Thursday, May 29, 2008

Everything But the Kitchen Sink - I Miss Paris Style!

Well, I have returned from the land of wine, cheese, more wine, and more cheese, and I think it's safe to say that I ate my way through Paris (and Corsica)! My brother did a phenomenal job of picking restaurants for us to dine at and buying great food for us to eat on our picnics. I couldn’t have been happier that a) the decision-making was out of my hands for a change, and b) that we didn’t waste any time roaming around from restaurant to restaurant reading menus trying to decide where to eat. As I mentioned in my first post, I always ran into that problem when I lived in Paris 6 years ago, and it was because of this that I learned the fine art of restaurant researching. I guess I have that experience to thank for the creation of Miss Menu, though!

So, I’m not going to go into detail about each of the restaurants we went to since this is Miss Menu NYC, and not Miss Menu Paris. But, for those of you who have been to Paris, are planning on going in the future, or just love the city like I do, then I figure you may appreciate a quick “best of/favorite” list.

Best falafel (IN. THE. WORLD.) – L’As Du Fallafel
I have had some really great falafel in New York and all over Israel, but this one is the best one I’ve ever had…and plenty of bigtime food critics couldn’t agree more. The name translates to "The Ace of Falafel," and they aren't joking. The falafel itself was absolutely perfect, but what made this sandwich really stand out were the toppings: grilled eggplant, seasoned cucumbers, pickled cabbage, and a really flavorful, spicy (but not too spicy) harisa.



Best salade de chevre chaud – Page 35
This salad appears on every single café/bistro/brasserie menu, but the one at Page 35 really blew me away. This one had a unique dressing (most French salads have the same generic, bland dressing) and goat cheese that was served warm on the most delicious, garlicky round toast/croutons.


Best soufflé – Le Cigale Recamier
Even though the word is clearly French, I never really thought of soufflés as being a French dish. My brother took me to this soufflé restaurant where there were 10 savory and 6 sweet soufflés on the menu (along with regular appetizers and entrees as well). I ordered a cheese soufflé for my entrée, and we shared a chocolate soufflé. Both were absolute perfection. Making soufflé is a true art form because not preparing and cooking it precisely can cause the entire thing to collapse.


Really good (but hard to pick a best!) Nutella crepe – crepes stand at Place Odéon
You have to look for a crepes stand where they are making the crepe itself to order and in front of you. Some busy crepes stands in touristy areas have a stack of already-made crepes so all they have to do is put it back on the griddle and add the toppings. This crepe was prepared fresh and the guy added ample Nutella…mmm. Sure, they have Nutella crepes in NYC. They appear at every single street fair, but you should know that the Nutella made in the US doesn’t even compare to the Nutella made in Europe. Different oils, different amounts of chocolate and hazelnut…all of these things make Nutella from Europe so much better. And that, my friends, is why I had to bring a jar home with me!


Best beer - Pietra from Corsica
I'm by no means an expert beer connoisseur, but I always love finding a beer that I really enjoy the taste of. Having had plenty of wine over the past week, I decided to order a local beer while we were sitting at a cafe on the marina in Calvi. It was really good, and came in a really cool glass too! I have no clue if they sell Pietra in the states, but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for it now.


Best soupe a l'ognion (French onion soup) - Cafe on Rue de Buci
This dish is one of the things I lived off of my first time in Paris, and even though they have it at every French restaurant in NYC, it was great to have an authentic bowl of it while I was there. There's always usually a good amount of gruyere or emmenthal cheese melted on the top, but this bowl literally had the equivalent of an entire package of cheese on it. Good to the last drop.

Favorite new cheese -
Cantal
I have close to zero knowledge about cheeses or cheese-making, but I will tell you that this one was delicious. We bought it at an outdoor market for only 1€50 each
(along with 4 others), and we ended up having it at three of our wine & cheese "pique-niques" in different parks around Paris. A piece along with a fresh baguette and a bottle of wine made for the perfect lunch or snack.


So that's my post-France wrap-up. It was an incredible trip, but it's good to be back. Don't get me wrong, I love Paris so much, but there was a lot I missed about NYC too. Au revoir, Paris...je t'aime! Good to be back, New York!

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