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Friday, November 24, 2006

Parisian food

So what makes up a Paris food experience? Checked tablecloths, rude waiters, red wine and "pommes frites" with everything? We only had the rude waiter and tablecloth once but when I looked back at my food photos, I realised that I had a nice collection of classic French bistro dishes like boeuf borgignon and escargots. Almost everything came with chips and a basket of bread, good thing we were walking so much! Join me on my tour...
We'd taken a 7am flight from London to Paris. (If you ever do that, remember that you have to allow time for check-in and nothing runs that early in London! Good thing we decided to stay at a hotel near Heathrow airport the night before so that we could just hop in a cab and go to the airport.) Having showered and checked out our selection of TV channels, my friend arrived to take us out for the day. We strolled to the Arc de Triomphe and were walking down Champs-Élysées looking at the queue outside Louis Vuitton (it's an "art gallery" on Sundays) and admiring the car showrooms that sold lifestyles, when we felt lunch was due. We decided to be tourists and eat on the avenue.

Here's my moules et frites from the
Café George V. They were fiddly to eat but quite tasty and we had a lovely time sitting in the sun catching up and watching the world go by. I was too hungry to think about photographing the others' lunches, a very filling salad and boeuf borgignon. We had a very refreshing white wine which I scribbled down as "Ceserre" so highly recommend that. It is expensive on the avenue but glamour quotient is up! I didn't take down the exact address but if you're walking from the Arc de Triomphe, it's on the left hand side. Oh and don't expect too much of the service, the waiter came back 3 times to ask what we'd ordered!

Plat de jour
This is the cheapest way to eat out. Choosing the set menu ensures a speedy meal and is so much cheaper. After we found out Chez Stella was closed, we walked further down
rue Thérèse to the corner with rue St Anne and spotted this cafe "B/S". We must have been in an area with many Japanese expats as I spotted numerous Japanese restaurants from teppenyaki specialists to noodle bars and the friendly French café owner suddenly started speaking very fluent Japanese to a family. The meal was only 8 euro and I had my very French Orangina. (Did anyone who did French at school ever learn to order Orangina as well?) I had really yummy lamb with so-so zucchini and T had a great roast chicken.

Having said that I was to go macaron tasting, can you believe I only went to one place? Oh the delicate almond powder/sugar/egg white pastries and the soft creamy filling... hmm. I walked past Gosselin and got some of their violet and chocolate macarons. The violet was incredibly musky and really quite pleasant - although Niki describes the violet flavour as grandmothers and lavender! - and the chocolate was delicious. The macarons there are 4.70 euro for 100g. I was walking past La Grande Epicerie at the department store Bon March
é and it was too bad I didn't have enough time to shop because it is an incredible store of gourmet treats. The macarons there came in the brightest colours and I just wanted to taste the mint and berry flavours! Go there if you want to pack a picnic!

The Classics
Dinner in the Latin Quarter is exciting because it's such a vibrant area, forget that it depends on a tourist trade and just enjoy the great variety of cuisines. This is the university area and as with all student areas, there's something very bohemian about the place. We found this bistro right by the
Church of Saint Séverin (we didn't get there in time to go in but I really wanted to check out the palm tree pillars). I didn't write down the name of the bistro but they had a wonderfully Paris menu.

I handled my escargots well and there was no slippage!
The boeuf borgignon was melt in your mouth tasty and T said it was better than the previous one he'd had at George V.
And there's always room for dessert especially these scrumptious profiteroles filled with ice-cream!
As you can see the tablecloth was checked, we did drink red wine and the waiter was fantastically rude by doing things like tease us about how long we took to read the menu and asking if we were going to photograph our meals before I pulled my camera out!

Café George V
avenue des Champs-Elysées

Café B/S
Corner rue Thérèse and rue St Anne

Corner rue de Bellechasse and blvd Saint Germain

La Grande Epicerie
38 rue de Sèvres

Église Saint Séverin

1 rue des prêtres Saint Séverin



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