So, what's good to eat in Paris? Um, if memory recalls, everything.
As I sit and wait for the French ministry of labor to send back my visa documents, I've been musing over some of the most delicious meals I've enjoyed in France over the past three summers. Hopefully the ministry sends the documents soon because this list is starting to make me hungry.
Ah, macarons. These tiny Parisian cookies come in a hundred flavors, melt in your mouth and are neat enough not to crumb up your outfit. Perhaps the girliest desserts known to mankind, they can be found at the famous, adorably prissy pastry shop, Ladurée. My favorite flavor at Ladurée is orange blossom.
There are multiple Ladurée locations so check the website link above to find one near you.
Tiny, gorgeous mussels bathed in bacon and cream. Need I say more?
Find these and more pork-flavored goodness at Au Pied de Cochon, also known as the Foot of the Pig. This restaurant is one of the last-standing haunts from Les Halles, the working-class market that fed Paris for nearly 1,000 years. Sadly Les Halles was demolished in 1971, but Au Pied du Couchon carries the flame for simple, honest and fattening food.
Au Pied de Cochon
6, Rue Coquillière
01 40 13 77 00
Metro: Etienne Marcel and Châtelet Les Halles
Open for lunch and dinner
3. Chèvre chaud
This salad is one of my favorite bistro dishes ever. It's a winning combination of shallot vinaigrette, tomatoes, and hot little rounds of melted goat cheese on bread.
As seen below, it pairs well with a glass of cold rosé and a bustling café atmosphere. This café, L'Arsenal, is located on the busy rue Saint-Antoine in the 4th arrondissement.
36, rue Saint-Antoine
Metro: Saint-Paul (Line 1)
4. The potatoes underneath the rôtisserie chicken
When you walk past the rôtisserie shops in Paris you will see rows of chickens turning on spits. If you peek below them, you will observe potatoes eagerly waiting to catch the chicken juices. You can buy these delicious, chicken-flavored potatoes and take them home for dinner.
And while we're on the subject of chicken, the best chicken in France is poulet de Bresse. It's really expensive but worth it.
5. Boudin noir
Boudin noir sounds a lot sexier than black pudding or blood sausage, but it's the same thing. Don't be scared of what it's made of- it's actually rich, delicious and full of iron. I especially love boudin noir antillais, which is a spicier version from the French Caribbean.
You can find boudin noir at any charcuterie and at also at many restaurants and bistros.
6. Galettes and Crêpes
While you often see street vendors whipping up freshly made crêpes with Nutella, banana or strawberry, they've always been a bit too sweet for me.
I never liked crêpes until I had Brittany crêpes at Cat’Man Crêperie. Once I tasted an authentic Breton buckwheat galette, with its nutty, earthy flavor, I was hooked. I highly recommend a galette complete, which is filled with Emmantal cheese, jambon de pays and a fried egg.
Also fantastic- sweet crêpes slathered in salted butter caramel. Cat’Man’s version of a crêpe au caramel au beurre salé is the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
12, rue du Temple
01 42 74 43 32
Metro: Hôtel de Ville (1, 11)
Open for lunch and dinner
7. Financier (Almond Cake)
Whenever the lady I work for in France needs to bring a cake to a party, we make a financier together. The ingredients are simple: almond flour, butter, sugar and eggs.
This simple almond cake is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is called a financier because it is an expensive cake, with almond flour being one of the pricier flours. It is also traditionally baked in a rectangular pan and resembles a brick of gold.
You can find this cake in mini form at almost any bakery.
Wikipedia defines pâté as “a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste.” While the definition is accurate, it's actually much more appetizing than that.
Pâté is generally eaten before dinner with a generous slice of bread. You can buy it at any charcuterie. My personal favorite is rabbit pâté (pâté de lapin).
9. Salted Butter
This pat of butter while costing a measly 1.50 euro, was freshly churned and covered in crunch little flecks of salt. I brought it home to the kids I baby-sit for, and they raved, “It tastes like milk!”
It was truly the best butter I've ever had in my life.
If you would too would like to squeal in delight, head over to Pascal Beillevaire, a chain of cheese shops across France.
77, rue St. Antoine
Tél: 01 42 78 48 78
Metro: St. Paul (1)
Admittedly I've been known to wander around Paris from chocolate shop to chocolate shop.
A favorite? Patrick Roger. This self-proclaimed chocolate artist not only creates perfect chocolates with flavors like Ethiopian coffee and jasmine flower, Roger also sculpts chocolate artwork. When I was there last summer his store was displaying an enormous sculpture of several hippos swimming together. It was quite beautiful, actually.
His store has two different locations in Paris so check his website.
For more great ideas on what to eat in Paris, Check out David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan's lists.