Sunday, August 17, 2008

La Cantine de Quentin -The World's Duckiest Duck

When I saw this month's Gourmet Paris issue, I was reminded that I haven't written nearly enough about our wonderful Parisian meals. One of the best was a lunch at La Cantine de Quentin in the 10th Arrondissement. Recommended by a native Parisian friend of a friend, the food store slash lunch hot-spot held lots of insider promise. And boy did it deliver! It was instantly clear that this was to be an authentic parisian lunch, not a touristy one: we were the only diners not smoking. Deciphering the french-only menu (another encouraging sign), I suggestied the duck confit to my carnivorous husband and chose a shrimp risotto for myself. After ordering the requisit carafe of house red wine (a surprising tasty and reasonable priced bordeaux) and being told that my order was 'an excellent choice,' we dug into bread and some amazingly flavorful french butter.

Then came the main event. I apologize for not taking pictures, I was simply too distracted after tasting my risotto. The rice itself was perfect, rich, thick, warm -with pieces of cooked shrimp (tail on) and thin slices of parmesan, which added the perfect amount of salt, to mix in as I liked. The most surprisng part was that there was a sort of saffron? foam around the edge of my risotto: playful, delicate and delicious. But this was nothing compared to the moans of delight coming from the man at my left. He proclaimed his duck confit the platonic ideal of duck, the duckiest duck that ever ducked, exactly what one wants when one orders duck. It was, I admit, a revelation in poultry form. Falling off the bone, but not laden with fat, this duck was simple perfection. Needless to say, we were too filled and giddy for dessert. We shall return! We must return as I'm sure the menu contains even more pieces of culinary transcendence.

Next time you're in Paris, visit La Cantine de Quentin at 53 Rue Bichat and work off your lunch with a lovely stroll along the adjacent canal!

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