Sunday, March 29, 2009

Susie's update from Paris, week two

While the past week has been on the cool, cloudy, rainy side, more leaves are popping out on the trees and the anticipation of spring is in the air. An added plus - as I'm walking to the metro stop, Breguet-Sabin, I'm enjoying a marvelous fragrance from some bushes that are blossoming with tiny white flowers - c'est merveilleux!

French class and baking have been my two major activities. Last weekend I baked three different gateaux au chocolat, one a chocolate pound cake, one a Pain de Genes au chocolat and one a Gateau au chocolat Grand-Mere. All three recipes are from the Dorie Greenspan book Paris Sweets, as I continue my project of making all the recipes in that book. I went to my friend Misato's apartment Sunday evening for un petit fete with some of her friends and brought parts of two of the cakes. Everyone seemed to enjoy them immensely. Then on Monday I brought all three for my French classmates to enjoy and enjoy they did! The favorite was the gateau au chocolat Grand-Mere which is a dense, fudgey cake and very delicious. I have part of that cake in my freezer so Steve can enjoy it when he arrives the end of this week - what a lucky guy!

My baking proceeded apace through the week with a cake orange, a simple sable cookie, and an almond pastry that I made with my quick puff pastry and some creme d'amandes. Again I offered all three to my classmates who, by this time, were already salivating when I arrived that morning. My teacher commented that the cake was the best she had ever tasted, and she loved the shortbread. It is so absolutely satisfying for me to bake something, offer it to someone, and have them enjoy it right before my very eyes.

Part of my Paris Sweets project is to go to the various pastry shops from whence all the recipes in the book came, so Wednesday afternoon I took Metro line 12 up to Montmartre to the shop of Arnaud Larher. Alas, the shop is no longer selling two of the cookies that I've already made, but I did buy the cake citron, which is the lemon version of the cake orange, and the pave Montmartre, an almond cake. I also served those to my classmates, and, low and behold, everyone liked my stuff better. C'est incroyable!

For the last day of class I made a tarte au pommes, my variation of a French apple tart, and a tarte au chocolat. Again my classmates were in heaven!

I truly enjoyed studying French in Paris and feel that I was really just getting warmed up by the time my last day of class arrived. Now I must continue to practice, listen, speak and read to keep my hand in as much as possible. I have been speaking French for the most part when I enter a shop, boulangerie or restaurant, as well as with my classmates in the classroom. A few times, even though I've been speaking French, someone will respond to me in English, which I find extremely annoying.

I had the enjoyable experience of having dinner Friday evening with our Parisian friend Valerie. (She was born in Paris and works at La Defense actually) Although her English is impeccable during the meal we spoke both French and English. The food was tasty and the conversation enjoyable, especially since Val was very patient and kind in correcting me and helping me say things the proper way. She was very pleasantly surprised at how far I've come with the language since we first met at Le Cordon Bleu in 2006. Thanks Valerie!!!!

Anyway, the restaurant, La Tournelle, is a very typical, small French bistro, located on rue Hautefeuille near Place Saint Michel. They serve traditional French cuisine at a very reasonable price, 23 euros for a three course meal. Val enjoyed foie gras, followed by duck, while I had chevre chaud, a warm goat cheese salad, to start, followed by a beef entrecote avec pommes de terre et salade. We both had creme brulee for dessert, and commented that it was lighter and less dense than most we've had in the past. We shared a half liter pitcher of the vin rouge de la maison, and finished with coffee and more chatter about a variety of things. It was good to see her again, and we made plans to meet up again after Steve arrives.

Saturday I spent in a very leisurely manner, reading, working a bit in the kitchen and going out to La Librairie Gourmand, a bookstore with an exhaustive selection of culinary books. I found one for my wish list, full of great ideas for verrines, which are desserts served in a glass, as well as les petits gateaux. I just may have to pick it up before we return to the USA. I also went to a concert at the National Archives, held in a lovely small salon in a part of the building called the Hotel Soubise. The performance was by a quintet of wind instruments, bass and harpsichord, playing Handel, Hayden and Zelenka, a composer I didn't know. It was good to just sit and listen with my eyes closed, realizing that I am, indeed, so happy to be here.

The upcoming week looks to be sunny and warming up - oh boy, the gardens!!!! Tomorrow I begin classes at Le Cordon Bleu and another adventure!

Ciao for now,

Susan

Saturday, March 28, 2009

French class, in Paris of course!

Photos of Susie's French class at Alliance Francaise on Boulevard Raspail. I hope to add more detailed captions as they become available. I do that the photo in the middle is an Italian student, Simone Ciccone (pay attention Anna-Maria!), un po pazzo, a little crazy, eh?!



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Susie's first week back in Paris

Hi everybody,

I just wanted to send a bit of a report after being here 1 week already - my how time flies!

It's been sunny, albeit with a cool breeze, every day so far. I expect some clouds and rain in the next few days. It's been great for strolling and sitting in the Luxembourg gardens doing homework.

Les jardins are not yet planted with all the beautiful spring and summer flowers and plants, but daffodils, forsythia, flowering trees and trees starting to leaf out abound. I expect that over the next 2-3 weeks there will be a big change. You know what they say about April in Paris! Today as I was strolling I noticed some magnolia blossoms starting to pop and many rose bushes with leaves coming out. (image: Steve's view of Susie in Paris.)

I began my French language classes this past Monday. I had to take an on line test before arriving so I could be placed in the proper class. When I arrived I saw that the other students had the next book in the series that I have been using in my weekly French classes in Providence, plus they were already 2/3 of the way through that book. I had doubts about belonging in that class, and, after the first 1/2 of the class (which I actually understood OK), the teacher thought it best that I be "downgraded" to a less advanced level. That was peachy, believe you me! The next day I joined a different class and am enjoying it a lot. I amazes me how many people from different countries and backgrounds come here to study French. It's really cool. In my class currently there are 3 Brazilians, 2 Russians, 3 Dutch folk, 1 German, 1 Italian, 1 Venezuelan, plus 1 other American.

I feel like I'm settling in and getting into a flow. It's been different (and good) for me to fend for myself, since I've become so reliant on Steve who does all of the grocery shopping and cooking at home. I've been getting the kitchen here in tip-top shape and today did my first baking since I've been here -- another of the recipes from Dorie Greenspan's book. I've had a couple of inexpensive lunches out at places that Steve and I have been to before. It feels good to explore the "old haunts". As a matter of fact, I've pretty much spent my time between the 5th, 6th and 11th arrondissements, areas that I know quite well. I'll certainly start venturing farther afield as the days go by.

It's great to have a different focus for awhile after spending the last 15 months of my life essentially eating, dreaming and sleeping my work. I'm thrilled with my change in career absolutement, and it's so important to regroup every now and then. And what better place to do it than Paris!

Ciao for now,

Susan

Monday, March 16, 2009

Paris is pretty much the same and changed too

Susie arrived safe and sound in Paris Sunday morning.

She was due to leave Saturday evening about 9.20pm but at about noon, while she was off at Gracie’s tidying up a few last minute details, I received a phone call from British Airways explaining that they had overbooked by 30 people and had to put her on an earlier flight. They would upgrade her of course but that meant a bit more of a scramble.

The only real change in our plan was that we wouldn’t be eating dinner together.

We got to Logan Airport with time to spare. Check-in went smoothly and we hung around at the entrance to security line chatting for a bit. Soon it was time for her to go. She thought it quite exciting to be going of course – for the obvious reasons to be sure but also because for the first time in her life she was traveling overseas alone.

I hung around waiting for her to go through security and then a final wave and she disappeared into the crowd, beyond the maze of x-ray cabinets and conveyor belts.

I headed back to the car and off into Boston and to the Apple Store on Boylston to pick up a new laptop for work. (Susie had taken our old one with her to stay in touch the 21st century way.)

My trip home was uneventful and hers to Paris equally so. Her flight landed on time, she got her bags and called for the shuttle to pick her up. No real hiccups to speak of, just a slight delay in the shuttle pickup due to a (reported) bomb scare in one of the terminals at CDG. But after a short wait the van pulled up, Susie got on board and off they went into the city.

A quick note here: if you're going to be settling in for a few weeks or longer, trust me, skip the train/metro/taxi and take a shuttle. In the past we've used BluVan for shuttle service but the last time it was less than reliable service. This time I arranged for Parisshuttle to pick Susie up (costs are about the same among shuttle companies) and we'll probably use them for the return.

Anyway, she got to the apartment, unpacked, checked out the larder and then struck out for Place Leon Blum to look for a few items for the fridge (and pantry).

As she walked up Rue de la Roquette toward the Place Bastille, the closer she got to the Place the more obvious it became that the city was doing a major repaving/remodeling of the street. Perhaps turning that portion into a pedestrian only area -- which would be nice and of course just recognizing the reality.

Anyway, she's settled in and ready to head off for school Monday morning. Aside from school she really has no plan for afterwards, just strolling through the Jardin du Luxembourg, possibly heading over to Etienne Marcel to pick up a few ingredients at Detou for baking, maybe a pair of work shoes at another favorite shop, and most likely a swing through Mora to see if there's anything in the baking utensil line she might need.

As for me -- well, I've got to start paying quarterly taxes. . .

Stay well, and wish you were there -- I wish I was!

Steve

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Leaving for Paris

It's a very nice Saturday morning here in Providence, no rain or snow predicted and with partly cloudy skies an ideal day for flying.

We've had a good week here -- Susan has been winding down at Gracie's, and letting the staff take over more of the hands-on dessert work. She's prepped a lot of recipes for Danielle, Mike and Maurizio (the JWU coop student) and they are as ready as they'll ever be to step into those very big, batter-splattered shoes.

As for my work, I'm prepping for my own trip to Paris in three weeks. I hope to have all of the university images on an external hard drive, which I will then start tagging and cataloging while I'm in Paris, for two or three hours every morning anyway. Still, I'm pretty excited about this project -- something I did with my own images (nearly 37,000 of them) last year -- of course we're looking at probably more than 50,000 images but hey! who's counting!

So we ended another good week and last evening kicked off Susie's trip with (another) delicious meal at New Rivers. Bruce is the consummate host, a truly gentle soul, and Beau Vestal in the kitchen is another one of Providence's culinary treasures -- he belongs to that same group of young, dynamic chefs like Matt Gennuso of Chez Pascal, Matt Jennings of La Laiterie, and Joe Hafner of Gracie's, to name just three, who continue to put Providence and the Ocean State on the East Coast food map.

Anyway, Dick and Dorothy joined us for dinner and three of us had the New Rivers burger: a half pound of delicious, locally raised (Aquidneck I believe) ground beef on a Portuguese sweet roll (very nice and different) with a small salad and a side of potatoes "du jour," in this case perfectly roasted potato slices; all with a side of homemade Aioli; Susie had an incredibly scrumptious piece of trout -- another winner. All accompanied by a St. Joseph from the Southern Rhone.

We had to skip dessert -- the food was simply too filling -- and soon found ourselves standing on the sidewalk in the bracing clear night air. We said goodnight to Dick and Dorothy and headed back home.

So, this morning Susie is getting herself packed up, and our house ready for me for the next three weeks (or thereabouts). Of course we have also been trading tips: she explains to me how the quilt fits on the bed and the proper method of cleaning the toilet while I show her how to plug the iPod into the computer to charge it and such sundry things. She's off shortly to Gracie's one more time; I'm off to the store and gas the car.

The plan for this evening is we'll try to find a place to eat on the way to the airport -- possibly Legal Sea Foods just outside of Logan. After a bite to eat we'll get her checked in about 7pm and once she's through security I'm off for home.

Alone.

Not relishing this believe me but hey! I'm an adult. Sort of.

Take care and we'll talk soon.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Looking backwards and forwards to Paris and Siena

This past week in Providence has provided us with a serious hint of spring -- warm temps this past weekend and rain this Monday morning to wash away the last dump of snow barely a week ago now. Frankly, weather is incredible. Or maybe its just the climate change General Motors has been promising now for so long.

Whatever it is, the warm weather here in Providence has us thinking of April in Paris.

Susie leaves this Saturday evening and I follow her three weeks from this coming Friday. She will have Sunday to catch her breath, do some shopping and see if the neighborhood around Rue General Renault has changed since we were there last September. Monday she's back in class -- this time language class at Alliance Francaise on Boulevard Raspail.

Aside from the wonders we experience just by having the good fortune to live in Paris for a few weeks, we do have some incredible adventures lined up -- no, not bungee jumping or skydiving or free diving for that matter. Nothing quite so dramatic. Just touring the European countryside, visiting friends in Siena and Mouchon, maybe drinking Barbaresco in Barbaresco, eating incredible food wherever we go. That's the hope of course.

More to come. Until the fat lady sings.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Paris Dining Guide Updated Early 2009

Food and Paris are synonymous. Certainly to Susie and me. We spent six months in Florence so she could study pastry at Apicius and ended up in Paris for another eight months while she pursued a Diploma de Patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu. We return again and again to advance not only her professional development but also as a consequence of our love of the incredible dining adventures found on both banks of the Seine. Food, where to buy it, eat it, and share it, has always been an integral part of our travels.

We started in Siena in the fall of 2005, moved to Florence in January of 2006 and from there we moved to Paris in the summer of 2006 and lived in Paris until the end of March 2007. While Susan spent most of her weekdays in school, I wandered the cemeteries of Florence and then Paris and together we had so many wonderful dining adventures.

In September of 2007 we returned for six weeks and then again for 10 days in September of 2008. Using Clotilde Dusoulier’s wonderful guidebook to the culinary and gastronomic world, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris (Broadway Books, 2008), Susie and I spent nearly those 10 days having our own “edible adventures.” With Clotilde’s book in one hand and a good arrondissement guidebook in the other you can not only find some incredible food but also see much of the city’s side streets and back roads. We did.

Oh, and I should point out that only twice during our 2008 trip did we order a bottle of wine with dinner – or lunch for that matter. There are so many wonderful wines offered by the glass we rarely thought of ordering wine any other way.

So, I’d like to share some of our experiences with you – just in case you find yourself in Paris looking for a good place to eat. . .

1st Arrondissement

LA BOVIDA ~ Spices, condiments

Across rue Montmartre from Mora and facing Café Etienne Marcel. Enormous selection of bulk herbs and spices.

LOCATION: 36 rue Montmartre
CROSS STREET: rue Etienne Marcel
Mº Etienne Marcel
HOURS: Mon 10:00-19:00 and 14:00-16:00; Tue-Fri 0900-19:00
PHONE: 01 42 36 09 99
CLOTILDE: 274

DEHILLERIN ~ Cookware

Well known long before Julia Child started coming in, this is one of the best places to find the hard-to-find cookware in Paris. Located just a stone’s throw (or short walk) from the cook’s ultimate resources: Mora, Detou, A. Simon and La Bovida. We always stop but we don’t always buy. Salesmen are knowledgeable and pleasant.

LOCATION: 18 rue Coquillere
CROSS STREET: rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Mº Etienne Marcel or Louvre-rivoli
HOURS: Mon 09:00-12:30 and 14:00-16:00; Tue-Sat 0900-18:00
PHONE: 01 42 36 53 13
WEBSITE: www.e-dehillerin.fr
CLOTILDE: 273-274

HIGUMA (1) ~ Noodle bar

This place was very basic in the décor – mid-twentieth century squalor but that was deceptive. On the right as we walked in was a row of seats at a counter facing the cooking area, consisting mainly of a bank of enormous woks – and all around us the diners were hungrily eating and slurping their way toward nirvana. This place was clearly basic dining only – but what “basic”! And the smells were incredible! If the food was only half as good as it smelled we were definitely in paradise.

After a few minutes wait a young woman came and ushered us toward the back room, threading our way through a maze of tables and chairs packed with people devouring their food. (My only hope now was to be one of those people!)

The dishes were primarily noodles – stir-fried or in broth -- but there were also steamed dumplings and several rise dishes as well. The food was absolutely delicious and unbelievably inexpensive: €43 for the five of us! For example, I had a large bowl of noodles with pork and a half-dozen steamed dumplings for €10!

LOCATION: 32 rue Sainte Anne
Mº Pyramides
HOURS: open every day
PHONE: 01-47-03-38-59
REVIEWED: 5 November 2006

HIGUMA (2) ~ Noodle bar

The second restaurant to the one above, this place is a bit more upscale in the décor but the menu is the same (and so are the prices we thought). They also have samples in their window, which helps the first time diner. We ate lunch here with friend Beth and enjoyed it immensely. Noisy and crowded when we first arrived, we were soon up to our elbows in noodles – Susan and I each had the Yakisoba sautéed noodles, which I liked more than she did. Order the “set” which includes a noodle dish plus 5-7 “gyoza” (fried dumplings). 2007 3/30

LOCATION: 163 rue Saint Honore
Mº Palais Royal/Musee Louvre
PHONE: 01.58.62.49.22
REVIEWED: 30 March 2007

ISSÉ ~ Japanese

Billed as “tempura and tapas,” we fortunately arrived after the lunch rush, since the place was quite intimate. Pushing the door open we found ourselves inside a sleek, glass and metal interior but felt it warmly inviting nonetheless. Our lunch was simply delicious

We each ordered the Menu tempura and were treated to a several courses of mini treats (miso soup, seaweed, that sort of thing) until they brought out the piece de resistance: shrimp and vegetables dipped in a scrumptious tempura batter, accompanied by a large bowl of rice. Service friendly and prompt.

LOCATION: 45 rue de Richelieu
CROSS STREET: rue des Petit Champs
Mº Pyramides or Palais Royale-Musee du Louvre
PHONE: 01 42 96 26 60
HOURS: Mon-Sun, 10:30-15:30, Mon-Sat 18:00-midnight
REVIEWED: 9 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 16

MORA ~ Bakeware and Cookware

A baker’s paradise. Just about everything a pastry chef or baker could possible need or want. Large selection of silicone molds. We always stop and Susie always buys something for her arsenal.

LOCATION: 13 rue Montmartre
CROSS STREET: rue du Jour
Mº Etienne Marcel
HOURS: Mon-Fri 09:00-18:15, Sat 08:30-13:00 and 14:00-17:00
WEBSITE: www.mora.fr
PHONE: 01 45 08 19 24
CLOTILDE: 274

2nd Arrondissement

BISTROT VIVIENNE ~ French

We had a delicious lunch, located off of one of the few remaining old galleries left in this part of Paris.

LOCATION: 4 rue Petits Champs
Mº Pyramides
REVIEWED: 28 February 2007

CAFÉ ETIENNE MARCEL ~ Café

Located on rue Etienne Marcel right on the corner the cafe wraps around toward rue Montmartre. This café has one of the better outdoor seating locations we have seen in Paris (another favorite is the Café Gran Corona at the Place de L’Alma). Lots of pretty good people watching here; pick a spot near the very corner itself to catch traffic going in all directions. Plus, if you’re a food aficionado, gadgets and condiments, you’re right next within a block of A. Simon, Mora and Detou, serious food purveyers.

Always good food and very friendly service at reasonable prices. Try the Croque Monsieur and pommes frites.

On September 9, 2008, while Susie was shopping for baking supplies, I opted to sit it out and grabbed a table outside. I just sipped a caffe and watched people, notably two young women having an intense discussion that turned into a full-blown argument, bringing tears to both sets of eyes and various other emotive actions. They were each accompanied by friends -- their "seconds" perhaps? -- and one wonders what the argument was about: stolen love, betrayal, lost keys, wrecked car, who knows?

LOCATION: north corner of rue Etienne Marcel and rue Montmartre
Mº Etienne Marcel
REVIEWED: 24 September 2007 and 9 September 2008

DETOU ~ Cooking and baking supplies

We always, and I mean always stop here. While they cater to the professional cook and baker, it is open to the public. The prices are incredibly cheap, service is very friendly and helpful. It’s almost next door to Café Etienne Marcel and a stone’s throw from La Bovida, Mora and A. Simon. This should definitely be part of your day looking for cooking and baking supplies and gadgets.

LOCATION: 58 rue Tiquetonne
CROSS STREET: rue Etienne Marcel
Mº Etienne Marcel or Sentier
PHONE: 01 42 36 54 1467
HOURS: Mon-Sat, 08:30-18:30
CLOTILDE: 200-201

KINTARO ~ Japanese

For dinner we consumed what seemed to be the better part of a 50-lb bowl of noodles each, along delicious gyoza, fried dumplings. Noodles, gyoza, and “riz cantonnais,” very tasty. Inexpensive.

LOCATION: 24 rue Saint Augustin
CROSS STREET: rue Monsigny
Mº Quatre Septembre
PHONE: 01 47 42 13 14
HOURS: Mon-Sat, 11:30-22:00
REVIEWED: 12 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 18

L’OSTRIA ~ Seafood

A wonderful place to eat fish. The restaurant is small, seating maybe 30-55 people, and was operated by two guys the night we were there: one working the tiny kitchen within view of us all and one working the floor so to speak. Very efficient, very smooth operation (at the end of the evening a woman joined them as well). Word is they make one of the best bouillabaisses in Paris (in season however).

For starters (“entre”) Susan and I had a goat cheese and haddock salad: a bed of fresh greens, with slices of grapefruit, apple, and ultra-thin slices of smoked, salted haddock (raw), and in the center were two small pieces of bread each topped with sliced goat cheese and then placed under a broiler to melt. A-M had a salad of greens covered with “crevettes” (small shellfish); and Guy had a mussel (“moules”) salad. The wine for the evening was a crisp Sancerre.

For main course (“plat) we all had the sea bass (“bar”). Fresh? They brought each of us an entire fish, “sitting upright” (rather than on its side), with the head and tail still on, cooked to perfection; and surrounded by a small handful of sliced cooked vegetables: potatoes, fennel, turnip.

LOCATION: 4 rue Sauval
Mº Louvre-Rivoli
PHONE: 01 40 26 08 07
REVIEWED: 18 November 2006

SAPPORO ~ Japanese

A funky, noisy little Japanese noodle bar a bit more upscale than Higuma and equally great food at rock-bottom prices.

LOCATION: 2 bis, rue Daunou
Mº Opera or Pyramides
PHONE: 01 42 61 48 38
REVIEWED: 17 November 2006

A. SIMON ~ Dinnerware and cookware

Plenty of what Clotilde calls “restaurant-grade” dinnerware.

LOCATION: 48 rue Montmartre
CROSS STREET: rue Etienne Marcel
Mº Etienne Marcel
HOURS: Mon-Fri 13:30-18:30, Tue-Fri 09:00-18:30, Sat 09:30-18:30
WEBSITE: www.simon-a.com
PHONE: 01 42 33 71 65
CLOTILDE: 274

STOHRER ~ Patisserie

Very well known in Paris and the UK, too, apparently. What more can you say about a guy that puts a postcard rack outside his shop that has nothing but photos of him giving an enormous egg to the queen of England?

LOCATION: 51 rue Montotgueil
CROSS STREET: rue Marie Stuart
Mº Sentier or Etienne Marcel
PHONE: 01 42 33 38 20
HOURS: Mon-Sun, 07:30-20:30
WEBSITE: www.stohrer.fr.
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 164

3rd Arrondissement

CHEZ OMAR ~ Couscous

Great for couscous and steak and frites and who knows what else it is deeeelicious.

LOCATION: 47 rue de Bretagne
Mº Arts et Métiers
PHONE: 01 42 72 36 36
HOURS: Closed Sunday noon
REVIEWED: 11 February 2007

GOUMANYAT ~ Spice shop

Friendly and helpful staff make up this family-run business specializing in a wide variety of their mélange of spices, but particularly in saffron.

LOCATION: 3 rue Charles Francois Dupuis
CROSS STREET: rue Beranger
Mº Republique
PHONE: 01 44 78 96 74
HOURS: Tues-Fri 14:00-19:00, Sat. 11:00-19:00
WEBSITE: www.goumanyat,fr
REVIEWED: 5 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 220

L’OLIVIER ~ Grecque nouvelle

This small, unassuming Greek restaurant was recommended to us the very day we arrived in Paris. After we unpacked and unloaded, we walked over to Goumanyat, one of Paris’ oldest spice shops, and recommended by Clotilde. After meeting the owner and sampling some of the spices they put together we asked for a suggestion for dinner and they recommended L’Olivier, just a few minutes’ walk away. Food was creative take on Greek cuisine (I had what amounted to Moussaka but in a gratin with custard on top).

Moderate, friendly and nice wines by the glass. Reservations taken online.

LOCATION: 15 blvd du Temple
CROSS STREET: rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
Mº Filles du Calvaire
PHONE: 01 42 77 12 51
HOURS: Mon-Sat, 12:00-15:00, 1800-21:00
WEBSITE: www.olivier.restau.com
REVIEWED: 5 September 2008

Pain de Sucre ~ Patisserie

Small, intimate but very stylishly laid out pastry shop and definitely worth a stop. This extremely pleasant and hardworking couple produce some fabulous treats. After standing in line for just a couple of minutes we paid for our pastries and then walked across the street and found a couple of stanchions to sit on, nibbling as we watched the stream of humanity going in and out of the Pompidou Center.

LOCATION: 14 rue Rambuteau
CROSS STREET: rue du Temple
Mº Rambuteau
PHONE: 01 45 74 68 92
HOURS: 09:00-20:00; closed Tue & Wed
WEBSITE: www.patisseriepaindesucre.com.
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 165

4th Arrondissement

L’AS DU FALAFEL ~ Falafel

World famous fast food. Mark Bittman wrote a piece about this place a couple of years back for the New York Times. Make this a stop. Delicious to go food in the Jewish quarter – and a wonderful part of the old city to just stroll around.

LOCATION: 34 rue des Rosiers
CROSS STREET: rue des Ecouffes
Mº Saint-Paul
PHONE: 01 48 87 63 60
HOURS: Sun-Thu noon-midnight. Fri noon-18:00; closed Fri night and Sat
REVIEWED: September 2007
CLOTILDE: 34-35

CAFE MED ~ French

A delicious lunch. I can’t recall what we had and I failed to keep notes that day but Susie and I were with Susie’s younger sister Joyce and our food was good, service pleasant and prices not bad – given the location.

LOCATION: on rue Isle St. Louis
REVIEWED: 25 February 2007

L’ENOTECA ~ Italian

A wonderful evening of delicious food, the chance to speak and hear Italian, good service and an equally good wine list.

LOCATION: 25 rue Charles V
Mº Saint Paul
PHONE: 01.42.78.91.44
REVIEWED: 10 December 2006

LES P’TITS LOUP ~ French

Run by two middle-aged women (whatever that means), one on the inside, the other the outside. We sat outside. The food was delicious, well-priced and the service remarkable: friendly, charming; obviously a person who enjoyed dealing with strangers in search of a good meal. This is a solid recommendation for lunch. Located just a hundred meters from the Metro and Place Bastille.

LOCATION: rue Saint Antoine
Mº Bastille
REVIEWED: 17 September 2006

5th Arrondissement

L'ARBREA CANNELLE ~ French

Small but intimate, inviting place for late breakfast or lunch – which we had twice in 2006-07. Hearty French fare. Inexpensive. Just a short block from the Jardin des Plantes.

LOCATION: Corner of rue La Brosse and rue Linne
Mº Jussieu
REVIEWED: 30 January 2007

LE BOULANGER DE MONGE ~ Boulangerie

Always a queue here – primarily for the breads but the pastries are incredible as well.

LOCATION: 123 rue Monge
Mº Jussieu
REVIEWED: Fall 2006

CAFE DES ISLES ~ Seafood

This is the sister restaurant to the wonderful COCO DE MER, where we have eaten twice before, and is also located in the 5th arr. Both provide a wonderful gastronomic eye on the Seychelles (off the northern coast of Madagascar). Outstanding seafood (fresh snapper from the Seychelles), with very nice staff and reasonable prices. Highly recommended.

LOCATION: 111 rue Monge
Mº Censier-Daubenton
PHONE: 01 47 07 55 55
HOURS: closed Mon
REVIEWED: 5 January 2007

COCO DE MER ~ Seafood

They not only bring in their fish fresh daily from the Seychelles, but if you get there early enough you can sit in their “tropical room, where they bring sand sans surf to the winters of Paris.

We arrived at about 8 pm, and learned that since we didn’t have reservations for the “beach” room we would have to sit inside in the main dining area. That’s right they have an enclosed front terrace overlooking the street that has sand for the floor! Lots of fake palm trees hanging from the ceiling – and really not tacky looking at all – and even a coconut from the Seychelles that has the shape of, hmmmm, shall we say a smallish but well-rounded derriere? Yes let’s say that.

So we started with 2 daiquiris made with citron vert. Susan ordered the “Menu Praslinois” which started out with an absolutely delicious seafood salade of fish from the Seychelles with fresh vegetables followed by a “plat” of curried chicken finished off with coconut ice cream with caramel sauce. I had grilled Madagascar shrimp on a bed of pureed avocado for an entrée and my “plat” was grilled tuna steak, finished off with what was essentially a brownie (so moist it would melt in your mouth) accompanied by homemade vanilla ice cream (glace”). Our wine was a Petit Chablis from France.

The wine list was very small: two whites (one South African and one French) and four reds (one South African and 3 French). The prices were reasonable, and service was impeccable. One fellow ran the entire front end by himself, and by the time we left that must have included nearly a dozen tables, several with 3 or 4 people, all without getting flustered and remaining calm and smiling the entire time. Impressive.

LOCATION: 34 Blvd Saint Marcel
Mº Saint-Marcel
PHONE: 04 47 07 06 64
WEBSITE: www.seychelles-saveurs.com
REVIEWED: 26 February and 8 March 2007

LES DELICES D’APHRODITE ~ Greek

Outdoor seating just a stone’s throw from the rue Mouffetard, this is the sister to the more upscale (and expensive) MAVROMATIS, another Greek restaurant a block away. Very friendly staff, bistro seating inside and out. Spent two hours eating and chatting, then strolling to the nearby Jardin des Plantes, found a park bench to snooze away an hour or so enjoying a beautiful Sunday in Paris. Moderately expensive.

LOCATION: 4 rue Candolle
CROSS STREET: rue Daubenton
Mº Censier-Daubenton
PHONE: 01 43 31 40 39
HOURS: Mon-Fri noon-14:00, 19:00-23:00; Sat-Sun noon-15:00, 18:00-23:00
REVIEWED: 14 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 39

MAISON KAYSER ~ Boulangerie

World-famous baker. For good reason -- his breads are incredible.

LOCATION: 14 rue Monge
Mº Maubert or Cardinal Lemoine
PHONE: 01 43 07 17 81
HOURS: Closed Mon
REVIEWED: September 2008

LES PAPILLES ~ Wine bar/restaurant

A short stroll up the rue Gay-Lussac and we were standing outside of no. 30, a wine shop and restaurant. We walked inside and were seated near the front, beneath the many shelves of wines -- French of course. The menu was a fixed four-course meal, no choices, no substitutions and you could choose your wine from any in the shop and for a nominal corkage charge (€7) they would pour it for you. The staff is small, serious, friendly and yet very businesslike. We asked for a wine suggestion and were presented with an incredible white burgundy (€34). In fact, you can order any wine right off the shelf.

Not long after we were seated, two men from Salt Lake City were seated next to us (coincidence?), and the four of us chatted amiably throughout the evening, mostly about food and largely about France.

The meal was itself superb. A celery soup with bits of pork belly and fruit in the bottom, which came in a large tureen, a nice touch. Next up were chicken pieces with a pasta, all together in a large pot, again brought to the table and shared by the two of us. This was followed by a cheese course and for dessert was a simple small glass of mascarpone with apples, almonds and pistachios mixed in.

Incredibly good food. €31 per person. Reservations strongly recommended.

LOCATION: 30 rue Gay-Lussac
CROSS STREET: rue Saint-Jacques
Mº Cluny-La Sorbonne or RER: Luxembourg
PHONE: 01 43 25 20 79
HOURS: Mon-Sat noon-14:00, 19:30-22:00
WEBSITE: www.lespapilles.com
REVIEWED: 10 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 39-40

6th Arrondissement

LES BOUQUINISTES ~ French

Susan and I had eaten here in 1998 and had always wanted to return. The food was even better than we remembered. The service was impeccable, and the wines, a red Mersault and a red Volnay, worked really well with our food; three of us had seafood and Stan had veal. The desserts were equally spectacular; and the cheese board (which I had) consisted of four different cheeses, a hard Comte-like cheese, a chevre, a Brie -style and a fabulous blue called “Fourme d’Ambert,” which was almost sweet. Delicious!

LOCATION: 53 Quai des Grands Augustins
Mº Pont Neuf, Od eon or St. Michel
PHONE: 01 43 25 45 94
WEBSITE: http://www.guysavoy.com
REVIEWED: 17 September 2006

LE COMPTOIR DU RELAIS ~ French

Clotilde calls this a “neo-bistro.” Located next door to and apparently part of the Relais St. Germain hotel next door. Le Comptoir is the down-scaled version of its next door neighbor, a restaurant booked months in advance (and whose name escapes me for good reason). Frankly, I don't see what the fuss is about. Good food is good food. Why should I have to wait weeks or months for it? But that's just me.

In our case, we ended up standing in line anyway, waiting more than an hour to be seated -- first come first served. The woman maitre'd (or is it “maitress'd”?) was a study in tension and movement, working several parts of her body at the same time she was watching in three directions and talking to two different people. Fascinating.

At last we found ourselves seated -- outside but under heater lamps. I had conveniently forgotten to bring a jacket so I spent the evening focusing on the red wine for warmth. A successful achievement I might add.

The service was smooth, even and very good. The food was even better. Susie and I both had beef -- I had a steak very rare and very good and Susie had a slow-cooked piece of beef like mom used to make for Sunday roasts, in a delicious beef sauce. Very straightforward and very much to the point: if the point is being delicious of course.

Our neighbors on one side were French and helped us figure through the beef issue while on our on the other side was a Danish woman in town for the annual furniture fair -- some thirty years she's been coming to these things and her English is very good indeed.

The line of people waiting to be seated continued throughout the evening -- and one older gentleman became quite perturbed when he discovered that a “friend” of the restaurant or some such thing had been seated ahead of him. One has to love the bistro experience -- you become fast friends with total strangers.

Food was quite good, service friendly and prices moderately expensive. No reservations.

LOCATION: 5 Carrefour de l’Odeon
CROSS STREET: rue Monsieur le Prince. Mº Odeon
PHONE: 01 44 27 07 97
HOURS: Mon-Fri noon-18:00, Sat noon-23:00
REVIEWED: 6 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 49-51

CUISINE DE BAR ~ Lunch

Delicious tartines, with a very reasonably priced formule and the service was pleasant (at least our waitress was). To the left of the Poilane bakery, this is a Poilane-owned property. No reservations.

LOCATION: 8 rue du Cherche Midi
CROSS STREET: rue de Sevres
Mº Saint-Sulpice or Sevres-Babylone
PHONE: 01 45 48 45 69
HOURS: Tue-Sat 08:30-19:00
REVIEWED: 11 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 60 (she lists this in the 7th but it is in the 6th arr.)

ZE KITCHEN GALERIE ~ French nouvelle

Very creative food, big on multiple flavors with a strong Asian twist. Reasonable prices adequate wine list.

LOCATION: 4 rue des Grand Augustin
Mº Pont Neuf, St. Michel or Odeon
PHONE: 01 44 32 00 32
WEBSITE: http://www.zekitchengaleri.fr
REVIEWED: 29 March 2007

LOMBARDI’S ~ Italian

This place is small – you enter almost in the kitchen and have to walk up a short lifght of narrow stairs to get to the dining room. The food was great, the service slow, and the prices OK. Still, we got to hear and speak Italian.

LOCATION: 29 rue Dauphine
Mº Odeon, Mabillon or St. Michel
REVIEWED: 5 February 2007

LE RELAIS DE L’ENTRECOTE ~ French

A favorite with tourists and locals alike – we had in fact been given the tip from a businessman who eats out in Paris a great deal – this is one place you should definitely go, but if and only if you like beef. They don’t serve fish, pork or chicken, and they only serve one cut of beef one way with one sauce and a side order of potatoes. No frills, no choices, but then no problems making up your mind either.

We arrived at about 8:30 and there was a short line already forming outside along the street. They don’t take reservations and we had been warned that it’s a good idea to come a bit early before they open to avoid the long lines but we figured hey it’s a Tuesday evening plus we didn’t want to eat early so we’d take our chances. The restaurant was quite large with lots of tables spilling outside onto the sidewalk on the little side street of Rue St.-Benoit just around the corner from Saint Germain-des-Pres and just a block off the busy Blvd. Saint Germain. Across the street were two other restaurants, one of which was generous enough to provide live jazz music not long after we sat down.

Anyway, after about a 15-minute wait we were seated at a table just inside but since the walls were gone for the season we were in effect also outside. Tres cool. The waitress then came to the table and asked what we would like to drink (water first) and then how we want our meat prepared: rare, medium or well. That’s it. Oh and yes you have just three choices for wine: red, white or sparkling (we chose red). She wrote our orders on the tablecloth and a few minutes later we had our wine, fresh bread and soon afterwards our salads – all very delicious I might add.

A little while later out came the meat. The meat was swimming in a unique pesto-like sauce -- the basil flavor was distinct but not as strong as a traditional pesto or so we thought – and it had a rich, buttery edge to it. Perfect with the meat, which by the way appeared to be slices of sirloin cooked to a tender perfection. I should perhaps explain how they plate the food since it too seemed quite different from any other experience we can recall. They brought out the meat in covered serving trays which were then placed on portable burners scattered strategically around the restaurant – and these were soon followed by huge platters of “pomme frites” (french fries of course) the only accompaniment to the meat. The fries are spooned on to each plate followed by the meat and sauce and then brought to the table. But only half of each person’s portion is given out; and after you finish that you get the “second” helping of both fries and meat. Interesting, no?

The evening air was perfect, the music coming from across the street just added to the fact that yes, we were in Paris, with good friends eating good food, and, as one at our table that evening is often fond of saying, we’re just happy to be here.

LOCATION: 20 bis, rue St-Benoit; second restaurant at 15 rue Marbeuf
Mº St. Germain des Pres
PHONE: 014 549 16 00
REVIEWED: 17 September 2006

YUGARAJ ~ Indian

Quite close to the Pont Neuf. We ate here in 1998 and nearly 10 years later – the food was equally good both times. Pleasant service, quite pricey.

LOCATION: 14 rue Dauphine
Mº Pont Neuf
PHONE: 01 43 26 44 91
HOURS: closed Mon
WEBSITE: www.yugaraj.com
REVIEWED: 1998 AND 2006

7th Arrondissement

LES COCOTTES DE CHRISTIAN CONSTANT ~ French casual

Opening the door we found ourselves inside a long narrow space lined with a bar with stools on the right and several high tables at the far back end of the restaurant. Clotilde describes this as a snack shop but we thought it much more than that.

Now apparently a "cocotte" is a type of casserole dish, made of cast iron that can go from the stove to the oven with ease, and can be round or oval and seem to come in all sizes. They use the Staub brand and in fact sold them right there in the restaurant. (Curiously, it seems the French use the word "casserole" to refer to a saucepan.)

We each ordered one of their signature cocotte dishes: crispy cod with legumes in an incredibly delicious broth (photo above). For dessert I had the Basque cheese with blackberry jam (Christian Constant is from the Basque part of France) and Susie had the Clafoutis "mirabels" (plums).

NOTES: Lunch, 08 September. Both had “crispy cod” cocottes, essentially small casseroles, and for dessert I had a basque hard cheese with homemade blackberry jam and Susie had a delicious mirabelle clafoutis. Incredibly tasty food. Seating is either at a bar counter or high tables in the back. Very casual, very slick interior. Well-organized and the service was friendly. No reservations.

LOCATION: 135 rue Saint-Dominique
CROSS STREET: rue Augereau
Mº Ecole Militaire
HOURS: Mon-Sun, 08:00-22:30
WEBSITE: www.lescocottesdeconstant.com
REVIEWED: 8 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 64

LA FERME SAINT SIMON ~ French

This was a suggestion by an acquaintance of ours who had enormous experience eating in Paris. Several of Susan’s fellow graduates from the Le Cordon Bleu and I met here for lunch. Most had sea bream (“dorade”), which seemed to be the hit of the afternoon. It was baked with a crust of grains and seeds on the skin-side and made eating the skin a real tasty treat – something which surprised even Pietro!

Reasonable cost. Lunch is served Mon-Thu, dinner Mon-Sat.

LOCATION: 6 rue Saint-Simon
Mº Rue de Bac
PHONE: 01 45 48 35 74
WEBSITE: http://www.fermestsimon.com
REVIEWED: 27 August 2007

8th Arrondissement

L’APPART ~ French

Delicious food in a pleasant, inviting atmosphere – completely lacking the pretentiousness or ostentatious of being so close to the Avenue des Champs Elysees. Highly recommended.

LOCATION: rue du Colisee
CROSS STREET: Avenue des Champs Elysees
Mº Franklin Roosevelt
REVIEWED: 7 October 2007

LE GRAN CORONA ~ Café

Located on the Place de L'Alma, we first came here in 1998 when we had our first taste of what Parisians can do with a simple mix of warm goat cheese, greens and a typical mustard vinaigrette. We have returned ever since for an aperitif and to watch the incredible amount of traffic going every which way and all at once. The café also faces the Pont d’Alma and you can see the clusters of “pilgrims” at the impromptu Diana Memorial, which began its life as a scaled down version of the torch held by the Statue of Liberty in New York. Apparently Diana’s accident took place in the roadway beneath the Place.

For us this is the perfect place to stop, and reflect on how much has changed in our lives since in the past ten years or more. Indeed, how much our lives seem to change on a daily basis.

LOCATION: northwestern corner of Place de L’Alma
Mº Alma-Marceau
REVIEWED: 9 September 2008

9th Arrondissement

ROSE BAKERY ~ Lunch

Delicious lunch, great breads – in fact Clotilde claims the bread is made by Poujauran, one of the best bread bakers in the city who only sells wholesale. The interior is funky, the food is scrumptious and produced using organic ingredients, produced locally when possible. Definitely worth an afternoon stop.

LOCATION: 46 rue des Martyrs
CROSS STREET: rue de Navarin
Mº Notre Dame de la Lorette
PHONE: 01 42 82 12 80
HOURS: Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00
REVIEWED: November 2006
CLOTILDE: 87

LA TAVERNE ~ Café

Although we only stopped for an apaeritif on a somewhat chilly, damp afternoon, I mention this place because we liked it so much. That’s pretty much it. Friendly service, very comfortable and cozy interior.

LOCATION: 24 blvd. Des Italiens
CROSS STREET: rue de Gramont
Mº Richelieu Drout
PHONE: 01 55 33 10 00
HOURS: every day until midnight
WEBSITE: www.taverne.com
REVIEWED: September 2008

10th Arrondissement

DU PAIN ET DES IDEES ~ Patisserie

Clotilde describes this as a “beautiful 1889 bakery,” and indeed the interior is worth the drive, as we say. The meticulous care taken in preserving this fantastic interior warrants taking a little time out of your schedule and stopping by. Plus, you can pick up some incredibly delicious sweets for your trouble. We certainly did.

LOCATION: 34 rue Yves Toudic
CROSS STREET: rue de Marseille
Mº Jacques Bonsergent
PHONE: 01 42 40 44 52
HOURS: 06:45-20:00, Mon-Fri
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 153

11th Arrondissement

BAR BAT ~ Corsican

About 100 meters along rue de la Roquette from the Place Bastille we turned right onto the short rue de Lappe. Once home to a series of dance halls and other venues of dark enterntainment, this short stretch of pavement between rue de la Roquette and rue de Charonne is today dominated by food. It is virtually all cafes/bars/restaurants, and many of them ethnic: Egyptian, Mexican, and the one that appealed to us: Corsican.

The entire front wall of the large Bar Bat was in fact one big open space where the tables and chairs, large easy chairs, all seemed to spill outside onto the roadway. Susie suggested we give this place a try so we walked inside and were seated right away.

The staff was friendly, the ambiance warm and inviting and, in true bistro style we were socially connected with our neighbors. The menu was in Corsican (with French in parenthetical subtitles) and the language seemed to remind us of a cross between Italian and Sardinian, for what that's worth.

But since we've been to college and have spent some time in France trying to decipher the lingo we competently (more or less) made our choices: Susie had a ravioli dish and I had a grilled steak with some of the best “frites” I have ever eaten. Most if not all the wines appeared to be Corsican -- and we had a delicious half-bottle of red with our meal (San Michele was the producer I believe).

The meal was incredible -- our one non-Clotilde foray into the food world on this trip in fact -- and we would easily recommend this place. Oh, and they also have free internet connection.

Very comfortable seats, lots of room inside and out, which tend to flow together. VLinkery friendly service, delicious food. Moderately expensive.

LOCATION: 23 rue de Lappe
CROSS STREET: rue de la Roquette
Mº Bastille or Ledru-Rollin
PHONE: 01 43 14 26 06
HOURS: 19:00-23:30
WEBSITE: www.barbat.fr

LE BAR AU SOUPES ~ Soup bar

Started by Anne-Catherine, a young woman who was impressed with the soup bars in London, the striking yellow front on rue Charonne, the old road leading into the village of Charonne from Paris, was hard to miss. We walked inside to a small but cozy, light and airy dining area and were greeted like old friends. After a quick tour of the soups of the day, which are all made fresh every morning, as are the desserts and iced tea, we made our choice and picked a table near the front window, overlooking the street.

Susie ordered the tomato-ginger and I had chickpeas (with bits of raisins). We also opted for the formule, which gave us fresh baked bread, a little cheese as well as drinks and dessert, and all for less than €10 a person! The food was, to say it again, incredible. Service was friendly and the ambiance worth a stop in its own right: lovely large canvases of “grosses legumes” dotted the walls, which only added to the feel of being in a tiny country guest house.

Good value, inexpensive. Highly recommended.

LOCATION: 33 rue de Charonne
CROSS STREET: rue des Taillandiers
Mº Ledru-Rollin
PHONE: 01 43 57 53 79
HOURS: Mon-Sat noon-15:00, 18:30-23:00
WEBSITE: www.lebarausoupes.com
REVIEWED: 9 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 100-101

FUJI SAN ~ Korean Barbecue

Located right around the corner from the Place la Bastille at 15 rue de la Roquette. Outstanding Korean barbecue, also Japanese yakitori and sushi and sashimi. Three of us did the Korean barbecue where we cooked everything ourselves right at and literally on the table.

We all had the barbecue and after a delicious cabbage salad (we couldn't quite put our finger on the dressing, very mild but still pungent at the same time) the waiter came over and pulled out the middle top section of our table to reveal voila! a small grill beneath. After lighting the grill he left and returned a few minutes later with three plates, two of beef Susie and me and one of chicken for Diane, each plate ringed by raw sliced carrots, peppers and zucchini. It was now up to us to do the cooking and we went at it with a vengeance (hunger had set in before we hit the restaurant). The meat was sliced razor thin and at first presented somewhat of a challenge to get it off our plates and onto the grill -- I kept wondering how did they slice this and put the slices on the plates so neatly?

As each piece came off the grill we would dip it in the accompanying sauce, again we couldn't quite pin down the flavor, rather like peanut-sauce in appearance but not as sweet. But boy was it delicious. And we washed each mouthful down with cold Korean beer. Not too bad a meal we thought.

Normally we don't spring for dessert in an Asian restaurant; the few times I have it's always been a great disappointment. But we thought this might be different so we took the plunge. Susie ordered one scoop of ice cream, I also ordered an ice cream thing and Diane also ordered dessert as well.

When the desserts arrived Susan was tempted to call the police to report the theft of her ice cream -- but after the three of us started looking we found it in the bottom of the cup. The scoop was about the size of a pea, which gives you some idea of the desserts. Anyway mine was OK, rather like an anemic sundae that had seen better days. But when Diane got her dessert she noted the absence of the cherries, which had clearly been in the photo in the menu. We called the waiter over and Diane pointed this out to him and he replied “No, no the cherries are just in the picture. They don't really come with the dessert.”

We had a good laugh on that one for sure. What a crazy idea, that the photo of a thing should actually represent what the thing would look like when it arrived. It was a bit of photographic license, a very useful marketing tool to promote the product. “No sir, the picture of the tires on the car in the brochure just gives you an idea of what it would look like. The car doesn't come with tires.”

Notwithstanding this gaffe of the evening we still would go back there for the food.

Delicious food and reasonably priced too. Highly recommended.

LOCATION: 15 rue de la Roquette
Mº Bastille
REVIEWED: 24 September 2007

MAISON ROUYER ~ Patisserie

Delicious pastries, incredible girl choir behind the counter – and at least one of the most pleasant young women you will ever meet in Paris. A favorite hangout of ours, located directly across rue de la Roquette from Place Leon Blum.

CROSS STREET: Place Leon Blum and rue de la Roquette
Mº Voltaire
REVIEWED: September 2007 and September 2008

LE REFECTOIRE ~ Casual Bistro

Although we didn't have reservations -- it was Saturday night after all -- they still seated us and we spent the next couple of hours talking about . . . what else but food, particularly the baked and pastry kind.

The service was good -- and I wasn't far off the mark in assuming that our waitress had once fronted local bands. Anyway I had duck breast with a gratin dauphinois, Susie had lamb and our friend Valerie had fish. The wine was a light red that seemed to suit our needs just fine. Desserts were light, easy on the preparation and not terribly challenging -- particularly for these two women.

Very funky, bistro atmosphere. Pleasant service and very good food.

LOCATION: 80 blvd Richard Lenoir
CROSS STREET: rue Saint-Sebastien
Mº Richard Lenoir or Saint-Ambroise
PHONE: 01 48 06 74 85
HOURS: Mon-Sat, noon-14:00; Mon-Sun noon-14:00, 20:00-22:30; Sun noon-16:00, 20:00-22:30
REVIEWED: 13 September 2008
CLOTILDE: 105

12th Arrondissement

BLE SUCRE ~ Patisserie

Susie bought a couple of small bags, one of chocolate sablee and the other of mini palmiers, and we headed back home.

LOCATION: 7 rue Antoine Vollon
CROSS STREET: rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
Mº Ledru-Rollin
PHONE: 01 43 40 77 73
HOURS: 07:00-19:30
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 173

13th Arrondissement

DEL NAVONA PIZZE ~ Italian, Pizza

They advertised offered “wood-fired” pizzas and we weren't disappointed. Both of us ordered pizzas (mine came with the wonderful “Merguez” sausage), of course, and a half bottle of Valpolicella. One of the two men sitting next to us caught our eye at one point. He casually remarked to us as they received their pizzas that they were big but good. And he was right!

LOCATION: Blvd. des Gobelins
Mº Place d’Italie
REVIEWED: 20 February 2007

LES PISSENLITS ~ Franco-American

After walking to Place d’Italie and then turning down rue Bobillot we went another few hundred meters to rue de la Butte aux cailles, a small side street full of funky little bars, small cafes and tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants. I had called the day before to make a reservation at Le Jean-Baptiste Clement, according to the Rough Guide for Paris a miniature restaurant tucked away at no. 11. But when we got to no. 11 it was a different restaurant altogether (Les Pissenlits) and after inquiring from a staff person there about Le Jean-Baptiste, she said, “yeah they used to be here but moved somewhere else.” And no she didn't know where.

We were meeting our friend Beth, who showed up while we were trying to figure this out, and so the three of us decided what the heck, we would eat at no. 11 anyway.

The food was pretty good: I had a burger with the first hand-cut French fries I have seen since coming to Paris! Truly amazing! Susie and Beth both had hearty French-style casseroles, which were tasty but filling. The service was good but the wine mediocre. We skipped dessert.

LOCATION: 11 rue de la Butte aux cailles
Mº Place d’Italie
REVIEWED: 5 MARCH 2007

15th Arrondissement

AL WADY ~ Lebanese

Delicious, quiet location, pleasant service. Moderately priced.

LOCATION: 12 RUE DES VOLONTAIRES
Mº Volontaires
PHONE: 01 43 06 82 96
REVIEWED: MAY 2006

BISTROT D'HUBERT ~ French

This was another selection by our friends Pietro and Anna – Italian-Canadians living and working in Paris (it’s complicated). Anyway, Pietro’s business brought him many lunches and dinners in Paris and he kindly shared some of his recommendations with us.

The restaurant is quite small but very nicely laid out with a superb view of the kitchen space to the rear. I should also add the staff were pleasant, attentive and alternated between French and English with ease. Susie, Anna and Pietro had fish (2 swordfish and 1 cod) and I had an Asian pork tenderloin on a small bed of rice with a small side dish of gratin dauphinois potatoes! Pietro chose a nicely acidic white wine.

Cost of dinner with wine (but no desserts) was €60 per person.

LOCATION: 41 Boulevard Pasteur
Mº Pasteur
PHONE: 01 47 34 15 50
WEBSITE: www.bistrodhubert.com
REVIEWED: 4 March 2007

DES GATEAUX ET DU PAIN ~ Patisserie

More like an upscale jewelry store than a pastry shop or bakery, the staff was rude and the layout sterile. Bread was delicious though.

LOCATION: 63 blvd. Pasteur
CROSS STREET: rue Mizon
Mº Pasteur
PHONE: 01 45 38 94 16
HOURS: Weds-Mon, 07:30-20:30, closed Tues
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 174

LA MAISON DU BONHEUR ~ Chinese and Vietnamese

Very good food.

LOCATION: 33 RUE DES VOLONTAIRES
Mº Volontaires
PHONE: 01 47 34 27 09
REVIEWED: MAY 2006

LE QUARTIER DU PAIN ~ Boulangerie

A favorite hangout for the culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu. That tells you something.

LOCATION: 270 rue Vaugirard
CROSS STREET: rue Maublanc
Mº Vaugirard
PHONE: 01 48 28 78 42
HOURS: Mon-Sat 05:30-20:00

16th Arrondissement

AUX MARCHES DU PALAIS ~ French

The food was very good but the service a bit inattentive. We also missed out on the fixed menu that just about every restaurant in Paris has since when we asked our waitress she said no there wasn’t one and yet it was on a chalkboard on the wall. And we never received the wine list, which was on another big chalkboard brought to the table. Maybe we had to ask. We did order the “vin rouge du maison” and it was actually just fine, and of course inexpensive.

The food was quite good and reasonably priced we thought, although two meals had to go back because they were undercooked. Aside from these glitches one could recommend this place – and particularly if you enjoy a firm grasp of French. Diane had gambas (shrimp), Susan had poulet (chicken), Lorenzo actually had two starters, fois gras and champignons (mushrooms) and I had a small steak (l’entrecote) that was superb – aside from being undercooked, the sauce was very tasty and the potatoes (pommes du terre) just right.

LOCATION: rue de la Manutention
Mº Iena
PHONE: 01 47 23 52 80
REVIEWED: 10 September 2006

18th Arrondissement

COQUELICOT ~ Boulangerie, Café

Located just a block or so from the metro stop, the café looked fascinating from the street and so the food and service proved even more so. Outstanding pastries, and one of the best goat cheese salads I have ever eaten. Seating inside cramped, also upstairs. Friendly staff.

LOCATION: 24 rue des Abbesses
CROSS STREET: Place des Abbesses
Mº Abbesses
PHONE: 01 46 06 18 77
HOURS: Tue-Sun, 07:30-20:00
WEBSITE: www.coquelicot-montmartre.com
REVIEWED: MAY 2006 and 2007
CLOTILDE: 157

LE COMPTOIR COLONIAL ~ Spice shop

Exiting the Metro we came face-to-face with the red hulk of the Moulin Rouge -- certainly a far cry from its original incarnation to be sure. We quickly turned north up Rue Lepic, one of the more interesting streets in Montmartre, filled with all kinds of food stuff, and after a couple of hundred feet, uphill of course, we found our objective: a little spice shop called Le Comptoir Colonial. Don’t be fooled, though. This shop has much more than spices: oils, vinegars, and plenty of Asian condiments as well as an incredible selection of black, white and other pepper from all over the world.

LOCATION: 22 rue Lepic
CROSS STREET: rue Cauchois
Mº Blanche
PHONE: 01 42 58 44 84.
HOURS: Tues-Wed and Fri-Sat, 08:45-13:00, 16:00-19:30; Thurs 16:00-19:30 and Sun 10:30-13:30
WEBSITE: www.lecomptoircolonial.com
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 222

ARNAUD LARHER ~ Patisserie

After leaving the bustles of rue des Abbesses and rue Lepic we walked along the quiet back streets of Montmartre, turning left onto rue Caulaincourt. We soon spotted the uniquely attractive orange facing of Larher’s patisserie. We stepped inside and after Susie checked out the various selections -- we purchased a couple of items and walked out. Stepping across the street we grabbed a vacant bench in the shade of a tree -- but then this entire rue is lined with shade trees -- and commenced to examine our purchases in greater detail.

I had the éclair caffe and while the choux dough tasted very good we were both unimpressed with the filling; it lacked any of the intense richness we had come to expect from éclairs in Paris. and there was very little hint of coffee. Susie had opted for the “Supreme,” a scrumptious chocolate cake layered with chocolate-blackberry mousse and finished off with a blackberry creme brulee layer. This was good, very good.

Gorgeous shop, very airy and colorful. Located along the tree-line rue Caulaincourt just a stone’s throw from Montmartre cemetery. Delicious, creative pastries and very friendly staff.

LOCATION: 53 rue Caulaincourt
CROSS STREET: rue Juste Metivier
Mº Lamarck-Caulaincourt
PHONE: 01 42 57 68 08
HOURS: 10:00-19:30 Mon-Sat
WEBSITE: www.arnaud-larher.com
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 176

19th Arrondissement

LA BOULANGERIE PAR VERONIQUE MAUCLERC ~ Boulangerie

We had hoped to stop and grab a pastry and caffe, and sit in their small back room but it was closed when we arrived.

LOCATION: 83 rue de Crimee
CROSS STREET: rue Manin
Mº Laumiere
PHONE: 01 42 40 64 55
HOURS: 08:00-20:00; closed Tue and Wed
REVIEWED: September 2008
CLOTILDE: 159

20th Arrondissement

SUCRE CACAO ~ Patisserie, Boulangerie

Located just off the Place Gambetta, this is certainly an upscale patisserie. Pricey and a bit underwhelming.

LOCATION: 89 Avenue Gambetta
CROSS STREET: Place Gambetta
Mº Gambetta
PHONE: 01 46 36 87 11
WEBSITE: www.sucrecacao.com
REVIEWED: September 2008