sometime Jenn will do one of these...
For my 18th birthday, my dad took me to Paris. I was excited to see the Louvre, the Chanel windows, the tower, and tour the beautiful city which is home to my love of art and fashion. My dad was excited to book tables at restaurants he'd read about. One in particular went by the name of Bofinger. Giddy with the prospect of actually managing to get a table there for an evening, we took a bus tour around Paris as a taxi towards the location of Bofinger. Located on 7 Rue de Bastille, Bofinger is a traditional french bistro offering the usual good french dishes such as steak tartare and even pigs trotters.
Bofinger boasts the title of "Paris' Oldest Brassierie". Tired and aching from a day of walking and sightseeing, we were seated in front of a mirrored wall next to a stunning french couple enjoying an inpressive and expensive looking Fruits De Mer. Looking at a menu the size of europe, i knew what i wanted as soon as i saw it. Fillet steak, served with bernaise sauce, green beans and chips. My dad went for Barbequed pigs trotter. He tried to persuade me to get one to. Nope, i wanted steak. For starters he chose Foie Gras served on thin toast. I decided, because it was now or never for all i knew, to try proper french soup. Until now all i had tasted was the Baxters version which was watery, oily and way too thin. Sitting back in the relaxed, warm enviroment created by the attentive waiters and gentle background noise of copper pans cooking steak diane and the rattle of the trolleys bringing steak tartare to the tables of the daring. My soup arrived, already filling the room with the smell of vinegar, onions and cheese. To get to the soup i had to first tackle the crouton, deeply baked with cheese. The onions underneath were thick in their stock, there was hardly any soup at all. It was a meal in itself if i'm honest, but it wasn't enough to make me regret ordering the steak. Every mouthful of the soup exploded with layers of onion, cheese, bread, wine, seasoning. It is still the most perfect bowl of soup I have ever eaten.
I have had steaks in the past, perfectly gorgeous steaks, always cooked rare, served with everthing from mustard mash to peppercorn sauce. The steak presented to me looked like every other steak I've eaten. There is no impressive way to present steak, green beans and chips. Elegant in its way, with its jug of bernaise sauce, the steak was perfectly cooked, the sauce hot and the chips freshly fried, still bubbling from their cooking. The four elements of the meal classically complimented each other with each mouthful. After I had finished, I had one thought. "that was the best meal of my life so far". Sure the dishes wern't made up of complex cooking techniques and probably had less that 10 ingredients each. But it shows that when good quality ingredients are cooked together well and eaten in an enviroment of total comfort they can make just as much an impact as much as an Blumenthal dish.