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Marling Menu Master Update?

I believe the same glossary is in Ms. Wells Food Lovers Guide to Paris iPhone app. (Or to rephrase, the app definitely has a glossary and I believe it is the same.)

Apr 01, 2013
BeachBob in France

September 2011 Trip Report OR How not to eat in Paris the Chowhound Way

My wife and I were in Paris for 10 days in mid-September and to that end I have been lurking on this board since the Summer. First, beyond a general thank you to everyone who contributes, my special appreciation to Souphie for all of his advice even though we couldn't get our schedules to mesh for a private tour. We did follow his suggestion of Meg Zimbeck and booked one of her tours through Context. Highly recommended--our appreciation for good cheese will never be the same.

I had almost decided not to post anything about our experiences, except that we benefited so much from the collective wisdom of this list that it seemed churlish not to write something. But what? To cut to the chase, we were having minor health issues during the trip so that all of our plans for better dining garnered from this list were abandoned, including canceling a reservation for lunch at Le Cinq. What we ended up doing was making meal choices based on where we were and how we were feeling at the moment, which meant no establishments which required a reservation or that were expensive enough that we would likely receive a meal better than we could enjoy. So perhaps this post is really aimed at those non-Chowhounds who, for whatever reason, find yourselves at the mercy of Paris, sans reservations, but wanting a dining experience you cannot get at home. Will you starve? Must all your meals be Happy Meals? Although I can't wait to return to Paris to sample some of the restaurants most highly recommended on this list, I must say that we did enjoy our meals, not a single one of which involved fast food.

I'll start with breakfast. This was a big concern going in because, as I assume like all tourists, we looked forward to sitting on outside terraces drinking perfect cafés and nibbling croissants while watching the world go by. In pursuit of this ideal, we visited a different establishment every morning. While the drinks were always acceptable, in retrospect, our best luck vis-a-vis pastries was at places where one would also expect a good lunch or dinner experience. We did eat at one bakery/cafe, Bread & Roses, where we had our best pain au chocolat and brioche. The one stop in our tracks drink was the hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots; the people watching, of course, and the pastries there were fine, too. (This being the exception to the observation above as I understand one wouldn't want to eat a real meal here.)

Most days, we chose lunch over dinner. As indicated above, we ate mostly at cafes. Fortunately, I had a list of these along with the better restaurants we ended up ignoring. We especially enjoyed our lunches at Cafe l'Epoque (coq au vin), Cafe Breizh (crepes, well, duh), Cosi (sandwiches), Le Loir Dans la Théière (pear tart), and Cafe Janou. When we were in an area where we didn't have any recommendations, we looked for establishments with tables occupied by well-dressed French people. But even at one of these restaurants near the Musée Marmottan where the patrons were better than the food, the waiter noticed me looking longingly at the macrons accompanying coffee at a neighboring table and brought us two gratis. It's amazing to me how unexpected little touches like this can stay in the memory. I would characterize what we ate at lunch during our trip as comfort food. We could cook similar dishes at home (if we could find the same quality ingredients), but in general we don't, and we certainly wouldn't expect to find most of them on the menu in any restaurants where we live. Worth noting is that our lunches for two ran from 25 euros to a maximum of 43 euros with most in the low 30s, including wine or beer.

Our preference in the evening was to pick up cheese, bread, fruit or whatever and bring it back to the hotel, admittedly a strategy stolen directly from the Chowhound playbook. We loaded up a couple of times at the Lafayette Gourmet for convenience rather than visit separate shops. We did eat three evening meals out. Two were near our hotel in the 10th: the Le Zerda Café where I had a good chicken tagine and my wife a Moroccan fish dish which she very much enjoyed. More variable was a meal at Le Bouillon Chartier where a couple of the dishes weren't hot enough, but we had acceptable duck confit and an even better "total" experience beyond the food. Our best evening meal was at Café du Grand Louvre which included a tasty salmon in white wine sauce. Not an exceptional meal, but certainly worth 60 euros with a couple of glasses of better wine than we were having at lunch, and even more certainly worth it for the convenience--how often does one judge restaurants by their distance from the Mona Lisa? As with all the lunches, we had no dinner reservations and there was no wait for a table.

OK, now I can go back to drooling over the reviews of Le Cinq, et al, and planning for next year.


Oct 11, 2011
BeachBob in France

Has Anyone Recently Eaten at Sienna outside of Charleston?

If I may reply to my original post, my wife and I decided to risk it and went to Sienna this weekend. I was more than a little worried when we say there were only a few fellow diners on a Saturday evening although a big event with resultant parking jam in the same area may have scared off the locals. In any event, it was one of the best meals we have had outside of Italy.

We started with the Four Artisanal Italian Cheeses of which we liked the blue cheese and goat/sheep cheese the best. Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the Cavatelli Pasta, House made Spicy Duck Sausage "Bolognese", Pecorino, Basil. The Bolognese sauce was very rich and flavorful--we're already planning to try and duplicate this at home. As her main, my wife had Mariniated Swordfish with shrimp and fingerling potatos vinagrette. I had Triggerfish, with Cipollini Onions, and I believe Arugula--should have taken notes. I thought her Swordfish had a wonderful flavor, better than my Triggerfish which was fresh but not particularly distinctive, not that anything was wrong with mine. On the other hand, I thought the ingredients with my Triggerfish worked a little better than hers. But we would recommend either to fish lovers. The bread came with an Italian take on hummus with mashed walnuts. The service was attentive and it was nice to watch the kitchen between courses. Our meal came to a little over $100 with 2 glasses of wine (a Super Tuscan and a Pino Grigio).

All in all, Sienna was up there with Circa 1886 and Fig and better than our meal at Charleston Place--to name three other Charleston restaurants where we've had dinner this year. While I can't speak to whether it is as good in the past, I definitely look forward to dining here again.

Oct 12, 2009
BeachBob in Southeast

Has Anyone Recently Eaten at Sienna outside of Charleston?

I've been looking forward to trying Sienna on Daniel Island for some time and have an opportunity to do so on an upcoming trip to Charleston. I've read some gossip that hints the restaurant may not be as good as in the past and so I am hoping to hear the opinion of Chowhounds who have dined there recently. The menu on their website looks wonderful.

Oct 08, 2009
BeachBob in Southeast