Category Archives: Paris Restaurants

Eating and Drinking in Paris

There is something about Paris that makes it special, even in the snow. Our flight landed at 8:20 AM the day after the snowstorm and we did not leave the airport until 11:00 AM. Turns out they were unprepared for snow. The taxi driver got lost trying to find the hotel, not because of the snow but because he did not his way around Paris. By the time we got to the hotel we were tired and cold and the streets were full of slush and ice.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

 But it was Paris, so we made our way to Café de Flore, 26 rue Benoit/Sain Germain-Des-Pres. I had the La Jockey (Croque Madame) and Michele had quiche.  This is a very popular place both with the French and tourists and there are so many interesting people to watch.

By the next day the snow was gone and we went for a walk toward Les Halles. We passed a small restaurant that resembled an old Parisian Bistro and I looked in the window. The décor was old fashioned and kind of shabby and the menu on the chalkboard outside looked great, plus it was inexpensive. We kept it in mind and a few days later we went for lunch. Le Gros Minet 1Rue Prouvaires (+33 1 42 33) is a family run restaurant.  The food is simple in the style of Southwest France but very good and the bread is excellent. The staff is friendly and the service is attentive. There is a choice of house wines. I ordered a Cote Du Rhone and I could not believe how good it was, though I never did find out the name!  I had kidneys in a mustard sauce and Michele had a salad with foie gras.IMG_2921

When the taxi arrived at Taillevent, 15 rue Lamennais (www.taillevent.com), two men opened the doors and  escorted us into the restaurant. Inside there was a gracious welcome.  We were escorted to a very comfortable table and settled in with a glass of champagne. I do not have any pictures because one does not take pictures at Taillevent! The food was excellent as was the wine and the service.  The menu at lunch changes every two weeks, so I will not write about what we ate. But for dessert it was Paris Brest, basically a cream puff pastry with hazelnut filling.  It was so delicious. The meal ended with a glass of Armagnac.  The meal was expensive but I have paid more in restaurants in NYC that were not as good.  This was a very special experience.

Confit of Duck

Confit of Duck

One chilly and rainy night we made our way to Restaurant Chez Paul at 13 rue de Charonne.(+33 1 47 00 34 57). This is a traditional Bistro, very cozy and very crowded. Michele had made a reservation on line but when we got there the gentleman at the desk said they did not have the reservation. After a few awkward moments, he smiled and seated us at a table close to the bar. From now on we will always confirm our reservation that we make on line by phone when we arrive in Paris. I had an excellent confit of duck with apples and garlic and Michele had Steak au Poivre. For dessert Dèlicieuse poire au vin èpice et vanillè. It was, as it name says, delicious and it is the house specialty.IMG_2934 We drank the Domaine Milan Les Baux de Provence Clos Milan Rouge 2005 made from 75% Grenache, 20% Shiraz (Syrah) and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes come from vines that are at least 40 years old that grow in quaternary sands and gravels. The grapes are destemmed and fermented in cement tanks for about three weeks and then aged in old barriques for a further 12 months.

Poire

Poire

La Regalade now has two locations. The original at– 49 Jean Moulin and the other at 123 Rue Saint Honore (+33 1 42 21 92 40).   Both locations start you off with a large terrine of pate de campagne and a crock of cornichons with bread that is toasted and crunchy. It is almost a meal in itself and delicious.

Pate de Champagne

Pate de Champagne

The first night we went to the one on Rue Saint Honore because it was close to the hotel. The food was good but the pigeon I ordered was covered with FOAM. This was completely unnecessary, did not add anything to the dish, in fact it distracted from it. We had a nice bottle of Cahors 2009 Château du Cadre.Made from 90% Malbec, 5% Merlot and 5% Tannat Fermentation is between 30 and 35 days with with pumping down at the beginning of fermentation. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. Aging for 22 months in oak barrels (Troncais) of different ages. The wine is not filtered.  It has black fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of spice.

Pigeon with Foam

Pigeon with Foam

We went to the original La Regalade a few nights later with a French friend who lives in NYC but is working in Paris for the next six months. We went by Metro and she carried her dog in a cloth basket on the train and brought it  into the restaurant. The dog was very well behaved and was given some water by the waitress. The food was good but again the FOAM, this time on my pork.

Egg on a Bed of Asparagus

Egg on a Bed of Asparagus

Michele had a perfectly cooked egg on a bed of asparagus topped with a thin slice of cheese wich she really liked.IMG_2925

We drank a bottle of Bandol 2006 Domaine Ray-Jane.  I believe the principal grape is Mourevdre and it went very well with the food.

We stayed at the Hotel Molière, 21 Rue Molière(+33 1 42 96 22 01) on the right bank. This is a quiet family run establishment with very nice rooms. The highlight however was the bathroom; it had a large walk in shower, a big bathtub, a long trough-like sink and more light than any bathroom I have ever been in before. The hotel was in a good location because it was in walking distance of many of our favorite restaurants.

Just a few blocks away was Chez Georges- located at 1 Rue du Mail (01 42 60 07 11)

Calf's Liver

Calf’s Liver

Michele really enjoys the atmosphere of this classic Parisian bistro.  Usually we order the same dishes each time we go but this time we ordered foie gras to start instead of the Salade Frisee aux Lardons we usually get.  Once again we ordered calf’s liver al anglaise fried in butter with a big thick slab of bacon on top, and frites. Since it was our last night we added a cheese course. For dessert, as usual we ordered the Tarte Tartin, an upside down apple tart accompanied by a large bowl of extra thick crème fraiche.

Crozes- Hermitage 2010Domaine Saint-Clair 100% Syrah. This was a lovely red wine that went very well with the food.

Chestnut Souffle

Chestnut Souffle

L’Ardoise 28 Rue due Mont Thabor (+33 I 42 96 28 18) We had a very nice meal here but the food came out too quickly and the place is small and cramped. The most memorable dishes were the desserts, a chestnut soufflé and a lemon meringue tartlet.  IMG_2931

Jaques Genin 133 Rue Turenne.   It was cold in Paris and what better way to spend part of the afternoon than in a beautiful place enjoying a hot chocolate. We drank hot chocolate and munched on bite sized chocolates and caramels. The caramels are expensive but well worth it-they are indescribably delicious!

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Filed under Cafe de Flore, Chez Georges, Chez Paul, French Red, French Wine, Jaques Genin, L'Ardoise, La Regalade, Le Gros Minet, Paris, Paris Hotels, Paris Restaurants, Taillevent

PARIS MY WAY

The apartment we rented in Paris was near the Eiffel Tower. It was very comfortable and at night we would sit by the window and drink Champagne as we looked at the tower with its bright lights. Before leaving home, Michele made reservations in some of our favorite Bistros and we looked forward to a week of great eating and drinking.

Chez Georges– located at 1 Rue du Mail  Michele really enjoys the atmosphere of this classic Parisian bistro.  I always order the same three courses when I go there: Salade Frisee with lardons and a poached egg, calf’s liver al anglaise fried in butter with a big thick slab of bacon on top, and frites. For dessert, Tarte Tartin an upside down apple tart accompanied by a large bowl of extra thick crème fraiche

With the liver I chose to drink a Cornas “Vielles Vignes” 2006 100% Syrah from Domaine Alain Voge.  Cornas is a village in the Northern Rhone.

The vineyard is 6.5 hectares; the vines are over 30 years old on decomposed granite slopes also know as “gore”. Harvesting takes place by hand in mid-September.  After the grapes are destemmed they are fermented in temperature controlled small stainless steel vats 30 to 50 HL. Aging is in casks, the duration depending on the vintage. This is a big wine with a lot of dark fruit aromas and flavors and a surprising touch of violets. I like Cornas and find it to be a bargain compared to some or the other Northern Rhone appellations.

La Regalade49 Jean Moulin. This just might be my favorite bistro in Paris. The first time I went there I had duck in a fig sauce and I almost came off my chair. We go there whenever we are in Paris. Michele likes it so much, she brought their cookbook. When you sit down they give you a large terrine of pate de campagne and a crock of cornichons with bread that is toasted and crunchy. You can eat all you want! It is so good it is difficult to stop!!

But I did stop for I knew what was to follow. For the first course I had lentil soup garnished with crisp bacon and bleu d’auvergne, a creamy blue cheese.  This was followed by roasted pork poitrine on a bed of lentils and celery root puree. Dessert was a Grand Marnier soufflé–it is the best!

On the wine list was a Madiran 2007 from Chateau d’Aydie 100% Tannat. The winery is in Gascony in Southwest France. The fermentation is effected not by pumping but by délestage( a French term for racking the wine), the wine is regularly racked completely and rebottled on the pomace. Micro-oxygenation (a very small dose of oxygen is introduced into the wine) is also used. This is a big dark wine with black fruit flavors and aromas and went very well with the pork.

Sunday Brunch or Lunch at Drouant at 18 place Gaillon  When we were seated in this very comfortable and attractive restaurant we were given the menu and noticed there was an extensive brunch menu and the waiter recommended that we try it. As we looked around we noticed that most of the patrons were speaking French and had ordered brunch. Most of the Americans including the ones sitting next to us ordered lunch. Once I saw the wine list and heard the Sunday lunch special, it was lunch for me.

My first course was called the “Classic” four small plates:  Leeks in vinaigrette, Duck foie gras in port, a terrine of chicken and egg in mayonnaise.

Chicken with Frites

Their special on Sunday was roasted chicken with frites, how could I resist?

I had the “classic” dessert quartet–baba doused in old rum, vanilla ice cream, apple tarte tatin and lemon meringue pie.

They have a very good wine list and when I spotted the Cornas 1978 100% Syrah Paul Jaboulet Ainé I ordered it.  I knew it would cost more at retail or at auction.  In his book The Wines of the Rhone Valley and Provence Robert Parker states: “This is the best Cornas I have tasted from Jaboulet”. He describes it as “ a profound bouquet of truffles, earthy blackberry fruit, smoked meat. This very concentrated wine is just hitting its apogee where it will no doubt remain for another 6-10 years.” He was right — except he tasted the wine in 1984 and said it would peek in1994 but it is now 2012 and the wine was amazing!

Lavinia is a large wine store at 3 Boulevard de la Medeleine that has a modern, comfortable restaurant upstairs. It seemed to be very popular with people working in the area. What makes this very interesting is that you can buy the wine in the store, pay the retail price, and bring it upstairs and drink it with your meal at no extra charge. I ordered a terrine of foie gras to start and then a perfectly cooked cassoulet that was just the way I like it–not too thick.

In the store I had selected a Gigondas 2000 made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah/Cinsault, 5% Mouvedre and 5% Clairette ffrom  Domaine Les Pallieres. Vieux Tèlégraph and Kermit Lynch now own this winery. The property is located at the extreme end of the appellation. The vineyards are on steep terraced land, at 250 meters.  The grapes are partially destemmed and pressed gently by a pneumatic press. Temperature controlled fermentation takes place for 25 to 20 days in cement cuvees and 7 to 9 months in foudres. The wine is bottled unfiltered and released two years after the harvest.

Chez JoesphineDumonet  117 Rue Du Cherche-Midi  This is another classic bistro that Michele really likes. I started with a half portion of foie gras.  One of the specialties was Mille Foglie of Pigeon and confit legs.  How could I resist.  The perfectly cooked rare breast was in a red wine sauce with crisp potato pinwheels separating each layer. For dessert we shared an apple tart with great puff pastry.

Mille Foglie of Pigeon and Confit Legs

The wine was a Corbiéres Boutenage 2009 Made from20% Syrah.%40% Carignan 30% Grenach and 10% Mourvedre  Domaine De Villemajou of Domaine Gerard Bertrand. This is a recent wine appellation of the Languedoc region (2005) in Southern France. Named after the town of Boutenage which is at the center of the area. This is a fruity wine with black and red fruit aromas and flavors and hints of black berries and spice.

Aux Lyonnaise– this is a very nice and welcoming bistro owned by Alain Ducasse at 32 Rue St Marc

I had lentil soup to start followed by roasted quail that was excellent. We drank Crozes Hermitage 2009 Cuvee Albèric Bouvet made from 100% Syrah, Domaine Gilles Robin. The wine had flavors and aromas of black fruit, hints of cassis and blackberry and touches leather and tobacco. It was a perfect combination with the quail.

Note- Jaques Genin 133 Rue Turenne a great place to have hot chocolate, tea and pastries.  The candies are outstanding.  We shared a mille feuile with chocolate praline filling. And then there are the Caramels! They are expensive but worth it-they are indescribably delicious!

Chef Christian Constant has several restaurants on the rue Saint Dominique that was right around the corner from our apartment. For breakfast we would go to Café Constant #139.  It has the best coffee in Paris and the bread, butter and jam was delicious.

Café Constant “Les Cocottes” #135 looks somewhat like an American wine bar. The specialty is casseroles served in cocottes, small covered cast iron pots that are brought to the table.

We had such a great time that we have decided to go to Paris at least once a year. We hope!

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Filed under French Red, French Wine, Paris Restaurants