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Paris’ Best Butchers and Top-Notch Meat

On the hunt for Paris' best butchers. Here are some of our favorites.

On the hunt for Paris' best butchers. Here are some of our favorites.

Shopping for meat in Paris is a great way to discover French specialities and find inspiration for new recipes. French cuisine favors using the whole animal and encourages preparing the meat for main dishes, but also using the intestines, bones, and other innards to make sauces, stocks, and sides.

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Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Paris Farm-to-Table Restaurants: Delicious, Local and Fait Maison

Farm to Table, Le Timbre 25

Le Timbre, Palmyre Roigt

Over the past few years there has been a lot of conversation around the startling statistic that around one-third of France’s cafes, brasseries and restaurants are actually using pre-frozen ingredients or entire meals that only need a microwave before reaching your plate. In typical French fashion, this was a drawn out discussion that needed a government vote and while restaurants now can mark on their menus “fait maison,” when items are truly made from scratch, you might not always be able to see the menu before sitting down.

Farm to Table, Verjus 4

Verjus, Diane Yoon

A few months ago, I attended a question and answer session about French food and the fait maison/frozen food question was raised. A few people said, “you just should know where to go.” But without any mandate and as a visitor to Paris, “knowing where to go,” is easier said than done. And for first-time tourists, it’s easy to end up somewhere that is beautifully authentic and appears to be using all fresh ingredients but well, isn’t. Here are five tips to keep you street smart when eating fresh, seasonal and farm-to-table in Paris.

Farm to Table, Verjus 5

Verjus, Diane Yoon

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Posted in Green, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | 3 Comments »

Rino Restaurant: High-Impact Cuisine in Paris’ 11eme

Last spring, every food-following Parisian had their sights set on one restaurant: Rino. After it opened in February 2010, chef Giovanni Passerini’s cozy, modern bistro quickly became the place for innovative, market-driven fare at reasonable prices. At the time, nearly every review was favorable (if not positively glowing); a year later, we stopped in again, for lunch this time, to see whether Rino has lived up to the hype.

The restaurant is tucked away on a fairly unsexy street in the 11th, and offers clean and unfussy décor, suggesting that here, the focus has always been on the food. As soon as we entered, we noticed a team of busy line chefs, chopping and arranging dishes in a small open kitchen.

In the tradition of Le Chateaubriand, Le Chapeau Melon, and Les Papilles, Rino offers a set menu (with little-to-no choice) that changes daily based on available ingredients and the whims of the chef. Luckily, Passerini’s impressive training (he previously worked at Arpège, Le Chateaubriand, and La Gazzetta)and innovative instincts mean that culinary missteps are rare—he has an innate sense for how to make seasonal produce shine in dishes that draw on tradition but play up surprises.

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Posted in Restaurant Reviews | 6 Comments »

Septime: Friendly, Inventive and Refined Cuisine in Paris

Hake with carrots and zucchini

In April, the Paris food scene saw the grand return of creative culinary prowess with the opening of Septime, a modern bistro in a remote corner of the 11th arrondissement that breaks free from the confines of traditional French cooking. Buzz about the high-caliber restaurant was instantaneous and spoke largely of the mastermind behind the apron.

After a tenure at L’Arpège under the auspices of Alain Passard, Bertrand Grébaut went on to snag a Michelin star at Agapé at only 27 years old. Earning himself even further attention was the 10,000€ Evian-Badoit grant he was awarded to bring his own venture, Septime, to fruition.  Innovative, successful and under 30 – my friends and I were intrigued.

Chef Bertrand Grébaut

The moment we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with warm, sincere smiles and glowing enthusiasm from devilishly handsome young servers. We were seated in the entry dining room, across from the bar where the evening’s first guests chatted gleefully over a glass of wine. It features one long communal table and is slightly quieter than the larger room just beyond the glass partition that offers a view of Grébaut and his team hard at work in the open kitchen.

Before even glancing at the menu, we were transfixed by the post-industrial décor, hanging lamps (which we later learned were from Holland) and the rustic, unrefined wood tables throughout the restaurant that provided the warmth and sophistication missing from the neighborhood. Passersby must have felt similarly because most stopped in front of the restaurant, with its wide-open windows and enviable energy, to analyze the menu and get a feel for the ambiance. This stop-and-gawk continued all evening, much to our amusement.

Tables set at Septime

After fawning over the environment, it was time to dive into the deceivingly short menu and choose between three appetizers, three main dishes, and three desserts. We opted for a bit of each with the 55€ carte blanche tasting menu — by far the wisest value given the quality and artistry involved in each plate.  The chef has carte blanche and selects the combination of dishes each guest will receive, but he will accommodate food preferences and/or allergies. Following our order, a sommelier advised our wine choice, explaining its origin and why it would produce the perfect sense of balance and harmony with the dishes we would be served. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 11 Comments »