From your Parisian

Sharing my newest discoveries as I float through the streets of Paris. Restaurants, bars, events, all reviewed for you with love, from your Parisian.


Leave a comment

Fast food, Fast Review: SAaM

Although I have a cold that won’t go away, I am currently in good spirits as my friend S from Canada is visiting me in Paris this week! Both of us share a love for good food, so when we randomly stumbled upon SAaM, a little Korean eatery near Canal Saint-Martin, we were more than thankful for our discovery!saam_Paris_our lunchWe were actually on our way to a craft fair in the area when S suddenly stopped and said, “Hey, Korean food!”, as we passed the small wooden exterior of SAaM. It wasn’t yet open so we couldn’t really see inside but we studied the menu, which consisted of Gua baos (or steamed Taiwanese buns) filled with Korean ingredients, and decided that this was where we were going to come back for lunch!saam_paris_interiorWe returned at around 1 pm and the place was packed, but we were seated in about 15 minutes, and by that time already knew what we were going to order. Inside, the place was super cute with a real mix and match decor that included an unfinished blank wall with a strip of pretty ceramic tiles in the middle, a pastel colored geometric design on the other wall, lots of dangling paper, bamboo and glass lamps as well as funky mirrors and plants. Adorable!saam_paris_kitchenWe ordered the lunch special of two buns and salad for 12 Euros (14,50 in the evenings and weekends) and I added a cup of jasmine green tea, to soothe my cough. From our seats we could admire the efficiency and energy of the Korean chefs in the open kitchen, silently preparing the buns with care in a sort of assembly line. The excitement for our meal only escalated as plates of food exited from the bustling kitchen.Saam_paris_carteOnce the colorful dishes had arrived and we had taken the necessary amount of food pics (I was not the only one at the table with my camera out!), we grabbed our chopsticks and dug in! I had chosen the pork belly and Dak (fried chicken) buns, while S had the Dak and the Boulkogi (marinated Black Angus beef) buns. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the accompaniments were more than just a salad; they consisted of pickled carrots and daikon, an arugula salad with a soya sauce-type dressing, two deep fried gyozas (not sure if there’s a Korean name for them, but I didn’t ask) and some seasoned, crispy potatoes. Saam_paris_gyozaThen we took a bite of our Dak buns: the little steamed buns were packed with a  nice piece of ginger breaded deep fried chicken, kochujang sauce, wild sesame, peanuts, apple slaw and pickled white radishes. The combination of flavors was amazingly good! My pork belly bun was next and it did not disappoint either as the tender and fatty pork came with sisho sauce, salted plum, spicy cucumbers, pickled red onions and was garnished with cilantro. They were finger-licking good (literally!! get the napkins ready and beware of the sauce that drips at the end)! saam_paris_bao chicken and porkI tried a bite of the fragrantly spiced beef from the Boulkogi bun and can confirm that the Korean marinade used was out of this world! Both of us found our lunch to be filling enough, but if you’re someone with a huge appetite you can always add another bun to your meal, or one of their accompaniments (such as the kimchi balls for 7 Euros, that looked super good) or desserts (like yuzu cheesecake, 5 Euros). saam_paris_bao chicken and beefSo, I think I have fully conveyed the fact that I loved my lunch at SAaM! They have very friendly service and the most tasty bao bun sandwiches. S and I have already decided to go back this week to try the fish and tofu buns before she leaves! That’s one huge stamp of approval from two Canadians!

Restaurant Details:

61 Rue de Lancry

75010, Paris

+33 (0)9 83 50 84 94

My rating:

5 kimchi balls out of 5!


4 Comments

Paris exhibits: Helena Almeida – Corpus

So before I start I’m going to be completely honest: I am not an art connoisseur, far from it, actually. I may live in Paris, where there are some of the most amazing art galleries and museums in the world, but I have not taken any courses in fine arts or art history. I enjoy wandering around a museum or checking out an exhibit from time to time but I do not know much about the various styles and techniques used by artists or what a canvas painted entirely blue could possibly symbolize (besides someone who wanted to test the color out or practice smooth brush strokes before painting their wall). I know what I like (and what touches me) and I know what I don’t, but that’s about it! I do, however, have huge respect for anyone who speaks and lives through their art. helena almeida_paris_exhibitionSo, here is my rather naive review of the Helena Almeida exhibition currently at the Jeu de Paume gallery. The exhibit is named Corpus, which either refers to the Portuguese artist’s body of work (spanning over almost 50 years) or the fact that her body is featured in almost all of her creations. I had seen the poster advertising this event for several weeks in the metro stations, but it wasn’t until last week when I was walking through the Tuileries Garden and my corpus told me that I had to go pee, that I decided to enter the gallery and check it out. Seriously, you can never find a public toilet in Paris when you need one!helena almeida_paris_exhibition 2
Surprisingly (because usually it is not the case), I was allowed to take photos, which will help me to briefly describe what I saw. Most of her work involves photos to which paint or another material is introduced, giving you the feeling that the image is coming to life and that Almeida herself is in a state of action. I loved her collection of work entitled Pinturas habitadas (inhabited paintings), that feature a splash or a layer of blue paint that can obscure her face, be handled and put in her pocket, or be inhaled like some sort of blue jelly. She comes to life in these photos with the blue paint being an extension of her feelings and her gestures.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 3There were other pieces that I found interesting too where she uses string made from horse hair in order for the line traced by her pen to become three-dimensional. Again, what she draws in the first image appears to become palpable to her touch in the next. helena almeida_paris_exhibition 4Another series of photos entitled ouve-me (“hear me” in English) depict the artist’s mouth with the words drawn across her lips. It is rather powerful to see the progression of the photos where the lips seem sealed shut in the majority of the shots and then a few where the mouth is open and we can imagine her screaming through the frame, trying to speak to us…so that we hear her message. The performance art video by the same name didn’t touch me as much, as it looked like someone trapped and trying to disentangle themselves from a bed sheet…but I have to admit that I don’t often understand performance art films. A second film, in which the name gives you no clue of what it represents (Sem titulo or no title…geez, thanks), films Almeida tying her right leg to the left leg of a man (her husband) with some sort of wire and then watching them painfully drag their feet as they walk together across her studio floor, to the wall and back, for what seems like an eternity. I kept waiting for something to happen but eventually lost interest and skipped off to the other side of the room. I hope there wasn’t some crazy twist at the end that I missed! In any case, I had a rather cynical interpretation of what she might be trying to say about a long-term relationships, but maybe the message was completely lost on me, once again.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 6My favorite work of Helena’s (we’re on a first name basis now, I guess) was a beautiful black and white photo of herself with her back to the camera, one of her black pumps laying on its side, and the sole of her foot painted with a thick brush stroke of red paint. It made me think of a fashion shot showcasing a pair of gorgeous Christian Louboutins and the movement captured in the photo is truly beautiful.helena almeida_paris_exhibition 5So there you have it: Corpus is a collection that is sure to delight, disturb, confuse and surprise as various mediums collide in some very expressive art. The exhibit runs until May 22nd, 2016, so I definitely recommend checking it out and then wandering around the Jardin des Tuileries, where you can take your own series of pretty pictures!jeu de paume_paris_view1

Details:

Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume

1 Place de la Concorde

75008 Paris

+33 (0)1 47 03 12 50

http://www.jeudepaume.org/

Closed Monday


Leave a comment

Paris Cocktail Bars: Sunset

I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again: I love my neighborhood! So when I hear about a new restaurant or bar opening nearby I have got to check it out. Sunset opened last November, but it wasn’t until last week that I finally got a chance to visit this trendy cocktail bar with a friend.sunset_paris_foodFrom the outside, the first thing you see is a long and inviting heated terrace. It was a cold night and by the time that we had arrived it was already invaded by trendy looking clients. We went immediately inside, where we were greeted with a smile from a barman standing behind the glowing bar, followed by one of the very pretty waitresses. When we said we wanted to have a drink and eat something,  she escorted us to the back room. While the front area around the bar is lively and modern, the back room has more of a lounge vibe with comfy armchairs, candlelight, a red carpet and walls painted blue with an unusual pattern (that looks like they went crazy with a chisel and gauged out tons of small holes) that contrast with a yellow geometric pattern on the ceiling. A little busy and not really my style but it definitely grabs your attention.sunset_paris_interiorWe started with a cocktail and I naturally tried the “Red Sunset” (8 Euros), which I found to be quite nice but a little too fruity. The waitress was very friendly and when she heard my non-French accent (I can’t seem to lose it…considering a voice coach!), she immediately started speaking to us in English.sunset_Paris_cocktailsunset_paris_menuWe took a glance at the menu and each dish (6-10 Euros) sounded better than the next. We finally chose the following: roasted pumpkin (with smoked ricotta cheese, sunflower seeds and Parmesan shavings…beyond delicious!), hanger steak (cooked in whisky and served with pureed carrots, béarnaise sauce, herring eggs and sautéed potato cubes…divine!), and a spiced chicken burger (kind of a pulled pork-like texture to the chicken, which was combined with homemade guacamole and a mini side salad…pretty tasty!). The photos I took are not the best due to the dim lighting, but I think they’re enough to get you drooling a little, no?sunset_paris_squash and ricottasunset_paris_beefsunset_paris_chicken burgerOverall, we found that the food was amazing and satisfying, even if the plates were a little small. Then again, at these kind of cocktail/tapas bars you don’t expect huge portions. Intrigued by the dessert menu (and still a little hungry), we ordered a dessert: cheesecake with citrus fruits from the Amalfi coast and a side of limoncello and yuzu flavored shaved ice (6 Euros). A light, creamy and tangy treat.sunset_paris_cheesecakeNext time I go I will try to sit in the front of the bar, as it seemed to have more of a fun and relaxed vibe. I have to admit that the back room felt a little stuffy and posh. Or perhaps it was just the crowd that night, which I found to be a little too pretentious and “bobo”. Overall though, Sunset is a classy addition to the neighborhood and a great place to take a date or business client you want to impress. I’ll definitely be back for the food!sunset_paris_exteriorContact Details:
100 rue Ordener
75018, Paris
+33(0)1 71 28 99 33

Rating: 

3.5 red sunsets out of 5


Leave a comment

Paris Restaurant Review: Le Ruisseau

Although I live close by, I had not heard about the burger joint, Le Ruisseau, until I saw that it had been voted as Timeout’s best café/restaurant in the 18th arrondissement. At first I was embarrassed by the fact that I did not know of its existence, but then I quickly realized that I can’t know every restaurant in Paris and decided to get there as quickly as possible. My expectations were pretty high and I was worried that I would be disappointed, but I am happy to report that I, like many others, am now a huge fan of the place!
Le Ruisseau_Paris_burger and friesI convinced the bf to eat lunch with me on Sunday, knowing that it would probably be packed with the brunch crowd. Luckily, there were two spots at the bar that had just opened up and we took them without hesitation, as the wait for an actual table was 50 minutes! Settled on our bar stools we immediately started looking at the menu.Le Ruisseau_Paris_Burger menuThey had a long list of mouthwatering burgers to choose from ranging from 12-14 euros each. I chose the cheddar burger (with additional bacon, of course) and he chose the Tom burger (with delicious Tomme cheese). I also added a glass of their homemade iced tea and the waitress was sweet enough to point out that I should go with their brunch burger special (17 Euros), as for the same price it included an extra hot drink!Le Ruisseau_Paris_DrinksSatisfied with our choices, we took a look around and soon noted how loud and crowded the place was, but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The grinding of the coffee machine and sound of ice cubes rattling in a cocktail shaker blended with the soft hip-hop music playing overhead and the overall liveliness of Le Ruisseau. My iced tea arrived: it was a perfectly sweetened and very refreshing mint tea. Soon after came our plates of burgers served with a side salad and a large bowl of homemade fries to share.Le Ruisseau_Paris_interior It didn’t take me long to fall in love with my burger. The bread was soft and fluffy (baked on-site), the meat was tender and juicy, the cheese was gooey and warm and the pickles, fried onions, iceberg lettuce and tangy sauce all came together perfectly in every bite. I looked over at his burger that had Tomme cheese oozing out the side and the little piece I tasted was out of this world! I should also mention that their fries are equally good (they come with a thousand island type dipping sauce with a hint of dill) and the side salad was tossed in a tasty vinaigrette.Le Ruisseau_Paris_Cheddar burgerLe Ruisseau_Paris_Tom burgerWhile eating, we noticed one of the waiters preparing several desserts (cheesecake and tiramisu) and think that I will have to give them a try next time! There was still line up of people waiting to be seated when we left, only confirming the fact that this place has quite the following. Although it may take a while to be seated when it’s busy, I know that I will definitely be back soon! The burgers are worth it!Le Ruisseau_Paris_dessertsLe Ruisseau_Paris_exteriorContact Details:
65, rue du Ruisseau

75018, Paris

+33(0)142 23 31 23

Rating: 

5 bottles of American mustard out of 5!


2 Comments

Paris Restaurant Review: Bibimbap

I know it’s a little (a lot!) late but Happy New Year from Paris! 🙂 With a new year comes new experiences and my first one this year has been trying a bibimbap at a Korean restaurant aptly named Bibimbap! It is located near Saint-Marcel metro station, which is not the greatest of areas when it comes to restaurants, but a friend of mine living in the area recommended it, and I was happy he did. I have been to Korean barbecue many times before in Vancouver, but the bimimbap had somehow escaped my foodie radar until now.Bibimbap_Paris_interiorFrom the outside I have to admit that the restaurant doesn’t look like anything special (and inside is no different with generic jazz music playing overhead) but what they may lack in decor they make up for in their cuisine. We sat down by the entrance at a table with a little doorbell button on it that you can push to get the waiter’s attention (FYI: it was very hard for me to resist pushing it)! Right away I saw pictures of their specialties posted up in the windows and the waiter brought us the menus with similar photos and descriptions of the tasty looking dishes.Bibimbap_Paris_Menu_CarteFor those of you who don’t know, a bibimbap is a Korean dish consisting of rice, vegetables (cooked in sesame oil and garlic) and meat/egg (if desired) served in a scorching hot stone pot (called a dolsot). As I browsed the list of possible choices I was tempted by all of them, but finally settled on the sensible option called équilibre (“balanced” in English) for 12,80 Euros.bibimbap paris_accompanimentsOnce we had ordered the waiter brought over the accompaniments that consisted of a tray of candied peanuts, lotus root and cucumber and a cold cucumber soup, as well as two bottles of Korean hot sauce (gochujang) and soy sauce (ganjang).bibimbap_Paris_equilibreMy dish came out piping hot with the mildly seasoned carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, cucumber and spinach spread out on top of the rice like flower petals and a fried egg placed carefully in the center. I could hear the rice sizzling underneath and immediately started mixing all my ingredients together, adding a bit of both sauces. The egg, that was only partly cooked, was quickly fried due to the heat of the dish while the bottom layer of rice stuck to the the bowl had a slight crispiness which I enjoyed. With the sauces added I found in to be quite tasty, however I tried my bf’s vitalité (“vitality” in English) bibimbab (14,80 Euros) and would definitely have that next time as the spicy pork added even more flavor to the meal.bibimbap paris_pork bibimbap 2We left feeling full but good about what we had eaten. There are many other dishes on their menu but bibimbaps are delicious and great for anyone looking for a healthy, satisfying and visually appealing meal that won’t interfere with your post-holiday detox plans. Plus, they are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner! Bibimbap_Paris_exteriorContact Details:
32 Boulevard Hôpital

75005, Paris
+(33) 01 43 31 27 42

Rating: 

4 plates of kimchi out of 5!

 


Leave a comment

Paris Coffee Shops: La Bossue

My list of food places to visit in Paris is constantly expanding, so with almost 2 weeks off from work for the winter holidays (YAY :)) I had intended to check out a few of them for lunch. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that many restaurants and cafés had also decided to go on holiday (surprise…surprise…) until January. So I was really happy to stumble upon the charming La Bossue last week with my friend G. Located in Montmartre, it is just a few steps past the main tourist track which makes it a great place to enjoy a homemade lunch or a nice baked treat with a cup of coffee.la bossue_paris_tableWalking into this peaceful little tea house and cake shop is a true pleasure, with its large counter full of freshly baked treats displayed for all to see and the most amazing smells wafting through the air. The décor is a little like what you would find at a hip Grandma’s house with vintage wallpaper, mix and match furniture, retro mirrors, hanging potted plants and framed black and white family photos. The kitchen is open so you can see that everything is carefully prepared and baked in a large metal oven by the young and friendly owner.la bossue_paris_kitchen interiorWe sat down and ordered a pot of organic tea (4.50 Euros) at a table facing the cute inner courtyard, adorned with a pretty antique lamp. They offer a great lunch special which includes one of their 2 soups of the day (we both chose the seasonal veggie soup) with a savory baked dish (I chose the spinach and goat cheese pie while G preferred the creamy gratin dauphinois) and a side salad for 9.50 Euros. la bossue_paris_lunch specialla bossue_paris_lunch special 2Their comforting lunch is bursting with healthy vegetables while being incredibly tasty at the same time. Kind of like the type of meal a caring older relative would make for you. You can then be tempted by a large selection of sweet delights, such as a slice of carrot cake (3 Euros) or a delicate raspberry financier (1,40 Euros), to accompany a cappuccino (4,30 Euros) or a killer hot chocolate that comes with a tiny pot of vanilla bean whipped cream (5 Euros). Apparently they also serve a wholesome buffet brunch on the weekend (23,50 Euros), which I am going to have to try soon! la bossue_paris_coffeela bossue_paris_cakesVerdict: La Bossue is a real gem! Enjoy breakfast, lunch or tea time (open from Wednesday to Sunday) in a cozy and welcoming environment. And, as this is my last post of 2015, I want to thank everyone for following my blog this year and I wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy New Year! 🙂la bossue_paris_exteriorContact Details:
9 Rue Joseph de Maistre
75018, Paris
+(33) 09 81 72 65 59

Rating:

5 adorable grannies out of 5


2 Comments

Paris Shopping: My top 5 shops in Montmartre when in need of that perfect gift!

It is only 3 days away from Christmas, and although I’m sure you aren’t all procrastinators like me, I thought it would be a good time to give you a short list of my favorite places to get last minute gifts in the Montmartre area of the 18th arrondissement of Paris. These places are mainly small boutiques (no big brand name stores) that sell jewelry, clothes, gifts and handbags that are actually made or created in Paris or in France…which is what I’m looking for when I send a gift to a friend overseas. The last thing I want to get them is something that they could have bought at their local H&M. So here are my top 5 go-to places, when in need of a special gift:

Make My D…make my D_Paris_exteriorMake my D… or as I like to call it, Make my Day, is a store full of carefully selected clothing and accessories by Nathalie Bui, that’s right, Barbara Bui’s sister. She has a talent for finding the most amazing items and her store always gives me the feeling that I am entering my (imaginary) fashionable friend’s walk-in closet. While she stocks Dutch and other European brands, you are sure to equally find Parisian based brands like Fine collection (cozy sweaters and other clothing) and My Boobs Buddy (cheeky T-shirts supporting breast cancer research).

What do I buy here? : Wallets, clutches and handbags by the Parisian brand Shine Blossom. They are made with soft leather in a variety of colors and styles. I love the details and the bright interior lining and have bought several items from this brand for friends and family! My black bag is pictured at the end of this post!

Contact Details:

7 rue la Vieuville

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 44 92 82 98

La Boutique EtoiléeThis cute little boutique is located in the quiet rue Durantin and is great if you’re looking for a girly, sparkly gift for your best friend or sister. It is kind of like going to a local designer craft fair as all the items sold here are made by French (mainly Parisian) designers. My favorite jewelry brands discovered here include Chouette Fille (beautiful bracelets made from pastel colored, metallic and sparkly pieces of leather) and Virgnie Mahé (Art Deco inspired brass and enamel earrings that really stand out and give you a quirky, vintage look).

What do I buy here? Pretty gold or silver plated earrings by Hélèn Bussi that give you a classy bohemian look (a pair I bought is equally pictured below).

Contact Details:

16 Rue Durantin, 75018 Paris

75018, Paris

+33 (0)9 81 05 87 43

Cosi Loticosi loti_paris_exteriorIf you’re looking for some great home décor items, then you can’t beat Cosi Loti. It is actually equidistant from Abbesses and Pigalle metro stations and you are always greeted with a smile from the moment you enter the door. From framed inspirational quotes to scented candles to Japanese-style ceramic bowls and cups, you are sure to find inspiration for that special gift or for your apartment. They also have some jewelry and handbags for sale at the entrance of the store.

What do I buy here?:  Tea towels, aprons and cushions featuring cute patterns, graphic prints, and phrases such as “oh la la”, made by La Cerise sur le Gâteau. Perfect light gifts to send in the mail!cosi loti_paris_interiorContact Details:

21 rue Houdon

75018, Paris

+33 (0)1 44 92 90 39

Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi_Paris_exteriorCorpus Christi is the place to go for bobo/rock-inspired jewelry created and made in Paris. Although there is another boutique in the Marais, I usually shop at this location. I love the simplicity of their pieces that stand out thanks to the various religious emblems and influences from nature chosen. Baroque crosses, flowered skulls, totem polls, brass knuckles, feathers, daggers and other medieval medals are just a few of the choices of pendants you can have on a simple silver or gold chain. The boutique itself uses natural elements like fur, moss covered stones, plants and animal skulls to lighten the sometimes dark and medieval feel of some of their creations. Very popular with trendy tattooed Parisians.

What do I buy here?: Dangling gold bow and arrow earrings or a silver ring that looks like a French crown with delicate engravings and Fleur de Lys ends….too many choices to list!Corpus Christi_Paris_jewelryContact Details:

6 rue Ravignan

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 57 77 77

PaperdollsPaperdolls_Paris_exterior1This concept store is so unique that it is worth a visit just to admire the decor, but if you look closer you will be equally impressed by the work of the various independent designers (mostly French) found inside. Clothing and accessories are presented in this universe, which is divided into sections corresponding to the various rooms (e.g. dressing room, kitchen) of an apartment. The bathroom features an old bathtub reconverted into a sofa, vintage taps and mirrors nailed to the wall, changing rooms hidden by shower curtains and jewelry displayed over two quaint dressing tables. The office has pretty rings laid out on a desk with an antique typewriter nearby. Floral wallpaper, porcelain plates and many other girly touches make Paperdolls a real pleasure to visit.

What do I buy here?: Cute rings by Emmanuelle Biennassis, featuring cutouts of clouds, foxes, sparrows or hearts. Very playful and fun, perfect for your little niece!

Contact Details:

5, rue Houdon

75018 Paris

+33 (0)1.42.51.29.87

So there you go! Obviously there are tons of other stores I could add, but that will have to come in another post… as I have to get out and finish my Christmas shopping! :p Happy holidays everyone!Shopping_paris_montmartre

 

 

 

 


10 Comments

Restaurant Review: Puce – Bar à Grignoter

There are lots of places to eat in SoPi (South Pigalle neighborhood of Paris), but not all of them have the charm that you will find at Puce – Bar à Grignoter. The word puce is often used as a pet name in French, which roughly translates as “sweetheart” or “honey” in English. It’s therefore a fairly appropriate name for this restaurant, which I can best describe as cute and classy. The benches are covered in pastel colored cushions with striped, floral and polka dot motifs, the food is served on vintage porcelain plates and the sleek bar is adorned with a mix of enchanting lampshades hanging from above.puce_paris_cute tablepuce_paris_interiorI went here with my friend K on a week night as we were looking for a place where we could get a drink and some share plates…neither of us was very hungry (I had eaten a huge chicken kebab for lunch)! We sat down in the cozy room, were greeted by the friendly owner and took a look at the menu. Drinks include a good variety of wines as well as non-alcoholic beverages and a random Japanese beer. As for the food, everything on the menu is incredibly tempting and prices range from 5.50-12 Euros. They are small portions, but they are meant to share, so depending on your appetite (and budget) you can choose as many or as few as you like to go along with a glass of wine, such as a Chardonnay « Patchwork » 2013, Tissot (my choice at 6,5 Euros). puce_food menu_parisWe settled on the chips and guacamole (served in a traditional molcajete), a cheese plate (that I admit was a little small), a lentil and feta salad and a creamy 4 cheese macaroni! The guacamole was amazing and full of fresh cilantro, just how I like it, and the macaroni was oozing with cheese and topped with a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs! While we only had 4 dishes between us, we ended up feeling full, as what we ate was rich and satisfying. At the table next to us I saw a plate of grilled pork ribs go by and later a slice of raspberry cheesecake, so I am convinced that everything they serve here must be really good!puce_paris-chips and guacamolepuce_paris_foodpuce_paris-macaroniNow that I have praised the food, I will mention a few drawbacks. Firstly, they played constant instrumental jazz music…which is not at all something I enjoy, but luckily it was only in the bathroom where I really heard it loudly. I guess it did go with the overall upscale feel of the place and there are many people that actually like this type of music…so I won’t judge. Close by, there was a table of bourgeois women enjoying their evening of discussing their partners and their new handbags, which got me thinking that Puce is mainly a really great place for a girl’s night out. Or a date night. I mean the decor is girly and the portions are small so it should appeal to people wanting to chat and drink while snacking on a light meal. I don’t, however, see a group of hungry guys (or hungry girls) ever choosing this restaurant…unless they’re loaded, in which case I’d be tempted to order the entire menu! Those slight criticisms aside, I have to admit that Puce is delightful, chic and a good choice for those of you who prefer quality over quantity. puce_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

1 Rue Chaptal
75009 Paris

3.5 pretty, floral plates out of 5

 


Leave a comment

Paris attacks: darkness in the city of light

Words are hard to come by after the horrible terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris last night, however, I felt that a short reflection was needed. It really hit me hard this time as they attacked more than this city and its people; they attacked life and the pursuit of happiness itself.

It was almost one year ago today, November 16th, 2014, that I was at a concert at the Bataclan. I remember how incredibly excited I was to see my favorite hip hop artist, Common, live for the first time ever. I remember entering the beautiful theatre and the sense of unity shared by everyone as we all smiled and sang the same lyrics together in unison. I was so close to the stage that I could almost reach out and touch him! What a thrill! We were all at that concert to enjoy his music and to dance and feel alive. I was on a cloud of happiness after that concert, filled with the feeling that the world was an amazing place. Last night the people at the rock concert probably had the same feelings of anticipation and excitement. They probably screamed and cheered when the concert began and felt the incredible rush that music can sometimes bring. Like myself, they were there to have fun and forget their troubles…but unfortunately their evening transformed into horror.

I have been several times to Le Petit Cambodge, the restaurant near Canal Saint Martin that makes super yummy noodle dishes (they are especially known for their “bobuns”) and that was sprayed with bullets last night. I have fond memories of sitting outside in their colorful chairs with friends one summer night and equally another time inside, with a friend, where it was super crowded and we were elbow to elbow with the people beside us (but we didn’t mind one bit). This place is well known in Paris and is very popular, and as the temperature has been fairly mild lately in Paris, I’m sure it was packed with hungry diners.

Basically, the thing that shook me up the most was the fact that it could have been me, or my friends, that were attacked by these monsters and I realize just how lucky I was have had a night that did not end in such a traumatic manner.

So as I’ve already said, they attacked more than a city last night. They attacked innocent civilians who only wanted to enjoy their Friday night in whichever way brought them joy. Parisians love their Friday nights (and Saturdays too)! They love to go out for drinks, enjoy a good meal with good company, dance at a concert and live in the moment! These terrorists attacked the right to sit out on a terrasse and enjoy a cheese plate with a glass of wine, or simply a round of beer with friends. They attacked the right to dance like no one is watching or to sing to a song that you have sung along to for years and that has perhaps got you through some tough times. They basically said that everything Paris stands for should die. But it won’t.

Today, while going to get my groceries I overheard a Muslim mother talking to her son of about 4 years old in the street. She said “There are Muslims, Christians, Jews and Buddhists and we should respect everyone and their religion”. The boy looked up, slightly puzzled, and she continued; “we should never treat others badly because they are different, because the world is full of differences, and that is what makes it beautiful.” I looked over at her and smiled, then the traffic light changed and I crossed the street. I couldn’t help thinking that if every child had someone to teach them such compassion and acceptance, then these monsters would not be able to brainwash impressionable young people with their hateful messages and turn them into inhuman killing machines.

I can only hope that Paris will recover from these horrors while keeping its soul and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those who lost a loved one. I also hope that other cities in the world who have equally suffered from similar attacks, but which are not as “famous” as Paris, will receive the world’s support as we have seen over the last 24 hours. My heart breaks for Paris, but it is the city of love, light, freedom, music, art, culture, drinking wine and skipping home in the streets after a great night out and, in my mind, will always be capable of healing and shining bright again.

1


Leave a comment

Fast Food, Fast Review: Ouh là là – Cantine St. Martin

I’m a big fan of fusion cooking, if it’s done right, so when I heard about Ouh là là-Cantine St. Martin and their French style tacos I was immediately intrigued. I mean I love tacos and I love French food…and I love saying Ouh là là, so it was really a no brainer for me! Located near Strasbourg Saint-Denis métro station in a quiet pedestrian street, this eatery is easy to spot thanks to its bright blue awning and cheery yellow chairs that really add some warmth to an otherwise cold autumn day.ouhlala_paris_exteriorInside, the welcome was equally sunny with one of the owners quickly finding us a seat and telling us our dining options with a smile. The decor is simple with a stone wall facing a geometric printed wall behind the food counter. It is completed by wooden tables and modern light fixtures that dangle playfully at different lengths around the room. The tacos served here are not at all Mexican, instead the flour tortillas are filled with a choice of homemade cold or hot concoctions, using quality ingredients, that change every week. Their special of 3 tacos for 10 Euros is great for a light dinner, or you have the option of adding a fourth taco for 2,50 Euros. They also offer a side of salad or roasted potatoes (2,50 Euros), if you’re really hungry.ouhlala_paris_menuWe took a while to decide because to be honest, all of the options sounded delicious. We watched as the other owner sliced a large Aveyron (a region in France) sausage from behind the counter and plunged her spoon into a pot of creamy polenta while preparing the tacos with care. I could tell that she took pride in the food she served.ouhlala_paris_chefAfter a long debate, the 3 tacos I opted for were: 1) pastrami, arugula, pickles and honey mustard sauce; 2) fresh goat cheese marinated in thyme and lemon with some mixed greens; and  3) Aveyron sausage with caramelized shallots. All of them were super tasty and very unique with their flavor combinations. I also had a side of roasted potatoes, seasoned with rosemary, which were really good too. They equally had a nice selection of French wines and other interesting drinks, which is always a good thing. I’ve taken a look at their Facebook page, where they post their weekly menu, and I am pretty impressed with what they have come up with to put in their tacos so far; with some eclectic examples including steak tartare, smoked duck breast with Fourme d’Ambert cheese and seabream ceviche. Oh! And did I mention that they have dessert tacos filled with such yumminess as banana and Nutella? ouhlala_paris_tacos2ouhlala_paris_potatoesWhile the restaurant is pretty and stylish, I found the chairs to be a little uncomfortable and I think that next time I would go for a take-out. The seating area is rather small and fills up quickly. You can also order some of their tacos through deliveroo.fr, if you’re not in the mood to go get them yourself (while we were eating, two delivery guys dropped by and picked up orders from the counter). So, what I learned that night was that you can really put anything in a tortilla, because why not! I think I am even going to be inspired to make some of my own at home…maybe with some Canadian ingredients! Of course I am a huge fan of authentic Mexican cooking, but these multicultural creations at Ouh là là-Cantine St. Martin are a great example of what good can come from thinking outside of the box and blending various cuisines from around the world. ouhlala_paris_interiorRestaurant Details:

94 Rue René Boulanger

75010 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 38 27 42

http://www.ouhlalaparis.fr/

Rating:

4 uniquely filled tortillas out of 5