Eclair Tasting

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A few weeks ago, I received one of those no-brainer invitations. The gist was: “hey, want to get together with a bunch of awesome bloggers and eat eclairs for a few hours?”

Eclair Tasting by Diane, A Broad (dianeabroad.com)

Obvious answer, right?

Eclair Tasting by Diane, A Broad (dianeabroad.com)

Eclair Tasting by Diane, A Broad (dianeabroad.com)

Carin from Paris in Four Months invited me, Milsters from Little Pieces of Light, Grace from Will She Love Paris? Edna from Expat Edna, Melanie from Feed Your Awesome Machine and Sugared & Spiced to taste a sampling of eclairs L’Eclair de Genie and L’Atelier de l’Eclair for an article on the HiP Paris blog. Go check it out for details and Carin’s amazing photography!

Eclair Tasting by Diane, A Broad (dianeabroad.com)

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People’s Drug Store

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So I find myself in Montmartre more and more often nowadays. When I have a spare hour between whatever I’m coming from and whatever I’m going to, I like to stop in at People’s Drug Store for a bottle.

People's Drug Store by Diane, A Broad

Like it says on the sign: all of the small bottles are €3 and the large ones are €6, so there’s no reason not to experiment and try new bottles. That Belgian quad is no more expensive than the Sierra Nevada you can get at home.

People's Drug Store by Diane, A Broad

Though it is nice to be able to get a real American IPA when you want one.

People's Drug Store by Diane, A Broad

People's Drug Store by Diane, A Broad

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Kooka Boora

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Surrounded by the many music and instrument shops of South Pigalle, and facing onto a sunny square, Kooka Boora is a bustling café serving excellent espresso drinks, filter coffee, fresh-pressed juices, teas, and snacks.

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It’s another in the recent spate of Australian coffee shops in the city. Always crowded, the free wifi and trendy location join for outstanding combined work-doing and people-watching.

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Happy Nouilles

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One of the things I miss most about LA is the wide array of ethnic restaurants available. From Korean to Persian to Ethiopian to Chilean, it’s easy to find solid, authentic, and often cheap eats from all over the world there.

Don’t get me wrong, Paris does have quite a few restaurants specializing in cuisines from other lands, but often (notably as is the case with sushi), it’s mediocre and overpriced. That’s why I love Happy Nouilles so much.

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Located near Arts et Métiers, Happy Nouilles is a solid Chinese restaurant that specializes in noodle soups with hand-pulled noodles.  I always go for the “Zati,” which has minced pork in a spicy miso broth. It’s one of the spicier things I’ve tried in Paris, with a heat that seems mild at first slurp but slowly builds up until you’re panting by the end of the bowl. This time around I tried it with filaments de ble instead of the hand-pulled lamen. The knife-cut noodles, similar to Korean kal guk soo, were thick and chewy and will be my new go-to.

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Walking Home

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After dinner at Les Cocottes last week, I eschewed the metro for a chilly walk back home, accompanied the whole way by the good ol’ iron lady herself.

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I ran into something I didn’t even know existed in Paris: the flamme de la Liberté, a full-sized replica of the Statue of Liberty’s flame.

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And then, of course, the bling. I never get tired of this.

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Les Cocottes

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Les Cocottes is one of those restaurants I’ve been hearing about for ages. Two years ago, when I visited Paris for the first time, a friend of mine in LA who had spent part of his honeymoon here insisted that I try one of Christian Constant’s restaurants, as he had had his favorite meal of his entire trip at Le Violon d’Ingres.

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I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to visit this place, but what better way to visit than with resident expert, Carin? I think she goes to Les Cocottes as often as I go to Frenchie bar à vins, which is kind of saying a lot.

Ravioles de langoustines, mousseline d’artichauts

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I started with the langoustine ravioli, which has been lauded far and wide in the Paris blog scene as the entrèe to get, and not without cause. The shellfish was as tender and sweet as any I’ve had,  matched perfectly with the rich artichoke mousseline. And hiding the unattractively-colored mousseline under a blanket of creamy foam? Clever trick, that.

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All of the dishes here — even the desserts — come in cast-iron Staub cocottes and pans, hence the name. It’s a cute concept, even though lots of these dishes were clearly not actually cooked in the cocottes in which they are served.

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Septime La Cave

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On a night so cold that my glasses immediately fogged up upon entering the building, I met up with T for drinks and snacks at Septime’s new offshoot bottle shop / wine bar.

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Let’s get our expectations straightened out: Septime La Cave is not the kind of wine bar to which one goes for dinner. One goes for some nice little nibbles and a glass or two of beautiful wine.

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There are bottles, which can be taken out or opened at the bar for a €7 corkage fee, lining the walls. No tables to speak of, but a bit of counter space to work with.

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Lunch at Vivant

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Sing it with me: impeccably-sourced products, natural wine, chill ambiance, warm service…

Vivant is another contender in the list of modern bistros with spin-off wine bars in Paris (see: Frenchie, Verjus, Septime), and they’re doing it right. I went with lunch on a rare sunny day with A, who can eat with the best of them.

Risotto / encre de seiche

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Gnocchi / ragout de canard

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Both of our entrées were, surprisingly, Italian-themed and, less surprisingly, amazing. I dream about that gnocchi. Cloud-like pillows in a rich duck sauce, it blew the gnocchi I had at Le 6 Paul Bert the night before out of the water.

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