A note from Fox and Michael: for this April Fool’s Day, we’re really excited to be participating in The Great Pittsburgh Blog Swap of 2015! Today, you can find us posting over at Nicky D Cooks. And here, we’d like to introduce you to our first-ever guest writer, Erin, from the highly enjoyable blog, Don’t Forget to Eat! She and her husband decided to tackle one of our achievements; take a look!
My husband, Kevin, and I are delighted to be guests here at 101 Achievements. I let him choose the food-related achievement we would participate in and without hesitation he said, “Charcuterie Face-Off.” Our favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh are ones that we can walk to easily from our home in the East End, so we chose a place that might not come to mind when you first think of “charcuterie” in Pittsburgh, but offers quite a tasty plate nonetheless: Paris 66 Bistro.
Paris 66 offers a Plateau Campagnard, a variety of French meats and cheeses selected daily by the chef. The plate is best shared by two people as either the start of a long, lingering French meal or a shorter simpler affair of a shared charcuterie plate followed immediately by dessert. Now, on to the details of the Plateau Campagnard. We lifted the judging section straight from Fox and Michael for a fair comparison with their five charcuterie experiences:
1) Presentation — how well is the charcuterie arranged?
2) Taste Bud Balance — how distinctly, and in what proportion, do we get sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami flavors?
3) Dipping Options — basically, what sorts of jellies, purees, and sauces make a showing?
4) Variety — what animals do the cheeses and meats come from? What are their textures? From where did they originate?
5) Personality — sort of a freestyle category; what unique touches or flare does the restaurant offer with regard to the charcuterie?
The Plateau Campagnard consisted of three cheeses (Roquefort, Brie, and Comte), honey, walnuts, cornichons, country-style pate, saucisson sec, sweet salami, and a little green salad. We also had crusty bread in a basket on the side.
So how did the plate stack up?
1) Presentation: 0.9 out of 1.0. The plate was very well organized and presented so that the server could guide us easily through the items on the plate and the order in which she recommended we eat them. The 0.1 point loss comes from the little salad, which got in the way of the flow of things.
2) Taste Bud Balance: 1.0 out of 1.0. This plate had a beautiful balance of sweet and salty, strong and mild, and a bit of sour: pungent Roquefort with sweet honey, Juniper-spiced saucisson sec, salt country pate, and tiny cornichons. The French are experts at making sure all the taste buds are covered.
3) Dipping Options: 0.6 out of 1.0. The only dipping sauce was a bit of honey for the cheese. The honey was delicious, perfectly paired with the Roquefort on a piece of bread as recommended by our waitress. However, after the honey was gone we were out of fun things to play with, so that’s points lost.
4) Variety: 0.8 out of 1.0. The variety of cheeses was wonderful. We began with a strong Roquefort that we spread on bread with honey and walnuts, then a brie with a red rind that was soft and rich yet different from any brie we’ve ever had, and finally the comte with a mild flavor that mellowed the plate out a bit. The meat selections were varied in that we had country pate plus the saucisson and salami, but the saucisson and salami tasted quite similar, not much to compare or play with between the two.
5) Personality: 0.8 out of 1.0. We loved that the chef makes the selections so we didn’t know what we were getting until the plate appeared on our table. Our waitress enthusiastically led us through the selections and promptly checked on us and reminded us the names of things we’d forgotten. But there was nothing special about the plate that went above and beyond for it to earn the full personality point.
Overall: 4.1 – a highly recommended plate for those who love French meats and cheeses and who aren’t looking for lots of dipping sauces. Yum!
Fox and Michael again. Looks like Paris 66 Bistro has some pretty tasty charcuterie; thanks for the tip! Be sure to check out Erin’s blog, Don’t Forget to Eat!, the blog we’re guesting at, Nicky D Cooks, and all the other cool blogs that are taking part in the blog swap. Here’s a full list:
The Great Pittsburgh Blog Swap of 2015
The AP Collection
A Body of One’s Own
Oh Honestly, Erin
My Blog n’at
Pennies, Pints, Pittsburgh
The Wheezy Runner
Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes
Sole for the Soul
Gardening in High Heels
The Fashionable Eye
The Steel Trap
Pittsburgh Happy Hour
Pittsburgh is Beautiful
Crank Crank Revolution
In Pursuit of Happiness
Red Pen Mama
Orange Chair Blog
Last Minute Panic
The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
Pittsburgh Taste Buds
Don’t Forget to Eat
101 Achievements (hey, that’s us!)
Nicky D. Cooks
In Pursuit of Simple
The Almond Eater
Yum Yum PGH
Small Town Dad
A Librarian’s Lists and Letters
everybody loves you…