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Under the Table: Dining with a Dog in Paris

HiP Paris Blog explores dining with dogs in Paris

Among the many surprises awaiting Americans dining in France is the near-universal acceptability of dogs in restaurants.

A restaurant I used to frequent on rue de Trevise was staffed by a smiley black-and-white Labrador. He made the rounds amid the tables during service – never begging, merely enjoying the occasional caress from a regular. Having worked in numerous restaurants in the USA, where dogs were banned, I was mildly scandalized on my first visit. The Labrador wasn’t bothering anyone, of course. My sympathy was rather for the dog, who seemed forever at risk of getting tripped-over. I can’t help but feel that restaurant service is complicated enough without the addition of panting canine landmines.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 2 Comments »

Decoding The French Menu: The Truth About Steak à Cheval

A Paris chalkboard menu – appearances can be deceiving! (Daxis)

Years into my love affair with Paris, I’m still making ridiculous rookie mistakes. I suppose it’s time to accept that France will always have the upper hand, but it still stings.

My most recent humiliation is horse-related. Or at least, I thought it was.

Please note that I was a horse-obsessed child, so equine-related topics are particularly touchy for me. As a child, I would sometimes dress in riding garb for no reason at all. And while I was waiting for my parents to break down and buy me a real horse (never happened), I would drag garbage cans into the backyard and ride them, periodically switching from one member of the “herd” to the next. On any given afternoon, people in the house could gaze out and see me whipping a particularly stubborn garbage can with my riding crop.

Steak à Cheval (L. Richarz)

So when I first moved to Paris and started noticing “steak à cheval” on menus around town, I was wary. I knew there was a historical precedent of eating horse meat in France, but it seemed quite inhumane in this day and age. Nonetheless,  I assumed it was some kind of trendy gastronomic revival, and who was I to question the local gourmands? So I kept my mouth shut and simply avoided the dreaded horse steak when confronted with it.

Recently, I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Brazil. One night, we sat down to dinner and I was presented with a traditional dish called bife a cavalo (in Portuguese), which translates to “horse-riding steak” or “steak à la horse.”

“Horse?” I asked, panic rapidly setting in.

“No, it’s like steak à cheval in France,” G explained.

“Sooo….. horse?” I wondered again.

It was at this point that I realized I’d been operating under a serious misapprehension, and it took the collision of three cultures for the truth to surface. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 24 Comments »

The Art of the Parisian Soiree

To do une soirée or not to do une soirée?

What exactly is this rather elegant and mysterious sounding soirée? And, how should it be approached by mere Anglophone mortals?

Definition

Noun: soirée: party or gathering, with a sophisticated name to impress  the uninitiated, taking place in apartments across the glimmering city of lights (usually accompanied by beaucoup de alcohol,  yummy food and much merriment).

Still all rather vague? I’ve tried to break down the process into nice easy steps and here’s what I came up with…

Step 1: Getting there

There are several key points to bear in mind. Under no circumstances should you arrive on time – keep it carefree by arriving fashionably late.

Watch out for complex digicode systems designed to keep guests out and lift-less 6th floor apartments in distant Parisian destinations.

Step 2: La Bise

Remember the essentials:

  • Smile (not too much in order to remain mysterious)
  • Perch two dainty kisses one on each cheek
  • Compliment the host (it always goes down a treat)

I recommend arriving bearing wine. Don’t worry about breaking the bank – surprisingly, even inexpensive supermarket plonk is still very drinkable.

Step 3:  Chit Chat

Eek! Now that the introductions are out of the way, it’s time to mingle! Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

Happy Holidays from HiP Paris

As this wonderful year draws to a close, we can’t help but be grateful for all the amazing things we experienced in 2011:

All of this, thanks to you dear readers! Is there something you would like to see more of in 2012? Drop us a line to let us know!

On behalf of the HiP Paris team and our gloriously talented contributors, we wish you warm and happy holidays, and a fantastic new year full of love and success.

All photos Courtesy of CaramsLooking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris,  London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

 

Posted in Parisian Living | 4 Comments »

In Paris, Still American – More Rules for Eating, and Living, in France

Linda, our friend and guest blogger over at Parisien Salon, shares her entertaining insights into being an American and dining in Paris.

VintageParis21-1all photos: oneandonlyparisphotography.com

Like any other fashionable woman, I try not to let my roots show in Paris. Only I’m not talking about those of the follicular kind. The roots I refer to are the things that make me stand out as an American.

Besides the fact that I just can’t seem to master the effortless style of the Frenchwoman, there are certain characteristics that make me stand out like a baguette at an Atkins support group. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 6 Comments »

French Dining Etiquette: Eating with the Frenchies

Lemontartalain

After over 17 years of Frenchie living, I am largely used to the etiquette of dining chez les Francais – along with all of their implicitly understood rules and regulations.

diningfrance

A brunch with Parisian friends for which the first guest arrived 30 minutes after the announced time, and an 8 pm French dinner party invitation with food finally served at 10 pm, prompted the following list of tips for enjoying error-free dining in the land of berêts, baguettes and smelly cheese.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 25 Comments »