Grapes redux

Red muscat grapes from just north of Salies en Bearn.

Red muscat grapes from just north of Salies en Bearn.

In the interest of fairness and honesty, here is an update on a post from last week about making grape jam.  In that post, I mentioned (a bit snidely, I am afraid) that the older woman at the Saturday farmer’s market in Orthez, from whom I purchased grapes for jam making, promised a bulk discount but then miscalculated that discount in her favor…so much for faith in human nature.

Well, hold on, because the next Saturday, when shopping at the market, the same woman rushed up to grab my arm and say how happy she was to have found me again.  Evidently, after I left her stand with my grapes, she had realized her mistake fearing  that we would think that she had cheated us simply because we were foreigners, had searched the market and put her fellow venders on alert to look for a “tres grand” americain.  Not having had any luck, she had had to await the next Saturday market day in the hope that we would again be shopping.

She then make up for her error in calculation by giving us a big bag or grapes.

Makes my cynical old heart warm.

 

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Chez Canaille, Pau, France

 

Chez Canaille is a bistrot, pure and simple.  That means copious portions, a menu that is meat-centric, heavy on charcuterie and doesnt stray far from traditional and regional specialties and a wine list of well priced bottles  from lesser known appellations.  In other words, no modern monkey business.

Well, maybe a little modern monkey business.

Like the fact that the menu lists the provenience of pretty much every entrecote, pied de cochon, jambon, boudin and andouillette(and sole!) they serve as well as  good number of the vegetables, fruits and cheeses.   Or that the wine list is heavy on wines that are organic or natural or both.  Or that the person who designed the decor harbors a tongue in cheek romance for the look of old time bistros that borders on the ironic.

Favorite dishes include textbook plate of beef marrow bones finished with a drizzle of persillade (two bones, each 10″ long…the waiter actually asked “Vous avez tout fini?  C’est pas possible!”).

Or a 4-bone côte de porc roasted for two and served with garlic roasted in its skin, thick cut frites and an accompanying saladier of curly endive dressed with grain mustard vinaigrette (although I think that when there are 4 bones, it is officially no longer a chop but has become a rack…this one from a porc noir de Bigorre, the black pigs whose legs are famous as the source of some of the best hams in the world).

Or a choux a la crème the size of a soft ball, filled with crème chantilly and drizzled with caramel.

Like I said, a bistrot.

Chez Canaille
Address:  3 Rue du Hedas, 64000 Pau
Phone:  05 59 27 68 65
Reservations:  Yes for weekday lunch, when it is very busy
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Cafe Presse tops Seattle Restaurant Week for value

MARDI PRIX FIXE MENU AVAILABLE
SUNDAY TO THURSDAY

DURING SEATTLE RESTAURANT WEEK

What:  A fixed price menu with your choice of 2 or 3 courses at a great price
When: Normally, only on Tuesday, but between October 19 and30, available Sunday to Thursday  from 11am to 10pm
Where:  Café Presse of course!

Mardi Prix Fixe is Café Presse’s fixed price menu that lets YOU pick the number of courses you would like.  YOU make your choices from a special selection of seasonal dishes, then WE do the rest, all at a great price.

Normally only offered on Tuesdays from 11am to 10pm, during Seattle Restaurant Week, October 19 to 30, 2014, Mardi Prix Fixe will be available from Sunday to Thursday.

2 courses (starter + main course  or  main course + dessert)   $18
3 courses (starter + main course + dessert)                                    $23

PLUS:  Come in between 4pm and 6pm and also take advantage of Vin Expresse, when all bottles of wine are available in-house at our low take-out prices:  $9 to $15

For further information and reservations, call Café Presse at 206.709.7674

Corner Table Winter 2012 E-mail Promotion

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The finished jam, served with cheese from Ferme Lait Petit Bearnais.

Red Muscat grape jam

..and if life gives you grapes…

Red muscat grapes from just north of Salies en Bearn.

Red muscat grapes from just north of Salies en Bearn.

Fall in the Béarn is different than any weather I have experienced before.  Sure there is rain, even violent rain,  but there are also interludes of intense golden sunlight and clear blue skies between the towering storm clouds.  And the temperature jumps between 85 and 60 degrees as the fronts pass quickly over in succession.  Its not Seattle, that’s for sure. Continue reading

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Petite Dejeuner in the Béarn

Oct 2014 yogurt

When arriving in Orthez, our first stop, even before our house, is always our favorite  dairy,  Ferme Lait P’tit Béarnais.  A couple miles up the road from our house, this family-run organic farm features the output of their small troupe of 20 or so of the local tawny brown Bearnaise cows;  raw milk, sometime still warm from the animal, fresh cheese curds, fresh and aged cheeses and the best yogurt I have ever tasted.  This quick detour lets us avoid the horror of a completely empty refrigerator (no milk for morning coffee…nothing for breakfast…nothing at all!).

My favorite way to enjoy their yogurt?  With black cherry confiture, a local specialty.

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Mardi Prix Fixe to Debut this Tuesday

Café Presse is proud to announce

MARDI PRIX FIXE MENU

Every Tuesday from 11am to 10pm

What:  A fixed price menu with your choice of 2 or 3 courses at a great price
When: Every Tuesday from 11am to 10pm, beginning October 7, 2014
Where:  Café Presse of course!

Café Presse now offers a fixed price menu every Tuesday that lets YOU pick the number of courses you would like.  YOU make your choices from a special selection of seasonal dishes, then WE do the rest, all at a great price.

2 courses (starter + main course  or  main course + dessert)   $18
3 courses (starter + main course + dessert)                                    $23

PLUS:  Come in between 4pm and 6pm and also take advantage of Vin Expresse, when all bottles of wine are available in-house at our low take-out prices:  $9 to $15

For further information and reservations, call Café Presse at 206.709.7674

Corner Table Winter 2012 E-mail Promotion

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Fall menu 2014 starts at Café Presse

CP Oct 2014 fish

Fish of the day poached with fennel, Nicoise olives, white wine, lemon and fish broth, served with grilled fingerling potatoes.

Chef de cuisine Dre Neely rolled out his Fall 2014 menu last Thursday, featuring dishes that  highlight Fall produce and flavors.  The menu also marks the return of seasonal favorites such as raw oysters on the half shell, and French onion soup.

Here are some photos of the new dishes.  And check out the full menu on our website. Continue reading

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Fast Times at Café Presse

If you were asking yourself “Hey, isn’t that Café Presse on the cover of last Friday’s Weekend Plus section of the Seattle Times”, why yes it is, thanks for noticing.  Check out the article from Friday October 3, 2014.

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Raw Milk Comte

Comte Oct 2014

If you like cheese labels, or just like cheese, here is an interesting specimen…the label from a raw milk 12 month cave aged Comté.  Comté is sort of like a village designated gruyere, meaning it is one of the cheeses that fall broadly under the label “Gruyere” but comes from a smaller sub-area that has earned its own designation and AOC.

This monster, which weighed 90#, is from the Jura region, in the foothills of the French alps.  This cheese is delicious enough to eat as a cheese course, with flavors of fresh milk overwhelmed by the caramelized richness of age…it often develops salt crystals in the “mie” or meat of the cheese like an old Parmesan.  However, it is a multi-purpose cheese at both Le Pichet and Cafe Presse used in everything from omelettes and croques (Cafe Presse) to baguette sandwiches and bakes eggs (Le Pichet and Cafe Presse), even broiled on the top of our Gratin Lyonnais (also both, depending on the season).

 

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