Spending time in Paris this month and couldn’t help but be taken in by the city’s food in all its glory. Sure it may be difficult to escape the tourist traps, but a couple of things I’ve learned this week has kept me happy in the search for good food on a shoestring budget.
1. Follow your nose.
2. Follow the line of people. Especially if they speak français.
3. Make a foodie friend.
4. Buy fruits and vegetables at the open air stand. Have the fruit and vegetable vendor choose your fruits and vegetables for you. Don’t select them yourself because you have no idea what you’re doing.
My happy selections included Eric Kayser Boulangerie, whereby the smell of bread baking brought me to its baguettes. Sure there were at least 15 people in a line that went out the door, but who cares? For 1,05 Euro, I bought what I think so far has been my favorite baguette in Paris. It had the crunch (that Amélie liked so much) as well as the chewiness. I stood in line again today at a different place for a simple chicken atop of a salad, at a take-away spot near the Louvre. It was probably the wisest lunch choice I made considering I’ve been having sandwiches of ham, cheese and butter from Paul’s three times this week alone.
I also made a friend who loves food as much as I do. She has a way of spotting the special places, and true to form, she and I happened upon Le Jardin d’en Face in Montmarte for dinner. It was such a lovely time in a sweet, little restaurant that served comfort French food. The folks who ran the restaurant were also very nice, even though I didn’t speak French very well. So they spoke a little English and even recommended some dishes. I have two must-eats when I come to France, and in this one meal, I savored both — foie gras and confit de canard. Yes, I started and ended my meal with duck. Foie gras first (don’t judge me!) in a ramekin with poached egg and warm foie gras on top served with crostini. Then I followed this deliciousness with a parmentier de confit de canard, which looks like a shepherd’s pie, but let’s just say it’s a shepherd’s pie in glory because the taste is extraordinary and not at all like a peas and onions and mashed potatoes shepherd’s pie. This parmentier was layered with potatoes (resembling mashed potatoes) on top and delicious succulent confit de canard on the bottom. I implore everyone to try duck confit if you get a chance. You will not regret it.
For dessert, again, following lines, I found Amorino, a gelateria whose servers shape your selection of gelato flavors into a flower. Each petal can be a different flavor, if you wish. And it was good. I’ve had gelato there three nights already. And I’m not done yet. A word of advice, you need to tell them how many flavors ahead of time so they can keep in mind the amount of petals per flavor. Also I’d suggest getting your favorite flavor as the center since you’ll end on that flavor. So much planning!
Lastly (at least for now), have the fruit vendor choose for you. They will always pick the best fruit. I selected a peach that wasn’t quite ready to eat, but the vendor selected a perfect fig. I had a lovely day eating the sweet fig (tasty and large) while hanging out at the Luxembourg Gardens (highly recommended place where you can have a picnic and just chill for a few hours).
Until next time, happy eating!