Paris: Eating on the wild side
Once upon a time in France, hunting was a privilege reserved for nobility. Forbidden from la chasse, everyday people were powerless to procure the woodland creatures that scampered around them. Prohibition gave rise to a serious proclivity—a sort of national longing for tail.
This pent-up desire was unleashed in 1789, when the French Revolution granted hunting rights to all citizens. Chefs and family cooks alike were suddenly free to serve the sauvage. Centuries later, the consumption of wild things continues unabated.
To cater to this national obsession, most traditional restaurants serve game during the autumn-and-winter season. Some cheat with frozen supplies. But no shortcuts are taken in restaurants serving haute cuisine. Places like Taillevent and Guy Savoy take extreme pride in their selection and preparation of gibiers (wild game). But for those who don't have money to burn (the cheapest dinner menu here costs around €300/$385), here are some other addresses where you can taste this tradition at a bargain price.
Le P'tit Bougnat: One of the least expensive options, Le P'tit Bougnat has more game than Justin Timberlake. Menus start at €17 ($21) and feature partridge, pheasant, and wild boar, all served with classic sides like blueberries and chestnuts or pears cooked in wine. 118 boulevard de Courcelles, 17th arrondissement, 011-33/1-47-63-97-11.
Le Repaire de Cartouche: The name translates roughly as "hunter's hideaway," signalling Rodolphe Paquin's affinity for cooking the freshly caught. A reasonably good restaurant year-round, this place becomes a sure shot during game season. 8 boulevard des Filles-du-Calvaire, 11th arrondissement, 011-33/1-47-00-25-86.
Chez Michel: Thierry Breton is a master fish cook, but also likes to show off during game season. His good-value blackboard menu includes forest friends for a small supplement. Save room for dessert because his Paris-Brest is the best in the city. 10 rue de Belzunce, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-44-53-06-20.
La Régalade: Help yourself from the sideboard to a slice of game terrine with onion confit, then settle back to ponder your choice between partridge, wood pigeon and wild boar stew. This convivial and inexpensive bistro is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. 49 avenue Jean-Moulin, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-45-45-68-58.
Le Cerisaie: This restaurant is the size of a shoebox and always packed with dedicated diners. Specializing in the cooking of southwest France, Cyril Lalanne is also something of a game nut. Try his pâté of mixed game in a crust, served with sour cherry preserves. 70 boulevard Edgar Quinet, 14th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-20-98-98.
Selection of game at these, or any other Paris restaurant, will vary according to what's being hunted in the moment. Birds appear early in the fall and are followed by rabbit and later deer. Some of the most common gibier that feature on restaurant menus are translated for you here.
becasse - woodcock
caille – quail
canard - duck
caneton - young male duckling
canette - young female duckling
colvert –wild mallard duck
faisan - pheasant
grouse – grouse
palombe - wood pigeon
perdrix, perdreau - partridge
lievre - hare
lapin - rabbit
lapereau - young rabbit
biche - doe, young female deer
cerf - stag, older male deer
chevreuil - young male deer
bison - bison
caribou - caribou
sanglier - wild boar
marcassin - young wild boar
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Check out our handy one-page France Menu Decoder for 2008.
Movie Quest! Q&A with editor of On Location Vacations
Celebrity sightings often make for great gossip. Christine Bord takes it one step further as the editor of the blog, onlocationvacations.com, which highlights where movies or TV shows are currently filming. Q: How do you get your tips? A: I have a loyal fan base, and they contribute about a dozen tips a day. People will see posted permits that say the street will be closed for filming. Then they'll send me the street names and times. We don't usually get tips too far in advance, maybe a day or two. What's cool about my site is that draws attention to areas that wouldn't normally be seen as tourist destinations. For example, on Nov. 19, the new Rob Schneider movie, "Virgin on Bourbon Street", will be filming a street party scene on Monroe Street in Greektown, Detroit. "High School", starring Adrien Brody, began filming Nov. 10 in Howell, Mich. The primary filming location for the shoot will be Parker High School in Howell. And "Edge of Darkness", starring Mel Gibson, is filming in the Boston area through the end of the month. Recent locations for this movie have also included Rockport and Northampton, Mass. Q: Where are some of the hottest TV shows shot? A: In New York City, "Gossip Girl" has a huge following. Recent locations include the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn and the Upper East Side around 5th Avenue and 79th Street. If people go to a set, they'll send me pictures, which I post. And "Ugly Betty" is big since it moved to New York this season. In Los Angeles, "Prison Break" and "Heroes" are very popular. Like New York, I usually don't get L.A. locations until a day or so before filming actually begins. Q: Any tips for successful celebrity "stalking"? A: The main thing is to have patience. Sometimes they'll film for 12 or 15 hours in one location. Get tips from the production assistants hanging around the sets. They'll know who is around that day. If you are at a movie set, talk to a P.A. to get a good idea of what your chances are. To meet someone, ask a P.A. nicely and they'll help you out as much as you can. Wait and be polite. If you approach a celebrity, be polite and don't bum rush. Q: What else does your blog cover? A: My website also has road trip itineraries, like an Alfred Hitchcock tour through California. It's part of the celebrity obsession. I think we feel like we know those people. People want to go and stand where Tom Hanks stood to feel more connected to him. And now people are realizing they can be there while it's happening. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Movie Quest 2008! We Stalked George Clooney
This weekend: Mile-high fun in Denver, 150 years young
Denver, the town of Buffalo Bill and Rocky Mountain highs, is celebrating its second annual Art Week, beginning this weekend. There are more than 150 events packed into nine days; it all kicks off with free admission to some of Denver's museums on Friday evening. "Night at the Museums" goes from 5 to 10 p.m.—visit venues such as the Denver Art Museum or the Colorado History Museum. You can search the events calendar for a ton of other events going on—Art Week runs through Nov. 22. The Denver Film Festival is also happening this weekend (it goes through Nov. 23). Get your camera phones ready for a possible celebrity encounter: Star-studded film The Brothers Bloom will have an opening, as will the Mickey Rourke comeback-vehicle The Wrestler. Tickets start at $11—see all pricing and scheduling info. Denver is turning 150 this year, and the city is taking 15 days to celebrate. One highlight: the official birthday celebration, complete with cake, is Nov. 22, where the Colorado History Museum will unveil Denver at 150: Imagine a Great City. With all these events going on, you could stay awhile. In the Mile High Holiday promotion, 20 area hotels are offering a starting nightly rate of $52.80. (Curious about the number? Denver sits 5,280 feet above sea level.) Better act fast; the rates are based on availability (and exclude New Year's Eve). PREVIOUSLY Denver's a Green City MORE See Denver's city magazine, 5280 Get Real Denver, the nightlife blog Find more travel blogs at Alltop
Best "letter to the editor" of the year?
In our recent special issue with the "Best Places You've Never Heard Of" cover story, we published a letter to the editor that I'd like to share with anyone who may have missed it: I had a good life—a beautiful wife, two daughters, a house, and a job. But despite all that, my life had become boring. I'd forgotten that there's so much out there to explore. I picked up Budget Travel at the supermarket. That week, I told my wife, Tammy, that it was time we started seeing the world. Our first trip was to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tammy and I watched the sunset every night, and I fell in love with her all over again. That was in 2001, and we vowed we would travel whenever we could. We took our kids to San Diego; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gulf Shores, Ala.; and Florida, going even when we could barely afford it. Our trips brought my family together in ways that I will never forget. For our 15th wedding anniversary, Tammy and I wanted to go to the Florida Keys. Money was tight, but we went anyway. We came back amazed—it was so great. Not long after, Tammy died in a car accident. She was my best friend, and I wake up every day missing her. But I also think of how glad I am that we didn't put off traveling: Every day, the setting sun reminds me of her beauty and how fortunate I was to experience so much with her. Last January, 42 family members and friends joined me in Puerto Vallarta for a sunset toast to Tammy. Some of them had never left our town, so taking a trip was a new beginning for them, just as it was for Tammy and me seven years ago. I wanted to thank you for all the wonderful times I shared with my wife because you brought these places up close each month. You have changed my life and my friends' lives forever. We will always travel! —Zac Fowler, Janesville, Wis.
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