In Paris for a few weeks and travel and corralling kids has left little time for writing an entry, but here’s a picture of an awesome salad…
I’m not sure how we originally found Le Relais Gascon. Probably just a stumble upon moment years and years and children ago. We were staying in a tiny (little, cramped, indescribably small) hotel around the corner. Montmartre has been, had long been, a favorite ramble, and finding new places to dine almost a sport. Touristy, sure, a bit on the trying-too-hard-to-be-authentic side, absolutely, but also comfortable, and ancient, and sure of itself, rife with history and sex shops. But the salad kept us coming back.
‘Gascon’ is the food of Southwest France, the land of d’Artagnan and Cyrano, and all things duck, and goose, and truffle.
In a bowl that could comfortably hold a full-sized cat, a mix of greens and tomatoes, surprise bursts of smoked duck breast, a tranche of foie gras, and topped, literally covered with a fragrant crispy layer of garlic deep-fried potatoes, the dressing a simple emulsion of oil and vinegar with something that might be tarragon. The menu lists it as the “Salad Gascon”, but we refer to it as “The Holy Crap Salad”. Once, when trying to google the address to give to a friend, a Tripadvisor review popped up which opened with the line, “Holy crap, this salad is amazing!” and ever since…
We’ve tried a few other dishes there, and can’t really recommend them, but that salad…if you get the perfect bite, a stab of greens, a sliver of duck, a tomato, a nugget of foie, and crispy potato shards…one of those combinations that the universe is founded upon. It is entirely too much food for one person to eat. And we eat it. Upon arriving Paris we usually drop off our luggage, and head here to get our fix, which is what we did this time. A pichet de rouge to wash the road dust down – in the beginning we opted for the Herault, which was quite awful but cheap; now that we’re grown up we go with the Saint Chinian.
There are some foods that are unabashed guilty pleasures, and maybe nostalgia plays a larger part than it should, but no need to justify other than to say, “Holy crap, this salad is amazing…”
I’m sure there’s something to write about in Paris, I hear they have some decent food…
Le Relais Gascon
6 Rue des Abbesses
+33 01 42 58 58 22