April 3, 2009

Farewell lunch

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It's my last good lunch before flying off to France tomorrow, and it just happened to be a Friday Lunch Club gathering at Caprice, one of my favorite restaurants in town. Our fake Indian has blown us off for some "work thing," so on this occasion a new member was inducted into the club. Another Froggie! The balance has now shifted...

We decided to have a glass of wine with lunch, much to my surprise. I guess I should have brought my own bottle... I picked the 2004 Rollan de By, the wine that was introduced to me last year by François Mauss of Grand Jury Europeen. I always thought that this wine made by Jean Guyon was delicious. Today it showed a nose of sous bois, brett, smoked meats and a hint of coffee. Classic Bordeaux that was smooth on the palate. Very nice.

I started with the Écaille d'Argent oysters with crème fraîche topped with yuzu granita and grapefruit marmalade as the amuse bouche. The oyster itself is nicely balanced between creamy and briney, and the combination with the slightly sour crème fraîche and yuzu granita as well as the sweet marmalade made for an interesting mouthful.

Next came the green asparagus soup with poached quail eggs and lemon Chantilly. The Vaucluse asparagus made for a very tasty soup with beautiful color. There were three soft poached quail eggs in the bowl, and there were cumin seeds sprinkled on top of the lemon Chantilly cream. An asparagus spear was sliced in half and made into a tempura on the side. Wonderful stuff but I'm starting to get full...

The lamb shoulder pastilla with sweet harissa and young green herbs was absolutely divine. The succulent braised lamb was wonderfully tasty, baked with oriental spices inside a phyllo pocket. The harissa - made from roasted peppers - worked well with the dish. One of my friends practically inhaled the whole dish...

Next comes my favorite part - the cheese! Jeremy gave us a sampling of four, and the original Froggie kept drooling while watching the preparations.

Saint Félicien from Burgundy was a bit nutty and not too salty. It's a very runny cheese, which prompted one of us to use her fingers to wipe the plate clean...

The Brin d'Amour was served on a piece of garlic toast, and Jeremy dripped olive oil all over the cheese. This cheese from Corsica is interesting in that the rind is covered with herbs like rosemary and thyme. With all those herbs plus lots of garlic and olive oil, how could this not be a delicious piece of cheese?!

The 4-year Comté was wonderful as usual... and this particular wheel was made from the October milk of the cow, said to be the last and the richest.

Finally, the Cabri Ariégeois from Pyrénées was pure liquid like a Mont d'Or. Pretty salty, but very yummy. I actually needed a bit of bread to go along with this.

For dessert there was the salted caramel macaroon with marinated blood orange and carambar ice cream. I loved the "mini-burger" with the blood orange, and the caramel ice cream with caramel sauce was just awesome.

We were all extremely full but everyone was happy. All the troubles seem to have melted away after the meal... and I have my friends at Caprice to thank for.


Anonymous said...

I think the dessert is "macaron", not macaroon. Macaroon is a coconut-based dessert.

Babedolphin said...

To Anonymous,

Even though generally Macaroons outside France as different, there is nothing wrong with calling it a Macaroon, its a non-French spelling. 2ndly, its more or less a very general term, based on the same concept and size on the original Macarons with various fillings and ingredients. Its like arguing a poodle doesn't look like a labrador, therefore its not a dog.

Even La Maison du Chocolat markets it as 'Macaroons' in their shops - just as they spell Chocolat as Chocolates to be consistent in English.

Besides, if you want to be technical, Macaroon isn't a coconut-based dessert anyway. That would be specially called a Coconut Macaroon. Seems like the Wikipedia article authors were ill-informed again.


Peech said...

I find it amusing to be corrected by someone on the naming of the dishes, especially since I almost always copy verbatim from the restaurant's menu... and Caprice has called this a "macaroon"


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