TRAVEL - Paris Highlights
It goes without saying that Paris is one of the premier food destinations in the whole world and as the first stop in our European holiday, I couldn't wait to get started. I've been to Paris before but never really took the time to do very much meal planning for previous trips with friends. This time around we left some room for flexibility but made reservations at least a few days ahead of time so that we wouldn't be caught scrambling at the last minute.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. Just about any Parisian cafe (#cafelife)
Jet-lagged and a bit groggy from the red-eye flight over, we checked into our lovely hotel (thanks Jetsetter for the tip) and then it was straight to meet up with our good friends Alex and Jim, who happened to also in the city on the tail end of their honeymoon trip. We looked for the most quintessentially "Parisian" looking cafe near the Ecole Militaire metro stop and were not disappointed. Tucking into classic cafe snacks like a croque monsieur (loaded with cheese on top of and between the slices of bread, bien sur) and Bloody Marys was a great way to kick start the trip.
2. Restaurant Spring
Much has been written about Spring, a prix-fixe only spot operated by American chef-owner Daniel Rose. I’m going to do a more extensive play-by-play in a full review of the restaurant later but suffice to say that while it might be disconcerting to other visitors that literally every other table in the small 10-table restaurant was occupied by other fellow Americans that night (which is actually somewhat of a surreal experience), I found the food delicious, thoughtful and well-executed. Pictured is the excellent pan-seared hake, with anchovies, fennel, cockles and seaweed.
3. Les Bonnes Soeurs
We stumbled upon Les Bonnes Soeurs in Le Marais after walking around the narrow, cobble-stone streets lined with cafes and fashionable boutiques. When we showed up there were a few tables empty in the small café and we were able to snag a (very) narrow two-top in the middle of the restaurant. Turns out it’s quite the hipster hotspot – half an hour after we arrived, there was a line out the door and the clientele increasingly resembling Sunday brunch hour in Park Slope. Normally this would be annoy me but the food turned out to be fantastic. My salmon eggs benedict were hands down the best eggs bennie I’ve had in a good many years. Great frites and even the standard side salad was delicious.
4. Aux Cadrans
We were about to catch our train to Lyon, the next stop in our Eurotrip and yet - unbelievably - we realized that we'd spent days in Paris without experiencing some proper escargots. With this in mind, we found Aux Cadrans, a brasserie directly across the street from the Gare de Lyon. Normally, a restaurant right in front of a train station raises major red flags but the food was surprisingly well-done, with a ton of proper French classics on the menu. I opted for some of the best beef carpaccio I've ever had (seriously), which came with these amazing frites that they'd hollowed out into a little U-shape. I was confused at first but soon realized that this shape actually gives each potato wedge double the surface area for frying, thus almost guaranteeing that each fry comes out super crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The aforementioned escargots were of course delicious, with the garlic and butter sauce quickly mopped up with crusty baguette (and later, the frites). A bottle of rosé capped off an amazing meal to send us off from Paris.
Of course there was way too much to put all in one highlights post but this provides a quick snapshot of some of my favorite meals in Paris. Next up will be a similar post about Lyon, the home of French gastronomy followed by a recap of the champagne caves in Reims!
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