Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good News!

I got my “Get Out of Jail Free” card this morning.

I had my three-month follow-up appointment with Dr. Paul S. Levy, the Thoracic/Cardiac surgeon at the New Mexico Heart Institute, and I am cleared to go and need never return. That is good news indeed—and the rig was ready to roll out of Albuquerque to head for Gallup, NM.

But first, hearing this news called for a celebratory lunch, and after a short debate—should it be Asian Noodle Bar or should it be La Crepe Michel—we headed to Old Town and to La Crepe Michel.

Chuck didn’t even need to look at the menu. He was going to order the Assiette Paysanne (the assortment of French pâtés, cheese, and sausage) that came with a small salad. If it could be possible, he enjoyed this more than at our visit two days ago—probably because he had it all to himself.

I knew I wanted fish or seafood. Since I had already ordered the seafood crepes, most of my remaining options involved salmon. The alternatives were: the Saumon Frais (grilled salmon fillet with garlic-saffron mayonnaise and tomatoes); the Crêpe De Saumon Fumé Aux Pommes (smoked salmon with grated apples, fresh cream, and capers and served with salad); the Crêpe au Saumon et Asperges (broiled salmon, asparagus, dill-bechamel sauce, and melted swiss cheese); and Truites aux Amandes (rainbow trout filet, almonds, and white wine and served with orzo).

Since I have never been a big trout eater, the last item was immediately eliminated. So I looked to the appetizer list and saw the Rillette De Saumon—homemade smoked and fresh poached salmon pate served with a dill-yogurt sauce. I could have ordered the one slice half order, but my good news called for the full two-slice order. The plate came with a generous serving of salad that included romaine, red leaf lettuce, carrot, and tomato and was tossed with the exceptional mustard-based vinaigrette we had on our salad earlier in the week.

I don’t know how La Crepe Michel prepared the salmon pate, but I “Googled” a number of salmon pate recipes and learned that most include, in addition to the salmon, some form of dairy product. This could be cream cheese, crème fraiche, heavy cream, butter, or ricotta cheese—either alone or in combination. My pate was so smooth and creamy that I suspect that cream cheese may have been one of the ingredients. Or maybe butter? Or maybe heavy cream? On the side was a large dollop of the yogurt-dill sauce (next to basil, dill may be my favorite herb) and some tiny capers. I gave Chuck a generous sample (cause that’s the kind of person I am), and his reaction was “Wow! That’s salmon?” I’ll make a salmon eater out of him yet.

Time for dessert, and still being in a celebratory mood, we ordered the Assortiment de Dessert—a dessert sampler with five different desserts. That day, the plate included a small serving of ladyfinger Charlotte mousse cake, a small dish of crème brulee, a small dish of chocolate mousse, a dish of mixed berries (blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries), and a dish of raspberry sorbet.

All five were wonderful, but two merit special mention. The chocolate mousse was, to be trite, as light as air and had a deep rich chocolate flavor. And the sorbet was the essence of raspberries. But even better was to put a small amount of sorbet on your spoon along with a small amount of the chocolate mousse.

Does Le Crepe Michel serve authentic food? All I can say is while we were finishing dessert I overheard an older woman speaking with one of the waiters, and they were both speaking what sounded to be fluent French. It’s good enough for me.

This is a wonderful unpreten-tious café and has become one of our favorite Albuquerque dining spots. As we did on Tuesday, we give our meal at La Crepe Michel 5.0 Addies.

No comments: