Saturday, May 30, 2009

Church and State Bistro

Here are a few photos from a place serving traditional French bistro cuisine ... in downtown Los Angeles!

Scenes from the bar (le comptoir)

Bottles of wine, Cheese board and dessert board

Table setting, Roasted bone marrow, Salade frisee au lardon

Roasted chicken, Echire butter (the best butter in the world, IMO)

A bottle of wine, A view from the outside, Chef Walter Manzke

Church and State
1850 Industrial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 405-1434

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Paris in November

Allons enfants de la Cuisine. Le jour de gloire est arrivé ....

Well, not yet.

In November, I’m finally going to Paris! Actually, back in 1985, I was in Paris for four hours on my way to Brussels, but that doesn’t really count.

I’ll be in Paris for five nights, starting on Thursday night. In terms of eating, that would be about five dinners, five breakfasts, four morning snacks, four lunches, four afternoon snacks, four apertifs, and perhaps five midnight snacks. I’ll be traveling by myself. I just made a hotel reservation in the 7th arrondisement, close to Le Violon d’Ingres, La Fontaine de Mars and Au Bon Accueil. I could go visit such places as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, but on this vacation, I want to eat my way through Paris.

So far, I’ve told a few people about my vacation, and the suggestions have already started coming in. Trying to sort out all these recommendations can be a nice problem, I suppose. Mind you, I want to come up with an overall approach to Paris. Do I only dine at Michelin-starred restaurants? As a solo diner, how hard is it to make reservations at these high-end restaurants? I want to try some of the neighborhood bistros (bistrots). I also want to leave some room to discover places on my own, namely a spontaneous culinary tour to discover things. And I wouldn’t mind eating with a few Francophile foodies while I’m in Paris.

So far, here is my list of restaurants I want to dine at (subject to change): Arpege ; Astrance ; L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon ; Le Bristol ; Chez L’Ami Jean ; Le Comptoir de Relais Saint Germain ; L’Espadon ; Guy Savoy ; Le Meurice ; Pierre Gagnaire ; Le Violon d’Ingres

At this point in my vacation planning, I’m going to try and make reservations at three-star Michelin restaurants for lunch and eat at the various cafes and bistros near where I’m staying in the 7th for dinner, as well as snacking my way through the boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries, etc. I was told that I should have a back-up plan just in case my first choice is overly busy or closed.

In preparation for my trip, I’ve created a few Google maps:

Les restaurants (***) de Paris 2009

Les restaurants (**) de Paris 2009

Les restaurants (*) de Paris 2009

Les saveurs de Paris 2009

Although my Parisian vacation is six months away, any help would be appreciated.


The final dinner of my November 2008 vacation was at Manresa in Los Gatos. Chef David Kinch gave me a copy of my dinner menu. It was definitely the best meal of this vacation!

The Autumn Garden

Manresa Restaurant

November 10th, 2008

Petit fours “red pepper-black olive”

Garden beignets

Parmesan churros, anchovy

Pumpkin veloute ‘blue hubbard,” nasturtium ice cream

Arpege farm egg

Foie gras soup, oyster and apple

Japanese sea bream, sashimi style, exotic citrus

Mar y muntanya: root vegetables in wood ash, caviar from Iran

Spot prawns and yuba, heritage chestnuts with kohlrabi

Into the vegetable garden...

A risotto without rice, big fin squid

Autumn tidal pool

Squab, garden carrots with farro, meyer lemon preserve

Beef short ribs cardoons with bread crusts and chanterelles

[The wines of the evening]

[Tea service]

Crepe croustillant, persimmon and bourbon cranberry

Spice cake and coconut caramel, ginger-port pears

Chocolate-banana crème with huckleberries, burnt cinnamon

Petit fours “strawberry-chocolate”

Manresa Restaurant

320 Village Lane

Los Gatos, CA 95030

(408) 354-4330