April 11, 2013
As I very much enjoy drinking natural wines in London, I thought I would probably enjoy drinking them even more in France. So my thinking went when planning my trip to Paris last month. I can’t remember where I first heard about La Buvette, but it was on my list of natural wine places and also on my list of places that have been opened by ex-staff of Le Chateaubriand or Le Dauphin, where the owner of La Buvette, Camille Fourmont used to work.
That part of rue Saint-Maur is uninhabited enough at night that, as I stopped outside La Buvette to take a photo of the neon lit sign spelling out its name before going inside, my friend E coming up behind me and saying hello made me jump and let out a small shriek.
It’s actually not that far from Parmentier metro, but it seems so when you’re walking up the street in the dark, not knowing where it’s going to be. E, who knows the area well (and shares a surname with the owner Camille Fourmont – but is no relation as far as we could all discern) said she thought Camille was forging interesting new territory by opening there.
Once inside, it was pleasantly refreshing to be in a wine related space that had clearly been put together by a cool girl, rather than a man. Not that it’s girly. It wasn’t dark and there were no ancient dusty bottles gathering mold as décor. Instead, the white tiled walls with shallow wooden shelves held bottles of mostly natural wines, with the prices clearly written on them (add €8 for corkage). There were vintage glass light fixtures, each one slightly different, and a pot containing a fresh arrangement of white flowers and eucalyptus. The whole effect was light, unfussy and modern.
April 4, 2013
As my husband and I prepared to leave Paris a decade ago, we thought long and hard about where to go for our “au revoir” meal. After three years of steady devotion to classic French food, we decided instead on Hiramatsu, then located on the Ile St-Louis and newly anointed with a Michelin star. Our two-hour lunch included course after aromatic course of Hiramatsu’s inventive and refined Franco-Japanese creations. It was a meal neither of us will ever forget.
I was reminded of that lunch recently at Le Concert de Cuisine, chef Naoto Masumoto’s sleek, bento box of a restaurant tucked away in the 15ème. Unlike Hiroyuki Hiramatsu — whose lofty sights were clearly set on les etoiles — Masumoto seems to have achieved his highest aspirations simply in the studious and precise preparation of his dishes.
Acclaim seems almost beside the point for the chef who cut his teeth at (the much much pricier) Benkay. A steady and devout clientele (composed largely of Japanese business men and suit-clad ministry types) fills the restaurant daily in an unfussy space that says eating here is serious business.
March 27, 2013
When friends come to visit in Paris, I always get a little nervous. It’s Paris after all, the most-visited and eulogized city in the world. They’re expecting a lot. And I live here.
That means I’ve got the place wired, right? No exhibition ticket should be too hard to acquire, no chic table impossible to book. Such were my anxieties as I prepared for a recent visit from my sister and brother-in-law. We’d have ten days together but only a couple of kid-free evenings. Those dinners had to be perfect.
And so I searched. I scoured reviews, made calls and asked friends for recommendations. Of course I know plenty of great restaurants. I have dozens of favorites and an ever-growing list of places to try. But could I select the perfect place to eat? The one that says “this is the best of Paris” – that elusive combination of great food, distinctive atmosphere and, most importantly, a place where I could actually score a table on the night we had free?
March 14, 2013
Josephine (Forest Collins)
Quenching your thirst with a nice glass of wine has never been the hardest thing to do in Paris. Cafes, restaurants and bars abound, making it all but impossible to believably complain about being thirsty for more than a block.
Bones (Diane, A Broad)
Recently, however, a new breed of wine bar is upping the ante and bringing a breath of fresh air to the scene. Here are some of the latest and best places to partake in wine and small plates:
Septime Cave (Forest Collins)
For the Adventurous and Outgoing: L’Avant Comptoir
This tiny annex of the notoriously popular le Comptoir serves up a selection of nicely priced wines alongside phenomenal small plates that justify the popularity of the main restaurant.
January 31, 2013
If you follow the Paris food scene, you’ve no doubt spotted a trend: eateries, bars and even desserts have gone decidedly American. From cupcakes and coffee bars to cheeseburgers and cocktail lounges, there’s no denying that all things New Yorkais are très à la mode. In a land famously derisive of American cuisine, it’s surprising to say the least. For those of us who adore Paris for its singular Parisian-ness, it’s a tough trend to love.
That’s why Le Foodist — a new series of deeply French “dining events” launched by Fred Pouillot, a French-born, erstwhile U.S. corporate exec — is a welcome newcomer on the local food scene. It started with a simple idea: offer a select group of diners the chance to discover French culture and history through its most prized creations — food and wine.
January 24, 2013
Dining in Paris is the stuff dreams are made of: elaborate dishes made with top notch ingredients, artfully presented by passionate chefs.
Unless, of course, you happen into one of the infinite restos where instead of having a mind-blowing meal, you’re served mediocrity along with impressive attitude. In fact, doesn’t it taste like those vegetables on your plate came straight from a bag?
Of course every town has its dining hits and misses. But for so long, it was unfavorably risky to gamble on your average neighborhood bistro in Paris. But finally the tides have turned. We seem to have arrived at a place where you don’t have to break the bank to have a fantastic meal that gets your heart and stomach juices pumping.
December 13, 2012
Gluten Free French Eclairs – Helmut Newcake
Sans-gluten or gluten-free has not always been the easiest menu requirement to accommodate in Paris. As gluten intolerance gains visibility in everyday culture, it’s no surprise that gluten-free options are popping up all over, even here in Paris, the land of pastries.
The first of the two spots I’d like to share with you is Helmut Newcake. Helmut Newcake is Paris’s first 100% gluten-free pastry shop, located on the, ever so lovely, Rue Bichat right by the hip Canal Saint Martin. This cozy and relaxed tea parlor has more than just pastries; you can go for lunch, brunch, afternoon tea, or just to grab some food to go.
November 23, 2012
This was my second visit to Yam’Tcha, my follow-up reservation having been made on the spot after my first dinner. So my expectations were high for my return. Happily, it did not disappoint.
Yam’Tcha occupies a spot on a sweet little street in the 1st arrondissement – a street you might amble down if you like getting lost in Paris’ picturesque older streets, but one that most locals and tourists strolling down the busier Rue Faubourg St Honore would probably pass without seeing.
October 23, 2012
To be honest, eating at Le Galopin was a bit of a leap of faith initially. I had heard positive things, but its location on Place Saint Marthe (a great neighborhood, but far from my usual stomping grounds) and its link to television (the chef-owner is the 2010 Top Chef France winner Romain Tischenko) made me slightly skeptical.
However, willing to make sacrifices in the name of discovering delicious new things to eat, I went. And I was glad I did. In fact, I was so glad, that I found myself returning recently for my second dinner.
August 9, 2012
Located by Parmentier bobo hipster central and one of my personal favorite up and coming Parisian neighborhoods, Chateaubriand is certainly no new kid on the block.
After following the ups and downs and mixed reviews of Chateabriand for years — the best, most creative food in Paris for some, too inventive for others, small portions, amazing service, rude service, not accommodating, very accommodating, noisy, quiet… the list is long — my curiosity finally got the better of me. Being of a somewhat pessimistic nature, my expectations were low.