Monday, May 24, 2010


How is it May 24th? No really, how did it go from being August 30th to May 24th in such a short time?! My time here has gone by so quickly. This year was supposed to help me figure out what I want to do with my life...oops! No i have a little but of an idea, but not really. (NYT dining and or travel section, call me.)

So, Ireland! I'd been wanting to go to Ireland since I was 9 and started Irish dance. It was my dream to dance there in a feis but oh well! While I liked Dublin, I enjoyed the country more. Galway is a "city" but it's extremely small and the whole place is walkable. It's on the Atlantic ocean and absolutely gorgeous. We were lucky and had some good weather which made it even better. Also, we heard Gaelic being spoken! So cool. I wish that it was the only language in Ireland, damn you England. Surprisingly, the food in Ireland was great! And cheap! We went on a day trip to Connemara which was stunning. We were there when the yellow flowers (that smell like coconut) were in bloom which made everything seem alive and spring like. We saw potato crops that failed during the famine and the only fjord in Ireland. I'm already thinking about where I want to go to the next time I go to Ireland-Belfast, Cork, and Kilkenny. There is so much history to that country that I just want to experience it all! It's probably because I'm of Irish decent, but being able to finally go there, see the places I've read about in history books and experience the culture firsthand was really rewarding.

It's HOT in Paris! Finally, sunshine has arrived and appears as if it will stay. I went to the Lucien Freud exhibit today. I got there ten minutes after the museum open, but it was already packed! Still glad I went, I love the way he paints skin. Sounds weird, but it's the truth. An old woman cut me in line at the museum...this has been happening to me a lot lately.

Then I went to the "nature in the city" semi-festival that is going on. Cool idea, but sort of silly in reality. Lets shut down the Champs Élysées for two days and put lots of crops and farm animals in it, that will show how much we value our food! It just seems like transporting everything (I'm not sure what happens to it after the festival) is probably not very eco friendly. There were little signs explaining what crops were, but they were very small and therefore hard to read. In my view, France seems to appreciate food and where it comes from much more than Americans. I'm not sure the festival was necessary.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Food Fail

I just went out to L'Agrume, a restaurant that was recently written up in The New York Times, also known as my bible. It was written up as one of the best restaurants in Paris for a prix fixe under 45 euros. After reading the review I could hardly wait to go and was so excited when my friend got a reservation.

I have been eating poverty pasta the last few days in preparation for my glorious meal. I even had a small lunch today so I would be hungry for dinner. Oh, the letdown.

The restaurant is small and mostly gray. The decor is not very welcoming and feels extremely outdated considering the place opened in December.

We got the 35 euro prix fixe menu that came with five courses. The first course was raw dorado with shavings of crab and a touch of sweet grapefruit. "Eh," was about all I had to say. It was extremely bland and did not make the rest of the meal seem promising. Still, I held out hope.

The second course was the potatoes with a foie gras foam that the NYT writer specifically mentioned. I liked the lightness of the foam which made the foie gras more delicate, but still nothing to write home (or in the NYT) about.

Then, more white fish. I will admit, the leeks that accompanied it were savory and delicious with the light sauce, but I did not pay 35 euros for good leaks. The fish might have been the driest fish I've ever had. I'm sorry, but that is just unacceptable!

The 4th course was a small game bird resembling quail. While the skin had a little crunch and was nicely complemented by the raisins and somewhat fruity sauce, it didn't seem to go with the rest of the meal. Until then, the dishes were light and springy, the bird was more reminiscent of a winter dish.

Finally, dessert. Compared to the other dishes, the dessert portions were huge. The milk chocolate ganache ball rolled in cocoa powder deemed "classic" by the NYT was boring to me. The bitter cocoa powder overwhelming the chocolate, which was too light of a chocolate anyway. While the panna cotta was probably the best part, the raspberry gel on top bordered on tasting artificial rather than homemade.

I realize I sound like a huge food snob, but as a student in Paris who is trying to be frugal I was really excited for a nice meal out. I trust the NYT and was extremely let down by their pick. I've had much better food for 35 euros. There were no bold flavors and many of the dishes lacked basic salt and pepper.

Sigh! I wanted to write a comment on the article, but this is clearly too long. I just had to get out my frustration.