jeudi, juillet 31, 2008

La Cocotte, eggs and truffles

Today started rather late again, as I had been out so late the night before. The contents of my day were actually pretty unexceptional (writing, some studying, going to the supermarket for some basic items), but the evening was quite a bit of fun. Yet another pair of French friends arrived in Berlin that morning—the same pair that had given me the (in)famous guided tour of the Berlin club scene more than a year ago—and we were all going to go out to dinner. We went to La Cocotte, a French restaurant in Berlin that specializes in homestyle French cooking, especially anything involving slow-cooking in cast-iron pots. One of the people in our group used to work for the restaurant and knew the couple that owned the restaurant, so we had a table waiting for us upon arrival.

The owners greeted us upon arrival and showed us to our table, in a cozy corner of the terrace outdoors. One of the owners brought us a complimentary round of kir royal, and that set the pattern for the whole evening. We ordered a round of verrines as an amuse-gueule, and then each of us ordered the famous oeuf cocotte as an appetizer. To make this dish, they take miniature cast-iron pots about the size of ramekins, add a spoonful of crème fraiche or white cheese, crack two eggs into each, shave some black truffle on top, close the lids tightly and put them over low heat. When done properly, the yolks and some of the whites are still soft and liquid, while the rest of it has set, perfumed with a deep truffle aroma. [Look at this description and recipe from Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini; I was totally charmed by the warmth of the comments section, where her mother and sister chime in with childhood memories]

So we gloried in the ecstasy of the oeuf cocotte, while we ordered some wine and some water (some of it on the house, I think) and our main courses. I can’t remember what the rest of the team had, but I think at least 3 of us ordered the dinde aux girolles, which was a large turkey leg braised in a dutch oven with girolle mushrooms and aromatic vegetables. It came with a fantastic little side-ramekin of mashed potatoes with olives, which was just the right portion.

By the time we had finished our main dishes, the rest of the restaurant had emptied out and the owners were constantly coming out to shush us (the restaurant is on a residential street). We finally moved into the back salon of the restaurant, where another carafe of wine magically appeared, along with a fondant chocolate cake and some crème brulée. Delicious.

Also, the back salon had a TV screen upon which one of the owners had been displaying his collection of vintage Bettie Page bondage/spanking videos. Also Delicious.

When it finally came time to pay the bill, the owner looked at the bill, rolled his eyes and said, “Ugh, just take half off the bill and split it 5 ways, I can’t be bothered to work out everyone’s bill separately.” Yay! Hooray for friendly and somewhat tipsy owners.

Well, after some escapades trying to meet up with a friend in deepest Neukölln, we called it a night and headed back to our respective homes.

2 commentaires:

Kristy a dit…

Tell me more about these mashed potatoes with olives - I believe husband would love that.

LMGM a dit…

From what I could gather, they were mashed potatoes that substituted really pungent olive oil instead of butter, and then threw in some roughly-chopped green olives. I think there was a bit of the brine from the olives in there as well, as the flavor was really strong.