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Report on Eating on a Budget - Paris (Au Dernier Metro & L'Atmosphere)

Kat | Aug 19, 201311:41 AM

Bit late in reporting, but better late than never. We were in Paris for a week in June for spouse's job and our son and I spent our days sightseeing. Stayed in an apartment with a kitchen, which was great, as we ate breakfast there every day and I packed lunches to take with us sightseeing every day. We were on a tight budget.

Our apartment hotel was close to the Rue Poncelet and we liked to go there to stock on bread, cheese and fruit for lunches. Loved Fromagerie Alleosse, the assistants there were extremely helpful in choosing the correct Roquefort for us as we like it very strong and they provided small tastes. Bought delicious roast chickens at Divay at the same market for dinner. Very good thing about this ,market is that it was open in the evenings, so we could stop by on our way back from a long day ad pick up dinner. We ate our dinner on the roof deck of our building (on the couple nights when it wasn't chilly or drizzly) which had views ton the nearby Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

Two nights we splurged and went out to eat. One night we visited Au Dernier Metro for a relatively early dinner by local standards. It had rained and rained all day, but then magically cleared up in the early evening and out we went. We were luckily able to sit outside. We started with a marinated salmon with pimento cream and a foie gras with onion jam, followed by veal in a mushroom cream sauce, calf's liver with ventricle and an entrecôte with frites, accompanied by a bottle of Badoit and a pichet of red, ending with a chocolate mousse for our son (which I finished off). The food was good, except for the pasta which accompanied my veal that was cool and had a dry crust of cheese on top. Also, I had ordered our kid's entrecôte "a point", which I understood to be "medium", but it arrived very well done, which disappointed him as he prefers a bit of juice. My spouse is not one to complain about food in public, so I chalked it up to our early dining hour (7 p.m.) and enjoyed the wonderfully convivial atmosphere of people from all walks of life stopping by for an after work drink and a chat. One thing, I requested the French menu but my non- French speaking spouse requested the English menu which did not contain the page of specials handwritten in French, so be sure to ask for that if you go.

Our other splurge was at L'Atmosphere. It was a muggy, rainy and thundery afternoon and we hadn't booked anywhere but decided to go to the Canal St. Martin. I wanted to go to the pizza place with the pink balloons, but eating canal side was not an option to the weather and we ended up at l'Atmosphere, which had a table for us probably due to the early hour of 7 p.m. But, it was the only open table and the rest of the place was packed. Started with the house made terrine and then ordered duck parmentier, chicken marinated in yogurt and spices, and beef topped with pan seared foie gras, which was the delicious winner of the evening. Beef was tender and juicy and the foie gras velvety smooth. although the other plats were good, particularly the duck, the beef was wonderful. Washed down with another pichet of red. The warm, cozy environment added to our enjoyment of this meal.

Since we economized at most meals, the two "splurges" out were very worth it (however, I think our splurge meals would probably be someone else's budget meal). Even when shopping for food at Franprix, the supermarket quality items were just miles better than similar products at home. I fell in love with butter with sea salt crystals, so delicious with the sneaky little crunch between your teeth as you eat it. A few happy food moments: melon gelato at Grom (Italian, I know, but fruitalicious) first crunch of a baguette "bien cuit"(where have you been all my life?) and the aforesaid butter.

After Paris, we had a week in the south of France. Then, I packed my checked bag with as much butter as I could and we flew home.

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