eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “french cooking

Cropichon et Bidibule 735 Mass. Ave.

Now isn’t that one hell of a name. From what I understand it is a meaningless set of words. The owners are from France and they use this as a term of endearment for their children. I think that’s sweet. Like an American calling a loved one snookums or pookie. As you can imagine it offers French food. It has been open for a few months, but I never could get Pat to go with me. As he said: “I do not want to eat at a place where I can’t pronounce the name.” So here I am, all by myself.

I am not overly familiar with French cooking. My experience consists of being taught French techniques and sauces in Culinary school and a few minor adventures in Quebec. I enjoy their love for food, and their influence has been felt throughout a great portion of the world. It just is not my first love.

I have heard a bit about the food here and it has generally been greeted with acclaim. The not too nice remarks have been directed at the interior design. I guess folks thought it should be like a quaint little bistro with small tables and an out-door seating area where you could lounge drinking wine and eating bread and butter. What they have is a small place with limited seating. When you walk in you see a hostess area directly in front of you.

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On your right as you enter  is a baby Grand piano with a bedazzled model of the Eiffel Tower, bedecked with silk roses serving as the candelabra.

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They have a nice menu, featuring crepes, charcuterie and galletes as well as sandwich type dishes. The galette that they offer is a Breton Gallete. A thin square buckwheat pancake filled with different savory components. The basic default dish is a Galette Complete. The pancake with cured ham and cheese and an egg. Their version features Gruyère cheese. Normally I would go there but they also have a Gallete Saucisse. Galette with sausage. Their version featured mirepoix with potatoes and a spicy mustard sauce.

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The sausage was cut into discs and placed off to the side with a mixed green salad on the opposite corner. The dish was an excellent composition. The crisp pancake filled with a wonderful array of carrot, onion, celery and potato excellently prepared. The veggies had just the right amount of tooth. And when you wanted to alter the taste grab a piece of sausage or a fork full of the salad. The salad was your typical field greens with a small addition of radicchio, to add attitude. The whole salad was dressed in a slight oil and vinegar dressing. It was transparent enough to let the greens shine and the vinegar had enough sweetness to play off the excellent horseradish and mustard sauce.

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I must say that this was an excellent dish. It was a classic and was done classically well. Also it was only $11. Now that is a bargain. Of course as I ate I became more desirous of some wine to help accentuate my lunch and decided that I needed a glass of Muscadet, for $12. But it was a great choice to go with the gallette. I think the reason I found it to be so darn good is normally I pay 12 bucks for 2 bottles of wine. I may have to review that. Oh one thing they may want to consider is the salting of the dish. I more I ate the more salt I tasted. It was as if they salted in layers and it all kind of fell to the middle. Also I must apologize for my pictures. Sometimes they look pretty good;other times, like now, no.

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When’s the Best Time to Eat?

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This is not at all like a post that would normally be shown here. I was indisposed for a few days so we were unable to hit the streets for our usual lunch. I have been thinking about writing a post like this for a while but never thought it would be too interesting to anyone. But since I am temporarily sidelined for a while; and; since I’m an obsessive, compulsive type I thought I might as well indulge myself.

What I’ve been thinking about is the changing face of restaurant cooking during my “adulthood”. In the 1960’s &70’s “Nouvelle Cuisine” hit the U.S. New cooking. A lighter, healthier alternative to ” Haute Cuisine”. Cooks started using terms like “cuisine minceur” (a version of nouvelle); au sec and spray releases like “Pam” were being used for “frying”. Saucers were lighter, portions were smaller and presentation almost became an end in itself. These changed the fundamentals of the business. Don’t let the French terms throw you. I think schools and some cooks like using these terms to sound sophisticated. That’s probably why I use them.

In the ensuing years different “hooks” appeared. The resurgence of flambe, fusion cooking and the raw food diet. But the most basic aspect of preparing food for consumption has not changed since the advent of fire. When you go past the initial stage -“find food, add heat” you discover that; in this part of the world the main influence is European; primarily French. Culinary Schools stress “classical cooking”. That is to say French cooking. I’ll save my thoughts on that for another time.

Since I stopped working and started eating out I noticed that joints are going more country, and, shall I say more ethnic. Not just hipster joints but some taverns enjoy adding flat breads and a more Asian palate of spices and seasonings. And the sauces have a spin with soy and ponzu type sauces. All of which add a great punch to the food. As for the country tour. I am not too sure. A lot of joints love to use pork belly and kale. Now I have no problem with either,but I wonder if the folks that use them really get it. Pork belly is a beautiful part of the pig, Skin,fat,meat and more fat. Slowly cooked;in a moist environment the yield is a delicious taste of meat with an unctuous deliciousness. Of course it’s great for making bacon.  As for the skin; cut it in strips, fry and dust with garlic and Louisiana hot sauce. Now that is fusion. Whether you call it crackling’ or chiccaron it is definitely good food. Hardly heart healthy but tasty none the less.

Well I do ramble. Kale. I love kale. I love all greens. However I don’t get raw kale, or slightly cooked kale. To me greens should be cooked down. Concentrate the nutrients into the pot liquor. Make sure you have some corn bread for sopping. Now if you can get some young baby greens they are great raw. Especially mustard greens. Simply dressed with oil, and vinegar or citrus juice the result is remarkable.

Well my ramblings are through. We’ll be back on the streets next week. Great times ahead. Spring is coming and some new joints are due to open up, so enjoy yourselves.