The Tour De France restaurant group—which runs restaurants including French Roast, Maison and L'Express—has made a name for itself by making regional French cooking as accessible and affordable as the hamburger; well, $21 burgers at least. But for every plate of Steak Frites and crock of Moules are dishes that French natives actually grew up eating, classic dishes that aren't à la mode in the States and don't make the cut at haute dining rooms française. To help homesick Frenchmen, including TdF Executive Chef Philippe Roussel, the restaurants are offering a week-long Forgotten French Food & Wine event with dishes and drinks rarely seen this side of the Pond.
Some of them are more offal than others, like the Tripes Normande (braised tripe) with Calvados brandy and roasted apples and the Tête de Veau Sauce Gribiche (braised veal head) with steamed fingerling potatoes and sauce grébich, which was created in 1649 at Les Halles, Paris's meat packing district. Then there's the Quenelle de brochet sauce Nantua (pike gratin), which sees the fishies whipped into a mousse with eggs and crème fraîche in a shrimp and lobster sauce. Sounds funky, but the Lyonnaise dish is creamy and comforting like fishy mashed potatoes.
Dessert and wines are also part of the Forgotten tribute, including Omelette Norvégienne, an almond biscuit layered with caramel and vanilla ice creams then topped with meringue and baked. Uncommon sparkling, rose, white, red and dessert wines will be available by the glass during the festival of sorts, which begins July 14th (Bastille Day!) and runs until the 20th. All the Tour de France restaurants are participating; check each eatery for hours and availability.