Thursday, July 23, 2009

Breizh Cafe

Breizh Cafe
109, rue Vieille du Temple (3rd)

I realize it's taken me a while to post something and I apologize to anyone--if there is anyone--who has been expecting something new to read. The internet that I had in Paris was awful but I am now back in Taiwan so eventually I will have all my pictures of Parisian food up!

Before my discovery of Breizh Cafe up in the Marais, I had been slightly disappointed by the crepes and galettes I had--some were slightly soggy and lacking the thinness I craved. Not anymore.

The fact that the owner's wife is Japanese is blatantly evident in the simple presentation of the food and the spartan decorations in the cafe--both of which I love. The food was not overdone--just the freshest oysters and a perfect galette.

These oysters were AMAZING--definitely the best I had in Paris. I LOVE how they were presented on a plain black slate with a line of sea salt.

The thing buckwheat galette with delicious melted Gruyere cheese, ham, runny egg, and artichokes was even better with a cup of brut cider on the side. I wish I could eat one right now.

I need to be back to Paris! Sadly, when I went back a week later for my dessert crepe, they were already gone for their summer break. Next time I'm in Paris, this is definitely one of the first food stops I'm making.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken is just as good as beef...

I had my first chicken pho the other night. It was amazing! The broth was so rich and the chicken pieces tender and flavorful. SO GOOD. It even came topped with crispy fried pieces of what I think were shallots.

Chicken Pho

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cafe Margeride

After writing that last blog, I couldn't thinking about steak tartare the rest of the day. Therefore, for dinner I had to treat myself to some more. :)

Tartare de Boeuf a l'Italienne

This time it was beef tartare with tomatoes, basil, and parmesan. It was amazing with a few crispy fries and a glass of rose wine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Brasserie Birthday

7 rue de la Bastille

For my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a classic brasserie meal. After doing some research by consulting various guide books and the internet, I settled on Brasserie Bofinger. I didn't know if I could trust guidebooks and the so-so outside decor made me a little anxious.

However, once through the door, I was greeted cheerfully by the bartender and led to a seat next to two nice french gentlemen. The perfectly preserved original belle epoque decor inside was absolutely beautiful. The original glass cupola was definitely the star.

While we were reading the menu and deciding on our courses, the two gentlemen sitting next to us got their meal. It was a masterpiece--a HUGE icy plate piled high with all sorts of shellfish. I must've been drooling while I was looking at it.

I got a more modest plate of shellfish though it was probably just as tasty. I loved the clams and cockles and whelks and winkles...I'm still not entirely sure which is which but they were all so tasty!

I also finally had my escargot. They were a good size and incredibly delicious and full of flavor. The best part was soaking up the excess butter with my crusty bread. So sinful but so good!

The duck breast was also really good and it came with sticks of grilled polenta. The sauce was good and the meat was perfectly cooked.

Overall it was not only delicious food but a wonderful dining experience. The ambiance was great and the staff cheerful and friendly. A perfect Birthday lunch :)

Cafe Tresor

So my roommate and I were wandering the Marais and doing some shopping the other day when we realized we were super thirsty and hungry. Luckily, the narrow streets were dotted with colorful cafes. We sat down at Cafe Tresor (Treasure) and scanned the menu.

I had been in Paris for about 2 weeks already and STILL hadn't had steak tartare with fries so I figured it was about time I did.

Steak Tartare, Frites

A mound of finely chopped raw beef might not look like much but I promise you, it was a delightful explosion of flavors and textures in my mouth. Mixed with some caper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard, the combination of the soft beef and crispy fries was amazing.

YUM. I'm drooling just thinking about it again. I might have to treat myself to another plate of steak tartare today.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

L'Avant Gout

There's a charming little restaurant across the street from where I have class in the morning. I've walked by it many times and finally, on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to walk in and sit down for a nice lunch. I didn't know what to expect but it didn't disappoint at all.

Unable to decide what to order (and unable to decipher part of the menu) I ordered the menu dejeuner (the set lunch menu) that came with a soup, plate of the day, wine, and coffee--all for 14 euros, it was a pretty good deal.

The nice waiter recommended a crisp dry wine and I was glad I took his advice. It went wonderfully with the rest of the meal.

Veloute d'Asperge

The asparagus soup was deliciously velvety and creamy. The waiter set down white bowl with a single piece of crouton and roasted cherry tomato in front of me and poured the light green soup into the bowl from a pitcher. Lovely presentation and incredibly delicious. It was probably my favorite part of the meal.

Croustillant d'Agneau
puree de carotte

The main course was lamb wrapped in light crispy phyllo dough and baked in a oven. It sat on top of a smooth, slightly sweet bed of pureed carrots. The combination of flavors was amazing.

The meal was finished with a nice cafe and gingersnap cookie.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Haricot Vert

Haricot vert seemed very french and I was in France. Therefore, I decided to try my hand at it. Mixing them with my new found love for shallots resulted in a delicious plate of vegetables. Even though trimming them was a bit tedious, it was well worth the hassle. 

Haricot Vert with Lemon Shallot Butter and Cherry Tomatoes 

This is an amazing side dish--simple to make yet crunchy and refreshing. The trick is to not over cook the haricot vert in salted boiling water and to shock them in cold water immediately afterwards. Then melt some butter in a pan, add some sliced shallots and a squeeze of lemon juice before returning the haricot vert to the mix. Sprinkle with some sea salt and enjoy! 

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday Market

My second trip to the farmer's market yielded even greater treasures--a freshly roasted rotisserie chicken. As I walked down the market, the aroma of chicken roasted in its own drippings was unbearably delicious and I knew I had to try one. These chickens were small and petit--not like the large birds in the US. They were the perfect size. Thus, I composed a nice little lunch around the chicken. 

Le Demi Poule aux Herbes

Paired with some crusty buttery croutons, fresh tomatoes on the vine, and a glass of red wine, it made a wonderful and easy lunch. 

To go along with the chicken, I shelled some peas and sauteed them in butter. They were tender and sweet and extremely delicious, and very french ;)

Les Petits Pois

The next day, the left over chicken breast made a refreshing and tasty salad.

Chicken Breast Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Strawberries in a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Saturday we journeyed to Honfleur--a picturesque Viking port town in Normandy on the Seine River with charming cobble-stoned streets.  Most notable, at least for me, was the amazing seafood lunch we had there in a quaint little port-side restaurant. 

First, we had the largest oysters I've ever had. I saw vendors on the street market outside selling cartloads of fresh unshucked oysters so I knew they were amazingly fresh. They were wonderfully meaty and brine-y without being fishy. It was just a clean, slightly sweet taste that was reminiscent of fresh clear sea water. Definitely an orgasmic gastronomic experience. 

Moules Mariniere

Next came the moules mariniere frites--mussels with a side of fries. They were exactly what I've been craving. Tender, flavorful pieces of bright orange mussels accompanied by crispy fries to dip in the juices. Between the three of us who order the mussels, we filled almost two buckets with the shells. It was the perfect lunch. 

Le Quartier Asiatique

The 13th arrondissement is not famous for its restaurants. However, it is near the Asian Quarter and during my pre-trip research I read about the one thing one must try in this quarter--the Vietnamese Pho.

I must say, I was not at all disappointed. To say that the Pho was a bowl of perfection might be going too far but it was certainly more than just a good bowl of soup. It was NOTHING like its American cousin--a flavorless broth accompanied by just as flavorless, textureless skinny noodles topped with a few absentmindedly thrown on and questionable slices of rare beef.

Pho Special from Pho 14

This was a hearty broth--one that you want to keep drinking spoonful after spoonful. The meat was succulent, the tripe was tender, and the beef balls were flavorful. Add a few basil leaves, bean sprouts, chillies, siracha sauce, or hoisin sauce (in my opinion the broth was so good it needed neither of the sauces) to your liking and you've got well...a perfect bowl of noodles.

The sign of a good restaurant--seeing mobs of people outside waiting for seats as youre walking out after a satisfying meal

Friday, July 3, 2009


I have a weakness for the word meringue. 

It's something incredibly simple--light fluffy clouds of egg whites and superfine sugar baked until dry and crispy--but the thought of the initial crunch and melted sugariness on my tongue is irresistible to me. 

Une Meringue Chocolat
Chocolate Meringue with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles 

it almost looks like the top part of a ice cream drumstick to me...

but its actually two meringues sandwiched together with a smear of chocolate buttercream, rolled in some more buttercream and giant sprinkles

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cafe La Place

Yesterday we went to Le Louvre and walked around for nearly 7 hours so I was pretty much starved the whole day. Not a single picture of food was taken, although about 200 pictures of art and the like were taken. Therefore, I will have to write about my first meal on the day I arrived in Paris. 

Les Plats de Jour (daily specials) were written up on this cute little black chalkboard. I walked by as who I assumed to be the owner was writing them up. How could I just walk by that and not sit down for a nice little lunch?

Saladu du Sud 
with melon, tomato, mozzarella, and prosciutto

It was a very nice meal :)