juliemarie8's Profile

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Does It Matter >Which< Resto on rue Paul-Bert?

You shouldn't have a problem getting a reservation at Bistro Paul Bert. I called a few days in advance just last week and was able to get a table for 5. I do think it's a solid choice, and their classic desserts are quite nice. I really love the steak with pepper sauce and fries and will probably get that now moving forward. I had a a sole meuniere last week, and it was great. They also had beef cheek parmentier on the menu which was delicious. My friends and I all traded bites of each entree, plat, and dessert, so got to try quite a few things.

On a normal basis, though, I would choose Le 6 Paul Bert. More contemporary, lighter, great atmosphere. I wouldn't hesitate to choose either of those two.

1 day ago
juliemarie8 in France

Tasting menu at Dersou with cocktail pairing

Thanks to all for the feedback. Good to know I am not committing an unknown faux pas. I just didn't understand where the promo accusation came from, as I guess I am not on the up-and-up about that kind of thing.

Parnassien - You don't have to do the 90 euro tasting. If you call the night of, they will accept last minute reservations for a la carte if they have seats available. I agree it's a bit steep for a standard night out, but I will definitely go back for lunch and a la carte. Of course, if you can manage to fit it into an expense account outing, then by all means! :)

Phil - Will take your thoughts into consideration and try to give more info here next time. All that info was in the actual post which was why I didn't give more here, but I understand that not everyone may want to click a link and may just want to read directly here. I'm not aware of the link post option and will check that out next time, too.

Also, no creamy fruity drinks, promise. That would be gross. The dessert cocktail was juice-based, so it was sweet, but it was dessert, so fair enough.

Macdog - Artisanal cocktails, in my opinion, are a welcome change to Paris since a mojito seems to be the standard cocktail of choice in 95% of places here. There's been a decent development over the past few years that make craft cocktails relatively new to the Paris scene with Experimental Cocktail Club, Prescription, the Ballroom, Mary Celeste, etc. Someone once told me that something trendy hits NYC and then Paris gets it 2 years later. I have not yet created a timeline graph to verify this statement but it sounds about right (like The Beast and Flesh with Texas BBQ, and tacos and food trucks before that). Anyway, I don't mind unique well-made cocktails coming around to replace the mojito. (Which for some reason French people pronounce "Morito"). But can understand why you may be tired of it if you are surrounded.

1 day ago
juliemarie8 in France

Tasting menu at Dersou with cocktail pairing

Not sure why this is perceived as a promo, and I'm genuinely interested in why it came across that way. This is a forum for sharing food experiences and recommendations, and I thought people here would be interested in Dersou.

If the question is whether I work for them or if they are somehow paying me to talk about them, the answer is definitely no - First of all, if you are compensated or given a comp'd meal (has never happened to me), I'm aware that ethically you need to give that disclaimer. Secondly, my small personal blog is not something that would attract the attention of a restaurant to even offer something like that. And third, I don't even think that's a very common practice in Paris to offer meals for writing in return. In any case, I care about sharing good places, and I wouldn't write about something or share about a place unless I enjoyed it. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever.

I apologize if my writing is so bad that I sound like a promoter; that's clearly something I need to work on if that's the case. This is genuinely a place I enjoyed and am excited about returning to that I thought others might want to hear about.

I started my blog for fun because I'm passionate about food, and it's a huge part of my life and something I love. I go to different restaurants 3-4 times per week, so after 4 years of doing that here in Paris and taking pictures and keeping them all for myself, I figured I could share that information somewhere, in the same way that I benefit from others who do the same.

Many people on here have expressed that they wish people would report back more about places they visit, so in an effort to share more, I thought it was a restaurant worth talking about.

If it's poor form to link to my blog where the info and photos already exist, then someone please do let me know, and I will just copy and paste in the future. I like when other people link to another site with photos, and so I thought this was normal and not necessarily frowned upon.

To address Rio, the food is standout enough that it certainly does not need a cocktail pairing. I can understand that this might come across as gimicky if it's not done well. The cocktails were made with care, though, as they dedicate two barmen just to that alone, and they used unique and quality ingredients.

You did not walk away feeling like you had too much to drink because they don't give you 5 full strength drinks, knowing you will be having five. Of course wine will always be my choice to go with a meal, and this is not how you always want to eat, but it was something fun and different for one time.

Anyway, someone let me know about the etiquette of linking to something that I've already written about or if the idea is that I'm supposed do a recap and not include a link. I'm not just trying to whore my blog; there's no real benefit in that for me because I don't get anything from it. It just seems silly to me to spend extra time re-writing something I've already spent a lot of time on when all I want to do is say "This place is great, check it out."

Mar 26, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Tasting menu at Dersou with cocktail pairing

Went to Dersou last week, which was awarded "Best new opening" at the recent Omnivore Food Festival. I got their 90 euro no-choice tasting menu, which included 5 courses paired with 5 different cocktails, and an amuse-bouche that was more like a course in itself. I really loved it and am excited to go back again soon. 90 euros is of course pretty pricey but when it includes that many cocktails, it kind of makes sense. I want to go back and just order a la carte, or go for lunch. Overall, I was really impressed.

More details on the dishes and photos if you're interested: http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/dersou/

Mar 25, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Neighborhood recommendations in the 10th?

Du Pain et des Idées is very close to the canal, and their pain des amis is one of my favorite breads in the city.

Holy Belly for brunch - pancakes & fried eggs alternating with bacon & bourbon butter. Lunch is great, too, or just for a good coffee. Also Bob's Juice Bar on the same street.

Verre Volé is a nice wine bar/restaurant.

Ten Belles for coffee (or Fondation Cafe closer to Republique)

Le Comptoir Generale is a great apero spot. Go through big green unmarked door and keep walking back. You sometimes have to pay a donation to get in, but nothing crazy, and it's a fun atmosphere.

Hotel du Nord is a nice spot for a drink.

Mary Celeste isn't too far of a walk, and is a fun spot for cocktails and small bites.

If you just go a little further into the Marais, there's Popelini for colorful little cream-filled choux, and Cafe Pinson is a nice indoor cafe. Jacques Genin is not too far, either, and his caramels are worth crossing town for!

Mar 12, 2015
juliemarie8 in France
1

Four lunches Six Dinners in Paris

I haven't been for dinner, so I can't speak to what I'm sure was a giant bill. But I've been to Epicure for lunch, and that is much less expensive, and I really enjoyed it. It was in July, and we sat outside on the terrace, which was beautiful. The dishes were all beautifully presented, service was great, everything felt special, and the cheese cart had a wonderful selection. The dishes were light and very well done, more on the contemporary side, but I didn't roll my eyes into the back of my head or anything.

To be honest, of the 3-star restaurants I've been to in Paris (Epicure, Pierre G, Arpege), I would choose Arpege first (I've been back several times even with the high price tag), Pierre G, then Epicure. I've heard that Ledoyen is not worth the price from friends who went recently.

For the special experience, though not 3 starred, I think Le Cinq and La Grand Cascade are great choices in terms of getting that special experience. LGC has a great deal at lunch, but it's definitely a special atmosphere that seems to take you back in time a little. I saw a painting on exhibit at Musee du Carnavalet of a horse-drawn carriage in front of La Grande Cascade, with everyone dressed to the nines within in top hats and gowns. I have no doubt it was just that way, and it's fun to think about when you're there.

Le Cinq I have not been to in over two years, and the chef has since changed, but the dining room remains the same, beautiful as ever. It depends on whether you seek specifically the food or that overall experience.

I thought PG service was the best, Arpege food was the best, and Epicure surroundings were the best. (But would choose Le Cinq & LGC for surroundings over Epicure in the end). I want to go back to Le Cinq, and am fine not returning to Epicure.

Some people find Arpege a disappointment because of being primarily vegetable driven, and are also put off by the fact that Passard does not experiment or change much, thinking he rests on his laurels. After having been many times now, I agree that it's disappointing to return a full season or two later, thinking the menu will be mostly new, to get so many repeat dishes. I get that you should keep your signatures - Arpege egg, beet sushi, etc, but I would just love to see more of what he can do. Maybe I need to go a la carte instead of the tasting menu. The fish and/or meat course has always changed, though, and is always terrific. Plus his staff brings vegetables from his organic garden in Normandy, and they often say that whatever we happen to be eating was on the vine that morning. There is something to be said about that kind of quality.

Also, I just freakin' love Alain Passard. He has such a fun loving personality and is really generous. He is the primary reason I return, alongside the meal itself. He'll come out into the room during every service, with some crazy striped pants on under his chef smock, and maybe sandals, and sit down and have a chat. I just love it.

Once again, planned to respond with one paragraph and wrote a novel. Whoops.

Mar 12, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Paris Restaurants for April trip

For decorative purposes. Same with that little dessert menu at the end. As if I would feign to peruse it. As if there was a choice. As if I would not have a panic attack if anything other than a giant bowl and spoon showed up.

Mar 07, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Paris Restaurants for April trip

I've only gotten bitten once. Look, I agree, and for me, it's a favorite. Jego is always incredibly generous, and the yelling and clapping is such a great part of it all. I've just read plenty of other people who seem to have a different experience so I'm acknowledging that maybe for some people, the hussle and bustle at night could be intimidating. Or maybe that was back when the menu was a little more confusing, all in French, and with the huge menu plus the chalkboard.

Mikey you should plan to go whether the chow thing happens or not.

Mar 07, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Paris Restaurants for April trip

Holy belly is probably my favorite brunch spot at the moment, quite possibly for one dish alone. Pancake/fried egg/pancake/fried egg, topped with crumbled bacon & bourbon butter.

Moment of silence. Bourbon. butter.

And good coffee. Yes it's an Australian spot, and brunch has definitely gained traction, though I would argue that many places still do not properly grasp the brunch concept. For example, calling it brunch but not including anything breakfast-related, which is the defining difference between brunch and lunch. Otherwise it's just lunch with coffee. Classic French breakfast is croissant, pain au choc, or a strip of baguette with butter & jam, though, so maybe with time.

Chez Casimir has a pretty great brunch, though, again, it's really basically just lunch with some buffet options.

If I had to narrow it to 4, I would pick:
Le Bistro Paul Bert
Chez L'Ami Jean
Septime
Holybelly

Acknowledging fully that some people don't like l'Ami Jean and don't necessarily get the grand experience that the l'Ami Jean-obsessed get, and that it can be an intimidating place.

I haven't been to AT yet, and it's high on my list. So many places, so little time!

Mar 06, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Another Paris planning post

I think Les Papilles is still a solid bistro/wine bar option that won't leave you disappointed. While it may not be a must-visit place that stands out above the rest, I think it's a solid choice. They consistently put out good market-driven menus usually centered around a roasted meat with vegetables.

Le Bat - I went here last Thursday and posted pictures if you want to get an idea: http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/le-bat...
A Noste - I like A Noste and it's fun for a night out, with small plates and a fun atmosphere, but I wouldn't choose it as one of my few Paris meals.
Chez Denise - Definitely an institution, but I personally was disappointed with my visit. I got the blanquette de veau and was really excited about finally going to this much-talked about place, but was not impressed. Atmosphere-wise, it definitely has that charming old Paris feel, and lots of classic choices. It could have just been an off night, or maybe blanquette de veau is just not my favorite.
Cafe Constant - Good in that it's close to the Eiffel Tower, but so is Chez l'Ami Jean and Cantine Troquet Dupleix. It's great because you don't need reservations, it's a good price, and they are open Sun/Mon (I think). I usually recommend Cafe Constant & Les Cocottes to people who I think want reasonably priced food that tastes good but perhaps are not very adventurous eaters or are not the kind of people to plan their vacation around food. Basically, it's a safe bet, but if you're trolling around here doing a lot of research, then I think there are other places that could make you happier.
Bistro Paul Bert - Great classic French.
La Table d'Eugene - Such a gem. Fresh, beautifully presented food. To be fair, I have not been in over a year, but I really enjoyed both the adorable interior and the great food. And they just got a star right? So they must be doing well still!
Le Richer - I've only been once so probably not enough to comment. I liked everything I tried and was glad that I went, but it didn't hook me enough to return.
Clamato - Good for seafood, wonderful atmosphere, but relatively small portions compared to price.
L'Avant Comptoir - I really like l'Avant Comptoir, mostly because it's a fun atmosphere, and you end up making friends with people around you because you are forced to. Not for the claustrophobic, that's for sure. You'll squeeze in elbow to elbow, and people will have to pass you your little plate. Fun spot, great for apero in particular.
falafel place--L'As de Falafel or Chez H'anna - L'AS DU FALAFEL 4 LYFE

Oysters...Clamato, Mary Celeste, and Huiterie de Regis are all pretty great. Clamato has house-made Tabasco sauce along with the mignonette. If you go to Mary Celeste, you can get some other great small plates along with the oysters. Huiterie de Regis is obviously focused 100% on oysters. Or just get a couple dozen at a market, have them shuck them for you, and take them back to your apt for a fraction of the price. I can't believe I went so long hating oysters. I just love them now.

The choices are always overwhelming. The only solution is to move here. :) If that's not on the docket, then pick something from each category (classic, creative, market-driven, Michelin-starred, hot spot), and tell yourself you'll be back! As long as you eat well, wherever you go, that's the most important, and you have a solid list.

Wow that got real long real fast.

A 3rd Paris Itinerary Post For Solo Dining

I'M IN!! The spaghetti castle shall finally be consumed!! It's definitely a wish list item. Great question about how to arrange it - posting an email address in a public forum doesn't seem like the best idea. Oh I know - I created a separate email address for my blog, and who cares if that's out there. It's parisfoodaffair at gmail. Email me there, and let me know when you are thinking of going. I'm happy to call to make the reservation since I'm here. Spaghetti dreams comin' true!

Mar 06, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

A 3rd Paris Itinerary Post For Solo Dining

Whoops sorry for the accidental demotion. Great for lunch - I'm sure I have your email somewhere from the days of yore. Or just reply here and let me know what you guys decide.

Mar 06, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Another Paris planning post

By all means, speak up if you disagree - I don't at all mean to say that people should not voice differing opinions or express if they think a place is or isn't good. I was only saying that the manner of response makes a big difference, and they vary from enthusiastic&kind to joking/sarcastic to rude and overly negative, and I think it's better on the former and middle rather than latter side.

I don't think it's offensive or negative to express a differing opinion, and I in no way am trying to swoop in and be the nice non-snark who is holier than thou. You, John, along with the other most frequent posters have obviously put in years of time and effort and thoughtful responses, and have earned respect and authority as trusted voices. I do understand why regulars get annoyed by the lack of prior research or generic "where should I go" questions without doing some research first. I get that and even understood that necessity back in 2010 when I made my first post, because I had read a lot of posts and gathered that lack of prior research was inconsiderate. (I did, for the record, report back!)

I guess these thoughts belong in the other thread though.

Re: Escoffier. To be fair, I'm talking about eating well while visiting Versailles (the palace itself), and with Paris so close, I can't think of any stand-outs to suggest. But I really have only eaten at 8 or 9 places in Versailles, so I obviously can't no-go zone the city with any authority but I have eaten every option within the chateau grounds and this I feel comfortable proclaiming as a place you should not have high culinary expectations for, unless you are just getting pastries.

I agree w PhilD that you are always better off reserving - even if it's not necessary, you have your table. Why risk wasted time walking around hungry and getting rejected? Just to approach the end of lunch service and end up out of luck. I've done it, and it's not fun.

Mar 05, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Another Paris planning post

Versailles is a culinary no-go zone, according to Fox News. If you are there for the day, I'd recommend visiting the gardens, then walk 10 minutes from the palace to Monument Cafe for lunch, and then brave the interior of the chateau. Be sure to get a map of all the groves in the gardens, they really are the best part. Monument Cafe makes everything fresh in-house, using gardens from the "Potager du Rois" which was King Louis XIV's vegetable garden, still in use. They offer lots of tastes of different things by serving small portions in little glasses, and then individual dutch ovens. It's one of the best options aside from a big picnic lunch (but you can't eat in the gardens; only along the Grand Canal which is a good 30 minute walk).

I personally think it's difficult to find a light dinner in Paris just because dinner is usually THE affair, lasting at least 3 hours. Not that you have to gorge yourself like I do, so you can choose restaurants that have lighter fair, or a place with small plates so that you're not stuffed. But since it's expected that you'll get 3 courses, it's just hard to have what I would consider to be a light dinner.

But save the classic French for lunch time and go for contemporary market cooking at night. Or get picnic supplies and picnic if it's warm enough, or do an apartment picnic.

Bistro Paul Bert is great for classic French. Chez Dumonet is on the more expensive side, with a white table cloth type atmosphere, but has excellent beef bourgignon and duck confit.

Just down the street from Paul Bert is Le 6 Paul Bert which is more modern.

Mar 05, 2015
juliemarie8 in France
1

A 3rd Paris Itinerary Post For Solo Dining

This may be a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway - Did the famous spaghetti castle travel to Le Cinq along with Lesquer, meaning I need to go to Le Cinq now if I want to try it? It was always the main reason I wanted to go to Ledoyen. If it is being served there, along with the sweetbreads, then Mikey I'm happy to come join you! It's not always easy to find a friend willing to get a 90 euro pasta dish, so this is one I have not gotten to experience yet, and I figured I'd eventually have to go solo to try that out.

And if a Chowmeet happens, I'd sign up for that, too! I met up with Dowager Parigi and DCM a couple years ago, but that's the only time I've crossed paths with any chowhounders.

In terms of Le Cinq vs. Ledoyen - Two of my friends, one who is a chef at Kei, went to Ledoyen a week or so ago, and they were disappointed and felt it was not worth it. I haven't been to Le Cinq in over 3 years, so I can't comment on the food now that the chef has changed, but the overall experience was wonderful, especially in such a beautiful room.

When it comes to the rest of your list, just a few thoughts on some of them:

Clamato - Great atmosphere, fresh products and oysters. I always really enjoy it but usually end up feeling like I paid for more than I received. So the food is great, but the portions are relatively small for the price.

David Toutain - I went 3 times when he first opened, between Dec. 2013 and Easter of last year, so I can't comment on how it is recently. I enjoyed it every time, but somehow there was something lacking that I can't quite put my finger on. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you go, and it is creative and surprising, but you may not walk away with that wow feeling.

6 Paul Bert - Big fan

Septime - One of my favorites. If you have trouble getting a dinner reservation, it's usually easier to come by at lunch. Try calling exactly 3 weeks out between 10am-12pm.

Chez L’ami Jean - If you're going solo, I would recommend lunch as it's so jovial and boisterous at dinner, that it may give that weird feeling you sometimes get when you dine solo (I've done this quite a bit) - where you feel like everyone's all having a great time and you're the loser in the corner without a friend. That being said, in a place like that, you are bound to make friends with your neighbors, so it could be just the opposite. I've actually made numerous friends from CLAJ neighbors, but I've only gone by myself at lunch.

Au Passage - Another favorite. The food is unpretentious, always changing, fresh, down to earth. Fun atmosphere and great prices.

You've got a great list, naming 3 of my top 4. My all time favorite restaurant is probably Chez l'Ami Jean, and then Au Passage, Septime, and Bones. You always get something different, and the atmosphere at all of them just make for a wonderful evening. Septime is more calm and intimate while the others are a little more boisterous.

For Breakfast Or Snacks:

Pierre Herme - The croissant isaphan is pretty standout since you don't see many variations on croissants, though more of a dessert than breakfast because it's glazed.

Jacques Genin - Caramels. I have yet to find a better caramel. The regular and mango passion fruit are my favorites. He also does a great millefeuille and lemon tart.

Boulangerie Julien - I always read about this place and made a trip to try it out, and didn't get what the fuss was all about.

Laduree - I prefer Laduree macs over PH, but to each their own. Vanilla, dark chocolate, rose, and salted caramel are my favorites.

Angelina - A lot of people think Angelina is touristy (that part is true) and not worth a trip. I think it depends on the level of your love for chocolate. If the idea of drinking a delicious bar of melted chocolate sounds up your alley, then go. It absolutely is appealing to me, and I love their hot chocolate. It's incredibly thick and rich, and nothing like the hot chocolate I grew up on, if you could even call it that. But some people find it to be too rich, and I don't understand those people. I am willing to put up with tourists for a good pastry & hot chocolate. The Mont Blanc is a great choice. Jacques Genin has a good hot chocolate if you decide to skip Angelina.

I have to add Patisserie des Reves to your list. Their chausson aux pommes is one of my favorite pastries in the city. All their dessert pastries are pretty standout as well, particularly the Paris brest and grand cru chocolat.

Now I just want to eat my weight in pastries.

Fewer "I am coming to Paris" posts recently

I manage a tour company that's been in Paris for 16 years, and I don't think the lack of posts has anything to do with fear of traveling to Paris based on recent attacks. Our sales for future months show that bookings are up each month in 2015 compared to last year for every month from now through August. Which means that just as many people are making plans to travel to Paris. So from the tourism standpoint, there does not appear to be a reduction in visitors.

This part is purely opinion, but I have also noticed a trend in negativity and a certain unwelcoming harshness towards people who ask for advice. The recent thread with the chef who asked about where to find oysters, charcuterie, french onion soup, etc. in Paris is a good example. He was torn apart for his personal wish list of things to eat in Paris. Great to tell someone "I don't recommend eating steak au poivre in Paris for xyz reasons" -You save them from wasting a meal if you truly think it's a poor choice - but the manner of delivery doesn't have to be "Why would you want to come all the way to Paris to eat that?" with the "you idiot" undertone. It's the old "It's not what you say but how you say it." I can't imagine that he has any desire to come back to Chowhound for advice after he was verbally attacked by so many people for his choices and had to defend himself as a credible eater because he's a chef.

5 or 6 years ago, I poured over these boards myself, reading so many posts and threads that I felt like I knew half of you who post on a regular basis just because I had read so much - Which means there are many regulars who are very invested and spend a lot of time giving advice out of a pure passion for and knowledge of the Paris food world - in order to help other people. It's a huge service, and I definitely acknowledge that. When I finally made my first post, I was really excited to receive responses. I remember souphie and John, and even OP PhilD, responding right away, very friendly and enthusiastic, along with several others, and I was very appreciative of the feedback and advice. It helped me to narrow down my choices, which were very important since I had such a limited time in Paris. I was able to knock off a loser from my list and switch things around to be more enjoyable (i.e. Not having CLAJ and Chez Dumonet same day). It's so helpful to get candid opinions from people who have had first hand experiences and whose authority you can generally trust if you are looking to eat well within your limited time.

I haven't been on Chowhound much in the past year, and as I started reading again recently, I have often found myself cringing at the responses which have carried a certain amount of negativity and rudeness - more than I had ever seen or noticed before. (Not at all saying the previous helpful people became rude - It's a mixed bag). I'm not against debate and honest opinions - I agree it makes for lively discussion. But there is a change, and if I were reading these posts back in the U.S. now, I'm not sure I would have asked a question either, because it sometimes seems like people are more annoyed with questions and ready to lash out rather than sympathetic to the newcomer who may not have noticed the first appropriate steps to take before asking a question.

I felt that my original questions were responded to kindly and welcomed, so I asked follow up questions, even though I wondered if it was annoying, and it made a difference for me and my experience. I mean I moved here, so...thanks for that.

Anyway, that's my long way of saying that it's possible that people have been reading other posts and would rather stay silent than get snapped at or made to feel that they've asked a stupid question. And I'm not saying it's all the time or that everyone does it. Not by any means. But I personally think it's a noticeable change in a place I hold dear to my heart. I trace back to the Chowhound France board as the source of igniting my interest in food into what it is today. Which is out of control.

I just think some replies could stand to have the edge taken off, and remember that people are just apprehensive and excited and looking for advice.

The secret - and the best thing - at Le BAT

Voila! Photos of the dishes we had:

http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/le-bat...

It was my first time at Le BAT, and I really enjoyed it. Will definitely return.

Mar 01, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

The secret - and the best thing - at Le BAT

Unfortunately there was no pintade! (or canette, which I would have been equally happy with). Beef tataki and lamb were the only two meat options. The beef tataki with peanut sauce was a standout. I took pictures of everything which I'll follow up with. Until then, looks like I'll have to go back for lunch to try the secret best.

Feb 28, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

The secret - and the best thing - at Le BAT

Going for dinner tomorrow but sounds like secret tempura is only for lunch. Will have to return for lunch then sometime. I do love a good ceviche.

Feb 25, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

El Celler de Can Roca Report

I went to El Celler de Can Roca recently - and reserved a mere 11.75 months prior to that - so I figured why not leave a report of my experience here on Chowhound, my go-to source for planning trips. (Because what else is there to plan besides where to eat?) Just in case anyone else is thinking of going or curious.

I have heard that they get cancellations the same day, so if you don't want to reserve so far in advance, it looks like it's definitely worth trying to get on the wait list or at least calling in about cancellations just before.

I would put the entire report here in the post, but there's lots of photos, so if you're interested:

http://www.parisfoodaffair.com/el-cel...

Feb 21, 2015
juliemarie8 in Spain/Portugal

Books, Mostly About Food, Food, Delicious Food in Paris and Brussels

There is a small book called Markets in Paris that breaks down details of all the markets. Delicious Days in Paris is a great one. David Lebovitz's Sweet Life in Paris has more stories than anything, but a few specific topics pointing to general French culture and focused on food, so it's a fun easy read. I haven't read Edible French by Clotilde Dusoulier but could be interesting for you. I have read her Edible Adventures in Paris, but that was a while ago, and I don't know if it's been updated. Looks like Hungry for Paris was updated last spring.

Not sure if you're only looking for books, but www.parispatisseries.com has lots of great pastry info & photos, although he has not been living in Paris for a couple years now so it hasn't been updated since then. A lot of the great pastry shops he mentions shouldn't have changed too much, though, and it's very thorough.

Feb 20, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Why is "the best" so important

Fair enough. Chowhound is definitely more of a conversation, entering into a dialogue with people who are really knowledgeable about a city's food culture and options. But the OP said that it's ridiculous that there are so many of these lists on guides, blogs, and awards listings, so that's what I was referring to. I definitely agree with the final sentiments:

"It's so hard to compare. The good places can be so different from each other and may fit different moods, events, night's out, paletes, milestones, wallets etc. I seem to enjoy them all. The "best" is always debatable."

Very hard to point anyone to a recommendation without first knowing their preferences for type of food, adventure level, atmosphere, budget...absolutely. I'm just saying that while a lot of people seem to hate the "best" lists within guides/blogs/awards lists for various reasons, I just see it as a way to commend some top quality restaurants and point out the people who are doing things really well and are therefore worth seeking out.

Feb 18, 2015
juliemarie8 in France

Why is "the best" so important

I agree with what everyone is saying that you can't arrive at claiming the "best", and you can't possibly try every restaurant/bakery/chocolate shop, and it's also very subjective. But when I do research before I travel, I search for "best pintxo bars San Sebastian" or "best pizza naples", and it does end up leading me to multiple resources and lists. After reading through lots and lots of articles, blogs, lists, and Chowhound threads, I am then able to get a good idea from repeat names that come up. And after reading descriptions, opinions, and seeing photos, then I can narrow down my list from all that information. I don't walk away thinking I'm going to eat THE best pizza in Naples, because everyone will have differing opinions on that. But rather than showing up clueless and walking into a random mediocre pizzeria, I come well armed with a list from my research, and was able to go to what many people consider the top pizzerias in Naples. Or in any other city, I end up with a solid list of restaurant recommendations from people who have chosen to make such subjective lists. Just searching for "restaurants Paris" will not get many people far in narrowing down their options.

In the end, of course it's a matter of taste and preference, but if a name continues to show up on a "best" list, then someone who does not live in that city can at least glean a solid recommendation. Having a list of restaurants to avoid in a city of 13,000 restaurants will not help someone choose the right one. They are just as likely to walk into one of the mediocre high-priced tourist traps and walk away thinking "Food in Paris was horrible."

For that reason, I'm grateful that people make lists about best pastries and pizzas and pho, because it helps point people who want to eat well towards quality experiences, even if it's not the definitive best (which we all agree is not possible to decide upon). In my mind, it's synonymous for "top restaurants", and just helps to give people a reasonable launching point to have a quality experience rather than a poor one.

Incidentally, it was hours and hours of research on these boards years ago researching for Paris trips that took me down the restaurant research rabbit hole and ultimately started my path to becoming such a food lover. Now it's one of the things I'm most passionate about. So thanks for all the opinions on here, subjective as they are, that help shape people's experiences in Paris. And sometimes lead to them moving to Paris to spend all their disposable income on food.

Pre and post-dinner drinks

You know that scene in Wayne's World, where Alice Cooper invites them to stick around, and they start bowing down saying, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"...This is how I feel towards you after reading this (among many other responses you've made). Your knowledge is incredible!!

Re: Wait time. We're there for such a short amount of time so not sure we'd want to wait 2-3 hours if there is a similar option without the wait.

We care more about atmosphere than cocktail quality.

You do remember correctly ab living in Paris! We really enjoy the places here by the Experimental guys, and would probably aim for a place that we can't go to here. So maybe Pegu Club before. And you are saying that Raines & Death and Co would have a 2-3 hour wait if we went after dinner on Friday?

Thanks for that advice about Betony being so far uptown and the risk of traffic. That makes a lot of sense. We will plan on Ma Peche or Lantern's Keep before, and then maybe we'll head back down to Employees Only after.

Sounds great for Sunday.

One last thing, and just humor me here - We land at 3:30 on Friday and have this idea of going to an after-work place where we could have drinks surrounded by guys in suits. Is this the equivalent of wanting to be in a Paris cafe with men in stripes and berets? Are we making this option up in our heads or do places like that exist?

Nov 12, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

Pre and post-dinner drinks

My friend and I will be in Manhattan next weekend for Friday, Sat, and Sunday night. We are looking for some fun/interesting spots to have drinks before and after dinner. I have come across a list of recommendations from Chowhound but now trying to narrow it down to 4 or 5.

This is the list of places I've seen recommended:

Raines Law Room
Flatiron Lounge
Fig and Olive
Pouring Ribbons
Dead Rabbit
PDT
Death & Co
B Flat
La Biblioteca
Stone Street
Bath Tub Gin

I don't know anything about these places aside from a friend who told me about her experience at PDT which she enjoyed, so I don't really know how to go about making a choice here.

We are 28 & 32 and just looking for a cool/fun atmosphere with good drinks. We are staying in the West Village and having dinner at these places:

Friday: Pearl & Ash
Sat: Betony
Sun: Momofuku Ssam.

...but proximity doesn't have to be top priority. Not in NY that often, so if we have to go a little out of the way, we have no problem with that.

Any thoughts/recommendations to narrow it down?

Nov 09, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

Recommended dishes at Mission Chinese, Pearl&Ash, Momofuku Ssam, or Betony?

On the list! Thank you!

Nov 09, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

Recommended dishes at Mission Chinese, Pearl&Ash, Momofuku Ssam, or Betony?

Oh no!!! I've been looking forward to that one for so long! What a shame! Thanks so much for the heads up so we can make other plans.

Nov 09, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

Recommended dishes at Mission Chinese, Pearl&Ash, Momofuku Ssam, or Betony?

Thank you so much!! Looking forward to it!!

Nov 05, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

Recommended dishes at Mission Chinese, Pearl&Ash, Momofuku Ssam, or Betony?

Does anyone have recommendations for favorite dishes at the following places:

Pearl & Ash
Mission Chinese
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Betony
Xian Famous Foods
Doughnut Plant (any particular varieties that we must try?)

I know some places have stand-outs, so thought I'd check in for any particular recommendations.

(Thank you, Kathryn, for your recommendations at Ssam Bar in my previous thread!)

Nov 03, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan

So much to eat in so little time! Advice please!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Great idea about getting Russ & Daughters for the flight home. We'll plan on that!

Re: Umami and Shake Shack...With such a short trip, I'm starting to think a burger isn't worth making the list. We can find a good burger in Texas.

Cronuts are not available at all in Paris so just curious what the rage is all about, but if they aren't worth it, then we will try to fit in another brunch instead. Maybe we can try Breslin or Clinton Street on Monday since the waits would be so long on Saturday or Sunday.

Any thoughts on Red Rooster? The menu looks great and it seems like people really loved it for a while. I'm still having difficulty narrowing down brunch:

Breslin
Red Rooster
The Dutch
Locanda
Public
Clinton St.

Maybe we should choose somewhere that accepts reservations on Sunday to not spend our time waiting in line.

Oct 26, 2013
juliemarie8 in Manhattan