Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paris Restaurants

I know you've been concerned that I haven't been eating enough, or at least talking about food more impressive than the colossal Octoberfest pretzels and Bavarian sausage, though I think all of the German food was impressive in its own largess at least.  Fear not, I'm in no danger of wasting away and blowing out to sea, or to the Seine.  Here are a few Parisian restaurant highlights from the last few weeks.

Da Rosa
I discovered this spot right after I came back from my trip to Italy where I got to see first hand the production of Italian staples like vinegar, cheese and ham. The producer at the vinegar facility told me that he sells some of his products in Paris. I had him to write down the name of the spot and then I promptly misplaced the piece of paper.  When I returned to Paris, a friend suggested we get together at a place called Da Rosa, and wouldn't you know this is my vinegar man's spot.


They have wonderful ham and cheese platters from Spain, Italy and Portugal, but what I dream of is the salmon tartare.  It's lovely inside and out. I even returned the next week for more, but they were sold out.  It's that good.  Almost as good as the uber addictive Sauternes soaked chocolate covered raisins.  I got a bag to go and had to hide them for myself once I opened them and they were gone all too soon.  Not sold yet?  My full Da Rosa review is at Girls' Guide to Paris.

 

Chez Hanna
Since I had a visitor in town recently, I had to take her for the customary falafel, but this time, we changed things up.  Normally I take everyone to L'As de Fallafel as evidenced by my wall of fame here, but given it was Sunday which means upwards of an hour wait for the golden goodness, we decided to try another place that I'd recently heard good things about.  


Chez Hanna has more of a do-it-yourself falafel sandwich, complete with requisite crisp falafel, fried eggplant, and all your sauces and salads so you make your own with the pita provided.  I'm a fan, and Sue will still make it on the falafel wall of fame, but she's just starting a new trend of plated pictures.


Happy Nouilles
After even more rain in Paris, I caught a cold.  OK, maybe you can blame it on Octoberfest.  It did rain there too.  Regardless, I was in need of some soul satisfying soup, and there can be no better place than a spot called, Happy Noodles.  Just puts a smile on your face when you say it, doesn't it?


Fancy?  No.  Best, cheapest, hand tossed noodles in Paris?  Yes.


The dumplings were decent and packed full of spiced chicken, but I came for the spicy ground pork in the miso broth with the homemade noodles.

 

3 kleenexes later, mission accomplished, curing my cold and rainy day blues.


Neva
I did some more upscale dining at Neva, which is in a very random location behind Gare St. Lazare.  It's by itself on a street corner, but has a lovely warm, modern dining room with a Mexican woman heading up the kitchen.  There were no nachos, but there was a chorizo like salsa that was delicious with my cabillaud.


The piece de resistance was the dessert which combined all my favorite dessert flavors of chocolate, banana, caramel and peanuts.  That was worth crossing the tracks for.


Vivant Table
There are a few hot chefs that Paris follows, and Pierre Jancou is one of them, and after seeing him, I must confirm that he is indeed hot, and I shall follow him now too.  He opened Vivant last year to positive accolades, and then promptly closed it for a few weeks this summer to do a revamp and install a new French-Japanese chef.


The place is a narrow slip in a rough and tumble part of the 9th, but has beautiful, colorful tile from floor to ceiling.


The chef sources his ingredients from all the best producers in the area and my pork was all the better because of it.  It was the best I've had in Paris with a perfect sear, juicy on the inside, with just the right amount of spice to show off its flavors.  Delicious.


The Miroir Chocolat was also pretty divine and I'm hoping a new staple on the rotating menu.


Le Christine
I've also been enjoying some good meals with my dinner group here, starting with Le Christine.  It's on a quiet street near St. Michel, which is not known as a great dining area, but just look for the really big fork, and believe it or not, you'll find a good meal underneath.


They have nicely valued menus with solid cooking across the board.  You can't go wrong with foie gras and sardines - well, maybe you could if they were paired together.

 

It's not a meal you'll remember for the rest of your life, but it's good, and it always helps when you have equally good company.


Afaria
We went more casual at Afaria for some tapas and sangria a little while back - back when it wasn't raining every day.  These are the people behind Dans Les Landes, another great tapas spot in Paris.


 For some reason, eating fried food out of a shoe works here.


As does eating a slab of grilled duck the size of most people's dining table.  Don't worry, this is not one serving.


Delmas Diner
Last night we kicked it American style with a new diner just opened in the 5th, next to the good people watching cafe on Place de la Contrescarpe by the same owners.


Burgers and fries are the thing to order here, but eating it with a fork and knife is not the way to consume it.  I pleaded with some of the people to pick up the burger, especially the large XXL burger, but they couldn't be stopped.  No matter how it goes down, this is indeed a good burger with well cooked fries.

 

While I thought the Speculoos milkshake had great potential, unfortunately the emphasis was on milk so it was too sweet and thin, but luckily I taught, or rather, coerced a share of the oreo cheesecake, which was just ok.  Skip the dessert and go right to the delicious raspberry margaritas.


Luckily, or not, my half marathon is Sunday, so I can keep eating my way across Paris!

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