March 29, 2013
One of the things I miss most about LA is the wide array of ethnic restaurants available. From Korean to Persian to Ethiopian to Chilean, it’s easy to find solid, authentic, and often cheap eats from all over the world there.
Don’t get me wrong, Paris does have quite a few restaurants specializing in cuisines from other lands, but often (notably as is the case with sushi), it’s mediocre and overpriced. That’s why I love Happy Nouilles so much.
Located near Arts et Métiers, Happy Nouilles is a solid Chinese restaurant that specializes in noodle soups with hand-pulled noodles. I always go for the “Zati,” which has minced pork in a spicy miso broth. It’s one of the spicier things I’ve tried in Paris, with a heat that seems mild at first slurp but slowly builds up until you’re panting by the end of the bowl. This time around I tried it with filaments de ble instead of the hand-pulled lamen. The knife-cut noodles, similar to Korean kal guk soo, were thick and chewy and will be my new go-to.
March 27, 2013
After dinner at Les Cocottes last week, I eschewed the metro for a chilly walk back home, accompanied the whole way by the good ol’ iron lady herself.
I ran into something I didn’t even know existed in Paris: the flamme de la Liberté, a full-sized replica of the Statue of Liberty’s flame.
And then, of course, the bling. I never get tired of this.
March 25, 2013
Les Cocottes is one of those restaurants I’ve been hearing about for ages. Two years ago, when I visited Paris for the first time, a friend of mine in LA who had spent part of his honeymoon here insisted that I try one of Christian Constant’s restaurants, as he had had his favorite meal of his entire trip at Le Violon d’Ingres.
I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to visit this place, but what better way to visit than with resident expert, Carin? I think she goes to Les Cocottes as often as I go to Frenchie bar à vins, which is kind of saying a lot.
Ravioles de langoustines, mousseline d’artichauts
I started with the langoustine ravioli, which has been lauded far and wide in the Paris blog scene as the entrèe to get, and not without cause. The shellfish was as tender and sweet as any I’ve had, matched perfectly with the rich artichoke mousseline. And hiding the unattractively-colored mousseline under a blanket of creamy foam? Clever trick, that.
All of the dishes here — even the desserts — come in cast-iron Staub cocottes and pans, hence the name. It’s a cute concept, even though lots of these dishes were clearly not actually cooked in the cocottes in which they are served.
March 23, 2013
On a night so cold that my glasses immediately fogged up upon entering the building, I met up with T for drinks and snacks at Septime’s new offshoot bottle shop / wine bar.
Let’s get our expectations straightened out: Septime La Cave is not the kind of wine bar to which one goes for dinner. One goes for some nice little nibbles and a glass or two of beautiful wine.
There are bottles, which can be had for a €7 corkage fee, lining the walls. No tables to speak of, but a bit of counter space to work with.
March 21, 2013
Sing it with me: impeccably-sourced products, natural wine, chill ambiance, warm service…
Vivant is another contender in the list of modern bistros with spin-off wine bars in Paris (see: Frenchie, Verjus, Septime), and they’re doing it right. I went with lunch on a rare sunny day with A, who can eat with the best of them.
Risotto / encre de seiche
Gnocchi / ragout de canard
Both of our entrées were, surprisingly, Italian-themed and, less surprisingly, amazing. I dream about that gnocchi. Cloud-like pillows in a rich duck sauce, it blew the gnocchi I had at Le 6 Paul Bert the night before out of the water.
March 19, 2013
One day I found myself in Oberkampf, eating an engaging, entertaining lunch, sans DSLR. So what is a digitally inclined girl to do? Instagram it, of course.
Restaurant Pierre Sang takes no reservations — in fact, it has no phone — so get there early if you want a seat in the small space. If you can manage it, sit at the bar that faces into the open kitchen, where the chefs work right in front of you.
The menu of two, three, or four courses, is no-choice. They don’t even tell you what you’re eating until you’ve finished the plate. B and I had fun trying to guess what kind of grain was in the risotto-like curry above (answer: barley) and what kind of root vegetables were draped so colorfully over the sausage (answer: heirloom turnips and radishes).
March 17, 2013
I’ve been vagabonding around Paris of late, staying at one obliging friend’s apartment after another while they’re out of town, house-sitting or cat-sitting or what have you. It’s a great way to experience different parts of the city, to be sure, but it’s also a formula for feeling constantly not-quite-at-home.
There are things I do to make myself feel less like an interloper into someone else’s space: saturating the house with my favorite music; drinking inordinate amounts of tea while staring out of the windows, familiarizing myself with the view; making the kitchen smell like my kitchen.
One of the defining smells of the kitchen in which I grew up is sesame oil. My standard after-school snack when I was a little girl was a bowl of rice mixed with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil, the distinct nutty smell of the oil amplified by the heat of the rice.
This bowl of greens and grains is like a grown-up version of my carb-bomb after school snack. Delicate Brussels sprouts leaves and crunchy coconut are tossed in an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, walked quickly through the oven just to get them toasty, and served over hot, fluffy brown rice. I know it sounds way too healthy to be exciting, but trust me: this is some seriously addictive stuff, friends.