I was fortunate enough to visit the glorious city of Paris for a week recently with pal, J.Low. I fell in love with the city, it’s people, the culture, the landscape, all its character, and of course, the food and shopping.
For this post, we’ll talk about the food. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the cuisine at the fancy joints or the brasseries that impressed us most (though they were definitely charming and the food wasn’t anything to complain about). It was the street food that made us swoon!
LADUREE – Various locations
Macaroons to absolutely DIE FOR! These aren’t the coconut butter shortbread numbers we have here in America. These are like a soft yet crisp, light wafer cake with flavored cream, jam, caramel, or fudgy chocolate filling (depending on the flavor). They have a crazy array of flavors and colors like chocolate, rose, vanilla, coffee, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and on and on… But my faves were the caramel w/fleur de sel (wonderfully chewy caramel filling!), cassis & violette (it totally captures the flavor and essence of Paris), and the fragrant and delicate orange blossom flower.
They have various locations throughout Paris, but the one on the Champs Elysees can’t be missed. The restaurant’s decor, boxes, and details bring every tea party fantasy you’ve ever had, to life. Both beautiful and magical.
L’ENTRECOTE – Champs Elysees
The hype with this restaurant is in its “green sauce” that goes over their steak frites (and that’s pretty much all they serve, by the way). But tasting is believing because the hype is worth it! I’m still trying to recreate the sauce at home. We were trying to figure out what was in it and we’re pretty sure it’s a dijon base, along with porchini mushrooms and a little melted butter. Add that sauce to their perfectly cooked steak and crisp fries and we were in heaven.
CHEZ HANNA – Marais District
This kosher middle eastern restaurant was actually our second choice when we arrived in the delightful Marais district. We were looking for the world famous L’As du Fallafel, but they were closed since it was Saturday. But J. and I didn’t care because the falafel sandwich we had at Chez Hanna was simply the best we’d ever had!!! It was a warm soft pita, hummus and a tomato chutney, lightly vinegary shredded red and green cabbage and diced cucumbers, perfectly crisp falafel balls made fresh that didn’t taste full of additives, and some delectable roasted eggplant slices with olive oil. It was fantastic!
STREET CREPES – All over Paris
This, of course, isn’t a restaurant but what is arguably Paris’ most popular street food. J. and I were so addicted to these puppies we had six of them in six days! And trust me, I would’ve had more if I could :). I’m personally a fan of the savory crepes stuffed with shredded white cheese, ham, and sometimes egg or mushrooms, fresh and warm from the griddle. Mmmmm….
For a sweet crepe, I enjoyed the Nutella but actually prefered the ones filled with apricot or strawberry jam.
LA BALZAR BRASSERIE – Latin Quarter
It’s this place’s atmosphere and charming waitstaff that are worth the visit. Our waiter, Jean, was the most darling older gentleman and he was making jokes all night in his heavily accented English. I’d recommend this place simply based on the experience and less for the food. Definitely order the French Onion Soup with its wonderfully thick layer of melted cheese, but skip the tough and overcooked escargots.
AMORINO ITALIAN GELATO – Various locations
I have to trust J’s word on this one because…I’m not a huge fan of ice cream. (I KNOW I’m gonna get tons of grief for that statement.) But she didn’t say a word while she was eating it and that pretty much says it all. She loved it and thought the flavors and texture were out of this world. They let you choose as many flavors as you want for one price and then even shape the ice cream into a lovely rose. Leave it to the French to make something as simple as gelato/ice cream so beautiful.
By the way, if you want reservations to a Paris restaurant before you leave the States, check out www.bestrestaurantsparis.com to make them online! Piece of cake.
Next week, I’ll talk all about some of the lovely districts we visited and the great shopping we found…