One of the many things that I often heard from my American students when I worked in study abroad, was that they could seem to figure out how to meet French people. You would think that for young students it would be easy, so if they were having a hard time, then what do those who are beyond university years, or even in their 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and beyond do? Are you traveling here soon, and want a fabulous way to meet the locals? Book your hotel room, and then book your dinners with Voulez-Vous Diner, all in the homes of Parisians! What a great way to enjoy the culture here.
I had been wandering through the 9th, clicking my camera button to my heart’s content at any-and-everything that caught my eye. And I walked past this place that winked at me out of the corner of my gaze as I passed it in a slow hurry to nowhere. I stopped, turned around and walked back the three steps I had gone beyond it’s door. I peered in the window. Nobody was there except a guy or two behind the bar. He seemed to be polishing counters and wiping down glasses. I, being the curious soul that I am, assumed they were open despite the empty tables, and I waltzed right in.
Article by Frank Cierpial
La Maison du Croque Monsieur. Finding Authentic French food in New York proves to be a challenge. Finding French food in New York that college students like myself can afford proves to be even harder. This daunting task is almost impossible in most cases, but not in this one. What if I told you that you can find Authentic French food in the West Village that is more than affordable. No, I am not kidding. Such a place does exist. The place is called “La Maison de Croque Monsieur”. Continue reading
So, since Obama has been in the white house, Americana has gained enormous amounts of popularity over here in Paris. I can see a great difference from the days when Parisians were protesting the war in Iraq (protest which I participated in my first year here in the city of Lights and Love).
Americana diners are popping up all over the city and the hamburger has become a super trendy meal, with popular websites like My Little Paris writing about the “best burger in Paris” and the Ralph Lauren restaurant Ralph’s serving a whopping 27€ but apparently über delish! I don’t know if I could allow myself though to chose that menu item when I go there (as I am planning in it sooner or later) because they do serve Maine Lobster on the menu, and that for me is a vital part of my New England-raised-and-educated desires, much more so than a burger. But that will be for another post. There is also the extremely popular food truck Le Camion Qui Fume, where people stand in line for an hour for street food burger and fries. They have even published a recipe book! Burgers are back and totally popular among the trendy chic in the chicest city in the world.
I do think that I shall write a post with my review of all the different Americana burger joints in the city, but I still haven’t tasted them all! I am working on that, slowly but surely. My most recent tasting was at Chibby’s Diner. An adorable Americana Diner that brings you back to a nostalgic time in the USA, right here in the middle of Paris.
Post by Frank Cierpial
For the Francophiles on the other side of the Atlantic…
Going out in New York is hard to do. There are countless complaints that I have about the New York nightlife. Either the music is too loud, there is no place to sit or walk that does not involve getting drinks spilled on you, or if you want to keep your shirt clean, it is too expensive. With that said, Going out in New York and trying to satisfy a craving for French culture is even harder. But Francophiles in the New York or San Francisco areas, there is an outlet for your yearning for French culture. Continue reading
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I came across this place when I was grabbing some supplies for wedding prep at an art store near métro Nation. And it looked so absolutely inviting that I just had to go in! I sat and had a demi pression and chatted with the barman and the owner who is a young woman about my age and she was setting up the tables for the dinner hour. Continue reading
A recent evening was spent at the Italian restaurant Il Sorrentino.
4 rue de Montessuy 75007, Paris
Fresh and authentic cuisine (complete with service in an Italian accent), served at this addrese in a prestigious Parisian neighborhood, you are greeted just outside the door by a sparkling tower (the Eiffel).
Inside the restaurant is small and fills quickly, so reserve!
I watched our neighbors receive their first plate which was a pasta dish that was prepared right before our eyes in a giant cheese wheel that has been gutted. the spaghetti was twirled around at the bottom of this “bowl” with hot cream to melt the cheese and allow it to incorporate with the pasta. I almost had a lactose intolerant heart attack of envy right there in my seat!
But I survived to eat my own delicious meal which started with prosecco, then moved onto deep fried and light-as-a-feather calamari with zucchini, and for the main dish pan fried San Pietro fish flaky and cooked to perfection served with a pistachio-arugula pesto sauce.
We washed our meal down with a white Sicilian wine. And my dinner dates all happily ate their plates as we chatted over wedding planning and other current events in our lives.
Chéri had beef carpaccio with arugula and parmesan to start with the slices of beef delightfully being held in shape by mini clothespins, and a seafood risotto for his main dish. But I think he most enjoyed his dessert : white chocolate mood with raspberries. I braved my lactose intense intolerance for a teeny tiny taste. So, so so so good…
Across the table I envied the smoked and baked cheese with spicy olives that was being delectably being devoured… This restaurant made me quite nostalgic for cheese to say the least!
One dish that is also served with a spectacular flare is the Bar fish baked inside a salt crust. They must use at least a kilo of coarse-grain salt. It covers completely the entire fish which is baked as it was caught, whole. they wheel the giant thing out on a platter and then pound at the stiffened crust with a little hammer to break it off.The fish is cut, flayed and served before your eyes.
See their menu on their website.
We were drawn in by the fun things we noticed in the windows as we were leaving the marché Saint Martin…we went in to see more, stayed for a bite to eat and left completely charmed!
Eric Cormier, owns and runs this cheery deli and épicerie fine, and puts as much enthusiasm and energy into the place as you can imagine. He strikes up a conversation with everybody who walks in the door, treats you like friends and has a joke or a chuckle to punctuate every phrase. Even with all the cute and colorful décor, it is certainly monsieur Cormier who gives this place its irresistible fun and delightful atmosphere!
Monsieur Cormier’s first restaurant is L’Encrier, a well known place in the Bastille area where people gather with friends and strike up conversations with strangers. It’s a place for neighborly friendliness as is his new place Le Village.
Le Village : A mélange of French and Anglo/American products and menu choices, this place is certainly a great meeting spot of the two cultures, and worth a visit from any respectable Parisian and every vacationing visitor! Go there for the fun and tasty bites and stay for the cheerful ambiance.
25 rue Bouchardon 75010, Paris
Chéri and I stumbled upon this little tea room one evening as we wandered around the Île Saint Louis. It drew us in with its warm colors and promises of chocolat chaud à l’ancienne (old fashioned hot chocolate), and the neatly arranged cakes and cookies on the counter top.
This place is everything a hot chocolate and cake shop should be, warm and friendly! There is a piano on one side of the room and two other little cubby spaces where tables are set, which allow customers a little more of a “homey” space.
I also enjoyed how the kitchen was visible at the back of the boutique and was the perfect place to make an old fashioned hot chocolate, with tiling on the walls and a window that opens out on to a lovely little courtyard, and a smiling lady busy over the stove. Kinda makes you want to move right in!
And as I discovered on our way out, they have storybook reading events for kids on Wednesdays! From 5 years old and up. Wednesday November 23rd, is Pierre et le Loup, one of my all time favorite childrens’ stories. And in December there will be Christmas tales… I wish I had a kid to bring!
This place should be a great little stop for warmth and cheer all winter long!
24 rue Saint Louis en îsle, 75004 Paris
This fun French expression is used to say you are eating a quick bite (generally reserved for busy people at lunchtime or theater goers who won’t have time for a proper meal before a 7:30pm show, for example. The phrase has been used since the early 19th century, and literal meaning in English is “eating on the thumb” which is a reference to the way workers, soldiers and laymen would probably handle their food. A piece of bread or cheese and a knife, used to cut of bites and put them directly in the mouth. This kind of situation would mean eating without a table. I can imagine all those Eiffel tower workmen seated on the giant metal beams, eating their bread and sardines with only a knife.
The place I love to go to eat when I need to have something “sur le pouce” actually does allow us to eat at tables, with forks AND knives! Oooo! Fancy! But they are VERY small and the entire restaurant is smaller than my living room. But it is delicious, and they have lots of customers, a good sign as to how well you can eat there.
Minh Chau on 10 Rue Verrerie 75004 Paris serves up Vietnamese food, no frills, no questions. You can eye the food in the window while they make it right in front of you. You grab a table if one is available, order when they look at you, and eat with your elbows pressed to your ribs so you don’t jab at your neighbor. It is a simple concept, and simple food. The concept is : you are hungry…you eat, and it’s cheap. You can fill your belly for 6 euros.
I enjoy watching the neighborhood locals come in and chat with the lady (chéri and I call her Mme Nêm), I guess they like to feel recognized and she gives them special attention with a friendly 5 second chat about the weather or the food. Of course the food. Everyone that goes there loves that food! It’s comfort food. They have these nêms that are over TWICE the size of regular nêms!!! OMG! I love those nêms man. Sometimes if the restaurant is full and there is no space, I will take a nêm to go and wander around munching on it in absolute bliss.
It is a dairy free environment and I believe it is gluten free too, neither are intentional though, it’s just the type of food they serve.
A large brasserie between Bastille and Gare de Lyon called Les Atleliers recently put on a new outfit as an an American burger joint : US Ateliers. Maybe they are trying to ride the wave that the Ralph Lauren restaurant brought last year when it opened up. But these people took the idea to heart, and plastered the place with stars stripes and images of American money. It’s almost grotesque but I found my curiosity drawing me there like some kind of innate magnet. Must be the call of comfort food… I figure since I live here, I am forgiven if I crave it now and then. I mean, it’s not like I came here for five days or so and was on the hunt for “USA Pizza” in the land of snails, quail and stinky cheese. LOL! Anyway I am lactose intolerant in the worst way so that cuts out the cheese, and the butter soaked snails for me.
Under the pretense of testing to see if they really made a good burger I allowed myself to enter. It’s giant inside, there is room for groups to dine together, and if they are smart they will offer a Thanksgiving meal. Their restaurant will be packed for sure because not many other places will accept large parties on Thanksgiving in Paris.
Anyway, we were shown to our table by a friendly Frenchman. We walked by the typical Americana item : a jukebox… I forgot to ask if it worked. And just in case we didn’t realize that we were in an “American” restaurant, our menus reminded us : they also were smeared in stars and stripes, red white and blue.
I of course ordered a burger and a bud beer. Chéri ordered a tex mex salad and a mexican beer. The waiter forgot to ask how I wanted my burger done, and I forgot to tell him, and then when he brought our food he gave chéri an italian salad instead of a tex mex salad. But Chéri didn’t bother to say anything. My burger was too raw for my taste but was still delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s the best burger I have ever had, but it was decent. I liked how the coleslaw had raisins in it, just how my dad used to make it. First time I have seen that in France.
We left full and satisfied, which I was expecting. It’s worth a stop if you are craving a burger, but don’t go looking for perfection. In fact, it’s very much like any restaurant you might find in the States (except for the kitschy décor), so maybe they have reached their goal.
From Place de Bastille, it’s at the fork of Avenue Daumesnil and Rue de Lyon, 75012.
I love coconut.
I love curry.
I love mango. Shrimp. Coriander….
So naturally I LOVE Thai food. Usually Chéri and I head to the 13th to get our fix of it, but recently we tried a new place that is even closer to our home in the 12th. Chez Sawan, in the 11th at Faidherbe took over a café that used to be called Balthazar (aren’t there like a hundred cafés called Balthazar in Paris?). The decor remains somewhat similar to what it was before, typical Parisian café style, dark woods, colonial styled clocks and wall hangings, with an interesting looking light on the ceiling, bistrot syle chairs etc… (you won’t feel like you are in exotic Thailand here).
But the food was delish! The service was nice, not over zealous but not totally absent either. What I really liked was the entire front of the restaurant is movable window-walls that were opened so there was plenty of light and air circulation, and everyone can view the street. Not that the street is THAT interesting, but in Paris, people like to see other people, hence the desire to view the street.
We were hungry and didn’t want to mess around with an entrée, so we went straight for the main dish. I had a coconut with red curry chicken dish that was everything you would hope a coconut curry to be. Smooth and creamy without being too rich, and the proportion was perfect. I wasn’t stuffed afterwards. But I think that was also due to the fact that instead of getting rice with it I got the liserons d’eau, which is a green vegetable, that I believe just kind of grows everywhere over in Aisia, like a weed I guess, but the sautée it with garlic and well, I could eat mountainous plates of it! Yum!
For dessert I had the coconut rice with mango. It was sweet sticky rice with a coconut glaze drizzled over it and fresh ripe mango slices. There was a slight hint of saltiness to the dish that made my mouth water at every bite!
Sawan Bistro Thai, 35 rue Faidherbe 75011.
Tucked inbetween the Marias en the Bastille neighborhood Bofinger has been happily doing the restaurant thing since 1864. Frédéric Bofinger set up shop here, being the first to offer freshly pumped beer to the Parisians, and boasting a copious plate of Alscacien fare, which the restaurant still proudly serves today.
Authentic woodwork and glasswork, this venue is a veritable historical monument. It still has it’s urinals decorated in sculpted porcelain to portray beautiful dolphine heads. The stained glass domed ceiling. The lamps d’époque. All of this brings you back 100 years or so when you enter.
The early 1920′s was when this restaurant really undersent a significant embellishment concerning it’s décor, and is the period when the grande salle with the oval domed ceiling was built. But 10 years later, Jean-Jaques Waltz, or Hansi, brought his good taste in décor to improve the place even more and give it an even higher prestige. The restaurant was then restored again in the 1980′s just about the time when the Marias and the Bastille neighborhood were emerging as up and coming areas to enjoy the Parisian atmosphere.
What pleases me about this place it the attention to certain details like the lighting, a soft golden halo against a warm colored ceiling….it simply helps build an appetite, and makes us all look nice. I also love every inch of the décor : the brass railing, the carved wood, the opal glass, the leather seats…
The Brasserie continues to have abundant business, despite it’s sometimes noisy atmoshpere. It is helpful that the restaurant has several different dinnings rooms on both the ground level and the first floor.
Métro : Bastille
The meal you will eat is not life changing, but then not many meals should be life changing, or else whe would have a revolution at every other meal with all the foodies around these days! But it’s well presented, well served, and wonderfully delicious.
Le concept : traduire un ancien billet et français, déjà pour pratiquer mon français à l’écrit mais aussi pour faire un geste envers mes lecteurs et lectrices francophones! N’hésitez pas à me corriger mon français.
The concept : translate an old post into French, first in order to practice my written French, but also to be a bit more welcoming to my francophone readers! Don’t hesitate to correct my French.
Originally posted October 25, 2009 / Publication d’origine le 25 octobre 2009
J’ai reçu beaucoup de bonnes vœux dans le but de célébrer le fait que je vieilli (mais ne grandis pas), ainsi j’aime référer à mon anniversaire. Et j’ai été étonné par le nombre de mes amis français qui m’ont dit : “j’espère que tu as eu tout ce que tu voulais!” (Je me demande si c’est une truc français de dire ça???) Ma réponse à cela : je suis déjà bienheureuse!! Surtout grâce à mes proches qui m’ont entouré avec leur compagnie qui m’est très chère dans mon bar préféré dans le Marais, le Yono, rue de Temple. Nous avons bien rit, bien bu, bien dégusté du gâteau que j’ai fait pour eux. On m’a aussi emmené brunché le lendemain matin… et quel brunch! Au Safran situé dans le Hilton hôtel palace, sous un décor somptueux nous avons eu le grand service bien polis et souriant… de tel service est souvent considéré comme rare à Paris. Le concept du brunch est un buffet, mais ce n’est pas le buffet moyen-mange-tout-ce-que-tu-peux. Il y avait des rangées de langoustines, des plats entiers des dizaines de tranches de foie gras, des bols de salade remplis de poulet au curry et aux amandes, tranche après tranche de thon braisé, des rouleaux et des rouleaux de sushi, plusieurs plats de saumon, des bols des haricots verts sautés au noix pécan et des morceaux de bacon, des étagères de desserts tous en couleurs pastels, chocolat, des paniers de croissants, un sous chef qui découpait le rosbif et le jambon rôti au miel…et des roues et des parts de tant de fromage, assez pour une roi.
Je suis retournée trois fois pour me resservir! Ce n’est pas un lieu où l’on irait toutes les semaines si on prends en compte le prix (et les calories), mais pour un événement heureux c’est parfait. On a un choix devant soi qu’aucun restaurant pourrait proposer en menu, et le service, vraiment est impeccable! Nos verres de vins ne restaient jamais à moitié vide, et notre serveuse ne gênait jamais nos déplacement vers le buffet, mais était toujours disponible quand on avait besoin d’elle. Mes gracieux remerciements à ceux qui ont célébré mon anniversaire avec tant de délice et d’amitié!
Bistrot du Boursier
88, rue Richelieu 75002
Savoyard restaurant, €€ between 15-30, menu around 18€
Telephone : : 01 42 96 83 59
Great place for fondue
After the fondue has been scarfed up by hungry cheese monsters, if left unattended the layer that has stuck to the bottom of the pot starts to cook into a sort of fried cheese pancake. We dug it out and photographed it as we were so enthralled with our discovery. If I could eat cheese, I would definitely have eaten that!
I was told by a French person that in order to keep the cheese from sticking to mercilessly to the sides of the pot (and thus making the process of cleaning it interminably difficult) one would traditionally crack an egg in the bottom of the pot once everyone has scraped out all the melted cheese they can eat. The egg will then cook onto the side, and although I am not sure how it does this, keeps the cheese from sticking. Way to go egg! ;-P
Just a short drive out of Paris is the small town of Barbizon. A town epitomized by the pre-impressionist painters that went to to practice the art of painting outdoors, with natural light. Artists like Jean François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot moved there in the 19th century when this place was just inhabited by peasants and farmers. They has *gasp* the “audacity” to paint those peasants doing their daily work, which before that time was considered an unworthy subject for art. A lot has changed since! Barbizon sits on the edge of the forest Fontainbleau, and is a great place to lunch, shop for art, meander, and then stroll in the forest. Although the town has become quite frequented by tourists, it still remains fertile territory for artists, antiquaries and the like.
We had lunch at the restaurant La Bohème charming French fare with a lovely enclosed terrace for outdoor dining that is canopied by trees and foliage abundant in flowers! There was a tree in full blossom that was losing it’s tiny purple petals and they fell down upon the tables and chairs like the most lovely pink rain I have never seen!
Just along the forest you can oooh and aaah over the amazing housing that are snuggled against the foliage. For the Paris habitant that I am, I am truly amazed by the spacious lawns and gardens that are juxtaposed to these lovely homes. It’s funny, because I did grow up in a place where the lawn was mostly an institution (the USA) and where we had a front lawn and a back lawn (mowing the grass was a chore let me tell you!). But these immaculate, charming manicured lawn made me swoon just a little.
Enjoy Barbizon, it’s free to stroll around town, and it’s a breath of fresh air from Paris!
Are you hungry now!?!
Well if you weren’t before those photos… you probably are now. Like this little pup, whom I believe was well fed, but kept looking at me with those “pity me” eyes, and so what could I do! My pastrami sandwich was big enough for 2 or 3 people anyway, so I gave him some.
Never fear though you vegetarians, there’s a veggie burger on the menu!
A New York style deli and dinner, with bar-counter seats, tables and booths, nostalgia posters on the walls and a crowd of people eating with pure delight. A little bit of New York in Paris.
16 Rue des Ecouffes
75004 Paris, France
01 48 87 31 29
POSHGLAM LINKS! : http://www.poshglam.com/celebrities-love-pollinis-luxurious-heels-under-nicholas-kirkwoods-direction/ #SHOES #POLLINIS #NICHOLASKIRKWOOD
A weekend in the Loire stopping for the night in Tours now always brings me to a restaurant called l’Odéon, right near the train station. It’s got great service, presentation and wonderful food at prices you’d never find in Paris!
Seated in a well lit, nicely decorated place with graceful servers who smile and take your coat… we all agreed that we were so glad to have come to this place for dinner. A couple of years ago, I had discovered it with a good and decided I needed a repeat testing of their menu. Their “menu du soir” at 32 euros includes an entrée, plat and déssert. Like I said, you don’t get to find such a nice meal in Paris for that price.
For the entrée, at our table the only choices that were selected were the Oeufs brouillés à la crème de Morilles, feuilletés aux amandes = scrambled eggs with Morille creme sauce and flaked with almonds… that just doesn’t seem to describe correctly this wonderful little dish!
Main courses seen at our table were as follows :
And what was the 5th course? What the French call a “gourmandise”. Gourmandise essentially meaning something to eat just-for-the-pleasure. We were given a plate of mini desserts of crème-brulée or an apricot confit :
10 Place du Général Leclerc
Tél. 02 47 20 12 65
Fax : 02 47 20 47 58
IN OTHER NEWS : Something from my friends at POSHGLAM, Anna Toure a worldly woman indeed! :Style Profile: Anna Toure, We heart our Co-Founder!
“Miam” means ‘yum’ in French. The Koean team at the restaurant Miam Miam on rue Thouin in the 5th, have been able to translate that into something tangible. Honestly, I thought maybe they put happy powder or something in their food, because I was elated after eating there!
Perhaps it the cheery green and orange décor, or the brisk movements and quick-to-smile faces that serve you, or those funny retractable ventilation hoods that are above each table… or maybe it’s the delicious goodness of freshly made food infused with so much flavor…
I have been wanting to try this place for a while, and finally got around to it (it just around the corner from my favorite salon de thé : the Sugarplum Cake Shop)… and now I want to eat there ALL the time.
For starters, a fresh green salad and a Korean beer Hite.
Our main course was a plate for two…sort of like a phô Korean style with thinly sliced beef cooked with a myriad of vegetables in a broth, right at the table, and served with a bowl of rice and more veggies that you were to mix with the “soup” once it was cooked :
I didn’t get a picture of the dessert sadly, because it disappeared so fast. It was a rice pancake with a cinnamon and nut filling on the inside served with green tea ice cream on top (I avoided the ice cream), but the rice pancake was divine!
A place to discover Korean food (geared a bit towards Europeans) and a place to return to! Yum Yum!