I had my eating under great control yesterday, which was good because I was in for a night out with Kelley at a local new restaurant called Southside Bistro, a place I did a story on right after they opened.
Kelley and I are lovers of anything French, so when we saw that this restaurant was up and being run by TWO ACTUAL FRENCH PEOPLE, we were in.
Owner Isabelle Garcia was a total gem to talk to, born in Southern France and a woman who traveled the world with Club Med and accepted a position with Les Halles Group in New York City in 2000. There she met her partner at Bistro, Chef Gwenaël Le Pape, who you may actually know as the champion of Food Network’s “Chopped.” When I spoke to him, he regaled me with tales of how to obtain true frog’s legs and how to know if a lobster is alive or not by pinching its eyes. He was a downright pip, and the passion for French cuisine was evident in both he and Garcia, so Kel and I knew we were in for a treat. (Feel free to read my story here.)
We already had a plan of attack going in thanks to the online menu: burgundy escargot in garlic herb and butter sauce, portobellos stuffed with pesto and goat cheese, blood pudding sausage, and ratatouille were MUSTS. We got as French as we possibly could.
The first two served as our appetizers and, while the mushrooms were wonderful, the escargot REALLY stood out. Yup, we’re talking snails. We were both so nervous to try them, but bravely skewered one a piece with a fork and popped ’em in our mouths. It was not at ALL slimy like I anticipated and actually held a lot of meat for a little thing! The sauce certainly helped, as did the pieces of bread provided along with it; we ended up putting one on a piece and eating it that way, which hampered some of the meatiness.
You can better see the escargot on the left photo with me in it – they’re the lil black bundles nestled next to the bread. So good! And yes, we totally took photos of each other from across the table.
Those were what we were most nervous about – the next batch of nerves come out of the blood pudding sausage. Like, how gross does that even sound?
It’s a type of sausage made by cooking blood or dried blood with a filler until it’s thick enough to congeal when cooled. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can tell you that French-style blood pudding sausage is as such:
In France, boudin is traditionally prepared in charcuteries, shops that prepare mainly pork products (and sometimes duck and game), but also sell smoked and dried sausages, pâtés, and terrines, along with prepared salads. It is usually called boudin noir, is often made with cream and has apples or onions as a filler. It is generally served with either cooked apples, mashed potatoes or both, and is appreciated by combining either the apples or mashed potatoes with each bite of boudin, which has been gently heated and browned in butter.
It was called “boudin noir” on our menu, and it came with mashed potatoes, caramelized apples and a waffle crisp – THANK GOD. I am so picky when it comes to texture, and this sausage would definitely NOT have passed my test if not for the accompanying food. I tried my first bite of it alone, and it was too much.
First of all, when you cut into it, it crumbled apart and looked like – of all things – chocolate cake. Too bad it didn’t taste like it. It wasn’t gross, by any means at all, but it was just better when mushed in with the potatoes or coupled up with some apples (which were très bien). It was totally doable, and I ate most of it. The ratatouille, which is an all veggie dish, was also scrumptious.
At that point the escargot won out as a favorite – and then we went with dessert and my second-almost-first favorite hit the table: Crêpe Suzette Flambée with Grand Marnier. I could not tell you what that means, except it was a crêpe and it tasted orange-y and was AMAZING. Kel went with a chocolate molten cake, which was equally good, but you can find that at, like, TGIFriday’s, so I like mine way better.
Did I also mention that the building we were in was once a bank, and adorable inside? Because it was.
And so that was me SORT of ruining my good eating for the day. I say sort of because that stuff was pretty all-natural food to me, and I loved it.
And I was up again at 5:30 today, WODed a 7 minute one that consisted of thrusters at 45 pounds and pull-ups going 3/3, 6/6, 9/9, etc. (I made it to the 15 round, got 10 thrusters in), and then afterwards I spent some time on the air dyne and had my rope cut down so I could work on double unders. I showered at the box and even threw some lipstick on, despite the fact that it was a miserable -4 degrees this morning.
And it felt good. I feel good. Things are just so….good.