Margret de canard aux pistachios was a mouth-watering duck with pistachios dish. It came with an au gratin unlike anything I’ve had: a rounded cake of potato-fantasticness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t properly notating everything at this point - the Pastis, Moulin, and Chablis ran thick that night - so we were all eating in a super-stoked manner, and I am not sure which French-named dish this delicately prepared whitefish was. The fish was perfectly cooked - a slight crisp to the outer flesh, smooth and soft in between; and that little circular cake of vegetables - all great. The finale entree was Filet de boeuf au poivre (Steak au poivre!).
I was exuberant over the prospect of being able to have au poivre in NYC, then a few days later - in the city it came from. If you look back at the NYC episode - you can see that both look pretty different; the preparations had to have been similar as well. The little au gratin cake had that cheesy-potatoy-creamy-baked greatness; the steak was nice and medium rare (medium rare seems rarer than the rare back home - which I am always happy about), the sauce was that steak/cream/cognac/pepper sauce like the the poivre from Manhattan - just lighter, different. This was the winner of the mains.
Profiteroles maison were the French-proper versions of profiteroles. These were hunching, fist-sized mammoths of baked dough, light-as-air cream, and that viscous chocolate sauce. Amazing.
We hit Cantada for after dinner drinks: a rock/metal absinthe bar. By this point, I had never had absinthe in my life… so I knew I was in for something special.
The absinthe menu was intimidating and pretty shocking to say the least (considering I thought there were only a few kinds - this had tons), Manon did the ordering here. I am not sure which one I drank, or the others we tasted; but I can try to describe absinthe’s flavor as accurately as I can. They did the water-drip machine thing - lightly dribbling water onto a porous spoon, adorned with a sugar cube. Black licorice was the main flavor; some menthol and citrus rind; and (the best I can do here) - a light touch of a… mouthwash flavor (!?)? It was intense. I’m a wine/beer/occasional scotch or cocktail guy - this was… something I may frequent less.
We hit another outdoor bar for some French beer on tap (we didn’t know what it was called); chatted, laughed - and called it a night.
My final French meal was even a good thing - just a take-away-train-station-baguette-sandwich - even that was pretty darn good. The ladies set me up on a 1st class cabin on a train (negating my silly routing of driving to the airport, flying a while, driving to Cologne city center routing) and I nodded off, full, and happily listening to Gaga and Gipsy Kings.