Pete and Neal took me to Le Grand Vefour for a belated 50th birthday lunch during our recent trip to Paris. It was an incredible once-in-a lifetime experience worth every single calorie/Weight Watchers Point.
Located in the heart of Paris, next to the Gardens of the "Palais Royal," The Restaurant Vefour dates back to 1784.
The three-course extravaganza began with a glass of champagne and an amuse bouche of smoked freshwater eel and gazpacho.
For the first course Neal and I had sea bass and shibazukÃ© in terrine, vegetables on a thin avocado purÃ©e.
Rod had the duck liver terrine, pepper seeds, watermelon, fennel and basil.
Pete had the cold young French peas bouillon and ginger, glazed tomatoes with fresh goat cheese and smoked pork chest.
Next up was the main course. Neal had cod fish cooked on its skin, green asparagus, ras el hanout emulsion, red pepper salad perfumed with salted lemon.
Pete chose the roasted monkfish with tandoori spices, quinoa and carrots as a risotto, with carrot juice.
Rod and I opted for the duckling filet cooked in sakÃ©, pakchoi cabbage, Espelette chili juice.
Then it was time for cheese. The cart caused heart palpitations for a cheese lover like me. I've never seen anything like it (and may never again.)
Our gracious server prepared our selections based on our preferences (goats milk, cow's milk, creamy, mild, strong).
Then a selection of sweet treats arrived to hold us over until dessert.
For dessert, Neal had strawberries and rhubarb, lemon fondant with a Modena balsamic vinegar reduction.
Rod and Pete went with milk chocolate mousse on hazelnut pastry, caramel ice-cream and Guerande sea salt.
My dessert, pineapple in tartare and carpaccio, coconut cake, and mango sherbet, came on a tray with flowers and a candle.
Next came coffee, chocolates, marshmallows and finally cake.
After close to 3 hours, it was time for a stroll along the Courtyard of the Palais Royal.
Where we then made our way to a cafe for rest and a digestif.
We then spent the next several hours meandering along the streets of Paris, savoring the day. It was an experience I will cherish forever and never forget. A day for counting blessings not calories!
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