gastronomy

Pascade, la crêpe soufflée

The pascade looks like an impressionist artwork. It's in fact a big pancake, a peasant household dish prepared on the go in farms as well as in small family restaurants around the Aveyron area, southwest of France. Almost unknown anywhere else, its recipe is simple: very fresh (free-range, bien sur) eggs beaten with cereal flour. It was originally served as a generous starter with sugar, chives, etc. at that time of the day when the pots are cooking and the kids so anxious to be fed. The mixture is then baked as a non-runny omelette: flour must be compulsorily cooked. And there's no joke when it comes to French how-to in the kitchen. It can then be filled to taste, and that's where the real fun starts. But let's go back in time. In 2006, when Michelin starred master of conviviality Alexandre Bourdas opened the now renowned SaQuaNa in Honfleur, he found himself for the first time running a restaurant and when he had to think of an appetizer that better could convey his personal values, the idea of a pascade, this warm dish to be shared, so flexible when it comes to combinations, became an evidence.

"Over time I had fun cooking the lovely pascade with different toppings for family and friends, until the day when the idea came to me to dedicate a place to Pascade the same way that there are places devoted to the art of pizza or pancake".

The restaurant design is a cross between an inn and a canteen, and the raw materials used stand for an architectural metaphor of the pascade itself: hard and rustic tables between the student like benches. The result is a mixture of authenticity and tradition with contemporary clean lines. A really different place, adapted to the Parisian pace, where people can go quickly before dinner or a movie as food is served non-stop from noon to 11 pm, 7 days a week.

The other night, I found myself in the company of the lovely chef Carme Ruscalleda, which exquisite recipes can be enjoyed here. From her restaurants in Sant Pau and Tokyo, she flew to Paris, along with her handmade dried fruits filled sausages. As part of a pop up one-dish-only project, this month she created the pascade Catalana, which will be à la carte for the entire month. After accompanying the creation of the pascade Alexander Bourdas leaves the undivided controls to his cooking guests, which change at the turn of the month. In the springtime, it will be his 10 years old niece opening the doors of inventiveness to a staple of French regional gastronomy.

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With love and pascade,

Eleonora

Mind Le Zo(o)

In a time, the late '90s, when sushi in Paris could only be found at fakely high end Japanese restaurants that would even charge an addition for the wasabi sauce, entrepreneur Micael Memmi looked further. He decided to offer Japanese food in an otherwise French-food-only restaurant, Le Zo. And he was the first. Today, at the head of the Il Caffè as well, a chain of five restaurants disseminated around Paris serving Italian dishes fatti in casa, he's dazzling the city of lights.

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I sat down in a room where eastern design meets western contemporary art, and had heart of burrata , beet duo and roasted yellow peppers. I couldn't believe that I found the same taste I did when travelling to my beloved Puglia this last summer on a cold December day in the middle of Paris. I literally melted for the crispy maki asparagus, a crunchy delicious starter. And I clapped my hands as I tasted a good affogato al caffè, which recipe I shared earlier this year with Anne Lataillade, author of the awarded blog Papilles & Pupilles. This guy knows his products, and knew what bistronomie (a contraction between "bistrot" and "gastronomy") is all about much before it was even a trend: "Fusion food is so '90s, we give our customers the possibility to choose whether going for a Japanese, a French or an Italian dish. In each serving, though, you'll find the beating heart of a country". And that's, simply, what my #foodhappiness is all about, too.

Restaurant Le Zo 13, rue Montalivet Paris (75008)

TEL: +33 1 42 65 18 18 SUBWAY: Madeleine, Concorde

Restaurant Il Caffè 5, av. Myron-Herrick Paris (75008)

TEL: +33 1 42 25 02 70 SUBWAY: Miromesnil, Saint-Philippe-du-Roule

 

With love and burrata,

Eleonora