April 24, 2013
What is it that makes hotel bars so appealing? Is it the sense of travel and adventure? Is it the ease with which you could drop into a bed after drinks at the bar? Do the guests, themselves passing through for just a moment on the way to their next destination, imbue the spaces with an edgy sense fluidity and transience?
Hotel St James
The best Parisian hotel bars do more than just pour a decent drink; they combine old-world ambiance, stellar service and sophisticated décor to guarantee an exceptional experience. And here are some of the city’s finest choices to fit any occasion:
For a Romantic Escape: Hotel Saint James
With its modern-romantic decor, the Saint James is the perfect place for a dreamlike escape from the daily grind. Hidden away in a quiet corner of the city that once served as Paris’ first airfield, this neoclassical chateau still manages to transport visitors. In summer months, patrons canoodle in the garden under hot-air-balloon-inspired canopies over nicely priced bottles of white. In winter months they whisper over whiskey in quiet corners of the dark wood library bar amidst some 12,000 old books. Though the Saint James is a private club, you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a drink after 7pm – just call ahead and reserve. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 11 Comments »
January 28, 2013
It’s a new year full of new possibilities. And if one of your resolutions is to get out and enjoy the Parisian nightlife, you’re in luck. 2012 went out with a bang when it comes to bars, leaving behind a trail of new nightspots in its wake. Here’s a look at some of last year’s buzziest openings…
Le Coq: Breaking out of the speakeasy trend, Le Coq offers something more cutting edge with its sexy 70’s décor and rock’n’roll aspirations. Industry superstar Tony Conigliaro masterminds cocktail creations that focus on forgotten French spirits and liqueurs and incorporate secret ingredients imported from his London laboratory. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
January 8, 2013
The Parisian private supper club scene started up a few years back with a small but solid selection of home “restaurants.” But it didn’t take long for these secretive suppers to become victims of their own success. Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen moved from her tiny pad to BBC2 as a television series.
Laura and Braden closed the doors of Hidden Kitchen and now welcome diners at their new restaurant and wine bar, Verjus. New Friends Table expanded across the water to London, leaving less time to feed their French friends. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 4 Comments »
February 2, 2012
Paris is one of the best cities in the world for exceptional food and wine combinations. In a refreshing change of pace, restaurant le Clarisse offers their tasting menus paired with sake in addition to the standard wine route. Although France’s gastronomic identity is undeniably tied to wine, who doesn’t like to opt for something original from time to time?
Tucked away in the 7th on a street busy with bar and restaurant options, le Clarisse is an elegant stop offering French-inspired fare prepared with precision and delicacy by a Japanese chef. While the restaurant itself isn’t new, the change in chefs a little over a year ago makes it well worth renewed consideration. Recently I was invited to taste test the sake-pairing menu and see what kind of revamp resulted from their association with Chef Sadaki Kajiwara.
The regularly changing menu is just the right size for my taste: four starters and five mains to choose from, each of which comes with a recommended wine or sake pairing and can be ordered a la carte or as part of a prix fixe menu. Restaurant director, wine connoisseur and in house sake expert, Jean-Philippe Pluvinet, is on hand to personally walk guests through the beverage pairings. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 8 Comments »
November 28, 2011
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.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »
October 14, 2011
Paris is teeming with cool dining experiences, for those prepared to seek them out. New Friends Table, a new addition to the Paris scene, aims to bring together an eclectic yet compatible group of like-minded foodies around a delicious meal in a real Parisian apartment. Our very own Erica Berman also recently checked it out; during her dinner, she mingled with a former Moulin Rouge dancer, a Cartier wedding planner, an Argentinian working for the BBC and an organic spa owner! -Geneviève
The possibilities for private dining experiences in Paris continue to expand with yet another new addition: New Friends Table. This ‘secret eating and meeting club’ appeared on the scene last spring thanks to a multi-national group of friendly and fun, food-minded locals. With my penchant for new and unusual eating experiences, I requested a booking as soon as it popped up on my radar.
Cozy ambiance at the New Friends Table
To secure an invitation, you introduce yourself by email with some basic background information such as food preferences, interests and what languages you speak. While some might consider the necessity of introducing themselves a nuisance, it’s completely in line with the principles of this club. New Friends Table is about more than just putting something tasty in your belly. It’s about conversation, interaction, getting to know your fellow diners, and hopefully even fostering new friendships. Continue Reading »
Posted in Events, Food | 10 Comments »
August 8, 2011
Pétrelle is a small French restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of the 9th arrondissement. It’s not new – indeed it’s been around for 18 years – and it’s not easy to stumble upon, yet it has enjoyed continued success among discerning locals and tourists alike for almost two decades. Erica Berman from Haven in Paris, Forest Collins (52 Martinis), Kasia Dietz (Love in the City of Lights ) and I (I Heart Paris ) decided to go and check it out to find out just why just why this unassuming but charming restaurant is such a perennial success.
So, first thing’s first. What did we think of the food?
Erica: The meal was tasty, fresh, honest and uncomplicated with pleasing portions and lovely artistic touches. It felt like a French ‘potager’ had come to my plate since I, unfortunately, could not go to it. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, the fish tender and juicy, and the desserts rich and sinful.
Kasia: Beginning with a courgette and girolle appetizer, the meal was very ‘fresh from the farm’ in flavor and artistic in composition – Basquiat, if I had to pick an artist. My Saint-Pierrefillet was a small but flavorsome portion complemented with a mélange of vegetables and herbs – this dish more a Kandinsky. The rich chocolate mousse left little room for the complimentary meringues eyeing us all evening. Hard to resist!
Forest: Well-prepared fish and proteins were dressed up with pretty veggies and garnishes like fancy hats on racing day. Cheese was served the way it should be: in big chunks on a plate allowing guests to cut off their own portions.
Kim: A very French menu with classics such as ris de veau, beef tournedos and a seasonal fish of the day featured on the hand-written menu. The focus is on simplicity and letting the quality of each ingredient shine through. I chose the fish of the day – a fillet of John Dory, cooked to perfection and served with a selection of seasonal vegetables – followed by a pudding of raspberries in a fluffy creamy mouse and with a crunchy mille-feuille style biscuit. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »
June 29, 2011
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.
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.
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 »
October 18, 2010
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…
Amy 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…
Erica 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 »