Paris was never on my bucket list of places to travel. Nothing about the City of Love ever really appealed to me, but work told me to get to Paris, so I went. Upon arrival I knew nothing about French food other than I can’t pronounce 90% of the dishes’ names. Come to find out, I really like French food. French may not do a lot of stuff great, but food & wine are areas they REALLY excel! If you ever go to Paris, I recommend trying these favorites!
1. Truffled foie gras stuffed macaroni turns out to be my favorite dish maybe ever…even beating out a dry-aged, perfect seasoned & cooked steak. Let’s be clear for a Texas girl, that says A LOT! I had it twice while I was in Paris…would have done it again but I figured the amount of fat in the foie gras didn’t need to hit my liver over and over again while I was already taxing it with more wine that what I’ve had in the last year! My favorite version is from Lassarre, which if you are ever in Paris and want to splurge I highly recommend.
2. Not all the meals were fancy things, some were home-style French foods. The boeuf bourguignon at Le Coupe Chou made me feel like I was in someone’s home on a cold winter day. The beef was so tender and was easily pulled apart with a twist of the fork. The broth…oh the broth! Give me some bread and I will start sopping. (Sopping for those of you not from the South, is when you soak up all the broth, cream or sauce with bread. This often ends up being the most filing part of the meal but I personally could go without a few bits of meat in favor of soft bread soaked in yumminess!)
3. Escargot was a food I was convinced I was going to hate. I mean snails…snails can’t possibly be that good. But when in Paris do a the Parisians do and eat as the Parisians eat right? So I sat down to eat with my guide in a darling restaurant named La Bouteille d’Or and when I was the escargot on the menu I asked, “Are those good?” The guide laughed and explained that there are two basic preparations for escargot in France. One involved garlic and butter (well…garlic and butter have never come together to create anything less than awesome!) and the other in a red wine sauce. This restaurant did the garlic & butter version. They came out inside the shells with a pair of tongs (to hold the shell because they are hot) and a tiny fork to dig the flesh out with. The actual meat is dark brown almost black so that part weirded me out but the texture was like that of perfectly cooked calamari and of course tasted of garlic & butter. I had another version…probably a prettier presentation, at Maison Blanche, and it required less work. The meat already removed from the shells and swimming in the yummy butter, garlic broth, it made for a delicious appetizer for two meals.
4. And of course, Paris is well-known for their baked goods. We stopped in one morning at La Carette, one of the places to see and be seen for breakfast. Most of my trip was sadly very rainy and a little cool. This particular morning was sunny and the temperature was perfect, and there was a tiny table on the patio. After slipping into our chairs we are asked our order. They have macaroons and all sorts of yummy sweets, however it’s breakfast so I opted for the more traditional croissant. It was so yummy. It’s interesting because you would assume that they would be the same everywhere, but they aren’t. In Paris, they are lighter, flakier…just different. It was really good.
5. Wine…yes I get that isn’t a food, however drink it…a lot of it. Affordable wine in Paris is one million times better than affordable wine in the United States. I don’t fully understand the different between the two, but I didn’t have a single glass of wine that I didn’t immediately fall in love with.
So those are my recommendations. I’m going back in September so if I missed your favorite, please tell me what foods to try and where to find them! I want to taste it all!