Saturday, April 9, 2011

Parisian Fare

'Thud'...... yep, that's the sound of me coming down to 'gastronomical earth' after my trip to the most beautiful, yummy city in the world.

The reality of being home hit me when I decided to order a takeaway soup from my local Thai restaurant, on my first night back. Waiting to collect my order, the girl announced that my soup was almost ready and pointed out the cook finishing it off.  I watched the cook (chef is too flattering a term) dip a spoon into my soup, take a taste and then put the spoon back into my soup. TWICE. I made it known to the whole restaurant (in-house diners and all) why I would not be leaving with my soup or coming back to the restaurant. EVER. No-one in the kitchen seemed to think it was a big deal! Another one bites the dust. Oh and the soup used to be so good!

Despairing over my diminishing list of decent dining establishments in town and having had the most amazing gastronomical past fortnight, I realized that I really don't know where to go to get good, well priced food in Brisbane. I need to join some Brisbane foodie blogs. I mean where do you get a lip smacking, satiating, gourmet meal here in Brisbane for under 15 euros ($20AUD). Is central Paris really cheaper than Brisbane??? Why am I paying $39 for a fillet steak at the Norman but eating better steak in Paris for half the price. Is there anywhere in Brisbane that creates croissants like the French do? know, the crispiest, flakiest, buttery French croissant. How about baguettes? ... chewy outside, soft and super fresh on the inside. How about fresh food markets?....where the prices aren't the same as Woolies or Coles? Can anyone point me to some good foodie blogs or eating establishments here in Brisbane? I have been living under a rock for too long.... and life is too short to eat bad food.

I was fortunate enough to dine in a few of Christian Constant's restaurants in Paris (I stayed just around the corner from Rue St Dominique, 7th arr, where all his restaurants are). I bought his English cookbook and his 'La Maison Constant' set of cookbooks (all in French!) featuring recipes from all his restaurants. Yes, I will be attempting to recreate some of them here on this blog with my boys as guinea pigs. He has inspired me to create beautiful food! I met him you know! He wanders through his restaurants each evening meeting his happy customers. You can get the most beautiful gourmet meal in his renowned Cafe Constant' for under 15 euros. I have been totally gastronomically spoilt rotten.

And you know what I love about Parisian fare?... the portions are small. That's why those beautiful French women don't get fat. You see them sitting there sipping their espresso with their little boiled egg or a tiny little petit four and that's it. Everything is served in smaller portions...... from supermarket yoghurt ...120g as compared to our whopper 200g restaurant meals. I think I would still have to run a lot if I lived there though. I would be eating smaller portions but more frequently! Is it a concern that my whole trip revolved around food?

Must go and stir the pot. I have a French dish on the boil at the moment.... yep, lots of cream.
Dietitians look away now.
PS More pictures of my consumptions over HERE.


  1. Oh A-M, I confess to being a lurker on your blog for some time and even your gorgeous giveaways did not get me to leave a comment! But now I can't hold back! I couldn't agree with you more on the lack of quality restaurants in Brisbane and being constantly felt like I'm being ripped off! Every time I take a trip to South Africa (or anywhere outside Australia, actually) I'm reminded of how much I miss good, delicious food that doesn't cost the earth. So please, when you do find those hidden gems in Brisbane, please share them! Your Parisian adventure left me wanting...

  2. Sounds wonderful (but yikes - can´t believe that guy did that to your soup, so disgusting!) and I´m glad you enjoyed yourself! :-)

  3. Oh, and good for you for your handling of that Thai spoon-licker. I would have loved to see that!

  4. AM I too will wait with anticipation for your list of secret & the best places to haunt.
    Cream is fine - it is a binder, texture & heavenly flavour, it is the sugar that is compacted into every food possible and the high amounts too that is in my opinion the "devil".

    Isn't the "come-down" dreadful after an amazing fantasy life away. I know you are salivating over returning to Paris, and not finding a replica restaurant here :)

    The what if's in life are endless but perhaps you may talk your children into a French school sooner rather than later.

    Eat well my friend - and I too need the name of the "double dipping" restaurant for me NEVER to go to. Please.

    L x

  5. Oh, yes A-M, too true on the portions and tastes; one beautiful Parisienne waitress told me I didn't need my own cake (when I had ordered one) and brought out two spoons with Stu's dessert for me to share (and didn't bring me mine)! Priceless and so right. The taste of Stu's was enough to enjoy. I loved it. Hugs. Emma.

  6. haha.. double dipping.. that's disgusting.. and unforgivable really in a restaurant..

    So A-M.. I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip.. you lucky girl.. but so well deserved and I imagine needed..

    You know a friend of mine is a chef.. it has completely ruined me for liking food anywhere... she is the best!! Maybe she could be encouraged to move to Brissie..

    Have a lovely weekend.. ciao xxx Julie

  7. I must admit we never get take aways anymore for lack of quality for money outlay... Gourmet food at a posh restaurant on special occasions is my choice or my lazy is a roast chicken from the shops x

  8. I'll bet there's a lot more sipping and dipping and tasting of the soup than we as restaurant go'ers know about. Learning to cook well at home is what we are becoming all about these days.


  9. Oh, A-M! I'm just thrilled you had such a delectable Parisian experience. Coming back to reality in Brisbane must really be a thud ☺. I can't wait to see which recipes you try - please share! J x

  10. The macarons at the Boutique Markets from Authentic French Macarons are too die for - but you have to get to the market early, cause they sell out! Plus we have la Boutique Du Nougat - he does an amazing range of creamy nougat like I've never tasted before and tomorrow Harvest Breads is making for market a 'Schiacciata All'uva' (a gorgeous sweet grape foccacia)...chewy, fragrant and juicy with an added burst of natural sweetness from organic grapes...yummo! and of course if you've gotten through all this and your still hungry, Gianni's at Portside Wharf, has just been voted Qld's best gourmet Pizza!
    XX Rachael

  11. Oh My..I have obviously missed a few posts my darling AM..for the last time I visited you said you were taking a break...I didnt stay tuned to find out that the break would in fact be PARIS! And now...I am super jealous! Tell me more my lovely : ) x

  12. Good Lord I have been out of the loop. PARIS! A-m I am thrilled for you. Hope the reality of being home isn't too awful. Am off now to read all about the rest of the trip.

    Oh and the spoon issue - ewwwwwwwwww!


  13. That is so gross A-M. You know what I am going to need to head and visit John at the nursery for Brekkie, maybe you could pull in ater the school run ha.I have found the Bulimba Bakery makes good croissants etc. But you have to get there early, and not look at the cakes or you will always leave with one ha, cheers katherine

  14. The soup experience sounds terrible. I hope it hasn't put you off Thai food in general. My girlfriend and i were once having lunch in a sushi establishment when 2 little mice scurried throught the restaurant. Hmmm. Don't think we ever went back there. But most importantly it didn't put me off sushi!

  15. AM meant to add for you - the cafe Le Bon Choix on Racecourse Road Ascot is a winner for all things French. Best I've found in Brisbane so far for decor and food to feel like in Paris

  16. Welcome back! Can't help you on the Brisbane food blog front - but so glad you got to have an amazing couple of weeks somewhere fabulous. Would love to have seen you make your thoughts known at the Thai place - that's awful! xx

  17. having worked in a few restaurants here in southern california i will just say that you'd be shocked at what goes on behind the swinging doors. seriously, awful. i like your idea of cooking at home,way better! healthier, tastier, cleaner, cheaper.


  18. Oh good for you A-M for asking the question. I am sure you will be inundated with suggestions of little boutique cafes or restaurants that ascribe to the "live and eat local" mentality. I've started to do that within my own city of Edmonton and I'm thrilled at the choices for restaurants, farmers markets and other lovers of the "slow food" movement!

    Happy foodie blogging!


  19. Oi! I have to agree, after eating in Paris last year Australian food will never be the same again. While there Dh bought me the Laduree recipe book as a surprise for when we got back. Imagine our delight to find it all in French too (but of course :) ). Now my munchkins and I are learning French so we can cook from it. Looking forward to seeing your culinary delights on here.

  20. AM my old bloggie friend from the first hours..soooo happy to see you made it to Paris ;) and so was oly 3 and a half hour away from my town LOL

    I can see you really enjoyed...!!

    X desiree

  21. Oh, the dirty spoon story has me reeling. Ugh!

    I hope you can find some firm favourites soon - otherwise I think you're destined to be cooking French fare at home. Not that it's a bad thing. x

  22. With Queenslands fantastic climate, fresh food should be plentiful and restaurants with fantastic fresh locally sourced food at reasonable prices should also be plentiful but sadly in my experience on every corner you found cheap nasty fast food outlets. I thought as a visitor I just didn't know where to find such things. I guess I am just spoiled here in Christchurch because even after the earthquakes that damaged so many we still have a good supply of quality cafe bars and restaurants with fantastic fresh fare and a good selection of local wines.

  23. I visit Brisbane a couple of times a year and the fruit & veg shop in the Toowong shopping centre has produce that is way superior to the supermarkets, and cheaper too.

  24. If I lived in brisbane I am sure I would eat something from here every day.

    Vanilla Pod Cafe

  25. That cook needs his cook's hat AND spoon taken away from him and then shown the door. Good for you for expressing your displeasure for all to hear!

  26. Love this post A-M (oh except the double dipping )
    Its the same here on the Gold Coast (maybe worse) with fantastic reasonably priced food.
    I also love how you are evolving , what cooking French food ! I honestly cannot wait until you share those experiences , I will be right beside you, cooking along !
    I have a natural fascination with the French way of life.
    Karyn x

  27. A-M, you need to go here

    for your French fix.

    Bon appetite!
    Kerry x
    PS. when are the lights arriving?

  28. Hi, I haven't been by for a visit in a while and I was TOTALLY grossed out by what that cook did! He should have been fired on the spot! I hope you reported the restaurant!

  29. Best cheap meal in Paris is the falafel at L'As du Falafal. 5E for a big pita divine and so cheap!

  30. Yes, Kathryn, I agree, my brother sent me there! He lived off those last year when he was in Paris. Ate one every day! A-M xx

  31. Hi A M so sorry to here about the spoon fiasco, that reminded me of a story when out with friends our meals were coming at all different times & the one meal was cold which we sent back but my friend desided a few seconds later to follow the waiter back to the kitchen (he didnt know) & watched in horror when the chef stuck his finger in it & said thats okay.
    With that he raced back to the table & we left with the staff chasing us out the door.
    I know Jamie Oliver has just opened a resturant in Brissy would have thought that would be good, the last meal I had in Brisbane that was yummy was North of the the river
    Hope you find something I am having the same trouble living in Mackay I begrudge paying for a rubbish meal when I know I can make it better myself!! Thank goodness for our first resturant thats opened here with table cloths & good service in a renovated church its my saviour :))

  32. Hello! I realise this is a very old post (I'm reading back through the archives after discovering your blogt) but if you are still keen for affordable Brisbane food consider picking up a copy of Brisbane Budget Bites (I know you can get it from Avid Reader at West End). I'm a fan - lots of off-the-beaten track recommendations, divided into areas around Brisbane.
    I'm not affiliated with the book by the way - just a foodie who thought I'd pass on a tip!
    (I have a few restaurant recommendations on my blog as well, but not many:

  33. Oh no - my comment just got eaten! Anywho, I was recommending Brisbane Budget Bites 2012 (you can get from Avid Reader) - good local resource for affordable food places. Not affiliated, just a fan.
    I also have a few reviews on my blog ( but not many.


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx