I love Paris in the springtime...
Just back from a wonderful three days-two nights of eating.The main problem was balancing out patisserie stops with proper meals!
I stayed in the 9th arrondissement, which was lovely - lots of little food shops and cafes, very bustling and friendly.
MAIN RECC: If you are in Paris before June 4th, DEFINITELY go to La Vegetable, which is a temporary restaurant run by Alain Passard at the Printemps Haussman centre ((metro havre-caumartin). I read about it on Chocolate and Zucchini, and it was one of my main reasons for going to Paris at the moment.My review will be in a separate post below.
HERME VS LADUREE
75, avenue des champs elysees, 75008
21, rue bonaparte 75006
16, ruw royale, 75008
72, rue bonaparte 75006
Aaaah, the great debate. We went to both, and tasted macarons side by side.
rose (lightly floral, not too sweet)
huile d'olive et vanille (wonderful, subtle, my fave)
peche, abricot et safran (intriguing, subtle saffron taste)
abricot pistache arabesque (good, not spectacular)
caramel fleur de sel (I loved the burnt caramel taste)
violette (very floral)
chocolat amer (good, but not v interesting)
citron-basilic (basil too subtle,but nice citron tang)
caramel au sel (real caramel filling;a bit sweet for me)
Like everything, it all boils down to personal taste. For example, my friend liked the fact that L macarons had more creme filling, whilst I found the H meringue-part texture more crumbly and interesting texturally (L was too light and crisp for me). My friend and I both conceded that H won - the olive oil vanilla macaron pushed it over the edge. I also found the L colours quite harsh, whilst H's looked more natural.
We went back the next day for more olive oil vanilla macarons, and to try the carrement chocolat and a raspberry red pepper parmesan tartlet. The chocolate had a thin cake layer covered by mousse and finally by a ganache shell. Good, but I since I find it relatively easy to make/find good chocolate desserts, I am harder to impress. Balancing fruity and unexpected flavours seems more challenging and interesting, and we enjoyed the tart. Oh, I also had a canelle, which I 'discovered' only this trip. Wonderful, burnt-sugar crust with custardy moist centre! They had free chocolate samples, and we tried an orange balsamic chocolate. Very good. A bit more than E1 per macaron, and the desserts were E5.80and E6.50 each.
MAISON KAYSER, 8 rue monge 75005
metro maubert mutualite
Major brakfast blowout. Pear muffin-cake-thingy, almond-chocolate croissant, 1 mini pistachio financier, 1 madeleine, 1 canelle. All good, esp financier and canelle. The a-c-croissant was just too rich! But marvellous of course. I don't think I am a major fan of madeleines. They are a bit too dry for me. Probably cost E6.50 in total.
PIERRE MARCOLINI, rue de Seine, metro: odeon
Yes, I know, sacrilege to go to a Beglian chocolatier in Paris, but my friend is a big fan, and it was close to Mulot. Lots of ganache, tea-infused centres, etc. A new range has just launched, with olive flavoured chocolate, etc. We tried a basil something-or-other which was great.
chocolate is E90 per kilo, with each chocolate weighing 6-8g or so.
Le Bambou (70, rue baudricourt, 75013, metro-place d'italie). We went here for Vietnamese. Nice, small, bustling place. Got it off a list from http://chezpim.typepad.com/blogs/
where there's lots of other Parisian food recs.
We didn't do much formal dining; a bistrot in the non-touristy part of Montmartre, and some soupe a l'oignon at a corner cafe close to our hotel. Although I took pages of bistrot print-outs with me, there were so many great options that I would have felt fine just winging it. But it made for good preparatory reading!
Based on Choc and Zucchini, I also went to Dehillerin (18 rue coquilliere, 75001) and G.Detou (58 rue tiquetonne, 75001). The first is a kitchen supply shop, and the second has interesting ingredients. Lots of fun, even though I didn't buy anything in the end.
There was an interesting shop I didn't get to stop at, in Rue Mabillon (metro: mabillon/odeon, 6th ar.), which specialized in soup and quenelles. Will go back next time!
Get a carnet at any Metro stop. It's a book of ten metro tickets, and costs E10.50, which is much cheaper than buying individual tickets. Although I pretty much walked everywhere, I managed to use up a whole carnet with trips to and from airport drop-off points, late night trips back to hotel, etc. It paid off because I bought it at the very beginning.
Oh, and if you want to go to the Musee D'orsay, book the day before! The lines were ridiculous. This was going to be my main cultural, non-food activity, and ended up feeling sad that I just didn't have time for the queues.
[and in terms of Dim Sum, my constant mission, I ended up getting surprisingly good dumplings in a chinese restaurant by the Venice train station, during a 2-hr wait for a midnight train back to Bologna]