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Paris’ Best Natural Wine Bars & Shops

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

La Buvette

While it is exciting to live in a city that is increasingly open to international influences and imported ideas, it’s also reassuring to know that Paris holds its own as a trendsetter in certain fields. The natural wine scene is definitely one of the domains in which the French capital has gained and maintained solid footing. Senior natural wine sellers such as La Quincave and La Cave des Papilles established themselves as reliable outposts for vin nature in the early days of the movement, bringing low-intervention wine from small-scale vineyards to the city. These role models have inspired a new wave of wine bars to open in Paris, making natural wine increasingly present and accessible.

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Le Mary Celeste

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Posted in Restaurant Reviews, Wine | 1 Comment »

Women In Food & Wine: Ladies Of the Paris Dining Scene, Part I

Ladies in Food, Holybelly, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Holybelly, Kim Laidlaw 2

Lise Kvan and Sarah Mouchot at Holybelly (Holybelly & Kim Laidlaw)

As we know well, the promise of gastronomic delights is enough to inspire travelers to explore the world, seeking out hard-fought reservations and off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the name of really good food.

Ladies in Food, Yamtcha, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Didier Gauducheau

Adeline Grattard of Yam’tcha (Didier Gauducheau)

It’s easy to forget that behind these curated culinary experiences there is a team of dedicated professionals committed to using their talents and passions to improve and diversify the general landscape of food and dining. Certain events, TV shows, publications, and guidebooks spotlight some of these talented and resolute food professionals.

Ladies in Food, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by La Buvette

La Buvette

While these “foodie guides” are becoming more and more ubiquitous, they are unfortunately not always comprehensive as they far too often exclude women from their lineup. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Four Bloggers Check Out Au Passage, Paris’ New Foodie Fave

One of the latest hot items in the Paris food and wine world, Au Passage has been garnering more than a bit of blogger buzz lately. It also just snagged the 2012 Prix Fooding d’amour, confirming its status as Paris’ newest foodie darling.  In the evenings, this low-key wine bar and tapas joint is jam packed with patrons partaking in small plates of munchies, various wines by the bottle and a bit of respectably rowdy foodie fun. Things take a different turn at noon with the (thankfully) limited lunch menu: one entrée, two choices of mains, one cheese, one dessert.  With kitchen talent coming from Spring and Le Verre Volé and carefully selected market-fresh fare, this spot is turning out some seriously savory meals.  I stopped in recently with three other food and drink-minded bloggers  ( Kasia/Love in the City of Lights, Caroline/Sweet Caroline in Paris and Erica/HiP Paris) to see how the lunch stacks up to the hype.

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Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »

Your Private Paris Restaurant: La Tete Dans les Olives

Forest Collins

When a table is consistently booked out at least three months in advance, it probably doesn’t need any extra press. However, I’m so tickled by Tete dans les Olives that I can’t help but tell all.  After having made a reservation earlier this year I was left wondering if this elusive eating experience could really live up to the hype it’s received over the past year or so.  But, as soon as I arrived at the charming doorway, I knew I was in for a treat.

So, just what’s so special about this address?  By day, it’s a tiny epicerie whose owner, Cédric Casanova, works with small producers in Italy to stock his shelves with the best of artisanal products.  You’ll find pungent cheese, sundried tomatoes, an array of pasta, fragrant herbs, and plenty of other seasonal goodies.  But, as the name implies, the biggest draw is the olive oil.  Pristine silver vats of the stuff fill the shelves of his delightful shop, each baring the name of both the type of olive and the owner of the parcel of land where it was grown.  Word is that some of Paris’ best-known chefs pop in to sample and shop.  But the real fun starts when the store closes and a tiny table for five is set for receiving.

Kim Laidlaw Adrey

Arriving guests are welcomed into the minuscule space by the hospitable staff – for our visit, it was Marco.  While waiting for the rest of our party, this friendly Sicilian (who is also a student of philosophy) talked about the products, their origins and the concepts behind the store and its Table d’Hôte.  He uncapped one of the olive oil jugs to offer a whiff of the fragrant goodness inside and filled the tiny table with samples of olives, oil, tapenade, sundried tomatoes and bread.  We squeezed around the rustic table, backs nearly pressed against the overflowing shelves and started the meal while Marco popped open a bottle of champagne we had brought.  In fact, we had brought a variety of wines to match up with courses, as this is strictly a BYOB operation.

Kim Laidlaw Adrey

As we nearly licked the bowls of oil clean, a wooden board arrived on the table with the vegetable course: mushrooms filled with wild oregano, mint stuffed carrots topped with freshly grated cheese and juicy oranges topped with salty anchovies. The quality of the ingredients shines through in the final product as these relatively simply prepared bites pop with fresh flavor.  With no individual plates set out, we helped our selves with fingers and forks, which only added to the companionable aspect in these close quarters. Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Guilo Guilo – Eight Courses and Four Reviews of this Japanese Gem

Amy Thomas (God I love Paris), Kim Laidlaw (I Heart Paris), Forest Collins (52 Martinis) and our very own Erica Berman recently got together for a very special meal at the elusive Montmartre restaurant, Guilo Guilo. Renowned for its Japanese wunderkind chef Eiichi Edakuni, its fixed menu (which changes daily), and the near-impossibility of scoring reservations if you’re not prepared to make the treck up to Montmartre in person, it did not fail to impress these serious food-blogger dames…

guilo guilo montmartre mainAmy Thomas – Guilo Guilo’s open kitchen and staff

Eight Courses and Four Reviews of Japanese Gem Guilo Guilo

What do you get when four foodie bloggers come together for reservations at one of Paris’ most under-the-radar yet hard-to-get-into spots? A mélange of approving opinions and happy bellies. A review of Guilo Guilo, sliced four ways:

Let’s start with the food

Forest: Chef Eiishi Edakuni concocts beautiful, intricate, tasty, tidy, subtle, little mystery-mouthfuls. Not being certain about all the ingredients is part of the fun— but maybe not for the vegetarians!?

Kim: It was a seemingly never-ending flow of courses presented in bite-sized gems, bursting with flavor. I love this style of eating where you get to try so many different tastes. It’s a real success at Guilo Guilo where you are able to sample a far more interesting side of Japanese gastronomy than you would in sushi-centric joints.

Erica: Creative, original and delicious. The chef expertly pairs diverse and unexpected ingredients to create some of the best food I have had in 18 years of Parisian living.

Amy: Oh, how I love experiences like this. Every little dish was a gift: pretty to look at, thoughtfully constructed and artfully crafted, creative but pure and, bien sur, delicious. And the hits just kept coming! Eight courses? Gift after gift…

Guilo Guilo ParisErica Berman – Guilo Guilo delicious morsels

And to go with the food?

Forest: For a nice change from French bubbly, crystal clear sparkling sake isn’t as strong as expected but it still delivered a delicate kick with a dry, clean and refreshing finish. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »

Ice Cold Drinks in Paris: The Search for Cool Cocktails

Forest Collins, the savvy writer behind discriminating Paris cocktail blog 52 Martinis, shares with us here her frustrations with France’s strange aversion to H2O’s solid incarnation. She also has the low-down on where to go for seriously refreshing cocktails. Hint: it’s not your corner bistrot.

Cocktails Paris: Search for ice cold, Quinn.anya

As an American expat in Paris, the question I get most often is: What do you miss most about home?  Honestly, this question usually stumps me.

While, of course I miss friends, they come frequently for visits, so it’s less of an issue. In a pinch I can find a reasonable substitute for many of the readily available items from the U.S. that I might miss.  If not, said stream of friends usually keep me in a steady supply of goods and sundries that evade me here.  But, there’s one thing I can’t ask even my nearest and dearest to lug over in a suitcase: Frozen water.  Yes, you heard correctly.  The thing I miss most about the US is ice.

When I’m back home, I get a special thrill out of sitting down to a table from the grungiest of roadside diners to the fanciest of upscale eateries and immediately being served a large glass of water full of sparkly, playfully tinkling, cold-making ice!  While, in France, you’re lucky to get a small votive candle holder full of warm tap water after asking…twice.

Cocktails in Paris: Search for Ice cold drinksMalias

And, this epidemic goes beyond commercial establishments into the very hearts of homes nationwide. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »