We found this place on a previous trip (next to our favourite bakery - Poujouran - sadly no longer with us but the new place Secco is pretty good). Bellota Bellota is a wonderful Spanish ham place - with a tiny restaurant and a beautiful basement - was it originally a wine merchant? There are a couple of tables down there that would make a very good romantic setting. But the food...!
We did the menu - we were late for lunch but it didn't seem to matter - A free sampler of three of their four taramas and caviars came first.
A glorious gazpacho with every ingredient clearly identifiable to taste but not to see - augmented with some of their delicious sausages which Paul had as a very generous appetizer as well. Delicious bread - there was something in the menu about Poilane but no one ever cuts it that thick so it is still moist and flavourful. We could probably have stopped there, but we had a full bottle of Spanish Wine (Rioja 2005 our favourite) and nowhere to go or be.
I had ordered the carailladas (pig cheeks) but sadly it was gone so had the calamari in its own ink instead - amazing with their potato puree with olive oil, paprika and some wonderful herb. Paul had the loma (pork) with tomato - and pureed potatoes with sausage - delicious. The dessert wasn't theirs but fabulous anyway - tarte au caramel salle. Yum. The coffee came with slightly salty nuts and chocolate covered pinenuts(?) and a brown sugar heart hung on the side of the cup. All the dishes are glass and perfectly suited to each dish. Really beautiful.
And of course the ham, which they will cut for you or give you (for a reasonable but pricey consideration) prepackaged for travel.
18 Rue Jean Nicot
01 53 59 96 96
We used to pick up their lunch-to-go at Galleries Lafayette: a ham sandwich, generous with ham and seasoned with their good Espelette 'mayo', almost a pint of gaspacho, an addictive olive oil cookie for dessert. Nothing like A Pointe's lovely lunch on site, but a fine hotel or train picnic. Well under 10€, big enough to share.
(Since then, we have discovered an excellent chilled, boxed gaspacho at markets. Under 5€ litre at Monoprix, Bon Marché, et al.) http://pollyvousfrancais.blogspot.com...
All their products are excellent and their lunch formula at Lafayette Gourmet is great, but I agree that their prices are crazy. And everything being relative, if you manage to grab one of their sandwiches before hopping on a train, that sure beats the outrageous gyp of TGV food.
Alvalle gazpacho (at supermarkets) is really nice.
"Alvalle gazpacho (at supermarkets) is really nice."
It is surprising how many really fine (French) cooks and discriminating eaters have told us that, yes, they do enjoy this product. Some doctor it, many use it straight out of the carton. We have also enjoyed several variations, green/cucumber, etc.
I agree with the blogger: Why isn't this product available in the US?