Cook: 27 Avenue Niel 75017 Paris

There is a restaurant called Cook about a 5 minute walk away from our apartment that we have walked by countless times.  It is always busy inside, but the menu looks just like every other meat French restaurant in Paris, so neither Josh nor I were dying to go there.  Some examples of common menu items were hamburgers, chicken wings, foie gras, different cuts of steaks, and a few limited and very plain chicken dishes.  Of course, the side dishes were the standard haricot verts, frites, and spaghetti Bolognese.  We actually stopped in once for dinner, but before we were seated, we agreed that we were both more in the mood for Chinese food, so we left to go to Missada instead (written about in another entry).

We were really hungry after coming home from work one night and wanted to go somewhere close and convenient, so we decided to give Cook a try.  Like most other Parisian restaurants, the restaurant is in a small space and packed with as many tables as will fit in the confined area.  As has often been the case, we were sat directly next to another couple.  When I say next to, I mean there was probably less than an inch of space between our tables.  In that regard, it is advantageous that we speak English and that our French is so poor.  At least if we are sitting close enough to eavesdrop on another couple’s conversation, we are not able to understand the bulk of what they are saying!

After a long day of work, nothing sounded more appealing than a cool glass of wine.  The restaurant staff were very clearly not wine connoisseurs, as they had no knowledge of the type of wines that they offered.  The menu only had one red, one rose, and one white, so we started with a bottle of the Rose, which was much more bitter than my preference of rose’s.  After taking a look at the menu, I was certain that I would order the salad Chinoise, since I have never met a Salad Chinoise in Paris that I haven’t liked.  It is a highly popular item on French Kosher meat restaurants and typically consists of strips of grilled or fried chicken over a bed of soja beans (bean sprouts) and covered in a delicious sweet sauce Chinoise (resembles a thick duck sauce).

The couple next to us ordered the salad Chinoise and the Caesar salad.  Since we were sitting so close to them, I was able to get a good glimpse of the salads.  The salad Chinoise did not look as I had imagined it would.  Instead of what I described above, it was strips of grilled chicken over a bed of shredded carrots, cucumbers, and soja beans topped off with the classic sauce Chinoise.  Carrots and cucumbers are two of my least favorite foods, so I turned my attention back to other choices on the menu.

The waitress came to take our order, but she didn’t speak English well enough to understand all of the questions that Josh and I had about the menu.  Since we are both not easy customers, we very often find ourselves in this situation: the regular server comes to take our order, we have a bunch of complicated questions related to my pickiness or Josh’s gluten restrictions, the waitress sends the manager who is the only staff in the restaurant who speaks English well enough to cater to understand us and successfully take our order.  The manager came to take our order after our waitress had given up hope of comprehending our questions.  I requested whether it would be possible to prepare the salad Chinoise without the carrots and cucumbers (just the bean sprouts) and with strips of fried chicken instead of grilled.   He responded that the dish only comes as is.  Sometimes I forget that I am no longer in the U.S anymore, and you can’t make special requests at French restaurants and expect them to be the slightest bit accommodating.  He told me that the Caesar salad is one of the most popular items on the menu.  I don’t like caesar dressing, however, for those readers who are fans of caesar salad, I will say that the salad at the table next to me looked absolutely delicious and the portion was extremely generous!

I decided to order the Escalope Milanaise (27 euro)- two large and very thin filets of crispy fried chicken, traditionally served with a marinara sauce.  I had a strong craving for fried chicken, which had been made apparent by my desire to eat the salad Chinois.  Instead of ordering the chicken with the recommended side of spaghetti with tomato sauce, I requested a side of the sauce Chinoise for dipping, and a side of frites.  The chicken was absolutely delectable!  The inside was juicy and soft like butter, and the outside was crispy and fried to perfection.  The chicken was bursting with flavor, since the breadcrumbs were flavored with a variety of fresh herbs. most distinctively garlic.  The sauce Chinoise was a perfect sweet compliment to the savoriness of the chicken.  Although the fillets were deep fried and very oily, the dish did not feel too heavy since the pieces were so thin.  The Escalope Milanese was so yummy that I was actually sad when it was all finished.  On the contrary, the frites were some of the worst frites I’ve had in Paris.  They were almost flavorless, were served room temperature, and had a thin and soggy consistency.  I had to add a generous amount of salt to enhance the flavor and wish they would have left them in the fryer longer so that they would be warmer and crispier.

Josh was in the mood for a good steak, so he ordered the Rib Eye (34 euro).  It was a fattier than he would have preferred, but he really enjoyed it.  The steak was a so big that he couldn’t finish the whole thing.  He kept trying to convince me to try a piece, but I haven’t eaten red meat in seven years, and I was not about to start with a fat piece of steak with a reddened flesh!  Especially since Cook is so conveniently located close to our apartment, I would go back again for the Escalope Milanese.  However, there aren’t too many other dishes on the menu that get me super excited.

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Posted in $$$, 4 Stars, Arrondissement 17, French, Meat, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rafael: 105, rue de Prony, Paris 17 75017

Rafael is a Meat restaurant in the 17th, under the same ownership as Les Ailes (which actually just closed recently 😦 for reasons of which I do not know).  Josh and I ate Shabbat dinner at Les Ailes in the 9th arrondissement several times and were excited to have a mirrored experience at a restaurant closer to our home.  The first time we at at Rafael, we ate alone and had a fabulous experience.  We have since brought two other couples who visited Paris to dine at Rafael with us for Shabbat dinner.

Rafael is open during the week as a regular restaurant as well, however, we have only eaten there on Shabbat.  It is 50 euros per person (5 euro more than Les Ailes) since it is in the 17th, and the restaurants here are some of the most expensive in Paris.  The restaurant has a classy French ambiance with red velvet chairs, a large sitting room in the back and a narrow hall of tables in the front.

Like Les Ailes, the dinner includes unlimited bottles of wine, appetizer salads with Challah, a selection of main courses, and fruit for dessert.  Every time we have been, a bottle of red Brouilly wine has been served for kiddush.  It is a dry red wine, rich and tonic in flavor but very nice with the kind of food served at dinner.  There are 10 varieties of various salads, typical Mediterranean cuisine salads (eggplant, roasted peper, carrot, potato, etc. and a weird dip that claims to be guacamole but tastes far from it.)

After salads are served there is a fish appetizer, which is typically chunks of filleted white fish that taste like cod, covered in a red tomato based and Mediterranean spiced sauce with olives.  The sauce is quite oily and sometimes, there are small bones in the fish.  Nonetheless, it is always very tasty and flavorful, and makes for a great challah dip (much like people dip their challah in meatball sauce during a shabbat dinner).

After the salads and fish plates are cleared, out comes the main course.  At Les Ailes, the waiter gives each persona choice of one main to order.  At Rafael, the waiter brings out all of the choices to the table, and seconds can always be requested.  There is definitely no shortage of food here, and no one goes hungry!  The main courses are typically a plate of chunks of roasted dark and white meat chicken, which is simple in flavor but usually processes a delicious, moist, and tender quality; a vegetarian tagine, which is essentially a pot of gravy or stew with mixed vegetables and chick peas; a large bowl of unflavored cous cous, meant to be eaten with the tajine (wonderful when paired together!!), and a plate of round ground meat stuffed balls, which I have never tried but they look like something you would see at a Sephardi Kiddish.

By the time dessert comes around, I am always so stuffed from eating the 3 preceding courses and almost an entire challah (since Josh has celiac and I hate to waste food!)  Not to mention that at this point, I am pretty tipsy from typically having drunk half a bottle of wine by the end of the meal.  Dessert is normally just a plate of fruit salad for the table.  Sometimes if you especially ask the waiter for cake, he will bring you a plate of parve french cakes (usually different kinds of fruit tarts or puff pastry treats).  I’ve learned that you must ask for the desserts early on because if you wait until too late, they run out, and you are stuck with only healthy fruit for dessert.  Seeing that the rest of the meal is so plentiful and offers so many options, I am always surprised that dessert is so meagre.  They really set your expectations high and let you down hard with an anticlimactic finale of fruit.  That being said, the fruit is delicious, fresh, and healthier than eating a whole bunch of cakes.

If you are willing to spend 50 Euros per peson and don’t want to do take out for Shabbas in your hotel room, Rafael is a perfect option.  The food is typical of you French North African Sephardi restaurants, but more delicious than most of this kind of cuisine that I have eaten at other similar restaurants in the area.  The ambiance is lively and filled with Shabbat energy since both tourists as well as local Parisians eat there for Shabbat.  It is a fun place to go with family and/or friends to eat yummy food and drink good wine.  It also has a romantic ambiance for couples who wish to have a nice Shabbat evening out.

August 2011:

My family came to visit us in Paris.  We were meant to eat at Rafael for Shabbat dinner but since Paris is pretty much empty for three weeks during the month of August, they didn’t have enough reservations to make it worth it for them to stay open on Shabbat. We decided to go there for dinner instead during the following week.

The restaurant’s regular menu definitely appeals to meat and fish lovers, however, there was only 1 chicken plate on the menu (as is very typical of meat Kosher restaurants in Paris).  My family prefers chicken over other meats, so I am especially sensitive to this. The only chicken options on the menu were a chicken schnitzel and a chicken salad, which is served with sliced pieces of the chicken schnitzel.   Josh and my dad fancied having a steak for dinner, and it seemed like every other restaurant we tried to go to was closed for August vacation.   Further, Josh and I had only eaten there on Shabbat and were always curious how the food faired during the week.

The entire ambiance of the restaurant is different during the week than on Shabbat.  The lighting is dim and romantic, candles are lit to decorate the tables, and the lights on the ceiling emit a purple groovy sort of feeling (excuse my sounding like a character from the Brady Bunch here).  It is amazing how the contrast of lighting can make all the difference in a place’s appearance.  On Shabbat, the lights are turned on brightly and the restaurant tends to be crowded with groups of families singing zemirot.  Tonight, the tables were nicely spaced out and due to a mix of the lighting and light crowd, the dining experience was much more serene and classy.

There was a complimentary strange mix of small appetizers including olives, some version of French guacamole (or better put, avocado dip), popcorn, fried beet slices, and of course French rolls.  In fact, the rolls here were extremely soft and fresh tasting.

My mom, my sister, and I ordered the fried chicken salad since the very sweet server guaranteed us that it was large and a main course sized salad.  I always have a fear when I order chicken salads that it won’t be enough food and I’ll be starving after.   The waitress was absolutely correct- the salad was huge with a very generous portion of fried chicken strips, half of an avocado, crushed crouton bits, and a honey mustard dressing.  The salad is typically served with a poached egg and cherry tomatoes as well, but I ordered mine without.  It wasn’t quite as good as the fried chicken salad at Vicky’s (and still not as mammoth in size) but it was definitely a satisfying main course.  It was a good salad, but I wish that the chicken would have been more crispy.  The breading was a bit soggy and reminded me a little too much of Israeli Schnitzel (I might be being a bit harsh)  The dressing was a little less sweet than I would have preferred and in fact a teeny bit bitter.  Overall, it was a tasty salad and a very healthy sized portion.  I also like that the restaurant didn’t cheap out on the amount of lettuce and chicken.

Last week, I went to very expensive and gourmet Kosher restaurant in Prague and my chicken salad had 5 small strips of chicken, a lettuce garnish, and tons of tomatoes (I dislike raw tomatoes).  Salads can be very risky contrary to popular thought, which is why my motto is, you can never ask too many questions about a salad!

Now I am going to conclude my salad rambling and move onto the meat dishes.  Both my dad and Josh ordered steaks.  My dad always orders his steaks extremely well done, whereby zero pink is visible.  This time, he didn’t love his entrecote steak because I think it was too well done.  The restaurant was not at all at fault for this, considering the amount of times that my dad said “bien bien bien cuit” while he ordered.  Josh ordered his steak medium well and raved about it all evening.  He says it was the best steak he has had in Paris.  I recall him saying the same thing about a steak at another restaurant we recently went to (he gets very passionate about his food), so either he was really really hungry tonight, or this steak outdid the last one.  Both steaks were served with potatoes, which my dad left on his plate so they could not have been the most outrageous of all.

Josh insists that we go back again soon so that he can have another steak.  I left the restaurant full, which makes for a strong plus in my book.   The staff was also very friendly and our waitress was patient with an American family with more questions and annoying requests than the typical French customer.  As we left the restaurant, I saw frites on a child’s plate and they looked delicious!  Frites were not an option on the menu, but now the secret is out 🙂

Posted in $$$, 4 Stars, Arrondissement 17, French, Meat, Middle Eastern, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

L’inte Caffe: 22 Rue de Cambaceres, Paris 75008

Josh and I have been ordering from take out Chinese food from Sushi Express around the corner from our apartment almost every night over the past couple of weeks.  We were both ready for a change of pace at a nice dairy restaurant.  I had wanted to try L’inte cafe for weeks now, since by this point I have discovered that I prefer most of the dairy restaurants in Paris to the meat restaurants.  I hadn’t heard much about it from anyone and the pictures on the website did not look especially nice, however, I am always up for dairy!

The pictures on the website did not do it justice!  The restaurant was actually posh and formal, with romantic lighting and an elegant bar.  As is typical of restaurants in Paris, it was 10pm and the place was packed with people.  The menu looked scrumptious and I was having a difficult time choosing what to order!  The prices were definitely reflective of the upscale ambiance.  This restaurant certainly was not a bargain!

We started with two glasses of Israeli Rose wine (12 euro).  At first, the wine tasted a bit like kiddush wine- overwhelmingly sweet- but after a few sips, it actually became quite delicious.  Since being back from Australia, Josh and I have moved past our fixation on red wines and have incorporated whites and roses into our palates as well.  The white wines in Australia supersede the reds in our general opinions.

Now that Josh is back off of gluten again, it takes some of the fun out of going out for dinner.  We often share entrees and mains like pizza and pasta.  Now, we don’t share main dishes since I don’t want to give up my pizza and pasta.  However, we are more limited in choosing entrees, since those are always more fun to share.  The table next to us ordered the most mouth watering looking fried mozzarella squares with tomato dipping sauce, but we wanted to find something that the two of us could share.  We ordered Fresh Mozzarella wrapped in tomatoes with a balsamic and pesto garnish (13 euro), which seemed to have been one of the only entrees without some sort of breading.  In this case, I was glad that Josh’s celiac pointed us towards this dish.  The mozzarella cheese was so delectable that it tasted like it had just been freshly made in the kitchen.  The cheese was light and possessed a perfectly firm texture.  The pesto and balsamic sauces were rich in flavor and complemented the cheese perfectly.  Josh described the taste of the dish as “having an orgasm in his mouth.”  Excusing the crudeness of his comment, I agreed with his sentiment.

For my main, I ordered Penne alla Norma- penne with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, and melted mozzarella cheese (15 euro).  I find that most kosher dairy restaurants in Paris have this dish, and I have never met a Penne alla Norma that I didn’t like.  This dish was actually the best Penne a la Norma that I have had since being in Paris.  The tomato sauce was wonderfully flavorful and not too oily (as are many tomato sauce based pasta dishes that I have had in Paris).   I was actually sad when I finished the dish and licked my plate so clean that it looked like it had just been run through the dishwasher!

Josh ordered tuna steak with potato gratin (28 euro).  He thoroughly enjoyed his steak and so did I (I tasted a piece).  It was cooked medium well- just as he desired- and possessed a nice, soft texture.  The balsamic marinade gave it a fantastic flavor too.  Josh didn’t love the potatoes gratin because they were overwhelmingly creamy and lacked flavor.  He expected them to have more of a garlic and onion flavor.  He said while eating them that he felt like he was eating pure fat, a description which doesn’t sound genuinely appealing.

We did not order dessert since nothing on the menu  was gluten free and decided it would be more fun to eat dessert together at home than for Josh to sit and watch me eat dessert that he can’t have 😦  However, the table next to us ordered desserts and they all looked delectable.  I hope they taste as good as they looked!  During the meal, I concluded that the food that I ate at L’inte caffe is by far the tastiest food that I have experienced at a Paris dairy Kosher restaurant.

Posted in $$$, 5 Stars, Arrondissement 8, Dairy, Italian, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sushi Express: 1, rue Rennequin 75017 Paris

After Shabbat, Josh, Benjy, and I had plans to check out a bar with a music venue called L’International near Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissement.  We were pretty close to all of the Kosher restaurants on Blvd Voltaire (my old neighborhood!) so we decided to stop for a quick bite to eat on the way to the bar.  We stopped into Sushi Express, one of the only restaurants in the 11th that Josh and I actually hadn’t eaten at yet.  As it turns out, there is another Sushi Express location only a couple of blocks away from our apartment in the 17th arrondissement.

The menu had sushi has well as chinese food.  It looked similar to many of the other restaurants in the 11th- not particularly charming, small and informal.  The prices at restaurants in the 11th are also usually much less expensive than in the 17th, where we live now.  The prices on the menu reflected this generalization.  Our waitress was also very friendly and her English was excellent!

I ordered two california rolls with cooked salmon (5.50 euro per roll).  They were good, but nothing special- no different and no better than a typical california sushi roll.  Benjy ordered rice with sauteed chicken ($7.50 euro).  The flavor of the rice was delicioius, and he thought his meal was extremely scruptious.  However, it was slightly deceiving to call it Riz Saute Poulet since the dish was mostly rice, eggs, and vegetables, with only a few tiny pieces of chicken.

Josh ordered  Poulet au basilic sauce piquante- Chicken with basil and spicy sauce (9.00 euro) and white rice (3.50 euro).  He said “this dish is on the higher spectrum of Chinese food that I have eaten in Paris.”  The dish came with a ton of vegetables, most of which he left on the plate.   It was the perfect place to grab a quick, easy, and inexpensive bite to eat.

The following night, Josh ordered two spicy tuna rolls from the location near our apartment (6 euro each).  They delivered it very quickly, and the man who took my order over the phone was very friendly!  He did not like it at all and nor did I.  I think he’ll be sticking with the Chinese food!

3 Month later…

We order dinner from Sushi Express at least twice a week!  It is right around the corner from our apartment, it is some of the best Kosher Chinese food that we have had since being in Paris, and the price is right!  I always order either caramel chicken (breaded deep fried chicken in a sweet caramel sauce) or sesame chicken (breaded deep fried chicken in a sweet brown sauce).  Both are extremely tasty and how can you go wrong with a deep fried chicken covered with sauce?!  The caramel chicken however, borders on being too sweet, sometimes almost nauseatingly so.  Josh and I usually order the Thai rice with chicken to share.  It is a fried rice with unbelievable flavor and a moist texture, sauteed with yummy vegetables.

Posted in $, 3 Stars, Arrondissement 11, Arrondissement 17, Asian, Chinese, Delivery, Japanese, Meat, Take-Out, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Damyel: 93 avenue Villiers 75017 Paris

Before we moved to Paris, we met British boy who grew up in Paris and currently goes to Columbia University.  He still has family in Paris and often visits.  We asked him for tips about living in Paris and the first tip that he relayed was to go to the Damyel chocolate store.  He described the chocolate at Damyel as the best dark chocolate he has ever had while closing his eyes and licking his lips.  Damyel is a Kosher salon du chocolate with several locations throughout Paris.  I walked to the one nearest my apartment with Benjy before Shabbat so that he could buy gifts for his classmates back at home.

The store is adorned with intricate displays of all kinds of chocolates.  All of chocolate and goodies in the store are parve.  The Damyel brand is labeled on all of the packaging and they make everything in-house.  This is the ideal place to purchase beautifully wrapped chocolate gifts, rich homemade truffles, macaroons, etc for anyone Kosher.  What I often find most frustrating is that Paris is filled with chocolate shops and patisseries with the most amazing looking chocolate and macaroon gift sets, but I can’t ever buy them for friends and family because they don’t have a kashrut sign.  That is why I take so many pictures instead- I must share the experience in whatever way that I can, even if only to allow my readers to see the photos and imagine what the sweets taste like.

Damyel has an upscale and gourmet feel, similar to many of the well known chocolate salons in Paris.  We enjoyed a box of a variety of macaroon flavors ourselves over Shabbat lunch.  My favorites were the vanilla and the pistachio, and my least favorite was the orange.  I would not recommend orange flavored macaroons in general…I also purchased several Damyel brand dark chocolate bars in order to serve chocolate squares with espresso from my Nespresso machine, as is a very customary way to serve espresso in Paris.  There was a wide variety of dark chocolate bars with different fillings and flavors including pistachio, mocha, almond, hazelnut, and mint.

The woman working behind the desk was lovely and very helpful.  Her English was weak (as was our French!) but she was extremely patient and lovely with us- contrasting with the rude cashier at Charles Traiteur, where I had just purchased my take out food for Shabbas.  The other customers at the store were also very friendly to us and browsed the store with smiles across their faces.   The charm of Damyel seemed to emanate across the shop.

Posted in $$, 5 Stars, Arrondissement 17, Chocolate, Dessert/Coffee, French, Parve | 1 Comment

Gaspard: 84 Rue Lauriston 75116 Paris

I met Shirley and her friend yesterday for Starbucks in the Opera area.  During our coffee date, I told them about how much my family loved the restaurant Chez Vicky, where we had eaten the evening before.  Her friend told me that if I like Chez Vicky, I would love Gaspard.  They were both shocked that I had never heard of it considering the fact that Josh and I eat out so often.  The enthusiastically asserted that Gaspard is the best restaurant and that I must try it.  The explained that the portions are large, the food is tasty, and the restaurant is always packed.  Shirley suggested we make a date to go the following evening.  However, she recommended that we not go until earliest 9pm since it would be bound to be busy.

Shirli, my brother Benjy, her brother, her brother’s girlfriend, Josh, and myself met for our dinner rendez vous at 9pm and the restaurant was in fact packed.  The host told us that there would be a half hour wait, and we weren’t actually seated until 10pm.  Thank goodness the weather was temperate tonight, since we waited around outside the restaurant.  In all of the times I have gone out to eat in Paris, I have never had to wait this long for a table.

The restaurant had a very classy, yet modern and chic interior.  It was very crowded with young people, mostly who looked like they were around our ages.  Kosher people go out to eat much more frequently in Paris than they do back in the states.  There are over 200 Kosher restaurants in Paris and a large proportion of them are packed even at 10pm every evening!   Shirley says that it’s because the Jews have more money.

Fois Gras- Classic French delicacy

After Shirley and her friend’s raving reviews about Gaspard, I expected the menu to not resemble every other meat Kosher restaurant so much.  However, the food was definitely very delicious!  We started with a bottle of merlot, appetizers, and bottles of water.  I mention the water bottles, because usually when you ask for a pitcher of water at a restaurant, they bring you a pitcher of tap water.  This time, they brought us expensive bottles of purified water, so we just said nothing and went with it.  Shirley and her brother shared Le foie gras poêlé, pommes caramélisées et ses toats (a fois gras appetizer with carmelized apples and toast), which I had no desire to taste, but they enjoyed thoroughly.  Fois gras is one of those things that I think you just have to love if you are French and you are a disgrace if you don’t.  Fois gras is on almost every French restaurant menu and you can even often find fois gras macaroons at patisseries!

Josh, Benjy and I shared Les pilons de poulet finement panés, sauce texane (fried chicken wings with texan bbq sauce).  I don’t generally eat dark meat, but the wings were crispy and delicious, especially with the zesty dipping sauce.

 

For my main, I ordered the Salade thaïlandaise (salad with strips of grilled chicken, red and white cabbage, chinese noodles, and a sesame honey mustard sauce).  The salad was a perfect mixture of sweet and salty flavors.  The chicken was very well grilled and the honey mustard sauce was delectable!  So much so, that I ordered an extra side of sauce to pour over my salad.  The portion was generous and satisfying.

Benjy ordered roast chicken and rice.  His dish came with a slightly pepper sauce marinade sauce on the side and a small salad.  When Josh tasted Benjy’s rice, he said he regretted ordering his fries- I take that to mean that the rice was excellent.

 

Josh ordered the steak Tornados and french fries.  The fries were very thick and potatoey (the way I like em).  Josh thought his steak was just mediocre.  It came with the same sauce that Benjy’s chicken came with.  The sauce seemed to be much more appropriate as a steak sauce than a chicken sauce.  Neither Benjy nor Josh liked the sauce at all.  I thought it was a tad bland and was missing something.  I think the chicken would have been much better had it been served with a sauce similar to the one that came with my salad.

We had a nice time, and it was definitely fun and refreshing to go out with a group of peers in Paris.  There is often some language or cultural barrier in larger groups- one or two people don’t speak the same language and there is a clash in French and American senses of humor which always make room for a few awkward silences. Benjy tried cracking a few slightly corny jokes and Shirly wasn’t amused by any of them, which was pretty entertaining for me and Josh to watch!  Now, Benjy is convinced that French people are too serious.

Overall, the food was definitely a thumbs up and the restaurant had a positive ambiance.  However, I don’t fully understand why this restaurant is always so much busier than the others, since it is not entirely unique.  I guess it’s just one of those places that became a trendy hang out for young Parisian Jews.

Posted in $$$, 4 Stars, Arrondissement 16, French, Meat, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Contini: 81, avenue de Wagram 75017 Paris

There is a parve (non dairy) Kosher bakery about a 7 minute walk away from my apartment that I have passed several times and never realized was Kosher.  When my family came to visit, my brother happened upon the bakery and stopped in to buy himself a croissant.  Earlier in the week, I had walked a half an hour to a different part of the 17th arrondissement to pick up parve desserts for Shabbat at the only parve bakery that I knew about.  What a great find Benjy!

Contini is mainly boulengerie, selling croissants, pan chocolate, French breads, quiches, and an array of cakes and tarts.  The pastries are beautifully laid out in a glass display case.  The French (Kosher and not Kosher) take great pride in their restaurant presentation-especially bakeries and chocolate shops.  Contini also sells coffee/tea and sandwiches and has a seperate menu for prepared foods, which I didn’t try.

On days that my family spent at museums, we picked up sandwhiches, quiches, and pastries from Contini to eat “on the road.”  The mushroom and egg quiche (without cheese of course) was very salty as well as tasty!  My favorite of the pastries was the pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant).  It was more moist than the viennois au chocolat, which is like a longer, flatter, and less flaky croissant.  It is definitely not as enjoyable to eat a parve croissant however, since the butter- the essential ingredient in French patisserie- is missing.

Posted in $, 3 Stars, Arrondissement 17, Bakery, Dessert/Coffee, Parve | 3 Comments