Friday, February 12, 2010

Day Two: Le Paris-Toulouse, Josephine "Chez Dumonnet"

Valentine's Day came a little early for the Davidson-Rothman household! Every year we take turns being in charge of making plans. Typically, a romantic Jeff-hosted household involves dinner at home, with him shopping for and cooking at least part of the meal. And equally typically I will flee the kitchen and make reservations at the nicest restaurant in town.

This year it was Jeff's turn, and - having been told Valentine's Day is not widely celebrated by French couples - he waited until late last week to make reservations. So as it turned out we had to celebrate tonight, but no one's complaining. Josephine "Chez Dumonnet" is, as Zagat opines, one of the last great old bistros in the 6eme. Snuggled into a sleepy block on Rue-Cherche Midi, almost to Boulevard Montparnasse, JDC sports lovely tin ceilings, white tablecloths and black-vested waiters. I won't go into too much detail on the menu or the food, but suffice to say I ordered (and consumed too much of) an entire petit sauvage (small, wild) duck, and we were parked there for three and a half hours, reminiscing about our quite romantic year in Paris.

But enough - on to dessert - which was the house special, the "Paris-Toulouse," which was described to us as a pastry with framboises (raspberries) and as you'll see, looked like a huge bagel with cream cheese and, ok, raspberries, and made us laugh out loud. Thankfully we were warned about the restaurant's generous portions and had already agreed to share dessert - and when we sliced into the "bagel" we were not sorry. The pastry was soft, buttery, delicious. A perfect balance to wonderfully fresh and tart raspberries, as well as the cream. Ah, the cream. Where do I start with French cream? If it's any good it comes from a region called Chantilly - and this cream certainly did - rich, slightly sweet, an ideal complement to the fruit and pastry.

Alongside, as you'll see, we were served what I'm guessing was a homemade sorbet but really tasted more like an Italian ice, for lack of a better term - intensely fruity, tart, and refreshing after not only a rich dessert but an absolutely decadent meal. If you visit Paris and stay on the Left Bank we would both highly recommend Josephine "Chez Dumonnet." Just order a nice bottle of wine and get comfy. You're there for the evening - and that's a good thing.

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