July 6, 2018

Europe 2018 day 7: clowning around with bongwater

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After lunch we hit our first tourist spot - Musée National Picasso.  There was an exhibit about Guernica - one of Picasso's most famous works - so it was pretty interesting.  I've never been a big fan of this artist as I don't care for the Cubist movement, but Hello Kitty was very happy to have come.  I was kinda glad that I finally paid this place a visit after all these years.

We got back to the apartment just in time to watch the France vs. Argentina match for the World Cup, and it was a treat to watch it on a big screen in the comfort of air conditioning.  And it's a good thing that the French won, because we were worried that the cooks wouldn't be in the mood to make any sort of effort to cook for us tonight...

Dinner time rolled around, and we went back out on the Metro to get ourselves to Clown Bar - yet another one of the hipster hangouts that serves casual dishes with a bongwater-filled wine list.  I knew that Chef Sota Atsumi had left and will be opening up his own joint, but I figured this place was  probably still worthy of a visit in the meantime...

The menu was compact, and we sat at a tiny table outside where we were (almost literally) rubbing shoulders with our neighbors, but this is par for the course for Paris...  We picked out a few dishes that sounded good, and as a matter of fact, they were good.

Mackerel fritter / piquillos - what's not to like about deep-fried food?  Especially when the filling is mackerel, and you've got a nice, tempura-like batter made with squid ink.  The piquillos sauce was pretty nice, too.

Veal tongue / baby lettuce - the tongue came in very thin slices and were pretty tender, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.  The lettuce was drenched in a nice acidic dressing with a touch of mint.

Raw croacker fish / raspberry / Tropea onion - the croaker was raw and the texture was rather crunchy in the middle.  Served with bits of red Tropea onions from northern Italy along with perilla leaves, and raspberries for a little sweetness and acidity.

Duck and foie gras pie / date - pithivier is always a good idea, and I'm really glad we ordered it. 

It's always satisfying to bite into something like this... so hearty and rich, with a chunk of duck breast surrounded by minced duck as well as fatty foie. The date purée brought a little bit of sweetness to balance out the heavier jus.  I may have missed out on having the pithivier at Bozar Restaurant in Brussels yesterday, but at this very moment, this would do just fine.
Pigeon from Mesquer / smoked potato / Gernika pepper - another delicious plate.  Pretty interesting coincidence to be tasting some Gernika peppers which, naturally, are named after the town of Guernica made famous by Picasso.

Just look at the doneness on the pigeon breast.  Very, very tasty.  So simple.  So satisfying.

Tart / peach / ricotta / orange sorbet - I do wonder whether these were actually nectarines, as there was no fuzz on the outside.  The ricotta was, interestingly, hard and a little chewy.  A good mix of sweet and savory, with basil to perk things up a little.

Clown Bar is, of course, yet another #bongwater bar. So it's only fitting that I order some...

Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux - a blanc de blancs extra brut that showed crisp acidity.

2013 La Grande Colline Le Canon Rouge - a little fizzy, still fruity, some leather notes.  Pretty flat on the palate, especially when it's served at ambient temperature on a hot summer day.

I took the bottle from La Grande Colline because I wanted to try something made by Ooka Hirotake, and this was all they had. But, man... this was so uninteresting that even Hello Kitty complained about my choice of wine.  Needless to say we didn't bother to finish the bottle.

In spite of this, we had a very good dinner tonight.  Certainly more satisfying than our lunch today.  Now I'm curious about the new place that Chef Sota Atsumi will be opening up...

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