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Eating our way through Paris ~ my report on our 15 days in heaven (warning ~ very long ~ not for the faint hearted or easily distracted!)

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parisjo Oct 18, 2013 06:56 PM

Got back on Sunday and still in the throes of PPD (post Paris depression) ~ to the point that I'm pricing airfares for April, lol.

Once again, our trip revolved around our restaurant reservations. Most were made before we left Canada, after pouring over this site, Paris by Mouth and JT's Paris.

Biggest hits:

Lunch at Chez L'Ami Jean ~ Parigi's given the lowdown and DCM, SisterEurope and I have added our thoughts ~ hands down, best meal of our trip, exceptional food yes, but also due to atmosphere, fun, laughs and mostly catching up with great friends we see way too rarely

Lunch at Spring ~ Daniel continues to wow with pristine ingredients, beautifully presented and meticulously prepared. Standouts were the amuse of foie gras with sel de guerand and caramelized turnips (Daniel keeps putting things together that just make you go ~ wow!), trout fillet cooked with a blowtorch and served on a reduction of olive oil and honey and the creme de cepes served with our veal tenderloin. Lunch was 157 euros with 4 glasses of wine, amuse, 3 courses, coffee and bottled water but no cheese. I did find service a little bit rushed, but it may just be me still missing the easy atmosphere of his tiny place in the 9th. Daniel is still the same sweet, humble, witty genius he's always been, he's just running a bigger show and who can begrudge him his well deserved success. Lunch service stops November 1, as reported by John a few weeks ago.

Dinner at Septime ~ Wow, we loved everything about this place. I was able to snag an online reservation 3 weeks before our dinner date. We had a great table right next to the kitchen, service was friendly and helpful, atmosphere was casual and relaxed. 6 half courses ~ the first of octopus with smoked lardons, cucumber, celery, mache, dill in a deliciously sweet broth just wowed us and the hits kept coming ~ wild mushrooms (girolles and cepes) served with mousse aux ouefs with tarragon on an almond base, velouté de tapenade d'olives et cress with lieu jaune with mini leeks, wilted roasted lettuce,pintande printaniere with tiny turnips, beets, squash, braised zucchini and parsley,poire sorbet with feta ~ melt in your mouth salty/sweet orgasms and mousse vervaine pêche pochée, galette au sucre brun. Dinner was 187 euros, with 2 glasses of champagne and 6 glasses of wine, paired to go with each 2 half courses. The revelation of the trip ~ we will surely be back.

Le 6 Paul Bert ~ Den loved this place! Again, very easy casual atmosphere, the tables are very close together, but that just means you get to chat with your table mates and get other restaurant recommendations, lol. Our waitress gave us a great alternate wine recommendation when we ordered a rosé that she said would be a tad too sweet for our meals and she kept it in the same price range. For 44 euros, you choose 3 mains and a dessert from a list of market driven choices. My favourite was roasted root vegetables with seared foie gras and Den's was his crispy sweetbreads with roasted garlic and wilted green onions. We both had the very yummy lemon curd cannoli for dessert. Dinner was 144 euros with 2 glasses of champagne and a bottle of wine.

Close seconds:

Dinner at Pirouette ~ I really enjoyed the modern decor of this place just behind Les Halles. We went on JT's recommendation after reading many reviews and are very happy we went. First, I love the wall of wine, lol. Again, service was very friendly and inviting. Our waitress recommended a lovely Minervois that went well with both Den's sweetbreads (3 times this trip, here, at Paul Bert 6 and the over the top serving at CLJ. Daniel Rose recommended Christophe in the 5th for the sweetbreads and we were going to go on the Saturday after our CLJ lunch, up until we got that huge serving from Jego) and my 8 hour cooked deer stew. Den's entree was shredded duck with pickled radish slices and mine was an earthy mushroom medley with caramelized chestnuts. We shared a rice pudding that (almost) rivals CLJ and with 2 glasses of champagne, dinner was 127 euros (but I think they comped our champagne after there was a slight mix up getting our bill and we were our patient, polite Canadian selves, lol)

Bistro Paul Bert ~ I was looking forward to a great traditional bistro meal and that's what we got. Service was slightly befuddled,but it was a busy night and we were in Paris, so who cares! We snagged a great table outside to enjoy the balmy autumn air and had a hearty Cote de Rhones to go with Den's velouté de cepes with foie gras, and steak frites with bernaise, and my egg with morrels and serrano ham, and, finally, my wonderful steak tartare (with no egg ~ don't mind raw meat, can't do the raw egg white, shudder). Finished with roasted figs and honey with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolat fondant with creme anglaise. Dinner was a reasonable 117 euros but the heaviness of the meal caused us to cancel our lunch the next day at Le Petit Sud Ouest (bad planning on my part to plan 2 heavy meals back to back).

Very good for different reasons:

Oysters at Pleine Mer with DCM ~ fresh, briny, salty, meaty ~ what else do you want, except a bottle of muscadet (oops, had that too, as well as 3 very full complimentary glasses). Thanks to DCM for guiding us through the many choices available. This was a perfect quick, easy meal before the Johnny Lang concert at New Morning with the added benefit of catching up with a fellow hound.

Lunch at Le Baron Rouge ~ not for the food, which was cheese and charcuterie, but for the fun, easy vibe, the friendly waiters and the joy of being in Paris on a Sunday afternoon drinking wine, eating cheese and talking with everyone around you. Will definitely go back.

Dinner at Le Pere Claude ~ dinner with close friends from Montreal who happened to be in Paris for one night, on Den' birthday. No home runs, but solid traditional French classics made more enjoyable by a private alcove table and catching up with nos amis. Starters included smoked salmon salad, coddled eggs with cepes and escargots. Mains were entrecote with bone marrow, andouillette, tete de veau and sausages, most served with creamy mashed potatoes. Dinner was 125 euros/couple including dessert and 2 bottles of Croze Hermitage. We only heard French being spoken and it looked like many patrons were regulars. You could do much worse in Paris.

Dinner at Ober Salé ~ I reserved here 2 days before we went and we were given a nice table just behind the main one up front. As noted before, the waiter is very sweet, professional and efficient. He handled an almost full house all by himself, dishes and drinks were served at an appropriate pace, and everyone was very well taken care of. 3 courses for 33 euros,everything was very good, well presented, fresh and delicious. Our only (slight) issue was that all the courses were very white ~ not the most visually appetizing meal, which, as my hubby noted, does make a difference in the overall enjoyment of food. We enjoyed both the food and the service and are glad we went. Not sure we'll go back just because there's so many other places we want to get to and never seem to have the time! Dinner was 107 euros with a bottle of wine.

Lunch at Dans les Landes ~ great tapas menu, but I feel like I didn't get to try as many things as I could to give it a complete assessment. Lunch was with new friends and old, and was a lot of fun, but when you're eating with people you don't know very well (not you, SE!), you don't want to go crazy with your choices so I didn't. I did love what we did order, including the calamari and I was blessed that SE shared her millasou (sp?) which rocked my world. I'd love to go back and give the menu a real shot with maybe more adventurous eaters (including you, my sista!) I did have 3 glasses of Irouléguy white ~ yes, at lunch!

Lunch at Les Petit Carreaux on rue Montorgeuil ~ we've eaten here about 6 times over our trips and it's always a safe bet, great little terrace at the top end of Montorgeuil, great people watching, cute waiters, hubby loves their caesar salad with huge shards of parmesan and a poached egg on top. Fun place that always reminds us why we love Paris ~ it doesn't always have to be gourmet to be good!

And the rest:

2 dinners at Pizza Momo (great pizzas made in their ancient wood burning oven), lunch at Les Tartines (nice little café on rue Rivoli, serves great café crèmes and, what else, tartines, great salads and a few home made daily specials ~ it was full at 2pm with locals enjoying an uncomplicated lunch), first day lunch at Les Philisophes (good salad with chèvre, magret and serrano ham) and great people watching on rue Vieille du Temple, pitcher of margaritas w/chips and guacamole at La Perla (yeah, happy hour), last easy dinner at Lizard Lounge, little kicky bar across from our apartment where we had a few happy hour or late night drinks, a few picnic lunches after some big meals the night before, huge falafel sandwiches from Va-Mi-Va, and a decent moule/frites and andouillette/frites lunch at a little place behind Printemps.

Only disappointment:

Dinner at Les Vieux Comptoir ~ we've been coming here for classic bistro meals and great service for the last 5 years. We were looking forward to another great meal but came away slightly disappointed, for a variety of reasons. The service was off (we asked for wine pairing suggestions and the waitress served us the same wine, even though we had very different first courses), they mixed up our orders and then charged us for the one they got wrong, my scallops were just too salty to eat and Den's steak was a point, even though he asked for rare (in a Paris restaurant ~ really?). On the other hand, Den's foie gras appetizer was just perfect and the warm multi grain roll with nuts and raisin was home baked and really, REALLY good! So maybe we'll give them another chance, lol. Everyone can have an off night.

We made sure we balanced every huge meal with an easy lunch and breakfast was in the apartment every day, some days were croissant, pain au chocolat or almond croissant and others were just yogurt if we had special lunch reservations. We did cancel 2 reservations ~ Au Petit Sud Ouest since we couldn't face duck and foie gras after our huge dinner at Bistro Paul Bert the night before (again, my fault for poor planning) and dinner at Marie Celeste, after spending the afternoon in the apartment with 3 new Paris friends drinking 4 bottles of wine, eating cheese, saucisson, bread and chocolate. We did advise both restaurants that we would not be coming.

So it was a great mix of new discoveries, old favourites, elaborate multi course feasts and easy meals . I've got lots of pictures if anyone wants to see any particular dish.

Our best times were spent with friends, catching up, enjoying good food and wine and just being in Paris. We really didn't do much more than walk, eat and drink ~ we did see Johnny Lang as mentioned above and a great Fleetwood Mac concert at Bercy, as well as a very intimate Edith Piaf concert at the tiny Essaion theatre near Beaubourg and our day in London was long, tiring and just made me happy to be back in Paris!

As noted above, I'm already plotting our return. Paris, je t'aime!

Jo

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    AGM_Cape_Cod RE: parisjo Oct 18, 2013 07:29 PM

    Great report. My idea of a great trip- sweetbreads three times!!! The crispy ones sound like something I want to try.

    2 Replies
    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
      John Talbott RE: AGM_Cape_Cod Oct 18, 2013 07:39 PM

      "sweetbreads three times!!!"
      Last week, as I think I wrote elsewhere, they were on the menu everywhere. It was sweetbread heaven.
      The culinary stars, Gods, suppliers and chefs were in alignment.
      But I have to add, sometimes they were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside and at othertimes as if Metro/sousvide/blah.
      If you want details, I can provide. There are differences.

      1. re: John Talbott
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        parisjo RE: John Talbott Oct 18, 2013 07:42 PM

        Yes, Den was coming to Paris for sweetbreads and sweetbreads he had. Although Daniel did wax poetically about the lunch he had at Christophe with you and told us we had to go ~ we will, next time! Always good to keep some for the next trip, right?

    2. John Talbott RE: parisjo Oct 18, 2013 07:35 PM

      First off, thank you for your report, which according to the Mangeur Rules, for the most part, includes prices.
      As for: "We made sure we balanced every huge meal with an easy lunch and breakfast....."
      I think that's a great lesson to be passed on to those who hit the ground running and try to do two starred restos a day for days on end.
      Sorry I missed the great blow-out but glad I steered you and Den in some good directions.
      John, the Timeworn Torontonian.

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Talbott
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        parisjo RE: John Talbott Oct 18, 2013 07:43 PM

        You sure did, John. Next time, we will try to do a better job co-ordinating our schedules, lol.

        Jo, the sassy (former) Montrealer

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        VaPaula RE: parisjo Oct 21, 2013 10:40 AM

        "We really didn't do much more than walk, eat and drink.."

        Sounds like a perfect Paris trip to me! Just catching up on this today. Great report - thanks for taking the time to write it up, Jo.

        And good luck with the plotting - it definitely helps the PPD.

        7 Replies
        1. re: VaPaula
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          parisjo RE: VaPaula Oct 21, 2013 02:27 PM

          Well, the plotting is now a concrete plan ~ flights and apartment booked yesterday for 8 nights from April 12-20 (coming back Easter Sunday ~ just think of the Easter goodies my grandsons will get!). It's shorter than our usual trips, but since hubby has his heart set on 2 weeks in Greece next fall, it's the best I could do.

          Jo

          1. re: parisjo
            Parigi RE: parisjo Oct 23, 2013 12:27 AM

            Since you book early, I'm booking you early.

            1. re: Parigi
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              parisjo RE: Parigi Oct 23, 2013 04:08 AM

              It's a date! Friday lunch at CLJ on the 18th?

              1. re: parisjo
                Parigi RE: parisjo Oct 23, 2013 04:23 AM

                OK, I'm yours.

                1. re: Parigi
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                  parisjo RE: Parigi Oct 23, 2013 04:46 AM

                  yeah, baby!

            2. re: parisjo
              John Talbott RE: parisjo Oct 24, 2013 06:24 AM

              Well, I've put your dates down in my "book."
              John

              1. re: John Talbott
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                parisjo RE: John Talbott Oct 24, 2013 06:33 AM

                Awesome. Looking forward to finally meeting you, maybe lunch at Christophe or join us at CLJ?

          2. sistereurope RE: parisjo Oct 24, 2013 05:40 AM

            Great report Jo, you really planned well!
            I also really enjoyed Septime last year, it was one of the highlights of my trip, despite my reservations that it had become too popular with the likes of my kind.
            Sorry you didn't get your duck hearts at Dans Les Landes, but hopefully the millasou made up for it!

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