List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books
There is a French restaurant that I pass everyday on the way to the train station called Chez Pascal. It is one of the highest rated restaurants in the area according to TripAdvisor and I have been meaning to visit there for well over a year… but you know how it is.
So one Sunday in June, we paid a visit and I have to say we were not disappointed. I would share a website – but they don’t have one. Instead here is a link to the TripAdvisor page.
So, my first ‘insect’. I know that snails are technically molluscs so eating one of these is like eating scallops, mussels or even (technically) squid. But, these feel different somehow. Probably because I have accidentally stepped on and killed many of these in my time. Poor little blighters.
So this starter here, which belonged to the engagement partner, is a three in one for the food list. The first being the type of snail used, the second being the fact that (as the menu showed) they were cooked in garlic butter and the third because it was topped off with a Roquefort sauce.
When it comes to food I am not squeamish, but I am also not unsqueamish. I was more than happy to pop one of these into my mouth here since they not presented here in their shells. Things might have been a little bit different otherwise.
To be honest, it was not as if I could make out any discernible taste from the snails. The only thing I could taste was garlic butter and blue cheese. Add to that the really tender and somewhat springy texture – this is something I would order for myself next time.
Why not go full stereotype and go for the frogs legs too whilst I am at it. These were a bit more weird for me since they look VERY much like a frog if you had severed him at the waist. It also didn’t help with all the hopping jokes that the server made since this was the last one out. They were pretty funny though.
So, the frogs legs themselves? I really hate to say this, but they did taste a lot like chicken. “Chicken of the pond” as my mum quipped. I mean, in terms of texture there was a definite resemblance. The taste was like chicken, but there was something a bit more salty there like fish – or maybe I am clutching at straws so I don’t give a stereotypical response.
Oh, and apparently pomodori secchi is just Italian for sundried tomatoes. I crossed this off ages ago, but here they are again. Woo.
Basque-style chicken. According to the food book the way this is prepared does depend on whether it is from the Spanish Basque region or the French Basque region. I will assume, for obvious reasons, that this was more akin to the French side.
What this basically was a tenderised/somewhat flattened chicken in a tomato, basil and bell pepper sauce. It was really nice, but I do have to say that it felt a little bit more pedestrian after trying the frogs and snails.
Okay, so this was my mum’s dish. It was monkfish in a cream sauce with grapes and cherries. It lived up to the price (second most expensive thing on the specials) as it really looked the part.
In terms of taste, the monkfish is light and yet very meaty. A lot like cod really, just quite a bit denser when it comes to the flesh of the fish. It absorbed a lot of the flavours around it, which makes it a bit hard to find the base taste.
I am aware that, because of the newer book, I am going to be eating monkfish again. Only this time it needs to be wrapped in Parma ham. Bring it on.