Star Chasing

April 25, 2014

We chose Hélène Darroze for three reasons. Is it close to our Paris apartment? Is it French cuisine? Do they take online reservations?

Hélène Darroze Dinner

France is filled with casual bistros. And some of the best plates we have had on this trip has been atop paper tablecloths (take the David Lebovitz recommended Aux Tonneaux des Halles). I don’t know if it was the table side sliced charcuterie, the Champagne cart or the number of pairs of Louboutins, that signaled that we weren’t at any old bistro.

I find it humorous that a tire company has created the most trusted fine dining restaurant guide in the world. This New Yorker profile shows how secretive and thorough they keep the process (they have to order the maximum course option and eat everything). There are people who chase Michelin stars with the same passion as 4:00 a.m. deal hunters outside a suburban Best Buy on Black Friday. I don’t have that passion yet as the closest Michelin star to Seattle is in San Francisco.

I schlepped my Pitch Black Sounders jersey for one photo opportunity at the Eiffel Tower. I schlepped dress shoes, a tie, a white dress shirt, and a suit coat for this meal. Worth every bit of weight and space in my REI bag.

Champagne (we got the rose).  My only complaint is the when the Champagne cart rolls up, you have no idea how much it costs.  We were never going to say no to Champagne, but still.


Cheese gougères, table sliced charcuterie with a bread that was pillow soft.

Cheese gougeres, charcuterie and homemade bread

Our wine. A 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine de Beaurenard

2005 C

Oyster with caviar from Aquitaine, and cocoa bean from Béarn

Oyster with caviar

Langoustine with foie gras, onion, and coriander

Langoustine with foie gras, onion, and coriander

Foie Gras wrapped in nori, with Meyer lemon dots and shiso

Foie Gras wrapped in nori

Asparagus with escargot, beef marrow, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Bordelaise sauce

Asparagus with escargot, beef marrow, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Bordelaise sauce

The pigeon with bulgur, foie gras, and harissa

Pigeon with bulgur, foie gras, and harissa

Porc Noir (Black Pork). Served with potatoes with black truffles, and sage herb butter.  Cut and served table side.

Porc Noir

A cart of cheeses rolled up. Much like the cart of Champagnes. I chose the creamy goat and some other aged cheese. It was the oldest aged cheese they had. We could have had more cheeses than just two, but I was so full and we still had dessert coming.

Cheese course

The Baba which is their signature dish. It is cake with Armagnac poured over and served with ruby grapefruit and vanilla bourbon cream. Another cart rolled up and you got to select the vintage of Armagnac to pour over. One from the 1960s, one from the 1970s, and one from the 1980s. I chose the 1985. I told him it was the closest to my birth year.

The Baba

One was a chocolate coffee macaron and the other was some kind of banana treat with edible paper on top.


And of course, cafe to end the night.


Besides Alex and I and the older Portuguese couple (she of course wore Louboutins and he – much to my delight – also took photos of every course and the wine they ordered) were the only ones left in the restaurant at the end. Then they left. At that time it was nearing midnight. Our server sent home the hostess. And our sommelier had been gone for a while. Our server walked us down the stairs to retrieve Alex’s coat and scarf. He called us a taxi. It was there in seconds.  We hopped in and left.  This dinner was one of the best experiences I have ever had.



  1. I’m reading this while eating leftover Thai food. Doesn’t seem right somehow. Looks like a great meal!

  2. WOW, what an incredible dining event. You made my mouth water. I am so glad you got to experience that. Thank you for adding the small touches, like the part at the end.

    You mentioned one item coming from Aquitaine. I recall in learning about my French ancestors, that I believe some of them were from that region. Fun connection for me.

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