There are a handful of booths that, through no fault of their own, often take me some time to hit at Food & Wine each year. Sometimes it's location related…. (Who still has room for waffles when they reach Belguim??) More often it's the play of the type of food against the heat and humidity of central Florida well into “fall”. I dig French and Italian food, but I tend not to crave it while strolling outside in 90+ degree heat and 1000% humidity.
That said, I wasn't going to let France slip by this year. So when a childless, relatively mild weathered Friday lunch hour presented itself yesterday, I seized the day and ordered the full slate.
These are the sacrifices I make, my friends. These are the sacrifices….
So, without further ado, my thoughts:
- Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parley ($5.75)
This is a returning item and, in short, if you're cool with snails and not planning on going on a first date later (because you will reek of garlic for the rest of the day), it is delicious. The croissant is perfectly flakey and fully saturated in butter and garlic and the escargots do their usual job of adding texture and transporting garlic from plate to palate as they should. If your young children are anything like my older son, they will cry when they learn that something like this exists in the world. so maybe save it for an adults-only visit.
- Moelleux au Fromage de Chèvre et Épinards – Warm Goat Cheese Pudding with Spinach ($4.25) (Vegetarian, GF)
I am a goat cheese fanatic, so I was excited for this. And as you can see from the picture, it is a pretty little dish. That said, while it wasn't bad by any stretch, it was probably my least favorite of the group. When I eat a dish with goat cheese, I want to be punched in the face with it. This was more of a spinach quiche with a dollap of goat cheese (see it there?) perched on top. It was fine, but not my favorite thing. I marched on…
- Bouef Bourguignon, Purée de Pommes Terre: Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Beef with Mashed Potatoes ($6.25)
Damn this was good. Even in the early October, mid-afternoon Florida sun, I could have enjoyed a few of these. The beef fell apart at the touch, was just the right amount of salty, and sat on a happy little bed of potatoes that were as simple as they were delicious. It was true to France and it went down easy. No frills, no silliness, just solid yum.
- Crème Brûlée à la Confiture de Framboises: Crème Brûlée with Housemade Raspberry Jam ($4.25) (Vegetarian, GF)
There are few things in the world as satisfying as the crack into a perfectly fired crème brûlée. With one bite it frog leaped into one of the top spots for desserts at F&W. It's sweet but not overpowering, cut by the tartness of the raspberries. Again, nothing over the top. Just simple and delicious.
- La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, and Cranberry Passion Fruit Juice ($10.75)
I can't tell you how many people asked where I'd scored this as I walked with it. Get yourself one on a hot day. Please. You deserve it. You're welcome.