The Chagny Situation, Bourgogne, 25th-28th April 2013

The Fox Force Four was back in Beaune, back at the beautiful Hotel de Remparts in the center of the city. Good to see the old friends, good to be back in Beaune. We were spoiled with 26 degrees celcius and sunshine, allowing us to spend a wonderful evening at the terrasse of a little place I found last year. Nothing fancy – but decent food. Uffe and I ordered 2 starters and waited a good 90 min for the Norwegians to arrive.

We had 5 tastings planned for the coming days, among those three new smaller wineries – with amazing wines as we would discover.

As it turned out the tastings were very successful, meaning there was a slight logistic problem, which good friends Pernille and Patrick solved by letting the Northern friends have a few square meters of their garage for a while.

Here are some impressions from the trip

Athos, D´Artagnan and Porthos at the cellars of Michel Caillot.

Athos, D´Artagnan and Porthos at the cellars of Michel Caillot.

Aramis at the vineyards of Michel Caillot

Aramis at the vineyards of Michel Caillot

"Brigitte Bardot" at our service...

“Brigitte Bardot” at our service…

Between two tastings we went back to the hotel and opened a bottle of red – well Julie (almost) did. Julie was besides being very pretty, also a sweet and service minded receptionist, – bus as we learned, – soon to go back to her real line of business, – a travel agent. So, the day we left it was also her last day at work 😦

Kjetil entertaining a group of very kind American and Canadian tourists.

Kjetil entertaining a group of very kind American and Canadian tourists.

As always the last evening we had our last dinner at Lameloise. I love Lameloise. I will never get tired of dining here. Its like coming home. The familiar faces of the staff and the warm welcome by Frederic Lamy.

Home sweet home...

Home sweet home…

We had hoped to find the nice Chicago couple we met at Cave Madeleine the evening before, because we understood they were set to dine here. I suspect an audible error – and they might have been dining at close by Levernois, I guess for an American – the twang – those can easily be mistaken – Levernois – Lameloise – but food wise – there is no compare. And we were in for the better part of that comparison. Still I hope you had a great stay and dinner dear Mary and Frank.

The top moment of the entire trip occured when Hubert, the sommelier asked us whether we had made our wine choices (from the great wine list).

I answered him, we will like the same as last year. A big smile was his reply, and he elaborated – I was hoping for that.  Now that meant we gave him free hands too arrange some bottles to be tasted blind, and within a certain total price limit. He said, I have been thinking about it all day, which wines to choose etc. Now that is – beside the effort of checking or remembering – an outstanding level of service – and you are bound to feel special, and so we did.

Here are some shots from the menu

Champagne...

Champagne…

A little fois gras lollipop

A little fois gras lollipop

Second round of amuses

Third round of amuses

Scallops and crab - still not started the menu.

Scallops and crab – still not started the menu.

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Fois Gras with oxe-tail

Second best dish of the evening, what a dish.

Saint-Pierre

Saint-Pierre

Lobster

Lobster

The last piece of the best bread in the world.

The last piece of the best bread in the world.

As mentioned in my prior posts about Lameloise. This bread is to die for.

Langoustine

Langoustine

Lamb

Lamb

Lameloise & Lamb – a perfect marriage. Always. Best dish of the evening.

At this point a personal issue arised – known by  insiders as “The Chagny Situation” – the cheese would be my last dish of the evening. No sweets for me tonight – which is probably good for my hips – but cheese at Lameloise, is also always perfect selection and perfect maturity.

Kjetil making his selection.

Kjetil choosing his selection.

What a drop, best wine of the evening. I almost had it, guessing Bonnes Mares.

What a drop, best wine of the evening. I almost had it, guessing Bonnes Mares.

So, dear Frederic Lamy and all your exceptional staff. There were absolutly no flaws this evening. Everything was perfect and as always, I hope to be back rather sooner than later. Please extend our thank you to the whole team. Eric Pras, thank you for a great meal. As good as it gets.

So this wraps up a great trip – well almost – because the following morning we had a last tasting at Mischief and Mayhem in Aloxe Corton where good friends – wonderful Fiona and warm Michael Bragg had prepared a brunch to go with their exceptional wines.

What more do you need a Sunday morning.

What more do you need a Sunday morning.

So, this was it – I shall leave you with a picture to fit the situation, Athos checking out…

The Three Musketeers..

The Three Musketeers..

Thanks for your friendship guys…see u around.

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Best dishes of 2012 – “The Directors Cut”

Many good meals were had, many extraordinary dishes were consumed in restaurants in Luxembourg and surroundings. If you are  a returning reader you will know that my overall favourite restaurant is Schloss Berg, and Clairefontaine is my local favourite. But the best meal in Luxembourg I actually had on on the last day of May at Bouquet Garni where Mark Wright joined us before his first ever show in Luxembourg. Thank you Thierry Duhr for an outstanding meal – it was an evening where it all came together taste wise. But unfortunately no photos were taken 😦

But I thank you dear friends who made all those meals worthwhile – for what is outstanding food without the right dining partner….so thank you dear friends – Astrid, Torben, Gijs, Jerome, Serge, Richard, Pascal, Johan, Jörgen, and the changing members of the G8 group – also for the fun. Also BIG thanks also goes to the Fox Force Four – Kjetil, Frode and Uffe. See you in Beaune..

Wine wise I have had to scale down in the restaurants – but that have only given room for many new discoveries. On private basis, the joint venture with Le Caviste has spoiled me with so many new good wines I cannot start to count them, but only feel priviledged – to have tasted them,  AND to be able to sell some of those to many new customers who I am sure will enjoy them just as much as we have.

But here I shall present you with some of my best shots of some of those dishes that made 2012 a VERY gastronomic year for me.

Here you go…

Marbella Club Hotel

10. Marbella Club Hotel

The Chef, ever so kindly suggested these beauties to us – in Spanish. Not sure what they were…except a kind of Langoustines. But they were cooked to perfection. The dinner was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

De Leuf, Maastricht

9. De Leuf, Maastricht

I have to mention this one. NOT a fan of oysters…but this amuse was served in a Gin/Tonic version. Best oyster ever, and made promise for a GREAT evening that food wise kept the level. The dinner was enjoyed with best friend Jerome. Love you.

8. Lameloise, Chagny

8. Lameloise, Chagny

I just love the arrangement of this dish. You can do few things wrong when serving lamb to me. And lamb at Lameloise is like a perfect marriage. It doesnt get any better. Eris Pras like Monsieur Lameloise before him knows his way around classic dishes. Even with a twist. I was happy to visit lameloise a few times last year, but this specific dish was enjoyed with the missus and the boys.

7. Schloss Berg

7. Schloss Berg

A surprice dish, – well in a surprice menu all dishes are a surprice, but this one was an extra “throw in” by my favourite chef Christian Bau. Different textures of artichoke. And within the menu on that certain evening it sure made us feel happy. Dinner was enjoyed with the missus. It was our 10 years anniversary dinner, and we could not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world on this evening,

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

6. Hotel and Restaurant les Florets, Gigondas

This might seem like a simple dish or presentation. But I loved this dish so much, On the last evening of our stay, I ordered it twice. Read the story on my post from that evening if you want to know the details. It was the final evening of a succesful wine trip to Rhone with new friend and business partner Gijs. The dish…Pears in red wine, nuts, beans, fois gras, artichokes. It all came together like few dishes in this world. And on a beautiful evening, knowing that one of the Chefs was the prettiest chef on this planet. Well I almost cried. Dinner was spent of course with Gijs. Thanks for your friendship and giving me the opportunity to promote and sell the wines of Le Caviste.

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

5. Schloss Berg, Nennig

A slightly different presentation of a GREAT dish of Christian Bau. The combination of the fois gras with the sea algae…..I tell you if you havent tried it – well you havent lived. One of my favourite dishes ever. This evening was spent with good friend and gastronomic expert Pascal. Looking forward to more of those evenings my friend.

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

4. De Leuf, Maastricht

Another dish from De Leuf, and another fois gras dish. This dish brought tears to the eyes of my fellow diner – best friend Jerome, who was litterally moved by this dish. So was I. And….The fois gras was combined with a piece of sole. GREAT combo.

3. Lameloise, Chagny

3. Lameloise, Chagny

Cold and warm Langoustine. The cold on a an apple “thing”. The warm wrapped with crispy rice. I was lucky to have this dish on two occasions. With the FFF and with the missus on our summer holiday. Simply Stunning. This presntation was from the dinner with the missus.

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

2. Fischer´s Fritz, Berlin

Fois Gras again…no wonder I´m fat….but….This one…perfect fois gras on smoked eel, with caramel on top. I tell you. You dont get much more classic kitchen than in this GREAT restaurant. I have no doubt, I would rather haeve the menu at some other restaurants mentioned in this post – but – the cooking here is great.  And it does not always need to be innovative to please your palete. This lunch was enjoyed with the missus, prior to a Bruce Springsteen show. And what a show it was…

IMG_1464-002

1. Falco, Leipzig

Peter Maria Schnurr…..We had such a wonderful evening “in your hands”. This dish was raw scallops with rhubarb and apple. It just worked. Like the whole evening did. Like Christian Bau, you are a true magician. There is only one regret. That Leipzig is 600 km away. I chose this dish, because, just like the one in Gigondas…it is a dish were simple ingredients can make an explosion in your mouth, and play with your senses. It gets almost sexual. You were great fun too Peter 😉

Conclusion:

Looking back at all those dishes, I know – the result – the list . would be diffferent even just now. And some dishes…like the chocolate dessert at De Leuf, the Poulard de Bresse at Clairefontaine, the Banana Split at Schloss Berg…well I could have chosen many other dishes. But one thing is sure. These dishes were all outstanding. And they each give me memories of the taste, the ambience and the people with whom I enjoyed them.

And I need to add….I did not get a chance to visit my good friend, and one of the best kitchens in Europe this year. Jan, Sölleröd Kro. Im sure you would have had a dish in here if…

Thank you dear friends…I love you all. And thanks for taking the time. Rock on.

Lameloise, Chagny, France – 12 May 2012

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“Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven’t changed, haven’t much to say
But man, I still think them cats are crazy”
Phil Lynnot 1976
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Fox Force Four had ther annual dinner at Lameloise as the grand finale of the annual trip to Bourgogne. Expectations were sky high for the day, that included market in Beaune, wonderful visits to a cellar in Gevrey Chambertin and to new found friends Michael and Michael at Mischief and Mayhem in Aloxe Corton – and the visit to Josephine and Martin Prieur at Domaine Jaques Prieur. We arrived at Jaques Prieur at 18.00 in time for pre-dinner tasting and tour of their grand estate. Here is some shots from that fantastic experience.
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The beautiful production building for some of the greatest wines of the area…

Martin Prieur and Frode discussing important issues…

From the moment we entered the estate – Martin was a warm and welcoming host….Welcome my friends – he started…. you want to start with a beer ? – I have to say I was impressed by his warmth and hospitality. Equal hospitality and smile in her eyes – we found in Josephine, who gladly showed us the estate, explained about the history of the family and told some funny anecdotes. We love you Josephine and Martin and hope to see you again next year. Please say hi to Mom from us. What a lady she is.

Kjetil with our beatiful host Josephine…

Part of the liquid gold in the cellars of Jacques Prieur…

And here a seldom shot of the 4 Musketeers…Frode, yours truly, Kjetil and Uffe.

Time rushed away and dinner at Lameloise could commence. Due to the late arrival – aperitives were served at the table and not in the bar to the disappointment of Kjetil. Soon after arrival we were warmly greeted by Frederic Lamy, who manages to always impress me with his elegance. There were familiar faces among the staff and sommeliers and we felt confident that a great meal was ahead. The only flaw in the service occured at this point – we had to wait a long time for the water, the first wine and the bread to be served.

The menu was ordered and this is how it went.

First round of amuses…

Almost as good as they get. On all my (many) previous visits to Lameloise, I think the first amuse has always been a salmon creme with green olives preceeding the first “tray” – but not today, – maybe due to the late arrival – or maybe things have changed – however, this tray was wonderful and ranging from good to top notch tastings. 9p

Mackerel…

A dish that showes excactly where the kitchen of Lameloise is these days. The lightness of being. Classic and beautiful. 10p

Homard Bleu & Tourteau

You never go wrong with Lobster at Lameloise. Loved it. It was served on two plates – the second plate coming here…

– le tourteau – Rock Crab

Loved it – loved it – loved it. The texture of the lobster, the crispness of the crab. The celaric and fennel in the dish. 10p

Saint Pierre & Couteaux XXL

The dish was served as you can see with white and green asparagus and wauw…the taste of the white asparagus on the left – under the green ones – was amazing. The dish was enhanced with a sauce – a warm fluffy mayonaise with mustard. Great dish 9.5p

Petit pois and morilles…

I love peas, I love fresh morilles. This dish furthermore had sot l´y laisse – and was served wit a glass lit. The aromas that was set free when lifting the top was amazing. 9.5p

Agneau de lait from Pauillac…

Lamb and Lameloise goes hand in hand. First time I was here around 20 years ago I remember I had lamb like I had never had it before. It melted on your tongue. The lamb chop. It was so tender. That dish from back then stayed in my memory for many years – THIS dish was in each and any way its match. Best dish of the evening. The crispy taste of roasted garlic. Wonderful. A small pot was served next to the main dish with other parts of the lamb and potatoes. 10p

Say cheese…

Lameloise still have a GREAT selection of cheese and you should always make sure to make room for a few. I forgot. Nevertheless – top notch cheese selection. 10p

Pre-dessert…

A coffee inspired thing…did not do the trick for me. It was fresh and nice…but I am not a coffee man.

Followed as always by another tray of

Pre-dessert 2….

and

Dessert

Chocolate for me….my fellow diners had other desserts. The dessert within the menu is always chosen a la carte up front at Lameloise. This one was nice but the weakest dish of the day, and I was runnin out of steam. 8p

After-dessert…

Yup, the sweets finalized a sweet dinner.

Conclusion:

It is always good to be back at Lameloise. That is what I wrote after my last visit. So no need to change that. I could also write I cannot wait to be back – Like last time there was the minor issue with the water. The interaction we had with the sommelier this year was outstanding- He really got into our idea about how we wanted the wines on that evening. Thank you for that dear friend. It was very entertaining and educational, and man there was some nice drops there. I was especially impressed by this one –

Great menu, great service, great bread – really great – Kjetil I am sure you dig the bread the most….The amount of amuses and sweets amazing and the the quality of those stunning. One does not need to even start to talk about the perfection of the ccoking of the fish or the meat. Its perfect. Thats all there is.

So, musketeers– thanks for almost behaving and for being part of my life in such a prominent way. I love you all.

And to Lameloise and the whole staff – thanks for having us, be sure to find me back soon and the Fox Force Four back in Spring 2013

And to Frederic Lamy –I shall bring Oscar and Emil next time – lets see if they have improved their dining preferences – for your information – Oscar´s favourite dish is Schnitzel these days – which off course is a step up from pizza you may argue.

My rating for this visit: Food 9.5p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  19p (20)

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“That jukebox in the corner blasting out my favorite song
The nights are getting warmer, it won’t be long
Won’t be long till summer comes
Now that the boys are here again
Phil Lynnot 1976
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Lameloise, Chagny, France – 1 April 2011

The long awaited visit to Lameloise was due….and it was no Aprils Fool. The gastronomic highligt of our trip. As I mentioned in previous posts about Lameloise, I have a special room in my heart reserved for this restaurant, and I probably always will have. Its classic, its high level – its not food from another planet, but food presented beautifully and with the best of produce. I think tonight was my 10th visit or so over the last 18 years.

So expectations were as always sky high and Frederic Lamy, the Maitre – almost immediately set the tone, when he greeted us all at our table. Good evening – I had expected to see Oscar and Emil here tonight !!!!!!!!

Now I know I forwarded my last review by email to them, and I know its easy to google a guest these days….but still. Its nice when the effort is made by the people in charge to recognize that they know who you are and have taken the time to read the blog or the review. Thanks for that. I almost felt like a king dining at George V.

Well as it turned out, I was not dining with my boys tonight but with my blood brothers, Kjetil, Uffe and Frode..and here they are anticipating the dinner..

Fox Force Four minus yours truly !

The kir was ordered, the amuses brought, the menu booked…

And this is was followed

I think a Lameloise classic, first round of amuses…

Second rounds, as the first round served in the library/lounge.

We ordered the wine, a crispy Rully 1. cru from Jackeson, a fat Meursault from J. Prieur, and a smooth Gevrey-Chambertin from A. Rousseau

Last greeting from the kitchen, Crab on a lettuce creme

Cold and warm Langoustine, the cold on a creme of celeriac

Loved this one….10p in my book. The warm being coated in crisp rice.

A true beauty, Scallops on risotto, Asparagus and Calamares

Unfortunately, the Scallops were overcooked, and we all know what that means. Thus a perfect dish was far from it. So dispite the tasteful asparagus…7p

Fois Gras with apple

Nice, nothing more nothing less. 9p

Different cuts of Lamb

Now the chevre coated in citrus, was quiete a surprice on your tongue, and a true spark to the dish. However, the quality of the dish was in fact the quality of the lamb. Simple as that. 9.5p

Cheese….

Now if you ever happen to be at Lameloise…DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT forget to order the cheese trolley. They are all perfectly mature, and the selection is all you could wish for. Bread and nuts are added. 10p

Pre-dessert

I simply cannot remember what it was. Blame it on the wine or on the dish itself. I shall therefore not rate it.

First round of sweets. We finished them all.

My choice of dessert…a chocolate “thing”

The dish just perfect, the crisp layers, the chocolate mousse, the icy bon bons – a light heavyweight 9.5p

K’s choice….after he broke the shell. Sorbet and fruits…

I did not hear any complaints, and it was a beauty on the plate…10p…according to Kjetil. He dug it the most….

Last round of sweets from above…

and from the side

Conclusion:

It is always good to be back at Lameloise. You feel welcome. The room embraces you. There is a certain vibe. When that is said, the service had a few flaws this evening. We were in fact left alone without water a few times etc. It could have been worse. It could have been the wine. The sommelier where the only one to notice this – the last time – and seemed pretty irritated by it, his own or his colleagues mishab. But for the overcooked scallops there is no excuse. They should never have left the kitchen. So – this might seem like minor flaws, but when you eat at a 3 star establishment, you expect the service to be top-notch and the food to be flawless. And I am sure the maitre will be more bothered about this than we actually were. But, great menu, great inter-action with the sommelier, great bread throughout the meal, the warm greeting etc. made us all feel like we spend a pretty good evening.

So, brood brothers, – thanks for behaving (most of the time). Lameloise, thanks for having us, be sure to find us back – we had a great evening. And to Frederic Lamy – thanks again for reading my blog. It is highly appreciated. I shall bring Oscar and Emil next time…you asked for it.

http://www.lameloise.fr

My rating for this visit: Food 9p (10), service 4.5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  18.5p (20)

Beaune, Bourgogne, – April 2011

The Fox Force Four had their annual wine trip to Bourgogne, and what a trip it was. It included among others 6 wine tastings, dinners at Jardin des Remparts and Lameloise and 3 nights in a small family run 3 star hotel – Hotel des Remparts in Beaune. Madame and Monsier Epailly and their staff, make sure your stay is memorable and flawless. I have never experienced such a high level of service and dedication in any 3 star or 4 star hotel before. I give it my warmest recommendations.

Heres a few shots from Hotel Des Remparts

The hotel entrance

The lounge and reception area

The small court-yard, where breakfast was served, and wines were tried in the afternoon

The Burgundy sky…we were spoiled with good weather…

The proud and dedicated (and shy) Mr. and Mrs. Epailly with Kjetil, we thank you for a wonderful stay, your dedication and your company.

I shall not make a review of the dinner at Le Jardin des Remparts. But we were warmly welcomed, had a great 5 courses menu at 70 eur which included amuses, choices for –  starter, fish, meat –  cheeses and desserts. Great bread. Add a huge wine list. A great evening ended upstairs in the library, piano room with the coffee and digestive. At 70 eur this menu seems a bargain.

The young chef came down to say his goodbyes before we left the restaurant.  And actually the evening continued for a few minutes outside in their garden where a huge fire was placed in the middle with 4 chairs surrounding it. It was the perfect way to end a great meal and great day, letting the impressions of it all go through your head while the flames warmed your body and mind. Brilliant. I can warmly recommend this old pearl in Beaune and they shall rest assured I will be back soon.

The following morning I got up early and after the shower decided to take a walk through Beaune, enjoying the first day of spring, the quiet and beauty of Beaune, heres a few shots from my (de-) tour.

The day was then filled with 3 wine tastings in Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-Saint-Georges and Beaune – before the 4 of us needed a break to prepare for the booked dinner at Lameloise at 20.30.

Good friends Uffe and Frode reading about….wine. The beer is mine and hit the spot.

Did I mention we had blue sky and 20-25 degrees celcius…

I shall come back the dinner at Lameloise in the next post. The last day of our trip was spend with a trip to Pouilly Fuisse, a good 1 hour on the highway from Beaune. We had a tasting in Vergisson and picnic at the foot of Solutrê.

Highlight for me was the shopping of the groceries on the market in Beaune. Olives, Jambon de Persielle, cheeeses, dried abricots, moutarde de Dijon, freshly baked bread….all you could wish for.

Uffe doing the math…

And the picnic at Solutrê could begin…well after a short drive…

4 rocks – Frode, yours truly, Uffe and Solutrê

Le picnic…

Kjetil doing his best Popeye !

The afternoon ended with great company – Monsier Epailly and his wife had invited us to share a glass in the courtyard.

A perfect way to relax after a good days work…

So being together – 4 individuals for almost 4 days, you are bound to hit and edge every now and then. But we all had fun, and we are happy and lucky to have this friendship, given the distances. True friendship does not bother about time and distances. We share the passion for the good things in life, and I cannot wait to repeat the essence of this trip in the years to come. Frode, Uffe and Kjetil – I love you all, thanks for your friendship.

Beaune, I love you too…and shall be back before you can say blueberry pie….