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: 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

 

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Paris Restaurant Review: Luz Verde

Luz Verde has only been open for about a month but this place has already got quite a following and is the talk of the town amongst the trendy Parisian crowd…so obviously I had to check it out! As these places get packed around 8pm I called up a friend and suggested we meet after work at 7:30pm, to be sure to get a seat. As expected, the place was fairly empty and we managed to pick a spot next to the window, decorated with Mexican skulls and some peppers and avocados from the kitchen.

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luz verde_exterior window

My first impression was very positive: the stone walls blended well with the wooden tables and the long bar, lit with hanging lights that were sheltered with basket-like shades. It was dimly lit inside, but warm at the same time. I also noted that they were playing Raphael Saadiq’s “The way I see it” album, which made me instantly appreciate the place even more (it’s a great CD, FYI). We took a look at the drink menu and saw a list of various French wines and beers (5-6 Euros). I asked the friendly guy at the bar if they had other drinks available (because I had heard they have cocktails), and he informed me that on Saturday they have guest barmen come in and prepare various cocktails but in the week they only offer a frozen margarita (10 Euros). Wanting to do the whole Mexican thing, we chose the margarita, which was fine but came out of a slushy machine and was nothing special, if I’m being completely honest.

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luz verde_menu_carte

On to the menu: we decided to share 4 dishes between us (as we are both on a budget), thinking it would be enough and forgetting that in these hip places the portions are always itty bitty! We ordered quesadillas, filled with refried beans and cheese (and that I could have eaten in one bite; 5 Euros for 2), chicken tacos (2 corn flour tortillas filled with spicy chicken, red peppers, corn and onions; 6 Euros),  vegetarian tacos (which were super original, with shredded carrot and cabbage in lime juice and topped with ricotta cheese and peanuts; 5 euros) and finally the ceviche (11 Euros), presented as a colorful and artistic display of thickly sliced bonito fish (a mackerel-like fish apparently, I had to Google it!) with radish, grapefruit, cucumber balls, pomegranate seeds and shredded beetroot. Super delicious!!!! We suddenly wished that we didn’t have to share, but I guess it made us savor each bite even more!

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My friend saved the day by noticing a small brown sack on the table that was hidden from my view and that was full of bread. We hungrily ate each slice, wiping up the last bit of vinaigrette from the ceviche and wishing that some sort of fairy grub-mother could come in, wave her magic wand and make more of their tasty dishes appear on our plates. Long story short, we were left wanting more.

luz verde_ceviche

By this time the place was packed with well-dressed people (and others curiously peering in from the outside) and we had managed to rake up a bill of 47 Euros. So we paid the waiter, who happened to be the Australian cousin of one of the owners and was super nice, and left the buzzing restaurant to step outside into the cold Parisian streets.

luz_verde_interior

What I learned was this: if I come here again, which I’d like to (as I would love to try all of their dishes), I would not get the margarita, and instead go for a glass of wine and another order of tacos…maybe the lamb or pork ones…*drools*! I noticed they had a 1.3 kg prime rib on the menu, to share, with potatoes and salad, so I’m sure that this dish would be good too. I’ll know for next time! Overall I enjoyed my evening at Luz Verde and think it’s a great place to meet up with friends for relaxed drinks and some light eats.

Restaurant Details:

24 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris (yes, it’s right next to Buvette!)

+33 (0)1 74 64 29 04

https://www.facebook.com/luzverdeparis

My Rating:

4 tiny but delicious tacos out of 5!