H/B/F 2017: best of Dijon — food and drink (and a Michelin star!)

Dijon, along with Paris and Lyon, is known for its gastronomy and we definitely had a couple stand-out meals.

We arrived in town late, so we grabbed pizzas at a little Italian place just a few doors down from our charming Airbnb find. Please note the greens atop Andrew’s pie, below.  It may not have been Michelin-starred (but one we did eat at was!!!), but the pizza was delicious, they had an Aperol Spritz for me and they were open late.  Check, check, check.

Instead of eating breakfast in the apartment (which would have been my first choice), we grabbed quick bites, juice and coffee at this little café, similar to a Café Paul or a Panera. Andrew got his fresh-squeezed orange juice and I enjoyed locally made yogurt.

We really liked La Causerie des Mondes, translated to ‘the talk of the worlds.’  It was recommended to us by our host and we visited twice, once for lunch and another time for a cold drink.  Andrew’s cherry clafouti (picture below) was absolutely out-of-this-world.

Andrew’s really into snails (let’s face it; they’re simply a vehicle for garlic and butter) and I really wanted some foie gras, so we found a traditional French restaurant, La Bourgogne.  Our meals were delicious and I loved sitting outside as the sun set.

Perhaps the biggest highlight–food or otherwise–was our seven-course dinner at La Maison des Cariatides. It has a Michelin Star (!!!) and was absolutely fantastic.

We chose to sit outside in their cozy enclave, one of four tables. Our meal started with aperitifs, radishes dipped in butter with sea salt and fried catfish slices.

Our second ‘amuse-bouche’ was delightful to look at AND eat: a cheese/bacon/mushroom filling INSIDE an egg shell, topped with basil and a thin crouton.  They even prepared Andrew’s without cheese.

Our first ‘official’ course was white asparagus with lardons in a mustard sauce with greens and more croutons.  I love that every time we’re in France in the spring we see white asparagus EVERYWHERE.

The second course was a thin sheet of square pasta atop two snails. The consommé was then poured over, melting the butter below the wonton and creating a soup.

Our third course was fillets of perch with spring peas with a white sauce.  Andrew doesn’t normally like peas, but did love this dish.

Our fourth (and favorite!) course was almost-rare beef, surrounded by beets and beet purée, served with the creamiest, richest potato purée I’ve ever had.  It all had a very ‘umami‘ flavor.  The chef himself came out to drizzle our plates with the reduction.

Andrew begged off the cheese course, but I enjoyed a few local favorites recommended by our server. My favorite was the charolais, an aged goat cheese (the white half-moon slice in the middle of the plate below).  As goat cheeses age, they become more flavorful, saltier and have an aroma that stays on the tongue longer than fresh goat cheese. (In this post, I found a very similar cheese at the Les Halles market and had it for lunch in the apartment.)

Our first dessert course was minty strawberries topped with a frothy egg-white foam and elderflowers.

Our second dessert was a lemon soufflé served with a dollop of tart yogurt sorbet and a smear of rich lemon rind paste that paired well with the soufflé.

Our last and final treat: coffee and half a hazelnut-cream filled macaron.

Another highlight meal, described more in this post, was the one I assembled with ingredients from Les Halles.  I even had to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit to cook the snails in our little apartment oven!

Another highlight meal was at So, an emerging restaurant run by a Japanese chef.  It’s been awarded a ‘bib’ by the Michelin guide.

I started with a balsamic-marinated ceviche with tomatoes and an avocado/dijon cream.

This is actually Andrew’s main dish, guinea fowl, that he said was “the most flavorful poultry I’ve ever had.”

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