Tag Archives: paris

The Best Onion Soup Ever = A memory of a life time

28 Dec

You know those occasions where you end up with a very strong memory of a place that it intrinsically attached to the food you ate at the time? Its nothing extravagant or expensive. Its just that the events, the company and the food come together so seamlessly to gie you a lasting memory. In my life so far I have been lucky to have a few, and this is definitely one of those.

There were many things that were unusual about this meal. For starters, we weren’t expecting it to happen. Sad and trapped in my the blizzard, we were put up in a hotel at Port de Clichy, which if you see the map of Paris, is on the northern outskirts.  To cheer ourselves up and to get something in our stomach, we decided to take a walk around the place. From what I remember, there was only one burger joint and two cafes in the area. We picked one called L’ Industrie and were glad to find that they had two things on their menu that we hadn’t managed to eat yet. Escago (that thing with the snails?) and Onion Soup.

Now my previous experience with Onion Soup has been very lukewarm to say the least. Its always been this watery, tasteless thing that I somehow never took to. So I was a bit uncertain when we ordered it. The place looked nice and all that (lovely old factory kind of interior) but I seriously doubted the quality of food.

Of course, I was proved wrong. Soon I would taste the most brilliant Onion Soup I ever have in my life (and I doubt I will ever again). It was just one of those things. Like destiny. It was this luscious deep brown thing that tingled on your tongue and warmed your soul. It is very hard to describe the feeling I had with that first spoon. It was an epiphany of sorts. That one spoon salvaged the disaster that this trip had become.

And I cant say enough about the bread in the soup. People forget how important the bread really is. And its forever treated like some irrelevant sidekick. But this was different. The bread had dignity. Even better, it had a character of its own. Fresh, laden with cheese, not too hard and not too soggy, it was like the ideal jugalbandi.

That Onion Soup will go down as one of the single most amazing things that happened to me on this trip. Its one of those things that will never repeat themselves, simply because I will never be able to replicate the circumstances that surrounded it. And it will remain with me till the end of my life, I can guarantee it.

Apart from the soup (but not as great) we tried other things there as well. Like this Farm-style Chicken in Rosemary Sauce with Mashed Potato…

…And this pan-roasted Goat’s Cheese Salad…

…After which we aptly ended with Chocolate Mouse and Gooseberry Tart. Yum.

So whats your strongest food memory?

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Omeletteee du fromaaaage!

26 Dec

Anyone remember that episode from Dexter’s Lab where all he can say is “Omle du fromage”? Always cracks me up!

Anyway, the reason it came to memory was that my next few posts are going to be about French food!

Friends Anjuly, Shuli and I took off to Paris for a few days last week. Now I know it sounds really rosy and beutifool and romantic, but let me straightway that if you were caught in that hellish blizzard for three days and had to bear the wrath of  Easyjet’s management, then my friend, a dreamy holiday can suddenly turn into a hellish refugee experience that makes you feel like Tom Hanks in ‘The Terminal’. (Plus my wallet got stolen in the metro. Eeek!)

But there were certain things that did salvage the trip, and for me, they were mostly connected with food! We didn’t have a big budget being students and all, so we used to spend on an average about 15 to 20 Euro per person per meal. Not bad, right?

So this first entry is about Crepes, since they’re among my favourite type of food. I had previously tried them in Mumbai and in Osaka, but never the real thing in its most authentic form. So this was really exciting!

We’d spent the day working up an appetite walking up and down the Louvre and then walking along the Seine, which was gorgeous by the way. A friend of Shuli’s, a resident of Paris suggested a “small green cafe with a lamp outside” in the island of Ile Saint Louis.

Shuli at Ile Saint Louis

We made our way there with rumbling stomachs and freezing to death only to find that there was more than one small green cafe with a lamp outside!! So we quickly did our ini-mini-mynie-mos and picked one at random! The thing is, I would tell you what the name of the place was, except I don’t have their card anymore because my WALLET GOT STOLEN!

Moving on.

The Crepes! Ah those wonderful silken fluffy thingies! SO light and SO delicious! Our first round was of savory crepes. I believe I ordered the “Complete” but without the egg. So basically, it had Ham, Cheese and home-style sauteed Mushrooms with Salad on the side. Now, a thing about savory crepes (crêpes salées) – they are made from a buckwheat flour which make them look dark brown as opposed to than the sweet crepes(crêpes sucrées) made of wheat flour which make them look creamish white. Anjuly ordered the same thing but with egg and Shuli ordered one with just Mushrooms and Cheese, no Tomato.

The complete "Complete"

 

With Mushrooms and Cheese

Traditionally, savory crepes are accompanied by cider to balance the salty with the sweet on your palate. So who said we’d be left far behind?

 

Cider - sparkling and sweetish

After demolishing the savory ones, we moved on to Dessert crepe!! Yay!

 

Banana and Chocolate crepe

That night as we were bragging about our exploits to a particular Parisian, friend of a friend, he suggested that if we really wanted to show our respect, we’d go simple rather than fancy shmancy. That meant only one thing : Crepe with Sugar. Only.We could add some lemon if we wanted. Apparently it tasted divine.

So the next morning, feeling all French approved, I asked the friendly waiter of the cafe beside our hostel to get me a Crepe Sucrees, with lemon.

“With watt?”

“With lemon, s’il vous plait.”

“With lemon?”

Here he tried very hard to stop his face from contorting into a frown. I shot a look at Shuli.

“Am I not doing this right?”

The waiter smiled his patronising smile and said, “Whatever you want.”

And then he got us  some lemon. A whole lemon.

“I guess its just a matter of taste,” said Shuli, trying to take the edge off our miserable attempt at being French.

 

Plain Crepe with Sugar

 

LemON!

French or not, it was great! Being a sucker for the sweet-and-sour combination, I had a rocking breakfast.

One last thing about Crepes. I never really understood the full extent of Nutella’s popularity and presence as an accompaniment to crepes until I went to Paris. I always thought it was one of those things that would never happen in Food mecca. Turns out, it does!

 

Shuli and Anjuli happy after a heary meal