I’ve been missing Paris, as you may have noticed from some of my recent posts.
But not just my playtime in Paris, like the trip with The Grill-Meister I’ve been reminiscing about in recent days.
I miss working in Paris.
I miss seeing my colleagues in person.
I miss working lunches when the food is brought in from the kitchen in the building. Let me tell you about them. Grab a fork and your imagination and join me in the meeting room.
When there’s a full-day workshop, it’s a timesaver to have lunch right in the meeting room, and actually cost-effective, too, when compared with going out for a restaurant meal. The food arrives at midday, covered, with multiple courses, either chilled or at room temperature, as appropriate, arranged on a large, square plate atop a wooden tray. The cart with the food also has water, sparkling water, coffee and hot water for tea. The meal is displayed beautifully, with various colors and shapes and wonderful surprises (if you’re a foodie, like me).
There’s always a crusty roll, cheese, fruit, a perfectly cooked protein (unless you request the vegetarian option), vegetables and various sauces and purees, and a delectable dessert. It’s art on a plate, both visually and taste-wise. I couldn’t BELIEVE it the first time I had a working lunch in Paris. It didn’t happen often, only 4 times in the 2½ years I was associated with that particular Paris office, but when it did, I threw all diet caution to the wind and ate every bite.
The entree on the plate above from January of 2018 is superbly seared halibut (look at that crust!) surrounded by pistou (the green dots), a quenelle of scalloped-like potatoes, several other vegetables, mashed, and a smear of some type of beurre noisette (I think – whatever it was, it was delicious). The cheese (camembert, I think) had a little balsamic vinegar and raspberry puree around it, the salad in the glass was crab with green apples and watermelon, and the dessert was hazelnut and chocolate petit fours with more fruit puree. It’s not in the picture, but there was excellent butter for the hard roll that was better than any butter I’ve ever had here in the States.
I couldn’t stop raving, and my host (the organizer / leader of the workshop), a lovely, lovely, lovely and smart woman, was very pleased that I was happy. Parisians are fabulous at hospitality. I felt so welcome and wanted at that workshop.
The meal above and below from June of 2018 (hosted by the same colleague) centered around perfectly poached salmon. The dark green dots around the fish are zucchini, and there are various sauces, one of which was a pea puree. Rounding out the entree course are new potatoes and roasted red peppers. The asparagus had a spicy puree with horseradish or wasabi (I can’t remember which) and hard cheese shavings, gruyere, I think. There was the cheese, and the hard roll, both of which were fabulous, as always, and a chocolate mousse-like layered dessert cake with berries, pureed fruit and mint. Heavenly!
The next meal, from May of 2019, was all turf / no surf. Roasted chicken breast was drizzled with a dark au jus and served with pasta shells, roasted zucchini and artichoke hearts and edamame. I can’t remember the sauce that was so attractively smeared on the bottom of the plate, but I’m guessing it was a carrot puree. Heirloom tomatoes on the left are lightly dressed with olive oil and served with chunks of creamy burrata and dots of balsamic vinegar, forming a caprese salad (the subject of yesterday’s post), and there was a citrus yogurt along with the crunchy bread. Dessert was petit fours, and on the coffee saucer, you can just see the little wrapped dark chocolate bite that comes with each meal and which is scrumptious with the coffee. I secretly coveted my colleagues’ chocolates, or perhaps not-so-secretly, because several times I was gifted with them.
The final working lunch, in June of 2019, was salmon again. There were savory lentils, tomatoes, a fig puree and a green pea quenelle. Sadly, I have no idea what the green vegetable is on the bottom right, even after a Google search. If you know what it is, please leave a comment and educate me! I’m sure I asked at the time, and I know I ate it, but I can’t retrieve that particular detail. There were two semi-soft cheeses, and the salad in the glass is melon with prosciutto, daikon radish and a very soft fresh mozzarella. That’s a French version of strawberry shortcake for dessert, and you can see the whole little chocolate on the coffee saucer.
After lunch and coffee, we weren’t sleepy, as you might imagine after such a rich and delectable meal. Just the opposite – we were more creative, more open-minded, more expansive in our ideas. A world-class meal can spawn world-class collaboration, and the work that this team did together after our planning at the all-day workshops was first-rate, even winning an award.
I miss Paris. It’s a foodie’s delight. I miss my colleagues, too. You know who you are.
© 2021, Glover Gardens