November in Paris: Foodie Favorites

It’s impossible to write a post about “November in Paris” without acknowledging the attacks that occurred last month. Honestly, it feels a bit silly to write frivolous blog entries about the city at a time like this, but in another sense, it also seems sort of perfect: most Parisians seem determined to get back to “normal,” and in Paris, “normal” involves a hearty appreciation for food and drink. In fact, the week following the attacks, restaurants and restaurant-goers tweeted and Instagrammed #JeSuisEnTerrace (“I am out on the terrace”) and #TousAuBistrot (“everybody to the bistro”), unified in their determination to show that the French joie de vivre lived on. Indeed, every time I walk by a restaurant or café whose outdoor tables are filled with Parisians, I have to smile at the resilience of this city: tossed but not sunk, rattled but not willing to stop living, and still the best at celebrating the pleasures of life. In that spirit, then, a look back at where I wined and dined in Paris this November.

The month began with dinner at La Bourse et La Vie, which is by now an old familiar favorite: I dined there twice in September, and I’m sure I’ll be back again before I leave this month. I had the ever reliable steak frites for my main, and they were as wonderful as always. For a starter, I tried the mackerel which was good but very, VERY fishy. I mean, I love fish but this was…quite something. Nonetheless, it did not diminish my love for this restaurant, which is as strong as ever.

La Bourse et La Vie

La Bourse et La Vie2

In search of something a bit different, I headed to Café Smörgås for breakfast one Saturday morning. Because, you know, who doesn’t want a good Swedish breakfast while in Paris? I loved the very Scandinavian brown bread, and overall it was a nice change of pace from the ever-present croissant. The café is attached to an awesome Scandinavian home goods store (La Trésorerie) that was super fun to browse…and which I left wanting to buy one of everything.

Cafe Smorga

In other “am I really eating this meal in Paris??” news, I popped into The Beast for some barbeque. My brisket, mac & cheese, and biscuit were all excellent, and it was nice to have a taste of home (never mind the fact that I rarely eat barbeque at home…something about it just feels so wonderfully American and homey to me).

The Beast

Given that I’m a fan of a good afternoon tea, I knew I had to try at least one while in Paris. I opted for Le Meurice, where I met up with a friend one Saturday afternoon. Under the ornate ceiling of Restaurant Le Dalí, we enjoyed some of the best savories I’ve ever had at a tea (none of the sandwiches were duds, which is so, so rare) and indulged in an incredible amount of sweets. They also came around with trays of fresh-from-the-oven madeleines, a fun and très Parisian touch.

Tea at Le Meurice

I loved taking a food tour through the Marais last year, so this year, I signed up for one on the other side of the river. I plan to write about my Taste of the Left Bank tour in more detail later, but for now, suffice it to say that I found my new favorite cheese shop, ever, and tasted some seriously good chocolates and wine.

Foor Tour1

Food Tour2

While the food was good at Terroir Parisien (particularly the Paris Brest I had for dessert), the service was not great. I generally think stereotypes of the French as rude and haughty are way, way off the mark, but every now and then you run into a person who absolutely embodies those notions, and that was our waiter here. When we couldn’t order things in flawless French, he got very uppity – a shame, since the restaurant was otherwise good.

Terroir Parisien

Terroir Parisien2

In November, I saved the best for last: the tasting menu at Pottoka, which at 60 euros is one the best values I’ve found here. Each of the five courses were incredible and beautifully presented. I loved the langoustine tempura, which came with a mixture of very colorful and flavorful veggies. The dessert was also amazing: exotic fruits topped with all sorts of meringues. I genuinely loved every bite of this meal. The service here was also fabulous and friendly; our waiter made us smile every time he popped by with a new course.

Pottoka

And with that, I bid November farewell. Since I’m behind on everything at the moment, I write this post as we’re already a week deep into December and – spoiler alert – it’s gonna be a good one for Parisian fine dining. Bon appétit!

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