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Aug 2, 2010 10:09 AM

Paris Favorites, Guilty Pleasures and Last Meals

I lived for a year in at the very bottom of Monparnasse on an au-pair's allowance, and now that I'm going back with my husband, I realize I don't know where to take him to eat. I find myself longing for a doner kebab with fries and a smear of harrissa, a pain aux raisins from an art nouveau patisserie near the Convention metro, and the lusciously huge salade des haricots verts at the Brasserie Lipp where the waiters were always kind to me when I came in alone, in a fit of luxury-deprivation, but where I still had to order a chicken I didn't want since, as the menu says "a salad is not a meal."

The board is full of bistros and stars and I've been drowning, cross-referencing with, getting rejected from Bigarrade and Comptoir du Relais because they are complet, and by others' answering machines because it's August. (We're going in September). What I would really like to know of the board's savants is what you LOVE to eat in Paris. What would be your last meal? Where would you go if you'd been away for years? What are your guilty pleasures? Help me make up for the year of food I missed (aside from those doner kabobs).

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    1. Where I go?

      Bread from Mayer, 100, rue du théatre and Bosson, Blanqui@Barrault. Pastry and sweets from La Patisserie des reves and Jacques Génin.

      Top food with no fuss Chez l'Ami Jean (but I know how to order). Fine dining treat for barely more at Le Cinq or Rostang. Best food in town at Ledoyen. Joyful feasts at Joséphine, le Quincy, La Rotisserie du Beaujolais, Chez Denise, l'Auberge Bressane.

      Chinese at Likafo, Délices de Shandong, Yong (rue de la Colonie), Asia Palace. Vietnamese at Pho 14, Indochine (av. de Choisy), Lac Hong (rue Lauriston, $$$$) and Co Tu rue Croix-Nivert. Italian at Pasta e Basta (in Chinatown) and Sormani (when I stole John Talbott's wallet).

      Icecream at Christian Constant (have some left in my fridge, yummmmmmmmmm). Street crepes (students' meal) at Génia. Sit down crepes (much better, but without that sense that one 4€ crepe will fill you for the day) at Pot O Lait.

      Thai at Sukothai (keep forgetting that one, and yet, definitely one of my favorite food in town). Romantic, bobo night at Le Pétrelle.

      14 Replies
      1. re: souphie

        Could you explain how one is supposed to order at CAJ?

        1. re: j.jessica.lee

          Stay away from creativity. Focus on exceptional ingredients. Order ALC. Ask the chef what he would eat that day. Explain what you like. Don't be afraid to overeat. Don't touch the bread. Favor the chalkboard if anything there tempts you.

          Example: lobster, cote de boeuf, riz au lait. ham, pigeon, raspberry/panacotta. turbot, ris de veau, fraises des bois.

          Ask for a doggy bag if you can't finish.

          1. re: souphie

            I personally don't appreciate the riz au lait at Chez l'Ami Jean and am mystified that it's such a phenomenon - so stodgy!

            1. re: johannabanana

              l make a great 'American' rice pudding. Style with sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and raisins. Rego's is the whipped cream style, almost unsweetened and though not normal for me, it is light and a few spoonfuls of the huge tub he dispenses seems to end the meal nicely.

                1. re: vielleanglaise

                  Wonderful thread. I esp like your post and Phil's.

                  "Amoral attitude to things epicurean"

                  You are the most Cantonese anglaise I know.

                  I would add aiguillettes de canard and pommes salardaises in a good ferme-auberge in the soutwest, with pommes from the farm itself and ducks that were still squawking that morning…

                  Soup, I agree with you even if it may ruin my hetero credentials...
                  I too love the first nice-weather (read: warm) day of Paris. Suddenly pretty girls are all out in their vertiginous décolletés, as though they had had enough bundling up all winter. They are as delicious as the best of best food.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    Merci beaucoup!

                    I too like your slightly malsain "décolletés...delicious as the best of best food". Reminds me of Humbert Humbert... in a good way. .

                    1. re: vielleanglaise

                      My all-time favorite book. I think I have the 1st page committed to memory. No, tattooed.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        That's crazy! I'm a big fan too. Often think of Pnin when I see Asian immigrants here, but my fave's Speak Memory.

                    2. re: Parigi

                      "I too love the first nice-weather (read: warm) day of Paris. Suddenly pretty girls are all out in their vertiginous décolletés, as though they had had enough bundling up all winter. They are as delicious as the best of best food."

                      Flying down the street on bicycles in 3" spike sandals, gauzy skirts flying...

                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    I like Eliza Acton's recipe for rice pudding and have made it often. More of a baked rendition that when done properly has multiple layers and is quite eggy. Great with raspberry jam.

                    For me, the rice pudding in the huge tub at CAJ is kind of garish (in this respect it sums up an aspect of the restaurant I don't like, although I'm sure most people disagree) and, the time I had it, not especially light!

                  3. re: johannabanana

                    For a riz au lait that leaves L'Ami Jean's far behind, go to Le Bouchon et l'Assiette (rue Cardinet, XVIIe).

                    1. re: Ptipois

                      Colette's fave is at l'Ebouchoir in the 12th, a schlep but she says it approximates her Grandma's.