My new go-to lunch spot is conveniently the same as my go-to wine spot: Verjus bar à vins, which is now serving up excellent sandwiches during the day.
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.
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.
Though it is nice to be able to get a real American IPA when you want one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Gnocchi / ragout de canard
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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One day I found myself in Oberkampf, eating an engaging, entertaining lunch, sans DSLR. So what is a digitally inclined girl to do? Instagram it, of course.
Restaurant Pierre Sang takes no reservations — in fact, it has no phone — so get there early if you want a seat in the small space. If you can manage it, sit at the bar that faces into the open kitchen, where the chefs work right in front of you.
The menu of two, three, or four courses, is no-choice. They don’t even tell you what you’re eating until you’ve finished the plate. B and I had fun trying to guess what kind of grain was in the risotto-like curry above (answer: barley) and what kind of root vegetables were draped so colorfully over the sausage (answer: heirloom turnips and radishes).
I met up with awesome Jackie at Le 6 Paul Bert on a freezing evening during a week when I felt like I was dining out every night. It might have been because I’ve been at restaurants so much lately, but this place didn’t really wow me. Don’t get me wrong — everything was fresh and well-made and beautifully plated, but nothing made me want to get out of my seat and applaud. Still, Le 6 Paul Bert is a solid adresse and I wouldn’t hesitate to go there again, and at €38 for three dishes and a dessert, it’s not too hard on the credit card either.
Tartare de bar, mayonnaise d’huitres et herbes amères
Coteaux XL juste saisis, eau de laitue de mer, daikon
Noix de veau, carottes blanches, persil et moelle
Longe de cochon, endive rôtie et poire
Who’s got two thumbs and is behind on blogging? *points to self*
So! This dim sum thing has, to my delight, become a regular occurrence. Every weekend, on Saturday or Sunday morning, you can find a group of anywhere from four to a dozen expats meeting up in the 13th and noisily consuming stacks of steamer baskets full of plump dumplings.
We recently started trying a new place, Tricotin, which is right across the street from our other usual dim sum place, La Chine Massena. I like it because it has huge windows that look out into the street, which let a lot of light in. I also love the fried items on the menu, in which La Chine Massena is sadly lacking.