36hrs (or so) of eating / Food Travel Europe / Paris

36 Hours (or so) of eating and drinking in Paris

36 Hours in Paris, how much (food) damage could I do? Armed with my list from my past trip to Paris, and the leftover confidence of knowing exactly where I wanted to wander, I knew I could aim for food happiness in the short time I’d be in Paris.

Monday early afternoon: My mid-morning flight from Rome to Paris, brought me to CDG airport early afternoon, and thanks to the speedy RER, I was at my hotel just before 2pm. On my last trip to Paris, I’d rented an apartment in the Marais, which was perfect. This time, I wanted to stay somewhere different to get a feel for somewhere new. I remember liking the St Germain area for its abundance of dining/drinking/shopping establishments while still being untouristy which is why I chose it for my 2 night stay.

As I surfaced to ground level from the metro station and rolled my luggage the block to my hotel, I noticed I had a bounce in my step and my mind felt so comfortable. I couldn’t wait to see what I could accomplish in 36 hours.

View from my charming room at the very well situated Left Bank Hotel.

View from my charming room at the very well situated Left Bank Hotel.

Hungry for lunch, but not wanting to spoil my appetite for an early dinner reservation, I wanted something amazing but not a lot of it. By then it was almost 3pm, so I wondered if I could get into  “always packed” wine and hors d’oeuvre bar, L’Avant Comptoir which was located less than a block from my hotel. I was giddy with delight to find there was room at their standing bar, (everyone stands at this place) to come in for a bite.

I thought I was ordering a glass of sparkling, I guess I was lost in translation. Oh well, I was more than happy to say "salut" to Paris with a glass of white wine.

I thought I was ordering a glass of sparkling, I guess I was lost in translation. Oh well, I was more than happy to say “sante” to Paris with a glass of white wine.

"L'Avant Comptoir Paris asparagus"

This little plate of asparagus sang Spring in Paris.

"L'Avant Comptoir chicken fries"

Light and crispy fried chicken with fries and a dollop of mustard-y potato salad

"L'Avant Comptoir Paris croquettes"

Ham Croquettes didn’t look like anything special when they hit the zinc counter, but inside they were ooey gooey cheesy creamy good.

"L'Avant Comptoir foie gras macaron"

Foie gras macaron could have been a cool concept gone wrong, but it turned out to be a great combination of 2 of my favourite things!

"L'Avant Comptoir Paris"

If I were in Paris for more time, I would have tried to return to try more awesome little bites, but I’ll have to wait until next time.

Monday late afternoon: I hadn’t planned on anything specific in Paris other than eating, so in my in between (eating) times, I wandered the city, remembering why I love it so much there. And of course with so much wandering, I was able to sneak in a few treats along the way.

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Monday evening: My first dinner in Paris was my much-anticipated meal at Septime, which happened to be open on a Monday night unlike many restaurants in Paris. I was so happy when the dinner exceeded my high expectations, although the appearance of rain did put a damper on an evening stroll through the streets. Instead I put my tired feet to bed so I’d be ready to conquer my one full day in Paris.

Tuesday morning: Usually not one for breakfast, but in Paris I can’t keep myself away from the enticing aromas emitting from the many bakeries. With Eric Kayser right across the street, how could I resist walking in?

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With buttery goodness in hand, it was off to explore the city before the crowds and looming clouds took over. I had a list of sites I wanted to revisit, and with afternoon showers in the forecast I wanted to stay ahead of the weather. I was motivated to hit as many major sites as I could in the day to get photos because I’ve had 2 hard drive crashes since my last visit to Paris which has resulted in me losing almost all of my photos from that trip.

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I worked up a bit of a hunger after all of my power walking to justify another sweet. Luckily, there’s always an amazing bakery just around corner.

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At the Arc de Triomphe, I realized that I was not going to win over the weather and that I should just put my camera down and try to just enjoy being in Paris for the remainder of the time left rather than try to recapture past memories. Although I must admit, when it came to recapturing memories, I was more than happy to go back to a favourite from my past trip for lunch.

Tuesday Afternoon: So many choices, so little time. I hesitated a bit for choosing to return to a favorite from my last trip to Paris, but I knew that I’d have a wonderful lunch at Les Cocottes. Chef Christian Constant was another leader in the bistronomie movement over 5 years ago and Les Cocottes is a wonderful example of uncomplicated and delicious French food served in a relaxed atmosphere. This is comfort food to the max, and on a cold and rainy day in Paris, it was just what I wanted.

I just had to start the meal with a glass of sparkling.

I just had to start the meal with a glass of sparkling, I was in Paris after all!

"Les Cocottes Paris lardon egg"

Luscious poached egg and lardons on top of arugula.

"Les Cocottes Paris pigs feet potatoes"

Caramelized potatoes stuffed with pigs feet is the dish at Les Cocottes I’ve thought about for years and it lived up to my memory of it.

"Les Cocottes Paris chicken"

Roast chicken special with fries.

" Cocottes Christian Constant"

As an added bonus Chef Constant was in and out of the restaurant while I was there. I’m always happy when I see the chef in their restaurant, which seems to happen less and less these days.

With the rains in full force, I was left to pass the time with some last-minute shopping in Paris. Awww shucks, how horrible for me… The wonderful thing about Paris is that there are so many ways to wash away your sorrows.

Chocolate eclair from Eric Kayser.

Chocolate eclair from Eric Kayser.

Tuesday evening: When I was planning my trip to Paris 4 years ago, my in-laws gave me a business card to a restaurant and told me I had to go. And while L’Ami Jean was appealing, it didn’t work in my plans on that trip. But in the meantime, my in-laws have continued to talk about L’Ami Jean, and when I’d mentioned I’d be going back to Paris, they said this time I must go. I have full trust in their food suggestions (and knowing I would keep hearing about their wonderful time at L’Ami Jean until I myself went), I made dinner reservations there for my last night on vacation.

The restaurant is tiny and the tables are packed together, so that it’s impossible to not to get into conversation with your neighbours. It also gave a great opportunity to see what everyone else was eating and get to ask about it. The couple to my left ordered the gigantic cote de boeuf, which looked insanely delicious but was just too much food. I knew instinctively though, that whatever I ordered was not going to live up to that beef dish.

"Chez L'ami Jean Asparagus"

The parties on both sides raved about the asparagus, so I had to order it. Clean, simple and delicious, a wonderful way to start the meal.

"Chez L'Ami Jean Paris foie gras"

You can really only justify ordering a huge foie gras dish while you’re in Paris, so I did. Simply seared and nestled on top of carefully prepared vegetables. This is “last night on vacation indulgence” at its best.

"Chez L'Ami Jean beef"

Beef shoulder cooked many many hours was melt in your mouth wonderful. But the silky creamy mashed potatoes that came with this dish was the definite highlight.

"Chez L'Ami Jean rice pudding"

Rice pudding is a tough sell for me, but I’ve heard it’s a must here. If rice pudding were always as good as this, it wouldn’t be a tough sell.

The meal at Chez L’Ami Jean was amazing, but there was something about being crammed in the space that left me a bit unable to relax into the meal. I’m not complaining though. I had 36 hours to devour Paris, and I know I did one heck of a job doing so.

With so many places I want to go to in Paris still left on my list, I know I’ll be back again soon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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