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Apartment cooking in Paris

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Aug 13th, 2014, 10:54 AM
  #1
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Apartment cooking in Paris

We have rented a Paris apartment for a week, planning to use the Paris Pass by day and cook dinners chez nous. We hear grocery stores in Paris are great, but any specific tips on what to prepare in a tiny kitchen that won't take two hours? Is it true that vin ordinaire in Paris is extraordinary enough?

So the plan is to save on breakfast and dinner so we can try out some wonderful bistros for lunch. Any ideas on that one?

Thanks!
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Aug 13th, 2014, 11:18 AM
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You'll first need to see how the kitchen is equipped before making any final plans (pots and pans available, what kind of stove, oven or not, cutlery, etc.).

Pasta is usually an easy choice. Or anything you can do stovetop in a frying pan like stir fries. Also you can use shops with prepared foods and not cook everything from scratch yourself (still saves money) like getting a roasted chicken to-go and make a salad or boil some new potatoes on your own. Breakfasts are easy. Quiche from a bakery and make a fruit salad. Cereal, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, etc.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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I have never found vin ordinaire to be extraordinary
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Aug 13th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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Steve, there are many places in Paris where you can find ready cooked dishes which you will only need to warm up or just keep warm depending on when you buy them. Roast chickens, potatoes, a salad and bread, plus some lovely cheese and you're away [plus that wine of course].

Without knowing where you are going to be at lunchtime every day it's a little hard to come up with ideas about places to eat but many restaurants will offer a "plat du jour" or even a "prix fixe" menu which are usually good value and offer the best that the restaurant has on that day.

we tend to have breakfast out too - coffee and a croissant in a cafe is often little more than it would have cost in the apartment when you take account of the cost of buying the ground coffee, milk, sugar, butter, jam....we've found petit dejeuner for as little as €3 but admittedly not in central Paris!
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:05 PM
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What time of year?
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:20 PM
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If I made lunch my main meal in Paris, I would be content with a green salad of some sort, bread, perhaps some fruit and cheese or charcuterie. And wine, of course!
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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The apartment I rent in Paris is really well equipped for cooking nearly anything. That said, I generally keep it simple because I have too many places I want to eat.

Within a block of "my" apartment are a boucherie, boullangerie, patersserie, cheese shop, wine cave, chocolate maker and a couple of small produce/grocers. I've honestly never been to a "grocery store".

Check out "Hungry For Paris". It will help you figure out where and what you want to eat.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I think Indyhiker has overlooked the economics and good-ness of eating a lunch at a great restaurant which will be luscious--and less expensive than dinner.
I would shop at the local store for one of those wonderful roast chickens and the potatoes and onions in the bottom of the roaster.
Just go to the street market--get some paella they will have cooking. Get a baguette and cheese.
As for the Paris Pass--not a good buy.
You can get very adequate wines at the supermarche.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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Adding--don't spend your time cooking in Paris--pick it up and enjoy.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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French "table wine" isn't extraordinary except maybe to very cheap wine you buy in the US from some other countries (including US IMO). It depends on your wine palate, there are laws and what was formerly labeled table wine isn't as good as other stuff, of course (I presume that's what you mean by "vin ordinaire", you don't see that on any French wine bottle, that isn't a wine classification). Wine is a good bargain in France. I don't tend to drink expensive wine in US, so I am satisfied with a 5-10 euro bottle in France. They now label "table wine" as simply "vin de France". That is the lowest level of 3 classes. Those simplest wines are cheap and often come from the south of France. They don't carry a varietal designation or vintage.

If you don't know how to cook already, you aren't going to become a cook suddenly, and would already know what to cook, how long it takes, and menus that you like. YOu can buy prepared foods/takeout, etc in big Paris grocery stores just like in the US, if you like, makes it easier if you aren't an experienced cook (ie, roast chicken, definitely pastries/breads).
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Aug 13th, 2014, 01:43 PM
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To simplify cooking in a tiny apartment, you need to visit a Picard frozen food supermarket. The things available are often quite amazing.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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@Gretchen. I'm not sure I understand what I've overlooked. My answer--regarding a salad, bread and cheese for dinner--was based in the assumption that the OP was hoping to make lunch his main meal of the day and would presumably need/want a lighter dinner to compensate.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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+1 for Picard. It is NOT frozen food like we have in US. Between Picard and local outdoor markets with lots of prepared food to go and cheese, fruit, baguette etc you are good to go. While many apartments have a burner or 2 cooktop and microwave, you may not find an oven or a huge amount of cook wear.

You will save euros by eating in, you don't need to "ccok" in do save. The cost of meat/protein in Paris is high at supermarkets.

If you like yogurt, be sure to try: La Fermiere Yogurt; it is amazing and you get some neat ceramic pots to take home as souvenirs!

http://thedailycure.com/2010/09/02/w...rt-or-the-pot/
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Aug 13th, 2014, 02:31 PM
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(indyhiker, re-read how you worded your sentence. it's not clear whether you meant that salad to BE your lunch, or for dinner after a large lunch. you can read it either way.)
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Aug 13th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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suze - I thought the same thing. It was only when i read indyhiker's 2nd post that I understood what he/she meant.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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I wouldn't be buying frozen meals in Paris - but prepared ones - as you do in any gourmet shop in the US.

They may already be hot or maybe chilled and you just have to reheat in a microwave or over depending on what they are.

When we don;t feel like going out or ordering in we sometimes stop in Zabars or whatever and get some really nice cold poached salmon, or even a whole chicken for 2 meals, a couple of veggie side dishes that nuke in about 3 inutes and a salad. Hardly more than buying raw materials in the market when it's only for 1 or 2 people.

The same is easily done in a lot of places in Paris. Have whoever you are renting the apt from give you the name of a local place - and tell you what stuff they are providing in the kitchen. (Many do not have ovens)
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Aug 13th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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Firstly, the Paris Pass is a very overpriced service which consists of nothing that cannot be otherwise purchased separately at far lower cost. You should reconsider making such a purchase.

Secondly, if someone wants to rent an apartment to be able to cook and take advantage of the wonderful markets and what they have to offer, I find that admirable. If however, you simply want the kitchen as a place to quickly assemble something for dinner, then Picard would be a worthwhile solution. There are also a number of locations, called traiteurs, which sell ready to eat selections. Even the food sections of Monoprix sells ready made items.

Lastly, vin ordinaire is not the least be extraordinary, but it could be quite satisfactory if your taste buds are pleased by inexpensive wines that you find. For a week, you could stop by Carrefour or Franprix or Monoprix and see what boxed wines are available. Reds at approximately 20€ per 3 liters can be acceptable and could be all you need for a week. Effectively, the wine choices are endless.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 03:08 PM
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I give Picard a vote and we loved the markets, everything was so fresh. We are on the go all day and so tired by night that it is nice to come back to the apartment for a meal and bottle of wine plus kicking off the shoes. We are big lunch eaters and do breakfast and mostly dinner in. I love shopping for different items to eat. I am on vacation so just take out or something easy. I know many don't agree but we like doing it this way. If I have an apartment then we take advantage of it, if not we eat out all our meals.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 03:16 PM
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I cannot eat 3 restaurant meals a day so snacking in the apartment works for us. The agency we rent from supplies coffee and a run to the boulangerie in the morning takes care of breakfast. If we have a big meal at lunchtime, which we often do, bread, cheese, fruit, olives and wine are dinner.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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I have mostly used prepared foods when I have wanted to eat in an apartment in Paris. However, one thing I love to do there is buy duck breast (magret) at a market or at a butcher and cook it on the stovetop in a pan, rare like a steak. So easy and so much better than what I can get at home.
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