Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
Comfort food is everywhere these days, and usually it's the American version. But the French have really perfected it, which was obvious on a recent dinner outing to Petite Maison in Scottsdale. A glorious dish of coq au vin -- chicken and onions stewed in red wine until it's so tender you hardly need teeth to eat it -- was so satisfying on a chilly January night.
Dinner started off with a lovely cheese plate (Gruyere, double creme Brie that was like buttah, creamy Port Salut, and tangy Roquefort) with toasts, olives, warm candied almonds, cranberry jelly, and mustard topped with sea salt and pepper.
I dream about this French onion soup. It's packed with caramelized onions, and the broth is potent. Of course, my favorite part is digging through that golden crown of bubbly Gruyere and French bread to make the perfect bite.
I'm starting to think it's impossible to eat at Petite Maison without ordering a souffle. This vanilla souffle, drizzled with orange creme anglaise, had a deeply golden, crisp caramelized cap that contrasted nicely with the delicate, eggy middle. That's my kind of comfort food.