You know what they say about places that you have to experience to believe? Paris, sigh, what a city.
What can I say about a city that has been an icon for generations…. What can I say about Paris that has not been already said? Paeans have been written in its honor, writers, poets and their ilk have waxed lyrical about the “city of lights”, and the city has been an inspiration to novelists such as Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway, etc.Anything that I will add to praise the city will only sound like hearsay.
So at the risk of sounding melodramatic, let me just say “I love you Paris and I want you to be mine forever”
Our first day, a Saturday, was the last working day for most restaurants in Paris, before the locals shut shop for August. We dined at Au Petit Sud Ouest, after a bit of research and some very good recommendations on Tripadvisor.
We began with a vegetable terrine. The terrine was simple, and paired with a tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes, it was a great dish to start the meal with. Light, creamy, very flavorful.
As someone who has watched Julie and Julia at least 5 times (2 reasons – I love Meryl Streep and I love good food). Yes I can hear accusations of “chick-flick-loving-airhead” being hurled at me right now. But I stick to my guns. The movie is an emphatic tribute to that manna from heaven that is Butter. There is a scene where Streep dips her fork into a Sole Meunière that is drowning in a pool of browned butter. Then she looks at her husband and says “Oh, Paul!, its so beautiful”.
Yes, I had a similar moment of epiphany when I cut into the Duck Confit served at our table at Au Petit Sud Ouest. Oozing butter, the dish was a medley of duck fat and meat, with a crisp outer batter-fried crust. It was this dish that made my day. The sides were crunchy mashed potato perfectly fried into chips and cherry tomatoes.
The restaurant specializes in duck, so the hubby tried also tried a duck dish, duck in red wine reduction. It was top notch, but we were so overwhelmed towards the end of the dish that we didn’t finish most of the meal. I think the richness of French food has to be taken into account when you plan a meal. Eat light before dinner and take your time over a meal. We were so full that we skipped dessert. This usually never happens with me !
Paris is very well known to be a city that takes pride in its food. And carrying a baguette in a hand must be a fashion statement, evidently, going by the number of people clutching a baguette in hand and walking along. In the metro, on the way to work, in a park, on a bench, ordering baguettes at a store, you name it, the baguette’s been there, done that.
A first for me, food-wise was snails. More for the novelty than anything else, we tried these at Le Zinc Bistro, a brilliant little street-side bistro near our hotel. The snails were served in a garlic-pesto marinade and tasted, well, nice, but not particularly impressive. More like a distant, very bland cousin of a shellfish.
This was very well paired with a rose wine and a shrimp cocktail salad.
But the highlight really, of the food we had, was a trip to Laduree, patisserie par excellence and inventors of the double decker macaron. My goody-bag was an assortment of macarons in several flavors, and was well worth the 40 minutes we spent in line just to place an order.
And before I close this post, a look at that famed macaron, the Ispahan – the beautiful looking temptress, made famous by Pierre Herme, sat prettily on a shelf in Laduree. The Ispahan is probably the Mona Lisa of macarons, a silky combination of rose, lychee and raspberry. Go, drool all you want.