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Paris Diary - 10/15 - 10/21/17

TVHilton | Oct 16, 201712:08 AM

Jody's mantra on our first visit ( was, you have to visit Paris to learn how to visit Paris. So having had a lovely learning visit two years ago (huge thanks to the Chowhounds whose advice helped make it great), we are spending the first week of our honeymoon (having finally gone down to City Hall in September, after 20 years of living together) in Paris before going on to Barcelona for the second week. Staying in the same apartment, in the 5th on Rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique.

We arrived at the apartment around 1 pm yesterday after an epic journey (and that's just the trip from the plane to the baggage carousel at CDG), extremely jet-lagged but happy to be here. After napping for a couple of hours I wandered out in a daze to find some household sundries and maybe a snack, because Jody had said she was really hungry just moments before she fell sound asleep. I got a demie baguette at Kayser, then went looking for something to put on it. Walked past several cheese stalls on St. Germain and realized I wasn't functional enough to deal with any of them, so I wound up with some pate from Franprix. Not spectacular, but it did the job.

First night's dinner was Au Bon Coin, a favorite from last year. I had made the reservation before we left, because it was Sunday (so no Les Pipos) and I wanted to make sure we didn't wind up at some mediocre place in the neighborhood by default. This was a bit of a gamble in our condition, and we knew that, but we took it anyway.

After a comically roundabout taxi ride involving a driver with no GPS who had never heard of the street or the restaurant (and assumed we were going to one of the tourist places near Place Contrescarpe) and two Gringo tourists too sleep-deprived to be able to explain it clearly, we got to the restaurant for our 7:00 reservation (early because we knew we wouldn't be up for much later)...along with a party of 8 pesky Yanks in their 20s who, happily, were seated at the other end of the restaurant.

Apologies in advance for the incomplete descriptions to follow; again, we were both running on about one and a half cylinders. We started with an aperitif--Limone Spritzer, they called it, and it was refreshing and delicious--and an amuse bouche of a sort of salmon cream served in eggshell. Lovely salmon flavor and creamy texture.

Entrees were spectacular: for Jody, a mussel soup with blue cheese and a sort of lattice of fried potato shreds; for me a duck foie gras terrine with toasted 'milk bread' and a 'gingerbread mustard'. The soup was pure flavor happiness, the blue cheese complementing the mussel flavor beautifully. The terrine was also wonderful, with the ginger-and-cinnamon flavors of the mustard working surprisingly well with the foie gras (and the bread was lovely as well, toasted to a light crunch).

For plats, I ordered the special of the day: scallops with pureed potato and truffle shavings (there was more detail in the menu, but they had me at 'Saint Jacques' so I don't recall what it was). Shortly thereafter the manager came around crossing it off the day's menu, so it seems others found it as appealing as I did. Perfectly done scallops. Wonderful.

Jody had a sous vide veal cooked with hay and something else (again, I didn't pay much attention to the description). The bite I had was very nice, but I was glad I got the scallops.

And here's where fatigue sets in; I was wiped, but Jody was even more so. We knew when we made the reservation that we ran the risk of being too tired to fully appreciate the meal, and so it happened. We had to skip dessert, painful though that was, and Jody got through only a small portion of her veal (the rest is in the fridge right now, and all I can say is she's just lucky I have as much restraint as I do).

So, a less-than-ideal dining experience from that perspective, but otherwise wonderful. Fabulous food all around, friendly and patient service. Two entrees + two plats + two aperitifs + two glasses of wine came to E102, which seems very reasonable to me.

For the rest of our trip, we're sort of winging it. We'll definitely return to Les Tablettes Jean-Louis Nomico, and and probably l'Assiette; and we'd love to try Kitchen Ter(re) based on Mr. Talbott's recommendation (among others). On the more casual side we'll be back to Les Pipos, and I'm very interested in trying Nossa just up the street from us. Any other suggestions are, of course welcome. I'll try to keep up the reporting in more or less real time.

Nossa Churrasqueira,
Les tablettes de Jean Louis Nomicos,
Les Pipos,
Au Bon Coin,
Kitchen Ter(re)
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