Monthly Archives: February 2011

Rubes in Paris: Cheese, Risotto, Chocolate and oh yeah, art

After our crazy day/night with Angela, we decided that in the morning, we would take it a little easy.  So we woke up and explored the market that was just right around the corner from our hotel.  This was on a street called Rue Clair and we passed by it every morning and night going to our hotel.

We saw these tiny, perfect strawberries, so that was item #1 for breakfast.

beautiful and exotic mushrooms

fish counter

the most perfect tomatoes I’d ever seen.

The sign says, “Veal Stew and Vegetable Stew”

me waiting for a tasty treat I saw a vendor making. I believe it was like a fried bit of puff pastry with bits of potato inside called pommes dauphine.

Item #2 for breakfast that morning – assorted samples of cheese from a really fantastic cheese shop.  So: fresh strawberries and cheese that ranged from smoky to nutty to sharp and tangy – it’s simplicity and quality of ingredients that made for every meal we had so wonderful.

We went to another little market by the Bastille that was mostly art and unfortunately, not food.  So since it had been at least 2 hours since our cheese and strawberries, we went in search for lunch.  Rick Steve’s (good travel book!) suggested Chez Janou.  A cute little bistro off the main roads a bit and it turned out to be one of the best meals we had in Paris.

We had a minuscule table right by the bar pass.  However, I was thankful to get a table because once we sat down, the bar filled up with people waiting for tables.

That was our waitress behind me

Our appetizer.  This was incredible.  Ratatouille served with an olive spread and crusty baguette.  Drizzled in a warm, bright basil olive oil.  It was the perfect lightness on top of that crusty bread.  The crunch of the warm bread mixed with the chilled, sweet tomatoes and eggplant swimming in the basil oil could have been my entrée and I would have been completely satisfied.

But then my entree came and I quickly take back what I said.  This. THIS was perfect.  Seared scallops on top of creamy risotto and drizzled with a thick, sweet balsamic reduction.  This is at least in my top two things I ate my entire time in France.  So simple and I’ve had things like this before, but it was just done perfectly and with risotto and scallops, that can be tricky.

Matt had rabbit on top of potatoes, surrounded by some savory broth.  Also very good, but he agreed that my risotto was the winner.


After lunch, we wandered on and looked up in my Patisseries of Paris book a shop called Dalloyau that apparently invented the Opera cake.  A multi-layered cake of almond sponge cake soaked in espresso and layered with coffee and chocolate butter cream.

The Opera cake

We got one of those little pink sandwich looking things in the very middle row, (called Ispahan) although we should have waited because we later found the Holy Grail of those macaroon sandwiches later at Pierre Herme.  More on that later.

Just ok compared to Pierre Herme’s version, who invented it.  Believe me, I will go into deep detail when I get to the real thing in a later post as it completely changed my food life.

After our snack, we headed on to see the Musee d’Orsay, which they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside, but it was filled with a lot of more modern art.  Van Gogh, Renoir, etc.  It was huge and frankly, we had already walked halfway through the town so I was beat.  But again, you can’t sit for long in Paris!

The quick pic I took inside the museum before anyone saw.  I loved the architecture.  And Matt said that it actually used to be a train station and that was the original clock.

On the way out, someone saw us doing this

So they took our pic for us in front of the Orsay and the bridge we are standing on, spans the Seine river.

Look how cute they are!  I saw this couple happily taking photos of themselves in front of the museum as well and I thought they were so chic.  So of course, I creepily took their photo.

The Musee d’Orsay

We travel along after the Musee and hit up Jean Paul Hevin.  One of the best chocolatiers in Paris.  We get an assortment and admire the window displays.

Inside the immaculate store.

I will have to cut this post off here.  Later we go to one of the TOP restaurants we’d read about, Spring, and I want that to be an entire post in and of itself so I can talk at length about each course. 🙂  It was a good story, too, as we were an hour late for our reservation.  Thanks for reading!



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