Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sophie's Bistro for Bastille Day Fete

Yes, I am very nostalgic about my trip last year to Paris. It doesn't seem as if it has been a full year. To keep in the spirit, I am joining in on two celebrations for Bastille Day. No, it is not the Eiffel Tower, but this time I get to drink that fine French wine from a glass instead of a plastic container. Curious? See July 2007.

On with the celebration of Bastille Day in Phoenix!

La Fete de la Prise de la Bastille
5 Course Tasting Menu

This was truly a magnificent meal. Dinner reservations were for 7PM and the restaurant was nearly full. Serge seated me at the "table reservation pour deux". I practiced a few of my French phrases as I inquired about his day and wished him well. Then he started a full conversation (the French have a tendency to do this with me when they think that I can chat about more than the pleasantries) and I answered the best I could and switched to English as a sign that he had exhausted my vocabulary. I invited Karl to join me in the Tasting Menu at Sophie's as I hoped that he would be adventuresome enough to enjoy any items on the menu that were new to him. Little did I know that many things on the menu were new, but he mustered the courage to try (knowing that he had sandwich materials at home in case he starved.) Michelle stopped by with a carafe of water and a conversation about the Tasting menu and the regular menu.

Course 1
Foie Gras Torchon served with brandy braised pistachios, dark chocolate croque en boucheand a cherry balsamic compote.

Yes, this is what you think it is. But it was so beautiful that it was easy to dig in and enjoy it. I had never had Foie Gras before and found it to be slightly salty but very tasty. There were wonderful flavors to blend on the plate, and the little boucheand was filled with wonderfully warm dark chocolate. It was difficult to resist scraping the plate to get every last taste.

Wine pairing: (Michelle suggested all of the wine pairings and was gracious enough to suggest splitting a glass so that we could have a unique taste with each course. Go, Michelle! Remy Pannier - Vouvray - 05 - (Chenin Blanc) (France) Slightly sweet.

Course 2
Escargot en Croute served with tomato confit and Pernod cream sauce.

Escargot. Yes, snails. But these were not your garden variety. These were very tasty with flavorful garlic. It was difficult to contain a moan with every bite.

Wine Pairing: Chateau de la Ragotiere - Muscadet - 06 - (France)

Course 3
Frisee Salad with caramelized apples, crispmarinated fennel, candied Marcona almonds with a Sherry shallot vinaigrette.

Michelle suggested to cleanse the palette with this course. No wine pairing.

Course 4
Roasted Rack of Lamb rubbed with Juniperand Cardamon and served over whipped Chevre Potatoes, baby vegetables and wild rosemary demiglace.

Wow. Beyond belief. Perfectly done and very tender.

Wine pairing: La Crema - Pinot Noir - 06 (Sonoma Coast)

Course 5
Rich Chocolate Souffle infused with fresh coriander and served with Capuccino Creme Anglaise.

Mmmmmm. How can this be described? Warm chocolate souffle. Michele (our grand server) brought two spoons to the table. She gently opened a hole in the middle of the souffle and poured in the Capuccino Creme Anglaise. This was so rich and elegant tasting. More moans came from our table, and then we noticed that the table next to ours was also enjoying the same delights. Phil and Kay started chatting with us about the wonderful food, and of course the conversation went to the other great restaurants in the area. I gave Kay the blog address and invited her to post more comments about their experience so check the comments to get a second opinion. It seems that we have one degree of separation, as she knows the woman, Dr. Julie from Rio Salado, who nurtured my return to start my degree frenzy many moons ago.

A perfect end to a perfect meal: espresso and cappuccino. A lot of chatting and comparing food notes. I found out that Karl braved the entire meal, and was a little shaky about foie gras, escargot, and the lamb. He was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the tastes.


Ginan said...

Wow, what a great experience. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Ladee said...

This was such a good meal. I am enjoying the memory nearly as much.

Karl said...

My initial thoughts as I looked at the menu were: I don't like foie gras, I don't like escargot, I like salad, I don't like lamb, I like chocolate. Oh what the H---!!
Be Adventurous!!I'm glad I was. The meal was delicious. I had to keep reminding myself that it is impolite to moan in a classy restaurant. The meal,the wine,the service were superb