And you may ask yourself, where is that large automobile? Sorry.."One in a Lifetime" was the first song I heard today. But you may ask yourself how we are able to afford Michelin starred restaurants so often when we travel. The secret is AirBnB. This is not a sponsored post and I know nobody from the AirBnB team. I just really love their service, and I feel it is about time I give them love. Here's how AirBnB allows me to eat at amazing restaurants during my travels...Their listings are usually less expensive than hotels, AND they have kitchens. Saving money on lodgings allows me to have money to go to Michelin start restaurants like Maison Lameloise. Before you read on, here are some action items for your next Burgundy trip:
-Pick an AirBnb with a kitchen (and washer if you can - nothing like fresh clothes)
-Make breakfast & dinner at home (it will save you money to use towards lunch)
-Check out ViaMichelin and find their starred restaurants (it is a god-awful website, but it serves its purpose. Then check the restaurant website for LUNCH DEALS) - most Michelin restaurants offer awesome lunch deals ($15-$100 -depending on the place)
-Sneak a tupperware (since these restos usually don't do take out/delivery...sneak a tupperware...after all, you paid for the food and there is nothing sadder than leaving your cheese course because you are full)
-Buy a bottle of wine, grab that tupperware and find a nice romantic spot for an afternoon snack
-Rinse & repeat
Now that I shared my secrets, let's get to it. Maison Lameloise is one of those amazing restaurants you NEED to visit if you are in Burgundy. The lunch menu at Lameloise costs 65 Euros or 80 with wine (1 white, 1 red, mineral water AND coffee). That's roughly 200 USD (and in France, there is no tipping). Sure, it is still expensive, but not for the quality of food and experience that you will have there. In NYC with 2 apps, 2 entrees & a bottle of wine you can easily reach the same dollar amount after tipping and leave unsatisfied with your meal and service. The lunch menu at Maison Lameloise is only available Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, except for holidays...so keep this in mind when reserving.
The first amuse bouche was a foie gras/coconut lollypop which dissolved in the tongue. It always amazes me how sweet and delicious foie can be when prepared properly.
Then an asparagus gelee with shrimp and clementine. This was Ferran Adria stuff, but executed sooooo much better than what we experienced at Tickets in Barcelona. It was a lovely burst of the essence of asparagus, enhanced by the citrus and shrimp.
A slate tray was brought out with four more amuse bouches. First, two incredibly thin slices of a toasty bread with equally delicate sausage which had great texture. There was also an eel carpaccio with uni on graham crackers. By this point, I was starting to get kinda excited... There were balls of escargot covered in squid ink breading. These were warm, gooey, and all sorts of delicious. Finally, escargot popcorn. Yup, escargot popcorn.
The next Amuse (yeah...this is why I mean that although this meal was pricy it was a value) was Eel with foie gras. I'm never really upset at a place that is liberal with incredibly delicious foie.
Finally, smoked salmon on a mustard, potato veloute. Sweet, delicious salmon with touches of roe and some sort of buttery cream that would have been perfect as a first course.
The choices for first course were scallops with crab meat, urchin, quince chutney & Maltese Jerusalem artichoke & fennel nectar. This was my selection, what came out was a gorgeous crab meat, wrapped in incredibly thin scallops, topped with scallops. I had never seen this execution before, but it was simply gorgeous.
Antonio (because of his shellfish allergy) opted for the "David Camus" escargot tart with vegetables, fresh herbs & garlic in a broth flavored with licorice. Mine was delicious, his was better. Unlike most dishes with vegetables, each vegetable maintained its own personality. The dish was served on a sort of shell, gorgeous presentation. The snails were cooked to perfection, warm and tender and oozing with umami.
Course two consisted of monkfish wrapped in bacon with fried spicy squid rings in cabbage braising juices and creamy mashed potatoes. I'll start with the potatoes because DAMN! The French know how to make mashed potatoes. I had the same style at L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon Etoile. They were creamy, velvety, and now I have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to figure out the technique to achieve this beauty. The fish was tender, and the bacon added just the amount of fat to make this dish sinful. The fried squid rings added a gorgeous touch of texture. This is Michelin dining at its finest.
Antonio chose the "Excellence Mieral" pigeon with foie gras on a gingerbread crust with turnips & mango. It came with sweet mashed potatoes (which are never his favorites...or mine), but the bird was gorgeous. It was pink, juicy and quite flavorful.
Before "dessert" was brought out, we were presented with petit fours. A lemon caramel, nougat, and chocolate with a salted caramel in the middle. I would have considered this dessert...but then the real thing came out.
A hazelnut biscuit in a lightweight Tanariva foam and a caramel popcorn on top Wow. These were incredible. There was also a sichuan pepper caramel with pear sorbet & ginger. These woke up the palate and did some very bad things to my brain. Suddenly I could feel the dopamine coursing through my receptors.
The Verdict - Damn good. Did it beat Per Se? No...but it was still freakin' amazing. Forgot to mention, incredible service...which is probably why I forgot to mention it.
About Chef Eric Pras: Both an MOF "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" and an MCF "Maitre Cuisinier de France", pras completed his CAP at the tender age of 15 at the Hôtel Central in Renaison. He worked in prestigous restaurans including: Maison Troisgros in Roanne, Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu, then under Pierre Gagnaire in Saint-Etienne, Antoine Westermann in Strasbourg, Restaurant La Belle Otéro in Cannes. He is 39 and in my opinion, incredibly talented.
Maison Lameloise is located at 36 Place D'Armees in Chagny, Burgundy. For reservations call +33 (0)3 85 876 565
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