My three days in Paris were a whirlwind - plenty of walking balanced with beaucoup eating. In a city full of delicious food, it was hard to pick my favorite culinary moments but here is a short list. Who says a girl can't live on duck confit, Kir Royals, and macarons?
For me, no trip to Paris would be complete without a Kir Royal (Champagne & Creme de Cassis) poured by a handsome Frenchman. We wandered into Cafe des Arts et Metiers at the end of a late night stroll. The cafe was fairly empty on a late Monday night but the service was friendly, the music was pumping, and the Kir Royal was perfection.
Delicious Duck Confit from Chartier Restaurant
Duck Confit is one of those classic French dishes that I can never get tired of and I couldn't wait to eat it in Paris. Chartier was recommended to me by a Parisian who lives in New York as the restaurant that she always visits when she is back home and wants traditional French comfort food done just right. The Michelin Paris Guide is spot on when they describe Chartier as "an ideal place to dine on a budget, but also to experience the authentic old-fashioned atmosphere of this typically Parisian workers' canteen from 1896." The spacious restaurant has beautiful high ceilings and soft lighting that bounces off warm wood details. Back in the old days, regulars would keep their napkins in numbered wooden drawers and those drawer racks are still a part of the ambiance at Chartier. The fast-moving but friendly waiters write your order down on the paper table cloth and then tally it up at the end of the meal. The duck confit was perfectly cooked - crispy skin & juicy meat falling off the bone. It was one of the best meals I had in Paris and one of the most affordable - the duck served with delicious new potatoes was less than 10 euros. A frisée salad packed with lardons and big enough for two to share was only 3.50 euros. Locals and tourists were all lined up and eager to get a table at Chartier - I will definitely be in their number on my next trip to Paris.
Foie Gras Ravioli
If you are a fan of foie gras, then a meal at Comptoir de la Gastronomie is a must. The duck breast with potato puree that I ordered was fine but thank goodness my dinner date let me dig into his Foie Gras Ravioli - it was marvelous! The paper thin raviolis were filled with foie gras and floating in a perfectly seasoned rich truffle cream sauce. Yes, arteries were clogged but it was worth it. In addition to the small restaurant with a few outdoor tables, Comptoir de la Gastronomie also has a market where you can buy foie gras and other French delicacies.
What can I say about Ladurée macarons that you haven't already heard? I don't have a a huge sweet tooth but I have queued up for these French treats in New York City and couldn't leave Paris without having a few at the source. We sampled the offerings of several macaron makers during our time in France and Ladurée remains my favorite. Not only are the almond based cookies the perfect balance of a crunchy exterior giving way to a slightly chewy interior when you bite into it, Ladurée's fillings are out of this world. From rose petal to vanilla, coconut to pistachio; Ladurée's cream fillings are so delicate and light but full of flavor. They've been making sweet treats since 1862 and have absolutely mastered the art.
image courtesy Maison Kayser
I would be remiss in not mentioning the fabulous Eric Kayser. I visited two of his boulangeries in Paris. How good was the bread? I devoured it before I remembered to take a picture! For the perfect baguette, Eric Kayser is the place to go. I've met Monsieur Kayser in New York City and the passion for his craft and commitment to consistency is evident in every bite. He may not have personally baked the bread that I ate but they are Kayser's techniques and you can taste it!