively served in a flower - shaped, red salad bowl.)

Le platUne grande variété de légumes cuits à la vapeur et sautés (a variety of vegetables - "asperge" steamed asparagus with the creamy bubbles, "courgette" sauteed zucchini, and fresh tomato salsa) 

With an advance notice given to the maitre'd that this was a birthday celebration, they placed a birthday candle on her dessert choice: Sorbet des frais, poire, et citron (strawberry, pear, and lemon sorbet)

To say that we had a fantastic, enjoyable and refreshing gastronomic experience simply means that we will be back in this place, again, sometime soon. Each food ordered was prepared with such precision and promptly served. What an art! I truly appreciated the gourmet, artistic creations that were coming out of the kitchen, each time, as eye candies that intensified our appetites. What culinary creations await us will be something to see and taste in the next season of food tasting. I can't wait!

A gastronomic experience is a factor in tourism. Your lasting memories of a place you have traveled to is both experienced by what you see and what you taste. Bon appétit!

17 rue Malar 75007 Paris France
Tel. no. 01 44 18 31 33

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