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Trip Report (was Another Paris planning post)

ViaRivata | Apr 11, 201505:06 PM

So, we are back from our Paris trip and I wanted to give a little summary of where we ate. First of all, thanks to all of your recommendations (to me and others) as they helped immensely in planning our eating during this trip! Since my daughter was all about the art, I wanted to make sure we took the time to eat well every day. I’m not much of a food blogger, so my descriptions may be rather brief and not too descriptive.

We arrived on a Friday after noon, so after getting settled at our apartment we weren’t up for much (long flights from the middle of nowhere make it a bit of a slog and extra tiredness on arrival). We did walk around for a couple hours and picked up falafels at L’As du Falafel. They were very good! Loved all the add-ins and the spicy sauce. The line wasn’t that long and it moved along at a fair clip. We ate them in a little park down the street.

The first Saturday, we started off bright and early with museums, museums, opera house, and then lunch at Le Bat. Nice little spot. I had the octopus salad (and the excellent tempura--thanks for that recommendation) then a grapefruit mousse, my daughter had the asparagus and then the lamb. Both excellent. Off for more art. We had dinner reserved at Pierre Sang Boyer on Gambey. Little weird--when we arrived, there was a big line on the corner for his other place, and no one at all in front of, or inside, the Gambey place. Consequently, we got to sit at the counter, which ended up being a lot of fun. I think some people might’ve been lining up at the wrong restaurant (?) because the chef went out and came back with a few couples to populate the Gambey restaurant. And it did fill over the night. This was a fabulous meal, and lots of fun to interact with the staff and neighbors as each course was prepared. I tried to keep little notes about what we ate (much to my daughter’s dismay) but refrained from photography. We started with a trout/scallop dish with asparagus and hazelnuts, maybe a pea foam, followed by tuna with radish and pickleweed (samphire), then a lentil and mushroom dish with a soft cooked egg and pickled onions. That was followed by a cut of beef with potato foam and homemade sriracha, a hard cheese with yuzu marmalade, and a sour cherry and pomegranate dessert. The chef asked us how we found out about the restaurant, since we had told him we were from Montana. A little shout-out to Chowhound.

Sunday we were going to get crepes for lunch at Little Breizh, which was supposedly open, but it was not actually open when we went by (they seem to be closed on Sundays now). We ended up with take-out pizza slices (adequate) and then had dinner in from things we had picked up the day before as we were a bit tired.

Monday, we had lunch at Zebulon after all morning at the Louvre. This was a nice restaurant space. My daughter had the plat du jour, which was a salsify carbonara and a côte de boeuf with mushrooms and potatoes. I had a horse mackerel (chinchard) with diced yellow turnip and a sauce, and then a veal fillet with artichoke hearts and pomegranate. Back to the Louvre for the rest of the day, and then dinner at Le Mary Celeste. Lots of fun here--can’t believe how packed it was for a Monday night. We arrived around 7 and there was one seat left at the bar and a tiny spot for two back by the record player that we squeezed into. It was still full when we left a couple hours later. We had some wine and a few small plates--half a dozen oysters, smoked duck breast with homemade ricotta, salads with chickpeas and onion confit, feta & pickles, and a fabulous roasted butternut squash with a tandoori marinade and fennel. My daughter wanted to get back to this place on our trip but we had so many other spots to try we never made it back!

Tuesday we had lunch reserved at L’Ami Jean, which is a small but cozy space. We went for the smaller chef’s menu, which was 6 courses. Highly recommended! The Swedish couple on one side of us ordered off the menu and I think they missed out. We started with the parmesan soup with shallots, bacon, chives and croutons, followed by a pork terrine with an avocado mousse, then quail with shrimp and a pumpkin mousse, ovenbaked mullet with sliced asparagus and spring onion, slow cooked (7 hour) veal (cheek?) and sweetbreads, and then an enormous crock of (seriously, the two of us received the same amount as the group of 4 next to us) rice pudding accompanied by carrot, grapefruit and orange slices in a lemon marinade. So, so good. And VERY filling. Again, we didn’t do dinner out, but had some nibbles at the apartment that night.

Wednesday was Versailles all day. Thanks for the heads up on lack of food in the area. We did just get a crock of ratatouille, a ham sandwich and a slice of citrus cake at the little place down at the end of the gardens near the Grand Trianon. It was okay, if rather expensive. Back in Paris, we had reservations at La Table d’Eugene that evening. We did the seven course chef’s menu, and it was wonderful, from amuse-bouche to last dessert. Great service, great ambiance, great food. Started with codfish croquettes with a kiwi/yuzu sauce, shellfish in a fennel emulsion, and smoked anchovy paste on a black rice cracker. Then asparagus with dried apple and celery with some kind of meringue-like thing in a bergamot broth, followed by salmon with asparagus mousse, diced cucumber and green apple, and caviar. Then a grilled squid dish with cauliflower puree and a squid ink sauce. John Dory with a coriander yogurt sauce, sliced turnip, edamame, and raspberry harissa. Some kind of smoked fish served in sushi-like rolls with pea puree. And then at the end they brought out 4 desserts! Ooogh. Banana mousse with caramel, cacao and coffee mousse with coffee jello. Passion fruit, mango, and pineapple with coconut and white chocolate. And then the chocolate bomb. The last one was unexpected because we had already had our coffee, but it was still eaten with pleasure--a ball of chocolate that they poured hot chocolate over so as to melt the solid chocolate coating the ball.

Thursday we ate at Pirouette for lunch. Originally, we were reserved at Le Lulli, but then they had the menu change and we were going to keep the reservations anyway but after all the back and forth about it on Chowhound we decided to cancel and book into Pirouette even though we had been to Zebulon earlier in the week. This was also a nice space, and we both had the plat du jour, which was a soft egg on top of green le puy lentils, croutons and lardon, followed by a white fish (forget which kind) on a bed of slow-cooked fennel, orange slices and arugula. For dinner, we went to Les Enfants Rouges. We both started with asparagus in a vinaigrette, and then I had a stew of suckling pig, chestnuts and artichokes and my daughter had the rabbit & liver special (wrapped in a cabbage leaf). We ended with baba au rhum and green tea panna cotta. Excellent.

Friday we had lunch at Le Taxi Jaune. I had the charcuterie plate and my daughter had radishes with salt & butter to start, followed by roasted kid (goat) on a bed of white beans for both of us. Again, a very good meal. We got sampler sets of take-out bao (10 total) at Boutique yam’Tcha, as well as a selection of piroshki and a slice of medovick from Cafe Pouchkine for dinner back at the apartment.

Saturday we had lunch at AG booked. This was a bit fancier of a restaurant inside than the others (except for La Table d’Eugene I suppose). We had an amuse-bouche of langoustine mousse, followed by a raviole (singular) of chicken in a broth, and then my daughter had the pintade (guinea hen) with gnocchi and I had a fillet of mullet with clams and white asparagus and coriander. I think this was actually a bit bland, so this makes it my least favorite meal, although it was still quite good (and the mignardises with coffee were really good)! Also, the waiter was a bit mixed up when I asked to clarify that pintade was indeed guinea hen--he first said it was beef and then fish (!) We had dinner at Breizh Cafe, which was a nice ending for our trip. I had a crepe with Fourme d’Ambert cheese, honey, pine nuts and salad, followed by a sugar and yuzu crepe. My daughter had a crepe with egg, duck and asparagus (I think) followed by a crepe suzette. We also had a bottle of really good Coat-Albret cider.

The next day we were off bright and early to catch our plane(s) back on the long slog home.

Incidental stops--croissants and pain au chocolat at several patisseries, caramels and pates de fruit from Jacques Genin, lovely lovely macarons (I really don’t like macarons, and even I thought these were darn good) from Macarons Gourmand on rue de Seine. Really interesting flavors & combinations. Also, a funny note from another thread--we observed two groups of business men drinking Coca Cola with their meals at Zebulon and Pirouette.

All in all, we hit a lot of good food, even though I had a few others pencilled in (walk-ins like Clamato, A Noste, and Le Richer) that we just didn’t feel up to on certain nights. The rest of the trip was taken up with art, art, art, and that was also a big success. Thanks for the heads up on the Klimt/Art Nouveau exhibit and the Tudor exhibit. They, along with the Velasquez exhibit were extra art add ons that we squeezed in and really enjoyed.

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