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.


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Fast food, Fast Review: Miznon

I’ve wanted to write a review of Miznon for a while now but it wasn’t until this weekend, with Paris being all cold and rainy, that I started craving one of their pitas and felt the urge to look through my photos, drool a bit and eventually type out this blog post.Miznon_Paris_boeuf bougignon pitaMiznon is located in the Marais, right off Rue des Rosiers, where you will find the very popular falafel shops. Miznon can be considered as a fusion between street food and fine dining as the dishes they stuff into their pitas are beyond delicious, and I am more than happy to pay a little more for a taste like no other in Paris. This is actually the second location of Miznon (the first being in Tel-Aviv), which was brought over to France by the amazing chef Eyal Shani.Miznon_Paris_interiorThe restaurant itself is unassuming and rustic with metal and wooden tables and unfinished stone walls. The decor is equally simple, consisting of fresh veggies that are used as necessary, with piles of zucchinis along one counter and cauliflower, tomatoes and artichokes placed on the windowsills. The chefs are behind the counter and prepare everything in front of your eyes, making it a real interactive experience. They are very friendly and bustle about quickly as they fill pitas with a beautiful medley of meat, veggies, sauces, herbs and spices.Miznon_Paris_veggiesMiznon_Paris_interior 2The menu is scribbled in colorful chalk, in a rather chaotic manner, on the blackboard behind the counter and features some French classics with a Mediterranean touch. I was with two friends from out of town and we chose the lamb kebab and the boeuf bourgignon pitas (11, 50 Euros each). The lamb kebab balls were complemented by onions, parsley and veggies; a light and fragrant delight. The flavorful boeuf bourgignon, complete with chunks of tender beef and carrots was loaded into the soft but sturdy pita and was rich and meaty.Miznon_Paris_pitasMy favorite, however, is the stuffed cabbage pita (of course I always have to like the most expensive menu item at 12 Euros): cabbage leaves filled with ground lamb and spices, cooked with vine-ripened tomatoes and then piled into their pita with other herbs and a creamy white sauce (I’m guessing a homemade mayonnaise). SO incredibly delicious! They have a variety of other pitas available ranging from 6-12 Euros each, which include several vegetarian choices (like ratatouille). Don’t forget to also try one of their roasted cauliflower heads (6,50 Euros), that are grilled with olive oil and coarse grain salt. Ours came out looking a little burnt but still tasted really good. Everything here is simple, fresh and natural and just tastes out of this world!Miznon_Paris_stuffed cabbage pitaMiznon_Paris_CauliflowerSo if you want to try some mouthwatering pitas in a crowded and extremely lively eatery then I highly recommend checking out Miznon. Keep in mind that they are open Sunday and Monday (but closed Saturday and Friday night) and that there is extra seating at the back of the restaurant if it becomes too crowded in the front (where all of the action takes place). Alternatively, you can take a pita to go and sit in one of the nearby parks or squares, like Place des Vosges. Just be warned: these pitas are addictive!  miznon_paris_exterior

Restaurant Details:

22 Rue des Ecouffes

75004 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 74 83 58

Rating:

5 gourmet pitas out of 5


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Travel Fun: A Weekend by the Sea in Trouville

The one thing I often say that is missing from Paris is a REAL beach (sorry Paris Plage, but you just don’t cut it for me), so before August ended the bf and I decided to have a weekend away at the seaside town of Trouville-sur-Mer, more commonly known as Trouville.Rooftops and beach_TrouvilleFrom Saint-Lazare Station in Paris, it is only a 2 hour train ride until you arrive at the Trouville-Deauville station, making it a great choice for a day trip to the beach. We decided to make it a 2-day getaway, and it was exactly what I needed. From the train station you either go left, to the fancier town of Deauville, or turn to the right and cross a little bridge to the quaint fishing town of Trouville-sur-Mer.Trouville_boardwalkYou immediately smell the salty sea air and can hear the seagulls welcoming you from above. The architecture in this town is stunning, as all the buildings are full of character and charm (some with the characteristic half-timber design seen in other towns in Normandy). If you walk up into the hills of Trouville, you can see even more gorgeous houses and some pretty amazing scenic views.Town buildings_TrouvilleTrouville_housesThe streets of the town are narrow, with many being pedestrian-only, allowing cafés and little boutiques to really attract the flow of visitors that stroll by. There is the huge Casino Barrière Trouville located on the waterfront (I am not really into gambling although to hide from the rain on Sunday I spent 5 Euros on the slot machines and made myself 35 Euros, yay!) and lots of outdoor activities for children along the beach. As this is a fishing town, you don’t have to look far before you cross one of the many fishmongers displaying their really fresh seafood. The beaches are long and sandy but in August they are crowded…so be prepared to fight for a spot, unless it’s one of those days where it rains on and off all day (like it did on the Sunday). seafood_trouvilleTrouville_BeachOf course there is also Deauville, the more popular and well known destination (where the American Film Festival of Deauville takes place every September), but I find it a little too flashy and overpriced (especially the accomodation), even if it is very pretty in its own right. If you’re not wanting to walk or rent a bike between the two towns then the little BAC ferry boats can take you from Trouville to Deauville by crossing the Touques river (only 1, 50 Euros per trip).Deauville_BoardwalkCasino_trouvilleSo with that introduction, let’s get to the serious stuff: Where to eat? We were really lucky during this trip and managed to find three excellent cafés/restaurants in a town that is pretty touristy. I’d like to think that it was my foodie intuition that lead me to them. So here they are:

Villa Gypsy

We stumbled upon this place accidentally as we were wandering around looking for a place to eat a light snack. I was immediately drawn to its trendy exterior which was different from the other more traditional facades and as I peeked into the pleasant shop I caught a glimpse of a backyard patio. Inside we discovered a coffee shop combined with a lifestyle boutique selling neutral and pastel colored home décor items and gift ideas. Behind the counter was a mother and daughter that were very friendly and that served a variety of tasty and healthy treats. I had a zucchini, tomato and goat cheese savory tart (which was delicious) with a side salad for under 10 Euros! They equally had a great selection of teas (Lov Organic and Kusmi) and drool-worthy homemade desserts (2,20-4,50 Euros). We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in their tranquil oasis and spent way too much time relaxing in their comfy garden chairs. Where: 65 Rue des Bains, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerVilla gypsy_trouvilleLe Pavillon Augustine

This place was right on the riverbank in front of the casino, making us think that it must have good seafood, and thankfully we were right! The mood is a little more upscale and at night it transforms into a piano bar with a guy singing classic songs in French and English (with a slight accent…I can’t help but hear it) to entertain the many couples sharing plates of fresh oysters. Apparently they even have live bands performing some nights, and people can hit the dancefloor after dinner, if that’s your thing. We sat outside on the patio where there were families and other large groups and it felt more chill. They have 3 course meals for as low as 29,90 Euros at dinner and 15,90 Euros at lunch. The service was excellent and the oysters and fish were perfect. The waiter even offered us a shot of pear liquor on the house…and this was after the Calvados (the local liquor that you will find in every gift shop around town) in the desssert and the wine with dinner. As you can guess, I left buzzed but very happy! Where: 1, Quai Albert 1er, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerLe Pavillon Augustine_TrouvilleTivoli Bistro

Hidden down a quiet street in the centre of Trouville you will find Tivoli Bistro. If you’re wanting some authentic home cooking then this is the place to go! Run by Christiane and Gérard, it feels a little like you are eating at your French Auntie and Uncle’s as you can see Gérard cooking in the kitchen at the back of the small cozy room. Christiane is very friendly and takes her time talking to all of her guests (it is for this reason that reservations are recommended as she does not squish in tons of people, and there are only about 8 tables) and describing the local specialties that they serve. We went for lunch where they have a 3 course menu for 29 Euros, which is excellent value, considering the quality of the food here. I started with a toasted goat cheese salad, followed by a sole meunière that she kindly deboned for me, and for dessert an apple sorbet doused in Calvados. She even offered us a plate of cheeses from the Normandy region (Camembert, Pont-l’Évêque and Livarot) to try. I was a little worried at first as they are all what one would call “stinky” cheeses, but they actually tasted pretty nice. Overall it was a great cultural food experience. Where: 27 Rue Charles Mozin, 14360 Trouville-sur-MerTivoli Bistro-TrouvilleOne last thing: keep in mind that as this town is a popular weekend retreat for Parisians, most of the restaurants stay open on the weekend but can therefore be closed on Tuesday and/or Wednesday! Call ahead and make reservations if you don’t want to be disappointed!

Now to completely change topic! I do have to mention that it was exactly one year ago today that I uploaded my first blog post and started From Your Parisian. I can’t believe that a year has gone by already, and although I haven’t been as active as I would like to be, I hope to grow and improve as I learn from my mistakes and try new things (e.g. I’ve enlarged the photos in this post, thoughts?). I can’t wait for another year of blogging and sharing with everyone my favortite places to visit in this wonderful city that I now call home! Thanks for your support! Bisous!

To be Parisian is not to have been born in Paris, but to be reborn. -Sacha Guitry

 


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Paris wine bars: Comestibles et Marchand de Vins

One of my favorite things to eat in Paris is a good cheese and/or charcuterie plate…along with a glass (or two…or more) of wine! Although you would think that every wine bar or restaurant in Paris would serve only mouthwatering cheeses and mind-blowing wine, this is far from a reality. So, as I want everyone to enjoy this experience as much as I do, here is a review of Comestibles et Marchand de Vins! It’s my go-to address for the best selection of high quality but simple French (for the most part) food products and amazing wine, located near métro Jules Joffrin.Comestibles_Paris_Cheese plateThe bright blue facade is easy to spot as you walk up rue Mont-Cénis (which is the street to take if you want to reach Place de Tertre) as it takes up a prime corner in this lively neighborhood of the 18th arrondissement. In the warmer months people are seated in a long row of blue chairs (complete with blankets for those chilly evenings) or around one of the two large wine barrel tables. The first thing you will notice is their huge wine menu (we’re talking pages and pages of expertly selected red, white, rosé and champagne to choose from) along with a page of tempting snacks to accompany that perfect bottle.Comestibles_Paris_exteriorComestibles_Paris_Wine MenuComestibles_Paris_Food MenuI have been here many times so I’ll describe my latest visit with the bf. We shared a small cheese plate (a selection of 4 cheeses, including Camembert from Normandy and Saint-Nectaire; 8 Euros) a small charcuterie plate (with a variety of dried sausages and paté, including one from the Ardèche region of France; 8 Euros) and a bottle of red wine (Maison Nicolas Perrin, Saint-Joseph 2013). I love how the plates are always garnished with flavorful additions such as a light salad, apricots, figs, olives, tapenades, pickles, jams or other exquisite condiments from their shelves…and they all come with a basket full of fresh bread.Comestibles_Paris_Cheese and charcuterieComestibles_Paris_MiravalYou can honestly taste the care that goes into the selection of every one of their menu items…they pick only the best. Their list of wine and food changes all the time but I am never disappointed. I have previously tried the most delicious truffle Pecorino cheese and paper-thin prosciutto that literally melted in my mouth. I have equally tried Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Miraval Rosé here (yes they make wine now too), for 26 Euros/bottle. They also concoct the most beautiful and luscious tartines that you have just got to try. Glasses of wine start at 4 Euros and a plate of something yummy starts at 8 Euros, so they cater to every budget. Comestibles_Paris_truffle pecorinoComestibles_Paris_prosciuttoIf there is no room to sit outside or inside, which after 8 pm is very likely, you can still browse their stock of numerous treats, where you are sure to find yourself a good Bordeaux, a jar of Edmond Fallot mustard (such as Cassis flavored Dijon mustard), or a can of Belle-iloise sardines to take home. The staff here know exactly what they sell and are happy to give you their recommendations based on your request.Comestibles_Paris_Interior Comestibles et Marchand de Vins is the perfect spot to enjoy an evening out in Paris like a true Parisian (i.e. drinking wine) and try some delightful regional products that will blow your taste buds away!Comestibles_Paris_exterior2 Restaurant Details :

65, rue du Mont Cenis

Paris, 75018

+33 (0)1 73 70 56 28

Rating : 5 plates of truffle pecorino out of 5


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Restaurant Review: L’Atelier Saint-Georges

It sometimes seems like a new trendy burger joint opens in Paris every few weeks, and while they all try to put their spin on this popular fast-food favorite, there are few that have managed to turn their burgers into a fine dining experience quite like L’Atelier Saint-Georges.Atelier SG Paris_yam friesFirst off, this place is located in the very hot SoPi neighborhood of Paris; right by Métro Saint-Georges, hence their name. Secondly, when you walk through the door of what was once a neighborhood bakery, you feel like you are walking into a refined bistro. I still remember the scene from Sex and the City (yes, I was a big fan of the series!) when Carrie wore the most gorgeous Oscar de la Renta dress and ended her evening at McDonald’s, incredibly overdressed for the occasion. Well if she had come to L’Atelier Saint-Georges for a burger, she would have blended right in! Glass mirrors cover the walls and beautiful decorative moldings add a touch of French class to the modern room that is filled with polished pale wooden tables and unique light fixtures.Atelier SG Paris_interior 1The burgers themselves are all named after renowned chefs and are gourmet creations that you won’t find anywhere else. The tender French steak is stated to be “haché au couteau à la main”, which means that it is prepared by finely chopping it with a knife, not passed through a meat grinder like most burgers. Some of the creations include The Monsieur which features a hand-cut beef burger topped with Tomme cheese (one of my fave French cheeses), bacon, caramelized onions and romaine lettuce. At the other end of the spectrum is the fancy Monsieur Paul which comes with a slice of seared foie gras on top of the chopped beef patty! They also have 2 chicken burgers and one veggie burger, as well as a choice of salads, so that everyone is happy. Of course, like any other fine French restaurant, L’Atelier Saint-Georges has a list of beer, wine (red, white and rosé) and even Champagne to accompany their classy burgers. They also do take-out, FYI.Atelier SG Paris_menuWe sat down and I chose the Monsieur Gaston (which made me immediately think of Beauty and the Beast!) with sweet potato fries, while my friend tried the burger of the moment named Monsieur Alain with regular French fries. The burgers came out with a huge heap of fries on the side (that were very good in their own right) and that were perfectly presented and super tasty. I bit into the soft brioche-like bun and was met with the creamy taste of Camembert cheese, the crunch of sautéed Granny Smith apples, arugula leaves and pine nuts, and finally the juicy and perfectly cooked chopped beef. My friend really adored her burger too, that was topped with asparagus tips, Parmesan cream, arugula and black olives. The cute little signature stamp on their buns was a nice final touch, proving once again their attention to detail.Atelier SG Paris_burger du momentAtelier SG Paris_cute bunAtelier SG Paris_gastonThe only criticism I can make is that they are rather small burgers (unless you get an “XL” size) and at a price of 12-17 Euros each (12 Euros for a regular, 16 Euros for an “XL”), they are a little pricey…and that doesn’t even include the fries (3-6 Euros)! Then again, you are not here to eat junk food, you are here to enjoy a luxury burger that truly honors French cuisine and that uses high-quality French ingredients. Definitely not for everyone, but a MUST a for all burger lovers! Atelier SG Paris_exteriorRestaurant Details:

6 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 16 18 96

Rating:

4 posh burgers out of 5!

 


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Restaurant Review: L’Afghani

One thing that’s great about Paris (and other cosmopolitan cities) is that you can find a restaurant for pretty much any type of cuisine you may desire. It’s kind of like going on a tour around the world without having to pay for a plane ticket and allows you to try all sorts of new and exotic dishes. Even if Afghanistan might not currently be on your travel list, that does not have to stop you from trying their amazing cooking. L’Afghani  is a restaurant hidden between Sacré-Coeur and Chateau-Rouge that is easily overlooked, but that I was lucky enough to discover thanks to my friend V who suggested we try it out.We went with a group of friends and were definitely pleasantly surprised by our experience. Personally I had no idea what to expect, but as soon as we walked in I knew that it was going to be authentic. The owner and server were calm but very friendly and we were shown to a comfy corner booth scattered with cushions. All around us was exploding with Afghan culture: from the lamp shades and tapestries to the traditional instruments and various clothing displayed on the walls, we felt immediately immersed in another world. A beautiful women’s dress caught my eye and for a moment I stopped to admire the vibrant colors and intricate embroidery that made it so gorgeous.  I could almost imagine a beautiful Afghan woman dancing in that very dress and watching the skirt swish as she twirled to the music playing softly throughout the restaurant.Back at my table we were all hungry and so decided to order some entrées (ranging from 4-6 Euros) to start followed by a main dish each. First came the soft and warm naan bread, then the entrées that were (I’m being totally serious) out of this world! My faves were the Borani (fried eggplant in a rich tomato sauce, drizzled with garlic flavored yogurt) and the Gol-é-karam (lightly fried cauliflower balls with a vinegary tang to them…OMG! Soooo good!). One of my friends tried a yogurt, mint and cucumber drink, which was light and refreshing while I stuck with the cardamom black tea (2.50 Euros). They also have a killer mint tea, FYI!afghani_paris_appetizersAfter devouring those entrées, we were super excited for the next course to arrive. I ordered the Ashak (13 Euros), which reminded me of perogies that were filled with leeks and coriander and covered in a rich ground beef, bean, tomato and lentil sauce and then a light pouring of garlic yogurt. I had never tasted anything like it and was completely happy with my choice. I did however dip my fork into some of the other plates around me, such as the Ghazni Karahi (14 Euros; Afghan style onion and herb meatballs with a pile of rice in the middle, topped with a fried egg), which were very tasty too. What was so nice about these dishes was the mix of spices and flavors that I had never experienced before, but that blended perfectly.afghani_paris_main course menuAfterwards some of my friends were up for dessert so they ordered a Halwa zardak (carrot cake squares flavored with rose water, cardamom and coconut milk) and Halwa (kind of like a bowl of soft granola made from flour, almonds, raisins and honey). Both were very sweet and very fragrantly spiced. I was more a fan of the savory courses to be honest, but this in no way means that they weren’t good.So if you’re in Paris and getting tired of French food then I definitely recommend giving L’Afghani a try. It is reasonably priced, has lots of vegetarian dishes (like the Ashak without the ground beef) and is sure to take your taste buds on a ride to a far away land! Just make sure to reserve a table in advance, because once you’ve been here you can’t wait to go back!

Restaurant Details:

16 Rue Paul Albert, 75018 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 51 08 72

Rating: 

5 hot mint teas out of 5!

 


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Fast Food, Fast Review: Gustave

In my opinion, long weekends in Paris (when the weather is nice) are for being outside! If, however, you can’t find a coveted spot on one of the sunny terrasses, then getting some food to go and eating in one of the closest parks is always a great option, especially if you’re in a hurry! This long weekend I discovered Gustave, a trendy new sandwich joint in the always trendy South Pigalle (SoPi) neighborhood. Gustave serves up their own creation called “claps”, which are whole wheat flour tortillas (or thin pitas) stuffed full of a variety of yummy ingredients, folded up tightly into a square, and then grilled until toasty.

gustave_paris_exteriorThe little shop is located on rue Henry Monnier, a total foodie street, just across from Buvette Gastrothèque and Luz Verde. It is tiny inside, with a few chairs and small bar table along the window, and decorated with only a deer’s head and some tattoo art on the wall… for that hipster touch. The menus is simple: claps are 7,80 Euros, a claps and drink are 10 Euros, and a claps, drink and dessert are 12 Euros. They also have a selection of baguette-style sandwiches (4.50-6.50 Euros), for people who like to stick to something a little more traditional, as well as soups and salads. When I arrived with my friend M, there were already a couple sitting on the two-person bench outside and to their left we saw the chalk board menu with the list of fillings to choose from.
gustave_paris_menu_carteThere were so many choices (including a daily special), but after reading them all carefully and consulting with two guys who were self-proclaimed “regulars” we decided on 1) marinated chicken, bacon, cheddar, honeyed confit onions, apples, arugula and tomatoes and 2) pastrami, coleslaw, Emmental cheese, tomatoes, confit onions and lettuce. I have been back since (yes I know…twice in a space of 72 hours! But I was in the area!) and have also tried the one with chorizo, feta, grilled veggies (big chunks of eggplant, red peppers and potatoes), tomato, lettuce and confit onions.

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gustave_paris_chorizo clapsWe took our carefully bundled sandwiches, walked up to Abbesses, and sat on a bench in a little park just behind the Métro with the “I love you” wall in front of us. We unwrapped them like presents and were instantly drooling over the colorful display in our hands. At this point I am going to have to say: Warning: They are VERY hard to eat without “food juices” from the dressing and marinades dripping all over you! So, if you are about to go to a job interview in your best suit and you need a quick lunch, I wouldn’t tempt fate with one of these. Similarly, if you’re not totally comfortable with the person you’re with, then choose something else. But, if you want something full of flavor and don’t give a s#*@ about how messy things might get, then you are sure to enjoy these sandwiches! My fave was the chicken and bacon (total perfection) followed by the chorizo (which was the messiest to eat, if you’re wondering, thanks to all the yummy veggies). The pastrami was also good, but I have to admit that I’m used to having some sauerkraut or pickles with the salty meat, and the coleslaw just didn’t cut it for me. All of them were really filling, and as crumbs and sauce dropped to the ground, the little birds of the park agreed with us that these sandwiches were the real deal!

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gustave_paris_birdsA great place for a low-carb lunch or dinner (as they are open until 10 pm), Gustave is definitely worth a try!

Restaurant Details:
21 rue Henri Monnier, 75009 Paris
+33 (0)1 48 78 96 52

My Rating :

3.5 tasty and low-carb sandwiches out of 5


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Travel Fun: A break in Barcelona

Okay, so I know this has nothing to do with Paris, but I was in Barcelona last week for my friend M’s wedding, and I thought I’d quickly share a few photos from the streets of this lively city in a post I will call “Travel Fun” (because why not)! They’re from all over the city, and they all make me smile for different reasons! I’ve also reviewed two yummy Spanish restaurants at the end of this post, for those of you who are in need of a good recommendation!

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Looking up at the beautiful buildings in the Gothic Quarter

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A gorgeous walkway

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Sagrada Familia’s organ, pointing to the heavens

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Pigeon graffitti

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Amazing mosaic tile street art…Gaudi would be proud!

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The beautiful Spanish bride in the streets of Barcelona

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Lemon trees and the Catalan flag, which was hung everywhere around town!

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Chicas walking towards Barceloneta beach!

The weather was not the greatest while I was there, but I managed to walk around the city and see the Mediterranean before catching a cold! It was also cool to be there on Sant Jordi Day, the Catalan equivalent of St. Valentine’s day. Apparently the tradition is for men to buy women roses, and for women buy men books (a little sexist, but so are many traditions), which is why there were vendors in the streets everywhere selling roses and books. A little boy even offered me a rose while we were walking around Park Guell, which I thought was really cute. Okay, Ill be honest when I say that a rose in a book would have been even better, but I won’t complain!

Finally, for those of you who are thinking of visiting Barcelona soon, and want to find some good food (because there are lots of tourist traps that you should try to avoid), I MUST tell you about these two restaurants that really impressed me:

Sagardi BCN Gotic: We actually dined here twice, once for the wedding reception dinner and then on another night because we were desperate to try the steaks that we had previously seen cooking on their huge grill! This place is divided into two parts: a crowded pintxos bar and a classy restaurant. In case you don’t know, pintxos are small snacks that usually consist of a heap of yummy ingredients (such as Iberian ham, crab meat, goat cheese etc.) on a slice of bread, and held together with a toothpick. They are spread out along the bar and you can select these artistic creations as you like. The steak and fish dishes (the turbot in a butter, garlic and parsley sauce was my favorite) were equally mouth-watering and were ordered to share between two people. Service was exceptional. I will definitely go back for a third round next time I’m in town. Dónde: Carrer de l’Argenteria, 62, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

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Koska Taverna: Located in the El Poble-Sec neighbourhood, I really enjoyed the authentic and fresh dishes served at Koska. The waiter was super friendly (and tattooed) and we sat outside in the bar-filled pedestrian street of Carrer de Blai with (what I think was) mainly hip but laid-back locals.  For the first time since we had arrived, I felt like we were in a non-touristy zone and I loved it. The food was equally delicious, featuring a good selection of tapas and pintxos (displayed on the counter inside). I ate fresh anchovies like I had never tasted before, delicious octopus on a thin layer of creamy potatoes and tender beef cheek cooked in a tasty sauce. For my last meal in Barcelona, it was definitely a memorable one. Dónde: Carrer de Blai, 8, 08004 Barcelona, Spain

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There you have it! A quick photo/foodie report from Barcelona. Hasta tarde amigos!


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Paris Wine Bars: Le Chat Ivre

It’s hard to think about France without thinking of wine, so it’s not surprising that there are tons of wine bars (or cave à vins) in the city. One of those wine bars, Le Chat Ivre (which translates as the drunken cat) is located in a quiet street not too far from Place de la Bastille in Paris. When my friend V suggested this place I was like “hell yeah”, as I cannot resist a bar with a funny name! So Friday night I reserved a table for myself and three of my favorite ex-colleagues to meet up for a long overdue get-together.

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The décor is classy but casual, with light wood tables and dangling light fixtures as well as floor to ceiling metal shelves (similar to those you’d see in a large wine cellar) stocked full of various bottles of red and white wines. An inviting bar welcomes you as you enter, with a selection of French cheese and charcuterie strategically displayed at the far end for all to see.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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With V and C, we sat down at our table and started pouring over the extensive list of wines and tapas. We all ordered a glass of Chardonnay (6 Euros) and immediately decided upon the game plan of selecting two tapas dishes each, which we would all share (…for the most part ;))! I LOVE places that offer little dishes to share, as I always have trouble deciding what to order and want to try everything! R was really late, so we started with some haddock accras (7 Euros) accompanied by sweet and sour dipping sauce, to help us survive until he arrived.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFunnily enough, R arrived shortly after the accras, and with all four of us present we were finally ready to order. We chose 8 dishes (which range from 6-12 Euros each) and a bottle of Chardonnay (2013 Domaine Girard Mâcon-Solutré; 27 Euros) and started catching up with everyone’s latest news. FYI, we shared an office together several years ago and I still consider them as my ultimate “dream team” of office mates, based on the amount of laughter we experienced on a daily basis.

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The food arrived all at once, and with each plate, our little table became more and more crowded with colorful dishes! My favorites were the fresh green pea risotto, the arugula and mozzarella ravioli (covered in Parmesan shavings and black pepper), the refreshing Thai beef salad, the juicy honey lemon chicken wings, and a zucchini, radish, spinach leaf and feta salad. Oh, and the deliciously seasoned beef kofta with yogurt dipping sauce…okay …basically everything was pretty enjoyable! I admit that I don’t know much about wine (apart from how to drink it in large quantities) but the Chardonnay was particularly nice, which leads me to believe that it must have passed a careful inspection by a wine connoisseur before appearing on the menu.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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We chatted for the next 2 hours over the loud hum of happy clients and instrumental background music. The two guys, as well as the waitress who served us, were attentive and very friendly, which made me appreciate this place even more. In the end we paid 30 Euros each, which I found to be very reasonable. With the amount of food we ate, none of us left as drunken cats, but we definitely left very happy.

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Restaurant Details:

22 Rue des Taillandiers, 75011 Paris
+33(0) 1 43 55 77 08

Rating:

4 tipsy felines out of 5!


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Restaurant Review: Siseng

Okay, so I am hella late on this one! Siseng has been the talk of Paris for a while now and although it was on my list to try, it wasn’t until my friend M told me she had been to the trendy Asian fusion food bar located on the Canal Saint-Martin (and gushed about how amazing it was!), that I decided I had to get over there ASAP! Luckily, it didn’t take much convincing to get her to come back with me last Wednesday night.

Siseng_Paris_beef bao burgerWe arrived at around 8 pm and there was already a line-up of people waiting outside. No surprise there, because like Hansel, this place is so hot right now (sorry…Zoolander reference)! Although I don’t usually like waiting (they don’t take reservations), it wasn’t too cold out and there was no way we were going to leave without trying one of their specialties: the Bao Burger (I will explain what this is in a second). One of the waiters came outside to check how many groups were to be seated and surprise, surprise, he turned out to be a friend of M’s from school. We asked him if we could order a drink to help us pass the time, and he promptly agreed and brought us the menu to look at.

Siseng_Paris_carteI was immediately impressed with their selection of exotic and creative cocktails. I chose a cocktail named after the restaurant (10 Euros), and M chose to skip the alcohol and ordered a Kaffir lime, ginger ale, and lemon leaf syrup flavored green tea (5 Euros). My Siseng cocktail was delicious and refreshing with a generous amount of halved kumquats and coriander leaves floating in a mix of gin, lemon, ginger ale and grapefruit juice.

Siseng_Paris_cocktailBefore we knew it (okay…it was about a 30 minute wait) we were shown to a seat at the long bar lining the wall. The décor was perfect in my eyes: unfinished wood panels and exposed bricks, a spiral staircase in the center of the room, a bar stocked with saké and other drinks, dangling light bulbs throughout, and the most gorgeous light fixture of what looked like entwined birch roots or branches. I also really liked the elaborate graphic art featured on their menus and on one of the walls, designed by Soba (Sophia Babari). The space has a very natural loft feel, and is filled with Parisian hipsters!

Siseng_Paris_interior

Siseng_Paris_decorThe wait outside had worked up our appetite so luckily the food arrived relatively quickly! We both ordered bao burgers (10 Euros) which feature a baozi (a white and fluffy steamed Chinese bun) as the bread. M ordered the Kai Bao Burger (a breaded chicken filet with a basil coconut milk sauce, red pepper confit, a light coleslaw and fresh basil) and I chose the 5 Spice Bao Burger (beef patty marinated with 5 spices, tamarind and caramel sauce, tempura onion rings, onion confit, and spinach and arugula leaves). We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries each (4 Euros), which were just the right thickness and were accompanied by their deliciously sweet caramel and tamarind sauce.

Siseng_Paris_chicken bao burgerThe burgers looked like little clouds floating on the Japanese ceramic plates and biting into them was heavenly! At first, the taste of my burger reminded me a little of the traditional cha siu baos, or BBQ pork buns (that I used to eat all the time back home in Vancouver), but due to the fusion with the other ingredients, they had an amazing and individual flavor. I tried some of M’s burger and it was equally good, but lighter and less sweet. I admit that I slightly preferred it to mine.

Siseng_Paris_beef burgerSurprisingly, I was actually very full after finishing, which often isn’t a usual occurrence at trendy eateries. The beef burger is definitely more filling than the chicken, probably due to the sweetness of the sauce. It wasn’t too long before we felt like we were being watched…and we were: there was still a steady line-up of sad people outside staring longingly into the window. So we promptly asked for the bill and left our seats. There was no need to prolong their suffering!

Siseng_Paris_exteriorIf you don’t mind a wait, then this place is definitely worth a try for a burger unlike any other in Paris. They equally have a range of other dishes, such as a bo bun or a bento, but right now it’s all about the bao burger! I’ll definitely be back this summer to enjoy a burger and a glass of their watermelon juice (or another of their yummy cocktails) along the Canal Saint-Martin! Yes, they do take-out! Can’t wait!

Restaurant Details:

82 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris

+33 (0)1 42 06 62 54

http://www.siseng.fr/

My Rating:

4 kumquats out of 5


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Restaurant Review: Come a Casa

Yesterday was a beautiful and sunny day in Paris, but after the sun had set I had the chance (or the desire) to stay in and write about Come a Casa, a cute little Italian restaurant in Paris that whisks you away to the warmth of Tuscany…if only for a few hours! My friend C raved about this place last summer, so since then I have been dying to give it a try!

come a casa_paris_tableLocated in a quiet street in the 11th arrondissement near Voltaire métro station, you are immediately drawn to this restaurant by the words Come a Casa (which, if I’m not mistaken translates to “like at home”) written in cursive on a bright green facade.

come a casa_paris_exteriorInside, you will find a very small and quaint room (reservations are recommended as seating is limited to about 20 people or so) that reminds you of a rustic farmhouse with an exposed stone wall, a pale green barn-style door concealing the bathroom, a large and well-stocked wine rack made from wooden crates and a tiny kitchen, clearly visible behind a counter cluttered with colorful vintage earthenware plates. Your Italian hosts for the evening are Flavia and Gianluca and together they have really created a cozy environment where you can sit back and enjoy some homemade Italian cuisine.

come a casa_paris_interior

come a casa_paris_kitchenWe were shown to our seats at a small table against the wall and immediately started browsing through the short but sweet menu. In regards to food, the choices are simple with only 3 main courses offered each day: an eggplant gratin, lasagna of the day, and a daily special. There is, of course, a more than adequate selection of appetizers, desserts and drinks (lots of great Italian wine!) to accompany your main course.

come a casa_paris_menuWe ordered a bottle of Italian red wine (I can’t remember what it was, as I have a terrible memory…especially after drinking, but it was around 30 Euros) recommended by Gianluca and to start, a plate of Chianti marinated beef carpaccio on a bed of arugula and grilled vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms and extremely juicy cherry tomatoes!) topped with shavings of Parmesan (16 Euros). The fine slithers of beef were divine and mixed perfectly with the vegetables that glistened with olive oil.

come a casa_paris_saladThen came our main dishes: porcini mushroom and provolone cheese lasagna (15 Euros) and the special of the day, which was ricotta, radish and asparagus ravioli combined with chopped asparagus and bresaola and mixed with a radish infused olive oil (16 Euros). My lasagna was delicious and not at all heavy like traditional meat lasagnas as it was filled instead with mushrooms, carrots and zucchini and topped with fresh basil. I tried a bite of ravioli which had a definite kick from the radishes, something that I had never tasted in a pasta dish before and found to be very refreshing. Both meals were extremely satisfying due to the expertly combined ingredients and the perfect portion sizes. We sat there chatting after our meal, trying not to be distracted by our neighbors, who we were almost brushing shoulders with (as I mentioned before, there’s not much space, but you soon adjust to this familial feel), as jazz music played lightly over the hushed conversations.

come a casa_paris_lasagna

come a casa_paris_ravioliGianluca returned to ask us if we wanted dessert and of course the answer was YES, as my friend C had said the tiramisu (8 Euros) was beyond awesome! I now have a confession to make: I’ve actually been here twice: the first time with my friend V and the second with the bf, which is why I didn’t specify at the beginning of this post. I know…I’m sneaky like that! Anyways, the first time I came with V we ordered a tiramisu and we were kind of disappointed as the mascarpone cream was too light and frothy and reminded me of egg whites. This time, however, it was how it should be: velvety, rich mascarpone cream mixed with coffee and alcohol soaked lady fingers and covered with a blanket of cocoa powder. I was happy to be able to report to V the next day that it was terrific the second time around, and we agreed that everyone has the right to an off-night!

come a casa_paris_tiramisu

Upon leaving I was already thinking about what I’d like to order next time, which is a positive sign, IMHO. So next time you’re in the mood for some creative and delectable Italian food, drop by Come a Casa, where there’s always something good cooking in this humble but homey kitchen!

come a casa_paris_cover menu

Restaurant Details:

7 Rue Pache, 75011 Paris

+33 (0)1 77 15 08 19

http://comeacasa7.tumblr.com/

My Rating:

4 glasses of Chianti out of 5