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Puerto Cacao: Socially Minded Chocolate in Paris

Julien Hausherr

Yes, more chocolate! Paris does not lack for it. But in a town that boasts everything from over-the-top delicacies to perfectly executed classics, we’re always impressed when a shop manages to distinguish itself from the cacao-hawking competition.

Puerto Cacao is not the most decadent, shocking or renowned chocolate shop in Paris, but it might just be the most conscientious. On a recent visit, we sat down with store manager José Evrard to learn more about owner Guillaume Hermitte’s vision for an équitable (fair-trade) chocolate shop that does as much to promote social good as it does to promote deliciousness.

Amazing hot chocolate! Tory Hoen

Hermitte’s team works directly with Venezuelan cacao producers, cutting out unnecessary middlemen who might drive up prices for consumers and deprive cacao producers of fair payment. In addition, they work with “entreprises d’insertion,” organizations that help people who have encountered various difficulties (poverty, imprisonment, etc.) re-enter the workforce and improve their lives. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 5 Comments »

Verjus: Paris’ Newest Wine Bar & Restaurant From the Hidden Kitchen Team

The sweet couple behind Hidden Kitchen opened Verjus, Paris’ newest wine bar, a few months back to rave reviews. The adjoining restaurant space for Verjus opens tonight in Paris and we couldn’t be more excited for the entire team. We expect the experience to be well worth the wait. Below, Forrest shares more details on this highly anticipated spot. -Maggie

After standing strong at the forefront of the Paris underground dining scene for several successful years, the Hidden Kitchen’s coveted twice-weekly communal dinners are no more! And that’s actually good news.  Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins, the culinarily gifted couple behind Hidden Kitchen, have moved from private to public with their latest new venture: Verjus, a wine bar and restaurant open now in the heart of the 1st arrondissement.

The wine bar and restaurant are located in two separate spaces just steps from each other. The wine bar showcases the foodie couple’s skill at bringing a fresh and creative touch to a classic concept, while respecting some of the cozy traditionalism characteristic of these types of venues.  Here Braden has developed a limited menu of small-plate bar food; the fried chicken is already legendary among local foodies and hopefully will remain a staple. Other options may change, but you’re in for the likes of indulgent pork belly, plump dumplings or delicately crisp fries served in sturdy silver cups. At prices ranging from 4€ to14€ per plate, it works equally well for a quick apero or a longer, tapas-style meal. And leave room for dessert! The menu offers up a few fantastic sweet choices as well.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »

Candelaria: Tacos and Clandestine Cocktails in Paris

We are in love, here at the HiP Paris blog, with Candelaria. The tacos, the laid-back Brooklyn-like vibe, the secret back door… If you haven’t been yet, it’s high time you stopped by. Tory reports. -Geneviève

When I lived in Paris full-time, I experienced the occasional bout of FFF (French Food Fatigue). My friends and I re-energized our taste buds with falafel, ramen and freakishly cheap dumplings in Belleville, but we all agreed that Paris needed a low-key Mexican spot.

Enter Candelaria, perhaps the buzziest opening of the spring. Less than two months old, this tucked-away spot in the haut Marais packs a double punch. The front section of the restaurant is a sparsely-decorated taco stand, which leads to a sultry cocktail den that you could easily overlook if you weren’t paying attention.

So pay attention! Tacos up front, booze in the back. I highly recommend sticking around for both, as I did when I visited.

The taqueria dining experience is decidedly casual. Grab a seat at the counter if you want to observe the action in the tiny kitchen, or if you’re with a group, you can try to claim the restaurant’s only table. Regardless, prepare to battle the crowds: when it comes to seating, demand far outweighs supply at this point.

But if you time it right (they’re open from noon-11pm, Tuesday-Sunday), you will not be disappointed. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 12 Comments »

A Truly Parisian Drink & Dinner: Hotel Amour & Casa Olympe

When my friend Jack, co-founder of Trufflepig, and I went out for a night on the town, I should have known absolutely anything could happen! Everything from snooty hipster bartenders, gigantic mushrooms and famous people citings were on the menu. Jack described the night in perfect detail below, and I look forward to our next perfectly Parisian rendezvous. -Erica

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

Paris is an ever-changing city of contrasts, and many people who come here on vacation looking for a fixed, romantic idea of Paris based on a book or a film or a dream end up being surprised that it’s a real place, not a movie set. Not all the buildings are beautiful, the sun doesn’t glint permanently off the slate roofs, and not everyone who lives here is a charming Gallic man with a bristling moustache and a well-trained aquiline nose.

Julien Hausherr – Hotel Amour

But every now and then an evening unfolds in such a way that comes straight off the Paris song sheet. I had just such an evening on a recent night on the town with Erica Berman of Haven in Paris. If the evening followed a script, it would have been one written by a combination of the tourist board and the comedy council, rather than Disney. For a start, we were up in the 9th arrondissement rather than strolling on the boulevards in the more obvious parts of town, but by the end of the evening we were in stitches at quite how perfectly Paris the night turned out to be.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 9 Comments »

Our Favorites: Tory’s Top Ten Paris Spots

la pagode cinema paris julien hausherrJulien Hausherr – La Pagode theater’s Japanese style garden

While this list might appear to be a whimsically chosen, feel-good assortment of Parisian places and experiences, I’ll have you know that I agonized over the decisions herein. For instance, I couldn’t bring myself to include two houses of taxidermy (for fear of revealing myself to be a complete freak), so I had to make a heart-wrenching choice: Deyrolle or the Musée de la Chasse? A weighty conundrum indeed. Regardless, I’ve done my best to crystallize my love affair with Paris into ten snippets. Enjoy!

1. Bang-for-your-buck meal: The 12-Euro prix fixe lunch at Robert et Louise. Entrée, plat, roaring fire, convivial conversation with neighboring diners. Can’t do much better than that.

2. Inner-child indulgence: Is it just me, or does the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature make you believe in magic? I’m convinced that the taxidermy fox curled up on a Louis XV chair knows the meaning of life, if only I could get him to open up about it.

3. Street food: Roast chicken from the place on rue Mouffetard (just south of the produce stand on rue de l’Arbalète). Simply put: the chicken that changed my life. Pair with a little Dijon and you will instantly be transported to heaven. Chicken heaven.

la pagode julien hausherr parisJulien Hausherr – La Pagode garden and gilded screen room

4. Rainy day activity: Sneaking off to a film at La Pagode, a charming art house theater that was originally erected as an Eastern-themed ballroom in 1896. Dusty and elegant, it’s the perfect escape. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 13 Comments »

Casual Eating in Paris’ Haut Marais

Merce & Muse Paris Eatery Marais Merce and the Muse – Julien Hausherr

Life used to be so easy. At least my lunch choices were. I’d saunter over to the Haut Marais, into le Marché des Enfants Rouges, and hit up Alain, “my” sandwich guy. It started one day when I ordered the delicious organic smoked salmon sandwich that he made on ciabatta and slowly, patiently toasted up to crunchy perfection on his crepe burner. I quickly became addicted. Then he introduced the Cornet Vegetarien, and suddenly all bets were off. Inside a savory crepe, he’d combine gobs of delicious ingredients (“tout bio!” he’d proudly point out) such as fresh greens and mushrooms, grated carrots and fennel, marinated onions, sliced avocado and chèvre, olive oil, chives, sea salt, diced parsley, lemon juice, lime zest, and, à la fin, honey—or, ”the French touch!” in Alain’s words. In my own words, the best sandwich in the city.

Merce and Muse, Tartes Kluger, Marais ParisMerce and the Muse, Tartes Kluger – Julien Hausherr

But suddenly, my choices are a lot more plentiful. Casual eateries keep popping up, making me feel a little torn about sampling the new goods versus sticking to what I know and love. But let’s be honest: a girl can’t live on sandwiches alone. And as much as I’d like to eat several lunches a day, I must make my choices wisely. So, while I still visit Alain as often as possible, I’ve also been eating up the other fresh dishes put forth in the Haut Marais these days.

CocoCook Marais ParisCococook – Julien Hausherr

Say it’s a nice, sunny day and I’m heading to Square du Temple or Square Georges Cain, craving something beyond a sandwich for lunch. I exit the back of the Marché des Enfants Rouges, on rue Charlot, to the brilliant Cococook. Open for nearly a year now, it’s the kind of fresh and simple take-out food that has been perfected in U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco: a simple spinach salad, studded with sesame seeds, for example, or quinoa with coriander chicken and butternut squash. There are healthy drinks (carrot-ginger-orange juice) and naughty desserts (chocolate caramel tarte). But maybe the best thing is that the cute and clean operation is open every day and every night and even delivers—a true rarity in this city. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 5 Comments »

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