Monday, June 9, 2014

I Didn't Eat Enough in Paris!

A few weeks ago, we kicked off our 2014 European Vacation in Paris. Micah didn't really want to go to Paris but since we were going to Belgium (again) and Germany, I figured it was only fair that I got to go to Paris. 

We spent three nights in Paris and that wasn't nearly enough time to try the numerous restaurants I had bookmarked. I felt like we spent so much time walking and drinking that by the time chow time came around, I was exhausted. 

Here are some highlights of the Paris leg. 

Drinking Vin!

Our first few glasses of French wine were at Caves Bourdin in the 18th. It was in the area we were staying so it was perfect. We really wanted to try "natural" wines so one we tasted was the Beaujolais Villages and it was funky and perfect. 

Another place we really liked was a place called Wine Touch in the 4th district. It's the type of place where you get a card, put the card in the wine dispensing machine, pick the wine and serving size you would like.

It's a great way to try a bunch of new wines at a very reasonable price. Most small sample sizes were around 1-2 Euro.

This one was our favorite wines we had at Wine Touch. Even though the Bourgognes (from Burgundy area) are supposed to be more "feminine," Micah and I loved it. This one is listed as "culture traditionalle." 

The few days we were in Paris was also the kickoff for Paris' first ever Paris Craft Beer Week! What are the odds of that happening? I didn't even plan it! Paris' craft beer scene is growing, albeit slowly. It's probably where Austin was a decade ago. All of the beer bars we visited were packed, so Parisians definitely want good beer. 

The only stand-alone brewery we visited was Brasserie de la Goutte d'Or in the 18th. I actually saw this place on Esquire's Getaway show with Aisha Tyler. While I didn't love any of their beers, Micah did buy a bottle of their smoked beer (Charbon-niere) to bring home. 

A brewpub we visited was Bar Demory Paris. We opted for the flight to see what they had to offer. The pilsner was good and their Nova Noir (schwarzbier) was sour but I don't think it was supposed to be sour. This place was packed the Sat. night we visited! They were having some Quebec beers on tap for the Beer Week. 

We also checked out Les Trois 8, which is a stand alone beer bar. This place was also packed to the gills! You can see folks spilling out into the street in the picture above. They have a good selection of Paris-made beers on tap and some Belgian beers as well. I would say that a pint of beer in Paris usually cost around 5 Euros - so a little pricey compared to the states. 

I can't say the beer in Paris was great but it was nice to try some of the beers they had to offer and to see that their beer scene is growing! Say "no" to Leffe, go local. 

Eating Paris!

Finally getting around to the food! Of course I wanted to eat at Frenchie and Bistro Paul Bert, but it was not in the cards on this trip. I guess I'll just have to make a return trip to Paris in the future! 

As you would've guessed, the pastries and breads are divine! People buy their baguettes daily. Le Grenier de Pain on Abbesses was our favorite place near the rental apartment to pick up croissants. 

Check out that crusty bread!

On one day, we went to a fromage shop near the apartment, got three cheeses, some jelly and some bread and made a "light" lunch at the apartment. It was perfect. 

Another place near our apartment was Coquelicot. We had a great breakfast here (which we needed since we were doing a full day of sightseeing that day, starting with the Louvre). The best thing about this place? They serve the coffee in BOWLS. Who needs a cup? 

What's a trip to Paris without a crepe? These were at West Country Girl, odd name, right? These little bundles of joy were filled with emmental cheese, eggs and spinach and mushrooms. Perfectly crisp and gooey. This place is so small so they usually take reservations -- we managed to get seated on a Friday night with only a 10 min. wait. 

Steak tartare! I probably have mad cow disease now. Wait, you can't cook out mad cow anyway... so give me the raw meat!

I also had to check out Berthillon. Some say it's the best la glace in Paris. I got the fresh strawberries and it was glorious. Tart with chunks of small berries in it. I don't know if it's the best ice cream in Paris, but it was pretty good! The line can be a bit long, but it moves pretty fast. I think we only had to wait in line for 10 minutes.

On our last night in Paris, we were dead-set on a eating a GREAT meal. We ended up going with La Cave Gourmande on Rue des Martyrs in the 18th. It was near our apartment, so it was perfect. A lot of locals actually eat in the area so we knew it was going to be good. 

The chalkboard menu in French (they also have an English menu).

My sister and I decided to start the dinner with some roasted bone marrow. This was probably the best bone marrow I've had (besides the stuff in pho). It was perfectly roasted and served with some sea salt and crunchy bread to sop it up! You kind of need that salad to cut the fattiness of it all.

Bone marrow on some toast. It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

Our next dish was the escargot served with butter and herby goodness. Micah's not a huge fan of escargot but he did eat some of these.

And then this beef bourguignon came out. The stew came in a small cast iron pot with a plate of perfect mashed potatoes.

Plop the meat on the plate and it looks like this. The stew had sweet pearl onions and bits of bacon. 

The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender and you can still taste the red wine used to cook the stew. The sauce was rich but not where you get sick of it. Yum!

I will be dreaming about that beef dish for the rest of my life. 

Tourist shenanigans

Not only did we eat and drink, we did get some touristy things in. I will say that I did not LOVE Paris. It's kind of dirty (lots of cig butts everywhere, dog poo and trash). I can't imagine using the Metro during peak of summer! Blech. And a lot of men don't use deodorant. That's gross. 

But, I did enjoy the food and the sites. We did good and didn't have to wait in line for the Louvre or Notre Dame. Score!

Will I go back? Of course! J'aime manger (I like to eat)!

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