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A Mostly Food Paris Trip Report

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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:03 AM
  #1
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A Mostly Food Paris Trip Report

A Mostly Food Paris Trip Report

Photos: http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/...questid=112579

Background: This was the 4th trip to Paris together for my husband and me (I’ve been a few other times pre-Mark but those were many years ago) but the first where Paris was the only destination. We decided to focus on food for this trip and started making our restaurant/food tour/cooking class reservations about a month out. This was much more advanced planning than we’ve done in the past as previously Paris had been a stopover on the way to or from some place else so we just more or less winged it. We stayed for 8 nights split between 2 hotels due to having hotel points scattered in different accounts.

This was our original itinerary which I had to change after arrival due to it being overly ambitious this time around (and I even thought we had time to squeeze in a few museums, ha ha!):

Sun Nov 27 – arrival, brunch at Un Dimanche a Paris

Mon Nov 28 – lunch at Les Tablettes Jean-Louis Nomicos

Tue Nov 29 – Context food tour, lunch at Agape Substance, dinner at Neva

Wed Nov 30 – change hotels, lunch at Jean Francois Piege, dinner at Septime

Thu Dec 1 – lunch at Kei, chocolate truffle class at Un Dimanche a Paris

Fri Dec 2 – baguette class at La Cuisine Paris, lunch at Sola, dinner at Bistro Volnay

Sat Dec 3 – lunch at Chez L’Ami Jean

Sun Dec 4 – lunch at Le Cinq

Mon Dec 5 – departure

We love this time of year. It’s so festive and living in Southern California cold weather is a novelty for us although I think it was unusually mild in Paris this trip. I had hoped for a dusting of snow!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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Oh good, I've been waiting to read this. More, please!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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We ate at Agape Substance on Sat the 26 Nov! Looking forward to hearing about your experience!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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me too! we ate at le cinq last jan [on a sunday too] so I'm really keen to compare notes!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:52 AM
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What did you think of Agape Substance, jamikins? We had read such glowing reviews and were a bit disappointed but perhaps we had misplaced/too high expectations?
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Dec 7th, 2011, 08:56 AM
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Saturday November 26 & Sunday November 27
We were in Texas visiting Mark’s family for Thanksgiving so flew out of IAH on Air France. A great day to fly as it was really quiet and we got checked in and through security in no time. Our flight was slightly delayed due to the delayed arrival of the inbound plane and we made it to our first hotel the Renaissance Vendome around 10:30am after taking a taxi. Our room was not ready yet so we walked over to the Franprix at the Place du Marche Saint Honore to pick up a few snacks (why does even grocery store cheese taste so good here?). Our room was ready shortly after we returned and we got a bigger one than last year (the rooms here are really small) facing the courtyard this time (last year we faced the Irish pub during World Cup which actually turned out to be quite entertaining).

We walked over to Un Dimanche a Paris for our first meal. Many families here enjoying brunch on a Sunday. It was a very nice unchallenging, un-thought provoking start to our 8 days of utter indulgence, just what we needed in our jet lagged state. Two brunch menus at 35/55 and a 3 course non-brunch at 50 were available on Sunday. I won’t go into too many details as the menus are on their website. I think the only ones they don’t have listed are the cheaper weekday formules starting around 20 some euros. It was very warm inside the restaurant and we were both starting to fall asleep at the end of our meal. Got a mont blanc to go which was delicious even if a bit deconstructed by the time we got back to the hotel

Next stop, Jacques Genin. What was I thinking trying to come here on a Sunday afternoon, right? There were 4 parties in line in front of us but less seating than I had imagined. We gave up after a half hour wait but did get some caramels and chocolates to go. As lovely as their caramels are I think I’m more of a chocolate person. There was an antique market nearby today that we browsed through. Then we poked our heads inside Breizh Café but it was packed and hot so we just slowly ambled back to our hotel. Neither of us were really that hungry anyway so we just ended up at the L’Ecluse in the Place du Marche Saint Honore for a few glasses of wine and shared their duck & goose plate (not bad!).

This evening we tried to go for a swim but found the hotel pool closed until Tuesday for renovation. They did offer to send us to another pool but that was more effort than we were wanted to go to. I ended up taking a hot bath instead (oh yeah, this room has a separate bath tub too, woo hoo) and attempted to go to sleep (not in the bath tub). I have terrible jet lag and usually have trouble falling asleep even with a sleep aid and then can’t wake up in the morning. Mark’s out as soon as his head hits the pillow. I’m so envious.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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Same for us Patty - the food was interesting, and we had several fabulous dishes, but there were some let downs too. Service started out fantastic, but then was very spotty at the end. They also wanted to control the experience too much - there is only 1 bathroom, so they basically have to give you persmission to go.

In saying that - it was a good price and we had a fun 3 hours over lunch!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 10:53 AM
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Great start. Can't wait to read more......your restaurant list is awesome, I'll be interested to read your impressions and see if you guys managed to eat at all those fabulous places in 1 trip!

Jo
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Dec 7th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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Monday November 28
Mark woke me at 11:00am asking “honey, do you still want to go to lunch?” Of course I want to go to lunch as I flew out of bed and into the shower! We lucked out with a taxi driver who thought he was in a Formula 1 race and even made it to the restaurant on time Lunch at Les Tablettes Jean-Louis Nomicos – there is a 4 course menu at 58 euros which includes several choices for starters, mains, a cheese course and dessert with water, wine and coffee included. The dinner menus as well as a la carte are also available at lunch. We both ordered off the lunch menu (which was different from what was on the website at the time) that started with a foie emulsion amuse. Mark had scallops on beets to start and the hare for his main course and I had the pate de foie gras and the sot l’y laisse (that sounds so much more appetizing than chicken oysters, doesn’t it? And it was every bit as delicious). Both mains also had seared foie gras (can there be too much foie?). The cheese course was a no choice goat. For dessert Mark chose the ile flottante and I had the mont blanc. We finished with some coffee and mignardises. We both thought it was a very solid meal but perhaps not particularly innovative.

After lunch we went to the Jaeger LeCoultre auction preview at Artcurial. Mark is a big watch nut and we found out about this just before arriving in Paris. The auction was tomorrow so this was the last viewing day. The exhibition was very nicely presented and we each tried on several pieces but decided we could get ourselves into too much trouble by actually attending the auction so were content just to leave with a beautiful museum quality catalog. Plus I already had a very full day of eating planned for tomorrow!

We walked through the Champs Elysees Christmas market and then stopped at Jean-Paul Hevin for some macarons and tea (wine for Mark). I picked up some more chocolates here. For dinner we headed to Juveniles. Mark had the 3 course menu which consisted of potiron soup, a stilton/courgette lasagna and flourless chocolate cake that night. I had the magret de canard and we shared a bottle of beaujolais. The stilton lasagna was nice but we remember the food being more interesting and tapas like before. In any case, it was fine for what we were looking for which was a quick, simple meal. Our bill came to 58 euros.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:11 AM
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Weren't you stuffed? I am in awe of your eating capacity--and you are tiny!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 11:35 AM
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I did some stomach stretching exercises the week before
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Dec 7th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Tuesday November 29
Mark wakes me up with a “honey, it’s 9 o’clock” (are you seeing a pattern here?) so again I jump out of bed and we actually make it to the meeting point of our Context Baguette to Bistro tour 15 minutes early. There were 4 of us on the tour including another couple from Seattle and our docent was Meg Zimbeck, a food writer and founder of parisbymouth.com. Prior to booking I had read a negative review on Tripadvisor (they had a different docent) so had checked to see who would be leading the tour before confirming and was very excited to find out it would be Meg that day.

We had a really fun time over the next 3 hours sampling baguette at Kayser, cheese at Androuet, chocolates at Chapon, pastries at La Patisserie des Reves (oh, the Paris brest!) and even stopping in a taxidermy shop and just discussing food in general. As a matter of fact, we had such a great time that we invited Meg to lunch and the fun continued for another 3 hours. I could see how someone could be disappointed though if they had a guide who was perhaps less passionate about food.

Lunch at Agape Substance – we had a late reservation so things were really going when we arrived and it was hot and steamy inside the restaurant. We lucked out and had no problems adding a third person. For lunch there’s a choice of 3 course, 4 course or carte blanche at 39/51/65. It didn’t take us long to decide on the carte blanche. This was one of the meals I was most looking forward to and perhaps I had some misplaced expectations but overall I thought it was a bit too much style over substance. The carte blanche consisted of 13 courses (they were tiny so it was actually comfortable) of which some were quite good and others just didn’t seem to work that well. But the company was great and we had a fabulous time anyway. Some of the things I was concerned about like the stools turned out not to be an issue at all. I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable. We were the last party to leave at 4:30pm and all had to try the Toto washlet. I won’t go into too much detail but there was even some cursing involved. The total came to 310 including 2 glasses of champagne, a bottle of wine and coffee.

We made our way back to the hotel stopping at Michel Cluizel for some chocolates and I went for a swim and relaxed by the just re-opened pool. Dinner was at Neva Cuisine. We arrived for our reservations at 8:00pm to find a completely empty restaurant. They were still vacuuming the floor. Are we at the right place? Soon after we were seated a couple tried to walk in and were turned away and by 9:00pm the place was packed. The food here is what I would describe as high end bistro (why isn’t there one of these in my neighborhood?). It’s a high ceiling room with lots of space between tables. There are several choices of starters, mains and dessert with 2 courses priced at 29 and 3 at 36 with some supplements. Mark had the pate de foie gras to start and the turbot and I had the langoustines (mmm…) and the riz de veau. Excellent ingredients, well prepared, ahhhh. Then we shared the chocolate sphere, oh my God, the chocolate sphere! Our bill was 126 with 2 glasses of champagne, 2 glasses of wine and coffee.

It was raining slightly, but we decided to walk back viewing the window displays at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette along the way.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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oh, this shouldn't be allowed. I'm sitting here drooling.

I can hardly wait until our trip in March!

I've managed to find all the other restaurants you mention on the web and have bmk'd them, but have you got a link for Neva Cuisine? i couldn't find one.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:05 PM
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I am in awe, too! Patty, I'm impressed. Even if the courses were manageable, I still think I'd be dragging too much after lunch to get motivated to go to dinner.

You guys weren't kidding when you said you wanted to focus on food this trip! A wonderful theme for Paris, to be sure.

Thanks for posting - I'm enjoying this.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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All I can find is nevacuisine.com but there doesn't appear to be any information there. I think they're open for lunch and dinner Mon-Fri and maybe dinner on Sat. The menu is the same at both meals. The restaurant opened July 5th this year.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for all the comments, everyone!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:17 PM
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Wednesday November 30
We realized this morning that we just could not eat a multi-course lunch today so we reluctantly canceled our reservation at Piege (next time!). Breakfast(?) was macarons from Pierre Herme. We both really liked the white truffle hazelnut. We packed up and moved to the Park Hyatt at noon. Expecting to have to store our luggage, we were delighted to find our room was ready. I was even more delighted when we found out we’d been upgraded to a room with a terrace. We had stayed here 6 years ago and had a room facing Rue de la Paix. This time we were facing the courtyard.

For lunch we decided to go to La Garde Robe and had some charcuterie, cheese and a veggie plate (I had a serious veggie craving by now). The perfect light meal, with 3 glasses of wine our bill was 42 euros.

I decided to make another attempt at Jacques Genin today and arrived to find their tea salon half empty. Definitely come on a weekday. Mark had a caramel éclair and I had the chocolate one. My chocolate éclair had just been made and there was a marked difference between the two. 2 coffees, some “free” chocolates and it came to 22 euros. We sat for a while and our server was concerned when we didn’t wolf down our éclairs but I assured her we were just slowly enjoying. We thought it was good but not particularly better than Reves or Un Dimanche. That said we had different pastries at each place so it’s not a direct comparison.

We stopped across the street at 134 Rue de Turenne. Meg had told us about this baker that offers classes. I had a hard time trying to explain in my broken French what I wanted to the sales girl so she went back and grabbed Benjamin who told us all about his class. It’s basically a flexible, no schedule thing, just whenever he has time (not before 11:00am) and you get to make breads and viennoiserie at the bakery. He seemed like a fun guy and it’s probably something we’ll do next time. Anyway, his email is [email protected] if anyone is interested.

We walked back to the hotel and I took another hot bath. Dinner tonight was at Septime, food wise, our favorite meal of the trip. All of the flavors just worked so well together here. Every ingredient complemented each other. There is a carte blanche at 52 as well as a la carte. The carte blanche consisted of half portions of 2 starters, 2 mains, cheese and dessert. We went with the carte blanche and since there were only 3 choices of starters and 2 choices of mains on the a la carte, we basically tried everything except the oeuf starter and didn’t have a choice of dessert. The first course was raw scallop with sea urchin in a fennel sauce. Next came a gnocchi with squash sauce and ricotta followed by rouget with lime sauce and leeks, then milk fed lamb with pureed parsnip. The cheese course consisted of 2 cheeses one of which was a very nice 18 month etivaz. Dessert was apple and quince, light and perfect. I can’t even pick out a favorite dish here as everything was so good. I wanted to start all over again at the end of the meal. The total was 127 with 3 glasses of wine.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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Patty, I couldn't open the photo link you posted at the top of this thread.
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:21 PM
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Great report, Patty!

This is really strange....when I click on your link for the photos, I get GraceJoan's dinner at Reed!
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Dec 7th, 2011, 01:46 PM
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Thanks for letting me know. Sorry about that. Hope this one works http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/...05%3A634459534
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