• Paris
  • In my last Paris post I gave my top 6 favorite things to do in Paris but I didn’t get a chance to talk about the best places to eat.  I’m no food expert but we do enjoy trying new restaurants, here are our top favorite places to eat in Paris.

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    La Regalade Saint Honore. For a bit of a nicer night out, not too fancy but fantastic. Classic Paris bistro and a great example of a perfect Paris bistro experience. La Regalade has the best rice pudding you’ll ever have in your life. Never had rice pudding? Think you you won’t like it? Try it! Seriously. You do need reservations for this one but we haven’t had a problem getting them if we call a few days or week in advance. There are two locations so make sure you’re calling the right one when making reservations or getting directions. Located in the 1st. The one we’ve gone to is the one located on Saint Honore.

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    Frenchie Wine Bar. It’s a no reservation, first-come first-serve wine bar across the street from Frenchie restaurant.  Opens at 7pm, go a little early to get a spot. Small plates, fresh ingredients, wonderful wine selection.  We went last summer towards the end of our stay and everything was so wonderful (including atmosphere, food and wine) that I had wished we had tried it earlier in our visit so we could have gone back.

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    Les Cocottes. Great fairly casual but nice dinner place in the 7th. No reservations allowed, so you’ll wait in line for a seat. It’s pretty great though. Everything is served in little pots.

    L’as du Falafel. If you like falafel, perhaps the best in the world. Great place for a cheap lunch in the Marais. Located in the 4th. This street is known for having a lot of falafel places but L’as du Falafel is the standout.

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    Briezh Cafe. Best crepes ever. Make reservations, even for lunch as it’s a tiny place. Totally worth it though. Make sure to get the caramel au beurre salé (salted butter) crepe. It’s life changing. We got lucky one time and went at a random time between lunch and dinner and were able to get a spot in the gift shop (they serve food there too).

    Berthillon. Fantastic ice cream place on Ile Saint-Louis. Draws a big crowd. Located in the 4th. Make sure not to stop at the 10 other shops that sell Berthillon ice cream on your way, go to the original location!

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    Chez L’ami Jean. Super cramped and old, but amazing amazing food. Check out my post to see more of the great food. They have some great rice pudding. Located in the 7th.

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    Paris Food Truck, Street Food, or Creperie. It’s not always about fancy French food. And these places are everywhere. Make sure you eat plenty of banana and nutella crepes, kabobs, burgers, etc. If I were to recommend a great lunch place, Cantine California is delicious. They drive to two locations each week. If you’re craving a really good burger and fries or an awesome taco go here.

    There’s also a ton of restaurants that are more difficult (maybe impossible) to get into, but if you can, they’re totally worth it. Fine dining at reasonable prices. A couple really good examples are Septime, Frenchie, and La Chateaubriand. However, if you want the real Paris Bistro experience I can’t recommend La Régalade enough , which I mentioned above.

  • Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    I’ve started counting down the days until we leave for Paris and I can’t stop thinking about how much fun it’s going to be (and how many things we need to accomplish before we can walk on that airplane)!

    We’ve had a handful of friends who have asked us if we have recommendations for them while they’re in Paris. And of course we do! I’ve been wanting to share some of our favorite places and things to do and thought now was the perfect time as the countdown continues. To start, here are a few sightseeing recommendations for anyone visiting Paris. Of course, these are just a few of our favorites, you can see other things we’ve done in Paris by reading some of the other Paris blog posts I’ve written about this wonderful city.

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Walking Tour of Paris. There are tons of self-guided and organized tours of Paris. You choose which you’d prefer but Paris is a very walkable city and you should take full advantage! And what’s great about a walking tour of the city is that by the end you’ve seen a lot of the awesome sights all in just one morning or afternoon.  If you don’t have it already, get Rick Steves’ Guide to Paris. Or if you’re traveling around the country get Rick Steves’ Guide to France. It’s fantastic and will save you tons of time in lines, give you great advice on accommodations, etc. Best guidebook ever. And since you have Rick Steves’ book, take one of his walking tours. He has great guides in his book or even better, he has an app that you can download on your phone or iPod and listen to while you’re walking. The app even comes with a map that you can follow. He has audio tours for the Louvre, the Orsay, Versailles Palace, and Historic Paris Walk.

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Go to the Eiffel Tower (in the day and at night). If you can only go once, go at night! In fact, go sometime a little before 9 or 10pm, take a bottle of wine (and opener) and a blanket. It’s awesome. Every evening the Eiffel Tower sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour. It’s one of our favorite things in the whole world. If you have time, climb the tower but it’s really not necessary. There are tons of places that you can get a great view of the city.

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Go to a museum. The Louvre is awesome. The D’Orsay is awesome. Rodin is awesome. Pompideau (modern art) is great if you want to look at the building from the outside (not the one I’d choose to pay to go to unless you’re really into modern art).

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Go to a market. There are a bunch of great outdoor food markets that are a lot of fun. The one near the Bastille is the largest, and runs Thursday and Sunday mornings from 9 to noonish. It’s fun just to walk up and down the isles looking at all of the beautiful food, flowers and random selection of household items.

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Go to a park or garden. I highly recommend the Tuileries Garden or the Luxembourg Garden. These are huge gardens/parks. Take some lunch and do a little people watching! If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, try Place des Vosges, located in the Marais district.

    Top 6 Things To Do In Paris

    Go on a tour. These past two summers I’ve gone on a Cheese Tasting Tour and then a Taste of Saint-Germain Food Tour. I’ve had really good experience with Paris By Mouth but there are many other companies that offer great options. This summer I’m hoping to try going on some type of tour using Vayable.com. They offer tons of unique tours and experiences for anyone visiting a variety of cities, including Paris. Some of the ones I want to do are Paris Design Tour, Learn to Eat Like a Local, Wine Tasting, and Paris Flea Market Tour.

    I’ve told you six of our top Paris recommendations and really, our favorite things to do but I haven’t mentioned anything about food. If you’re looking for places to eat, check out my next post, I’ll be listing a few places that we think are worth your time.

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  • blend_001

    Here’s another quick post about a great spot we had lunch at while we were in Paris last summer.  I’m not a big hamburger fan but after having this hamburger and one at Cantine California food truck, I really started craving a nice quality burger and fresh, homemade fries.  Like Cantine California, Blend uses fresh, high-quality, local ingredients.  Blend must be doing something right because they’ve recently opened up a second location.  Can’t wait to go back this summer!

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  • Parisian Cafés

    December 28, 2013

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    I love Parisian cafes.  I especially love how the chairs and the people always face out towards the street.  Admit it, people watching is fun and a seat outside at a Parisian cafe, with a glass of wine and those free peanuts they give you, is the best way to do it.

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  • gyoza_003

    I love having a husband who enjoys food and loves trying out new restaurants.  While in Paris, one afternoon we went for a walk and ended up at this fabulous restaurant known for their gyoza, appropriately called the Gyoza Bar.

    If you don’t know what gyoza is, which I didn’t before going, gyoza are crescent-shaped pan-fried Japanese dumplings, and  in other words, potstickers.  When Dusty said we were going to place that was known for gyoza I thought that gyoza was one of their specialities.  I wasn’t expecting that this was the only thing they served.  I wish there were more place like this in Omaha, a place known for one thing, that serves that one thing to perfection.

    The restaurant is tucked away in the beautiful Passage Panorama.  The space was very small but zen (what I mean is that it didn’t seem cramped like you’d expect, it was very calm and relaxing).  The entire place includes counter seating for 12 around a bar that holds the very small kitchen (although there’s not much cooking going on since there are only three items on the menu).  We also saw people coming and going out a door in the back so I’m assuming there’s a small amount of setting in another room as well but not much.

    The three menu items include rice, sesame marinated bean sprouts and a choice of either 8 or 12 gyoza.  The dumplings are made with ground pork loin from a star butcher in Paris and everything is prepared fresh and in-house.  The dumplings are grilled to order in one of 4 cast-iron dumpling pans.

    I was so fascinated to watch them prepare the gyoza.  There’s a special pan that is oiled, then go in the dumplings, a little water is added, and the whole thing is sealed for less than 10 minutes. Out comes a perfect dumpling that’s crisp on one side and steamed on the other. And then there’s some delicious ponzu sauce that comes on the side for dipping.

    Dusty ordered 12 gyoza, I ordered 8 and we both ordered some rice.  We had a wonderful lunch and every time I see potstickers on a menu I think back to our delicious meal at the Gyoza Bar.

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  • Lunch at Verjus

    October 22, 2013

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    What a lovely story, an American couple moved to Paris, started what they called the Hidden Kitchen, creating a restaurant of sorts in their apartment, serving spectacular ten-course dinners.  Then they opened Verjus, serving contemporary American dishes that earned them rave reviews. Then came Verjus Wine bar downstairs, serving less expensive small-plates.  And most recently they have opened the wine bar for lunch, serving sandwiches that were inspired by the gourmet restaurant sandwiches they miss from the States.  Each sandwich on the menu gives tribute to a different style of sandwich.  We’ve been wanting to try out all three places so we started with lunch this summer and hopefully will get to try out the others.

    For 15 euros, you choose one of the sandwiches, a dessert and a non-alcoholic drink (ginger beer, “limonade”, flat or fizzy water). Of course they also serve beer and glasses of wines.

    The sandwich choices we had were:

    • Mr. Chang’s Buns (Momofuku, East Village, NYC) – braised pork belly, steamed Chinese buns, hoisin sauce, pickles and scallions
    • Bakesale Betty (The hottest chicken sandwich in Oakland, CA) – Verjus’ famous fried chicken, Morgan’s buns, cabbage slaw with shallots and parsley and spicy mustard vinaigrette
    • Midnight Cuban (Paseo, Seattle, WA) – marinated and tender braised pork shoulder, roasted garlic mayo, cilantro and pickled chilies on grilled baguette

    Dusty had Mr. Chang’s Buns and I had the Bakesale Betty.  As expected, both sandwiches were delicious and the desserts were delightful.  We ate in the wine bar but you can also get everything to go which I would love to do next time because they have some beautiful parks close by that you could bring your lunch to and people watch.

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    Here you can see the entrance to Verjus Wine Bar and if you follow the steps to the right it will lead you to the entrance to the restaurant upstairs.  We’ve always wanted to go to the wine bar (we’ve heard good things about their small-plates) but it’s super small (approximately 12 barstools) and as you can expect is very popular.  The times we’ve walked by in the evening it’s standing room only with a line forming of sorts outside.

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  • pozetto_002

    Our trip this summer to Paris was all about food (really, aren’t all of our trips about food) but since I was pregnant, I made a special effort to try all the desserts and sweets I could.  So, on my bucket list was an ice cream shop I had heard about called Pozzetto.

    The most talked about and maybe most famous ice cream in Paris is Berthillon, but I I’ve already had their ice cream and needed to try something new.  Plus, Berthillon has delicious ice cream but it’s sold everywhere in Paris.  Pozzetto’s has just two locations in Paris and one of them was located very close to us in the Marais.

    I went there twice this summer and still dream about their gelato.  The first time we went, we stood in line and when we got to the window I ordered three flavors of ice cream in a huge cone.  Please remember I was pregnant, it was warm that day and we had been walking for hours, and on our way back to the apartment.  After ordering, the gentleman at the window mentioned something about two spoons and I looked at Dusty and said something like, “oh no, that’s just my order”.  And I ate it all!

    Something I found out that first time we went is that they don’t charge you by the scoop but rather by the cone or cup size.  They go ahead and fill it up with as many flavors as you want!  So, I’m not quite sure what their cone sizes are but I must have ordered a cone big enough that they thought I was sharing.

    I’ve only tried three flavors, Cafe’ Costadoro, Stracciatella and a third I can’t remember, but my favorite was the coffee flavored gelato.  I don’t drink coffee but this ice cream was so delicious.

    From what I’ve heard, all of Pozzetto’s gelatos and sorbets are prepared daily, focusing on top quality milk and the best seasonal ingredients.  There are only 12 flavors at a time, including seasonal classics and some creative parfums du mois.

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  • L’Avant Comptoir

    October 19, 2013

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    The other day I wrote about our beautiful dinner at Le Comptoir du Relais and mentioned that Chef Yves Camdeborde also has a little standing room only wine shop next door that serves small plates called L’Avant Comptoir.

    This was another spot we really wanted to try because of all the hype. We had walked by a time or two but were always on our way somewhere and we were a little fearful because when I say “standing room only” I really mean it.  I’m not quite sure how many people can actually fit in the place (there’s some debate as to how many people can fit) but in comparison to any spot in the US, the place is probably the same size as the hallway to the restroom in your favorite restaurant.  And there’s always a crowd.  But don’t let this scare you off, the food and wine were beyond words delicious and the atmosphere is great!

    L’Avant Comptoir can be described as a little piece of gastronomic delight that serves phenomenal small plates (our favorite thing to eat) as well as equally delicious wines. One late afternoon we were in the neighborhood and walking by noticed that there were only a few people in the place.  After a little hesitation we ventured in.  Thank goodness our first encounter was on this slow late afternoon because on most evenings getting the bartender’s/chef’s attention is for the fierce and mighty and for newbies an afternoon visit was perfect.  The staff was very pleasant and welcoming the afternoon we went.

    After settling up to the counter and carving ourselves out a spot we were given a wine list and told to look above our heads for the food menu.  Plastic menu cards hanging from the ceiling with pictures and a small chalkboard with a few additional special charcuteries told us all we needed to know for food.  There were also crepes being sold out the street-side window (which I want to try the next time we go).

    After checking out the menu cards as well as some of the small plates others around us were eating, we picked a handful, ordered and waited for our adventure to begin.

    On the counter there was a jar of delicious homemade pickles, a basket of bread and a plate of butter for all patrons to share.  Just a side note, something I love about Paris is the communal bread.  I know people will say how unsanitary this is but I really enjoy how it makes me feel like I’m at home and the person next to me is my friend.  Everyone’s sharing.

    Needless to say, everything we ordered was amazing!  It was so much more than I had expected from such a small place.  Each dish was sophisticated with complex tastes yet simple at the same time.

    The second time we went we ended up meeting up with some Omaha friends who were visiting Paris.  We were there during peak hours and it was a lot of fun.  Once you know how to wiggle your way up to the bar (or your husband knows how to do it), order and then find yourself a cozy spot somewhere you’re set!  I wasn’t drinking (pregnant, remember) but everyone else shared a bottle of wine and a few small plates.  We stood outside the door because there was no room inside and then became friends with the other patrons.

    I’m not sure what my favorite part is about this place, the number of people who squeeze into this phenomenal little place (something that would never happen in the States–the police wouldn’t let you), the unassuming but delicious food, or how you see both locals and tourists shoulder to shoulder drinking wine and enjoying each others company.  If I can offer one piece of advice, go during off-peak hours or be prepared to get to know the person next to you!

    l'avantcomptoir_002 l'avantcomptoir_003Tataki de thon (Seared tuna tataki)

    l'avantcomptoir_004Croquettes de jambon (Ham croquettes)

    l'avantcomptoir_005Carpaccio with parmesan and olive oil

    l'avantcomptoir_006Poitrine de porc caramelisee (Caramelised pork belly)

    l'avantcomptoir_007Lou regalet bearnais tomate-jambon (Bruschetta on toasted baguette topped with ham)

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  • Le Comptoir du Relais

    October 14, 2013

    Here’s another update from our summer food adventures in Paris.  There’s been a lot written about chef Yves Camdeborde and his bistro Le Comptoir du Relais as well as his little standing room only wine bar, L’Avant Comptoir (located next door).  Maybe these two places are so popular because chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Thomas Keller have raved about them.

    Just a little history, Yves Camdeborde left a three-star restaurant to open his own bistro, La Régalade (one of our favorite places to eat in Paris and in my opinion, has the best rice pudding), which he sold years ago to open Le Comptoir, meaning “counter”. Chef Camdeborde is known as the father of bistronomy, serving high-quality food in a casual bistro setting.

    To get a table at Le Comptoir de Relais you need to make reservations months in advance for a prix fixe dinner on weekdays, or wait in line for lunch or weekends when they serve their “brasserie menu”.  On one of our last nights in Paris we stood in line to get in (I won’t mention how long we waited because I’m a little embarrassed we waited so long but we didn’t have anything else going on and the food looked delicious).  And on a side note, there were two celebrities (BJ Novak from the Office and Ben Feldman, who’s currently on Mad Men). standing in line a few people ahead of us, and if they were waiting to get a table I felt like we could too.  For those wanting to go, I suggest getting there a little before noon or early in the evening to beat the crowd and ensure that you don’t have to wait long in line.

    So, after a very long and cold wait we sat at a very cozy table outside.  In our opinions, the food was delicious, service was great, and Le Comptoir du Relais lives up to all the hype.  It’s worth the wait, and if you’re not able to wait, make sure to stop by Chef Camdeborde’s L’Avant Comptoir next door.

    Le Comptoir de Relais_001Bisque de homard bleu Europeen froide ou chaude (Lobster bisque)

    Le Comptoir de Relais_002Evening Special – Some sort of farro risotto

    Le Comptoir de Relais_003Souris d’agneau braisee semoule et fruits secs (Braised lamb, white beans, dried fruit)

    Le Comptoir de Relais_004Thon rouge rôti <bleue> a la plancha legumes de saison (Seared tuna with seasonal grilled vegetables)

    Le Comptoir de Relais_005Riz au lait cremeux sauce caramel (Creamy rice pudding with caramel sauce)

    Le Comptoir de Relais_006Pot de creme ou caramel beurre sale (Pot of cream with salted caramel sauce )

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    This is the only picture I have of the restaurant, which Dusty took with his phone while we were waiting.  I wanted him to take a picture of the “famous” people I spotted in line and who we then proceeded to watch eat dinner.  As you can see, he only got a picture of the back/side of Ben Feldman and two seats to his right is BJ Novak but he was cut off.  That’s the best he could do without looking like he was purposely taking a picture.  They had several people stop them in line to get their picture taken with the duo but Dusty said I couldn’t ask.  We sat at a table on the left where you currently see a group of women are seated.

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  • Crêpes at Breizh Cafe

    August 17, 2013

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    We’ve read that one of the best places in Paris to get a crêpe is the Breizh Cafe, located in the Marais.  So I put Breizh Cafe on my Paris Bucket List.  On our second day in Paris we thought we’d try to get our first crêpe fix and were disappointed to learn reservations are a must unless you go during non-peak hours but really, to be safe, just make reservations.  Reservations don’t need to be made really far in advance, just the day before or even earlier in the day.  A few days later we went back with reservations and I must agree that the Breizh Cafe does have (in my opinion) the best dessert crêpe and a high quality galette.

    “Breizh” means “Brittany” in the Breton language and the menu includes some of the highlights of the Brittany region. Breizh Cafe specializes in galettes.  Something I learned this summer is that a regular crêpe made with white flour is called a crêpe, and one made with buckwheat flour is called a galette. Desserts are usually served on regular flour crêpes.  Breizh galettes are made with organic buckwheat flour and filled with organic ingredients and the butter is Bordier (our favorite butter).  The beverage of choice is cider, mostly organic from small producers.

    We went while Allison was visiting so Dusty and Allison shared some hard cider and both got one of the galette specials of the day that had smoked duck, white asparagus, egg, and cheese.  I ordered one of the more classic galettes with ham, egg, mushrooms and cheese.  For dessert Dusty got the recommended caramel au beurre salé avec chantilly crêpe (crêpe topped with caramel sauce and homemade whipped cream) and I got a crêpe with chocolate and whipped cream.

    Hands down, Dusty’s crêpe drizzled with salted butter caramel was the best crêpe I’ve ever had.  Now, there will always be a place in my heart for a nutella and banana crêpe from a street vendor but nothing will compare to the salted butter caramel topping at the Breizh Cafe.  I don’t often regret not ordering something but this was one of those times (even though mine was excellent).  We loved the caramel au beurre salé crêpe so much that a couple of days before we left Paris we went back during one of those off hours and ordered two delicious crêpes drizzled with caramel sauce.  This is the kind of crêpe that you don’t share because it’s that good.  I’m still wishing we would have gone there at least a few more times.

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