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D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Battle for Cassoulet Supremacy: D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Some foods fill you with joy, some excite you, then there are the ones that bring you back home. For us, it’s Cassoulet; the hearty, slow-cooked casserole-like meal traditionally made with gamey meats, pork skin, and white haricot beans. Everything about cassoulet is a delight for the senses. It looks, smells and tastes divine, like home. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to attend the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War. What better way to try as many Cassoulets as our stomachs would allow. There’s a great quote by Chef Andre Daguin that perfectly describes our Cassoulet adventure,

“Cassoulet is not a recipe; it’s an argument between villages.”

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

The culinary event, which anyone who purchases a ticket can attend, boasted 30 notable chefs who battled it out for cassoulet supremacy. So while there is a classic method and recipe to this traditional southern French dish, it can have many interpretations. And that’s what the Cassoulet war is about, honoring those interpretations. While we grew up enjoying a thicker Cassoulet, the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War allowed us to enjoy varieties we never anticipated. We’d love to say we tried all 30 but even with the small portions we were served, we barely made it to 13. If we haven’t mentioned before (and if you’re unfamiliar), cassoulet is very filling.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

If you’re looking to enjoy the fare of esteemed chefs from some of the US’s most renowned restaurants, this event is for you. We enjoyed Cassoulet from the chefs from Bar Boulud, Gramercy Tavern, Untitled at the Whitney, Gaby Brasserie Française, Fond, Ardyn, Villanelle, and much more from around the US. There were two Cassoulet categories in the war. One pitted the chefs take of the traditional recipe and ingredients; the other allowed the chefs to be adventurous with the ingredients and format in the “Revisited” Cassoulet category. For example, instead of the traditional white haricot beans, we saw Black Eyed Peas and Sea Island Peas; andouille sausage, brown sugar baked ham, and bacon replaced a few gamey types of meat; and in one instance, the traditional Cassoulet was reimagined as Beef Wellington.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet WarD'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

During the war, each attendee had to vote for their favorite. As you can imagine, this was quite difficult. We had several favorites but narrowed it down to the following Cassoulets: Phillippe Lievre of Le Rendez-Vous Bistro, Ryan Lory of Ardyn, and Dieter Samijn of Bar Boulud as out top three out of the few we tried. I’m sure if our appetites were bigger, we’d absolutely have more on our list.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Judges for the war included Philippe Bertineau, David Campigotto, Erwan Caradec, Christian Constant, Jean-Louis Dumonet, Elizabeth Falkner, Christophe Fazan, Sara Moulton, Andre Soltner, Jean-Jacques Rachou, Jean-Pierre Xiradakis, and Antoine Westermann. Winners of the Cassoulet War included Chef Andy Knudson of Marc Forgione, winning the best “revisited” category;  Phillippe Lievre of Le Rendez-Vous Bistro, winning the People’s Choice, and Dieter Samijn of Bar Boulud, won the judges’ decision.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

As if the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War couldn’t get more amazing, D’Artagnan showed support in ending world hunger by making a donation to Action Against Hunger, a charity organization that helps to eradicate hunger worldwide.

D'Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War

Although we could barely move, we fully enjoyed attending the D’Artagnan 5th Annual Cassoulet War. We highly recommend you attend next year’s battle.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Demarchelier French Bistro

Tucked away around the corner of Madison Avenue on 86th Street is a little bit of Paris. Even if you weren’t looking for it, you can’t miss the red awning and the white curtains that draw you into the warm and inviting bistro, Demarchelier French Bistro. Since its opening in 1978, the family-owned and operated restaurant has brought authentic French flair to the Upper East Side.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

It was a welcome respite from a cold winter night. Stepping inside the cozy establishment, you’re greeted by the convivial energy emanating from the bar. Unlike many of New York City’s too-crowded watering holes, this one had enough room for everyone and wasn’t overly noisy. Amidst the socializing patrons at the bar was the sweet and friendly Emily Demarchelier, greeting everyone with a smile. Emily runs the restaurant and is the daughter of the owner, artist, and restaurateur, Eric Demarchelier, and not to mention a niece to famed fashion photographer,
Patrick Demarchelier. With that said, it is no wonder that the walls are filled with colorful original abstract and figure paintings by Eric Demarchelier. They’re all for sale should you wish to take home something quite special with your leftovers.

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Unlike a lot of so-called French establishments that either offer Americanized versions of French meals or experimental fusions with French inspirations, this place offers up the hearty traditional dishes like bouillabaisse, duck confit, coq au vin, Moules Mariniere, quiche, and escargot. It’s also good to note that many of the meat, poultry, and vegetables are organic and sourced from nearby farms. There’s also a prix-fix menu paired with a glass of wine or sparkling French cider as well as a daily special. While we wished our stomachs would expand to try the whole of the menu, here were our picks for the night.

GLASGOW: It was an amazing pleasure to see so many authentic French dishes available at one restaurant in both the entree and dessert menus. We couldn’t remember the last time we saw Pot au feu and Cassoulet (the latter is only available on Thursdays) on a dinner menu. Dessert-wise, both tarte Tatin and Crepes Suzette have been equally elusive on menus as well.

COCKTAILS

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

The Purple Blossom
GLASGOW: I love pea flower so this libation immediately caught my eye. This cocktail was very fresh and heavy on lemon juice. It may not look like it but the lemon juice really comes through in the Purple Blossom. There is a very light dash of simple syrup, so if you’re expecting a sweet drink, this isn’t it. Fans of gin cocktails, this is a must just to experience the Empress 1908 Indigo Gin.

Grapefruit Rosemary Mule
CHRIS: I’ve been on a mule kick lately (pun absolutely intended) and have been trying out all the different iterations of the Moscow Mule. I was skeptical about this one as I am not a fan of grapefruit. Surprisingly, it was not a bitter and tart drink. Made with Deep Eddy Grapefruit vodka, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer with a sprig of rosemary, this refreshingly simple concoction went down easy. The rosemary added a lasting aroma that perfectly accented each sip.

Empress 75
GLASGOW: I swear my color coordinating cocktails were not planned. I selected this cocktail because French 75 is one of my all time favorites and I wanted to see what how different champagne (as in the French 75) and sparkling wine (as in the Empress 75) would make the two. I must say it is very different. The dry sparkling wine is a noticeable difference but I still enjoyed the Empress 75 very much.

APPETIZERS

Moules Mariniere

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

GLASGOW: Diana Ross has an old song where the chorus starts with “I want muscles”; granted she’s talking about muscles on a man, not mussels but that song nevertheless describes our obsession with mussels. I want mussels and I want it all the time. The sauce was heavenly and you better believe we had to refrain from lifting the bowl to our mouth and drinking the incredible sauce. Thank goodness for the bread.

Avocado Crab Salad

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier

CHRIS: Not at all what I expected, but in a very good way. I was thinking I’d get the typical mixed greens with a few pieces of crab sprinkled in and drizzled with a light dressing. Instead, what is set before me is a decent sized tortilla bowl in the middle of a plate heaping with crab meat on top of fresh guacamole and topped with arugula. I love crab and this was a lot of crab. While the layered concept makes for a clean aesthetic presentation, it is much better when thoroughly mixed in the edible bowl.

ENTREES

Duck Confit

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: I like duck confit but it’s always a gamble because it can be hard to cook it properly. While deceivingly simple, it takes some time to preserve the duck in its own fat. However, Demarchelier’s duck confit is nothing short of amazing. The two juicy duck legs were served on a bed of white beans stew. This traditional French dish has ample flavor and melt-off-the-bones goodness. I was baffled when the waiter put a steak knife by me since I can peel the meat off with barely a tug from my fork. The beans were just right – not mushy with just a good amount of firmness.

Ribeye with Pepper Sauce and Cream Spinach

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: I don’t know if there’s anything that beats a great peppercorn steak from a French restaurant. If there is, I haven’t tried it yet. My medium-well steak (pictured sans peppercorn sauce) was very tender with a juicy interior and a subtle char. The pepper sauce was mild, not very peppery – perfect for those who are not used to a spice heavy palate like ours. The cream spinach was flavorful, very creamy but light on the thickness of the cream. We personally love a thicker sauce but that didn’t take away from how delicious this was. Those on a low sodium diet will appreciate the light hand of salt.

DESSERTS

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
CHRIS: This was the perfect ending to an already gastronomically satisfying night. The cake part is perfectly moist and soft while the mousse layered in between is light, fluffy, and wonderfully chocolaty. Sitting atop a plate of strawberry sauce with a dollop of whipped cream, this cake was sweet and heavenly. A wise choice for a chocolate lover who didn’t want to go over the edge of full.

Crepe Suzette

Authentic French Bistro Demarchelier, owned by artist Eric Demarchelier
GLASGOW: Thank goodness for Demarchelier. You hardly see this indulgent dessert on menus anymore. We greatly appreciated the restaurant for bringing it back into our lives. We highly recommend being extra nice to your server so he will giddily douse your crepe in a waterfall of Grand Marnier before it’s engulfed in the flames. Every bite sinfully divine, especially as we had more than enough Grand Marnier left over to make this dessert even more intoxicating.

Demarchelier is a neighborhood fixture for a reason, you can clearly see why in the photos above. Whether you’re in the area for a quick bite or a romantic local for dinner, we recommend heading to 50 East 86th Street to sate your palate.

 

 

 

Written in Collaboration with Christine Ongsueng

Demarchelier Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Center-Cut Filet Mignon

Restaurant Review: Boucherie West Village’s 2nd Birthday

There’s a lot to celebrate during the holiday season but for traditional French brasserie and steakhouse, Boucherie West Village, the holiday season is also a time to celebrate their anniversary. We had the wonderful pleasure of celebrating their second birthday with them in a family-style meal of French holiday classics and timeless bistro favorites. Since they opened two years ago, Boucherie West Village and Chef Jerome Dihui, have been captivating the palettes of fans.

Boucherie West Village Boucherie West Village

The 320-seat Boucherie provides a diverse array of dining options. It boasts a spacious dining room, a seat at the butcher counter, and an intimate second-floor gallery with private dining and outdoor cafe, where we were seated. With chic french cocktails, timeless French classics, and dry-aged steaks, our evening at Boucherie West Village, was filled with more than holiday magic. Join us on our culinary journey below:

COCKTAILS

Boucherie West Village Cocktails

We enjoyed two wonderful cocktails at Boucherie. We couldn’t begin our traditional French foodie adventure without having the classic French cocktail, French 75. So delicious, we ended up having two. We followed soon after with Boucherie’s Old Cuban, a blend of Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cartron, Gingembre, Lime, Mint, and Sparkling Wine. It was our first time enjoying this cocktail and we have to say it’s a truly sophisticated rum drink.

STARTERS

MOULES NORMANDES

Boucherie West Village Mussels

French cuisine is known for the use of creams, cheeses, and wine; so what better way to begin than mussels cooked with white wine in a heavy cream sauce and bacon as a first course. We thoroughly enjoyed this classic dish, it’s wonderfully hearty without feeling stuffed.

RAVIOLIS AUX CHAMPIGNONS

Boucherie West Village Mushroom Ravioli

A wonderful, mushroom ravioli with black truffle beurre fondue, and burgundy truffles. We couldn’t partake because of our allergy to mushrooms but the consensus of the table proved that it is as delicious as it looks.

ENTREES

CHATEAUBRIAND POUR DEUX

Center-Cut Filet Mignon

You will swoon over this perfectly grilled center-cut filet mignon with assorted vegetables and bone marrow bordelaise. We tried to save our appetite for our own dry-aged steak but we just couldn’t resist this succulent cut. We highly recommend this perfect for two steak dish.

SUPREME DE POULET ROTI JUS DE BALSAMIQUE

Roasted Chicken in Balsamic Sauce

This divine chicken dish arrived at the same time as our main, so we didn’t enjoy a lot of it. The little we did try….wow!! The perfectly crisp skin and juicy inside were as we said, divine.

STEAK FRITES AU POIVRE

Pat LaFrieda New York Strip Steak

Alas, our Pat LaFrieda New York Strip steak with four peppercorn cream sauce and french fries had arrived. Every rustic bite of the rich flavor of this dry-aged steak was incredible. If we hadn’t mentioned before, Boucherie West Village is known for their exquisite steaks. One bite and you’ll know what we mean. We cannot recommend this restaurant enough, whether you love steak, French cuisine, and great food.

Boucherie West Village is located at 99 7th Avenue South in New York’s West Village. We’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve visited.

Boucherie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

The Perfect Pairing: Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro

We had so much fun the first few times we dined at French Brasserie, Cafe Centro (especially during French Restaurant Week), that we wanted to indulge one more time in the talents of Executive Chef Christina Towers. Which is why we were really excited to hear about the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro. In French, “mariage” means a “blend of two things”, so every Monday night this summer Executive Chef Christina Towers is featuring a menu of perfectly crafted food and beverage pairings.

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rosé and Crudo Pairing

The Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro begun on July 9th with an Oysters and Sancerre pairing and will end on August 13th with what we’re sure will be an amazing pairing of Rosés and Duck and Chicken Rillettes. We had the pleasure of experiencing the July 16th pairing of a trio of Rosés and Crudos (pictured above). All wonderfully priced at $30.00 per person. From right to left you will find the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops with grapes, verjus and lavender; the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé paired with Tuna with watermelon, citrus vinaigrette, and black radish; and last but not least the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé paired with Branzino and bell pepper, basil, and rosemary. Here are the bottles featured below:

Wine Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Rose and Crudo Pairing

We were quite pleased with the results and our favorite pairing was a tie between the Domaine de Cala Prestige Rosé with Tuna and the Bouchard Aine & Fils Rosé with the Branzino. Not that we didn’t like the Domain de Cala Classic Rosé paired with Scallops, we very much loved it as well. Prices for the Monday Mariage Wine Series at Cafe Centro range from $25.00-$30.00 unless otherwise specified on their menu. Please note that this menu is offered in addition to their a la carte menu, but is one-night-only for that Monday evening. Because of this, we enjoyed the wine pairing as our appetizers and ordered the Roulade de Saumon (a perfectly grilled Salmon with a lovely char, with watercress, roasted fingerlings, set in the most delicious Riesling sauce), and the Poulet Basquaise (a hearty braised chicken with piperade and pureed potatoes).

Food Photography: Cafe metro Monday Mariage Salmon Entree
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Poulet Basquaise

Chef Towers also surprised us with side orders of Macaroni Gratin with Boursin cheese and tomato (this was swiftly devoured), Hand-Cut Pomme Frites with truffle and parsley, and succulent Green Asparagus with garlic and lemon. Sadly there was no room for dessert.

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage French Macaroni and Cheese
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Truffle French Fries
Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Green Asparagus

Upcoming Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro include:

JULY 30 | LANSON CHAMPAGNE PAIRING | $25.00
back by popular demand! all 3 pairings are included in the price
BLACK LABEL BRUT NV + COMPOSED CRAB SALAD
granny smith apple, hearts of palm, avocado
ROSÉ LABEL BRUT NV + CROQUE MADAME
quail egg, Parisian ham, gruyère
WHITE LABEL SEC + PORTOBELLO-STUFFED MUSHROOM
short rib, fourme d’ ambert

AUGUST 6 | RIESLING + SLIDERS | $25.00
1 glass of Riesling + 3 Sliders
FOIE GRAS SLIDERS
truffle honey, Asian pear

AUGUST 13 | ROSÉS + RILLETTES | $25.00
2 glasses of Rosé + Duo of Rillettes
DOMAINE DE CALA PRESTIGE + DUCK RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette
DOMAINE DE CALA CLASSIC + CHICKEN RILLETTE
cornichons, whole grain mustard, baguette

Food Photography: Cafe Centro Monday Mariage Wine Series Pairing

We highly recommend experiencing this wonderful wine pairing series. We promise it will make your Mondays anything but mundane. As always, it’s always a pleasure to speak directly with the Chef. We loved having the opportunity to praise Executive Chef Christina Towers (pictured above) on the success of the Monday Mariage Wine Series pairings at Cafe Centro.

Please be sure to check back for updates as Cafe Centro announces new menus.

 

 

 

Cafe Centro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato