Saturday, May 21, 2016

European Heritage Festival

Living in the center of town means that musicians meander beneath my windows when there is a festival, so this year's European Heritage Festival began when I saw and heard this :)

I walked the two blocks to the center of my neighborhood to see all the booths.
 France was of course represented by wine and champagne,

local honey,
 as well as handmade soaps.
 Italy was prominent with masks,
glass jewelry,
glass gifts,
 and of course food.
 Poland had a handcraft stand along with a food stand.
Spain displayed and sold their famous jamon
 at prices befitting the high quality of pork fed only acorns and aged for 2 years.
Most stands had both crafts and food like Romania's,
 which had a line around the stand for the grilled meats.
Sweden showed off warm clothes.
 Poland displayed their handmade bags.
Belgium sold their waffles and beers.
England had tea and jam,
 and Scotland sold their famous marmalade.
 Musicians roamed the streets all afternoon,
making it a street celebration all day long :)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Shopping at La Trésorerie

One of the advantages of walking in Paris is that you may find places you would miss using any other mode of transportation. The slower pace of life here can take some adjustment, especially for people from cities in the US, but there are rewards of pleasurable discoveries like La Trésorerie (they are working on an English version of their website, but they have people who speak English answering their phone lines). Prices are reasonable, neither the lowest and nor the highest for brand names and types of products; you may find lower prices in the big department stores during sales, but this place will have less crowds and better service.

I don't really have room for any more pots and pans, but it's always fun to browse:)
Tea and coffee sets and cups give you an option of making a beverage at home.
They have utensils from butter spreaders to zesters.
If you need extra hooks, they have those too.
Lights, tables, throws, curtains,
and coordinated linens to enhance your decor.
They even have practical things like cleaning supplies and tools.
The most practical part of this store was their attached cafe,
with Swedish snacks and sweets to sustain you as you shop:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Marché Saint Martin

Even though it may seem charming to walk the streets of Paris with an umbrella, I prefer to spend cold rainy days indoors, so I've spent most of the Winters here hibernating in my heated home. The lure of shopping with friends in a warm covered market got me to venture out a bit to the Marché Saint Martin. We were seeking something to bring to a goûter, or the afternoon snack between lunch and dinner. Even though my three friends were all French natives, no one had ever been to this market, so we meandered and shopped the stalls as tourists:) 

Fresh vegetables for crudites,
 cheese from cows, sheep, and goats,
 and bread made with pumpkin seeds, nuts, and sesame.
 It wouldn't be a French market without wine,
 and local beef.
 If you don't want to cook, you can buy prepared food to warm up at home,
 or snacks to nibble on as you await dinner.
 The center area was full of bins of oysters,
 or you can opt for seafood, already cooked and ready to eat.
Some of the stalls were closed on Saturday, like the one selling pastries, but you can always have fresh fruit for dessert :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Parisiennes at Les Parigots

It would take several lifetimes to find all the neighborhood treasures in Paris. The only way to really get to know where they are in any quartier is to live, work, or attend school in the area. I am lucky enough to have friends who have done the hunting for me, and found Les Parigots, which literally translates to "The Parisians", near Place de la République. 

This warm comfortable café is what most Americans think of when imagining a meal among the neighborhood natives. For those of you who want to eat in a classic casual place away from tourists, Les Parigots has two added incentives for Anglophone visitors: they serve food all afternoon, without a mid afternoon break between lunch and dinner; and they have an English menu printed on the reverse of their French one. Even with the restaurant completely full, I did not hear one word of English, so I'm not sure why they had the translated menu, perhaps having it printed avoided having the servers trying to explain the menu to any non French speakers. The menu choices include enough variety for vegetarians, meat lovers, and fish eaters, all very reasonably priced for quality ingredients.

The front room has views of the street, and behind the bar, there is a back area for larger groups. We opted for sidewalk view and ordered 4 kirs to start and a 46 ml carafe of red Samur to share with our meal, totaling about 40 Euros or $50 USD for all our drinks for the four of us.
Two of my friends ordered the mushroom risotto, made with shiitakes, served with a side arugula salad and confit walnuts for 16 Euros, or about $18 USD. I found the rice needed salt, but since a salt cellar was on the table alongside a pepper grinder, it was no problem to add it.
I ordered the hand cut beef tartare, which came with crispy excellent fries, and a nicely dressed side salad for 16 Euros, or about $18 USD. Condiments were offered on the side, including Worcestershire, tabasco, mustard, and ketchup, so I happily mixed my tartare to my taste. The meat was tender, lightened by bits of Granny Smith apple, and although I appreciate cheese, I picked out the cubes in the tartare to eat with my salad rather than my tartare.
The other meat lover at lunch ordered the steak for 25 Euros or $30 USD which she requested bleu (very rare) but warm. It came bleu but not warm, and it was such a large piece of meat that it took her 30 minutes more than the rest of us to finish her meal.
Since everything is made in house, the desserts were creations that allowed the chef to be fanciful, like this grapefruit "pie" on a cookie crust,
and this "soup" of clementines with cardamon and bits of meringue; both desserts were 8 Euros or $9 USD, and both were refreshingly light ways to end a meal.

The best part of any meal is the company :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bon Georges

Not far from the shopping area near the Opéra is a great little bistro called the Bon Georges, which reopens today after their holiday hiatus:) They have a great lunch menu for 19 Euros ($21 USD), but the daily specials tempted @ALadyInFrance and me too much to resist. 

I chose the fish, a delicate merlan, or whiting, perfectly done with a crispy skin, braised endives, and a tomato relish.
She chose the tarragon chicken breast special, but it was so dry, even the sauces couldn't save it.
The fries accompanying her dish were fantastic, crisp, obviously home made, and she was generous enough to share :)
Jennie opted for a dessert to end the meal on a sweet note:)
The total with a glass of wine was 70 Euros ($80) for both of us, and service was so friendly and pleasant that we left a bit more for the waitress who not only hung our coats, but got an extra chair for our handbags!