Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nancy - Brasserie Excelsior

 Yesterday I went to Nancy in the Lorraine region while some of your were getting out candles and flashlights.

 Brasserie Excelsior is your classic 'Belle Epoque' cafe
50 rue Henri Poincaré, Nancy

 You’ll find it in front of the Nancy train station, I made a lunch reservation immediately 

 Huge and cavernous, each curving detail is in the style of was styled by artists of the time and inaugurated during the carnival of 1911.

 In no time from noon on every seat was filled with a line waiting.

 But what to eat?

 The French Fall windows are not just full of non-existent squirrels you know.

 The chestnut/chataigne/marron holds a supreme place in most vitrines along with mushrooms and squirrels.

 So I ordered a starter - coquille/a big scallop wrapped in lardon/bacon in a creamy chestnut sauce with a crispy cracker/tuile. Fortunately I had my iPod Touch with Kindle on it, so I could look up BACON in The Flavor Thesaurus.
Bacon: one of the world’s best seasonings. Some people believe that there isn’t a flavor that bacon doesn’t enhance. Smoked bacon has a stronger, saltier, spicier flavor than unsmoked. Salty bacon brings out the sweetness of other ingredients and takes the edge off their bitterness. The aroma and flavor of cooked bacon is famously provocative to vegetarians, but synthetic vegetarian/kosher bacon flavor is available in the form of crisp pieces, bacon salt and a bacon-flavor mayonnaise.

Bacon and shellfish: Delicious in “clams casino”—clams baked on the half shell with a bacon and breadcrumb topping. Fry a mixture of finely chopped onion, red bell pepper, garlic and bacon in olive oil, spoon it onto the uncooked, open clams, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven. If your clams are quite small, you’ll need to chop the bacon finely so you can tell one chewy, salty protein from the other. Keep an eye on the quantities—you want the bacon to underpin the shellfish flavor, not overpower it. Bear the same thing in mind while making mussel and bacon soup, a lobster club sandwich or when fastening your scallops into a girdle of bacon.

On Chestnuts: Like pine nuts and cashews, one of the sweeter nuts, but it’s chestnut’s low fat content that makes it unique. Nonetheless, as with its oily cousins, roasting—over an open fire, naturally—brings out its full flavor and sweetness. Its earthy quality makes it a good match for other autumnal flavors, such as game, mushrooms and apples.
 Yahoo! Nice to know what your eating isn't it?

 My second course - another starter - the classic quiche Lorraine.

 The eggy layer was as delicate and light as a flan - the best quiche I've every tasted. The astringent vinagrette on the salad perfectly cut through and balanced the creaminess of the tarte and fat of the lardon. It's hard to remember this is your average combo of bacon and egg but as The Flavor Thesaurus says:

Bacon and Egg The quintessentially English combination common to the full Irish breakfast, Italian spaghetti carbonara, French quiche lorraine and the classic salade frisée aux lardons et oeuf poché...
Having the thesaurus along makes eating more fun and more adventurous indeed.

 For dessert I crossed the street in Nancy to old-fashioned confiserie, Lefévre-Lemoine at 47 Rue Henri Poincaré
To taste some local Bergamotte and Mirabelle candies.
Keep Safe East Coasters! Thinking of you.


  1. I hope everyone in NY and the east coast will be okay too!

  2. Oh that Brasserie could only be France.. If I'd have been with you I would have chosen exactly the same. I could almost smell the crispy bacon on top of the scallop... Then the lightness of the quiche looked so delicious.. my mouth is watering. How do you find these wonderful places.

    1. easy peasy to find Barbara...
      maybe the best place in town and every seat filled
      I went for the architecture really but the food was excellent

  3. Carol, that's a beautiful brasserie. The quiche Lorraine really looks delicious and the real thing!

  4. Quelle surprise! When I opened up my e-mail and saw were you were! I have friends in Nancy and they took us to the Excelsior. Already, earlier in the day, I'd taken photos of the exterior, trying to capture the beautiful molded iridescent glass grapes or pine cones (I couldn't figure out what they were) in the fancy wrought iron work. I'm sure you will be visiting the glass shops new and old to feast on the art nouveau/deco (get those mixed up) lamps and sculptures. Can't wait for your post tomorrow!

  5. I have not popped over here in an age, my how I have missed you!!

  6. Looks like a great meal carol..you are better in Paris ..In QC just high winds..and power outages so far..well where I am..

  7. That certainly is a beautiful place to weather Sandy!

  8. That quiche looks divine - and your "escape to Paris" timing was divine, too!

  9. Oh my, I'm drooling! The Brasserie looks so elegant. And the food!! Too bad it's chilly, but it looks like you're having a wonderful trip. Wish I was there, too!

  10. .. thanks for the lovely tour and experience. I really enjoy your travels. How did you choose to go to Nancy? It's a ways from Paris, no? ... have a great trip, you chose a good time. Karen in CT

  11. Carol, what a lovely place to lunch. I think that the atmosphere would have had me daydreaming of earlier eras while enjoying that delicious meal.

    Over here, it is going to be quite a while before all reaches the new normal and area-wide electricity and public transport return.


  12. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Bacon-wonderful on everything!
    xo, Lissy

  13. Omg your photos made me crave a quiche - so I went out and actually FOUND one in Buenos Aires!! Enjoying it now as I re-read your post :)

    x Milsters


  14. That's a beautiful looking place - I love the ceiling and all of the mirrors on the walls.
    I've never had quiche! You sure made it look good.

  15. Your timing couldn't be better to be in France during the Frankenstorm. That Brasserie looks fantastic. I would be eating there too and a second place for dessert, love it! Try them all. When I was in France, I had the best omelette ever! Clearly the French have a way with eggs.

    1. WHERE did you have that omelette??
      Do tell svp

  16. TWO salons de chocolat?? I am vert with envie. Paris me manque. Merci pour les belles photos!

  17. You timed your absence perfectly! Subways are flooded and some areas without power in NYC although the worst is in NJ.
    The restaurant interior is heaven!!!! And dang! Now I'll have to get the ebook version, too. I generally buy food books in hard copy only!

  18. Oh that Quiche looks wonderful. You sure timed going to Paris right. I hope your home is safe and your friends there all safe too.

  19. You missed quite a storm, Carol!
    Never have I experienced anything like Sandy! Millions without power! e

  20. Parisbreakfast12:35 AM

    I have no regrets about missing Sandy
    Even if I am FREEZING in Paris.

  21. Michelle12:44 AM

    Did you not love Nancy?? My husband and I were there two years ago at this time and fell in love with that beautiful Square. I was lucky enough to be the only person in the museum of the city, and a wonderful guard became my guide, explaining everything in a quaint mixture of his broken English and my broken French. Loved the food, (we ate at the Brasserie Excelsior twice) the art and the architecture. I am envious...

  22. Anonymous10:16 AM

    what a shame that nearly everything concentrates on the gut but what a fantastic caff

  23. Anonymous10:17 AM

    gluttons are also thin


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