November 12, 2015
Le Marais is considered by many to be the dining capital of Paris with choices abound. Varying from take-out hot dogs on the corner of rue Vieille du Temple to falafels on the iconic rue des Rosiers to up-and-coming hipster hangouts where the design is equally as important as the menu, choosing a place to dine is a culinary experience in itself. One group of French restaurateurs with a penchant for North American travel decided what the chic quartier needed was a splash of something different, and opened a lobster joint.
Steering away from the opulence that could be equated with going out for lobster in Paris and taking a cue from Northeast lobster restaurants they frequented on their travels, friends Damien Borjesson, Remy Bougenaux, Vivien Mathieu, and Louis Kerveillant opened Les Pinces (meaning “claws” in French) in November 2014.
November 10, 2015
Paris may be experiencing unseasonably warm and sunny weather at the moment, but we’re still readying ourselves for the chilly months to come and dishing on our favorite addresses serving up boeuf bourguignon, a comforting winter French favorite. Enjoy! -Erin
Julia Child immortalized boeuf bourguignon in featuring it on her first French cooking show. At the start of the episode, she says in her distinct high-pitched trill, “it’s a wonderful show to begin our series on because it shows you so many useful things about French cooking.” Indeed by watching the 30-minute segment, a must-see on YouTube, you’ll learn how to brown meat, braise onions, sauté mushrooms, and make a wine sauce. However, it’s also clear this is a recipe that requires time and patience. “People don’t make it right because it takes too much time” is a phrase I heard often during visits to Burgundy, the birthplace of the beloved French dish. Luckily there are some places that are getting it right.
November 3, 2015
One of my favorite memories of Café de la Nouvelle Mairie in the 5th arrondissement is from Beaujolais Nouveau night in 2014. Tucked away on a quiet street just behind the Pantheon, Café de la Nouvelle Mairie only claims a small sidewalk terrasse as its outdoor space, yet when things get lively – and many an evening they do – wine drinkers and bons vivants spill out into the street and onto the small, tree-lined island that separates the occasional two-way traffic.
Traditional bistrot fare paired with an extensive list of natural wines make the Café de la Nouvelle Mairie a recommended addition to your Paris itinerary any night, but for Beaujolais Nouveau I can’t think of anywhere else in the city I’d rather go. The annual event, which is held on the third Thursday of November, celebrates the first wine that is bottled from that year’s grape harvest. The young wines are enjoyed as an extended celebration of the harvest season and all the wine to come.
October 13, 2015
It’s an absolute delight that, even after living here for almost a decade, Paris still surprises me. Sometimes the surprises are unwelcome; Parisians living up fully to their reputation of rudeness, the extent to which dealing with administration here can be Kafkaesque, or having a pigeon swan dive you as you ride your bike up Boulevard Barbès, to name a few. But most often these surprises are the kind that remind me why I moved my life to Paris.
Le Procope, a restaurant located in the touristy Odéon area, was my most recent unexpected discovery and a perfect example of how Paris is a city of hidden treasures. Founded in 1686, the site holds the honor of being the city’s oldest café. In fact, it was the first respectful address in Paris where you could get a coffee in good company, thanks to founder Francesco Procopio. A native Italian, Procopio came to France at an early age and, much like your average expat blogger today, got totally into the food scene. Coffee had arrived in France from the Middle East in 1644 and small coffee shops opened in Paris from that time on. Cutting his teeth at one of these early cafés, Procopio set out on his own, buying up several houses on the block where Le Procope still stands.
October 6, 2015
With its place firmly staked as one of the most happening areas of Paris, the 11th arrondissement does not lack in new, fresh spots to eat or drink. But with so many locations cropping up seemingly daily, all filled with inspiration spanning the globe, it’s nice to find a place aiming to keep alive the culture that the French people love so dearly. Tucked away in a nondescript side street off of the southern end of boulevard Voltaire, À La Française is a very French neighborhood favorite with a twist: incredible craft cocktails at exceptionally reasonable prices.
Owner Stephen Martin got his start in the restaurant industry at the age of 17, and has worked in numerous high-profile bars in France and elsewhere in Europe. He began to notice, however, that there was a lack of the true presence of French culture in bartending, so he dove into the project of rediscovering the art of classic French cocktails. Armed with his research and an impressive collection of cocktail books- some dating back to 1850- he opened À La Française to bring the Paris bar scene back to its formidable roots.
September 29, 2015
In case further proof that traditional bistrot fare is experiencing a renaissance in Paris was needed, look no further than La Bourse et La Vie. Opened by celebrated Spring chef Daniel Rose, this bistrot du quartier mixes the attention to product and preparation that people have come to love from Spring with French culinary history and tradition. And it’s a real treat.
I popped in for lunch with a colleague after spending the morning at Haven in Paris’ nearby Opera apartment and was pleased to find the menu, space, and décor induced immediate nostalgia. The menu was relatively short – four entrées, four plats, six desserts – and the wine list perfectly tailored, signs of real expertise and restraint in my book.
September 10, 2015
The rue des Rosiers, an iconic street in Paris’ Marais neighborhood, is one of the few that remains reminiscent of the neighborhood’s Jewish community. Lined with Jewish bakeries and delis, this street is probably most well known for its falafel restaurants. Of the many choices, one falafel address reigns supreme: L’As du Fallafel, which is easily identifiable by its long lines and bright green façade. But a new kid on the block is pitting old pitas against new with the arrival of Miznon, an Israeli sandwich shop.
August 18, 2015
For years, dining at Le Bon Saint Pourçain was like stepping into a time machine set to the 1950s. Neighbors would come, their dogs and children in tow, spending as much time with the owner/waiter catching up on the local gossip as placing their order for a very traditional meal, invariably served with a glass of Bon Saint Pourçain wine. Suddenly, without word, the windows were white-washed over, rumors spread of a health issues (the owner’s, not the kitchen’s) and the neighborhood was left bereft.
July 30, 2015
Is there anything more Parisian than lunch or drinks on a terrasse? The warmth of the sun offset by the breeze on your face, the tables spilling out onto the sidewalk… It’s a perfect place to people-watch. But sometimes it’s nice to feel more secluded without having to move inside; that’s where the courtyard terrasse come in. Set just enough off the street to feel like you’re in a private space, it’s the perfect place for a summer apéro as the surrounding buildings create a cool oasis from the heat of the Parisian streets.
The Marais’ newest pop-up, Café Cour, offers exactly that. Opened the first of June and tucked away off of rue des Francs-Bourgeois in the heart of the neighborhood, the terrace offers half-sunlit, half-shaded seating up until around 17h, when the sun sinks just low enough to be hidden. There’s interior seating too, if you’re looking for a place to set up your computer and get some work done in a peaceful environment.
July 23, 2015
During a warm week in April I enjoyed a last meal at Paris’ favorite Italian restaurant, Caffè dei Cioppi, before it closed its doors for good. Although long-time fans of Fabrizio Ferrara’s flavorful cuisine were disappointed by the move, the good news is that the space has reopened as a relaxed Italian café and wine bar in the hands of Stefania Melis, already known to the Paris gastronomic scene as coupled with Simone Tondo of Roseval fame.
With the change of hands, the terrace tucked away in an alley off rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine hasn’t lost any of its charm. Folding metal tables and chairs are replaced by wicker stools and round café tables. A smart green awning reads Capucine in a curly script.