I got back from Paris in the beginning of February, and haven't been able to post any pictures yet of the things I have eaten and the sights that I saw. We have been busy at Meat & Potatoes, with Lent and Easter.. and I have not had any time to blog.. so I apologize for the long wait.. but here it is..
Right before we left for Paris, we saw the Travel Channel's 100th episode of "No Reservations" and decided that we should probably take Anthony Bourdain's advice and go to a few of the places he went to. For a complete travel guide of the places he went you can see them here.
Paris.... The food...
We had some amazing food. The food was different in Paris than in the states. It was simple, refined and basically all about the ingredients. Every single place we went to was unique on its own, especially with the attention to the simple things, but I will start from the beginning, and tell you all of the places worth eating..
When we walked in, we were not only greeted by the hostess, host, sommelier and MatreD, but Guy Savoy himself. It was very rewarding to be greeted by a well-known Michelin Star Chef. I was very excited about my first meal in Paris, and it was very good. It was small portioned, as I figured, but delicious. This was the first time this trip that I ate the Parisian bread. It was so crusty on the outside, and since they add the wheat germ back into the bread, it had a very distinct flavor.
Le Comptoir du Relais & L'Avant Comptoir:
Located in busy Saint-Germain, this is a spot that you don't want to miss. They do NOT take reservations, so we waited outside for a table inside at about 12:00 in the cold. After seeing a very large line form, we finally got in around 12:30 for lunch and had a very delicious meal for a really great price. We went back a few times to eat and actually ate outside in the cold because we liked it so much. Everything that I ate there was delicious, especially the Pig's Feet, which they were known for at Le Comptoir du Relais.
L'Avant Comptoir, which means "Before le comptoir" was a little deli-like place which had different small plates and crepes. I had a glass of great french wine, beef carpaccio and a small little "boeuf" sandwich, which was one of my favorite things of the entire trip. The people that worked in this small deli were extra helpful with giving me other places to go, and took a lot of time drinking wine with me.
Across the street from these wonderful restaurants is a liquor store known for their barrel-aging of different spirits and cocktails. The store, called "Le Maison Du Whisky" is literally a house of different whiskies, bourbons and scotches, along with some very hard to find spirits. When you walk in, you are immediately put into a table of"barrel-aged" cocktails, like we do at Meat & Potatoes. There were Negoni, Manhattan, and Martinez cocktails in barrels that you can buy. You can also sample these and other spirits in their upstairs room. We bought a nice selection of different things that you will see at Meat & Potatoes, including Monkey 47 Gin, Nikka Japanese Whisky, and of course Pappy Van Winkle & Old Rip Van Winkle.
L'Atelier de Joel Robochon
L'Atelier de Joel Robochon is just one of those places that we had to go to in Paris. I have been to the one in New York City, and I knew the one in Paris would be similar, but also much better. What is fantastic about L'Atelier is that you can see everything going on behind the scenes, because the kitchen is open.
Located in the extravagant Four Seasons "George V" hotel, Le Cinq is one of those places that you visit once in your lifetime. The service is impeccable, the food is extremely elegant, and the decor is just beautiful. It is "fancy" French dining to the fullest.
Pierre Gagnaire - We had lunch at Pierre Gagnaire, and wished that we would have had dinner there as well. We met Chef Gagnaire while dining, and much compliments to the chef. His food was incredible. I highly suggest going there.
Le Chateaubriand - Inaki Aizpitarte, the chef and owner of Le Chateaubriand and Le Dauphin (which is right next store) happened to be there the night we went to eat. After a certain hour, they take first come first serve diners. As we waited for the time to head over, Le Dauphin was serving us lots of Rose wine. We did not eat at Le Dauphin, but the food we saw looked incredible. In Le Dauphin, the entire room was covered in marble, floor to ceiling, which was definitely a sight to see.
Les Bistronomes - this new Paris restaurant was recommended to us by the concierge at our hotel. He said this was a "fusion" of French Bistro & Gastronomy. We really enjoyed this meal, especially the pork (pate thing with bread) that was served to us when we first arrived.
Au Pied De Cochon - This was not the Au Pied De Cochon that we all love in Montreal. This was similar to the American version of Denny's and Eat'n Park. It was open around the clock, in Paris they call this "non-stop 7/7," and it was one of those places that we went after a long night at the Cocktail Clubs.
Le Relais de l'Entrecote - Traditional "Steak and Frites" in Paris, this place you must go to. It was as busy as any cafe in Paris, and not only with tourists. This place literally only serves Steak and Frites, and the sauce they pour over your steak is just incredible. It is a great and affordable place to go, grab a reasonable bottle of Cote de Rhone, and enjoy your company. You will leave feeling completely satisfied wondering, "What is IN that sauce??"
Poilane Boulangerie - My favorite bread in Paris!
Candelaria - After a long haul up and down the freezing Parisian streets, we finally found this little Taqueria that held the exact same address as the "cool speakeasy-type bar" we are accustomed to in the US. When we walked in, our friends said, "Is this really it?," because there was no sight of a cool bar. I then led them through the back door, which opened into a dark basement-looking bar. It was dark, and it smelled of bitters throughout the entire place. This is my favorite part about the hidden bars in the US. We sipped on some pretty exciting drinks - one of which consisted of St. Germain (very popular in Paris)
Curio Parlor - Not only did we have our first Paris poured Absinthe here, but we also had the Japanese Whisky called Nikka. You cannot really find this outside of Japan.... well except for at Meat & Potatoes.