Boire un Petit Coup!

Translate:  To have a drink or drink a little cup

That is why we call our Happy Hour at Left Bank Brasserie “ Boire un Petit Coup.”  Who doesn’t want to have a drink?

Plus there is a really catchy song that goes with it.  Check this Out

That is why we celebrate Happy Hour, twice a day, every day.  From 3:30pm  – 6:30 pm and then from 9 pm till we close.  One of the best parts is our great selections of drinks on offer during Happy Hour, it has never been easier to fill a little cup.

With plenty of “Ze Snacks” to choose from, everyone will surely find a small bite to satisfy.

From a wonderful Brie plate with fresh fruit and nuts, to warm mixed olives with lemon and chilis, or our famous Moules Florentine or steamed mussels, to the most decadent for treats, what we call “French Nachos.”  This delightful dishes combines our crisp pommes frites, topped with cheese fondue, blue cheese and the French version of pesto, called pistou.

So be sure to stop in soon and  “Boire un Petit Coup” with us.

 

 

Paris Brest

The Famed French Dessert Created in Honor of the Paris-Brest-Paris Bicycle Race

Typically, one does not associate bicycles with food; however, in the case of the famous French dessert, Paris Brest, the history of cycling surprisingly goes hand in hand with the history of this famed pastry. In 1891, the bicycle was slowly becoming more popular across France, especially as different styles were being invented and tested against one another. Pierre Giffard, in order to promote the practicability of one of these new bicycles, known as the “safety bicycle,” started a 1200 km race, which was the most strenuous and difficult race anyone had thought of thus far.

 

The Race

Beginning in Paris, cyclists would be tasked to ride to Brest, and then back to Paris, carrying all of their own supplies, and stopping to rest based only on their own physical needs. The first time the race was held, the cyclist Michelin Charles Terront managed to finish the race in 71 hours and 22 minutes, passing his strongest competitor as he slept the third night. From that point on, the Paris-Brest-Paris race, even though it had proved to be the ultimate cycling adventure, was deemed to be held every ten years, as the organizational and physical difficulty of the race proved too much to be held more often than this.

After its initial success, the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race became the largest known race across France, with over a hundred bicyclists returning in 1901 to compete in the race again. Following the 1901 Paris-Brest-Paris race, Géo Lefèvre, a well-known sports journalist who worked at the famous sports newspaper, L’Auto, suggested an even bigger race that has arguably become the most well-known bicycle race around the world, the Tour de France. In 1903, the Tour de France was born under the leadership of Henri Desgrange, a man who had also been at the forefront of the “audax” movement in France, which was a cycling movement focused on long-distance cycling and physical determination.

 

Origin of the Paris Brest Pastry

Nineteen years after the first Paris-Brest-Paris race, right before the 1911 edition, Pierre Giffard wanted to commemorate the twenty year anniversary of the race he had started in 1891; thus, he reached out to Louis Durand, who at the time was known to be a high-quality pastry chef, to create a pastry that could represent the race, and this is how the famed Paris Brest pastry was born. With a shape that is meant to resemble a bicycle wheel, and a high calorie content that made it perfect for bicyclists trying to build up energy during the race, the Paris Brest pastry quickly became extremely popular among bicyclists who competed in the race, and eventually found a home in nearly every pastry shop around France. Made with a delicious choux pastry, and filled with a sweet praline-flavored cream, the Paris Brest dessert became the perfect addition to a race that had already captured the hearts of every French citizen.

 

The Paris-Brest-Paris Today

While the last time the Paris-Brest-Paris race was taken on by professional cyclists was 1951, when Maurice Diot took first place with an incredible time of 38 hours, a time that has yet to be beaten, the Paris-Brest-Paris slowly became a more frequent race after this, being conducted every four to five years, and focusing more on the tradition of cycling, rather than being seen as a race. Instead, it is meant to celebrate the physical prowess of cyclists and their determination to prove themselves capable of such an extraordinary physical feat.

While the dessert remains a staple French pastry, as well as representing the beginning of a growing love for cycling across France, the true love for cycling began with the race that the dessert was based on—the Paris-Brest-Paris. Today, cycling still has a strong place in the hearts of the French people, with a long list of cycling events taking place every year, the love for the bicycle and the personal test of physical determination is still obvious.

Rosé Regions of France

While most of the wine industry is typically focused around the production of red and white wines, Rosé is also an extremely cherished part of French viticulture. In fact, Rosé remains one of the oldest types of wine known to be produced, which is mostly because the aspects of winemaking that produce the darker red wines, such as longer maceration and more intense pressing, were not as common during ancient times. Even when techniques began to evolve which could allow the production of darker, heavier wines, most people during the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the Middle Ages, actually preferred the lighter color and sweet fruitiness Rosés.

Since Rosé still plays a prominent role in French wine culture, in this post we will explore the main regions that produce this delicate and delicious wine.

 

Provence

When it comes to Rosé, Provence stands out as a popular producer, with nearly two-thirds of their viticulture solely dedicated to Rosé. Located in the south-east corner of France, with a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Provence is typically regarded as the oldest French region to produce wine. As a region with a temperate climate, Provence receives just the right amount of sunlight, rain, and wind to provide its grapes the perfect conditions to grow and mature. While the grapes of this region include popular types such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the most popular grape grown for Rosé in Provence is actually the Grenache grape, but since it tends to lack strong color and tannins, it is usually blended with the other grape varieties, such as Cinsault, Carignan, and Tibouren. With eight distinct AOC regions across Provence, which are certified areas based on specific environmental characteristics that are regulated with strict standards in regards to the grapes grown and wines produced, the Rosés found throughout will each have an incredibly unique flavor.

 

Tavel

Situated right above the region of Provence, Tavel is commonly referred to as France’s “capital of Rosé,” specifically because the AOC guidelines permit only the production of Rosés in the Tavel region. Similar to Provence, the Grenache grape is the dominant grape grown in this region; however, the AOC standards require that the blends be made up of at least fifteen percent Cinsault, while the rest of the blend can include Carignan, Syrah, Bourboulenc, Calitor, Mourvedre, and Picpoul. As with most Rosés, the skin-contact method is typically the production technique used across Tavel, which simply refers to a shorter maceration period, but more interestingly, Tavel Rosés are also traditionally produced with a co-ferment method, which involves using both red and white wine grapes together in order to combine the flavors of both, producing a truly robust fruit flavor.

 

Loire

On the opposite side of France, and with a history of viticulture dating back to the first century, the Loire region is made up of beautiful vineyards, encompassing the production of all types of wine, including delightful Rosés. Two of the most well-known Rosés of this region are Rosé d’Anjou and Cabernet d’Anjou, which can be found in the Anjou wine region, near the French town of Angers. While Rosé d’Anjou, produced primarily with the Groslot grape, is known to be of a lighter color and sweeter flavor, the Cabernet d’Anjou is made with the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, producing a dryer Rosé with higher acidity levels. Along with these wonderful wines, one can also find the Rosé de Loire, which is known to be dry and moderately acidic, while also having a subtle sweet cherry flavor. Based on the AOC standards, at least thirty percent of a Rosé de Loire blend must be from Cabernet grapes, while the rest can be a combination of Groslot, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir, and Gamay.

Stop by one of Left Bank’s locations today and try the unique Rosé yourself!

Nutritional Qualities of Cheese

While many people can be quick to think that any dairy product will be high in fat and calories, and thus should not be an essential aspect of a healthy diet, the truth is that it all really depends on which kinds of dairy you are consuming, as well as what kind of nutritional qualities are specifically right for you and your health needs. In this context, cheese can and should be a part of everyone’s diet, from crucial calcium, to a whole host of other nutritious vitamins, cheese has nutritional qualities that make it a perfect addition for any healthy diet.

Nutritional Breakdown

 

Calcium

First and foremost, cheese is an excellent source of calcium. A mineral that is considered necessary for a long and healthy life, calcium helps our bodies in a multitude of ways. The benefits associated with a diet rich in calcium include building strength in bones, helping blood clot normally, and even improving overall heart health. Since our bodies can not naturally replenish calcium in our bones, a diet including calcium-rich foods is imperative.

With this in mind, one of the best sources for calcium is dairy, especially cheese. Not only is cheese a great source of calcium, but compared to many other dairy products, there is a much greater variety of cheeses to choose from, so you should be able to find a type of cheese you truly enjoy. Typically, harder cheeses, such as cheddar and jack, tend to have a higher content of calcium, averaging around 200 mg per ounce, while cheeses that are considered to be softer, such as brie, will usually have a slightly lower content of calcium, averaging around 50-100 mg per ounce.

Since health and nutritional guidelines typically recommended a daily consumption of around 1000 mg of calcium, cheese is a perfect candidate to ensure you receive that recommended daily value of calcium, all the while enjoying the diversity of flavors and textures that you will find with cheese.

 

Other Important Minerals

Even though calcium is arguably the most important mineral found in cheese, other minerals in cheese also serve as essential nutrients for a healthy diet. Two of the main helpful minerals you will find in notable amounts in cheese are zinc and phosphorus.

Zinc is important for a healthy immune system, as well as helping the body heal wounds. Most cheeses have an average of 1 mg of zinc per ounce, making a small but helpful contribution to the recommended daily value of approximately 8 mg.

On the other hand, phosphorus works directly with calcium, building and strengthening your bones and teeth. Along with this, phosphorus plays an important role in maintaining healthy energy levels. With this in mind, cheese averages around 200-300 mg of phosphorus per ounce, which makes it a great source for the recommended daily intake of 700 mg.

 

Vitamins

Cheese is also a great source for a wide range of vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and vitamin D. While these vitamins will be found in varied levels depending on the specific cheese, they each serve an essential purpose in the healthy function of our bodies.

  • Vitamin A: important for vision, as well as maintaining healthy skin and bones
  • Vitamin B2: also known as riboflavin, important for body growth and energy levels
  • Vitamin B12: maintains a healthy metabolism and helps in the formation of red blood cells
  • Vitamin C: helps the immune system function properly and aids in the repair of tissue and wounds
  • Vitamin D: vital for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus

 

Potential Nutritional Risks

While it is clear that cheese can be an essential aspect of a healthy diet, offering a variety of nutrients that are required for healthy living, it also has nutritional qualities that can pose potential negative effects to one’s health.

If you are someone trying to lower your intake of calories, fat, or sodium, you might want to be a little more careful when deciding which cheese to add to your diet. However, despite the fact that some cheeses can be higher than desired in calories, fat, and sodium, there are also a lot of cheeses that can be found in “low” versions for each of these nutrients.

Along with this, since cheese is a dairy product, it can also contain varying levels of lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk that is typically broken down in our stomachs by the enzyme lactase; however, since some people do not naturally produce enough lactase to break down all of the lactose present in certain dairy products, digestive discomfort can end up resulting from consumption of dairy. Despite this, due to the process of making and aging cheese, much of the lactose is actually taken out. While this might be the case, different cheeses and cheese products will still have varying degrees of lactose, so make sure to check before you buy if you are someone who is sensitive to lactose.

 

Living a Healthy Life with Cheese

Regardless of potential downsides of eating too much cheese, it remains one of the best sources of calcium, which is an essential nutrient that most people do not get enough of. Along with this, the other vitamins and minerals found in cheese will help you live a healthier lifestyle and improve your overall well-being. At the same time, when it comes to dairy and the nutritional benefits it offers, cheese is without a doubt the most enjoyable way to gain these benefits, mostly due to the diversity of cheese types and products, as well as the versatility of using cheese as an ingredient in recipes.

Knife Skills, the Movie

Although the French culinary arts are considered to be incredibly refined and truly of the highest caliber, with many trainees taking years to master the skills, one thing is guaranteed when it comes to the French style of cooking and fine dining—if the passion to learn and practice is there, anyone can learn how to cook and share the French dining experience with the world.

 

Despite being filmed in America, this short documentary revolves around the beginnings of a classical French restaurant opening in Cleveland, Ohio, Edwins, which works hard to absolutely capture what French cuisine is all about. What makes this French restaurant so unique, is that it serves as an opportunity and school for recently released inmates, attempting to teach them the traditions of French cuisine and fine dining in a six month course. The film, titled Knife Skills, focuses on the first class taking on this challenge, with only six weeks until opening, these former inmates, who have never had any formal training in the French culinary arts, will be rigorously trained in all things French cuisine, from authentic French recipes, to the subtleties of French wine, French regional qualities, and even the diversity of French cheese. Together, the people who are featured in this documentary, who confront the challenge of redemption and the highly refined details of the French culinary art, produce a truly heartwarming story about the human ability to prove oneself against all odds, and prove oneself to be above the mistakes of the past.

 

Leading this absolutely remarkable journey, is a man who is an ex-inmate himself, Brandon works with a goal to recruit 80 formerly-incarcerated adults, with the help of a head chef, Gilbert. A good portion of the movie has a strong focus on the training that Gilbert delivers, where he is given the immense task of teaching 25 traditional French meals to a class of formerly-incarcerated men and women, from classic french meals such as Tarte de Lapin au Parmesan et jambon en croûte, which is a rabbit pie with a parmesan and prosciutto crust, to Paupiettes de poisson du jour, which is market fish wrapped in crispy potatoes with haricot verts and beurre rouge. Gilbert works hard to look past the fact that none of the men and women he is training have had any training at all; instead, he has the ability to truly believe in the men and women that he is teaching. As someone who comes from France, and knows that anyone has the ability to learn proper French cuisine, as long as they have the right training and true determination, Gilbert helps the men and women in this movie completely believe in themselves, and work towards a future in food, a future they can believe in. Along with the intense training in classical French cuisine, other members of Edwin’s first culinary class work hard to learn how to create a high-quality dining experience, which proves to create an interesting and emotional movie that any audience will truly enjoy.

 

Ultimately, when the movie was released, 180 formerly-incarcerated adults had made their way through the intensive rehabilitative program, and successfully graduated. With it, they received authentic training in classical French cuisine and hospitality service, which to many, became the greatest chance they received to turn their lives around. Thus, not only is Knife Skills an exploration into the extensive and detailed training that it takes to make it as a classical French restaurant, but it also serves as an incredible movie, showcasing the human experience, as men and women attempt to overcome life-altering mistakes, and save themselves through the French culinary arts.