Just Back...Trip Report
We just got back from our week long trip to Paris. It was our first trip to Paris, and we had a wonderful time. Thanks to all those who contributed to our planning, and made our trip wonderful. We had some wonderful meals thanks to all of the input on this board. Some general observations we had:
It was very easy and economical to get around via the metro.
Yes most of the tables were very close together for American standards, but this did not bother us at all.
A couple of the restaurants got very hot once they were full. I account this to their small size, and the fact that it was cool outside, so they probably would not have air running. It also did not seem to bother the locals much, so maybe they are use to it. We would notice some people were heavy (down) coats outside, and we thought it was warm enough to mostly have a light or no jacket. Of course this could be from having a little too much personal insulation, and all of the walking we did. :-)
You definitely need reservations at most of the chow recommended places. We saw people every night, and some lunches, walk in and be turned away.
We cannot wait to go back. We had a packed full week of restaurants. Next time we would stay longer to have more free days, and time/room for more spontaneous patisserie stops.
Though my wife was not a huge fan, I fell in love with the Pate de Campagne that was served at both Le Regalade and Chez L'ami Jean. I can't wait to try and make it at home, though I am sure it will not taste anywhere as good. I checked a couple of my many cookbooks and found a recipe in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles book, and James Peterson's Glorious French Food. One has pork liver, the other chicken liver. If anyone can point me to a recommended tried and true recipe, that would be great.
I am still trying to recover from jet lag, but will add my reports and thoughts on the restaurants we ate at to this thread in the coming days. The ones we ate at include (in this order):
Au fil des saisons
La Regalade in the 14th
Chez l'ami Jean
Le Violon d'Ingres
More specifics to come.......
I told you I had a few extra pounds of insulation. ;-) Though to be honest I even actually lost a pound on this trip. I am chalking it up to all the walking and the lack of processed foods. Also thanks for the recommendation of the Ravenau chablis at le Cinq. We had a 2006 that was really nice.
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We arrived after an overnight flight from the US. The jet lag had probably hit my wife a little harder, as I was use to many years of 3rd shift work and lack of sleep. We were easily ably to figure out the RER and took that to LE Halles, and walked a few short blocks to our apartment on Rue Rambateau. My wife took a short nap, and I could not sleep due to excitement. We pre-purchased tickets for the Eiffel Tower at 5pm. Well unfortunately it was raining, and raining pretty good at that. We did go up the tower, and it was nice to do, but it would have been better not in the rain. I guess next time I will not pre book the tickets. We had 8:30pm reservations at Restaurant Mariette. Our restaurant choice that night was chosen based on proximity to the Eiffel Tower, reviews on tripadvisor, and The Fork. We made a couple of our reservations on the Fork which turned out to be real easy and convenient.
Dinner - Restaurant Mariette
This is a very small place, and we saw a couple people turned away that night. We had 8:30 reservations, arrived 10 minutes early, and had to wait just a couple of minutes for another table to finish paying their bill to be seated. The wife and her sister were the hostess/server, and they were very pleasant and welcoming. My wife decided on a plat & dessert, and I went with the entree & plat & dessert option.
The entree I had was escargot stuffed ravioli. They were escargot stuffed in thin pasta ravioli, with some type of sauce. The dish was good, but not outstanding.
For the plat my wife had the chicken which was stuffed with fois gras, then wrapped in a phyllo type crust. She enjoyed her dish, and also really liked the black rice it was served with. I ordered the lamb stuffed with chorizo. It was boneless lamb loin sliced into rounds with a chorizo stuffing. If I remember correctly, there was braised leeks served with it. My dish, while not bad, was just ok. I felt the chorizo flavor overpowered the lamb. I actually had preferred my wife's dish.
For dessert we both ordered the millefeuille. It was not what you would consider a normal millefeuille, instead they were pastry rounds filled with a vanilla cream. We both really enjoyed our desserts, and was probably the highlight of our meals.
The meal was good, but not great, especially at that price point. I can see why it gets good reviews on TA, as the service was welcoming and friendly, and the food fairly safe. On a future trip, I would probably not go out of my way to go there considering the number of other possible choices. For some reason I did not write down the price. I am thinking it was around 100€ maybe a little more for 2 with a bottle of red.
Plan was to get up early spend a little time at the Louvre, have lunch at Spring, and maybe back to Louvre if we wanted more time. Well when the alarm went off, jet lag must have set in. We looked at each other, and decided to keep sleeping. We slept until 10:30 that first morning. Needless to say, we did not get to the Louvre in the morning.
Lunch - Spring
The lunch started with an amuse of a piece of pickled eggplant, fig, and prosciutto. I really enjoyed the pickled eggplant.
The entrees were two pieces of raw tuna, a single oyster with rose water vinaigrette and some type of burnt ashes on top. (couldn't really catch what type ashes they were) Also on a separate plate was a chopped breaded and fried oyster, with lemon herb butter. Ahead of time I had informed Spring of my allergy to buckwheat. I am glad I did since the piece of tuna had buckwheat on top. Obviously mine did not. My wife even heard the server remind the chef of my allergy ahead of time, and him jokingly say "Don't worry I have not killed anyone yet."
The main course is still one of my favorites from the whole trip. I am sure my description will not do it justice. It had a piece of lamb loin with a perfectly seared thin crust of fat on the top. Also was a perfectly cooked piece of lamb tenderloin. There was what was described as an almond puree, which was also really good. I believe there was another type of root vegetable in the puree also. Also on the plate was a small roasted eggplant and watercress.
Desserts where multiple small plates including: Walnut cake with a nut mouse topped with a pear slice. Thyme ice sorbet on top of a yellow plum. Olive oil and white chocolate mousse. This sounded odd, but I could not get over how well this worked together. A citrus tart with blackberries. A chocolate and coffee mousse.
I had a glass of red, and a glass of white. My wife just had water since we had just gotten up a couple hours ago. LOL I had an espresso to finish, and some coconut cookies were brought with the bill. Oddly the bill had an extra glass of wine on it, which was promptly removed when it was pointed out. So the total bill was 140€.
The service here was excellent. Spring was really one of the highlights of our trip, and a place I would definitely return.